Monster Energy Cup Series News

Monster Energy Cup Series News (17697)

With Halloween right around the corner, Kyle Busch and the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will race Sunday afternoon at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway once again sporting the colorful candymaker’s  special Halloween scheme to celebrate M&M’S Halloween fun packs.


Along with his favorite chocolate candies, Busch is looking for something else to add to his Halloween treat bag following Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville, and that’s the traditional Martinsville grandfather clock trophy for winning at NASCAR’s shortest track. While the clock may be way too big for his treat bag, a win would be quite the treat as it would automatically qualify him for the season-ending Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway three weeks hence. Busch knows the feeling well as he won at Martinsville last October, qualifying him for the winner-take-all Homestead playoff finale and allowing him and his team to focus on it a few weeks early.


The spooky-looking M&M’S scheme will race four days before Halloween at a place that used to challenge Busch at the start of his career, and early on in his 12-year tenure with JGR. Busch finished outside the top-10 in three of his first four Martinsville races with JGR in 2008 and 2009. Since then, Busch has scored eight straight top-five finishes there and he hopes a ninth straight top-five Sunday will boost his championship hopes.


The beginning of the recent success at Martinsville for Busch and the M&M’s team came with the 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion’s first career win at the paperclip-shaped oval in April 2016. Not only did he bring home his first Martinsville clock, he did it in dominating fashion, leading five times for a race-high 352 laps en route to victory lane. His win at Martinsville in October 2017 came late in the race.


With just four races left in the season, and with the series kicking off the Round of 8 of the 2019 playoffs at Martinsville this weekend, Busch knows a repeat performance from 2017 would be just the ticket in his efforts to bring home his second Cup Series championship for the M&M’S Halloween team.


All season long, Busch and his team have never backed down from a challenge. He was able to advance through the first two playoff rounds, most recently with a solid third-place finish in Sunday’s Round of 12 finale at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Now that he’s made it to the final eight, Busch knows he and his team have some work to do to make it to the championship race at Homestead.


So as the season heads into the homestretch, Busch and the M&M’S Halloween team know that, when it comes to being championship-eligible at Homestead, they’ll hope to take advantage of the confidence built since 2015 at Martinsville. Since he already conquered the .526-mile short track in Southern Virginia twice in recent years, Busch hopes in addition to an M&M’S treat and the traditional Grandfather clock to add to his treat bag, a punched ticket to the championship race in Homestead will be waiting for him at the end of Sunday’s 500-lap marathon, as well.


Ryan Newman’s No. 6 Ford Mustang will pay homage to another legendary American vehicle this weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series returns to Martinsville Speedway, carrying the iconic Blue Bird School Bus colors.

“As a parent, I was interested to learn about what ROUSH CleanTech is doing to help make school buses safer, more economical and environmentally friendly,” said Newman. “The Blue Bird paint scheme reflects the familiar yellow bus that we all grew up riding to school and I think the fans are going to love it when they see it on the track in Martinsville.”

The paint scheme will celebrate Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech delivering their 15,000th propane school bus this week. The buses will be delivered to the Newport News Public Schools district in Virginia.

ROUSH and Blue Bird have been partners since 2012. The Ford engine with a ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel system used to equip the Blue Bird Propane Vision buses are averaging 65 percent lower emissions than the current EPA and CARB standards. On average, propane autogas costs up to 50 percent less than diesel, allowing school districts to use those savings for other areas in need of funding.

This will be the second time Blue Bird has appeared on one of Jack Roush’s Fords, as Ricky Stenhouse took the company to victory lane in his own No. 6 Mustang in September 2012 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series takes to the track at Martinsville Speedway for the First Data 500 at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 27. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN, and can be heard on SiriusXM Chanel 90.


Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway this weekend with only four races to go in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup season. 


Almirola drove to a ninth-place finish in his most recent start at the .526-mile paper clip last March while earning a total of 13 bonus points. His top-10 effort was his first at Martinsville since 2014 and his first at SHR.


