Power Rankings: Pocono – 1

  1. Kevin Harvick (+1)

Harvick led the most laps by far at Pocono and earned the most points other than winner Martin Truex Jr. His performance serves as a bounceback run after his last-place finish due a blown tire at Charlotte last weekend. His stellar run at Pocono, as well as his series-best five wins this season put him back on top of the rankings this week.

  1. Kyle Busch (-1)

Busch led a few laps at Pocono, but didn’t spend much time in front of Kevin Harvick. While he had a very strong run, it wasn’t quite enough to keep him at the top of the rankings.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (NC)

Truex led quite a few laps, including the most important, on Sunday, to win his second race of the season. The win solidifies his status in the top three, but he’ll likely need another win, preferably in dominating fashion, to mix it up with the top two. A win’s a win, though, so Truex is in no danger of falling below third.

  1. Kyle Larson (+3)

Larson has been the strongest Chevy driver this season, and is putting himself in the conversation as a possible fourth musketeer, in addition to Truex, Busch, and Harvick. He’ll have to win a race or two, but he’s not far off. It’s worth noting that Larson has top ten finishes in six of his last seven races. This stretch includes 301 laps led, between Bristol and Kansas.

  1. Joey Logano (-1)

Logano had a ninth place run, but failed to score any stage points. This sends him down one spot in the rankings. An exceptionally consistent season with no DNFs keeps Logano in the top five.

  1. Brad Keselowski (+2)

A second consecutive top five finish helps Keselowski climb back up in the rankings. He scored points in both stages and led twice for a total of ten laps.

  1. Denny Hamlin (-2)

Hamlin was having a decent run, but a late wreck with Alex Bowman sent him into the inside wall and out of the race. He ended up 35th with a torn up race car. This ends Hamlin’s three-race top ten streak and sends him down in the rankings.

  1. Kurt Busch (-2)

Busch hit all kinds of problems on Sunday, including a radio issue which forced a long pit stop. He finished 19th without scoring a single stage point. Busch was on a four-race top ten streak.

  1. Ryan Blaney (NR)

Blaney had a solid sixth-place run at Pocono after winning the pole. While he fell back a bit after losing the lead, he never fell too far back, and seemed to, at times, have some serious speed. He’s been a very hard read, with his best runs being ruined by wrecks. However, look for him to run up front at Michigan next weekend.

  1. Aric Almirola (NC)

Almirola had a very respectable seventh-place finish on Sunday. He didn’t run super well all day, but had good speed late in the race, allowing him to grab a solid finish.

Power Rankings: Charlotte – 1

  1. Kyle Busch (+2)

Busch has now won a points race at every track on the Cup Series circuit. That’s a pretty impressive feat. Equally as impressive is the fact that he led a shocking 377 of Sunday night’s 400 laps. Busch now trails Harvick by only one win so far this season, and that puts Busch on top of this week’s power rankings.

  1. Kevin Harvick (-1)

Harvick made some history of his own this weekend, but not the good kind. For the first time in 1,089 NASCAR national series starts, Harvick finished last. Despite his series-leading five wins on the season, Harvick has been feast or famine this season. All of his finishes better than 30th have been seventh or better. Unfortunately, Harvick has three finishes worse than 30th so far this season. That puts him third in the points, 88 points behind leader Kyle Busch. His last-place finish at Charlotte drops him from the lead to second in the power rankings.

  1. Martin Truex Jr. (+1)

Truex had a very strong race on Sunday night, finishing each stage in the top ten, and second in the race. He even seemed to close a bit on Kyle Busch in the closing laps of Sunday night’s race. However, Truex was never fast enough to challenge Busch. Truex has recovered well from a rough period where he failed to finish three of four races, following up with three top five finishes. If there’s going to be a third musketeer to compliment Busch and Harvick, Truex looks to be the top contender.

  1. Joey Logano (-2)

Logano had a 22nd-place finish Sunday night, his first finish outside the top 20 all season. Logano blamed damage he received from a spin with Jimmie Johnson for the lack of speed, but there seems to be something a bit more there, given he failed to finish inside the top ten in any of the three stages.

  1. Denny Hamlin (+3)

Hamlin was very strong all race, scoring points in all three stages and finishing third in the race. He has also been quietly strong as of recently, with top ten finishes in seven of the last eight races. His remarkably consistent run in the 600 (as well as his competitors’ relative struggles) have vaulted him to fourth in the rankings.

