Are speeds too fast at Dover? Drivers offer their opinion

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
1 Comment

Kyle Busch says he thinks the speeds are too fast at Dover International Speedway this weekend and cautions how that could impact Sunday’s race.

Cars have 750 horsepower and more downforce this weekend as part of the new package for this season. That’s led to eye-popping speeds.

Kurt Busch posted the fastest lap in Cup practice Friday at 168.445 mph. His lap was 4 mph faster than the track qualifying record of 164.444 mph set in June 2014 by Brad Keselowski. Twenty-three cars were faster than Keselowski’s track record Friday in practice. 

Kurt Busch’s lap Friday was 10 mph faster than Kyle Larson’s pole-winning lap of 158.103 mph for this event a year ago.

“There’s no question that you feel you’re going really fast,” Kyle Busch said. “It’s really fast. It’s probably too fast. The faster we tend to go in the middle of the corners doesn’t always produce the best racing.

“It’s going to be big numbers obviously in qualifying. but we’ll see how that transfers to the race. I’m not overly excited about it.”

Asked what is too fast, Busch said: “You pretty much know as a driver what too fast is. If you have a problem here now with the speeds we’re carrying through the corners, it’s going to hurt. It’s really going to hurt. The faster you go, the harder you’re going to hit the wall.

“Eventually there comes a point where it could be too fast for a stock car. Whether that it is or not, I guess that is for people other than myself to think. I’d much rather appreciate racing and being able to race at a more tolerable speed than what we’re going right now.”

He was then asked if the sport is approaching the danger zone and Busch said: “no question.”

Eleven-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson didn’t share all of Busch’s concerns.

“From a safety standpoint, I don’t have big concerns,” Johnson said. “The type of racing we’ll see on Sunday, I am nervous about that. The faster we go, the harder it is to pass, the wider the race track needs to be. The critical areas around this track are pretty narrow and there’s really one groove around the bottom in most years I’ve been here.

“The tall spoiler, the higher speeds, I think that’s going to make the cars very difficult to really pass the car in front of you. From that standpoint, I think track position is important and that’s where my concerns are.”

Talladega winner Chase Elliott didn’t raise as much concern about the speeds.

“You’re paid to go fast so let’s go fast, I guess,” he said. “It’s not fun hitting something real hard anytime you do. Certainly isn’t going to be when you do it at these speeds. It’s definitely physical for sure. I think this is going to be a very, very physical race on Sunday, especially if the sun comes out and it’s hot.

“It’s fast. Is it too fast? Like I said, this is our job. It’s what we signed up for.”

Martin Truex Jr. said drivers are on the throttle now more than they have ever been at this track.

“I can’t explain to you how fast it feels,” he said. “It’s pretty hairy out there. Pretty wild ride, a lot of fun, but you’ve got to really attack. We went faster every time we hit the race track without doing a whole lot to our car, just trying to figure out where the limit is because it’s something we just haven’t done here before like this.”

Truex also noted how the faster speeds could impact the racing.

“There’s no question it’s going to be harder to get close to someone as fast as we’re going,” he said. “It’s really fast. Obviously you don’t want to hit anything. It’s a race car, there’s always danger involved, I guess.”

Here is what some other drivers said:

Alex Bowman: “I think that we are paid to go fast. We are supposed to be the 40 best race car drivers and doing our jobs.  Part of our job is to go fast. I am not going to complain about going too fast by any means, but we are definitely pretty quick … “I don’t think there really is such a thing as too fast. But it’s really fast and it’s going to be hard to pass and super tough to race. But I am all for it.”

Ty Dillon: “I think it’s not a good speed, at least for a race. I think if it’s a different kind of series, maybe; but I think it’s gotten too fast. I think it’s going to be tough to put on a good race. But we’re all going to go out here and do the best we can. But, if something out of your control happens and you hit the wall at some of these speeds in qualifying, we’re getting into the danger of people are going to get hurt. And, I don’t think it’s a very smart thing.”

Where are they now? Buddy Parrott enjoying down time

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

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.”

Brennan Poole joins Bayley Currey at JD Motorsports for 2023

0 Comments

Brennan Poole will join Bayley Currey at JD Motorsports for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity season, the team announced Friday.

Poole will drive the No. 6 car for the full season. Currey returns to the team’s No. 4 car for the season. Currey scored five top-15 finishes last season for the organization.

JD Motorsports is planning to run the No. 0 car next season. No driver or sponsor has been announced for that ride.

“We’re full throttle here and getting ready to go,” Davis said in a statement from the team. “Bayley and Brennan are signed on and looking forward to chasing races and points next year. We’re actively moving along looking for sponsor commitments and for drivers and sponsors for the No. 0 car.”

“We’ve always taken the approach here that we want to go after the series with multiple cars, and that’s how we’re looking toward 2023. The new schedule is very interesting and provides new challenges to our drivers and team members.”

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