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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 18

The Time: Open Race – 6:00 p.m. ET / All-Star Race – 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Open Format: Stage 1 (20 laps); Stage 2 (20 laps); Stage 3 (10 laps)
All-Star Race Format: Stage 1 (30 laps); Stage 2 (20 laps); Stage 3 (20 laps); Stage 4 (15 laps)

2018 All-Star Winner: Kevin Harvick

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Alsco 300

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, May 25

The Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance:  300 miles (200 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

2018 Winner: Brad Keselowski

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 

Next Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway

The Date: Friday, May 17

The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8:00 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 201 miles (134 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 134)

2018 Winner: Johnny Sauter

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Here’s how it works

The Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (Saturday, 8 p.m., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) format will look much the same as it did in 2018, with the addition of five extra laps to the final stage of the thriller. The stage lengths will be 30 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 15 laps. NASCAR Overtime rules are in effect for all of the stages if necessary and there are no mandatory pit strategy rules.

Fifteen drivers qualified for the race by virtue of winning a race in 2018 or 2019, being a past All-Star race winner or being a past Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. Additionally, the winners of each of the three stages (20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps) in the Monster Energy Open race will move into the feature as well as the driver who wins the NASCAR Fan Vote.

Ryan Newman is the only driver to win both the Open race then the All-Star main event, sweeping the weekend in 2002. Sterling Marlin is the all-time Open race winner – earning four trophies (1988, ‘89, ‘93 and 2004), however he never won the All-Star Race.

For the first time in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, Chase Elliott has earned his spot in the All-Star Race by virtue of race wins and not the Fan Vote. He scored his career first, second and third Monster Energy Series race victories in 2018 and already has another (at Talladega, Ala.) this season.

Kasey Kahne is the only driver to earn a spot in the All-Star race (2008) through the Fan Vote and go on to win the All-Star race.

Harvick back to defend

Kevin Harvick shows up at Charlotte Moto Speedway a little more than eager to earn a second consecutive and third overall victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race. His work in the popular $1 million event has been top-shelf – his 11 top-10 finishes are tied with Jimmie Johnson for most among active drivers. His five top-five finishes are third-most as are his 124 laps in front of the field.

In 18 previous All-Star starts – the most starts of anyone in Saturday’s race – Harvick boasts the best average starting position (8.5) of any driver in the field with more than one start. In addition to his two wins – 2007 and 2018 – he has three runner-up finishes tying him for most all-time with Ken Schrader and Sterling Marlin.

This weekend, he will debut a “Millennial Pink” No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford – making good on a bet his sponsor Busch Beer made last season that if he didn’t win the 2018 championship (Joey Logano did), he would drive a “v lit paint scheme” in 2019. 

The decidedly new-look car was unveiled at the NASCAR Hall of Fame earlier this week and Harvick is hopeful to reclaim some of the same mastery he’s shown at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s historically been a good place for the 2014 Monster Energy Series champion. He has three regular season wins there and 13 top-10 finishes in the last 16 races on the track.

Harvick is coming off a strong outing Saturday night at Kansas where he won the Busch Pole position and led a race-best 104 laps, ultimately finishing 13th. He is ranked third in the driver point standings.

New points leader after Kansas

Team Penske’s Joey Logano didn’t have a stellar night at Kansas Speedway but his 15th-place finish in conjunction with Kyle Busch’s season-low 30th place result shifted the top of the points standings.

Logano, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, took the lead – by nine points over Busch – for the first time since early this season. He’s led the standings twice before – following a fourth-place finish in the Daytona 500 and after his only win in 2019, at Las Vegas.

Logano won the All-Star Race in 2016 and his seven top-10 finishes in eight starts is the best such ratio on the field. His average finish of 6.875 is behind only four-time winner Jimmie Johnson’s average finish of 6.824 (17 starts) and Chase Elliott’s 6.000 (three starts) among active drivers with more than one start.

He has only one win at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Monster Energy Series – a dominating showing in the 2015 fall race when he led 227 of the race’s 334 laps. He has nine top 10s in 19 starts on the oval.

Kyle Busch looking for redemption after Kansas

Kyle Busch had his first finish outside the top 10 of 2019 last Saturday night at Kansas Speedway and the best medicine for redemption may be to hoist an All-Star trophy and cash a $1 million paycheck. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver tied a 29-year old record set by Morgan Shepherd in earning top-10 finishes in the opening 11 races of the season. Last week, Busch’s streak ended when he placed 30th after a frustrating run at Kansas.

His mark of 11 top 10s, however, is still most among all drivers. Joey Logano – who took the championship lead by nine points with Busch’s uncharacteristic showing at Kansas – and Busch’s teammate Denny Hamlin are the only other drivers with six top-fives on the season. Busch and Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski lead the series with three wins apiece.

The All-Star Race has been all-or-nothing for Busch. He has four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 13 All-Star race starts, winning in 2017. Only Jimmie Johnson and the late Dale Earnhardt have more top fives (nine). But Busch has either placed in the top-10 in the race or recorded a DNF.

