What drivers said after the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

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Denny Hamlin, winner: “Our car was really, really fast. We obviously saw that. Once we got out front, we were able to pull away from the pack a little bit.  Got a little bit loose when we were racing our teammates in the 18 and the 20. So wasn’t able to be as aggressive as I was earlier in the race.  We had a super fast car. That’s why we won.

“I missed pit road under green, that cost us three or four seconds, as well.  I don’t know.  We tried every way we could to give it away, and we found a way to do it with this FedEx Camry.”

Clint Bowyer, finished 2nd: “We had to unclog ourselves.  Once we unclogged ourselves, we were really good. Our Mustangs were fast all weekend long.  Took a while for our Mustang to get good.  This Rush Trucks Center Cummins car was a little off all weekend long.  I was pretty nervous coming into the race.  (Crew chief) Mike (Bugarewicz), and everybody made some good adjustments, and then lean on your teammates.

“When you only have an hour’s worth of practice, it pulls you away from something you were trying, anything out of your wheelhouse.  Just kind of put us all back together with all four cars at Stewart‑Haas. All in all, hey, I wanted to catch him (Hamlin) bad.  He just come out of the pits way too far ahead of me.  Wasn’t much I could do about it.”

Daniel Suarez, finished 3rd: “It was a solid day, for sure. Overall I want to just say that I’m very proud of Stewart‑Haas Racing, everyone that makes this possible.  We’ve been working very hard to make our race cars better. Definitely we’re heading in the right direction. It’s the second week in a row that all Stewart‑Haas cars are in the top 10.  That’s something very good.”

Erik Jones, finished 4th: “It was good. We had a really good Craftsman Camry, but I put us behind there at the start getting myself in trouble spinning out. I was in a weird spot with fuel and what we needed to do. We needed to take more fuel than everybody else and ended up losing the lead there on that green flag cycle. It’s a good day, but it’s disappointing at the same time. We knew we had a car that could’ve won and to not capitalize on that is frustrating, but it’s also nice to get on track and have some good runs again.”

Jimmie Johnson, finished 5th: “We are definitely moving in the right direction. The car was good in clean air and had a lot of speed in it, so I think we have found kind of center for our cars and what has to happen. It was a little evil in traffic, and I had a heck of a time on green flag restarts but really worked hard to get it up underneath me and tightening the car up a little bit for us to race. Ended up having great pace and decent drivability, so we are working in the right direction. I am just so proud of everybody on this Ally team. We’ve had a lot of pressure on us, and everyone has stepped up and (are) getting it done.”

William Byron, finished 6th: “it was good. We had a gun break on the first pit stop. I felt like we were running in the top five at that point. And then we got back to the top five later in the race, and I ran about fifth or sixth. It just felt like we were right there all day. It was a little bit free after that last green flag pit stop and that hurt us a slight bit. But, overall it’s good and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Aric Almirola, finished 7th: “I’m tired.  It was a long night last night.  I didn’t sleep at all, throwing up with a stomach bug, so I’m really, really depleted.  I haven’t been able to keep anything down, so I’m just really hungry and I’m really tired. … We don’t get to call in sick.  That’s the challenging part of our job occasionally.  The flu or a cold or a stomach bug pops up and you’ve got to fight through it.  I’m really proud of everybody on our Smithfield Prime Fresh Ford Mustang.  We had a good car and track position there and strategy and pit stops and stuff and we still got out of here with a top 10, so that’s six in a row.  I’m proud of that.”

Kevin Harvick, finished 8th: “Our day was a disaster.  Our car drove terrible, and that pretty much sums it up.”

Kurt Busch, finished 9th: “It was tough today. We had a right front (tire) go bad. So, somehow we’re not getting enough heat into the tires to get a good qualifying run and not lose spots on restarts, but then the car comes alive once it has heat and then that was burning up right fronts going too far through them. So, it was kind of a weird day; really confused about a lot of different things with the dirty air and the grip level. But, all-in-all to be another top 10, I’m really happy for the GEARWRENCH Team and everybody that’s working on the car. We really need to get into some big detail and debrief and figure out what we can do to be better.”

