What drivers said after Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas

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Here’s what several drivers and one crew chief had to say after Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Brad Keselowski, finished 1st: “This is really, really great. It seemed like there were plenty of challenges, whether it was pit road or the weather or cautions. They threw everything they had at us today but this team was too strong and we were able to fight them off and get to victory lane.”

Joey Logano, 2nd: “Congratulations to Brad and also for Team Penske getting a 1-2 finish. That is what we set out to do every week. I am proud of what we did. Gosh, we finished second so many times, Daytona and qualifying. We will go get them next week. … I know we are only three races in, but I am getting antsy (for a win). We have good speed in our cars, we will be alright.”

Jimmie Johnson, 3rd: “Track position was pretty important. The series of events leading up to that last restart kind of had us deeper in track position than we needed to be for the win. We still got a third, which is good, but those top three or four cars were pretty equal. It was just real hard to get there and get inside of somebody. I was impressed Keselowski) was able to sit behind (Logano) that long and finally get by and not wear his stuff out in the process. But, decent day for us all-in-all.”

Kyle Busch, 4th: “We struggled really, really bad all weekend, we were horrible. That’s not at all where we should have finished considering how it started. It was a good day. It wasn’t a win, but we were doing a good job doing what we need to do to keep top-fiving it and the wins will come. … If I were to grade our weekend, for progress it’s an A-plus, but for being as bad as we were and ending up right there it would probably be a B or B-minus.”

Austin Dillon, 5th: “We killed ourselves today. To come back to a fifth, I’m blessed and the good Lord was looking out for us. The cautions fell right. We really have to pick it up as a group, me included, on pit road. It was disappointing because we had such a fast race car. At one point in time we were way faster than the leader. We just put ourselves behind. But, we had a shot there at the end and if we were good enough to win we would have done it. We have a little more work to do. I think a win is in the future, though.”

Ryan Blaney, 6th: “This was really satisfying. It was a good day for us. We needed a good finish after last week, and it is nice to go out here and we all had fast cars. Congrats to the 2 team, they did a great job coming back from that speeding penalty and made a great call at the end. Good job by them and good job by our team.”

Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, 7th: “We had a good car overall. Everybody did a good job most of the day. We had a bad pit stop and got us behind and then kind of turned our whole day around from there. We couldn’t come close to making it on fuel there at the end like (Keselowski) and (Logano), so we didn’t have any option, but to come down and top it off again and put tires on it. Just got to get better. We have given them away the past two weeks and just have to do a better job.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., 8th: “The one thing that I really like (about the new low downforce package) is I can drive up to guys with that little spoiler on the back, I’m not really stuck behind people like we used to be. A lot of the drivers are wanting to keep going in this direction and even further. I wasn’t really so sure about that, but now I feel like that might be a good move to go even less downforce. I don’t know if the blade needs to get shorter, but these things are sealed off on the ground. There’s a lot we could do to the bodies and stuff to take some downforce out of them. I’m sure NASCAR is looking at that. We can’t just keep taking the blade off, but we could probably take a little of an inch off and not really tell the difference.”

Kurt Busch, 9th: “We fought hard. Driver made a couple of mistakes on a restart and speeding on pit road. We just had to battle, battle, battle and just never got into a good rhythm. We just felt like we were battling from behind.”

Martin Truex Jr., 11th: “We just didn’t have it today. We could have used another caution close to the end. The car wasn’t right and it was sure disappointing to see those other cars get by me. An 11th-place finish is nothing to brag about or nothing to get depressed about. It just wasn’t our day. We’ll move on to Phoenix and hopefully be more competitive.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 12th: “I put my guys behind when I sped on pit road with only 100 to go. That was tough to battle back from and Nick (Sandler) made a great pit call and took the wave around and we ended up catching a caution and we fought back really hard there. I thought we were a 10-12th place car all day, so to come home 12th after a mistake by me, I am really happy with that. We have to make sure we don’t make those mistakes so we have shots at top-five finishes. If not for that mistake, we could have been really good there at the end. All in all I am really happy.”

