What drivers said at Kansas


Here is what drivers said at Kansas after Sunday’s Round of 8 playoff race:

Joey Logano — Winner: “You gotta want it man. What an amazing team this Shell Pennzoil team is. I am worn out. I spent more time in the mirror than I did in the windshield there. Pit stops got us positions nd got us the lead. The 4 was fast, real fast, especially down the straightaways. I thought if I could hold him off the first 15 laps that I would have a chance. Dirty air was the best for us. As we caught lap traffic I was able to gap ourselves as he got more dirty air and I was able to draft somebody because I was a little slow down the straightaway. Man, I am exhausted after that. We are going to Phoenix and racing for a championship again.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 2nd: “We just needed to get off of pit road first. It came down to controlling that restart and we lost the lead there on the restart and wound up trying to battle and didn’t get the lead on the restart but just really, really fast Jimmy John’s Ford Mustang. All our guys did a great job and we had a fast car, we moved all over the race track and we weren’t the best behind somebody but I had a lot of options as they made the car better towards the end of the race. It was a good run for us. I wish we could have one, but we were one short.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 3rd: “I think it’s obviously a really good day for us. We didn’t have the car that we hoped to have.  We struggled with it quite a bit today. Still got good stage points. Didn’t really have the speed we wanted to have. But our last couple changes really got the car dialed in. We needed a little bit longer run there at the end.  I think we were the fastest car, just kind of ran out of laps. Happy and sad, a little bit bummed we lost points. A little bummed Joey won. That makes my life harder over the next couple weeks.  I feel like we had a really good day.  I’m really proud of my race team. A lot of people said we were going to go out early in the playoffs. We’re still here fighting. We’re still bringing really fast cars to the racetrack each and every week.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 4th: “You know, here and Texas are two tracks we were nervous about. We were really fast all day, we just didn’t quite have enough there at the end. I feel like if we would have had the lead we could have won but it just wasn’t in the cards today.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 5th: “Any time you get back in the pack, it’s just so hard to pass and work your way up towards the front. Everybody is so equal and with the dirty air, trying to get through some of that stuff is a challenge. But any time we got up front it seemed like our car was way different, way better and had a better opportunity to run in the top three, top five. Even when we were on old tires earlier in the day, that was probably the best it was and we held onto third, I think, for that run there.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 6th: “Sometimes you try to get greedy (on restarts) and you end up hurting yourself. I feel like that’s kind of what I did. There on a couple of occasions, sometimes to have a big run and realize that not doing something with it is going to net you better in a couple of laps. That’s just something I need to do a better job of.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 7th: “We had a really good Menards/Moen Ford today. I think at points we had a race winning car but just lost the balance late, which stinks. We’ll try a get a win next week in Texas. We had a great car there in the first race this year.”

William Byron — Finished 8th: “It was a good day for us by the end there. We had a couple things happen early on that we had to recover from. We took two tires early and fell back really far in the field and that was tough. We rebounded from that though and got our car tightened up which we needed. We were just too loose for the majority of the day. By the end our car was really fast and we could have ran around fifth to seventh-place and ended up finishing eighth. That’s a good day for us. We’re putting together solid runs and we just need to keep that going as the year ends.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 9th: “We were eighth in both stages and then ninth at the end. We didn’t really have much more than that. If we could have got some track position at times, the really long runs we were strong. Just restarts were really tough to fend people off. We just didn’t quite have the short run speed. Missed it a little bit there with it being so cool out today, I guess. Just didn’t have what we hoped to have. Proud of everybody on this 19 team.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 10th: “It was pretty good. I felt like my Germania Insurance Camry was really fast all day. Kind of the worst we were all day was right there in the end. It’s good to be disappointed finishing 10th. I feel at our best, we were easily a top-five car. Definitely a good day to build on. I feel like the last couple weeks, the road course we were really good, obviously, we were pretty good today, and we have a couple good race tracks for us at the end of the year, hopefully, we can execute and finish with some good runs.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 11th: “I’m so proud of my No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet team. My crew chief, Justin Alexander, and all of the guys did a great job working on our Chevy throughout the race, and we definitely learned a lot. The track was really fast today with the cold temperatures in Kansas, and restarts were wild. For most of the race we were too loose, but once we got tightened up we were able to contend and just nearly missed a top-10 finish. The bumps in Turns 1 and 2 weren’t working with us today, so we will do our homework to address that during the off-season. Overall, it was a good run for us. On to Texas Motor Speedway, where we will try to get another win before the season winds down.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 13th: “We battled loose-handling conditions, tight-handling conditions, and then found some neutral balance here and there. For such a cold day we rallied back to race for a top-10 and just came up short. We still have some good tracks left to try and get a win at in 2020.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 15th: “Obviously we damaged the car and at these tracks, you can’t have any damage on the car. I was fortunate to get a couple cautions there to get us back on the lead lap. That was as far as I could go with the damage that I had. It just hurt the FedEx Camry so bad. To finish 15th with that damage, that was the best we could probably hope for with that damage. Still, definitely had a race-winning car today. Just threw it in the fence.”

