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What drivers said after the Advance Auto Parts Clash

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Joey Logano swooped in to win the Advance Auto Parts Clash after his teammate Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin collided on the last lap while Hamlin led.

The win is Logano’s first in the exhibition race and Ford’s first since 2004.

Here’s what most of the 17 drivers in the field had to say after the race.

Joey Logano, winner – “The Toyotas are so selfless, I guess is the way to look at it. They are able to work together and think of one car of winning, and they’re really good at that. We had to think the same way as Ford and with Stewart-Haas and the Penske cars and we were able to get a good enough,  run to work together enough to break them up and make the passes and then there at the end was kind of a mess. Everything was going really fast. Everything was going on and I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Kyle Busch, second place – “When (Joey Logano) got so far out in front that he was a lone duck and I feel like if we both could have worked together then we could have tracked them back down and then the three of us could have gone for the win instead of just automatically giving it to the 22. Just trying to see what (Alex Bowman‘s) mindset was with it all and figure out what got him to that decision. Overall, good day and I need to eliminate some mistakes here for myself on this M&M’s team – the guys did a great job, the guys executed really well.”

Alex Bowman, third place – “It’s easy; hindsight is 20/20, right? It’s hard to see. I was on the top with all that stuff happened getting into Turn 1 and I didn’t know (Joey Logano) was out there by himself. So, he’s (Kyle Busch) probably right. We probably could have caught the No. 22 and had a shot to win it, but at the same time, he didn’t work with me much all day, either. A lot of guys hung us out every chance they got. So, to come home third shows what a great race car Hendrick Motorsports brings to the track.”

Danica Patrick, finished fourth – “If you’re gonna have one track where I’ve had good races, you kind of hope Daytona is one of them or maybe the one. It would be great to get a 500 win, but it’s great to run up front. We start off with the biggest race of the year. … The way that the cars are handling in the heat of the day more. It’s a nice, sunny day. We’ve got plenty of humidity out there from all the rain, but it’s good practice for the 500, more so than it would have been if we would have run at night by all means.”

Kevin Harvick, fifth place –  “It went really well. For us, we were very fortunate that the race wound up in the day, a lot like the 500 is going to be, just because we didn’t really know what we needed and where our balance was going to be, so we were really loose to start the first 25 laps and were able to get that fixed. Speed is not an issue. Circumstances just needed to work out a little bit differently, but, all in all, I’m excited for the week.”

Brad Keselowski, sixth place – “Once you make contact the banking kind of wedges you two together. It’s unfortunate. I had to make the move. I know all the other drivers are back watching and they know not to make that block on me again … I think I’ve been in position to win it three or four times – in second or third in like the last two laps and it kind of falls apart with something, but you’ve just got to keep knocking on the door.”

Daniel Suarez, finished eighth – “I really felt like I went to school. I went to school with this race, racing with all of these guys and learning about the aero of the car and how the tires fall off. The fall off is not even close to the Xfinity cars and I learned that today. And how the car works – it works really, really different. There’s nothing similar in a race like this with 75 laps in a pack of 17 cars that I can practice. I think my team did an amazing job. They put me in the front and gave me the opportunity to finish in the top five and we just came a little short I guess.”

Jamie McMurray, finished 10th – “It was okay. Drafting is hard when you get to the rear if there are not 30 cars or so on the track. Especially when the bottom lane got lined up because you just couldn’t get enough cars on the outside. It was pretty good. I kind of liked running in the day versus the night. I thought that was good. Handling wasn’t a big issue. I thought it was going to be a bigger concern because it is pretty warm right now. But it is early in the week and it seems like as the Trucks run, the Xfinity cars, it gets slicker by Sunday, but overall it was a pretty good time. We didn’t scratch our car, which is awesome to survive a plate race.”

Austin Dillon, finished 12th – “It’s hard to be the Lone Ranger out there. If you look at the race, the top five were all team cars and I didn’t have a teammate in the race or anybody to work with. I am really proud that I was able to run up there with those cars knowing how important it is to have help. I was involved in the wreck at the end so I ended up cutting the right-front tire and that caused us to limp home to a 12th-place finish. Overall, though, it was a good run. I learned a lot and I thought I drafted pretty well.”

