What drivers said after New Hampshire race

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Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth — Winner: “This has never been one of my good tracks, but Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) has a great setup here and I have great teammates. Certainly when I first got here, Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) taught me a lot about this place that I applied every lap today. Just fortunate guy to be driving this thing, when they drive this good it definitely makes my job a lot easier.”

Tony Stewart — Finished 2nd: “I feel like we are getting better each week now. (Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief) is doing a great job on the box. You can see the confidence not only in him, but all the guys on the team. Our Chevy’s are fast right now.  I feel like we are gaining on it. What we said, I don’t know when we said it, we were talking about you crawl before you walk, walk before you run, run before you jog and job before you sprint. We are definitely running right now. I feel like we are getting pretty close to this sprint at the end.”

Joey Logano — Finished 3rd: “We were awful to start the race. We tried some new things thinking that we needed to get better here. This is a track that we’ve been a second‑ to fifth‑place car here the last five races, so we tried something different, and we went from sixth to 20th or so pretty quick early in the race, almost went down a lap, and we aborted that mission in the middle of the race and went back to what we normally do. We got our car to be an eighth‑ to 10th‑place car, so we started picking them off slowly one at a time.’’

Kevin Harvick – Finished 4th: “I’m disgusted to tell you the truth. It’s the same thing every week. We just make mistake after mistake and until we clean that up we don’t have a chance to win races putting ourselves in a hole every time we make a mistake. It sucks because the cars are plenty fast, but we are just not executing.”

Greg Biffle – Finished 5th: “It was a great run with (Kyle Busch) there toward the end. We finally had a chance to race with those guys a little bit. We are still working hard on these cars to get them faster. There was a lot of attrition there at the end that got us in the top-five but once we got up there we were pretty fair racing with the 18, 4 and 22.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 6th: “We had good pit stops and had good restarts. You have to have all that here. The race kind of drew out for a little while and we had long green flag runs.  Then in the last 40 laps we were just crazy on all those restarts. It seemed like on some of them you wanted to be on the top, some of them you wanted to be on the bottom. The guy in second is at such a disadvantage on those restarts, especially when you start spinning the tires. So, a really solid day for us today.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 7th: “They checked up in front of me and I got (Carl Edwards) and crossed him up and took about three other guys out. But, that was ‘racing’ I guess, from my standpoint. Maybe they see it that way. Maybe they don’t. But, just let them know it wasn’t on purpose. We had about maybe a 15th-place car and to finish where we did was definitely good.”

KYLE BUSCH — Finished 8th: “Our Interstate Batteries Camry was fast today. We just didn’t need all of those cautions at the end. The car was strong on a long run. We still seemed to battle the balance and just kept going loose and tight at different points on the track. Given how much we led we are a little disappointed with eighth, but we’ll take it and look to Indy next weekend.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finshed 10th: “All weekend we definitely didn’t think we had a top-10 car. We fought hard though. Everybody on this Fastenal team worked really hard and we caught some breaks at the right time and the right lane on restarts at the right times. We made it work. I think that we have some more to work on, and I think we know where we can make up some time. We will come back and hopefully be a little bit better next time.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 11th: “I am disappointed in myself. We had a really good Fusion there about halfway through the race and sped on pit road during our green flag stop and that set us back a lot. Luckily we were able to get a wave-around and it worked out. We just kept missing wrecks and got lucky on that caution at the end to salvage a decent day. I messed up for two weeks in a row and that is unacceptable. I have to clean up my act for upcoming races.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 12th: “It was a tough day. We had a fifth-to-eighth place Lowe’s Chevy and I just messed up sliding through my pit. That was disappointing, for sure.”

Brad Keselowski, – Finished 15th: “We were probably a fourth or fifth place car all day today. We were solid right up there. There at the end there was a restart and some guys got jumbled up in front of us and we were in the middle of three and got squeezed. We bounced off (Kurt Busch) and got hit by (Joey Logano) and cut down a tire and had to come in. We got back up to 15th, which I guess all things considered isn’t too bad.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 16th: “A lot of positives we can take out of today. I think looking forward to the Chase and what we’re trying to do with this team, this is a big relief to come here and be able to run well. We knew this was one of our tough tracks and if we could come here and get through here good in September then we’ll be set up to start pretty good in the Chase. All in all, total team effort and the pit crew was great today, the best they’ve been all year by far. We’re doing everything right, but we’re taking some on the chin here, but this isn’t when it counts so we’ll just keep our heads up and keep working. Our race cars are fast and everyone is doing a great job. Sooner or later we’ll get everything straight.”

Trevor Bayne — Finished 23rd: “This wasn’t the finish we were looking for. We fought hard all race long but just got shuffled out there on that last restart. I’m proud of the effort my guys on this AdvoCare Ford gave this weekend and we’ll look ahead to Indy and see what we can do there.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 26th: “I can’t thank Hendrick Motorsports and all these guys enough. They took me to my worst race track by far and made me look good. I just have to thank Mr. H. I had such an amazing time. Everybody, Greg (Ives, crew chief) and all the guys were so welcoming. I hate the circumstances and really hope Dale is feeling well, but I had so much fun today. Obviously, I hate that we didn’t get the finish we deserve.”

