What drivers said after the Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway

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Carl Edwards won the rain-shortened AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to clinch a spot in the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Here’s what Edwards and the rest of the field had to say Sunday night.

Carl Edwards – Winner: “We were in a bad spot if we went green again, but, like I said, the last run before it rained I think we could’ve held them off. I’m not sure. (Joey Logano) was really good on the bottom. My car was starting to go away. I ran pretty hard there at the start, but man, that’s fun. And, Martin (Truex Jr.) did a great job. If we wouldn’t have beat him off of pit road, obviously, we wouldn’t have got this, but man it was really fun chasing him down and racing with him the run before that.”

Joey Logano – Finished second: “The team did a very good job on executing when we needed to. Just, you know, didn’t have enough laps. It seemed like the momentum swung the other way about three or four laps to go before the caution came out when I started catching the 19 pretty rapidly. Unfortunately it just started raining. That was the end of the race … You know, it is what it is. We’re going to be close. There’s a lot of cars that are going to be close going into Phoenix. It’s going to be entertaining. It’s going to be probably the closest Phoenix race we’ve ever seen as far as points.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished third: “I needed another stop. I needed it to go all the way to the end. We were really good on the long runs. We were really good on new tires after green flag stops. I was really hoping it would go all the way. That was going to be our only chance to win after that last restart. Was hoping it did. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) was telling me how far out the rain was, that he thought. So he was keeping me in the loop on that. I was just like, There’s nothing I can do, I need 20 more laps to even have a chance.”

Chase Elliott – Finished fourth: “You are never happy. Obviously, I thought we had a pretty good car. I don’t know that we had anything for those guys, at least on the short run. If it went real long into a run, I thought we could slightly run with them, given the right track conditions and whatnot. We will do our homework and get ready for the next two.”

Kyle BuschFinished fifth “That was a hard-fought top five right there. That was a battle for sure by myself behind the wheel, but, of course, my pit crew did a great job being able to get the tape on the nose and being able to fix that earlier in the race. And, of course, (crew chief) Adam (Stevens), some great calls being able to fix that car. It was a handful for sure early on, but we made it a heck of a lot better there at the end. I just wish that those long runs were actually real long runs. We had so many sets of tires tonight that everybody was short-pitting the long runs and only running 40 laps instead of what a fuel window was, about 55 laps. So, I couldn’t make up the time that I wanted to on the long runs against those guys.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished sixth: “Our Busch Beer Chevy was off. We were tight, we were loose, and we were kind of all over the place. We could take off okay, but we would fall way off at the end of a run. I just want to apologize to (Austin Dillon). He kind of came up there and he slid in front of me and got loose and when he checked up I hit him again. That was not anything I wanted to see. All-in-all everybody battled and did all they could, and we just didn’t have a fast enough car.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished seventh: “We were just kind of middle of the road. We qualified decent, we kept that track position. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) did a good job. One time we pitted early and got a few spots and got up to fifth but then we just got behind on the second-to-last pit stop and when I get behind people we were just kind of mediocre. I just couldn’t really pass anybody but if you put me in line in fifth I could run fifth. Unfortunately a couple of those guys got in front of me and I couldn’t get back around them. So, we had a good stop our last one, had a good restart and got a couple spots but that was about all I could get.”

Kasey Kahne – Finished eighth: “We drove up, the team did a great job, the pit stops were nice, but we just never had the speed I wanted that those probably five or six guys had. We had a great performance from 33rd to eighth and we battled all night long. Everybody worked hard we just want to be a little better.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished ninth: “I think the hardest thing is we lost our pit selection and we kept getting blocked in by (Alex Bowman) each stop. He had to try to get out as well from whoever was in front of him. Just a bad part of losing your pit selection, you don’t get a good spot and I thought he was a little bit wide a few stops and it really slowed our stops and lose positions on pit road where we usually gain and then I was on the outside just about every restart. Nothing really went well for us on pit road, average day.”

