What drivers said after the Brickyard 400

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Here’s what drivers had to say following the 24th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kasey KahneWinner: “The (win for the) career is big, for sure; but the win and the history here. To win at this track is unreal. We used to always be really close. We lost to Jeff (Gordon) and we lost to Tony (Stewart); just some fast cars back then. Today’s strategy got us here. This Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was great once I got out front. I just had to get there. I’m exhausted. But, an unbelievable win. The team just kept working. We had great pit stops. Farmers Insurance, Great Clips, and Chevrolet have been huge to us. To win at Indy is unbelievable. I wish my son, Tanner, was here.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished second: “We had a good, solid day. Anytime that you’re that close (to winning) you can certainly taste it. I had a taste of it in my mouth, I didn’t get to eat it.”

Ryan Newman – Finished third: “Just a lot of adrenaline going through the gearbox I guess.  Just guys running over each other.  Good run for the Velveeta Chevrolet.  I’ve got to thank them for jumping on board.  We were close.  We didn’t have the best race car, we had a good long run car, but we were horrible on restarts and that is what we needed there at the end.”

Joey Logano – Finished fourth:  “We’re getting better. I thought we had a fast car today. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to and that kind of got us back a little bit, and then we were able to gain some spots back at the end and get a top five out of it. I felt like the two cars that were better than us wrecked, so I feel like that was our chance to win and we just didn’t capitalize. The positive side is our car got faster. The bummer is we didn’t win.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished fifth: I mean it was just a bunch of wrecks and a bunch of restarts, you know? We just – you know, cautions always kind of breed cautions and, you know, with those stages and all that stuff you get those extra caution and just can’t get it to fall our way. We had a good Camry today. We had the third-best car and the two best cars wrecked each other, so I thought we were going to have a shot at a win if we it would have went green to the end. Just got that caution. Just wasn’t me.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished sixth: “It was different, for sure.  We knew before the day started with the stage racing everything that was gonna go on, if it didn’t go green and you had a caution come out in the middle of that cycle at the end you were gonna have a situation like that where you had guys staying out and guys doing different things.  There at the end we were in the lead cycle and then you had all those guys that stayed out and the next thing you knew we were seventh or eighth and we were in the middle of a hornet’s net back there.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  They did a great job with our Jimmy John’s Ford all weekend.  We just wound up on the wrong cycle there by no doing of our own.  We had a decent car, but it didn’t matter in the end.”

Daniel Suarez – Finished seventh: “It was tough. I feel like we had an okay car, but it was a very crazy race. A lot of accidents and a lot of stuff going on right there at the end and we are lucky that we survived.”

Matt DiBenedetto – Finished eighth: “A top 10 in the Daytona 500 and a top 10 in the Brickyard 400 finishing eighth today. It’s crazy. It was a crazy day. It’s pretty unreal what we’ve been able to accomplish this year. I’m so proud. It’s not all me. My team are the ones that deserve the credit and I’m more happy for them than myself. I’ve worked so dang hard the old-school way to get here, countless late nights for these guys working, many sleepless nights in my career thinking it was over about 30 to 40 times and that’s not even an exaggeration, and to have these kind of races this year is just unbelievable. It’s been fun.”

Chris Buescher – Finished ninth: “It felt like a battle more than a race today. Just an excellent job by our team to stick with it today. We had damage throughout a lot of this race and this Clorox team they worked really hard to make sure we got it back to where it needed to be to be able to get some drivability out of it. We were able to miss some of that craziness there at the end and got ourselves a good finish out of it.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 10th: “It wasn’t from lack of effort for sure. The guys, I can’t believe what we were doing under a pit stop to try to fix it. All goes to the guys for working so hard. We were just so off all weekend. In the race, we made it a little better, but it still wasn’t very competitive. You know just one of those days you’ve just got to keep fighting and get a little lucky. Fortunately missing all the wrecks, we’ve got to keep working on trying to get better and trying new things for sure. That is what we are doing, but we are a good bit off, so we’ve got to keep going to the drawing board and keep working on it. But, you know a day like this it’s all from the work of my guys. The pit crew, they did great, road crew, jumping over the wall, to do all kinds of mega changes to try to fix it. But, a day like this is on them. They put the effort in for sure.”

