What drivers said after Kentucky race

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Martin Truex Jr. — Winner: “I thought we were dead (with the overtime). I thought we were done. It’s just – this is completely unbelievable. I’m so excited to win here. It felt like we had a shot last year and it got away from us on fuel mileage and just wanted to win here so so bad after that. This is sweet redemption.“

Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: “Yeah, I sped on pit road there early.  At the end of that first stage, so it felt very similar to Texas earlier this year. Didn’t get to qualify, had a pit road penalty at the end of the first stage. Went from the back to the front and then we had scuffs on one run and got the balance off pretty bad, but were able to put stickers on and charge back to the front. The Target Chevy was good. Truex though, never got to see him that last run, he was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us. That was pretty crazy. He has definitely been the fastest car all year. So, got some work to do, but if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 3rd: “I had a really good roll there. Got to the bottom of the No. 77 (Erik Jones) and got far enough up next to him to get underneath him into (Turn) 1 and that got us a couple more spots there which was nice. From where we started the night to where we ended up was a big improvement with our Napa Chevrolet. Happy we could just execute well tonight.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 4th: “We were seventh I think before the caution, but good stops, fast car all day. Had a speeding penalty early and was able to rebound from that, so pretty proud of it. Overall pretty good day for our FedEx Camry team. Just got to keep chipping away and keep knocking on the door and our opportunity will come.”

ERIK JONES — Finished 6th: “It was a good night for us. You know we just – we didn’t have the track position all night and it was kind of unfortunate. I think we had a car that probably could’ve ran up with the 78 and the 18 at times. We’re just kind of fighting from behind from all – from our starting spot. Just work from behind with that and finally got some track position at the end for that last restart. I spun the tires some and got split, so it’s unfortunate but it’s a good day for us. A good top 10.”

Jamie McMurray — Finished 7th: “I had a really good car. We got behind at the start of the last segment. I had a little bit of a slow pit stop and then I don’t know why, it seemed like it was not easy to pass at the beginning, but easier than at the start of that last segment. It was just kind of follow the leader for like 40 laps. But had a really good car on the long run. Had a good strategy there at the end and solid day… just needed a little bit more.”

Joey Logano — Finished 8th: “We got a P8 out of a car that was probably not much better than 13th or 14th. We just have to get faster. The 78 and 18 were just – we aren’t even close. What I am trying to say is that we were really slow and need to get faster. That is the biggest thing. We need to pick up some speed. We just were scrapping, trying to get what we can. The team did a good job at least trying to scrap up something out of it but we just have to get faster than that.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 9th: “I guess I just tried to push it too hard on pit road and wound up getting a speeding ticket at the wrong time. Luckily there were only nine cars on the lead lap and we were able to salvage a top-10 finish out of the night.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 10th: “It was a long night for sure. I thought we started off okay but we just lost the handling there pretty early and lost track position. I made it worse by speeding. We made a good call to stay out and get some track position back but we were falling off the pace pretty bad. We fought hard and never gave up though and ended up 10th. Not the night you want by any means. We need to go back and try to improve on it a lot. I think we battled back and the finish is not bad for how the night went.”

Darrell Wallace Jr. — Finished 11th: “That was cool. We kept improving. Each and every time on the race track, each and every race. We kept improving, I kept improving. I am getting more and more comfortable with these cars. When we fired off there and ended the race I was like, ‘Hell yeah, we are eighth or ninth!’ I forgot we were a lap down and was like, ‘damn’. I was pumped. It was a good day. I am having a great time in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Hopefully there will be more.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Finished 12th: “Well, it was good. We had some runs that were really good. We had some runs that we were kind of average, but for the most part we had a pretty quick car. We didn’t have anything for (Martin Truex Jr.) and the top five, but I kept all the guys from sixth on back in front of me within sight. Just didn’t really get great track position all night. We were trying a strategy with our pit stops and it was working against us completely. The cautions were coming out at such poor times for us. We needed a couple of those cautions not to come out. It cost us a little bit of track position.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 13th: “Our night wasn’t all the best. We needed to be better. We struggled off the truck. I wasn’t exactly pumped about the handling but we fought hard. We got some track position there and showed some promise and then the start of that last run, those last two runs I was junk. Total junk. I just lost too much track position.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 14th: “Track position was crucial. I would get behind a car and then couldn’t do anything. We will go back to the drawing board and try to improve some more on our intermediate program. We will take the top-15 finish and move on to Loudon which has been a good track for us in the past.”

Danica Patrick — Finished 15th: “We weren’t as good as we needed to be at the start, but by the end of the race, I was honestly wishing we had more laps, because I think we could have had an even better finish tonight. All in all, it was a great result for our team, so we’ll take it and move on to New Hampshire.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 16th: “We just got down a lap early and had to fight hard to get that back. Everybody did a good job to get that. We got back on the lead lap and I felt like we were contending for a, well inside the top 20 there. Kept it clean at the end, a little bit of craziness, but at the end of the night that was okay. Another decent run and something to build off of.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 19th: “It was a long night at Kentucky Speedway, but the Dow team definitely showed they have determination. At one point we were two laps down but we were able to come back onto the lead lap and into the top 15. We tried a little of everything – fuel mileage, big chassis changes, different lines around the track. No one ever gave up. We were able to post the fastest lap times for a few laps but the race leader was just unbelievably fast so I’m not sure what they are doing.”

