What drivers said after Texas race

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Here is what drivers said after Wednesday night’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway:

Kyle Busch — Winner: “It means a lot just to keep that winning streak going (of 16 consecutive seasons with at least a win). That’s the biggest thing I was hoping for and obviously wanting to accomplish this year before the year was out. I can’t say enough about (crew chief) Adam Stevens and (spotter) Tony Hirschman, my pit crew guys and everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing for all their hard work and everything that they do year in and year out.

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 2nd: “We knew (Kyle Busch) was close. The only thing we could do at that point, which we did all day anyway was try to run flat out. Hell of an effort by the Bass Pro guys and everybody that helps us. It just seems like one of those years where we’re second, third, fourth – we’re right there a lot. Just need a little bit more to be better. Excited about Martinsville. I know we can win there and obviously we’ve shown that in the past.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 3rd: “It was definitely hard fought. I felt like my Procore Camry was extremely fast. If I ever could have got by(Martin Truex Jr.), I feel like I would have been able to get up to (Kyle Busch), but to pass him is another thing. I was able to drive up through the field pretty good, but once you got up to the top couple cars, passing got a little bit tougher. I’m really proud of everyone on this Procore Camry, 95 team. They’ve been bringing really good racecars to the track. We just haven’t been able to finish well and today we finally got one.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 4th: “We had pretty decent speed all day and led there a little bit and then kind of fell back, but ran in the top five most of the night. I just lost a little bit of speed at the end. My car felt pretty good, but just couldn’t really keep up. The track got super cold and grippy at the end. It gained grip with the night time coming, but, overall, not a bad day. We’ll take a top five and go on to Martinsville. We were really good there earlier this year and I look forward to getting back.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 5th: “Not the day we really wanted. Had a really fast car, but pit strategy didn’t completely go our way. Some restarts were painful. When the sun came out, it was really fast. Some guys were really trimmed out and as cold as it was it seemed to really help them. Bummed out with fifth. I feel like we probably had the best handling race car and just came up a little short. Overall a good day and proud of everybody. So proud of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for bringing really great driving cars to the track every week. Proud of everyone at Chevrolet and a big thanks to Acronis for being on board.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 6th: “I don’t know about the craziest, but certainly the longest. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m glad we had a great run. I’m very much looking forward to Martinsville.  I’m very proud of the team. We made a great pit call at the end of stage two that set us up for a great day and very proud of everybody.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 7th: “Really happy that we got a top-10 finish. What a crazy start to the race. The delays and then today when my teammate (Matt Kenseth) got collected in that wreck, there was mud and sludge that got kicked all over our car, so we were struggling early in the race with overheating. Then it was tape that got reconfigured after the rain delay. We were zigging and zagging the first two stages. What a battle. Then we’d put right sides on. Then we’d put left sides on. Then we were taking tape off. Then we’re adding tape. Finally, to start the final stage, we were 11th and we then could work on our car’s balance.’’

Joey Logano — Finished 10th: “I thought we were decent on Sunday. Today, we really just fought tight the whole race. We made a ton of adjustments on the car and we never got it freed up. The good thing is we’re locked into Phoenix already, so we’ll go to Martinsville on Sunday, have some fun and try to win another clock.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 12th: “I can’t thank the team enough for sticking out this rain delay and give us a solid night in our Kroger Chevrolet. We really worked on the handling and just got it better and better throughout the night and were able to run some really strong lap times. Traffic gave us a little bit of a challenge during the long run at the end, but once we made it through that it was all focus forward and we were able to keep gaining on it to the end. This is a quick turnaround to Martinsville, but I’m really happy with our momentum going into the final two races of the season.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 11th: “What a week in Texas in the Dow Sullair Chevrolet. We came into this race with high expectations and the goal of backing up RCR’s 1-2 finish that we earned in July. We were thrown a few curve balls by Mother Nature. We started the race too free but still managed to position ourselves solidly in the top 10 before the race was postponed for weather. There were a lot of varying strategies going on tonight, but as always, Justin Alexander made some great calls. We were so close to a top 10 finish tonight, but it’s just so hard to pass. If we would have had more front turn at the end of the race, I think we could have passed a couple of more cars, but we were just too tight at the end.”

