Friday 5: Next Gen car’s durability could lead to more aggressive racing


When Ross Chastain’s car slapped the wall while leading last weekend’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it showed how resilient the Next Gen car can be and what fans could be in store for, as the series heads to a road course and three consecutive short tracks.

For years, a complaint about the previous Cup car was how contact could bend fenders and lead to tire rubs, cutting tires or forcing drivers to pit. That limited some of the drivers’ aggressiveness at road courses and short tracks.

Even with the Next Gen car, it doesn’t mean that drivers can turn races into a “Days of Thunder” montage of constant beating and banging. Still, to see Chastain come back from that hit and finish second at Atlanta was something to note. 

Chastain’s crew chief, Phil Surgen, told NBC Sports that if Chastain had been driving last year’s car and made that same amount of contact at Atlanta, “there’s no way we could have been competitive.

“I would have been most worried about the right-rear corner,” he said of the previous car. “Crush panels. The body laying on the tire, and then it probably would have pulled the bumper cover off the quarter panel, and the spoiler hung so far over, it probably would have torn the spoiler back. It would have been a mess.”

Instead, the team didn’t have issues with the rear spoiler that would have affected the car’s aerodynamics. 

“Largely, the thing held up fantastic,” Surgen said. “The composite body didn’t pull apart anywhere. Obviously, it got pretty pushed in and cracked, but it all held together, and it popped back out so we didn’t have any tire rubs.

“Under the surface, the rear bumper structure is bent, the body mounts are bent, the inner wheel tub, where the crush panels used to be, is made of plastic. That thing broke apart. As far as the suspension and the chassis go, the front toe was knocked out a little bit. I was really impressed with how well it held up.”

It helped Chastain that 31 of the 37 cars in last weekend’s Cup race at Atlanta were involved in incidents, so much of the field had some sort of damage. Eight of the top 10 cars were involved in an incident, including Chris Buescher, who went across the finish line backward in seventh. 

The Atlanta race was the first for that chassis Chastain drove. Surgen said the car’s next race would be at Martinsville. To go from speedway racing at a 1.5-mile track to the shortest track that hosts a Cup points race is the type of flexibility NASCAR officials envisioned the Next Gen car could have.

“The biggest thing is the things we’re allowed to do different at Atlanta and Martinsville are all, essentially, adjustability that is built into the car,” Surgen said. “The suspension kinematics, some of the body adjustments, that’s the scope of what we can change from Atlanta to Martinsville and every car has the same adjustability.

“Short of a road course (car) having a couple of different components suspension-wise, it’s all the same, control arms and spindles. The transaxle ratio changes, but we can take one out and plug one in. The bodies are the same everywhere. There’s pretty limited scope in adjustability. It really comes down to everything being more universal and not really having any specialized parts.”

Even though the road course car has some differences, Surgen said that if they had to, the team would be able to convert the car that it will run at COTA to a short track in a day’s time. 

While Chastain finished fourth last year at COTA — and had top-10 finishes at Sonoma (seventh) and Road America (seventh) — it’s difficult to take much from those races into this year with the new car and larger tire. Surgen said there is a confidence going into such events based on what Chastain did last year. 

But this team carries much confidence after Chastain finished third at Las Vegas, second at Phoenix and second at Atlanta in the last three weeks.

It’s a big change from the start of the season. Chastain failed to make the feature in the Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race, finished last in the Daytona 500 after a crash and then crashed in practice at Auto Club the next week and had to go to a backup car before placing 29th. 

“It was tough,” Surgen said. “It really comes down to the attitude of the guys and the work ethic of the guys and that includes everybody, driver included. We looked at this experience and said, ‘You know what, we qualified seventh at Daytona. Once that thing got in the draft, it was fast.’ We had a car that was capable. We crashed. 

“Then you go to Auto Club, crash on lap one (of practice), but when he spins in the race, we’re running sixth. At this point, we had been on pit road and restarted in the 30s and drove up to sixth. You look at that experience and you say, ‘Man the results are really bad, but we had potential,’ so that keeps you going.”

2. Driver apologizes 

Cup rookie Todd Gilliland said he apologized to Cody Ware for causing the incident that sent Ware into the inside SAFER barrier late in last weekend’s race at Atlanta. Ware told NBC Sports it was the hardest impact in his career.

“Super frustrating the circumstances,” Ware said while staring at his wrecked car in the garage after the race. 

Gilliland and Front Row Motorsports teammate Michael McDowell were not on the lead lap when the pack closed in on them. As the field approached, Gilliland went high on the track while McDowell stayed low. That forced the field to go between the two. Gilliland hit the wall and that caused others behind to slow, leading to the contact that sent Ware’s car crashing.

