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Bristol night race drama drops four from NASCAR Cup Series playoff field

Sports / Auto Racing /

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Four of the 16 NASCAR playoff drivers saw their championship hopes dashed Saturday night, and the drama of Bristol made the final drivers into the field of 12 in question through the checkered flag. Here’s how the drivers stand:

Drivers who advanced

— Denny Hamlin: Locked his spot in the Round of 12 with a win at ...Read more

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Q&A with NASCAR's Christopher Bell: From his first win to TMS being his 'home track'

Sports / Auto Racing /

Christopher Bell is in the midst of a breakout season in NASCAR.

The 26-year-old from Oklahoma won his first Cup race earlier this season and is in the midst of his playoffs debut. Bell, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is coming off a third-place run at Richmond last weekend and is in position to advance to the next round of the...Read more

Benjamin Hochman: East bound and round (and round) -- St. Louis to experience NASCAR in 2022, thanks to this pair

Sports / Auto Racing /

ST. LOUIS — They originally called it the Chili Bowl since the sponsors sold pre-made chili. But the name lived on for this no-frills racing expo and event where, if you sit close enough to the dirt clay track, you can get splattered with what, come to think of it, looks like chili.

Racing folks from garages of all sizes come each year to the...Read more

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NASCAR's 2022 race schedule is out. Biggest changes and new races for Next Gen.

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR’s 2022 Cup season schedule features a reshuffling of race dates and the addition of World Wide Technology Raceway (Gateway) near St. Louis.

Additionally, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday night that the pre-season exhibition Clash race will move venues for the first time to run at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is the ...Read more

Benjamin Hochman: NASCAR Cup Series race will come to St. Louis in 2022 at World Wide Technology Raceway

Sports / Auto Racing /

The best quality of the folks at World Wide Technology Raceway is, fittingly, drive.

Led by owner Curtis Francois, they have worked diligently, passionately and creatively to grow the track’s presence in racing.

And the culmination will be revealed Wednesday — a news conference at Ballpark Village to announce that a NASCAR Cup Series race ...Read more

NASCAR team to permanently lay off 55 workers as it shuts down

Sports / Auto Racing /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chip Ganassi Racing has notified the state that it will permanently lay off 55 workers, as the Concord-based NASCAR team prepares to go out of business.

The state Department of Commerce received notice from the team this week that the workers will lose their jobs on Nov. 7, department records show. That is timed with NASCAR�...Read more

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NASCAR fines Kyle Busch for safety violation at Darlington

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR has fined Cup driver Kyle Busch $50,000 for a safety violation that took place during Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 race at Darlington.

The penalty stems from an incident in which Busch drove his No. 18 Toyota at an excessive speed into the garage area, hitting multiple cones and sending people near the entryway scattering. Busch ...Read more

Crashes collect a pair of playoff drivers in the NASCAR postseason opener at Darlington

Sports / Auto Racing /

DARLINGTON, S.C. — NASCAR’s Cup Series playoff opener wasn’t kind to Kyle Busch.

The two-time series champion had an early exit on Sunday in the Cookout Southern 500 at Darlington.

Busch hit the wall on lap 124 after contact with Austin Dillon, ending his night. This is the first time in his career that he doesn’t finish a race at ...Read more

Ryan Blaney wins intense NASCAR Cup regular-season finale at Daytona, playoff field set

Sports / Auto Racing /

Intensity was at its peak for 165 laps, but most of the action came in the final 20 of Saturday’s Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.

Six of the top 10 drivers lined up for the overtime restart needed a win to secure the final playoff spot of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. But instead, it was a previous race winner who prevailed. ...Read more

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Wendell Scott's NASCAR trophy finally going home, after nearly 60 years of waiting

Sports / Auto Racing /

Before Wendell Scott died in 1990, he accurately predicted the future.

The former NASCAR driver, team owner and mechanic had a hunch that he would eventually receive his rightfully-deserved recognition.

“He said that, ‘I may not be here with y’all, but one day I’ll get my trophy,’ ” said Frank Scott, Wendell’s son.

