Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover

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Here’s what many of the drivers had to say after Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway:

Jimmie Johnson – WINNER: “I never thought I would end up here in NASCAR as a kid racing in the dirt out in Southern California. I was a big Cale Yarborough fan. … To be here and tie him at 83 wins is amazing. We just got the tribute helmet. I wasn’t sure how quickly we’d be, or if we’d be able to go there, and get it done. But, Cale, you’re the man. Thank you for all you have done for our sport. I was such a fan and it’s been an amazing journey along the way. It was a huge honor to tie him with 3 consecutive championships a few years back and then to be here at 83 wins and a day where things played out in such an awkward and weird fashion, just very happy that we’ve got it done.”

Kyle Larson – Finished second: “(Johnson) did what he had to do to get the best launch that he did. We were both playing games a little bit. He just took off better than I did. I wasn’t really complaining about the restart. He did a good job. He’s a seven-time champion for a reason. He’s got a golden horseshoe somewhere, and he’s really good at executing. So, I’ve just got to get better at that. We had a dominant car all day. We had a couple of runs where we got off; maybe some bad tires or something. But we were able to rebound from those struggles.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished third: “We had a good day. We had a good car and just got caught by that caution when we pitted and lost our shot at the win. I don’t know that we had the best car, but we had a good car for sure and the 42 (Kyle Larson), the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and us – I think we were all so close. Whoever it seemed like got out front was the best, but all in all, you know, it was a good day. Just not the finish we hoped for, but still when you’re this disappointed with third, it speaks volumes about your team and where you’re at and what’s going on. … I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I almost wrecked by myself, so it was a lot of fun. It was a challenge.”

Ryan Newman – Finished fourth: “Yeah, I’m not really sure exactly what happened there off of (Turn) 2. I know (teammate Ty Dillon) washed up, but I don’t know if he kind of hit the fence and came back down into me or I ran into him. It was just so tight. I had another car on my quarter-panel, but either way it was a hard fought top five for our Caterpillar Chevrolet. That was the toughest top five I’ve had in a long time, so we’ve got some work to do.”

Chase Elliott – Finished fifth: “I don’t exactly know what happened between all those guys, but our NAPA Chevy was solid all day. It wasn’t as good as some of those other guys, but we made a lot of gains from I think where we were yesterday. We got up inside the top five there at one point and got stuck back around 10th at one point too.  So, up and down for sure.”

DANIEL SUÁREZ – Finished sixth: “I think it was good. Like everything, ups and downs. In the beginning, we were okay and then later on we were pretty bad. We were able to make some adjustments and get back to a top-10. I feel like we had a top-10 car and we ended up right there. I think the entire team is making process and that’s for sure and I’m very proud of that and we just have to keep working and keep moving in the same direction.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished seventh: “Overall a really good day for us. We qualified bad and I had a really hard time overcoming that. The way the pit stalls worked out the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) lost their pit pick and got stuck in-between me and Jimmie (Johnson) and I had to give up a lot of time on pit road just to give him enough room and make sure everybody had enough room.  That was a big challenge and got us behind all day long.  Overall we had a really good car.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished eighth: “We struggled for the most part – hanging out just outside the top-10. Really didn’t have a fast car to speak of. That’s where we qualified, that’s where we practiced and kind of where we raced. Just got to be a little bit faster and we’ve got to work on our setup. We obviously are – we faded quite a bit on the long runs and that definitely hurt us.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished ninth: “We had a good day with our Jimmy John’s Ford. We just got caught under caution and could never make it back up. We had an okay car and just tried to stay out of trouble all day. Long day. A lot going on out there today.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 10th: “A good day for us. We got a bit lucky with staying out at the right time and catching the yellow flags. It’s the stuff that hasn’t been happening for us all year and it’s just nice to catch some breaks today. We weren’t the fastest car today, not sure we were a top-10 car. A lot of times we have been a 10th-place car and weren’t able to get the finish we needed. I’ll take the lucky days anytime I can because there has been plenty of times where it went the other way.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR. – Finished 11th: “I don’t know what happened at the end there were just cars crashing everywhere. Our car really wasn’t very good all day. We ran around 15th to 20th, we got lucky on staying out on a green flag run there and got some track position and I sped on pit road some fricking how. We have had a lot of speeding penalties this year, so I don’t know what is going on with that, but it was a long day. Not any fun at all.”

TY DILLON – Finished 14th: “Really proud of our Germain Racing team. It’s a lifelong dream. To lead laps (27) like that meant a lot to me. We had to restart fourth on old tires and I just think the air off the No. 31 got me a little loose and they left a bunch of sand there off Turn 2 and as soon as I got loose and hit that sand it was all over (the last lap crash).  I feel bad for all the cars that got torn up. … Proud of our effort today. We proved to ourselves as a team that we can run up front with the big boys.”

David Ragan – Finished 30th: “It’s disappointing to have our day end the way it did so late in the race. We overcame a tire issue earlier in the race Our Overton’s team did a great job making our car better all day. I felt that we were headed for a top-20 finish until we had the wreck. I’m glad all the safety stuff worked. That was a hard hit. We’ll learn from it for when we come back here in the fall.”

Clint Bowyer – Finished 31st: “It looks like the oil tank cracked right by the fitting. A freak deal. It’s a shame. We needed a good race. We had gotten a little bit behind today and then had the freak deal happen. Not our day.”

