CP MOTORSPORTS - COCA-COLA 600, CHARLOTTE NOTEBOOK
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK - EDWARDS WINS THE STRATEGIC BATTLE
NASCAR's longest day turned into its most strategic night.
Behind the strategy of new crew chief Darian Grubb, Carl Edwards was able to cruise to the checkered flag in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. The victory is Edwards' 24th of his career and his first win in Charlotte's 600-mile event.
Edwards lost the championship on a tiebreaker in 2011 when Grubb's strategy propelled Tony Stewart to a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The title run shortcoming fueled Edwards desire to work with Grubb and believes the crew chief's call won the race.
"That's what made the race for us," Edwards admitted. "Darian (Grubb) does such a good job, and ever since Tony (Stewart) and I battled for that championship; I've wanted to work with him and now I can. That's what he does on the box - he takes a mediocre day like that, and he puts us in a good position."
The win is the first for Edwards in his debut season as a member of Joe Gibbs Racing and his first win outside of a Ford in Sprint Cup competition. The triumph also secured a Charlotte-sweep for JGR with Denny Hamlin winning last week's Sprint All-Star Race.
"JGR is back, and these Toyotas are great," Edwards said. "I was the slowest of the group tonight and I just had the best guys on the pit box here and did a great job. Subway - I will be having a Coke along with my sub sandwich this week and guacamole on that. ARRIS came on in a huge way to start this fourth team. Toyota took a chance on me - I went to Kentucky the other week and saw where these Camrys are built.
"TRD (Toyota Racing Development) has been behind me 100 percent."
Edwards' former Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle was able to use pit stop strategy to his advantage as well. Biffle scored his best finish of the Sprint Cup season finishing in second-place.
Despite the Toyota-Ford top-two finish, Biffle still believes Chevrolet is ahead of the other manufacturers.
"We certainly haven't come anywhere close to catching them. One common thread it looks like to me is Chevy," Biffle said. "It looks like they're head and shoulders better than the Toyotas and Fords because the Ganassi cars are pretty fast, all the Haas cars, which are Hendrick-affiliated, so there are really eight cars there, but the Childress cars and the single-car, 78 team, led the whole race.
"He (Martin Truex, Jr) led the whole race. He had the fastest car, so it's pretty obvious those are all Chevys. They definitely kind of have a stranglehold on it, it seems like."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr, joined the group of drivers who employed pit strategy and managed a third place finish. The finish for Earnhardt, Jr, is his best career finish in the Coca-Cola 600. Edwards' JGR teammate Matt Kenseth managed to salvage a fourth-place finish after starting from the pole but struggling for the majority of the race.
Martin Truex, Jr, appeared to have the fastest car for most of the race leading 131 laps. But Truex, Jr, came out on the wrong end of the strategy games and settled for a fifth-place finish.
Truex, Jr, hasn't enjoyed much success in races determined on fuel mileage.
"I don't know what to do about fuel mileage races," Truex, Jr, admitted. "I never, ever, ever have in my whole career. I guess I don't get good fuel mileage...It hurts to run fifth after running that hard and leading that many laps but at the same time it's pretty awesome to run like that, too. We just got to keep on plugging away and sooner or later we're going to get a little bit of luck on our side, right now we just can't get anything to go our way."
Ryan Newman finished in sixth place with Brad Keselowski finishing right behind in seventh-place. Denny Hamlin, treated for dehydration in the infield care center following the race, settled for an eighth-place finish. Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-ten.
Kyle Busch, who has missed every points-earning race this season with an injury, ran in the top-ten for most of the race but ended with an eleventh place finish. Busch's return did not come without a shred of disappointment.
"I feel pretty good, all in all, I felt like that was a great race for us," Busch said. "We ran really strong, we ran up front, we showed we had some speed. But it certainly is frustrating to finish where we did, and that's disappointing. But sometimes you win these things by fuel mileage races, so congratulations to our teammate Carl (Edwards)."
Busch knows next week's race at Dover will be another test of his physical fitness.
"This race here is actually quite relative to next week at Dover next week, this one's an endurance race for as long as it is and I think it sets you up for that Dover race," Busch added. "The Dover race is more taxing on your body, I feel like it beats you up a little more. It being 400 laps makes it a tough stretch, it may not be 600 miles but 400 laps there is certainly a long time at Dover. This was a good night to come out here - I feel good. I really didn't get tired or anything like that; I probably could go a little bit longer...about ten more laps would've been nice for us, but it is what it is."
With his top-ten finish, Kevin Harvick maintained his stranglehold on the point lead over Martin Truex, Jr, who is in second place 41 points behind.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Number 12
Unofficial Race Results for the 56Th Annual Coca-Cola 600 - Sunday, May 24, 2015
Charlotte Motor Speedway - Concord, NC - 1.5 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 400 Laps - 600 Miles - Purse: $6,660,588
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Pts Bns Driver Rating Winnings Status Tms Laps
1 3 19 Carl Edwards Subway Toyota 400 47 4 107.2 $363,390 Running 3 25
2 4 16 Greg Biffle Ortho Ford 400 42 97.7 $277,263 Running
3 15 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Chevrolet 400 41 105.8 $217,255 Running
4 1 20 Matt Kenseth DeWalt Toyota 400 41 1 98.4 $252,716 Running 2 26
5 10 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet 400 41 2 132.8 $182,350 Running 4 131
6 19 31 Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet 400 38 79.2 $166,570 Running
7 6 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 400 38 1 104.4 $172,911 Running 2 3
8 5 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 400 37 1 114.8 $143,720 Running 2 53
9 8 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet 400 36 1 116.8 $174,045 Running 3 26
10 14 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 400 35 1 122.2 $140,045 Running 3 118
11 17 18 Kyle Busch Skittles Toyota 400 33 103.3 $157,301 Running
12 33 5 Kasey Kahne LiftMaster Chevrolet 400 32 87.0 $128,685 Running
13 2 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 400 32 1 103.7 $161,793 Running 2 17
14 23 27 Paul Menard Serta/Menards Chevrolet 400 30 91.2 $120,735 Running
15 18 24 Jeff Gordon Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet 400 29 82.0 $156,371 Running
16 11 3 Austin Dillon Cheerios Chevrolet 400 28 85.2 $147,271 Running
17 21 43 Aric Almirola United States Air Force Ford 399 27 72.7 $146,046 Running
18 28 25 Chase Elliott(i) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 399 0 66.5 $103,910 Running
