Jerry Bonkowski

Ryan Blaney: ‘We feel like we should have four or five wins by this point’

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Ryan Blaney did pretty much everything he needed to do in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

He won both stages, led a race-high 150 laps and appeared to have the car to beat to take his second win of the season.

Except for one thing, which proved to be his undoing. In the final stage, he and his team gambled to pit early under green. The gamble didn’t pay off. Several laps later, when others pitted under caution and got newer tires, Blaney was shuffled back to 15th when he did the wave around with about 20 laps to go and started behind those cars that had pitted.

By that point, he said there wasn’t enough time to make it back to the front, leaving him to settle for a seventh-place finish.

It was just another episode where Blaney and his team have come up short this season. Instead of multiple wins, he has won.

“I thought we had a good strategy for the last stage and the caution came out maybe eight to 10 laps before all the other guys that were on this different strategy would have had to pit,” Blaney said. “So, disappointing finish for sure. Dominant car all day, especially on long runs, but really proud of our effort. It’s just unfortunate the way it ended for us.”

Meanwhile, Austin Dillon won the race, and Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin continue to lead the Cup Series with four wins apiece.

MORE: Austin Dillon wins Texas NASCAR Cup race

MORE: Brad Keselowski raises point on if drivers should be demoted from Cup

MORE: What drivers said after Texas

“I don’t know what the opposite material of Golden Horseshoe is, but we found it,” Blaney said. “Just kind of been unlucky a lot of the year. We’ve had really fast cars, it’s just cautions when we didn’t need them or just bad breaks.

“We feel like we should have four or five wins at this point, we’ve had the cars to do it, it just doesn’t play out for us. But I’m proud of the speed we have. I feel like we can compete with (Harvick and Hamlin) and some of the best guys that have gotten all those wins this year.

“We’ve just got to be able to have things go our way. So I feel like we’re doing a lot of things right, it’s just some bad circumstances.

“It’s frustrating when it happens. You’re like, man, bad break after bad break. Gosh, what the hell do we have to do to have things go our way?

“There’s really two ways you can approach it. You can be upset and ticked off that things aren’t going your way, or you can just think about the good things, that our cars are really fast right and we’ve been capable to win a lot of races this year, it just hasn’t played out for us. You just have to focus on what you need to do and that’s just keep bringing fast race cars, if you keep running up front and leading laps, I hope and think that things will eventually go our way.”

Then, Blaney concluded about Sunday’s outcome: “I’m already over it. I’m going to go to bed and when I wake up, (I’ll) look forward to Kansas (on Thursday night).”

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What drivers said after Texas


Austin Dillon – winner: “Not bad for a silver spoon kid, right? I’ll take that. (Teammate) Tyler Reddick, he raced me clean. 1-2 for RCR – this has been coming. We’ve had good cars all year. (Crew chief) Justin Alexander and my whole crew. I’m just so happy – thank God. … To tell you the truth, it means a whole lot. Just for the family, for everybody, all of our partners. That was fun. … I definitely had to earn it.

” I just had to have confidence that in the moment we had a car that had potential. It didn’t really run well in traffic. Justin and I both talked about what kind of happened in Kentucky with Cole, the way they ran. If you can get the track position at some point, you can be fast. You saw when we got out front, we had a hot rod.

“It came down to just some restarts, not screwing up, making it happen when it counted on those restarts, getting through the gears, timing them. I had some good pushing. My buddy Kurt Busch gave me a good push that first one. Joey Logano was also a lot of help down the stretch.”

Tyler Reddick — finished second: “What a great day for Richard Childress Racing. This organization is working so hard and to have a 1-2 finish like we did is incredible. It felt like we had everything happen to our No. 8 Cat Oil and Gas Chevrolet, but strategy was king today. We had good speed overall and earned some stage points at the end of the first stage, but we got shuffled back for the majority of the second stage when we took two right side tires. That really messed with the handling of our Chevrolet and trapped us a lap down for a while. There were a couple major wrecks later in Stage 3 that we were able to miss and that helped us get our lap back to be able to contend at the end. My crew chief, Randall Burnett, made a great call to take fuel only during the caution with about 30 laps to go and that put us up front for those final restarts with our teammate, Austin Dillon. We really couldn’t ask for much more than what we got today. One spot better would have been great, but the recovery this No. 8 Cat Oil and Gas team made today was huge. We’re racing for the big picture of making the playoffs, so we have to race smart. Days like this will help us get there.”