“I definitely feel super super dumb about that,” Gilliland said this week. “When we got in the first wreck, we bent a right-rear toe link, so we were on pit road and went five laps down with that. We were just trying to get them back. We took one wave around, me and (McDowell) did at the same time, so we ended up pitting and coming back out. We ended up together drafting.  

“And then I guess it was a lack of communication and a lack of me asking what I should do. I’ve never really gotten lapped super quick like that, especially at a superspeedway-type place. It’s probably the worst possible scenario, but just throughout practice and stuff I had seen guys getting out of the draft on top, so, in my mind, I had never really even thought twice that we were both just going to go to the top once the pack was half a straightaway back and we were just going to get out of the way that way.

“But then as soon as I moved up and I saw (McDowell) stay on the bottom, I knew I had screwed up pretty big.”

3. Change is good but … 

Car owner Rick Hendrick said he likes the changes taking place in NASCAR, including running the Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the speedway style of racing at Atlanta and returning to the dirt at Bristol next month. 

“The stadium brought a lot of new fans in,” Hendrick said. “The dirt track, I’ve got people coming out of the woodwork wanting to go to Bristol now for that race, and I think it’s exciting for the fans and the drivers are adapting well.

“This car, we basically run the same car everywhere, and so I think it’s great for the sport, and I would like to see a street race. Hopefully we’ll just continue to work outside the box, and I think that’s growing a lot of new fans for us.”

NASCAR has looked at a street course event. Why does Hendrick favor it?

“If there’s a right street circuit that we could race on, I just think something different brings in a new level of fans,” he said after William Byron’s win last weekend. “And it’s exciting. It’s something different to talk about.”

But there is one thing Hendrick doesn’t want to see much more of in the future: More speedway-style races on 1.5-mile tracks like last weekend’s event at Atlanta.

“I vote to cap it,” he said. “With our record at plate races with finishing, I just — I think this is enough.”

With both of Atlanta’s races now speedway-style races, it means there will be six on the schedule, including the two each at Daytona and Talladega. 

The Daytona 500 saw 26 cars involved in incidents. The Atlanta race had 31 cars involved in an incident. That can be an expensive toll for car owners with cars damaged or destroyed. 

4. Toyota struggles

Entering this weekend’s race at COTA, Toyota is winless in its last 10 Cup races. While that might not seem like much, it is the manufacturer’s longest winless drought since 2015. Toyota’s last Cup victory was by Bubba Wallace in last year’s playoff race at Talladega.

The average finish for Joe Gibbs Racing’s four-car team is 19.8, the team’s worst after the first five races of the season, according to Racing Insights. JGR has only one top-five finish — a fourth-place result by Kyle Busch at Las Vegas. 

Busch seemed headed for a win at Las Vegas when a late caution sent the race into overtime. Busch lost the lead on pit road, taking four tires while others took two tires. Alex Bowman, one of those who stopped for only two tires, won that race.

Denny Hamlin has yet to finish better than 13th in a Cup race this season. He goes to Circuit of the Americas 25th in the driver points. 

Hamlin’s woes have been lengthy this season: 

  • Finished 37th after a crash in the Daytona 500.
  • Placed 15th at Auto Club after overheating issues, which other Toyota cars experienced, and a pit road speeding penalty. 
  • Was 32nd at Las Vegas after a mistake in shifting that broke the drivetrain.
  • Finished 13th at Phoenix but was running second when he was penalized for speeding on pit road.
  • Wrecked while running toward the front at Atlanta and finished 29th.

Christopher Bell is 29th in the points. He finished 10th at Las Vegas but has not been better than 23rd in any other points race this year. He was 34th after an accident in the Daytona 500 and placed 36th at Auto Club after engine issues.

“Honestly, it has been easy to stay positive up to this point just because there’s been so many high points,” Bell said last week before finishing 23rd at Atlanta. “Going from California, I felt like we had a strong showing, or not a strong showing, but we had strong potential and my team agreed with that. 

“Vegas, we had a strong showing, but didn’t get the finish we wanted. There has been a lot of high points, but the points position we are in now and finishing results haven’t shown that. It’s been easy to stay positive, but it’s definitely time to start getting some finishing results out of it.”

5. Closing the gap 

Joey Hand will make his second career Cup start this weekend, driving the No. 15 for Rick Ware Racing at Circuit of the Americas.

Hand drove on the winning team for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2011 and was one of the drivers on the team that won the LMGTE Pro class in the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2016 for Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA.

He has spent much time recently tutoring Ford Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series drivers on road course racing. 