Danica Patrick – Finished 11th: “The weekend was a bit of a challenge, but everyone on the Aspen Dental team gave it their all and never gave up. We definitely dodged a lot of bullets today, from handling issues to cars wrecking in front of us and more. It wasn’t pretty, but I really don’t care. We’ve had plenty of races where our luck went the other way, so I’ll take it today.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 15th: “I really don’t know what happened. I think there was a lapped car, but I’m not sure.  We had a really good car.  We had a really good car we just struggled in the pits again this weekend and that got us behind every pit stop.  It’s a hard track to pass at, you can’t make up for what you lose in the pits.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 19th: “That was heartbreaking. The GEICO Chevy crew did an awesome job keeping us in the game on pit road today. We made adjustments that helped the car and we learned so much that will help us when we come back to this place. This Germain Racing team worked so hard and we were in position for a good finish. I love Indy. I don’t love leaving it with unfinished business like that. We will be back.”

Trevor Bayne – Finished 20th: “We had the strategy to win it. I was kissing the bricks in my head. (Crew chief) Matt Puccia and the guys gave me a great AdvoCare Ford and I was so thankful to have a shot to win the Brickyard. It’s just really disappointing.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 21st: “Everybody got bunched up there. (Trevor Bayne) got hooked to us and that got me a little bit frustrated because I was forced to get out of the car and I thought it was still able to at least roll. We could have finished the race. But, it’s over. I saw a lot of blocking and drivers trying to win one of the biggest races. It’s the Brickyard 400. Everybody wants it. Hopefully it’s good for the fans to see the aggression out of all of the drivers. We all want it really bad.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 23rd: “I saw smoke. A car got sideways. I checked up and got run over. If I didn’t check up, I’d run into it. I checked up and got run into. It stinks. We shouldn’t have been back there. We were kind of on the bad side of that strategy there with guys out there needing a caution to come out and got pushed back to ninth or 10th. Then we got into it with (Ty Dillon) and (Kyle Larson), got damage, had to come back in to pit and were going to ride it out to the end and got caught up in another wreck. That’s the way it goes in this day and age I guess.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 27th: “I’m not sure I was blowing up. I was definitely smoking and it was definitely engine oil smoke, I could smell that. I didn’t know where it was coming from and I had decent grip through (Turns) 1 and 2, and so I went into Turn 3. I had a shot to win the Brickyard 400 for the fifth time; and I was hoping one, the engine would live, and two, we would make it through Turns 3 and 4. And, I got really loose going into the corner, so I don’t know if I spun out in my own oil or if it was an aero situation, but I was so close to my fifth win here at the Brickyard.”

KYLE LARSON – Finished 28th: “He (Ty Dillon) was inside all the way off Turn 4. He just kept running me down and running me down. We’re to the end and I’m not going to lift. He just ran me down far enough where I had nowhere to go and I clipped his left rear and it got me loose probably down the speedy dry and I just came across the track. A ton of blocking today. It was pretty aggressive. I got blocked a few times and I saw people blocking pretty aggressively. It was pretty annoying. But, I was there the whole time on that one, so it was pretty bad. But it was just Indy.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 29th: “Cars were spinning in front of me. Bowyer went left, (Erik Jones) was going right. I tried to shoot the middle and Bowyer ricocheted back up onto the track. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Clint Bowyer – Finished 30th : “Yeah, he was getting crowded pretty hard through (Turns) three and then in four. They got together and parked in front of us and we just had to make an evasive move. I knew the 77 had a run on me there and all hell broke loose. It was a pretty hard hit. And then somebody hit me again. I don’t know when. It felt like they did. It pretty much sucks.”

ERIK JONES – Finished 31st: “(Clint Bowyer) just turned left, I was at his door almost and wrecked me and him, it looks like (Kurt Busch) got into it somehow, so just unfortunate. I don’t know. There’s just been a lot of stuff like that happen to us this year, you know, I think with the pit cycle the way it was going to all work out, we were going to get a top-10 finish, so it’s just unfortunate. It seemed like on that our Sport Clips Camry was fast, got better all day and we had a top-five car it seemed like at the end of the race. Just didn’t get to see it all play out.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR – Finished 33rd: “I just got loose and wrecked him (Kyle Busch) I guess, totally my fault. Didn’t really know what to expect in that position and didn’t really realize that he was going to drive in that deep and suck me around. I will take the blame for that and obviously it was my fault. I hate it for Kyle, he had a great car and we did as well, but that’s racing. Glad I was able to get out, fire was bad. I had no brakes and I had to run into the wall a second time just to get it to stop so I could get out. Fortunately I’m okay and we’ll live to race another day.”

