Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover


Here’s what many of the drivers had to say after Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway:

Jimmie Johnson – WINNER: “I never thought I would end up here in NASCAR as a kid racing in the dirt out in Southern California. I was a big Cale Yarborough fan. … To be here and tie him at 83 wins is amazing. We just got the tribute helmet. I wasn’t sure how quickly we’d be, or if we’d be able to go there, and get it done. But, Cale, you’re the man. Thank you for all you have done for our sport. I was such a fan and it’s been an amazing journey along the way. It was a huge honor to tie him with 3 consecutive championships a few years back and then to be here at 83 wins and a day where things played out in such an awkward and weird fashion, just very happy that we’ve got it done.”

Kyle Larson – Finished second: “(Johnson) did what he had to do to get the best launch that he did. We were both playing games a little bit. He just took off better than I did. I wasn’t really complaining about the restart. He did a good job. He’s a seven-time champion for a reason. He’s got a golden horseshoe somewhere, and he’s really good at executing. So, I’ve just got to get better at that. We had a dominant car all day. We had a couple of runs where we got off; maybe some bad tires or something. But we were able to rebound from those struggles.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished third: “We had a good day. We had a good car and just got caught by that caution when we pitted and lost our shot at the win. I don’t know that we had the best car, but we had a good car for sure and the 42 (Kyle Larson), the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and us – I think we were all so close. Whoever it seemed like got out front was the best, but all in all, you know, it was a good day. Just not the finish we hoped for, but still when you’re this disappointed with third, it speaks volumes about your team and where you’re at and what’s going on. … I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I almost wrecked by myself, so it was a lot of fun. It was a challenge.”

Ryan Newman – Finished fourth: “Yeah, I’m not really sure exactly what happened there off of (Turn) 2. I know (teammate Ty Dillon) washed up, but I don’t know if he kind of hit the fence and came back down into me or I ran into him. It was just so tight. I had another car on my quarter-panel, but either way it was a hard fought top five for our Caterpillar Chevrolet. That was the toughest top five I’ve had in a long time, so we’ve got some work to do.”

Chase Elliott – Finished fifth: “I don’t exactly know what happened between all those guys, but our NAPA Chevy was solid all day. It wasn’t as good as some of those other guys, but we made a lot of gains from I think where we were yesterday. We got up inside the top five there at one point and got stuck back around 10th at one point too.  So, up and down for sure.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ – Finished sixth: “I think it was good. Like everything, ups and downs. In the beginning, we were okay and then later on we were pretty bad. We were able to make some adjustments and get back to a top-10. I feel like we had a top-10 car and we ended up right there. I think the entire team is making process and that’s for sure and I’m very proud of that and we just have to keep working and keep moving in the same direction.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished seventh: “Overall a really good day for us. We qualified bad and I had a really hard time overcoming that. The way the pit stalls worked out the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) lost their pit pick and got stuck in-between me and Jimmie (Johnson) and I had to give up a lot of time on pit road just to give him enough room and make sure everybody had enough room.  That was a big challenge and got us behind all day long.  Overall we had a really good car.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished eighth: “We struggled for the most part – hanging out just outside the top-10. Really didn’t have a fast car to speak of. That’s where we qualified, that’s where we practiced and kind of where we raced. Just got to be a little bit faster and we’ve got to work on our setup. We obviously are – we faded quite a bit on the long runs and that definitely hurt us.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished ninth: “We had a good day with our Jimmy John’s Ford. We just got caught under caution and could never make it back up. We had an okay car and just tried to stay out of trouble all day. Long day. A lot going on out there today.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 10th: “A good day for us. We got a bit lucky with staying out at the right time and catching the yellow flags. It’s the stuff that hasn’t been happening for us all year and it’s just nice to catch some breaks today. We weren’t the fastest car today, not sure we were a top-10 car. A lot of times we have been a 10th-place car and weren’t able to get the finish we needed. I’ll take the lucky days anytime I can because there has been plenty of times where it went the other way.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR. – Finished 11th: “I don’t know what happened at the end there were just cars crashing everywhere. Our car really wasn’t very good all day. We ran around 15th to 20th, we got lucky on staying out on a green flag run there and got some track position and I sped on pit road some fricking how. We have had a lot of speeding penalties this year, so I don’t know what is going on with that, but it was a long day. Not any fun at all.”

TY DILLON – Finished 14th: “Really proud of our Germain Racing team. It’s a lifelong dream. To lead laps (27) like that meant a lot to me. We had to restart fourth on old tires and I just think the air off the No. 31 got me a little loose and they left a bunch of sand there off Turn 2 and as soon as I got loose and hit that sand it was all over (the last lap crash).  I feel bad for all the cars that got torn up. … Proud of our effort today. We proved to ourselves as a team that we can run up front with the big boys.”

David Ragan – Finished 30th: “It’s disappointing to have our day end the way it did so late in the race. We overcame a tire issue earlier in the race Our Overton’s team did a great job making our car better all day. I felt that we were headed for a top-20 finish until we had the wreck. I’m glad all the safety stuff worked. That was a hard hit. We’ll learn from it for when we come back here in the fall.”

Clint Bowyer – Finished 31st: “It looks like the oil tank cracked right by the fitting. A freak deal. It’s a shame. We needed a good race. We had gotten a little bit behind today and then had the freak deal happen. Not our day.”

Paul Menard – Finished 33rd: On the Lap 343 incident he was involved in: “The No. 37 (Chris Buescher) just got loose and wrecked us.”

