Mistakes adding up in first four races of Cup playoffs


With Sunday night’s win at Las Vegas, Denny Hamlin has won the opening race in the first and second rounds of this year’s NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

While Hamlin and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team are finally converting their season-long speed into victories, they haven’t been entirely clean in this playoff run.

In fact, only one of the 12 remaining playoff drivers has avoided some sort of problem.

That would be Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski, who finished seventh Sunday. He’s finished no better than sixth in these playoffs, but has also finished no worse than 13th.

Down on speed, the 2012 Cup champion is hanging around in eighth in the playoff standings. He gets his best shot to reach the Round of 8 with a win as the playoffs roll into Talladega this weekend (2 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC).

But from here on in, every mistake – even simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time – will come with a bigger price.

With help from Racing Insights, here’s a look at the mistakes that the remaining playoff drivers have made so far:

Denny Hamlin (Advanced to Round of 8 – Won at Las Vegas)

Kyle Larson (second in playoff standings)

  • Richmond (Round of 16): Started from the rear due to inspection failures. Finished sixth.
  • Las Vegas (Round of 12): Missed pit road during green flag pit cycle at Lap 213; was running 12th at the time. Recovered to finish 10th.

Kyle Busch (third in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 124 – Contact from Austin Dillon sent him into Turn 2 wall, inflicting heavy damage. Heads to garage at considerable rate of speed, which earned him a $50,000 fine. Finished 35th.
  • Bristol (Round of 16): Lap 455 – Flat right side tire forced him to pit from sixth and loses two laps. Finished 21st.

Martin Truex Jr (fourth in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 166 – Pitted for loose wheel under caution, which came out during green flag pit cycle and trapped him a lap down because he couldn’t take the wave around … Lap 320 – Penalized for speeding on pit road while running second. Recovered to finish fourth.
  • Richmond (Round of 16): Start violation – Beat lead car to start/finish line at start of the race. Went on to win the race.
  • Las Vegas (Round of 12): Started from the rear after failing inspection twice. Finished fourth.

Ryan Blaney (fifth in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 233 – Uncontrolled tire penalty while running ninth … Lap 318 – Brake issues led to Turn 3 spin while running 11th. Finished 22nd.

Chase Elliott (sixth in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 27 – Hit a tire from No. 53 team while leaving pit road, causing a fender rub that forced him to pit again from sixth … Lap 157 – Missed pit road during green flag pit cycle while running ninth … Lap 326 – Contact from racing Christopher Bell and Bubba Wallace leads to a flat tire and wreck in Turn 1, relegating him to 31st-place finish.
  • Richmond (Round of 16): Lap 181 – As race leader, Elliott backed up car during pit stop while car is jacked up, leading to multiple issues and a 36-second stop. Recovered to finish fourth.
  • Bristol (Round of 16): Lap 130 – Pit road speeding penalty; was running third prior to stops … Lap 467 – Made contact with Kevin Harvick while racing for the lead, cutting his left front tire and forcing green flag pit stop that ends his chances for a win. Exchanged words with Harvick after the race. Finished 25th.

Joey Logano (seventh in playoff standings)

  • Bristol (Round of 16): Lap 44 – Right rear brake cooling hose came loose during pit stop, causing him to fall from sixth to 23rd. Recovered to finish 11th.
  • Las Vegas (Round of 12): Lap 29 – Pitted second time for loose lug nuts on left rear tire; restarted 31st, would’ve been 10th. Finished 11th.

William Byron (ninth in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 16 – Gets into Alex Bowman after he has a flat tire while running 11th, leaving right-side damage … Lap 199 – Crashes out after losing a left front tire entering Turn 1 while running seventh and hitting the wall. Finished 34th.
  • Las Vegas (Round of 12): Started from the rear after failing inspection twice … Lap 225 – Suffered flat right rear tire while running fifth under green. Finished 18th.

Kevin Harvick (10th in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Unscheduled green flag pit stop for a loose wheel while running sixth at Lap 268. Recovered to finish fifth.

Alex Bowman (11th in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 16 – Brushed the wall and suffered a flat tire while running eighth, collecting William Byron … Lap 49 – Left rear tire caught on fire on pit road. Finished 26th.
  • Las Vegas (Round of 12): Lap 214 – Had to pit a second time for a flat left rear tire. Finished 22nd.

Christopher Bell (12th in playoff standings)

  • Darlington (Round of 16): Lap 162 – Took damage to the nose from hitting debris as the leader … Lap 253 – Unscheduled pit stop under green for a vibration. Finished 20th.
  • Bristol (Round of 16): Lap 474 – Forced to pit under green for a flat right side tire while running eighth. Finished 29th.
  • Las Vegas (Round of 12): Lap 26 – Right front damage after making contact with Kurt Busch entering pit road while running 16th … Lap 82 – Pits before pit road is open to continue working on right front damage … Lap 87 – Failed to beat pace car off pit road and lost a lap. Finished 24th.

