NASCAR National Series News & Notes -- Talladega
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
Chase Snapshot: Bubble Occupied By Heavyweights And Talented Youngsters
The competition for the final transfer spot to the Round of 8 is tight following Sunday's race at Kansas. Four drivers are within seven points of each other for the final spot, including a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, two Daytona 500 champions and a talented up-and-coming wheelman.
Here's how the Chase Grid shakes out heading into Sunday's Hellmann's 500 Chase cutoff at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN): Jimmie Johnson (clinched transfer spot with win at Charlotte), Kevin Harvick (clinched transfer spot with win at Kansas), Matt Kenseth (29 points above Austin Dillon on the cutoff line), Kyle Busch (+27), Carl Edwards (+24), Kurt Busch (+17), Martin Truex Jr. (+13), Joey Logano (tied with Austin Dillon in points, but owns tiebreaker with higher Round of 12 finish; third at Kansas), Austin Dillon (see Logano), Denny Hamlin (-6), Brad Keselowski (-7), Chase Elliott (-25).
Only Johnson and Harvick are truly safe. Just ask Kyle Busch, who was third on the Chase Grid going into Talladega in 2014, a hefty 25 points above the cutoff line, but was eliminated after a wreck relegated him to a 40th-place finish.
Below are the Talladega clinch scenarios:
Note: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick have already clinched a spot in the Round of 8. In the scenarios below, the term "new winner" refers to a win by Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski or Chase Elliott. A win by any other driver (Chase driver or field) is referred to as a 'repeat winner' in the scenarios below.
Matt Kenseth (0 Wins, 3074 Points) - Would clinch on points with 13 Points (28th and no laps led, 29th and led at least one lap, 30th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 11 Points (30th and no laps led, 31st and led at least one lap, 32nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 3072 Points) - Would clinch on points with 15 Points (26th and no laps led, 27th and led at least one lap, 28th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 14 Points (27th and no laps led, 28th and led at least one lap, 29th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Carl Edwards (0 Wins, 3069 Points) - Would clinch on points with 18 Points (23rd and no laps led, 24th and led at least one lap, 25th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 16 Points (25th and no laps led, 26th and led at least one lap, 27th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 3062 Points) - Would clinch on points with 25 Points (16th and no laps led, 17th and led at least one lap, 18th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 24 Points (17th and no laps led, 18th and led at least one lap, 19th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Martin Truex Jr (0 Wins, 3058 Points) - Would clinch on points with 29 Points (12th and no laps led, 13th and led at least one lap, 14th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 28 Points (13th and no laps led, 14th and led at least one lap, 15th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
Joey Logano (0 Wins, 3045 Points) - If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 3045 Points) - If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
Denny Hamlin (0 Wins, 3039 Points) - With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.
Brad Keselowski (0 Wins, 3038 Points) - With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.
Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 3020 Points) - With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.
Pursuit Of Happiness: Harvick Ties For Series Wins Lead On Quest For Second Title
Kevin Harvick made his way into the Round of 8 for the third time since the implementation of the "win-and-you're-in" Chase format in 2014 via his victory at Kansas last Sunday.
Featured in the Round of 8 is Harvick's top track - Phoenix International Raceway - where he has won five of the last six races and finished second in the one he didn't win. A berth in the Championship 4 Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway looks to be in the No. 4 Chevrolet driver's future.
Harvick's Kansas triumph also tied him with Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins lead with four. He is also tied with Keselowski for the top-five finishes lead with 15 and paces all drivers with 23 top-10 showings.
Furthermore, Harvick ranks first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in driver rating (107.4) and fastest laps run (929).
'Dega Delivery In The Cards For Denny Hamlin?
Right now, Denny Hamlin is seven points below Joey Logano on the cutoff line and needs a stellar performance in Sunday's Hellmann's 500 Chase cutoff race at Talladega Superspeedway to advance to the Round of 8.
Beyond his one win at Talladega in 2014, Hamlin has struggled there. Overall, he claims the 2014 win, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 21 starts at the 2.66-mile behemoth.
In Hamlin's last seven starts at Talladega, he has finished worse than 30th four times. Although he's struggled at Talladega recently, Hamlin has been stellar at NASCAR's other restrictor-plate track - Daytona International Speedway - which could be a good omen. In his last six Daytona starts, Hamlin boasts one win and only one finish worse than sixth.
Keselowski No Stranger To Epic Wins At Talladega
Two of the biggest wins of Brad Keselowski's career have occurred at Talladega. In 2009, he won his first career race - one of the biggest upsets in NASCAR history - with Phoenix Racing. In 2014, he capped off a week of drama by visiting Victory Lane in a "win-or-go-home" situation to advance to the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The No. 2 Ford driver also won at 'Dega in spring of 2012 and earlier this season.
