Showing posts with label Matt Kenseth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matt Kenseth. Show all posts
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
Kyle Busch Back at it again

And he's back at it again. It's hard to forget Kyle's scorching 2015 campaign, the one that saw him return from an 11-race absence to pick up five wins and a Sprint Cup Championship. But what he's done through the first 20 races this season might be even more impressive, punctuated by a dominating weekend at the Brickyard - two poles awards, two trips to Gatorade Victory Lane. The sweep means the Joe Gibbs driver has taken the last four NASCAR races at Indy. “It’s so cool because it hasn’t been done before," Busch said of the streak. "I’ve tried and been successful at being able to do a lot of things that others haven’t been able to do before. It helps you and when it helps you win on Sunday, that’s what makes everything so worthwhile on those Saturday races."

Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart

"I know you want to keep (your last year) on the low down, but I'm sorry buddy - we're in your home state," Jeff Gordon said to fellow NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart at the driver's meeting. "As we've gotten to know each other as friends and competitors over the years, I know what (Indianapolis) means to you...and I think that this is a year not about saying goodbye, but a year about celebrating what you've done." On a weekend where Kyle Busch dominated the competition, these two might've stolen the show. With Gordon filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 88 and Tony Stewart returning to his hometown track in his final season, Sunday's race was very important to two of NASCAR's biggest stars. The future Hall of Famers also hooked up for a final lap run after the checkered flag."I knew when we got the checkered you didn't want to come in just yet," Stewart said. "I wanted to run one more lap and Jeff was around us. I couldn't think of a better guy to share that moment with."

Stewart Haas

As the saying goes, there's no time like the present. Turns out the folks over at Setwart-Haas have taken that heart with their decision to field an XFINITY Series team beginning in 2017. “An XFINITY Series team has always been something we would consider when the time was right, and that time is now,” said Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. “Staying successful in this sport means staying ahead of the curve, and having an XFINITY Series team provides a positive impact with our race team.” Cheers guys! And we're looking forward to watching them whip around the Action Track in next year's ToyotaCare 250 and Virginia529 College Savings 250.

Matt Kenseth Pocono

Mid-Summer Awakening
After a "mini-funk" that saw Joe Gibbs Racing go over two months without sending a driver to Victory Lane, they've now done so in back-to-back weeks for the fourth time this season. We're not necessarily saying history repeats itself, but it's hard not to consider this the beginning of something big for Coach's squad. Consider just a year ago when a JGR driver took home the checkered flag 10 times in a 13-race stretch spanning from late June to September. The upcoming Pennsylvania 400 in Pocono was one of those races, dominated by JGR's Matt Kenseth.

Matt Kenseth

Boom, called it. In last week's Victory Lap, we named Matt Kenseth as the one to watch in New Hampshire, and he sure delivered. The Joe Gibbs driver picked up his second win of the season while also adding to his aquarium with his second straight Loudon the Lobster. “You’re always pleased to be in Victory Lane,” Kenseth said. “The farther down the road you get, the better they feel for sure. Thanks to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing – I’ve said it a million times, but I’m blessed with this opportunity to be over here with the guys I get to work with and my great sponsors.”

New Hampshire

 The Richmond Times Dispatch's Chris Wilbers made the trek up to Loudon, N.H. for Sunday's race, and color him impressed. The folks hosting the New Hampshire 301 treated Richmond's own to some first-rate, New England hospitality, but while he notes "you can’t go wrong with a road trip to Loudon in late September," he also mentioned there's still a certain short track that gives you a bit more bang for your buck. Click the link above to find out.

Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch

Sunday's action saw quite a bit of movement inside the Chase Grid, including JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards locking in their spot in the field of 16. "With NASCAR, it's our playoff. That's what it's all about," said Coach Joe Gibbs. "It's a thrill for us to be in there. I think the key is, as you continue to work during the year, try and keep your performance up and try and point towards the playoffs." So far 11 drivers have wins on the season, leaving just five playoff spots available on points. Tony Stewart, one of those with a 2016 win, continued his rapid climb in the standings with a second-place finish. It was the future Hall of Famer's fourth top-10 in last five races.

Jeff Gordon

Heeeeeee's Bacccckkkkkk?
Late last week Hendrick Motorsports announced that should Dale Earnhardt Jr. be forced to miss this weekend's race in Indianapolis, the recently retired Jeff Gordon would suit up behind the wheel of the No. 88 in his stead. "I think a lot of us on the team have worked for Jeff throughout his illustrious career at Hendrick Motorsports," said crew chief Greg Ives. "To be able to be part of that one more time would be pretty cool for those who have worked with him in the past, but also for those who've never worked with him." It'd definitely be a new look for the NASCAR legend, who spent his career tied with the now-iconic 24. But if you saw him in the booth at all this season, you know he can sport a "new suit" pretty well. 
Brad Keselowski wins back to back

Back-to-Back Brad
For the third time this season we've seen a driver make back-to-back trips to Gatorade Victory Lane. Brad Keselowski followed up his Coke Zero 400 victory with a win at Kentucky this season, marking the fourth win in 2016 for the Penske driver. "These cars were tough to drive today, but a good tough. This was a hard-fought battle, and I'm really proud of everybody on the 2 crew to get win number four and take that first place." With the victory, the 2014 Federeated Auto Parts winner became the first driver to officially clinch a spot in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kasey Kahne

As the weeks keep ticking away, so do the opportunities for drivers to race their way into The Chase. Only eight races remain in the regular season, and with eleven different winners just five Chase spots open through the point system. MRN's Pete Pistone takes a look at some drivers who might be feeling a little extra heat under the summer sun.