19 22 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna/McDonald's Chevrolet 399 25 60.3 $136,826 Running
20 24 15 Clint Bowyer Cherry 5-hour Energy/Special Operations Warrior 399 24 61.1 $140,368 Running
21 12 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 399 23 64.7 $132,399 Running
22 20 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 398 22 58.4 $111,760 Running
23 34 13 Casey Mears GEICO Military Chevrolet 398 21 59.0 $128,993 Running
24 26 9 Sam Hornish Jr. Twisted Tea Ford 398 20 53.4 $128,305 Running
25 9 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 398 19 66.1 $129,468 Running
26 31 7 Alex Bowman Culer Chevrolet 397 18 47.6 $116,518 Running
27 27 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 397 17 47.5 $141,210 Running
28 37 35 Cole Whitt Speed Stick Ford 396 16 39.1 $113,343 Running
29 30 47 AJ Allmendinger Scott Products Chevrolet 395 15 57.3 $125,618 Running
30 25 95 Michael McDowell Thrivent Financial Ford 394 14 45.0 $97,335 Running
31 40 34 Brett Moffitt # CSX/Play It Safe Ford 393 13 36.8 $97,185 Running
32 36 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 393 12 37.2 $95,560 Running
33 39 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stops Ford 392 12 1 38.3 $115,957 Running 1 1
34 42 83 Matt DiBenedetto # Dustless Blasting Toyota 392 10 33.0 $95,285 Running
35 38 98 Josh Wise RoyalTeakCollection.com Ford 392 9 29.0 $98,135 Running
36 43 33 Alex Kennedy # HonorandRemember.org Chevrolet 389 8 26.8 $97,535 Running
37 29 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 382 7 59.0 $102,761 Running
38 41 23 JJ Yeley(i) Hope for the Warriors Toyota 377 0 30.4 $89,413 Engine
39 32 40 Landon Cassill(i) Snap Fitness Chevrolet 375 0 38.1 $85,350 Running
40 13 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet 370 4 68.7 $129,286 Running
41 7 55 David Ragan Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 353 3 62.7 $105,164 Engine
42 16 21 Ryan Blaney(i) Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 281 0 66.6 $73,350 Engine
43 35 51 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet 135 1 40.2 $77,850 Accident
Race Comments: Carl Edwards won the Coca-Cola 600, his 24th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
Failed to Qualify: #26 Jeb Burton; #32 Mike Bliss(i); #39 Travis Kvapil(i); #30 Jeff Green(i); #62 Brendan Gaughan(i)
Time of Race: 04 Hrs, 03 Mins, 34 Secs. Average Speed: 147.803 MPH Margin of Victory: 4.785 Seconds
Caution Flags: 8 for 39 laps: Laps: 27-30 (Competition ); 91-94 (#48 spin turn 4 ); 137-141 (#51 accident turn 3 [None]); 231-235 (#6 accident turn 4 ); 275-278 (#48 spin turn 4 ); 283-291 (Oil on the track from #21 ); 329-332 (#46 spin backstretch ); 338-341 (Debris turn 4 ).
Lead Changes: 22 among 9 drivers: M. Kenseth 0; C. Edwards 1-2; M. Kenseth 3-27; D. Gilliland 28; M. Kenseth 29; J. Logano 30-43; D. Hamlin 44-63; K. Harvick 64-78; Kurt Busch 79; B. Keselowski 80; K. Harvick 81-90; M. Truex Jr. 91; B. Keselowski 92-93; J. Logano 94-96; Kurt Busch 97-189; C. Edwards 190-191; M. Truex Jr. 192-236; Kurt Busch 237-260; M. Truex Jr. 261-329; D. Hamlin 330-362; M. Truex Jr. 363-378; K. Harvick 379; C. Edwards 380-400.
Chase Grid Outlook: 1.J. Johnson 393 (3 wins);2.K. Harvick 473 (2);3.J. Logano 407 (1);4.D. Earnhardt Jr. 401 (1);5.B. Keselowski 381 (1);6.M. Kenseth 372 (1);7.D. Hamlin 321 (1);8.C. Edwards 312 (1);9.M. Truex Jr. 432 (0);10.J. Mcmurray 353 (0);11.J. Gordon 346 (0);12.K. Kahne 345 (0);13.R. Newman 343 (0);14.A. Almirola 339 (0);15.P. Menard 336 (0);16.C. Bowyer 296 (0).
3M Lap Leader : Kurt Busch, #41 118 Laps American Ethanol Green Flag Restart : Martin Truex Jr, #78
Coors Light Pole Award : Matt Kenseth, #20 194.252 mph Duralast Brakes "Brake in the Race" : Matt Kenseth, #20
Ingersoll Rand Power Move : Dale Earnhardt Jr, #88 11 positions Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Toyota Racing Development (TRD), #20
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race : Carl Edwards, #19 Moog Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Race : Dale Earnhardt Jr, #88 G. Ives, .160 sec
Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap : Denny Hamlin, #11 Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Brett Moffitt, #34
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Next Race: May. 31, 2015 - Dover International Speedway
NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875
COCA-COLA TO EXTEND SMI PARTNERSHIP - The Coca-Cola Company has sponsored the 600-mile Memorial Day race at Charlotte since 1985 and made an announcement Sunday afternoon which will extend the powerful partnership.
"Coca-Cola and Speedway Motorsports have been making memories together for more than 30 years by honoring our troops, celebrating our passion for racing and creating spectacular experiences for our fans," CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc Marcus Smith said. "Coca-Cola is the world's most-respected and recognizable brand, and it's an honor to extend our partnership into its fourth decade. We look forward to serving our fans refreshing excitement both on and off the track for years to come."
The partnership agreement extends their official beverage rights at all SMI tracks across the NASCAR schedule including extending the naming rights of the spring Charlotte race into the next decade.
Coca-Cola's naming rights sponsorship for the race is the longest continuous sponsorship of any race on the NASCAR schedule.
The Coca-Cola Company has deep roots in the racing community. Their signature in NASCAR is what is known as the "Coca-Cola Racing Family", a group of top drivers including Greg Biffle, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart.
The company also has relationships with former NASCAR champions Dale Jarrett, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Labonte.
KAHNE BECOMING ENDURANCE SPECIALIST - Kasey Kahne has a niche for winning long events, with his most recent victory coming in Atlanta last season where he emerged victorious after a 516-mile affair.
But nothing lasts longer than the 600-mile endurance test at Charlotte Motor Speedway every Memorial Day weekend. What is tough for most drivers seems routine for the 35-year old Washington-native, after all he has won the Coca-Cola 600 three times including in 2012 when he scored his first victory as a member of Hendrick Motorsports.
Kahne has also won the 500-mile fall race at Charlotte before, too.
But If Kahne is to win this season's 600-mile test it will be a tall task as a blown tire in the first round of qualifying forced him to settle for the 33rd starting position. Every win he has recorded previously at Charlotte has come after Kahne qualified in the top-ten.
BUSCH TOPS IN PRACTICE SPEED - Saturday belonged to Kurt Busch.
The 2004 Sprint Cup champion topped the charts in both of Saturday's Sprint Cup practice sessions. Busch recorded a fast lap of 28.031 seconds in the first session and 28.624 seconds in the weekend's final practice session. His average speeds were 192.644 mph and 188.653 mph in the session, respectively.
Sunday's pole-sitter Matt Kenseth was second fastest in Saturday's first session with a fast lap of 28.172 seconds and an average speed of 191.680 mph. Seven-time Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson was third fastest in the session at 28.300 seconds and 190.813 mph.
