What drivers said after the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Beginning with race winner Carl Edwards, here are what some Sprint Cup drivers said about their efforts in Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards – Finished 1st: “Just a real testament to our team – we have really fast race cars. Those restarts are tough, everybody is so good. Kurt (Busch) does an amazing job, I don’t know if his drag racing or something is paying off, but I have to learn what he’s doing. He could get so much grip down on the bottom. Just a lot of fun. Really good day and really proud of my guys; (they were) flawless on pit road. This is such a special place to win and really proud of my team.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Finished 2nd (on how he kept from panicking after falling two laps down at the start): “I turned 40. Quit panicking. It is what it is these days. You know, as I got older, I tried harder to enjoy what I’m doing, and not get really upset and too out of shape when things aren’t going our way. Plus, I know (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and them guys are on the pit box trying everything they can. They’re the only ones I’m going to be able to yell at. So … it doesn’t do any good to be hollering at them or (get) upset or just lose your mind, and the over‑the‑wall guys especially, we don’t really spend a ton of time with the over‑the‑wall guys, and they’re real sensitive. They’re big old guys and athletes, but they’ve got big hearts, too, so you can’t be screaming and coming unglued because they don’t want to work for people like that.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 3rd: “We just battled through it. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) had trouble at the start, and I was 40th when we started the race. One car at a time. One set of tires at a time. And then we were in great position around Lap 350. We got the lead from (Carl) Edwards for a little bit. And we just kept working on it. And there’s nothing more that I could have gotten out of the car. I’m really happy with the way that everybody worked together. I shouldn’t be happy about finishing 3rd, but I’ll take it. It’s just a great effort.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 4th: “I just had a really good Kelley Blue Book/NAPA Chevrolet. The guys brought a fast car here this weekend. Started off a little slow. I didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to on Friday, but we hit on a couple of things right there toward the end of final practice yesterday that we really liked. Fortunately that carried over to today, and I was able to move forward. I hated to have a loose wheel, but stuff happens. The guys did a good job having a good pit stop under green. We only ended up losing two laps, and that gave us a shot to get back. One down, and then trying to get back to the lead lap. It was a long day, but I’m definitely proud of the effort. We’re chipping away, just not close enough.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 5th: “We went through a lot of adversity to get there, but we just didn’t give up. We had a really good race car. That’s what paid off. You can’t come back if you don’t have good race cars, and we’ve got that now. I need to minimize my mistakes going forward, but we were able to make mistakes and get back to a top-five finish. I kept getting on the bottom on restarts every time, but it came back to me at the end. We were able to start on the top those last three, and that’s really what got us in the top five.”

Matt DiBenedetto – Finished 6th: “This is like a win for us. I apologize for being so emotional, but this is an incredible run. I can’t thank my team enough. My crew chief Gene Nead and everyone on this team for working so hard and busting their tails for me to be able to drive this race car in the Sprint Cup Series. This is such an honor, and I’m so thankful to all the sponsors – Dustless Blasting, Cosmo Motors, Dr Pepper, and I know I’m forgetting people. Thank you to the fans, most importantly. They are so great and so supportive. I’m just really thankful to be here. This was a great day.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 7th: “We had the speed, but it seemed like every restart we were just struggling to make ground on the restart, and by the time you get to two or three spots back, you battle back to where you were, and then the caution would come out again. But there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 8th: “It was a good finish, and I’m proud of the finish. We had some luck which helped but proud of the result and good that the 5-hour ENERGY Chevrolet was able to get a top 10 today.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 9th: “We overcame a lot of adversity today between getting a tire rub in one incident and front-nose damage in another. We persevered with a strong WIX Filters Chevrolet. The biggest challenge for us were restarts on the inside line. It was such a disadvantage starting there. We were very fortunate to take the last two on the high side.”

Joey Logano – Finished 10th: “We just figured out every way possible to shoot ourselves in the foot. We just got some mistakes we got to clean up on everyone’s end. Last week, we had a perfect execution race, and we flipped-flopped it this time for some reason. We got to get more consistent. My team knows how to do it. We all know how to do it. It’s frustrating to come to Bristol, your best race track and seems like typical spring Bristol, something goes wrong.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 11th: “It was good until the end. We should have run fifth, easy. The bottom (lane) is terrible here. You can’t go anywhere on the bottom. If you’re lucky enough to restart on the top, then you’ll move forward even if you’re a terrible race car. We had a good race car and got stuck on the bottom for three straight restarts and went backward. That’s pretty disappointing when you know you have a top-five race car. …. That last run when we were running fifth was our best. We could do a lot of stuff.  We got it better throughout the day. Unfortunately it didn’t play out for us.”

