What drivers said after Richmond

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Alex Bowman – Winner: “I feel like lately we’ve been really, really fast each and everywhere we’ve gone. Atlanta we ran third. Bristol, we’re the best car, break a transmission. Go to Martinsville, the 12 was probably the best car, but we were probably the second-best car. We have our issue there. Pretty happy with where we’re at right now. We’re going to a lot of places that statistically I’ve struggled at, like Martinsville and here, and running really, really well. I think when we get to the places that I feel like we’re actually good at, it’s going to be really, really good.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 2nd: “There’s frustration, for sure. But it doesn’t change my attitude or work ethic. I’m going to work just as hard to win next week and the week after that. You’re a competitor, you want to win. Especially when you have a great opportunity to win. It just didn’t happen. I just got to digest it, look at it and see where we could have been a little bit better. But ultimately, there’s nothing I can do. My effort was as high as it could be. There’s nothing that’s glaring that I feel like I could have or should have done different. Maybe there is. I’ll go back and look at it, figure it out. Just seemed like the 48 (Alex Bowman) had it gripped up there for a couple laps.”

Joey Logano – Finished 3rd: “Congratulations to them. They beat us. I think probably their adjustments they made on that final pit stop definitely made (Alex Bowman’s) car fire off really well. He started to pay the penalty the last couple laps, but he was so far out that it didn’t matter. It’s frustrating because we were so close with the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang and wanted to get our Ford in victory lane here and led some laps. We made the pass on Denny and then we had a heck of a battle going back and forth.  He was tight when I passed him and then I was tight and he caught back up to me, so the track was changing there and we were both trying to keep up with it. Dang it. I hate being that close. Third is decent, but to be that close and you’re on the front row on the final restart, you think you’ve got a good shot at it and the front didn’t wake up for three laps. Once it woke up, it was too late, so that’s part of it, I guess.”

Christopher Bell – Finished 4th: “I knew that we had a really, really good SiriusXM Camry right from the drop of the green flag. We kept working on it and kept working on it, but then I guess we got caught a lap down there by the yellow flag in stage two. From that point on, it was just battling back up through there. Really proud of this 20 group. We’ve kind of lacked a little bit of consistency throughout the year, but now it seems like we’re picking it up.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 5th: “Driver screwed up our chances there for sure. Auto Owner’s Toyota Camry was really fast. Just like last week, we got off in the middle of the race and then stage three we got it dialed in and I got caught speeding on pit road. We had to drive all the way back through the field and under green, that was tough. We got all the way back to fifth. Heck of an effort by the guys and wish I hadn’t made that mistake so I could have seen what I could have done with them.”

Aric Almirola – Finished 6th: “Man, I really battled for fifth there at the end, but burnt up my tires on the outside in the process. Finally, a solid day for our Smithfield team. Everyone did their part and we were mistake-free today. Let’s fire it up and keep it rolling.”

William Byron – Finished 7th: “It was a good day for us. We ran in the top 10 all day; sometimes top five. Definitely were searching for more there at the end, but to come home seventh at a track that I’ve struggled at is good for us. We definitely know what we need to work on to get better. This is not a race that we had circled to do well, so it’s good to finish top 10 again and keep that streak alive. Congrats to Alex (Bowman) and the No. 48 team. They did a great job there at the end of the race to get their car to take off. That was pretty awesome. We’ll go onto Talladega (Superspeedway) and try to win that one.”

Kyle Busch – Finished 8th: “We had a good M&M’s Red Nose Day Camry. The car didn’t start off well, but Ben (Beshore, crew chief) and the guys kept adjusting on it, and we got it a lot better. There at the end, you try to get all you can on and off pit road to have a shot at the win, and I just came in there too hard and got the commitment box (penalty).”

Matt DiBenedetto – Finished 9th: “It definitely feels long overdue that we got that top 10 finally, so that’s good. We’ve had some rough circumstances that sort of put us in a hole to start the year, but we knew that we have plenty of speed and obviously a great team. It was good to come here and at a track that I really wouldn’t consider one that I have a ton of success at in the past, so that was definitely rewarding. It was a day full of just no forgiveness. You couldn’t have any mistakes at all, so we started the race and we’re too far off. We worked on the car a little bit and made the right calls and got great breaks and once we got track position and got up in the top 10 we had no problem staying up there. That was good. It was a really high pressure day because there was no room for mistakes with that much green flag here. I’m proud of the team and having Menards and Libman on the car. All good stuff and something to build on. We’re climbing out of that hole in the points and gaining a lot quick.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 10th: “Solid day for our No. 3 Chevrolet team. I thought we had something taking off today. I felt like we were pretty good; drove up into sixth or seventh. We never really were as good as we were the last time we were here. Just couldn’t get that adjustment that really would make us go any better than we were before; just kind of a top-10 place car all day. At one point, we were way worse than that. Justin (Alexander, Crew Chief) did a good job making adjustments and the guys in the pits were solid. Can’t thank all the team at RCR and the No. 3 guys enough; working hard and putting in the effort. Tenth, for a battle, was good. We wanted more, but we’ll take a top-10.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 11th: “It was a step in the right direction at Richmond for me and the BODYARMOR team. Our lap times and the way our car handled and we adjusted on it through the race were better than the 11th place finish we had, just got trapped for too long a lap down and without cautions, it was tough to get that back. I think we had a ton of key learnings that we can evaluate and come back stronger when we race here in the playoffs.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 14th: “Our Discount Tire Ford was fast today but it just didn’t come together for us. We’ll bounce back next week.”

