What drivers said at Pocono


Here is what drivers said after Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Results have been updated after the cars of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were disqualified for failing post-race inspection:

Chase Elliott — Winner: “Yeah, definitely a bit of a battle for our NAPA team today. I’m pretty happy with third after that. I didn’t think we were all that good through the mid-portion of the race and I was struggling in traffic trying to get back up through there. We had some restarts go our way there towards the end and was able to get some spots back, which was nice. It was good to get a top-five, but certainly could be a little better.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 2nd: “I think we only struggled a little bit at times in the race just with track position. It may look that way, but honestly our team did a good job and got better the further we went. If the cautions would have played out differently, I think we could have been in position at the end of the race. All-in-all, we passed a lot of cars today and we did that well on the race track and on pit road. It was a great day for our team.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 3rd: “I thought we had a top-five, top-10 car all day long. At the beginning, I thought we had a winning car. We made the right adjustments and all-in-all, it was a solid day all around for our team.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 5th: “I had one bad restart where I lost a bunch of positions and then you had to works s hard to get each position back.”

Michael McDowell — Finished 6th: “It was a good day. I had a couple good restarts that got us track position, then I had one really bad one where we got hit in the left rear and about spun out and went back to last. That hurt us really bad. My guys called a good race and we tried some different strategies to try to get track position. We stayed out on old tires but I felt like if I got a good restart and got into the top 10 I could hold on. We restarted 16th with no tires and drove up to eighth so I am really proud of that finish. It is still not the day you want. You don’t want to be eighth, you want to win the race, but we are doing a great job and I feel like we are getting close.”

Erik Jones — Finished 9th: “The mid-part of the race we were really good and I was really happy with it. Just got tight at the end of the race. It cooled down a lot and we probably didn’t stay ahead of that enough. The FOCUS Factor Chevy was good. Frustrated. We had the speed, kind of all weekend, and then hacked up qualifying a little bit, had to start at the back and found our way back to the front and then just got behind. A good weekend in the fact we did have good speed. It’s been a minute since we’ve had that kind of speed and I was happy with that. It’s frustrating that we came home 11th. You want to come home better than that with a car like that. Just got behind.”

Ty Gibbs — Finished 16th: “(On what he learned in his Cup debut) Just the dirty air and how bad that affects you. Just being able to make sure I was getting out far enough. I was a little bit tight all day, so just trying to get front turn and trying to get more center turn which would help me. It was a learning day. I felt like I learned a lot. I’m very thankful. It was close to almost a top 15. It was fun racing with Brad (Keselowski). Never thought I’d race with these guys. It was just cool being next to them on the track. So, to 10-year-old Ty that means a lot. I don’t think I would ever expect that.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 32nd: “It was something that has been owed to me for a few months now. I’m proud of the effort by Trackhouse Racing and everybody on this No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevy. It’s week in and week out that we keep bringing fast Chevy Camaro’s.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 33rd: “I just got loose. It was one of those things. You get loose off three and think you can save it but you can’t. I just couldn’t save it. Gosh, I hate it for everyone on the 12 group. We finally got the car decent and we were running top five there and had a flat tire and had to come in and then I just tried too hard and it stepped away from me. I hate it for Menards and Ford and everybody. That was my mistake. We will go at it again next week.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 35th: “It’s the team. They just were able to come back with a great strategy there to get us back up front from the mistake I made.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 36th: “The second-to-last run there where we had the 1 (Ross Chastain) car there trailing us, he was a little better than us. It’s hard to pass, but having the car trending loose on me, we made an adjustment for that with as many laps as there was going to be to go with that last pit stop, but we just over did it I guess and missed it on that last run unfortunately. I was just way too tight and didn’t have the roll speed that I needed through the corners. The guys did a great job and bust their tails for me every week and do a really great job for me on this M&M’s Camry. Appreciate all of them and their support and what they do. Obviously, wish we had a little bit more today and of course with the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 race, it would have been nice to honor all the associates that were here in attendance to give them something to celebrate with us in victory lane. Just one spot short in qualifying and one spot short in the race. “

AJ Allmendinger wins Xfinity race at COTA

AJ Allmendinger Xfinity COTA
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

AJ Allmendinger overcame damage from a restart to win Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Circuit of the Americas.

