Rubén García Jr. (No. 88 Canels-Scotiabank-HDI Toytota) won the NASCAR Mexico Series Coca-Cola Zero 240 at the El Dorado Speedway in Chihuahua, Mexico on Monday (postponed from Sunday due to heavy rain).
No. 18 Rafael Martínez, No. 20 Homer Richards and No. 11 Hugo Oliveras round out the top-five in this race. With victory, Garcia Jr. takes over the lead in the 2015 NMS Championship standings. He leads Irwin Vences by four points.-NASCAR Mexico Series
Brad Keselowski failed to score a top-15 in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, but his 16th-place finish left him two points to the good and allowed him to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
The AAA 400 was filled with drama as seven drivers ended the afternoon within two points of one another. That emotional drain may play a factor in the next round, particularly for drivers with modest Dover results who almost failed to advance.
Carl Edwards finished 15th in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway and that solid run kept him in contention for the Sprint Cup. He ended the Challenger round fourth in the standings with his two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates lined up ahead of him in terms of points’ earned.
This was Edwards’ 12th consecutive top-15. Solid runs like that will probably be enough to allow him to advance to the Eliminator round, but he is going to need to go back to earning top-fives in order to get into the Championship Race as a contender. He was plagued with a mechanical issue at Dover, so he should be able to rebound during the next two weeks on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks of Charlotte Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.
Clint Bowyer finished the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway respectably in 14th, but it was a far cry from the victory he needed in order to advance to the Contender round as one of the Chasers.
Bowyer finished 50 points behind the cutoff position, which meant that his 25-point penalty for an illegal truck arm at Chicagoland Speedway did not impact his ability to advance. Now that this team is out of playoff contention, it is likely their results will soften and crew members will start to move to other teams if offers come through. The No. 15 team will not field a car in 2016.
A decision not to pit for fresh tires almost cost Jeff Gordon in the final laps of the AAA 400. On a lap-373 caution nearly every driver behind him pitted for tires, and the older rubber caused him to lose three spots during the final run.
When the points were tallied, Gordon was only two markers ahead of the cutoff, which meant that he could not afford to lose much more ground. Poor decisions and bad restarts have cost this team all year and it appears they are not improving in this regard.
Martin Truex Jr. finished 11th in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway and easily advanced to the Contender round. He was fifth in the points’ standings.
Truex’s day got off to a rough start when he was pushed off the grid because there was too much flare on one of his fenders. He spent about 250 laps inside the top 10 and should be of interest to fantasy owners for his determination.
A broken rear seal caused the No. 48 to leak fluid from the axle and sent Jimmie Johnson to the pits just past the 100-lap mark. He lost 37 laps making repairs and could not make up any significant ground in the race. Johnson finished 41st in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway and failed to advance to the Contender round.
Johnson entered the race with a 25-point cushion and was expected to easily advance and challenge for his seventh Cup championship. He will continue to be a solid fantasy value, however, even though he no longer has a shot at the big prize.
Joey Logano barely kept his top-10 streak alive in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. He finished 10th after starting fourth.
Strictly in terms of recent results, Logano would seem to have more momentum than anyone else, but with the dominant performance by Kevin Harvick it may be time to start thinking of him as the second-most likely racer to win this year’s Sprint Cup.