Erik Jones – Finished 19th: “It was an up-and-down day for the No. 43 Medallion Bank Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. We started too tight and could not really do what we needed to do with our Chevrolet Camaro. We got it better as the day went, especially towards the end of the race. We started to really get some good speed and gain some track position. Just got too far behind, got caught on pit road when the caution flag came out, lost a lap early and could not get it back where we needed it to be. We will take a top-20 finish. We got some good notes and we will move on.”

Tyler Reddick – Finished 20th: “We tried a lot of different things with our No. 8 Cat #WhatPowersYou Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE today to try to get the handling to where it needed to be and made some small gains throughout the race. It just seemed like we were a tiny bit off from what we had last year during our one visit to Richmond Raceway, so we’ll definitely be studying this one closely to be better when we come back in the fall. I was just a little too tight almost all day and then too loose in the final stage, which didn’t let me charge through the corners like I wanted. Richmond Raceway is a tough place to figure out in a Cup car, especially with it being just my second Cup start here, but I learned a lot. We’ll be ready when we come back here in September.”

Chase Briscoe – Finished 22nd: “Richmond is always a tough place for me, but I felt like we had a decent day despite what the results show. We still have work to do, but half the battle has been trying to overcome our starting position and the early caution pinned us a lap down. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) and the guys have been doing a great job listening to my feedback, and we’ll continue to work on our short-track program so we’re better when we come back in the fall.”

Cole Custer – Finished 23rd: “We had a couple of issues we were trying to shake all day, the biggest one being that after the first 10 laps of a run, we just had a hard time getting our HaasTooling.com Ford to turn over the long run. There were so few cautions that we didn’t have the chance to make significant enough changes to try and fix it. A tough last three races on these short tracks. We’ll get to stretch our legs a bit next week at Talladega.”

Michael McDowell – Finished 27th: “It was a tough race for our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops team at Richmond Raceway. We started out on the tight side of things and just struggled to roll the center of the corners. I felt like our long run speed was pretty decent, but unfortunately we went a few laps down and with the limited amount of cautions, it just made it difficult for us to regain the Lead Lap. Looking at the positives, we certainly learned a few things, which we’ll add to our notebook for when we come back to Richmond (Raceway) in the fall. I wish we could have had a better finish for our partners, but I greatly appreciate the support of Love’s Travel Stops and hopefully we can go out next weekend and deliver another solid superspeedway performance for them at Talladega (Superspeedway).”

Austin Cindric – Finished 28th: “It’s an interesting race. I definitely chose the wrong time to make a rookie mistake getting into the 6 (Ryan Newman). That’s definitely on me and that was a really vulnerable time for our strategy and that put us behind the eight-ball all day. We tried to do some strategy to get us back and we ended up putting ourselves another lap down. By the time stage three rolled around we were able to make some good adjustments and our Verizon 5G Ford Mustang was really good. I wouldn’t say we were top five good, but I think we were good enough to run inside the top 10, top 15 so there’s a lot of positives. I drove up to P20 under green, so lots to learn, but definitely wish I could get that stage two mistake back.”

Anthony Alfredo – Finished 31st: “It was not a great day at Richmond. We just lacked raw speed, along with our teammates. Historically, as a group, this hasn’t been one of our strongest tracks. But, we’ll go back and do our homework to get better. I liked racing the track today, I feel good, but we just weren’t able to get the finish we wanted.”

Texas shuffles NASCAR Cup playoff standings

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Texas marked the fourth consecutive playoff race that the winner didn’t advance to the next round.

All three races in the first round were won by drivers not in the playoffs. Tyler Reddick won Sunday at Texas, a week after he failed to advance from the Round of 16 and was eliminated from title contention.

Texas did shake up the playoff standings. Chase Elliott entered as the points leader but a blown tire while leading sent his car into the wall, ending his race. He falls to the No. 8 spot, the final transfer position with two races left in this round. He’s tied with Daniel Suarez, but Suarez has the tiebreaker with a better finish this round.

