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JR Motorsports spotters debate failed ‘selfish’ plans to win at Talladega

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Things didn’t go as planned for JR Motorsports in last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

For the second time this season, the team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. had five entries in a race. But that large arsenal wasn’t enough to put one of its cars in Victory Lane.

However, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Brett Griffin, a JRM spotter for Elliott Sadler, claimed on the latest episode of the “Door. Bumper. Clear.” podcast that T.J. Majors being “selfish” kept a potentially winning strategy from being executed.

Majors, who spots for Earnhardt in the Cup Series, spotted for Justin Allgaier on Saturday.

TJ Majors: I was OK. I’ve had worse (races).
Brett Griffin: He had some run-ins on the spotter stand.
Majors: I didn’t have any run-ins. I had people mad.
Griffin: You had run-ins.
Majors: Had people mad for no reason.
Grifffin: … He made every spotter that was his teammate, he made them mad.
Majors: That’s not true.
Griffin then laid out what happened in the race that squandered the team’s shot at a win.
With Team Penske’s Joey Logano leading, Sadler was second followed by Michael Annett in JRM’s No. 5 Chevrolet and Allgaier. The No. 3 Chevrolet driven by Ty Dillon was fifth.

“This is why T.J. gets in arguments,” Griffin said. “Because T.J. is so selfish and one wayed in all of his things that he does that it’s never about anybody but T.J.

“So he screws me. He screws (Kevin) Hamlin. Hamlin is spotting for Kasey Kahne. Let me tell you how he screws me. … We catch (Logano). There’s three reasons why you wouldn’t push (Logano). No. 1, he’s not your teammate like the other guys. No. 2, he’s not in the same manufacturer that you’re in, he’s in a Ford. No. 3, he’s the best car and arguably the best driver in the field. You’ve got the chance to shuffle him.

“What does T.J. do? He tells Justin to go low. So Justin goes low, bails on me and (Annett). Now we’re screwed. We go the back, which is fine. But we had the chance to be 1-2-3 JRM and instead we’re not. Thanks to T.J.

“I talked to Justin, Justin said  ‘T.J. told me to go low.'”

Majors then defended himself by saying Griffin had had plenty of restrictor-plate success with Sadler’s driving style.

“There’s no one more selfish on Saturdays at Daytona and Talladega than Elliott Sadler and you,” Majors said. “Nobody. And it works for you. You win a lot of races because of it.”

Elliott Sadler didn’t take kindly to Majors’ statement.

Majors went on to explain why he had directed Allgaier to jump out of line.

“Ty Dillon behind us, the No. 3, he’s not going to go with us,” Majors said. “He’s a Chevy, but he’s going by us because we were no help at that point. He was going to get to our quarter panel (to side draft) and he was actually going low, we pulled out at the last second and got in front of him. He was going to get to our quarter panel, which makes us useless to (Annett).

“Because we’re not even close to the 5 car. We’re a car length off of him. If (Dillon) gets to our quarter panel, we’re done. We can’t push (Annett), the 5 can’t push you if we can’t get to him. Ty’s going to run up there and push Logano.”

In the end, it was Aric Almirola who walked away with the win. Selfish or not, Elliott Sadler finished second. Annett placed seventh, followed by Allgaier.

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Matt Kenseth: Brickyard 400 restarts ‘kind of ridiculous’

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Matt Kenseth came close to winning Sunday’s Brickyard 400, but ultimately finished fifth.

Kenseth called the race “kind of ridiculous” down the stretch because of the several restarts that brought about further havoc and wrecks.

Kenseth competed in his final Brickyard 400 for Joe Gibbs Racing. With his future uncertain and whether he’ll be able to continue racing in 2018, could Sunday have been the final Brickyard 400 of his career, much like good friend Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is retiring after this season?

Check out the video above for Kenseth’s comments on the race.

Rick Hendrick on Kasey Kahne’s future: ‘Our plans are not set for the No. 5 car’


INDIANAPOLIS – Brickyard 400 winner Kasey Kahne has a contract for 2018 at Hendrick Motorsports but possibly doesn’t have a job next season.

Team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed Sunday night that “our plans are not set for the No. 5 car” after Kahne ended a 102-race winless streak in the Cup Series.

“There’s nothing concrete or done, and that hasn’t changed,” Hendrick said. “We’ll see how things shake out the rest of the year.  There’s a lot of things involved, sponsors and a lot of things we look at.  We’re going to try hard.  But there’s no decisions made at this time.”

Kahne felt the 18th victory of his career helped him make a case for staying in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

“I think this shows I still want to win races,” he said. “It shows I gave it all that I can to get a win and shows that I’m passionate about driving stock cars, and that I can still win races, too.

“I have a deal through 2018 with Hendrick Motorsports. I hear a lot of things, but it’s tough to say exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t know at this point and time. I know me and Mr. H will figure it out. I think this shows that I want to be and still have the drive and passion to do it, so I’m going to keep trying hard I know that.”

During a Sunday morning pre-race news conference to formally introduce Alex Bowman as the replacement next season for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick said he planned to run four cars next season but deflected a question about Kahne’s status (“that’s for another day”).

Xfinity Series rookie William Byron, who is under contract to Hendrick, would be an option for the No. 5 Chevrolet, but Hendrick said “we’re not ready to cross that bridge yet” when asked about Byron’s Cup future.

Kahne is ranked 22nd in the points standings with only four top 10s in 20 races this season.

“When you’ve had a rough road, your confidence gets down,” Hendrick said. “He said, ‘I know I can do it. The harder I try, the more it seems like I have this rough bad luck.’

“Something like this (win) can be really good for any guy to have, the whole team, to have confidence.  … All I can say about Kasey is he shows up, he shows up on time, and he shows up on time with his game face on, and he puts in the effort. Sometimes it just takes a break.  But he’s done everything.  I know in his heart he wants to do it.  He’s trying, so … ”

Ryan Newman on Brickyard 400: ‘That’s not racing, just craziness’


Ryan Newman was in the right place at the right time in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, finishing third.

It was Newman’s second-best finish of 2017 after his win earlier this year at Phoenix.

But Newman, who is never afraid to speak his mind, did just that after Sunday’s race. Even with his strong finish, he echoed the comments of several other drivers that the racing action — particularly restarts — by saying, “That’s not racing, just craziness.”

Check out what Newman had to say in the video above.

Joey Logano’s fourth-place finish is bittersweet as playoff chances dip

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Joey Logano had a bittersweet day in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

He finished a strong fourth in the incident-filled 24th edition of the Brickyard 400. It was just Logano’s second top-five finish and third top-10 showing in the last 11 races.

But there was also bad news, too.

Kasey Kahne‘s win knocked Logano further back in his bid to rejoin the top-16 drivers eligible for the upcoming NASCAR playoffs. With Clint Bowyer dropping out of the top-16 and Kahne moving into playoff contention, Logano has slipped back to 18th place in the playoff-eligible standings.

As a result, Logano all but has to win one of the next six races to qualify for the playoffs — unless he can point his way in with continued strong top-five finishes.

Logano talked about the situation he faces with NBC Sports after Sunday’s race. Click on the above video to see what he had to say.