Showing posts with label Victory Lap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victory Lap. Show all posts
Denny Hamlin

With his victory in the Cheez-It 355 on Sunday, Hamlin picked up his second trip to Gatorade Victory Lane this season and the first road course win of his 12-year career. Sitting P1 after the race was red-flagged with five laps remaining, the Joe Gibbs driver managed to stave off a run for Martin Truex Jr to earn the checkered flag despite driving through the some of the worst pain he'd ever felt. “We worked on (my back) all day to try to make it better. We really didn’t make it much better,” said Hamlin. “If it was Friday or Saturday, no question I wouldn’t have turned one lap today. This was by far the worst pain‑wise I’ve had to go through.” Yikes, and this is coming from the guy who's raced through ACL tears, previous back problems and knee surgeries.

Joe Gibbs Racing

With Hamlin's win at the Glen, Joe Gibbs Racing has won 10 of the 22 races in 2016. Just how dominant has that been? That win total is the same as the number of wins earned by Penske (five), Stewart-Haas (three) and Hendrick (two) combined. Here's a look back at what has undoubtedly been the summer of JGR.

Kyle Busch is back at it again. After his early exit from the Zippo 200 on Saturday, Busch and his wife Samantha toured the Watkins Glen campgrounds and left a surprise for a couple of his fans. The defending Sprint Cup Champion signed a No. 18 decal a couple of campers had on the side of their RV. "They're not home right now, but they'll have quite a surprise when they come back," Samantha says of the RV owners in the video post. Earlier this year Busch surprised a fan while in traffic leaving Martinsville Speedway, and in the spirit of Fan Appreciation we can definitely get on board with this.
Chris Buescher

Mother Nature thowing us an occasional curveball is no surprise, who was leading the field when a heavy fog descended upon Monday's Pennsylvania 400 might be a shock to some. NASCAR rookie Chris Buescher outlasted other cars to take the top spot just before the red flag waved the field to pit roac. It was the first Cup win by a NASCAR rookie since Joey Logano took home the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 trophy in 2009. "It was stressful," said Buescher, who lost a lap because of a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 94 and regained it as the highest-scored lapped car under caution on Lap 109. “I tried not to get my hopes up because I know how these things can play out." But the fog hasn't completely lifted for Buescher yet. The rookie is still on the outside looking in the top 30 in points, sitting six behind David Ragan. "We're in a good spot, and we can definitely make up those six points," Buescher said. "We're going to try and get a lot more than that and be ready when the Chase does start to make sure we can advance as it goes through."

NASCAR Trading Cards

NASCAR and Panini America have collaborated together to release the first line of officially licensed trading cards, which will include stars from the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. "We are excited to bring NASCAR trading cards back into the marketplace," said Mark Warsop, CEO of Panini America. "NASCAR fans are some of the most passionate in all of sport, and we look forward to delivering an assortment of products across a broad range of price points that meet the needs of collectors and race fans alike." You said it Mark, our fans are pretty awesome. So much so we'll be celebrating them all weekend long this September.

Tony Stewart

We remember another driver who missed time early in the season last year, and by all accounts it ended pretty well for him. This season, Tony Stewart is doing his best Kyle Busch impression with a mid-summer tear that's reminded us all he is a three-time Sprint Cup Champion. Going back to his win at Sonoma in late June, Stewart has four top-five finishes in his last six starts. He also is up to 27th in the Sprint Cup point standings. Considering he has five career wins at Watkins Glen International, there's a good chance he'll make another jump in the standings this weekend.

AJ Allmendinger

The Glen's 2.45-mile road course has been a unique twist in the midst of NASCAR's end of season stretch. Throw in the track's recent repave, and there's a chance the Chase point's scramble becomes even more intense after this weekend. Stewart is the track's all-time victories leader, and though his last win came in 2009 - his victory at Sonoma earlier this season shows he's still a threat.  AJ Allmendinger took advantage of his road course background in 2014, when his victory over Marcos Ambrose vaulted him into the only win and Chase berth of his 10-year Cup career. Even Jeff Gordon, who will continue to run the No. 88 in Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s absence, has four career wins at the New York track.  With only three repeat winners in the last decade,  there's a chance this weekend could be one of the most exciting stops on the Road to Richmond.
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.

It took him 15 tries, but Brad Keselowski finally raced his way into Daytona's Gatorade Victory Lane in Saturday's Coke Zero 400. The No. 2 Penske Ford driver managed to avoid "The Big One" on Lap 90, which saw over half the field (22 cars) suffer damage, and scored the 100th win for Team Penske. “We had two great cars here with Team Penske and worked together really well,” Keselowski said. “Joey (Logano) has won here and he’s really a pro, especially on that restart. He gave me that push I need to get to the front and here we are at Daytona in Victory Lane. I don’t care if it’s not the 500. It’s Daytona. This is huge. I love this place and here we are in Victory Lane.” Brad's 19 wins for Team Penske trail only Rusty Wallace's 37 for most in the team's history, and his 2014 win in Richmond's Federated Auto Parts 400 marked the most dominating win in Sprint Cup Series competition for the team.

