Cole Custer

What drivers said after Charlotte

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Chase Elliott – winner: “It feels awesome. Man, it was a tough week, for sure. We’ve had some tough losses, but that deal on Sunday night was a heartbreaker. It’s not the Coca-Cola 600, but any win in the Cup Series is really hard to get, and I really appreciate everybody at Hendrick Motorsports across the street, Chevrolet, and everybody at the shop have been working really hard. … I appreciate my team. Alan (Gustafson) made a great call there at the end to get it tuned up and, luckily, the run went long and I think that fell in our favor.

“(What were the last five laps like?) I was just waiting for the caution to come out, to be honest with you. I thought either the caution was going to come out, I was going to break something or I was going to crash. Just after the last couple of weeks, I just thought surely it wasn’t going to go green until the end. Just glad it did and glad we’re hopefully back on the right path.”

Denny Hamlin – finished second: “(How were you able to rebound for the runner-up finish?) Eventually the air pressure built up enough to where it got off the race track. The pit crew just did a phenomenal job picking up a bunch of spots. Our whole FedEx team prepared a good car. Every time we come back to a race track for the second time, our results are really, really good. We’re making good adjustments, I had a really good Camry, just needed to be a little better in the short run there.

“(Did you have a chance for the win following the final restart?) We started up front there when the pit crew got us out second there and ideally we would have stayed in front. I knew the 4 (Kevin Harvick), his car typically drops like a rock in the long run. We made a good run at it, but it was just too late.”

Ryan Blaney – finished third: “We got to second and the 4 (Harvick) was really fast getting going and the 9 (Elliott) got by me. I kind of messed up three and four and allowed him to get by me. I kind of thought I was equal with him when we were both running the 4 down and I just got tight. I was a little bit free all night and we tightened it up just a touch for that last run, and it was the longest run we had, and we just kind of burned the right-front off of it and couldn’t stay with the 9 there late in the run, and then the 11 (Hamlin) got by me. Overall, not a bad day for our BODYARMOR Ford Mustang. We had two solid races here at Charlotte. We just need to find a little bit more speed, but we’re right there. I’m really proud of this team.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – finished fourth: “That was a really solid night for our Kroger Camaro ZL1 1LE. I knew we had good speed in our car from the Coca-Cola 600 the other night, we just weren’t able to put the whole race together. We worked really well together and I was happy with the handling the majority of the night. (Crew chief) Brian (Pattie) made some really good adjustments that allowed us to make passes and make aggressive moves to gain track position and hold it during the final green flag run. This is exactly the type of momentum we need heading into one of my favorite tracks – Bristol Motor Speedway – this Sunday.”

Kurt Busch – finished fifth: “Not a bad run! A top five at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) on a Thursday night. Thanks to (crew chief) Matt McCall and all the guys on this Monster Energy team. We changed a few things our car to learn as much as we could, without practice and without testing. We tried some different things and it raced differently. The car handled loose all night, but we were able to bring home a top five. We just need to fine-tune a little bit here and there. Thanks to Monster Energy, Chevrolet, GEARWERENCH and everyone else on this effort. That puts us solidly up in the points; moving forward there will be a random draw for the starting line-up, if you’re in the top 12 you have a shot at starting on the pole. We’re making steady progress and had good stage points tonight.”

Joey Logano – finished sixth: “We had a solid to okay day. Solid to start and okay to finish. We started off with some good track position on the initial start and then had the opportunity to stay out, which we were able to grab a stage win and get another playoff point for the second week in a row, which is nice. We had a decent second stage and finished third, and then had two mediocre restarts that kind of put me back in the sixth or seventh place range. It was just impossible to pass. It’s so hard to pass. I rode behind the 1 (Kurt Busch), which I was better than, but could not get to him. I was waiting for him to make a mistake, but he’s too good to make a mistake, so I rode around and waited and waited and waited. I needed a caution to have the opportunity to have a restart and a pit stop, but in this racing you just run hard, you try to get everything you can on restarts. Details mean so much. We’re detail racing for sure and after that you hope that maybe there’s a car like the 4 that is fast and falls off, and there might be one or two cars that you might get on the long haul, possibly, but it’s tough at a track that’s just not wide enough.”

Brad Keselowski – finished seventh: “It wasn’t our prettiest day, but, all in all, we were decent. We had a lot of speed in our car, not as much as maybe the 9 (Elliott) car. He was lights-out fast today, but we had enough to, I think, run in the top three or four. We had a little bit of contact early on and got a flat tire that did a lot of damage to the car, and we recovered and I got contact again and had a lot of damage to the car, but came back in to fix it. There at the end we started to recover. I think we drove up to seventh to finish the race, but it’s kind of not my strongest day. I was pushing a little bit too hard starting in the back and got us behind with damage a little bit early and had to kind of fight through it in a short race. We did the best we could to recover, but didn’t have enough laps and I put us in too big of a hole.

“(How was tonight different physically compared to the much longer Coca-Cola 600?) It feels like I just played one half of a game, rather than a full game. It’s a lot easier, for sure, but I also kind of like this format a lot. I think it makes sense. I think it makes sense to have long races on weekends and kind of shorter races, disregarding the weather, during the week. I really like the format NASCAR has here. It’s a good give-and-take. It doesn’t just completely destroy your body, so I think NASCAR has really hit something here. I couldn’t see the front, but it seemed like it was pretty racy there at the end for the win, and I think that’s always a good thing as well.

