Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr., driver for the single-car Furniture Row Racing team, earned his first win of 2016 in record-setting fashion. Truex dominated the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, pacing the field for 392 of the 400 laps for a NASCAR-record 588 miles led. It was the driver's first win in nearly a year, and the fourth of his 13-year Cup career. "There are so many emotions, I had to unplug my radio and just ride around and think for a few minutes, because I didn’t even know what I was going to say or what I was going to do," Truex said after an emotional visit to Victory Lane. "I’ve got a lot of great people behind me. Sherry’s (Pollex, his girlfriend) – she gives me a lot of inspiration and we just keep fighting. We never give up. We never quit. … It feels awesome."

JJ gives Truex high five

Following the win, Truex's journey down pit road to Gatorade Victory Lane took a bit longer than normal. Fans, crew members, and drivers (Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards) all stopped to congratulate the No. 78 driver on his big win. "Congratulations to my buddy Martin. He deserved that one," said Newman. Johnson, a four-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600, was also quick to offer up praise on Sunday. "I feel great for him, and we've all seen how close they've been. I just think Martin is really well liked in the garage. He's just a good dude, so I'm very happy for him."

Jimmie Johnson Memorial Day

While Truex's historic race was one of the biggest story lines coming out of the weekend, by no means was it the only one. Around the country, the NASCAR industry expressed its widespread and deep appreciation for all of those who serve in our country's armed forces. With the launch of #NASCARSalutes this past weekend, click here to check out how some chose to remember and honor those who serve.

Junior at Pocono

Dale Earnhardt Jr's tumultuous 2016 continued on Sunday when an untimely caution left the 88 team in a rough spot. With just 60 laps to go, the yellow flag flew for debris on the backstretch - catching Junior already on pit road for a green flag stop. By taking the wave-around, he was able to remain on the lead lap but not allowed to pit under the yellow. After climbing as high as seventh, the No. 88 ultimately crossed the start/finish line in 14th place, making that Junior's seventh finish outside the top-10 this season. He'll have a chance to get things back on track this weekend in Pocono, where he swept both races in 2014.
Joey Logano and Kyle Larson battle it out.

Just 12 hours after Kyle Larson managed to hold off Chase Elliott to win the final segment of the Sprint Showdown, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver was experiencing a little deja vu. With three laps to go in the 2016 Sprint All Star Race, Larson found himself racing up front racing side by side with Joey Logano for the $1 million purse. This time however, Larson wasn't able to find repeat success. Some excellent side-drafting by Logano left Larson too loose coming into the corner, causing him to drift into the wall and give way for Logano's first Sprint All Star win. "What a crazy battle for a million dollars at the end," Logano said. "This is the All-Star Race. It’s special just to be in the race. Forget winning it, it’s just special. It’s definitely one you want to have on your resume."

Drivers react to the race

One thing's for sure - the 2016 Sprint All Star Race was one for the history books. There was plenty of action on track, a pass for the lead with two laps remaining, a six-car wreck involving two Sprint All Star Race winners and a new format that sparked plenty of social conversation during and after the race. The reactions were a bit of a mixed bag, but there was plenty of comic relief on the night.

Mark Martin

The 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame class will be announced tonight and among the 20 considered for induction is fan-favorite Mark Martin - who finds himself on the ballot for the second straight year. Martin's distinguished career includes 40 premier series wins, an XFINITY Series wins record (49) that stood for 14 years, and although there was no championship trophy for Martin, he finished second in points a record five times. The other potential inductees include Red Byron, Benny Parsons, Alan Kulwicki, Ron Hornaday Jr., Jack Roush, Ricky Rudd, Waddell Wilson, Ken Squier, Buddy Baker, Richard Childress, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Rick Hendrick, Harry Hyde, Hershel McGriff, Raymond Parks, Larry Phillips, Mike Stefanik and Robert Yates.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Wins

Queen City Kings
Drivers often talk about how much winning the Coca-Cola 600 means to their career, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that a Sprint Cup Series champion has won 56% of all Coca-Cola 600 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Matt Kenseth