David Ragan and Brad Keselowski rounded out the first session's top five.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr, completed 49 laps, the most in Saturday's early practice session.
Three-time Coca-Cola 600 winner Kasey Kahne was the second fastest in the final Sprint Cup practice session when he recorded a fast lap of 28.869 seconds at an average speed of 187.052 mph. Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Serta/Menard's Chevrolet, laid down a lap of 28.879 seconds at 186.987 mph.
Former Roush-Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth rounded out the final practice's top five.
Kurt Busch ran 52 laps in the final practice session which was only bested by last season's Sprint All-Star Race winner Jamie McMurray's 54 cycles completed.
SATURDAY NOTEBOOK - DILLON COMPLETES THE SWEEP
In NASCAR, clean air is key.
Austin Dillon used the clean air to dominate Saturday's Hisense 300 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Dillon led 163 of the scheduled 200 laps on his way to his second victory of the Xfinity series season.
The victory is Dillon's first Xfinity win at Charlotte and his fourth in the series overall.
"The car was so good I didn't want to get out of it," Dillon told reporters in Victory Lane. "It was a heck of a race at the end with Denny (Hamlin) and Kasey (Kahne). I had to go when we got in lapped traffic. I knew the tires might go, and I might not make it happen."
Dillon started from the pole, led 183 laps and won earlier this season at Las Vegas. All four of his wins have come when starting on the pole.
The 25-year old North Carolinian knows winning in front of the home crowd is a big deal.
"It's huge," Dillon admitted. "I talked to Bob (Pockrass) earlier in the weekend about North Carolina drivers that are still in the sport. I know in the Cup series there are only two of us, me and Junior. I got my brother coming up in the Xfinity. It's huge for our North Carolina boys to take home our trophy in our state, so it's very special on Memorial Day weekend, also. Very pleased; a lot of friends and family here.
"It's a special moment for sure."
The race's final restart on lap 166 saw Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota, challenge and take the lead from a dominant Dillon. Hamlin was able to lead 19 laps but ultimately took the checkered flag with a second place finish.
Hamlin, who won $1 million dollars last week at Charlotte in the Sprint All-Star Race, knew beating Dillon would have been a tall task.
"Those guys have got some fast cars," Hamlin said. "You do your best to try to hold them off, but similar to when I ran in this No. 54 car at Vegas, Austin (Dillon) was just two, three tenths faster than the field and those RCR cars are strong and you just as an organization you've got to get a little bit better. So you learn and see where you need to get better."
Kasey Kahne, driving the No. 5 Armour Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, ran up front for most of the race and finished in third place. Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace, Jr, rounded out the top five finishers. Austin Dillon's brother Ty Dillon finished in sixth place.
Regan Smith, Darrell Wallace, Jr, Daniel Suarez, and Ty Dillon all qualified for this season's edition of the "Dash4Cash" program, which is a program designed to be a unique competition between Xfinity series championship eligible and could allow for a driver to win $1 million dollars.
Ty Dillon won big in last season's edition of the "Dash4Cash".
"It's an awesome program Xfinity is putting back on," Ty Dillon said. "I think everybody in the offseason was real worried that the series might go away, but I think everybody's jacked up again. I was fortunate enough to win it last year when I won Indianapolis, and it's a huge added bonus for everybody."
Last week's winner at Iowa, Chris Buescher, finished in 11th and maintained his Xfinity series points lead by just four points over Ty Dillon. Last season's Xfinity Champion Chase Elliott is 28 points back in third as the series heads to Dover next weekend.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Number 11
Unofficial Race Results for the 34Th Annual Hisense 300 - Saturday, May 23, 2015
Charlotte Motor Speedway - Concord, NC - 1.5 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 200 Laps - 300 Miles - Purse: $1,157,940
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Pts Bns Driver Rating Winnings Status Tms Laps
1 1 33 Austin Dillon(i) Rheem Chevrolet 200 0 150.0 $70,854 Running 4 163
2 4 54 Denny Hamlin(i) Monster Energy Toyota 200 0 118.0 $45,242 Running 1 19
3 8 5 Kasey Kahne(i) Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet 200 0 113.5 $35,150 Running 1 1
4 15 7 Regan Smith Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet 200 40 92.5 $34,424 Running
5 2 6 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Cheez-It Ford 200 40 1 119.9 $35,548 Running 1 1
6 19 18 Daniel Suarez # ARRIS Toyota 200 39 1 96.4 $29,090 Running 1 1
7 9 3 Ty Dillon Bass Pro Shops/NWTF.org Chevrolet 200 37 93.7 $27,577 Running
8 16 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 200 36 99.6 $27,640 Running
9 11 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Ford 200 35 93.0 $25,831 Running
10 12 22 Ryan Blaney Discount Tire Ford 200 34 85.5 $25,997 Running
11 14 60 Chris Buescher Roush Performance Products Ford 200 33 82.3 $24,514 Running
12 10 16 Ryan Reed Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford 200 32 80.0 $23,983 Running
13 24 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com/AllSouthElectric.com Chev 200 31 75.1 $23,375 Running
14 13 88 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet 200 0 100.2 $16,895 Running 1 11
15 7 20 Erik Jones(i) GameStop Toyota 200 0 92.3 $23,170 Running
16 18 43 Dakoda Armstrong WinField Ford 200 28 70.1 $22,287 Running
17 21 01 Landon Cassill Flex Seal Chevrolet 200 28 1 67.6 $22,060 Running 1 4
18 17 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Chevrolet 199 26 72.7 $21,832 Running
19 6 98 Aric Almirola(i) Carroll Shelby Engine Co. Ford 199 0 74.5 $15,806 Running
20 3 2 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 197 24 88.1 $22,255 Running
21 25 28 JJ Yeley Texas 28 Spirits Stage Toyota 196 23 58.5 $21,554 Running
22 32 44 David Starr Zachry Toyota 196 22 55.1 $21,497 Running
23 30 8 Blake Koch Toyota 196 21 53.8 $21,448 Running
24 22 39 Ryan Sieg Uncle Bob's Self Storage Chevrolet 195 20 59.2 $21,381 Running
25 28 84 Chad Boat(i) CorvetteParts.net Chevrolet 194 0 46.5 $15,496 Running
26 35 90 Jimmy Weller Geneva-Liberty Steel/myvideolibrary.com Chevrolet 193 18 43.5 $21,311 Running
27 34 26 Kyle Fowler(i) Power All Toyota 192 0 46.7 $15,275 Running
28 38 97 Peyton Sellers # VroomBrands Chevrolet 192 16 38.0 $21,240 Running
29 23 25 John Wes Townley(i) Zaxby's Chevrolet 191 0 56.3 $21,194 Running
30 36 24 Eric McClure Hefty Toyota 189 14 33.8 $21,449 Running
31 20 4 Ross Chastain # Flex Shot Chevrolet 187 13 58.3 $21,113 Engine
32 39 52 Joey Gase Agri Supply Chevrolet 186 12 29.7 $21,067 Running
33 5 42 Kyle Larson(i) ENEOS Chevrolet 183 0 94.4 $15,097 Running
34 26 14 Cale Conley # IAVA Toyota 146 10 41.5 $20,991 Running
35 27 0 Harrison Rhodes # Vecoplan Chevrolet 141 9 46.9 $20,957 Transmission
36 37 13 Carl Long Jaret's Angels/Industrial Technologies Dodge 129 8 32.1 $19,499 Engine
37 33 15 BJ McLeod(i) BYB Extreme Fighting/Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 58 0 28.3 $18,499 Fuel Pump
38 31 55 Jamie Dick Viva Auto Group Chevrolet 45 6 31.9 $17,499 Accident
39 29 40 Timmy Hill(i) Braille Battery/Grafoid Toyota 40 0 34.7 $10,499 Electrical
40 40 19 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsports Toyota 2 4 29.2 $9,499 Vibration
Race Comments: Austin Dillon won the Hisense 300, his fourth career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory. Prior to the start of the race, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field for the reason indicated: No. 55, 84 (unapproved adjustments).