“(You’ve talked about midweek races for some time. Do you think NASCAR will schedule more?) Oh yeah, I think absolutely. NASCAR, in my opinion, has hit gold with this format. The limited practice, show up and race, and the time window that benefits both the east and west coast. No qualifying. Inversion from the week before is really good because it mixes the field up and creates some good storylines there. I think it’s fair. It’s compelling and it’s at a time where, quite frankly, the sports world, even if it wasn’t for COVID, midweek races in the summer, when you’re generally not having a lot of competition, is in a time period where everybody is hungry for content. I think they’ve got gold here. COVID or not, I hope we keep this for years to come. I think this is a great little format that’s good for the sport and good for the fans and good for everybody all around, so kudos to them.”

Austin Dillon – finished eighth: “A top-10 finish is what we deserved in both this race, and in the Coca-Cola 600 this past Sunday. It’s crazy. We’ve run 900 miles at Charlotte Motor Speedway over the past few days and we were an eighth-place car for all of it. We had spurts where we were really fast – top five at times. (crew chief) Justin Alexander, the pit crew, my spotter Brandon, everybody did a great job. It was fun. I had fun on the restarts, and we were able to pick up some stage points. We were just a little too free tonight. It was good on the long runs because it was free, but during the first 10 laps if you didn’t get going you would lose a couple of spots. We needed a little better take off speed. We’ll keep working. Bristol Motor Speedway is next. I’m loving it. A lot of miles in a short period of time.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished ninth: “It was quite a battle. We started the race and made a few little changes to try to be better. We tried to figure out what we needed to be a little better than the other night and we started the race and we were just crazy loose. Honestly, that’s really the whole story. It was undrivable sideways for the first two stages and we just kept taking big swings at it. Finally, I fired off for that long run in the third stage and the Bass Pro Shops Camry was pretty good. We started passing cars and making up some ground. We just continued to chug our way forward the whole time. We never gave up on it, we worked hard and salvaged something. I think we’re all a little baffled on how we could have been that far off after how good we were Sunday. We definitely need to go back to the shop and figure some things out.

“(Are you looking forward to Bristol?) Hopefully no rain. I’m about sick of getting in and out of that car and watching the radar. Sitting there thinking, ‘well we were going to go and now we’re not going.’ Then drive home, come back. We just haven’t been able to catch a break. Hopefully, all the bad luck is out of the way as far as that’s concerned and we can go have us a good race at Bristol.”

Kevin Harvick – finished 10th: “It just falls off after lap 30. We knew that’s what we had with our Busch Light Ford and it went straight 60-some laps. They did a really good job turning the car around. It was the total opposite of what we raced last Sunday, so it was a good test session for us. We just didn’t need a long run.”

William Byron – finished 12th: “It was a rough night after we got that damage. We really never were the same after that. Obviously, we never had track position or the speed. We could get the handling to be okay but it would really fall off hard on the long run. It was just never the same, but the guys did a good job fixing it, trying to get us back up to the front. The pit crew was phenomenal. We restarted eighth on that last run and ran 10th for a while. To finish 12th is not bad after getting that damage. I feel like we got a couple more spots than maybe we should have, which is great. We’ll go on to the next race, execute and have a smooth race hopefully.”

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 13th: “Overall, it was a solid night for our No. 38 Scag Power Equipment Ford Mustang. I’m worn out… It was a hard-fought night. We had to overcome a couple of mistakes and we weren’t great in traffic, but we never gave up. (Crew chief) Seth [Barbour] and the crew did a really good job of tuning her up and making improvements so we could find some speed. We were able to bring home another top-15 finish for our Front Row Motorsports team.”

Tyler Reddick – finished 14th: “Man, what an up and down night for our No. 8 Okuma Chevrolet team. We worked hard and we were able to grab a top-15 finish. The biggest challenge was managing the balance tonight. For the first two stages of the race, we were too tight on entry and exit of the turns and way too loose in the middle. It made it really hard to trust the car as we went into the corners of the track. The adjustment my Richard Childress Racing team made during the final stop of the race was the best one of the night and allowed me to race up through the field and into the top 15. We just lacked some long run speed tonight to stay up there and battle within the top 10. That’s something we’ll go back and look at to improve on for future intermediate tracks. It’s been fun racing in our backyard of Charlotte over the past week, but I’m looking forward to moving on to Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.”

Clint Bowyer – finished 16th: “We need to figure something out for this place. We just had too many penalties tonight. We can’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

Cole Custer – finished 18th: “It didn’t start the way we wanted to tonight, but we kept chipping away at it. I think we have some stuff we can take to other tracks. We definitely learned a lot.”

Aric Almirola – finished 20th: “That was just an overall tough day for our Smithfield Ford team today. After starting in the rear we were able to get back to 16th by taking two tires and holding on, but our day went downhill from there. The car was just not where we wanted it to be and contact with the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) put us back where we started. The pit crew did a great job today and gained us some spots, but unfortunately I just couldn’t pass in traffic with the way the car handled. I’m looking forward to Bristol in a few days to get back to a short track.”

