Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Notes heading to Charlotte

All eyes on Martin Truex Jr. this week at Charlotte.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: Bank of America 500

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, Oct. 8
The Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 7 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 501 miles (334 laps)

Next Race: Drive For The Cure 300 Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

The Place: Charlotte Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, Oct. 7
The Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 7:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)


Round Of 12 Begins At Charlotte

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 12 kicks off this weekend with Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET on NBC). The drivers, who advanced following last Sunday’s race at Dover were Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon. Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Chris Buescher and Jamie McMurray were all eliminated from the Chase.

All advancing drivers have had their points reset to 3,000. Any Chase-eligible driver who wins one of the three Round of 12 races – Charlotte, Kansas or Talladega – automatically advances to the Round of 8.

Joey Logano won last year’s Charlotte Chase race, which took place during the daytime on Sunday due to rain. Kevin Harvick won the Charlotte fall race the last time it was held at night.

Martin Truex Jr. set a Charlotte track record leading 392-of-400 laps on his way to victory in the Coca-Cola 600 earlier this year. He also set a NASCAR record for miles led in a single race (588). He will attempt to become the first driver to sweep a track this season.

Queen City King: Johnson Tries To Build On Charlotte Track Record
Jimmie Johnson will try to add to his Charlotte Motor Speedway record of seven wins in Saturday’s Bank of America 500. The No. 48 Chevrolet driver also boasts 14 top fives and 18 top 10s in 30 career starts there. Johnson’s last win at Charlotte came in the Coca-Cola 600. Among active drivers at Charlotte, Johnson ranks first in average running position (8.3), driver rating (109.6) and laps led (1,740).

Johnson has won the fall race three times (all in the Chase). No other driver has won the Charlotte Chase race more than once.

In 2003, the Californian set another Charlotte record by winning the spring race from the 37th starting position – the deepest a race winner has begun a contest at the 1.5-mile track.

Logano Looks For Charlotte Race Repeat
It’s that time of year again for Joey Logano. October has come and the Round of 12 is here. Since the new Chase format was implemented in 2014, the Team Penske driver has won four of the six Round of 12 races, including a sweep of last year’s events (Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega).

On Saturday, Logano will attempt to defend his 2015 victory at Charlotte where he led 227-of-334 laps.

For his career, Logano owns one win, five top-five and nine top-10 finishes, as well as a series-best 9.5 average finish in 15 Queen City starts.

Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski is also strong at Charlotte. He has one win, three top fives, six top 10s and an average finish of 13.9 at the 1.5-mile track. Keselowski has registered a top-10 finish in five of the last six Charlotte races, including a win in fall of 2013.

Truex Establishes Himself As Championship Favorite In Chase’s Opening Round
Only one word can be used to describe Martin Truex Jr.’s performance since his win at Darlington, and especially in the opening round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – dominant.

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver has won three of the last five races to join Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski at the top of the leaderboard with four wins this season. In the two races Truex didn’t visit Victory Lane – at Richmond and New Hampshire – he led the most laps with 193 and 141, respectively.

Truex has established himself as the driver to beat for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and it doesn’t look like he’ll slow down any time soon. He heads next to Charlotte Motor Speedway where he set the track record by leading 392-of-400 laps on the way to Victory Lane in the Coca-Cola 600 in May. His 588 miles led were a single-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record.

A loop data machine, Truex leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in driver rating (107.6), fastest laps run (886) and laps led (1,594), and ranks second in average running position (8.7).

Elliott Ups Performance in Chase

Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner Chase Elliott has not allowed the pressure of his first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup affect him. In fact, it actually might be making him better. After completing the regular season with only two top-10 finishes in its final 11 races, Elliott has upped his performance in the Chase with two third-place showings (Chicagoland and Dover) and a 13th-place result (New Hampshire).

Just one of three rookies to ever make a Chase, Elliott is trying to best Denny Hamlin’s championship finish of fourth from his rookie season. The No. 24 Chevrolet driver is also the youngest driver to ever make the Chase.

Elliott placed eighth at Charlotte in the spring and heads there next for the opening contest of the Round of 12.

Kyle Busch Attempts To Put A ‘1’ In The Win Column At Charlotte
Kyle Busch is only 31 years old, but already boasts 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins. The No. 18 Toyota driver has visited Victory Lane at every active track except for Pocono and Charlotte – the site of Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Although Busch has never won at Charlotte, he is statistically strong there. Among active drivers, he claims the second-best Queen City driver rating (104.6) and average running position (9.9). In 25 Charlotte starts, Busch claims 10 top fives, 14 top 10s and a 15.8 average finish.

Charlotte Spoilers
Just because a driver is not Chase-eligible doesn’t mean he/she is disqualified from winning. Five non-Chase drivers have won at Charlotte: Kasey Kahne (four victories), Jamie McMurray (2), Tony Stewart (1), Clint Bowyer (1) and Casey Mears (1).

Chase spoilers often make the latter races of a round even more interesting because they eschew an automatic qualifying spot that can be earned by a Chase-eligible competitor.

Look out for Kahne this weekend. A one-time Charlotte fall winner, he leads all drivers with 581 laps led in the track’s Chase races. Kahne has run strong lately with four top 10s in his last five starts and no finish lower than 14th in his last seven starts.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, etc.

Annett Set For 100th Career Start

HScott Motorsports driver Michael Annett is scheduled to become the 197th driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history to make 100 or more starts when he takes the track this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.


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