Monster Energy Cup Series News (16875)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford to a fifth-place finish in the Monster Energy Open Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Our Fastenal Ford was strong on the long runs,” Stenhouse said. “We struggled on restarts so the late cautions during the stages set us back. I think we learned some things for next weekend’s 600, so we’ll be read to go when points will be on the line.”
The two-time Xfinity champion rolled off in the 15th position for the three stage, 50-lap race. With a combination of strength and finesse, Stenhouse powered his way into the top 10 in only two laps. When the caution flag waved on lap 16, Stenhouse was scored in the seventh position reporting his Ford was a tad tight.
As most of the field took the opportunity to pit, Stenhouse brought his Ford to pit-road for four tires and fuel. With the first stage going into overtime, Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the eighth position for the two-lap shootout but fell a few positions to take the first green checkered in the 11th position.
After staying out during the stage break, the Olive Branch, Miss. native lined up in the seventh position for the next 20-lap stage. The caution was displayed with two laps remaining in the stage two allowing Stenhouse to bring his Fastenal Ford to pit-road for multiple changes in hopes to help his tight-handling condition.
Once again, the second stage went into overtime with a two-lap shootout. Stenhouse Jr. lined up in the 11th position and quickly maneuvered his way through the field picking up four positions before the second green-checkered flag waved.
On the final 10-lap segment, the two-time MENCS winner lined up in the fifth position but newer tires prevailed forcing Stenhouse to settle with a fifth-place finish in the Monster Energy Open.
Next up for Stenhouse and the No. 17 team is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26. Race coverage begins at 6 p.m ET on FOX. Coverage can also be heard on PRN and SIRIUSXM radio channel 90.
Kyle Larson won tonight's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Rounding out the top five were Kevin Harvick in second, Kyle Busch in third, Joey logano in fourth and Bubba Wallace in fifth.
Lap 1: Kevin Harvick would overtake his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer to lead lap one.
Lap 2: Martin Truex Jr. would get around Kyle Busch for the third position.
Lap 3: Kyle Busch closes in on race leader Kevin Harvick.
Lap 8: Ryan Blaney passes Joey Logano for the eighth position.
Lap 19: Kyle Busch passes race leader Kevin Harvick for the top position.
Lap 22: Martin Truex Jr. closes in on second place Kevin Harvick
Lap 25: Erik Jones off the pace due to a right-front tire down. Driver No. 20 would come to pit road.
Lap 26: The Caution is displayed due to debris from the No. 20 of Erik Jones.
Lap 30: Pace lights are out on the pace car and we would go into NASCAR Overtime.
Two laps to go in Stage 1, and the green flag is displayed. Keselowski leads over second place Kyle Busch.
White flag: Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch battle for the stage win.
Kyle Busch wins Stage 1 over Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano and Austin Dillion
Lap 32: Green flag is displayed for Stage 2. The caution would come out when Ryan Newman would spin through the grass.
Lap 36: The green flag would come back out. Kyle Busch leads over Kevin Harvick in second.
Lap 37: Kevin Harvick takes the lead from Kyle Busch and Busch would get shuffled back to fourth position.
Lap 38: Joey Logano closes on Kevin Harvick for the race lead.
Lap 39: Alex Bowman makes contact with the Turn 4 wall.
Lap 43: Ryan Blaney passes Kyle Larson to take over the third position.
Lap 46: William Byron moves up to the fourth position, passing Kyle Larson.
Lap 49: White flag is displayed in Stage 2. Kevin Harvick leads over Joey Logano.
Lap 50: Kevin Harvick wins Stage 2 over Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Kyle Larson.
Lap 51: Clint Bowyer maintains his lead after the Stage 3 restart.
Lap 52: Joey Logano takes the lead away from Clint Bowyer.
Lap 53: Kevin Harvick off the pace due to a loose wheel.
Lap 54: Caution is displayed. Erik Jones and Austin Dillion make contact. Kyle Busch would also be involved.
Lap 59: Green flag is back out with 11 to go in the third stage.
Lap 61: Chase Elliott moves to third after passing Clint Bowyer.
Lap 64: William Byron moves up to fourth. Chase Elliott is up to second.
Lap 67: William Byron passes Brad Keselowski for the third position.
Lap 70: Joey Logano wins Stage 3 over Chase Elliott, William Byron, Brad Keselowski, and Martin Truex Jr.
Lap 70: Logano, Ky. Busch and Chase Elliott stay out while everyone else pits.
Lap 71: Green flag is out. 15 laps remain in the All-Star Race.
Lap 73: Kyle Busch takes away the lead from Chase Elliott.
Lap 73: Caution is out for Denny Hamlin spinning.
