2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Previous: 2015 Next: 2017
Champions | Seasons
Jimmie Johnson, the 2016 Sprint Cup Series champion, his record tying seventh title
Joey Logano, finished 4 points behind Jimmie Johnson in second place
Kyle Busch, finished 5 points behind Jimmie Johnson in third place
Carl Edwards, finished 33 points behind Jimmie Johnson in fourth place in the final season of his career

The 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was the 68th season of professional stock car racing in the United States and the 45th modern-era Cup series season. The season began at Daytona International Speedway with the Sprint Unlimited, the Can-Am Duel and the Daytona 500. The season ended with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports won his seventh drivers' championship, tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time. Toyota won the manufacturer's championship, becoming the first manufacturer to win the manufacturer's championship other than Chevrolet since 2002.

The season also marked the second season of a new television contract. During the season, races were broadcast in the United States by Fox Sports and NBC Sports.

The season marked the final season for three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart[1] as well as Brian Scott, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Josh Wise, Brian Vickers, Casey Mears, Bobby Labonte, Michael Annett, Patrick Carpentier, Jeb Burton, Eddie MacDonald, Robert Richardson Jr., Ryan Ellis, Justin Allgaier, Alex Kennedy and Tommy Baldwin Racing.

The season also marked the final season with Sprint as the series sponsor as Monster Energy took over the title sponsorship starting in 2017.[2]

Teams and drivers[edit]

Chartered teams[edit]

There were 37 full-time teams in 2016.

Manufacturer Team No. Race driver Crew chief
Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing 1 Jamie McMurray Matt McCall
42 Kyle Larson Chad Johnston 35
Phil Surgen 1
Germain Racing 13 Casey Mears Bootie Barker
Hendrick Motorsports 5 Kasey Kahne Keith Rodden
24 Chase Elliott (R) Alan Gustafson
48 Jimmie Johnson Chad Knaus
88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 18 Greg Ives
Alex Bowman 10
Jeff Gordon 8
HScott Motorsports 15 Clint Bowyer Steve Addington 35
Jay Guy 1
46 Michael Annett 35 Jay Guy 20

Mike Hillman 16

Justin Allgaier 1
JTG Daugherty Racing 47 A. J. Allmendinger Randall Burnett 35
Ernie Cope 1
Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing
95 Ty Dillon 7 Todd Parrott 11
Dave Winston 24
Matt Borland 1
Michael McDowell 29
Richard Childress Racing 3 Austin Dillon Slugger Labbe
27 Paul Menard Justin Alexander 20
Danny Stockman Jr. 16
31 Ryan Newman Luke Lambert
Stewart-Haas Racing 4 Kevin Harvick Rodney Childers 35
Dax Gerringer 1
10 Danica Patrick Billy Scott
14 Brian Vickers 5 Mike Bugarewicz
Ty Dillon 3
Tony Stewart 28
41 Kurt Busch Tony Gibson 35
Johnny Klausmeier 1
Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 Regan Smith 35 Tommy Baldwin Jr.
Ty Dillon 1
Ford Front Row Motorsports 34 Chris Buescher (R) Bob Osborne
38 Landon Cassill Donnie Wingo
Go Fas Racing 32 Bobby Labonte 4 Wally Rogers 35

Clinton Cram 1

Jeffrey Earnhardt (R) 19
Joey Gase 6
Jeb Burton 2
Patrick Carpentier 2
Eddie MacDonald 1
Boris Said 1
Dylan Lupton 1
Richard Petty Motorsports 43 Aric Almirola Trent Owens 26
Drew Blickensderfer 10
44 Brian Scott (R) Chris Heroy
Roush Fenway Racing 6 Trevor Bayne Matt Puccia
16 Greg Biffle Brian Pattie 34
Robbie Reiser 2
17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nick Sandler 35
Mike Kelley 1
Team Penske 2 Brad Keselowski Paul Wolfe
22 Joey Logano Todd Gordon
Toyota BK Racing 23 David Ragan Patrick Donahue
83 Michael Waltrip 1 Doug Richert 4
Gene Nead 31
Mike Ford 1
Matt DiBenedetto 30
Dylan Lupton 2
Jeffrey Earnhardt (R) 3
Furniture Row Racing 78 Martin Truex Jr. Cole Pearn 35
Todd Berrier 1
Joe Gibbs Racing 11 Denny Hamlin Mike Wheeler
18 Kyle Busch Adam Stevens 35
Todd Berrier 1
19 Carl Edwards Dave Rogers
20 Matt Kenseth Jason Ratcliff

Non-chartered teams[edit]

Complete schedule[edit]

Manufacturer Team No. Race driver Crew chief
Ford Wood Brothers Racing 21 Ryan Blaney (R) Jeremy Bullins

Limited schedule[edit]

Manufacturer Team No. Race driver Crew chief Round(s)
Chevrolet Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing 59 Michael McDowell Dave Winston 2
Hillman Racing 40 Reed Sorenson Pat Tryson 1
The Motorsports Group 30 Josh Wise Dave Fuge 31
Wayne Carroll 4
32
Gray Gaulding 3
Ford Front Row Motorsports 35 David Gilliland Joe Lax 1
Todd Anderson 3
4
Roush Fenway Racing 99 Ryan Reed Phil Gould 1
Toyota BK Racing 26 Robert Richardson Jr. Mike Ford 1
49 Matt DiBenedetto Gene Nead 1
93 4
Ryan Ellis Mike Ford 3
Dylan Lupton 1
Chevrolet 24
Toyota 7
Premium Motorsports 55 Reed Sorenson Pat Tryson 30
Maurice Hester 1
24
Michael Waltrip 1
Cole Whitt 3
Cody Ware 1
Alex Kennedy 1
D. J. Kennington 1
Chevrolet 26
Toyota 6
98 Cole Whitt Mark Hillman 23
Ben Leslie 8
Pat Tryson 1
26
Reed Sorenson 4
Ryan Ellis 1
Timmy Hill 1

Changes[edit]

Teams[edit]

  • Michael Waltrip Racing ceased its operations after 2015, shutting down the No. 15 and No. 55 teams.[3] Waltrip made plans to run the Daytona 500 with sponsor Maxwell House. Waltrip ran the No. 83 for BK Racing in the Daytona 500 with DiBenedetto moving to the No. 93 in a third BK Racing car for the race.[4] Waltrip also ran the Talladega race in May in his old No. 55 now running under the Premium Motorsports banner. This car had been the No. 62 in 2015.
  • Wood Brothers Racing returned to full-time racing in 2016 for the first time since 2008.[5] Ryan Blaney remained as driver, marking the first time the team would full-time with one driver since 2006.[5] The team ran 19 races in 2015.[5]
  • Front Row Motorsports downsized to two full-time teams in 2016, shutting down the No. 35 team. The team also received technical support as part of an alliance with Roush Fenway Racing.[6] The team fielded the No. 35 car for David Gilliland in the Daytona 500 and the other 3 plate races.[7]He failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 and the Talladega October events (but made Talladega in May and Daytona in July).
  • BK Racing downsized to two full-time teams in 2016, shutting down the No. 26 team. The team fielded the No. 26 car for Robert Richardson Jr. in the Daytona 500.[8]
  • Circle Sport and Leavine Family Racing merged to form Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing. The team ran the full 36-race schedule with the No. 95 in a Chevrolet, forming a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. The No. 33 team was shut down. Ty Dillon ran five races with crew chief Todd Parrott, including the Daytona 500 with Michael McDowell driving the other 31 with crew chief Dave Winston. The team fielded a second car, the No. 59, in the Daytona 500 and Ford EcoBoost 400 for McDowell.[9]
  • Premium Motorsports hired Mike Hillman to head up its operations in 2016, bringing over Mark Hillman – who served as the No. 40's crew chief – and most of the staff from the No. 40 team, therefore shutting that team down on a full-time basis. Premium Motorsports ran only one full-time team with Cole Whitt in the No. 98 in 2016, shutting down the No. 62. Whitt drove for Front Row Motorsports in the now defunct No. 35 in 2015. Hillman still ran the No. 40 with Reed Sorenson in the Daytona 500. The second Premium team was reactivated at Martinsville as the No. 55, with Sorenson driving.[10]
  • Premium Motorsports leased their charter to HScott Motorsports No. 46 for the 2016 season.[11]

