What drivers said after Kansas race

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One race remains in the Round of 12. Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway shuffled the standings. Here’s what drivers said after the race.

Kevin Harvick – Winner: “I try every week to find something to motivate myself and I know these guys do the same thing. It’s hard to keep yourself motivated and continue to perform at a high level. Being able to do it for three years now says a lot about the character of this team and the things that they do. It is like they say, anything that is really, really hard to get and come by, there are going to be some obstacles and some bumps in the road.”

Carl Edwards – Finished 2nd: “I felt like we had the race under control if it would’ve kept going green. We really had something fast there and then that restart Jimmie (Johnson) got behind Kevin (Harvick) and pushed him just far enough out there that we got into turn 1 and I just couldn’t hang and slow Kevin down and he just broke the draft there. And after that I ended up racing Kyle (Busch). I mean, that was a real battle and that let Kevin get out ahead. That was a pretty hard battle, but at the end of the day you’re racing for every position here. I thought we raced as hard as – it was reasonable but it was pretty hard. The hard part for me is just we didn’t win this race. I know we’ve got a points cushion going into Talladega and everything, but it is hard to lose anything, it is really hard to lose a race here but I’m really proud of how we ran.”

Joey Logano – Finished 3rd: “That was hard fought. I am still breathing hard. We just weren’t very good on the short runs so I had to play defense instead of offense on restarts. After 15 laps, we were equal to, not way better to the point we could make up a bunch of time. We did what we had to do. We had a good effort, we just have to get our cars a little faster right now.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 4th: “I mean from a start perspective we knew we were going to have a tough task today to get to the front with the Lowe’s Chevrolet, but a very solid race car.  I love the sun came out and really made it a racy track for us.  I felt like we could have had a shot at the win, it seemed like the No. 19, the No. 4 and us were kind of equal there. I was able to get the No. 4 by the No. 19 on that restart and just couldn’t clear the No. 19 myself and slipped back to fifth.”

Kyle Busch – Finished 5th: “We just completely missed it there for our race setup today for the heat of the day and the way that the temperatures and everything were the track conditions just weren’t anything close to what we expected I guess. We missed it pretty bad. We were horrible there for about 200 laps and then the last 67 we got better. We were better on the short run at least where we could fire off and get going but we weren’t very good on the long runs. We just missed it a little bit. That speed that we had in our race car probably carried us on and through this race today but wish we had a little bit more. We’ll take it, we’ll go on and see what happens next week.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 6th: “We wanted a top five. We were running that No. 18 down pretty hard there at the end. I’m proud of my guys. They brought me a really good race car. It will be tight all the way down to the wire, but I’m just proud to have this position going into Talladega.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 8th: “Taking away last week just outright speed I thought we had … it felt like the best 1.5-mile race we put together there. Good solid top 10 car all day. I made a mistake and sped on pit road and got us behind a little bit. Just kind of tough call there at the end. You don’t know how many people are going to pit and good track position and everybody behind me came. I was pretty happy to hold most of them off.  I felt like we had about a fifth- or sixth-place car and we finished eighth with it. Just a solid day.  We need to keep doing work like this and keep building off of it.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished 9th: “We were backing up there, we lost the handle and the track got hotter and we started getting loose and started losing a few spots. We hit the wall getting into one, I’m not sure how I did it and got us behind and got us tight. We made our way back up there at the end, I thought we were going to be OK on that last restart, then whatever that little kid’s name is who’s driving the 88 (Alex Bowman), hung a left and knocked my whole right front fender off and we were just lucky to finish were we did.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 11th: “You’ve got to perform every single week. You’ve got a bad week, it could ruin your whole season. All in all today wasn’t a disaster. We’ve just got to go to Talladega and hope that nothing crazy happens.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 13th: “We got up as high as seventh and I could see the front, I could smell the front, I could taste it, we just couldn’t hang. The last adjustment we made sure to free the car up and the car was tight on the last run. I don’t know what we have to do with these tires.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 15th: “Terrible. I mean just everything went wrong. Just stupid stuff and then penalties when we shouldn’t have them and just another year of the same stuff. So, thanks to FedEx and thanks to Toyota for getting on the car and getting us on the race track, but just wish we could make things happen a little bit better. I mean, there’s not much else I can do.”

