All-Star Race package could be used in up to three points races in 2018

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NASCAR is exploring potentially using the rules package from last month’s All-Star Race in up to three Cup points races this season, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said in an interview with Fox Sports 1.

O’Donnell was asked about NASCAR’s discussions regarding the package Saturday at Pocono Raceway.

O’Donnell said NASCAR is looking at using the package “at one or two or possibly three events” to help “see if this is the direction we want to pursue for 2019.”

The package includes a restrictor plate, air ducts, a taller spoiler and the 2014 style splitter.

A similar package debuted in the Xfinity Series last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Xfinity is using it again this weekend at Pocono and next week at Michigan International Speedway. All three tracks could be sites for the Cup Series to use the package again this season.

Cup will make its second visit to Pocono on July 29, Michigan on Aug. 12 and Indy hosts the regular season finale on Sept. 9.

“For us, it’s making sure everybody has had enough time to look at it, had enough time to evaluate it,” O’Donnell said. “If you look back at it, we really only ran it last year at Indy and the All-Star Race and this weekend is the first-time in Xfinity at Pocono.

“Taking all that data and evaluating if this is right direction to go is the first step.”

After making sure the product put on the track with the package is an “improvement for fans,” O’Donnell said the next challenge for NASCAR is ensuring “that when everyone rolls into the garage they feel we are on as level a playing field as possible – that’s the OEMS (manufacturers), engine builders and race teams – and the team that puts the most into that still has the best chance to win.

“If we can do all those things, then that’s when we put it out on the track.”

Two Hall of Fame owners, Richard Childress and Roger Penske, have already voiced their support for using the package.

“Anything that is good for our sport right now, which I think it would be, I’m for it,” Richard Childress said. “I’m putting RCR aside and looking at the sport itself. If everybody in this garage will do that … put the sport first and we all go out and put the best show for the fans in the stands, that’s what we’ve got to do.”

Roger Penske said: “Directionally, I think it’s the right thing to do. What I like about it is we’re trying something.”

On Friday, multiple Cup drivers said adjustments should be made to make the package harder to drive.

All-Star Race buzz still has many in NASCAR talking

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The rules package and racing in Saturday night’s Monster Energy All-Star Race and Monster Open has many in the sport debating what to do next.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR chief racing development officer, said Monday on “The Morning Drive” that series officials will meet Wednesday with industry officials to discuss the race and “see where we go from here.”

The Xfinity Series will run a similar package this season at Pocono (June 2), Michigan (June 9) and Indianapolis (Sept. 8) after running it only at Indy last year.

MORE: Transcript of NASCAR’s comments after the All-Star Race

While O’Donnell noted Saturday night that he would “never say never” to running what was used in the All-Star race again later this year in Cup, he said the focus was on 2019 for the package.

Marcus Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., said he would be for running the package in Cup at Kentucky (July 14). Kentucky is the last 1.5-mile track on the schedule before the playoffs begin in September.

“Certainly that track has been a place where R&D for the rest of the sport has happened, and we’d be happy to have it again there,” Smith told NBC Sports about Kentucky. “Any mile-and-a-half track, whether it’s ours or not. My interest is in making the whole sport fantastic, and I think we’ve got great opportunities for that.’’

Car owner Joe Gibbs said after the All-Star Race that more evaluation is needed with the package.

“I think there’s a lot to talk about,” Gibbs told NBC Sports after the race. “I’m sure we’ll make a good decision. Everybody is going to work together. I think (the race) will be something that everybody evaluates and thinks about. I think there’s a lot to it that going forward in the future would be very different. Cars will have a chance to be in the wind tunnel and do all the things that we do with them.”

Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano, cautioned Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about a rush to use the package at other tracks immediately.

“You saw the race and as a team member you feel like, wow, there’s something there, but I think we’ve got to be smart about how we roll forward,” he said. “Sometimes that’s going to take more time than I think what our fan base is going to understand, but we’ve got to smart about how we look at this and what we can do with it. I think there’s potential there. If we just implement what we just did, I don’t know if we’re getting all the potential out of it.”

