What drivers said at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

0 Comments

Here is what drivers said after the NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that ended in overtime.

Alex Bowman, winner: “This thing was so fast all day. Just never really had the track position we needed to show it. Man, what a call by (crew chief) Greg Ives and the guys to take two (tires) there. Obviously it paid off. Racing Kyle (Larson) is always fun. Got to race him for a couple wins. We’ve always raced each other super clean and super respectfully. Just can’t say enough about these guys. It’s been a pretty awful start to the year, so to come out here and get a win on a last restart deal is pretty special.”

Kyle Larson — Finished second: “I was happy we made that call. It’s kind of what I wanted to do and when I heard them say we were taking two tires, I was pleased by it. The grip was surprising. I had good grip there on two tires. I just got a little too focused on side-drafting him into (turn) three. Maybe if I could play it back again, I would try and just get a better arc and angle into three because when I got in there next to him, I just got really tight and had to lift out of the throttle.”

Ross Chastain — Finished third: “Yeah, it’s a dream come true. This is what all the work is for. This is why we train and try to build our whole lives and careers once we realize we can race at this level, is to have race cars like that. I couldn’t be more proud of Trackhouse, and thankful for (team owner) Justin Marks and Chevrolet.”

Kyle Busch — Finished fourth: “True testament to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing. Really appreciate my guys on the 18, but also the 11, 19 and 20 – all of them for coming over and pitching in. Everybody had a hand in being able to make us go today. So really appreciate that. …  I was fast at the end and trying just to do what I could to hold the lead there with (Martin) Truex (Jr.). Felt like I inched away finally and we were coming to the white or something, I don’t know what it was, but anyways, it wasn’t meant to be. Not our day. See you next week.”

William Byron — Finished fifth: “We had a good run. Congrats to Alex (Bowman). You know we needed a good run. We’ve had a rough couple weeks. We’ve had speed everywhere, but just not the finishes. … Great to get a top five, obviously we want a win and I felt like there were times in this race that we had potential, but we just have to clean up some of the little things. We’ve got to clean up some of those things on pit road and get a little better and I think we will have a shot to win.”

Aric Almirola — Finished sixth: “(Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer) has been doing a great job of making good adjustments throughout the race and just getting the car better and better. We take the first half of the race and it’s really about learning. We make adjustments. If they’re no good, we go back on them and just keep fine-tuning on the car to get it to where we need to get it and, usually, the last few weeks we’ve gotten the car where we needed to have it at the end of the race. … We’ve got to continue to do our homework, but, nonetheless, this is a great start to our season and a lot of fun.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished seventh: “I’m proud of everyone at RCR for helping us salvage a very decent finish in the No. 8 BetMGM Chevrolet after a long day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We had to start the race from the rear of the field due to some issues in the steering system of our racecar. The track position that we forfeited to make that repair certainly cost us a little bit more than we were anticipating during the race. We still had some good speed in our Chevy, but it was definitely very difficult to manage the dirty air and figure out what adjustments needed to be made, and what direction to go with adjustments to our racecar during the race. We made a big mistake spinning off Turn 4, but thankfully we didn’t make contact with anything. We didn’t lose a lap and got back in the game. From there, we clawed a little bit at a time, picking up one or two spots on pit road, a couple of spots on restarts, just whatever we could to claw our way into better track position. I’m proud of the effort of everybody at RCR for that. We’re going to keep digging.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 10th: “I was able to get a decent finish out of it so that’s good to get a top 10. The DeWalt Camry was fast and I felt like we were capable of racing for the win. The 18 and the 19 looked like they had it before the yellow came out and I was every bit as good as them. Just have to put it all together.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 11th: “I’m proud of everyone on this … team for fighting hard all day long at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The racing was intense today, and even though we fell behind early with an on-track incident, we never gave up. We thought strategically to save tires when we got behind, and the team made great calls in the pits today. We were loose in Stage 1 but ended up pretty decent in Stage 2. We were tight by the end of the day and couldn’t keep rotating after a couple of laps. I’m not sure if it was a heat thing, or what, but we really struggled in the air in traffic today. We made the best of the day and finished 11th, so I am incredibly proud of everyone on the team for never giving up.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 12th: “We struggled with traffic on the restarts, but we worked through it and everyone on the crew did a good job.”