Denny Hamlin, finished 13th – “There’s really not much I can do differently at the end. Perhaps staying in the middle lane there through one and two and trying to side draft. (Brad Keselowski) had help from the 22 (Joey Logano). I was in a bad spot there. He was just coming so much faster than what I was. There’s not much that I could have done to defend. We lined up so well as Toyota teammates throughout the race that once those guys started breaking that up and leapfrogging, (Keselowski) had commitment from (Logano) and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and when they were able to back up there that really put us at a speed differential.”

Kyle Larson, finished 14th (garage after penalty) – “It is an odd way to be done I guess. But this race doesn’t matter for points. … I think it will just take a few incidents like we had to remind everyone of the rules, or explain what the rules mean. It seems like the teams were a little confused after the driver’s meeting.”

Martin Truex Jr., finished 15th (crash) – “I was having trouble with my mirror all day. I just flat cut in front of (Kyle) Larson and spun myself out so it was our own mistake. We didn’t get the mirrors quite right in the car before the race and then just trying to fit in the hole I wasn’t sure I could fit in and trying to get track position towards the end of the race. Completely my fault but glad we didn’t tear up a lot of race cars there.”

Jimmie Johnson, finished 16th (crash) – “It’s bizarre because it drove really good everywhere else, then off of (Turn) 4 the first time I had a handling problem was when it broke free and I got into the No. 41 (Kurt Busch) and then after that it was really loose. After that caution and the last long stretch before I crashed again. Just off of Turn 4. The sun certainly sits on that edge of the track a little bit harder than anywhere else. We will take some notes and learn from those mistakes and apply that to the (Daytona) 500 car.”

Kurt Busch, finished 17th (crash) – “I was just minding my own business in the low groove and we got tagged in the right-rear. It’s kind of a shame – all of the hard work and the effort everybody puts into the off-season – Doug Yates and his engines and everybody from Ford and everybody at Stewart-Haas, all of the effort put towards building a car and we didn’t even make it to the first pit stop, so it’s kind of a bummer.”

NASCAR America: Short tracks are Clint Bowyer’s favorites

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It was a question that needed to be asked, although the answer was not a surprise to anyone. What is Clint Bowyer’s favorite type of track?

“Short tracks are obviously my favorite,” Bowyer answered. “I think they’re probably everybody’s favorite. That’s what we grew up doing. That’s probably where we feel most comfortable.”

“I love back-to-back short track races because the drivers don’t have time to forget about who they’re mad at,” Steve Letarte interjected.

But Bowyer’s love of short tracks is not limited to Martinsville, where he snapped his long winless streak earlier this year. He is even more excited about coming to Richmond Raceway this week.

“I feel like Richmond is the perfect-sized race track.”

Bowyer went one step further, suggesting there is a way to add more tracks like Richmond to the schedule.

“I feel like, some of these mile-and-a-half tracks, we need to just use as parking lots and build Richmond in the infield,” Bowyer said.

For more of what Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to say about short track racing, watch the video above.

NASCAR America: Clint Bowyer’s parties are legendary

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Clint Bowyer parties are not only legendary, they have the same effect as a black hole on unsuspecting passersby, as Steve Letarte found out in Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America.

“The cab driver comes up, goes inside, decides he is going to clock out – stays at the party,” Bowyer explained. “(The fare) is in the car waiting on him. He’s still inside partying. So somebody (else) got in the cab and made several laps on the go-kart track that night.”

It was eventually returned – muddied and with ungrateful patrons.

The cab driver is not the only person to get sucked into the vortex of a Bowyer party. Pizza delivery men, famous singers, and countless others have made this mistake of wandering too close.

“I’ve known Clint a long time, so none of this is shocking to me,” Letarte said as he correctly answered every bizarre question aimed at him.

For more of what has happened at one of Bowyer’s parties, watch the video above.

NASCAR America at 5:30 p.m. ET: Clint Bowyer joins Dale Jr. at the Big Oak Table

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is joined at the Big Oak table by Clint Bowyer and Steve Letarte. Krista Voda hosts.