William Byron — Finished 13th: “We had just really one bad run during the race and that buried us in traffic in mid-pack. We were just way too loose but once we got the handling better we were good. That last run we just couldn’t really pass even though the track was fast. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way our No. 24 Liberty University Chevy drove for the majority of the race and hopefully we have a good run in Martinsville.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 15th: “That was a much longer race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway than anyone expected, but I’m glad we were able to leave with a 15th-place finish with our No. 8 Clark Pipeline Services Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. It’s weird starting a race and then having such a long break before you’re able to finish it, but everyone managed the best they could. We had to fight a lot of changing track conditions today, and it was tough to nail down the right balance for our car. I started off on Sunday way too loose, but after our first adjustment today it was like we had a completely different car. From then on, I was too tight in traffic and needed more help with entry into the turns. My spotter, Derek Kneeland, and crew chief, Randall Burnett, helped a lot with relaying information on what I could try to help my entry and get around the track better, which helped us capitalize on a top-15 finish on a day that we really had to fight for it. We’ll continue to push to get every spot we can during these last two races to finish the year on a high note.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 17th: “So much for getting a six-shooter. That was a sick feeling to be out front knowing you couldn’t make it to the end. Obviously, we had a good Ford Mustang tonight. I’m ready to go home and then try again in Martinsville.” 

Ryan Preece — Finished 18th: “Enduring the rain delay was definitely a new challenge, especially after starting the race on Sunday and thinking about what changes we could make when we got restarted again tonight. Trent Owens did an awesome job adjusting the handling throughout the race to give us something we could compete with at the end. Unfortunately, we had a bad pit stop and got trapped a lap down to only gain so much track position, but we were able to make some of that ground up at the end. I’m really proud of everyone that stuck with us and kept working on this Scott Brand Chevrolet and I’m excited to get to one of my favorite tracks, Martinsville Speedway, next weekend.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 20th: “I thought we were decent throughout the first part of the race and trying to kind of settle in there. I thought we settled into a decent spot. We certainly weren’t fantastic, but I thought we were better than we typically are out here. So, that was good. Kind of got going through the mid-portion of the race there. Was trying to gain some track position to get some stage points there in that second stage and had a tire come apart that I didn’t realize was coming apart. So, I had to come back down pit road and fix that. And then we settled into where we typically do out here and finished in the back.”

John Hunter Nemechek — Finished 22nd: “Wow, what a week. Obviously, mother nature didn’t want to cooperate with us on Sunday but huge shoutout to the fans who stuck around to see the race today. Our No. 38 ROMCO Equipment Ford Mustang fired off on the snug side to start the race. Once we refired today, our handling wasn’t bad, but it was just challenging to find grip and make moves to improve track position. We missed the mark on fuel strategy, as well, so that hurt us in the end. We’ll recover as much as we can over the next couple of days and head to Martinsville ready to try again on Sunday.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 26th: “A really unfortunate turn of events for us here at Texas Motor Speedway. On Sunday, prior to the weather delay, I felt like our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops and Speedco Ford Mustang had some good speed; but then today, we battled a recurring vibration that forced us to pit road multiple times under green and with the lack of cautions, it made it really hard for us to regain any track position. Thanks to Love’s Travel Stops and Speedco for coming on board with us this weekend and thank you to all of the men and women who helped to get us back racing today. We’ll head home tonight and gear up for Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 27th: “That was an experience, waiting to finish the race three days after it started. We struggled on the short runs but then our NASCAR Foundation Toyota was pretty decent after about 20 or 30 laps. Then, something happened during the second half of the race that cost us speed. Something felt like it broke in the engine and we lost 60 or 70 horsepower. Not sure what it was.”

Bubba Wallace — Finished 38th: “I just hate it for my guys for sitting around for four days to have the race taken away from us like that. We’ll wait, sit on the plane and wait to go home. I got two races left. It’s just unfortunate. The funny thing is, the only thing I could think about is ‘damn, I didn’t grab my hat – my mom’s going to be mad my hair looks bad’. Onto Martinsville.”

NASCAR fines Daniel Suarez $50,000 for pit road incident


NASCAR fined Daniel Suarez $50,000 for running into the cars of Alex Bowman and teammate Ross Chastain on pit road after last weekend’s race at Circuit of the Americas.

Suarez was upset after a potential top-five finish was lost in an incident in overtime.

MORE: Appeals Panel rescinds 100-point penalty to Hendrick drivers 

Suarez restarted fifth in the second overtime restart but left the inside lane open. Alex Bowman, with Ross Chastain and Chase Briscoe aligned behind, charged and got beside Suarez as they approached Turn 1.

As Bowman slowed to make the tight turn, he was hit from behind and that sent him into Suarez, who clipped the left rear of Martin Truex Jr.’s car. Truex spun in front of Suarez and blocked his path, allowing the rest of the field to drive by and costing Suarez a top-five finish. Suarez finished 27th.