Lap 74: Green flag is back out. Kyle Busch leads over Chase Elliott in second. Kyle Larson takes the lead and Kyle Busch passes Chase Elliott for second.
Lap 75: Caution is out for Erik Jones after he hit the wall due to loosing a right-front tire.
Lap 79: Kyle Busch hits the wall off turn 4.
Lap 80: 5 laps to go. Larson leads over Harvick.
Lap 84: White flag. Harvick closes in on Larson.
Lap 85: Kyle Larson wins the 2019 Monster Energy All-Star Race.
Team Penske drivers have won four of the first 12 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points races this season, but Ryan Blaney has yet to share in the spoils of victory.
Brad Keselowski won for the third time last Saturday at Kansas Speedway, and Joey Logano got his lone victory of the season so far at Las Vegas in early March.
Blaney’s season, on the other hand, has been one of feast or famine. He scored three of his four top fives in consecutive races—a third at Phoenix, a fifth at Fontana and a fourth at Martinsville—but his best finish in the last four events has been 15th.
In his last start, at Kansas, Blaney came home a disappointing 32nd at one of his favorite tracks. Nevertheless, Blaney holds the 10th position in the series standings, well inside the cut line for the Playoffs, and his level of confidence remains high despite the inconsistencies of the first third of the season.
“Kansas was just a bad weekend for us,” Blaney told reporters on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We were just off, so that part stinks, but I feel like, obviously, our whole organization is good enough to win races. Brad put on a great show last weekend and was able to win that race, so the speed is still there. It’s just about kind of cleaning things up.
“Our group is great. Our group is fine, and they do such a great job. Whether it’s the road crew or the over-the-wall guys, they have it all together, and it’s just a matter of everything coming together for you, whether it’s throughout 400 miles, 500 miles or 600 miles. That part I’m not worried about. It’s just a matter of me doing my job and just piecing things together.”
THE MIND AND BODY TELL YOU CHARLOTTE IS A 600-MILE RACE
Ever since its debut in 1960, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway has been NASCAR’s longest race—and one of its most grueling, taking a heavy toll on drivers and their equipment.
For drivers whose minds and bodies typically are geared to race at a maximum length of 500 miles, the Coke 600 confronts them with an extraordinary challenge.
“You’re mentally programmed to go 500 miles, so your body kind of knows, when you’ve done this for a long time, it kind of knows that, and it’s like, ‘Hey, what are we doing here?’” said Kevin Harvick, winner of NASCAR’s marathon event in 2011 and 2013.
“And you mentally have to tell yourself that, really, when you look at the scoreboard and they tell you you’re halfway done, it’s really not that great of a sign, because you know that you have a long ways to go, and you already feel like you’ve gone a long ways.
“So, for us, it’s a little bit different mental preparation in order to keep yourself from being wore out 400 or 500 miles in and make sure that you’re ready for the last 100 miles that are extra.”
Harvick will try for his third victory in the 600 on Sunday, May 26 (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
FOR ROSS CHASTAIN, VICTORY WAS A “WRENCHING” EXPERIENCE
In the continuation of a remarkable season with under-funded Niece Motorsports, Ross Chastain scored his eighth top-10 finish in eight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
That 10th-place run, however, paled in comparison with last week’s emotional victory at Kansas Speedway, the first in the series for both Chastain and his team.
All that was left for Chastain was to find a way to commemorate the win.
“In the post-race interview with our crew chief (Phil Gould), he mentioned that he didn’t have a 1/16 wrench when he started the team,” Chastain said. “I thought it would be good to get him and the general manager (Cody Efaw) two-sets of 1/16 wrenches, put them in a shadow box and put a plaque with the first win.
“How are we supposed to expect it until you win and know if you can do it? You have to prove it. We all thought we could, but until you do it, you don’t know.”
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang are set to start Saturday’s Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway from fifth place.
Menard earned that spot on Friday with a lap at 180.662 miles per hour in the second of two qualifying rounds. He was fourth fastest in the first with a lap at 180.361 mph.
Both of Menard’s qualifying laps were significantly faster than his best laps in practice. He was fifth fastest in the opening practice, for both Open and All-Star drivers, with a best lap of 178.
Menard and the Menards/Knauf team have four chances Saturday night to join the field for the 35th annual Monster Energy All-Star race. They can make the main event by winning one of the three Stages of the Open, or by a vote of fans, which closed at noon on Friday.
Eddie Wood said there will be a lot more at play than just pure speed in Saturday’s Open. Strategy will be at a premium, he said.
“Everybody is going to be gambling, trying to do something different than the driver in front of him,” he said. “With the stages being as short as they are (the first two at 20 laps and the finale at 10) it’s going to be all about track position.