Ryan Newman -Finished 10th: “Our Grainger Chevrolet was a real challenge for us tonight. It pushed when I was in traffic and was loose off of Turn 4. We basically ran in the top 18 all day. (Crew chief ) Luke (Lambert) made a series of calls and by halfway, our car ran the best in the high line and that’s pretty much where I raced. Then we heard weather was coming and when it did, we stayed out and got the top-10 finish. I’m proud of the guys on pit road for the solid performance. It was a long rain delay, but we all hung in there and got a good finish.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 11th: “It didn’t quite go as planned. We were planning on a day race and the setup of the car was not so happy at night. We were making gains on it and getting there, but a little too loose with it being a night race.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 13th: “We took off really strong and had a really good first run. The second run we didn’t get a great restart but we were fast and passing people and cut a right-front tire. We had some right-front damage and feel like that kind of killed the front-end aero wise a little bit for the rest of the day. We kind of really fought just balance, really never got the race car happy, and kind of was out of the racetrack with front and the back. But, Greg (Ives, crew chief) and everybody tried really hard. We were a heck of a lot better than 13th, just frustrating couple of restarts, got raced kind of ridiculously by some guys.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 16th: “Our Fastenal Ford was probably the best it had been all weekend. We progressively made it better each run. I wish it would have gone back green because we had new tires and I think we could have gained some more positions there at the end. Overall it was a good day for our Fastenal team.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 17th: “This place confuses me for sure. I felt like I needed a little bit more rear grip, but if we tried that we got way too tight. When we got tight I was really slow and really unhappy with it. We would free it back up and I would have to kind of hang on to it, but it was faster. For how we have been here that is way better. I’ve got to still do my homework going into next year about this place and figure it out.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 20th: “We just missed the setup. It’s a Chase race, it’s kind of important and we missed it again.”

Paul Menard – Finished 27th: “The rain from earlier cleaned off the track and there was no rubber at the beginning of the race. It took awhile for grip to come in, so we worked through that with adjustments on pit road. (Crew chief) Danny (Stockman) made good calls to get us where we needed to be but then we had a tire go down. That put us behind for the rest of the night. Proud of my team as always for not giving up.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 30th: “We fought all race long. Our AdvoCare Ford just struggled to find the right handling all night which made it really tough out there. We’ll regroup from this and get after it in the last two races of the season and end this year on a strong note.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 37th: “(Kevin Harvick) tucked down to my door tighter than anybody did all night.  He knew how tight he was on my door and that is why I got tight and slid up in front of him. He didn’t check (up), but he had the opportunity to. He didn’t like it that the silver spoon kid was out-running him tonight. So we will be alright, we have two weeks left and we just want to come out and win a race.”

Casey Mears – Finished 39th: “I’m fine. I didn’t even hit anything but the grass. I don’t know who, somebody hit me from behind.  When they checked up, I had to check up because the guys in front of me where trying to peel off the wall to keep from hitting the No. 3 (Austin Dillon). I felt whoever was behind me put me in the grass. I hit the grass and it blew the whole front end off the car. It is unfortunate because we really didn’t hit anything other than the grass, but it ended our night.”

Will chaos (and rain) reign on Daytona road course?

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The biggest unknown for Sunday’s inaugural Cup race on the Daytona road course?

Ryan Newman says “there are so many unknowns that it would be fabricating for me to tell you if I knew what the biggest unknown was.”

But with all the uncertainties heading into the race (3 p.m. ET on NBC) on a new course for Cup teams — and no practice — Newman is counting on one near certainty.

“I hope it rains,” he said. “I hope you add in the extra that we have to bolt on rain tires and we get something that is just spectacular. I hope that. The reality is that could be the biggest unknown that we have. We’re in Central Florida in the middle of August when it pretty much rains every day. We’ll see. I don’t know. I look forward to it.”

Good chance he gets his wish.

The wunderground.com forecast for Sunday calls for scattered thunderstorms throughout the afternoon. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:24 p.m. ET. There is a 58% chance of scattered thunderstorms at that time.

Will rain tires be needed for Sunday’s Cup race on the Daytona road course? They’ll be available. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Goodyear will bring rain tires for the weekend and teams will run in the rain, provided it is not a downpour and there is not lightning within an 8-mile radius of the track. Cup teams have never run a race on rain tires.

Only three times in Cup history have rain tires been employed. Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin used them in a test in 1995 at Watkins Glen. Teams practiced and qualified on rain tires at Suzuka in 1997 for the exhibition race in Japan. Rain tires were last used in Cup for a practice session at Watkins Glen in 2000.

Rain or shine, the task of racing on a new course without practice will be challenging enough for competitors.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being difficult, this is a 10,” Kurt Busch told NBC Sports.

“I’m excited for the challenge, the uniqueness of it all, how it’s just crazy, basically.”

Said Chase Elliott, who won last year’s race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval after crashing: I’ve never entered a race where you literally just have no idea what to expect.