Drivers[edit]

Crew chiefs[edit]

Manufacturers[edit]

Rule changes[edit]

  • 2016 saw the introduction of a charter system in a deal reached between NASCAR and the Race Team Alliance. Thirty-six teams would hold a charter, which guarantees them a spot in the field for all 36 races. To be eligible for a charter, a team had to be running full-time since the 2013 season. Charter owners may transfer their Charter to another team, for one full season, once over the first five years of the agreement.[37]
  • Charter teams are held to a minimum performance standard. If a Charter team finishes in the bottom three of the owner standings among all 36 Charter teams for three consecutive years, NASCAR has a right to force the sale of the charter.[38]
  • NASCAR also reduced the size of the Cup field from 43 to 40 cars.[38]
  • Teams may sell their Charters on the open market before each season.[39]
  • Organizations had a hard cap of four cars; prohibiting a fifth car for rookie drivers.[39] For example, Joe Gibbs Racing had planned to run Erik Jones on a limited Cup schedule in addition to the full Xfinity Series schedule; if they wanted to run Jones in any Cup races, under this new rule they would have had to farm him out to another team, likely Furniture Row Racing, who was seeking to add a second team in 2017.
  • Due to the charters and reduction of field size, the qualifying procedures were revised. The final four spots for non-chartered teams are determined by qualifying results. If qualifying was rained out, practice speeds were used. If practice and qualifying are rained out, owner points were used. For the Daytona 500 only, the final four teams are the highest non-charter finisher in each duel plus the two highest qualifiers that did not clinch a spot in the duel.[40]
  • Due to the field shortening from 43 to 40 cars, the point system was revised to 1 point for 40th place up to 40 points for 1st place. All other bonuses points, including the win bonus and laps lead bonus points, are the same.[40]
  • 2016 also introduced the "Overtime Line" as a modification for the green–white–checker finish rule. After taking the green flag, if a caution appears before the leader has reached the overtime line, the restart was waved off and another attempt would be made. There were an unlimited number of attempts for this, however once the leader reaches the line, the next flag ended the race. The placement of the overtime line varied from track to track.[40]
  • Starting at Kentucky, if qualifying gets rained out the field would be set by the point standings. If the field was over 40 cars, the drivers who were on open teams that are further up in points made the race while the drivers low in standings failed to make the race.[41]
  • On July 7, 2016, it was announced that any driver that was part of an open team that made the Chase was guaranteed a spot in all 10 Chase races.[41]

Technical changes[edit]

All cars began using a digital dashboard starting in 2016.The dashboard only provided information that was available on manual gauges and lap times, but there were plans to work in tire pressure readings and other telemetry to drivers, teams, and fans at home.[42]

At all tracks except Daytona and Talladega:

  • The rear spoiler height was reduced from 6 inches to 3.5 inches.
  • The front splitter leading edge was reduced from 2 inches to 0.25 inches.
  • The radiator pan width was reduced from 38 inches to 33 inches.
  • Rear gear ratios were adjusted to maintain 9,000 RPM maximum.
  • For tracks shorter than 1.25 miles in length, the third gear ratio was 1.38.[43]

At Daytona and Talladega:

  • Engine roller lifters replaced solid lifters, adding around 10 horsepower to each car.
  • Restrictor plates had the openings reduced from 29/32 inches to 57/64 inches to counter the horsepower increase.
  • Starting at the July Daytona race, each car ran a standardized radiator and oil cooler system.[43]

Safety enhancements at all tracks:

  • There must be an on-board fire suppression system activation cable routed to the dash or right-hand side leg board.
  • There must be a right-hand side double NACA duct to cool drivers at tracks where the side window is used.
  • Seat belt restraint systems must meet increased specifications.[43]

Other changes:

  • All track bar and wedge wrenches must be painted yellow.[44]
  • NASCAR changed inspection methods, reducing pre-race inspection time but increasing the amount of time teams have to present their cars for pre-qualifying inspection. In addition, NASCAR utilized new inspection methods aided by Microsoft Surface tablets to further increase efficiencies.[45]
  • Beginning at the May Talladega race, NASCAR began enforcing lug nuts again, a practice which was discontinued after the 2013 season. The rule now required all 5 lug nuts on all 4 wheels must be "installed in a safe and secure manner." If during post-race inspection a wheel is found to be missing a lug nut or a lug not is not secured, it was an automatic P3 penalty resulting in the crew chief, tire changer, and tire carrier each receiving a one race suspension and fine. The change comes after mass criticism, particularly from owner-driver Tony Stewart, about poor safety practices occurring from lack of enforcement.[46]
  • Starting at the fall Talladega race, NASCAR allowed teams to run additional anti-intrusion panels at superspeedway races. The components are optional for 2016, required at superspeedway races in 2017, and required at all races in 2018. The changes come as a result of the investigation into the horrific last lap crash suffered by Austin Dillon in the 2015 Coke Zero 400.[47]

Schedule[edit]

The final calendar – comprising 36 races, as well as exhibition races, which are the Sprint Unlimited, Can-Am Duel qualifying duel races for the Daytona 500[48] and the Sprint All-Star Race – was released on October 26, 2015. With the schedule announcement also came the announcement of NASCAR securing a five-year contract with each track to continue to host races over the next five seasons.[49] Key changes from 2015 include:

  • The Easter off-week was placed late-March between Fontana and Martinsville, instead of the mid-April break between Martinsville and Texas as in recent years.
  • The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona returned to its usual Saturday night date.
  • The spring race at Richmond moved from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.
  • Michigan and Bristol swap their August race dates to avoid a scheduling conflict with the 2016 Summer Olympics being hosted on NBC.
  • The third off-week has been moved to mid-August between Watkins Glen and Bristol, instead of the usual late-August break between Bristol and Darlington. This has been done so as to avoid a scheduling conflict with the 2016 Summer Olympics being hosted on NBC. The aforementioned Olympics conflict forced one race occurring during the games (Watkins Glen) to be moved to USA, marking the first time USA has broadcast a NASCAR Cup race since the 1984 UNO Twin 125s. (The other race occurring during the games, at Bristol, aired on NBCSN.)
  • The first race at Dover and the Memorial Day week swapped dates, so the last race before the All-Star Race is Dover instead of Kansas.
  • In the Chase for the Championship, the three rounds preceding the final race, originally named the Challenger, Contender and Eliminator rounds, were simply renamed the Round of 16, the Round of 12 and the Round of 8 respectively.
No Race Title Track Date TV Time (ET)
Sprint Unlimited Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach February 13 Fox 8:30 p.m.
Can-Am Duel February 18 FS1 7:15 p.m. (Duel 1)
9:00 p.m. (Duel 2)
1 Daytona 500 February 21 Fox 1:30 p.m.
2 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton February 28 Fox 1:00 p.m.
3 Kobalt 400 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas March 6 Fox 4:00 p.m.
4 Good Sam 500 Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale March 13 Fox 3:30 p.m.
5 Auto Club 400 Auto Club Speedway, Fontana March 20 Fox 3:30 p.m.
6 STP 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway April 3 FS1 1:00 p.m.
7 Duck Commander 500 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth April 9 Fox 9:30 p.m.
8 Food City 500 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol April 17 Fox 1:00 p.m.
9 Toyota Owners 400 Richmond International Raceway, Richmond April 24 Fox 1:00 p.m.
10 GEICO 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln May 1 Fox 12:30 p.m.
11 Go Bowling 400 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City May 7 FS1
FBN
7:30 p.m.
12 AAA 400 Drive for Autism Dover International Speedway, Dover May 15 FS1 1:00 p.m.
Sprint Showdown Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord May 211 FS1 11:30 a.m.
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race May 21 FS1 10:00 p.m.
13 Coca-Cola 600 May 29 Fox 6:00 p.m.
14 Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 Pocono Raceway, Long Pond June 62 FS1 12:00 p.m.
15 FireKeepers Casino 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn June 12 FS1 1:00 p.m.
16 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma June 26 FS1 3:00 p.m.
17 Coke Zero 400 Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach July 2 NBC 8:00 p.m.
18 Quaker State 400 Kentucky Speedway, Sparta July 9 NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
19 New Hampshire 301 New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon July 17 NBCSN 1:30 p.m.
20 Crown Royal presents the
Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Speedway July 24 NBCSN 3:00 p.m.
21 Pennsylvania 400 Pocono Raceway, Long Pond August 13 NBCSN 12:00 p.m.
22 Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen August 7 USA 2:30 p.m.
23 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol August 20/214 NBCSN
CNBC
9:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m
24 Pure Michigan 400 Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn August 28 NBCSN 2:00 p.m.
25 Bojangles' Southern 500 Darlington Raceway, Darlington September 4 NBC 6:00 p.m.
26 Federated Auto Parts 400 Richmond International Raceway, Richmond September 10 NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
Chase for the Sprint Cup
Round of 16
27 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet September 18 NBCSN 2:30 p.m.
28 Bad Boy Off Road 300 New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon September 25 NBCSN 2:00 p.m.
29 Citizen Soldier 400 Dover International Speedway, Dover October 2 NBCSN 2:00 p.m.
Round of 12
30 Bank of America 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord October 95 NBC 12:00 p.m.
31 Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas Speedway, Kansas City October 16 NBC 2:30 p.m.
32 Hellmann's 500 Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln October 23 NBCSN 2:00 p.m.
Round of 8
33 Goody's Fast Relief 500 Martinsville Speedway, Ridgeway October 30 NBCSN 1:00 p.m.
34 AAA Texas 500 Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth November 6 NBC
NBCSN
7:30 p.m.
35 Can-Am 500 Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale November 13 NBC 2:30 p.m.
Championship 4
36 Ford EcoBoost 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead November 20 NBC 3:00 p.m.

Season summary[edit]

Race reports[edit]

Speedweeks 2016

Speedweeks 2016 started with the Sprint Unlimited. Denny Hamlin led the most laps and won his third career Sprint Unlimited, followed by Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Kyle Larson, and Casey Mears. The race saw several multicar crashes, including one that sent the race into overtime. During the overtime period, a clean restart occurred before another multicar crash caused the race to end under yellow.[50]

Qualifying for the front row of the Daytona 500 took place the following day. Rookie Chase Elliott won the pole, becoming the youngest Daytona 500 pole winner ever at the age of 20 years, 2 months, and 17 days. Matt Kenseth joined Elliott on the front row by qualifying second.[51]

The following Thursday, the Can-Am Duels took place to set the remainder of the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps and won the first duel race. The second duel race was won by Kyle Busch ahead of a last-lap crash that involved multiple drivers including Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., and polesitter Kenseth.[52]

Round 1: Daytona 500

Elliott started on pole, but was taken out of contention by an early spin through the grass that destroyed the front end of his car. Several other small wrecks occurred throughout the race including a spin by Brian Vickers that caused Trevor Bayne and Carl Edwards to make contact, a single-car wreck that sent Earnhardt into the wall, and a wreck between Danica Patrick and Greg Biffle. Denny Hamlin led the most laps, with the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers and Truex Jr. up front for most of the race. On the last lap, Hamlin passed Kenseth for the lead and beat Truex Jr. to the line in a photo-finish, which was the closest margin in Daytona 500 history.[53]

Round 2: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

Kurt Busch started on pole after his younger brother Kyle Busch's pole-winning qualifying time was disallowed, resulting in him starting in the rear. The race used the new low downforce package and saw few caution flags. Kenseth led several laps but went two laps down after a miscommunication following a pit road penalty. Kevin Harvick led the most laps but Johnson took the lead after pitting early during the final round of green-flag pit stops. After a cut tire from Ryan Newman sent the race into overtime, Johnson would win the race under caution after a multicar wreck involving Aric Almirola and 3 others occurred following a clean restart. The win was the 76th career win for Johnson, tying Dale Earnhardt.[54]

Round 3: Kobalt 400

Kurt Busch led the field to green after a brief delay due to rain showers. The race was plagued by high winds, with a sandstorm hitting the track at one point from laps 202–205. Jimmie Johnson led the most laps in the race. A few wrecks occurred including one involving Regan Smith and Kyle Larson and a multicar wreck that took Matt Kenseth and Chase Elliott out of contention. Kyle Busch had the lead in the closing laps, but was passed by Brad Keselowski, who went on to win the race. Keselowski was followed by Joey Logano, Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon.[55]

Round 4: Good Sam 500

Kyle Busch started from the pole and led the early part of the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, and Kevin Harvick also led throughout the race, with Harvick leading the most laps. The race saw several drivers have tire issues from melted tire beads including Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Kasey Kahne. Kahne's crash into the wall sent the race into overtime, where Harvick beat Edwards in a photo-finish, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Earnhardt, Jr. Harvick won his 8th career race at Phoenix.[56]

Round 5: Auto Club 400

Austin Dillon started the race from the pole. A number of drivers had tire issues throughout the race, including Kyle Larson, who crashed into the inside wall hard. Another incident occurred with Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick got together, sending Patrick into the wall. Kevin Harvick led the most laps in the race. The race went into overtime after Kyle Busch got into the wall from a blown tire. In the overtime finish, Jimmie Johnson scored his 77th career win, ahead of Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.[57]

Round 6: STP 500

Joey Logano started on the pole and led early before fading. A few incidents occurred during the race including an early spin by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin getting into the wall. Kyle Busch led the most laps and went on to win the race, his first career win at Martinsville and completing the weekend sweep as he won the Camping World Truck Series race the day before. Kyle Busch was followed by A. J. Allmendinger, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, and Brad Keselowski.[58]

Round 7: Duck Commander 500

Carl Edwards led the field to green after a two-hour delay from rain. Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps in the race. Late in the race, a 13-car wreck occurred when Austin Dillon spun and caused a chain reaction that collected several drivers including Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Brian Vickers, and Brian Scott. During the final caution, Truex Jr. stayed out while several other drivers came to pit road for fresh tires. On the restart, Kyle Busch was able to get around Truex Jr. and win the race, his second straight Cup win and second consecutive weekend sweep as he won the Xfinity Series race the night before. Kyle Busch was followed across the finish line by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, and Chase Elliott.[59]

Round 8: Food City 500

Carl Edwards started the race from pole position as Dale Earnhardt Jr. went two laps down early after not being able to get going at the initial start. Matt Kenseth led several laps in the early part of the race. Kyle Busch experienced tire issues, a spin, and pit-road speeding penalties before a cut right-front tire sent him hard into the wall a little past halfway, ending his race. Kenseth also had a right-front tire issue that sent him into the wall and knocked him out of contention. Kyle Larson experienced a broken track bar that left him multiple laps down. Denny Hamlin and Aric Almirola both got into the wall late in the race in separate crashes. Edwards would go on to lead the most laps and win the race, his first of the season. Edwards was followed by Earnhardt Jr. (who rebounded from his early issues), Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, and Trevor Bayne. BK Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto recorded a career best finish of 6th.[60]