Chase Briscoe, who scored only his second top 10 in the last 22 races, is the first driver outside a transfer spot. He’s four points behind Elliott and Suarez. Austin Cindric is 11 points out of the transfer spot. Christopher Bell is 29 points out of a transfer position. Alex Bowman is 30 points from the transfer line.

The series races Sunday at Talladega (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

 

XFINITY SERIES

Noah Gragson’s win at Texas moved him on to the next round. The win was his fourth in a row.

Ryan Sieg and Sam Mayer are tied for the final two transfer spots to the next round. Riley Herbst is one point behind them. Daniel Hemric is eight points from the final transfer spot. Brandon Jones is 13 points from the last transfer spot. Jeremy Clements is 29 points shy of the final transfer position.

The series races Saturday at Talladega (4 p.m. ET on USA Network).

 

 

CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

The series was off this past weekend but returns to the track Saturday at Talladega. Ty Majeski has advanced to the championship race at Phoenix with his Bristol win.

 

Winners and losers at Texas Motor Speedway

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A look at the winners and losers from Sunday’s marathon race at Texas Motor Speedway:

WINNERS

Tyler Reddick – Reddick isn’t acting like a lame duck. Headed for 23XI Racing in 2024 (if not sooner), Reddick now owns three wins with Richard Childress Racing, the team he’ll be leaving.

Justin Haley – Haley, who has shown flashes of excellence this season for Kaulig Racing, matched his season-high with a third-place run.

Chase Briscoe — Briscoe wrestled with major problems in the early part of the race but rebounded to finish fifth. It’s his second top-10 finish in the last 22 races.

LOSERS

NASCAR Officials – Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, admitted that series officials missed William Byron spinning Denny Hamlin under caution after Martin Truex Jr.‘s crash. Such a situation could have major playoff implications, although Miller hinted that series officials may still act this week.

Christopher Bell – Bell met the wall twice after blown tires and finished a sour 34th, damaging his playoff run in a race that he said was critical in the playoffs.

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. – Harvick (finished 19th) and Truex (31st) were late-race victims of the day’s tire dilemma. Both crashed while leading.

Track workers  Somebody had to clean up all that tire debris.

Chase Elliott – Elliott remains a power in the playoffs, but he left Sunday’s race in a fiery exit after a blown tire while leading and finished 32nd. He holds the final transfer spot to the next round heading into Talladega.

 

 

Blown tires end race early for several Texas contenders

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A Goodyear official said that air pressures that teams were using contributed to some drivers blowing tires in Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. all crashed while leading after blowing a tire. Among the others who had tire issues were Alex Bowman, Chris Buescher Cole Custer and Christopher Bell twice. 

“We’re gaining as much information as we can from the teams, trying to understand where they are with regard to their settings, air pressures, cambers, suspicions,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing Sunday. “For sure I can say without a doubt air pressure is playing into it. We know where a lot of the guys are. Some were more aggressive than others. We know that plays a part.

MORE: NASCAR says it missed William Byron spinning Denny Hamlin under caution 

“I’m not saying that’s the only thing, but it’s certainly a factor, so we’re just trying to understand everything else that is going on with regard to specific teams. We know a lot of guys have not had issues. We’ve had guys put full fuel runs on tires, but, obviously, other guys have had issues. We’ll be working with them to try to sort through that is.”

Eight of the 16 cautions were related to tire failures that caused drivers to spin or crash.

“It’s not a good look, that’s for sure,” Ryan Blaney said of the tire issues others had. “How many leaders blew tires tonight? Three or four?

“You just don’t understand what is making these things do that. From last week to this week, it’s really unfortunate. It’s just luck now.

“You never know if you’re going to blow one. You go into (Turn) 3 almost every lap with 40 laps on your stuff and I don’t know if one is going to blow out or not. That’s not safe. That’s for sure. Running (180) into (Turn) 3 and the thing blows out and you have no time to react to it. It’s unfortunate. I hope we can figure that out.”

Blaney said he was confused that the tires were blowing partly into a run instead of much earlier.

“It was weird because those tires didn’t blow right away,” he said. “Like the pressures were low. They blew like after a cycle or two on them, which is the weird thing.”

Asked how he handles that uncertainty, Blaney said: “Nothing I can do about it. Just hope and pray.”

After his crash, Elliott was diplomatic toward Goodyear’s situation:

“I’m not sure that Goodyear is at fault,” he said. “Goodyear always takes the black eye, but they’re put in a really tough position by NASCAR to build a tire that can survive these types of racetracks with this car. I wouldn’t blame Goodyear.”

Tyler Reddick, who won Sunday’s race at Texas, said his team made adjustments to the air pressure settings after Saturday’s practice.

“We ran enough laps, were able to see that we had been too aggressive on our right front tire,” he said. “So we made some adjustments going into the race, thankfully.”

This same time was used at Kansas and will be used again at Las Vegas next month in the playoffs. 

Reddick is hopeful of a change but also knows it might take time.

