What drivers said after Pocono Race 2


A collection of post-race driver quotes following Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway:

Kyle Busch – Winner: “(Denny Hamlin and I) were really close. We have kind of mirroring each other. I could gain on him in turn two, kind of stay equal to him in three, then he would get a little bit on me getting into turn one just because I felt like I was trying to still save a little bit being behind him. I could kind of let him throw it off in there. He would really push off at turn one, so I felt like he was going to burn his front tires up with the remaining laps left. Hopefully I could get by him, get a chance to get by him. When we went down from two to three coming to the white, we went from two to three, I had a run-on off of two, and was looking low and then he blocked low, and I went back high, and he really didn’t come back to block up high. I threw it in on his outside. I was like, All right, this is it, I’m going to take it. He was coming to pit road, so… I don’t know if he just positioned himself low, so then I didn’t block his opportunity to get to pit road. That might have been what went down there, so he was already out. I had no idea that was going down. Overall once I got my quarter panel, my front fender to his quarter panel, that’s kind of when I knew I had him.”

Kyle Larson – Finished 2nd: “I don’t know. It’s surprising finish for us. Our HendrickCars.com Chevy was really loose for a majority of the race, then we got a lot of nose damage there on one of the restarts. Was off on speed. I felt like after that. Cliff (Daniels, crew chief) and everybody did a really, really good job managing the race, coached me through saving fuel there at the end. Was hoping that the 18 (Kyle Busch) was going to run out. I saw the 11 (Denny Hamlin) running out. I was, Okay, they’re teammates, they got to be close to running out. The 18 did pit a lap after us under caution. That actually probably won them the race. But, yeah, second-place finish, I thought we would be outside of the top 20. A lot of points throughout the race today; we’ll take it. Happy about the effort for sure all weekend.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 3rd: “We ran a really good race but just didn’t have enough fuel to make it to the end like those others guys did. They beat us on power and fuel mileage. We have a lot of work to do to keep up with those guys. I am really proud of Jeremy Bullins and the team. They had the setup really well and it put is in position and we ran a great race today and maximized our day. It was a nice rebound from where we have been. We have had a lot of bad breaks with things breaking and all kinds of issues across the board. My mistakes, other mistakes. This was a really good day for us.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 4th: “I thought our car was better yesterday than it was today. We just kind of over adjusted from what we had yesterday to where we started today. They did a good job keeping us in the game and made some good adjustments in the car. We had some good restarts and good track position and were able to pick up the pace. Just still we just lose the handling of the car more than I would like to behind cars. Other than that, we just keep clawing along.”

Bubba Wallace – Finished 5th: “It’s big. A lot of confidence for myself which is huge. It came down to fuel strategy there, but I appreciate Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief), J.R. (Houston, engineer), Freddie (Kraft, spotter), telling me what to do – 80% there, 60% here, the whole time. It got so annoying, but it worked out. That’s what it takes. It takes a team effort to pull off this. Great day for us. Great day for DraftKings – their first race is the first top-five for our team. That makes you want to resign, but all-in-all, really good day. Really good weekend for us. We knew that we had the speed. Bossman was here – MJ (Michael Jordan) was here. We had the whole staff out, so it was a good day. Good weekend.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 7th: “It was an OK day for the No. 48 Ally team. Strategy didn’t work out for us. We struggled in traffic; kind of knew we would have after yesterday. But we got out front for a bit and we were pretty decent. Onto Road America next weekend.”

Tyler Reddick – Finished 9th: “My team definitely made some good changes to the No. 8 Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE overnight. We were a lot better over the bumps today, which was one of my bigger issues on Saturday. I seemed to fire off too loose for each run but then build too tight, especially when I was in dirty air. The adjustments my team made all race long did help though. I just needed to get a little creative with the lines I was running since I had no grip when I would try to run the traction compound. We got a little off-sequence with our strategy today, but it ended up working for us in the long run when all those other cars ran out of gas during the last few laps. Our car had good speed all weekend long, so that’s great for us to build on as we head to Road America next weekend for some road racing.”