Failed to Qualify: (2) 70 Derrike Cope, 74 Mike Harmon.
Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 08 Mins, 44 Secs. Average Speed: 139.824 MPH Margin of Victory: 2.692 Seconds
Caution Flags: 3 for 22 laps: Laps: 49-56 (Oil on track from #55 ); 111-117 (Debris turn 4 ); 160-166 (#26 accident turn 1 ).
Lead Changes: 9 among 7 drivers: A. Dillon(i) 1-98; D. Wallace Jr. # 99; K. Kahne(i) 100; D. Suarez # 101; L. Cassill 102-105; A. Dillon(i) 106-111; K. Harvick(i) 112-122; A. Dillon(i) 123-166; D. Hamlin(i) 167-185; A. Dillon(i) 186-200.
Top 10 Driver Points: (1) C. Buescher 401;(2) T. Dillon 397;(3) C. Elliott 373;(4) D. Wallace Jr. # 371;(5) R. Smith 360;(6) E. Sadler 352;(7) B. Scott 350;(8) R. Reed 320;(9) D. Suarez # 320;(10) B. Gaughan 309.
3M Lap Leader : Austin Dillon, #33 163 Laps Coors Light Pole Award : Austin Dillon, #33 184.615 mph
Duralast Brakes "Brake in the Race" : Austin Dillon, #33 Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines, #33
Mobil 1 Driver of the Race : Darrell Wallace Jr, #6 Sunoco Rookie of the Race : Darrell Wallace Jr, #6
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Next Race: May. 30, 2015 - Dover International Speedway
NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875
CLEMENTS FINDS 1.5 MILE SUCCESS - Spartanburg, SC’s Jeremy Clements scored his best finish at the Charlotte Motor Speedway 1.5-mile quad-oval during NASCAR’s XFinity Series Hisense 300 with a thirteenth place finish. He was 13.12 seconds behind winner Austin Dillon, and ahead of defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick and rookie phenom Eric Jones.
“We had a good car today,” Clements said. “Not being a Cup team, I was proud of my team to be able to hold off the 88 and 20. To get a Top 15 in a mile-and-a-half against this kind of competition is really hard to do. I’m definitely proud of our effort. When you have days like this it keeps you pumped up and going.”
Clements has competed in all eleven races in this season’s Xfinity tour and prior to Saturday’s race, his best finish was another 13th place finish in Bristol, Tennessee.
He’s been a top-25 finisher in every race this season. Clements’ best finish at Charlotte was previously was 16th.
“We have been lucky to hit on some good set-up stuff this weekend,” Clements admitted. “That’s how it goes. You try stuff and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It worked today and we were able to stay on the lead lap.”
DILLON TOPS XFINITY QUALIFYING - Austin Dillon is becoming a qualifying machine in NASCAR's Xfinity series.
Dillon's strong showing powered him to another pole position start with this being his ninth Xfinity race this season. The No. 1 qualifier Dillon tied Joe Gibbs Racing's Erik Jones for the series' most pole position starts with four. Dillon has advanced to every round of qualifying this season with the lone exception being at Richmond.
Bubba Wallace, Jr, was one of the final drivers on track during the session's first round due to late clearance through tech inspection. Wallace, Jr, was the fastest driver of the first round and nabbed his best starting spot of his Xfinity career with a second place start.
Dillon's Richard Childress Racing teammate Brian Scott qualified third. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five qualifiers.
Time Trial Results
Charlotte Motor Speedway
34th Annual Hisense 300
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sat, May 23, 2015 @ 12:58 PM Eastern
Driver Date Time Speed
Track Qualifying Record: Jimmie Johnson 10/14/05 28.7639 187.735
Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed Lap # # Laps -Fastest -Next
Qualifying Round: 3
1 33 Austin Dillon(i) Rheem Chevrolet 29.250 184.615 1 1 0.000 0.000
2 6 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Cheez-It Ford 29.285 184.395 1 1 0.035 0.035
3 2 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 29.380 183.799 1 1 0.130 0.095
4 54 Denny Hamlin(i) Monster Energy Toyota 29.422 183.536 1 1 0.172 0.042
5 42 Kyle Larson(i) ENEOS Chevrolet 29.432 183.474 1 1 0.182 0.010
6 98 Aric Almirola(i) Carroll Shelby Engine Co. Ford 29.461 183.293 1 1 0.211 0.029
7 20 Erik Jones(i) GameStop Toyota 29.519 182.933 1 1 0.269 0.058
8 5 Kasey Kahne(i) Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet 29.624 182.285 1 1 0.374 0.105
9 3 Ty Dillon Bass Pro Shops/NWTF.org Chevrolet 29.910 180.542 1 1 0.660 0.286
10 16 Ryan Reed Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford 29.939 180.367 1 1 0.689 0.029
11 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Ford 30.009 179.946 1 1 0.759 0.070
12 22 Ryan Blaney Discount Tire Ford 30.890 174.814 1 1 1.640 0.881
Qualifying Round: 2
1 3 Ty Dillon Bass Pro Shops/NWTF.org Chevrolet 29.388 183.748 1 1 0.000 0.000
2 33 Austin Dillon(i) Rheem Chevrolet 29.389 183.742 1 1 0.001 0.001
3 5 Kasey Kahne(i) Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet 29.409 183.617 1 1 0.021 0.020
4 20 Erik Jones(i) GameStop Toyota 29.427 183.505 1 1 0.039 0.018
5 6 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Cheez-It Ford 29.471 183.231 1 1 0.083 0.044
6 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Ford 29.477 183.194 1 1 0.089 0.006
7 22 Ryan Blaney Discount Tire Ford 29.507 183.007 1 1 0.119 0.030
8 98 Aric Almirola(i) Carroll Shelby Engine Co. Ford 29.557 182.698 1 1 0.169 0.050
9 2 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 29.580 182.556 1 1 0.192 0.023
