What drivers said after Duck Commander 500 Sprint Cup race

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Drivers had much to say after Saturday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway:

Kyle Busch – Finished 1st: “As the night progressed, I think the track actually came to us a little bit. Our car got a little bit better. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys made great pit stops all night long. We were struggling in the beginning, we weren’t very good. Our other teammates, they were really fast. Just overall a great night for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Toyota.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finished 2nd: “I don’t think we could have caught (Kyle Busch). Kyle just kind of got too far out there, and Kyle knows how to hammer down when it matters. We had a great car. We got caught out on pit road there one time with a crash and got the lucky dog. We were in the top three all night. I’m really happy with the Nationwide Chevy. The guys did an amazing job putting a great race car on the track. We’re fast every week. Wins are going to come. We just have to keep doing this, and it’ll be our day one day.”

Joey Logano – Finished 3rd: “I’m proud of what my race team did. We may not have had the fastest car, we obviously didn’t have the fastest car, but we executed into a top-three finish, and I’m very proud of my team for that. We had great pit stops and great calls, so everything worked out well. Everyone did their job. That’s kind of been our weak point this year is that we haven’t had the speed, but we haven’t been executing perfectly. Now it seemed like we executed right and we’ve got to work on our speed now.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 4th: “We overcame a lot today. On that first pit stop, everyone was checking up, and I hammered the back of (Kyle Busch). We had to fix damage on the nose, and it wasn’t pretty. There’s a big hole up front, and that couldn’t have been helping us at all. There’s a lot of fight in this Lowe’s team today. I’m thankful for the great equipment and the fight that these guys have because with all the damage and adversity we went through tonight.”

Chase Elliott – Finished 5th: “We’re definitely not satisfied running fifth. I feel like we have a group of guys that are capable of doing that. We’ll keep digging at it. We have a long way to go with a lot of racing to go in the season. We’ll keep working to get where we can roll with those guys.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR. – Finished 6th: “We just ran out of tires, you know. Made it through (turns) one and two side by side, got to three and just didn’t have the grip. Then we fell back because we were sliding around. Everybody had new tires, we ran under caution for a long time, they keep building air pressure and losing grip. Pretty big disadvantage but can’t say enough about the guys for the race car they brought here and the weekend we had. It hurts. It’s happened a few times to me here. Hurts a little bit, but we’ll get over it, and we’ll move on, and we’ll take the positives out of it tonight.”

Kasey Kahne – Finished 8th: “We just battled.  We got behind, got a lap down early again, and we just had to fight back. (On contact with Greg Biffle): “I just caught Greg to pass him and he kind of entered out, so I thought I was going to go under him. Then he started coming down because he wanted the bottom, obviously, and I was like kind of there and hit the brakes and just hit him. I felt really bad because we didn’t really need to do that. I had a hole on entry and then it kind of closed and I should have lifted sooner instead of being that close to him.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 9th: “All through practice, we fought loose conditions. All through the race, we fought tight conditions. We’ve changed a ton of stuff to try to find the balance. We will keep trying to zero in on it. The pit crew had a good stop on the last stop and then I had a good restart, and (that) is what gave us a top 10.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 10th: “Everything from top to bottom wasn’t good. We just battled the car all weekend and never really got it right. A lot of things that everybody wanted to try that we don’t have to try anymore. So, chalk that one up to experience, and we’ll move on to something else and keep trying to get better. That’s really what it was all about was trying to get better. But we definitely struggled with it all weekend.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 15th: “We were hoping that debris caution didn’t happen. We probably could have had a shot at the win there, I think, if it stayed green. We were done pitting.  We were good to the end on gas, and those guys were gonna have to come again. We were on fresh tires, so we went for it and it just didn’t work out unfortunately. I was really happy with my car today and at times we were the fastest car on the track, and that’s all you can ask for, so I’m real happy with that.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 16th: “We ran in the top 10 the whole race and didn’t get the finish that this team deserved. They brought a really good car and we were really fast and felt good about our performance, so that’s what we’ve got to look at. It’s just a bummer that we got a little damage there at the end. I didn’t really have a chance after that.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 18th: “It wasn’t as good of a night as we wanted, but we tried some out-of-the-box things trying to be better here for when the Chase comes, which having a win gives us that luxury, but it just didn’t pay off.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 19th: “I haven’t seen (the replay) yet. We were on older tires, and I was trying to get all I could there. It’s part of trying to win a race. We put ourselves in a position to be out front, thinking that two laps wouldn’t mean much, but it did. That’s part of it. The good Lord kept me safe tonight and gave me a good race car. You have to be gracious in defeat. We’ll come back next week with another fast car and hopefully we can do the same thing we did today, and that’s run up front.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 21st: “That’s not the finish we wanted tonight. We struggled a bit early in the race, but Billy (Scott, crew chief) and the guys did a great job of making changes that definitely helped make the car better in the second half.”

