What drivers said at Michigan International Speedway

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Here is what drivers had to say during and after Sunday’s Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn:

Kevin Harvick — Winner: “Just good timing for sure. You know, we’ve had several good runs the last few weeks, Loudon and Pocono where the car ran good and just didn’t have everything work out. … They’ve been digging along all year long, trying to make these Mustangs run faster. They haven’t been great this year, but our guys have done a good job in trying to take what we have, maximize it and do the things that we need to do. Everybody who doubted us doesn’t know us. They obviously know we thrive in these types of situations. And a lot of things went our way today, which we haven’t had all year long, have things go our way and have things fall our way. And then there at the end we pitted, didn’t go a lap down, and the caution came out, got control of the race.

Michigan Cup results

Michigan Cup points

Bubba Wallace — Finished 2nd: “Replaying everything I could have done – should have taken the top on the restart. Thought I could hang with the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and just got to racing the 5 (Kyle Larson) and the 22 (Joey Logano). 22 did a great job of getting another Ford contract by helping another Ford win. All in all, an incredible weekend. Appreciate my team. Wish we could have gotten Toyota in victory lane. Wish we could have got McDonalds in victory lane again. She was fast all weekend. I will wear this one on my heart for a while. I failed everybody. [I should have] Got clear of the 5 (Kyle Larson) sooner. He was doing his part staying on my quarter there and keeping me tight and allowed the 4 (Kevin Harvick) to get away. Could have taken the top and pushed the 4 and then I could have been the 5 in that center area. Hate it. Hate it for our team. Sucks.” 

Denny Hamlin — Finished 3rd: “It’s just frustrating. We’ve had really fast cars throughout the year, and Dover comes to mind and Pocono comes to mind and this race comes to mind and a bunch of others. Just cant get a W in the column. Hats off to Joe Gibbs Racing for giving me a car that fast and my team for setting it up really good. This is a piece of the puzzle you have to have to win races. Everyone has to do their job to the best of their ability, and we just are lacking in one little section of our team that we just can’t hem up. I’m not really sure how you fix it. I’m not smart enough to run the department to fix it. I just hope that we make strides and keep getting better. It’s just frustrating when you have fast cars like our Toyotas did this weekend. There’s just absolutely no excuse for not winning. We’re the ones that have to look each other in the face on Monday and figure out how we just keep doing this. Hopefully, we can make it constructive and continue to get better, but obviously it’s disappointing.” 

Joey Logano — Finished 4th: “That was a hard-fought one, that’s for sure. The boys did a good job executing today, keeping us towards the front. Paul had some good strategy. I had a car that was about where it finished. If you put us further back, that’s probably where we would finish, but we had some good track position and good restarts – some good choosing – so Coleman (Pressley) did a good job upstairs helping me out with the right lanes. It was an execution day, which is playoff type racing. I feel good about what we did today as the playoffs come around the corner. Yeah, I was just holding on. It was an execution day, so I’m proud of the team. That’s playoff type racing, where we were able to make some out of maybe an eighth-place car and finished fourth with it by execution. We had decent pit stops and good strategy, good restarts and good choosing. Those type of things is what put us in position to run in the top five and get to second, which is further than I thought I would get. I couldn’t hold off the Toyotas. They were fast there at the end. I’m glad a Ford won at Michigan again. That’s pretty cool, but, overall, just didn’t have enough for them today.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 5th: “I just passed him (Martin Truex Jr.) back. I don’t know. I was just racing another guy. That’s all I care about. It was nice to get him back, so that was good to get it back and get a top five. We were terrible all day. We ran 20th all day long and just struggled a lot and worked on it a ton and got a little bit better and better there and ended up with a decent finish out of it. It was big gains from where we started. It’s a shame that another car won. I’m happy for Ford for winning, but we didn’t need the 4 car to win. We’ll just try to win the next few weeks and battle the 19 in points. It’ll be exciting, that’s for sure, so hopefully we can do it.”