“We had a great weekend in Martinsville earlier this year,” Almirola said.  “Our car was fast, but we got tangled with the 18 car in Stage 2 that knocked us back to 12th, and we had to fight hard to get back to where we were. I’m excited to hopefully bring back that same speed to advance in the points. No matter what the situation is, we as racers always love going to short tracks. It’s what we grew up doing and it puts the outcome in the driver’s hands more than the superspeedway races. You can’t pass much there, so it’s extremely important that you stay mentally and physically focused throughout the entire run.”


In 21 career starts at Martinsville’s half-mile oval, the 35-year-old Almirola has four top-10 finishes, one top-five and has led 56 laps. His two Martinsville starts with SHR proved to be competitive, cracking the top-10 for the SHR organization, which has four victories, 10 top-five finishes and 27 top-10s and has led 720 laps in 64 starts there.


After 32 races this season, Almirola has one pole, two top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and has led 118 laps. That adds to a career total of two wins, two poles, 17 top-five finishes, 60 top-10s and 475 laps led in 311 starts.


“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for us,” he said. “We started the season so strong, then hit a rough patch in the middle of the season. We almost advanced to the Round of 12 (of the playoffs), too. It just shows you how competitive this series is. We’ll continue to learn and shoot for more consistency.”


Last weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Almirola piloted the No. 10 Smithfield/Hy-Vee Ford Mustang in and around the top-10 until contact with the wall and a cut tire knocked him three laps down to finish 23rd. 


As the season comes to a close, Almirola sits 13th in the season standings with 2,148 points, 17 behind 12th-place Alex Bowman.


Sunday’s 400-mile race at Martinsville marks the 29th points-paying event during which the Smithfield livery has adorned Almirola’s No. 10 Ford Mustang this year. Smithfield, a brand of Smithfield Foods, based in Smithfield, Virginia, is in its eighth season with Almirola and its second with SHR. Founded in 1936, Smithfield is a leading provider of high-quality pork products, with a vast product portfolio including smoked meats, hams, bacon, sausage, ribs, and a wide variety of fresh pork cuts.


Fans can get VIP, behind-the-scenes access in following “Aric ‘Beyond the 10’” by subscribing to his YouTube channel. Episodes showcase never-before-seen footage of Almirola at the racetrack, on family trips, and “A Day in the Life” during the week, as well as all that goes into a NASCAR Cup Series driver’s season. Tune in this weekend for full access to Almirola’s playoff media day, NASCAR Burnout Boulevard and the Vegas race weekend. Click here to subscribe on YouTube and watch the latest episode.


Ty Dillon and Germain Racing have had a strong season and they continue to build momentum as the season nears its end. Coming off of a top-10 finish at Talladega a week ago, the GEICO team looked to attack Kansas Speedway, a challenging intermediate track. Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race would see Dillon and company overcome a late-race tire issue to rebound and post a 22nd place finish.
When Germain Racing visited Kansas Speedway in April, they qualified 36th, but their visit this weekend yielded a significant improvement. Dillon and his No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 would start Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 from 24th, netting a 12-position improvement over the spring race.
Bright sunshine and cool temperatures provided perfect conditions when the green flag turned the NASCAR Cup Series field loose for 267-laps of racing. Starting 24th, Dillon wheeled the GEICO Camaro around the 1.5-mile facility looking to gain ground. He experienced handling issues early in the race, but crew chief, Matt Borland, made changes to the GEICO Camaro that would help Dillon hold his ground throughout the event.
Despite lacking grip, Dillon was on the gas and running down the cars in front of him. On lap 208 of a scheduled 267, he reported a tire issue and would be forced to visit pit road under green flag conditions. Despite going three laps down to the field in the process, Dillon was seemingly unfazed as he discussed a potential strategy with Borland over the team's radio frequency. Borland sharpened his pencil and crafted a plan that saw Dillon recover a head-turning two-laps and charge back to a 22nd place finish when the checkered flag waved after overtime. Dillon's result was a six-position improvement over the team's finish at Kansas in April.
"Kansas hasn't been our best track these last couple of years, but to come home with a 22nd-place finish is a solid day for our team," Dillon said after climbing from his car. "The GEICO Camaro ZL1 was just lacking overall grip and speed throughout the race, but Matt (Borland, crew chief) kept trying to make the car handle better on each stop. Late in the race, I thought I had a flat or corded tire and from that point on, the car was very unpredictable. One corner it would be tight and then the next it would be loose. My Germain Racing team never gave up and we are looking forward to going to Martinsville next weekend." 
Race number 33 of the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season will see Germain Racing visit the famed 'Paperclip' for some exciting, door-to-door short-track racing.
Ty Dillon and the No. 13 GEICO Camaro ZL1 will hit the track at Martinsville Speedway for the weekend's opening practice session on Saturday, October 26th, at 9:05 AM (ET). Qualifying will follow at 4:35 PM (ET).
The First Data 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is on Sunday, October 27th, and it will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 3 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast, along with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Clint Bowyer has an interesting plan for the future of Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.