Joey Logano — Finished 14th: “We were tight and at the start we just weren’t very good.  We made some adjustments and got better to where we were a sixth- or seventh-place car, which would have been a decent recovery all things considered and then we just gave up a bunch at the end.”

Harrison Burton — Finished 16th: “I felt like we had a real up-and-down day. We ended up in the wall trying to miss a crash and then ended up hitting somebody trying to miss a crash. Every time we would get any track position, we seemed to lose it. It’s a track-position race and lots of challenges trying to pass, but overall it was a pretty decent day for us. The finish at least was better than where we had been at times and worse than what we had been quick enough to run at times, but at the end of the day we’re building, so this is a step. We actually finished the race and got some points and we’re just trying to build towards the right direction as a group and try to make our group better as quick as we can.”

Justin Haley — Finished 17th: “Overall, it was a pretty good day for us. We were able to repair the No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet from California, so to come away with a top 20, I think, is a win for us. We made some great gains, but there’s still some things we have to work on as a team to capitalize on the effort.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 19th: “Obviously not an ideal day for our Discount Tire Ford. We really struggled being tight early on in the race and lost a little bit of our track position. I felt like we were hanging tough in the top 15 and had a lot of potential to make the car a little bit better. We decided to go off strategy and keep scuffs on the car and unfortunately that played out and had us getting fenced for some position outside the top 20. Then we had a right-rear tire come apart and had to pit right before the yellow came out, which trapped us two down. Recovering for a top 20 is I guess a decent recovery, but definitely not what we were wanting or hoping for today, but definitely learned a lot and hopefully it’s something we can carry forward.”

Daniel Hemric — Finished 22nd: “We fought some adversity again this week with some brake issues and sustaining some damage to the nose of the car. That’s not how we drew it up, but I’m really proud of the effort everyone at Kaulig Racing made today. Sometimes 22nd feels like a win, and that’s what today felt like in this No. 16 South Point Camaro ZL1. “

Denny Hamlin — Finished 32nd: “We broke the transaxle. Just killed every gear when I left pit road. We had the best car today. Just got back there and was working our way forward and made mistakes.”

Cole Custer — Finished 33rd: “Something happened under the hood. I’m not sure what it was. It was a very eventful day for sure. We started in the back and then we started making progress, but had to go to the back again. Then we spun and had to go to the back one more time, so it was just an eventful day and didn’t end very well. We’ll just move onto the next one. I think we had a solid car. We finally got running good at the end and it was shaping up to be a solid day, but it didn’t work out.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 35th: “We were running really good and then the 34 (Michael McDowell) stayed out that one time on tires and kind of just messed us up. We lost a lot of track position and then he got loose and I was so sideways. I came across and got the 99 (Daniel Suarez). I don’t know if that damaged it or what, but I would say the last 5-10 laps before I finally spun out the rear was bouncing really, really bad and I think it broke something or the tire went down. I don’t know. I just went in the corner and the thing spun out. It’s just really unfortunate. I thought we were gonna be really, really good. We’ve had good speed all year long, so we’ll just try to dig out of a hole next week.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 36th: “The 6 (Brad Keselowski) spun out on his own right in front of me and I plowed into him. I’m not happy about anything and I don’t mean to be happy about anything when someone loses it right in front of you and ends our day. I won’t call it bad luck, but when someone just spins out in front of you and wipes you out, there’s nothing to be happy about. We had a pretty fast car and nothing to show for it.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 37th: “I don’t know what to say. He (Chase Briscoe) got loose and he clipped me. He didn’t do it intentionally, but it was unfortunate.”

Drivers to watch in Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway

0 Comments

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs will reach a critical point Sunday in a 500-mile chase at treacherous Talladega Superspeedway.

The overriding factor in any race at Talladega, NASCAR’s biggest track, is the unknown. With cars running so fast and so close together, multi-car accidents are not only possible but expected, and it’s easy to become the innocent victim of someone else’s mistake.