Kyle Busch, finished 10th: “The car just got loose there. We had made an adjustment to help with the loose issue, but it went the other way for some reason – so something to learn from there. We were in a good position there though to get the win today with our Interstate Batteries Toyota, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We will go on to next week and get back on it at Bristol.”

Ryan Newman, finished 11th: “It was a good run for our Wyndham Rewards Ford.  We just didn’t have everything we needed.  I fought track position there for a while, but the guys did a good job.  We gained some spots in the pits, so it was a good day in general and our best finish of the year, but we still have some work to do.  We’ll keep working on it.  We’re just off a little bit on speed.  When you’re only lifting once it’s hard to make up much.”

Austin Dillon, finished 14th: “We had a strong Realtree Chevrolet this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. After qualifying in the top five and showing speed in practice on Friday and Saturday, we were able to run in the top five through much of Stage 1. The biggest issue throughout the race was keeping up with the balance of the car. We could hold our own in clean air, but we were too loose on our last run. We led laps in the final stage before pitting for fuel with 12 laps to go. These RCR and ECR Chevrolets have had speed all year, and we put up a good fight today.”

Joey Logano, finished 17th: “Something came apart in the bracing underneath the hood, I believe, and then the hood started flaring all over the place.  The hood was gonna blow off the car if we didn’t get a caution, so we were able to fix it but went down a lap and there weren’t enough cautions to ever get the lucky dog.  We rode around in the lucky dog spot for a while, but never got that.  That really altered the handling once we had all the bearer bond on the front.  The car got really draggy and got real tight, but we won a stage.  I was proud of the speed that was in the car.  Our car was capable of winning the race, but didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of it.”

Ty Dillon, finished 21st: “My team built a fast Twisted Tea Camaro ZL1. We had strong practice sessions and had a great qualifying effort. I was really proud of these guys for all of their hard work in earning the ninth-place starting spot. We were pretty good at the start of the race. I was just a little tight with being on the splitter. Our Stage 1 strategy ended up not working out the way we thought it would, and that put us behind a bit. We made up as much ground as we could, but unfortunately the cautions just didn’t fall in our favor. We didn’t get the finish that I know we deserved, but we’ll take the positives of having seen major improvements in our intermediate track program with this new package. We’re making gains and seeing results every week.”

Daniel Hemric, finished 33rd: “After our strong qualifying effort with the No. 8 Bulwark FR/Wayne Workwear Chevrolet, clearly this was not the result we had hoped. The car was strong all weekend long and felt good in the pack. We were too free in traffic, but (crew chief) Luke Lambert and the guys worked on the handling each time we came to pit road. I made slight contact with the wall off Turn 2 late in the final stage and that eventually caused the right-rear tire to go down. The guys did all they could to clear the tire, but the rubber wrapped around everything under the car and we lost a lot of laps getting it fixed. We will keep our heads high and look to rebound next week at Bristol Motor Speedway.”

Brad Keselowski, finished 36th: “Something broke out of nowhere.  We weren’t going very fast or anything, and something in the back of the car broke and it won’t go.  It’s one of those really important parts, as Kenny Schrader would say.”

Ryan Blaney, finished 37th: “A part broke off and leaked all the water out, so that’s the way it goes. It just seems that’s the way this season is going. We’ve had a shot to win pretty much every race, and something happens. That’s getting old, but the car is fast. That’s the bright side, but I’m kind of tired of looking at the bright side. I want to actually start finishing where we should. It’s just one of those days.”

Updated entry lists for Kansas Speedway’s playoff weekend

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The NASCAR playoffs continue this weekend with the second visit of the year to Kansas Speedway.

The Cup Series holds its second elimination race as the playoff field will be cut to eight drivers.

After a week off, the Xfinity Series will open its second playoff round.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.

Cup – Hollywood Casino 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

There are 40 cars entered.

Parker Kligerman is entered in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota.

Reed Sorenson is listed for Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet.

Austin Theriault  was originally entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 car. Theriault announced Thursday morning he had not been cleared by NASCAR to compete Saturday following his wreck in Monday’s Cup race at Talladega and that Garrett Smithley would take his place.

Chase Elliott won this race last year over Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Brad Keselowski won the May race over Alex Bowman and Erik Jones.

Click here for the updated entry list.

Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC)

There are 39 entries.