Suarez spoke briefly with Bowman before having a discussion with Chastain.

“It’s uncharacteristic of Daniel,” Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “There’s no excuse for what happened.”

Appeals panel rescinds 100-point penalty to Hendrick drivers


Alex Bowman is back leading the points after the National Motorsports Appeals Panel rescinded the 100-point penalty to each Hendrick Motorsports driver and team Wednesday. The Appeals Panel also rescinded the 10-point playoff to each Hendrick driver and team.

The Appeals Panel found that Hendrick violated the rule by modifying the hood louvers on the cars of Bowman, William Byron, Kyle Larson and Josh Berry at Phoenix. The louvers were taken after practice that weekend.

The Appeals Panel kept the $100,000 fine and four-race suspension to each Hendrick crew chief: Cliff Daniels, Alan Gustafson, Blake Harris and Rudy Fugle. All four sat out the past two races, meaning they’ll miss this weekend’s race at Richmond and next weekend’s race on the dirt at Bristol before returning the following weekend at Martinsville.

The Appeals Panel did not give a reason for its decision.

Bowman had been 16th in the standings with the 100-point penalty. He now has a 15-point lead on Ross Chastain after getting all those points back.

Byron goes from 22nd to third after getting his points back. He’s 29 points behind Bowman, 14 points behind Chastain and five points ahead of Kyle Busch. Byron also gets his 10 playoff points back for his wins at Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Larson goes from 27th to ninth with getting his points back.

“We are grateful to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel for their time and attention,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, in a statement. “Today’s outcome reflects the facts, and we’re pleased the panel did the right thing by overturning the points penalty. It validated our concerns regarding unclear communication and other issues we raised. We look forward to focusing on the rest of our season, beginning with this weekend’s race at Richmond (Raceway).”

NASCAR stated its displeasure with part of the penalty being rescinded.

“We are pleased that the National Motorsports Appeals Panel agreed that Hendrick Motorsports violated the rule book. However, we are disappointed that the entirety of the penalty was not upheld. A points penalty is a strong deterrent that is necessary to govern the garage following rule book violations, and we believe that it was an important part of the penalty in this case and moving forward. We will continue to inspect and officiate the NASCAR garage at the highest level of scrutiny to ensure a fair and level playing field for our fans and the entire garage.”

The panelists on the appeal were former driver Bill Lester, Kelly Housby and Dixon Johnston.

Here is the updated points

1. Alex Bowman       226 points

2. Ross Chastain      211

3. William Byron       197

4. Kyle Busch           192

5. Joey Logano        186

6. Kevin Harvick       186

7. Christopher Bell   184

8. Ryan Blaney         177

9. Kyle Larson          170

10. Austin Cindric     166

11. Martin Truex Jr.   165

12. Brad Keselowski 162

13. Tyler Reddick       161

14. Denny Hamlin      161

15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 159

16. Chris Buescher     157

17. Daniel Suárez        144

18. Corey LaJoie         139

19. Michael McDowell 125

20. Ty Gibbs                 118

21. Bubba Wallace      103

22. AJ Allmendinger    103

23. Erik Jones                99

24. Chase Briscoe         96

25. Todd Gilliland          95

26. Austin Dillon            93

27. Noah Gragson        86

28. Aric Almirola            70

29. Ryan Preece           69

30. Harrison Burton      66

Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway


The NASCAR Cup Series’ first short track points race of the season is scheduled Sunday at Richmond Raceway, a presence on the NASCAR schedule since 1953.

Tyler Reddick is coming off his first win of the season last Sunday at Circuit of the Americas. He gave Toyota its first victory of the year.

MORE: William Byron is No. 1 in NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

The Richmond race is the first of three consecutive events on short tracks. The series will race on the dirt surface at Bristol Motor Speedway April 9 and the Martinsville Speedway half-mile April 16.

A look at drivers to watch Sunday at Richmond:


Tyler Reddick

  • Points position: 13th
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (COTA)
  • Past at Richmond: No finish better than 11th in five career starts

Reddick showed the promise of what could be a strong season by dominating Sunday’s race at COTA. His victory boosted him five spots in points to 10th. Richmond, a track where he has never led a lap, will be a test.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best seasonal finish: 1st (Las Vegas 1, Phoenix 1)
  • Past at Richmond: Led 122 laps in April race last year

Byron had a top car in this race last season but was passed by Denny Hamlin for the win with five laps remaining. Byron finished third, his career-best run at Richmond.

