What drivers said about Bristol Motor Speedway

Leave a comment

Comments from drivers after Monday’s rain-postponed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Jimmie Johnson won for the second time:

JIMMIE JOHNSON Winner: “Yeah, it was kind of interesting because when the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) was there, it just created an environment to run the top, and I wasn’t as good on the top. The No. 42, not being up there and that first couple of cars; the bottom was really where it was at for the short run. This Lowe’s Chevrolet was flying.

“… This track has been difficult over the years, and we really hit on something Saturday afternoon in that last practice session around the bottom, and honestly, it’s what I’ve been looking for here for 16 years, and we finally figured it out. So, I’m very very happy.”

Clint Bowyer – Finished second: “Yeah, what a day. Starting off, I was way too loose and fell way back, just missed it. You know, heck, last car on the lead lap. (Crew chief) Mike (Bugarewicz) made some great adjustments all day long. The pit crew was on their game all day long and gained spots almost every time, and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding. Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them and got ourselves some position there. Mike made a good call of putting me in a position of one of the first cars on four tires there. I think (Jimmie Johnson) was the other one, and he won the race, so the right strategy was there. The team effort was there. You know, that’s what a weekend is all about. It’s just been this long since I’ve won a race, and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished third: “I thought our Jimmy Johns Ford was the fastest car, we just needed track position. I think we showed how fast it was there on no tires and kind of able to hold our own. You just never know where you’re going to come out on those restarts. I felt like we had a couple cautions and we were in control of the race with the 11 on two tires and we might have had a chance. A good weekend and we’ll just keep going.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished fourth: “Well we haven’t had a top five in a long, long time. We got better there at the end and got a little bit of track position finally. It was an uphill battle all day without qualifying, and then I sped on pit road and got us to the back. At the end, we had a car that was good – most of the day it wasn’t very good, but the last two runs we were fairly competitive.”

Joey Logano – Finished fifth: “Yeah, we weren’t a restarter today. Kind of non-typical for the 22. It’s usually a short-run speed car. I started out hitting the splitter, up the race track, I was all over the place. I couldn’t even retain the lead when we had it. That probably cost us the race when we lost the lead to (Jimmie Johnson). Good long-run car, just didn’t have enough long runs. We have another top five, I think that’s four straight. We got some good stage points which we haven’t done all year. I just want to win when we come to this race track.”

KYLE LARSON – Finished sixth: “I don’t know if we had the car to beat. I thought early on in the race before all the rubber got laid down we were really good. In the middle part of the race, I didn’t think we were very good. And then there at the end, I got the top going really good. And then I got that speeding penalty and set us back. We had to gamble there for that last stop and take two lefts, and we hadn’t done that all day. The balance honestly wasn’t that bad with our Credit One Bank Chevy on two tires. Four tires just had a little more grip around the bottom for a little bit longer than we did. And I had to get to the top early and was just following Kevin (Harvick) hoping that he’d make a mistake because I knew I couldn’t go down to the bottom and get by him. So I had to kind of ride. But it was another good run for us.”

Chase Elliott – Finished seventh: “It was all right. We just kind of got behind through those stages and fought back a little bit, just not enough.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR. – Finished eighth: “We were going for it you know. Wish we could have had a shot there just to see if we could have won. … This is the best run we’ve had here in a long time. It’s bittersweet, I wish we could have seen if we could have beat the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We were close there before that last caution, but it is what it is and you try to get what you can get and sometimes you cross the line and today we crossed the line. All in all, it was an awesome day and a lot of fun. Had the VHT not worn out quite as bad then we would have really killed them. The top lane came in, and some guys could run that better than I could, but overall it was a good day and a lot of fun all day.”

RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – Finished ninth: “I just couldn’t keep our track position the way we needed to with some mishaps on pit road, but the car wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. For as bad as we were Saturday, I was really happy with our Sunny D Ford. We got the top working and we actually got the bottom working some, but we just couldn’t keep our track position the way we needed to, and then I got behind some cars that were slower a lot of the restarts and I’d lose some positions. But as long as I had clear track in front of me I could really go and felt like I could pass whoever I wanted to.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 10th: “We were average. We were about a fifth- to 10th-place car most of the day. Just kind of where we ended up. We just haven’t had the speed to run with those guys, so we have to keep gambling with our strategy to try to make something happen and steal a win because we just don’t have a car fast enough to do it right now.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 11th: “Today was a solid day. We just got tight toward the end, but today was another consistent day. I’m really proud of all my guys on this AdvoCare Ford for their work this weekend. We keep improving each week and knocking on that door to turn those top 15s into top 10s. We’ll keep making gains and get after it again next weekend in Richmond.”

