What drivers said after Michigan

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Kevin Harvick— Winner: “Keelan is saving me some work. Usually when I get home the next day we have to mock up a victory lane celebration. For him to be here and able to do that and be a part of NASCAR and bring your son to work and do all the things that we get to do with our kids, I have had him with me by myself the last three weeks and we have had a ball. I couldn’t be happier to be a dad and be a part of NASCAR where they let your family come to the race track and be a part of it.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 2nd: “We kind of clawed all day and had some good restarts with the Discount Tire Ford and got all we could get out of it but just ended up one spot short and that is so frustrating.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 3rd: “You better be right on to win these races these days with the guys that are winning and being able to execute at the end of the day. Our Interstate Batteries Camry was pretty close, but certainly wish we had just a tick more. Overall, good day for us – it’s Michigan and we don’t count on much when we come to Michigan. We were able to take that, but the restarts were the name of the game here and we were kind of on the bottom there the last couple of them and got shuffled back and wasn’t able to pass once everybody got strung out. Air was the reason why everybody got strung out and one everybody did that you couldn’t make up any time on anybody at that point. Best chance we had to pass guys was just on strategy there at the end and on pit road. The car was good and we got the most out of our day.”

AUTIN DILLON — Finished 4th: “I got to battle with (Kevin) Harvick there and that was awesome. I’m so proud of the guys for having a car capable of doing that. Yeah, (losing positions on the last lap) really stunk. We were kind of in position that if something happened to the No. 4 we could win the race. With two (laps) to go, I went into (Turn) 3 and I kind of missed the corner. When I came down the straightaway, it was just shaking like either the tire was unraveling or it was a loose wheel. But, I didn’t want to lose this great finish we had in front of us, but we brought it home with a top five at least.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 5th: “It was a good showing for us today. Really all weekend I thought we were pretty strong. There were a couple cars better than us all day and a couple that got better at the end. Second half of the race the track kind of changed and our car lost a little bit of speed but I am happy with a fifth after the last two weeks that have been a struggle for us. It is good to get back on the right track which is where we belong. Hopefully we can keep this going here for the next few weeks and then into the playoffs.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 6th: “Is this groundhog day? Is it deja vu? We are running so strong, not making mistakes and chiseling away. That is why we are fourth in points. Consistency. Anytime I get to the back bumper of the 4, 18 or 78 they inch away from us. We are sliding both ends of our car. We are so close. We will find our day. We have good rhythm, we just can’t steer to far away from this rhythm.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 7th: “It was a solid day. We ran top 10 both stages and finished top 10. Finally a normal weekend for us where we had good speed and kind of executed all day. We had some bad restarts and had a couple stops on pit road that we struggled on but overall it was a decent day and a good way to build our momentum back as we head into the playoff stretch.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 9th: “Yeah, we didn’t have a lot of pace and very frustrating, but I feel like we made the most of it.”

Joey Logano — Finished 10th: “It is frustrating. I felt like we finished 10th with a fifth place car today. I couldn’t restart very well and I lost spots on every restart. I am proud of the team though. Everyone else did good, I just wasn’t able to get anything going on the restarts and that made life really difficult today.”

Erik Jones — Finished 13th: “It just wasn’t a very good day right from the start. I spun out early and had some contact late and spun us out again. We were fighting from behind all day. Our stuff wasn’t that great as it was, but we made the most out of it – it wasn’t a top 10, that would have been an extremely stellar day. We worked on the Doosan Camry to get it better and we got a little bit better, but not where we needed to be. We have to work here and get better for next time, but fortunately it’s not a Playoff race and this track isn’t in the Playoffs either so we’ll be alright.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 14th: There’s one thing that was for certain, it was not our day. I told our friends in the 5-hour Energy suite this morning that whatever it is, we either finish top-five or 14th. Sure enough we’re 14th. I think what we can take out of today is that we got the race car a lot better and we had good speed, we were up front there saving fuel and they couldn’t do anything with us until we started saving so much that obviously I had to let them go. I passed a lot of cars today and had a good car today when we could get some track position. It’s one of those days where we had bad pit stops and nothing just went our way. Getting spun out early really hurt. That damaged the car and that hurt us, but we were able to recover from that and then the fuel situation and being a lap down because of the penalty, it just wasn’t our day. Still to come back to 14th isn’t awful.

