Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick come close to first Cup win


AVONDALE, Ariz. — Ross Chastain thought for a moment he had it. So did Chase Briscoe.

Instead, Briscoe kept the lead, held off the pack on a late restart and scored his first career Cup victory Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

It nearly could have been Chastain’s first Cup win, though. Or Tyler Reddick‘s.

A restart with 20 laps to go proved to be Chastain’s best chance to win even with a restart three laps from the end.

On that penultimate restart, Briscoe led the bottom lane. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick was beside him. Chastain lined up behind Briscoe in the second row. Tyler Reddick was outside of Briscoe.

Before the green waved again, Chastain debated about how brazen a move to make.

When the green flew, Chastain dived below Briscoe, both cutting the dogleg. They nearly made contact.

“I drove way deeper than I meant to … and almost had him clear,” Chastain said after matching his career-best finish by placing second. 

“It was just chattering all four tires. I ran him all the way to the wall on the exit of (Turn) 2. Besides wrecking both of us, I couldn’t have done any more. … That was kind of the defining point of winning the race for us.”

Said Briscoe of that restart: “I thought when I was outside of (Chastain) that one time off of (Turn) 2, I already thought in my mind that I was going to plug the fence and I was going to be done, but I was committed at that point. I was kind of blown away that it stuck as well as it did and that he even left me a lane because he was all but clear. Everything just worked out perfect.”

It also worked out that well on the final restart for Briscoe.

He again chose the bottom. This time he had Reddick beside him. Chastain restarted behind Briscoe in the second row. Harvick was in the outside lane behind Reddick. 

Chastain didn’t have as good a restart and couldn’t come as close to taking the lead as he had the previous restart.

“(Ryan Blaney) got to me coming to the restart zone and shoved me,” Chastain said. “I had a run on (Briscoe) but I got there too quick. I couldn’t lift, and I couldn’t turn left yet because of the start/finish line (drivers must stay in their lane until passing that line on a start or restart).

“I just hit (Briscoe), and I pushed him ahead. I couldn’t lift at that point because (Blaney) would have been right back to me or the outside line would have rolled all of us.”

That left Reddick with the best chance, but he couldn’t make it work.

“I wish I could have been able to drive it in deeper,” Reddick said. “That was all I had. I couldn’t have gone any further.

“I knew some ridiculous, crazy move wasn’t going to win the race for me.”

While Chastain and Reddick couldn’t get by Briscoe, they left feeling good with their results.

“I wouldn’t trade anything for today,” Chastain said. “I learned a lot.”

Reddick’s third-place finish is his best of the season. 

“Those type of situations are the ones you work all week to put yourself in, the end of the race, a restart or a long green-flag run, whatever it might be,” he said. “You have those moments, all the work you put in in the offseason, whatever it may be, however long it may be. That’s what it is all for, so you have the good payoff. Not first. Third is not bad. We’ll learn from it.”

Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race


Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.

Charlotte Cup race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — All-day rain Sunday forced the postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Cup Series race to Monday.

The postponement means that Charlotte Motor Speedway is scheduled to host 900 miles of stock car racing Monday. A 300-mile Xfinity Series race, originally scheduled Saturday and first postponed to noon Monday, has been rescheduled for 11 a.m. ET Monday (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cup race is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Fox, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Sunday’s Cup race was scheduled to start at 6:21 p.m. ET, but light rain was still falling at that time in the speedway area near Charlotte. Rain intensified a few minutes later and, despite an evening forecast that showed slight improvement, officials decided at 6:30 p.m. to postpone the race.

Monday’s forecast calls for a 34% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race and a 30% chance at the start of the Cup race.

William Byron will start the race from the pole after qualifying was washed out Saturday night.

RFK Racing gains sponsorship from submarine recruiting group


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR racing and submarines? Yes.

RFK Racing announced Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that it has entered a partnership with BlueForge Alliance, which is involved in securing workers for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program. will be a primary sponsor for RFK drivers Brad Keselowski and Chris Buescher in 10 Cup Series races this year and in 18 races per season beginning in 2024.

The sponsorship will showcase the careers related to the submarine-building program across the nation.

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“I’m proud to support a cause of such vital significance to our country with this new partnership,” Keselowski said. “The synergies between a NASCAR team and our military’s needs to stay on track fast are countless. We hope to inspire the workforce of the next generation across the country when they see RFK race and hear our message.”

The sponsorship will support the mission to recruit, hire, train, develop and retain the SIB workforce that will build the Navy’s next generation of submarines, the team said.

“We are excited and grateful to be teaming with RFK Racing to drive awareness of the thousands of steady, well-paying manufacturing jobs available across the nation. Innovation, working with purpose and service to others are hallmarks of both of our organizations,” said Kiley Wren, BlueForge chief executive. “Together, we aim to inspire NASCAR fans and all Americans to pursue career opportunities that will support our national defense.”

Kyle Larson visits Indianapolis Motor Speedway to survey the scene


Former NASCAR champion Kyle Larson, who is scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 in 2024 as part of an Indy-Charlotte “double,” visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage area Sunday on Indianapolis 500 race day.

Larson said he wanted to familiarize himself with the Indy race-day landscape before he becomes immersed in the process next year.

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Larson later returned to Charlotte, where was scheduled to drive in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night. Next year, he’s scheduled to run both races.

“I love racing,” Larson told NBC Sports. “I love competing in the biggest races. In my opinion, this is the biggest race in the world. I wanted to be a part of it for a long time, and I finally feel like the timing is right. It’s pretty cool to have a dream come true.

“I wanted to come here and kind of experience it again and get to experience how crazy it is again before I’m in the middle of it next year. I kind of want as little surprise as possible next year.”

In the 2024 500, Larson will be one of four drivers with the Arrow McLaren team.

Earlier this month, Larson and Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon attended an Indy 500 practice day.

Larson said Sunday he hasn’t tested an Indy car.

“I don’t know exactly when I’ll get in the car,” he said. “I’ve had no sim (simulator) time yet. I’ve kind of stayed back. I didn’t want to ask too many questions and take any focus on what they have going on for these couple of weeks. I’m sure that will pick up after today.

“I look forward to the challenge. No matter how this experience goes, I’m going to come out of it a better race car driver.”