What Drivers Said After Richmond

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What drivers said after the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway:

Kyle Larson – Winner: “I’ve got the greatest team out here and definitely the best pit crew. That showed tonight. I can’t thank those guys enough. They were money all night long to gain spots. This win is a huge congrats to them. The Target Chevy was pretty good all night. The No. 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) was definitely the best, but I thought I was second best for most of the runs but it came down to the last restart there and I got a good start. I spun my tires pretty bad and I was a little nervous, but we cleared him (Truex Jr) into (Turn) 1 and I was pretty excited about that. So, I can’t thank Target and all of our partners enough. I’m really pumped for the playoffs. We’ve got a great shot at the championship, I feel like, this year. So, I’m looking forward to it.”

Joey Logano – Finished 2nd: “Came up a little bit short overall.  Yeah, it stings a little bit. Last time we were sitting here after a race, it was after a win and this time it’s after a second, which if you look at our Richmond overall for a season with the two races, you’d say, that’s pretty good, a first and a second.  But just overall, obviously it stings to come up one spot short and not be able to get into the playoffs.  It is what it is.  It’s reality and we will move on.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 3rd: “I mean on the last lap we were in the best running spot we were the whole race. Good run for the Caterpillar Chevrolet. I sped on pit road the one time and put us back and then we had one bad pit stop, but other than that we had a great long run car. Struggled on the short runs and just continued to fight and the guys did a good job. It wasn’t easy.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 4th:  “We’re doing everything right on the 41 car, and we can do better in some categories. Our long-run speed was really good tonight and that last green-white-checker, I knew there was gonna be chaos. I hope we end up getting fourth out of it. We ran third tonight. We missed it on the setup early on, making the wrong changes, and then we backed it up and, to be honest with you, I think we ended up with what we unloaded with on Friday right in this car right now, so those are some good signs heading into the playoffs.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 5th: “We both drove in really, really deep. When I got on the brakes, the splitter slammed down on the ground, shot me up the track into (Martin Truex Jr). We weren’t racing for the win or anything. But it’s unfortunate. Didn’t want to get into him. He’s a great teammate of ours. But, yeah, tough day for our FedEx team. Overnight we messed it up pretty good. We struggled all day. Got a little bit better there at the end by just kind of going back to where we started the day. Definitely not a car that could contend.

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 8th: “To finish just outside the top 10 the last couple weeks, then get a top 10 now, directionally it’s correct. We have much higher expectations for ourselves. Definitely putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to be better than this. We’re working really hard. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But this is pro sports. It’s not easy to go out there and win. It’s not easy to stay on top. But we do have some good news. Fall is here. Winter is coming. Put a Game of Thrones on it.”

Kyle Busch – Finished 9th: “We were tight early on in the night. We keep freeing our car up. Was getting tighter. Then at the end we decided to tighten it up and it got better. Just weird. But we were kind of lost. Overall we were going to end up sixth. I thought that it was just going to be decent. That shows how fast our cars were for as bad of a night as we were going to have.”

Chase Elliott – Finished 10th: “Not very good.  We really struggled tonight, but it is good to be back in the playoffs.  But we have some work to do to be contenders each week.  We are not right now, so we have to be better.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 11th: “You get these late-race yellows and everybody puts tires on and you just kind of play the bonsai game and I got bonsaied, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’ve been on the other end of that too. We had a really fast Fitzgerald Glider Ford. Early in the race I thought we were gonna drive up and win it, and then the last two or three runs we just kind of lost the handle, but all in all a strong day. We’re still looking for some rear downforce in the Fords. I think if we had that, we might have had a shot at it, but, all in all, we ran solid and ran competitive, so that’s good.”