Matt Kenseth – finished 23rd: “Another tough night for the Credit One Bank Camaro. We had a flat tire early in the race, but managed to get the lap we lost back, then had a loose wheel later in the race which forced a pit stop under green. The penalty for the commitment violation when we pitted for the loose wheel certainly added to the rough night, but we kept doing all we could to gain back as many spots as possible before the end of the race. The handling on the car improved some throughout the night, but we just got too far back with the bad breaks to be able to do much more. A tough race, but better days ahead for our team.”

Michael McDowell – finished 25th: “It was an up and down night at Charlotte Motor Speedway for our No. 34 CarParts.com Ford Mustang. We fired off extremely well and ran competitively inside of the top 10 for the majority of Stage 1. However as daylight faded and the track temperature began to change, our race car started to tighten up on entry into the corners, making it tough to carry speed through the turns; something we battled all night long. (Crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) and my guys fought hard on pit road to make multiple adjustments on our No. 34 CarParts.com Ford Mustang, but we just ran out of time at the end.”

Ty Dillon – finished 27th: “Our GEICO Hump Day Chevrolet was actually pretty good handling wise tonight. It drove well over the bumps, which was an area we struggled with on Sunday, so (crew chief) Matt (Borland) and the guys definitely improved our setup. Unfortunately, from the moment I pulled off of pit road before the green flag, I didn’t have any power steering. We tried to fix it under caution, but when we couldn’t diagnose the problem on pit road, I had to tough it out. The pit crew had solid stops all night long and we would’ve had a strong run tonight if it wasn’t for the power steering issue. When we get back to the shop, we’ll figure out what the problem was and move forward to Bristol.”

Daniel Suarez — finished 28th: “You know, another 28th – I’m getting a little tired of those 28ths. But we have to keep working. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed about this one because I thought we were going to bring a better car than last Sunday. We made adjustments hoping for that, but obviously it didn’t work out for us. I know what I signed up for and I trust in this team and I trust everyone involved – Toyota, Coca-Cola and CommScope, everyone who is making this happen. We have to keep pushing and the results will come. I really want to thank everyone for the amazing support. Let’s see what we can do Sunday in Bristol.”

Kyle Busch — finished 29th: 

Gray Gaulding — finished 30th:

Alex Bowman – finished 31st: “That didn’t end the way we imagined. We had a great car and led some laps and got our fourth stage win of the season. I just got in the wall there at the end and it really hurt the right side. At that point, there isn’t really much we can do. We will finish one of these things here soon. It is a quick turnaround to Bristol on Sunday, but I’m ready for it.”

Quin Houff — finished 32nd:

Timmy Hill — finished 33rd:

Josh Bilicki — finished 36th:

Bubba Wallace — finished 37th: “I know there are a lot of questions to be answered. Obviously, our Richard Petty Motorsports team is frustrated. First thing, hats-off to the guys for bringing an outstanding Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. The Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 World Wide Technology Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE had a lot of speed – a big improvement from Sunday. We’ll hold everyone accountable, including myself, as a team would do for the problems that we are having right now. It takes a team effort to figure out our struggles.

“If it’s bad luck, it’s bad luck. We’ve got to shake it and the best way to do that is to show-up to the next race with our heads held high and keep that chip on our shoulder. We’ll get to the root of our problem and continue to bring a fast race car to the track. We’re showing big improvements and that’s really all we can ask for. But we’ve got to clean-up some stuff. Like I said, if it’s internally, we’ll fix it. If it’s dumb luck, then you’ll have that. On to the Bristol Motor Speedway.”

Joey Gase – finished 39th:

Garrett Smithley — finished 40th:

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Cup, Xfinity entry lists for Bristol Motor Speedway

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Almost two months it was originally scheduled, NASCAR will finally hold its first Bristol Motor Speedway race weekend of the year.

The Cup and Xfinity Series continue their marathon of races this weekend. The Cup Series will race on Sunday and the Xfinity Series will compete Monday night.

Here are the entry lists for this weekend’s races.

Cup – Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 (3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox)

Forty cars are entered into the race.

JJ Yeley is entered in Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

Gray Gaulding is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s 27 Ford.

Kyle Busch won this race last year over his brother Kurt Busch.

Denny Hamlin won last year’s night race over Matt DiBenedetto.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity – Cheddar’s 300 (7 p.m. ET Monday on FS1)

There are 37 cars entered.

Modified driver Patrick Emerling will make his Xfinity Series debut in Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet. Brett Moffitt drove the car in the first six races of the season.

Carson Ware makes his Xfinity Series debut driving SS Green Light Racing’s No. 07 Chevrolet.

A.J. Allmendinger is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet.

Myatt Snider is entered in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 21 Chevrolet.

Christopher Bell won this race last year over Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer. Chase Briscoe, who finished fourth, is the highest finishing returning driver from that race.

Reddick won last year’s night race over Briscoe and John Hunter Nemechek.

Click here for the entry list.