Austin Dillon– Finished 13th: “Our New Era Caps Chevrolet was probably better than where we ended up finishing. We couldn’t do a whole lot on the track today, mainly because we struggled on the bottom. We lost some track position in the middle of the race, but once we got it back, we ran smart and minimized any mistakes. Overall, it was a decent day for our team at Bristol. It wasn’t the finish we wanted, but we needed a solid day, and that’s what we ended up with here.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 14th: “The speeding penalty is on me. I pushed it to get all I could, and unfortunately, it bit us, and we went from sixth to 17th. We gambled on the final stop and took two left-side tires with 50 to go to restart sixth. It didn’t work out as well as we had hoped. We had a top 10 Grainger Chevrolet and despite our race, I’m happy to see the speed and handling potential is there. We had no idea what to expect with the addition of VHT on the lower portion of the track, and I think we fared well considering.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 15th: “It was definitely a battle for our No. 13 GEICO Chevy team today. We got damage to the right rear at the end of the first stage that really hurt our speed through the rest of the day. So, our race really became about getting track position any way that we could. My spotter did great getting me through traffic, and crew chief Bootie Barker and my guys on pit road did everything that could to keep us where we needed to be. We had to fight for all that we could, and I gave it everything that I had. It was a good day to come out of Bristol with a 15th-place finish.”

Paul Menard – Finished 16th: “Our No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevy was good all weekend. We really didn’t need to adjust on it much during the race. The pit crew had good stops and kept us where we needed to be all day. We got screwed out of a top-10 finish there at the end. After we got into the back of the No. 5 car, we didn’t have time to fix the nose damage, and that kept me from moving forward. Bristol is always a fun race, and it was interesting today with the different grooves.”

Erik Jones – Finished 17th: “(Gray Gaulding), we were side-by-side passing him and I don’t know if he got loose, but he got down into us about halfway down the backstretch and must have cut a tire – cut the right front. Pretty unfortunate, I thought we had a really good car and a car that if we could have got some track position and maybe got up front, I think we could have led some laps and had a shot at the win. I thought we were just as good as (Jimmie Johnson) for the majority of the day. We’ll keep working on it, and we have a good package to come back in the fall.”

David Ragan – Finished 23rd: “We had a great Jacob Companies Ford today. We were able to pass some cars and stay on the lead lap for a lot of the race. We just got caught up in a little skirmish with our teammate and Danica. I think that Landon (Cassill) had a suspension part break. I was trying to get out of his way and Danica squeezed us a little bit, just one of those racing things. Three wide at Bristol is hard to get through.”

Landon Cassill – Finished 32nd: “Yeah, we had a loose wheel that led to broken wheel studs. A real bummer. I thought that we had a real good car.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 33rd – On power steering issues: “I didn’t think that was ever gonna end. We had to come in and fix it, which stinks because when we went back out we were actually really fast, but you’re not racing for anything, which is unfortunate. It’s something to look forward to in the fall race because I felt like that was one of the best cars I’ve had at Bristol. It stinks that it happened. I know it happened to us and (Brad Keselowski), the same problem, so we’ll have to figure out what happened and what was different (with Joey Logano) to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Kyle Busch– Finished 35th: “I was the fastest one out there those last two runs picking cars off and driving from the back to the front after we lost our track position the first time. We had our issues, and we were trying to march our way back up toward the front and get there and thought we were doing a good job of that and trying to be conservative with the tires because obviously they can’t make it through a full distance for us for some reason. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s fundamentally wrong what we’re doing, but it seems like all the rest of our five JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars are fine.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 36th: “I’m just frustrated it was so miserable after I right-reared it. I thought to myself, ‘I’m catching cars and passing them.’ I was starting to pass lead-lap cars and thought that we were on track to climb our way back up there. With the yellows and the competition cautions and stuff, it was maybe going to work out, so I’m mostly just thinking it was kind of just miserable for half the time out there after I right-reared it. But it’s not from a lack of effort, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t trying after that all happened, it was just kind of one thing after another, including pitting for a second time before the green came back out. I’m a half-a-lap down and the car is super-loose still, and just kind of a dumb decision with 18 laps to go to come and put tape on it like we did. I know there was a hole in the grille from all the stuff that happened, but it was one thing after another. I had about 30 laps of hope today.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR– Finished 38th: “I don’t know (if) we broke something in the oil system under caution. The guys said there was some oil in the pit stall after our pit stop. I noticed when I was getting lined up double file for the restart, the car was smoking. I just thought maybe we had a tire rub for some reason, but I couldn’t remember what might have caused that. And went into Turn 1 on the restart, and the car went straight into the wall with oil all over the tires. Came into the garage there, and they are working on where the hole in the system is. Just something is messed up, but that is going to be the finish for us. It’s unfortunate. We weren’t running that great, but we were working on our car and trying to figure out how to get it to run better. And get something out of today, but we are going to have another bad finish. We have had a lot of them this year. It’s going to be tough.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 39th: “We started at the back, and we were making really good headway. And was really happy with the balance of it, and it was looking to be a good start to a race. I am honestly not really sure what happened. Came off (Turn) 4 there and fighting for the (free pass) and trying to get in that spot. Everybody starts checking up, and I locked the brakes up and just couldn’t get slowed down in time. I think I ended up tearing the radiator out of the car and pretty much it just ends our day now.”

