What drivers said after the Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway

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Carl Edwards won the rain-shortened AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to clinch a spot in the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Here’s what Edwards and the rest of the field had to say Sunday night.

Carl Edwards – Winner: “We were in a bad spot if we went green again, but, like I said, the last run before it rained I think we could’ve held them off. I’m not sure. (Joey Logano) was really good on the bottom. My car was starting to go away. I ran pretty hard there at the start, but man, that’s fun. And, Martin (Truex Jr.) did a great job. If we wouldn’t have beat him off of pit road, obviously, we wouldn’t have got this, but man it was really fun chasing him down and racing with him the run before that.”

Joey Logano – Finished second: “The team did a very good job on executing when we needed to. Just, you know, didn’t have enough laps. It seemed like the momentum swung the other way about three or four laps to go before the caution came out when I started catching the 19 pretty rapidly. Unfortunately it just started raining. That was the end of the race … You know, it is what it is. We’re going to be close. There’s a lot of cars that are going to be close going into Phoenix. It’s going to be entertaining. It’s going to be probably the closest Phoenix race we’ve ever seen as far as points.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished third: “I needed another stop. I needed it to go all the way to the end. We were really good on the long runs. We were really good on new tires after green flag stops. I was really hoping it would go all the way. That was going to be our only chance to win after that last restart. Was hoping it did. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) was telling me how far out the rain was, that he thought. So he was keeping me in the loop on that. I was just like, There’s nothing I can do, I need 20 more laps to even have a chance.”

Chase Elliott – Finished fourth: “You are never happy. Obviously, I thought we had a pretty good car. I don’t know that we had anything for those guys, at least on the short run. If it went real long into a run, I thought we could slightly run with them, given the right track conditions and whatnot. We will do our homework and get ready for the next two.”

Kyle BuschFinished fifth “That was a hard-fought top five right there. That was a battle for sure by myself behind the wheel, but, of course, my pit crew did a great job being able to get the tape on the nose and being able to fix that earlier in the race. And, of course, (crew chief) Adam (Stevens), some great calls being able to fix that car. It was a handful for sure early on, but we made it a heck of a lot better there at the end. I just wish that those long runs were actually real long runs. We had so many sets of tires tonight that everybody was short-pitting the long runs and only running 40 laps instead of what a fuel window was, about 55 laps. So, I couldn’t make up the time that I wanted to on the long runs against those guys.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished sixth: “Our Busch Beer Chevy was off. We were tight, we were loose, and we were kind of all over the place. We could take off okay, but we would fall way off at the end of a run. I just want to apologize to (Austin Dillon). He kind of came up there and he slid in front of me and got loose and when he checked up I hit him again. That was not anything I wanted to see. All-in-all everybody battled and did all they could, and we just didn’t have a fast enough car.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished seventh: “We were just kind of middle of the road. We qualified decent, we kept that track position. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) did a good job. One time we pitted early and got a few spots and got up to fifth but then we just got behind on the second-to-last pit stop and when I get behind people we were just kind of mediocre. I just couldn’t really pass anybody but if you put me in line in fifth I could run fifth. Unfortunately a couple of those guys got in front of me and I couldn’t get back around them. So, we had a good stop our last one, had a good restart and got a couple spots but that was about all I could get.”

Kasey Kahne – Finished eighth: “We drove up, the team did a great job, the pit stops were nice, but we just never had the speed I wanted that those probably five or six guys had. We had a great performance from 33rd to eighth and we battled all night long. Everybody worked hard we just want to be a little better.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished ninth: “I think the hardest thing is we lost our pit selection and we kept getting blocked in by (Alex Bowman) each stop. He had to try to get out as well from whoever was in front of him. Just a bad part of losing your pit selection, you don’t get a good spot and I thought he was a little bit wide a few stops and it really slowed our stops and lose positions on pit road where we usually gain and then I was on the outside just about every restart. Nothing really went well for us on pit road, average day.”