Ryan Newman — Finished 15th: “It was a good rebound of a day for the Grainger Chevrolet. I barely caught the wall off of (Turn) 4 in some dirty air there. It basically rubbed a hole in the right rear tire. Had, I guess, probably the save of the day going 290 into Turn 1 it felt like and just lost a brake line, recouped from that and the guys did a good job of fixing it. My fault, I stuck it in the fence in the first place. A good rebound, but not near where we should have finished.”

Jimmie Johnson — Finished 28th: “Yeah, we led some laps and were much more competitive today, so that was encouraging. Unfortunately, a loose wheel there at the end relegated us to laps down in the result, but we definitely raced way better than that.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 38th: It was either a battery or a chunk of lead, which is really unfortunate. When you’re going that fast, you don’t realize until you hit something and it goes through your oil cooler and you have no control of your car.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Aric Almirola joins Dale Jr. around the Big Oak table

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NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET today on NBCSN with another edition of #WednesDale.

Aric Almirola will join Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Letarte to discuss his season to date.

  • Almirola  will also discuss his journey to NASCAR, his family’s remarkable history, and more.
  • He will also answer fan questions, so if you have one for him, send it to us on social media using the hashtag #Wednesdale!
  • NASCAR America will also show what happened on ‘This Day in NASCAR.’ An interesting bit of history took place 14 years ago at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and it involved two of our own!

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Who is hot, who is not in Cup heading to Michigan

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The Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Here is a look at the drivers who are hot and who are not (courtesy of Racing Insights) heading into the 23rd race of the season.

WHO IS HOT

Kevin Harvick

  • Finished 10th at Watkins Glen (25th in Stage 1, 7th in Stage 2)
  • Won 6 of last 21 races
  • Won 10 stages in 2018 (had 6 in all of 2017)
  • Finished in Top 5 in 7 of last 9 races 
  • In 22 races in 2018, 18 finishes of 10th or better (including 6 wins) & 4 finishes of 19th or worse
  • Finished in Top 5 in 8 of last 11 Michigan races (2nd in June)

Chase Elliott

  • Won at Watkins Glen (18th in Stage 1, 1st in Stage 2, 52 laps led)
  • Finished 7th or better in 3 straight races
  • Finished in Top 10 in 6 of last 9 races
  • Won a stage in 3 straight races
  • 3 stage wins in 2018 tied his season total for 2017
  • Top 10 in all five Michigan races, including three runner-up finishes
  • Michigan is 1 of 2 tracks where he’s never finished outside Top 10 (Atlanta)

Kyle Busch

  • Finished 3rd at Watkins Glen (14th in Stage 1, 2nd in Stage 2, 31 laps led); team did not get car full of fuel on lap 55 (came out first and had to pit for a second time), drove from 31st to third in the final stage
  • Won 6 of last 16 races
  • Finished in Top 5 in 9 of last 10 races
  • Won at Watkins Glen (18th in Stage 1, 1st in Stage 2, 52 laps led)
  • Finished in the Top 10 in 10 of last 11 races
  • Finished in the Top 5 in 16 of 22 races this season

Daniel Suarez

  • Finished 4th at Watkins Glen (28th in Stage 1, 10th in Stage 2)
  • Finished top 5 in the last two races of 2018
  • Has not finished better than 24th in three career starts at Michigan

Erik Jones

  • Finished 5th at Watkins Glen (22nd in Stage 1, 4th in Stage 2); ran out of fuel on last lap while 3rd
  • Finished 5th in 2 straight races and top 10 in six of the last seven in 2018
  • Finished 13th or worse in 2 of 3 career starts at Michigan (15th in June)

William Byron

  • Finished 8th at Watkins Glen (3rd in Stage 1, 12th in Stage 2)
  • Three top 10s in 2018, two have come in the last two races
  • Back-to-back top 10s for first time in career

Kurt Busch

  • Finished 9th at Watkins Glen (30th in Stage 1, 32nd in Stage 2); started 36th after failing post-qualifying inspection; had flat RR tire under caution on lap 54
  • Finished top 10 in the last four races of 2018

Martin Truex Jr.

