What Drivers Said After Richmond

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What drivers said after the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway:

Kyle Larson – Winner: “I’ve got the greatest team out here and definitely the best pit crew. That showed tonight. I can’t thank those guys enough. They were money all night long to gain spots. This win is a huge congrats to them. The Target Chevy was pretty good all night. The No. 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was definitely the best, but I thought I was second best for most of the runs but it came down to the last restart there and I got a good start. I spun my tires pretty bad and I was a little nervous, but we cleared him (Truex Jr) into (Turn) 1 and I was pretty excited about that. So, I can’t thank Target and all of our partners enough. I’m really pumped for the playoffs. We’ve got a great shot at the championship, I feel like, this year. So, I’m looking forward to it.”

Joey Logano – Finished 2nd: “Came up a little bit short overall.  Yeah, it stings a little bit. Last time we were sitting here after a race, it was after a win and this time it’s after a second, which if you look at our Richmond overall for a season with the two races, you’d say, that’s pretty good, a first and a second.  But just overall, obviously it stings to come up one spot short and not be able to get into the playoffs.  It is what it is.  It’s reality and we will move on.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 3rd: “I mean on the last lap we were in the best running spot we were the whole race. Good run for the Caterpillar Chevrolet. I sped on pit road the one time and put us back and then we had one bad pit stop, but other than that we had a great long run car. Struggled on the short runs and just continued to fight and the guys did a good job. It wasn’t easy.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 4th:  “We’re doing everything right on the 41 car, and we can do better in some categories. Our long-run speed was really good tonight and that last green-white-checker, I knew there was gonna be chaos. I hope we end up getting fourth out of it. We ran third tonight. We missed it on the setup early on, making the wrong changes, and then we backed it up and, to be honest with you, I think we ended up with what we unloaded with on Friday right in this car right now, so those are some good signs heading into the playoffs.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 5th: “We both drove in really, really deep. When I got on the brakes, the splitter slammed down on the ground, shot me up the track into (Martin Truex Jr). We weren’t racing for the win or anything. But it’s unfortunate. Didn’t want to get into him. He’s a great teammate of ours. But, yeah, tough day for our FedEx team. Overnight we messed it up pretty good. We struggled all day. Got a little bit better there at the end by just kind of going back to where we started the day. Definitely not a car that could contend.

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 8th: “To finish just outside the top 10 the last couple weeks, then get a top 10 now, directionally it’s correct. We have much higher expectations for ourselves. Definitely putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to be better than this. We’re working really hard. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But this is pro sports. It’s not easy to go out there and win. It’s not easy to stay on top. But we do have some good news. Fall is here. Winter is coming. Put a Game of Thrones on it.”

Kyle Busch – Finished 9th: “We were tight early on in the night. We keep freeing our car up. Was getting tighter. Then at the end we decided to tighten it up and it got better. Just weird. But we were kind of lost. Overall we were going to end up sixth. I thought that it was just going to be decent. That shows how fast our cars were for as bad of a night as we were going to have.”

Chase Elliott – Finished 10th: “Not very good.  We really struggled tonight, but it is good to be back in the playoffs.  But we have some work to do to be contenders each week.  We are not right now, so we have to be better.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 11th: “You get these late-race yellows and everybody puts tires on and you just kind of play the bonsai game and I got bonsaied, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’ve been on the other end of that too. We had a really fast Fitzgerald Glider Ford. Early in the race I thought we were gonna drive up and win it, and then the last two or three runs we just kind of lost the handle, but all in all a strong day. We’re still looking for some rear downforce in the Fords. I think if we had that, we might have had a shot at it, but, all in all, we ran solid and ran competitive, so that’s good.”

Kasey Kahne – Finished 12th: “Yeah, I mean it’s a big jump for us.  It’s great that we won the Brickyard.  Tonight, the guys did a really nice job with our Great Clips Chevrolet.  We took a little bit of a gamble on strategy to try to hope for a caution at the right time and end up in the top five.  It didn’t work out and maybe we lost two spots because of it and ended up 12th.  I thought we had a competitive car.  We raced hard and the guys did a really nice job.  It’s a good way to end the regular season and get ready for the final 10.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Finished 13th: “We could run up to fifth and sixth. We weren’t going to get around those five guys running in front of us. So we had to pull that (pit) strategy. If the caution comes out while we’re leading, then we got that track position we need. I ran around the 42 (Larson) and a lot of guys tonight. I think we had the speed in the car to keep that track position once we got it. I think if we could have got a restart on the front row late in the race, we would have had a shot at it.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 14th:  “Yeah, the 42 (Larson) team has had an unbelievable season.  Kyle has done such a great job and that team is on a roll.  Our cars have just been awesome all year long and it’s been the best season I have had, as far as the most consistent, and that just comes from them giving us really good cars.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 15th: “We missed it bad tonight. Just couldn’t get the car to turn in the corner, would spin the tires on the exit, fall off really bad. That’s a bad combination for our Jimmy John’s Ford. The best part of tonight was I did really good on pit road. The rest of it didn’t go well.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 18th: “It’s been a decent year for us.  We knew tonight was gonna be a struggle.  This is probably our worst race track and it’s been my worst race track my whole career.  I don’t know what I need to do, but that’s for a different day.  I think all of the races in the playoffs we can go and do really good at.  I think the first round is pretty strong for us and Chicago has always been a fast race track for us, so hopefully we can start off with a strong showing and can have a good run to where we go to Loudon, which is probably our worst track in that little series.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR – Finished 19th: “We were just working on some packages that we wanted to look for going into another semi‑short track at Loudon. Didn’t work as well as we wanted tonight. We had a really good Friday, practice and qualifying. But similar to Kevin (Harvick), we were struggling with a little bit of turn in the center, spinning the tires up off. It’s cool to be in our first playoffs. Can’t wait to see if we can’t advance a few rounds, put a good 10‑race stretch together.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR – Finished 20th: “Tonight sucked, plain and simple. Just the way it ended up. You’re out there dominating like that and you know your car is not very good on restarts for a couple of laps. Caution for a guy that shouldn’t even be out there. It’s ridiculous. … It’s unfortunate the way the race ended.” On Hamlin: “We talked and I know he didn’t do it on purpose. … I gave him room and he was aggressive on the brakes. That stuff happens.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 21st: “Well, as a team I think we’ve got a great team. I think we have a great solid group of guys and we have been working hard all year to try and get more speed in our race cars. I thought Darlington was a good place for us, Atlanta and Charlotte obviously, so we have had some good runs this year. Hopefully, the last 10 races of the year we have some more good runs. Three tracks I enjoy to go to are Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover, so that is the first round.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished 38th: “Well we were all just kind of coming to pit road and I saw an ambulance sitting there and so I looked left of the ambulance at the same time (spotter Jason) Hedlesky yelled at everyone to stop there was an ambulance just sitting there. It was an accordion effect and I just couldn’t get stopped. Not really sure why pit road was open with an ambulance parked there, but everybody stopped and I didn’t see it in time and ran into the car in front of me.”

