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.”

Sponsor adds more races in 2023 with Josh Berry

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Jarrett Companies will increase the number of races it will sponsor Josh Berry‘s No. 8 JR Motorsports ride in 2023, the Xfinity Series team announced Monday.

Jarrett Companies will sponsor Berry in six races after serving as the primary sponsor in three races in 2022. Those six races will be Phoenix (March 11), Richmond (April 1), Dover (April 29), Atlanta (July 8), Indianapolis (Aug. 12) and Texas (Sept. 23).

The deal gives Berry at least 26 races with sponsorship for next season. Bass Pro Shops will serve as the primary sponsor of Berry’s car in 11 races in 2023. Tire Pros is back with JRM and will sponsor Berry in nine races in the upcoming season.

Berry, who reached the Xfinity title race and finished fourth in the points, will have a new crew chief in 2023. Taylor Moyer will take over that role with Mike Bumgarner serving as JRM’s director of competition.

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

 

Where are they now? Buddy Parrott enjoying down time

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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

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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

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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.”