10 42 Kyle Larson(i) ENEOS Chevrolet 29.586 182.519 3 3 0.198 0.006
11 54 Denny Hamlin(i) Monster Energy Toyota 29.605 182.402 1 1 0.217 0.019
12 16 Ryan Reed Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford 29.623 182.291 1 1 0.235 0.018
13 88 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet 29.638 182.199 1 1 0.250 0.015
14 60 Chris Buescher Roush Performance Products Ford 29.684 181.916 4 4 0.296 0.046
15 7 Regan Smith Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet 29.697 181.837 1 3 0.309 0.013
16 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 29.736 181.598 1 3 0.348 0.039
17 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Chevrolet 29.769 181.397 1 3 0.381 0.033
18 43 Dakoda Armstrong WinField Ford 29.874 180.759 1 3 0.486 0.105
19 18 Daniel Suarez # ARRIS Toyota 29.963 180.222 3 3 0.575 0.089
20 4 Ross Chastain # Flex Shot Chevrolet 30.039 179.766 1 1 0.651 0.076
21 01 Landon Cassill Flex Seal Chevrolet 30.153 179.087 1 1 0.765 0.114
22 39 Ryan Sieg Uncle Bob's Self Storage Chevrolet 30.231 178.625 1 3 0.843 0.078
23 25 John Wes Townley(i) Zaxby's Chevrolet 30.369 177.813 1 1 0.981 0.138
24 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles/AllSouthElectric Chev 30.416 177.538 1 1 1.028 0.047
Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed Lap # # Laps -Fastest -Next
Qualifying Round: 1
1 6 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Cheez-It Ford 29.353 183.968 1 1 0.000 0.000
2 20 Erik Jones(i) GameStop Toyota 29.504 183.026 1 1 0.151 0.151
3 5 Kasey Kahne(i) Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet 29.509 182.995 1 1 0.156 0.005
4 33 Austin Dillon(i) Rheem Chevrolet 29.615 182.340 1 1 0.262 0.106
5 88 Kevin Harvick(i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet 29.628 182.260 1 1 0.275 0.013
6 2 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 29.637 182.205 1 1 0.284 0.009
7 3 Ty Dillon Bass Pro Shops/NWTF.org Chevrolet 29.660 182.063 1 1 0.307 0.023
8 7 Regan Smith Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet 29.670 182.002 1 1 0.317 0.010
9 60 Chris Buescher Roush Performance Products Ford 29.681 181.935 1 1 0.328 0.011
10 22 Ryan Blaney Discount Tire Ford 29.704 181.794 1 1 0.351 0.023
11 54 Denny Hamlin(i) Monster Energy Toyota 29.787 181.287 1 1 0.434 0.083
12 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 29.836 180.989 1 1 0.483 0.049
13 98 Aric Almirola(i) Carroll Shelby Engine Co. Ford 29.850 180.905 1 1 0.497 0.014
14 42 Kyle Larson(i) ENEOS Chevrolet 29.864 180.820 1 1 0.511 0.014
15 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Ford 29.893 180.644 1 1 0.540 0.029
16 43 Dakoda Armstrong WinField Ford 29.931 180.415 1 1 0.578 0.038
17 16 Ryan Reed Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford 29.997 180.018 1 1 0.644 0.066
18 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Chevrolet 30.003 179.982 1 1 0.650 0.006
19 18 Daniel Suarez # ARRIS Toyota 30.038 179.772 1 1 0.685 0.035
20 39 Ryan Sieg Uncle Bob's Self Storage Chevrolet 30.081 179.515 1 1 0.728 0.043
21 01 Landon Cassill Flex Seal Chevrolet 30.181 178.921 2 2 0.828 0.100
22 4 Ross Chastain # Flex Shot Chevrolet 30.204 178.784 1 2 0.851 0.023
23 25 John Wes Townley(i) Zaxby's Chevrolet 30.206 178.772 3 3 0.853 0.002
24 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles/AllSouthElectric Chev 30.220 178.690 4 4 0.867 0.014
25 28 JJ Yeley Texas 28 Spirits Stage Toyota 30.243 178.554 4 4 0.890 0.023
26 14 Cale Conley # IAVA Toyota 30.265 178.424 1 4 0.912 0.022
27 0 Harrison Rhodes # Vecoplan Chevrolet 30.341 177.977 1 1 0.988 0.076
28 84 Chad Boat(i) CorvetteParts.net Chevrolet 30.469 177.229 1 1 1.116 0.128
29 40 Timmy Hill(i) Braille Battery/Grafoid Toyota 30.584 176.563 3 3 1.231 0.115
30 8 Blake Koch Toyota 30.641 176.234 1 3 1.288 0.057
31 55 Jamie Dick Viva Auto Group Chevrolet 30.690 175.953 4 7 1.337 0.049
32 44 David Starr Zachry Toyota 30.732 175.713 1 3 1.379 0.042
33 15 BJ McLeod BYB Extreme Fighting/Lilly Trucking Chevrolet 30.743 175.650 2 6 1.390 0.011
34 OP 26 Kyle Fowler(i) Power All Toyota 30.839 175.103 4 4 1.486 0.096
35 OP 90 Jimmy Weller Geneva-Liberty Steel/myvideolibrary.com Chev 30.849 175.046 2 4 1.496 0.010
36 OP 24 Eric McClure Hefty Toyota 30.928 174.599 4 5 1.575 0.079
37 OP 13 Carl Long Jaret's Angels/Industrial Technologies Dodge 31.014 174.115 1 4 1.661 0.086
38 OP 97 Peyton Sellers # VroomBrands Chevrolet 31.214 172.999 2 4 1.861 0.200
39 OP 52 Joey Gase Agri Supply Chevrolet 31.520 171.320 1 2 2.167 0.306
40 PC 19 Jeff Green TriStar Motorsports Toyota 30.844 175.075 1 1 1.491 -0.676
41 70 Derrike Cope The Power Outlet/Gravely/E&R Tires Chevrolet 31.850 169.545 1 7 2.497 1.006
42 74 Mike Harmon Skin and Bones Inc. Dodge 33.143 162.930 2 4 3.790 1.293
SCARY MOMENT - A scary moment occurred in the first round of qualifying when Chad Boat appeared to lose control of his car and plowed through the infield grass. While Boat was checked and released from the infield care center, his team went hard to work to repair damage on his No. 84 CorvetteParts.net Chevrolet. Despite the damage, Boat qualified for Saturday's race.
LOGANO STILL ADAPTING TO 600 MILES - Joey Logano was once NASCAR's next big thing, the future phenom, even the most carb-conscious dieter was believing in "Sliced Bread".
While Logano has since moved to Team Penske and found much success including a victory in this season's Daytona 500, he still remembers his first 600 mile race at Charlotte as a humbling affair.