AJ Allmendinger to return to NASCAR Cup Series

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AJ Allmendinger is getting another shot at success in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday that Allmendinger, currently chasing the Xfinity Series championship, will drive full-time in Kaulig entries in the Cup Series next season.

Allmendinger raced in Cup from 2007 to 2018 but won only one time — at Watkins Glen International — across those years. He moved to the Xfinity Series part-time with Kaulig in 2019, winning on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He won twice in 2020 and five times in 2021 and is a favorite to win the Xfinity championship this year. He has won four Xfinity races this season, including last Sunday at Talladega.

Allmendinger, 40, will drive Kaulig’s No. 16 car in Cup next year. Justin Haley will drive the team’s No. 31.

Chandler Smith will replace Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series next year.

“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans get tired of me talking about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a race team. This is a huge family.

“There will be tough times and growing pains, for sure. But I love what they’re about, and they believe in me. I’ll be OK whether it’s good or bad.”

Team owner Matt Kaulig said Allmendinger is “one of the best in the world at every type of track. He’s done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a gigantic part of what we’re building.”

Team officials said Allmendinger has a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

NASCAR viewer’s guide for Charlotte Roval

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Sunday provides a final chance for drivers to advance to the Round of 8 and keep their Cup championship hopes alive.

Talladega winner Chase Elliott is the only driver who has advanced to the next round. That leaves seven spots available going into Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Chase Briscoe holds the final transfer spot by a tiebreaker over Austin Cindric. At least for now.

William Byron is 11 points behind both drivers, but Hendrick Motorsports will appeal Byron’s 25-point penalty from Texas on Thursday. Should Hendrick win and Byron get those points back, he would move into a transfer spot.

There’s just part of what to watch for in Sunday’s race.

Favorites to be No. 20

This season remains tied for the most different winners in series history at 19, but there are a few candidates who could become the 20th different winner this year on Sunday.

Among the favorites to do so:

Ryan Blaney, who came close to winning last week at Talladega, won the inaugural Cup race at the Roval in 2018.

Martin Truex Jr., who has four career Cup wins on road courses, still seeks his first victory of the season.

Michael McDowell, who is coming off a third-place finish at Talladega, has had a career-high 12 top-10 finishes this season, including top 10s in each of the last four road course events this year.

Will history repeat?

Last year, the four drivers eliminated after the Roval were Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and William Byron.

Harvick was eliminated in the first round this year, but Byron (-11 to the cutline) and Bell (-33) are in jeopardy of being eliminated in this round again. Bowman stated Tuesday that he will miss his second consecutive race because of continued concussion symptoms. He will be among the four eliminated from title contention.

Bowman missed last weekend’s race because of concussion-like symptoms suffered at Texas. A decision on if he’ll be able to race at the Roval will come later this week.

Will chaos continue?

Consider what some of the former Roval winners have endured on their way to the checkered flag:

In 2019, Chase Elliott drove into the Turn 1 wall on a restart while the leader. He recovered to win.

In 2020, Elliott overcame a loose wheel to win for the second year in a row.

In 2021, Kyle Larson won after his team changed batteries and put the alternator belt back on.

Could a similar fate be in store for this year’s winner? Or will they have a cleaner day?

Entry lists

Thirty-nine drivers are entered including IndyCar driver Conor Daly, former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former 24 Hours of Daytona winner Joey Hand. JJ Yeley will drive the No. 51 for Cody Ware, who stated that he would skip this event because of his ankle injury at Texas the footwork needed on a road course.

Charlotte Roval Cup entry list

The Xfinity entry list includes 41 drivers for 38 spots. Among those joining the series regulars are IndyCar driver Marco Andretti and former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat.

Charlotte Roval Xfinity entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Saturday, Oct. 8

Forecast: Partly cloudy with a high of 66 degrees. No chance of rain during the Xfinity race.

  • 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

Forecast: Sunny with a high of 64 degrees. No chance of rain during the race.

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

 

Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

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Hailie Deegan announced Tuesday that she will make her Xfinity Series debut Oct. 15 Las Vegas Motor Speedway on NBC and Peacock.

The 21-year-old Deegan is in her second full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series. She finished a career-high sixth in that series last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

She will drive the No. 07 car for SS Green Light Racing with Jeff Lefcourt.

 

 

Alex Bowman to miss Charlotte Roval race

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Alex Bowman announced Tuesday night on social media that he will sit out this weekend’s Cup playoff race at the Charlotte Roval.

Bowman said on social media: “I am continuing to make strides in my recovery to make sure I can return to competition at 100%.”

This will be the second consecutive race he will have missed because of concussion-like symptoms after his crash at Texas Motor Speedway.

Noah Gragson will drive the No. 48 car this weekend for Bowman.

“Alex’s health is our first priority,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports, in a statement. “We’re focused on supporting his recovery and seeing him back in his race car when the time is right. Alex has a long career ahead of him, so we will invest the necessary time and take our guidance from medical experts. We’re putting no pressure on him to return before he’s 100% ready.”

Bowman will be one of the four drivers eliminated from title contention Sunday.

Also Tuesday, Cody Ware announced that he will sit out this weekend’s Cup race at the Charlotte Roval, as he continues to recover from the ankle injury he suffered at Texas.