There also was quite a discussion on social media from several in the sport, from spotters and crew chiefs and more, about the racing and what to do next. Here’s what some were saying on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 and on Facebook

What drivers said after the All-Star Race

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Kevin Harvick – Winner: “I thought on that last restart that my best opportunity was (Joey) Logano. He is one of the best on the restarts. I knew he would work with me as good as possible because that is just the way that most of us do it from Ford. We were able to just stay even through (Turns) 1 and 2, and I really thought once we got to the backstretch, we could clear him. I didn’t want to be on the bottom. I didn’t feel my car was stable enough to be under someone when they were on my right side. I had to take my lumps through (turns) 1 and 2 and hope that the guy behind me was still with me when we got to the exit of 2, and we were able to win.”

Daniel Suarez – Finished 2nd: “I felt like we had a car actually capable to win the race. We were very strong, competitive. For whatever reason (on) restarts, my car was taking like one lap to go and those guys, when two Fords were connected, they were pretty strong. We just – I needed a little bit more right there. (Denny Hamlin) got disconnected with myself a little bit. I tried to side draft (Kevin Harvick), but it was just tough. After that it was pretty much game over because I started racing (Joey Logano) instead of (Harvick), but proud of my guys. We’ve been racing really in the All-Star twice already, two times, so that’s not bad. It hurts to be close and to not get it.”

Joey Logano – Finished 3rd: “We wanted to be up in the lead, and I thought we were in the best spot. We put tires on, and the cars ahead of us didn’t have as good of tires as us. We restarted fifth, and the bottom is just rough down there. We were able to push ahead, and the car in front of me got pushed back and the bottom lane fell apart. I lost like five spots at least and started making them back up and got tangled up and put in the wall and got back and thought I had a decent shot there at the end hooking up with Kevin. Kevin and I always end up together at superspeedway races, and we did again tonight, which is kind of funny.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 4th: “I think in general our cars were just too slow to be up front. Once we did get the lead, it was complete defense mode. It looked like when (Kyle Busch) and (Martin Truex Jr.) were up front as well, it was just constant defense where when (Kevin Harvick) got up front, he could just kind of run his line. Hard to overcome that seven tenths that we were off from speed, especially in a drafting type race. Still, we did a good job there. Tried to get (Daniel Suarez) free of (Harvick) there on the bottom, I just came off his bumper there just slightly there and he wasn’t able to get us free of (Harvick).”

Chase Elliott – Finished 5th: “Yeah, I actually had some fun, really. It was different for sure, but it wasn’t all bad, I don’t guess. Obviously, there was way more potential to crash and what not, which is I guess good and bad depending upon who you are. If you are sitting at home and watching it was probably fun because we are all close. If we see this package more, I’m sure you will see some more torn-up cars, too.  And I’m sure the teams will get better at building and preparing for it too, but proud of our night. To be able to come from last to fifth, and I get the fan vote and end up coming home with a top five wasn’t all bad.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 6th: “I mean, it’s funny how there ends up being a sweet spot. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restricted motor or not.  The outside lane was really the place to be to keep the momentum up.  Depending on the restart you had and the lane you are in and how to time a pass, I spent plenty of time kind of coming through the field. I really couldn’t get past second or third.  The times I tried to make a pass on the leader, I would get pinned on the bottom and go to the back and have to start all over again.”

