What drivers said after Las Vegas race


Kevin Harvick — Winner: “We have definitely had three good race cars with the Xfinity Car and the Cup car and we had a good race car at Daytona as well and got caught up in a wreck. As you look at the last two weeks and our 1.5-mile program in general it has been really good since I started here at SHR. They put a lot of effort into everything we do from every standpoint to get these cars going like they are.’’

Kyle Busch — Finished 2nd: “Our M&M’s Camry was really strong there the last 100 laps of the race. Early on, just having to start the race on our qualifiers (tires) was really bad for us and then we over tightened and over adjusted for the second run. From there we were making small tweaks to it to get it back. It was rolling fast the last 100 laps or so. A lot of those guys would go and short pit on the long side of it and I think that helped us too getting back up through those guys, too. We came here and prepared well. They did a good job through practice getting us a great race car. There was no catching that 4 (Kevin Harvick), he was on rails today and lights out. I don’t know what we need to do to catch up and get better like those guys, but certainly we have some work to do, especially here at Vegas and some other places we go to maybe we’ll get closer. It was a great day for us and we’ll go to Phoenix.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 3rd: “I don’t know about catching the Ford (winner Kevin Harvick). He was quite a bit faster than everybody. But I felt like for the most of the day we were second or third best. I had to fight pretty hard there after a few bad pit stops. But, it’s nice that we have really fast race cars. If we can just clean up everything, I think we’ll be a contender for more wins. We’re not too far off from a win, I don’t think.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 4th: “It was up and down for sure, it was a battle. We battled the car, battled track position a lot and had some trouble in the pits here and there. All in all, good solid day. We started fourth and finished fourth, it sounds easy, but there was a lot going on in between there that we had to overcome. It definitely wasn’t easy, but I’m proud of everybody. Still trying to figure it out and we’ll just keep working forward here. We’re right there, we just can’t get the balance of our car where we need it. Just been struggling with getting it to turn good enough these last two weeks and when we get that figured out we’ll be right there with them.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 5th: “I thought it was a solid day for us. We had a pretty decent Ford all day. The first run we weren’t great and we got better. I thought our strongest run was right before the last green flag pit stops. We lost a little speed the last run there. Overall it was a good weekend for us. That is what we need to do, just have good, consistent weekends like that. Hopefully we can do the same for the rest of this west coast swing and the rest of the season. We will see.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 6th: “We had really good short-run speed and I thought we would be really good on the long runs today but it turned out we were really good on the short runs. That wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The short run speed was really strong but I just couldn’t get anywhere to capitalize on it.”

Joey Logano — Finished 7th: “We were better than seventh. We ran up top five most of the day and got to the lead for a little bit and took two. We were the only car that took two and the run went really long and we lost a lot of track position there as we fell back on the two tires. We never got a caution to kind of reset and get those spots back. We faded back to seventh, a little further back even, but were able to get a couple spots back. Overall we have been solid with the Pennzoil Ford all season. That was a solid race. Pit crew did a good job. We have okay speed in the car. We aren’t anywhere close to the 4 but we are competitive with the rest. We will keep working toward that. It is a decent start for us and I think we are second in points. We are running hard and running strong right now. We just have to find a bit more to be able to beat Kevin.”

Erik Jones — Finished 8th: “It was a decent day for us. This SportClips Camry was really fast. Just never had the track position we needed or wanted to run up front. Good to get a top-10 and good to get us more points to get us back in a good points spot after Daytona and starting out behind. We’ll be going to Phoenix and will keep going after it.”

Paul Menard — Finished 9th: “A great weekend for us. We unloaded fast on Friday and fell behind a bit on Saturday. We all got together last night and talked about what we needed to do and it worked out for us. A solid car all day.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 10th: “Finally a top-10 for our Smithfield Ford Fusion. We have had a solid string of races and obviously everybody has been working really hard at Stewart-Haas Racing and the cars are obviously fast. We had to battle back from a lot this weekend. Our car was not very good on Friday or Saturday morning. The guys made a lot of changes for final practice and we finally hit on something that felt good for me.”

Ryan Newman — Finished 11th: “Well, we struggled at the start.  Had a real bad vibration, a set of tires I think, but that was a good bounce back for us with the Caterpillar Chevrolet. We’ve got some work to do it looks like. The boys with the Fords are strong here on the 1.5-miles, so we’ve shown that we’ve got some speed. We’ve just got to get it there the entire race. I know we can. We had it here in the test and we just… for whatever reason didn’t have it when we came back. We will regroup and go on to the next one.”