Kasey Kahne – Finished 12th: “Yeah, I mean it’s a big jump for us.  It’s great that we won the Brickyard.  Tonight, the guys did a really nice job with our Great Clips Chevrolet.  We took a little bit of a gamble on strategy to try to hope for a caution at the right time and end up in the top five.  It didn’t work out and maybe we lost two spots because of it and ended up 12th.  I thought we had a competitive car.  We raced hard and the guys did a really nice job.  It’s a good way to end the regular season and get ready for the final 10.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Finished 13th: “We could run up to fifth and sixth. We weren’t going to get around those five guys running in front of us. So we had to pull that (pit) strategy. If the caution comes out while we’re leading, then we got that track position we need. I ran around the 42 (Larson) and a lot of guys tonight. I think we had the speed in the car to keep that track position once we got it. I think if we could have got a restart on the front row late in the race, we would have had a shot at it.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 14th:  “Yeah, the 42 (Larson) team has had an unbelievable season.  Kyle has done such a great job and that team is on a roll.  Our cars have just been awesome all year long and it’s been the best season I have had, as far as the most consistent, and that just comes from them giving us really good cars.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 15th: “We missed it bad tonight. Just couldn’t get the car to turn in the corner, would spin the tires on the exit, fall off really bad. That’s a bad combination for our Jimmy John’s Ford. The best part of tonight was I did really good on pit road. The rest of it didn’t go well.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 18th: “It’s been a decent year for us.  We knew tonight was gonna be a struggle.  This is probably our worst race track and it’s been my worst race track my whole career.  I don’t know what I need to do, but that’s for a different day.  I think all of the races in the playoffs we can go and do really good at.  I think the first round is pretty strong for us and Chicago has always been a fast race track for us, so hopefully we can start off with a strong showing and can have a good run to where we go to Loudon, which is probably our worst track in that little series.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR – Finished 19th: “We were just working on some packages that we wanted to look for going into another semi‑short track at Loudon. Didn’t work as well as we wanted tonight. We had a really good Friday, practice and qualifying. But similar to Kevin (Harvick), we were struggling with a little bit of turn in the center, spinning the tires up off. It’s cool to be in our first playoffs. Can’t wait to see if we can’t advance a few rounds, put a good 10‑race stretch together.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR – Finished 20th: “Tonight sucked, plain and simple. Just the way it ended up. You’re out there dominating like that and you know your car is not very good on restarts for a couple of laps. Caution for a guy that shouldn’t even be out there. It’s ridiculous. … It’s unfortunate the way the race ended.” On Hamlin: “We talked and I know he didn’t do it on purpose. … I gave him room and he was aggressive on the brakes. That stuff happens.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 21st: “Well, as a team I think we’ve got a great team. I think we have a great solid group of guys and we have been working hard all year to try and get more speed in our race cars. I thought Darlington was a good place for us, Atlanta and Charlotte obviously, so we have had some good runs this year. Hopefully, the last 10 races of the year we have some more good runs. Three tracks I enjoy to go to are Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover, so that is the first round.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished 38th: “Well we were all just kind of coming to pit road and I saw an ambulance sitting there and so I looked left of the ambulance at the same time (spotter Jason) Hedlesky yelled at everyone to stop there was an ambulance just sitting there. It was an accordion effect and I just couldn’t get stopped. Not really sure why pit road was open with an ambulance parked there, but everybody stopped and I didn’t see it in time and ran into the car in front of me.”

Sponsor adds more races in 2023 with Josh Berry

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Jarrett Companies will increase the number of races it will sponsor Josh Berry‘s No. 8 JR Motorsports ride in 2023, the Xfinity Series team announced Monday.

Jarrett Companies will sponsor Berry in six races after serving as the primary sponsor in three races in 2022. Those six races will be Phoenix (March 11), Richmond (April 1), Dover (April 29), Atlanta (July 8), Indianapolis (Aug. 12) and Texas (Sept. 23).

The deal gives Berry at least 26 races with sponsorship for next season. Bass Pro Shops will serve as the primary sponsor of Berry’s car in 11 races in 2023. Tire Pros is back with JRM and will sponsor Berry in nine races in the upcoming season.

Berry, who reached the Xfinity title race and finished fourth in the points, will have a new crew chief in 2023. Taylor Moyer will take over that role with Mike Bumgarner serving as JRM’s director of competition.

The 2023 Xfinity season begins Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Where are they now? Buddy Parrott enjoying down time

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Buddy Parrott played outsized roles in two of the most dramatic races in NASCAR history.

Now 83 years old and retired from the sport since 2001, Parrott looks back on those two days as highlights of a career that began in the early 1970s.

In the 1990 Daytona 500, champion driver Dale Earnhardt seemed on course to end his frustration in NASCAR’s biggest event. He held the lead roaring down the backstretch on the last lap. Suddenly, Earnhardt slowed with a blown tire.

The lead was inherited by Derrike Cope, who charged to the checkered flag to score one of racing’s biggest upsets.

Parrott was Cope’s crew chief.

MORE: NASCAR Power Rankings: Memorable quotes through the years

In 1984, Richard Petty edged Cale Yarborough to win the summer race at Daytona International Speedway. It was Petty’s 200th – and final – win.

Parrott was Petty’s crew chief.

Those victories were high marks in a long pit-road career that saw Parrott’s drivers win dozens of races. He worked with, among others, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton and Petty and for team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske.

Parrott remains active at 83, although he admits to having moved to a slower gear.

“I haven’t been living on the edge,” Parrott told NBC Sports. “I’ve been taking it really easy. I told my sons when you get to be 80 you can do anything you want because basically you’ve already done it.”

MORE: NASCAR, ARCA 2023 schedules

His strongest current connection to NASCAR is as a voter in the annual Hall of Fame balloting.