Another clutch victory would go a long way to helping Brad Keselowski capture his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. He's currently 11th on the Chase Grid, seven points behind his Team Penske shopmate Joey Logano on the cutoff line.
In 15 career starts at Talladega, Keselowski claims four wins, six top fives and nine top 10s. His 13.9 average finish at 'Dega ranks third-best among active drivers.
Keselowski has won two of the three races at restrictor-plate tracks this season - Talladega-1 and Daytona-2.
Logano Goes For Fall Dega' Repeat
Clinging on to the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 8 spot, Joey Logano sure would like to successfully defend his fall Talladega race win from last season.
The problem is - other than last year's triumph - Logano hasn't fared well at the Alabama superspeedway. He has an average finish of 19.9 at Talladega and his four other top-10 finishes there all came with Joe Gibbs Racing from 2009-10.
Dillon On Chase Bubble, But In Decent Position To Advance
Austin Dillon hopes he can at least repeat his Talladega performance from the spring when he recorded his career-best finish of third.
The 26-year-old No. 3 Chevrolet driver is the first driver outside the cutoff heading into Sunday's Hellmann's 500, but doesn't trail eighth-place Joey Logano in points. Dillon is only behind Logano because Logano has a Round of 12 high finish of third (Kansas), which beats Dillon's best of sixth (Kansas).
If there is a repeat winner, Dillon would clinch a Round of 8 berth on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins.
He could also clinch on points with a new winner and help, but would need to produce a high finish to make up ground on the drivers ahead of him. At Talladega, that's not out of the question.
In 13 career starts at restrictor-plate tracks, Dillon claims two top fives, six top 10s, one pole and an average finish of 14.47.
Elliott In Need Of First Win
Positioned 25 points below the Chase cutoff line, Chase Elliott is going to need a ton of help to make the Round of 8 without a win in Sunday's Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Elliott placed fifth at Talladega in his lone NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start there this spring. At NASCAR's other restrictor-plate track - Daytona International Speedway - Elliott has finishes of 37th (February 2016) and 32nd (July 2016).
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner will attempt to capture some of the magic his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, seemed to have at the 2.66-mile behemoth. Bill won twice at Talladega and holds the track record with eight poles. In 1985, Bill rallied from five miles down to win the Winston 500 at Talladega on the way to earning the Winston Million.
An Elliott win on Sunday would give Hendrick Motorsports its 13th win at Talladega, breaking its tie with Richard Childress Racing for the track record.
Talladega Field Is Filled With Chase Spoilers
The Talladega field is littered with drivers who have won there before and can spoil a Chase transfer spot with a victory on Sunday.
The non-chasers who have won at the 2.66-mile behemoth are Clint Bowyer (twice), Jamie McMurray (twice), Tony Stewart and David Ragan.
Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick, who have already secured berths in the Round of 8 have won twice and once, respectively, at Talladega.
Current non-Chase-eligible drivers who fared well at Talladega in spring include: Jamie McMurray (fourth), Tony Stewart (sixth), Clint Bowyer (seventh), Ryan Blaney (ninth) and Trevor Bayne (10th).
Joe Gibbs Racing Attempting To Become First Team To Place Multiple Drivers In Championship 4
Joe Gibbs Racing has continued its strong regular season performance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Its four drivers have not won a race in the Chase, but three of them - Matt Kenseth (third, points above the cutoff line, Kyle Busch (+27) and Carl Edwards (+24) - are in good shape to make the Round of 8. Denny Hamlin is 10th on the Chase Grid, but only six points below the cutoff line for advancement. Additionally, Martin Truex Jr. of JGR technical partner Furniture Row Racing has two wins in the Chase and currently sits seventh on the Chase Grid - a comfortable 13 points above the cutoff line.
No team has ever placed multiple drivers in the Championship 4. JGR, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske can all achieve the feat this season. SHR's Kevin Harvick has already advanced to the Round of 8 with his win at Kansas, while Kurt Busch ranks sixth on the Chase Grid, 17 points above the cutoff line. Joey Logano of Team Penske currently holds the final transfer spot, while Brad Keselowski sits 11th on the Chase Grid, seven points below the cutoff line.
Bowman Rides To Another Career-High Finish
Alex "The Showman" Bowman overcame a stomach bug to produce a career-best seventh-place finish at Kansas in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The 23-year-old Arizonan has showed off his speed the last two races, qualifying second at Charlotte and fifth at Kansas. An unfortunate wreck relegated him to a 39th-place finish in the Queen City.