His 256 laps led is most among active drivers. Only Bill Elliott (267 laps) has led more. The driver of the No. 18 Toyota has won three pole positions and his 5.615 average starting position is tops among active drivers and fourth-best all-time.

He has good juju of recent at Charlotte earning his first Monster Energy Series victory at the track from the pole position in last spring’s 600-miler – leading a dominating 377 of the 400 laps.

All-Star Newbies

The 2018 summer race win at Daytona has earned Erik Jones his first All-Star Race start. He shows up at Charlotte fresh off a third place showing in Kansas, which equals his previous season best coming in February’s Daytona 500.

Joining him on the All-Star roster are Aric Almirola and Austin Dillon, who will each be making his second start. This is the third All-Star race for Ryan Blaney and fourth for Chase Elliott, who has been the Fan Vote selection for the previous three years.

Jones is fresh off back-to-back top-10 finishes in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for the second time this season and hopes to bring that good momentum into his All-Star debut. He has only one previous top 10 at the Monster Energy Series level at Charlotte, but a runner-up and two top-five finishes in NASCAR Xfinity Series races.

Almirola is making his second career All-Star Race start. He finished 14th in 2015. Dillon finished 12th in his only previous All-Star race in 2018 but answered that with a victory in the Coca-Cola 600 a week later at the track.

Team Penske’s Blaney has a best All-Star finish of 11th, ironically coming in a DNF in 2017. He finished 15th last year but enjoyed redemption winning the inaugural Charlotte ROVAL race on a last lap pass during the Monster Energy Series Playoffs.

Elliott has three top-seven finishes in his All-Star starts, including a best of fifth last year.

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (MAY 15, 2019) – Some people are just meant to have a famous car in their care. Some people are just wired to want to protect and share the history of a car that represents a snapshot in time. 

Ernie Nagamatsu is one of those people. 

Nagamatsu fell in love with Ol’ Yeller MARK II, one of the most famous of the Ol’ Yeller cars and one built by the ground-breaking husband and wife team of Max and Ina Balchowsky, long before he became it’s caretaker. 

Ol’ Yeller II wasn’t just a typical race car – not even at the time of its creation at Hollywood Motors in 1959. It’s one of America’s most famous of cars, having been driven by the likes of Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby (it’s said Shelby got the idea of a lightweight car with an American motor from driving Ol’ Yeller II after he was leading all the factory teams by 51 seconds in 1961 at Elkhart), Bob Bondurant, Billy Krause (the first Cobra driver for Shelby), Bobby Drake (the first Maserati Bird Cage driver) and others. 

For the first time, Ol’ Yeller II will be making an appearance at Barber Motorsports Park as the Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) and the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) series’ are teaming up to present the 2019 Barber Historics this weekend.

“I used to sit down and have long discussions with Max about cars and racing over coffee that would last hours,” Nagamatsu said. “He gave me certain memorabilia from Ol’ Yeller II over the years, I collected other items and knew so much about the car when it became available for sale in the early 1990s.”

At the time it went on sale from a man in Oklahoma, it was out of the price range of the longtime Southern California dentist and artist. Balchowsky, however, made all the difference. After nearly two years of waiting and dropping the price, the car went to Nagamatsu so it could return home to Southern California and in the care of the Balchowsky’s engineering and Nagamatsu’s passion for preserving its history. 

 “The prior owner turned down a lot of offers before I could buy it,” Nagamatsu said. “I already had the race programs, invoices, a ton of photographs, magazines and so many other items that document its history. I just didn’t have the car.

“A lot of people will go to an auction, buy a car and then have to do the research on the car so they know who raced it, where it went and everything else. I knew everything about the car long before I was able to buy it.”

HMSA President Cris Vandagriff said it’s a very big deal that Ol’ Yeller will be making an appearance in Alabama this weekend. 

“It says a lot about the event that Ernie is coming because he doesn’t go to just any event,” Vandagriff said. “He goes to really big events around the world. Ol’ Yeller is a special car and I think people in Alabama are going to say ‘what the heck IS that?’ Ernie is such a unique ambassador that he is going to blow people away.

“Thank goodness this special car has such a special individual as its caretaker.”

Vandagriff said Ol’ Yeller might be the most unique car to ever grace the grounds at Barber – a bold statement considering the type of events that have been showcased on site previously. 

“We are extremely lucky to host Ol’ Yeller at the Barber Historics because Ol’ Yeller is the type of car that we want to showcase because it exposes the car and our sport to a new audience,” Vandagriff said. “I don’t think that a car as unique as this has ever run there before. There have been more modern cars, famous cars, Formula 1 cars, but they haven’t seen a home built special like Ol’ Yeller. 

“This car was made from bits and pieces from other cars, made in a junkyard and it was going out and beating Ferraris. Very special drivers drove it and if that car wasn’t special, they wouldn’t have raced it as often and as long as they did. This car is from an important chapter in historic racing in North America. When racing started again after World War II, Southern California was the hub of motorsports and this was one of the great cars to come out of Southern California.”

