What drivers said after Martinsville night race

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Martin Truex Jr. – Winner: “We’ve been working a long time at trying to figure this place out and just chipping away at it. The last couple years we’ve been really strong. 2018 was a heartbreaker at the end of the race there. Last year to get the win and this year, just hats off to the guys. We started the first run and it pushed the right-front tire off and we were terrible. Really good adjustments from the guys, just want to thank all of them. … Congrats to James (Small, crew chief) on his first win. He’s doing an awesome job and really proud of him. It’s a big day for us. I want to say hi to all the fans at home, we definitely miss you. This just doesn’t feel right, but exciting to win for sure.”

(How hot was it during the race?) “It was really hot. I don’t know if it’s just going back to this aero package, but this car felt a lot hotter than I expected it to. It’s not that hot outside, but all in all, we did what we had to do and I’m just really proud of my team. Thanks to everybody back at JGR for working through all these tough times and everything else. I don’t even know what else to say, kind of speechless. It feels a little strange out here to be honest.”

Ryan Blaney – finished second: “It was a very interesting race. We started off really bad. I mean, we went from starting on the pole to being a lap down in 60 laps. That’s kind of tough to do. We found a way to do that. We already dug ourselves a hole early. We pitted.  Actually after the first pit stop, we got our car a lot better, a lot better. I think just the green racetrack didn’t really go well with what we had or something.  We really wore our tires out.  I had to run the top a lot, was getting passed.  I don’t think that helped.

“After that I felt more competitive. We got the Lucky Dog there right before the first stage end. After that we drove all the way up to second.  We had a great long‑run car. That was great.To be able to get the lead there at the start of the third stage, kind of biding our time, taking care of our stuff. Caution came out. We got a penalty on pit road. That set us all the way back again with not a lot of laps to go. We had 170 to go. Last restart we started ninth. 19 just got away from me. I couldn’t run him down. By the time I got to second, he was gone. My stuff was a little worn out having to pass a lot of cars.”

Brad Keselowski – finished third: “Decent finish for us. We ended up third. I felt like we had a pretty good car. Had a rough start there.  Started in the outside lane.  I guess with the track not having any rubber, when you started on the outside lane, the tire completely blistered and corded.  We lost almost two laps the first run, thought something was broken, didn’t know what was going on.

“New tires on lap 60. We were a lap down. By the time we were able to get the lap back, we were at stage two, running 10th or 11th.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any stage points, but rallied to get up to the lead there about 150 to go. Wasn’t quite good enough to hold off the 19.  He was super, super strong. He proved why he’s so good. He just kept passing cars, just flying. Pretty impressive.”

Joey Logano – finished fourth: “At the beginning of the race we were just lights out, super-fast. I don’t know why, but the balance was just right on and everyone was falling off so hard. Everyone looked like they were just really tight and no front tire left on it. I was just creeping around passing everyone, so that was a great feeling for a while.  We were able to get a stage win. I’m proud of the stage win. Those playoff points add up. They mean a lot, so that’s good. We got a third-place in the middle stage, a lot of points, a lot of laps led. I say we didn’t keep up with the track, but we tried to.  We were going the right direction with it, but we just couldn’t make the right adjustments.

“As the track rubbered up we lost the center two-thirds turn, and we tried freeing it up and just really couldn’t hit that spot that I needed and really lost our entry and exit, and lost a little bit of speed to the field. It was still good enough for a top five, finishing fourth. We’ll take that.  Take the points that we got today. No grandfather clock.  hat’s the goal, but it’s nice to finally finish where we should. We’ve had issue after issue these last few races, so it’s nice to see a nice finish.  It’s not what we wanted, but the direction is right.”

Chase Elliott – finished fifth: “I think we got everything out of our NAPA Chevy that we could tonight. (Crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) did a good job making adjustments throughout the race, we just needed something to help us on the long runs. Hopefully learned some things that we can bring back here in the fall.”

Alex Bowman – finished sixth: “Man, it was a pretty good day for us for short track racing. Our ChevyGoods.com Camaro came home P-6. Really good for us at a short track with how we’ve struggled over the last two years. I’m so proud of my team for making improvements and we’ll go get them at Homestead!”

