What drivers said after inaugural COTA Cup race

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Here’s what drivers said following Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas…

Chase Elliott – Winner: “At the end of the day, I’m not the one making the calls. I don’t want to make the calls. I can sit there and look at it and have an opinion, but it’s not my call. Like I say, I don’t want it to be my call. The track went through a bunch of different stages. The visibility further back in the pack, which I restarted back there on multiple occasions, it was super hard to see. That was really the case kind of all day long. I don’t really know how you fix that with the spray coming off the cars. I think where it got to there at the end was just there were puddles of standing water. I think that was where NASCAR got to and they’re like, Hey, this is not good. Visibility is one thing, but when you hydroplane going however fast we’re going, that’s probably not good. I think that’s kind of the situation we found ourselves in there at the end. Obviously I was on the good end of the call, so I’m okay with the race ending. But actually I think a lot of guys would say the standing water was getting pretty serious. It might have gotten better, might have not. Who knows.”

Kyle Larson – Finished 2nd: “Obviously we’d like to be winning. I feel like we did everything we could last week to win. Came up one spot short. Same thing this week. We put ourselves, had the right strategy to win. Had the race gone green at the end of the race, Chase was going to have to pit for fuel. We did everything we could again and just came up one spot short. We’ve been there every weekend. We’ve been challenging. You got to be happy with that. Like I said, we want the wins, but if you can’t win, second’s better than third.”

Joey Logano – Finished 3rd: “Honestly, I thought the racing was pretty fun. We won’t know what it’s like when it’s dry much, but there was definitely passing zones. You could pass cars. It’s one of the best road courses I think I’ve gone to when it comes to race-ability. You’re not stuck behind somebody all the time. There are passing zones and things you can do, so, yeah. Our road course stuff has been good lately. I’m pretty proud of our finish. If everything cycles out, we cycle back to second, which it didn’t obviously with (Chase Elliott). I wasn’t good enough to beat (Kyle Larson) on the long run for sure, but we’re making progress on them.”

Ross Chastain – Finished 4th: “Fourth place, solid day. Car was fast in the rain. My goodness. Just keep it on track was my plan, and we did that. I had a few close calls, and we did get into a few people, but I think a lot of people did. Learned a lot and this girl (taps watermelon), is going to have to wait for another day. Close, and its cool to be disappointed with a top five. Congrats to Chevrolet on their 800th win. Is that possible? The Clover Chevy…..there were some guests, some Clover guests and there were a ton of Clover machines on property today. Awesome stuff. I was proud of the effort of relaying through our spotters of Josh Wise and Scott Speed. The Skip Barber Racing School here at COTA taught me a ton in the last year at road racing and in the rain. Thank you boys and girls, thank you CGR, and on to the next.”

Chase Briscoe – Finished 6th: “It was crazy with the conditions. With the Roval, I felt like I was gonna have a pretty good understanding of what it was gonna be like, but we’re just going so much faster here that the vision was way worse. The grip level, I felt like was honestly a little bit better, but you just couldn’t see. There could be a guy stopped in the middle of the straightaway and you would have hit him wide-open, so between that and hydroplaning it was definitely challenging. Overall, it was good for us. I felt like we passed a lot of cars today. We continue to make our car better and this is the type of run we needed where we were up front a lot of the day.”