  1. Kurt Busch (NC)

Like Hamlin, Busch has been remarkably consistent lately. Busch now rides a streak of four top ten finishes after a strong eighth-place showing at Charlotte. There’s no doubt that Busch will keep his place in the rankings if he keeps this up.

  1. Kyle Larson (NC)

Larson comes off an decent seventh-place run, but, like Keselowski, he’s struggled with consistency,

  1. Brad Keselowski (-3)

Keselowski has struggled with inconsistency all season, so, despite a top five run at Charlotte, he drops a few positions in the rankings. Keselowski has three top five finishes this season, but as many DNFs. A win would help him a ton.

  1. Clint Bowyer (+1)

Bowyer finished 12th, scoring points in two of the three stages. He stayed out of trouble all night and continues an impressive season with the best team in the sport.

  1. Aric Almirola (-1)

Almirola had a very similar race to Bowyer, running near him all night and ending up in 13th place after scoring points in two of the three stages. He has only a single DNF, which also happens to be his only finish outside the top 20 all season. He falls behind Bowyer only because of his slightly worse average finish.

Harvick Grabs Fifth Win in Wild Kansas Finish

Kevin Harvick won the KC Masterpiece 400 after leading 79 laps. This is Harvick’s second race win in a row, and series-high fifth of the season. Kyle Larson led a race-high 101 laps before a run-in with Ryan Blaney derailed his night.

Kyle Larson started hot, entering the top ten on lap 20 after starting 34th. On the competition caution, Ryan Blaney was first off pit road, followed by Harvick. Jimmie Johnson, running just outside the top 20, had to pit for a loose wheel with just under 20 to go in stage one. That would be the start of a difficult night for Johnson, which ended with a 19th-place finish two laps down. Darrell Wallace Jr. had a right rear tire go down with about five to go in stage one, meaning he had to pit under green, taking him out of contention. Wallace had an even worse day, ending up 23rd, five laps down. Ryan Blaney was able to grab the stage win after holding off a challenge from Kevin Harvick.

Harvick, though, passed up Blaney on pit road and drove away on the restart. During stage two, both Daniel Suarez and Brad Keselowski had to pit for loose wheels. Right after pit stops, which took place about halfway through the stage, Kyle Larson made a huge power move to get by Kevin Harvick for the lead. That pass sealed the deal for Larson to win stage two.

The final stage started as a Larson-fest. Harvick and Blaney worked hard trying to track him down throughout the final stage, but he was gone. That is, until the caution came out with 30 laps to go when Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman got together in front of Larson. While it was a scare for Larson, he was able to make it through.

On the restart, though, Kevin Harvick grabbed the lead away from Larson, and Logano took second. Blaney got loose and fell back several positions. Larson and Blaney soon got into a battle for third. It turned sour when Blaney bounced off the side of Larson, causing a nasty tire rub for Larson and cutting the right front tire of Blaney. This brought out the caution once again.

Pit strategy threw things for a loop, as the top six stayed out, led by Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, and Chase Elliott also stayed out, while William Byron took two tires. Kevin Harvick was the first driver with four tires, in eighth. The restart was going smoothly as Martin Truex Jr. grabbed the lead, but a huge wreck erupted after William Byron got loose under Clint Bowyer, turning Bowyer around and sending Byron into the wall violently. Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Chris Buescher, and Ty Dillon were all collected. Every car but Bowyer could not continue and the red flag was thrown. Everyone involved was okay.

The race restarted with Truex still the leader, but Kevin Harvick clawed through the field with unreal speed, tracked down Truex, and got by him with only a couple laps to go. Harvick made it through the final laps and grabbed the hard-fought victory.

Are Expectations Too High for Matt Kenseth’s Return?

It’s been well-publicized that Matt Kenseth is coming back on Saturday, May 12th at Kansas Speedway, replacing Trevor Bayne for quite a few races this season. Bayne has had an absolutely disastrous start to the season, with an average finish of 24th, a best finish of 12th, and zero — count ‘em — zero lead lap finishes. With numbers like those it’s no wonder Bayne has been cast aside for a proven veteran. Jack Roush, Bayne’s car owner, has clearly had enough.