Matt DiBenedetto – finished seventh:

William Byron – finished eighth: “P8. Not bad for going to the back twice. Man, we’ve had to start in the back quite a few times lately, so got to clean that up. But, overall, we needed a good finish and got it. I feel like the short tracks for us have been good – three top-10’s is nice. Just got to clean it up, continue to progress and improve. We’ll go onto Homestead and hopefully have a shot at a top-five or a win there.”

Kurt Busch – finished ninth: “We started the race really well tonight, and with the way the track was rubbering up and going from day to night, it really changed the character of Martinsville. We had no rubber on the track to start and then those long green runs affected how the tires were wearing, so we zig-zagged a little on our setup. I thought we were a bit better in the first half of the race, running in the top five, and fell off a bit in the second half to run sixth to tenth. But we battled all night and came away with a top 10 and earned some stage points. We still need to clean up some things, but we’re chugging along with our No. 1 Monster Energy/GEARWRENCH Chevrolet team and showing consistency with another top 10.”

Jimmie Johnson – finished 10th: “We had a great car tonight and then just didn’t keep up with the track. My pit crew was on fire, they got me spots every time on pit road. We are gaining on it, so I wish the result was better but overall, still a positive night.”

Bubba Wallace – finished 11th: “Our left-front tire wasn’t getting-off the ground completely (during pit stops), so we had to do three pumps. That was unfortunate, but man, our car was so good. Our Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was so good on the long runs, so we definitely did not need those cautions towards the end of the race. All-in-all, great job to come here and execute with no practice at my favorite track. I’ll tell you what, it was awesome to race with 7-Time (Jimmie Johnson) there at the end. Jimmie Johnson has won so many times here and when we’re running him down – that’s hats off to my guys. Good job fellas!”

Chris Buescher – finished 13th: “Not a bad day for our Fastenal Ford Mustang. A long day. A hot day. We worked hard and kept getting better throughout. We overcame a really bad draw, and had to start 24th. We ended up having a nice clean day. The car is a little twisted in places like they normally are when leaving Martinsville. We escaped the rain, which was pretty fortunate looking at the radar and seeing all the rain that fell around us. I am really proud of the group. We really needed that after a tough couple of weeks. We will take that and head to Homestead and keep on digging.”

Michael McDowell – finished 14th: “That was an awesome run for us tonight at Martinsville Speedway. Running inside of the top 15 for most of the day was great, especially considering that we started 29th and were able to drive up and inside of the top 10 for a while. (Crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer_ and the guys did a really nice job of bringing a fast No. 34 The Pete Store Ford Mustang; this was definitely one of our best races at Martinsville. We just needed a little bit more at the end as we battled hard with our Roush Fenway Racing teammates, but it’s hard to pass guys when you have similar cars. Overall, I’m really proud of everyone at Front Row Motorsports; It was a really good run for us tonight. Thanks to The Pete Store for all that they do for our team, it was great to have them on board with us.”

Tyler Reddick – finished 16th: “Man, I missed this place! I hadn’t raced at Martinsville Speedway in a little over three years, so it was a big learning experience for me tonight with our No. 8 Caterpillar Fleet Monitoring Chevrolet. We fought a tight-handling condition pretty much the entire night and needed to be looser. We were able to manage it fairly well for most of the night, but our adjustments didn’t seem to do what we wanted them to during the final 100 laps. The track changed a lot more than we thought it would tonight, but we managed it the best we could. We were able to race in the top 10 for a portion of the night, so that’s a positive to build on. Martinsville is a really tricky track, so for us to be able to do that without any practice in a Cup car for the first time for me is pretty good. We learned a lot tonight that we can use to our advantage when we come back in the fall, which is a race that could have really big implications for the driver standings.”

Clint Bowyer – finished 17th: “That was a tough night for us. I don’t know if we were chasing the track or what. We went from one of the fastest cars to one of the worst. I didn’t have any turn, zero right rear grip and just couldn’t get the power down.”

Corey LaJoie – finished 18th: 

Matt Kenseth – finished 23rd: “We struggled tonight, and just couldn’t get it put together throughout the race. A disappointing night for sure, but the guys worked hard, making a lot of adjustments to get the car handling better for me and I really appreciate their effort. I’ve been working really hard at it, and I know things will start to fall into place and we’ll get better results. We’ll learn what we can from tonight for the fall race back at Martinsville, and turn our attention to Homestead on Sunday.”

