Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for November

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series kicked off the month of November at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Kevin Harvick secured his chance to compete for a second championship by winning at the 1.5-mile track. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver led 119 of 334 laps to earn his fourth win of the season.

Aric Almirola led 62 laps before finishing second, Daniel Suarez finished third, while Joey Logano and Alex Bowman rounded out the top five.

Denny Hamlin finished 28th after spinning on Lap 80. Hamlin sustained damage to his Toyota Camry after going through the grass on the frontstretch.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver recovered one week later at ISM (Phoenix) Raceway, where he held off teammate Kyle Busch by a .377 second margin-of-victory.

Hamlin led four times for a total of 143 laps, earning him a place in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ryan Blaney finished third, Kyle Larson fourth, and Harvick finished fifth.

Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth, while Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer, Logano, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10.

Chase Elliott smacked the wall on Lap 166 after a flat left rear tire. The incident ended his day and resulted in a 39th place result.

The season finale at Homestead-Miami on Sunday, November 17th ended with JGR’s Busch in Victory Lane celebrating his fifth victory of the season and earning his second career MENCS title. 

Busch took the lead for the first time on Lap 87 before Martin Truex Jr. reclaimed the lead for the next 33 laps, then Busch again took over first place on Lap 121. In all, Busch led six times for a total of 120 circuits, including the final 45.

Busch’s pit strategy allowed him a 4.578 margin-of-victory over teammate Truex, who led four times for 103 laps total.

“We have a great race team and a great owner,” Busch said, “Everybody always says you never give up and we’re no different,. Sometimes we may not be the best, sometimes we may not have the right track position. Today we had a really good car and I could race around and move around.

“There’s always your doubters, there’s always your haters,” Busch said smiling. “You know what? This one’s for the Rowdy Nation. You guys are the best. Thank you so much.”

Busch’s championship sets him among just 16 drivers with multiple Cup title wins. Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson is the only active driver with multiple championships.

Xfinity Series:

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Christopher Bell earned his eighth win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway, almost six seconds ahead of Ross Chastain.

Bell swept the first and second stages during the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. He led 101 of 200 laps before earning his first win at the 1.5-mile track.

The win was Bell’s 16th Xfinity Series victory of his career.

Justin Allgaier took advantage of Bell’s circumstances on Saturday, November 9th, when he led the final 66 laps to clinch his ticket to the Championship 4.

Cole Custer finished second, while Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, and Zane Smith rounded out the top five.

Bell finished 16th after spinning on Lap 116 of 200.

Reddick became a two-time, back-to-back, series champion at Homestead-Miami on Saturday, November 16th.

The Richard Childress Racing driver held off Custer by more than a second at the 1.5-mile track, becoming the only driver in series history to win consecutive championships for two different car owners.

“It’s about this race team, man, and I was just honored to pilot this Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet,” Reddick said. “I’m losing my breath — I’m that excited. This one means so much more. It was just a lot better year, and it was really cool to go back-to-back.”

Custer earned the runner-up position, while Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson finished third and fourth, respectively. Bell rounded out the top five.

Allgaier finished in the 14th position after scrapping the wall late in the race. Allgaier suffered a flat tire from the wall contact, which put him out of championship contention.

Truck Series:

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Stewart Friesen scored his second win of the season at ISM Raceway, earning him a chance to compete for his first championship at Homestead-Miami.

Brandon Jones finished second, Chandler Smith third, Ben Rhodes fourth, and Grant Enfinger finished fifth.

John Hunter Nemechek was involved in two accidents that resulted in a 29th place finish, one on Lap 23 involving Derek Kraus and another on Lap 100 involving Sam Mayer.

Kraus finished 31st, while Mayer finished 19th.

Chastain, Brett Moffitt, and Matt Crafton joined Friesen at Homestead to compete for the 2019 championship.

Crafton finished second to Austin Hill at Miami to earn him his third NGOTS title.

“I guess I finally got out of the wheelchair and got up on the wheel and got it done,” Crafton said of the title run. “One step closer to what Hornaday’s done, and they called us the underdog.”

Christian Eckes finished third during the Ford EcoBoost 200, championship favorites Chastain and Moffitt finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Johnny Sauter finished sixth, Enfinger seventh, Todd Gilliland eighth,  while Sheldon Creed and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top 10.

Other News:

Seven-Time Champion Jimmie Johnson announced on Wednesday, November 20th, that 2020 will be the Hendrick Motorsports driver's last full-time season to pilot the No. 48 Chevrolet. 

Johnson, who won five consecutive titles between 2006 and 2010, has 83 Cup victories and is tied with Cale Yarborough for sixth-most all time wins.

Johnson is also tied with NASCAR greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with seven championships.

“I knew that at some point, that was really going to really weigh on me to want to be around (family) a lot more,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to believe they are (Genevieve) 9 and (Lydia) 6 now, and that much time has elapsed, but I just have a fire in me to push for that and stay at the track.

“I still have that fire, and I am coming back next year. Next year is not a mail-it-in year. It’s a year we are going to win races and compete for a championship. So I know I can give what I need to this team for another year. After that, I’m ready to have some time back on my side and just have a better balance in life.”

The Gander Outdoors Truck Series is getting a name change for the 2020 season. It will be called the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starting at the season opener at Daytona, which kicks off Friday, February 14th.

The Gander Outdoors Truck Series and Xfinity Series celebrated their awards banquet on November 22, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Crafton and Reddick were honored for winning their respective titles, while owners Kyle Busch and Richard Childress were present for earning the 2019 Owners Championship.

The broadcast will air on NBC Sports on Sunday, December 1st. The Cup Series banquet will be held in Nashville on December 5th. 
Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for November Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for November Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, November 25, 2019 Rating: 5