Eddie Gossage started off a Monday press conference by stating its purpose was to give Texas Motor Speedway’s official reaction to Sunday’s post-race fight at Las Vegas Motor Speedway between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano.
While not actually the case, it’s a believable scenario when it comes to Gossage, NASCAR fisticuffs and promoting races at the track he has been in charge of since 1997.
Busch’s right cross at Logano, the resulting melee and Busch’s bloody forehead brought Gossage “joy overload” he joked.
“You ever eaten too much ice cream and gotten a brain freeze?” Gossage asked. “That’s kind of how I felt when I saw that. Just sort of had a brain freeze where this is just joy overload.”
In the following 24 hours, Gossage’s marketing and social media teams have milked the fight for all its worth to promote its April 9 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500.
“We already have an email blast out, ‘Busch vs Logano, Logano vs Busch,’ that kind of thing,” Gossage said. “It’s kind of funny, but it happened so we’re going to have a little fun with it. … It’s kind of easy to say because no one hit me in the face. I don’t think there’s any real harm or foul, and I think both guys are OK. If somebody yanked their arm off or something like that we probably shouldn’t have a little fun with it. A little blood, no big deal.”
Gossage then joked he already has a new billboard campaign in the works.
“We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun, the car was fast, we had a top-10 car for sure,” Earnhardt told NBCSN. “It’s frustrating because I really enjoyed being out there.
“Hopefully, our luck’s going to turn around. It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”
The race’s second caution for an accident occurred on Lap 57 when David Ragan spun in Turn 1 and collected Jeffrey Earnhardt and JJ Yeley. Earnhardt and Yeley were able to continue, but the severe damage to Ragan’s No. 38 Ford ended his day.
Yeley’s day ended when he brought out another caution on Lap 70 when his No. 7 Chevrolet lost his right-front tire and hit the outside wall.
The Brickyard 400 is scheduled to end on Lap 160.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last Brickyard 400 ends early after making contact
Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s hopes of finally winning a Brickyard 400 in his final career appearance in the mid-summer classic ended abruptly on Lap 77 of Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt made contact with the rear of the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne, causing significant damage to the front end and radiator of Earnhardt’s No. 88.
Shortly after that, smoke began to billow from the rear of Earnhardt’s car. He didn’t take the car to pit road, going straight to the garage instead, his day officially over.
“There were just a bunch of cars slowing down and stopping and caused a chain reaction,” Earnhardt told NBC. “I got into the back of the 6 car (Trevor Bayne), they were all getting into each other, and just knocked the radiator out of it.
“We had a great car, I was having a lot of fun, the car was fast, we had a top-10 car for sure. It’s frustrating because I really enjoyed being out there.”
Earnhardt now has just six races to qualify for the NASCAR playoffs. He’s pretty much in a must-win situation if he hopes to make the 10-race playoffs.
“Hopefully, our luck’s going to turn around,” Earnhardt said. “It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”
Earnhardt is the second Hendrick Motorsports driver to see his day come to an early end. Chase Elliott suffered engine failure on Lap 45.
Engine issue ends Chase Elliott’s Brickyard 400 hopes early
Chase Elliott‘s hope of winning the Brickyard 400 went up in smoke about one-quarter of the way through Sunday’s 24th edition of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Elliott had some issues with his engine that brought him to pit road. After his team looked over the car, it sent him back out on the racetrack and shortly after, smoke began coming out of the rear of his Chevrolet on Lap 44. Elliott took his car to the garage, his day officially over.
“We don’t know, it was some type of motor issue,” Elliott told NBC of the apparent cause of the engine failure. “We went down a cylinder and then started blowing smoke out of the pipes. I’ve been racing Hendrick engines since 2013 and this is the first engine problem I’ve ever had. … We’ll move on to next week and see what we have there.”
Elliott came into the race hoping to repeat what his father did in the latter’s win in the 2002 Brickyard 400.
Kyle Busch leads Brickyard 400 at end of Stage 1; Chase Elliott out due to engine problems
Denny Hamlin finished the stage in 24th after he pitted twice under the competition caution to fix damage from contact with Ryan Newman on his first trip down pit road.
Chase Elliott is out of the race after his No. 24 Chevrolet blew an engine on Lap 45. Elliott had begun dropping off the pace around Lap 20 and he was a lap down after an extended stop during the competition caution.
It is the first time Elliott has lost an engine in his Cup career.
The first caution of the race occurred on Lap 9 when Corey LaJoie hit the wall in Turn 3. During the caution the field was brought to pit road on Lap 12 ahead of severe weather.
The race was red flagged for lightning before it began raining. The red flag lasted one hour, 47 minutes and three seconds and was lifted at 4:47 p.m.
The race went back to green on Lap 18.
The competition caution originally scheduled for Lap 20 was pushed back to Lap 30.
Stage 2 will end on Lap 100 with the race scheduled to go 160 laps.