Regan Smith – Finished 34th: “What a day! It was fun. We worked hard on the Smithfield Ford all day. They guys did nice job adjusting after we go really loose in the middle of the race. We cut a right-front tire. Maybe too much brake on my part. I’m not really sure. The team did a nice job all week. We struggled early in the week but got me comfortable in the car. It was fun. Just thankful to get the chance to drive this car the last few weeks.”

Landon Cassill – Finished 36th: “I thought we were improving all day. I was really happen how the car was running on the last run. We got the wave around and was going to benefit from it. I’m not sure why the right-front tire let go. We weren’t too aggressive as some of the other guys. That’s just how it goes.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 37th: “I got loose on a restart, it’s my bad as a driver. My bad. We had good speed in our car and just couldn’t finish. You can’t make mistakes out here and we did.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 38th: “Yeah, one of them racing deals. These cars rely so much on aerodynamics. We saw that early with guys being able to stay out on two tires even with a lot of tire wear. I don’t know if it was Kurt’s fault, just one of them racing deals. We line-up double-file and somebody got loose and just took us out. What a bummer. Just one of them racing deals.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 39th: “Our Little Hug Ford was fast and on the move. This track is tough. We saw a few tire issues yesterday after the first run. I’m not sure if I ran over something, we’ll have to take a look at it. I’m looking forward in coming back here in the fall. I feel like we have a good race car and happy with what we learned this weekend.”

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NASCAR America: The challenges of Martinsville Speedway

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What Martinsville Speedway lacks in size compared to other tracks it makes up in difficulty say drivers and NASCAR America’s analysts.

Landon Cassill joined Carolyn Manno, Parker Kligerman and Jeff Burton on Thursday’s show and discussed the challenges of the half-mile paperclip track.

“It can be fun when it’s going well,’’ said Cassill, who will make his Cup season debut this weekend in the No. 00 for StarCom Racing. “That place, if you’re car is not handling well, you can end up going backwards and just by the time you’ve got some clear race track the leader is right behind you. So it can be frustration. I tend to like Martinsville.’’

Kligerman calls racing in the pack at Martinsville Speedway “the most aggressive racing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.’’

Jeff Burton said: “It’s … one of the hardest race tracks we go to period because you have to do it lap after lap after lap and it’s so easy to get, quite simply, just really, really mad at the guy you’re racing with because he’s hitting you and he’s banging on you.’’

Cup drivers have their description of the track. See what NASCAR America’s analysts and Cup drivers have to say about the track that hosts Sunday’s Cup race in the video above.

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Richard Childress Racing reinstates Xfinity crew chief Nick Harrison

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Richard Childress Racing has reinstated Nick Harrison to crew chief  of the No. 3 Xfinity team after he served a five-race suspension for a violation at Daytona International Speedway. 

Harrison’s first race back will be April 8 at Texas.

Harrison was suspended after the No. 3 car of Austin Dillon had a rear suspension violation in pre-qualifying inspection. Harrison and the team’s car chief were ejected by NASCAR after the violation. RCR imposed the suspension.

“I’m looking forward to being back with my team and winning races after my five-race suspension,” Harrison said in a statement from the team.

Brandon Thomas served as the interim crew chief while Harrison was out. Austin Dillon finished a season-best fourth for the team last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

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NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Martinsville breakdown, Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and features host Carolyn Manno and Parker Kligerman in Stamford, Connecticut, and Jeff Burton and Landon Cassill from Burton’s Garage.

Among the topics today:

  •  Prepare for paint swapping, bent fenders, and bruised egos. It’s time to go short-track racing at Martinsville Speedway! Jeff, Parker and Landon will tell you what to expect this weekend at the famous half-mile. We’ll also see what it takes to succeed there, as Parker takes us for some quick laps in the NBCSN iRacing Simulator.
  • After making the switch to Stewart-Haas Racing in the offseason, Aric Almirola is off to the best start of his Cup Series career. Currently 10th in the standings, he’ll tell Marty Snider about his early season success.
  • Since finishing second at the Daytona 500, rookie driver Bubba Wallace has cooled off. Now he faces his first Cup Series start at Martinsville in the iconic No. 43 car, and he’s feeling confident — it’s where Wallace scored his first truck series win nearly five years ago. We’ll examine the struggles he might have to work through this season and also hear his reflections on his early years of racing in the latest edition of “A Driver’s Drive.”

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

Weekend schedule for NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway

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NASCAR returns to its backyard this weekend after the three week West Coast swing.

The Cup and Camping World Truck Series visit Martinsville Speedway in Southern Virginia.

The weekend is capped off by Sunday’s STP 500. It will be the first Cup race broadcast on Fox Sports 1 this year.

Here’s the full weekend schedule complete with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, March 23

8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. — Truck garage opens

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. — Truck practice (No TV)

1:05 – 1:55 p.m. — Truck practice (Fox Sports 1)

3:05 – 3:55 p.m. — Final Truck practice (FS1)

Saturday, March 24

7 a.m. – 8 p.m. — Cup garage open

7:30 a.m. — Truck garage opens

10:05 – 10:55 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

11:05 a.m. — Truck qualifying; multi-truck/three rounds (FS1)

12:15 p.m. — Truck driver-crew chief meeting

12:30 – 1:20 p.m. — Final Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

1:30 p.m. — Truck driver introductions

2 p.m. — Alpha Energy Solutions 250; 250 laps/131.5 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

5:10 p.m. — Cup qualifying; multi-car/three rounds (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, March 25

9:30 a.m. — Cup garage opens

Noon — Driver-crew chief meeting

1:20 p.m. — Driver introductions

2 p.m. — STP 500; 500 laps/263 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)