Round 9: Toyota Owners 400

Kevin Harvick started from pole after qualifying was rained out and the field was set by practice speeds. The race saw long green-flag runs in the early part of the race. Several drivers rotated the lead throughout the race, including Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch. In the later part of the race, a few incidents occurred including a cut tire from Tony Stewart, who made his first start of the season after missing the first eight races due to an offseason back injury, and a wreck from Brian Scott. In the closing laps, Kyle Busch held the lead with Edwards close behind. On the final lap, Edwards did a "bump and run" move to take the lead from Kyle Busch and score his second straight win. Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Johnson, Kasey Kahne, and Harvick.[61]

Round 10: GEICO 500

Chase Elliott was on pole position for the race. The race was threatened by rain and featured intense racing and numerous multicar wrecks. Early in the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. got loose and collected Kasey Kahne. Under this caution, Ty Dillon relieved Tony Stewart, who made his second start of the season since returning from a back injury. Near the middle of the race, a 7-car wreck occurred that saw Chris Buescher flip multiple times. Carl Edwards got into Earnhardt Jr., causing serious damage to both cars. Kahne would also be involved in a second wreck. Toward the later part of the race, several crashes occurred, including "The Big One", which involved 21 cars, and a hard wreck involving Danica Patrick and Matt Kenseth that saw Kenseth go airborne and ride along the infield wall upside down. Brad Keselowski won the race as a multicar wreck occurred coming to the checkered flag that involved Kevin Harvick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., among others.[62]

Round 11: Go Bowling 400

Martin Truex Jr. started on pole and dominated the race, leading 172 laps. However, a loose wheel following a green-flag pit stop took him out of contention for the win. Late in the race, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Larson were involved in a wreck battling for position near the front of the field. Under this caution, Kyle Busch stayed out while other drivers came to pit road for fresh tires. In the closing laps, Kyle Busch was able to hold off Kevin Harvick on older tires and win the race, his third win of the season and first career win at Kansas. Harvick finished second, followed by Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Ryan Blaney.[63]

Round 12: AAA 400 Drive for Autism

Matt Kenseth leads the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway in May, a race he wins

Kevin Harvick won the pole after qualifying was rained out and the starting order was set by first practice speeds. Harvick led before and after the competition caution on lap 40. Others such as Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. led during the race. Early in the race, several single-car wrecks occurred that involved drivers including Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, and Michael Annett. The race was nerve rattling towards the end. Brad Keselowski ran into the lapped car of Austin Dillon while leading, cutting down his tire. Tony Stewart blew his engine and spilled oil on the track. On a restart with 46 laps to go, leader Jimmie Johnson could not get going and bunched up the field, causing a large wreck which involved 18 cars. Carl Edwards crashed into the inside wall on the following restart. The race restarted again with 35 laps to go and the end came down to a battle between Matt Kenseth and Kyle Larson. Larson came close numerous times to get the lead, but Kenseth put the block on Larson and won his first race of the season.[64]

Exhibition: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

In the Sprint Showdown, which was postponed from Friday evening to Saturday morning due to rain, Ryan Blaney was black flagged for jumping a restart near the end of the first 20-lap segment, allowing Trevor Bayne and Chase Elliott to battle to the finish, with Bayne edging Elliott at the line to advance to the All-Star race. Austin Dillon started off leading the second 20-lap segment, but Greg Biffle took the lead five laps in and pulled away from the field to win and advance. Kyle Larson led the final 10-lap segment and battled with Chase Elliott before edging out Elliott to win and advance. Elliott and Danica Patrick finished first and second in the Fan Vote to advance, bringing the field up to 20 cars.[65]

Kevin Harvick won the pole for the All-Star Race after the field was set by owner points due to qualifying being rained out. Harvick led much of the first 50-lap segment but gave up the lead to make the required green-flag pit stop. Everyone made the stop except Matt Kenseth, who was leading when Jamie McMurray spun out with five laps left in the segment and was unable to make his stop. He was penalized one lap for failing to stop, creating a scoring confusion that occurred when NASCAR allowed cars trapped one lap down by Kenseth, who were now on the tail-end of the lead lap, to pit in front of new leader Carl Edwards. Some of those cars came off pit road behind the leaders, one lap down, and were originally scored on the lead lap. However, the issue was corrected and those cars were sent to the rear. Brad Keselowski lead to green on the start of the second 50-lap second, which required a green-flag pit stop before lap 85 (lap 35 of segment 2). A few laps into the segment, a caution came out for water in turn two, and Kevin Harvick made several pit stops due to what appeared to be fuel pump problems. When the race restarted, Chase Elliott attempted to make his required pit stop, causing Matt Kenseth to slow up and get turned into the wall, collecting Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne. Greg Biffle's car was also damaged after clipping Elliott's right rear. After the restart, everyone else made the required green-flag stops, and Kyle Busch, who assumed the lead after pit stops, received a speeding penalty and dropped to 13th. Keselowski assumed the lead, but lost it to Kyle Larson took the lead from Keselowski, who won the second segment. A random draw of 9, 10, or 11 at the end of the segment determined that the top 11 cars had to pit for four tires. This gave the lead to 12th-place Jimmie Johnson for the final segment, with Kyle Busch lining up alongside. On the restart for the final segment, Kyle Larson took the lead back from Johnson and began to pull away from the field, but was caught by Joey Logano. Larson and Logano ran side-by-side until the two made contact sending Larson into the wall. Logano continued on to win ahead of teammate Brad Keselowski.[66]

Round 13: Coca-Cola 600

Martin Truex, Jr. started the race from the pole. Truex dominated, leading 392 of 400 laps. A few incidents happened during the race including a cut tire from Kasey Kahne early in the race, a pit-road penalty for Joey Logano, and a cut tire that sent Kyle Busch into the wall late in the race. Truex won the race to set the record for most laps led in a race at Charlotte and most miles led in a NASCAR race by leading for 588 miles. Truex was followed across the finish line by Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski.[67]

Round 14: Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400

Brad Keselowski won the pole for the race. The race was postponed from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon due to persistent rain. Joey Logano got a jump on teammate Keselowski on the start and led early. A competition caution for rain from the day before. Matt Kenseth got the lead off of pit road and led until Chase Elliott got by on a restart after Kenseth and Kyle Busch battled for the lead. Elliott dominated the race and was able to pull away from the field on the next several restarts. Tony Stewart got loose in turn two and crashed into Danica Patrick. Michael Annett also hit the wall hard in turn two. At one point, Kyle Busch hit the wall and had to go to the garage; on the pit stops under that caution, teams executed differing pit strategies, allowing Martin Truex Jr. to get the lead off pit road. However, Truex's right-rear tire went down, and he had to return to the pits. On the restart, Jimmie Johnson got loose and crashed into the wall, sending him to the garage. On the restart, Kurt Busch got the lead from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and pulled away from Earnhardt while saving fuel to win the race for his third career win at Pocono, ahead of Earnhardt, Keselowski, Elliott, and Logano.[68]

Round 15: FireKeepers Casino 400

Joey Logano won the pole for the race. Logano, who has not scored a win this season, dominated the race leading 139 laps. Chase Elliott led for the second week in a row and led a bunch of laps, but fell back after failing on a restart. There were 8 cautions during the race including Martin Truex Jr. spinning after contact with Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch blowing an engine and hitting the wall, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall and crashed along with AJ Allmendinger, and Denny Hamlin hitting the wall hard after blowing a tire. Logano pulled away from the field on the final restart and held off Chase Elliott, who almost did not have enough fuel to make it to the end, to score his first win of 2016 and second at Michigan.[69]

