What drivers said at New Hampshire


Here is what drivers had to say after Sunday’s Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire:

Christopher Bell — Winner: “Man, that one was much needed right there. I tell you what, that was a hell of a race from my viewpoint. It was so much fun racing with the 45 (Kurt Busch), the 22 (Joey Logano) and the 9 (Elliott). We were all running different lines. That was a blast. Just so happy to be here at Joe Gibbs Racing and so good to get that 20 car back in victory lane. Winning Cup races is hard. Just seems like we’ve been close then we had fallen off a little bit last week. I was talking to my best friend and I told him, ‘Earlier in the year I felt like we were right on the verge of winning. Then the last couple of weeks I felt like we were pretty far away.’ But here we are today.’’

Chase Elliott — Finished 2nd: “I just need to do a better job again. The same conversation as Road America, unfortunately. I feel like it was a poor run of execution on my end throughout that last run. I feel like it took me a while to get past Joey (Logano) and the No. 45 (Kurt Busch), and I had to run a little harder than I wanted to. I got in front of those guys, just made a couple of mistakes and couldn’t get much breathing room. … Obviously for us, we were in a position where guys at this level really should close out a race if you have the lead like that, so just poor effort on my part. When you’re in position like we’ve been in, you need to finish them off.”

MORE: New Hampshire Cup results, driver points

Bubba Wallace — Finished 3rd: “I’m just proud of the team, proud of myself, proud of everybody at the shop. … It didn’t handle that great but it had speed, so we knew that. Just the mental preparation, had to set yourself up for a long day, and we did. We had no idea what we were running there at the end. I knew it was inside the top five. But just tire management there at the end, and we were able to capitalize. Just proud of everybody. Happy. It’s been hell for me the last month, so good to come out with a top five. This sport humbles you, so there’s really no surprises. You’ve got to keep the task at hand and be mindful of your surroundings and just do your job. As long as you do that, you never know if you’re going to end up with a top three or 20th or whatever it may be. You just stick true to your path.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 4th: “Just put on two tires and got in a bad spot on the restart. I got put three-wide, and the 22 (Joey Logano) didn’t get going and I was on the inside behind him. I tried to shove him to get him going and get us going and (Kevin) Harvick made it three-wide and put us in a bad spot. And my car was terrible on two tires and couldn’t go anywhere. Just should have put four tires on I guess. We had the car to do it. We just screwed it up. It’s frustrating and disappointing, but congrats to the 20 (Christopher Bell). Obviously, they were smarter than we were at the end.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 5th: “We put two tires on there, which we all thought was the right thing to do, and it just would not get going. We were sliding up the race track, and it took seven or eight laps to get the car underneath you and then about 20 laps to get the pace back. Then at the end, everybody was just out of tires. … We passed a lot of the cars that were worse than us. It just depended on what your handling issues were.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 7th: “Hot in the cars and we all let our tempers get the best of us (on contact with Austin Dillon). We had a decent day here. The Kohler Generators Ford Mustang climbed really far that last run. I think we went from somewhere around the late teens and 20s up to seventh on that last run. I am proud of our team for the effort today. It was certainly an up and down day today and it was good to finish on an up note.” Austin said he does not like the way that you race him. Is the feeling mutual? “I will talk to him privately. I don’t need to be a jerk over the media.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 8th: “It was a grind today. We just hovered between seventh and 20th. We just never had the balance of the car great. We were tight all day; really tight on restarts. It was really tough to make ground. The two-tire to four-tire strategies, I was just usually way too tight to fight those guys.