Landon Cassill – Finished 25th: “The car was really finicky today and just made it hard to decide what kind of feedback to give. Fortunately, our best adjustment came at the end of the race when it mattered most and we were able to pick up a few spots in the last 50 laps.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 28th: “We made some progress. It was a long night with the rain delays and everything early on, but once we got rolling we were able to keep a pretty good pace. We started working on it and got it a lot closer as we went, so I’m really proud of the guys for that.”

Brian Vickers – Finished 36th: “It was a long day.  That wreck just finally ended it for us. It’s unfortunate. I was really proud of the effort by the guys all weekend. We never really had the car we wanted. We fought hard for it.  … On that green flag stop coming in I got to pit road speed and then (Clint Bowyer) just stopped. I had them locked up, but I had nowhere to go. It was weird. He went to like half pit road speed and I just got into the back of him and locked it up.  I just didn’t see that coming. That put us behind the rest of the night. We were just trying to recover from that.”

GREG BIFFLE – Finished 39th: “I got hit by (Kasey Kahne). I’m not sure what happened. He just got in the back of me and turned me around and got me up in the fence. It’s unfortunate.  We had a decent run going and a pretty good night. We were fighting for the lucky dog to get on the lead lap. We were faster than quite a few of those guys on the lead lap at the back of the field, so it’s unfortunate we didn’t get a chance to race with them.”

 

NASCAR announces changes to Kansas playoff weekend

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Citing “programming changes,” NASCAR announced shifts in the race dates and start times for its visit next month to Kansas Speedway.

The Xfinity, ARCA and Truck Series races have been shifted, while the Cup race remains at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 18.

The biggest move is the Truck Series race shifting from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.

Here are the changes.

Friday, Oct. 16, 8:30 p.m. ETARCA Menards Series on FS1 or FS2; network TBD at a later date (previously at 10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m. ETTruck Series on FOX (previously Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

Saturday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. ET Xfinity on NBCSN (previously 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN)

 

Xfinity Series playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Chase Briscoe opened the Xfinity Series playoffs by earning his second consecutive win.

His victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gives him 57 playoff points and an automatic spot in the Round of 8.

Harrison Burton holds the final transfer spot. He has a two-point advantage over Ross Chastain.

Behind Chastain below the cutline are Michael Annett (-10 points), Riley Herbst (-14) and Brandon Brown (-20).

Below is the full Xfinity Series playoff standings going into Saturday’s race at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance. Drivers in yellow are in the remaining playoff spots.

Xfinity Series playoff standings

Cup playoff standings after Las Vegas

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Kurt Busch flipped the script on the Cup playoff standings with his win Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

He entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings, but is the first driver to clinch a spot in the Round of 8.

Replacing Busch in the bottom spot of the playoff standings is Austin Dillon. He is 32 points behind Alex Bowman, who holds the final cutoff spot.

Behind Bowman is Kyle Busch (-9 points), Clint Bowyer (-20), Aric Almirola (-27) and Dillon.