On today’s edition of Wednesdays with Dale Jr.

• Clint Bowyer, a few weeks removed from his victory at Martinsville, joins Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Letarte at the Big Oak Table to discuss the season, short track racing, the move to Stewart-Haas Racing last year and snapping his 190-race winless streak.
• Have a question for Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Clint Bowyer? Hit us up on Twitter using #WednesDale to get your question answered on air.
• Bowyer’s Martinsville victory celebration included some Moonshine & Fire. We’ll put his personal party knowledge to the test with this week’s game “Did This Really Happen at a Clint Bowyer Party?”

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online 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 5:30 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Bump & Run: Who will be next to challenge Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick?

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Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have combined to win five of the first eight races of the season. Who is most likely to break up their dominance?

Nate Ryan: Any of the Penske drivers. That team seems to be next in class behind Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Dustin Long: Ryan Blaney. Has shown a good bit of speed lately and seems to be close to scoring a win or two in the near future.

Daniel McFadin: Kyle Larson is poised to wreak havoc on the field if he can put together complete races without any miscues, like his spin in Bristol. He’s the defending Richmond winner, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can carry his momentum there.

Dan Beaver: If it’s possible to overlook the defending champion, that is what seems to be happening with Martin Truex Jr. With five wins and 14 top fives in his last 18 races, he needs to forget about his bad luck in the last two races and concentrate on all the things the team has been doing right.

Parker KligermanWhen I look at the current landscape, I feel the drivers that can break their stranglehold will either be driving a JGR Toyota or Team Penske Ford. 

Ryan Blaney (30-race winless drought), Jimmie Johnson (31), Joey Logano (35), Ryan Newman (40 races) and Kurt Busch (43) are in droughts. Who is the first among this group to return to Victory Lane?

Nate Ryan: Logano, possibly as early as Saturday. Blaney would be 1A as it’s only a matter of time for Team Penske.

Dustin Long: Ryan Blaney. He’s been strong lately, finishing eighth at Auto Club, third at Martinsville and fifth at Texas before crashing out of the Bristol race while in the lead. His time is coming. 

Daniel McFadin: I think it comes down to either Logano or Blaney with Logano likely to win at Richmond or Talladega. He’s finished in the top two in the last two Richmond races and he’s one of the best plate racers of this generation

Dan Beaver: As consistently strong as he has run, it is difficult to believe Logano has not already won. Along with Kyle Busch, he is the only driver with seven top-10s in the first eight races. Five of these were sixth-place finishes or better. Returning to the site of his last win, Logano could break through this week – and this time it will not be encumbered.

Parker Kligerman: I believe Ryan Blaney will win first. He is showing some serious speed and seems to be in great form. I feel that crew chief Jeremy Bullins and Ryan will want to start to assert themselves inside Team Penske as the title contender I feel they will be this year. 

After the perceived success of PJ1 before the resumption of Monday’s race, should NASCAR consider doing mid-race treatments with a traction compound to tracks?

Nate Ryan: Yes. While it’s worth pondering whether it might be unfairly tampering with the competition to reapply traction compound during a race, the circumstances of a postponement should allow it, and the ends certainly justified the means in Bristol’s case.

Dustin Long: NASCAR should do what is necessary to provide the best type of racing for the fans. 

Daniel McFadin: It’s a toss-up for me, but I think I’d rather they didn’t. It’s more interesting to have teams have to account for the loss of a racing element over time, just like they do with tires. That happened in Bristol and the race was great from beginning to end. Also, applying it mid-race just makes for longer races.

Dan Beaver: If NASCAR can find a way to substantially improve the action, they should do whatever is necessary. Many dirt tracks around the country take time to water the surface before the A-Mains to develop a second groove. NASCAR still has some lessons that can be learned from the grass roots.

Parker Kligerman: Why not? I feel until we find a way to stop hearing the words “loss of downforce” from following other cars, NASCAR should continue to look at all available tools to add in variables that can cause uncertainty for the teams and drivers and create changes in track state like we saw at Bristol to cause the most dynamic races possible.