Denny Hamlin

  • Points position: 14th
  • Best seasonal finish: 6th (Auto Club, Atlanta 1)
  • Past at Richmond: Four consecutive top-four runs, including a win

Hamlin can be counted on to challenge for the win every time the tour rolls into Richmond. He has won there in 2009, ’10, ’16 and ’22.


Daniel Suarez

  • Points position: 17th
  • Best seasonal finish: 4th (Auto Club)
  • Past at Richmond: Best career finish is 7th

After opening the season with top-10 runs at Daytona, Fontana and Las Vegas, Saurez has plummeted into the 20s in three consecutive races. Richmond will present another big challenge. Suarez has five consecutive finishes of 16th or worse there.

Ryan Preece

  • Points position: 29th
  • Best seasonal finish: 12th (Phoenix 1)
  • Past at Richmond: Top finish of 20th in five career starts

Preece’s first full-time season in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 has started poorly. He has been sidelined by accidents in three races and was more upset than most after being parked by a multi-car crash Sunday at COTA.

Alex Bowman

  • Points position: 1st
  • Best seasonal finish: 3rd (Las Vegas 1, COTA)
  • Past at Richmond: Three top 10s, including a win, in past five races

Bowman seems poised to score his first victory of the season. He has been among the tour’s most consistent drivers to date, with five top-10 finishes in six races.




What takes place in a NASCAR appeal hearing? Here’s a look


Hendrick Motorsports is scheduled to have its appeal hearing at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday.

So what will happen in the appeal hearing? Here is a look at the process, based on the NASCAR Cup Rule Book.

NASCAR penalized Hendrick Motorsports for modifications to hood louvers. Those penalties were:

  • Docked Alex BowmanKyle Larson and William Byron 100 points and 10 playoff points each.
  • Suspended crew chiefs Cliff Daniels, Alan Gustafson, Rudy Fugle and Blake Harris four races each and fined each $100,000.
  • Penalized each of the four Hendrick teams 100 owner points and 10 playoff points.

Before the appeal hearing starts, both sides — in this case, Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR — must file a written summary presenting their case before the hearing.

The summary must not be longer than two single-spaced pages. Any attachments or appendices either side intends to present during the hearing must be included. Such attachments or appendices may include, but are not limited to, video, written statements, diagrams, photographs and charts.

The summary is to be filed by 5 p.m. ET two days before the beginning of the hearing. The summary shall be confidential and not released to the public. The Cup Rule Book says that releasing the summary to the public “may result in a penalty.”

The appeal will be heard by three members. They will come from a pool of panelists. The Cup Rule Book lists 19 panelists. That group includes former drivers Mike Skinner, Lake Speed, Bill Lester, Shawna Robinson and Lyn St. James, along with others in various roles in motorsports.

The Cup Rule Book states that “in seating an Appeals Panel, the Administrator shall take into consideration the panelists’ availability, background, professional experience and knowledge.”

The Cup Rule Book states “the burden rests on NASCAR to show that it is more likely than not that a violation … has occurred, and that the Penalty Notice issued is within the guidelines of the NASCAR Rules.”

Both parties are allowed in the hearing room while each side presents evidence. NASCAR goes first.

After both sides finish, there is a break before an optional rebuttal period. NASCAR has the chance to go first, followed by those appealing.

Once that is complete, NASCAR is permitted one last opportunity to “argue, explain, or present rebuttal on the facts and violation” to the appeal panel since NASCAR carries the burden of proof.

The appeal panelists may ask questions to either group or any witnesses at any time during the hearing.

Decisions by the three-member National Motorsports Appeals Panel do not need to be unanimous.

The National Motorsports Appeals Panel can affirm the penalty or adjust it. The panel can rescind some or all of the penalties or increase any or all penalties.

When NASCAR penalized William Byron 25 points and fined him $50,000 for spinning Hamlin during a caution in last year’s playoff race at Texas, Hendrick Motorsports appealed. The National Motorsports Appeals Panel rescinded the 25-point penalty but increased his fine to $100,000. NASCAR amended its rule book after the panel’s decision.

NASCAR does not have the option to appeal the panel’s decision. Those who filed the appeal can further appeal the panel’s decision to the Final Appeal Officer. That decision can’t be appealed.

Kaulig Racing and Denny Hamlin each will go through this process when their appeals are heard. Kaulig Racing’s appeal is April 5 for modifications to a hood louver. Hamlin’s appeal is April 6 for intentionally wrecking Ross Chastain on the last lap of the Phoenix race.