Tony Stewart – Finished 16th: “It’s just proof that time and time again that you kind of back Kevin Harvick in a corner and he comes out the next week firing and finds a way to get it done. Proud of those guys as always.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 17th: This car was one of the best handling cars I have had all season. We were able to get up there and race in the top 10 and run competitively. It’s unfortunate that we made contact with the wall going into the corner, that really affected the handling of our AdvoCare Ford. But I’m happy we were able to overcome that and bounce back to get a decent finish. We’ll brush this off and go for the win next week in Talladega.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 18th: The No. 10 Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet team did an awesome job on pit road all day long. I think we gained positions on almost every stop. The car wasn’t great in traffic, but we definitely made a big improvement from practice to the race, and I’m proud of my team for their effort.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 19th: We really struggled this weekend with the balance. We got lucky with some cautions which got us back on the lead lap but our Fastenal Ford wasn’t consistent on the handling. We have five races remaining to gain the most points we can so we need to make the most of it.”

Chase Elliott – Finished 31st: “I don’t know if we got the left rear getting up on the racetrack, or something and it got into the fender and cut it down. I don’t know what to do man, we were trying as hard as we can. We had such a good car today again, and … I don’t know what to do.  Just keep after it and try to move on.” 

Brad Keselowski – Finished 38th: “As far as what happened on the track I don’t know. I spun and got in the grass and tore the nose off. I probably could have raced less hard with a big points gap coming in. With this format I had a big points gap coming in. With this format it is probably the smart thing to do but I don’t want to race like that. I want to race my guts out and go for wins. I don’t want to points race. I don’t care what the damn format is, I am going to give it my best.”

NASCAR America: Scan All from the Brickyard 400

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Kasey Kahne has dreamed of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ever since he first visited the track in 1999 as a kid fresh from his home in Washington.

The dream came true on Sunday with his victory in the Brickyard 400.

Kahne recounts how he won Sunday’s race in this week’s “Scan All,” which again presents the best scanner traffic from the 24th Brickyard 400.

The highlights include.

  • “That will make for a fun Tuesday.” – Matt Kenseth‘s reaction to the Lap 111 crash involved his teammate Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Tuesdays are when Joe Gibbs Racing holds a weekly meeting between drivers. It’s also happens to be the day “Scan All” airs.
  • “The 41 is melting down right now.” – Jame McMurray’s assessment of Kurt Busch after a bit of close racing between the two of them on a restart. Busch sarcastically clapped as McMurray drove by him under caution.
  • “(Expletive) Danica! (Expletive) her!” – Clint Bowyer‘s reaction his hard crash that involved Kurt Busch and Erik Jones. Patrick, who was running in front of Bowyer, wasn’t involved in the crash.
  • “Damn it, we had that thing won!” – Jimmie Johnson after his crash in Turn 3 on Lap 158 while racing three-wide with Kahne and Brad Keselowski.

Watch the above video for the full “Scan All” experience.

Landon Cassill: ‘Still haven’t really wrapped my head around’ Brickyard penalty for disobeying red flag

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Landon Cassill said Tuesday he is still trying to understand the situation that resulted in his Brickyard 400 ending in the garage after NASCAR parked his No. 34 Ford for not heeding a red flag during the overtime period of the race.

Cassill was parked on Lap 162 after he continued to pit road when the red flag had been displayed for a wreck on the first overtime restart. The field was stopped in Turn 4.

After the race Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said Cassill was parked because he “disobeyed a red flag.”

NASCAR’s official infraction report says Cassill was parked for “pulling up to pit.”

Cassill, taking part in a Goodyear tire test at Dover International Speedway, said he, his crew chief Seth Barbour and the team’s two spotters did not see the red flag displayed.

“I still haven’t really wrapped my head around it completely,” Cassill said. “They themselves did not see the red flag while I was rolling, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t out, I guess. The button they push in timing and scoring to trigger the red (flag) in their system is different than the flag man actually displaying the red flag. The flag man displaying the flag is what we have to work off of as drivers. It could have been the flag man had the red flag out the whole and the four of us as a team just missed it. That’s kind of why I kept rolling. I am very understanding of the rule and why it is what it is.”