Erik Jones — Finished 8th: “It was an up-and-down day for the FOCUSfactor Chevy. We had track position early and got up there towards the top five and just kind of got farther and farther back through the day a little bit. Lost the handle a bit toward the back half of the top 10 and thankfully we got that late yellow and were able to make some changes and get a good restart with about 37 laps to go and drive back up to a top-10 finish. So, solid day, had a decent car and just needed to do things a little bit cleaner, little bit smoother and I think we could have had a better finish.”

Alex Bowman — Finished 9th: “We just started super deep and played some strategy to get some track position back. We were too tight on the short run. Really too tight on the long run, too, but the short runs hurt us a little bit more. I’m happy to get the No. 48 Ally Chevy back in the top 10. Can’t say enough about Greg (Ives) and the guys. We’ll keep digging as we close out the season.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 13th: “I had fun today. Our Dow MobilityScience Chevrolet was fast all day. A caution just burned us. We had to take a wave-around, and there weren’t enough laps left in the race to get back up there. We drove from 15th to seventh in Stage 2. We were just too tight at that point of the race. I was completely sideways off of Turn 2 on the last lap battling to get 13th. It was fun, and I have to thank Dow and everyone who is a part of their group for everything they contribute to make our Chevys fast. On to Richmond.”

Austin Hill — Finished 18th: “We finished all 200 laps today at Michigan International Speedway. That was the goal, and I’m happy about that. To come home 18th in my NASCAR Cup Series debut, I’ll take it. There’s room for improvement, and I learned a lot in 400 miles. I tested the limits of my Bennett Transportation & Logistics Chevrolet. The Cup cars are fun to drive. … I’ve been dreaming of this day since I was a kid and at 28-years-old, I made my NASCAR Cup Series debut. Overall, it was a fun day.”

Chase Briscoe — Finished 20th: “We were able to make some good gains, but we were so tight. The guys did a great job working on it, but I got in the wall toward the end and didn’t help. We’re still in a good place, just got to get through the next few races and make sure we get to move on to the playoffs.”

Tyler Reddick — Finished 29th: “We had a really good Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet today at Michigan. We were a little too tight at the beginning of the race, but my crew chief, Randall Burnett, and the guys were making solid adjustments to the car and making it better. It stinks that we had a mechanical problem that ruined our day. That one really stings. I really appreciate all the people at RCR and ECR that worked so hard get us back in the race, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We’ll bounce back strong next week at Richmond.”

Cole Custer — Finished 31st: “We don’t really know what started all of that. I mean, we blew three left-front tires in probably a matter of 20 laps, so I don’t know what happened and why they kept blowing. It just seems like that’s the way our year has gone. We can’t seem to catch a break in most of these races. I don’t know. It just sucks to have another day end short, but we’ll move on to the next one.”

Harrison Burton — Finished 32nd: “I couldn’t really see much of what happened, honestly. I really didn’t hit anything hard. I guess we just broke a part in the steering rack or something, but I couldn’t steer the car. That’s obviously not going to be able to make minimum speed and felt it was probably too dangerous to try, so just a bummer. I felt like we weren’t really that good to start, but I knew we had some good changes coming I was excited for. We fired up on that last restart and through one and two I thought I was gonna gain a lot of spots and then, all of a sudden, the world came crashing in. It’s just a bummer, but we’ll keep pushing on.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 34th: “I have no idea. I didn’t see the replay. I got hit in the left-rear and spun out and then we all crashed. We just can’t seem to catch a break. I think some of the guys that were slower cars stayed out and that kind of jumbled up the field and then everybody swarms them and they can’t get out of the way.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 36th:Just chaos ensued on the restart there, and I don’t know what started it, but the 10 (Aric Almirola) got spun in front of me and then I got wedged between him and the wall. When you get back there, things happen on restarts, especially when you have guys that stayed out and don’t have tires versus those that have four tires. Was not really in a hurry and knew we were coming to stage points in another 40 laps or so and it was going to be a long run to get there and then we all just crashed. Just was trying to bide my time and knew we weren’t necessarily going to need to be in a hurry there to get points at the end of that stage. It was going to be a 40-lap run and it was going to be plenty of time to get back up there because we had a really fast car. … Just don’t get it man, just can’t buy a break right now.”