He notes the new Cup car can help bridge the gap between NASCAR and sports car racing for drivers looking to run in races in both forms of motorsports. 

“It’s definitely going to bridge that gap between the difference in driving,” Hand said. “When I hopped in the Gen 6 car, it was very different having that 15-inch tire, kind of a balloon-ish tire, where you have to be real careful with it, it could chatter really easy.

“What I noticed with the old car was like me driving 80 percent was the right amount to push that car. As soon as I was in the (Charlotte Roval race last fall) I was like, ‘I’m going to lay one down. This is going to be the one,’ and add five or 10 percent, I was off the track, wide, sliding the tire, chatting the tire.  

“That’s the difference is, not necessarily this car is going to be easier to drive, but it will be easier to run right on the ragged edge, so it’ll be a 95-percent car driving all the time. The tire works better being a bit wider, being a lower profile. The independent suspension, the sequential gearbox, it all drives a lot more like a GT car would. …

“I enjoyed my little bit there at the Roval. and I’ve enjoyed watching NASCAR all my life on road courses. But I do think this is going to up the game as far as road course racing goes and, for sure, it’ll be better as far as guys leaving NASCAR, these guys going to run sports cars, it’ll be a much easier swap over other than most stuff is running ABS (brakes) now in sports cars. But, other than that, the swap over will be a lot closer. And, don’t tell anybody, but I think it will be easier coming from sports cars to here a little bit also.”

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.

What drivers said at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — What drivers had to say during and after Monday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Ryan Blaney (Winner) — “I might shed a tear. This has been a cool weekend. Obviously, Memorial Day weekend means a lot, growing up here watching Dad run this race for a long time. It’s so cool just to be a part of it, let alone win it. I just was able to get the lead, and that car was so good that I could kind of bide my time a little bit and then we were able to drive off. I was hoping no caution just because you never know. I know we had the car to do it, but restarts can be crazy. … You start to get to feel like you can’t win anymore when you don’t win in a while. It kind of gets hard. So just super thankful to the 12 guys for believing in me. It’s just so cool. What a weekend with (Josef) Newgarden and Roger (Penske) winning at Indy and us winning the 600. I mean that’s just so cool. That kind of snaps our winless streak right there and that’s even better. We just kept working on it all night, and I think the track took a change. I didn’t feel great at the end of Stage 3. I was kind of getting pressured by a couple guys and we had to work on our car, and it was getting cooler outside.”

MORE: Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott crash and disagree

MORE: Charlotte Cup results, driver points

William Byron (Finished 2nd) — “We just needed a little bit. Really happy for Ryan. He really deserves it. He’s a good dude. Cool to see him get a win. We just needed a little bit. I felt like there were enough restarts for him to get back to the front. He had that one pit road where he lost a few spots, and it was kind of between us and the 5 (Kyle Larson). I knew the 12 (Ryan Blaney) and 45 (Tyler Reddick) were a little bit stronger than we were. Thanks to this Liberty University Chevrolet team. The car was great tonight. Just not quite good enough. Really proud of the effort. Pit crew was phenomenal on pit road. Those guys are just high energy, and that pit stall helps.”

Martin Truex Jr. (Finished 3rd) — “It was a handful. We just battled really hard and never gave up on the car. We had some stumbles on pit road – had some issues there. We had some issues getting a flat tire with some contact leaving pit road, which wasn’t our fault, either. Just battled a lot of adversity today, but our Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats Camry was really fast. At the end of Stage 3, I thought that we had a shot to win this thing and then we got some damage out of nowhere on the splitter, and then I got too tight. We made some adjustments to try to get us balanced back out, but it just wasn’t as fast then, and we still ran third. Just proud of everybody for the effort. We definitely had a shot at this one tonight, just didn’t get enough things to go our way and we didn’t do a good enough job on pit road. It was a fun day overall. We had just too many hiccups, too many issues on pit road with a couple of bad stops and the damage that sent us to the rear and had to come back. I thought through Stage 3 we were going to have a shot at this thing, and out of the blue at the start of the final stage, we got some damage on the splitter from debris and the car was never quite as good. … It means a lot to have all of the soldiers on our cars this weekend. I got to meet an amazing family this weekend. Really wish I could have taken them to victory lane, so it’s a little bittersweet, but overall, it’s a solid day for us.”