Patience will be key. But not all 39 drivers will practice that equally when the green flag waves.

“I’ve got laps around that track without the extra chicane but that doesn’t mean I won’t haul off into Turn 1 and blow through the grass,” Newman said. “You don’t know. It will be more patience than aggressiveness I promise you by pretty much everyone. Those that don’t, you’ll notice.”

Kevin Harvick, who swept the Cup races at Michigan last weekend, will lead the field into Turn 1 and he’s not sure what to expect.

“I think me leading everybody into Turn 1 at Daytona could be interesting because I have no freaking clue where I’m going as we go down there,” he said. “Most everybody in the field is the same way.”

Turn 1 on the Daytona road course is a left-hand turn off the frontstretch just past pit exit. That begins the six-turn infield portion of the 3.61-mile course before cars return to the oval in what is its Turn 1. 

Teams stay on the oval through the backstretch before turning into the chicane there and going back on to the oval. A chicane was added off what is Turn 4 on the oval to help slow the cars before returning to the infield portion of the course. That was done for fear that the high speeds would wear the brakes over the race.

“I think it’s going to take everybody a little bit of time,” Matt Kenseth told NBC Sports. “I think there are going to be some people who have raced road courses a lot that probably feel more confident than others and possibly be overzealous and just charging it hard right away, and there’s probably going to be other people who are careful and see how many people slide into things. … It should be really interesting. If I was a fan, I’d be all about not having practice.”

Hailie Deegan: Road courses are ‘one of my stronger suits’

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Many drivers will be navigating the Daytona road course for the first time this weekend.

Hailie Deegan is not one of them.

Deegan, who competes in the ARCA Menards Series, will be in the field when the series takes to the 14-turn, 3.61-mile circuit for practice and a race Friday evening (5 p.m. ET on Trackpass).

“I’m pretty excited because this was not one of the races we had planned on our schedule,” Deegan told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast earlier this week. “At the beginning of the year I saw all the races, obviously to see which ones you’re looking forward to, like your favorites and stuff and obviously this on wasn’t on there.  … I like road courses. I raced at Sonoma about twice (in ARCA Menards West). I was decent there, I qualified on the pole one of the times (2019) there against a lot of good drivers. It was a confirmation that, ‘Ok, we’re decent at road courses.'”

Deegan, who enters the race fourth in the point standings behind Michael Self, first got a shot at the road course at the beginning of the year. As a Ford development driver, she took part in multiple days of testing before competing in a Michelin Pilot Challenge race in a GT4 Mustang.

“I would not say I’m perfect at road courses,” Deegan said. “But I feel that’s one of my stronger suits. I’m trying to learn this whole stock car world. Circle track, everything like that, that’s all been a foreign concept. So everything I’m learning I’m learning for the first time. But when we go back to road courses, I grew up in go karting, I grew up racing off-road trucks on courses where you turn right and left. So that’s not a foreign concept to me. So I feel more comfortable on road courses, especially with us only getting an hour of practice and all the time I have on that track.

“I have so many days of practice from the beginning of the year on that track. Obviously, it’s a different car, a GT4 Mustang.  … It’s easy to drive, but hard to be fast in an IMSA car. (While) the stock cars are harder to drive, but you have that experience, I feel like you can have a little bit of an advantage over people.”

With eight races left in the season, Deegan will try to take that advantage to victory lane for his first career ARCA win. The last time she visited Daytona in February, she finished second in the season opener to Self.

NASCAR’s weekend schedule for Daytona road course

Daytona road course
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For the first time this weekend, NASCAR will compete on the Daytona road course.

All three of NASCAR’s national series and the ARCA Menards Series will take to the 14-turn, 3.61-mile circuit, culminating in Sunday’s Cup Series race.

This weekend takes the place of the race at Watkins Glen International for Cup and Xfinity.

Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Cup race. Austin Cindric will lead the Xfinity field to green on Saturday.

Here is the weekend schedule for the Daytona road course.

