Showing posts with label Charlotte Motor Speedway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlotte Motor Speedway. Show all posts

Jimmie Johnson wins
It really was just a matter of time, wasn't it? For the first time under the current Chase format, six-time champion Jimmie Johnson secured his spot in the Round of 8 with his eighth victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. "We knew we would get back," Johnson said in Victory Lane. "It was slower than we wanted it to be but to be here today and have this victory is great. We were able to execute all day long here. I just really can’t thank everyone enough that supports us and for all the fans that were tuned in today."

Chase Elliott

Johnson's teammate Chase Elliott was also poised for a strong finish in the 704, until a wreck on Lap 258 ended his day early. The Sprint Cup rookie led 103 laps and was running fifth when contact between Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon caused a wreck that sent both the No. 3 and No. 24 into the garage. "We had such a good car and I am devastated that we didn't get the result that the guys deserved," Elliott said. "They gave me such a fast 3M Chevy and that is all you can ask for. We just have got to go and do more of that next week." Dillon and Elliott weren't the only two Chase contenders short on luck either. Drivers Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin suffered car troubles that knocked them out of the race prematurely.

XFINITY Chase Grid

Ty Dillon is out, Darrell Wallace Jr. is in - with just one point separating the two. After a hectic race in Charlotte on Sunday, the inaugural XFINITY Chase field was cut to eight drivers and Dillon was one of four drivers who's championship dreams came to an end. "Man, it's heartbreaking," an emotional Dillon said after the race. "We're a team that should have been in the final round and you've got to expect things to happen...That's the way this Chase is built." Daniel Suarez and Emporia's own Elliott Sadler lead the remaining drivers, thanks to their respective wins at Kentucky and Dover. Fellow XFINITY race winner Erik Jones also made the cut, joining Wallace, Justin Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan, Ryan Reed and Blake Koch in the field. Think you know who'll make the next round of cuts? Make your picks here.

Breathing Room?

Breathing Room? What Breathing Room?
If Sunday showed us anything, it's that the notion of "breathing room" in the Chase might be little more than an illusion. As 2014 champion Kevin Harvick pointed out last week - "trouble can strike anywhere." That certainly came to fruition in Charlotte when nearly half the Chase field was sent to the garage early. While nearly every driver had spoken about the importance of strong finishes at Charlotte and Kansas before cut-off race in Talladega, Sunday's contest proved to be an exhaustive gauntlet the entire field navigated all afternoon. Now the circus travels to Kansas City where there will be even more pressure for drivers to survive and advance in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
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.