Nagamatsu owns this famously unique car but he treats the relationship more like a museum and its curator than anything else. 

“The car is the star,” he said. “We have the keys, but we just get to tag along.”

The Barber Historics is the only time this year that vintage cars will be allowed on the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course. Nagamatsu has raced Ol’ Yeller II and shared it with crowds all over the world.

“We’ve been to England, New Zealand, Australia and all over the United States,” Nagamatsu said. “We’ve raced it all over and it means so much to share it with other people because it was innovative at the time and has a lot of stories.

“People from around the world tell me they made a model of the car. One guy showed me a slot car he made of it that he races. It was the underdog car and even today it is still one that people can relate to. It’s approachable. Goodwood is the Kentucky Derby for cars and people will come up and tap the car. It’s beat up and scruffy. They wouldn’t dare do that to a Ferrari, but they can to Ol’ Yeller.” 

More information about the event can be found at HSR’s website: http://hsrrace.com

The 2019 schedule of events for the only sanctioning body in the world that requires period correct race cars can be found at www.hmsausa.comand features some of the longest-running events in the country.

About Historic Motor Sports Association

HMSA serves as the sanctioning body for premiere historic racing events such as the world famous Monterey Historic Automobile Races and remains the only organization to mandate the cars race as they were and not what they could have been (historically correct within time period the car originally raced).

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HAMPTON, Ga. (May 15, 2019) – O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags is known for its fast cars, but they’re not the only vehicles that stand out on Friday nights.

Before the drag races start, a variety of vehicles from all eras converge in the Atlanta Motor Speedway infield for the Show-N-Shine.

During the show enthusiasts share what they’ve done to make their ride special, including William Wright, of Marietta, who brought his 1985 Buick T-Type for opening night.

“I’ve been building this thing for about a year and a half,” Wright said. “It’s had five motors and three transmissions in it and this is the last setup it’ll see. It’s got a 6-liter V-8 in it with an 80 millimeter turbo. The suspension’s been fully redone, there’s custom tires and wheels on here. The interior I kept stock because I like the originality.

“I got stopped here and people were looking at the car so I figured I’d open it up so they could look at it. I appreciate getting stopped for my car. It’s a labor of love.”

Last week’s season opener was the first time Wright took part in the Show-N-Shine. From the moment he arrived, he says he was impressed.

“It’s pretty cool,” Wright said. “There’s a lot of people here. It’s always fun being around gearheads, people that appreciate the same thing.”

Anyone can bring their ride the next Show-N-Shine at O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags. Vehicles of all kinds are always welcome and entry is just $20. Show-N-Shine entry includes a spot in the Speedway Cruise, which parades the night’s assortment of unique vehicles around Atlanta Motor Speedway’s famous 1.54-mile Speedway. Show-N-Shine participants also get admission to the night’s slate of drag racing with their entry.

Fans who aren’t entered in the Show-N-Shine can still appreciate the variety of vehicles on display each Friday night; spectators can go to the infield to check out all the rides, too.

O’Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags continues this Friday with the Show-N-Shine and 19 divisions of vehicles drag racing on the pit lane drag strip. Grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m., and nightly drag race eliminations start just after 9:00 p.m.

Entry to drag race or for the Show-N-Shine is just $20 or competitors can purchase a combo ticket for $30. Spectator tickets are just $10, and children 5 and under are free.

More information can be found at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/drags or by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211.

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DINWIDDIE, Va. (May 15, 2019) — Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Top Fuel dragster team are making their way to the Virginia NHRA Nationals, the eighth event on the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season schedule, sitting inside the top 10 of the NHRA Mello Yello points standings.

In a close side-by-side race during the first round of the recent NHRA Southern Nationals, Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team laid down a 3.849-second pass at 321.42 mph that was only narrowly bettered by three-thousandths of a second. The strong first round effort came after Prock made a move from the 15th qualifying position to 11th during a rain hindered two days of qualifying that only allowed a single try in each lane. Although it was his fourth first-round exit, Prock has continued to boost his rookie resume. The first-year driver has three second-round finishes and a career-best elapsed time of 3.699-seconds and speed of 334.15 mph.

“Every time I go down the race track, I’m learning new things and trying to improve my skill set. That first round in Atlanta was a tough loss for this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team. We were close, it was a solid side-by-side race but we just couldn’t get the job done,” said Prock. “We’ve had a weekend off to get things back on track and I’m in the mindset to go out there and go some rounds in Richmond.”

Like teammate Brittany Force, Prock’s first visit to Virginia Motorsports Park outside of Richmond, Va., was last year, but as a crew member. This year, Prock will be in the driver’s seat eyeing to take home the Wally for his first NHRA Mello Yello career win.