It’s not just Bayne’s 2018 numbers that have underwhelmed, either. In his 58 races over five seasons with the Wood Brothers, Bayne’s only top five finish was his 2011 Daytona 500 win, which, while a nice story, Bayne clearly lucked into. With tandem racing, it seemed like every win was luck, though it helps that Bayne’s pusher was Ford teammate Carl Edwards. In the 175 races Bayne has run since that win, he has only four top five finishes and sixteen top ten finishes. That’s a top ten rate below ten percent. He also has 77 lead lap finishes in his 177 career Cup races, a cringeworthy 44 percent. That’s a big fat F on the 27-year-old’s report card.

The question arises, though, of how much of Bayne’s struggles should be attributed to Bayne, and how much to Roush-Fenway Racing’s performance issues? Well, Matt Kenseth should help answer that question for the organization which used to run five full-time Cup Series teams. What, then, should we expect from the 46-year-old Kenseth? Wishful thinking has led many to expect, or at least hope, that Kenseth will win at least one of the races he’ll appear in this season. After all, he won his second-to-last race last season, so it’s not like age has had any effect on the veteran. However, it’s also important to remember that Kenseth hasn’t been in the car in nearly six months, so there’ll be some rust to shake off.

It’s also worth considering whether Roush even has winning equipment any more (save for restrictor-plate tracks, of course). I mean, their last non-restrictor-plate win came when Carl Edwards won at Sonoma in 2014. Edwards left the organization for Joe Gibbs Racing after the 2014 season. Roush failed to win in the next three seasons, before Stenhouse won two restrictor plate races in 2017. Stenhouse has had some decent runs this season, and, for him, a win doesn’t seem so far off. Assuming the No. 6 program is on the same level as Stenhouse’s No. 17, Kenseth could have a shot at some good runs. Realistically, though, his best shot to win will be at Daytona in July and Talladega in October, assuming he runs each race (neither is an Advocare-sponsored race, so Kenseth is expected to be in the car). It’s not out of the question for Kenseth to win at another track, though. He could do it anywhere.

It will all come down to whether Roush’s equipment is good enough to win. If there’s anyone that can figure that out, it’s 39-time winner Matt Kenseth.

Fours Wild: Harvick Grabs Win Number Four of 2018 at Dover

Kevin Harvick won the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway after leading a race-high 201 laps and sweeping the stages. It’s Harvick’s fourth win of the season. Harvick was followed by teammate Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez, who tied his career best finish of third.

Before the green flag dropped, polesitter Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, and Alex Bowman all had to drop to the rear of the field due to inspection problems.

When the green flew for the first time, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. battled for a lap and a half, but Harvick prevailed. On lap four, Michael McDowell went for a spin after contact with Darrell Wallace Jr.

On the lap eight restart, Kevin Harvick beat Martin Truex Jr. and drove away from him quickly. About ten laps in, Kyle Busch, who was running fourth, reported a vibration in the drivetrain and a sour-sounding engine. A few laps later, Busch said it was getting worse. On lap 21, it was Corey LaJoie who had an engine go bad, bringing out the second caution of the day. Under the caution, Kyle Larson Alex Bowman and Landon Cassill stayed out, while Austin Dillon took no tires. The rest of the field pitted for four tires and fuel. Clint Bowyer, who was running ninth, had to come back down pit road because of an air gun issue.

On the lap 27 restart, Alex Bowman jumped past Larson as Cassill plummeted through the field. Around 50 laps in, Brad Keselowski finally got by Bowman for the lead. Truex and Harvick quickly followed Keselowski by Bowman. Just short of lap 100, Martin Truex Jr. came down for a flat right front tire. Truex had been battling for the lead with Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson also pitted, since he hadn’t pitted all day. Larson was penalized for an uncontrolled tire. Alex Bowman pitted a handful of laps later.

On lap 108, Kevin Harvick got by Brad Keselowski for the lead. Keselowski was saving fuel to make it to the end of the stage. With about ten laps remaining in the stage, Paul Menard came down pit road for a loose wheel. Menard came back shortly after and headed to the garage. With two laps left in the stage, Ryan Newman came to pit road for a tire issue, while Erik Jones pitted after running out of fuel. Denny Hamlin also ran out of gas, but stayed on the track and managed to stay on the lead lap. On yellow-flag pit stops, Kurt Busch and William Byron were busted for uncontrolled tires, while Kevin Harvick maintained the lead. Martin Truex Jr. took the wave around under yellow, so he restarted 20th, as the final car on the lead lap.