The 2016 season has certainly been an uphill battle for Matt Kenseth. Fast cars have put the No. 20 driver in the lead for 11 of the 12 races this season, but monstrously (get it?) bad luck has kept him from finishing in the top-10 in eight of them. No doubt he'll be sleeping a little easier after Sunday's win in the AAA 400 Drive for Autism. "It feels good to get this one for sure," Kenseth said. "We were tight all day on restarts. And on that last one, I got so loose, I thought Kyle (Larson) was gong to get by me. ... Kyle gave me all I wanted that's for sure." Kenseth held off a late race charge from Larson to join JGR teammates Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin as 2016 race winners and Chase-eligible drivers.

Who's Hot and Who's Not Coming Out of Dover

Every NASCAR season has it's ebbs and flows, and 2016 has been no different. Last weekend's race in Dover punctuated some of the driver streaks that have developed over the year, and FOX Sports' Tom Jensen takes a look at who's hot (race-winner Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, and a pair of rookies) and who's not (Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and others) heading into the Sprint All-Star Weekend.

New rules for All-Star Race

A few weeks ago, NASCAR announced the new rules for the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race and Sprint Showdown and they have a fast fan in driver and All-Star race contender Brad Keselowski. "What you're going to see is the modern-day format of excellence for that type of race," Keselowski said. "We've seen aerodynamics come into the sport and make it so much more difficult to pass than ever before, and this format is meant to combat that challenge." You can check out all the details on the new format here.

Kyle Larson, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Danice Patrick are the top five leading vote getters in Sprint Fan Vote.
While 15 of the 20 slots in the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race have already been decided, fans have the chance to vote not one, but two drivers into the race this weekend. With Jeff Gordon's retirement, both the Sprint Fan Vote winner and the Sprint Fan Vote runner-up will earn a chance to compete for the $1 million purse. As of last week, Ryan Blaney, Matt DiBenedetto, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Danica Patrick (in alphabetical order) were the leading contenders. Click here to cast your vote now.
 Kyle Busch wins at Kansas

At just 31 years old, Kyle Busch is close to accomplishing something nobody has ever done in the history of NASCAR. After his Kansas win on Saturday night, there are just two tracks on the Sprint Cup Series circuit at which the defending Champion hasn't won. Both of those tracks - Charlotte Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway - are both fast approaching on the NASCAR calendar. "There's been a lot of rough days (at Kansas)," said Busch following the win. "I certainly found the boundaries that you need to have here being able to feel the race car and I’m so used to just attacking all these race tracks that sometimes I over-attack and that may be what has bit me here in the past, but tonight I really felt this race car all night long."

Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott

Thanks to a fifth-place finish by Ryan Blaney on Saturday, a rookie has finished in the top-5 in four of the last five races (Richmond being the only exception). It was Blaney's first top-5 finish to go along with four top-10's for the Wood Brothers this season, while fellow rookie Chase Elliott has more top-10 finishes (seven) than any other Hendrick driver, in addition to three top-5's.

Axalta signs on as founding partner

Daytona's new motorsports stadium will get a "fresh coat of paint" with Axalta Coating Systems coming in as the fifth and final founding partner. "Axalta has been a long-standing and strong sponsor of our sport for many years and we’re thrilled to welcome them as a partner at Daytona International Speedway,” said ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy. “Their activation will enable us to further enhance the fan and spectator experience which is a main focus of our new stadium.” Their activation includes naming and branding rights within the center injector at the facility and is a part of Axalta's 150th anniversary celebration.

Tony Stewart doing his best to make up for early season misses

When Tony Stewart made his season debut in Richmond he was 112 points out of the 30th place, the cutoff mark for drivers with a win to qualify for the Chase. Just three starts later, he's almost cut that margin in half to a mere 59 points. Thanks to a sixth-place finish by the No. 14 at Talladega and Stewart's 12th-place showing on Saturday, he is poised to continue his season surge this weekend at Dover where he has three career wins.
One. Hundred. Posts.
It's a big deal, so we wanted to celebrate our centennial post with a look back at some of the highlights from our first nine months.
Don't forget to comment below to join in the celebration... and earn a chance to win a special prize!