Martin Truex Jr. wins Stage 2 of Food City 500; Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s day ends early with wreck

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Martin Truex Jr. won Stage 2 of Monday’s rain-rescheduled Food City 500.

Truex overtook Stage 1 winner Kyle Larson on Lap 203 and remained in command through Lap 250, the end of Stage 2.

Joey Logano was second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Erik Jones, Larson, Denny Hamlin, Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Larson won the first stage, leading all 125 laps, and the first 78 laps of Stage 2 before yielding the race lead to Truex Jr., who finished second in Stage 1.

Larson nearly spun in Turn 2 on Lap 192, losing time in the process that would eventually allow Truex to be able to catch and ultimately pass him.

There were several incidents during the 125-lap Stage 2:

* On Lap 210, Kyle Busch blew a tire in Turn 2 and hit the wall, suffering moderate damage to the right front fender.

* Ryan Blaney took his Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion to the garage for a mechanical issue.

* On Lap 217, Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall, suffering a broken oil cooler in the process, bringing his day to an early finish.

“It got oil all over the engine compartment and then the car went straight into the wall,” Earnhardt told Fox Sports.

Earnhardt was sent to the infield medical center to be checked out from the impact, but told Fox “I feel good.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Here are the songs drivers picked for intros at Bristol

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Driver intos at Bristol Motor Speedway often are among the most anticipated all year because drivers get to pick the song to be played for their introduction.

Here is the list of songs drivers selected for today’s driver intros.

(List is based on starting lineup with pole-sitter Kyle Larson listed first)

Kyle Larson                “Hypnotize”                             Notorious B.I.G.

Chase Elliott               “Record Year”                         Eric Church

Martin Truex Jr.          “Flatliner”                                 Cole Swindell ft. Dierks Bentley

Brad Keselowski         “Where Are We Runnin”         Lenny Kravitz

Joey Logano               “Let Me Clear My Throat”       DJ Kool

Ryan Blaney               “Living the Dream”                  Sturgill Simpson

Kyle Busch                 “The Way I Am”                      Eminem

Jamie McMurray         “Thunderstruck”                      AC DC

Clint Bowyer                “How Country Feels”              Randy Houser

Kevin Harvick              “Tip It On Back”                      Dierks Bentley

Jimmie Johnson          “California Love”                     2 Pac

Trevor Bayne               “Run Devil Run”                     Crowder

Ryan Newman             “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”          Luke Bryan

Erik Jones                   “Takin’ Care of Business”       Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Kurt Busch                   “Walk This Way”                     Aerosmith

Denny Hamlin               “Jump Man”                            Drake & Future

Kasey Kahne                “Somebody Else Will”             Justin Moore

Aric Almirola                 “Hard Workin’ Man”                Brooks & Dunn

Dale Earnhardt Jr.         “Miles Apart”                           The Dangerous Summery

Austin Dillon                  “Ain’t No Mercy                       Rick Ross

Matt Kenseth                “The Shortest Straw”              Metallica

Daniel Suarez               “El Mariachi Loco”

Ty Dillon                        “No Problem”                          Chance the Rapper

AJ Allmendinger            “My Name is Human”             Highly Suspect

Paul Menard                  “Rockin’ in the Free World”     Neil Young

Chris Buescher              “Heavy is the Head”                Zac Brown Band

Michael McDowell          “Nothing I Can’t Do”                Tedashii feat. Lecrae

Danica Patrick                “Fight Song”                            Rachel Platten

Landon Cassill                “Electric Body”                                    A$AP Rocky

Cole Whitt                       “Believer”                                Imagine Dragons

Matt DiBenedetto            “Dream On”                            Aerosmith

David Ragan                   “Pickup Man”                          Joe Diffie

Corey LaJoie                   “Gimme Some Lovin’”          The Spencer Davis Group

Gray Gaulding                 “JuJu on That Beat”                Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall

Jeffrey Earnhardt             “Seal the Deal”                        Volbeat

Timmy Hill                        “My House”                             Flo Rida

Derrike Cope                    “Jungle”                                 X Ambassadors

  and on Facebook

Erik Jones overcomes penalty to win Xfinity race at Bristol in three-lap shootout

Leave a comment

A speeding penalty against Erik Jones on Lap 230 wasn’t enough to keep Erik Jones from winning the Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway 70 laps later.