This is the second year in a row he has won this race. It is Allmendinger’s first victory of the season and 16th career Xfinity win.

William Byron, driving for Hendrick Motorsports, finished second. Ty Gibbs placed third, Sammy Smith fourth and Justin Allgaier fifth.

Smith, Allgaier, sixth-place finisher Daniel Hemric and seventh-place finisher Sam Mayer — the top four full-time Xfinity drivers — will be eligible for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus next week at Richmond Raceway.

Allmendinger won the first stage and then pitted. When a caution came out shortly, it put him 21st in the field. On the Lap 20 restart, his car suffered damage when he was hit going into Turn 1.

Allmendinger worked his way through the field and took the lead from Sheldon Creed on Lap 33 when they made contact and Creed spun. Creed fell back to 23rd and finished the 46-lap race in ninth.

Stage 1 winner: AJ Allmendinger

Stage 2 winner: Sheldon Creed

Who had a bad race: Austin Hill, who had won three of the first five races this season, had mechanical issues early and finished 37th in the 38-car field.

Next: The series races April 1 at Richmond Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FS1)

COTA Truck race results: Zane Smith wins


Reigning series champion Zane Smith won Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas for the second year in a row.

The victory is Smith’s second of this year.

MORE: COTA Truck race results

MORE: Truck points after COTA

Kyle Busch finished second and was followed by Ty Majeski, Tyler Ankrum and Ross Chastain.

The key moment came when Parker Kligerman‘s truck came to a stop on the frontstretch at Lap 28. Smith, running second, made it to pit road before it was closed. Busch, who was leading, had already passed pit road entrance.

Smith gained the lead with the move, while Busch had to pit under the caution and restarted 16th. Smith was able to build a lead and beat Busch by 5.4 seconds.

Stage 1 winner: Christian Eckes

Stage 2 winner: Kyle Busch

Who had a good race: Ty Majeski’s third-place finish is his best of the season. … Tyler Ankrum’s fourth-place finish is his best of the year. … Corey Heim has finished sixth two races in a row. … Rookie Nick Sanchez finished seventh, giving him back-to-back top 10s.

Who had a bad race: Parker Kligerman was running third when electrical issues forced him to stop on track just after the end of the second stage. … After winning the first stage, Christian Eckes had mechanical issues and had to pit for repairs, costing him several laps.

Notable: Front Row Motorsports has won the Truck COTA race all three years. Todd Gilliland won the race in 2021 and Zane Smith has won it the past two years.

Next: The series races April 1 at Texas Motor Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series XPEL 225
COTA winner Zane Smith’s truck catches fire after he did his burnout on the frontstretch. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

COTA Cup starting lineup


Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, who has won two of the first five races of the season, will lead the Cup field to the green flag Sunday at Circuit of the Americas.

Byron will be joined on the front row of the starting lineup by Tyler Reddick, the only driver to win multiple races at road courses last year.

MORE: COTA Cup starting lineup

Austin Cindric starts third and is joined in the second row by Jordan Taylor, who is filling in for the injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick car.

Taylor’s performance is the best qualifying effort by a driver making their Cup debut since Boris Said started second in his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.

William Byron wins Cup pole at COTA


William Byron will start on the pole for Sunday’s Cup race at Circuit of the Americas.

Byron won the pole with a lap of 93.882 mph around the 3.41-mile road course Saturday. He becomes the first Cup driver to win a pole at four different road courses: Charlotte Roval (2019), Road America (2021), Indianapolis road course (2021) and COTA (2023).

MORE: COTA Cup starting lineup

Byron will be joined on the front row by Tyler Reddick, who had posted the fastest lap in Friday’s practice and fastest lap in the opening round of qualifying Saturday. Reddick qualified at 93.783 mph.

Austin Cindric (93.459 mph) qualified third. Former IMSA champion Jordan Taylor, substituting for an injured Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports, qualified fourth with a lap of 93.174 mph. AJ Allmendinger (93.067) will start fifth.

Taylor’s performance is the best qualifying effort by a driver making their Cup debut since Boris Said started second in his Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.

Ross Chastain, who won this event a year ago, qualified 12th. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen qualified 22nd, former world champion Jenson Button qualified 24th, seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson qualified 31st and IndyCar driver Conor Daly qualified 35th.