KYLE BUSCH – Finished 34th: “I guess we could have continued to play the teammate game and try to settle it on a green flag pit stop, but he could be that much faster than me and yard me by three seconds on a run with the clean air then I would never be able to get the opportunity to pass him back even if we had to settle it on a pit stop. That’s the way it goes, just chalk it up to another one that we figure out how to lose these things by. It’s very frustrating and I hate it for my guys, they build such fast Toyota Camrys and the Skittles Camry was really good again today. Had wanted to go out there and put ourselves in the record books for three in a row, but not happening

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 35th: “Everybody is racing hard on the restart.  (Jimmie Johnson) kind of pinched me and I kind of checked up.  When I did my car got loose and then when I got beside of him I was trying to get back to the gas and just got a little bit more loose.  Then I lost it and got the inside wall.  That was the best Sunny D Ford we’ve ever had here.  We were really good, a lot stronger than we were yesterday in practice.  That’s something to hang our hats on.  I thought for the most part we had a solid day running inside the top 15.  That was our goal.  I thought that we could have squeaked out a top-10 there if everything went right, so I’m really happy with our performance, it was just a little costly mistake there.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Finished 36th: “I don’t know. There were just a bunch of cars slowing down and stopping and it was a chain reaction and we got into the back of the No. 6 (Trevor Bayne) and I guess they were all kind of running into each other and it just knocked the radiator out of it. We hit the No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) earlier in the race kind of doing the same thing and it damaged the front end and I think it knocked the bumper bar out of it then, so we really had no protection after that. But, we had a great car and I was having a lot of fun. The car was fast. We had a top 10 car for sure. It’s kind of frustrating because I was really enjoying being out there. Hopefully our luck’s going to turnaround. It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”

David Ragan – Finished 38th:  “I was just on the outside of (JJ Yeley) and we were on exit of turn one and I don’t know if he just pushed up the race track a little bit, but we were really tight. Restarts are about the only spot that you can pass, so for those first three or four laps you have to be pretty aggressive. I guess the 7 just ran over our left-rear and spun me out.”

Chase Elliott – Finished 39th: “We don’t know but it was some type of motor issue. We went down a cylinder and then started blowing smoke out the pipes. I don’t know what it was. We’ll dig into it and see. But, I’ve been racing Hendrick engines since 2013 and this is the first engine problem I’ve ever had. So, I’ll take those odds all day long. We still have the best engine shop in the business and stuff’s going to happen. We’re pushing it as everyone is. So, we’ll move on to next week and see what we’ve got there.”

Helio Castroneves rules out Daytona 500

Helio Castroneves Daytona 500
Robert Scheer/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Helio Castroneves might be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but the four-time Indy 500 winner won’t be in a race car.

During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves confirmed in response to a question from NBC Sports that he essentially has ruled out attempting to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Feb. 19 season opener.

As recently as last Thursday at Rolex 24 Media Day, Castroneves, 47, said he still was working on trying to piece together a deal.

The Brazilian had been negotiating with the Cup team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather and would have been in an “open” entry that lacked guaranteed entry to the Great American Race. That potentially would leave him in the precarious position of needing to make the race on qualifying speed or a qualifying race finish (as action sports star Travis Pastrana likely might need in his Cup debut).

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“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said. “A lot of things. I believe it would be a little bit tough throwing myself in such a short notice, and to go in a place that you’ve got to race yourself into it. So as of right now, yes, it’s not going to happen.

“But we did have an opportunity. We just got to elaborate a little bit more to give me a little more experience on that. So there is more things to come ahead of us, but as of right now, I want to focus on the IndyCar program as well and (the Rolex 24 at Daytona).”

Castroneves, who has a residence in Key Biscayne, said he still might attend the Daytona 500

“I might just come and see and watch it and continue to take a look and see what’s going to be in the future,” he said.

Castroneves enters Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona having won the event the past two years. He made his signature fence-climb after winning last year with Meyer Shank Racing, which he will be driving for full time in the NTT IndyCar Series this year. He became the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner in history in his 2021 debut with Meyer Shank Racing.