Greg Biffle – Finished 12th: “We were up in sixth and those last two restarts we started on the bottomm and that just killed us, but I will say that all day long I started on the top.  Those last two were the only ones where I didn’t, and that’s just luck.  You’re not gonna get the top every time, and the last two I didn’t get it.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 16th: “Every restart, we were on the bottom.  I thought we had a top-five car there at the end with speed, but we just couldn’t break out. Yeah, we never gave up, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 14th: “Considering what we had to deal with, salvaging a 14th-place finish was not all that bad. We had another strong Toyota Camry today, but the finish obviously didn’t match the performance. We were contending and had a fast car. But that loose wheel near the end of the race spoiled an excellent opportunity.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 18th: “It was an eventful day. I had a pit-road speeding penalty and recovered from that and got up towards the front, and then (Kyle Busch) spun out in front of me.  I barely touched somebody, and the front end fell off the car. We keep having that problem on short tracks, so I don’t know what we’ve got to do there, but we drove back up, and the car was really fast. We got up to third and then got a flat tire. We lost two laps on that and fought really hard with the wavearound and (free pass) and got back to the lead lap with like eight to go and passed three cars in the laps we had, and that was our day.  I feel like we were a pretty good car.  I was pretty happy overall with our performance, but we couldn’t get it all to come together. …. The speed is all at the top.  That makes it a one-groove racetrack.  That makes it kind of fun, but also kind of frustrating, because the cars aero-push behind somebody so terrible, that you can’t really keep up with the guy in front of you even when you’re faster in that groove and that’s the only groove there is, so that’s part of the fight.”

A.J. Allmendinger – Finished 19th: “Best car I’ve ever had here for sure. Actually felt like I knew what I was doing around this place. That was pretty cool. I was having a lot of fun. The Gibbs cars were definitely better, but I think we saw a couple of them obviously were right on the borderline of probably having too much camber pushing the limits. Pit-road problem, it’s the little stuff that we have to keep fixing. I honestly think we had a… if you look at the top-five results, I think I was better than most of them. I wasn’t going to beat the No. 19, but depending on where you restart and everything, I think we were pretty good other than that.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 21st: “Lining up there at the end just got us.  We were 14th on the board, and we were lined up 13th or 15th. This track is so line sensitive now, and it’s so hard to pass that there’s not much we could do on the bottom on restarts except try to get to the top and get rolling.  It wasn’t bad.  There’s a lot of hope there.  We had a lot of speed there, and it was fun racing.”

Landon Cassill — Finished 22nd: “Track position is so important. We were good enough to keep it for a while, but we weren’t good enough to drive back up through there, but I don’t think anybody was.  You just needed to have good track position all day, and we had it most of the day. I had a little tangle with (Ty Dillon), and it was just a hard racing deal.  I kind of went over my head a little bit.”
TY DILLON – Finished 25th: “That finish isn’t indicative of how we ran today. I really appreciate how hard these guys worked this weekend, and they really deserved better. It was a great run, but it just didn’t end like it should have.”
Danica Patrick — Finished 27th: “We really just missed it all weekend with our Nature’s Bakery Chevy. We just never hit on anything that seemed to work. We were either tight or loose. We did hit on something there at the end where the car would turn but still not the finish we wanted.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished 36th, 40 laps down: “We just keep blowing right front tires, I don’t know why. The first one was a little confusing, I knew I blew a right front, but I thought they were telling me it wasn’t flat so I was a little confused. This one just blew a lot earlier and the angle was a lot worse hitting the wall.”

Drivers for Drive for Diversity combine revealed


The 13 drivers who will participate in the Advance Auto Part Drive for Diversity Combine were revealed Thursday and range in age from 13-19.

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Program was created in 2004 to develop and train ethnically diverse and female drivers both on and off the track. Cup drivers Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez and Kyle Larson came through the program.

The 2020 and 2021 combines were canceled due to the impact of COVID-19.

“We are thrilled that we are in a position to return to an in-person evaluation for this year’s Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine,” Rev Racing CEO Max Seigel said in a statement. “We are energized by the high-level of participating athletes and look forward to building the best driver class for 2023. As an organization, we have never been more positioned for success and future growth.”

The youngest drivers are Quinn Davis and Nathan Lyons, who are both 13 years old.

The group includes 17-year-old Andrés Pérez de Lara, who finished seventh in his ARCA Menards Series debut in the Sept. 15 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Also among those invited to the combine is 15-year old Katie Hettinger, who will make her ARCA Menards Series West debut Oct.. 14 at the Las Vegas Bullring. She’s also scheduled to compete in the ARCA West season finale Nov. 4 at Phoenix Raceway.