“I’m looking forward to a get-healthy, turnaround weekend in Richmond,” Prock said. “We fell short to an extremely close drag race in Atlanta and we’re hoping to get on the other side of that this weekend. The track surface is beautiful in Richmond, and we’re hoping we can lay down some great numbers to get us in the top half of the field. I’ll be as ready as ever.”
Coming into Virginia, Prock will have a new crew chief leading his Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster crew. Mike Green joined the John Force Racing family over the off weekend. Green is a two-time world champion crew chief with 27 event wins under his belt.

for the Virginia NHRA Nationals begins Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eliminations start at 12 p.m. Catch the action on FS1 Friday from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday from 1:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. and Sunday from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 

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Story & Photos courtesy of John Force Racing

COMMERCE, Ga. (May 1, 2019) — When the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series reached Atlanta Dragway last May, Hall of Fame owner and driver John Force had suffered numerous explosions and was sitting 11th in the points standings with skeptics questioning his driving abilities. To say the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil BlueDEF Chevrolet Camaro SS team has done a 180 turnaround is an understatement.

Twelve months after that firestorm, the 16-time champion heads to the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals, with only one question looming — will the legendary driver celebrate his 150th tour victory on the weekend of a milestone birthday?

Force rolls into Atlanta off a near miss last week at Charlotte, N.C., where a loss of traction negated an early lead and relegated him to a third-place finish in the Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals. Already with a No. 1 qualifier this season (for a record 156th time), Force currently is third in the Mello Yello driver standings behind John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight and rival Matt Hagan. He’d be higher, perhaps even the point leader, had he not lost to Hight in five of the season’s first six races.Of course, it’s not the first time he has been upstaged by a teammate; not even the first time at Atlanta Dragway. Most memorable was his final round loss to daughter Ashley in the 2008 Southern Nationals, a result that made her the first woman to win a race in NHRA’s Funny Car division. In 1996, in the midst of an 11-win season that would result in his becoming the first drag racer to earn Driver of the Year honors for all American motor sports, Force sat poised to win the Southern Nationals for a record fifth consecutive time. Instead, he was beaten in the final round by then teammate Tony Pedregon, an upset loss that prompted one of his most famous quips: “I think I’ve hired my own assassin.”

Today, that “internal assassin” is Hight, the runaway point leader at the wheel of the Auto Club of Southern California Chevy who has won the last six head-to-head meetings with his boss and mentor dating back to the 2018 U.S. Nationals.

Nevertheless, he remains upbeat, especially knowing what the car crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Dan Hood have put under him can do.
“The better the car, the more confidence I get,” said the seven-time Atlanta winner. “I’ve been struggling, but I have a good team behind me and I’m learning how to drive again. They’re teaching me. I think we’re getting there, we’re going to get 150, but I’m not focusing on that. I’m focusing on going rounds, doing my job. The wins will come. We’re close. I’m in the hunt and I love it. I love driving this hot rod.”

Qualifying for the Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals begins on Friday with qualifying sessions 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Check out coverage on FS1 Friday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. ET and Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. ET.

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By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Chase Elliott seized the lead in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway during a four-lap shootout to the finish and took the checkered flag under caution after Kyle Larson barrel-rolled behind him. 

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 MoneyLion Ford, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #41 Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla Ford, lead the field during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama.
Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Elliott’s victory broke a Chevrolet drought in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series dating to last October at Kansas Speedway and broke a seven-race Ford stranglehold on the 2.66-mile track.

The first driver not from Team Penske or Joe Gibbs racing to win this season, Elliott crossed the stripe ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman, who scored his career-best finish but regretted he didn’t have the chance to make a move on Elliott on the last lap.

On a day when Chevrolet drivers faithfully executed a game plan to work together, Elliott scored his first win at Talladega and the fourth of his career. Elliott had taken the checkered flag in three of Chevrolet’s four 2018 wins, including the triumph at Kansas.

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesar’s Chevrolet, races Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota.
Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

“What a day!” Elliott said. “A huge thanks to all my partners, my team, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet—there was a lot of teamwork done today.

“We just had a plan, and we executed really well. Obviously, it could have gone either way, but fortunately everybody stayed together and stayed the course and we got a little help on the last lap with the caution.

“I appreciate all the support, man. This is special. This is close to home for me and sort of feels like a home race.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Mountain Dew/Little Caesar’s Chevrolet, celebrates winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama.
Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric ran third and fifth, respectively, as Chevrolets claimed four of the top five positions. Joey Logano was fourth in his Team Penske Ford. 

Kyle Busch was 10th in the top-finishing Toyota, extending his streak of top 10s to start the season to 10 races.

After taking the white flag, Elliott held the lead over Bowman, when David Ragan over-corrected on the backstretch and turned William Byron’s Chevrolet across traffic. After contact from Byron’s car, Larson slid toward the inside wall beside Jeffrey Earnhardt’s Toyota, got airborne and began rolling. NASCAR called the sixth caution of the afternoon, and a half-lap later, Elliott crossed the finish line to seal the win.

“It was a really crazy day, well-executed day on the Chevrolet teams’ behalf,” Elliott said. “Proud of that effort. That last lap was going to get wild. I don’t know exactly what Alex had up the sleeve. I know he was coming with something.

“We’ll take it.  Unbelievable feeling. The crowd was intense. We’re proud to get it done for them.”

