DiBenedetto keeps ride as Cindric promotion to Cup delayed
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)Team Penske found a one-year solution for Matt DiBenedetto while building a long-term plan to move Austin Cindric to the Cup Series. Cindric, currently competing in the Xfinity Series for Penske, will take over the seat in 2022. Cindric will compete in both Xfinity Series next season as well as select Cup races. Cindric, meanwhile, was the Xfinity Series regular season champion and is currently racing for the championship. "Another season of experience in the Xfinity Series will be beneficial and I’m looking forward to competing in some Cup Series races in 2021 to prepare for a full season in 2022.”
Hamlin wins in 3rd overtime of Talladega’s longest race
Denny Hamlin (11) races William Byron (24) and Matt DiBenedetto (21) to the finish line during the YellaWood 500 NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Talladega, Ala. Hamlin won. His sweeping three-wide pass in triple overtime Sunday brought an end to the sloppiest race of the season. “To win the championship, you have to win the last race and you have to get to the last race. But Talladega's finish line is unusually close to Turn 1 and Elliott had not made it there before a crash behind him. DiBenedetto was initially denied his first career victory a year ago by Hamlin the same week DiBenedetto learned he was out of a job.
Kurt Busch ends 0-for-21 skid to finally win at home track
LAS VEGAS – Two decades of heartbreak at his home track finally ended for Kurt Busch when a little bit of luck fell his way at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch then took the checkered flag to the finish line and smacked it on each of the letters in Las Vegas. Kyle Busch appreciated the milestone his older brother achieved in finally winning at Las Vegas. Not only had Kurt Busch never won before at Las Vegas, but he had just five top-10 finishes before the win. “It was pretty cool to finally see him get a victory here in Las Vegas and score a hometown win.
Kevin Harvick nabs 9th win of season to roll into 2nd round
Busch furiously tried to catch him as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic, but Harvick held firm in the No. Only six cars finished on the lead lap in a tepid event at the 0.533-mile bullring revered for bumping and banging. Track officials sold all 30,000 tickets allowed — making Bristol one of the largest sporting events since the pandemic — and the spectators crowded the fence as Harvick celebrated his second win of the playoffs. Erik Jones, who is not eligible for the playoffs, finished third for Joe Gibbs Racing and was followed by rookie Tyler Reddick and playoff contenders Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer. Denny Hamlin, considered the closest challenger to Harvick this year, closed out a sub-par opening round of the playoffs with a 21st-place finish.
Ryan Blaney hopes to avoid playoff elimination at Bristol
With a bit of disbelief over his fast fall in the NASCAR standings, Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the playoffs. William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. “This whole group, this team, we are not a 16th-place-in-points team,” Blaney said. 12 team was also off last week at Richmond, where Blaney finished 19th to fall to the edge of elimination. Cole Custer trails Bowyer by eight points, while DiBendetto is 25 points behind and Blaney is 27 points out.
NASCAR: Keselowski dominates in playoff win at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. – Brad Keselowski entered NASCAR's playoffs certain he has as good a chance at the Cup championship as favorites Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. His confidence was correct as Keselowski indeed won Saturday night at Richmond, the second playoff race, and advanced into the second next round. Harvick, the title favorite, won last week’s opener to earn the automatic berth into the second round. Harvick, Hamlin and Keselowski are the only drivers locked into the next round of the playoffs. Harvick finished seventh.
Harvick takes Southern 500 after leaders Elliott, Truex bump
Harvick didnt dominate the Southern 500 in his series-best eighth victory of the season. The leaders got tangled up there and the next thing you know we were racing for the win, Harvick said. PLAYOFF PUSHAlmiorola is now squarely on the bubble ranked 12th among the 16 drivers after the first playoff race. BLANEY PENALTYBlaney's title chances took a hit just hours before the first playoff race began. UP NEXTThe second playoff race is at Richmond Raceway on Saturday night.
Playoffs begin with 14 drivers chasing Harvick and Hamlin
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are expected to race head-to-head for the NASCAR Cup title when the 10-week playoff series begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway. That theoretically leaves the 14 other drivers racing for just two spots in the winner-take-all race. Busch joins his older brother, Kurt, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and DiBenedetto as drivers without a win as the playoffs begin. Logano won twice in the first four weeks of the season, while Elliott scored his two wins after racing resumed. Others have been labeled dark horses, but Truex has very quietly made himself a strong challenger to Harvick and Hamlin.
Byron wins to reach Cup Series playoffs, knocks out Johnson
Those moves got him to victory lane for the first time in his young NASCAR Cup Series career and back in the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Winless in 120 races, Johnson made a trip to victory lane to congratulate Byron and the No. Its a big win for Chad Knaus and William Byron," Johnson said. Its been a hard couple of years in the Cup Series and trying to get my first win and trying to gel with this team," Byron said. WALLACE REACTSWallace said before the race that there was not much of a dialogue among NASCAR drivers regarding sitting out the Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona.