On the lap 128 restart to begin stage two, Kevin Harvick beat out Brad Keselowski to take the lead. On lap 153, Ryan Newman headed behind the wall due to a broken wheel stud. On the same lap, the caution came out once again as Derrike Cope hit the outside wall, spun, and slammed the inside wall in turn four, bringing out caution number four. On pit stops, it was Keselowski who beat Harvick off pit road.

On lap 159, the race restarted, and Brad Keselowski cleared Kevin Harvick for the lead. On lap 200, Kevin Harvick got by Brad Keselowski after closely trailing him since the restart. The rest of the stage went clean and green and Harvick grabbed the stage win, his sixth of the season. Harvick maintained his lead on pit stops, still followed by Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.

On lap 248, the green flag waved once again, and Kevin Harvick made easy work of second-place Brad Keselowski to keep the lead. On lap 253, Cody Ware brought out the caution as he slammed the wall after something broke in his car, ending his day.

On lap 259, the restart came once again, and Harvick got a big jump on Keselowski to keep the lead. With 130 laps remaining, Kyle Busch finally had a driveshaft break after complaining of a vibration all race long. This brought out the day’s seventh caution. Under the yellow, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray stayed out.

On the lap 281 restart, Stenhouse grabbed the lead as McMurray struggled and fell back. Clint Bowyer assumed second place, while Joey Logano moved into third. On lap 297, Bowyer was able to get by Stenhouse for the lead. On lap 316, the yellow came out once again, this time for rain. The race was red flagged on lap 320 for 39 minutes. On pit stops, Clint Bowyer kept the lead, followed by Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano. Logano, though, was forced to come back for a loose wheel.

On the lap 325 restart, Bowyer cleared teammate Harvick, and Daniel Suarez followed them in third. With just under 70 laps left, Harvick got by Bowyer and drove away by several seconds over Bowyer. That was all she wrote as Harvick built up a seven-second lead over the last 70 laps and grabbed his fourth win of the season.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back in action on Saturday, May 12 at 8 p.m. eastern time.

Here are the full results from the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Clint Bowyer
  3. Daniel Suarez
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Kurt Busch
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Ryan Blaney
  9. Jimmie Johnson
  10. Kyle Larson
  11. Aric Almirola
  12. Chase Elliott
  13. Joey Logano
  14. William Byron
  15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  16. Jamie McMurray
  17. Kasey Kahne
  18. Erik Jones
  19. Trevor Bayne
  20. Chris Buescher
  21. AJ Allmendinger
  22. Michael McDowell
  23. Alex Bowman
  24. Ty Dillon
  25. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  26. Austin Dillon
  27. David Ragan
  28. Ross Chastain
  29. Matt DiBenedetto
  30. Gray Gaulding
  31. Landon Cassill
  32. Reed Sorenson
  33. Ryan Newman
  34. Paul Menard
  35. Kyle Busch (Drivetrain)
  36. Cody Ware (Accident)
  37. Derrike Cope (Accident)
  38. Corey LaJoie (Engine)

Almirola Quickest in Final Practice at Dover

Aric Almirola was fastest in final practice for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway. Almirola ran a 22.745 second lap, a few hundredths faster than second-place Chase Elliott. Almirola’s teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick also ran top five speeds.

All 38 drivers ran laps in the session, but it was Clint Bowyer who ran the most, at 65 laps. The 50-minute session featured no incidents.

The AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway will take place at 2 p.m. eastern time on Sunday.

Below are the full results from final practice for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway:

  1. Aric Almirola
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Erik Jones
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. William Byron
  9. Paul Menard
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Brad Keselowski
  12. Ryan Blaney
  13. Joey Logano
  14. Martin Truex Jr.
  15. Kurt Busch
  16. Daniel Suarez
  17. Denny Hamlin
  18. Kasey Kahne
  19. Chris Buescher
  20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  21. Austin Dillon
  22. David Ragan
  23. Alex Bowman
  24. Trevor Bayne
  25. Matt DiBenedetto
  26. Ryan Newman
  27. AJ Allmendinger
  28. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  29. Jamie McMurray
  30. Michael McDowell
  31. Ty Dillon
  32. Landon Cassill
  33. Ross Chastain
  34. Gray Gaulding
  35. Corey LaJoie
  36. Reed Sorenson
  37. Cody Ware
  38. Derrike Cope

‘Dega Winner Logano Leads Second Practice at Dover

Joey Logano was fastest in second practice for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway. Logano ran 37 laps, his fastest being his second lap, a 22.858 second circulation. Second-fastest was Logano’s Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, followed by Martin Truex Jr.