Round 16: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Carl Edwards started the race from pole position. Early in the race, Clint Bowyer suffered an electrical fire in his car that sent him to the garage. Denny Hamlin led the most laps in the race. Late in the race, Tony Stewart made a green-flag pit stop right before a caution came out for debris. The rest of the field came to pit road under the caution while Stewart stayed out and inherited the lead. On the last lap, Hamlin passed Stewart for the lead in turn 7, but Stewart was able to regain the lead from Hamlin in the final turn and win the race, his first win of the season and first since 2013. With this win, Stewart pulled within nine points from making the top 30 in order to be eligible for the Chase.[70]

Round 17: Coke Zero 400

Greg Biffle won the pole for the race. The first half of the race was calm. On lap 90, "The Big One" occurred when teammates Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson got together, sending McMurray into Jimmie Johnson and it involved 19 other cars including Brian Scott's car coming to rest on top of Kevin Harvick's car. Brad Keselowski dominated, leading 115 laps. Late in the race, Tony Stewart wrecked and collected Carl Edwards and Casey Mears. Edwards would again be involved in a wreck with 5 laps to go that sent the race into overtime. Keselowski held off Kyle Busch to win for his first victory at Daytona as Kurt Busch went for a slide through the infield grass after getting tapped by Joey Logano.[71]

Round 18: Quaker State 400

Kevin Harvick won the pole after the field was set by owner points due to qualifying being rained out. Harvick dominated the race and led the most laps. The repaved track proved to be a problem for multiple drivers. Jimmie Johnson spun and hit the wall, taking him to the garage. Joey Logano blew a tire and smacked the wall, ending his day early. Rookies Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney crashed out of the race together. A big wreck happened, involving 8 cars. AJ Allmendinger hit the wall and destroyed the front end of his car. Multiple drivers tried to make it to the end on fuel. Brad Keselowski led the final 65 laps and saved enough fuel to hold off Carl Edwards to get his fourth win of the season and third at Kentucky.[72]

Round 19: New Hampshire 301

Jimmie Johnson won the pole. Kyle Busch took the lead from Johnson at the start. Busch led until lap 87 when Martin Truex, Jr. took over the top spot. Truex led until lap 172 when Kyle Busch retook the lead. Busch led until Truex won the race off of pit road during a caution for debris. Matt Kenseth took the lead from Truex in lap 257. The caution came out for debris in turn three and Denny Hamlin stayed on the track as Kenseth kept the lead coming off pit road. Truex reported to his team that he was stuck in fourth gear and fell back on the restart. Kenseth took the lead from Hamlin and then a caution came out for Alex Bowman, who was filling in for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., cut a tire down. Kenseth continued to lead off the restart until Kurt Busch cut a tire, bringing out the caution. Kenseth led off at restart until Kyle Larson brought the caution out after sliding through the grass. Kenseth continued to lead off the restart and was able to hold off Tony Stewart to get his second win of the season.[73]

Round 20: Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard

Defending race winner Kyle Busch started on pole. Busch led most of the race. Several accidents took place during the race. Matt DiBenedetto blew his engine on lap 3. After three straight top 10 finishes since July 2, Greg Biffle smacked the wall on lap 52 and knocked himself out of the race. During that caution, Joey Logano stayed out and led the field back to green. Kyle Busch retook the lead on lap 63 and continued leading, other than temporary changes during pit stop cycling. A caution came out with 7 laps to go. On the restart, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman made contact and wrecked with Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. The red flag was displayed to clean up the track. On the restart, Trevor Bayne and Clint Bowyer made contact. On the following restart, which took place in overtime, Jamie McMurray spun into Austin Dillon and Brian Scott also spun. On the second restart of overtime, Kyle Busch pulled away from teammate Matt Kenseth to win his second consecutive Sprint Cup Brickyard event and sweeping the weekend for the second year in a row. This was Busch's fourth win of 2016. Competing in his final Sprint Cup Brickyard event, Tony Stewart came home eleventh and Jeff Gordon, who came out of retirement to fill in for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished thirteenth.[74]

Round 21: Pennsylvania 400

Martin Truex, Jr. won the pole. The race was scheduled for Sunday but was postponed to Monday due to rain. Truex led early until he had a right-front tire go down. Logano dominated the early part of the race. Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson was battling for the lead as rain was approaching the track. The two got together allowing Logano to regain the lead. After a restart, Chase Elliott got loose and spun and ran into Logano, ending both drivers' chances for a win. Pit strategy allowed Larson and Dillon to get back out front. Chris Buescher was in the lead trying to win the race as fog and rain hit the track. The red flag was displayed as fog continued to come and thicken. During the fog delay, rain moved into the area causing the cars to be covered. After a long red flag display, the race was called official and Buescher got his first career victory and the first for Front Row Motorsports since the 2013 Aaron's 499.[75]

Round 22: Cheez-It 355 at The Glen

Carl Edwards won the pole to sweep the road course poles. Brad Keselowski led the most laps in the race. Multiple drivers received penalties on pit road. There were a couple of big wrecks. On lap 53, Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, Greg Biffle, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. got into a big wreck that brought out the red flag. On the restart, there was another wreck involving Clint Bowyer, David Ragan, Alex Kennedy, and polesitter Edwards. Another wreck took place with seven laps to go as Kevin Harvick, Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher, and David Ragan got together. The wreck brought out the red flag once again. On the restart, Denny Hamlin, despite back pain, held off Joey Logano after Martin Truex Jr. spun after making contact with Brad Keselowski to pick up his second win of the season and his first career victory on a road course. Jeff Gordon, still substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr., made his 800th start.[76]

Round 23: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

Denny Hamlin leads early in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August

Spring Bristol winner Carl Edwards started on pole with a new track record. Denny Hamlin took the lead from Edwards at the start. Hamlin led until Chase Elliott took the lead. Kyle Busch took the lead from Elliott and began to pull away from the field until the caution came out for rain. The race was red flagged until the track was dried and the field was brought out under caution. It began to rain again and the red flag was displayed. The race was then postponed until the following day in the afternoon. The race was delayed due early morning rain. The race would resume and Kyle Busch continued to lead. Busch led 256 laps, but was taken out of the race when he spun and Justin Allgaier ran into him. Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski crashed and took out some of the field. Joey Logano, who won the last two summer Bristol races, lost the lead to Kevin Harvick and had to go to pit road to tape up the front end of his car. Denny Hamlin led off the restart and lost the lead to Harvick. It began to rain and field circled around the track under caution. Harvick pulled away from the field on the restart and held off Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to receive his second win of the season and his first at Bristol since 2005.[77]

Round 24: Pure Michigan 400

Kyle Larson pulls a burnout following his first career Cup win in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway

June Michigan winner Joey Logano started on pole. Chris Buescher had trouble early and fell four laps down. Logano led early, but fell back after the competition caution. Kevin Harvick got the lead and led until Martin Truex, Jr. was able to take the lead when they came up on lapped traffic. Kyle Busch spun out into the grass early. Jimmie Johnson got the lead after green flag pit stops, but lost the lead on the next round of pit stops after his team took extra time to fill the car with fuel. Chase Elliott got the lead due to Johnson's misfortune. Kyle Larson was able to get the lead on a restart and pull away from the field as a rainstorm was nearing the track. Elliott was able to get off pit road ahead of Larson. On a restart, leader Elliott spun the tires and it allowed Larson to take the lead and pull away from the field and held off Elliott to get his first career Sprint Cup series win.[78]

Round 25: Bojangles' Southern 500

Kevin Harvick won the pole due to qualifying being cancelled due to local rainfall from Tropical Storm Hermine. Harvick dominated the race, but had a few pit road problems, costing him a few positions. Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth also led during the race. Several accidents took place including Brian Scott getting into the wall after contact with Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson spun and hit the wall, Stewart blew his engine while running thirteenth, and Kurt Busch got into the wall after contact with Paul Menard. A few drivers such as Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman had pit strategy. Newman was able to pull away from the field, trying to win to get into "The Chase". Martin Truex Jr. was able to get by Newman and pull away from the field. A caution came out for Aric Almirola crashing into the wall after contact with Clint Bowyer. On the restart, Truex, Jr. pulled away from the field and held off Harvick for his second win of the season.[79]