  • Finished 2nd at Watkins Glen (1st in Stage 1, 5th in Stage 2, 4 laps led); ran out of fuel on last lap
  • Finished top 5 in 6 of last 7 races
  • Won 3 of last 9 races
  • Finished in the top 5 in 10 of last 12 races
  • Finished 6th or better in 4 of last 7 Michigan races (18th in June)

WHO IS NOT HOT

  • Finished 17th at Watkins Glen (5th in Stage 1, 15th in Stage 2)
  • Finished 17th or worse in 3 straight races and 4 of last 5
  • Finished 16th or worse in 2 of last 3 Michigan races, but top 10 in 7 of last 9 (6th in June)
  • Started 1st, 1st in Stage 1, 2nd in Stage 2, 105 laps led, finished 17th in this race one year ago
  • Finished 9th or better in 11 of last 13 races on 2.0-mile tracks

Austin Dillon

  • Finished 27th at Watkins Glen (11th in Stage 1, 23rd in Stage 2); ran off track in turn 6 on lap 84 while running 25th
  • Finished 13th or worse in 4 straight races
  • Finished 12th or worse in 16 of last 17 races
  • Finished outside Top 10 in 19 of 21 races since Daytona 500 win
  • Finished 14th or worse in 3 of last 4 Michigan races (14th in June)

Aric Almirola

  • Finished 22nd at Watkins Glen (32nd in Stage 1, 24th in Stage 2); spun in turn 7 and made contact with wall on lap 3 while running 7th after contact with #12
  • Finished 22nd or worse in last 2 races and 4 of last 6 (1 finish outside Top 20 in first 16 races of 2018)
  • Has dropped from 11th in Playoff standings in Chicagoland to now 14th in Playoff Standings following Watkins Glen
  • Has never finished in the top 10 in 12 Michigan races

Denny Hamlin

  • Finished 13th at Watkins Glen (17th in Stage 1, 3rd in Stage 2, 2 laps led); penalized for removing equipment from pit box on lap 55 (air gun got wrapped around LR tire and pulled out of box)
  • Finished 13th or worse in 4 of last 5 races
  • Finished 12th or worse in 6 of last 9 races
  • Finished 12th or worse in the last two Michigan races, but top-1o in 4 of last 8 (12th in June)
  • Finished 12th at Watkins Glen (26th in Stage 1, 9th in Stage 2)
  • Finished 12th in last 2 races
  • Top-10 in two of the last four races of 2018
  • Finished top-10 in 2 of last 4 Michigan races, but 15th or worse in 5 of 7 career starts at Michigan (8th in June)

What drivers said after Watkins Glen

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Chase Elliott — Winner: “Holy cow! What a thrill! I don’t know what to say. I’m just so thrilled and so emotional. There’s so much relief you know; it’s been working on three years and I hadn’t won a one and came here with a good opportunity today. I was able to get it done. But, just thanks to all the fans. I hope all my buddies are ready to get rowdy tonight because it’s going to be a good one.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 2nd: “I gave it everything I had for our guys at Bass Pro Shops, 5-hour ENERGY and Toyota, and all of our partners. I gave it everything I had every single lap. I could catch him but right when I got close, I’d get loose and fall back. I was too loose all day. Traffic made it worse for sure. He had the upper hand there at the end. We were a little faster but hats off to him. He did a great job. He put his car exactly where I needed mine to be. I couldn’t get it and I was sideways. Congrats to him on his first win. We ran out of gas the last lap anyway, so I guess it wouldn’t have mattered. I’m proud of my guys. I am proud of the effort. I love coming to these road courses.”

