What drivers said at Dover

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Here is what drivers had to say after Monday’s Cup race at Dover Motor Speedway:

Chase Elliott — Winner: “Had some good circumstances finally. Really appreciate Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our entire team No. 9 Chevrolet team for just sticking with it. We’ve had some tough races over the last, I don’t know, four, five months. Just great to get NAPA back to Victory Lane; great to get Hendrick Motorsports back to Victory Lane. Just so proud. This one means a lot in a lot of different ways. Just appreciate all the effort. But thanks to all the fans for coming out. You’re always awesome. Hope to see this big crowd here next year. Just a huge thanks to everybody involved. It’s been a fun day and we’re certainly going to enjoy.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 2nd: “This feels good. Hopefully we can carry this momentum on. The big tracks, the tracks we’ve got coming forward, are really good tracks for us. That was a lot of fun. A lot of battling. It was tough to pass, but it was fun running through lap traffic. I really wish we had like a 70-lap run to end there.

Ross Chastain — Finished 3rd: “Pit crew was incredible today. They were just picking up spots every stop, got us the lead. I’m racing with champions and I got beat.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 4th: “We had an outstanding DeWalt Camry that’s for sure, just very, very frustrating to have those issues and get put behind because I feel like if we could have stayed up front we could have possibly contended for the win. We were able to get back up there in that third stage, and I’ll take it. I’m really proud of this 20 group.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 5th: “Just a bummer day for us because obviously we had a shot at the win there in our No. 48 Ally Chevrolet; and then that caution in the middle of the pit cycle had us starting the last run last. To go last to fifth at a place like this is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s hard to pass. As far as my guys and the race car that we brought, just wish it would have gone a little better for us.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 8th: “It was an interesting two days.It was a good run for the Fastenal Mustang. Everyone on the team worked really hard and did a nice job.It is a momentum builder It isn’t all that we wanted, but the pole was awesome, that was really cool. I know we had speed in it in clean air. We just fought dirty air. Unfortunately, that is a really big deal here. We could move around for a little bit and the tires would fall off, which is great, but once we got to the point where we had to kind of stay in line we were just sucking up dirty air which made it hard. We want more. I am not content there but it is a strong run for us and I am excited to head into Darlington.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 9th: “We just lost the car right there at the end of the second stage and it was plowing tight. We never really were able to find anything to make it any better. I am not sure what happened. We will try to figure that out and go back to work for Darlington next weekend.”

Justin Haley — Finished 11th: “We led some laps and stayed up front for quite a while until our tires started to go. We struggled a little in dirty air getting super tight, but we were able to rebound and almost got a top 10 out of it. We definitely made some gains today and were the best we’ve been all year.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 13th: “We were so behind after practice, we just didn’t get a lot of time to work on it with so many cautions, but we made it better for qualifying. We were still pretty far off Sunday when the race started, and warmer weather today really didn’t help. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) and the guys did a great job working on it and, by the end, our balance was good. We just didn’t have enough time to make up ground, and dirty air was a major factor.” 

Cole Custer — Finished 15th: “We were just fighting all day trying to make the car better. We got it decent by halfway through and we worked the pit strategy right and caught some luck and got a solid finish. The guys fought hard all day. They did a good job keeping us in the mix and we ended up making something of it.” 

Aric Almirola — Finished 19th: “Man, we had a car capable of running top 10 all day. We didn’t have it in practice or qualifying on Saturday, and Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) and the guys made the right changes for the race. Unfortunately, we just got caught on pit road at the wrong time and it put us two laps down. We were still racing hard and kept our Smithfield/Weis Ford in the ‘Lucky Dog’ position, but we didn’t get the break we needed to race for position again. All in all, we had a good car and good speed, so I’m proud of that.” 

Austin Dillon — Finished 23rd: “We struggled with a very stiff front end and a tight handling condition no matter what chassis adjustments we made. This No. 3 team never gave up, though. We worked hard to make adjustments and it finally started to handle a little bit better with about 60 laps remaining in the race. By then, we were running pretty decent lap times but it was too late to make up much ground. It’s not what we wanted this weekend, but we’ll regroup and head to Darlington Raceway.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 27th: “Tough weekend for our ChevyLiners.com Camaro. From the moment we hit the track during practice to the checkered flag, we struggled to find the right balance in our car. The bumps in turn three upset the handling a lot and the car would go whichever way I had the wheel. We had ground to make up when we restarted today, but we battled from two laps down to return to the lead lap. That doesn’t happen every day in the Cup Series, especially at tracks like Dover. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep the track position, and once I blew a right front under green, we couldn’t make up those laps once again. Our Petty GMS team will keep digging and fight to make our cars better.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 30th: “Even though this was a really tough weekend for our No. 8 Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet team, we never gave up and I am so proud of everyone at RCR for that. We started out needing a lot of adjustments after practice and qualifying. With the rain on Sunday, we were using those laps in the beginning to see how our car was driving. We thought we had found the right adjustments on Sunday in order to improve our performance on Monday, but it was still a challenging day. I spent most of the race too tight and dirty air was really giving me trouble. We did run in the top five for a little bit today, which was a positive. Unfortunately, I made contact with the wall a few times and had tires go down and we were not able to rebound. This team deserves better and we will be stronger and better at Darlington.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 33rd: “Not the day we hoped for in our No. 16 Action Industries Camaro. We had good potential and showed some speed, but we just struggled in dirty air all day. The car was just extremely aero-sensitive and tight. We ran well up front for a while, but unfortunately we lost the brakes and our day ended early.”

Helio Castroneves rules out Daytona 500

Helio Castroneves Daytona 500
Robert Scheer/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Helio Castroneves might be at the 2023 Daytona 500, but the four-time Indy 500 winner won’t be in a race car.