Keselowski wasn't the only one making headlines in Central Florida. We went to the "World Center of Racing" to announce our Fan Appreciation Weekend program for September. It's an entire weekend devoted to showing our gratitude to race fans near and far for the enthusiastic support they have given our sport throughout the regular season, and the NASCAR industry jumped on board the hype train.

Our friends over at Sprint helped kick off the announcement by sending one lucky fan from Daytona to the Federated Auto Parts 400 in September! Orlando native Ashley Miller, will experience Fan Appreciation Weekend firsthand and in style, with all expenses paid, a view from the TORQUE Club and “the works” of passes and credentials for an unforgettable weekend. "I’ve been attending the Daytona races with my Mom for the last eleven years, and I’ve never been to a short track so I’m very excited to go to Richmond," said Miller. "I’ve been a Tony Stewart fan for close to 15 years, and I’m ecstatic to go to the track where he got his first win.”

Through 17 Sprint Cup races, we've seen 11 different drivers in Victory Lane. If history is any indicator, that number might not grow after this weekend's Quaker State 400. Through five Sprint Cup Series events at Kentucky Speedway, only three drivers have won at the 1.5-mile tri-oval: Keselowski (2), Kyle Busch (2) and Matt Kenseth (1). But the speedway underwent a facelift earlier this year - with a repave and reconfiguration in Turns 1 & 2 (increased banking and narrower track), and this weekend marks NASCAR's first crack at the new-look track. Maybe this weekend is the chance for someone like Chase Elliott or Austin Dillon to earn the first win of their promising young careers.
Tony Stewart wins in Sonoma

Smoke rises again, y'all. For the first time in 84 races, three-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart finds himself back in Victory Lane after a thrilling finish at Sonoma over the weekend.  "It's been a tough three years not just for him but everyone that's close to him," his father, Nelson Stewart, said. "I don't know what to say. We all needed that bad. He really needed that bad." After missing the first eight races with a back issue, Stewart is hoping to channel his inner Kyle Busch and race his way into the Chase picture. Sunday's W helps that a great deal. "With about eight to go it was the first time I thought, 'hey, we might actually have a shot to hold onto this,' and I actually got a little bit emotional thinking about it while I was driving," Stewart said. "You didn't have time to think about wine and flowers and ponies and all that stuff. I had to get back to business. But it was nice." Now his attention turns to racing his way back into the top-30 by the season's end in Richmond. Considering he's only 10 points back from Brian Scott, we think the odds are good.

Denny Hamlin finishes Second

Stewart's first win in three years certainly didn't come easy. Denny Hamlin, who finished second on Sunday, battled the No. 14 up to the finish. It was just the Chesterfield, VA native's third top-10 at Sonoma. "I didn’t even think I’d have an opportunity, honestly," Hamlin said. "He made one mistake in Turn 7 and allowed us to get closer to him. He made mistakes that allowed me to get there and get position...Still a pretty good day. This is definitely a step in the right direction on the road course, but man... utterly disappointed." The finish was Hamlin's best since his victory in the season opener in Daytona.

FOX hands baton to NBC

From Hamlin's record finish in the Daytona 500, to the return of day racing at RIR, to Smoke's triumphant return to Victory Lane, the team at FOX has brought NASCAR fans a historic start to the 2016 season. Now it's NBC's turn to take the baton to the season's finish in Homestead - and they take over with things in a really good place. Through 16 races we've seen 11 different winners, and only 31 points separate 12th place Dale Earnhardt Jr from 17th place Ryan Blaney. We hope you're as excited as we are for the second half stretch, culminating at the regular season finale at Richmond on September 10.

Join us in Daytona

Ready for Daytona round two? We are, and we'll be on hand to bring you the action from our perspective. As the sport returns to the World Center of racing for the Coke Zero 400, RIR will be in the thick of it all - and you can come along for the ride. Click here to follow us on Snapchat and get and insider's look at everything going on this weekend in Central Florida.
Happy belated Father’s Day to all you dads of children, dogs, cats, Jedi…we’re not picky. Hopefully you were too busy hanging out with your father, or kids, to keep up with social media on Sunday, so we’ve put together a roundup of posts to highlight how your favorite drivers spent their Father’s Day.


Joey Logano

After six wins in 2015, we thought Joey Logano’s first Cup win of 2016  would have come much sooner than the 15th race of the season. (We can’t get enough of those sweet burnouts, to be honest…) You can’t say Logano was “struggling” prior to winning from the Pole on Sunday – eight top-10s in 14 races is no easy task – but after sweeping the Contender round in last year’s Chase, even he seemed concerned with his lack of wins this season. “We've been knocking on the door for a win all season. It's nice to get this win and lock ourselves into the Chase. Having a perfect weekend like this, starting on the pole, being able to have good pit stops and staying in the top two the whole race, it says a lot about this whole team.”