AJ Allmendinger, 14th: “Hard fought day. … At the end there I thought we were decent, the best we had been all day, just nowhere to go. We took what could have been a really bad day and really put us way behind to start the year and salvaged a decent day out of it. Not totally happy, but I think we are making gains. The car has speed in it, just a little bit off. It’s just frustrating. I just got us behind. We weren’t great, but we had gotten the gap to kind of get in that safe zone where we could make our own day out of it and I put us behind.”

Carl Edwards, 18th: “Our day was okay. I still don’t know exactly what happened (with his accident). I got hit and it would have been alright I think if I would have stayed out instead of come in. I thought the car was more damaged, so I came and had to start in the back. Overall, I thought we recovered really well.”

Matt Kenseth, 37th: “I have no idea, honestly. I went into turn one and I wasn’t really hardly turning yet and just spun out before I had any idea what happened. I don’t know.”

Chase Elliott, 38th: “Just disappointed. What a fast race car. I appreciate everybody working hard. I feel like we made a lot of gains this weekend. Just a terrible job on my behalf. That is pitiful. We have run three races and finished one. Just a bad job on my end. I ought to know better to miss a wreck like that.”

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Sponsor adds more races in 2023 with Josh Berry

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Jarrett Companies will increase the number of races it will sponsor Josh Berry‘s No. 8 JR Motorsports ride in 2023, the Xfinity Series team announced Monday.

Jarrett Companies will sponsor Berry in six races after serving as the primary sponsor in three races in 2022. Those six races will be Phoenix (March 11), Richmond (April 1), Dover (April 29), Atlanta (July 8), Indianapolis (Aug. 12) and Texas (Sept. 23).

The deal gives Berry at least 26 races with sponsorship for next season. Bass Pro Shops will serve as the primary sponsor of Berry’s car in 11 races in 2023. Tire Pros is back with JRM and will sponsor Berry in nine races in the upcoming season.

Berry, who reached the Xfinity title race and finished fourth in the points, will have a new crew chief in 2023. Taylor Moyer will take over that role with Mike Bumgarner serving as JRM’s director of competition.

The 2023 Xfinity season begins Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Where are they now? Buddy Parrott enjoying down time

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Buddy Parrott played outsized roles in two of the most dramatic races in NASCAR history.

Now 83 years old and retired from the sport since 2001, Parrott looks back on those two days as highlights of a career that began in the early 1970s.

In the 1990 Daytona 500, champion driver Dale Earnhardt seemed on course to end his frustration in NASCAR’s biggest event. He held the lead roaring down the backstretch on the last lap. Suddenly, Earnhardt slowed with a blown tire.

The lead was inherited by Derrike Cope, who charged to the checkered flag to score one of racing’s biggest upsets.

Parrott was Cope’s crew chief.

MORE: NASCAR Power Rankings: Memorable quotes through the years

In 1984, Richard Petty edged Cale Yarborough to win the summer race at Daytona International Speedway. It was Petty’s 200th – and final – win.

Parrott was Petty’s crew chief.

Those victories were high marks in a long pit-road career that saw Parrott’s drivers win dozens of races. He worked with, among others, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton and Petty and for team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske.

Parrott remains active at 83, although he admits to having moved to a slower gear.

“I haven’t been living on the edge,” Parrott told NBC Sports. “I’ve been taking it really easy. I told my sons when you get to be 80 you can do anything you want because basically you’ve already done it.”

MORE: NASCAR, ARCA 2023 schedules

His strongest current connection to NASCAR is as a voter in the annual Hall of Fame balloting.

After more than 20 years roaming pit roads as a crew chief, Parrott moved into a general manager role at Roush Racing in 1997. He retired four years later and didn’t look back.

“I finally told Jack one day, ‘I don’t have time to ride my motorcycle,’ ” Parrott said. “He looked at me and said, ‘What do you want to do about it?’ I said, ‘I’m ready to retire.’ He told me I could work whatever schedule I wanted, but I decided that was it. I didn’t have a going-away thing or whatever.”

Parrott spent much of the next 15 years traveling with his wife, Judy, who died in 2016, and playing with his grandchildren.