“If I could do anything in this sport,” said a probably joking Bowyer. “I would remove that track from Virginia and take it with us to every place we race throughout the country. We need more short tracks, and places just like Martinsville are exactly the ticket.”


The 40-year-old Bowyer, who grew up on Kansas short tracks, loves the rustic nature of the track that’s hosted 141 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races since 1949 and whose fans mix with drivers in the infield and sit close to the action in the grandstands. Plus, it’s only a 90-minute drive from his farm in Mocksville, North Carolina. 


“I love getting up on a cold morning in October and driving my truck to Martinsville,” Bowyer said. “That’s old-school racing. When the cars aren’t running, you can hear the fans talking in the grandstands. You are right out there with everybody.”


The NASCAR Cup Series holds its 33rd race of the season and first of the three-race Round of 8 of this year’s playoffs Sunday on the flat, half-mile track in Southern Virginia. Although he fell out of the playoffs at the Round of 12 finale last weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Bowyer still has a lot of racing left at the final four stops of the 2019 Cup Series tour.


He’s 11th in points and looking to climb into the top 10 and getting a jump on the 2020 season. Bowyer and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) announced Thursday that Bowyer will continue to drive the No. 14 Ford Mustang in 2020, just as he has since replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart before the 2017 season.


“I race because I love to do it and I love to come back here and everything else,” Bowyer said. “There is a lot of pride to be a part of a sport like this, something you grew up doing since you were a little boy. A great deal of pride that goes into being a part of this. As far as the aspect of doing it another year, yes, that is great and according to plan. We kind of look at Martinsville as the first race in our bid to make the playoffs and go on to a championship in 2020. We feel confident we’ll be part of the playoffs again and return to victory lane. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I wanted to be and I can’t wait to get going on 2020, but let’s finish this year out right, and there’s no better place for me to do that than at Martinsville.”


Bowyer arrives at Martinsville after finishing eighth in his home state of Kansas. The finish left him 21 points short of transferring to the Round of 8. Even outside the playoffs, Bowyer said winning a race is enough motivation for any driver the rest of this season.  


“I want another one of those grandfather clocks at the house,” he said, referring to the unique “trophy” awarded to race winners at Martinsville. “Each of us is here to win. That’s what the fans pay to watch and we’ll all be digging to win Sunday.”


Bowyer’s best Martinsville moment came in March 2018, when he dominated the 500-lap race leading 215 laps on his way to winning his 10th of 11 career victories. Bowyer celebrated by drinking Busch beer with race fans in the stands that afternoon, as well as having his young family join him in victory lane.


