What drivers said after second race of Chase at New Hampshire


Here’s what drivers had to say after the second race of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, Sunday’s Bad Boy Off Road 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

Kevin Harvick – winner: “Man, that worked out really good. The car was pretty good on the restarts. Once we got clean air there at the end, it wound up being really good up front. I’m just really proud of our team. They did a great job. … (Not needing to worry about winning next week at Dover) it’s definitely going to be nice. One of our main goals this year was to not stretch ourselves out so bad. I feel like the performance of the car and the things that we’re doing are good enough to be competitive, and we just need to not make mistakes and go from there.”

Matt Kenseth – finished second: “We were pretty good today. These guys did a good job. … (As for Dover) you always want to win. I thought we had a top-two or three car today, but we didn’t win. They put me in position to do that, and I let them down there so I feel bad about that. We ran good last week, and we ran decent today too so we’ll just go to Dover and try to race them there.” 

Kyle Busch – finished third: “If it wasn’t for those last couple of cautions, I thought maybe we had an opportunity to chase those guys down under green and pass them for the win. It wasn’t meant to be. … We made the most of it at least at the end and didn’t lose spots. We were able to maintain our position and come out of here with a decent day. Excited about the opportunity to finish third and having a good points cushion. You can’t take any of that for granted. You have to focus on what’s ahead and the big picture and the task at hand, which is to have another good, solid week next week at Dover.”

Brad Keselowski – finished fourth: “It was just a really great finish to kind of just a so-so day. It takes a team effort to do that as well, and that’s part of this sport, and my guys did a great job. … We weren’t near as fast as we wanted to be, but great execution on pit road, great execution with the pit calls and then the last few restarts went our way with being in the right lane on the restarts, which is so, so important on these double-file restarts, but also just staying out of trouble. We’re not as fast as we want to be. We almost went a lap down at one point, but we kept our head down and got through it.”

Kurt Busch – finished fifth: “We had everything thrown at us, even the kitchen sink at one point. I feel like the way that this team and everybody felt like we needed to have a solid finish, but you just can’t ask for it. It felt like we were up against the odds, and then the car ran great. Really proud of the overnight adjustments and what we did better this time around than when we raced here last time was restarts.  I think that showed that Stewart-Haas Racing, we went to work on that. Kevin (Harvick) got the win today, real happy for him, and we got a great top five.”

Carl Edwards – finished sixth: “I’m really happy to be sixth. I’m frustrated obviously because I felt like we should have been better, but at the end of the day, there for a minute it looked really bad. There was one point when people were smoking in front of us, and I thought we were going to get caught up in a wreck in the back of the pack. I’m happy with the result. We just have to keep moving forward. This is a constant push to make it to the next round, and I didn’t quit, and I’m proud of that. … I feel pretty good about Dover. Anything can happen, but there’s no better race for us to be a cutoff race. That’s a good track for me and for this team.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished seventh: “Final restart was not good for us. Final two really weren’t. You know, we’d raced with Matt (Kenseth) so hard for the lead there for such a long time that I just kind of burned my tires up and then really had trouble getting going on those last two restarts, lost a few spots. It was unfortunate to have a car that good all day long and then come home seventh, but all in all, it was a fun day. We led a lot of laps, and the team did a great job all weekend, so it was another good weekend for us, and we’ll go on to Dover and see if we can’t finish the deal off there.”

Jimmie Johnson – finished eighth: “The second half of the race, there was one run we were off and lost some track position and had to rally back from that. Those quick cautions at the end, if you were on tires you were ‘Superman,’ if you weren’t on tires, you were getting run over. It was just a chaotic close to the race. I’m glad to finish in the top 10 with this Lowe’s Chevrolet, and we will go on to Dover.”

Kyle Larson – finished 10th: “(It was) better than where I have been here the last couple of years, so that is good. Just a solid, consistent day, we got off there halfway through the race and lost some track position. We were good on just short runs, then would be bad in the middle of the run and then I would be pretty decent again there at the end of the run. We took two tires there late and needed it to go green. I probably would have finished seventh or eighth. We had some cautions there and was just able to kind of hold on for 10th.”

Joey Logano – finished 11th: “I’m proud of the ‘never quit’ attitude. We’re resilient. We just need to start a little bit faster. We can’t lose that many spots at the beginning of the race and expect to battle back every time. We did what we had to do. We almost got a top 10 out of something that we ran around 20th all day, so at least we got something out of it. We just need to go faster than that.”

Jeremy Bullins, crew chief for Ryan Blaney – finished 12: “We learned some things with our last couple of adjustments that woke our car up and got us going a little bit. Ryan and the team kept digging all day, and to walk away with another good finish is something we can be proud of. We have a lot of positive things happening right now and need to take advantage of them the next eight weeks.”

Chase Elliott – finished 13th: “I had a good car, and the cautions didn’t fall our way. … (On Dover) I feel like it’s a upcoming race, and we need to do a better job.”