MORE: NASCAR penalizes William Byron for spinning Denny Hamlin

The tension is doubled for the 12 playoff drivers. A bad finish at Talladega could open the door for a probable playoff exit at the end of the round Oct. 9 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

The playoffs to date have seen four wins by non-playoff drivers, an unprecedented result. Tyler Reddick was the most recent to join that list with a win last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

A look at drivers to watch at Talladega:

FRONTRUNNERS

Denny Hamlin

  • Points position: 6th
  • Last three races: 10th at Texas, 9th at Bristol, 2nd at Kansas
  • Past at Talladega: 2 career wins

Although he hasn’t won, Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in all four playoff races. In the past six races at Talladega, he has four finishes of seventh or better. Now if he can just keep people from running into him…

William Byron

  • Points position: 3rd
  • Last three races: 7th at Texas, 3rd at Bristol, 6th at Kansas
  • Past at Talladega: Best career finish is a second

Byron stands alone as the only playoff driver who has been able to avoid major crashes and trouble in the pits, and he has finished in the top 10 in all four playoff races. After Tuesday’s penalty for his incident with Denny Hamlin at Texas, he sits below the cutline entering Sunday’s race.

Brad Keselowski

  • Points position: 24th
  • Last three races: 8th at Texas, 13th at Bristol, 25th at Kansas
  • Past at Talladega: 6 wins, the active leader

Even in trying times, Keselowski is a threat at Talladega, where he last won in April 2021 (his last Cup victory). He has led 268 laps there in the past 13 races.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Kyle Busch

  • Points position: 15th
  • Last three races: 36th at Texas, 34th at Bristol, 26th at Kansas
  • Past at Talladega: 1 career win, in 2008

Is Busch going to steadily disappear into the mist as he rides out the final weeks of his final year with Joe Gibbs Racing? His best finish in the past four races is 26th. On the positive side this week, he’s the only driver to finish in the top 10 in this year’s three races at Daytona and Talladega.

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 32nd at Texas, 2nd at Bristol, 11th at Kansas
  • Past at Talladega: 1 career win, in 2019

Can Elliott rebound from a fiery finish and a 32nd-place run at Texas? Playoff points give him some comfort, but a second career win at Talladega would be greatly appreciated in the Hendrick camp.

Martin Truex Jr.

  • Points position: 17th
  • Last three races: 31st at Texas, 36th at Bristol, 5th at Kansas
  • Past at Talladega: Best career finish is 5th

Will one of the sport’s most enduring mysteries continue at Talladega? In 70 career starts at Daytona and Talladega, Truex, a former champion and a smooth driver, has zero wins. At Talladega, he has only three top-five finishes in 35 starts.

 

 

 

NBC will broadcast final six NASCAR Cup Series playoff races

0 Comments

The final six races in the chase for the NASCAR Cup Series championship will be televised by NBC.

The races remaining on the schedule are at Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2), the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Oct. 9), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 16), Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 23), Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 30) and Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 6).

NBC’s broadcasting team will be on hand Sunday for what is typically a seasonal highlight — a 500-mile race at Talladega Superspeedway. The next week the playoffs move on to Charlotte for a cutoff race. The lowest four drivers in the playoff point standings will be eliminated from championship competition.

The Round of 8 is scheduled at Las Vegas, Homestead and Martinsville, with the tiny Martinsville track serving as the final cutoff race. The four drivers who advance from Martinsville will race for the title at Phoenix Nov. 6.

The high drama of the Phoenix race, in which the championship will go to the highest finisher of the four competing drivers, will be carried by both NBC and Peacock.

Post-race commentary and analysis for all six remaining Cup races will be carried on Peacock.

Kyle Larson is the series defending champion. Joey Logano carries the point lead into Sunday’s race at Talladega.

NASCAR viewer’s guide for Talladega Superspeedway

0 Comments

After a messy Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs move on this weekend to another potentially messy spot — Talladega Superspeedway.

Home to the Big One — an almost certain multi-car crash, Talladega also occasionally produces unexpected winners, including Richard Brickhouse, James Hylton, Lennie Pond, Ron Bouchard and Brad Keselowski.