Bowyer will pilot the No. 14 BlueDEF® Ford at Martinsville this weekend. BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is one of the key elements in the process used by diesel engine builders to meet environmental regulations. DEF is not a fuel or fuel additive. Instead, when injected into the exhaust stream and passed over a catalyst, DEF helps convert harmful gasses into nitrogen gas and water vapor – two harmless and natural components of the air we breathe.


The Martinsville race will mark the third of three primary races this season for Bowyer with Old World Industries, the parent company of the PEAK and BlueDEF® brands. PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze served as the No. 14 sponsor in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and PEAK Lighting adorned the No. 14 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August.


PEAK’s legacy in motorsports spans 40 years and includes leading drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty. Besides Bowyer’s No. 14 car, PEAK is a partner with the Haas F1 team with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, Clint Bowyer Racing’s two Dirt Late Models, and drag racing’s winningest driver John Force.


NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, the National FFA Organization and DEKALB® brand corn team up to help students cross their “finish line” with the new Left Turns for Learning agricultural scholarship. Driver Clint Bowyer completed 267 laps during the Kansas Speedway NASCAR race on October 20 to fund a $10,138 FFA scholarship.

Local FFA students from Bowyer’s hometown area were invited to an exclusive experience at the race. Students were able to participate in the DEKALB Champions of Yield festivities, including a trivia game with driver Clint Bowyer.

“With the cost of education, the Left Turns for Learning scholarship provides kids additional opportunities they normally wouldn’t have,” said Southern Lyon County FFA advisor Staci Garriott. “Clint is a local in the area, and he does phenomenal work supporting his hometown community. It’s exciting for the kids to meet and interact with him at the race. He continues to do great things for the kids, and this is evident with his involvement in this scholarship program.”

“There’s nothing better than taking the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Mustang to the track to directly benefit ag students,” said Bowyer. “DEKALB is a consistently high-performing brand, so it’s an honor to work with category leaders dedicated to performance, technology and helping current and future farmers succeed.”

The Left Turns for Learning Scholarship was created by DEKALB and Asgrow to help students achieve their goals and advance the agriculture industry by focusing on performance. The scholarship amount was determined by the number of laps Bowyer completed with the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Mustang.

“We’re really excited to partner with the National FFA and Clint to invest in the future of ag,” said Pete Uitenbroek, DEKALB Asgrow Brand Marketing Lead. “For one selected student, this scholarship not only helps them reach their “finish line,” but also illustrates how superior performance is driven by innovation, perseverance and the team supporting you.”

Eligible FFA high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores or juniors pursuing an ag-related degree can apply for the scholarship November 1, 2019 through January 15, 2020 by visiting the National FFA website at*. The scholarship winner will be notified by FFA in April 2020.

Visit for more info and follow the conversation with #LeftTurns4Learning #GoClintGo.


NBC Sports’ coverage of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on NBC averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 3.322 million viewers – up 20% vs. 2018 – delivering NBC Sports’ largest NASCAR year-over-year viewership increase since its current rights agreement began in 2015, according to Fast National data by the Nielsen Company and streaming data by Adobe Analytics.

The 20% year-over-year viewership increase for Sunday’s race on NBC also marks the largest viewership increase for a NASCAR Cup Series race in eight years*, when ESPN’s coverage of the 2011 Championship race at Homestead was up 21% vs 2010. It also marks NBC Sports’ fourth race with double-digit year-over-year viewership gains this season.

Date Event Network TAD (% Gain vs. ‘18)
July 21 New Hampshire NBCSN 2.827 million (+12%)
Aug. 11 Michigan NBCSN 2.929 million (+14%)
Sept. 15 Las Vegas NBCSN 2.412 million (+12%)^
Oct. 20 Kansas NBC 3.322 million (+20%)

TV-only viewership of Sunday’s race on NBC peaked with 4.108 million viewers from 5:30-5:45 p.m. ET, as Denny Hamlin held off Chase Elliott during overtime for his fifth win of the season as the Round of 8 was decided in the NASCAR Playoffs.

