From The Marbles

  • Martin Truex Jr.'s championship season evaporates with engine trouble

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 56 mins ago

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    TALLADEGA, Ala.—Martin Truex Jr. began his year with a bitter loss in the Daytona 500, coming up just six inches short of a trip to victory lane. He’ll end this year with an even more painful thud, a championship-caliber season falling victim to a blown engine at Talladega.

    This was supposed to be Truex’s year, a season in which everything came together for the Jersey driver and Denver race team. Truex won four races, including the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500, and two of the first three races in the first round of the Chase. But in the Chase, you’re only as good as the current three-race segment, and Truex’s earlier victories meant nothing in the round of 12. Truex entered the race 13 points ahead of the cutoff line, not nearly enough to feel comfortable.

    Early on in the race, Truex, the pole winner, challenged Brad Keselowski for the race lead, even notching a couple laps led. But by lap 41, Truex’s engine let go, and he had no choice but to take his car straight to the garage.

    “I originally thought it was maybe a tire issue, but when I slowed down and came to pit road, I knew it was an engine issue,” he said. “I knew we’d need a miracle.”

  • Martin Truex Jr. to start first at Talladega

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 22 hrs ago

    Martin Truex Jr. will lead the field to green Sunday at Talladega.

    Truex posted the fastest lap in the second round of qualifying on Saturday to win the pole for the fourth time in 2016. The performance came after a little drama before qualifying even began. Parts were confiscated from the No. 78 Toyota in pre-qualifying inspection.

    Crew chief Cole Pearn said the problem was because of a misinstalled bolt on the left front of the car. Sunday’s race is an impound race, meaning teams aren’t allowed to make changes from qualifying to the race.

    A 5.5" LF jackscrew was replaced for a 8" that was mistakenly recessed to where a 5.5" is. Common sense/CG doesn't matter at a superspeedway

    — Cole Pearn (@colepearn) October 22, 2016

    From NBC:

    David Gilliland, driving a third car for Front Row Motorsports, failed to qualify.

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  • Joey Logano: 'If I'm on defense, we're not going to win'

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    Joey Logano can advance to the third round of the Chase as long as he finishes ahead of Austin Dillon and maintains his point advantages on Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott.

    But he’s not looking at Sunday’s Talladega race as an event where he will pay more attention to defending against those four drivers than he is about winning the race himself and automatically advancing to the third round.

    “I don’t really think about how people are trying to knock me out, I think about how I’m gonna knock other people out,” Logano said Friday. “That’s my attitude.  If I’m on defense, we’re not gonna win. We better stay on offense … We’re gonna go out there and race hard because that’s what we know how to do when we come to speedways.  Some guys can do it good the other way but, for us, we’re gonna go out there and race hard and try to stay up front, try to keep making our car better for the end of the race and be there at the end.”

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  • Happy Hour: Your thoughts on potentially limiting Cup drivers in lower series

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    Welcome to Happy Hour. As always, you can tweet or email us your NASCAR thoughts 24/7 at the links below.

    Y’all were moved by NASCAR saying earlier this week there was a possibility of a limitation on Sprint Cup Series drivers in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

    Any limitation would be imposed in 2017 and if the internet is any example, will be met with open arms by a vast majority of NASCAR fans. Cup drivers competing in lower series races has become one of the biggest NASCAR topics of the past few years.

    Part of that likely has to do with Kyle Busch. 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion has dominated the Xfinity Series over the past 10 seasons. Over half of his 169 career NASCAR wins have come in the series and he’s won an average of 7.6 races in each of those 10 seasons despite competing in about 70 percent of the series’ races in that same span.

    NASCAR won’t be making any decisions that hurt the bottom line.

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. to be in NBC booth for Talladega and Martinsville

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 3 days ago

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be on your television in more than just commercials for the next two Sundays.

    Junior will serve as a guest analyst for NBC during their coverage of Talladega on Sunday and next week’s race at Martinsville.

    “I’m excited to see these races from a different vantage point and hopefully offer some insight to the viewers,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to broadcast the Xfinity race at Michigan earlier this year, so I expect getting to spend time in the booth with the NBC team to be just as fun.”

    Junior is currently sitting out the rest of the 2016 season because of a concussion he suffered over the summer. He’s said his rehab is progressing well and expects to be back in the No. 88 for the 2017 Daytona 500.

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    Alex Bowman and Jeff Gordon have filled in for Junior in his absence. Bowman will be in the car at Talladega while Gordon will possibly make the final Sprint Cup Series start of his career at Martinsville.

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  • Who will make it to the 3rd round of the Chase? Here's our best guess

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 3 days ago

    Predicting what will happen at Talladega is an exercise in futility. Unless it’s a prediction that there will be a winner of the race, a driver that will finish last, there will be a crash (or two) and that teams will have to make pit stops.