Round 26: Federated Auto Parts 400

Denny Hamlin won the pole. The race was mostly dominated by Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. Chase Elliott got into the wall after contact with Jeff Gordon. Jimmie Johnson made contact with the wall after he had a left-rear go down. AJ Allmendinger spun three times during the race. A big wreck caused the red flag to be displayed involving Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, and others when Stewart and Newman made contact. On the restart, Hamlin pulled away from the field until a caution came out with two laps to go when Regan Smith hit the wall. The race went into overtime with Kasey Kahne in position to get a win to make "The Chase." On the restart, Hamlin pulled away from the field to score his third win of the season and third at Richmond. Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, and Jamie McMurray filled the remaining spots in "The Chase."[80]

Round 27: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400

Kyle Busch was awarded the pole after qualifying was rained out and the field was set by points. Busch was able to get the pole due to him being the first seed in "The Chase." At the start of the race, Busch led the first few laps. Martin Truex Jr. then took the lead from Busch and led for a while. After a caution, Jimmie Johnson stayed off of pit road and assumed the race lead. On the next caution, Johnson was able to get off pit road first and continued to lead. He led the most laps, 119 of the 270. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott took the lead from Johnson. The final round of green flag pit stops began with 35 laps to go. Johnson was penalized for speeding on pit road. Elliott regained the lead and was pulling away to victory until Michael McDowell had a tire go down, sending the race into overtime. Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne, and Carl Edwards all stayed off pit road. On the restart, Truex took the lead from Blaney and held off Joey Logano to score his third win of the season and advancing to the next round of "The Chase."[81]

Round 28: Bad Boy Off Road 300

Carl Edwards started on pole. Martin Truex Jr. dominated the race, leading 141 laps. It was green for most of the race. Defending race winner Matt Kenseth also led a bunch of laps. Only one caution took place in the first place half of the race and only four cautions in the second half. One of them saw Trevor Bayne hit the wall hard. On that restart, Truex dropped a few spots. The next caution saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Reed Sorenson make contact. On that restart, Kevin Harvick took the lead from Kenseth and held off the rest of the field to score his third win of the season, his first at New Hampshire since 2006, and advance to the next round of "The Chase."[82]

Round 29: Citizen Soldier 400

Kyle Busch leads in the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway in October

Brad Keselowski was awarded the pole after qualifying was rained out and the field was set by points. Keselowski led the first few laps until he lost it to Martin Truex Jr.. Kyle Busch then found his way to the lead. Kevin Harvick had trouble early after he suffered a broken track bar and had to go to the garage. Kyle Larson had problems with his entry after losing power. Larson's Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray began having problems and his engine finally expired. Jimmie Johnson took the lead and led about 90 laps until he received a pit road penalty for his crewmen over the wall to soon. Due to this, Truex regained the lead and had a 9-second lead over Kyle Busch. Truex continued on to score his fourth win of the season and second at Dover. McMurray, Tony Stewart, Chris Buescher, and Larson were eliminated from "The Chase."[83]

Round 30: Bank of America 500

Kevin Harvick started on pole. Due to rain from Hurricane Matthew, the race was postponed from Saturday night until Sunday afternoon. Multiple Chase drivers had problems during the race. Pole-sitter Harvick had electrical problems, which took him out of the race. Joey Logano would hit the wall hard and have to go to the garage, but was able to get back on the track 78 laps down. Chase Elliott had a dominant car until he was taken out of the race from a wreck on a restart when Austin Dillon couldn't get going and spun out taking out Elliott, Brian Scott, and Paul Menard. Denny Hamlin also had a dominant car, but blew an engine late in the race. Martin Truex Jr. couldn't accelerate of pit road and lost some spots. Jimmie Johnson had a dominant car as well and he was able to hold off Matt Kenseth to get his eighth career win at Charlotte and his third win of the season to advance to the "Round of 8" in "The Chase."[84]

Round 31: Hollywood Casino 400

Matt Kenseth started on pole. Kenseth led early until he got into the wall. Kevin Harvick took the lead and led until Chase Elliott took the lead. Elliott had a tire rub and lost the lead. Martin Truex Jr. had a great race until his team didn't get enough fuel in the car and then began experiencing fuel cell issues. Brad Keselowski was running in the top 10 when he made contact with Denny Hamlin and went spinning in the grass, destroying the front end of his car. Carl Edwards got the lead and led some laps. Keselowski was able to get back on the track, but his engine expired when he returned to the race. Austin Dillon took two tires on pit road and getting off before Edwards. Regan Smith slammed into the wall, bringing out the caution. On the restart, Harvick took the lead from Edwards and held him off to score his fourth win of the season and advance to the next round in "The Chase."[85]

Round 32: Hellmann's 500

Martin Truex Jr. started on pole. Truex didn't last long in the race because his engine expired early. A wreck took place which involved Greg Biffle, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Casey Mears. Brad Keselowski, who was in a must win situation, dominated the race. However, debris on the grille caused Keselowski to overheat and his engine finally expired. After Keselowski was taken out, his teammate Joey Logano took control over the race. Kasey Kahne crashed late in the race, setting up a restart. On the restart, Alex Bowman spun, sending the race into overtime. On the restart, Logano held off Brian Scott to win get his second win of the season and his second consecutive Chase Talladega victory. Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, and Martin Truex Jr. were eliminated from "The Chase."[86]

Round 33: Goody's Fast Relief 500

Martin Truex Jr. started on pole. Truex led 144 laps of the race. During the race, Chase contenders Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin made contact sending Johnson to pit road with left-front damage. Matt Kenseth found his way to the lead and led the most laps. Carl Edwards had a tire go down and it brought out the caution, creating scoring issues. On the restart, Johnson took the lead from Hamlin and led the rest of the race and got his fourth win of the season and advance to the "Championship 4" at Homestead.[87]

Round 34: AAA Texas 500

Austin Dillon won the pole. The race was delayed due to rain, but it would eventually start over six hours late. Joey Logano dominated the race and led the most laps. Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards also ran up front. Both had problems with their cars and almost took each other out on pit road. Dillon crashed into the wall after contact with Kevin Harvick and it also involved Brian Scott and Casey Mears. Edwards was able to get off pit road ahead of Truex and was holding off Logano as rain was heading towards the track. It began to rain and the race was called official and Edwards was awarded his third win of the season and give him a spot in the "Championship 4" at Homestead.[88]

Round 35: Can-Am 500

Alex Bowman, who is still filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first career pole. Bowman dominated the race by leading 193 laps. Chase contenders Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, and Matt Kenseth all led throughout the race. Johnson was penalized, which knocked him out of the lead and put him a lap down, but a wreck with Austin Dillon took him out of the race. Kenseth was on his way to a victory, but Michael McDowell wrecked and the caution came out with two laps to go. On the restart, Kyle Busch got in to Bowman and spun Kenseth, which knocked him out of the lead. On the restart, Logano pulled away from Kyle Busch to grab his third win of the season and to advance to the championship race at Homestead. With their wins Logano, Johnson, and Edwards made it to the championship race while Kyle Busch made It in on points. Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kenseth, and Kurt Busch were eliminated.[89]

Round 36: Ford EcoBoost 400

Jimmie Johnson started form tail end of the field Kevin Harvick won the pole. Harvick had the dominant car early in the race. Chase contenders Joey Logano and Carl Edwards had led during the race. Kyle Busch had a tire go down and had to make an unscheduled pit stop and went a lap down, but gained the lap back. Kyle Larson had the dominant car in the second half of the race and led the most laps. Edwards and Kyle Busch were battling for the championship lead until Dylan Lupton brought out the caution. On the restart, Logano got a great restart and Edwards blocked Logano and caused Edwards to crash into the wall and end his championship hopes in a multicar wreck that brought out the red flag. It brought the championship race down to Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. On the restart, Logano got up to third and the caution came out for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. In an overtime finish, Johnson took the lead from Larson and won the race for his first career victory at Homestead and his seventh Sprint Cup series championship, tying Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most championships all-time.[90]