The 50-minute session featured no incidents. Kurt Busch ran the most laps, at 50, followed by Darrell Wallace Jr.’s 47 laps. All 38 teams entered ran laps in the session.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back on track in final practice at 11 a.m. eastern time on Saturday. The AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway will take place at 2 p.m. eastern time on Sunday.

Here are the full results from second practice for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Aric Almirola
  6. Kevin Harvick
  7. Kyle Larson
  8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. William Byron
  11. Alex Bowman
  12. Clint Bowyer
  13. Jimmie Johnson
  14. Paul Menard
  15. Kyle Busch
  16. David Ragan
  17. Daniel Suarez
  18. Kasey Kahne
  19. Ryan Newman
  20. Ryan Blaney
  21. Erik Jones
  22. Denny Hamlin
  23. AJ Allmendinger
  24. Jamie McMurray
  25. Austin Dillon
  26. Trevor Bayne
  27. Michael McDowell
  28. Chris Buescher
  29. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  30. Matt DiBenedetto
  31. Ty Dillon
  32. Landon Cassill
  33. Gray Gaulding
  34. Ross Chastain
  35. Corey LaJoie
  36. Reed Sorenson
  37. Derrike Cope
  38. Cody Ware

He’s Back: Logano Grabs First Win in a Year at ‘Dega

Joey Logano won the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway after leading 70 of 188 laps. It’s Logano’s first win in nearly a year. The race featured six cautions, 25 lead changes, and two multicar incidents.

When the green flag went in the air, it was polesitter Kevin Harvick who jumped out front. Top five starter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ended up hung on the outside, sending him all the way outside the top 20. The field quickly strung into a single-file train, similar to the XFINITY race on Saturday. On lap 13, the about half the field came down to pit for fuel, and a few more came the next lap. Kurt Busch got hit with a speeding penalty, as did David Ragan. Clint Bowyer pitted a second time for a tire issue, but the race stayed green. Alex Bowman assumed the lead, followed by others who hadn’t pitted yet. With around 15 to go in stage one, Bowman got passed by Darrell Wallace Jr. for the lead as Bowman tried to lap Erik Jones. With 12 to go in stage one, those that hadn’t pitted yet came down, handing the lead to Brad Keselowski. Keselowski would win the stage uncontested. Under caution, those that pitted on laps 13 and 14 pitted again, while the others stayed out.

On the lap 62 restart, Brad Keselowski jumped away and William Byron charged to the back of him with a head of steam, taking the lead from Keselowski. Keselowski took it right back, though, showing the rookie a thing or two. On lap 12 and 13 of stage one, nearly everyone pitted for fuel, and Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Alex Bowman were caught for speeding on pit road. Matt DiBenedetto, though, stayed out and inherited the lead. Before DiBenedetto pitted, chaos ensued as Erik Jones and Jamie McMurray came together, collecting Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson. DiBenedetto pitted under yellow, handing the lead over to Joey Logano.

On the lap 79 restart, Logano jumped away easily, followed by Paul Menard. On lap 96, Denny Hamlin grabbed the lead away from Joey Logano as Brad Keselowski got loose. With only a handful of laps remaining in stage two, Paul Menard grabbed the lead from Hamlin after racing side-by-side with him for several laps.The field organized single-file and Menard took home the stage win. On pit stops, Kyle Busch got caught for speeding on pit road. Coming off pit road, it was William Byron, who took no tires, followed by Ryan Blaney and Paul Menard.

The race restarted on lap 116, and William Byron jumped away as the outside lane fell back several carlengths. Around ten laps later, Kurt Busch grabbed the lead from Byron. With about 60 laps left, as the field went single file, the caution came out for debris near the start finish line. On pit stops, Ricky Stenhouse took the lead by taking no tires. Chase Elliott was each busted for uncontrolled tires.

The next restart came with 55 to go, and Ricky Stenhouse cleared Denny Hamlin for the lead. Denny Hamlin caught Stenhouse in the middle and got by him, and a third lane formed. Joey Logano charged by Hamlin not long after. When the field pitted with 44 to go, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Daniel Suarez were caught for speeding on pit road and Kasey Kahne inherited the lead. Hamlin sped again on his drive-through penalty, falling a lap down. With 34 laps remaining, the caution came out as Timmy Hill had an engine failure. Under caution, the leaders stayed out, but much of the back half of the lead lap came down pit road to get tires and fuel. Martin Truex Jr. sped on pit road, sending him to the rear of the field.