Joey Logano — finished third: “Air-pressure.  Air is what cost us there.  Air-pressure in the tires, just on the splitter too much firing off.  It took us 15 laps to get rolling.  Our long run speed was incredible, but it took too long and the guys up front were smart, they put fuel only and kept their car off the splitter in three and four over the bumps and maintained the clean air and just couldn’t do it.  I could make runs, but I’d get to three and four and start chattering up the racetrack and had these big moments.  Overall, I’m proud of what the Shell/Pennzoil Ford team did today, scoring a second-place in the second stage and a third in the finish.  It’s not a win, especially when you come to Texas and all the fans here.  Thank you guys for coming out, but it’s not the win we were hoping for as I look at the fire in Victory Lane is super-cool, but it’s progress.  We’ve had a little rough streak on these 550 races, so I’ll take it as a little bit of a momentum-builder.”

Kyle Busch — finished fourth: “It was a good finish and proud of the effort for everyone on this Interstate Batteries team. We came a long way today. We got a lot of damage on the frontend of the car that you can’t see with the eye. Going through the grass, it killed it. I thought early on in the first stage, second stage maybe that we had a second-place car and then as the day went, we just kept getting further and further behind. Still a lot of work to do. The car didn’t drive very good at all. Just was able to get something out of nothing there at the end. We’ll go to Kansas and see if we can get a win there.”

Kevin Harvick — finished fifth: “The cars were just so bad in traffic, ours was anyway — our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang. The guys did a good job of putting us in a position and doing all the things we needed to try because we got in a wreck there and had to fix the car and put tires on it and the tires just didn’t mean anything. There were a couple of slower cars out there and no one could pass them. Just really proud of our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang guys for the day and all the fight that had in them. We got a top-five out of it. You always want to win here, but it is what it is.”

Erik Jones — finished sixth: “It was kind of a weird day. I thought the Craftsman Camry was decent all day long and had good speed at times when we could get some clean air and make some passes here and there. It was kind of a struggle to make some of those passes. It was challenging there towards the end with the short runs and the restarts. Our car really took 15 laps or so to get rolling so that kind of hurt us at the end, but we’ll take it. Sixth place isn’t too bad. We needed a solid run and mistake free and that’s what we did. I thought coming into this race if we could just go in and have no mistakes and have decent speed we could run top-five and we came real close to that. We have to keep doing that. Obviously, we need to get some points, especially with two winners the last two weeks that have been from outside the Playoff picture. That kind of changes things for us. We’ll keep rolling, but a decent day for us.”

Ryan Blaney — finished seventh: “It was a strong start to the day.  We were able to start on the front row and get the lead there.  We pitted on the competition caution, which I thought was a good call, and that inherited us the lead later and was able to win us that stage with just being fast and being able to make up all the time.  Then we were able to do the same thing in the second stage, and I thought we had a good strategy for the last stage and the caution came out maybe eight to ten laps before all the other guys that were on the different strategy would have had to pit, so that just stunk.  We had to take the wave around and lined up 15th or something and could only get back to seventh in that short amount of time.  It’s a disappointing finish, for sure.  We had a dominant car all day, especially on long runs, but really proud of that and just unfortunate with the way it ended for us.”

Kurt Busch — finished eighth: “We had one of our best points days so far this season with the Monster Energy Camaro. We scored stage points in the first and second stages, followed by another top-10 result. I really battled a loose handling car all day, it was really difficult on the restarts and short-runs, so I really had to work my butt off there at the end with all the cautions”.

