Tag Archives: Nascar

Chase Briscoe captures first-career Cup Series win at Phoenix

March 13, 2022

By Holly Cain

NASCAR Wire Service

There was no shortage of motivation as three drivers all vying for their first-career victory in the marquee NASCAR Cup Series decided the dramatic outcome at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe had to hold off the field on not one, not two, but three late race restarts on the one-mile desert oval, including the final restart with three laps remaining to earn his first career NASCAR Cup Series win in the Ruoff Mortgage 500.

The 27-year-old Briscoe is the 200th different winner in NASCAR’s premier series and last year’s Rookie of the Year earned the victory- by .771-seconds over Ross Chastain – in only his 40th start.

“It’s unbelievable,’’ said Briscoe, who drives the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.

“I was crying the whole last lap. This is definitely a team win, but I’ve got to thank everybody that’s got me to this point. Just seven years ago I was sleeping on couches, volunteering at race shops and was literally driving home to give up.

“Unbelievable,’’ he continued, smiling. “So blessed to be here driving for this organization this team and this car that was my hero’s (NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart) growing up.

“To everybody that’s believed in me, it’s unbelievable.’’

Fast pit stops for Briscoe’s John Klausmeier-led crew helped all day. His 101 laps out front was second only to pole-winner Ryan Blaney’s 144 laps led. But Briscoe certainly had to earn this win on track holding off the field on those late race re-starts with cars sometimes fanning out seven-wide in the frenetic shuffle to the front.

Chevrolet drivers Chastain and Tyler Reddick took Briscoe three-wide on the final restart – all fueled by the motivation of that first win, but Briscoe’s Ford was able to drive away leaving them to settle runner-up between themselves.

Chastain’s runner-up finish is his second consecutive top-three finish for the Trackhouse Racing organization. Richard Childress Racing’s Reddick placed third followed by polesitter, Penske Racing’s Ryan Blaney and 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch.

“That was so much fun to get to race like that at this level,’’ Chastain said, adding of the last lap competition, “That’s so cool to race with Tyler and Chase. That’s everything I’ve ever wanted.”

Briscoe’s veteran teammate Kevin Harvick finished sixth and that top-10 was good enough to tie a huge mark of success shared only by two NASCAR Hall of Famers. Harvick’s 18th consecutive top-10 at Phoenix matches an all-time NASCAR Cup Series record set by both Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway.

Another former series champion, Kyle Busch finished seventh leading the Joe Gibbs Racing charge. Penske Racing’s Joey Logano, Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez and Roush-Fenway-Keselowski driver Chris Buescher rounded out the top-10 respectively.

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, who ran up front for much of the race, suffered a DNF – pitting with 74 laps remaining with what his crew diagnosed as a broken valve spring in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Larson was officially scored 34th – the second sub-30th place finish of the season, including a crash at the Daytona 500 (32nd place finish).

Larson already scored a victory at Auto Club Speedway this season, however, and is still ranked fourth in the championship, 10 points behind new leader Logano. Kyle Busch is third, five points back.

Both Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron and Penske’s Blaney earned their first Stage wins of the season. There were 15 lead changes among six drivers.

The NASCAR Cup Series next races at the newly-renovated Atlanta Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Blaney is the defending race winner on the 1.5-mile high-banks which will now feature new pavement and progressive banking.

NASCAR Cup Series Race – 18th Annual Ruoff Mortgage 500

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Sunday, March 13, 2022

  1. (6)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 312.
  2. (17)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 312.
  3. (12)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 312.
  4. (1)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 312.
  5. (15)  Kurt Busch, Toyota, 312.
  6. (16)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 312.
  7. (11)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 312.
  8. (10)  Joey Logano, Ford, 312.
  9. (23)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 312.
  10. (26)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 312.
  11. (19)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 312.
  12. (5)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 312.
  13. (2)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 312.
  14. (9)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 312.
  15. (21)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 312.
  16. (25)  Cole Custer, Ford, 312.
  17. (28)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 312.
  18. (3)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 312.
  19. (33)  Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 312.
  20. (29)  AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 312.
  21. (13)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 311.
  22. (27)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 311.
  23. (18)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 311.
  24. (8)  Austin Cindric #, Ford, 311.
  25. (14)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 311.
  26. (4)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 310.
  27. (22)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 310.
  28. (36)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 310.
  29. (24)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 309.
  30. (31)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 308.
  31. (32)  Cody Ware, Ford, 307.
  32. (35)  Garrett Smithley, Ford, 305.
  33. (34)  BJ McLeod, Ford, 304.
  34. (7)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 239.
  35. (20)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 219.
  36. (30)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Accident, 45.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  100.339 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 6 Mins, 34 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .771 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  8 for 52 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Blaney 1-27;K. Larson 28;J. Logano 29-32;C. Briscoe 33-51;W. Byron 52-63;K. Larson 64;R. Blaney 65-121;C. Elliott 122-132;R. Blaney 133-189;C. Elliott 190-224;R. Blaney 225;C. Elliott 226-229;C. Briscoe 230-287;R. Blaney 288;C. Briscoe 289-312.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Ryan Blaney 5 times for 143 laps; Chase Briscoe 3 times for 101 laps; Chase Elliott 3 times for 50 laps; William Byron 1 time for 12 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 4 laps; Kyle Larson 2 times for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 24,14,9,8,48,20,5,4,22,3