Could Daytona International Speedway host NFL games?


The president of Daytona International Speedway says track officials plan to speak with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting the team’s games if Jacksonville’s stadium is renovated.

The Jaguars will need a temporary home site if plans go forward to renovate the team’s stadium. Daytona International Speedway has been mentioned as a possible candidate. The Jaguars released details Wednesday of what the stadium will look like after the renovation project.

Provided the project is approved by the city of Jacksonville, it is believed the Jaguars would need to find another home site for a couple of seasons while work is being done to its stadium. Daytona International Speedway is among possible sites for the Jaguars to play. More than 100,000 people saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. win this year’s Daytona 500.

“Daytona International Speedway is a world-renowned sports and entertainment venue and hosts a full schedule of events each year,” said Frank Kelleher, president of Daytona International Speedway, in a statement. “As good neighbors in the Florida sports community, DIS will be speaking with the Jacksonville Jaguars to see if we can assist them with their potential upcoming facility needs around our scheduled events.”

Daytona International Speedway hosted Soccer Fest in July 2022. An announced crowd of 7,573 fans saw the Orlando Pride and Racing Louisville play in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Daytona.

NASCAR displays counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe car


SONOMA, Calif. — NASCAR displayed the counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe‘s car on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, showing how the part did not correspond to what should have been in the car.

NASCAR found the issue at its R&D Center after last month’s Coca-Cola 600. The sanctioning body fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him for six races. NASCAR also docked Briscoe and the team 120 points and 25 playoff points for the L3 infraction.

“We want to be transparent on the penalties,” said Brad Moran, managing director of the Cup Series as he displayed the counterfeit part to media.

Moran displayed a a portion of the engine panel from Briscoe’s car. He noted the engine duct was counterfeit. He said the proper pieces are 3D printed at the R&D Center and Fiberworks Composites sells them and installs them for teams. Moran said the duct is “in the bottom of the car under the engine panel. It’s to help cool the driver. It was added prior to the first race. During testing … we realized we wanted to get heat out of the engine compartment, and that’s what this piece does.”

Moran noted that with the counterfeit part, “we can clearly see the textures are different (from the proper part).”

He displayed what officials call a gauge that determines if the duct fits the proper parameters. He showed it fitting a proper duct and not properly fitting in the counterfeit part.

“It was a part that was made, and it was made for whatever reason,” Moran said. “It was, I guess, put on by error, but it was on the vehicle. It is a piece that should not have been made in the first place, and it was spotted at our teardown at the R&D Center.”

Moran said the issue was found in a visual inspection of the part. NASCAR inspected it further and Moran said “there are certain little characteristics that are in (a proper piece)” that officials did not see in the one on Briscoe’s car. “The more we examined it, the more we realized that’s not a part they bought.”

Moran noted that while the penalties were severe, they could have been worse based on the rulebook.

“It was the low end of the L3,” Moran said. “It’s a real big hit for any team. If it continues, and we feel we are not where we need to be, unfortunately, it’s going to ramp up. We’re not going to stop.

“The deal with this car is it needs to be run without modifying. It costs teams a lot of money in development. All the owners agreed. We all agreed where we need to be to make this a successful program, and we’re not going to give up.”



Sunday Cup race at Sonoma Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather


The Cup Series heads to wine country to compete on the 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway. This race leads into the final off weekend of the season. After the break, the series races 20 consecutive weekends. NBC and USA will broadcast those races.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Adam Devine will give the command to start engines at 3:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:50 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:45 p.m. … Driver intros are at 3 p.m. … Earl Smith, pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, will give the invocation at 3:30 p.m. … Tiffany Woys will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 110 laps (218.9 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 55.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and switches to Fox at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees and a 1% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Daniel Suarez won his first career Cup race last year at Sonoma. Chris Buescher finished second. Michael McDowell placed third.


Friday 5: Kyle Busch, Randall Burnett forming potent combination

Rick Hendrick hopes rough driving settles down after Chase Elliott suspension

Concussion-like symptoms sideline Noah Gragson

NASCAR implements safety changes after Talladega crash

Dr. Diandra: Brad Keselowski driving RFK Racing revival 

NASCAR penalizes Erik Jones, Legacy MC for L1 violation

Drivers to watch at Sonoma Raceway 

NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron, Kyle Busch rank 1-2

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Sonoma Raceway


Cup and Xfinity teams will be on track Saturday at Sonoma Raceway.

Cup teams will practice and qualify for Sunday’s race. Xfinity teams will qualify and race Saturday on the 1.99-mile road course in Northern California.

Sonoma Raceway


Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 75 degrees. Forecast is for mostly cloudy skies, a high of 71 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race.

Saturday, June 10

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 1 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 3 – 4 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 5 – 6 p.m. — Cup practice  (FS2)
  • 6 – 7 p.m. — Cup qualifying  (FS2)
  • 8 p.m. — Xfinity race (79 laps, 156.95 miles; FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)