Bowman confessed to mixed feelings after his runner-up finish.

“I’m not just going to let him win, right?” Bowman asked rhetorically. “I’ve got to try. I knew I could get to his quarter panel. I was pretty confident I could get to his quarter panel through the tri-oval. Who knows who is going to get to the line first? At that point, I thought I could do it. Depends on the car behind you, where he goes.

“It would have been fun to try, but happy for Chase, Nationwide (Bowman’s sponsor), everybody that lets us keep doing this thing. I’m glad to kind of turn the season around. It’s been a rough start to the year. These guys deserve way better than the finishes they’ve had. To come home second, it’s not a win, but headed in the right direction.”

Logano had control of the race on Lap 182 of 188, when contact between the cars of Aric Almirola and Chris Buescher sent Buescher’s Chevrolet spinning on the backstretch. Matt DiBenedetto couldn’t avoid Buescher’s Chevy and lifted it off the pavement with enough force to rip the hood off DiBenedetto’s Toyota.

The cars of Martin Truex Jr. and Justin Haley were also damaged in the wreck. Haley was unable to continue and retired from his Cup debut in 32nd place. Elliott, who led a race-high 44 laps, grabbed the lead from Logano after the restart on Lap 185.

The race just 10 laps old when a crash in Turn 1 eliminated a handful of cars expected to contend for the victory. Fighting for the second position, Bubba Wallace had a strong run on close friend Ryan Blaney, and the nose of Wallace’s Chevrolet rubbed across the rear bumper of Blaney’s Ford, getting both cars out of shape.

As Blaney righted his car and moved forward, Wallace steered his Chevy toward the apron and lost control, spinning across traffic near the front of the pack. Clint Bowyer’s Ford slid up the track into the Mustang of Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, knocking Harvick’s car into the outside wall.

After futile attempts to repair the cars, Wallace and Harvick retired from the race, along with Michael McDowell and Matt Tifft. Denny Hamlin also sustained damage in the wreck and soon was three laps down and out of contention. After hitting the wall on Lap 83, Hamlin took his car to the garage.

“The No. 22 (Joey Logano) pulled up and he checked up a little bit,” Wallace said of the crash. “I went to go to the bottom, where I was safe. I don’t know if I crossed (Blaney’s) bumper or whatever. But it got him wiggled down and shoved me even farther down than I wanted to go.

“So I went back up just to stay off the apron and it just unloaded. It’s just unfortunate, but I tried not to wreck my buddy, Ryan, and it cost our day and some others’.” 

During the Lap 11 accident, debris from McDowell’s car slammed into the nose of Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet, and on Lap 25, the No. 48 Camaro of the seven-time champion clobbered the Turn 3 wall. Though Johnson got to pit road without causing a caution, his race was effectively over.  

Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Brendan Gaughan, Almirola and Kyle Busch completed the top 10.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – 50th Annual GEICO 500

Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega, Alabama

Sunday, April 28, 2019

               1. (11)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 188.

               2. (9)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 188.

               3. (30)  Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 188.

               4. (8)  Joey Logano, Ford, 188.

               5. (5)  Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 188.

               6. (14)  Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 188.

               7. (24)  Ryan Newman, Ford, 188.

               8. (29)  Brendan Gaughan(i), Chevrolet, 188.

               9. (2)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 188.

               10. (22)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, 188.

               11. (36)  Corey LaJoie, Ford, 188.

               12. (16)  Daniel Suarez, Ford, 188.

               13. (4)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, 188.

               14. (1)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 188.

               15. (7)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 188.

               16. (17)  Paul Menard, Ford, 188.

               17. (13)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 188.

               18. (37)  Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 188.

               19. (27)  Erik Jones, Toyota, 188.

               20. (20)  Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 188.

               21. (25)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 188.

               22. (33)  Jeffrey Earnhardt(i), Toyota, Accident, 187.

               23. (15)  David Ragan, Ford, Accident, 187.

               24. (10)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 187.

               25. (6)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, Accident, 187.

               26. (34)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 187.

               27. (35)  Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 186.

               28. (40)  Cody Ware(i), Ford, 184.

               29. (3)  Clint Bowyer, Ford, 182.

               30. (31)  Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, Accident, 181.

               31. (26)  Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Accident, 181.

               32. (38)  Justin Haley(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 180.

               33. (21)  Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 178.

               34. (32)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 154.

               35. (39)  Stanton Barrett, Chevrolet, Suspension, 132.

               36. (23)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Accident, 80.

               37. (18)  Matt Tifft #, Ford, Accident, 11.

               38. (19)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 11.

               39. (28)  Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Accident, 10.

               40. (12)  Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 10.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  161.331 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 5 Mins, 59 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 21 laps.