Results and standings[edit]

Races[edit]

No. Race Pole position Most laps led Winning driver Manufacturer Report
Sprint Unlimited Jimmie Johnson Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
Can-Am Duel 1 Chase Elliott Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Report
Can-Am Duel 2 Matt Kenseth Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Toyota
1 Daytona 500 Chase Elliott Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
2 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Kurt Busch Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Report
3 Kobalt 400 Kurt Busch Jimmie Johnson Brad Keselowski Ford Report
4 Good Sam 500 Kyle Busch Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Report
5 Auto Club 400 Austin Dillon Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Report
6 STP 500 Joey Logano Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Toyota Report
7 Duck Commander 500 Carl Edwards Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Busch Toyota Report
8 Food City 500 Carl Edwards Carl Edwards Carl Edwards Toyota Report
9 Toyota Owners 400 Kevin Harvick Carl Edwards Carl Edwards Toyota Report
10 GEICO 500 Chase Elliott Brad Keselowski Brad Keselowski Ford Report
11 Go Bowling 400 Martin Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Busch Toyota Report
12 AAA 400 Drive for Autism Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Matt Kenseth Toyota Report
NASCAR Sprint Showdown Chase Elliott Chase Elliott Kyle Larson Chevrolet Report
NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Kevin Harvick Brad Keselowski Joey Logano Ford
13 Coca-Cola 600 Martin Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Report
14 Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 Brad Keselowski Chase Elliott Kurt Busch Chevrolet Report
15 FireKeepers Casino 400 Joey Logano Joey Logano Joey Logano Ford Report
16 Toyota/Save Mart 350 Carl Edwards Denny Hamlin Tony Stewart Chevrolet Report
17 Coke Zero 400 Greg Biffle Brad Keselowski Brad Keselowski Ford Report
18 Quaker State 400 Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Brad Keselowski Ford Report
19 New Hampshire 301 Jimmie Johnson Kyle Busch Matt Kenseth Toyota Report
20 Crown Royal presents the
Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard
Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Kyle Busch Toyota Report
21 Pennsylvania 400 Martin Truex Jr. Joey Logano Chris Buescher Ford Report
22 Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Carl Edwards Brad Keselowski Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
23 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race Carl Edwards Kyle Busch Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Report
24 Pure Michigan 400 Joey Logano Kyle Larson Kyle Larson Chevrolet Report
25 Bojangles' Southern 500 Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Report
26 Federated Auto Parts 400 Denny Hamlin Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin Toyota Report
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
Round of 16
27 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 Kyle Busch Jimmie Johnson Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Report
28 Bad Boy Off Road 300 Carl Edwards Martin Truex Jr. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Report
29 Citizen Soldier 400 Brad Keselowski Martin Truex Jr. Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Report
Round of 12
30 Bank of America 500 Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Report
31 Hollywood Casino 400 Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Report
32 Hellmann's 500 Martin Truex Jr. Brad Keselowski Joey Logano Ford Report
Round of 8
33 Goody's Fast Relief 500 Martin Truex Jr. Matt Kenseth Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Report
34 AAA Texas 500 Austin Dillon Joey Logano Carl Edwards Toyota Report
35 Can-Am 500 Alex Bowman Alex Bowman Joey Logano Ford Report
Championship 4
36 Ford EcoBoost 400 Kevin Harvick Kyle Larson Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Report

Drivers' Championship[edit]

(keyBold – Pole position awarded by time. Italics – Pole position set by final practice results or 2015/16 Owner's points. * – Most laps led.
. – Eliminated after Round of 16 . – Eliminated after Round of 12 . – Eliminated after Round of 8