The mix of tight drafting, the Next Gen car and general playoff tension should make Sunday’s 500-mile run quite the adventure.

On Sunday at Texas, Tyler Reddick became the second driver (after Chase Elliott) to score three wins this season.

Joey Logano enters Talladega with the playoff point lead.

Playoff rookies roll on

The four drivers participating in the Cup playoffs for the first time remain factors approaching the second race in the second round.

Ross Chastain is second in the standings, 18 points above the cutline entering Talladega.

MORE: NBC NASCAR rankings put Denny Hamlin first

Daniel Suarez, Chastain’s Trackhouse Racing teammate, is seventh. He’s four points above the cutline.

Two other playoff rookies — Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric — will start Talladega below the cutline. Briscoe is four points below the cutline. Cindric is 11 points below the cutline.

Looking for wins

Only six of the remaining 12 playoff drivers have won races at the two remaining tracks in the second round (Talladega and Charlotte Roval).

Among the six, Joey Logano has the best win record at Talladega, having finished first there in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Other Talladega winners in the group: Ryan Blaney (two), Denny Hamlin (two), Chase Elliott (one), Ross Chastain (one).

The Charlotte Roval is relatively new, of course, but Chase Elliott already owns two wins there. Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson also have won at the Roval.

An opening for Brad?

Few people who watched it will forget the first Cup Series victory scored by Brad Keselowski.

It occurred at this week’s tour stop — Talladega Superspeedway — in April 2009. Keselowski and Carl Edwards made contact approaching the finish line and notched the win, even as Edwards’ car flew into the frontstretch fence, spraying car parts into the grandstands.

Thirteen years later, Keselowski returns to NASCAR’s biggest track having recorded six Talladega wins. No other active drive has more than three.

Keselowski’s refurbished team — Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing — has new fire with Chris Buescher winning at Bristol and Keselowski winning the pole and finishing eighth at Texas.

RFK Racing has led 309 laps in the past two races, more than the team had led in the prior 105 races combined.

Although he hasn’t won a Cup race since scoring a victory in a Team Penske Ford in April 2021 at Talladega, Keselowski must be considered a threat Sunday.

Entry lists

Thirty-seven drivers, including Xfinity Series star Noah Gragson and reigning Xfinity champion Daniel Hemric, are entered for Sunday’s Cup race.

Talladega Cup entry list

The Xfinity entry list includes 41 drivers for 38 spots. Among those joining the series regulars are Trevor Bayne, Parker Kligerman, Timmy Hill and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

Talladega Xfinity entry list

Forty-one drivers are entered for Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race. Included are Kaz Grala, Ryan Preece, Natalie Decker, Jennifer Jo Cobb and Parker Kligerman.

Talladega Truck entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 30

Forecast: Partly cloudy. High of 77. (Weather note: There is the possibility that Hurricane Ian could impact the race weekend, depending on its path).

  • 3:30 – 5 p.m. — Truck Series qualifying
  • 5:30 – 7 p.m. — Xfinity Series qualifying (USA Network)

Saturday, Oct. 1

Forecast: Overcast with showers at times. Potential for heavy rainfall. High of 73. 60% chance of rain.

  • 10:30 a.m. – Noon — Cup Series qualifying (NBC Sports app, Motor Racing Network, Sirius XM NASCAR Radio)
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series race (94 laps, 250 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 4 p.m. — Xfinity Series race (113 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 2

Forecast: Sun in the morning, increasing clouds in the afternoon. Slight chance of a shower. High of 74.

  • 2 p.m. — Cup Series race (188 laps, 500 miles; NBC, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

 

 

 

NASCAR fines Ty Gibbs $75,000 for pit road incident at Texas

1 Comment

NASCAR fined Ty Gibbs $75,000 and docked him 25 points for door-slamming Ty Dillon on pit road during last weekend’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Crew members from other teams were nearby when Gibbs hit Dillon’s car, causing it to swerve. No crew members or officials were hit.

NASCAR has made it a priority that drivers are not to cause contact that could injured crew members or officials on pit road. NASCAR also penalized Gibbs 25 Cup driver points and docked 23XI Racing 25 car owner points for the No. 23 Cup car that Gibbs drives.