Age Hometown
Justin Campbell 17 Griffin, Georgia
Quinn Davis 13 Sparta, Tennessee
Eloy Sebastián

López Falcón

17 Mexico City, Mexico
Katie Hettinger 15 Dryden, MI
Caleb Johnson 15 Denver, CO
Nathan Lyons 13 Concord, NC
Andrés Pérez de Lara 17 Mexico City, Mexico
Jaiden Reyna 16 Cornelius, NC
Jordon Riddick 17 Sellersburg, IN
Paige Rogers 19 New Haven, IN
Lavar Scott 19 Carney’s Point, NJ
Regina Sirvent 19 Mexico City, Mexico
Lucas Vera 15 Charlotte, NC


Dr. Diandra: Crashes: Causes and complications


Two drivers have missed races this year after hard rear-end crashes. Kurt Busch has been out since an incident in qualifying at Pocono in July. Alex Bowman backed hard into a wall at Texas and will miss Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval (2 p.m. ET, NBC).

Other drivers have noted that the hits they’ve taken in the Next Gen car are among the hardest they’ve felt in a Cup car.

“When I crashed it (at Auto Club Speedway in practice), I thought the car was destroyed, and it barely backed the bumper off. It just felt like somebody hit you with a hammer,” Kevin Harvick told NBC Sports.

The three most crucial parameters in determining the severity of a crash are:

  • How much kinetic energy the car carries
  • How long the collision takes
  • The angle at which the car hits


The last of these factors requires trigonometry to explain properly. You can probably intuit, however, that a shallower hit is preferable to a head-on — or rear-on — hit.

A graphic show shallower (low-angle) hits and deeper (high-angle) hits
Click for a larger view

When the angle between the car and the wall is small, most of the driver’s momentum starts and remains in the direction parallel to the wall. The car experiences a small change in velocity.

The larger the angle, the larger the change in perpendicular speed and the more force experienced. NASCAR has noted that more crashes this season have had greater angles than in the past.

Busch and Bowman both had pretty large-angle hits, so we’ll skip the trig.

Energy — in pounds of TNT

A car’s kinetic energy depends on how much it weighs and how fast it’s going. But the relationship between kinetic energy and speed is not linear: It’s quadratic. That means going twice as fast gives you four times more kinetic energy.

The graph shows the kinetic energies of different kinds of race cars at different speeds. To give you an idea of how much energy we’re talking about, I expressed the kinetic energy in terms of equivalent pounds of TNT.

A vertical bar graph showing kinetic energies for different types of racecars and their energies

  • A Next Gen car going 180 mph has the same kinetic energy as is stored in almost three pounds of TNT.
  • Because IndyCars are about half the weight of NASCAR’s Next Gen car, an IndyCar has about half the kinetic energy of a Next Gen car when both travel at the same speed.
  • At 330 mph, Top Fuel drag racers carry the equivalent of six pounds of TNT in kinetic energy.

All of a car’s kinetic energy must be transformed to other types of energy when the car slows or stops. NASCAR states that more crashes are occurring at higher closing speeds, which means more kinetic energy.

Longer collisions > shorter collisions

That seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Who wants to be in a crash any longer than necessary?

But the longer a collision takes, the more time there is to transform kinetic energy.

A pitting car starts slowing down well below it reaches its pit box. The car’s kinetic energy is transformed into heat energy (brakes and rotors warming), light energy (glowing rotors), and even sound energy (tires squealing).

The same amount of kinetic energy must be transformed in a collision — but much faster. In addition to heat, light and sound, energy is transformed via the car spinning and parts deforming or breaking. (This video about Michael McDowell’s 2008 Texas qualifying crash goes into more detail.)

The force a collision produces depends on how long the car takes to stop. Compare the force from your seat belt when you slow down at a stop sign to what you feel if you have to suddenly slam on the brakes.

To give you an idea of how fast collisions can be, the initial wall impact in the crash that killed Dale Earnhardt Sr. lasted only eight-hundredths (0.08) of a second.

SAFER barriers use a car’s kinetic energy to move a heavy steel wall and crush pieces of energy-absorbing foam. That extracts energy from the car, plus the barrier extends the collision time.

The disadvantage is that a car with lower kinetic energy won’t move the barrier. Then it’s just like running into a solid wall.

That’s the same problem the Next Gen car seems to have.

Chassis stiffness: A Goldilocks problem

The Next Gen chassis is a five-piece, bolt-together car skeleton, as shown below.

A graphic showing the five parts of the Next Gen chassis.
Graphic courtesy of NASCAR. Click to enlarge.
The foam surrounding the outside of the rear bumper
The purple is energy-absorbing foam. Graphic courtesy of NASCAR. Click for a larger view.

That graphic doesn’t show another important safety feature: the energy absorbing foam that covers the outside of the bumpers. It’s purple in the next diagram.

All cars are designed so that the strongest part of the car surrounds the occupants. Race cars are no different.

The center section of the Next Gen chassis is made from stout steel tubing and sheet metal. Components become progressively weaker as you move away from the cockpit. The bumper, for example, is made of aluminum alloy rather than steel. The goal is transforming all the kinetic energy before it reaches the driver.