Jimmie Johnson proud of ending NASCAR career with 7 titles
The crash meant his racing career would end without a record-setting eighth Cup Series championship. Johnson looked like he might escape the carnage, but Logano spun into Matt Kenseth, who made a hard right into Johnsons driver-side door. Johnson and Knaus were together for all seven titles in the 48. Cliff Daniels and these guys on my team, they pour their guts out for me, Johnson said. He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer with a racing career that will be hard to match, let alone top, for anyone moving forward.
Higher stakes at Daytona mean 'crazy things will happen'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Racing at Daytona International Speedway always comes with a hefty dose of drama. Nearly half the field is looking to clinch a postseason berth with a victory, including seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. Crazy things will happen.Thats exactly what NASCAR envisioned when it moved Daytonas summertime extravaganza to the regular-season finale. Cup races at Daytona already were considered wild-card events in which just about anyone could end up in victory lane. Throw in the raised stakes, and it's sure to create an ultra-intense couple of hours on the track.
Leavine Family Racing to close at end of 2020 season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Leavine Family Racing has sold its NASCAR team but will finish the season with driver Christopher Bell. Leavine is the second team owner to close its doors after aligning with Joe Gibbs Racing. We will say goodbye at the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Leavine said. Leavine Family Racing has competed in NASCAR since 2011, making its debut with David Starr at Texas Motor Speedway. Leavine Family Racing is winless in 240 Cup starts.
Hamlin holds off Keselowski for fifth Cup victory of season
KANSAS CITY, Kan. Denny Hamlin raced to his his series-leading fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season Thursday night, passing Kevin Harvick in the closing laps and holding off Brad Keselowski to make it back-to-back victories at Kansas Speedway. Joey Logano led early before his night went sideways and took some playoff contenders with him. His problems began when a tire got loose on pit road during the first stage, sending him to the back. He was working his way forward early in the final stage when his left front tire went down, sending Logano into the outside wall. Weve had some really bad weeks, Stenhouse said.
Wallace crashed out of chance of racing for $1 million prize
BRISTOL, Tenn. Bubba Wallace was wrecked out of the qualifying race for NASCARs annual All-Star event, ruining his shot of racing for the $1 million prize. One driver advanced into the All-Star race through a fan vote and Wallace had been leading when results were last updated by NASCAR a week ago. Aric Almirola advanced by winning the first stage, William Byron for winning the second stage and Matt DiBenedetto for winning the third stage. Crowd estimates for that event have been around 10,000 spectators, but the NASCAR race would likely be the largest sporting event in the United States since March. Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. failed inspection twice and forfeited the top starting spot in the All-Star race.
NASCAR Cup rookie Cole Custer wins in upset at Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky. Cole Custer became the first rookie winner in the NASCAR Cup Series in nearly four years, surging to the lead in a four-wide, final-lap scramble Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. The victory was the first by a series rookie since Chris Buescher at Pocono on Aug. 1, 2016. Making his 20th series start, the 22-year-old Custer celebrated with a frontstretch burnout as his crew happily ran to greet him. That didn't last long as Truex quickly stalked him on the last-stage restart and took over on 181 in hopes of his third Kentucky win in four years. Truex settled for watching Custer take the win.
Keselowski wins 600 to extend Johnson's losing streak
Keselowski extended Jimmie Johnson's losing streak to 102 races by holding off the seven-time NASCAR champion in overtime early Monday to win the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule. It was the first win for Keselowski this season, his first Coca-Cola 600 victory and the first win at this event for Ford since 2002. I wanted to win the 600 my whole life and wanted to win in front of everybody, Keselowski said. But almost two hours after the race, NASCAR disqualified Johnson because his Chevrolet failed post-race inspection. I was a lap-and-a-half away from winning the 600, Elliott said.
NASCAR picks up at tricky Darlington after 10-week hiatus
FILE - In this May 11, 2012, file photo, drivers take the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. NASCAR will re-fire the engines moments after mask-clad drivers climb into their cars at Darlington Raceway. (Tyler Barrick/Pool Photo via AP, File)DARLINGTON, S.C. NASCAR will not be as you remember it when racing returns at old egg-shaped Darlington Raceway. He tested at Darlington shortly before the season was suspended and determined then he was fit to race again. Busch and Hill are adding Xfinity Series races at Darlington and Charlotte, and a Truck Series race at Charlotte to their calendar. His only victory so far this season was the Truck Series race at home track Las Vegas.
Hamlin wins 1st pole of season for Toyota and Gibbs
The Daytona 500 winner turned a lap at 129.230 mph in his Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Friday's qualifying session. Winless on the season, Larson is ranked 13th in the standings and briefly held the pole until Hamlin's fast lap. "I was wondering why he was giving me the finger when I pulled in," said Hamlin, who won not only his first pole of the season but the first for Toyota and JGR. He's a career-best 23rd in the standings but Leavine is aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing, and Gibbs has a logjam of signed drivers and not enough Cup seats. Kyle Busch, an eight-time winner at Bristol, qualified an uncharacteristically poor 31st.