With Cassill parked, the race ended on Lap 167. The Front Row Motorsports driver placed 22nd with his third DNF of the season.

Despite how it ended, Cassill earned his best result at a track other than a restrictor-plate track since he finished 21st at Kansas Speedway in May.

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NASCAR America airs live 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Brad Keselowski extension, Scan All

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs for an hour beginning at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to breakdown all the big stories from the Brickyard 400.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Steve Letarte, Slugger Labbe and Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut.

On today’s show:

· The Silly Season brings more news for next season. Brad Keselowski will stay with Team Penske after agreeing to a multi-year contract extension. How does this impact others drivers potentially needing rides for 2018?

· Kasey Kahne became the 12th driver to virtually guarantee himself a playoff spot due to his Brickyard 400 win. Steve and Slugger will see how Kahne’s win impacted the playoff picture and focus on those drivers who have to clinch a spot.

· If you thought the Brickyard 400 was chaotic. Just wait until you see the race from the teams’ point of view in today’s edition of Scan All: Indianapolis.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. defends crew chief Greg Ives’ performance

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he had heard enough “chatter” from fans about crew chief Greg Ives that he needed to tell them to “shut THAT (expletive) down.’’

Earnhardt, in his final full-time season driving in Cup, sent the tweet after exiting Sunday’s Brickyard 400 because of contact on a restart damaged his car. He finished 36th.

Some fans were upset about Ives’ pit strategy before the incident. Earnhardt could have stayed out on a caution at Lap 72 with others. Had he done so, Earnhardt would have restarted fifth. Instead, Ives called him to pit road and Earnhardt restarted 24th.

Ives told NBC Sports that it was an easy call because of what he felt was the difference between old tires and new tires. With what he thought would be a limited cushion of cars between Earnhardt and those with new tires on the restart, Ives said it was best to pit.

On the restart, the field got jumbled and Earnhardt ran into the back of Trevor Bayne’s car, damaging the radiator on Earnhardt’s Chevrolet.

It was another disappointing finish for Earnhardt, who needs a win to make the playoffs. He is 22nd in the points with one top five and four top-10 finishes in 20 races. He’s led 24 laps this season. 

As some fans complained about the strategy, Earnhardt reacted with the tweet.

Earnhardt explained during a break in tire testing Tuesday at Dover International Speedway why he sent the note to his fans.

“I just have heard the chatter over the season,’’ Earnhardt said. “We’ve had a difficult year and there’s just been a little rumbling in the background from the fans. They just love to target the crew chief. Our struggles are no one individual’s responsibility.

“I think that being my crew chief, we have such a very passionate fan base, very large fan base, it’s a challenging position for anybody. I’ve seen that with all the guys that I’ve worked with and they’ve all had to deal with criticism, was it the right call this week, what about the next week? They just get really picked apart.

“This is our last season. We’ve had some pretty difficult results and had opportunity to be frustrated and miserable, but I don’t want this season to be remembered by my crew chief, by myself, by my guys as a miserable time. The fans have an influence on that. They can definitely ease up a little bit on Greg and realize that he’s extremely talented, he’s in that position for a reason.’’

Ives has been praised for how he kept the team together after Earnhardt was out 18 races because of concussion symptoms. Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman drove the No. 88 Chevrolet in Earnhardt’s absence. Hendrick Motorsports announced last week that Bowman will take over Earnhardt’s ride next season.

Earnhardt, who will join NBC Sports’ broadcast team next year, said he can’t wait to watch Bowman and Ives next year.

“He’s going to have incredible success beyond my driving career as a crew chief at HMS, and I look forward to seeing that happen as soon as next season with Alex,’’ Earnhardt said Tuesday of Ives. “He was able to work with Alex in a matter of a few weeks and have Alex up to speed, confident and fast and almost winning races. (Ives) won a championship with Chase (Elliot) in the Xfinity Series. He won five championships with Jimmie Johnson as the lead engineer.

“Maybe Twitter ain’t the place to be drawing attention to things like that. You just hear enough chatter through the course of a long period of time. It wasn’t something that happened that particular weekend. … It’s not OK to be a fan and dog the crew. You’re a fan of the team. I know it’s important that they embrace the crew chief, the guys on the crew, the mechanics, the tire changers, they’ve got to embrace the whole thing.’’

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