Pos. Driver DAY ATL LVS PHO CAL MAR TEX BRI RCH TAL KAN DOV CLT POC MCH SON DAY KEN NHA IND POC GLN BRI MCH DAR RCH CHI NHA DOV CLT KAN TAL MAR TEX PHO HOM Pts
1 Jimmie Johnson 16 1 3* 11 1 9 4 23 3 22 17 25 3 35 16 13 35 32 12 3 16 40 7 6 33 11 12* 8 7 1* 4 23 1 11 38 1 5040
2 Joey Logano 6 12 2 18 4 11 3 10 8 25 38 22 9 5 1* 3 4 39 3 7 37* 2 10 10 5 10 2 11 6 36 3 1 9 2* 1 4 5037
3 Kyle Busch 3 3 4 4 25 1* 1 38 2 2 1 30 33 31 40 7 2 12 8* 1* 9 6 39* 19 11 9 8 3 2 6 5 30 5 5 2 6 5035
4 Carl Edwards 5 5 18 2 7 6 7 1* 1* 35 11 28 18 8 6 4 25 2 20 35 8 15 6 7 19 32 15 6 14 12 2 29 36 1 19 34 5007
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cut-off
Pos. Driver DAY ATL LVS PHO CAL MAR TEX BRI RCH TAL KAN DOV CLT POC MCH SON DAY KEN NHA IND POC GLN BRI MCH DAR RCH CHI NHA DOV CLT KAN TAL MAR TEX PHO HOM Pts
5 Matt Kenseth 14 19 37 7 19 15 11 36 7 23 4 1 7 7 14 20 28 8 1 2 17 10 37 13 6 38 9 2 5 2 9* 28 4* 7 21 7 2330
6 Denny Hamlin 1* 16 19 3 3 39 12 20 6 31 37 7 4 14 33 2* 17 15 9 4 7 1 3 9 4 1 6 15 9 30 15 3 3 9 7 9 2320
7 Kurt Busch 10 4 9 6 30 13 9 3 10 8 3 5 6 1 10 10 23 4 22 16 10 11 38 12 34 8 13 5 15 8 13 4 22 20 5 13 2296
8 Kevin Harvick 4 6* 7 1* 2* 17 10 7 5 15 2 15* 2 9 5 6 39 9* 4 6 4 32 1 5 2* 5 20 1 37 38 1 7 20 6 4 3 2289
9 Kyle Larson 7 26 34 12 39 3 14 35 15 29 35 2 13 11 3 12 6 19 17 5 6 29 24 1* 3 2 18 10 25 5 30 6 14 15 3 2* 2288
10 Chase Elliott (R) 37 8 38 8 6 20 5 4 12 5 9 3 8 4* 2 21 32 31 34 15 33 13 15 2 10 19 3 13 3 33 31 12 12 4 9 11 2285
11 Martin Truex Jr. 2 7 11 14 32 18 6* 14 9 13 14* 9 1* 19 12 5 29 10 16 8 38 7 23 20 1 3* 1 7* 1* 13 11 40 7 3 40 36 2271
12 Brad Keselowski 20 9 1 29 9 5 18 18 11 1* 10 6 5 3 4 15 1* 1 15 17 2 3* 33 3 9 4 5 4 4 7 38 38* 2 14 14 35 2267
13 Jamie McMurray 17 21 16 16 10 23 13 13 16 4 26 21 19 17 9 17 34 7 6 19 20 8 8 8 15 7 11 19 40 10 37 19 8 19 11 5 2231
14 Austin Dillon 9 11 5 9 24 4 19 26 20 3 6 33 12 37 8 22 7 16 13 9 13 31 4 16 12 13 14 16 8 32 6 9 17 37 39 12 2223
15 Tony Stewart 19 6 12 34 24 34 7 1 26 5 2 11 5 5 30 21 35 33 16 23 13 9 16 32 26 31 15 22 2211
16 Chris Buescher (R) 39 28 26 30 33 33 28 21 34 37 24 18 37 25 20 30 40 37 29 14 1 30 5 35 17 24 28 30 23 16 21 22 27 21 32 24 2169
17 Kasey Kahne 13 23 10 22 28 22 8 17 4 39 16 4 22 6 13 9 30 14 25 18 15 20 13 14 7 6 7 9 12 3 10 35 11 8 13 37 898
18 Ryan Newman 11 24 13 39 14 10 17 9 18 28 7 16 10 12 11 8 18 3 7 31 12 16 28 17 8 28 19 20 17 4 12 14 16 10 12 25 895
19 A. J. Allmendinger 21 27 14 17 8 2 22 19 25 14 8 23 16 16 38 14 13 36 21 38 14 4 9 15 23 20 17 21 19 37 8 10 10 17 17 8 830
20 Ryan Blaney (R) 19 25 6 10 35 19 29 11 28 9 5 8 20 10 17 23 14 35 11 36 11 19 35 4 13 39 4 12 38 31 14 11 19 12 8 26 812
21 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 22 10 12 37 5 32 16 16 26 16 13 14 15 15 29 26 5 40 10 12 18 38 2 27 18 18 25 24 11 20 19 5 40 16 23 30 772
22 Trevor Bayne 28 22 17 23 20 27 15 5 17 10 25 10 25 13 15 25 3 11 23 30 19 9 12 24 40 14 23 38 20 18 17 17 23 30 28 20 762
23 Greg Biffle 34 13 20 21 37 12 39 12 14 20 27 29 11 26 19 18 8 6 5 39 25 39 16 11 36 23 26 33 18 35 25 15 13 18 16 17 691
24 Danica Patrick 35 20 21 19 38 16 21 27 24 24 20 13 21 32 21 19 27 17 14 22 22 21 22 23 24 15 24 18 28 11 18 20 24 24 29 19 689
25 Paul Menard 18 18 15 38 15 8 26 15 22 26 40 11 17 33 18 16 36 18 18 10 35 22 32 18 16 40 21 25 22 34 20 13 25 28 10 14 678
26 Aric Almirola 12 15 24 13 21 40 24 34 21 27 18 31 26 20 26 27 15 20 19 25 39 27 14 25 32 17 32 17 16 15 40 8 15 22 22 40 638
27 Clint Bowyer 33 35 22 31 18 25 38 8 33 7 19 12 23 18 23 40 9 23 24 21 26 18 31 40 22 22 22 22 24 17 26 18 28 25 24 23 628
28 Casey Mears 32 14 23 35 17 31 23 24 29 33 21 26 30 24 32 24 12 30 27 24 21 12 25 22 25 21 34 27 26 40 23 39 21 39 18 18 556
29 Landon Cassill 23 36 28 25 16 28 25 22 27 11 31 19 27 36 25 29 31 29 28 20 30 23 20 39 30 36 29 29 29 19 27 21 29 29 20 21 530
30 Michael McDowell 15 33 29 26 31 24 29 31 21 28 20 34 39 10 39 23 23 17 19 31 27 12 37 26 14 22 16 18 23 34 10 500
31 Brian Scott (R) 24 31 27 27 12 26 27 30 35 30 22 24 29 39 36 33 37 33 38 27 24 25 18 28 39 35 31 31 21 22 28 2 34 27 30 15 481
32 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 36 2 8 5 11 14 2 2 13 40 15 32 14 2 39 11 21 13 461
33 David Ragan 29 32 32 24 22 21 33 39 23 34 29 17 31 23 22 32 16 22 30 37 32 33 21 29 21 34 35 32 30 23 36 24 37 33 31 29 455
34 Regan Smith 8 34 25 28 23 34 31 37 32 32 23 39 28 22 35 28 38 34 32 26 3 35 26 26 20 29 QL 34 31 21 29 25 30 26 27 38 452
35 Matt DiBenedetto 40 29 31 20 27 29 34 6 30 36 30 40 32 40 34 31 33 38 31 40 28 34 17 32 26 37 30 28 27 25 24 27 32 INQ 25 27 386
36 Michael Annett 27 30 30 33 29 35 32 31 36 38 32 37 36 38 28 36 20 26 33 28 29 37 QL 33 28 31 33 40 33 24 32 33 35 32 26 28 328
37 Cole Whitt DNQ 37 39 36 26 30 30 28 DNQ 18 39 27 35 30 27 34 11 21 29 31 28 34 34 37 DNQ 36 35 27 33 276
38 Jeff Gordon 13 27 14 11 14 16 10 6 218
39 Reed Sorenson DNQ 37 36 40 40 33 38 40 28 31 22 27 35 33 40 27 36 31 26 39 36 35 28 34 37 38 35 36 32 198
40 Josh Wise DNQ 39 35 34 36 38 40 33 39 DNQ 36 36 38 27 30 38 DNQ 24 40 DNQ 34 26 36 38 29 30 38 39 39 29 39 40 168
41 Jeffrey Earnhardt (R) 38 33 34 35 32 38 35 39 37 28 29 37 38 27 37 36 26 34 33 34 33 31 159
42 Brian Vickers 26 36 13 7 37 86
43 Bobby Labonte 31 19 24 31 61
44 David Gilliland DNQ 17 19 DNQ 46
45 Michael Waltrip 30 12 42
46 Boris Said 24 17
47 Patrick Carpentier 37 34 11
48 Gray Gaulding 39 37 DNQ 6
49 Eddie MacDonald 36 5
50 Alex Kennedy 36 5
51 Robert Richardson Jr. 38 3
Ineligible for Sprint Cup driver points
Pos. Driver DAY ATL LVS PHO CAL MAR TEX BRI RCH TAL KAN DOV CLT POC MCH SON DAY KEN NHA IND POC GLN BRI MCH DAR RCH CHI NHA DOV CLT KAN TAL MAR TEX PHO HOM Pts
52 Alex Bowman 26 30 10 14 39 7 36 13 6* 16
53 Ty Dillon 25 17 15 20 25 QL 21 24 25 27 32 33
54 Dylan Lupton 35 25 31 39
55 Ryan Reed 26
56 Jeb Burton 29 36
57 Joey Gase 32 36 34 40 35 36
58 Ryan Ellis 37 37 32 38
59 Timmy Hill 34
60 D. J. Kennington 35
61 Justin Allgaier 40
62 Sam Hornish Jr. QL
63 Cody Ware DNQ

Manufacturers' Championship[edit]

Pos Manufacturer Wins Points
1 Toyota 16 1477
2 Chevrolet 12 1452
3 Ford 8 1388
Source:[91]

Media coverage[edit]

2016 marks the second year of NASCAR's broadcast deal with Fox and NBC. The first 16 events were broadcast on either Fox or FS1,[92] and the final 20 events were shared between NBC and NBCSN.[93] However, the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International was aired on USA Network due to NBC's coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics.[94] In Canada, TSN televised each race, including the qualifying races for the Daytona 500 and exhibition races, under the name NASCAR on TSN. TSN also had coverage of practice and qualifying for each race.[95] In Latin America, except Brazil, all races were broadcast by Fox Sports, on their Fox Sports 3 channel (previously known as SPEED Latin America). In Brazil, most races were broadcast by Fox Sports, on their Fox Sports 2 channel.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • ^1 The Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway was postponed from May 20 to May 21 because of inclement weather.[96]
  • ^2 The Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 at Pocono Raceway was postponed from June 5 to June 6 because of inclement weather.[97]
  • ^3 The Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway was postponed from July 31 to August 1 because of inclement weather.[98]
  • ^4 The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway began on August 20, but was postponed to finish on August 21 due to inclement weather.[99]
  • ^5 The Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was postponed from October 8 to October 9 because of Hurricane Matthew.[100]

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