Lead Changes:  38 among 16 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   A. Dillon 0;B. Keselowski 1-7;J. Logano 8;R. Blaney 9;J. Logano 10-13;*. Gaughan(i) 14;J. Logano 15-16;A. Almirola 17-30;J. Logano 31-32;A. Almirola 33;K. Larson 34;A. Almirola 35-46;M. Truex Jr 47-49;T. Dillon 50-56;C. Elliott 57-60;A. Bowman 61-67;B. Keselowski 68-70;J. Logano 71-73;R. Blaney 74-75;K. Busch 76;R. Blaney 77;R. Stenhouse Jr 78-90;K. Busch 91-92;R. Stenhouse Jr 93;C. Elliott 94-112;*. Gaughan(i) 113-114;C. Elliott 115-132;*. Gaughan(i) 133-134;E. Jones 135-138;J. Logano 139-143;M. Truex Jr 144-151;J. Logano 152-154;M. DiBenedetto 155;R. Chastain(i) 156-164;R. Stenhouse Jr 165-166;J. Logano 167-173;K. Busch 174;J. Logano 175-184;C. Elliott 185-188.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Chase Elliott 4 times for 45 laps; Joey Logano 9 times for 37 laps; Aric Almirola 3 times for 27 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr 3 times for 16 laps; Martin Truex Jr 2 times for 11 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 10 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 1 time for 9 laps; Ty Dillon 1 time for 7 laps; Alex Bowman 1 time for 7 laps; * Brendan Gaughan(i) 3 times for 5 laps; Ryan Blaney 3 times for 4 laps; Erik Jones 1 time for 4 laps; Kyle Busch 3 times for 4 laps; Kyle Larson 1 time for 1 lap; Matt DiBenedetto 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 13,88,3,9,41,6,24,17,18,95

Stage #2 Top Ten: 9,88,24,12,3,1,42,8,22,18

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Story/Photos courtesy of NHRA

Reigning Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence won his first of the season, Shawn Langdon his first in the Funny Car class, and Andrew Hines his 50th in Pro Stock Motorcycle to highlight a wild day of final eliminations at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

Torrence, winless since capturing six straight event victories to end the 2018 season drove his Capco Contractors dragster to three straight 3.7-second passes Sunday to capture the win and vault himself into the points lead. In the final round, Torrence’s 3.77 finished ahead of Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, and Leah Pritchett.

The victory is the third straight at the event and his 32nd career victory, encompassing 28 in Top Fuel and four in the Alcohol Dragster class, where he also was an NHRA world champion.

Langdon, a former world champion and 14-time winner in Top Fuel, scored his first in Funny Car in just his 30th start in the class. At the wheel of his Global Electronic Technology Toyota, Langdon won a final-round nailbuter, eking past low qualifier Robert Hight right at the finish line for the victory. John Force finished third and Matt Hagan fourth.

The victory was the 22nd of Langdon’s career, which also includes victories in Super Comp, where he also was a world champion, and Super Gas. Langdon’s victory also allowed him to join his Kalitta Motorsports teammates – Doug Kalitta, Richie Crampton, and J.R. Todd – as winners this season.

Hines became just the 19th driver in NHRA history to reach the 50-win mark and the first to do it in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Hines finished first, beating his Harley-Davidson teammate, Eddie Krawiec, handing him his sixth runner-up (without a win) in four-wide competition. Hector Arana Jr., winner of the recent four-wide event in Las Vegas, finished third with Ryan Oehler in fourth.

The win was Hines’ second victory this season after scoring at the PSM season opener in Gainesville, Fla.

TOP FUEL WINNER STEVE TORRENCE: “”Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana, and all of them Capco boys just instill confidence in you; I hadn’t been driving the most confidently lately – maybe on the defensive side – so I changed my mindset and went out there and did what I know what to do. We hadn’t had the car we had in the Countdown but it’s not because of anything other that trying some things.

“This hasn’t been the start to the season that we wanted, but in the scheme of things we were still third in the points. We’ve had a lot of success here at zMAX; at first I didn’t like the four-wide, but I have retracted that statement. I like racing here. We could race all of them here if you guys didn’t care. It’s good to turn the tables.”

FUNNY CAR WINNER SHAWN LANGDON: “There are so many things I’ve gone through to get to this point, but it’s the people I’ve been surrounded by and the chance to race for a legend like Connie Kalitta. And to have a guy like J.R. Todd as a teammate and working with [crew chief] Nicky Boninfante who’s been out here for years and bringing in Del Worsham was a big key factor. My dad has been fighting some health issues and I told him I was going to win a Wally for him, and we did. He’s healthy, beat cancer, got a liver transplant; it all good. I can’t wait to give him the trophy.

“To beat the guys we did in the final was special. I was .069 and left fourth. That shows you how good everyone is and how hungry they are. I hit the gas and the car was not really running well, just kind of petering down there, but I looked out to my left and didn’t see anyone. I saw the blinking [win] light, which I hadn’t seen today because I’d been second, which is a solid light, so I thought, ‘Damn, we might have won.’ No one would answer the radio so it wasn’t until I turned the corner and they pointed me to the [TV interview] side that I knew.”

