NASCAR & Auto Racing

Gibbs, Hendrick teams could have 7 drivers between them in Chase

My two cents

Joe Gibbs Racing will have all three of its Sprint Cup Series drivers competing in the Chase this season.

Yet somehow the aura around the organization is not quite the same as for Hendrick Motorsports, which has all four of its drivers in the 10-race playoff.

True, Matt Kenseth is in the Chase (right now) based on points and that’s quite a difference from last season when he led the series with seven victories.

Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch have both won this season, but their inconsistency is what separates the JGR group from HMS.

The four Hendrick drivers have 10 wins and each driver has had at least one race in which he led the most laps.

That’s where JGR is struggling.

Sunday night at Atlanta, Hamlin led 37 laps – the most he’s led in any race this season, including his victory at Talladega, Ala. Kenseth has led 465 laps this season but 227 of them have been at the two races at Bristol, Tenn., where he finished 13th and third, respectively.

Busch has led 365 laps but has never led the most laps in any race. In his victory at Las Vegas, he led only five (of 206).

There remains time to change those numbers, of course.

There has been a big difference between making the Chase and being out front.


Hornaday’s Truck team shuts down: Turner Scott Motorsports officially shut down its No. 30 Truck series team, which was driven by Ron Hornaday. TSM laid off 18 employees this week, according to a statement released by the team.

“The decision to lay off any employee is painful and we realize the affects it has on their lives,” team co-owner Harry Scott Jr. said Tuesday. “However, the decisions made by TSM today are necessary and the responsible steps for all of TSM to ensure our commitment to our employees, partners and fans to be as competitive as possible.”

Hornaday was fourth in the series standings when Scott announced last week that entry would not race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Scott and co-owner Steve Turner have each filed lawsuits against the other.

Modified Tour owner suspended: David Hill, car owner in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for a code of conduct violation.

“Following the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race on Aug. 30, David Hill made a post on social media that included remarks that we will not tolerate,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer.

Hill can apply for reinstatement following the completion of mandated sensitivity training and an additional NASCAR review.

Michael Waltrip ready to dance: According to the New York Daily News, Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Michael Waltrip will compete in season 19 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” when it debuts on Sept. 15.

Among the other participants are track star Lolo Jones, comedian Tommy Chong and “Duck Dynasty” star Sadie Robinson.

A team spokesman on Wednesday said he could not confirm Waltrip’s participation.

Title on the line: Twenty-three drivers are entered for Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway but Ben Rhodes only needs to beat one to win a championship.

Rhodes, 17, enters the 15th event of a 16-race season with a 65-point lead over Cameron Hayley in the series standings. If Rhodes finishes ahead of Hayley he will secure his first series title.

The series championship would be the second consecutive for Turner Scott Motorsports. Through 14 races, Rhodes has five wins, five poles, 10 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.