John Hunter Nemechek — Finished 17th: “Our No. 38 Speedy Cash Ford Mustang was ‘speedy fast’ today. We fired off pretty decent and made a couple of slight adjustments throughout the day to get us to an even better place. We picked up some damage at the end of Stage 2, but my guys on pit road did a great job and we were able to overcome and stay competitive for the rest of the race. We never gave up and managed to come away with a top-20 finish. I’m really proud of my Front Row Motorsports team and so thankful for the effort these guys put in each and every week.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 18th: “A pretty uneventful day for us. That was the best car we’ve had at a 1.5-mile track in a really long time. We did our homework. The guys did a really good job getting our No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Cash App Camaro ZL1 1LE kind of where we needed it all day. We started out really good and maintained that. We got a little behind on that last pit stop – a little on the tight side. But the pit crew was beyond flawless today, so super proud of them. Great effort for us for Kansas Speedway – come out of there with a good run and learned a lot heading into Texas Motor Speedway. We’ll see what we’ve got.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 19th: “It was definitely a long day for us here at Kansas. We didn’t start off that great, but Drew and everybody on this Love’s Travel Stops team did a really good job of getting our race car faster near the end of the race and we were able to make up some spots and bring home a Top-20 finish. It was a decent day, but we definitely had higher expectations, for sure. It was just really nice to get a decent finish, as the last few weeks have been pretty rough for us.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 24th: “Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE was a lot better there at the end of the race. We just didn’t have the speed overall that we needed with this package. You have to have so much downforce in the car to make up any ground on the track. Our Germain Racing team never gives up and even though the timing of a couple cautions didn’t go our way, we battled back to finish 24th. We have three races left together and our focus now shifts to Texas next week.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 25th: “We had good speed in our No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE at Kansas Speedway today. It was hard at times to get a feel on the handling of our car since it felt like it would take about seven to eight laps for the front tires to come in today, but we did a better job adjusting throughout the race this time than during our first trip to Kansas earlier this year. It felt like for most the day I was snug on entry to the corners but then would become loose on center and exit, so a lot of our focus was on figuring out what changes would help me the most overall. We just have a couple other things to continue to work on as a team to put ourselves in better contention at these races. I thought maybe I had a right front tire going down a couple laps before I got into the wall towards the end of Stage 3, but it was tough to tell if that is what was happening in that moment. That’s a feeling I’ll definitely put in my notebook and learn from.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 26th: “I’m disappointed because it looked like we were going to have a top-10 today. It was all about the restarts out there. We just got some damage and had to pit. It’s pretty frustrating because I wanted to leave here with a really good finish. I appreciate what the track (on the pace laps) and NASCAR did before the race. It was good to see the fans and be home today.”  

Daniel Suarez — Finished 27th: “We had a pretty positive result the last time we were here (18th place in July), but today we couldn’t make our car as good. We had probably a 30th-place car – 29th – and we ended up 27th. The balance of our GF Machining Solutions Toyota was actually decent, but we just needed more speed if we were going to be able to fight for a better result.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 38th: “Everything is so buttoned up these days in the engine department. I haven’t seen an engine problem in years. No fault of anybody at Hendrick engines. We’re running hard here. We were running top five and there’s a ton of RPM down the front-straightaway with the tail wind. We were right in the mix. We were doing the deal. I just couldn’t quite clear some guys to get into that top three or four and then our car would come back to us on the long run after about lap 30. It’s a shame for everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing. Having an engine failure in the Playoffs – it’s just like a huge parachute that slows you up. We’ll pack that parachute up, throw it away and we’ll go to Texas to win.”

Charlotte Cup race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — All-day rain Sunday forced the postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race to Monday.

The postponement means that Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 900 miles of stock car racing Monday. A 300-mile Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled Saturday and first postponed to noon Monday, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Monday (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cup race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sunday’s Cup race was scheduled to start at 6:21 p.m. ET, but light rain was still falling at that time in the speedway area near Charlotte. Rain intensified a few minutes later and, despite an evening forecast that showed slight improvement, officials decided at 6:30 p.m. to postpone the race.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 34% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race and a 30% chance at the start of the Cup race.

William Byron will start the race from the pole after qualifying was washed out Saturday night.

RFK Racing gains sponsorship from submarine recruiting group


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR racing and submarines? Yes.

RFK Racing announced Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that it has entered a partnership with BlueForge Alliance, which is involved in securing workers for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program. BuildSubmarines.com will be a primary sponsor for RFK drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher in 10 Cup Series races this year and in 18 races per season beginning in 2024.

The sponsorship will showcase the careers related to the submarine-building program across the nation.