What drivers said after the Coca-Cola 600

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Brad Keselowski – Winner: “I’m tickled to death. One (major) left, the Daytona 500.  It’s been a great 10-year career I’ve had so far and I hate it took me 10 years to get this one.  I feel like I’ve had cars and a team good enough to do it many times over and it just slipped through our hands and today it didn’t.  I’m just really proud of everyone and persistence pays off.”

(Did you question decision not to pit?)  “No, we’ve lost too many races that way and I knew we had to take the chance.  If it didn’t work out, I knew it was the right call.”

(Why did you restart on the inside?) “I think first off I felt confident that if I took the bottom with (Ryan) Blaney up there that he would have an opportunity to take it three‑wide, slow that lane down.  If you take the outside, you risk that happening to you.  I didn’t want that to happen. It’s a little bit like a game of blackjack where you count cards there.  You’re thinking to yourself, when Chase (Elliott) pulled off, I think we made the right move.  How many cars stayed out behind us?  I think I heard it was like six or seven that stayed out behind us.  I knew it would be really hard for him to pass all those cars in two laps.”

Chase Elliott – finished second: “You just make the best decision you can based on the information you have.  When you are leading the race like that, people behind you are going to do the exact opposite of what you do. That was the situation we were put in.  (Crew chief) Al (Gustafson) made the decision, we stuck with it, and it didn’t work out.

(Would this be the toughest stretch you’ve had in your career, these couple races?) “Yeah, this week’s been pretty unfortunate.  We’ve had some tough losses in my career, for however many years I’ve been doing this, five, six years, unfortunately.  It is what it is.”

Ryan Blaney – finished third: “We started towards the back and gained a lot of spots in the beginning, but we got boxed in on the first stop and lost all those spots we gained. I had to pass a bunch of cars tonight.  I think we got that award.  I thought we were in a good spot on the restart with 45 or 48 (laps) to go and somebody got loose on the bottom into (Turn) 3 and we had to go all the way up to the wall to miss him in the middle of (Turns) 3 and 4  We lost a lot of spots right there and that really hurt us.  That lost us all the track position we gained towards the end.  I was feeling really good about it.  We restarted sixth or maybe even eighth on the top and I thought we were gonna roll, but that dropped us back to maybe 12th and we had to fight back from there.  I thought our car was pretty competitive, probably not the best car out there, but definitely a top-five car all night.  It was a good call to stay out there at the end, I thought.  We restarted fourth and gave us a chance.  We would have come home with a decent day, but we passed a lot of cars and definitely had a long night working on it.”

Kyle Busch – finished fourth: “During the middle stages of the race, I thought we were really fast. I feel like we had a great M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Camry and ran up front and got back up front from having to go to the back. But we put tires on it and it was never the same after that from about lap 280 or 290 when we put tires on it and it wasn’t the same as it was before that. We were lucky to steal a fifth-place finish out of it today and we’ll have to go back to work and figure out some things to make our stuff better for when we come back on Wednesday and get back after it.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished sixth: “It was a long and typical 600. You battle the car all night long and you just keep making adjustments and trying to stay up with the race track. The Bass Pro Toyota was really strong when we started off and I was able to pick off a few spots and work our way towards the front. I really rode there behind the 88 (Alex Bowman) for the first two stages. I felt like at times we were stronger than he was and just couldn’t make the move. Track position was crazy important tonight with the cooler temperatures and everybody having a year under their belts now with this car.

“Everybody is getting so close and they changed the tire and it was way different. It just felt really hard and had really low grip and it was really bouncy. We tried to keep up with the track, and at times, I felt like we were the best car. When we could get the lead, we could pull away. We had the lead late there in the last stage – early in the last part of the last stage and just had some trouble in the pits. It seems like every week we’re having a little bit of hiccups here and there and it set us back. The guys are working hard trying to get better.”

Kurt Busch – finished seventh: “We got the pole with the GEARWRENCH Chevy and led some laps; it was great to be up front and had good pace early. After the rain delay we just got buried in some dirty-air back in traffic. We just got to get our car a little better to maneuver in traffic. We just need the front tires front aero to be a little better in dirty-air. I know (crew chief) Matt McCall my guys are going to work on it; I’m gonna work on it, but a top 10 after all that, I will take it.”

Tyler Reddick – finished eighth: 

Christopher Bell – finished ninth: “I think we are headed in the right direction. We have to obviously keep making gains – getting a little bit faster, me doing a better job. We’re gaining on it. We are creeping up on it. I think we snuck a little bit of a better finish out than what we probably deserved, but we will take it after the first couple weeks.”

Cole Custer – finished 12th: ”Man, definitely a persevering night for the HaasTooling.com Mustang. I could’ve done better at the start of the race. We definitely got the car better throughout the race. We fought hard all night. We fought hard to stay on the lead lap and got our lap back that one time. To finish 13th in my first 600 that I’ve run was definitely pretty cool. I got a good restart at the end. We have some things we know we can do better when we come Wednesday. I can do some things better. I’m looking forward to it. We’re moving in the right direction with this package. We just have to keep grinding through it.”