Jimmie Johnson — Finished 12th: “Yeah, that first set of tires, those scuffs we were on were just really off for our car. I don’t know what went on there. We just put tires on for the second run and had a lot more pace in the car and a lot easier to drive and then we just kept chipping away at it all day long. The last restart we had to start at the tail end. I wish we would have had a chance to start up in there with everybody. I think we could have been up inside of the top 10. Every outing we are learning more about (the car). There is a piece of performance that is familiar from last year, so I think we have some work to do ourselves underneath the body with the chassis and the set-up of the car. But, today I was in a lot of different aero situations that at first, I was flinching in and then I grew very comfortable with and kept charging and driving through. I think the body is definitely helping the car, we’ve just got some other stuff to sort out to go along with it and kind of find the sweet spot for the car too.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 13th: “We fought hard. We didn’t have enough speed to really fight with those guys up front. Getting to stay on the lead lap at the end of that first stage, getting the lucky dog twice and just fighting all day for that. That is the hardest I’ve fought for 16th just driving the wheels off of it for that position. It ended up paying off and we got all the way up to 13th. I’m proud of my guys they worked hard all day. Just got to find some speed in the racecars. Obviously, some of these other guys, other teams are doing a good job. We’ve got to do a better job also. (Ryan) Newman got to 11th, that is promising.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 15th: “That was a lot of fun first of all.  Best race we have had this year and looking at quite a few at the end of last year. From what I remember that was big. For us to be able to get a top 15 with our Natural Light Camaro ZL1 here at Vegas makes me excited to come back for the second one. I know conditions will be a lot different, but man it was a good time. We were able to go up there and pass some cars and get in a good spot. We just got a little bit off on that last stop there, but at the end of the day that was a lot of fun.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 17th: “We were pretty good and had a top-five car. We just sped on pit road under green, got a lap down and then just had struggles with a pit gun and lost some spots there. Then a caution comes back out and somebody else gets the ‘lucky dog’ – every time I was in the ‘lucky dog’ position and I needed to get the caution to get back on the lead lap we didn’t get it. I felt like we had a strong car and then we dropped a cylinder there with about 30 (laps) to go and ended up (with) seven cylinders. All in all, it was a tough weekend, but I know we have a car a lot better and that will perform pretty well in the race.”

Kasey Kahne — Finished 19th: “We struggled just getting the front to turn. I was quite the handful, but the guys got it better. They stayed after it the whole time and we ended up with a top 20. I just wish we could have had it a little better we could have had more speed. It was just a little bit, but geez it was a long race.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 24th: “It took us a while to find a balance that worked. The dynamic of the car just changed so much from practice to the race. We finally got it to where it needed to be and were the best we had been all day at the start of the final stage. My boys were fast on pit road, didn’t make any mistakes. We just have to find our speed from the beginning of the race.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 34th: “Yeah, I think he (Kurt Busch) just got loose in the bottom there and I was, unfortunately, the guy that was up top. So, we were just trying to be solid today and make the most of what our NAPA Camaro had, and I thought we were doing a pretty good job of that; kind of like what we did last week in trying to get a little bit better. I was just kind of there at the wrong spot and the wrong situation and I’m headed home early. I thought we were getting a little bit of momentum. We had a really good pit stop there and gained a bunch of spots on pit road, got ourselves inside the top five and could run with them for a few laps. So, just trying to make the most of what we had and there was no guarantee how it was going to end up and ended up poorly. We will move on down the road.”

KURT BUSCH — Finished 35th: “I was running the low groove and it just stepped out on me. I wasn’t even trying to fill the hole or go 100 percent. I had it at 90 percent, and I knew Chase was going to be on my outside and it was just that quick. We were back there in the dirty air, but Turn 4, I always know it is slick and I wasn’t even pushing through there and it stepped out on me. Ruined his day, ruined my day. I hate it for all the Chase Elliott fans and the Kurt Busch fans and my hometown fans. I wasn’t even pushing hard. I knew we had one more stop and then we were going to go. It just stepped out on me. It is ridiculous.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 36th: “I blew a right-front tire. I don’t really know what happened. Up to that point we were definitely better than we were at Atlanta. I thought we had a good car. It was hard to pass today. The track really rubbered in and it seemed like the bottom was the preferred groove and when everybody was running the bottom it was pretty tough to pass, but we had a good car.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 37th: “We are still trying to diagnose exactly what happened. We started to lose some power there and had a lot of smoke in the cockpit. Normally they don’t fix themselves. The Love’s Ford was fast today. We had a good strategy and played it out. We were back on the lead lap, in a good position. We were able to maintain that first run but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be for us today. I am really proud of everyone at Front Row Motorsports. We brought a fast car here. It is going to hurt us in the points.”

Starting lineup for the Auto Club 400

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Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch will start on the front row of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

They will be followed by Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano.

Kevin Harvick will start his attempt at a fourth consecutive win from 10th.

Thirteen drivers will start from the rear after their cars failed qualifying inspection.

Click here for the starting lineup

13 Cup teams fail inspection, do not make qualifying attempt

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13 Cup teams did not make a qualifying attempt for the Auto Club 400 after they failed to pass inspection Friday.