" I remember the first time I wore the brakes off the car pretty early in the race," Logano said. "I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna make 600 miles,’ and it rained. It was rain-shortened that year. It was the year Reutimann won it, and I was pretty happy it was rain-shortened because I wasn’t gonna have the brakes to make it.”
Logano still managed to finish in the top-ten in his debut running of the 600 mile affair. The 24-year old driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford qualified second for the Coca-Cola 600 understands the unique set of challenges behind Sunday's endurance test.
“It still shocks me every year," Logano admits. "About every year it’s usually about 160 laps into the race I go, ‘How many more do we have to go?’ And they’ll tell me how many more and we’re not even halfway yet and I’m like, ‘Holy cow. This is forever long.’ But that’s why it means so much to win the Coca-Cola 600. It’s the longest race of the year.
"It takes a lot out of the car, it takes a lot out of the driver and the team to build a car that can go that fast for that long, and be able to keep up with the transitions of the track throughout the night."
FORD AND THE 600 - Ford won the Coca-Cola 600 for the first time on May 27, 1962 when the race was still referred to as the World 600. The 1962 event marked the third running of NASCAR’s longest race and in the end it was Nelson Stacy, behind the wheel of a 1962 Holman-Moody Ford, that ended up in victory lane. Stacy passed David Pearson, who developed engine trouble with eight laps to go, and went on to beat Joe Weatherly to the finish line by 32 seconds in posting the third of his four career victories. Fellow Holman-Moody teammate Fred Lorenzen finished third. The win was Stacy’s second straight after he took the checkered flag two weeks earlier in Darlington.
The most recent Ford Coca-Cola 600 victory was in 2002 when Mark Martin won the event and extended Jack Roush’s win streak in the event to four. Jeff Burton started the streak by winning in 1999, and then Matt Kenseth posted the first win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career as a rookie the following season in 2000. Burton followed that with his second win in three years before
Martin, who led the final 40 laps, was able to keep that streak going in 2002. The win was Martin’s 33rd career triumph, but it wasn’t easy as he had to hold off Kenseth down the stretch. The race ended with Ford sweeping the top four positions as Martin and Kenseth were followed across the finish line by Ricky Craven and Ricky Rudd, who was making his record 656th consecutive series start.
MAKING AN IMPACT - Saturday's race sponsor, Hisense made their presence known in the motorsports community far beyond the on-track activation. In an announcement prior to the race, Hisense announced they would present 20 televisions to the USO of North Carolina to benefit USO centers, VA hospitals and military bases in North Carolina and Washington, DC.
Hisense is all in this weekend with the US Military, both active and veterans.
Starting the Hisense 4K TV 300, active military members and veterans produced a video commanding "Drivers start your engines," and it played on the big screen prior to the launch. Military members were named as Grand Marshals.
"We are thrilled to be the title sponsor of this weekend's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte. Given the timing with Memorial Day weekend, we felt it was important honor our nation's military in a big way," Jerry Liu, CEO of Hisense USA said. "The Grand Marshal video and television donation were a small way we could thank and salute the military over this holiday weekend."
Fans are encouraged to follow @Hisense_USA on Twitter for upcoming giveaways and other promotions in support of the race entitlement.
THE LEGEND CONTINUES - The last two decades, the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway has served as a training ground for grassroots racers hoping to rise through the ranks to NASCAR’s premier series.
Several current NASCAR drivers who got their start on the front stretch quarter-mile were on hand to help U.S. Legends Car International officials roll out plans for the 21st annual summer series, which features intense Legend Car and Bandolero racing over an eight-week series in June and July.
In addition to a new title sponsor, Bojangles’, the 2015 edition of the Summer Shootout Series will bring together the most competitive field of Legend Car and Bandolero drivers from across the country to compete for a coveted championship.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano, David Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Daniel Hemric were on hand to talk about the family fun at Bojangles’ Summer Shootout.
“The Summer Shootout is all about family fun,” Logano said. “I remember coming out here with my whole family. David (Ragan) would be out here racing with his dad; it’s just a great family atmosphere.”
Ragan said it’s also the best place to learn the ropes of car control and racing and advance up the motorsports ladder.
“With the harder tires and the handling of these cars, Legends racing is a great way to learn car control and how to race in traffic,” Ragan said, adding that the Summer Shootout provides some of the most competitive Legends racing out there, with drivers coming to Charlotte Motor Speedway from across the country to compete in the eight-week series each year.
June 9, 2015 – Principal School Bus Races
June 16, 2015 – Team Spirit Night, Mascot Mania
June 23, 2015 – Media Mayhem, School Bus Races
June 30, 2015 – Fourth of July Blow Out, Fireworks, Champ Truck Display/Demo
July 7, 2015 – Faster Pastor, School Bus Races
July 14, 2015 – Little Luggies 600, Power Wheels Race
July 21, 2015 – First Responder Night, School Bus Races
July 28, 2015 – Champions Night, Fireworks, two-wheel stunt spectacular
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK - THE JOURNEY TO VICTORY LANE STARTS HERE
CAN HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF? - The last time Matt Kenseth started from the pole - he also celebrated in Victory Lane.
Kenseth laid down an average speed of 194.252 mph en route to nab his first career pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Kenseth got his first career Sprint Cup win 15 years ago. It's the second pole of Kenseth's 2015 campaign and the 15th of his career.
The veteran admits it's a long race, but there's value to starting up front.
"Starting in the front is important," Kenseth said. "The track typically goes through a lot of changes here, especially if the sun is out at the beginning of the race and not at the end of the race. You want to have good track position, good pit selection; all of those things. So if you do get a little off and you have to chase your setup a little bit with the track changing, you have a little bit of buffer for being towards the front.
"Track position is always important, you always want to start as far forward as you can."
Front row mainstay Joey Logano recorded an average speed of 192.836, which was good enough to start in second place. Logano is happy with qualifying efforts so far this season compared to last year's qualifying results.
"I'm very proud of my team," Logano said. "Last year our weak point in qualifying was maintaining that speed throughout all three sessions. This year it seems like we don't have much speed the first session but we're getting better throughout them so I'd much rather be good in the last session it's a lot of fun to have a car that qualifies well each week."
Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards will start third in Sunday's race. Greg Biffle qualified fourth, and Sprint All-Star Race winner Denny Hamlin qualified fifth.
Brad Keselowski, 2011 Coca-Cola 600 pole winner, will start Sunday from the sixth spot. David Ragan, who is in his third start for Michael Waltrip Racing, qualified in seventh place. Two-time Coca-Cola 600 winner Kevin Harvick will start in eighth place. Kyle Larson and Martin Truex, Jr, round out the top ten starters for Sunday's race.
Jeb Burton, Jeff Green, Mike Bliss, Travis Kvapil and Brendan Gaughan all failed to qualify for Sunday's field of 43.
NASCAR TO MAKE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND MEMORABLE - You won't see the names you are used to on the windshield of Sprint Cup competitors during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, but you will see the names of heroes.
