LAS VEGAS — Martin Truex Jr. avoided the carnage Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but he still suffered the consequences.
With arguably the fastest car on a long run, Truex was undone by four cautions in the last 23 laps that helped Brad Keselowski score his third consecutive win. Truex finished third.
“Brad clearly found a horseshoe,” Truex said. “Three races in a row he’s won and he has not had the best car. I mean, if you want to really talk about the sport being what it is, you’ve got to look at that. I mean, obviously he hasn’t led the most laps in any of those races, and he showed up at the end with good pit stops and good short run speed.
“I think clearly it’s pretty obvious how it worked out. He’s hot right now. He’s on a streak. That’s the way it goes.”
Truex leaves Las Vegas with the points lead after an afternoon that saw six of the 16 playoff drivers involved in accidents or spins and a few others who finished with crinkled and creased cars.
All the incidents toward the end were too much to overcome for Truex.
“Man, all those restarts at the end, they were wicked, they were crazy,” Truex said on pit road with a wet towel around his neck after a 3-hour, 28-minute race in temperatures that hovered around 100 degrees outside the car and much hotter inside it.
“Everybody was going for it. Unfortunately for us, it took a little bit too long to get rolling. Too many cautions at the end. It really, really took our chance away from winning.”
The issue for Truex was that he and crew chief Cole Pearn set the car up for long runs.
“Hindsight 20/20 we would have worked more on being a little better on the short run,” Truex said. “For most of day it was pretty clear who had the dominant car.
“I think we had the best handling car on the long run. You don’t know how these things are going to play out. We felt it was going to be a long-run kind of race just because the track is slick and there are so many multiple grooves. Typically, these are the ones that go green for a long time. We were kind of banking on that and for a while it was working for us. Obviously, at the end it was caution after caution. That really took any chance we had away.”
This week’s episode of NASCAR America present MotorMouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Rutledge Wood and Dale Jarrett are joined by former NASCAR race director Dave Hoots. They’ll discuss this week’s storylines and take fan phone calls. Call in at 844-NASCAR-NBC or reach out on Twitter at #LetMeSayThis.
If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com.If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.
Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.
The 2020 season will have a slightly different look in both the Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series, NASCAR announced Wednesday.
Among the more notable changes: reduction in Xfinity Series race fields, as well as a decrease in the number of Xfinity races that full-time Cup drivers with more than three years of experience can compete in.
Also unveiled were the 2020 Dash 4 Cash and Triple Truck Challenge race dates and tracks.
Here’s the breakdown:
* The starting field for each race will be cut to 36 cars (from 38 currently).
* The field will be set with 31 starting positions based on qualifying, four provisional positions based on the rulebook and one past champion provisional.
* Drivers with more than three years of full-time NASCAR Cup experience will be limited to a maximum of just five starts (down from seven currently). Those five starts cannot include the final regular season race or the playoffs. The current maximum for 2019 is seven starts for Cup drivers with five years of full-time Cup experience.
* The Dash 4 Cash battle will have the qualifying race at Homestead-Miami (March 21, 2019), followed by the four Dash races: Texas (March 28), Bristol (April 4), Talladega (April 25) and Dover (May 2).
* Drivers electing to accumulate NASCAR Cup series points are ineligible to take part in the Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash.
* Drivers with more than three years of full-time NASCAR Cup series experience will be allowed to make a maximum of just five starts (as is the case currently, although drivers must have five years of full-time Cup tenure). Those five starts cannot include the final regular season race or the playoffs.
* The Triple Truck Challenge, introduced this season, will continue. The three 2020 races will be at Richmond (April 18), Dover (May 1) and Charlotte (May 15).
* Drivers electing to accumulate NASCAR Cup or Xfinity Series points are ineligible to compete in the Triple Truck Challenge races and the championship race.
* Removed post entry driver and owner caveat. Greg Biffle, who made one start earlier this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the first challenge race and won, would have been prevented from being eligible for the second Truck Challenge race because of the current limitation of not being named on the initial race entry list, which will now be rescinded for 2020.
“These updates to the Xfinity Series and Gander Trucks procedures continue our commitment to strengthening our race teams and providing a stronger field with even greater competition for our fans,” Meghan Miley, NASCAR Senior Director of Racing Operations, said in a media release. “We’re excited about the return of the Dash 4 Cash in the Xfinity Series and the Triple Truck Challenge with the Gander Trucks.
“These programs provide our teams with an incredible performance-based bonus opportunity each season. By removing the entry deadline requirement for the Triple Truck Challenge, we ensure our teams and fans know immediately if a driver is eligible to race for additional bonuses.”
The next generation of pit crew members will begin training next month with Rev Racing as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Development Program.
Seven former college athletes have been chosen for the 2019-20 program.
The athletes were selected from a fitness assessment in May at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. The assessment tested their agility, strength and flexibility, with all participants learning the roles of different crew members during pit stop simulations.
The class will relocate to the Charlotte area for a six-month training program led by Phil Horton, Rev Racing’s director of athletic performance. All members will train to become tire changers, tire carriers and jackmen, “with hopes of one day earning a spot on a national series race team,” according to a news release.
The pit crew element is part of the overall Drive for Diversity program, which also provides opportunities for aspiring drivers. All programs are geared toward providing opportunities for women and minorities in the pursuit of careers within NASCAR. Since its inception, more than 100 individuals have graduated from the Drive for Diversity program, with more than 50 currently working within the sport..