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 25th: It was a tough night for our No. 38 FAS Ford Mustang. We fired off pretty loose and Seth and the crew tried to make adjustments as the night went on, but we weren’t able to get it to where we needed. My team worked hard and I’m proud of the effort everyone continues to put in each and every week. Big thanks to Fire Alarm Services for continuing to support us. We’ll take our learnings and head to Homestead on Sunday.”

Daniel Suarez – finished 27th: “That was rough. I had a hard time in there, and I understand it was that way for just about everybody. The temperatures were so high – the air, the pedals were hot, the shifter, it seemed like everything. The CommScope Toyota was pretty decent at the start, but it kept getting more and more loose on entry and exit and very tight in the center. The last part of the race, it actually felt really good, so Dave (Winston, crew chief) and the guys did a good job giving me a good car for the finish. We just need to keep working hard to try and keep finding more speed.”

Cole Custer – finished 29th: “That’s about the most frustrating race I’ve been a part of. It’s tough not having any practice and being a rookie, especially at a place like Martinsville that I haven’t raced at in a few years. We’ll be better next week.”

Aric Almirola – finished 33rd: “It was nice leading 19 laps there at the beginning. Everything went downhill from there. We found out we had issues with the right-front tire and then we had alternator issues. Looking forward to Homestead. Hopefully we got all the bugs out.”

Austin Dillon – finished 37th: “We had a fast No. 3 Symbicort Chevrolet. Right at the start of the race, we had a puncture in the right-rear tire and had to pit, which put us a couple of laps down. It may have been cut from the very beginning of the race, because as soon as we took the green flag something felt off. Our Chevy remained really fast and at times we were a half-second faster than the rest of the field. We just couldn’t catch a break to get our laps back with long green-flag runs tonight. We were also battling brutal temperatures in the cockpit because the crush panel got knocked out when the right-rear went down at the beginning of the race. Eventually we had to retire early from the race. We had a really good car, so it’s a shame that had to happen.”

Check back for more.

Daytona road course entry lists

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NASCAR’s national series will make their debuts on the Daytona road course this weekend. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck events will be held without any practice or qualifying.

NASCAR is prohibiting drivers from competing in more than one series this weekend on the Daytona road course in an effort to get extra track time. NASCAR states that is to make the event fair for everyone.

Sunday’s Cup race will be broadcast on NBC.

Here are the preliminary entry lists for the races at the Daytona road course 

Cup – Go Bowling 235 (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)

Thirty-nine drivers are entered for the race at the Daytona road course.

JJ Yeley is in the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing.

Joey Gase is in the No. 51 for Petty Ware Racing.

Gray Gaulding is in the No. 53 for Rick Ware Racing.

Brendan Gaughan is in the No. 62 for Beard Motorsports.

Timmy Hill is in the No. 66 for Motorsports Business Management.

Reed Sorenson is in the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports.

Click here for Cup entry list

 

Xfinity – UNOH 188 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-eight cars are entered.

Andy Lally is back in the No. 02 Our Motorsports car after finishing fifth last week at Road America.

AJ Allmendinger, who finished second last week at Road America, is in the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing.

IMSA driver Earl Bamber will make his Xfinity debut this weekend in the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing.

Brandon Gdovic will make his second start of the season, driving the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

 

Truck – Sunoco 159 (Noon ET Sunday on FS1)

Thirty-nine trucks are entered in the race that will be held before the Cup event on Sunday on the Daytona road course.

Alex Tagliani will drive the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Click here for Truck entry list

Silly Season Scorecard: Christopher Bell moves back to JGR

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No surprise that Christopher Bell moves over to the No. 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing next season with Leavine Family Racing being sold and Erik Jones not remaining with JGR beyond this season. Joe Gibbs Racing made the announcement Monday.

While JGR lets the 24-year-old Jones, who has 133 Cup starts go, it brings in the 25-year-old Bell who has made 22 career Cup starts. Jones said before Sunday’s race he was “blindsided a little bit” by JGR’s move.

It’s part of the building momentum of Silly Season. In the last week, Team Penske signed Brad Keselowski to a reported one-year extension and Bubba Wallace said he has an offer for next year not only from Richard Petty Motorsports but also Chip Ganassi Racing.

Here’s how the Cup Silly Season scorecard looks as of Aug. 10.

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2021

No. 00: Quin Houff enters the second year of his two-year deal with StarCom Racing.

No. 1: Kurt Busch enters the second year of a multi-year contract that Chip Ganassi Racing announced last season.