“Obviously, the 1 car (Kurt Busch) was not a car that we needed to win a race,” Clint Bowyer said after Sunday’s race. “It’s been a hell of a battle back there with cars that are kind of in the same wheelhouse as far as points-wise. (Kurt Busch) winning changes that landscape quite a bit, but we’re only 20 points out.”

Here is the full playoff standings entering Sunday’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Drivers in red are below the cutline to advance to the Round of 8. Drivers in yellow hold the remaining available playoff spots.

Cup playoff standings

 

 

Kurt Busch win capped off big racing weekend for family

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After hopping from the door of his No. 1 Chevrolet Sunday night, Kurt Busch let out a primal scream.

The source of his emotion?

“20 years of agony and defeat” at the his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, had been replaced by “triumph.”

After the fortunate timing of a caution and pit strategy Sunday night, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver led the final 26 laps and visited LVMS’ Victory Lane for the first time, a day after his brother Kyle Busch experienced a special win.

There was plenty more for the 42-year-old driver to celebrate. He’d entered the Round of 12 as the last driver in the playoff standings. But with his first win in 46 races, Busch became the first driver to plant in his flag in the Round of 8.

But the Las Vegas native’s focus was on the 1.5-mile track, which he’d seen evolve from a “desert gravel pit” into the site of two NASCAR race weekends each year.

“This feeling of growing up here and watching the track get built … when Speedway Motorsports came in and bought it, I’m like, ‘Man, there’s going to be a Cup race there, I hope I can make my way up through Legend cars (and race there). And just all the memories, all the memories of everybody, my mom and dad, every Saturday night, all the commitment they gave me and my little brother (Kyle Busch) to make it in racing.

“For me it was a hobby. I never knew I’d get this far. A guy named Craig Keough here locally in Las Vegas, the owner of the Star Nurseries here in Las Vegas, took a chance on me and let me run his late model a few times and we won a couple races and started working our way up.”

Busch made his first NASCAR start on the Las Vegas oval in 2001 driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Between then and Sunday, he won 31 Cup races, the 2004 championship and the 2017 Daytona 500.

But his home track eluded him until his 21st year competing on the sport’s top circuit.

Busch said Sunday’s win is “right there underneath” his Daytona win and the championship.

“Any time you win, it’s special,” Busch said. “But to do it in front of my hometown crowd and nobody was there (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and all the people that I see every time I come to Vegas and I get to say thank you and I can’t right now, that’s the hardest part. So this one is easily ramping up to being my third most favorite win ever.

“Right now it’s my favorite because it’s here, it’s Vegas, and I have so many people to thank. They know they helped me, and they know who they are, and it just all started with mom and dad taking me to the racetrack right here at the Bullring in Las Vegas.”

The Busch family got to celebrate more than one win over the weekend.

The night before Kurt’s Vegas breakthrough, a third generation racer got his first taste of victory.

Kyle and Samantha Busch’s son, Brexton, won his first karting race and celebrated with his parents in Victory Lane.

“It’s so much fun to watch him and just to see his excitement and how much he enjoys going to the race track and being with is friends,” Kyle Busch said after his sixth-place finish Sunday. “It’s three generations worth, I guess. My dad (Tom) did it, myself and Kurt and now him. It’s pretty fun to just be out there. My dad is kind of the truck driver, the team manager, the crew chief, the lead mechanic and all that stuff on his kart.

“He’s got a big task at hand in order to get it all ready to go and get us to the race track every week. It’s been fun to see (Brexton) and to see how excited he was when he was able to win and beat the other competition that was out there and to see his joy. I told him, ‘Whatever that feeling is, whatever you’re feeling, however that sits in you, that’s feasible, that’s possible a lot more often than just one time. So don’t rest on just getting one, we gotta go out there and fight for more.'”

Kurt Busch wasn’t there for his nephew’s win, but he got all the details from his sister-in-law as they flew to Las Vegas.

“It definitely felt like a generational shift was happening,” he said. “But maybe not. Maybe not. This old guy has still got it going on.”