Joey Logano – finished 13th:

Austin Dillon – finished 14th: “I feel really good, overall, physically, so that’s a good thing. We ran in the top 10 all night. We had a really solid car. We showed sometimes when we were up front in the top five, we ran some of the fastest laps of the race at times. Bummed when you go all night long running like that and give it away at the end. Our call was if a couple pitted, we were going to stay out. I actually said if all of them stay out, I’m pitting. Not all of them stayed out; I thought more would stay out. Probably should have came and got two tires. The 18 (Kyle Busch) was running one position in front of us, came and got two, and ended up fifth. You never know – my teammate Reddick had the outside and ended up being able to maintain and run ninth. We were too tight at the end and I kind of drove the wheels off of it, and the caution came out. Just a little over-confident, I wanted to get another good finish.”

Aric Almirola – finished 15th: “From the start of the day to the end of the day it was just a tough day. I was loose on the qualifying lap and spun, but was able to keep car from having much damage. We started in the rear and, on the pace laps, debris came out of the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) car and damaged some of the splitter, so we had to make some repairs there later on. We battled both ends of the balance with the car all four stages and started to ease our way to the top 10 at the end before that final caution came out – then the restart didn’t go my way. The Coke 600 is such a long race and so much can happen. I’m proud we battled back up there, but didn’t get the finish we wanted.”

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 16th: “It was kind of an up and down day, but overall, we had a good run in our No. 38 YANMAR Ford Mustang. We started off the night pretty free. Once we re-fired after the rain delay, we had a pretty tight race car for most of the night. (Crew chief) Seth (Barbour) and the crew kept trying different adjustments to get our handling better and we managed to run in the top 20 for most of the last stage. We never gave up and got some good notes to come back on Wednesday.”

Michael McDowell — finished 18th: “Our No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang had a tough time getting over the bumps in Turns 3 and 4 to start today’s Coca-Cola 600 … my guys on pit road did a good job of making adjustments all race long to get us more competitive. Thankfully, we caught a lucky caution with two laps to go and were able to get back on the lead lap.”

Alex Bowman – finished 19th: “That finish does not show how great of a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE we had today in Charlotte. We won two stages, led over 160 laps and really had a solid car. We would get loose or tight in certain areas, but (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the guys made some good adjustments on pit road. At the end there, it just went straight. Not much I could do with that and unfortunately don’t have a finish to show how strong we were today. We learned a lot and hopefully can come back strong on Wednesday.”

William Byron – finished 20th:

Ty Dillon – finished 25th: “First and foremost, the Coca-Cola 600 is about so much more than ourselves and it was an honor to have SPC Richard C. Emmons III on our car. While we missed having his family at the track with us, hopefully we were able to honor them the best we could. Tonight wasn’t what we were looking for. The balance of our GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 1LE was pretty good, but unfortunately, we had to make an unscheduled pit stop under green in Stage 1 and never were able to recover. We usually don’t see a lot of cautions at Charlotte and that trend proved to be the same again. Just couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole. It’s a shame, because I thought we were going to have a good night after a solid qualifying effort. The positive is we do have a good baseline setup for Wednesday night and we will try to have a better result then.”

Daniel Suarez – finished 28th:

Bubba Wallace – finished 38th: “Well, what a bummer. Tonight wasn’t our night. We burned-up a hub, and it put us way behind. I don’t know if we had other issues going on with the car or what, but it wasn’t worth the risk. I thought we had a really good car, especially before all this stuff happened. We were running some really good lap times, so I was excited to try and get some track position and go race with our Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 U.S. Air Force Camaro ZL1 1LE. But sometimes you’re the bat and sometimes you’re the ball; tonight we were the ball.

Clint Bowyer – finished 39th: “It pretty well sucks.  It knocked the wind out of me there.  I mean, we’re 100 laps into a 400-lap race and to be out already, you talk about a helpless feeling.  The guys worked really hard on the Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Delvac Ford, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  We’ll get ready for next Wednesday and we’ll be back at it. I’m gonna go somewhere and take this (mask) off and find somewhere where I can find a cold beer.  I’m outta here.”

Jimmie Johnson – finished 40th (disqualified): “When that pit stop happened at the end, it’s so hard to know what the right thing to do is. We were talking about it too maybe for ourselves, but (crew chief) Cliff (Daniels) had a great sense of the right call to make. I feel for Chase (Elliott). He had such a great car on Wednesday, and to be leading here and have the caution come out with a couple to go, I feel bad for him. But I’m very proud of my team, very proud of everybody on this Ally Chevrolet. Second is OK – I’m very proud of the effort we’re putting in. But second, stinks. It’s tough being this close to victory lane, but we’re knocking on the door and we’ll get there.”

Thursday’s NASCAR Xfinity race at Darlington: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series will resume its season Thursday at Darlington Raceway.

The series was scheduled to race Tuesday (After the starting time was moved up two hours because of rain in the forecast), but rain pushed it to Thursday.  The race is now scheduled for noon ET Thursday.

MORE: 5 storylines in the Xfinity Series

MORE: Ross Chastain, Chip Ganassi Racing sticking to their “plan”

Noah Gragson will start on the pole and be joined on the front row by JR Motorsports teammate Michael Annett.