“I had a great time in retirement because Judy was ready and I was ready,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. We’d go to Florida for two and three months at a time. I’m so happy that I didn’t hang on and go to the shop every day and try to find something to do. I spent that time with Judy, and we had 16 years of good retirement.”

Parrott, a native of Gastonia, N.C., lives in Statesville, N.C. His sons, Todd and Brad, also were NASCAR crew chiefs.

MORE: Jody Ridley’s Dover win an upset for the ages

Parrott is perhaps best remembered as crew chief for Rusty Wallace, Team Penske and the No. 2 black cars sponsored by Miller Lite. From 1992-94, they won 19 races and were consistently competitive at the front.

“I still get a lot of cards sent to me to sign from those years,” Parrott said. “I can say that was some of the happiest times I had. Those years with Rusty – and then with Jack Roush – really stand out. And who in the hell could not have fun having a beer sponsor?”

 

 

NASCAR Awards to air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Joey Logano didn’t need much time to answer the question.

Who would the two-time Cup champion want to introduce him at the NASCAR Awards?

Racing icon Mario Andretti, Logano immediately said. 

And there was Andretti on the stage at the Music City Center introducing Logano, the 2022 Cup champion. Watch that and the rest of the night’s festivities at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock. You can order Peacock here.

MORE: See the red carpet scene

MORE: Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

NBC Sports’ Marty Snider and Kim Coon co-hosted the show along with Fox Sports’ Kaitlyn Vincie. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck champions were honored. Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, whose father died hours after Gibbs won the Xfinity title last month, received a standing ovation and thanked the industry for its support.

The highlight of the night for Logano was having Andretti on stage to introduce him.

“He’s just been a great role model for me, not only as a racer, but as a person for so long,” Logano said afterward. “I had his picture on my wall. I looked at Mario Andretti before I went to sleep every night as a kid. I thought it was the coolest thing that he signed it to me.”

NASCAR Awards and Champion Celebration
Cup champion Joey Logano on stage with racing icon Mario Andretti during the NASCAR Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Logano and Andretti have gotten to know each other through the years. Logano ran a throwback car that honored Andretti at Darlington Raceway in 2015 and 2021.

But none of that compared to being on stage with Andretti.

“That’s still like a pinch-me moment,” Logano said. “It’s Mario Andretti. He’s the man. The fact that he knows my name I think is really, really cool.”

Catch the NASCAR Awards at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community showed its support Thursday at the NASCAR Awards for the Gibbs family, grieving the death of Coy Gibbs on Nov. 6. 

During his interview on stage, car owner Joe Gibbs thanked the NASCAR industry for its support. (The NASCAR Awards show airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock).

Coy Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs and father of Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, died hours after seeing Ty Gibbs win the series title last month at Phoenix Raceway. Coy Gibbs, 49, was the vice chairman and chief operating officer at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR chief operating officer, introduced Ty Gibbs at the NASCAR Awards and noted that “everyone gathered tonight is all a part of the NASCAR family, and I know I speak for everyone that the entire NASCAR family is 100% percent behind this young man.”

Ty Gibbs received a standing ovation.

“Thank you,” he told the crowd, “that means a lot.”

Ty Gibbs spoke for less than a minute, thanking his team, sponsors, fans and the NASCAR community.

He closed his speech by saying “And thanks to my family. I love you. I hope everybody has a great offseason. Enjoy it. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the claps. I really appreciate it.”

Ty Gibbs spoke to the media earlier Thursday. Asked how he was doing, he said: “I’ve been doing good. Thank you for asking and definitely appreciate you guys. We’ve been doing good, doing a lot of stuff this week. … It’s been fun to experience this stuff.”

Asked about Joe Gibbs addressing the organization after Coy’s death, Ty Gibbs politely said: “For right now, I’m not going to touch on any of that subject at all. I’m just going to stick with all the racing questions and go from there.”

Cup champion Joey Logano said he spent time with 20-year-old Ty Gibbs on Wednesday at the champion’s dinner.

Logano said he told Ty Gibbs that “we’re here for you. You need something reach out.”