No. 2: Brad Keselowski and Team Penske announced a contract extension Aug. 3.

No. 4: Kevin Harvick signed a contract extension in February that will keep him at Stewart-Haas Racing through the 2023 season.

No. 8: Tyler Reddick said in a press conference Aug. 7 that he will be back with Richard Childress Racing next season.

No. 9: Chase Elliott is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2022 season.

No. 11: Denny Hamlin is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 12: Ryan Blaney and Team Penske announced a multi-year extension earlier this season.

No. 18: Kyle Busch is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. is signed with Joe Gibbs Racing through at least next year.

No. 20: Christopher Bell moves from Leavine Family Racing to take over this ride in 2021.

No. 22: Joey Logano is tied to Team Penske “through the 2022 season and beyond.”

No. 24: William Byron is under contact with Hendrick Motorsports through at least 2021.

No. 47: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enters the second year of a multi-year deal with JTG Daugherty Racing.

No. 88: Alex Bowman will race for Hendrick Motorsports under a one-year contract extension announced earlier this year.

 

Available/possibly available rides

No. 10: Aric Almirola is in a contract year at Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 13: Ty Dillon is in a contract year at Germain Racing.

No. 14: Clint Bowyer is in a contract year to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing.

No. 21: Matt DiBenedetto is in a contract year at Wood Brothers Racing. He said after the Aug. 9 Michigan race: “I haven’t really talked about that stuff for next year yet, but we’ve just been so focused and head down on digging and trying to make the playoffs and run well. We haven’t even really talked about it, so, hopefully, I stay here for a very long time to come and that’s what they had expressed to me when I came over here.”

No. 32: Corey LaJoie is in a contract year at Go Fas Racing.

No. 42: Matt Kenseth told NBC Sports on Aug. 8 in regards to talks with Chip Ganassi Racing for next year: “We really haven’t had any very meaningful discussions really about any of that to be honest with you.

No. 43: Bubba Wallace said Aug. 9 he has an offer from Richard Petty Motorsports and an offer from Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the No. 42 car next season.

No. 48: With Jimmie Johnson retiring from full-time competition, Hendrick Motorsports has this seat to fill.

No. 95: Leavine Family Racing announced it was selling its assets earlier this week. The buyer has not been announced. Christopher Bell will move to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team for 2021.

Christopher Bell to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021

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Christopher Bell will drive for the No. 20 next season for Joe Gibbs Racing, the team announced Monday, a decision that was expected with Erik Jones’ contract expiring after this season and it not being renewed. 

“I’m so appreciative of the opportunity I have this year with LFR and I want to finish this season strong for Bob (Leavine) and everyone there,” Bell said in a statement from the team. “At the same time, I’m extremely excited to return to Joe Gibbs Racing starting in 2021. It’s an organization I’m very comfortable with and have had a lot of success with.”

Said car owner Joe Gibbs: “We are excited to bring Christopher into our Cup Series program starting in 2021. He obviously had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series with us and we look forward to his return to JGR.”

Bell drove for JGR in in the Xfinity Series in 2018 and 2019, winning 15 races, before moving to the Cup Series and Leavine Family Racing this season. Leavine Family Racing announced last week that it has been sold.

Entering Sunday’s race at the Daytona International Speedway road course (3 p.m. ET on NBC), Bell is 19th in points. His best finish this season is fourth at the first Pocono race in late June.

Xfinity playoff grid after Road America

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Brandon Brown extended his hold on the final spot in the Xfinity playoff grid last weekend at Road America after struggles early in the race.

Brown needed to be pushed back to pit road before the field took the green because of a mechanical issue. He fell a lap down as his crew diagnosed the issue, got his lap back, scored four stage points in the second stage and finished 12th, one spot off his best career finish on a road course.

MORE: Brandon Brown wants to reward father with a special celebration

MORE: Austin Cindric wins at Road America 

Brown’s effort and Jeremy Clements misfortune in being collected in a crash to finish 29th led to Brown extending his lead on Clements for the final spot in the Xfinity playoff grid to 53 points. Myatt Snider is 73 points behind Brown. Eight races remain until the Xfinity playoffs begin Sept. 26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Here is a look at the playoff grid. Drivers shaded in green are locked in the playoffs. Those shaded in yellow are in a playoff spot based on their point total. Drivers shaded in red are outside a spot in the Xfinity playoff grid.