Here are the details for the race:

NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway

(All times are Eastern)

START: First responders from the city of Hartsville, city of Darlington and Darlington County, South Carolina, will give the command to start engines at 12:05 p.m.. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 12:17 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 7 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments at 10 a.m. Drivers report to their cars at 11:50 a.m. The invocation will be given at 11:57 a.m. by Dr. Bill Curtis, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Darlington, South Carolina. The National Anthem will be performed at 11:58 a.m. by Senior Master Sergeant Steven David, South Carolina Air National Guard.

DISTANCE: The race is 147 laps (200 miles) around the 1.366-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PACE LAPS: At the direction of race control, drivers will have the opportunity to run one pace lap down pit road before the green flag for a pit road speed check. If you stop in your box for any reason, pull over or slow down, you will start at the rear of the field.

COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 15. The field will be frozen at the caution. When pit road is open, only the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position. On the next lap, the other 19 cars will pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position. Then, the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit a second time. On the next lap, the other 19 cars will be allowed to pit again. After the second cycle for each team is completed, the lineup will be set and the race will resume.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race at noon. Motor Racing Network’s coverage will begin at noon and can also be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for thunderstorms with a high of 74 degrees and 86% chance of rain at the race’s start.

LAST RACE: Brandon Jones won at Phoenix on March 7 in the last Xfinity race before the season was suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Points leader Harrison Burton was second. Kyle Busch placed third.

LAST RACE AT DARLINGTON: Cole Custer won last September after Denny Hamlin‘s winning car failed post-race inspection. Tyler Reddick placed second. Ryan Blaney was third.

LINEUP (set by rule book and random draw): Click here for the starting lineup.

What Drivers Said after Wednesday’s Cup race at Darlington

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Denny Hamlin — Winner: “The weather really didn’t play a factor in our call there. It was really, we were limited on tires. We had just come to take tires, which was our last set, but we had a set of one-lap scuffs. They weren’t glued up in time. We didn’t have time to glue them. The only choice for us was to stay out. We were really the best car on that long run anyway. I think the right car won.”

(Was the field more intense with the shorter race and the threat of weather?) “It was good. The distance was perfect. It’s not too little and it’s not too much. I think the distance was perfect. I think it gives you enough racing to where things work out and you can still make your way from the back to the front and be able to win the race. It’s not too short. I’m in favor of these types of races.”

(On Darlington suiting his driving style) “I run good here. Sometimes I run a different line here than most. It just works and it’s always worked. I don’t know what it is. It’s awesome to win here with the Toyota 500. Ever since I came here for my very first Xfinity start and got a top 10, that essentially got my job in the Xfinity Series, there’s something about me and this track that works.”

Kyle Busch – finished second: “I’m certainly going to reach out (to Chase Elliott). Him and I have always had a cordial relationship over the years. Certainly we’re not near as close, we’re not friends like you’d say him and (Ryan) Blaney are or anything like that. I’ve known him since he was 12 or 13 years old, been racing with him ever since then, late models, super late models, trucks, Xfinity cars, all that sort of stuff.

“Obviously I just made a mistake, misjudged the gap, sent him into the wall.  That was entirely unintentional.  Yeah, I mean, I’ll definitely reach out to him and tell him I’m sorry, tell him I hate it that it happened.  All I can do.  That doesn’t change the outcome of the night. I hate it for him and his guys.”

Kevin Harvick – finished third: “We had to start 20th, battled kind of an ill‑balanced car tonight. The track conditions were just a lot different.  We made some adjustments going into the race.  Just couldn’t get the front of the car to turn. Every time we tried to adjust the back, it would just take the back out.  We never could get the front of the car to turn.  Had to use a lot more throttle tonight.  The things I could do with the car Sunday (when he won), I couldn’t do tonight. They kept clawing and fighting.  In the end we had a great pit stop on the last pit stop, were in position to have a chance to win the race there, and it rained.”

Brad Keselowski – finished fourth:  “I thought we were in a really good spot. We had made kind of an aggressive, bold move to stay out on the long run there and it was looking like it was going to pay off.  The yellow came out and we hit pit road and lost a few spots there, which was a bummer, but we cycled back to fourth right when the caution came out and were in position to have the optimum lane and be behind a car that had older tires.   I was licking my chops, but the rain never gave us a chance. Just part of the way it goes.  We weren’t the fastest car today, but I thought we persisted and put ourselves in a spot to potentially steal a race win and just came up a tiny bit short, but that’s a part of it.”

Erik Jones – finished fifth: “We were really strong. We had to start at the back. We had an unapproved adjustment there before the race and had to come from the back. But we made our way up pretty quick and got the car a lot better stop by stop. By the mid-part of the race, we were up contending in the top five and challenging for the lead. Got the lead there and led for a while till I got in the wall hard enough that it made the car drive a little bit worse. Finally got the damage fixed and got back up in the top-five, and then the rain came. Good day, and a disappointing day. Disappointed that I made a mistake and cost us a shot to win a race there, but another good points day for us and our first top five, so hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling. We’ve been a little bit better each race so far.”