Austin Cindric — Finished 37th: “I don’t know what started all of it. I saw the 15 car sideways and everything stacked up. I got tagged in the left-rear and shoved me up the racetrack and then got turned head-on into the fence. It looked like the 15 just got loose and backed everybody up and then got ran into the back. It’s not Ty’s fault, just everybody stacking up. Obviously, it was a complete mess. I hit the outside wall head-on. I’m glad to be OK. It’s such a waste to do all of this and finish last. It’s pretty unfortunate. I hate it for the guys on the team and for Discount Tire. That was not fun at all and inside the driver’s head is certainly a lot less fun, too.  It feels like an absolute waste to come out here and just get completely wrecked.  Just irresponsible, I guess, running in the middle of the pack and just really frustrating to be out of this race this early. Finish dead last and get no points.”

Chase Briscoe, AJ Allmendinger in first on-track conflict of the season.

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LOS ANGELES — The first on-track conflict of the 2023 NASCAR Cup season?

Did you have Chase Briscoe and AJ Allmendinger?

They made contact during Saturday night’s practice session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash.

Busch Clash practice results

Briscoe explained what happened from his point of view.

“(Allmendinger) was slowing down so much on the straightaway to get a gap (away from other cars),” Briscoe told Motor Racing Network. “I felt like I was beside him pretty far down the straightaway. I got in there a little hot for sure, but, honestly, I thought he was going to give it to me since we were in practice. Went into (Turn) 3 and he just drove me straight into the fence. Definitely frustrating. … Just unfortunate. We don’t have a single back-up car out there between the four of us at SHR. 

“Definitely will set us behind quite a bit. Just chalk it up in the memory blank.”

Asked what happened with Briscoe, Allmendinger told MRN: “He ran inside of me, so I made sure I paid him back and sent him into the fence.

“It’s practice. I get it, I’m struggling and in the way, but come barreling in there. I just showed my displeasure for it. That’s not the issue. We’re just not very good right now.”

Earlier in practice, Ty Gibbs had to climb out of his car after it caught on fire. Gibbs exiting the car safely. The Joe Gibbs Racing team worked on making repairs to his No. 54 car. NASCAR stated that the car would not be allowed to qualify because of unapproved adjustments, modifications not directly related to the damage.

NASCAR will not race at Auto Club Speedway in 2024

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LOS ANGELES — Auto Club Speedway will not host a NASCAR race next year because of plans to convert the 2-mile speedway into a short track.

It will mark only the second time the Cup Series has not raced at the Southern California track since first competing there in 1997. Cup did not race at the track in 2021 because of the pandemic.

Dave Allen, Auto Club Speedway president, also said Saturday that “it’s possible” that the track might not host a NASCAR race in 2025 because of how long it could take to make the conversion. 

MORE: Details for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum 

NASCAR came to the Fontana, California, track during the sport’s expansion in the late 1990s that also saw Cup debut at Texas (1997), Las Vegas (1998) and Homestead (1999).

Auto Club Speedway begins the West Coast swing this season, hosting the Cup Series on Feb. 26, a week after the Daytona 500. The series then goes to Las Vegas and Phoenix the following two weeks.

Auto Club Speedway has been among a favorite of drivers because of its aging pavement that put more of the car’s control in the hands of competitors. 

Allen said that officials continue to work on the track’s design. It is expected to be a half-mile track. With NASCAR already having a half-mile high-banked track (Bristol) and half-mile low-banked track (Martinsville), Allen said that a goal is to make Auto Club Speedway stand out.

“It has to make a statement, and making sure that we have a racetrack that is unique to itself here and different than any of the tracks they go to is very important,” Allen said. “Having said that, it’s equally important … to make sure that the fan experience part is unique.”

Kyle Larson, who won last year’s Cup race at Auto Club Speedway, said that he talked to Allen on Saturday was told the track project likely will take about 18 months. 

“I don’t know exactly the extent of what they’re doing with the track, how big it’s going to be, the shape or banking and all that, and I love the 2-mile track, but I think the more short tracks we can have, the better off our sport is going to be,” Larson said.