Paul Menard — Finished 21st: “I have to thank Matt Borland and all of the guys on the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet. They worked hard on this car all weekend to put us in a position to race. We kept adjusting on it each stop, got the free pass once, took the wave around a couple of times and fought hard. Luckily, we avoided that wreck at the end and brought home a clean race car. We’ll take what we learned tonight and apply it moving forward.”  
Ryan Newman — Finished 22nd: “We struggled on Friday in practice and had to change a motor, forcing us to start from the back tonight. But, we battled back pretty quickly and got the car handling fairly well toward the end of the first stage. Luke Lambert got me the track position I needed with a good pit strategy, but unfortunately our No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy struggled to keep up. At the end during the long green-flag stretch I didn’t have the best handling car, but we’ll use these notes for the next intermediate track race.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 27th: “I sputtered off of Turn 4 and when I looked at the fuel gauge, it was fine. And then it was like everything was welding itself together. I was just trying to nurse it home and it just didn’t quite get all the way back. I think it just shucked the pinion and it had no power after that. It burned up a gear one lap from the finish. I hate that I’m that guy that jukes up the whole system with throwing a yellow with one to go.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 33rd: “After the brake trouble we had early tonight, this GEICO Chevrolet SS team ended up really on a different mission tonight. We made the most of our laps and gained some information for our mile and a half program. If we could come back and run this race again tomorrow, there would be a much better outcome for this team.”

Trevor Bayne — Finished 37th: “I hate that that happened. We were making our way forward with our Roush Performance Products Ford and were knocking on the door of the top-10 before we got all that damage. I hate that we won’t get the result we deserve but we will recover and rebound. This team never gives up and we will get after it again next week in New Hampshire.”

Kasey Kahne — Finished 38th: “It was just a restart, I had a run on the No. 6 and I got under him getting into Turn 1 down the front stretch and he just drove over my front end, pretty simple.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 39th:  “I just got in an aero wake and it pulled me around. I knew I was in a bad spot. I was trying to lay up but there is only so much you can lay up here because you get ran over from behind. The air pulled me around. It sucks. I feel bad for everyone on the Miller Lite Ford team and I think I tore up two or three other guys and that sucks for them. I don’t know. It is kind of a tough spot to be in on these tracks where they are kind of one groove. You can’t just lay up every time. You give up too many spots or get ran over from behind. If you drive in with someone close to you the car just spins out. It just sucks but it is what it is. We have to find a way around it and we didn’t today.”

Jimmie Johnson — Finished 40th: “It’s just dicey on the restarts. But we had a strong Lowe’s Chevrolet. I hate it for the guys that we didn’t get a better finish. The car felt great. I feel like we were probably in the position for a good top five tonight with all things considered. But, the No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) got into the corner and he was sideways before we got there. I feel like the car on the outside of him left him some room. But then, talking to Brad inside (the care center), he said he was just sideways before he ever got to the corner. And I thought I almost had him missed. I really thought I had him missed and I just clipped him with my right front. It broke something in the suspension and took me into the fence.”

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Daniel Hemric, Daniel Suarez’ racing roots

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continues to preview the Round of 12 elimination race at Kansas Speedway.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman from Stamford, Connecticut.

On the show:

  • We’ll debate which past Cup Series champion will advance to the Round of 8. Defending champion Jimmie Johnson currently leads 2015 champ Kyle Busch by only seven points for the final transfer spot. Who has the edge going into Kansas this Sunday? This elimination race will be a heated competition just to finish above the cut line. Log on to NBCSports.com/NASCARVote and weigh in!
  • Xfinity Series playoff driver Daniel Hemric calls into the show to talk about his chances of advancing to the championship four in Miami. He’ll also describe his experience being one of the four drivers to participate in the recent tire test at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “Roval.”
  • We take a look at the Daniel Suarez’s Racing Roots and discuss his transition from Xfinity Series champion to Monster Energy Cup Series rookie.
  • Parker Kligerman hops into the iRacing simulator to preview Sunday’s elimination race at Kansas, as well as the Formula 1 race in Austin, Texas.

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

Daniel Hemric gets unexpected introduction to Cup car at Charlotte road course test

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Being a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, a lot of Daniel Hemric‘s racing firsts are connected to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 26-year-old Xfinity Series driver got another one this week when an unexpected call shortened a vacation to Mexico and put him in a Cup car for the first time.

Hemric, who drives Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet in his rookie season, was visiting the country as part of a birthday vacation for his wife, Kenzie.

“As soon as the wheels touched down I got a call from some guys a RCR asking ‘Hey, would you mind driving a Cup car Tuesday at a test?'” Hemric said Wednesday.

“Do I need to fly home right now or what?” Hemric responded.

Come Tuesday morning, Hemric was sitting in the cockpit of Ryan Newman‘s No. 31 Chevrolet as one of four drivers taking part in the first Goodyear tire test on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, a 2.42-mile, 18-turn circuit made up of most of the original 1.5-mile track and the infield road course.