Joey Logano – finished sixth: “Our race was hard fought, blue collar.  A lot of it was where you placed yourself, so it was just like last week.  Strategy calls that can play out the right way and being on the top lane for the restarts was what it was all about.  There was only one long run in these two races.  I feel like, overall, I’d say we maximized our day, but I also feel like if we had one more restart being sixth it’s a pretty sure bet you’re gonna get to fourth and with Denny (Hamlin) out there on old tires he was gonna be a sitting duck for Brad (Keselowski) for sure, and, most likely, a lot of cars would have got by him once he lost that clean air.  So I wish we ran a little bit more, but, overall, we made improvements from the first race.  I’m proud of that and we’re off to the 600.”

Aric Almirola – finished seventh: “I thought we had a really good car tonight. We ran up in the top five quite a bit and had a really fast car on the long runs. Everyone else’s car would slow down a lot and my car wouldn’t slow down nearly as much on the long run. We would start beating all the leaders really good on the long run. If we could have had that race go green to the end, I think it would have been interesting because we were beating the leaders pretty bad. I’m just really proud of all of the guys on our Smithfield team. We came back with some setup changes from what we ran Sunday, and I felt like we made some real improvements to the car and were very competitive. We cleaned up some things on pit road, so I’m really proud of those guys. We’ll just continue to build off of that. I feel like we’re in the game.”

Jimmie Johnson – finished eighth: “It was a solid night for the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet. We had to start in the back because of the crash during the first race. Things were looking pretty good early, we were able to march up through there. But the competition caution, and just so many cautions honestly, affected our strategy and affected us being able to take advantage of our strong race car and move forward. Finally, in the middle of the race, we got some longer runs in and were able to move forward. We were in a nice position and then we were caught a lap down when the caution came out when(Matt Kenseth) spun from his flat tire. So, we had to start all over again. On that last restart, I think I was 14th and, fortunately, I was in the outside line, which was the place to be, and we worked our way up to 8th before the caution happened and the rain came.”

“It was a good rebound from a few days before; I wish I could have that weekend back. I really felt like we had things going our way there and could have capitalized. But it’s nice to be back. Good finish in the top 10 and looking forward to going to Charlotte.”

Matt DiBenedetto – finished ninth: “We started off the night okay. I thought we made some improvements on the car and had a little track position and moved forward. We pitted under the first caution and thought we might have had an issue. We did not. So that stuck us back in the field. From then on, not having track position with this high downforce racing is a real pain in the butt. We struggled to get it the rest of the day. As the track rubbered up we fought the same issue we did on Sunday of losing rear grip in the car. We were fading at the end and then (crew chief) Greg Erwin just made a good bold call at the end seeing some weather coming and my spotter Doug Campbell as well was in on that. We got lucky and pulled a ninth place out of it. All of the tracks except for Darlington we have had really good speed at so I know we will take a little luck from this one and moving forward we should be fast at a lot of places and be better at Charlotte.”

Martin Truex Jr. – finished 10th: “I was really happy with the car early on. Worked our way towards the front and really the first two stages – or the first stage was good. Passed a lot of cars and got track position and felt like we had a top-three car. Got right there to the two leaders and couldn’t quite make the move. Traffic has been pretty tough there at Darlington. We were able to stay right there. Then Stage 2, we started off towards the front and stayed there again. Pit strategy got a little off there and we stayed out, took the lead and everybody else pitted that we were racing with so it was a little touch-and-go there for a minute, but we were able to hang onto third on that run as well. Got good stage points and then the restarts in Stage 3, our car was still really strong and we just kept getting bottom restarts and every one of them we would go backwards because the bottom is so bad. Just frustrating night. Felt like we had a top-three or four car again and maybe a shot at the lead. When we were out front, we were really fast. Just frustrated.”

Christopher Bell – finished 11th: “We made the most out of those last couple restarts. I was fortunate enough to restart on the top and that’s a big advantage at a place like Darlington. I was able to bounce up through there those last couple restarts and make the most out of it.”

William Byron – finished 12th: “It was a solid night for us. We really just needed a decent result. We’ve had a tough stretch of races with a multitude of things go bad that were really out of our control. Today was good just to be able to put together a solid result. Obviously having to start in the back was a detriment with a short race and short runs. Our pit stall was difficult too, having to go around (Clint Bowyer) who ran really well all night and (Matt Kenseth) was in front of us. So, we had a tough time on pit road there. Overall, it was solid and we got some stage points in Stage 2. We got trapped a lap down in that green-flag sequence which was tough. We rallied though and finished 12th. We’ll take it. Definitely not where we want to be but at least we could put a number up there and go into Charlotte.”

Tyler Reddick – finished 13th: “Man, we had to fight hard for that finish, and I’m proud of my No. 8 Caterpillar team for sticking together tonight. We weren’t exactly where we needed to be to fire off  and missed the handling a little bit for the first half of the race. I kept bouncing from being too tight to too loose, but mostly too tight. It honestly felt different every lap we ran, which made it tough to decide which way to keep adjusting. I made a slight rookie mistake at one point and got some damage after a brush with the wall, but my team helped get back after it. I have to hand it all my guys. They kept after it and worked really hard to make the changes we needed to pick our way back through the field.”

Kurt Busch – finished 15th: “What a tough race. Seems like nothing went our way tonight. The handling was all over the map with our Monster Energy Camaro. After finishing third on Sunday, it is tough to understand how we had such a difficult time finding the handle on the car. The guys had to make a ton of adjustments on pit road, so it was hard to make up any ground on pit stops. We will have to go back and dissect that one and figure out what we had. Ready to move on to Charlotte this weekend.”