With Auto Club Speedway off the schedule in 2024, it would mean the only time Cup raced in the Los Angeles area would be at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. NASCAR has a three-year contract with the Coliseum to race there and holds the option to return.

Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum marks the second year of that agreement. Last year’s inaugural event at the Coliseum drew about 50,000 fans. NASCAR has not publicly stated if it will return to the Coliseum next year.

Sunday Clash at the Coliseum: Start time, TV info, race format

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LOS ANGELES – NASCAR is back and back at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Nearly three months after Joey Logano won the Cup title at Phoenix, Cup drivers return to action this weekend to run the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum exhibition race on Sunday night.

This marks the second consecutive year the series has raced inside the Coliseum, which has hosted the Super Bowl, World Series and Olympics.

Details for Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum 

(All times Eastern)

HEAT RACES: There will be four 25-lap heat races. Caution laps do not count. The top five from each race advance to the Busch Light Clash. The first heat race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIERS: There will be two 50-lap qualifiers for drivers who did not advance to the Clash through their heat races. Caution laps do not count. The top three finishers in each of the qualifiers advance to the Clash. The 27-car Clash lineup will be finalized by adding one provisional spot for the driver highest in points last season not yet in the Clash field. The first of these two last chance qualifying races is scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m.

CLASH STARTING LINEUP: To be set by heat races and the Last Chance Qualifiers. Winner of heat 1 will start on the pole for the Clash. Winner of heat 2 will start second. Winner of heat 3 will start third. Winner of heat 4 will start 4th. Runner-up in heat 1 will start fifth and so on.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 11 a.m. … Driver intros are at 7:50 p.m. … Invocation by Judah Smith, lead pastor of Churchome, at 8:07 p.m. … The USC Trojan Marching Band will perform the national anthem at 8:08 p.m. … Actor Rob Lowe will give the command to fire engines at 8:15 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to be waved by USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at 8:20 p.m.

DISTANCE: The Clash is 150 laps (37.5 miles) on the 1/4-mile short track.

STAGES: There will be a stage break at Lap 75 (halfway in the Clash). Wiz Khalifa will perform during the break.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the event, beginning at 4 p.m. . … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 63 degrees and a 1% chance of rain for the start of the heat races. Partly cloudy with a high of 61 degrees and a 1% chance of rain for the Clash..

LAST TIME: Joey Logano held off Kyle Busch to win the inaugural Clash at the Coliseum. Austin Dillon placed third. .

Catch up on NBC Sports coverage

New NASCAR season features several changes

Clash at the Coliseum provides a reset for RFK Racing 

Harrison Burton looks for progress in second year in Cup

Dr. Diandra: Muffling racecars won’t change fan experience

Drivers to watch at Clash in Coliseum

NASCAR announces rule changes for 2023

NASCAR outlaws Ross Chastain Martinsville move

NASCAR eliminates stage breaks for Cup road course events 

Looking back on 10 historic moments in the Clash

 

NASCAR Saturday schedule at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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NASCAR drivers are scheduled to hit the track today in competitive mode for the first time in 2023.

Practice is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. on the oval inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Single-car qualifying for Sunday’s Clash at the Coliseum is scheduled to begin at 8:35 p.m. (ET). The 36 drivers will be divided into three 12-driver groups for practice.

Cup practice groups

Cup qualfying order

Saturday’s qualifying will set the starting lineups for Sunday’s four 25-lap heat races. The top five finishers in each heat race will advance to the main event. Two 50-lap “last chance” races will follow, and the top three finishers in each of those events will join the feature field.

The 150-lap main event is scheduled at 8 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

For the second consecutive year, the Clash is being held on a purpose-built track inside the LA Coliseum, one of sport’s iconic venues. Joey Logano won last year’s race and last year’s series championship and will be among the favorites Sunday.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Weather

Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sun. High 71.

Saturday, Feb. 4

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 2 – 11:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 8 p.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 8:35 – 9:30 p.m. — Cup qualifying (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)