The heroes are members of the Armed Services who have fallen while in the line of duty.
Every Sprint Cup Series competitor will participate in “600 Miles of Remembrance” on Memorial Day Weekend to honor military service members and their families. The 600 Miles of Remembrance will commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute, the sport’s collective expression of respect and gratitude for those who have sacrificed to serve the United States of America.
Fans can join in on the activities by using #NASCARSalutes on Twitter.
“The NASCAR community rallying to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, has long been part of our sport’s heritage,” NASCAR COO Brent Dewar said. “As part of NASCAR: An American Salute, 600 Miles of Remembrance represents a special moment in time as we pay tribute to service members who have sacrificed dearly for our freedom.”
Private Dean Van Dyke, killed in the Vietnam War, was a relative of Greg Biffle and will be on the driver's windshield. Army First Lieutenant Daniel Hyde, killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, will appear on the windshield of the #83 served alongside Chris Clayton, tire changer for the #83 team.
Bryan Brewster, the son of veteran motorsports journalist Louis Brewster, will be honored on the No. 55 entry driven by David Ragan. Brewster, along with nine other members of his unit, died on May 5, 2006, when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed along the Pakistan border.
“There’s nothing in the world that makes me more proud than to do something for the men and women of our military especially those who have lost given their lives,” said driver David Ragan. “This weekend is the greatest weekend of the year for racing but I hope by putting Bryan’s name on our car everyone will remember that a lot of people sacrificed their lives for our freedom. On behalf of myself, MWR, Aaron’s, NASCAR and all Americans I want to thank Bryan Brewster and his family along with all the other soldiers and their families.”
Families of the service members will also be honored on Sunday and will be alongside drivers during introductions. 6,000 members of the Armed Service will also be in attendance. NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various on- and off-track activitiess, teams and partners that show appreciation and support for the troops. The tribute will culminate Independence Day Weekend with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
This weekend, NASCAR together with Honor and Remember, Inc., will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who have died in military service from each of the 50 United States.
During the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race broadcast, FOX Sports will recognize all service members who have lost their lives in the past year by displaying their names and branch of service on a graphic scroll. FOX is in their fifth year of dedicating the pre-race show to service members that have fallen in the line of duty.
ROWDY RETURNS, THIS TIME FOR POINTS - Kyle Busch will make his 2015 Sprint Cup series points-paying debut this weekend.
While Busch returned for last Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race with a sixth-place finish but the 600 is a whole different ballgame. Sunday's race is 290 more laps and 435 more miles than the All-Star Race.
Last weekend, Busch felt just fine.
“It was really good," said Busch. "I learned some things. I think we also learned some stuff, myself and Adam Stevens (crew chief), about this racecar, for me, and getting around here in Charlotte. So we can take some of that this week and look forward to the Coke 600. All in all, it was a good evening. We were clicking off some spots, moving ourselves forward. Felt really good about things. I got busted for speeding on pit road. In that same segment, we ended up having a loose wheel. At least it was two things biting us in one segment, not two things biting us in different segments. I just feel really fortunate just to get back in the racecar, get out there and feel things out. Otherwise, everything felt good and getting to pit road, all that, everything was fine. Felt like we definitely could have raced our way in, maybe even the top-five, and give it a shot to win, governing our final pit stop, which was good where we were at. It’s a long race this weekend, so I’ll do my best to take care of myself this week and hoping for a good run with our Skittles Toyota on Sunday.”
For a driver who has won on almost every track in every other series, a win at Charlotte still eludes him in Sprint Cup competition. He has, however, compiled ten top-five finishes at Charlotte along with three third-place finishes in the Coca-Cola 600.
JIMMIE'S HOUSE - Jimmie Johnson's has a strong track record at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While it's hard to pinpoint a track where Johnson hasn't been successful, Charlotte has been the stage for many of Johnson's biggest accomplishments.
Johnson has won a track-record seven times here. He only has more wins at Dover and Martinsville, shorter races on the schedule.
“It’s always great to come to a track that you have a great past at, great history at," said Johnson on Thursday afternoon. "Unfortunately the showing we had in the All-Star race was less than stellar. The confidence we would normally walk in with has been diluted with lack of speed that we had then. Brought back a different car and certainly trying to do things differently with the set-up of the racecar. I think the 600 mile race has always been good for us.
"Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and I seem to fix our racecar as the night goes on, be aggressive with adjustments, chase the racetrack well and I do a nice job searching for line. The distance of the race doesn’t bother me. I think we will have a strong night, but we have a few things to sort out today and even into Saturday’s practice sessions. Based on what we learned and what we saw during the All-Star race.”
ON TOP OF THE WORLD - A decade ago in Charlotte Martin Truex Jr. was on top of the world. The Furniture Row Racing driver notched his first career Sprint Cup top-10 result on May 29, 2005.
Truex, who captured back-to-back Xfinity Series championships in 2004 and 2005 was only getting started in NASCAR’s premier division when he finished seventh in the 2005 Coke 600, driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. The race was his fifth career Sprint Cup start. He became a full-time Cup driver in 2006.
The seventh-place result in the 2005 Coke 600 still stands as Truex’s best finish in 19 career starts at the 1.5-mile oval. Since then he has claimed three additional top 10s at Charlotte Motor Speedway – one in the 600 (9th , 2013) and two in the fall race (9th, 2009 & 10th , 2013).
“I haven't had the best results at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but I am feeling good heading into the weekend,” said Truex, who ranks second in driver points. “The good news for us is that our primary 600 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet will be the same car we had in Kansas a couple of weeks ago. We led the most laps in Kansas (95) and had an excellent opportunity to win that race.”
VETERAN EFFORT - Furniture Row Racing’s roster has six military veterans – team owner Barney Visser (Army, Vietnam), Charlie Krauch (Army, Vietnam), Craig Phillips (Air Force, Vietnam), John Parks (Marines), Chuck Lemay (Navy) and Barry Huston (Navy).
THE DANGERS OF DEBRIS - An incident transpired on Saturday during the 3M 250 from Iowa Speedway, which had the NASCAR Sprint Cup racers talking on Thursday prior to Coca-Cola 600 qualifying.
Jamey Dick, while returning to the track from pit road behind the wheel of his No. 55 Viva Motorsports Chevrolet, a piece of lead ballast came off of another car and struck his car in the windshield. The impact destroyed the windshield, leaving Dick's helmet to bear the brunt of the impact.
Dick was uninjured.
“The halo bar in the car is there for flipping and things like that," said Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet. "The intrusion from outside things such as sod that (Dale Earnhardt) Junior chunked that sod up and I hit it. I feel like our cars are designed really well and can withstand all that. The damage that I had to my car was just due to the fact that the exterior shell is a distance away from that halo bar, and it just smashed that stuff in, it wasn’t a big deal.