 

Kyle Busch — Finished 3rd: “I think what impressed me the most was just that (Elliott) was hammer down and elbows up and flying – loose here, loose there and going through everything and doing everything right and really attacking the race course and not putting the wheel too far out of shape. He did a really good and he was really hustling it and keeping the car under him. He looked like a pro. That was cool to see. It’s pretty early for him – like what third year – to be able to come out here and run like that at Watkins Glen and to be able to win, so pretty impressive. Overall, wish we could’ve raced with him and certainly think we would’ve had a shot for him.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 4th: “It was a decent race. I felt like we had a top five, top seven car or so. The car was good, but not extremely good. Definitely the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 20 (Erik Jones) were better, but it was a good race. Solid effort for my team. We’re getting close. This is what we need – to run top five every week and if we continue to do this, I’m going to be a happy boy.”

ERIK JONES — Finished 5th: “That’s what we’ve got to keep doing. We’ve only had one bad race since Daytona and that was New Hampshire. Two top fives in a row for us, so we need to keep going that way and hopefully we can contend for a win at Michigan. That’s the goal. We want to win another race. I know we can do it. If we’re this close on a road course, I know we can do it on an oval, so we’ll keep working on it.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 6th: “Yeah, a lot better finish than I thought we would have. I always feel like I don’t race well at these places, but able to run a nice smooth race, so I was happy about that and I think we finished sixth or seventh, so yeah, pretty cool. … Today was a fun day, finally, on a road course.”

Jamie McMurray — Finished 7th: “Yeah, I think we finished sixth or seventh and that was about where we were when we unloaded and we had a really clean race, we had good fuel mileage.  Just a really good day for our GearWrench Chevy. “

William Byron — Finished 8th: “Yeah, it’s awesome. Good for those guys to get the win. I feel like we are just getting faster and it’s just being easier. I don’t know if we hit everything just right today, but it was easier to run where we were. It’s fun, it’s getting there. I’m excited.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 9th: “We had a surprise flat right-rear (tire) and that forced us into taking two tires and we had to improvise from there. It’s kind of a bummer, but we made the best we could with it and got a top 10. We want to win, but the car can’t quite steer from the rear and the front is chattering a little bit. We’re close, but we’re not quite there.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 11th: “That was a tough day for the Rush Truck Centers Ford, but we fought hard. It was hard to pass out there. We were struggling to make grip. We tried to play the strategy game, and that got us a decent finish. It was a long weekend, but everyone worked hard.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 12th: “It was a long day. We struggled all weekend, really, and just couldn’t really go anywhere. We’d fire off OK and then just fade terribly, so we’ve got some work to do here.” 

Alex Bowman — Finished 14th: “I really feel like the car was a little better than the driver all day. But it still wasn’t a terrible day for us. Just a little off of where we needed to be. Still a good points day and the pit crew was really good, they did a good job. We will move on and got to Michigan.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 15th:  “I was just kind of in the train of cars there just trying to be patient and they just stopped. I tried to get checked up and just got into the No. 22 (Joey Logano) and it just got the nose. Did decent amount of damage and took a lot of the front aero away and the car wasn’t the same, obviously. … The guys did a good job to kind of button it back up and at least make it somewhat drivable. It didn’t have the speed that it was going to have. I don’t think we had the pace all weekend to go win the race, but for how the car drove with that much damage, I thought we could have easily run in the top 10 and got a decent result out of it, but that is just the way it is.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 16th: “All in all it was a decent weekend. Practice was good and qualifying not so good. The first quarter of the race we obviously had a lot of issues, but we were able to bounce back and get a good, decent finish. We had good, decent speed at the end of the race, so it’s something to build off of on the road course for sure. I look forward to getting to Michigan and hopefully keep improving.”