During a news conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, Castroneves confirmed in response to a question from NBC Sports that he essentially has ruled out attempting to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Feb. 19 season opener.

As recently as last Thursday at Rolex 24 Media Day, Castroneves, 47, said he still was working on trying to piece together a deal.

The Brazilian had been negotiating with the Cup team co-owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather and would have been in an “open” entry that lacked guaranteed entry to the Great American Race. That potentially would leave him in the precarious position of needing to make the race on qualifying speed or a qualifying race finish (as action sports star Travis Pastrana likely might need in his Cup debut).

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“Unfortunately for me, lack of experience, no testing,” Castroneves said. “A lot of things. I believe it would be a little bit tough throwing myself in such a short notice, and to go in a place that you’ve got to race yourself into it. So as of right now, yes, it’s not going to happen.

“But we did have an opportunity. We just got to elaborate a little bit more to give me a little more experience on that. So there is more things to come ahead of us, but as of right now, I want to focus on the IndyCar program as well and (the Rolex 24 at Daytona).”

Castroneves, who has a residence in Key Biscayne, said he still might attend the Daytona 500

“I might just come and see and watch it and continue to take a look and see what’s going to be in the future,” he said.

Castroneves enters Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona having won the event the past two years. He made his signature fence-climb after winning last year with Meyer Shank Racing, which he will be driving for full time in the NTT IndyCar Series this year. He became the fourth four-time Indy 500 winner in history in his 2021 debut with Meyer Shank Racing.

The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion also has indicated an interest in Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 car that aims to place international drivers in a Cup ride (such as Kimi Raikkonen at Watkins Glen International last year). Team co-owner Justin Marks recently tweeted Trackhouse wouldn’t field the Project 91 car at the Daytona 500.

After winning the 2022 Superstar Racing Experience opener, SRX CEO Don Hawk had promised he would help secure a Daytona 500 ride for Castroneves.

Castroneves has been angling for a NASCAR ride for years, dating to when he drove for Team Penske from 2000-20. After winning the Rolex 24 last year, he said he had been lobbying Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart for help with getting in a Cup car.

Fire at Reaume Brothers Racing shop injures three

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A Thursday fire at the Reaume Brothers Racing shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, injured three individuals, according to Mooresville (North Carolina) Fire-Rescue.

Firefighters were dispatched to the shop, which is scheduled to field entries for driver Mason Massey in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

The fire department extinguished the blaze quickly. The department stated on its Facebook page that one individual was transported to Lake Norman Regional hospital for smoke inhalation, and another was transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. with burn injuries. A third was treated and released.

The Mooresville Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the cause of the fire. The fire department said the shop sustained “significant fire damage.”

In a tweet, the team said it is determining the extent of damage to the building. “More importantly,” it said, “a few of our team members did sustain injuries during the fire and are being transported for medical treatment.”

Trackhouse, RFK Racing, Front Row Motorsports sign sponsorship deals

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Trackhouse Racing, RFK Racing and Front Row Motorsports announced sponsorship deals Thursday morning.

Trackhouse said WWEX, a Dallas-based global logistics group, will increase its sponsorship presence with the team this year, serving as the primary sponsor in 21 races for drivers Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez.

WWEX will appear on Chastain’s Chevrolets in 19 races and will sponsor Suarez twice. The organization was a Trackhouse sponsor in 11 events in 2022, which was a breakout season for both Chastain and Suarez.

RFK announced that Solomon Plumbing, which joined the team last season, will expand its presence this season and in future years. The Michigan-based company will serve as the primary sponsor for several races on driver Brad Keselowski‘s No. 6 Ford.

MORE: Chase Briscoe signs contract extension with Stewart-Haas

Solomon specializes in plumbing and fire services for new development and construction. It initially sponsored Keselowski last season in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Front Row Motorsports has signed Quincy Compressor, a Bay Minette, Ala.-based compressor manufacturer, as a sponsor for four races.

Quincy will sponsor Todd Gilliland‘s No. 38 team in three events and Michael McDowell‘s No. 34 team in one race.

 

 

Stewart-Haas Racing signs Chase Briscoe to contract extension

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Chase Briscoe has signed a multiyear contract extension to remain at Stewart-Haas Racing, the team announced Thursday.

The length of the deal was not announced.

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Briscoe is entering his third Cup season with the team. He won his first series race last year, taking the checkered flag at Phoenix last March. That victory put him in the playoffs. He finished the season ninth in the standings. 

“It’s huge to have stability, with my team and my partner,” Briscoe said in a statement from the team. “It just gives you more confidence. Stewart-Haas Racing is where I want to be for a long time. It’s the place I’ve known longer than anywhere else in my NASCAR career.

“I remember getting signed by Ford in 2017 and I told people, ‘You know, if I could pick one place to be, it would be Stewart- Haas Racing. And if I could drive one car, it would be the 14 car. That would be the ultimate dream.’ And now, here I am.

“SHR has such a great group of people, from the Xfinity Series to the Cup Series, and they’ve all just guided me in the right direction. From drivers to crew chiefs to crew members, they’ve always had my back, and that’s been a huge help – just having people believe in you.”

The 28-year-old Briscoe has been with SHR since 2018. He split a limited Xfinity schedule that season between what is now RFK Racing and SHR. He ran full time with SHR in the Xfinity Series in 2019 and ’20 before moving to Cup in 2021.

“Chase has made the most of every opportunity and the proof is in the results. Keeping him at SHR was a priority and we’re proud to have him in our racecars for many more years to come,” said Tony Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, in a statement from the team. 

Briscoe’s signing comes two weeks after teammate Kevin Harvick announced that this will be his final season in Cup. 

The Cup season begins Feb. 5 with the Busch Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before going to Daytona for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500.