Say what? Kyle Busch’s comments among intriguing statements at Talladega


TALLADEGA, Ala. — A quarter of the way through the season, Kyle Busch is cryptic about his future, Kevin Harvick raises concerns about how NASCAR communicates, and Tyler Reddick faces questions about showing too much sportsmanship after losing last weekend’s race when he was spun on the last lap.

Yeah, everybody is feeling good with 28 Cup races left, including the All-Star Race, over the next 29 weekends. Get ready for more frustration and flippancy in the coming weeks.

Busch could have said Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway that talks continue with Joe Gibbs Racing. Instead, the two-time Cup champion, whose team seeks a sponsor because M&M’s will leave after this season, answered questions about his future in a different manner.

Here’s his give-and-take with the media:

Do you have any sort of timeframe for when you want your plans to be decided for next year?

Busch: “Yesterday.”

Are you getting antsy about it?

Busch: “I’m not getting antsy about it. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t. Goodbye.”

So goodbye is an option?

Busch: “Ask Joe Gibbs.”

Have you been knocking on his door about it?

Busch: “Not my problem.”

It’s their problem, right?

Busch: “Got to sell it. If you don’t sell it, then nothing to have.”

So it’s all about the sponsor?

Busch: “Correct.”

That’s got to be frustrating, though, in this day and age.

Busch: “Yeah. Truck Series is probably 95% kids with money.”

Do you feel if you don’t get anything from Gibbs that there will be somebody else out there that you land at?

Busch: “Probably not.”

They’ll figure out something, won’t they?

Busch: “Ask Joe Gibbs.”

Would you retire rather than leave JGR?

Busch: “Really? … I would say I lose my ride.”

So what does this mean? Busch has people twisting in the wind about his future, whether it is a game he’s playing or a message he’s sending to JGR — or potential sponsors.

Busch’s comments came a week after Coy Gibbs, vice chairman and chief operating officer at JGR, said in a press conference — with Busch next to him — that “we’ve got a couple of people we’re talking to (in terms of sponsorship), so we’re excited about that, excited about the leads.”

Harvick’s message Saturday was clear. It was to NASCAR. While Harvick has stated he is not a fan of dirt at Bristol and blasted the track preparation last weekend, Harvick explained his feelings.

Asked if the viewership of 4 million that Fox reported for the Bristol event made racing on Easter worthwhile, Harvick said: “I think it’s almost the same as Richmond (3.95 million). I think it was in line with all the rest of the races. I think you could have put any race on Easter and probably been successful. 

“I don’t mind racing on Easter if beneficial and successful. … The thing I don’t like about the dirt race is the unorganization of not knowing the rules. We were told there was going to be a caution at Lap 10 for mud and we went 12 or 13 (laps) and our motor wouldn’t hardly go because it was plugged up and all the air comes from the grille. The motor was 340 degrees. It ruins the first part of the whole race because it didn’t happen like they told us it was going to happen.”

In information provided to the media before the race, there was no mention of a competition caution. 

Harvick raised questions about being informed about other changes, including the removal of curbs in the esses at Circuit of the Americas. He also expressed frustration that NASCAR didn’t examine removing the windshield for Bristol until shortly before the event in a single-car test. By then, it was too late to race without the windshield.

“Whether it was that or (curbs) missing and not knowing about them at COTA, the second place car going before the first place car in the restart zone, those are the things that frustrate me. It’s not where we race, when we race, those types of things. I want to do things that are beneficial. 

“It’s the inconsistency from all that standpoint. If it would have kept raining (after stage 2 at Bristol) and we didn’t know who won the race, it would have been mass hysteria.

“If we can’t run the race properly and know all the rules and not start working on taking windows and things out of it 10 days before the race, come up with a proper plan and be proactive, then we don’t need to do it.

Harvick was asked if he’s voiced such concerns.

“Which week? I can’t do it every week,” he said. “It just happened to fall that week that there were a lot of things that just didn’t go smooth. It’s not like we didn’t race there last year. 

“It has to go smoother from the way that it’s all run. Those are the things that frustrate me. I’m very organized and very to the point. It’s either right or wrong. There were a lot of things that were not consistent and right, and we have to understands our own rules.”

Some rules are less direct, as Tyler Reddick found out. Applauded by some for his sportsmanship after the race, not everyone seemed to approve that Reddick was not more upset with Briscoe for their last-lap incident.

Briscoe attempted a slide job to pass Reddick on the final lap. Briscoe couldn’t make it and his car drifted and hit Reddick’s car. They both spun, allowing Busch, who was running third, to pass both for the win.

After the race, Briscoe went to Reddick to apologize. Reddick took much of the blame for not doing enough to keep Briscoe further behind. They shook hands.

“Certainly, there’s people that I work with that have been doing this a lot longer than I have on the Cup level that haven’t won,” Reddick said Satrurday. “Everyone’s path to how they got here and what their story is, we’re all a little bit different. I guess I can understand why they were more outwardly frustrated than I was. … When you go back and look at it, it still hurts. In the moment when I got out of the car, I wasn’t fired up, wanting to go fight somebody. I wasn’t in that mindset.”

To those who wanted Reddick to fight Briscoe or be more upset, he said: “Just because I didn’t lose my mind, it doesn’t mean that I’m OK with what happened. It still sucked. I still wasn’t OK with it. I understand it wasn’t intentional. In my opinion, I don’t feel like he went in there and tried to wreck me on purpose. I think it’s pretty obvious he tried to do the opposite once he realized it wasn’t going to work.”

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

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.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

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.