    Those predictions will be accurate. OK, maybe not the crash prediction. There have been two caution-free races at Talladega, though they happened in 1997 and 2001.

    Nevertheless, we’re going to take a shot at guessing who the eight drivers advancing to the Chase’s third round after Talladega will be. Let’s get to it after a refresher on the points standings.

    1. Jimmie Johnson – Won at Charlotte 2. Kevin Harvick – Won at Kansas 3. Matt Kenseth, 3,074 4. Kyle Busch, 3,072 5. Carl Edwards, 3,069 6. Kurt Busch, 3,062 7. Martin Truex Jr., 3,058 8. Joey Logano, 3,045 9. Austin Dillon, 3,045 10. Denny Hamlin, 3,039 11. Brad Keselowski, 3,038 12. Chase Elliott, 3,020







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  • Jeffrey Earnhardt to run another Dale Earnhardt tribute scheme at Talladega

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 4 days ago

    Jeffrey Earnhardt is set to pay homage to his grandfather for the second time this season.

    Earnhardt, the grandson of seven-time Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., is racing for BK Racing at Talladega. His No. 83 car will be painted black with silver trim like Dale Earnhardt’s famous No. 3 car.

    His firesuit will also be similar to the one his grandfather wore. Jeffrey Earnhardt paid tribute to his grandfather’s Wrangler-sponsored car at Darlington in September.

    Starter is sponsoring @JEarnhardt1 for 2 races. He's going with a tribute to his grandfather, The Intimidator. (via @darrenrovell)

    — NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) October 17, 2016

    Earnhardt has driven the majority of the season for GoFas Racing’s No. 32. But the team has former Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte in the car for Talladega, so Earnhardt will pilot the No. 83 for BK Racing normally driven by Matt DiBenedetto.

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  • Power Rankings: Kevin Harvick stakes his claim to No. 1

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 5 days ago

    Kevin Harvick led 74 laps on Sunday. (Getty)[/caption]

    Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at and we’ll try to have some fun.

    1. Kevin Harvick (LW: 7): There’s only one time Kevin Harvick hasn’t gotten a win when he’s needed it in the Chase. And that was at last year’s season finale at Homestead when he finished second to Kyle Busch. Not bad at all.

    Had Harvick not gotten a win at Kansas to move on to the third round his Talladega could have been a bit more distracting than most. Remember what happened in 2015 with the cautions at the end of last year’s race and Trevor Bayne? It’s impossible to forget. The win means Harvick can simply laugh at any and all mentions and simply flash three fingers for the third round instead of wondering if a similar situation will dictate his Chase chances once again.

    2. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 1): We are so brutal. After vaulting Johnson seven spots thanks to his Charlotte win last week, the six-time champion drops a spot despite finishing fourth. Poor guy.

  • NASCAR taking 'hard look' at Cup drivers in Xfinity and Camping World Series

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 6 days ago

    NASCAR appears close to potentially limiting the number of Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races a Sprint Cup Series driver can participate in.

    NASCAR vice president Steve O’Donnell said Monday on SiriusXM that the series is taking a “really hard look” at changing the rules for Cup drivers’ participation and could have something to announce in the near future.

    “It certainly is on our radar,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve heard the fans … They like seeing those drivers come up through the ranks and it’s our job to make sure that Xfinity is the name where names are made. We have to do that on the racetrack. So that is something we’re taking a really hard look at for next year. I’d say stay tuned. We’re going to look at that and probably have something to announce very soon.”

    Kyle Busch won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Kansas, his ninth win in NASCAR’s No. 2 series this season. 19 of 30 Xfinity Series races have been won by Cup Series drivers and Busch’s win total is more than double that of teammate Erik Jones who leads all Xfinity regulars with four wins in 2016.

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  • Quick takeaways from Kansas: What could go wrong did go wrong for Denny Hamlin

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 6 days ago

    KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Damn that Denny Hamlin luck.

    A week after a blown engine with less than 30 laps to go derailed a potential second-place finish, wacky circumstances struck the No. 11 team once again. It was a day, in Hamlin’s words, that was “Terrible.”

    [Related: Kevin Harvick wins at Kansas]

    On lap 115, Hamlin slowed quickly when he thought he had a right-front tire issue. As the team pitted under caution for Josh Wise’s crash, it discovered the splitter had come apart on the front of the car and needed to be patched back together.

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    The repairs put Hamlin back in the pack, though he started to make his way forward again … until he hit Brad Keselowski when Keselowski got loose in front of Hamlin on lap 190. The team had to scramble for repairs again, this time to the nose of the car.

    And then on lap 225, Hamlin’s team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire on pit road.

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