Because the Next Gen car issues are with rear impacts, I’ve expanded and highlighted the last two pieces of the chassis.

The rear clip and bumper, with the fuel cell and struts shaded

The bumper and the rear clip don’t break easily enough. The rear ends of Gen-6 cars were much more damaged than the Next Gen car after similar impacts.

If your initial thought is “Just weaken the struts,” you’ve got good instincts. However, there are two challenges.

I highlighted the first one in red: the fuel cell. About the only thing worse than a hard collision is a hard collision and a fire.

The other challenge is that a chassis is a holistic structure: It’s not like each piece does one thing independent of all the other pieces. Changing one element to help soften rear collisions might make other types of collisions harder.

Chassis are so complex that engineers must use finite-element-analysis computer programs to predict their behavior. These programs are analogous to (and just as complicated as) the computational fluid dynamics programs aerodynamicists use.

Progress takes time

An under-discussed complication was noted by John Patalak, managing director of safety engineering for NASCAR. He told NBC Sports’ Dustin Long in July that he was surprised by the rear-end crash stiffness.

The Next Gen car’s crash data looked similar to that from the Gen-6 car, but the data didn’t match the drivers’ experiences. Before addressing the car, his team had to understand the disparity in the two sets of data.

They performed a real-world crash test on a new configuration Wednesday. These tests are complex and expensive: You don’t do them until you’re pretty confident what you’ve changed will make a significant difference.

But even if the test goes exactly as predicted, they aren’t done.

Safety is a moving target.

And always will be.

NASCAR weekend schedule for Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval


NASCAR Cup Series drivers race on the road for the final time this season Sunday, as the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval course ends the playoffs’ Round of 12.

The 17-turn, 2.28-mile course incorporating the CMS oval and infield will determine the eight drivers who will advance to the next round of the playoffs. Chase Elliott won last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and is the only driver who has qualified for a spot in the Round of 8.

Entering Sunday’s race, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman are below the playoff cutline. Bowman will not qualify for the next round because he is sidelined by concussion-like symptoms.

The race (2 p.m ET) will be broadcast by NBC.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Cup and Xfinity)

Weekend weather

Friday: Sunny. High of 81 with a 6% chance of rain.

Saturday: Mixed clouds and sun. High of 67 with a 3% chance of rain.

Sunday: Sunny. High of 68 with a 3% chance of rain.

Friday, Oct. 7

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 12 – 5 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Saturday, Oct. 8

Garage open

  • 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 8:30 a.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:30 a.m. — Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying (NBC Sports App)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Cup practice (NBC Sports App, USA Network coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
  • 1 – 2 p.m. — Cup qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3 p.m. — Xfinity race (67 laps, 155.44 miles; NBC, Peacock, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 9

Garage open

  • 11 a.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 2 p.m. — Cup race (109 laps, 252.88 miles; NBC, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Rodney Childers fined $100,000, suspended for four races


NASCAR has suspended Rodney Childers, Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, for four races and fined him $100,000 for what the sanctioning body called modification of a part supplied by a vendor.

Harvick, who is out of the Cup Series playoffs, and the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team were docked 100 points.

Harvick’s car and that of Martin Truex Jr. were taken to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. after last Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. There were no penalties assessed to the Truex team.

Harvick has been particularly critical of the Next Gen car in recent months, once referring to the “crappy-ass parts” provided by suppliers.

Harvick’s car erupted in flames during the Southern 500 Sept. 4 at Darlington Raceway. After he climbed from the smoking car, Harvick blamed the fire on “just crappy parts on the race car like we’ve seen so many times. They haven’t fixed anything. It’s kind of like the safety stuff. We just let it keep going and keep going.

“The car started burning and as it burned the flames started coming through the dash. I ran a couple laps and then as the flame got bigger it started burning stuff up and I think right there you see all the brake fluid that was probably coming out the brakes and part of the brake line, but the fire was coming through the dash.

“What a disaster for no reason. We didn’t touch the wall. We didn’t touch a car, and here we are in the pits with a burned-up car, and we can’t finish the race during the playoffs because of crappy-ass parts.”

MORE: AJ Allmendinger to return to Cup Series in 2023

Unless the team appeals, Childers would miss races at Charlotte, Las Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville and would return for the season finale at Phoenix.

NASCAR president Steve Phelps told the Associated Press that officials have not targeted Harvick. “I would say that’s ridiculous,” he said. “No one has a vendetta against Kevin Harvick or Rodney or anyone at Stewart-Haas Racing.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Harvick tweeted, “Seems strange…” A Childers tweet called the penalty “Shocker…..”.

NASCAR also announced Wednesday it has suspended Young’s Motorsports crew chief Andrew Abbott indefinitely for a behavioral violation during pre-race inspection. He must undergo anger-management training to be reinstated. The team races in the Camping World Truck Series.