Ryan Truex is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Ross Chastain is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet. It’ll be his fifth start with the team this season.

Harrison Burton is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for the seventh time this season.

Bobby Earnhardt, the oldest son of Kerry Earnhardt, is entered in MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Toyota. It will be his fifth career start and first since the Texas playoff race last year.

Joe Nemechek is now entered in Mike Harmon Racing’s No. 74 Chevrolet

Dillon Bassett is now entered in DGM Racing’s No. 92 Chevrolet

John Hunter Nemechek won this race last year over Daniel Hemric and Elliott Sadler.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Harrison Burton to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Xfinity car full-time next year

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Harrison Burton will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Xfinity car full-time in 2020, the team announced Thursday morning.

Burton, the son of NBC Sports analysts Jeff Burton, will succeed Christopher Bell in the No. 20.

Burton competes full-time in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He is set to make his seventh start in JGR’s No. 18 Xfinity car this Saturday at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBC).

“Next year is going to be a really cool opportunity for me because I grew up watching my dad race in the Xfinity Series, Burton said in a press release. “Making my first start at Bristol this year was really surreal. I remember being a little kid and watching (Jeff Burton) race there and now, I will have the opportunity to compete for the Xfinity Series championship next year.

“On top of that I’ve got Dex Imaging continuing their support of me for a majority of races next season. That’s really cool because I’ve had them as a sponsor since I was 13 and to bring them from pro-late models all the way to the Xfinity Series is pretty wild. I want to finish this season strong, but I’m excited to get 2020 started. My time with JGR this season will really help me because I’ve already gotten to know so many people there and it’s such a great team and organization. They have a long history of helping to develop drivers and this is big for the next step in my career.”

In his six Xfinity starts, Burton has three top 10s and a best finish of fourth at Iowa Speedway.

In 35 Truck Series starts since 2016, Burton has 11 top fives and 17 top-10 finishes. This year he has seven top fives and 10 top 10s. He and teammate Todd Gilliland both failed to make the playoffs.

“As Harrison (Burton) moves up to the next level of his career, we’re happy to have him join JGR fulltime and go behind the wheel of the No. 20 Supra,” said Steve DeSouza, Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Development for Joe Gibbs Racing in a press release. “Harrison has continued to show progress this season in his limited starts and I know that will only continue to develop with more seat time while contending for the Xfinity Series championship.”

The crew chief for the No. 20 will be announced at a later time.

 

JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 hauler experiences fire on way to Kansas

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JTG Daugherty Racing announced on social media Thursday morning that the hauler for Ryan Preece‘s No. 47 Chevrolet experienced a fire on its way to Kansas Speedway for this weekend’s Cup race.

In a statement, team owner Tad Geschickter said both its hauler drivers were “okay.”

He said the team is “assessing the damage to our trailer and race cars and will have more information as it becomes available.”

More: Kaulig Racing hauler involved in accident on way to Kansas

Schedule for Kansas Speedway’s playoff weekend

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Cup and Xfinity Series teams head to the Midwest this weekend to compete at Kansas Speedway.

The Cup Series will hold its second playoff elimination race, which will cut the playoff field to eight drivers.

The Xfinity Series opens its second playoff round

For Saturday, wundergound.com forecasts a high of 66 degrees, sunny skies and a 15% chance of rain for the start of the Xfinity Series race.

On Sunday, it forecasts a high of 67 degrees, partly sunny skies and a 15% chance of rain for the start of the Cup race.

Here is the full weekend schedule with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

Friday, Oct. 18

Noon – 11 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

1 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

3:05 – 3:55 p.m.  – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4:05 – 4:55 – Cup practice (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network)

5:05 – 5:55 – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

7:05-7:55 p.m. – Final Cup practice (NBCSN, MRN)

Saturday, Oct. 19

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Cup garage open

10 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

12:05 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/one lap (NBC Sports App)

1:15 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting

1:35 p.m. – Cup qualifying; single car/one lap (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

2:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3 p.m. – Kansas Lottery 300; 200 laps/300 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 20

10:30 a.m. – Cup garage opens

12:30 p.m. – Driver crew chief meeting

1:50 p.m. – Driver introductions

2:30 pm. – Hollywood Casino 400; 267 lap/400.5 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)