(All times Eastern)

Thursday, Aug. 13

10:30 a.m. – ARCA driver-spotter-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

11 – 11:30 a.m. – ARCA rookie meeting (teleconference)

11:30 a.m. – Noon – ARCA crew chief meeting (teleconference)

3 – 4 p.m. – ARCA haulers enter (screening in progress)

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Driver motorhome parking (screening in progress)

 

Friday, Aug. 14

9 a.m. – ARCA garage opens

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – ARCA garage access screening in progress

2 – 3 p.m. – ARCA practice

3:30 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (electronic communication)

4 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

4:50 p.m. – ARCA drivers report to their cars

5 p.m. – ARCA race; 28 laps/101.08 miles miles (MAVTV, Motor Racing Network)

6 p.m. – Truck Series driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

7:30 p.m. – ARCA haulers exit

 

Saturday, Aug. 15

6 – 8:30 a.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening and equipment upload)

8:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Garage screening in progress

2 – 4 p.m. – Truck Series haulers enter (screening in progress and equipment unload)

2:50 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

3 p.m. – Xfinity race; 52 laps/187.72 miles (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

4 – 7 p.m. – Truck Series garage access screening in progress

4 – 8 p.m. – Truck Series garage open

4:30 – 5 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (teleconference)

4:30 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5 p.m. – Cup driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m. – Xfinity haulers exit

 

Sunday, Aug. 16

6 – 8 a.m. – Cup haulers enter (screening in progress and equipment unload)

8 a.m. – Cup garage opens

8 a.m. – 2 p.m.  – Cup garage access screening in progress

9 a.m. – Truck Series garage opens

9 – 11 a.m. – Truck Series garage access screening in progress

11:40 a.m. – Truck Series drivers report to vehicles

Noon – Truck Series race; 44 laps/158.85 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

2:30 p.m. – Truck Series haulers exit

2:50 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

3 p.m. – Cup race; 65 laps/234.65 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit

NASCAR updates its COVID-19 guidelines

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NASCAR issued an update to teams to the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 guidelines this week.

If after 10 days, a NASCAR member is unable to produce two negative PCR tests, their return status may be medically reviewed by a NASCAR Consulting physician. Previously, a NASCAR member needed to have two negative tests more than 24 hours apart and a note from their physician to be cleared to compete.

MORE: Spencer Davis cleared to race after COVID-19 recovery

Truck Series driver Spencer Davis is the third driver to be cleared to resume racing after a positive test. He missed last week’s race at Michigan. Jimmie Johnson missed the Indianapolis race in July after a positive test. Brendan Gaughan is racing this weekend for the first time since he tested positive for COVID-19 in July.

NASCAR cites new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with updating the sport’s COVID-19 guidelines.

“As we’ve said since our return, NASCAR’s health and safety plans will continue to evolve, with the goal remaining the same – a safe event for both our competitors and the communities in which we race,” said John Bobo, NASCAR vice president, racing operations, in a statement. “NASCAR will continue to implement and execute a comprehensive plan to ensure the health and safety of our competitors and the surrounding communities.”

Here are NASCAR’s updated COVID-19 guidelines:

Confirmed Positive Cases – Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Cases. Confirmed positive cases may return to racing activities after they have received two negative test results taken at least 24 hours apart.

A. If after 10 days, a NASCAR Member is unable to produce two negative PCR tests, their return status may be medically reviewed by a NASCAR Consulting physician.

  • New CDC guidance of July 22, 2020, recommends discontinuing PCR testing after the conclusion of the 10-day isolation period for the onset symptoms for the initial COVID-19 infection, if a person is fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication.
  • Please note: Based on advice from consulting physicians, NASCAR counts the 10 days from the date of the first positive PCR test for COVID-19.
  • In its guidance, CDC research indicates that in no instances yet discovered has there been a case where the virus is able to self-replicate beyond the 10th day following a positive test among individuals who are not immunosuppressed and did not have severe disease (e.g. requiring ICU stay or ventilation), so an individual in this situation poses no harm to others.  In the event that the individual continues to be tested, it is very likely that the individual will continue to return positive results.
  • Based on this new CDC guidance, NASCAR consulting physicians would review the individual’s situation and determine if they appropriately fit the CDC requirements before being allowed to return to racing without two negative PCR tests.

B. They must also have written clearance from their personal physician to resume all racing activity.

Confirmed exposure to a positive COVID-19 person. Those exposed individuals are required to stand-down from competition and self-isolate. They may return to racing activities after they have received one negative test. NASCAR in its discretion may request a second test for clearance based on the nature of the exposure. Please note: a confirmed exposure is based on a totality of the circumstances as determined by NASCAR in consultation with their consulting physicians. Analysis will include: identifying people exposed over the last 10 days, accumulated time greater than 10 minutes, direct skin contact (shaking hands, etc.), lack of social distancing and the level of PPE use among the individuals involved in the contact.