By the numbers: The 2013 Chasers at Charlotte

0 Comments

NASCAR is heading “home sweet home” this weekend, as the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup visits the 1.5-mile high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway – site of the fifth race in the 2013 Chase, the Bank of America 500.

Kevin Harvick was victorious last Sunday at Kansas Speedway, pulling himself up to third in the championship (25 points behind leader Matt Kenseth). And after claiming the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte back in May, another move toward the top may be in the cards for him.

Strategy played a key role in Harvick’s triumph in May. Kasey Kahne was leading when the caution came out with 14 laps left, but opted to stay out while Harvick and the leaders pitted. When the race went back to green a few laps later, Harvick – who took two tires on his final stop – quickly got by Kahne and went on to the win.

We may also want to keep an eye out on another Chase contender Kurt Busch, who was in position to win in May until a late battery failure knocked him from the lead and forced him to battle for a third-place result.

Your two current Chase leaders, Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson (second, 3 points behind Kenseth) also ran into problems in the same race. On Lap 333, Johnson spun out, collecting both Kenseth and Juan Pablo Montoya in the process. Kenseth would continue on for a 15th place finish, while Johnson ended up 22nd.

As provided by NASCAR, here’s a look at how all 13 Chase contenders have done at Charlotte in their careers going into Saturday night’s pivotal race:

MATT KENSETH (Leader, 2,183 points)
Two wins, seven Top-5s, 14 Top-10s
Average Finish: 14.2 in 28 races
Average Running Position: 14.3, sixth-best

JIMMIE JOHNSON (Second, -3 points)
Six wins, 11 Top-5s, 15 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.9 in 24 races
Series-best Average Running Position: 8.1

KEVIN HARVICK (Third, -25 points)
Two wins, three Top-5s, eight Top-10s
Average Finish: 17.3 in 25 races
Average Running Position: 18.3, 19th-best

JEFF GORDON (Fourth, -32 points)
Five wins, 16 Top-5s, 21 Top-10s
Average Finish: 16.2 in 41 races
Average Running Position: 15.7, 10th-best

KYLE BUSCH (Fifth, -35 points)
Eight Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
Average Finish: 16.5 in 19 races
Average Running Position: 9.9, second-best

GREG BIFFLE (Sixth, -44 points)
Five Top-5s, eight Top-10s
Average Finish: 17.1 in 21 races
Average Running Position: 14.6, eighth-best

KURT BUSCH (Seventh, -47 points)
One win, six Top-5s, seven Top-10s
Average Finish: 19.1 in 26 races
Average Running Position: 17.3, 17th-best

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (Eighth, -54 points)
Five Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
Average Finish: 19.6 in 27 races
Average Running Position: 20.3, 24th-best

CLINT BOWYER (Ninth, -55 points)
One win, two Top-5s, five Top-10s
Average Finish: 15.8 in 15 races
Average Running Position: 17.1, 15th-best

JOEY LOGANO (10th, -59 points)
Three Top-5s, six Top-10s
Average Finish: 9.6 in nine races
Average Running Position: 14.3, seventh-best

CARL EDWARDS (11th, -60 points)
Five Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.9 in 17 races
Average Running Position: 15.0, ninth-best

RYAN NEWMAN (12th, -73 points)
Four Top-5s, nine Top-10s
Average Finish: 19.6 in 25 races
Average Running Position: 18.1, 18th-best

KASEY KAHNE (13th, -83 points)
Four wins, eight Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
Average Finish: 11.9 in 19 races
Average Running Position: 11.8, third-best

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)