Bubba Wallace – finished 16h: “It was an interesting night at Darlington Raceway for the round two race. Position 16 – I’m excited about the finish and I’m bummed about the finish for two reasons. I wish we would have restarted, I know with the weather, but I also wish that caution wouldn’t have come out because we had a big run off of Turn 4. So, I believe we would have finished a couple of spots better, especially with another restart and starting on the top. I was excited about that. But, all-in-all, it was a great day for our No. 43 Victory Junction Chevrolet team. We pulled some strategy there, led some laps, and got a career-best finish at Darlington Raceway. So, we got a lot of positives that came out of it. I’ve already talked to (crew chief) Jerry (Baxter) on the way home. I’m proud of him and the guys for the efforts they put in. We’ll jump on calls in the morning on how to be better; the grind never stops.”

Michael McDowell – finished 17th: “It was a solid night for our No. 34 CarParts.com Ford Mustang. We definitely made improvements from our first race at Darlington Raceway, unfortunately the last restart didn’t go our way. The inside line was just really hard to get going and we lost a couple of spots, finishing 17th. We raced around a lot of competitive cars today and I felt really good. Everybody at Front Row Motorsports did a really good job this week, we just need a little bit more and we’ll be right where we want to be. All in all, it was a really good day. We built some confidence and my guys did a really good job on pit road.”

Ty Dillon – finished 19th: “My GEICO guys are awesome. They build and prepare solid Chevrolet Camaros each and every week, which gives me the confidence to dive it into Turn 1 like I did at the beginning of the race without any practice laps. For four years now, I’ve trusted them and it just builds confidence as a driver. I appreciate all the hard work everyone at Germain Racing is putting in, especially with racing so close together right now. A pair of 19th-place finishes isn’t a bad way to get this thing restarted and it was so cool to lead laps early, especially in the GEICO Hump Day car.”

Alex Bowman – finished 18th: 

Austin Dillon – finished 20th: “We started off the race with a tight-handling Dow Keep America Beautiful Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and that proved to be our challenge all race long. Handling issues plagued us in Stages 1, 2 and 3. I thought for sure that we were going to be able to get our Chevy freed up, but we never could. It wasn’t for lack of effort. The team never gave up and made adjustments all race long. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.The weather was much different than it was last Sunday. Cooler weather, rain and temperatures dropping didn’t play into our hands. We wanted a little more heat in the track. Even though it turned into a long race and we didn’t get the finish we were hoping for, I know we have it in us.”

Ryan Blaney – finished 21st: 

Clint Bowyer – finished 22nd: “Very proud of the car the guys brought for me on a short turn around. Fast hot rod. Thing just took off behind two cars racing for lucky dog and smoked the wall and blew our night. The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil Delvac 1 Ford was fast. We keep doing that our day will come.”

Chris Buescher – finished 23rd: “Unfortunately that wasn’t as much fun as we were hoping to have. We were better tonight with our Mustang but we were still fighting a little bit of handing and some mistakes on my part that I need to clean up and try to get back in a rhythm there. We are trying to work to be better but it is tough without practice right now. We are working hard on simulation and do what we can to dial in and get ready for Charlotte. We have a long race coming for us and it was a good race for us last year. I am glad we got the race in tonight, a little late, but better late than never.”

Daniel Suarez – finished 27th: “We are building, so from that standpoint, I think Dave (Winston, crew chief) and the team did a good job. Compared to Sunday, I think we brought a lot more speed with our Today. Tomorrow. Toyota Camry this time. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalize. I was surprised from the early to the middle part of the race how the car was getting more and more free. Darlington is a track that always gets tighter and tighter as the race goes. I thought the loose car actually seemed to be working for us on the longer runs. Then we made some big changes in the middle part of the race and the car got too tight. We were kind of stuck with that because of the long run. Other than that, I feel like we’re heading in the right direction.”

Matt Kenseth – finished 30th: “It was an up and down day today. It ended on a down note, unfortunately. We had some good runs and some bad runs. I made a couple mistakes. I had a good run going and just scraped the wall a little bit off of Turn 2. We ran another 10 laps; we didn’t really think we had any damage. We came in and got new tires, got a tire rub and cut a right rear down. So, it got us a couple of laps down and pretty much ended our night. It was a disappointing finish to the day, for sure. But I felt like we learned a lot the last five days or so, and I’m ready to give it another shot at Charlotte!”

Cole Custer – finished 31st:

John Hunter Nemechek – finished 35th: “For as good as our day was on Sunday, we swung to the opposite end of the spectrum tonight. It was a long night. You never want to be that guy who goes out early. Not sure if I cut a tire or just drove it too hard and got loose. I really hate it for my crew and our No. 38 Scag Power Equipment team. These guys have been working their tails off over the last two weeks, and it’s obviously very frustrating to have the kind of race we did tonight. It happens sometimes, but I’m still happy to be here. We’ll take it as a learning experience and move on to Charlotte. Thank you to everyone at Scag Power Equipment and all of our Front Row Motorsports partners for continuing to support us race after race.”