Bowman takes the No. 88 Chevrolet, which has won three superspeedway races in the last three years, to Talladega on Sunday.
"Hendrick Motorsports brings such fast race cars to that racetrack, so I'm really excited," Bowman said. "Their speedway stuff is amazing, always - especially the No. 88 - so I'm just really looking forward to having a chance to win. I'm going to sit Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) down and have a couple-hour discussion with him about speedway racing because if there's a speedway racer left in this garage, it's him, for sure."
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Etc.
The drop of the green flag in the Hellmann's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will mark a milestone for Toyota as the manufacturer will post its 1000th NASCAR national series start. Toyota's first start was with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2004. The manufacturer then joined the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the same track in February of 2007.
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Round Of 8 Reaches A Break In The Action
A race into the Round of 8, the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contenders get a two-week break to recoup, readjust and prepare for the final two races in the round.
At the top of the Chase standings sit Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez tied in points, but Sadler owns the tiebreaker (higher finish) with his runner-up showing this past weekend at Kansas.
The standings at the cut-off line to make the Championship 4 is close as well> Fourth-place Justin Allgaier and fifth-place Erik Jones each have 3,027 points following Kansas, but Allgaier holds the tiebreaker with his 14th-place finish at Kansas last weekend over Jones's 15th.
The next two tracks are quite different and pose all sorts of challenges for the drivers and teams.
Texas Motor Speedway (Fort Worth, Texas) - is a 1.5-mile asphalt speedway with 24 degrees of banking in all four turns. The NASCAR XFINITY Series has hosted 31 races at Texas Motor Speedway with 15 different drivers taking the checkered flag, led by Kyle Busch with eight victories. Of the eight remaining title challengers, Erik Jones is the only one that has won at Texas Motor Speedway (April, 2015). The Texas Chase race, the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, will be broadcast on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Phoenix International Raceway (Phoenix, Arizona) - is a 1-mile track with nine degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, and 11 degrees of banking in Turns 3 and 4. The NASCAR XFINITY Series has run 29 races at Phoenix International Raceway producing 15 different winners, led by Kyle Busch with nine wins. Of the eight remaining Chase drivers, Elliott Sadler is the only one that has won at Phoenix International Raceway (March, 2012). Phoenix's Chase race, the Ticket Galaxy 200, will be broadcast on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Super 8: A Look At The Eight Chase Contenders Left Hunting For The Title
A little break in the action provides the perfect time to take a dive into the stats of the talent in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Round of 8.
1. Elliott Sadler (+12) - No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro - is the current Round of 8 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase standings leader and is 12 points ahead of fifth-place Erik Jones following Sadler's performance at Kansas Speedway that yielded a runner-up finish.
"We were able to come home with a second-place finish; which was a great start to the second round of the Chase for us," said Elliott Sadler. "We get to go home now and regroup for the last three races, which is good to go back and have the best-finish of everyone racing in the Chase, it will keep some momentum on our side."
Sadler's season continues to be one of his best. In 30 starts he has posted three wins, 13 top fives, 27 top 10s and an average finish of 6.7. Not to mention his veteran experience has him very astute to the environment the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase is creating.
"You know we are all starting off square (in points), but you want to try to get a point here, get a point there, be aggressive, and now people will play different strategies moving into Texas and Phoenix," said Chase standings leader Elliott Sadler. "When you start on an even playing field everyone wants to get the edge or get the advantage and a lot of time that creates hard racing."
Sadler seems focused and determined this title run; his average finish during the first four races of the Chase is a 3.0 - second-best among Chase contenders.
2. Daniel Suarez (+12) - No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry - runs neck-and-neck with Chase standings leader Elliott Sadler, as the two are tied in points following Suarez's third-place finish at Kansas Speedway last weekend.
Suarez has a lot to be proud of in his sophomore season. The 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year has posted two wins, 16 top fives, 24 top 10s and an average finish of 8.4.
Suarez's Chase performance has been even better he leads the series among title contenders in average finish with a 2.5. Suarez plans to visit his family in Mexico for a week during the two-week break, then will return to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway.
3. Blake Koch (+5) - No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro - and Kaulig Racing are this season's underdogs that never give up. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, driver Blake Koch and crew chief Chris Rice are third in the Chase standings, five points ahead of fifth-place Erik Jones going into the break.
In 30 starts, Koch has posted just four top 10s including last weekend when the No. 11 Chevrolet team finished ninth at Kansas Speedway.
Koch has found speed come playoff time. Over the course of the 2016 season he has posted an average finish of 17.2, but in the four races of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase he has posted an average finish of 11.5 - fourth-best among Chasers.