Stage #2 Top Ten: 12,9,4,24,5,8,1,14,3,22

Alex Bowman holds off Larson with overtime surge for Las Vegas win

ByHolly Cain NASCAR Wire Service March 6, 2022  at 7:33 PM

Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS — Alex Bowman won in a dramatic overtime ending Sunday in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – gambling on a two-tire final pit stop for his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and holding off the field in a two-lap sprint to decide the NASCAR Cup Series race.

Bowman and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson made up the front row on the restart – the pair along with teammate William Byron took two tires on the final pit stop while Kyle Busch, who had led 40 of the previous 45 laps, opted to get four tires and start just behind on the second row.

RELATED: Race results | At-track photos

The two-tire stop, however, proved to be enough with Busch unable to even make a pass attempt as the Hendrick cars decided the trophy. The Tucson, Arizona, native Bowman, 28, crossed the line 0.178 seconds ahead of the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Larson to earn his first trophy of 2022 and seventh of his career.  It was Bowman’s first top-20 finish after a frustrating start to the three-race old season.

“This thing was so fast all day,’’ said Bowman, who led 16 of the 274 laps. “Just never really had the track position to show it. But man, what a call by (crew chief) Greg Ives and the guys to take two (tires) there and obviously it paid off.

“Racing Kyle (Larson) is always fun and I’ve got to race him for a couple wins and we always race each other super clean and super respectively. Just can’t say enough about these guys.

“It’s been a pretty awful start to the year so to come out here and get a win on a last restart, I feel like that’s pretty special.’’

The runner-up finish for Larson, who led three times for 27 laps on the day, was good enough to propel him into the championship lead for the first time this season. He holds a six-point advantage over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., who finished eighth on Sunday.

Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain, who led a race-best 83 laps and scored the two-year-old team’s first stage victory, finished third. The Las Vegas native Busch was fourth and a third Hendrick Motorsports teammate, William Byron, rounded out the top five.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola earned his third consecutive top 10 with a sixth-place finish. Tyler Reddick, Truex, Hendrick’s Chase Elliott and polesitter Christopher Bell completed the top 10.

For most of the race’s final laps, it looked like Busch would claim his first NASCAR Cup Series trophy at his “home track” since 2009. It has been 46 series wins since that triumph.

And Busch’s work in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on Sunday was especially impressive considering he crashed in opening practice on Saturday and was forced to use a backup car originally sent to the track for spare parts. The car wasn’t prepared in time for qualifying so Busch started last in the race.

His rally for a near-win was enthusiastically appreciated by the home crowd even if the ultimate Top five was still a bit disappointing for the former two-time series champion considering his time out front (49 laps) in the closing laps.

“Everybody really had a hand in making us go today, really appreciate that,’’ Busch said, acknowledging crew members from all four JGR cars frantically worked to get his car race ready. “It was good, fast at the end and tried to do what I could there to hold the lead with Truex. Felt like I inched away finally and we were coming to the white (flag) but it wasn’t meant to be. Not our day. See you next week.’’

The race featuring the 1.5-mile debut of the Next Gen cars produced 23 lead changes among 15 different drivers with Bowman (Stage 1) and Chastain (Stage 2) winning the stages.

“We were like 30th in first practice, right off the truck, and we slowly built up to it,” Chastain said, “and if we can keep doing that and have cars like this, obviously we can compete.’’

The NASCAR Cup Series’ next stop is Phoenix Raceway for the Ruoff Mortgage 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) next Sunday afternoon. Truex is the defending race winner.

Saturday Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Notebook

February 5, 2022

By Reid Spencer Photo Getty Images

NASCAR Wire Service

Kyle Busch tops qualifying for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

LOS ANGELES — Kyle Busch turned a lap in 13.745 seconds (65.489 mph) Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to pace single-car qualifying for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.

That means Busch will start from the pole in the first of four 25-lap heat races on Sunday, each featuring nine cars on the quarter-mile pavement track built specifically for the event, which features the competitive debut of NASCAR’s Next Gen Cup Series car.