Bubba Wallace (Finished 4th) — “It started on Friday. We didn’t get through tech. We are trying to push all we can get, and didn’t happen, so bad pit selection really set us back all day. I knew it would be a grind. I need my pit crew to know that as well – they made a couple mistakes – but they rebounded. We were playing the cards that we were dealt. I’m super proud of this Dr. Pepper Toyota team. Just continuing to make strides and continuing to show up and be a part of the factor. Just makes you think – if you were that close on the final restart, or closer, what could have happened. It looked like the 12 (Ryan Blaney) was lights out all day. About time he got him one. I thought he was done washed up (laughter).” (On confrontation with Aric Almirola) Yeah, we were just frustrated on how we raced each other. We were in Stage 2 of the Coke 600. I finished fourth and that’s a good day for our team.”

Tyler Reddick (Finished 5th) — “We had a great car. We were really, really strong there. Just made a lot of mistakes – we kind of went to the bad side of it on that one strategy in the second stage. We had a million cautions because we just kept crashing. We got behind there and we had to fight to get our track position back after that and we did. We got to the 12 (Ryan Blaney), and just being too aggressive, got sideways and hit the wall, and front there, hit the wall about 10 more times and pretty much took all of the life out of the race car. We had a fantastic car. We just couldn’t get around the 12 (Ryan Blaney). We were way faster than he was for most of the day. I tried to take our time, because it’s obviously a 400-lap race, but yeah, made a few mistakes along the way and then I knocked the fence down and then every time we did, we lost a little speed in our Jordan Brand 23XI Toyota. So yeah, fifth.”

Kyle Busch (Finished 6th) — “Coca-Cola 600s are normally up-and-down, so we definitely had an up-and-down day. But the guys fought hard all race long and made some good repairs. We made a lot of good adjustments. There were a couple that we had to go back on, and then go back on again. But all-in-all, just proud of everyone on the No. 8 Alsco Chevy team. Our car wasn’t as fast as we wanted on the fire-offs there – we wanted the long run to finish. Even though we hadn’t been good on the long runs all night, we adjusted for that, but we just didn’t get it. We’ll take a good solid effort and top-10 finish.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Finished 7th) — “I feel great. I got up and did the ‘Murph’ workout this morning. My trainer wasn’t too thrilled about that, but went ahead and did that, and then came out here and ran 600 miles. Our No. 47 Kroger/Coca-Cola Chevy was so good all night. We just fought some track position every now and then, and then the No. 8 (Kyle Busch) fenced us there. I felt like we would have had a top-five if it wasn’t for that. But all-in-all, it was a great Coca-Cola 600 for us. It was what we needed after last week at the All-Star Race. We kind of got beat up there a little bit. But it’s cool to get another top 10. This team is doing a lot of good things.”

Chris Buescher (Finished 8th) — “It was a really strong day. Our Fastenal Mustang was really good. We got hit on pit road and definitely took a decent amount out of us, so I’m upset about that, but at the end of the day it was a good recovery. We kept digging back and it’s cool to have this camo paint scheme up front for a lot of the day, but I want to do more.”

Austin Dillon (Finished 9th) — “We never gave up all night, and it feels like we passed more cars than anyone else all race long in our Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chevrolet. It was a hard-earned top-10 finish. We started this year’s Coca-Cola 600 deep in the field – 33rd — after practice and qualifying were canceled due to weather, but I knew that we would have a chance to be in contention at the end because this is the longest race of the year and there are plenty of laps to work our way forward. It was challenging, though. Pit road was tight for us today, and it felt like every time we gained positions we would pit and get trapped in our box and lose everything we worked so hard for. We never gave up and to finish in the top-10 is a testament to the tenacity that this No. 3 team has. We were just too tight at the end to advance any further, but I think we showed how hard we are willing to work. Today is about our heroes who served and made the ultimate sacrifice. I’m thankful that I can do what I love, which is race, because of them. Thank you to the families of Navy Seal Mark Crampton and Army soldier Rusten Smith for allowing us to recognize them.”

Zane Smith (Finished 10th) – “I am so happy, as happy as could be, really. I was worried when we didn’t take tires there and were running really good and had a really good day. It just worked out, so just a great job by this whole 38 Boot Barn FRM team. We got our Mustang better and better every single stop and that’s so cool. We run on half the budget, if that, than a lot of these guys, so to finish top 10 in our sixth start at the Coke 600 is really cool. It’s been a rough three weeks for me. The Cup Series is a different level and obviously I’m trying to prove I belong here and it’s just an outstanding run. Ryan does an outstanding job and it’s so cool to finish this race, but better yet with a top 10.”