4. Justin Allgaier (0) - No. 7 JR Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro - goes into the two-week break with little cushion inside the Chase Championship 4 cutoff as he is tied with fifth-place Erik Jones, but holds the tiebreaker because he finished one spot better than Jones last weekend at Kansas.
Until Kansas, Allgaier was posting consistent finishes in the Chase, ninth at Kentucky, third at Dover and sixth at Charlotte, but last weekend he was caught in an accident (14th) that ended five-consecutive weeks of top-10 finishes. In 30 starts this season he has posted 12 top fives and 24 top 10s.
Allgaier's solid consistency will likely continue in the next three races, despite his Kansas finish he has the third-best average finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase at 8.0.
5. Erik Jones' (0) - No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry - roller coaster season continues. Jones has the most wins on the season among the Chase contenders with four, but he also has the most DNFs (four). Every week of the Chase he has either won the pole or started on the outside front row - his average starting position over the last four races is 1.5, but he has just one top-five finish over that same time period. He holds the seventh-best average finish (16.0) of the Round of 8 drivers.
A 15th-place finish this past weekend has Jones tied with Justin Allgaier along the Chase cutoff line, but Jones spends the next two weeks outside the Championship 4.
Don't expect Jones to go quietly into the night though, he posted his first career series win at Texas Motor Speedway last season, and has an average finish at the famed facility of a 2.3.
6. Ryan Reed (-2) - No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang - is just outside the Championship 4 cutoff line, two points behind fourth-place Justin Allgaier following his 16th-place finish this past weekend at Kansas Speedway. Reed's Chase started strong with his seventh-place finish at Kentucky, but has since faded after four races. He now has the fifth-best average finish with a 12.0.
This season Reed has made 30 starts posting one top five, six top 10s and an average finish of 16.0. In five starts at Texas, Reed posted his best finish (14th) earlier this season.
7. Brendan Gaughan (-17) No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro - went spinning through the front stretch grass this past weekend at Kansas (finished 31st) and so did the likelihood he will be able to advance on points. Gaughan is now seventh in the Chase standings, 17 points back from fourth-place Justin Allgaier.
Gaughan's Chase is by no means over. This season the veteran has posted four top fives, 15 top 10s and an average finish of 11.4. Gaughan finished 12th at Texas earlier this season.
8. Darrell Wallace Jr. (-18) No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang - was involved in a multi-car accident at Kansas that relegated him to a 33rd-place finish and now he is eighth in the Chase standings, 18 points back from fourth-place Justin Allgaier.
Wallace also started the Chase strong by finishing eighth at Kentucky and 11th at Dover, but a 20th place finish at Charlotte and the DNF last weekend has him at rock bottom in the Chase standings with nowhere to go but up. Wallace can rest on the fact he had a strong showing at Texas earlier this season, finishing 15th at the 1.5-mile track there in April.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.
Ryan Reed To Make NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Debut: Roush Fenway Racing's NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contender Ryan Reed will not be taking the weekend off. Instead, he will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 99 RFR Ford Fusion with crew chief Phil Gould. Reed has excelled on restrictor-plate tracks; his lone win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series came at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Update
A second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase-eligible driver did not clinch an automatic berth to the Round of 6 in the DC Solar 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 1 as non-chaser Tyler Reddick took the checkered flag. The highest finishing Chase driver was runner-up Daniel Hemric, who was followed by Ben Kennedy (fourth), William Byron (fifth, clinched berth in Round of 6 with win at New Hampshire), Christopher Bell (sixth), Johnny Sauter (seventh), Matt Crafton (eighth), Timothy Peters (ninth) and John Hunter Nemechek (16th).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads next to Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 22 for the fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola (1 p.m. ET on FS1) - the Round of 8 cut of race. Byron sits first in the Chase standings and is the only driver who has clinched a spot in the Round of 8. He is trailed by Bell (25 points above Hemric on the cutoff line), Crafton (+24), Kennedy (+18), Peters (+16), Sauter (+15), Hemric (15 points below Sauter on the cutoff line) and Nemechek (-15).
Here's a look at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers' stats at Talladega:
1. William Byron - Byron has never made a start at Talladega.
2. Christopher Bell - Bell finished 13th in his lone start at Talladega last season.
3. Matt Crafton - In 10 starts at Talladega, Crafton claims one top five, three top 10s, a 16.2 average finish and 50 laps led. His best finish at the 2.66-mile behemoth was a fourth-place showing in 2010.