Ryan Newman -Finished 10th: “Our Grainger Chevrolet was a real challenge for us tonight. It pushed when I was in traffic and was loose off of Turn 4. We basically ran in the top 18 all day. (Crew chief ) Luke (Lambert) made a series of calls and by halfway, our car ran the best in the high line and that’s pretty much where I raced. Then we heard weather was coming and when it did, we stayed out and got the top-10 finish. I’m proud of the guys on pit road for the solid performance. It was a long rain delay, but we all hung in there and got a good finish.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 11th: “It didn’t quite go as planned. We were planning on a day race and the setup of the car was not so happy at night. We were making gains on it and getting there, but a little too loose with it being a night race.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 13th: “We took off really strong and had a really good first run. The second run we didn’t get a great restart but we were fast and passing people and cut a right-front tire. We had some right-front damage and feel like that kind of killed the front-end aero wise a little bit for the rest of the day. We kind of really fought just balance, really never got the race car happy, and kind of was out of the racetrack with front and the back. But, Greg (Ives, crew chief) and everybody tried really hard. We were a heck of a lot better than 13th, just frustrating couple of restarts, got raced kind of ridiculously by some guys.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 16th: “Our Fastenal Ford was probably the best it had been all weekend. We progressively made it better each run. I wish it would have gone back green because we had new tires and I think we could have gained some more positions there at the end. Overall it was a good day for our Fastenal team.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 17th: “This place confuses me for sure. I felt like I needed a little bit more rear grip, but if we tried that we got way too tight. When we got tight I was really slow and really unhappy with it. We would free it back up and I would have to kind of hang on to it, but it was faster. For how we have been here that is way better. I’ve got to still do my homework going into next year about this place and figure it out.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 20th: “We just missed the setup. It’s a Chase race, it’s kind of important and we missed it again.”

Paul Menard – Finished 27th: “The rain from earlier cleaned off the track and there was no rubber at the beginning of the race. It took awhile for grip to come in, so we worked through that with adjustments on pit road. (Crew chief) Danny (Stockman) made good calls to get us where we needed to be but then we had a tire go down. That put us behind for the rest of the night. Proud of my team as always for not giving up.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 30th: “We fought all race long. Our AdvoCare Ford just struggled to find the right handling all night which made it really tough out there. We’ll regroup from this and get after it in the last two races of the season and end this year on a strong note.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 37th: “(Kevin Harvick) tucked down to my door tighter than anybody did all night.  He knew how tight he was on my door and that is why I got tight and slid up in front of him. He didn’t check (up), but he had the opportunity to. He didn’t like it that the silver spoon kid was out-running him tonight. So we will be alright, we have two weeks left and we just want to come out and win a race.”

Casey Mears – Finished 39th: “I’m fine. I didn’t even hit anything but the grass. I don’t know who, somebody hit me from behind.  When they checked up, I had to check up because the guys in front of me where trying to peel off the wall to keep from hitting the No. 3 (Austin Dillon). I felt whoever was behind me put me in the grass. I hit the grass and it blew the whole front end off the car. It is unfortunate because we really didn’t hit anything other than the grass, but it ended our night.”

NASCAR America: Under the radar playoff drivers, Talladega’s playoff placement

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SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Pete Pistone dropped by NASCAR America for his weekly appearance to discuss the Cup playoffs so far.

Pistone was asked who he thought is the most under the radar driver through five races in the playoffs. He chose Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin.

“We’ve heard from Denny Hamlin on some other things, some off-the-track stuff,” Pistone said. “He’s been in the headlines. But in terms of how he’s running and where’s he’s running, I think we’ve sort of been missing him a little bit.”

Hamlin finished sixth at Talladega for his third top 10 of the playoffs. His worst result so far is 35th (DNF) at Dover for an axle problem.

Kyle Petty asked Pistone who he would rather see eliminated from the playoffs if he were Martin Truex Jr: Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Busch.

“I think I want to see Jimmie Johnson eliminated and the only reason I would say that Kyle is because Jimmie’s been there before, (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) has been there before. We’ve written off Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson even this late in the playoffs before. It’s almost Halloween. They’re sort of like Michael Myers from Halloween, the movie. If you let them up and be alive again they’re going to come and get you with a knife.”

Watch the above video for more.

Kasey Kahne, Matt DiBenedetto marking Cup start milestones at Kansas

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Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway will mark career milestones for Kasey Kahne and Matt DiBenedetto.

Kahne, who is in the final five races of his tenure driving the No. 5 for Hendrick Motorsports, will make his 500th Cup Series start.

DiBenedetto, driver of Go Fas Racing’s No. 32 Ford, will reach the century mark with his 100th Cup start.

The two join the ranks of drivers who have celebrated similar milestones this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. marked his 600th start at Auto Club Speedway. Kevin Harvick made his 600th start in the regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway and Kurt Busch made his in the Bristol night race.

Brad Keselowski won Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in his 300th Cup start.

Kahne, 37,  made his first Cup start in the 2004 Daytona 500 for Evernham Motorsports. The 24-year-old driver won the Rookie of the Year that season, making him the youngest winner of the award at the time since Jeff Gordon earned it at the age of 22 in 1993.