MORE: Cup drivers share thoughts on Charlotte road course

The two-day test could give Hemric a step up on his Xfinity competition as the series also will run on the road course next year.

“The first two or three runs was about getting me acclimated (to the car) but since then I think we’ve done a good job of communicating with Goodyear and trying to figure what we need to be able to make sure fans will be able to see racing and side-by-side racing and a lot of action, which I think you’re going to see.”

Added Hemric: “These Cup cars get up to speed so quick compared to the Xfinity car, with such low downforce and high horsepower. It’s been fun to figure out how to get that laid down here around the roval.”

Luckily, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray were all experiencing the road course for the first time.

“Obviously, being my first time in (a Cup car), you’re trying to be aware of what you’re doing yourself,” Hemric said. “But to be able to lean on those guys, have the same thoughts as them, really collaborate with NASCAR and the race track to figure out where we should place those chicanes and all that stuff. I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress working as a group.”

MORE: Daniel Hemric returning to RCR in 2018

 

Spencer Boyd will compete in Xfinity full-time in 2018 for SS Green Light Racing

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SS Green Light Racing announced Thursday Spencer Boyd will compete full-time for it next season in the Xfinity Series.

Boyd will drive the No. 76 Chevrolet sponsored by Grunt Style, a veteran-owned lifestyle brand.

Boyd, 22, has made four starts for the team this year in the No. 07 Chevrolet, which has primarily been driven by Ray Black Jr.

“This is the day I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” Boyd said in a press release.  “I’ve been racing something since I was 5 years old with the dream of making racing my career. Grunt Style has made my dreams come true.”

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Boyd has 12 starts between the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series. In six Xfinity starts, including the four this year, his best result is 27th at New Hampshire.

Jason Miller will serve as the crew chief on the car that is owned by Bobby Dotter. Dotter has fielded cars in 116 races in the Xfinity Series since 1995 and 305 Truck Series entries since 2004.

“(Spencer) is one of the hardest working drivers I’ve seen,” Dotter said in the press release. “He is at the shop everyday helping with the cars and making the guys laugh.  Our organization is better because the team believes it when he says this is a team sport.  We are looking forward to a great 2018 season.”

Dave Pericak stepping down as director of Ford Performance on Dec. 1 after ‘heck of a ride’

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After a three-year stint as director of Ford Performance, Dave Pericak will leave the role Dec. 1.

Pericak will stay with Ford on its production side, serving as the engineering director for Unibody.

Motorsport.com first reported the news.

Pericak said Thursday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” that his time at Ford Performance was a “heck of a ride.”

His time included Ford winning the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class and recruiting Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford from Chevrolet.

The first year of the relationship with SHR has seen Kurt Busch win the Daytona 500 and Busch and Kevin Harvick make the playoffs.

“We can’t underestimate what it’s like to switch to a new manufacturer and all the work that goes into that,” Pericak said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We weren’t able to start until the last race last year working together in earnest. There was a short amount of time to get ready and running. I think they’ve done an amazing job. I think they’re really gaining traction right now on understanding the Ford body and everything that goes with it. We’ve given them quote a few tools that were new to them as well. Next year, I have high expectations for Stewart-Haas and I know they do too.”

Harvick is one of four Ford drivers still alive in the playoffs, including Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

If any of those drivers win the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it would be Ford’s first since Kurt Busch won the title in 2004.

“I can tell you guys, rest assured, we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we end up at Ford Championship weekend with more than one driver there and for the ability to win that race,” Pericak said. “The championship means a lot to Ford. We haven’t had a championship in a while. I know the teams have recently said to me that they have even more of an incentive now that they know I’m leaving. They want to hand me the championship before I go.”

Pericak’s tenure also included the manufacture reeling off seven consecutive wins in Cup restrictor-plate races. That was capped off by Brad Keselowski’s win Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I think what you’re seeing now is everything’s coming together and it’s really starting to click,” Pericak said “This team is ready to continue on. They don’t need me to do so. I’m actually going back into the mainstream now and take all the learnings and approaches that I’ve had here at Ford Performance and take it back into the bigger Ford (body) and affect a larger portion of the company.”

With his new role as engineering director for Unibody, Pericak will be responsible for the engineering on all Ford products that are not trucks.

“Anything that’s not on a frame, engineering globally I will be responsible for,” Pericak said. “It’s a really big job within the company. Several thousand people will report to me. It’s the next evolution for me and my career.”

Pericak’s last year with Ford Performance also saw its NASCAR competitors, Toyota and Chevrolet, make significant body changes and announcements. Toyota brought a new nose to the Cup Series and Chevrolet revealed it will bring the Camaro to Cup after years of use in the Xfinity Series.

Pericak was asked if Ford plans to promote the Mustang from Xfinity to Cup in the near future.

“Clearly for 2018 we’ll be running the cars that we’re running now,” Pericak said. “We’ll have to see what we do in 2019. It would be great to see the Mustang out on the track. I think it would lend itself quite well to this racing. All I’ll say guys is stay tuned.”