After more than 20 years roaming pit roads as a crew chief, Parrott moved into a general manager role at Roush Racing in 1997. He retired four years later and didn’t look back.

“I finally told Jack one day, ‘I don’t have time to ride my motorcycle,’ ” Parrott said. “He looked at me and said, ‘What do you want to do about it?’ I said, ‘I’m ready to retire.’ He told me I could work whatever schedule I wanted, but I decided that was it. I didn’t have a going-away thing or whatever.”

Parrott spent much of the next 15 years traveling with his wife, Judy, who died in 2016, and playing with his grandchildren.

“I had a great time in retirement because Judy was ready and I was ready,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. We’d go to Florida for two and three months at a time. I’m so happy that I didn’t hang on and go to the shop every day and try to find something to do. I spent that time with Judy, and we had 16 years of good retirement.”

Parrott, a native of Gastonia, N.C., lives in Statesville, N.C. His sons, Todd and Brad, also were NASCAR crew chiefs.

MORE: Jody Ridley’s Dover win an upset for the ages

Parrott is perhaps best remembered as crew chief for Rusty Wallace, Team Penske and the No. 2 black cars sponsored by Miller Lite. From 1992-94, they won 19 races and were consistently competitive at the front.

“I still get a lot of cards sent to me to sign from those years,” Parrott said. “I can say that was some of the happiest times I had. Those years with Rusty – and then with Jack Roush – really stand out. And who in the hell could not have fun having a beer sponsor?”

 

 

NASCAR Awards to air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Joey Logano didn’t need much time to answer the question.

Who would the two-time Cup champion want to introduce him at the NASCAR Awards?

Racing icon Mario Andretti, Logano immediately said. 

And there was Andretti on the stage at the Music City Center introducing Logano, the 2022 Cup champion. Watch that and the rest of the night’s festivities at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock. You can order Peacock here.

MORE: See the red carpet scene

MORE: Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

NBC Sports’ Marty Snider and Kim Coon co-hosted the show along with Fox Sports’ Kaitlyn Vincie. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck champions were honored. Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, whose father died hours after Gibbs won the Xfinity title last month, received a standing ovation and thanked the industry for its support.

The highlight of the night for Logano was having Andretti on stage to introduce him.

“He’s just been a great role model for me, not only as a racer, but as a person for so long,” Logano said afterward. “I had his picture on my wall. I looked at Mario Andretti before I went to sleep every night as a kid. I thought it was the coolest thing that he signed it to me.”

NASCAR Awards and Champion Celebration
Cup champion Joey Logano on stage with racing icon Mario Andretti during the NASCAR Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Logano and Andretti have gotten to know each other through the years. Logano ran a throwback car that honored Andretti at Darlington Raceway in 2015 and 2021.

But none of that compared to being on stage with Andretti.

“That’s still like a pinch-me moment,” Logano said. “It’s Mario Andretti. He’s the man. The fact that he knows my name I think is really, really cool.”

Catch the NASCAR Awards at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community showed its support Thursday at the NASCAR Awards for the Gibbs family, grieving the death of Coy Gibbs on Nov. 6. 

During his interview on stage, car owner Joe Gibbs thanked the NASCAR industry for its support. (The NASCAR Awards show airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock).

Coy Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs and father of Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, died hours after seeing Ty Gibbs win the series title last month at Phoenix Raceway. Coy Gibbs, 49, was the vice chairman and chief operating officer at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR chief operating officer, introduced Ty Gibbs at the NASCAR Awards and noted that “everyone gathered tonight is all a part of the NASCAR family, and I know I speak for everyone that the entire NASCAR family is 100% percent behind this young man.”

Ty Gibbs received a standing ovation.

“Thank you,” he told the crowd, “that means a lot.”

Ty Gibbs spoke for less than a minute, thanking his team, sponsors, fans and the NASCAR community.

He closed his speech by saying “And thanks to my family. I love you. I hope everybody has a great offseason. Enjoy it. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the claps. I really appreciate it.”

Ty Gibbs spoke to the media earlier Thursday. Asked how he was doing, he said: “I’ve been doing good. Thank you for asking and definitely appreciate you guys. We’ve been doing good, doing a lot of stuff this week. … It’s been fun to experience this stuff.”

Asked about Joe Gibbs addressing the organization after Coy’s death, Ty Gibbs politely said: “For right now, I’m not going to touch on any of that subject at all. I’m just going to stick with all the racing questions and go from there.”

Cup champion Joey Logano said he spent time with 20-year-old Ty Gibbs on Wednesday at the champion’s dinner.

Logano said he told Ty Gibbs that “we’re here for you. You need something reach out.”