“I just think to a degree, potentially, as these cars have gotten faster and we’re getting more speed out of them, maybe, hypothetically speaking, we’re putting the cars through more load and more stress on the tire than they ever really thought we would be,” he said. 

“I know Goodyear will fix it. That’s what they do. It’s going to be a process. I know they’re going to be on top of it. Hey, they don’t want to see those failures. We don’t want to see them either. They’re going to be working on looking through and trying to find out exactly what is going on. We’ll all learn from it.

“It’s a brand-new car. It’s the first time in the history of our sport we’ve gone to an 18-inch wheel and independent rear suspension. All these things are way different, diffuser. All these things, way different. We’re all learning together. Unfortunately, just the nature of it, we’re having tire failures.”

NASCAR says it missed William Byron spin Denny Hamlin under caution

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A senior NASCAR executive admitted that series officials did not see William Byron spin Denny Hamlin under caution on the frontstretch of Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway. 

The missed call could have major implications in the playoffs — even if series officials decide to penalize Byron later this week, as was hinted Sunday night. 

The issue occurred after Martin Truex Jr. blew a tire while leading and crashed in Turn 3 on Lap 269 of the 334-lap race.  

With the caution lights illuminated, Hamlin slowed. Byron hit him in retaliation for forcing him into the wall earlier. Hamlin spun across the infield grass. NASCAR did not put Hamlin back in his original spot before the contact and did not penalize Byron.

“When we were in the tower, we were paying more attention to the actual cause of the caution up there and dispatching our equipment,” Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition said after the race. “The William Byron-Denny Hamlin thing, we had no eyes on. We saw Denny go through the grass.

“By the time we got a replay that showed the incident well enough to do anything to it, we had gone back to green. I’m not sure that that issue is completely resolved as of yet. We’ll be looking at that when we get back to work.”

Miller did not elaborate on what NASCAR could do this week.

Hamlin expressed his shock on social media at Miller’s comments:

Miller explained how officials missed the Byron-Hamlin incident: “The cameras and the monitors that we’ve got, we dedicate them mostly to officiating and seeing our safety vehicles and how to dispatch them. By the time we put all those cameras up (on the monitor in the control tower), we don’t have room for all of the in-car cameras to be monitored.

“If we would have had immediate access to (Byron)’s in-car camera, that would have helped us a lot, being able to find that quickly. That’s definitely one of the things we’re looking at.”

Race winner Tyler Reddick said NASCAR needs to address the situation to avoid other contact under caution in the future.

“In William’s situation, whether he ran him over on accident or on purpose, there should be some sort of penalty for him on that side because he’s completely screwed someone’s race up, whether it was on purpose or not,” Reddick said. “I feel like there should be something done there.

I’m sure (NASCAR will) make some sort of a decision. I’m sure there will be something they’ll address this week, updates, on NASCAR’s side. I’ll be curious to see what that is. We can’t really have this where you dump someone under caution, they go to the back and you don’t. That could potentially be an interesting situation in the future.”

Byron said he hit Hamlin to show his dissatisfaction for being forced into the wall. 

“I felt like he ran me out of race track off of (Turn) 2 and had really hard contact with the wall,” Byron said. “Felt like the toe link was definitely bent, luckily not fully broken. We were able to continue.

“A lot of times that kind of damage is going to ruin your race, especially that hard. I totally understand running somebody close and making a little bit of contact, but that was pretty massive.”

On the retaliatory hit, Byron said: “I didn’t mean to spin him out. That definitely wasn’t what I intended to do. I meant to bump him a little bit and show my displeasure and unfortunately, it happened the way it did. Obviously, when he was spinning out, I was like ‘I didn’t mean to do this,’ but I was definitely frustrated.”

Hamlin didn’t see it that way.

“I guess we can just wreck each other under caution,” Hamlin told NBC Sports’ Kim Coon. “I tried to wreck him back. I don’t think we touched. I’ve got to look. I don’t think we touched. Obviously he sent us through the infield under caution.”

Asked about having a conversation with Byron, Hamlin said: “I keep hearing these guys, but I’ll just add it to the list of guys when I get a chance they’re going to get it.”

Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart both were frustrated with NASCAR not putting Hamlin back to second after the contact. Instead, NASCAR put him outside the top 15. After pitting, Hamlin restarted 19th. Byron, after pitting, restarted 10th. 

“The man wrecks you under caution and he gets no penalty?” Gabehart said on the team’s radio. “What are they doing?”

Said Hamlin after the race: “I can’t argue the rules with them inside the car and the team did everything they could to try to make a case but ultimately we went spinning through the infield under caution.”

The result is that Byron finished seventh. That puts him third in the playoff standings. He’s 17 points above the cutline going into next weekend’s race at Talladega.

Hamlin finished 10th and is sixth in the playoff standings. He’s eight points above the cutline.