Wallace holds off boss, title contenders to win at Kansas
Bubba Wallace won his second career NASCAR Cup Series race and denied the playoff field of an automatic spot in the next round for the second straight week when he held off championship contenders Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell to win at Kansas Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. wins NASCAR Cup race at Phoenix Raceway
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Joey Logano has won a few times at Phoenix Raceway and knows a good restart when he feels one. Truex blew past Logano on the final restart and pulled away for his first NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season and 28th overall. Logano — who led 143 laps — won the second stage after leading the final 35 laps during a long stretch of green-flag racing. But he couldn't hold back Truex, who won his ninth race with JGR. Hamlin was fast early in the race, leading for 31 laps until the competition caution midway through the first stage.
One year later, NASCAR reflects on a COVID-changed sport
Larson wasn't sure he'd race in NASCAR again until Rick Hendrick took a chance on a him. Last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson raced to his first NASCAR victory since he was reinstated from a nearly yearlong suspension. He was hired by Hendrick Motorsports when NASCAR said the suspension would lift at the start of this year. KEEP IT COOLLast year's spring race in Phoenix was a hot one, with temperatures pushing close to 90 degrees. ... Jason Biggs, host of “Cherries Wild” on NASCAR broadcast partner Fox, is the grand marshal.
Byron gives NASCAR another surprise winner at Homestead
William Byron was the third surprise winner through three races this season with his victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Byron controlled most of the final two stages at Homestead to win for the second time in 111 Cup starts. Byron entered the weekend as a 28-1 shot to win a race many expected would provide a return to normal for the racing series. The Roush Fenway Racing driver led five times for a total of 57 laps, but he started to fade "when as sunset neared. He ended up getting X-rays, which were negative, and was cleared to work the Cup Series event.
NASCAR's 'unique' winners already altering playoff landscape
Christopher Bell celebrates at the finish line after winning the NASCAR Cup Series road course auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)HOMESTEAD, Fla. – NASCAR’s postseason landscape has been altered after just two Cup Series races. “The number of unique winners is really going to change how many cars get in on points, right? Although Bell drives for powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing, he was a rookie for that top team and in his second full season in the Cup series. The Cup Series opened on a superspeedway, then raced on a road course, and now heads to an intermediate track. Whether that’s different markets, different racetracks, it has to be different from year to year.
Michael McDowell beats 100-1 odds for upset Daytona 500 victory
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Michael McDowell was glued to Brad Keselowski’s bumper, watching and waiting for his chance to win the Daytona 500. Denny Hamlin was trying for a record third-consecutive Daytona 500 victory, and the team he started with Michael Jordan was debuting with driver Bubba Wallace. Kyle Larson was back after nearly a year in exile for using a racial slur, and reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott was going for his first Daytona 500 win. And all the way at the back of the field, 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope made what he said would be his final NASCAR start. “I wanted to make the pass to win the Daytona 500 and it ended up really bad,” Keselowski said.
Drivers competing in the 2021 Daytona 500
Austin Dillon (3) takes the checkered flag to win the second NASCAR Daytona 500 duel qualifying auto race Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 40 drivers competing in the 2021 Daytona 500, in order of starting position:___No. This is his 20th Daytona 500; he was hired days after Earnhardt's death. Son of two-time Daytona 500 champion and Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott. Finished a career-best seventh in the 2017 Daytona 500, but has been 27th, 28th and 19th since. McLeodBORN: Nov. 17, 1983AdHOMETOWN: Wauchula, FloridaCREW CHIEF: Frank KerrSPONSOR: NASCAR HeatsTWITTER: @bjmcleod78NOTEWORTHY: Owner-driver racing in his third Daytona 500.
Elliott too fast for Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski
Brad Keselowski (2) and Denny Hamlin (11) race side by side through Turn 4 during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix Raceway, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)AVONDALE, Ariz. – Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski got a big head start on Chase Elliott. Hamlin, Logano and Keselowski never got the caution flag they needed to catch up, with Keselowski finishing second, Logano third and Hamlin fourth. “I would have liked to have one of those late-race yellows like we saw in the Truck race and the Xfinity race,” Keselowski said. Hamlin won the season-opening Daytona 500 and had seven victories this year — two behind leader Kevin Harvick. “As an organization we have got to get a little better, especially on the short tracks,” Hamlin said.
NASCAR claims victory in finishing season during pandemic
(AP Photo/Jason Minto, File)AVONDALE, Ariz. – NASCAR will take the checkered flag on its season, one of the longest in professional sports, celebrating its ability to work through the pandemic and close its year. The season was suspended March 13 after just four of 36 races had been completed. Nobody makes any money unless NASCAR runs its races and the sport was desperate to get back to work. When the Cup champion is crowned at Phoenix Raceway, all three of NASCAR's national series will have completed their full season. “What we have done during this global pandemic is I think nothing short of remarkable,” Phelps added.
Denny Hamlin faces tough field for elusive 1st NASCAR title
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)AVONDALE, Ariz. – Denny Hamlin is 0-for-3 in championship chances, his shot at an elusive first NASCAR crown ending just short each time. Hamlin on Sunday will try to close his own career-defining season with the Cup title in NASCAR's season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Chase Elliott last week drove Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports back into the championship race for the first time since 2016. The 24-year-old is statistically enjoying his best Cup season and advanced to the final four after three previous failures. The last two times I’ve raced for championships I’ve had no regrets.”Hamlin turns 40 exactly 10 days after Sunday's title race and has matured greatly the last several seasons.
Elliott races into NASCAR championship; Harvick eliminated
That's how it was supposed to play out, at least, after Harvick won a Cup series-high nine races and the regular-season title. Chase Elliott won the high-stakes race to earn his first career berth in the championship four. Just came up short," Harvick said. “It was just a move I had to try knowing that I needed one point," Harvick said. Bill Elliott was 0 for 45 at Martinsville in his Hall of Fame career, and Chase Elliott won in his 11th try.
Martinsville set for high-stakes Sunday in NASCAR playoffs
NASCAR's needed horsepower for its stale playoffs so Martinsville was shuffled to the back of a revamped schedule. So Martinsville was moved to the final elimination race and NASCAR created a high-stakes last-chance Sunday at the historic Virginia paperclip. It means at least one of NASCAR’s top stars and maybe even a legitimate title contender won’t advance out of Martinsville. Hamlin hasn't been great in the playoffs and he holds just a two-point lead over Brad Keselowski above the cutline. “It’s up to us to get it done," said Hamlin, a five-time Martinsville winner.
NASCAR resumes Texas playoff race 3 days after it started
FORT WORTH, Texas – NASCAR's playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway finally resumed Wednesday, three days after it started. The restart came nearly 72 1/2 hours after the race was red-flagged Sunday because of misty conditions and drizzle in the area that persisted until early Wednesday. It was overcast with temperatures still in the mid-40s when the race resumed, but there was no more precipitation in the forecast. The 40-car field resumed with four caution laps before going green on lap 57. Harvick won the last three fall races in Texas and is a nine-time winner this season, but was running 36th and a lap down.