Sunday’s race on NBC (2:57-6 p.m. ET) stands as NBC Sports’ most-watched Cup Series race since last year’s Championship race at Homestead on NBC and NBCSN (4.180 million; 11/18/18) and its most-watched Kansas Cup Series race since 2016 (3.455 million; 10/16/16). On TV only, the race delivered a 2.03 HH rating and 3.304 million viewers, up 17% and 20%, respectively, vs. 2018.

Excluding this year’s weather-impacted races at Daytona and Talladega, NBC Sports’ 2019 NASCAR Cup Series coverage has averaged a TAD of 2.545 million viewers, up 4% vs. the comparable races in 2018 (2.457 million).

Additionally, Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Kansas on NBC (3:17-6 p.m. ET) averaged a TAD of 1.336 million viewers, up 3% vs. last year (1.296 million).

*excludes rain-impacted races and network changes
^moved from afternoon to night race

NBC Sports PR

As intense NASCAR competition often goes – and much to the pleasure of its fans – the eight drivers who have advanced in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs may not have been the odds-on choices to challenge for the Cup championship in the pre-season. But the mix of motivated young talent and tested veterans has certainly created a must-see penultimate three-race semifinal round beginning this week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with the First Data 500 (Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Following last Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, regular season champion Kyle Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin, Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, Hendrick Motorsport’s Chase Elliott, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney earned their right to continue challenging for the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

With the points re-set, regular season champion Busch holds a slim four-point edge over six-race winner Truex, a nine-point advantage over Sunday’s winner Hamlin (a five-race winner) and Busch is 16 points up on defending Cup series champion Logano in fourth.

Among those drivers – Busch (2015), Truex (2017), Logano (2018) and Harvick (2014) are all former series champions. Sunday’s Kansas winner, Denny Hamlin, finished championship runner-up to seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson in 2010 and has finished third in the title chase twice (2006 and 2014).

The 20-somethings that will be challenging these seasoned vets, have plenty of reason to feel good about the upcoming Playoff round and their quest to hoist their first championship trophy. Chase Elliott, 23, has advanced to this Round of 8 each of the last three years posting a career-best championship finish of fifth in 2017. The 27-year old Kyle Larson’s best ever title run was eighth place in 2017. And this will be Ryan Blaney’s second-time making the Round of 8. The 25-year old’s best ever championship finish was ninth in 2017.

Although Larson and Blaney won the first two races of the last Playoff round to automatically advance, Elliott’s fate came down to an overtime restart on Sunday. The combination of his runner-up finish and veteran Brad Keselowski’s tough luck on those last two laps – including a brush with the wall - was enough to move Elliott in the title hunt by a mere three-points over the 2012 Cup champ Keselowski at the checkered flag.

Not only was it a test of gumption, Elliott said his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team’s last laps-effort was a positive sign of their possibilities down the Playoff stretch.

“If you ever get to (championship finale at) Homestead (Fla.), you’re going to have to fight for a win down there," Elliott said Sunday afternoon at Kansas. “Proud of the effort. Learned a lot. To be able to come out here and, like I said, in our minds have to win, come and fight for one, to finish second. I think is a step in the right direction for us. So excited to move on."

Sizing up the next three Playoff races that will ultimately decide which four drivers compete in Nov. 17 Homestead-Miami Speedway’s season finale, shows a decided edge to the veterans. However, just having had more experience at the tracks doesn’t necessarily ensure positive outcomes. There are good cases to be made for all eight of these title contenders.

Among these drivers Harvick has earned the most combined trophies (11) at the next three venues – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix’s ISM Raceway. Hamlin has nine wins total and Busch has eight. Logano has a win at each of the tracks. These four drivers are the only Playoff competitors with victories at all three upcoming tracks.