“We look forward to welcoming this year’s class to NASCAR’s most comprehensive pit crew training and development program,” Rev Racing CEO Max Siegel said. “We couldn’t be prouder of the journey both our pit crew development program and graduates have taken from its inception.
“With the expansion of our recruiting efforts across the country, the talent level rises, and our program continues to evolve and create more opportunities for advancement at a higher level.”
The 2019-20 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program participants are:
We’re now under two weeks from the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sept. 1 on NBCSN), which will mark the fifth year of NASCAR’s official Throwback Weekend.
Here’s your guide to the retro paint schemes that have been announced so far for the weekend, including schemes for the Aug. 31 Xfinity Series race.
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford – The Team Penske driver will race Rusty Wallace’s 1996 Cup Series scheme.
Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet – Dillon will boast a paint scheme that was driven by his grandfather and team owner Richard Childress in the late 1970s.
Ryan Newman, No. 6 Ford – With Oscar Mayer taking the place of Valvoline, Newman’s car will take its cue from the scheme Mark Martin raced in 1993, when he earned Roush Fenway Racing’s first Southern 500 victory.
Daniel Hemric, No. 8 Chevrolet – Hemric will drive a car inspired by the design of CAT equipment and the logo used on them from its launch in 1925 until 1931.
Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet – Elliott will boast the scheme his father, Bill Elliott, claimed his first Cup pole with in 1981 at Darlington.
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota – Hamlin’s car will evoke Darrell Waltrip’s Western Auto paint scheme from the 1990s.
Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Ford – The Team Penske driver will have a scheme inspired by Michael Waltrip’s Pennzoil car from 1991-95.
Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Toyota – The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will throwback to himself with the Bass Pro Shops paint scheme he drove during his 2004 Xfinity Series championship campaign. That year he drove for Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s Chance 2 Motorsports.
Erik Jones, No. 20 Toyota – To mark his 100th Cup Series start, Jones will boast a scheme based on his rookie late model car.
Paul Menard, No. 21 Ford – Wood Brothers Racing will pay tribute to late team founder Glen Wood with the paint scheme Wood drove himself in 1957, including in his only appearance as a driver at Darlington.
William Byron, No. 24 Chevrolet – Byron will drive one of Cole Trickle’s paint schemes from the 1990 Tom Cruise movie “Days of Thunder.”
Corey LaJoie, No. 32 Ford – GoFas Racing’s car will be based on Dale Jarrett’s 1990-91 Nestle Crunch sponsored Xfinity car.
Michael McDowell, No. 34 Ford – The Front Row Motorsports driver will have a paint scheme that pays homage to the career of long-time owner and driver Jimmy Means, who was once partnered with FRM owner Bob Jenkins.
David Ragan, No. 38 Ford – The Front Row Motorsports driver will drive a scheme inspired by David Pearson’s 1969 championship car.
Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Chevrolet – Wallace’s car will be a tribute to the late Adam Petty and his 1998 ARCA win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Ryan Preece, No. 47 Chevrolet – Preece will have a tribute to modified racing legend Ron Bouchard. The scheme is based on the No. 47 Majik Market/Hawaiian Punch car Bouchard drove at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in 1984.
Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet – Bowman’s Axalta-sponsored car is inspired by Tim Richmond‘s Folger’s Coffee scheme from 1986-87.
Stewart-Haas Racing – In celebration of co-owner Tony Stewart’s election to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, three SHR drivers will have paint schemes based on the cars Stewart raced to his three Cup Series titles. Aric Almirola‘s No. 10 Ford will be based on Stewart’s 2002 car, Daniel Suarez‘s No. 41 Ford will be based on the 2005 season and Clint Bowyer‘s No. 14 Ford will look like the car Stewart drove to his 2011 title.
Michael Annett, No. 1 Chevrolet – The JR Motorsports driver will channel Jeff Gordon circa the 1992 Xfinity Series season with Gordon’s Baby Ruth paint scheme when he drove for Bill Davis Racing.
BJ McLeod, No. 4 Chevrolet – McLeod’s car is designed after the No. 44 Slim Jim car Bobby Labonte drove in the Xfinity Series in 1992.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet – Earnhardt will pilot the scheme his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., drove in his first Cup start in the 1975 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Justin Haley, No. 11 Chevrolet – Kaulig Racing will boast Jeff Burton’s 1994 rookie Cup paint scheme with matching sponsorship from brake parts company Raybestos. It also serves as a tribute to team owner Matt Kaulig’s father and team chief financial officer, Bob Kaulig, who served as a vice president of Raybestos from 1985-2008.
Denny Hamlin, No. 18 Toyota – Hamlin will have a scheme based on Bill Elliott’s No. 11 Budweiser car.
Joey Gase, No. 35 Toyota – Gase’s throwback is based on the 1997 Tabasco paint scheme raced by Todd Bodine.
Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Chevrolet – Like William Byron, Clements will pilot a “Days of Thunder” paint scheme. He’ll be using Rowdy Burns’ No. 51 Exxon scheme.
Brandon Brown, No. 86 Chevrolet – Brown’s scheme is inspired by Terry Labonte’s 1993 Kellogg’s Cornflakes scheme.
Chase Briscoe, No. 98 Ford – Briscoe will pilot a scheme based on the No. 98 Ford Parnelli Jones won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 with.