Kevin Harvick

Sure, Junior's won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver award 13 years running, but the RIR honors go to.... (drumroll please).... Kevin Harvick! The 2014 Sprint Cup Champ has made in appearance in 15 (well, technically 16 now) of our 100 entries so far. I guess racing in back-to-back Championships helps keep your name top of mind in NASCAR circles.


We've been churning out content since we launched "Over the Wall" last August, but we really put our nose to the grind back in February. Between early season announcements and 2016 Speedweeks, we graced the blogosphere with 24 entries. That's three more than any other month thus far (April 2016 comes in at P2), so it'd make sense that our next award would go to...

2016 Speedweeks

The RIR crew road tripped it down to central Florida for the season's launch and took our readers along for the ride. With daily storylines, photos, videos and more - our 2016 Speedweeks coverage included everything from Media Day through the Daytona 500.

Marty Smith

"I'm a Virginian. Born. Raised. Educated: school and sanctuary and stadium." Few have been able to explain the storied history of racing in the Commonwealth as profoundly as ESPN's Marty Smith, who guest wrote an article for RIR earlier this year. With over 2,800 views, his Dashboard Confessional is far and away the most viewed entry on our blog, and it's easy to see why.

How Bout That Pre-Race?

Trent Harmon's moving National Anthem performance prior to the 2016 TOYOTA OWNERS 400 created a lot of buzz on event day, so it's no wonder our Pre-Race Ceremony recap has been the most popular post on social media to date. No other entry has scored higher engagement on Facebook and Twitter and, like his performance, it'll be a tough one to top.

Dale Junio Prize Pack

To keep the celebration going, we're throwing it back to the 100th Cup race at RIR, the 2006 Crown Royal 400 won by the one and only Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Congratulations to Jacob Spears, winner of out 100th Blog Post Contest!!

Talladega's GEICO 500 wasn't the easiest race for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Amelia. While two wrecks and an early exit led to a 40th place finish for NASCAR's "power couple," it was an issue with 70 laps left that may have been the most bizarre.  Coming through turns 1 and 2, Earnhardt pulled the steering wheel off it's column, causing him to actually steer the car with his hand to avoid the wall.  "Luckily it was under caution. I just grabbed the shaft and steered the car that way. Might of ripped the skin off my hand, but I wasn't going to let it hit the wall," said Earnhardt.  "That was just a freak deal." Fortunately he was able to get things back in working order on the backstretch.

A lot of drivers didn't finish through the chaos in Sunday's race, but Tony Stewart's reason was different than most. On lap 53, the three-time champion (who's still recovering from off-season back surgery) gave way to Ty Dillon, who was able to race back from a lap down to a sixth-place finish at the Superspeedway. While Stewart was disappointed he couldn't race on, he was thrilled with the way Dillon finished the race. “I really appreciate Ty (Dillon). He's been a rock star through this whole thing and especially this weekend," said Stewart. "He's done all the heavy lifting and I just got in to ride around for 50 laps and turn it over to him.”

It's only a matter of time before "The Big One" hits when it comes to Talladega. But Sunday's action saw 35 of the 40 car field involved in accidents, 16 of which came within the last 10 laps. “About everybody had some sort of damage and was tore up. I don't think there was a car that came out of this place without needing the body all redone," said defending Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch. 

Now We Got Bad Blood
One of NASCAR's biggest rivalries got another shot in the arm last weekend, as Matt Kenseth put the bulk of the blame for his involvement in a lap 173 crash on Penske driver Joey Logano. It's understandable why tensions are high, as both drivers have run well in 2016 but neither have found their way into Victory Lane yet. Well that could change this weekend. Logano has won two of the past three races in Kansas City, and no driver has a better average finish at the track over the last five races. No active driver has led more laps at the 1.5-miler, and he took home back-to-back victories between 2012 and 2013. For reasons both on and off the track, you can bet a lot of eyes will be on these two come Sunday.