Mike Wheeler, crew chief for Denny Hamlin, finished 15th: “The race was a little more eventful than we were hoping for. Ended up having a pretty good car there toward the end about that last 100 laps or so. Unfortunately, we had a pit road penalty – two stops in the end that got us really far behind and just got kind of shuffled out of the mix on a couple restarts and finished about five to 10 spots worse than we should have but still alive. … (Now on to Dover) Hit the restart button and try again. Dover is a decent track for Denny. He hasn’t had a win there yet but has had some good runs, and hopefully we can have another good run there.”

Austin Dillon – finished 16th: “Truthfully, that was a heck of a fight, and we are only five points out going into Dover, and we struggled all week long. We fought hard. I never gave in, never gave up, our team never gave up. They did a heck of a pit stop there to put us in a (free pass) position, just to gain us some more points. A bunch of them guys are just right there. Now we go to Dover, and we’ve given ourselves a shot. We’ve just got to go run good there; got something new that we think is going to help us there. I’m looking forward to it. Just a whale of a fight by the guys.”

Danica Patrick – finished 18th: “We definitely didn’t need that final caution. We had a really strong run going before it came out, but it is what it is. My Nature’s Bakery team did a great job on pit road all day and helped make the car better as the race progressed.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – finished 24th: “We struggled this weekend. At times our Fastenal Ford handled great but we just lacked speed. It’s definitely not the performance we wanted but we will go back and look at everything and bring something different next year. We need to take the next eight races and build off them going into the off season.”

Chris Buescher – finished 30th: “We’re just trying to get speed out of all of our cars. It was a tough day. We tried really hard with our Love’s Fusion. We put a lot of effort into it and we’ll just keep digging and trying to get it better.  We just have to keep plugging along. … That’s pretty much our situation (must win at Dover).. Dover is a really good race track.  I like that place a lot. We had a good finish for us there earlier this season, so we’ll go there and see what we can do to get a win and try to move on to the second round of the Chase.”

Trevor Bayne – finished 38th: “I thought I had a tire go down. I don’t know what else it could have been. I hadn’t been loose into (Turn 3) all day, and all of a sudden, it just jumped out. We had some right-side damage on that run. I don’t know at this point. The right rear looks up, but it just got really loose in, and I backed it into the wall. It was a hard hit.”

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North Wilkesboro’s worn surface will prove challenging to drivers


NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — Three Cup drivers got their first chance to experience North Wilkesboro Speedway’s worn racing surface Tuesday and said tires will play a key role in the NASCAR All-Star Race there on May 21.

Chris Buescher, Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick took part in a Goodyear tire test Tuesday. That test was to continue Wednesday.

The verdict was unanimous about how important tire wear will be.

“This place has got a lot of character to it,” Reddick said. “Not a lot of grip and it’s pretty unforgiving. It’s a really fun place.”

Dillon said: “If you use up your tire too early, you’re going to really be in trouble. You really got to try to make those four tires live.”

Buescher said: “The surface here was so worn out already that we expect to be all over the place. The speeds are fairly slow just because of the amount of grip here. It’s hard to get wide open until you’re straight.”

Reddick noted the drop in speed over a short run during Tuesday’s test. That will mean a lot of off-throttle time.

“I think we were seeing a second-and-a-half falloff or so over even 50 laps and that was kind of surprising for me we didn’t have more falloff,” he said. “But, one little miscue, misstep into Turn 1 or Turn 3, you lose a second sliding up out of the groove and losing control of your car.”

“That’s with no traffic. Maybe with more traffic and everything, the falloff will be more, but certainly we’re out of control from I’d say Lap 10 on. You have to really take care of your car. … It’s really hard 30-40 laps into a run to even get wide open.”

Chris Buescher runs laps during a Goodyear tire test at North Wilkesboro Speedway, while Austin Dillon is on pit road. (Photo: Dustin Long)

One thing that stood out to Dillon was how the facility looks.

While the .625-mile racing surface remains the same since Cup last raced there in 1996, most everything else has changed.

In some cases, it is fresh red paint applied to structures but other work has been more extensive, including repaving the infield and pit road, adding lights for night racing, adding SAFER barriers, the construction of new suites in Turn 4 and new stands along the backstretch.

“It’s cool to see how much they’ve done to the track, the suites, the stands that they’re putting in,” Dillon said. “To me, the work that is going in here, we’re not just coming for one race. We’re coming here for a while. I’m excited about that.”

Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup race at COTA


Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has attracted an entry list that includes talent beyond that of the tour regulars.

Jordan Taylor, who is substituting in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet for injured Chase Elliott, brings a resume that includes 31 IMSA class wins, two 24 Hours of Daytona overall wins and two IMSA wins at COTA.

MORE: NBC Driver Rankings: Christopher Bell is No. 1

Jenson Button won the Formula One championship in 2009 and has five F1 starts at COTA. He is scheduled to be a driver for the NASCAR entry in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kimi Raikkonen, entered by Trackhouse Racing as part of its Project 91 program, won the 2007 F1 championship and has eight F1 starts at the Austin track.