Since then he has earned 18 wins, 92 top fives, 175 top 10s and 27 poles. He has yet to miss a race in his 14-year career in the Cup Series.

DiBenedetto, 26, made his first Cup start on March 15, 2015 in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix Raceway. The start, in the No. 83 Toyota for BK Racing, came after he failed to qualify for the previous two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In the two years since, DiBenedetto has earned three top 10s, including two this year in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400.

His career-best finish is sixth in the April 2016 race at Bristol.

Through 31 races this year, DiBenedetto has an average finish of 26.8, an improvement over his totals in 2015 (32nd) and 2016 (30th).

In five Kansas starts, DiBenedetto’s best result is 24th in the fall 2016 race. His average finish is 28.2.

“I really enjoy racing at Kansas Speedway,” DiBenedetto said in a press release. “Our mile-and-a-half program has been very strong this year and (Crew chief) Gene (Nead) has been giving me fast race cars to compete with. We qualified in the second-round here at Kansas earlier in the season, so that gives us a lot of hope.

“I like the racing at Kansas because you can move around a lot groove-wise and find a line that works with the balance of your race car. I’m usually one of the first people to move up into the high-groove and that seems to help find us some speed. If we can get a balance on the race car like we had in the spring, I know we’ll be fast and competitive.”

NASCAR America: Scan All from the Alabama 500 at Talladega

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“Ol’ Dega is giving me one last thrill.”

That’s the remark Dale Earnhardt Jr. made after he narrowly avoided being collected in the second of three wrecks in the final 16 laps of Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, his last start at the track.

It’s one of many highlights in the latest edition of “Scan All,” which documents the Alabama 500 at the restrictor-plate track.

In the above video, Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe relive the race, which ended with Keselowski’s sixth win at the track.

Here are more highlights from “Scan All.”

  • Listen to the communication of the No. 48 team as confusion breaks out over whether they can work on Jimmie Johnson‘s car during a red flag.
  • “It is a restrictor-plate race, so I’m not going to promise you anything.” – Brendan Gaughan after remarking he hoped his team wouldn’t have to make too many body repairs. He would be eliminated in a crash with 10 laps to go.
  • “Those stands are packed. They should get a free Dale Jr. autograph.” – Clint Bowyer on the large crowd that took in Earnhardt’s final Cup start at Talladega.
  • “Holy (expletive). What an idiot. That was the absolute stupidest (expletive) thing he’s ever done.” Kyle Busch after a crash involving Jame McMurray, Erik Jones and Jeffrey Earnhardt. The crash began when McMurray slowed down enter pit road and Jones ran into him.
  • Listen as Keselowski and his team struggle to communicate with each other do to a faulty radio system.
  • “How in the (expletive) did we wind up in the (expletive) back? (Expletive) stupid.” – Part of a tirade by Bowyer following a Lap 157 crash that collected him. Bowyer pulled his car into his pit box, exited it, had a brief exchange with his crew chief and walked back to the garage.

Watch the above video for more.

Race distance for Charlotte Motor Speedway road course still TBD

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CONCORD, N.C. — It still might be known as the Bank of America 500, but 500 kilometers might not be the distance of the first road-course race in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Charlotte Motor Speedway announced Wednesday in the media center during a break in tire testing that next year’s Round of 16 cutoff race would be 500 kilometers or about 130 laps on the 2.42-mile layout. Track officials said it would be the longest road course race on the circuit (roughly 90 miles longer than the events at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International).

That prompted a raft of buzz on social media about a 500-kilometer race that likely would be pushing at least four hours with two stage breaks and a few cautions (lap times were in the 90-second range during the test).

But in a statement early Wednesday evening, NASCAR wouldn’t confirm 500 kilometers as the distance of the Sept. 30 race.

Here’s the statement:

This week’s test provided valuable data that will be part of the equation in determining the distance for next fall’s race. We will continue working closely with our partners to develop the best event for fans and competitors alike.

Asked about NASCAR’s statement, Charlotte Motor Speedway spokesman Scott Cooper said the track still was planning for a 500-kilometer race.

“We’re learning a tremendous amount about the Roval from this week’s test,” Cooper said in an email to NBCSports.com. “Ultimately, we want the most challenging road course race for the drivers and the very best show for the fans, and we’ll continue to work hard to get there.”

A release from the track near the conclusion of the two-day tire test late Wednesday afternoon referred to next season’s race as the Bank of America 500 but didn’t specify the race’s distance.