Daniel Suarez — Finished 9th: “It was an OK day. Once again, we maximized what we had. I felt like our speed on the long run was probably one of the best out there; but on the short runs, it wasn’t. We were making adjustments and trying to help the short runs. We’ll just have to keep working.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 13th: “Definitely a double come from behind day on the 2 car. Drove my guts out today. I am proud of the adjustments we made overnight after such a bad qualifying effort. Had a probably top-five long run car and should have finished in the top 10. We just ran out of time there. I had fun working the lanes and trying to get better. I am proud of the team. We will keep moving forward.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 15th: “That first run we were really good and able to drive up into the top 15. Then from there we just kind of struggled and the track was changing so much. I probably didn’t do the greatest job guiding them where we needed to go. Then we had that spin and tried to play strategy to get up there and we caught the caution wrong. I feel like if we had the long run and were running fourth or fifth versus catching the caution we probably would have been all right. It just didn’t work out. I feel like we had a better car than 15th but with everything we fought I guess it was all right.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 18th: “It was a rough day for our Menards/Libman Ford. We struggled with the balance and spun midway in the race. Certainly wasn’t the result we wanted, but we’ll look toward Pocono next week.”

Erik Jones — Finished 19th: “We were just off a bit today. We were plowing early, made adjustments throughout the race to try to make our Focus Factor Chevy better and then we were too loose at the end. We’re still learning with these cars. It’s hard to predict how it will react sometimes, and we just have to keep building our notebooks and build on each week. We’ll keep learning and refocus for next week at Pocono.”

Joey Logano — Finished 24th: “Live by the sword, die by the sword. We did it in the second stage to get track position and it worked. Then we did it again to get track position and the race ran long and it didn’t work. I thought we were pretty decent once we got up there and had a shot at taking the lead from Kurt (Busch), but then the 9 (Chase Elliott) missed the mark by a mile and knocked our toe out or camber or something in the left rear suspension. I don’t know why he had to do that, but I am pretty sure that was not a good move on his part. So, that is that.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 31st: “We were having a good day and we were slowly getting our Smithfield Ford faster. During a pit stop in stage two I lost second gear on pit road and couldn’t get it into fourth gear. All I had was third, so the guys worked hard to get us back out there and ride around. We were able to get it back into fifth (gear), so we just rode around out there about 20 laps down. It’s unfortunate. We know we had speed here and we really needed a good day to keep us in a good point standing. We know we’ll need a win to make it in the playoffs. We’ve got six more opportunities to make that happen.”

Corey LaJoie — Finished 32nd: “It just got hung in between fourth and third gear on the downshift there. I had it happen earlier in the day when I wasn’t around anybody. I just thought I wasn’t pushing it into gear hard enough or whatever the case may have been. We were racing hard on the restart there underneath the No. 21 (Harrison Burton). I tried pushing it down to third and it just got hung between fourth and third, and it just locked both rear tires up so they weren’t turning. I hate that other guys were involved. We’ll have to take a look at it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It was a weird thing, the first thing we’ve had all year with the transaxle. It’s been a tough stretch. I feel bad for my No. 7 Spire Motorsports team. We were trying to pull off another good week from last weekend’s momentum. It wasn’t meant to be, but we’ll get them next week.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 35th: “We qualified bad. Unfortunately, they were just racing hard. It looked like the No. 42 (Ty Dillon) and the No. 31 (Justin Haley) got together. The No. 42 just overcorrected and stuffed us in the fence. Bummer. I hate it for everybody at Ally and Hendrick Motorsports. We’ll move on to the next one.”

COTA Truck starting lineup: Ross Chastain wins pole


Ross Chastain will start on the pole for Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

Chastain earned the top starting spot in Friday’s qualifying with a lap of 91.877 mph. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch (91.490 mph).

More: COTA Truck starting lineup

Ty Majeski qualified third with a lap of 91.225 mph. Rookie Nick Sanchez (90.993) will start fourth, and Christian Eckes (90.937) will complete the top five.

Alex Bowman failed to make the race. Bowman had a flat right front on his qualifying lap.

Tyler Reddick leads Cup practice at COTA


Tyler Reddick posted the fastest lap in Friday’s Cup practice at Circuit of the Americas.

Reddick, who won two road course races last season, topped the field in his 23XI Racing Toyota with a lap of 92.989 mph. Kyle Larson was next, posting a lap of 92.618 mph around the 3.41-mile road course.