Brad Keselowski — finished ninth: “We started off really struggling and took us a little while to figure out what was wrong and about a little before halfway we made some adjustments and the car was just hitting the racetrack really bad and I couldn’t make any speed.  I had to slow down a bunch in the corners, so we worked on that under yellow and kind of gave up our track position working on it and was able to work the cycle to get back up towards the lead, but still didn’t quite have enough speed.  So we worked on it again some more and got up to right about fifth and sixth and that was about all we had.  We ended up the last restart and got the bottom lane and fell back a spot or two to I think ninth, but, all in all, a decent finish.  It’s not the day we were hoping for, but a decent finish and we keep piling in on the top 10s and top fives, which is a good feeling.  Our strategy has been really good.  Jeremy and I are really clicking on all of those things, just looking to be a little bit faster.  If we can combine our execution with a little more speed, we’re gonna be a serious threat to win week in and week out.  We’re just not quite there yet.”

Aric Almirola — finished 10th: “Man. One of these days we’ll get everything to go our way. That was my fault on the penalty, but we had such a fast car and got it back in position to compete for a win again before that caution came out. We’re still bringing fast Smithfield Ford Mustangs every weekend and we learned a lot for when we come back here and compete for a championship.”

Clint Bowyer — finished 11th: “That was a hot, tough day for sure. We worked hard all race trying to get our Rush Truck Centers Ford to turn better and the guys did a great job fixing our damage from the wreck. I didn’t know if we were going to finish because our engine temperature was so hot. They got it cooled down and we made it to the end with a good finish.”

Bubba Wallace — finished 14th: “A top-15 day for the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Cash App Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team at the Texas Motor Speedway – a long, hot day that’s for sure. Proud of the efforts from our team. Cash App was on the car for the first time, so that was cool. We got Cash App a really good first finish. I thought we had a chance there. If that last caution had not come out, we maybe could have held on for a top-10 finish. But all-in-all, a great effort. Good bounce back from our last two weeks and we’ll just keep pushing to get our cars better. Shoutout again to Cash App for jumping on-board. Being a part of the sport, how cool is that? Get them their first top-15 finish and go onto the Kansas Speedway. We’ll see what we got there.”

Michael McDowell — finished 15th: “That was a long and hot day at Texas Motor Speedway. I’m really proud of my team; they did a great job. We started off really rough and the car was bouncing really bad over the bumps through Turns 3 and 4, but luckily Drew and the guys were able to work on it and get some good adjustments in; move some packer around and finally get it to where the car stopped bouncing and we were okay. From there, we were able to get back on the lead lap and come out with a Top-15. We battled hard today for 500 miles and got a good finish.”

Matt Kenseth — finished 18th: “The results unfortunately don’t show it, but the No. 42 team worked really hard today to get the McDonald’s Chevy in a position to be competitive. We started the race way too loose and it was really hard to make any passes with the car handling that way. Chad (Johnston) and the guys kept working on it, and the handling got much better during the second stage, which allowed us to race up to just outside the top-10 at the end of the second stage. We were in a good spot to start the final stage, but got some damage that affected the handling when we were caught up in that big wreck on the frontstretch. We worked as hard as we could following the damage to make the most of our day, so, proud of the team for all the effort today.”

Daniel Suarez — finished 23rd: “I want to thank everyone for all the effort today. Our Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Camry was turning pretty good the last part of the race, but it was a struggle to find grip all day, especially in traffic. We got a respectable finish out of it, but obviously we know where we’re at and we know we need to just keep working. We have a lot of work to do.”

Alex Bowman — finished 30th: “That was not the way that we needed to finish Texas. We struggled some, but overall, our’s Polishes team was good today. Our team worked really hard on the car today and the changes during our pit stops. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we will move on to Kansas this week.”

Ty Dillon — finished 35th: “I’m bummed the way today ended for my Germain Racing team. Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE was really good. We battled being loose at the start of a run, but it would get better and better as the laps clicked away. My guys worked extremely hard to turn this car around from Kentucky and we were putting ourselves in position to have another solid finish. My car jumped out on me under the No. 24 and I hate it for William and his guys too. I had a little damage on the left rear and just wasn’t expecting the car to jump out on me like that. We will rebound and get after it in Kansas on Thursday. On to the next one.”

