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.”

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.