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE WINNER ANDREW HINES: “The day went pretty good. As it got hotter and hotter, the conditions got tougher and tougher. Fortunately, our crew is good at persevering because not one round this weekend was similar to others. I missed tune-up in the first round but made up for that later on and we worked our way to the second round where we had that wacky round. 

On the semifinal re-run: “I was staging and I could see the light flicker in lane three. I didn’t know what the heck was going on. I was all staged so I turned the throttle and the red-light came on. I was not sure exactly what the malfunction was. At the top end, I was interested to see if we’d get a re-run. Thankfully we did but that’s something that has never happened in my career. I just saw all those blue lights flashing and it looked like I was getting pulled over by the cops. When we got the word about the re-run, we had the bike ready in 30 minutes.”

“In the final, we all did our normal job of staging. When I left I knew I didn’t get all of it. I could tell Eddie was making a good run. I was tucked in and started thinking he’d better not drive around me. I got there by a hundredth. This was a big day for our Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle team. HD SE team. There was definitely no shortage of emotions in my head every round today.”

Reigning Top Fuel champ Steve Torrence won his first of the season, Shawn Langdon his first in the Funny Car class, and Andrew Hines his 50th in Pro Stock Motorcycle to highlight a wild day of final eliminations at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

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Todd Gilliland  (No. 4 Frontline Enterprises Toyota) earned his second career ARCA Menards Series victory in Friday’s General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway. Gilliland, who is a full-time driver in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, took the lead after the first caution period of the race on lap 43 and led to the checkered.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Gilliland said. “We won in our first start at Toledo in 2015 and it seems like we’ve been so close every time we’ve raced in ARCA since then but something would jump up and keep us out of victory lane. We were finally able to get the weight off our shoulders here today. It’s a huge relief and I think it’s exactly what I needed to get my confidence up over on the Truck side too.”

Gilliland held off a last lap charge from second-place finisher Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) and third-place finisher Brandon Lynn (No. 20 Carolina Excavation & Grading Toyota). Herbst, in just his second ARCA Menards Series start of the season, was not satisfied with second.

“We came here to win so second stinks,” Herbst said with a chuckle afterwards. “We’ve had a pretty rough couple of weeks so this is a great come back. I wanted to get aggressive on the last lap but we have to look at the big picture too. We’re sharing the car this year with Ty Gibbs and he’s had a couple of really good weeks in a row so we want to keep him up in the owner’s points. I might have been able to make a move but I didn’t want to get shuffled out and give away all those points so they asked me to keep it down on the yellow line and that’s what we did.”

Lynn, who started from the General Tire Pole for the first time in his career, was in the same boat.

“The 20 car is leading the owners points so I didn’t want to do something stupid and cost them a ton of points,” he said. “On the last lap Michael (Self, No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) had a head of steam and if I jumped up in front of him it could have been a huge mess. I don’t get a chance to run the ARCA Menards Series very often so it’s great to come out of here with another good finish.”

For Gilliland’s father David, himself a former driver and co-owner of the car his son drove to victory, it was an emotional evening watching the third generation of his family win on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“I have been around a long time and I’ve done some things right and I’ve made a lot of mistakes,” the elder Gilliland said. “But this is special. After the year he’s had, with all of the ups and downs, it’s great for him to come here and get a win like this. I had some really good runs here and finished second behind my teammate here one time. But watching this was better. Todd is a fighter. He’s a winner. He never gives up and I think this will be the boost he needs for the rest of the year.”

Outside front row starter Ty Majeski (No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing Ford) finished fourth, while Michael Self finished fifth.

Self unofficially assumes the series championship lead by five points over Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford), who finished in seventh.

The race was slowed just twice by caution flags, the first at lap 41 for an incident involving Thad Moffitt (No. 46 Transportation Impact Chevrolet) and Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) and the second for a hard crash by Tommy Vigh, Jr. (No. 10 Extreme Kleaner/Menards Toyota) at lap 51. A total of 15 laps were run under the caution, holding the average speed to 141.398 miles per hour. Gilliland’s margin of victory at the stripe was 0.149 seconds.

Gus Dean (No. 32 Baker Distributing Chevrolet), Sean Corr (No. 43 The Trans Group/NESCO Chevrolet) and Joe Graf Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) also led laps throughout the race. Corr led the most laps of the evening, topping the field for 35 circuits and earning the Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Challenge Award.

The next race for the ARCA Menards Series is the General Tire Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on Saturday, May 4. Practice is scheduled for 2:15 pm ET/1:15 pm CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying will follow at 5:15 pm ET/4;15 pm CT, and the green flag will fly on the 200 lap main event at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for free at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login.

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VISTA, CA. (April 24, 2019) — Unfinished business is a recurring theme for motorsports Hall of Famer Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, who at age 78 returns this year to the Baja peninsula more than a half century after he missed his first chance to compete in the grueling Mexican 1000 off-road race.

In 1968, Prudhomme was to have filled the seat left vacant by actor Steve McQueen after a movie project made his scheduled participation in the event impossible.  Unfortunately, that opportunity, which would have put him in a vehicle alongside fellow drag racer Tony Nancy, never became reality.