NASCAR America: Erik Jones on why he doesn’t make friends with his competitors

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Back in April Erik Jones told reporters at Daytona International Speedway that when it comes to friends, he brings his to the track. He doesn’t get too close to his fellow drivers in the garage.

On NASCAR America, Jones talked with Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett about the origins of that mindset.

“My dad was always big on it, because at first when I started out my racing career in go karts I just wasn’t that aggressive,” Jones said. “He was like, ‘we bring our friends to the race track. You need to go out there and get aggressive. If you’ve to move someone out-of-the-way, do it.'”

Since then, Jones said his philosophy “never changed.”

“We show up, it’s a late-model team, it’s me a three guys so it’s like, ‘I’ve got all my buddies I need right here,'” Jones said.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones’ racing roots in Byron, Michigan

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After a feature looking at his upbringing in Byron, Michigan, Furniture Row Racing driver Erik Jones spoke with NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Marty Snider about the early years of his racing career.

The journey to his NASCAR career began with a yard cart that his late father, Dave Jones, brought home one day when he was 3.

“I rode that all day long around the yard,” Jones said. “Winter time would and we had like a gravel circle driveway in front of our house. When it would snow over I would get the kart out and ride it around in the snow because I could slide and I thought that was pretty cool. I would get it stuck about every five minutes out in the snow.”

Jones would then get out of the kart and find his dad in their barn to come out get him out.

Now 21, Jones also discussed how much his dad was involved in his career until his death in June 2016 after a battle with cancer.

He also explains how he’s never stayed in any series for more than one year in his career.

Watch the video above for the full discussion.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland

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“I sure as (expletive) hope that’s all out of our system.”

That’s what Kyle Busch had to say over his radio after he finished 15th, a lap down in the Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch’s day went south after the first stage thanks to two pit miscues the sent him two laps down.

Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. dominate the field to win his fifth race of the year and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

In the latest “Scan All,” True and crew chief Cole Pearn recap their day, which saw them bounce back from their own pit road mistakes.

Here are other highlights from this week’s “Scan All.”

  • “Can’t drive in a straight line. Something’s not right with the front end.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just before he made contact with the outside wall. A commitment line violation resulted in Stenhouse finish multiple laps off the lead.
  • “Tell the 1 (Jamie McMurray) I don’t know what happened there but we both got the short end of the stick.” – Ryan Newman after contact between him and McMurray sent McMurray spinning on a restart.
  • (Expletive), that 24 (Chase Elliott) can be so much (expletive) faster than us.” – Kasey Kahne after being told he was two laps down.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones recounts rookie Cup season, being taught by Kyle Busch

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Erik Jones, the rookie driver for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 77 Toyota, joined NASCAR America Wednesday for a special show from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The 21-year-old driver won the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title and is teammates with Martin Truex Jr.

With Marty Snider, Dale Jarrett and Steve Letarte, Jones discussed the challenges and lessons he’s faced in his first full-time season in the Cup Series.

“The biggest (milestones) for me were trying to win a race and making the playoffs,” Jones said. “Obviously, making the playoffs didn’t happen. … I look back at the last few seasons and rookies that have been in the sport and it’s so hard to win races now. You just don’t see rookies do it a lot.”

Jones also discussed finishing second to Kyle Busch in the Bristol night race and his relationship with the driver who brought him into NASCAR beginning with the Truck Series.

“A lot of times when I was racing in Trucks and Xfinity and Kyle would come to race I’d always run second to him,” Jones said. “I’m like, ‘you know what the problem is? This is the guy who taught me how to race these cars. So I’m good at all the same tracks he’s good at. Except he’s been doing about 10 more years than I have.”

Watch the video for more.