4. Ben Kennedy - Kennedy has made two starts at Talladega, finishing 28th (2014) and 25th (2015).
5. Timothy Peters - Peters has won the last two races at Talladega. In seven starts there, he boasts two wins, three top fives, four top 10s and an 11.0 average finish.
6. Johnny Sauter - In seven starts at Talladega, Sauter owns one win (2013), three top fives, four top 10s and a 15.7 average finish.
7. Daniel Hemric - Hemric finished 28th at Talladega in his lone start there last year.
8. John Hunter Nemechek - Nemechek finished 11th at Talladega in his lone start there last year.
Speaker Box: What The Chase Drivers Think Of Talladega
Talladega Superspeedway can easily ruin a driver's day, but it can also serve as a land of opportunity. Here's what the NASCAR Camping World Chase drivers have to say entering the series' first-ever cutoff race.
1. William Byron
"I'm just going to try to go as hard as I can. I want to learn more restrictor-plate racing styles and techniques that I wasn't really able to learn in the beginning of the year since it was my first race. I think we'll just go with that mindset and hopefully try and get a win and do a good job."
2. Christopher Bell
"I'm glad I'm not in (crew chief) Jerry (Baxter's) position because once the green flag drops on Saturday he's going to have a stressful job. We've sat down and talked about it -- Jerry's asked me what my opinion is, I've asked Jerry what his opinion is, and the best plan that we've figured out is to just go out there and race our race. If we end up getting caught up in a crash while running near the front, more than likely there are going to be other Chase drivers involved. So I don't think we are going to deviate any from if this was any other race, we are just going to go out and do our job and however it plays out, it plays out."
3. Matt Crafton
"The mental aspect (of restrictor-plate racing) is just unbelievable. You try to play out every scenario - trying to put yourself in the right position, which we do every week, but Talladega, and Daytona are just so much worse."
4. Ben Kennedy
"Talladega has not been my friend the last two years. I was doing well last year but got caught in The Big One toward the end. I'm pretty confident this team will run well though. I saw what GMS was able to do at Daytona, winning the pole and the race, and how they ran at Talladega last year so I know their superspeedway trucks can compete."
5. Timothy Peters
"I'm ready to get back to a place where the last two years have been really successful for us and with this being the elimination race, we're looking forward to carrying the momentum from previous years. I think we can get our first win of the season and move on to the Round of 6."
6. Johnny Sauter
"I want to win more, whether it's the Chase or not. A lot of things are out of your control at Talladega so you have to be smart. Despite being in the last transfer spot going in, I feel really good about this. Really comfortable."
7. Daniel Hemric
I'm looking forward to going to Talladega Superspeedway, and I know there's a lot on the line for this No. 19 team. I think we learned a lot for our superspeedway package from the third truck we ran in Daytona with Austin Theriault, and hopefully that transfers over to myself, Tyler Reddick and Austin Cindric. Having an extra teammate to work with, especially given our current Chase points situation, definitely won't hurt. We've got to utilize each other to maximize our day and show what we can do together. We have to unload with decent speed and follow the process of everything it takes to get to the front in a superspeedway race from the very first practice, both on the racetrack and on pit road. That's the key to having a solid day."
8. John Hunter Nemechek
"I'm looking forward to going to Talladega, my third superspeedway race. And in the current position we're in for points, I'm actually glad we're going to a superspeedway. Anything can happen. So we just have to go out, execute, not make mistakes, do the best that we can do, run up front and try to win the race. Just try not to get caught up in any of the wrecks and be able to be there at the end when it counts and have a shot at the win."
Gragson To Run Full-Time With Kyle Busch Motorsports
NASCAR Next member Noah Gragson will compete full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2017.
Gragson, 18, of Las Vegas, Nevada, has six wins the last two seasons in 41 starts across the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West the last two seasons. He also owns 18 top fives and 31 top 10s. This season, Gragson raced full-time in both series, finishing third in the West standings in fifth in the East ranks.
"It's hard to believe that about four years ago I toured Kyle Busch Motorsports as a young fan and aspiring driver in awe of the massive trophy collection, how immaculate the shop was and getting the chance to meet Darrell Wallace Jr. - now just a short time later I'm going to be competing for them full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," Gragson said. "The last few years KBM has developed some of the best young talent in all of NASCAR and I know that I'm going to be stepping into fast Toyota Tundras that are capable of running up front, competing for wins and that if I'm able to do my part that I'll be able to add to the trophy cases I gazed into not long ago. As an up-and-coming driver that is all I can ask for as I try to continue my climb up the racing ladder with the ultimate goal of one day following in Kyle's path from Las Vegas to the Cup Series."