In 1963, ...Read more

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Tony Stewart isn't pleased with SHR's season: 'We definitely have a problem'

Sports / Auto Racing /

Stewart-Haas Racing has two drivers locked into the postseason heading into NASCAR’s regular Cup season finale this Saturday at Daytona, but team owner Tony Stewart still sees much room for improvement at the four-car Cup operation.

“It’s not been a season that we’re proud of by any means,” Stewart said. “We definitely have a ...Read more

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NASCAR Xfinity Series Wawa 250 takes center stage at Daytona International Speedway

Sports / Auto Racing /

For the NASCAR Cup Series, Saturday's Coke Zero Sugar 400 is one final chance to make the postseason.

Drivers in the Xfinity Series, however, have a little more breathing room.

The Wawa 250 is set for Friday (NBCSN, 7:30 p.m.) and will kick-start an intense two days of racing at the track.

Unlike the Cup race, Friday's Xfinity race won't ...Read more

Frank Kelleher leans on family values as new president at Daytona International Speedway

Sports / Auto Racing /

Frank Kelleher has been involved in family business since he was a kid.

Back then, he learned the ropes and hung on every word of his father and two uncles at Kelleher Tire back home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Along the way, Kelleher developed a passion for cars and a personal code well suited to serve the France family, the founders and owners...Read more

The director of NASCAR's top series is facing animal cruelty charges

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR Cup Series director Jay Fabian has stepped away from his role in response to multiple animal cruelty charges.

According to court documents filed in Mecklenburg County, Fabian is facing two felony counts of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor charge of the same violation. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 27.

An arrest warrant issued ...Read more

NASCAR power rankings: Here are the best drivers heading to Daytona

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR’s Cup Series has one race remaining in the regular season as drivers battle for points heading into playoffs. The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona is 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

Below are The Charlotte Observer’s power rankings for the week of Aug 23. This list is updated each week.

Honorable mention

— Ryan Blaney (previously unranked) ...Read more

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NFL legend Emmitt Smith entering NASCAR as a team owner, report says

Sports / Auto Racing /

NFL legend Emmitt Smith is partnering with NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji to form a lower-level Xfinity Series team, according to a report by NBC Sports.

Smith, 52, was a longtime running back for the Dallas Cowboys and rushed for more than 18,000 yards during his NFL career. He’s held the league’s all-time rushing yards record since 2002. Iwuji...Read more

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NASCAR is tightening COVID-19 protocols as cases rise

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR is further tightening its COVID-19 protocols by limiting interactions in the competition area at the racetrack. The sanctioning body announced updates to its pandemic protocols Tuesday that will go into effect starting this weekend at Michigan.

The protocol changes mean that there will be a reduction of contact between drivers and fans, ...Read more

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NASCAR power rankings: Here are the best drivers heading to Michigan

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR’s Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway this weekend with just two races remaining in the regular season. The FireKeepers Casino 400 is 3 p.m. Sunday on NBCSN.

Below are The Charlotte Observer’s NASCAR power rankings for the week of Aug 16. This list is updated each week.

Honorable mention

— Alex Bowman (-1) ...Read more

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A.J. Allmendinger scores upset win in chaotic Cup race on Indianapolis road course

Sports / Auto Racing /

NASCAR’s first Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was setting up to finish in predicable fashion in the final 10 laps. Kyle Larson was in the lead. Chase Elliott’s car fell off the jack on pit road, which meant he would have to overcome a setback to get to the front.

NASCAR fans have seen that story before, as recently ...Read more

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How the coronavirus pandemic has changed auto racing

Sports / Auto Racing /

TAMPA, Fla. — When NASCAR and the IndyCar Series returned to the track last year, they did so with tighter race weekends. NASCAR eliminated almost all practice and qualifying sessions to reduce exposure, while IndyCar’s first event after the shutdown was a one-day stop at Texas Motor Speedway.

The condensed schedules continued this year, ...Read more