Tyler Reddick (13.761 seconds at 65.402 mph) qualified second to earn the pole for Sunday’s second heat race, followed by Justin Haley (64.790 mph) and Joey Logano (64.521 mph), who will start first in Heats 3 and 4, respectively.

The top four finishers in each heat will advance to the 150-lap Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum (6 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“I never would have thunk it,” said Busch, the only Toyota driver in the top 14 in time trials. “I don’t know, you know, it’s pretty cool. It’s just different with the opportunity to do something like this. NASCAR took a lot of flak on what this was going to look like and what it was going to be. But we’re having a great time. We had a bunch of fans come out just to witness the qualifying.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what this place will look like (Sunday) and have the opportunity to race this No. 18 Toyota and keep it up front. We’re not in (the main event) yet—we still have to go through that heat race.”

In fact, the only driver who is guaranteed a starting spot in the Busch Light Clash is Kyle Larson, the 2021 Cup Series champion. There’s one provisional starting spot available to the top driver in points from 2021 who fails to make the show through the heats or two subsequent 50-lap last-chance qualifiers.

Three drivers will advance from each of the LCQs, with the provisional completing the 23-car Clash field.

Larson qualified eighth and will start on the outside of the front row in Heat 4. The other front-row starting spots in the heats go to Daniel Suarez (fifth), Cole Custer (sixth) and Chase Elliott (seventh).

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Harrison Burton, William Byron and defending Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell qualified ninth through 12th, respectively.

Chase Elliott tops Saturday morning practice session at the Coliseum

Exploring the limits of the Next Gen NASCAR Cup Series race car, Chase Elliott jumped to the top of the speed chart during the final session of practice for the Busch Light Clash at Coliseum.

On his 93rd lap of the day, the 2020 Cup Series champion covered the quarter-mile distance and in 13.455 seconds (66.890 mph) to edge Kevin Harvick for the fastest lap of practice by .002 seconds.

“The track does kind of change a little bit as you run,” Elliott said during a question-and-answer session on the highest level of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. “You gain some grip, and it seems like everybody goes a little faster the longer you run in a session. That was interesting.

“We were able to go through the things we wanted to change session to session, and now we just need to decide where we want to land; maybe in-between some of those changes that we did. But just try to make the right decisions and get yourself in a good position and try to go qualify well.”

Kyle Busch seeks yet another “first” in Next Gen car debut

At Bristol in 2007, Kyle Busch won the debut race of the Car of Tomorrow at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In March of 2008, he gave Toyota its first victory in the NASCAR Cup Series with a dominating win at Atlanta.

Contemplating the prospect of winning the first race in the Next Gen NASCAR Cup Series car, however, Busch says that “first” might be taken with a grain of salt.

“In the back of my mind, you would say, yeah, you want to be the first guy, but I think many of us would argue that the first race for this vehicle will be the Daytona 500,” said Busch, who leads all active drivers with 59 victories in Cup Series points races. “You know, we’re here obviously, it is a race. Yes, they will pay somebody at the end of the day to win it. But this is more, as we’ve kind of alluded, a little bit where it’s a show.

“I mean that’s fine, and we’re going to do our best job of being able to put on a good show. There’s going to be a race involved. There’s going to be a checkered flag at the end of it. And I’ve been involved in the sport enough where there’s a lot of asterisks on the things that I’ve accomplished. So I’m sure me winning this race—I did not win the first race of the new car—it would be whoever wins Daytona, that’s how it would go.”

Busch, who was fifth fastest on the practice chart on Saturday morning, could make the issue moot by winning the Daytona 500 for the first time.

After practice, Ryan Blaney praises adjustability of Next Gen car

In Saturday’s opening practice session, Ryan Blaney 35th fastest among the 36 hopefuls for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.

Soon after his group of 12 cars took to the track for their second session, Blaney jumped to second fastest overall.

The driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford ended practice ninth overall as the track gained speed throughout the scheduled two-hour warm-up. Blaney said wholesale changes to his car after the first session accounted for the improvement in performance.

“We found a lot,” Blaney acknowledged. “We changed a whole lot between the first and second practice. We were really bad the first run and just really loose. The corners are so tight here that the moment your rear slips out from under you, it takes forever to catch it and you lose tons of time.

“We came in and put tons of wedge in it and changed the right front spring and rear springs. There is a lot of adjustability in these cars with rear and front bar and stiffness on the arms on them—you can change a lot. We did a good job of getting on top of it and taking a huge swing at it.

“We were so far off. The adjustability on these cars is a lot though… It’s nice to have so many options where you can tweak on things.”

With independent rear suspension, differential in place of rear-end housing and rack-and-pinion steering all new to the Next Gen car, crew chiefs will have a lot to work with—and a lot to learn—in the coming weeks.