Jeb Burton

Richmond-based Estes Express Lines is teaming up with local driver Jeb Burton for two NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2016. Burton will pilot the No. 98 Estes Ford at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23 and Richmond International Raceway September 9. Estes President and CEO Rob Estes weighed in on the sponsorship. "We're proud of our association with this Virginia native who has gone on to gain national recognition. It's exciting to once again support him as he takes to the track in the No. 98 Estes Ford in Indianapolis and Richmond."

Matt Kenseth

It's been a tumultuous season for Matt Kenseth, who has more laps led (431) than four-time race winner Keselowski (329) - but just two top-5 finishes to show for it. It's been a far cry from his 2015 campaign where only Joey Logano had more wins than his five. However, this weekends contest in New Hampshire might be as good an opportunity as any for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver to even the ship. With two wins and an average finish of 12.7, Loudon is one of Kenseth's stronger tracks on the circuit. Look for the reigning Federated Auto Parts 400 champ to find some stability heading into the season's final stretch.
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 sweeps

Two weeks. Four races. Four wins. With his victory in the Duck Commander 500 on Saturday, Kyle Busch became the first driver since Harry Grant (1991) to sweep back-to-back NASCAR weekends. “Everybody back at the shop has been building great race cars, they’ve been doing a great job for us. The crew chiefs here have been really working together, gelling together and putting everything together. It’s just fun, right now it’s all clicking and going together.” Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-5. The fifth place finish is the best of Elliott's young career.

8 drivers in line for a win

Despite recent history, Kyle Busch can't win EVERY week. Last year, 12 different drivers brought home some hardware before the season's end. With five drivers having taken home a checkered flag thus far in 2016, FOX Sport's Tom Jensen takes a look at eight other drivers who are strong bets to find their way into Victory Lane this season.

Banana and mayo sandwhich

Peanut butter and jelly? Classic. Peanut butter and banana? You'd make Elvis proud. But banana and mayonnaise? Well Junior says don't knock it til you try it. NASCAR's Most Popular Driver took to Twitter last week share his favorite lunchtime treat, and while we don't all have to share in his tastes we can all appreciate the buzz it's generating. "We've created a website -- It's nothing fancy -- it's just a place to donate for the Dale Jr. Foundation. We're going to let you guys donate for two weeks until April 23 – that's the day that I race the Hellman's car at Richmond -- and I'm going to match whatever you guys donate up to $50,000."
After a quick breather in Texas, Bristol will mark the second of three short tracks in a four week stretch, and look for Matt Kenseth to use it as an opportunity to get his 2016 campaign on track.  Kenseth has just one top-10 on the season, despite running in contention every week (he's led in six of seven races), and was threatening late in Martinsville before dropping to a 15th-place finish. He's got more victories at Bristol than at any other track, and brought home two short track wins last season.
As we've shown in our Commonwealth Corner series, Virginia's racing roots run deep. Those roots will be on full display during the Month of April with NASCAR rolling through Martinsville and Richmond. "I’m really excited to race at Richmond International Raceway this year, not only because it’s the only Virginia track on the XFINITY circuit but also because (we)always performs well there. Winning in my home state would make me so proud," said Halifax-native Jeb Burton. We're excited too Jeb, we're excited too.

Short Track swing

Three of the next four Sprint Cup races will take place on short tracks, kicking off this weekend with the STP 500 in Martinsville. The series moves on to Bristol in two weeks before culminating in Richmond for the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 on Sunday, April 24. "A lot of us grew up on short tracks and Martinsville is where I’ve raced a lot whether it be with the Truck Series or even the XFINITY Series, in which we were fortunate to win the one race we got to run there," said Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick.
Logano and Kenseth

It's November 2105. Joey Logano is in the midst of a three-race win streak and looks like the odds-on favorite for the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship. Just 50 laps away from making it four in a row, Matt Kenseth, who is nine laps down, puts Logano into Turn 1 and causes the driver of the No. 22 Penske Ford to finish 37th- effectively ending his Championship bid. Six months later, the two return to where it all went down. Expect all eyes to be on these two as they try for their first grandfather clock this weekend.