At the historic half-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Hamlin leads the eight Playoff drivers with five wins, including three in a row from 2010-11. Four of the eight Playoff competitors have won the classic Martinsville grandfather clock awarded to race winners. Kyle Busch is the only other multi-time Martinsville winner with wins in Spring, 2016 and the 2017 Playoff race. Logano is the defending Playoff race winner at the track. Harvick won the 2011 Spring race.

Harvick is the only driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s major series at Martinsville, with a 2006 Xfinity series victory and three Gander Outdoors Truck Series trophies (2009, 2010, 2012). Busch and Hamlin both have a pair of truck series wins. Logano and Elliott have each won a truck race there as well.

However, among the Playoff drivers, Elliott boasts the best spring finish – a runner-up effort to Keselowski this May, Blaney was fourth.

At the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, where the series races Nov. 3, Busch and Hamlin lead the Playoff contenders with three Cup wins each and Hamlin won just this April. Harvick is the only other among the eight with multiple Cup wins at TMS, winning both the 2017 and 2018 Playoff races there. Logano has one win - in 2014.

Among those without a Cup victory at Texas, Elliott did earn his first career Xfinity Series race victory there in 2014. Larson (2016) and Blaney (2018) also have Xfinity Series wins at Texas.

At the newly redesigned ISM Raceway in Phoenix, where the series races on Nov. 10, there is no question who shows up the odds-on ultimate race favorite: nine-time winner Kevin Harvick. He and three-time Cup winner Kyle Busch are the only drivers with multiple Cup victories at the Phoenix mile.

Busch has a track record 11 Xfinity Series wins there, along with a pair of truck victories. Harvick has an Xfinity win and four Truck Series wins in addition to his record nine Cup victories – the two drivers clearly are the class of the ISM Raceway field.

Busch has won the last two Cup races at the track – the first two on the newly-designed layout.

Logano (2016 Playoff win and a pair of Xfinity series wins) and Hamlin (a 2012 Cup winner) are the only other Playoff eligible drivers to hoist a trophy at the track.

Truex, who has set the bar with six victories in 2019, has not won at any of this Playoff round’s tracks. The 2017 series champion was runner-up in the 2017 Playoff race at Martinsville and third last year. He was also runner-up at Texas in the 2017 Playoff race – a career-best for him. He has three top-five finishes in the last four races at ISM Raceway and was runner-up to Busch this Spring – a career-best showing.

The redesign and change in track format makes this a new “ballgame” so to speak. And while Busch has certainly shown the way winning the opening two races on the new surface, because the facility represents the “last shot” to earn a championship chance, the competition is inevitably high-drama.

While the three youngest competitors haven’t earned the winning hardware at Phoenix yet, they do come into this Playoff round as recent winners – all having won Cup races in three of the past four weeks.

And momentum is a coveted attribute.

“A lot of circumstances determine whether or not you’re going to get to Homestead as a race team or an organization," Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart said Sunday.

“Clearly, we have shown the ability to be the favorites, I think. It’s just a matter of executing, with a little bit of luck these next three (races), and I think we got a great shot at it."

A wreck just before the end of Stage 1 rendered Ryan Newman's No. 6 ROUSH Performance Ford Mustang unable to continue, and relegated the driver to a 40th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.

Newman rolled off the grid from the seventh position following his best qualifying effort of the season. The advantageous track position would not last long, however, as wild racing at the 1.5-mile track damaged the right side of his Ford Mustang and forced the team to make an unscheduled pit stop just eight laps into the race.

With varying pit strategies playing out across the field, Newman was battling to get back onto the lead lap when he made contact with teammate Ricky Stenhouse and hit the retaining wall of the race track. The damage was too severe to repair, and Newman was dealt his first DNF of the season and a 40th-place finish.

Newman and the No. 6 team return to action next weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Race coverage on Sunday begins at 3 p.m. on NBCSN. Coverage can also be heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.


Race Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Daniel Suárez started eighth and finished third to earn eight bonus points.