The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion also has indicated an interest in Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 car that aims to place international drivers in a Cup ride (such as Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen International last year). Team co-owner Justin Marks recently tweeted Trackhouse wouldn’t field the Project 91 car at the Daytona 500.

After winning the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience opener, SRX CEO Don Hawk had promised he would help secure a Daytona 500 ride for Castroneves.

Castroneves has been angling for a NASCAR ride for years, dating to when he drove for Team Penske from 2000-20. After winning the Rolex 24 last year, he said he had been lobbying Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for help with getting in a Cup car.

Though Castroneves is out, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that Mayweather’s The Money Team Racing still is considering IndyCar driver Conor Daly for its seat.

Fire at Reaume Brothers Racing shop injures three

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A Thursday fire at the Reaume Brothers Racing shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, injured three individuals, according to Mooresville (North Carolina) Fire-Rescue.

Firefighters were dispatched to the shop, which is scheduled to field entries for driver Mason Massey in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The fire department extinguished the blaze quickly. The department stated on its Facebook page that one individual was transported to Lake Norman Regional hospital for smoke inhalation, and another was transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. with burn injuries. A third was treated and released.

The team stated Thursday night on social media that Taylor Collier and Devin Fokin had been treated and released. The team stated that Taylor was treated for smoke inhalation and Fokin was treated “for serious burns.”

The Mooresville Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. The fire department said the shop sustained “significant fire damage.”

In a tweet, the team said it is determining the extent of damage to the building. “More importantly,” it said, “a few of our team members did sustain injuries during the fire and are being transported for medical treatment.”

 

Trackhouse, RFK Racing, Front Row Motorsports sign sponsorship deals

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Trackhouse Racing, RFK Racing and Front Row Motorsports announced sponsorship deals Thursday morning.

Trackhouse said WWEX, a Dallas-based global logistics group, will increase its sponsorship presence with the team this year, serving as the primary sponsor in 21 races for drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.

WWEX will appear on Chastain’s Chevrolets in 19 races and will sponsor Suarez twice. The organization was a Trackhouse sponsor in 11 events in 2022, which was a breakout season for both Chastain and Suarez.

RFK announced that Solomon Plumbing, which joined the team last season, will expand its presence this season and in future years. The Michigan-based company will serve as the primary sponsor for several races on driver Brad Keselowski‘s No. 6 Ford.

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Solomon specializes in plumbing and fire services for new development and construction. It initially sponsored Keselowski last season in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Front Row Motorsports has signed Quincy Compressor, a Bay Minette, Ala.-based compressor manufacturer, as a sponsor for four races.

Quincy will sponsor Todd Gilliland‘s No. 38 team in three events and Michael McDowell‘s No. 34 team in one race.

 

 

Stewart-Haas Racing signs Chase Briscoe to contract extension

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Chase Briscoe has signed a multiyear contract extension to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team announced Thursday.

The length of the deal was not announced.

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Briscoe is entering his third Cup season with the team. He won his first series race last year, taking the checkered flag at Phoenix last March. That victory put him in the playoffs. He finished the season ninth in the standings. 

“It’s huge to have stability, with my team and my partner,” Briscoe said in a statement from the team. “It just gives you more confidence. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I want to be for a long time. It’s the place I’ve known longer than anywhere else in my NASCAR career.

“I remember getting signed by Ford in 2017 and I told people, ‘You know, if I could pick one place to be, it would be Stewart- Haas Racing. And if I could drive one car, it would be the 14 car. That would be the ultimate dream.’ And now, here I am.

“SHR has such a great group of people, from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series, and they’ve all just guided me in the right direction. From drivers to crew chiefs to crew members, they’ve always had my back, and that’s been a huge help – just having people believe in you.”

The 28-year-old Briscoe has been with SHR since 2018. He split a limited Xfinity schedule that season between what is now RFK Racing and SHR. He ran full time with SHR in the Xfinity Series in 2019 and ’20 before moving to Cup in 2021.

“Chase has made the most of every opportunity and the proof is in the results. Keeping him at SHR was a priority and we’re proud to have him in our racecars for many more years to come,” said Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, in a statement from the team. 

Briscoe’s signing comes two weeks after teammate Kevin Harvick announced that this will be his final season in Cup. 

The Cup season begins Feb. 5 with the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before going to Daytona for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.