MORE: COTA Cup practice results

Ross Chastain, who won this race a year ago, was third on the speed chart in practice with a lap of 92.520 mph. He was followed by Kyle Busch (92.498 mph) and Daniel Suarez (92.461 mph).

Jordan Taylor, subbing for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, was 10th on the speed chart in practice after a lap of 92.404 mph.

Former world champion Jenson Button, driving for Rick Ware Racing, was 28th in practice with a lap of 91.759 mph. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, driving the Project 91 car for Trackhouse Racing, was 32nd in practice after a lap of 91.413 mph.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving in his first race for Legacy Motor Club since the Daytona 500, was 36th in practice after a lap of 91.072 mph. IndyCar driver Conor Daly was last among the 39 cars in practice with a lap of 90.095 mph.

Cup qualifying is Saturday. The series races Sunday.


Saturday COTA Xfinity race: Start time, TV info, weather


Austin Hill, the dominant driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series through the early weeks of the season, will be looking for his first Xfinity road course win Saturday.

Hill has won three of the season’s first five races, scoring victories at Daytona, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Hill has been close in previous road course runs. He has a second at COTA, a third at Portland, a fourth at Road America and a ninth at Indianapolis.

MORE: Dr. Diandra takes a look at top Cup road course drivers

Kyle Busch and AJ Allmendinger own wins in the previous Xfinity races at COTA.

Allmendinger and three other Cup Series regulars — Aric Almirola, William Byron and Ty Gibbs — are scheduled to race in the Xfinity event.

Details for Saturday’s Xfinity race at Circuit of the Americas

(All times Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 5:08 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled at 5:19 p.m.

PRERACE: Xfinity garage opens at 2 p.m. … The invocation will be given by Jordan Thiessen of Pit Boss Grills at 5 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by recording artist Payton Keller at 5:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 46 laps (156 miles) on the 3.41-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 14. Stage 2 ends at Lap 30.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 5 p.m. … NASCAR RaceDay airs at 4 p.m. on FS1. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard at goprn.com. …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mainly sunny. Temperature of 82 at race time. No chance of rain.

LAST TIME: AJ Allmendinger won last March’s Xfinity race at COTA. Austin Hill was two seconds behind in second place. Cole Custer finished third.

NASCAR Friday schedule at Circuit of the Americas


NASCAR’s new Cup Series aerodynamic package for short tracks and road courses will be tested in competition on a road circuit for the first time this weekend as the tour stops at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

All three major national series will be in action at the 3.41-mile, 20-turn track this weekend. The schedule begins Friday with practice for all three series and qualifying for Xfinity and Trucks.

MORE: Drivers say North Wilkesboro’s worn surface will be challenging

The Friday practice was added for Cup teams because of the new competition package, providing 50 minutes of on-track time for adjustments. Teams also will be racing with a new tire compound this weekend.

Chase Elliott (2021) and Ross Chastain (2022) are winners from the previous Cup races at COTA. Elliott won the inaugural event in a race shortened by rain, and Chastain won after a last-lap battle with AJ Allmendinger and Alex Bowman. The victory was Chastain’s first in the series.

A look at Friday’s schedule:

Circuit of the Americas (Cup, Xfinity and Truck)

Weekend weather

Friday: Thunderstorms in the morning. Mostly sunny later. High of 87 with an 80% chance of rain.

Friday, March 24

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. — Cup Series
  • 11:30 a.m. .- 6:30 p.m. — Truck Series
  • 1:30 – 8:30 p.m. — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 2:05 – 2:55 p.m. — Cup practice (No live broadcast; tape-delayed version airing at 8 p.m. on FS1)
  • 4:30 – 5 p.m. — Truck practice (No live broadcast)
  • 5 – 6 p.m. — Truck qualifying (No live broadcast; tape-delayed version airing at 9 p.m. on FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7 p.m. — Xfinity practice (FS1)
  • 7 – 8 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)