Last year, though, Prudhomme finally raced in the desert – and even finished.  

This year, partnered with Jagger Jones, of Scottsdale, Arizona, a rising young star in NASCAR’s K&N Series and the 16-year-old grandson of fellow racing legend Parnelli Jones, he’s headed back to Ensenada, starting point for one of the world’s greatest off-road challenges, determined to greatly improve his results.

“I am quite aware he is the new kid on the block,” said Prudhomme of his young co-driver. “I feel like I have opened a door for him and there is plenty of room for him. I want it like that. I wanted to team up with a young kid that can get in the car and go fast. The main reason he is doing this is not because he is 16 but because he is fast.”

Prudhomme and Jones will be sharing the driving duties behind the wheel of a JEGS High Performance Mail Order and Lucas Oil sponsored 2019 Polaris RZR 1000 prepped by P.J. Jones of PJ’s Performance in Scottsdale, Ariz., and will race in the Stock Turbo UTV class.

Last year’s Mexican 1000 was the “Snake’s” first competitive driving appearance since 1994 when he retired from the NHRA tour having won 49 National Events in the Funny Car and Top Fuel divisions.  Later, as team owner, he added another 63 NHRA tour victories. This year he is focused on finishing strong with Jones beside him.

“It is going to be awesome. I have run with him before in Mexico,” said Prudhomme. “To be honest I can’t keep up with him because he is quite a bit faster than me in the car. I hate to say that but it is true. These sixteen year olds now have the experience of an 18 year old and they are racing NASCAR. People might think what is he doing with a 16 year old kid but he isn’t like me when I was 16 years old. He was raised in racing and he has been around it all his life.”

Jones is equally impressed with the tenacity of Prudhomme and his drive to continue to be competitive. Jones’ father was actually the one that connected the two racers after Prudhomme expressed interest in running the race again but wasn’t sure about finding the right co-driver.

“Last year PJ Performance supported Don’s team,” explained Jones. “He was talking with PJ about running again this year but he was skeptical about it and PJ suggested he run with me. It just worked out. I am excited. It is really cool to be able to run the Mexican 1000 again and to share a car with Don Prudhomme. He is such a good guy. We will be a good team. I think I will take some of the longer days but we are definitely going to be a team. I was impressed with how well he did last year.”

The Mexican 1000 is a five-day, off-road rally run by the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA) as a celebration of off-road racing history and vintage off-road machinery. Cars, buggies, trucks, and motorcycles from all eras of Baja racing are eligible to participate in a variety of classes. The race begins Friday, April 26th in Ensenda, Baja, Mexico, and ends Thursday, May 2nd in San Jose del Cabo, Baja, Mexico.

For more information about the NORRA Mexican 1000, go to www.norra.com

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The NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in North Carolina April 26-28 will offer four-wide competition in five different classes plus, for the first time, four-wide action under the lights in a pyro-filled Friday night.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the four-wide format with an action-packed and variety-spiced weekend when the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals revs up at zMAX Dragway in North Carolina April 26-28. The sensory overload of nitro-fueled excitement and the brightness of dragsters’ header flames will illuminate zMAX with an all-new Night of Fire on Friday, April 26. For the first time, the NHRA’s original four-lane drag strip will light the Tree and the night sky with qualifying beginning at 4:30 p.m. and concluding under the stars.

In addition to the thrill of seeing more than 40,000 horsepower launch as one from the zMAX starting line in the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, fans will also see four-wide action in the Pro Stock Motorcycle, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Series, and the exciting Mountain Motor Pro Stock class.

The popular SAMTech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown also returns to action for its second event of the season featuring some of the wildest and closest racing on the tour.

With a record-breaking five different winners to kick off the season, racing in the Top Fuel class has never been tighter and fans can have a ringside seat for the next chapter at zMAX. In Funny Car, the sport’s winningest driver, John Force, will again set his sights on milestone career win No. 150, but he’ll have to get past his teammate, Houston winner Robert Hight, who’s beaten him an unprecedented four straight times.

Side-by-side-by-side-by-side 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycles will also thrill the crowd as will the wild diversity of the Pro Mod class in its only four-wide outing of the season. The 6.2-second, 230-mph Mountain Motor Pro Stockers, 800-plus cubic inches under their retro throwback hood scoops, will also delight the fans by going four-wide.

In addition to ontrack attractions, the East10Drift group will put on smoke-billowing drift shows and offer hair-raising ride-alongs in a special pit-area display 

Gates are slated to open at 12 p.m., allowing fans to enjoy unprecedented access to their favorite drivers, cars and teams in the sprawling midway before the candle is lit on the Night of Fire.

When you purchase three (3) tickets for any day of the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals April 26-28, you’ll receive a fourth ticket free!  Must purchase in increments of four (4) to qualify. Be a part of the action all weekend with a 3-Day Pass + Parking to the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals! Packages start at just $99.

To purchase weekend passes, single-day tickets, hospitality upgrades and camping packages to the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, visit the dragway’s website or call 800-455-FANS (3267).
 

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