The green flag waved again with 29 laps remaining, and Aric Almirola and Joey Logano battled, but Logano prevailed as Almirola got caught in the middle lane. With about 23 laps left, another huge wreck erupted as Jimmie Johnson got loose and he and William Byron collided, collecting Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Blaney, A.J. Allmendinger, Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Cole Whitt, and Kasey Kahne. Keselowski, Menard, Byron, Dillon, McDowell, Allmendinger, and Bowyer would not continue.

The restart came with 17 laps left, and Joey Logano jumped away to the lead, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. With seven laps left, the frontrunners strung out single-file, with Logano still leading. Despite a hard charge by Kurt Busch, Logano was able to capture the victory, his first in 36 races.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back on track at Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism on Sunday, May 6.

Below are the full results from the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  6. David Ragan
  7. Aric Almirola
  8. Alex Bowman
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Daniel Suarez
  11. Chris Buescher
  12. Jimmie Johnson
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Denny Hamlin
  15. Ty Dillon
  16. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  17. Kasey Kahne
  18. Ryan Blaney
  19. Matt DiBenedetto
  20. DJ Kennington
  21. Cole Whitt
  22. Brendan Gaughan
  23. Timothy Peters
  24. Gray Gaulding
  25. Ross Chastain
  26. Martin Truex Jr. (Accident)
  27. Joey Gase (Engine)
  28. Jamie McMurray
  29. William Byron (Accident)
  30. Paul Menard (Accident)
  31. Clint Bowyer (Accident)
  32. Michael McDowell (Accident)
  33. Brad Keselowski (Accident)
  34. AJ Allmendinger (Accident)
  35. Austin Dillon (Accident)
  36. Timmy Hill (Engine)
  37. Reed Sorenson (Suspension)
  38. Trevor Bayne (Accident)
  39. Erik Jones (Accident)
  40. Kyle Larson (Accident)

Harvick Sweeps Rounds; Wins Pole at Talladega

Kevin Harvick won the pole for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway by running a time of 49.340 seconds. This is Harvick’s first pole of 2018, and the 22nd of his career. The session was stopped once for an incident. It consisted of two rounds: a full-field first round and a 12-car final round. The session was made up of single-car runs, since Talladega is a restrictor-plate track.

In the first round, Aric Almirola had a left rear tire go down during his run. He finished his lap far off the pace, then spun in turns one and two. Kevin Harvick had left pit road when Almirola had his issues, and ran over some debris. When the red flag came out for the incident, Harvick returned to pit road and made repairs. Ty Dillon, who was preparing to leave pit road and make his run, had some issues with a wiring harness inside the car, delaying his run as well. Both cars made it out on track and Kevin Harvick ended the round fastest, with a lap time of 49.291 seconds.

In the second and final round, Kevin Harvick was fastest once again, running a time of 49.340 seconds. Teammate Kurt Busch ran about a tenth slower in second.

The Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will take place at 2 p.m. eastern time on Sunday afternoon.

The full lineup for the Geico 500 is listed below:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Erik Jones
  7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  8. Clint Bowyer
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Brad Keselowski
  11. Alex Bowman
  12. David Ragan
  13. Paul Menard
  14. Daniel Suarez
  15. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  16. Jimmie Johnson
  17. William Byron
  18. Ryan Newman
  19. Kyle Busch
  20. Michael McDowell
  21. Trevor Bayne
  22. Kyle Larson
  23. Ryan Blaney
  24. Austin Dillon
  25. Chris Buescher
  26. Kasey Kahne
  27. Jamie McMurray
  28. AJ Allmendinger
  29. Ty Dillon
  30. Brendan Gaughan
  31. D.J. Kennington
  32. Timothy Peters
  33. Matt DiBenedetto
  34. Joey Gase
  35. Ross Chastain
  36. Cole Whitt
  37. Gray Gaulding
  38. Reed Sorenson
  39. Timmy Hill
  40. Aric AlmirolaMonster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 - Practice

Busch Completes Three-peat at Richmond

Kyle Busch won the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. It’s his third win in a row after starting the race 32nd. Busch led 32 of 402 laps en route to the victory. Joey Logano grabbed both the stage wins and finished fourth.

