Showing posts with label Kyle Larson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kyle Larson. Show all posts
Jimmir Johnson Seven Trophies

Seven. Times.
Richard Petty. Dale Earnhardt. Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick driver joined elite company on Sunday, as he claimed a historic seventh Cup Championship - joining the two Hall of Famers as the only drivers to accomplish such a feat. "I was driving the same race cars for the same team as Jimmie and getting beat by Jimmie," said former teammate Jeff Gordon. "To me, he’s the best I’ve ever seen." It didn't come easy for Johnson, who worked his way up from the back of the field before claiming the lead during the final overtime restart in NASCAR's thrilling season finale. "Just beyond words," said Johnson.  "Just didn't think the race was unfolding for us like we needed to do to be the champs, but we just kept our heads in the game."

Joe Gibbs Racing

Twelve wins, 3,769 laps led, four Chase drivers, and two in the Championship 4. Yes it was Jimmie Johnson hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy on Sunday night, but 2016 could be remembered as the year Joe Gibbs Racing established itself as a premier team in NASCAR. Their historic season propelled Toyota to their first ever manufacturer's title in the Cup series, snapping Chevrolet's 13-year winning streak. If you throw in the accomplishments of alliance member Martin Truex Jr. (another four wins and season-high 1,809 laps led), his future teammate Erik Jones, and an XFINITY Series Champion in Daniel Suarez - what team has a brighter future?

Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson

Speaking of futures, 2016 proved that NASCAR has a promising one. The 2016 Chase field saw four newbies all under the age of 27. Rookies Chase Elliott (20) and Chris Buescher (24) joined Austin Dillon (26) and Kyle Larson (24) as first-time Chase competitors, with Elliott advancing to the Round of 12 and Larson having arguably the best car at the Championship race in Homestead. Rookie Ryan Blaney (22) had a strong campaign with nine Top-10 finishes, while Team Penske's Joey Logano (26), has established himself as one of the sport's most dangerous drivers with nine wins over the past two years and a Championship 4 run in 2016. Furniture Row Racing signed Erik Jones (20) to a full-time Cup ride in 2017, and his XFINITY Series teammate Daniel Suarez (24) took home the XFINITY Series Championship. Watch out next year, folks, these youngsters mean business.  

2017 and beyond

This season was definitely one for the books, punctuated by Denny Hamlin's historic start at the Daytona 500 and Jimmie Johnson's historic finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And while the sun has barely set on the 2016 season, already the NASCAR landscape is beginning to change. What will the Cup Series look like without Tony Stewart? How will his team, Stewart-Haas Racing, perform with their transition to Ford? Will 2016 go down as a career year for Joe Gibbs Racing - or just the beginning of something more? After a 12-year run with the sport, who will replace Sprint as the Cup Series sponsor? We won't have to wait long to find out - the 2017 Daytona 500 is just 95 days away.
Denny Hamlin

 He started from the pole and was competitive all night long. After a couple hiccups mid-season, Denny Hamlin is cruising into his latest Chase appearance by rattling off eight straight Top-10 finishes punctuated by a victory in the regular season finale at his hometown track in Richmond. “That's what's so special about get to do it at home, and there's just all the extra Denny Hamlin shirts and hats and everything, and [it] fires me up every time I get here," said Hamlin. "And man, this is a great car. Hopefully we can use it in the Chase.”

Kyle Larson

If Hamlin is one of the hottest drivers heading into the Chase, Kyle Larson isn't too far behind. Larson was able to recover from an early loose wheel to secure his best finish (2nd) ever at Richmond. The Chip Ganassi driver weaved his way through the field off the final restart, and had a car capable of running down Hamlin with a few more laps. “It felt like a video game on rookie mode, having fresh tires like that,” Larson told NBCSN. “It was a fun last restart and to get all the way to second. I felt I could get to fourth, but I got to second, so that was great.”

Junior on Twitter

Junior Chimes In
Since he couldn't actually be on the track at Richmond, Dale Earnhardt Jr. chose to spend his Saturday night live-tweeting the Federated Auto Parts 400 action. From jealousy pangs to color commentary to driver insights and more - Junior's Twitter game was on point. 
26 races down. 10 to go. 16 drivers in the hunt. After a spectacular regular season finale at Richmond, the field is down to Ready. Set. Chase. beginning this weekend in Chicagoland. We've got the entire Joe Gibbs Racing machine gunning for a repeat title, four newcomers, a couple of future Hall of Famers and several former Champions in the field. Who's your pick to win the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup? Let us know in the comments below!

Many of the names you'd expect to be there, are. 

You've got former champions like Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick. The talented quartet of drivers with Joe Gibbs Racing are all in the fray. Smoke will be looking to set the Chase on fire in his final season. Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray are also all making return trips to the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

But four drivers, including two rookies, will be making their postseason debuts this Sunday in Chicagoland. Let's take a look at some of the young stars gunning for their first taste of success, starting with Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson:

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson comes into the Chase on fire. Following up his first career win at Michigan, the No. 42 driver had a third place showing at Bristol before racing his way to second place finish in the regular season finale at Richmond. Larson was sitting ninth coming out of the final caution, but weaved his way seven spots through the field in the final laps to a career-best finish at the Action Track.

A NASCAR Next graduate, Larson has been on the postseason cusp since his 2014 rookie campaign. So while this might be the first Chase appearance for the California kid, you can bet it won't be his last.
Ah, the final stretch. Only three races remain before the regular season finale at Richmond, and the Chase bubble grows smaller and smaller as we approach the Federated Auto Parts 400. Less than 20 points separate Kyle Larson (No. 15) from Ryan Blaney (No. 18) in the standings, while Chris Buescher needs to gain one spot in the standings for his win at Pocono to vault him into the Chase. Click the link to look at five drivers whose Chase Bubble is at risk of popping.

A Nice Problem to Have
Furniture Row Racing made headlines a couple weeks ago when they announced their addition of Erik Jones to the Sprint Cup lineup on a one-year deal in 2017, marking the first time the team has fielded more than a single driver (currently home to Martin Truex Jr.). Jones is the reigning NCWTS Champ and sits fourth in the XFINITY Series standing as a rookie for Joe Gibbs Racing. His three wins on the year tops all other XFINITY Series regulars, so it won't come as a surprise that Coach Gibbs already has his eye on a spot for the talented young driver. Also lurking in the wings is Daniel Suarez - who sits second in XFINITY points in his second season in the series. The future is undoubtedly bright for the JGR team, but so is the present. Kyle Busch (four wins), Carl Edwards (two wins), Matt Kenseth (two wins) and Denny Hamlin (two wins) are all locked into the Chase while sitting within the top nine in points. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? We can't wait to find out.

Have we mentioned there's only four races left in the NASCAR regular season? And with Bristol and Richmond on the calendar, half of the remaining races will be battled on short tracks. As we head into this weekend's Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, FOX Sport's
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.