Joey Logano qualifies on the pole

Three In A Row
Speaking of Logano, he dominated all three rounds of qualifying. Topping the final round at a speed of 97.043 mph, Logano earned his third straight pole at Martinsville, the first driver to do so since Jeff Gordon accomplished that same feat from 2003-2004. Kasey Kahne will start alongside Logano on the front row.
Baynes Backup

Just seconds before the first Sprint Cup practice wrapped up, Trevor Bayne lost control of his No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford heading down the backstretch into Turn 3.  "In qualifying trim I thought our car drove good, it handled good, but I was really lagging in the braking zones," Bayne said. "We were giving up two to three-tenths into both corners and I tried to just push the braking zone a little bit more and it started wheel-hopping really bad.  There was nothing I could do about it.  Once it started bouncing I tried to save it and once it got backwards stood in the gas and it just backed in." Bayne qualified 32nd in his back-up car.
Joey Logano down pit road

There's Racin in Richmond
NASCAR might have taken the Easter Weekend off, but Richmond fans managed to their racing fix early as Goodyear held a testing session at America's Premier Short Track earlier today. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Danica Patrick and Greg Biffle all took part in the opportunity to tune up before the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 on Sunday, April 24. "This is drivers' favorite race track," said Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. "If you polled all of us drivers about which tracks we like to race the most, Richmond's always going to be in the top of the list. There's always some great racing and with the (switch) from day to night there's going to be a lot of changes the fans are going to see."

Danica's getaway

From oceanfront to court-side and everywhere in between, drivers took the Easter weekend to get away from the track before NASCAR comes to Martinsville, Virginia for the STP 500 on Sunday. Check out how drivers spent their early season break.

Glen Wood at MVS in 1953

Wood Brothers racing hasn't competed in Martinsville since 2011, when then-Daytona 500 champ Trevor Bayne raced the No. 21 Ford to a 35th-place finish at Glen and Leonard Wood's hometown track. Before that it was 2008 and "Wild Bill from Dawsonville" behind the wheel. This year, they return to the track with Sunoco Rookie of the Year hopeful Ryan Blaney, who has five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races under his belt there. “It’s really a home race for those guys," said Blaney. "It’s really neat to go back and bring the Wood Brothers back there and have them in their hometown and home state. Hopefully, we’ll see a bunch of Wood Brothers fans out there. I think we will.” 
Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano all have a chance to earn their first MVS Cup wins

Only six of the 40 drivers entered into this weekend's STP 500 have taken home a storied Martinsville grandfather clock, so there's a chance Sunday's race winner will be a newbie, and FOX Sport's Tom Jensen focuses in on three who have as good a chance as any to race their way to an MVS win. One is Kyle Busch, who has nine top-5's and 487 laps led at Martinsville for his career and it's the only short track at which the defending champion doesn't have a win. The other two are Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth, who had a run-in last October that broke a three-race winning streak and essentially ended Logano's Chase dreams. Expect plenty of eyes to be on this trio on Sunday.
Joey Logano, Dale Junior and Brade Keselowski's chances at Talladega

Last Week: He did it again. After picking up his fourth win of 2015 in Charlotte, Joey Logano tacked on his fifth last week in Kansas. For the season, the No. 22 driver has earned a victory on a short track (Bristol), road course (Watkins Glen), a restrictor-plate track (Daytona) and the 1.5-milers (Charlotte and Kansas). He's fast everywhere, and has shown he's a threat week in and week out.

Earlier This Year: Few drivers have the kind of track success like Dale Earnhardt Jr does at Talladega. With six wins at the track, Junior is always one to watch when NASCAR rolls into Alabama. After a remarkable streak at the Lincoln track early in his career (a streak of seven races where he collected five wins and two second-place showings), Junior found himself back in 'Dega's winner's circle earlier this season. With his history at the track and the need for a big-time performance, he's certainly one to keep an eye on this week.

Who To Watch: This season's been one of hot streaks. Joe Gibbs Racing rattled off six wins in a row back in August and September, while the Hendrick crew took three of four races in May . With Joey Logano racking up The Chase wins, maybe Brad Keselowski decides to join the party. Without a win since March, look for the defending GEICO 500 champ to make some noise and advance to the Eliminator Round with his Penske teammate.

Also... if I told you a driver led 225 laps over the past two races, you'd think he'd be a lock to advance in the Chase, right? Unfortunately for Matt Kenseth, that's not the case. Banged up cars forced Kenseth out at Charlotte and into a 14th-place showing at Kansas, meaning he now sits on the outside looking in. But with how he's driven this season and in the Chase (plus a win and six Top-10's at 'Dega), he's not one to count out just yet.

Matt Kenseth isn't one to count out

Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon all have reasons to smile at Dover
Last Week: Can anyone stop JGR? Another week, another win for the Joe Gibbs Racing machine as Matt Kenseth found his way to Victory Lane for a NASCAR-leading fifth time this season. With defending champ Kevin Harvick running out of fuel with three laps to go, Kenseth took advantage and punched his ticket to the Contender Round alongside teammate Denny Hamlin.

Earlier This Year: Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag at the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks back in May. Johnson has had unparalleled success on the Delaware track, with 10 wins, almost 3,000 laps led and his best average finish (6.8) of any track. Experts have Johnson pegged as the odds-on favorite to secure his spot as one of the 12 Contenders with another strong performance in Dover.

Who To Watch: Jeff Gordon currently finds himself sitting inside the top-12, but not comfortably. Currently 10th in points, there's no time like the present for Jeff to pick up his first win of the season. Just a year ago "The Kid," picked up his fourth and final win of the 2014 season at the Monster Mile. Hopefully it won't be the last win of his full-time racing career.