Alex Bowman (Finished 12th)“It doesn’t feel very good at the moment, but about what I was expecting. There was no pain in the car really, but now that I’m out, I feel it a little bit. Just proud of my No. 48 Ally Chevy team. We had a really fast long run car. Obviously the short runs were what we needed, but we were just too tight for that. We got stuck on pit road – every stop, we came in like 10th, but lost spots coming out. But that wasn’t on my guys, it was just pit stall selection. We’ll move onto Gateway. Hopefully we’ll get to qualify there, have a good pit box and just go have a normal day.”

Ryan Preece (Finished 13th) — “What a night. We battled all night long. Some of those cautions just did not work in our favor at all, but we had a good car and just needed track position and clean air. We made strong adjustments throughout the night, and my crew was on it. I think we had a top-10 car. We’ll take 13th after a day like that, and it’s definitely the momentum our team needed. Those top 10s and top fives are coming, and I’m looking forward to St. Louis.”

Justin Haley (Finished 15th) — “We fired off tight today, but the No. 31 team made some great adjustments and had good pit stops. We made it as high as eighth and thought we would get a top 10 there but just got shuffled at the end. A top 15 is not a bad day, but our car was by far the best car we’ve had all year. We made some major gains today as a team.”

Joey Logano (Finished 21st) — “Tough night for the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang team. We struggled with the balance and unfortunately couldn’t miss the late accident and got damage. So happy for Team Penske, Josef and Ryan on a weekend sweep.”

Aric Almirola (Finished 25th) — (On confrontation with Bubba Wallace) “It was early in the race, and I felt like he ran me all over the racetrack and then when he got by me he shot me the bird, so I just went by and asked him why you shot me the bird. I felt like I gave him a lot of room and a lot of respect and he started mouthing off and saying a lot of bad things and cussing at me after he shot me the bird, so I just wasn’t gonna take that. I think it’s squashed. I got my point across. I let him know it’s not acceptable. He’s not gonna cuss at me and shoot me the bird. It was a good night, honestly, for our Smithfield Ford Mustang. It’s Memorial Day and such an honor and privilege to race on Memorial Day. We were running 10th there with 20-something to go and got caught up in that restart wreck in the middle of one and two and got a lot of heavy damage that really killed the race car after that. I hate we didn’t get out of here with a top 10. I felt we certainly had a top 10 race car, got loose on a restart early and hit the right-rear toe link, we fixed it, got two laps down, got all of our laps back and drove from the back to the top 10. I’m really proud of the effort and the fight, not the result, but we certainly fought hard. We’ll go get ready for Gateway. That was a really good racetrack for us last year.”

Austin Cindric (Finished 31st) – “You’re patient for 550 miles; why be patient for the last 40? I probably could have helped myself there by not drifting up the racetrack and knowing my own strength and weaknesses. It’s just unfortunate to get so close to the end of this race and not being able to finish it last year and the same with this year. I felt we had a lot of positives from today – some really good pit stops. We had good speed at times, but just having to put the whole race together as a team. I definitely made some mistakes today and unfortunate not to be able to finish it off.”

Erik Jones (Finished 32nd) — “We had a fast No. 43 U.S. Air Force Chevy, but nothing to really show for it. Appreciate the U.S. Air Force and their support. Just hate that we had the radiator issue, but hopefully we’ll go to Gateway with the same speed and have a good day.”

Chase Elliott (Finished 34th) — “The 11 (Denny Hamlin) ran us up into the fence there. Once you tear the right-side off these things, it’s kind of over. I hate it. I thought our No. 9 NAPA Chevy was getting better. It was nice to be making some gains there throughout the race. Our pit stops were really good. We had some pretty good fortune to get up towards the front there. I was just trying to get to mile 600 and have a shot, so unfortunately failed to do that again.”

Denny Hamlin (Finished 35th) — “I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightaway (referring to his collision with Chase Elliott). It’s a tantrum, and he shouldn’t be racing next week. Right rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. I don’t care. It is the same thing that Bubba Wallace did with Kyle Larson. Exact same. He shouldn’t be racing. It’s a tantrum.”

Noah Gragson (Finished 36th) — “Bummer day for the No. 42 Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevy team. We made it through the first stage clean. Something went through the radiator. We replaced the radiator and the motor blew up. Just frustrating. Thank you to Black Rifle Coffee Company and the Menusa family for coming out here. Wish we could have had a better run for them, but it was an honor to have Sgt. Menusa on the windshield. It makes this weekend all worth it. Wish we could have given him and his family a better run, but we’ll try again at Gateway.”

Jimmie Johnson (Finished 37th) — “I just didn’t know we were put in that three-wide situation. There were a bunch of us cars that were wrecked and just trying to limp it home. Unfortunately, I ended up in a situation I wasn’t aware of and got turned around. It’s a bummer for the No. 84 Club Wyndham Chevy team.”