Ryan Newman — Finished 19th: “The start of our race went as planned. Our goal was to earn as many stage points as we could and we accomplished that in the first stage by finishing sixth. That’s a positive. But 20 laps into Stage 2, we got spun out by a competitor and it was costly to us, resulting in the 34th-place running spot. We regrouped and drove up into the top 20 but that’s all we could get by the time the checkered flag waved. We had a good run against the No. 2 car, but our handling needed a little more work. We just battled with Turns 5, 6 and 7 all weekend. I feel like our Lucas Oil Camaro ZL1 was an improvement from last year so we’ll take it and keep digging.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 22nd: “I don’t know what happened there. I’d have to see it, so it’s hard to say. The 12 (Blaney) diving inside of me, I guess, kind of dive-bombed in there. It’s really hard for the spotters to see over there because we’re coming out from behind the trees and I honestly didn’t know he was there. I guess he hit the curb and wiped us out, so it’s disappointing. I thought we had a car we could have run in the top 10 or top 12 with and just didn’t do it. This is a couple weeks of bad luck and we’ve got to battle back from this and rebound and get going before the Playoffs start.”

Ty Dillon — Finished 23rd: “Making the trip up to The Glen is always interesting. We only come to this track once a year, and we came this year with a new crew chief, a new body style and a new inspection system to adapt to. We had decent practice sessions with our GEICO Camaro ZL1, and I felt good going into the race today because I like road-course racing. We just struggled through the esses all weekend. I was loose all the way up the hill at the start of the race. We improved it a bit with air pressure adjustments, but then the front end was struggling to turn and we had to address that with changes too. We made the adjustments that we need to throughout the day to make it to the end of the race. I wish we could have cracked into the top 20, but this team worked hard. We’ll have all of these notes to build on next year.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 27th: “What a day for the Dow Racing team. Going into the weekend, I had high hopes for our team because I felt like our car was really good on the long run. We were challenged throughout the race, but we were able to run solidly in the top-20. When the caution flag was displayed with 53 laps remaining we decided to gamble and pitted for fuel only, which put us in the second spot for the restart. We fought hard for the remaining laps to keep track position on old tires, knowing that we would have a fresh set ready for a late-race caution. Our strategy proved challenging, though, because tires meant so much today and the late-race caution we gambled on never came. Oh well, it was worth a try. We have a lot to work on when it comes to road course racing, but we will get there as a team.”

Matt DiBenedetto — Finished 33rd: “I think we exploded a gear. I felt a drive line vibration for a little bit and it finally let go, so these places are tough on cars. Those kind of failures can happen, so we’ll see. We struggled with the car all weekend, so it was a tough weekend.”

JOEY LOGANO — Finished 37th: “We were just racing hard and I tried to make a run off the carousel. Pulled out on (Kyle) Larson and tried to keep the nose out going into the bus stop. I saw they were all racing in front of me hard and thought I could make a run and get some momentum off the carousel and I was right on Larson. I think they checked up in front of him. He lifted, and I was right there. I guess my bumper bar went underneath his bumper and just knocked into the radiator and punctured a whole in it. … I went from hero to zero pretty quick.” 

Joey Logano out after Lap 2 incident at Watkins Glen

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Joey Logano is out of the Cup race at Watkins Glen International after going to the garage for repairs following a Lap 2 incident.

Logano was running in the top 10 in Turn 5 when Kyle Larson checked up due to the cars fighting for position in front of him.

Logano’s No. 22 Ford hit the rear of Larson’s car. The damage from the contact caused Logano to run off into the dirt in Turn 6. But he was able to make it to pit road.

Logano’s team found that the contact broke an oil cooler on the car and it took the No. 22 to the garage for repairs. However, the team was unaware that NASCAR had placed Logano’s car under the damage vehicle policy, meaning if a car is taken to the garage for repairs after an incident, it is out of the race.

“I don’t really know the policy and how it’s supposed to work,” Logano told NBCSN. “That’s not technically my job to understand that. On the race track we were just racing hard and I was going to try and make a run off the Carousel on Larson. … He lifted and I was right there. I guess my bumper bar went underneath his bumper and just knocked into the radiator and punctured a hole in it. Didn’t take much.”

The incident occurred a lap before Aric Almirola brought out the first caution for a wreck in Turn 7. He was able to continue.