What drivers said after Michigan race

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Drivers had plenty to say after Sunday’s race on how the race went for them and what they thought of the new aero package.

Joey Logano — Winner: “What a great race car. What a fun race, racing with Chase (Elliott) and Kyle Larson. It is fun to see the young guys up there racing. I am not alone up there as a young guy anymore. (On aero package) It was not good in traffic and not really good by myself either. The cars didn’t have much grip and there was a lot of sliding around. Catching the traffic at the right time and knowing which lanes work best for you and understanding the cars that you are racing. We had plenty of opportunity to see what others cars were good on restarts, and you kind of keep that mental notebook as you go.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 2nd: “I had another fantastic car.  My guys have been doing a really good job the past few weeks, and we’ve been just trying to give it all we can get to get one of these things. Had another fantastic opportunity today, and I feel like definitely messed that one up for my guys. You can’t do dumb stuff and expect to win. That’s just the way life is. (What was your mistake) Just putting it in the correct gear would be a good start.’’

KYLE LARSON — Finished 3rd: “It was a solid run for us.  We’ve been consistent as we’ve been in the last year and a half anyways, so it’s nice to be running up front and getting closer to a win I feel like.  Still got some work to do, but it is nice when we can get a package like this thrown at us just a few weeks before the race, and our guys at the shop and here at the racetrack can look at engineering data and come up with a good piece.  Thanks to them, and hopefully we can build on this and try and get a win in my home state (Sonoma, California is the next race in two weeks).’’

Brad Keselowski — Finished 4th: “I am not sure the new package was everything we wanted it to be, but it is a step in the right direction as far as putting the drivers in control of the racing but not in reducing the aero stuff we wanted. I guess we have to think about it a little. I think it is important to remember that these race cars have three dimensions to them. They have downforce, sideforce and drag, and this is only a downforce reduction. It is a big chunk, but I think we probably should think about the sideforce now a little bit because that hasn’t been tuned down at all. A lot of smart people will go back to the board and try to learn from today. I think it is an improvement but not the step we were looking for.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 5th: “I got loose on the restart where we restarted third. We were able to overcome some missed-timed cautions again. It seems like the weekend of cautions; that’s what got us in our starting spot, anyway. But all-in-all, everybody kept their heads up and kept digging, and we got a good finish out of it.”

Carl Edwards — Finished 6th: “Man, I was hoping for a caution there at the end and we got it. Then I had a pretty ugly restart. It’s tough out there today and the restarts were really tough. Once the cars got strung out a little bit, we were a little bit free in spots, but overall the guys did a great job. (On the aero package) “This is a work in progress. I applaud NASCAR for taking downforce away and the speeds are still so high because the surface is good and the Goodyear tires are good and everybody is working hard on their cars. They just keep working in this direction and we’re going to keep having better and better races. Those restarts, as crazy as they were, they were actually kind of fun.”

Tony Stewart — Finished 7th: “I am tickled to death with these guys. That is the kind of weekend I’ve been looking for all year out of this group. Today is proof that we can do it. I would rather have this than win a race and run 15th to 20th the next week. From start to finish all weekend it’s been solid, and that is what we are looking for right now. (On aero package) “I love it. I absolutely love it. The package is good. The aero package is starting to catch up now. The whole equation to this to make it all where everybody wants it to be are tires and aero. Up to this point Goodyear has been way ahead of NASCAR. NASCAR is finally catching up. So, now we are getting the split between the two groups closed up. The good thing is Goodyear is primed and ready to do all the stuff they need to do. They have been waiting on NASCAR. It’s coming around. It may not be perfect yet, but it is more than definitely going in the right direction for sure.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 8th: “We are a little disappointed we thought we had enough speed to have a shot to win. Obviously, it wasn’t all there, but never really got track position we needed. I thought that first restart was good, and we got to running fifth there, but the caution came out when we had pitted and we did not get in front of Jimmie (Johnson) before the caution came out, so that hurt us. But, I’m proud of my guys they made some good adjustments to get us back in the game. I don’t know what people thought of the package, but it was pretty hard to pass because you were really free. I kind of had that feeling. Everybody has wanted to go that way, but there is only so far, and we are not all Superman out there, so downforce is king.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 12th: “It just wasn’t our day, a tough one for sure. Leading and having a spin out like that with a lapped car definitely hurt our chances. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Clint and I talked after the race and there were no hard feelings. Just one of those racing deals.”