They will draw attention at COTA this weekend, along with these other drivers to watch:


Brad Keselowski

  • Points position: 5th
  • Best seasonal finish: 2nd (Atlanta I)
  • Past at COTA: 19th and 14th in two career starts

Keselowski hasn’t been a star in road course racing, but his 2023 season has started well, and he figures to be in the mix at the front Sunday. He led the white-flag lap at Atlanta last Sunday before Joey Logano passed him for the win.

AJ Allmendinger

  • Points position: 17th
  • Best seasonal finish: 6th (Daytona 500)
  • Past at COTA: 5th and 33rd in two starts

The Dinger is a road course expert. Last year at COTA, he was involved in tight racing on the final lap with Ross Chastain and Alex Bowman before Chastain emerged with the victory.

Ross Chastain

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Auto Club)
  • Past at COTA: Two straight top fours, including a win

Chastain lifted Trackhouse Racing’s profile by scoring his — and the team’s — first Cup victory at COTA last season. He’s not shy about participating in the last-lap bumping and thumping that often mark road course races.


Chris Buescher

  • Points position: 13th
  • Best seasonal finish: 4th (Daytona 500)
  • Past at COTA: 13th and 21st in two starts

Buescher has never led a lap at COTA and is coming off a 35th-place finish at Atlanta after being swept up in a Lap 190 crash. Although he has shown the power to run near the front this year, he has four consecutive finishes of 13th or worse.

Alex Bowman

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Las Vegas I)
  • Past at COTA: Two straight top 10s

Bowman’s four-race run of consistent excellence (finishes of fifth, eighth, third and ninth) ended at Atlanta as he came home 14th and failed to lead a lap. At COTA, he is one of only four drivers with top-10 finishes in both races.

William Byron

  • Points position: 28th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I)
  • Past at COTA: 11th and 12th in two starts

Involvement in an accident at Atlanta ended Byron’s two-race winning streak. He’ll be looking to lead a lap at COTA for the first time.



Three Reaume Brothers Racing team members suspended by NASCAR


Three members of the Reaume Brothers Racing No. 33 Craftsman Truck Series team have been suspended for three races by NASCAR after a piece of tungsten ballast came off their truck during last Saturday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The suspensions were announced Tuesday.

Crew chief Gregory Rayl and crew members Matthew Crossman and Travis Armstrong were suspended because of the safety violation. Mason Massey is the team’s driver.

MORE: Xfinity driver Josh Williams suspended for one race

In a tweet following the announcement of the penalty, the team said it will not file an appeal. “The ballast became dislodged only after the left side ballast container had significant contact with the racing surface,” according to the statement. “We would like to be clear that there was no negligence on the part of RBR personnel.”

NASCAR also announced Tuesday that Truck Series owner/driver Cory Roper, who had been suspended indefinitely for violating the substance abuse policy, has been reinstated.

The Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series are scheduled to race this weekend at Circuit of the Americas.


Josh Williams suspended for one race after Atlanta infraction


NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Josh Williams has been suspended for one race because of his actions during last Saturday’s Xfinity race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Williams will be ineligible to participate in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. He would be able to return for the April 1 race at Richmond, Virginia.

Williams was penalized for a “behavioral” infraction, specifically disobeying a NASCAR request.

In a tweet after the suspension was announced, Williams said: “I stand behind what I did and I don’t regret any decisions I made. I stand behind NASCAR for these decisions and will continue and always support them.” He said Alex Labbe will drive the team’s No. 92 car at Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

MORE: Three Reaume Brothers Racing team members suspended

NASCAR officials ordered Williams off the track during Saturday’s race after his car was involved in an accident. Debris falling from his car prompted a caution flag, leading NASCAR to order him to park.

Instead of going to the garage area, Williams parked his car at the start-finish line and walked to pit road.

Williams was escorted to the NASCAR hauler office at the track. He waited there until the conclusion of the race and then met with officials for about 20 minutes.

MORE: NBC Power Rankings: Christopher Bell rises to the top

Section 8.8.9.I of the Xfinity Series Rule Book states that with the Damaged Vehicle Policy, NASCAR can order a car off the track: “At the discretion of the Series Managing Director, if a damaged vehicle elects not to enter pit road on the first opportunity or if a damaged vehicle exits pit road before sufficient repairs had been made and thereafter causes or extends a caution (e.g. leaking fluid, debris, etc.), then said vehicle may incur a lap(s) or time penalty or may not be permitted to return to the Race.”

Williams later admitted he had violated a rule but said he was frustrated by the NASCAR decision.

“We all work really hard and to only run ‘X’ amount of laps and then to have something like a piece of Bear Bond and put us out of the race, it’s really frustrating,” Williams said after his meeting with series officials. “Small team. We work really hard. We’ve got to make our sponsors happy, right? It doesn’t do any good sitting in the garage. It is what it is. We’ll learn from it and move on.

“I told them I was a little bit frustrated,” Williams said of NASCAR’s call, “but it was in the rule book.”