As the green flag waved for the first time, polesitter Martin Truex Jr. took the lead as Kyle Larson grabbed second, getting by Joey Logano and Chase Elliott. After Truex was able to lead for a while, Joey Logano jumped by him and took the lead away as Kyle Larson faded, drifting all the way outside the top ten. Logano won stage one, followed by a hard-charging Aric Almirola, who had moved from a 25th-place starting position.

On pit stops, though, Almirola had a bad stop, dropping him back to sixth. Logano and the others, though, kept their positions. Kevin Harvick, who finished stage one tenth, served a penalty for his crew throwing equipment. Kyle Larson was penalized for an uncontrolled tire.

On the lap 112 restart, Kurt Busch grabbed the top spot using the outside lane. With about 30 laps remaining in stage two, Clint Bowyer got by his teammate for the lead, but Busch didn’t let Bowyer go easy, hounding him for several laps, but Logano quickly appeared in Busch’s mirror, diverting his attention from Bowyer. Logano got by Busch about ten laps after Busch lost the lead. Logano then got by Bowyer with only a handful of laps left in stage two. Logano was once again able to win the stage.

On pit stops, Joey Logano maintained the lead and Kurt Busch jumped a couple of positions to second. William Byron, who finished fifth in stage two, was busted for speeding on pit road. Teammate Alex Bowman was also busted for speeding, and Ryan Newman was caught for an uncontrolled tire.

Kurt Busch again prevailed on the restart to begin stage three. However, Clint Bowyer took the lead from his teammate with around 150 laps remaining. With around 130 laps left, everyone came down pit road under green. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Darrell Wallace Jr., and Austin Dillon were penalized for commitment line violations, while Daniel Suarez was busted for speeding. Kurt Busch had pit gun issued as Suarez hit his air hose for the pit gun. Busch fell to ninth recovering from that. When stops cycled through, Martin Truex Jr. was in front of Clint Bowyer. With under 90 laps remaining, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed the wall, but continued, and the race stayed green.

With 77 laps remaining, Kevin Harvick got by Truex for the lead, and Bowyer followed his teammate to grab second. As the race eclipsed 70 laps to go, the final round of green flag pit stops began. Ryan Blaney was penalized for an uncontrolled tire, while Kyle Larson missed on his first attempt to hit pit road. When the stops cycled through, Truex was back up front, followed by Bowyer and Harvick. With 47 laps remaining, Ryan Blaney and Cole Whitt made contact and spun, collecting Ricky Stenhouse.

After pit stops, Truex emerged up front, while Bowyer fell from second to fourth. On the restart, Truex got a big launch, legging out a quick lead. Kyle Busch grabbed second from Harvick. With 33 laps left, Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman slammed the wall after McMurray had contact with Kurt Busch. The wreck ended Newman’s race. Inexplicably, teammates McMurray and Kyle Larson door slammed under caution, with McMurray being the instigator.

On yellow flag pit stops, Kyle Busch got off pit road first followed by Denny Hamlin as Truex fell to third and Harvick fell to fourth. The race restarted with 22 laps remaining, and Kyle Busch jumped away as Truex grabbed second from Hamlin. Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, and Aric Almirola all bounced off one another, but somehow managed not to wreck. With 11 to go, David Ragan spun into the outside wall after cutting a tire while running 15th, bringing out the caution.

As the field pitted one final time, Martin Truex Jr. had a bad pit stop, causing him to fall from second to ninth. The restart came with six to go, and Kyle Busch again got away for the lead. However, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed the wall, bringing out the caution again and causing overtime.

On the restart, Busch again jumped away and was able to grab the win. Chase Elliott finished second for the eighth time in his career.

The next time the Cup Series will be racing is at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 29, at 1 p.m. eastern time.

Here are the full results from the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway:

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Kyle Larson
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. Daniel Suarez
  11. Kurt Busch
  12. William Byron
  13. Erik Jones
  14. Martin Truex Jr.
  15. Austin Dillon
  16. Matt DiBenedetto
  17. Aric Almirola
  18. Alex Bowman
  19. Jamie McMurray
  20. Ty Dillon
  21. Trevor Bayne
  22. Ryan Blaney
  23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  24. Paul Menard
  25. Darrell Wallace Jr.
  26. Chris Buescher
  27. AJ Allmendinger
  28. Ross Chastain
  29. Kasey Kahne
  30. Cole Whitt
  31. Michael McDowell
  32. Daniel Hemric
  33. David Ragan
  34. Landon Cassill
  35. Gray Gaulding
  36. Harrison Rhodes
  37. Ryan Newman
  38. Reed Sorenson