● By lap two the Ford driver reached the top-five.

● Suárez pitted from the second spot on lap 41 for fuel and four tires.

● After green-flag pit stops cycled through, the ARRIS driver remained in the second spot until lap 67, when he slipped to third.

● First caution was displayed on lap 76, and Suárez pitted from third for fuel and four tires. He restarted seventh after four cars stayed out.

● After a sprint to end Stage 1, Suárez completed it in third.

● Suárez didn’t pit during the Stage 1 break and started Stage 2 from the second position.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Suárez started second and finished 13th.

● He took the lead in turn two on the restart.

● Slipped to second on lap 92.

● Remained in the top-five on lap 115, when the second caution was displayed.

● Pitted during the caution for fuel, four tires and adjustments, and restarted fifth.

● During the stage break he pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his ill-handling Mustang and returned to the track in 16th.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-277):

● Suárez started 16th and finished 32nd.

● After a tough restart, Suárez dropped back to 20th.

● On lap 200 he was back up to 17th.

● On lap 213 the Ford driver pitted from 17th for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

● After pit stops cycled through, the 27-year-old was 14th on lap 233.

● On lap 255 Suárez pitted from 13th for fuel, four tires and adjustments and restarted 13th with nine laps remaining.

● On lap 262 he was in the ninth spot when the next caution was displayed. He didn’t pit and restarted ninth for the first attempt at overtime.

● The field was coming to the white flag when a multicar accident occurred involving Suárez and relegating him to a 32nd-place finish.



● Suárez led once for six laps – his first at Kansas.

● Denny Hamlin won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 36th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .128 of a second.

● There were seven caution periods for a total of 32 laps.

● Only 21 of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.


Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 ARRIS Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We had a really good ARRIS Mustang to start the race. We held our position up front, and then I got shuffled back on one of the restarts. We were working on adjusting the car and trying to make up our track position, and towards the end we had made a lot of ground. Unfortunately, we got in an accident getting ready to take the white flag.”


Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. It is the seventh race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 8. It starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.


After the race was sent into overtime with two green-white-checkered attempts, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. picked up six positions in the final six laps to take the checkered flag in the 16th position.

“We were really tight all day,” Stenhouse said. “No matter what we did to our Fastenal Ford it just remained tight. It’s definitely not what we wanted after running so well here in the spring but overall it was a decent finish. Our main goal is just to finish the season strong and we have done that the past few weeks.”

The Olive Branch, Miss. native rolled off in the 19th position for the 267-lap race and quickly powered his way forward, picking up eight positions by lap three. As the run progressed, the Fastenal Ford steadily got tighter costing him two positions before green flag pit stops started cycling through. With six laps remaining in stage one the No. 6 slid up, making contact with the No. 17 to bring out the first caution of the day.

With only two laps remaining in the stage once going back green, crew chief Brian Pattie chose to stay out in hopes of picking up some valuable stage points. After restarting in the third position, Stenhouse was able to hang on and take the first green checkered in the 10th position.

During the stage break, Pattie took the much-needed time to repair the left front fender and nose damage caused by the No. 6. After lining up in the 21st position, Stenhouse was able to work his way up to 19th despite still battling a tight machine. With only one caution in stage two, the two-time Xfinity champion took the second green checkered in the 22nd position.

When the caution flag waved on lap 252 with 15 laps remaining in the 267-lap race, crew chief Brian Pattie chose to take the wave around to get back on the lead lap in hopes of a quick caution. Stenhouse picked up three positions before the caution flag waved setting up the first green white checkered attempt.

With newer tires for the final two green-white-checkered attempts, Stenhouse was able to capitalize and gain six positions to take the checkered flag in the 16th position.

Stenhouse and the No. 17 team head to Martinsville Speedway for the First Data 500 . The race is set for Sunday, Oct. 27. Coverage will begin at 3 p.m. (EST) on NBCSN.


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