Ford wins 50th

Team Penske couldn’t have written a better scenario for capturing their 50th win with Ford and their 100th Sprint Cup win for Roush Yates engines this weekend in Michigan. MIS is located just 85 miles away from the manufacturer’s headquarters in Dearborn, but the ties all three have to the state go far beyond the close proximity. “Obviously racing is hugely important to us at Ford; it's part of our DNA,” says Dave Pericak, Global Director, Ford Performance. “So to be able to win in our backyard means a lot to us…and obviously to be able to do all of this and celebrate Roush Yates’ 100th win in Cup is just absolutely phenomenal.  It just means the world to us.” Said Doug Yates, who runs Roush Yates Engines, “To achieve [this] at Michigan, just couldn't happen at a better place, and really all the credit goes to Ford Motor Co. and all the great employees at Roush Yates. I've never been more excited about racing.  I'm so proud to be with Ford Motor Company and part of their team.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr

After being taken out early in the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed some frustration in the garage when asked about the performance of the new aero package at Michigan. “It’s not a whole lot different than the other package. I think we talk about packages too much,” he said. While the low downforce on-track action was the top story of the weekend, Earnhardt Jr. was much more focused on capturing that elusive checkered flag. After leaving three of the last six races early due to wrecks, he has been slipping in points – and Chase chances – while Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray are knocking on the door. “I’m angry, but I won’t be too upset about it later. It’s frustrating right now because we had a good car and I was happy with the way the car drove. We won’t get a chance to get the finish I think we could have got today.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heading in to one of only three off weekends this season, you may find yourself with a little more time on your hands. Here are a few of our suggestions on how to fill the Junior-sized hole in your weekend:
  1. Hang out with your dad – it IS Father’s Day, after all
  2. Watch the American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway on Sunday afternoon. (Duh.)
  3. Take a page out of the drivers’ books and go on a sweet vacation. (See: Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson)
  4. Train for American Ninja Warrior. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and several IndyCar drivers beasted the course on last night’s episode. We wouldn’t have made it past the first obstacle, but go on – give it a shot!
  5. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend in Richmond – if you’re here, go outside! Visit one of our state parks, restaurants, breweries, or wineries for a sure-fire good time.

Kurt Busch

With 33 laps to go, substitute crew chief John Klausemeier told Kurt Busch was told that he'd be two laps short on fuel in Monday's rain-delayed Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 at Pocono Raceway. Turns out he had enough to pick up his first win of 2016 and even throw in a burnout to celebrate. "We just had to balance everything," said Busch, who got to the stripe 1.126 seconds ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. "We had a fast car, a (suspended) crew chief, and the way the fuel mileage played out, I didn't know if we would have enough fuel. It's a wonderful win for us. We have been so close all year. It was just a matter of putting it all together." It was the 2004 Cup Champion's first win since the 2015 TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway, and the third of his career at the Tricky Triangle.

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott's phenomenal rookie season continued yesterday, scoring his fifth consecutive top-10 finish with a fourth-place showing (including a race-high 51 laps led) at Pocono Raceway. "We certainly had, I feel like, one of our best days of the year personally," Elliott said. "I thought for us to be able to contend and lead laps all day and have a car that could fight for the lead the majority of the day... I thought was great." It certainly was, and the finish put him in the company of NASCAR royalty. It was the rookie's fifth top-5 of the year, which ties Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s 1979 rookie mark through the first 14 races in a season.

Kyle Busch

We're used to seeing borderline historic stretches of success out of Kyle Busch and the No. 18 car. Remember last Spring when he went on a tear that saw him win four races in a five week stretch? Or when he turned it on during last year's Eliminator Round, scoring three consecutive top-5 finishes before claiming the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship? Or how about earlier this season when we saw him finish either first or second in five of six races - starting with a win at the STP 500 in Martinsville? Well Monday's race saw the continuation of a not-so familiar streak for the defending Series Champ. After smacking the wall with 51 laps to go, Busch was forced to the garage and sent to his third consecutive finish of 30th or worse. With three wins on the year, his Chase dreams are secure - but no doubt he'd like to see some luck come his way sooner than later.

Michigan International Speedway

Drivers have already raved about the success of NASCAR's new aerodynamics package at the likes of Auto Club, Richmond, Charlotte, and more. But now we'll see how it performs at one of NASCAR's fastest tracks - Michigan International Speedway. "The collaboration between NASCAR and the other stakeholders to improve the racing has produced tremendous results this season. I look forward to a continuation of that when we get to Michigan," said Brad Keselowski. "The racing is more in the hands of the drivers than it has been in quite some time and I think we are just scratching the surface as to what this package can become." And the Michigan-native isn't the only driver who's anxious to see how the package will perform this weekend. "I expect the racing to be really good," said Kyle Larson. "I think with you lifting the groove will move up some. It’s just going to be really exciting racing."
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.