Those teams include all four Hendrick Motorsports cars (Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman), Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Daniel Suarez, Timmy Hill, Cole Whitt, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger.

All 13 cars will start from the rear Sunday.

“The first time through there were a lot of failures at all the stations, it was basically kind of split between chassis, weights and measures and the body scan, ” Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition told Fox Sports 1. “The second time through it seems like most of it centered around the actual body scan itself, which honestly this is the most aerodynamic track we’ve gone to, so kind of no surprise that they would be pushing the limits here more than some of the other places.”

Jeff Andrews, Hendrick Motorsports’ competition director, said the issues on the four Hendrick cars were “similar” in the area of the deck lid.

“We’ve got to go back, we need to talk internally and talk with NASCAR,” Andrews told FS1. “We felt like we were making changes in the area affected and we were not seeing the results when we went back through.”

Typically, teams must start a race on the tires they used in qualifying.

NASCAR announced late Friday night it would allow all teams that made a qualifying lap to purchase a new set of sticker tires to start Sunday’s race one. They must return their scuff tires to Goodyear.

Martin Truex Jr. wins pole for Auto Club 400

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Martin Truex Jr. qualified first for Sunday’s Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.

With a speed of 186.567 mph, Truex won his second consecutive pole.

It’s the 17th pole of his career.

Kyle Busch qualified second with a speed of 186.437 mph.

“First time ever (with consecutive poles), that’s definitely pretty cool,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “We tried to stay on scuffs (tires) in that first practice, ran our best lap on scuffs this morning. Thought that played into our hands a little bit here in qualifying. Round 2, I got the seam a little bit and lost some time and that bit me. Luckily in the third round was able to put a lap together. Wouldn’t say it was perfect, but it was a pretty solid lap.”

The top five was completed by Kyle Larson (186.128), Erik Jones (186.047) and Austin Dillon (185.711).

Kevin Harvick, who is going for his fourth consecutive Cup win, qualified 10th. He was fastest in the first two rounds.

His first round time of 38.147 sec/188.744 mph set a track record.

“We expected to show up and have a good day at this particular point,” Harvick told FS1. “When you look at the momentum and confidence everybody has and really everything that we’re doing right now, it just keeps building and you keep feeding off that momentum.”

Busch starts on the front row for the second time this year.

“Definitely screwed up Turn 3, I thought everything else about the lap was pretty good,” Busch told FS1. “With the amount of time I had in the gas on exit I was still too easy missing the exit with the amount of speed we were carrying.”

Thirteen teams were unable to make qualifying attempts after they failed to get through inspection.

Those teams included all four Henrick Motorsports cars, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Daniel Suarez, Timmy Hill, Cole Whitt, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger.

All 13 cars will start from the rear Sunday.

“The first time through there were a lot of failures at all the stations, it was basically kind of split between chassis, weights and measures and the body scan, ” Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition told FS1. “The second time through it seems like most of it centered around the actual body scan itself, which honestly this is the most aerodynamic track we’ve gone to, so kind of no surprise that they would be pushing the limits here more than some of the other places.”

David Ragan, Michael McDowell, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Reed Sorenson did not make qualifying runs in the second round.

McDowell did not make a run after his team changed a rear gear in practice. He will also start from the rear.

Due to the inspections issues, Earnhardt (23rd) and Gray Gaulding (20th) earned career-best qualifying results.

Late Friday night NASCAR announced it would permit all teams that made a lap in qualifying to purchase a set of sticker tires to start the race on. They must return their scuff tires to Goodyear.

Click here for qualifying results.

Xfinity Series practice report from Auto Club Speedway

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Daniel Hemric was fastest in the last of two Xfinity Series practice sessions for Saturday’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The Richard Childress Racing driver posted a top speed of 178.829 mph around the 2-mile track.

He was followed by Joey Logano (178.284), John Hunter Nemechek (178.258), Christopher Bell (177.998) and Tyler Reddick (177.962).

Reddick recorded the most laps with 40.

Justin Allgaier had the best 10-lap average at 175.902 mph.

The session was slowed once for a spin by Brandon Jones. His No. 19 Toyota was not damaged.

First practice

Bell topped the speed chart, posting a top speed of 178.664 mph around the 2-mile speedway.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is making his first start at the track.

Bell led Logano (178.081), Austin Dillon (178.064), Hemric (177.980) and Reddick (177.870).

“Our GameStop/Turtle Beach Camry is pretty fast on the short run, I think we need to work on a long run a little bit more,” Bell told Fox Sports 1. “This place is really unique. I’ve never experienced a race track of this size where you use as much brake as you do, especially getting into Turn 1 there.”

Nemechek, who is also making his first start at the track, recorded the most laps with 33. He was 11th on the speed chart (176.648).

He also had the best 10-lap average at 173.500 mph.

Click here for the Practice No. 1 speed chart.

Click here for the final practice speed chart.