William Byron – finished 37th: “(How hard will it be to make the playoffs?) Honestly, it’s going to be tough. We just have to find speed first. We’re not really running good at all and we’ve got to figure that out. Obviously, the 13 (Ty Dillon) got up into us there and took us out, but we were pretty far back anyway. Thanks to Axalta and everybody on the team. We’ve just got to figure it out and figure it out quick before the fall.”

Cole Custer – finished 39th: “(It looked like a chain-reaction incident, right?) Yeah, I mean it’s always one of the most humbling sports you can be a part of — winning last week and part of a wreck this week.  I was on the brakes as hard as I could and then the 19, I think, came down from hitting the wall.  It’s just one of those things where you couldn’t go anywhere.  It felt bad.  I thought we were getting our Haas Automation Mustang better as the day went and was trying to keep up with the racetrack, but didn’t really have much to show for it.  I thought we would have ended up pretty good right there.”

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Results from Cup race at Texas


Austin Dillon became the second driver in as many races to solidify his position in the upcoming NASCAR Cup playoffs, winning Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

It was Dillon’s third career Cup win and broke an 88-race winless streak for him. Richard Childress Racing teammate Tyler Reddick finished second (and also was the highest-finishing Cup rookie).

It’s the first time RCR drivers have finished 1-2 since Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton turned the trick in 2011 at Talladega.

Joey Logano finished third Sunday, followed by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

With the win, Dillon jumped from the 17th playoff position to lock himself into the playoffs. Johnson drops to 16th, the final playoff-eligible spot. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, who finished 37th Sunday after wrecking, dropped out of the top 16 playoff positions to 17th, two points below the cutoff line.

Click here for results

Dillon joined last week’s winner at Kentucky, Cole Custer, as securing their spots not only in the playoffs but also gained in the overall standings.

Click here for driver standings

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Busch brothers, Truex, several others in big wreck at Texas


They do things bigger in Texas and such was the case in a multi-car chain reaction wreck in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Shortly after a restart and Ryan Blaney getting loose, Kurt Busch hit Aric Almirola in the rear on Lap 219 of the scheduled 334-lap Cup race at Texas. Kyle Busch then appeared to be tapped from behind, spinning him into Martin Truex Jr.

Others involved included last week’s race winner at Kentucky Speedway, Cole Custer, as well as Matt Kenseth, William Byron, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece and Chris Buescher. Ty Dillon and Jimmie Johnson also made contact away from the incident after the caution flag fell.

“I mean it’s always one of the most humbling sports you can be a part of — winning last week and part of a wreck this week,” Custer told NBCSN. “I was on the brakes as hard as I could and then the 19, I think, came down from hitting the wall. It’s just one of those things where you couldn’t go anywhere. It felt bad. I thought we were getting our Haas Automation Mustang better as the day went and was trying to keep up with the racetrack, but didn’t really have much to show for it.  I thought we would have ended up pretty good right there.”

The mayhem prompted NASCAR to stop the race with a red flag to clean up the extensive debris. Brad Keselowski is scored as the leader.

The race has resumed.

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Jimmie Johnson and playoff hopes both hit the wall at Texas


Jimmie Johnson‘s struggles in his final season in the Cup Series continued Sunday.

The seven-time Cup champion hit the outside wall hard early in Stage 2. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when he took his car to pit road for repairs, he was penalized two laps for having too many members in the service area under NASCAR’s damaged vehicle policy.

That penalty will prove to be even more costly than the actual contact with the wall, as Johnson came into the race 15th in the Cup standings in what was the final playoff-eligible spot

With Sunday’s win, Austin Dillon jumped from the 17th playoff position to lock himself into the playoffs. Johnson drops to 16th, the final playoff-eligible spot, after his Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron finished 37th after wrecking, dropping out of the top 16 playoff positions to 17th, two points below Johnson and the cutoff line.

Johnson, who is a seven-time winner at Texas, saw his winless streak grow to 112 consecutive races without a visit to victory lane. His last win was June 4, 2017, at Dover International Speedway.

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