Paul Menard – Finished 33rd: On the Lap 343 incident he was involved in: “The No. 37 (Chris Buescher) just got loose and wrecked us.”

Regan Smith – Finished 34th: “What a day! It was fun. We worked hard on the Smithfield Ford all day. They guys did nice job adjusting after we go really loose in the middle of the race. We cut a right-front tire. Maybe too much brake on my part. I’m not really sure. The team did a nice job all week. We struggled early in the week but got me comfortable in the car. It was fun. Just thankful to get the chance to drive this car the last few weeks.”

Landon Cassill – Finished 36th: “I thought we were improving all day. I was really happen how the car was running on the last run. We got the wave around and was going to benefit from it. I’m not sure why the right-front tire let go. We weren’t too aggressive as some of the other guys. That’s just how it goes.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 37th: “I got loose on a restart, it’s my bad as a driver. My bad. We had good speed in our car and just couldn’t finish. You can’t make mistakes out here and we did.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 38th: “Yeah, one of them racing deals. These cars rely so much on aerodynamics. We saw that early with guys being able to stay out on two tires even with a lot of tire wear. I don’t know if it was Kurt’s fault, just one of them racing deals. We line-up double-file and somebody got loose and just took us out. What a bummer. Just one of them racing deals.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 39th: “Our Little Hug Ford was fast and on the move. This track is tough. We saw a few tire issues yesterday after the first run. I’m not sure if I ran over something, we’ll have to take a look at it. I’m looking forward in coming back here in the fall. I feel like we have a good race car and happy with what we learned this weekend.”

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All-Star Race, Open entry lists

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It’s officially All-Star Race week.

For the first time the annual exhibition event that awards $1 million will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway (7 p.m. ET Wednesday on FS1).

Twenty drivers will compete in the 140-lap, four-stage main event. Sixteen drivers currently make up the field following Cole Custer’s win Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

Three drivers will qualify for the main event via the All-Star Open, the 85-lap preliminary race that’s divided into three stages. The winners of all three stages will advance. The remaining driver will advance via a fan vote.

Here are the entry lists for each race.

All-Star Race 

Drivers who automatically qualified for the All-Star Race: Those who won points races in 2019-20, past All-Star Race winners and previous Cup champions.

Drivers who have clinched an All-Star Race spot: Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr.

Click here for the entry list.

All-Star Open

Twenty-two drivers are entered in the preliminary race.

Notable drivers include Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, rookies Tyler Reddick, William Byron and John Hunter Nemechek, as well as Bubba Wallace.

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR in ‘good place’ with Harrison Burton, Noah Gragson after fight

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Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, says that series officials will keep an eye on Harrison Burton and Noah Gragson moving forward but that the sanctioning body feels it is in a “good place” with those drivers after their fight last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Gragson punched Burton after Burton repeatedly shoved him in the garage area as they discussed their contact on the track late in Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway. A NASCAR spokesperson said Friday night that no penalties were anticipated.

Asked about where matters stood between NASCAR and the two drivers, Miller told “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday morning:

“I personally wasn’t in the post-race conversations. (NASCAR Xfinity Series Managing Director) Wayne Auton does a great job with that and the report that I got from him is he talked to some of the crew members that were involved and obviously both of the drivers. I think we got to a good place. They’re going to have some words this week and try to make sure we’re in a good spot when we start the weekend next weekend in Texas. We feel like we’re OK.

“This is an emotional sport and there’s going to be things like that that crop up. It’s not a great situation for us to deal with as a sanctioning body, but we also want the emotion in the sport. That’s what makes it so special. Those things are unfortunate, but we do know from time to time those are going to happen. If we feel good about the conversations we’ve had, in a lot of cases we’re going to move on from that and keep an eye on those individuals moving forward.”

Race and Sports in America: Conversations to air at 8 p.m. ET Monday

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Damon Hack will host two roundtables with athletes and former athletes for a conversation on race and sports in America. The show airs at 8 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel and the NBC Sports Regional Networks.

Appearing with Hack will be Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, NBA superstar Steph Curry, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, NFL player Kyle Rudolph, pro golfer Troy Mullins, former tennis player James Blake, Major League Baseball player James Rollins and Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

Among the topics discussed are: The conversations they’ve had with family in the last few months, what they hope things will be like in a year’s time, the level of optimism vs. pessimism and their experiences.

 

 

Winners and losers from Kentucky

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WINNERS

Cole CusterHe entered Sunday’s race well out of a playoff spot at 25th in the points. He took advantage of a series of events in the final laps to score a dramatic victory and earn a playoff spot.

Martin Truex Jr.Lost the lead on the last lap but recorded his first top-five finish since his Martinsville win last month.

Matt DiBenedetto He was 18th with 14 laps to go and finished third.

Christopher BellSeventh-place finish was his fourth finish of 12th or better in the last six races.

Austin Cindric Had not won on an oval in the Xfinity Series before sweeping both series races at Kentucky Speedway.

LOSERS

Matt KensethA week after finishing runner-up at Indianapolis, he spun twice and finished 25th at Kentucky.

Ryan PreeceFinished last for the second race in a row. He was eliminated in a pit road accident at Indy and by transmission issues at Kentucky. He has failed to finish five of 17 races this season (29.4%).

Jimmie JohnsonWas third on a late restart when contact with Brad Keselowski spun him. Instead of contending for his first victory since 2017, Johnson finished 18th and had a little warning for Keselowski.