"But a piece of tungsten, that is a whole new game. Thankfully he wasn’t injured or the car wasn’t damaged even anymore. I’ve fortunately never seen it before. I’ve always wondered what would happen. I think there was an incident at Phoenix ages ago where a piece of lead got out of a car and went through the concrete wall in Turns 1 and 2 I heard about. Man that is just bad news.
“Very concerning," added Joey Logano.."I looked at it and it hit his helmet and I saw the roll bar behind it with a cut in it and bent really bad, and that’s one of the worst things I think you can see. As a driver you look at that and you’re like, ‘Whoa.’ I believe the penalty needs to be large to the team that leaves something loose and lets a weight like that come out. That’s very, very dangerous. That’s more dangerous than hitting any wall and that’s something we can’t look over, for sure. I know NASCAR has looked in the past of how to keep debris from going through the windshield and shooting things at them, and we’ve seen videos of it and they’ve shown us and you see how the Lexan windshields and most of the time with the tests they’ve done before it seems like it deflects it most of the time.
" I’m not a professional at making cars safer, but of the videos we’ve seen we know they’ve worked on it. Obviously, it’s an area we need to make better because I don’t know if we were ready for 35-pound pieces of tungsten coming through the windshield. I think we’re ready for soda cans and little, small pieces of debris, not like that. That’s something that makes me nervous as a driver. That’s at Iowa going 150. What if we hit one here going 200? It wouldn’t be pretty.”
GIVING BACK - For the sixth straight year, Goodyear is rallying NASCAR fans to support members of the U.S. Armed Forces through its “Goodyear Gives Back” charitable program benefitting the Support Our Troops® organization.
To kick off the program, Goodyear has transformed its NASCAR race tires by replacing the “Eagle” sidewall design with “Support Our Troops” messaging on all tires used during Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This effort coincides with the launch of Goodyear's charity auction at www.Goodyear.com/GivesBack, which features autographed NASCAR memorabilia, VIP race experiences and rides on the Goodyear Blimp.
Proceeds benefit Support Our Troops®, a nonprofit nationwide organization that works to bolster the morale and well-being of America’s troops and their families. To-date, Goodyear Gives Back has generated nearly $1 million in cash and product donations to support the cause.
ELLIOTT HAS WORK CUT OUT FOR HIM - Chase Elliott made a strong NASCAR debut in 2014. The 19-year old son of Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott won three races in the Xfinity series en route to a championship but so far 2015 hasn't mirrored those results.
When the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Iowa ended, Elliott led the most laps of the race, but in the end Chris Buescher celebrated in Victory Lane. It was also Buescher who took control of a commanding lead in the Xfinity series point’s standings.
Elliott, who trails Buescher by 31 points in third place, had already nabbed two wins by this time last year and his current eight top-ten finishes lead the category. Elliott didn't run with much success in last season's spring trip to Charlotte just managing a 37th place finish.
Elliott is pulling double-duty this weekend, driving the #9 JR Motorsports Xfinity ride and the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup ride.
ALL-STAR ENTRY LIST HEADLINES XFINITY RACE - Saturday's Hisense 300 will have a murderer's row of competition battling for the checkered flag.
Denny Hamlin, fresh off his $1 million dollar win during last weekend's Sprint All-Star Race, seeks his first win at Charlotte in the Xfinity series.
Defending Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick returns to Xfinity action in the #88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. The veteran driver has a resume which consists of seven top-fives, 16 top-tens and an average finish of 10.7.
Kyle Larson, defending event champion, will also make his return to the Xfinity series this weekend.
Kasey Kahne piloted the JR Motorsports No. 00 entry in the Truck Series race last week at Charlotte to a win will drive JR Motorsports' No. 5 entry this weekend. The Sprint Cup series veteran Kahne won the Xfinity series race at Charlotte back in 2007 and also boasts five top-ten finishes at the North Carolina track.
Austin Dillon will make his fourth start in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and Aric Almirola will be back in the Fred Biagi's No. 98 Ford.
NASCAR HALL OF FAME CLASS ANNOUNCED - The 2016 class of inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame were announced this week. The seventh class of inductees into the Charlotte-based Hall of Fame includes Bruton Smith, Terry Labonte, Bobby Isaac, Jerry Cook and Curtis Turner.
The Voting Panel, which includes representatives from NASCAR, make up a combination of prominent members of the seasoned community. The selection committee includes those already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, media members, representatives from NASCAR's manufacturers, former drivers, retired owners and crew chiefs, a fan vote which NASCAR.com hosted and the defending Sprint Cup champion, Kevin Harvick. A total of 57 votes were cast this year with two more added from potential nominees, Jerry Cook and Robert Yates.
Bruton Smith, executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., received the highest percentage of votes with 68%. Smith, who promoted his first stock car race at the age of 18, opened Charlotte Motor Speedway, which was the beginning of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. SMI currently owns eight tracks on the Sprint Cup series circuit 12 times. Smith is also a member of the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame, the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
“When I found out that I was nominated, I realized how much this meant to my family and the 15,000 employees that work for my companies," said Smith. "Now I realize how much it means to me. It will truly be an honor to be remembered at the Hall of Fame along with people like Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Glen Wood, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip and so many others who helped build this sport. That’s what I’ve tried to do my entire life. I’m a frustrated builder who had a knack for promoting races, and it’s been fun to always try to push the sport to greater heights for the fans. From the first World 600, I’ve always wanted the fans to leave with something spectacular to remember about their experience. Even if they don’t remember who won the race, I want them to remember the pre-race show and having the time of their lives. I want fans to know we’re always working to build the best facilities for them and that’s who I really owe this recognition to. The millions of fans who’ve attended our race tracks all of these years are the ones who really deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They’ve built the sport right along with us, and I want to sincerely say thank you to them and the voting committee.”
Terry Labonte received the second highest percentage of votes with 61% of the votes. Labonte won Sprint Cup championships in both 1984 and 1996. "Texas Terry," as he was known, was also known as "Iron Man" at one time because of his 665 consecutive starts, a record which stood until 2002. Labonte recorded 361 top-ten finishes, tenth most in NASCAR history.
Curtis Turner received 60% of the votes during Wednesday's voting. Turner was one of NASCAR's first drivers, competing in NASCAR's Strictly Stock race at Charlotte in 1949. While most of his career took place before the Superspeedway era, Turner accomplished feats which remain unmatched today. For example, Turner remains the only driver to lead every lap and start from the pole in consecutive races.
Modified legend Jerry Cook received 47% of the votes. Cook won six NASCAR Modified championships including four in a row from 1974 to 1977. Following his retirement Cook went to work for NASCAR becoming the Whelen Modified Tour's series' director in its inaugural season of 1985. Cook remains with NASCAR today as the Modified tours' competition administrator. Bobby Isaac received 44% of the votes to become the fifth and final member of the 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Isaac, who won the 1970 Sprint Cup championship, set the mark for most pole position starts in a single season in 1969 with 19 poles. Isaac went to Victory Lane 37 times which ranks 19th on NASCAR's wins list.