Joey Logano – Finished 10th: 

William Byron – Finished 12th: “I figured we were first on four tires. We can make it. I kind of thought we were closer on fuel than we were. I thought we could get up as far as we could, and a couple of guys would have to pit and we’d save and win. So that was kind of how it was looking to work out there with the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) and then we had to go into max save. I thought for sure we’d make it because usually you’ve got a little bit of fudge factor there, but we ran out with three (laps) to go, so not even close.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 13th: “P-13; I think we had a little better car than that. We did everything we could to get track position all day. We ran out just there at the end of stage two on the backstretch; so close to getting top-10 and stage points there. That would have set us up for the end pretty good I think, as far as track position goes.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 14th: “Just do what I’m told: Don’t run when I’m not supposed to run, run when I’m supposed to run. The result is we pitted on the last lap for three weeks in a row. That’s tough. I mean, I hate seeing the white coming to pit road. It’s just so frustrating. Fuel mileage has got us the last two weeks. Lug nuts the week before. We’re running fast. We’re getting a little better. I think overall we had a little bit more speed this weekend than what we’ve had the past few weeks. Yeah, can’t see the checkered right now.”

Aric Almirola – Finished 16th: “Buga (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and the No. 10 Smithfield team made steady improvements on the car all day. We thought the fuel mileage would play out better in our favor and give us a top-10. It was nice to run up front today in clean air and get some stage points. The strategy didn’t completely work out in our favor, but overall we had a decent day, and I don’t think our finish was indicative of that.”

Cole Custer – Finished 24th: “Man, we had a fast No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang today and definitely could’ve contended up there in the top-10 if we hadn’t run into trouble at the beginning of the final stage. It was hard to recover from that damage. We’ll learn and move ahead to Road America.”

Justin Allgaier – Finished 25th: 

Ross Chastain – Finished 26th: “We had to start in the back, so it took us a little while. But once we got up into the top-10, we had the balance in the car and the grip to stay there. With pit strategy, we restarted in the top-five a couple of times. I just got into the 20 (Christopher Bell) there. I drove into (turn) three and thought I could clear him. By the time I realized I couldn’t, it was too late. I tried to keep off of him, but ruined his day and mine. Sorry to Christopher. We cut our right front and I think got him into the wall. I’m really proud of the No. 42 McDonald’s team for unloading a good backup car. We’re close – I just have to do a little better job.”

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.



Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway


After the fireworks from the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR heads to World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile speedway just outside of St. Louis. Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1) marks the second time the Cup Series has raced at this track.

Much is at stake. The race to win the regular season championship has intensified. Tempers are high. The pressure to make the playoffs builds. Ten drivers have wins this season. Twelve races remain in the regular season.


Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 11th
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Richmond, Martinsville)
  • Past at WWTR: 12th last year

While a driver coming off back-to-back finishes of 20th or worse might not seem like a frontrunner, it actually does make Larson one. His topsy-turvy season has seen him place outside the top 10 in back-to-back races four times. In the three previous times he had consecutive finishes outside the top 10, he came back to finish second, first and second. Can he keep that streak going this weekend?

Bubba Wallace

  • Points position: 15th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Las Vegas I, Kansas I, Coca-Cola 600)
  • Past at WWTR: 26th last year

Wallace has scored three consecutive top-five finishes, his best streak in his Cup career. He has climbed from 21st to 15th in the standings during this run.

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Best finish this season: 1st (Las Vegas I, Phoenix I, Darlington I)
  • Past at WWTR: 19th last year

Byron has finished no worse than seventh in the last five races. He’s led nearly 20% of the laps run during that time. Byron has averaged nearly 47 points a race during that streak.


Corey LaJoie

  • Points position: 20th
  • Best finish this season: 4th (Atlanta I)
  • Past at WWTR: 36th last season

NASCAR’s one-race suspension to Chase Elliott gives LaJoie the chance to drive a Hendrick Motorsports car for the first time. This will be the best car LaJoie has driven in his career. Many eyes will be on him to see how he does.

Ross Chastain

Chastain has finished 29th and 22nd in the last two points races. He’s not gone more than three races without a top-10 finish this season. After his struggles last weekend at Charlotte, Chastain saw his lead cut to one point over Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney in the standings. Five drivers are within 17 points of Chastain in the season standings.

Aric Almirola

  • Points position: 26th
  • Best finish this season: 6th (Martinsville I)
  • Past at WWTR: 5th last year

Almirola has finished 13th or worse in all but one race this season for Stewart-Haas Racing. In the five races since placing sixth at Martinsville, Almirola has finished an average of 21.0.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.