“You’re going to need to get to the front as quickly as you can.
At least we’re starting fifth, which is pretty close.”
The Monster Energy Open is set to get the green flag just after 6 p.m. Saturday with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1.
Though he didn’t get into his pit stall as quickly as he would have liked in the unique Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race qualifying format, Clint Bowyer had enough speed in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to earn the pole position for Saturday night’s marquee event at Charlotte Motor Speedway (at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Though he hasn’t won a pole for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race since he won from the top spot at New Hampshire in 2007, Bowyer had enough muscle under the hood of his Ford Mustang on Friday to beat Kyle Busch by a decisive .177 seconds.
“Hell has frozen over,” Bowyer quipped. “It’s so easy to make mistakes in that (format), because it’s so out of the ordinary of what we usually do. I actually didn’t get on pit road near as good as I wanted to.
“I had my dead-set line that I was going to get to and would lift (off the gas) at, and when I didn't get on pit road like I needed to, I drove past that and I was like, 'Oh no, I'm going to get stuck.' and my eyes were getting bigger.”
Nevertheless, Bowyer negotiated the three laps plus a mandatory four-tire pit stop (with no pit road speed limit) in 118.794 seconds for a speed of 136.371 mph. The only other driver to break 119 seconds, Busch logged a speed of 136.168 mph.
“Our Fords have been extremely fast, but we haven't gotten them in Victory Lane like we'd like to yet, but we're knocking on the door,” Bowyer said. “Who knows? I just saw (Charlotte Motor Speedway president) Marcus Smith. I said, 'You know how bad I want to win your million dollars?’ I'm going to take his million dollars tomorrow night!”
Busch was pleased with his own performance and that of his team.
“I thought everything about the lap actually was pretty good,” said the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. “I’m not sure how fast the lap itself was – how fast our car was on the lap.
“I felt like my progressiveness onto pit road and pit road speed was relatively good, and then the braking point and being able to just chatter the tires all the way into the box was really close. Really on the money there. I thought we got all we could get out of it.”
Kevin Harvick, Bowyer’s teammate at SHR, qualified third at 136.068 mph. Austin Dillon, who paced the field in Friday’s final practice, claimed the fourth starting spot for the race that pays $1 million to the winner.
“It feels really good to back it up,” Dillon said. “We had a really fast lap by ourselves right there. I’m proud of my pit crew for having a solid pit stop, and, man, the adrenaline is just flowing right now after hitting pit road with all that speed.
“It’s an intense situation, and you just want to give those guys that pit, and not slide it so it doesn’t focus on you. But, yeah, that was a good overall run for us.”
All told, 15 cars—those already locked into the All-Star Race—made qualifying runs. Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano will start from positions five through 10, respectively.
Three segment winners from the Monster Energy Open, which precedes the All-Star on Saturday, will earn spots in the main event, as will one driver selected by fan vote.
In an earlier qualifying session on Friday, Daniel Hemric, Dillon’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing, won the pole for the Open. Ford driver Michael McDowell claimed the second starting spot.
“I said on the radio this is the first box checked for the weekend,” Hemric said. “You’ve got to bring the fastest race car you can, and we’ve done that. Hopefully, we can do our jobs tomorrow and do what we need to do to get in the All-Star race and really have some fun.”
Editors note: Stage Winners and Fan Vote Winner will be updated in real time once the All-Star Open goes green
Stage One Winner Transfer: William Byron
Stage Two Winner Transfer: Bubba Wallace
All-Star Open Winner Transfer: Kyle Larson
NASCAR All-Star Fan Vote Winner Transfer: Alex Bowman
Clint Bowyer will start from the pole in tomorrow's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowyer posted a top speed of 136.371 mph to clinch the pole.
This marked Bowyer's first pole in 10 appearances in the NASCAR Monster Energy All-Star Race.
Kyle Busch will start second tomorrow night. Driver No. 18 posted a speed of 136.168 mph.
Rounding out the top five was Kevin Harvick in third who posted a speed of 136.068 mph, Austin Dillion in fourth with a speed of 135.776 mph and Martin Truex Jr. in fifth who posted a speed of 134.625 mph.
Kyle Busch who has started on the pole three times in the All-Star Race will start alongside Clint Bowyer in the second position.
Prior to All-Star Race qualifying, Monster Energy Open qualifying was held and Daniel Hemric posted the fastest time in his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Michael McDowell will start alongisde Hemric in the second position.
Three drivers from tomorrow's Monster Energy Open can earn their spot into the All-Star Race by winning a stage and or race..The stages are broken down into 20, 20 and 10 laps.
Coverage of the Monster Energy Cup Series Open begins at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Coverage of tomorrow's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series All-Star race begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.