Kasey Kahne — Finished 13th: “It was a tough day. It was tough to restart. I mean I restarted between 15th and 24th all day long. Everybody is aggressive and moving around. It’s pretty wild, pretty tough, but our car was decent at times. It was really good at times and then other times I couldn’t figure it out.  It was a tough race. (On aero package) “You just have a lot of driving to do. I don’t think my car was as good as some. When my car was good there were runs where it felt really good and I really enjoyed it. I thought you had to drive it and I thought you could still find speed and move around.  When my car wasn’t as good on entry I was struggling. That would have been the same as any other three or four packages we have had at Michigan in the last couple of years.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 15th “That was a long day. The thing was sliding around like crazy. It was a tough race, and track position was huge. I had my hands full, that is for sure. We got a decent 15th-place finish out of it, but we didn’t run there all day, so we have some work to do for next time.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 17th: “I didn’t even get loose with someone to my outside. (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) just came across my nose super fast and it completely took all the traction off my car and I slid all the way to the fence. It was the damnedest thing. That’s never happened to me before.”

Danica Patrick — Finished 21st: “We had an OK day. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t awful either. We’ll take the off-weekend to recharge and dig deep to try and do better moving forward.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 24th: “The car had speed throughout most of the race and I was able to race inside the top 20. We gained a lot of positions on the restarts, which are important to capitalize on at tracks like Michigan. We probably could have been a little better on pit road with a few stops in the middle of the race and in the end, it probably would have helped to take fresh tires during the last caution, but hindsight is always 20-20. This biggest plus from today was we stayed out of trouble, kept the car clean and finished on the lead lap.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. — Finished 29th: “We blew a tire there at the end. Our day wasn’t great. It went OK. We got good track position and stayed up there all day, it was just bad luck there at the end getting a flat because we didn’t get the finish that we deserved. I thought this was a better race package though. Everyone was running closer, which makes for better racing, so I think it was good.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 33rd: “There was no smoke inside the car and usually if you’re going to have a cut tire there’s going to be smoke at some point. Everything looked all clear and for it to go that long before it cut – I don’t know if it’s that or we ran over something that cut. Had a top-three car all day, just restarts were awful and couldn’t get through (turn) one without losing eight spots on every restart. Just a tough day, but still proud of the effort and the speed that we had. (On the aero package) “I think it’s a good package. I think it definitely could be tweaked a little bit. I think that this thing is biased a little more off the rear than the front is so either take some more front off – that would be my guess is to take a little more front downforce away, but I think overall we’ve got something good here that is fun. Track position is a bear out there, every driver is going to talk about that, but it’s not because of the wake I think. There’s something with this left side tire that is very, very hard that makes it difficult and the tires aren’t slowing up as much as we’ve seen in the past so I think those two combinations is making it tough to pass.”

A.J. Allmendinger — Finished 38th: “I think (Dale Earnhardt) Junior got hit, and I was on the outside of him, and that was it. It was kind of weird back there. I’m not really sure what kind of car we had. I thought in clean air we weren’t too bad, but I guess a lot of people could say that. Just not a lot of fun racing there.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Finished 39th: “We were in the middle there and the No. 34 (Chris Buescher) ran into the left-rear quarter panel and knocked us in the fence. He must have just lost the nose of his car. I hate it, but you try to take care of each other out there. We all try to race hard and I wish he would have taken better care of us. We had good speed, we just needed to continue to work on getting our track position and we were doing that.

Kyle Busch — Finished 40th: “At least I had a 30-lap warning that it was coming. It had been shaking pretty bad and going south for a while and it had been building its own heat. It’s unfortunate, not just today, but man the last four races have been really, really bad. It’s a good thing we started off the season as good as we did with a lot of top-fives and we had three wins so it got us a good start and a good foundation, but we have to get this luck turned around and get going in the right direction and get ourselves back to where we feel we need to be.”


NASCAR Saturday schedule at Sonoma Raceway


Cup and Xfinity teams will be on track Saturday at Sonoma Raceway.

Cup teams will practice and qualify for Sunday’s race. Xfinity teams will qualify and race Saturday on the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California.

Sonoma Raceway


Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 75 degrees. Forecast is for mostly cloudy skies, a high of 71 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race.

Saturday, June 10

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 3 – 4 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 5 – 6 p.m. — Cup practice  (FS2)
  • 6 – 7 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS2)
  • 8 p.m. — Xfinity race (79 laps, 156.95 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Alpha Prime Racing’s road woes don’t keep team from competing


SONOMA, Calif. — Alpha Prime Racing owner Tommy Joe Martins laughs. He can. His Xfinity Series cars all are here at Sonoma Raceway.

At one point last week, it was not certain if his team’s cars would make it to Portland International Raceway.

“It was probably the toughest professional week I’ve had of my NASCAR career,” Martins told NBC Sports on Friday at Sonoma.

MORE: Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma

The Alpha Prime Racing team had both its trucks break down and one of its haulers have mechanical issues last week on the way to the Pacific Northwest.

“We basically sent four pieces of equipment on the road and three of them broke,” Martins said.

For a time, the car Sage Karam is driving this weekend at Sonoma was left in a hauler in Kansas City because there wasn’t room in the dually Martins sent. It had room only for the car that was needed at Portland and other equipment. Karam’s car, which was to be a backup at Portland, was left behind.