Jones outmaneuvered Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez on a restart with three to go and raced untouched to win the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is the first repeat Xfinity winner of 2017 following his win two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s Jones’ second straight win in the spring race at Bristol.

“It’s a day kind a little bit like last year,” Jones told Fox Sports 1. “Didn’t really know if we had a winning car or not. To come back from a pit road penalty like that, especially with not much green flag racing was a lot of fun. It’s a race I won’t forget for a long time.”

Jones took the lead for the last time when he nudged Blaney out of the groove entering Turn 1 with 20 to go.

“That’s just a racing incident,” Blaney said. “I don’t have any hard feelings about it.”

Rookie Daniel Hemric won the Dash 4 Cash bonus of $100,000 by finishing fifth in the race. It’s his first career top five.

“This makes it real when you’ve got your name on it,” Hemric told FS1 as he was handed a large check. “I was hoping we could get both of them there. Starting on the bottom hurt us those last couple of restarts. All in all, such a great performance from our guys. Coming from a lap down, getting the Lucky Dog. … Every stop was a true testament to my group of guys. Can’t thank everyone enough. Hopefully this is the start of a lot of thing for us.”

Stage 1 winner: Kyle Larson

Stage 2 winner: Daniel Hemric

MORE: Full race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Kyle Larson started from the pole, led 180 laps and finished seventh after rebounding from losing a right-rear tire and a commitment line violation … Elliott Sadler finished fourth for his third top five of the year and his best finish … Blake Koch and Michael Annett finished ninth and 10th respectively. Koch’s result was his first top 10 of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Ryan Reed finished 38th after his right-front tire rolled off his No. 16 Ford and sent him into the wall on Lap 80 … Brendan Gaughan crashed with 57 to go after Darrell Wallace Jr. caught his left rear exiting Turn 4. Gaughan hit the inside wall. Gaughan, who had been competing for the Dash 4 Cash bonus, finished 35th … Wallace’s day ended on the ensuing restart. Wallace spun after the field bottle-necked ahead of him and he was hit by Garrett Smithley. Both drivers were OK. Wallace finished 33rd, ending his stretch of five sixth-place finishes in a row … Cole Custer‘s damage from the restart incident ended his day in 32nd, his third finish below 30th this year.

NOTABLE: During the first rain delay, Jeremy Clements came up behind Ross Chastain to discuss their issues on the track. Clements turned Chastain around. Chastain responded by punching Clements. Clements went to the infield care center because to ice his swollen eye. He returned to race. … Ryan Blaney’s No. 22 Ford was found to be too low in the left front in post-race inspection.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think that’s three second (place finishes) this year. That’s getting old.” – Ryan Blaney, who has finished second in all three of his Xfinity start this season.

WHAT’S NEXT: ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway at 12:30 p.m. ET on April 29 on Fox Sports 1

Toyota’s Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing dominate Friday’s lone Bristol Cup practice

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even though it has struggled in the first seven races of the 2017 NASCAR Cup season, Joe Gibbs Racing showed a lot of its old shine in Friday’s lone practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Toyota dominated by placing five of the six fastest cars in the session. Erik Jones was fastest (127.843 mph), followed by JGR’s Kyle Busch (127.090), Ryan Blaney’s Ford (126.989), Jones’ teammate Martin Truex Jr. (126.964), JGR’s Matt Kenseth (126.704) and teammate Denny Hamlin (126.653).

The fourth JGR entry, the No. 19 of Daniel Suarez, was 27th-fastest (124.930 mph).

Late in the session, Joey Logano brushed the outside retaining wall, suffering minor but repairable damage to the right front fender and wheel well of his No. 22 Team Penske Ford Fusion.

“With all the marbles up there it was like you popped a tire,” Logano said afterward. “It just went straight to the wall. It’s amazing how quick it did that. Unfortunately, we got a little damage but it’s nothing that’s not fixable. … So we’ll fix it up and make some good adjustments.  We’ll be just fine.”

Rain earlier in the day forced NASCAR to push back the session, as well as cancelled qualifying. To make up for that, NASCAR Cup drivers will have two practice sessions Saturday morning prior to the Xfinity Series race at 1 p.m. ET.

Click here for the full practice results.