Michael McDowell – Finished 7th: “The beginning of the race wasn’t too bad. We started out on kind of a damp track and then obviously rain started coming down. It was a lot of fun in the first little bit, but those restarts, once the rain started really coming down was so treacherous. Our cars don’t spray like a sports car or an open-wheel car that has ground effects or a rear diffuser. It doesn’t shoot it in the air. It stays on the ground, so you just can’t see the car in front of you. It was super treacherous. The back straightaway accident there was completely my fault. I saw a brake light, but I couldn’t see anything else. Normally, you’re looking for the bridge for your braking markers, looking for something, but I could not see anything so I just rolled out of the gas. Obviously, the guys behind me didn’t and I hate that, but I literally could not see anything. The conditions were really treacherous. Once the cars got single filed out you were OK, but as soon as you got within four or five car lengths of a car it was pretty tough to see, and it always is in the rain, but a little bit different in our cars. And then at the end with the heavy rain our cars just hydroplane so bad that you just go down the straightaway and lose it, so those are always really dangerous when you’re hydroplaning down the straightaway. But, at the same time, it’s the same for everybody so you’re always in the same conditions and have to manage them the best you can, but at the same time I felt really unsafe at the end there just making laps by myself trying to hold onto a top 10 finish.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 8th: “I think the cars drove well today. We had a really good race car. Congrats to the (No.) 9 team. Really cool to see him get a win. Now all four of us have wins. … I just feel like I’ve got to catch up to my teammates on these road courses. We’re really fast, they are, and we run OK, but I just need a little bit more.”

Tyler Reddick – Finished 9th: “To start the day off in COTA with my first NASCAR Cup Series pole was unreal. Our No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet was so fast, and that is a huge testament to all the hard work everyone does at RCR, ECR and Chevrolet. Road racing has been a big challenge in my career and I’ve worked really hard to get better at it. The race today was wild. It was so difficult to see out there with the rain, but my spotters did a good job of helping me navigate around the track. We came back through the field a handful of times for a variety of reasons during the day, so we definitely had the speed to compete. It was just really tough out there and we just needed a little more time. I’m thankful we were able to get both stage points and a top-10 finish out of the day, but I wish we were somehow able to finish the day safely. I would have loved to get this Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet and their 40+ veteran team members that were riding along with me a little farther up, but hopefully I made them proud with our effort today. Congrats also to Chevrolet on 800 wins in NASCAR. Hopefully we’re part of the next one.”

Kyle Busch – Finished 10th: “It’s all discretion, it’s all a discretion call on how much rain is too much rain. We certainly found today that there were definitely times with too much rain and too much puddling. They would clean it off and it was just sprinkling, it was fine after that, no issues after that. Single-file restarts was a smart idea. We’re doing all we can and we’re trying to put on a show for the fans.”

William Byron – Finished 11th: “Yeah, we honestly wanted to win today, and I thought we were in a great position and I just kind of jumped the gun on pitting too early. I got the rain tires on the car and we were a little too dry for it and wore them out. We were running fifth there in Stage 1 and the 21 got into us and tore the right rear up and we just had a bunch of damage after that. To finish 11th is awesome for this Liberty University Chevrolet team. They did a great job repairing it, but it never really drove the same because I think it knocked the rear end out of place. To finish 11th after that is good, it’s a bummer, but I thought for sure we would get a top 10 the way it was going and just unfortunately the rain came too hard. But it was a blast, I enjoyed it, and congrats to Chevrolet on their big win, and to Hendrick Motorsports. Getting close to breaking that record, so hopefully we can do it next week.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 12th: “That was one of the craziest days I’ve ever had racing, so it feels good to get our career-best road course finish in the NASCAR Cup Series in the No. 3 Workrise Chevrolet today! It was nuts. Crazy stuff was happening all over the track. We got to race in the rain, and that made for some unique conditions. Our Workrise Chevy was fast today, but the key to this race was survival. Visibility was an issue, especially down the backstretch. We had two penalties and still came back to finish 12th, so I’m pretty proud of that. Congratulations to Chevrolet on 800 wins. Let’s go to the next one.”

Chris Buescher – Finished 13th: “We were in the ballpark for competitiveness. I thought the setup stuff was pretty good in a lot of different scenarios. We fought some brake issues all day since qualifying and that’s what we’re talking about and trying to get to the bottom of because that held us back today. That’s what kept us from being able to drive a lot harder, so trying to diagnose some of that will really help put everything into perspective and help figure out what was going on because we had a lot of speed in the car.”