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“I’m proud to support a cause of such vital significance to our country with this new partnership,” Keselowski said. “The synergies between a NASCAR team and our military’s needs to stay on track fast are countless. We hope to inspire the workforce of the next generation across the country when they see RFK race and hear our message.”

The sponsorship will support the mission to recruit, hire, train, develop and retain the SIB workforce that will build the Navy’s next generation of submarines, the team said.

“We are excited and grateful to be teaming with RFK Racing to drive awareness of the thousands of steady, well-paying manufacturing jobs available across the nation. Innovation, working with purpose and service to others are hallmarks of both of our organizations,” said Kiley Wren, BlueForge chief executive. “Together, we aim to inspire NASCAR fans and all Americans to pursue career opportunities that will support our national defense.”

Kyle Larson visits Indianapolis Motor Speedway to survey the scene


Former NASCAR champion Kyle Larson, who is scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 in 2024 as part of an Indy-Charlotte “double,” visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage area Sunday on Indianapolis 500 race day.

Larson said he wanted to familiarize himself with the Indy race-day landscape before he becomes immersed in the process next year.

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Larson later returned to Charlotte, where was scheduled to drive in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night. Next year, he’s scheduled to run both races.

“I love racing,” Larson told NBC Sports. “I love competing in the biggest races. In my opinion, this is the biggest race in the world. I wanted to be a part of it for a long time, and I finally feel like the timing is right. It’s pretty cool to have a dream come true.

“I wanted to come here and kind of experience it again and get to experience how crazy it is again before I’m in the middle of it next year. I kind of want as little surprise as possible next year.”

In the 2024 500, Larson will be one of four drivers with the Arrow McLaren team.

Earlier this month, Larson and Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon attended an Indy 500 practice day.

Larson said Sunday he hasn’t tested an Indy car.

“I don’t know exactly when I’ll get in the car,” he said. “I’ve had no sim (simulator) time yet. I’ve kind of stayed back. I didn’t want to ask too many questions and take any focus on what they have going on for these couple of weeks. I’m sure that will pick up after today.

“I look forward to the challenge. No matter how this experience goes, I’m going to come out of it a better race car driver.”




Jimmie Johnson: Building a team and pointing toward Le Mans


CONCORD, N.C. — These are busy days in the life of former NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson is a co-owner of Legacy Motor Club, the Cup Series team that has struggled through a difficult first half of the season while it also is preparing for a switch from Chevrolet to Toyota next year.

Johnson is driving a very limited schedule for Legacy as he seeks to not only satisfy his passion for racing but also to gain knowledge as he tries to lift Legacy to another level. As part of that endeavor, he’ll race in the Coca-Cola 600 in Legacy’s No. 84 car, making his third appearance of the season.

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And, perhaps the biggest immediate to-do item on Johnson’s list: He’ll race June 10-11 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s biggest endurance race and another of the bucket list races the 47-year-old Johnson will check off his list.

“I’m excited, invigorated, exhausted — all of it,” Johnson said. “It has been a really exciting adventure that I’ve embarked on here — to learn from (Legacy co-owner) Maury Gallagher, to be a part of this great team and learn from everyone that I’m surrounded by. I’m in a whole new element here and it’s very exciting to be in a new element.

“At the same time, there are some foundational pieces coming together, decisions that we’re making, that will really help the team grow in the future. And then we have our job at hand – the situation and environment that we have at hand to deal with in the 2023 season. Depends on the hat that I’m wearing, in some respects. There’s been a lot of work, but a lot of excitement and a lot of fun. I truly feel like I’m a part of something that’s really going to be a force in the future of NASCAR.”

Johnson is scheduled to fly to Paris Monday or Tuesday to continue preparations for the Le Mans race. He, Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller will be driving a Hendrick Motorsports-prepared Chevrolet as part of Le Mans’ Garage 56 program, which is designed to offer a Le Mans starting spot for a team testing new technologies.

“For me, it’s really been about identifying marquee races around the world and trying to figure out how to run in them,” Johnson said. “Le Mans is a great example of that. Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 — these are the marquee events.”

He said his biggest concerns approaching the 24-hour race are being overtaken by faster prototypes in corners and racing at night  while dealing with the very bright lights of cars approaching in his rear view mirrors.

At Legacy, Johnson has work to do. Erik Jones has a top finish of sixth (and one other top 10) this season, and Noah Gragson is still looking for his first top-10 run. He has a best finish of 12th – at Atlanta.

“I think Erik (Jones) continues to show me just how good he is,” Johnson said. “He’s been in some challenging circumstances this year and keeps his head on — focuses, executes and gets the job done. I’ve really been impressed with his ability to stay calm and execute and just how good he is.

“With Noah, from watching him before, I wasn’t sure how serious he took his job in the sport. I knew that he was fast, and I knew that he liked to have fun. I can say in the short time that I’ve really worked with him closely, he still has those two elements, but his desire to be as good as he can in this sport has really impressed me. So I guess ultimately, his commitment to his craft is what’s impressed me the most.”