“It’s a very helpless feeling when you feel like your stuff is stuck on the side of the road,” Martins said.

He still has one truck still in St. Louis and another in Oregon. Martins estimates the mechanical issues will cost his team about $50,000 when everything is totaled.

Trouble started well before the team left its Mooresville, North Carolina, race shop for Portland.

The Xfinity Series race at Charlotte was scheduled to run May 27. Rain forced that event to be rescheduled to May 29. Martins said the team had planned to send its trucks to Portland on May 28. With the race pushed back to the 29th, the travel schedule tightened.

It got worse.

After the Xfinity race started, rain came. With the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for 3 p.m. ET that day – after being delayed by rain from Sunday – the rest of the Xfinity race was pushed back until after the 600. That further tightened the window on Xfinity teams to make it to Portland.

The Xfinity race ended around 11:30 p.m. ET on May 29. Alpha Prime Racing’s haulers left the shop around 6 a.m. ET on May 30.

The two trucks traveled together until issues in St. Louis.

The truck hauling the Nos. 44 and 45 cars had engine issues in St. Louis. The other truck kept going until it had mechanical issues with its hauler in Kansas City. The air bags on the hauler failed.

So, Alpha Prime Racing had a truck that worked in Kansas City with a hauler that didn’t and a truck that didn’t work in St. Louis with a hauler that did.

The truck in Kansas City went back to St. Louis to attach to the hauler and take those cars and equipment to Portland. Martins then had to find something to haul the stranded equipment in Kansas City and a driver. He eventually did. A dually left North Carolina for Kansas City. Once there, what fit in the dually was taken to Portland and what didn’t, including Karam’s Sonoma car stayed behind.

Yet, more trouble was headed for Martins and his team.

The truck that had gone back from Kansas City to St. Louis to take hauler that worked then broke down about 200 miles from Portland.

“I laugh knowing that we’re on the other side of it,” Martins said Friday of all the issues his team had transporting cars and equipment across the country.

“We’ve started to make plans and corrections for it not happening again,” he said.

That hauler that was left in Kansas City? It was repaired and transported to Sonoma, arriving earlier this week.

“Our guys are troopers,” Martins said. “Both of our (truck) drivers were just awesome about the whole thing. … They went through hell week as far as driving somewhere, fly back and pick something up, drive again and now are going to have to do the same thing getting back.”

When the garage opened Friday at Sonoma, Alpha Prime Racing had all its cars.

“I don’t think we had any major issues here, so that was good,” Martins said.

The focus is back on the track. Karam was 24th on the speed chart in Friday’s practice, leading Alpha Prime Racing’s effort. Dylan Lupton was 32nd. Jeffrey Earnhardt was last among 41 cars.

After Saturday night’s race, the team heads back to North Carolina for a well-earned weekend off.

Kyle Larson leads Xfinity practice at Sonoma


SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Xfinity Series practice at Sonoma Raceway.

This is the first time the series has raced at the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California. Teams got 50 minutes of practice Friday.

Larson led the way with a lap of 90.392 mph. He was more than a second faster than the rest of the field.

MORE: Xfinity practice results Sonoma

Sheldon Creed was second on the speed chart with a lap of 89.066 mph. He was followed by AJ Allmendinger (89.052 mph), Cole Custer (89.020) and Ty Gibbs (88.989).

Larson, Allmendinger and Gibbs are among seven Cup drivers are entered in the Xfinity race. Aric Almirola was seventh on the speed chart with a lap of 88.750 mph. Ross Chastain was ninth with a lap of 88.625 mph. Daniel Suarez was 16th with a lap of 88.300 mph. Ty Dillon was 33rd with a lap of 86.828 mph.

Anthony Alfredo will go to a backup car after a crash in practice. He was uninjured in the incident that damaged the right side of his car.

Qualifying is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET Saturday. The race is scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday.

Anthony Alfredo’s car after a crash in Xfinity practice Friday at Sonoma Raceway. He was uninjured. (Photo: Dustin Long)

Saturday Sonoma Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


The Xfinity Series will compete for the first time at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. This is one of eight road course events on the Xfinity schedule this season.

Seven Cup drivers are scheduled to compete in Saturday’s race, including AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez, who won last year’s Cup race at this track Allmendinger has won 11 of 25 career road course starts in the Xfinity Series.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Golden State Warrior Patrick Baldwin Jr. will give the command to start engines at 8:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:20 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 1 p.m. … Qualifying begins at 3 p.m. … Driver introductions begin at 7:35 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Earl Smith, team pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, at 8 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by 9-year-old Isis Mikayle Castillo at 8:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 79 laps (156.95 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 20. Stage 2 ends at Lap 45.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 3 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 8 p.m. ... Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. and can be heard on goprn.com. … SiriusXN NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mostly cloudy with a high of 72 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: This is the first time the Xfinity Series has raced at Sonoma.