Erik Jones – Finished 16th: “Decent day for the Lonely Entrepreneur Chevy. Made gains all day but the race getting called early cost us some spots. Felt good to have some better speed at the end, just have to keep improving at the road courses.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 17th: “You couldn’t see a thing. I thought down the backstretch was pretty dangerous because you just can’t see anything. I got run over pretty hard by somebody not seeing anything and just clobbered me, and it happened a couple other times. That was pretty wild not being able to see nothing. It was one of those deals.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 21st: “You’re just learning and adapting the whole time as the rain strengthens and weakens, so it’s a moving target. But there the last 15 or 20 laps, I really found the groove. Really ran some good laps and wish we could have kept racing and ran some more. I think we could have had an even better finish. Proud of where we ended up. We had a couple issues on pit road that kind of got us behind and that loose wheel kind of put us behind on that last stage restart. Grateful for the opportunity and thankful to Bass Pro Shops and Black Rifle Coffee.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 35th: “The only way to describe it is you can’t see anything so I mean it’s, you just mash the gas and going through the gears on the backstretch praying that nobody’s going to be there and all of a sudden I seen the tail light flash, and I was already in through him. It happens that fast when you’re going that fast and then my thought was that once I hit that guy , I need to try to keep going because I knew they were coming from behind, and literally next thing I know, again, I get drilled so I mean, there’s just nothing you can do in those situations. A shame for Bass Pro and Tracker and all our guys and girls are working on these things. Sorry, we got behind there just. We got a little oil windshield at some point there and I literally couldn’t see anything and I had to pit and we got off sequence in the back there and then it’s you know it’s really, really hard to see back there so it’s I don’t know it’s hard, it’s really hard to race like that if you’re not in the top, you know couple cars and we’re not sure how we can make it easier or better but, man, it’s dangerous and you just get on the backstretch every lap praying there’s nobody having an issue you know you’re praying there’s not going to be a crash or a car stuck or whatever because you’re just wide open and can’t see anything. Just wrong place, wrong time.”

Cole Custer – Finished 36th: “You just can’t see anything on that backstretch. I think the same thing happened to us at the same time, somebody was going slower and by the time you want to slow down, they’re in your front bumper so there’s no chance of you even missing it. It’s just so frustrating. We just wanted a good run and it’s just not fair to all our guys and everybody at (Stewart-Haas Racing) to have a destroyed race car for really no good reason. It’s frustrating, but we’ll move on to the next one.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 37th: “It’s the most unsafe thing I’ve ever done in a race car by a lot. You can’t see anything down the straightaways. These cars were not built to run in the rain and when you can’t see, my spotter said, ‘Check up, check up,’ because he thought he saw two cars wrecking. I let off and the guy behind me hit me wide-open because he never saw me. It’s unbelievable that we’re out there doing what we’re doing because we’re in race cars that aren’t made to do this, and if you can’t see going down the straightaway it’s absolutely not safe, not even close.”

Christopher Bell – Finished 38th: “I don’t exactly know what happened. I wasn’t sure if they were wrecking up there or what. I drove in blind and ran into the back of somebody. I was really looking forward to running my Craftsman Camry today – had a lot of fun in practice yesterday, but when you get into the pack, you’re just racing blind.”

Bubba Wallace – Finished 39th (Post-race quote from Wallace’s crew chief, Mike Wheeler): “It was just one of those things that once you got mid-pack, you just couldn’t see what was going on. Early on we were trying to talk about braking points into turn 12 and he (Bubba Wallace) just couldn’t see. We got back on a clean track and he was hitting his braking points well. Once you are back in the teens to twenties, it’s not good vision. It looked like something happened between (Ryan Blaney) and (Christopher Bell) first. I think (Kevin Harvick) was coached up to kind of check up when he was going 100 mph and we just ran in the back of him because we couldn’t see more than five feet in front of us.”

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.”