Kyle Larson – Finished 7th: “It was just tough.  I felt like I could get to around second or third, just getting to the lead was tough.  I never really got to lead. The times I would get to lead, they would get a run on me and pass me right back.  We just didn’t have the speed the Toyotas had.  I thought the Toyotas were super-fast and then obviously, (Kevin Harvick) I mean he won, but (Martin Truex Jr.) was ridiculous. But, yeah it was a pretty fun race.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 8th: “The first stage was pretty awesome to go 18th to fourth in a couple of laps.  The car handled really good. I just got a little bit tight there with the track getting going into the night.  We were a little bit draggier down the straightaway, so I had to keep the momentum up that second stage. I just got too close to (Truex), and it snapped loose and got some body damage.  The guys did a good job to fix it. Kind of salvaged the third session there.  I thought if we could have got back up there we could have maybe had a chance to fight inside the top three or top four again. I cost us a little bit there, but I was getting after it.  It was a fun night.  Really competitive and proud of the guys.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 11th: “We weren’t very good tonight. We were slow. The car drove about the same with this package as it did with the other package, and everybody else was just a lot faster. It was a bummer we couldn’t take that front row start and do something with it. We were kind of a moving road block out there.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 12th: “What a race! I had a blast out there tonight, and I hope it was as fun to watch as it was to drive. Throughout the race, we made quite a few adjustments to the Dow Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. With limited practice and this being the first time we have raced this package, we were a little off on the setup. We got it pretty close, though. At the end, we opted to pit. Looking back, it’s a toss-up on whether that was the right call or not.”

Ryan Newman – Finished 16th: “This one is on me. I miscounted the green-white-checkered flag to end Stage 3, and I left off the gas too soon. It cost us a top five on the final restart and instead we took the green in 11th. I hate it for the Caterpillar/Grainger team. We got off sequence on pit stops and the way the cautions fell from there, it really worked in our favor. I simply messed up. I did all I could do to regain the ground I had lost. On the final restart, we climbed back into the top five, but unfortunately when we took the white flag, I made contact with the wall and lost all our momentum resulting in the 16th-place finish. We had nothing to lose so I went for it in the end.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 17th: “This was the first time running this package and we had to gamble a little bit. We had to roll the dice a little bit, and we were off when we came in. Had a lot to learn today and we used it well. The guys did a really good job with our car. Pit stops were really good tonight again. We had a lot to be proud of, just sucks that we couldn’t finish it off. We had a really strong race car and felt like we maybe had a shot to win it, just four wide going into three there we all just ran out of room. (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.), I had him squeezed down so low, I just don’t know that he could hold it down there. I was trying to keep (Clint Bowyer) to my outside and just one those deals at the end of the race.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 20th: “You definitely seem to draft more, which has its highs and lows. Track position, power and drag is super important. Give us a few weeks to work on the race cars with a package like this, and I am sure we can mess it up.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 21st: “Yeah, just got loose. We had been really tight all night.  I knocked the nose off of it early.  We got slid, and I wasn’t happy about it and instead of checking up, I didn’t lift.  I probably should have lifted because it hurt me more than the guy that ran us like that.  I’m just frustrated.  I feel like these guys have taken advantage of me quite a bit this year, and I’m over lifting for guys.  I’m not going to go out of my way to slow myself down to help somebody else out.  They would race me the same way.  I’m just kind of over it, but as far as the crash, I just got loose, and it stepped out. I saved it, it stepped out again, and I couldn’t save it.  Really frustrating.  I hate it for my guys, it’s my fault that we were in the situation further back than we should have been.  I should have just been more patient and not knocked the nose off of it early.”

Results, stats for the Monster Energy All-Star Race

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Kevin Harvick claimed his second All-Star Race win Saturday night in an overtime finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Harvick led twice for 36 laps and beat Daniel Suarez and Joey Logano.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver won all but one of the race’s four stages.

The win came 11 years to the day of Harvick’s first All-Star win in 2007

Click here for the results.

Kevin Harvick wins All-Star Race in overtime finish

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Kevin Harvick prevailed in an overtime finish to claim his second win in the Monster Energy All-Star Race.

Harvick was able to pull away in the two-lap shootout to beat Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott.

He won all but one of the race’s four stages.

Harvick’s first All-Star win came 11 years ago to the day in 2007.

The victory in the exhibition race joins the five points wins the Stewart-Haas Racing driver has already accumulated this season.

“A special thanks to the Roush Yates Engine department, they put in a lot of effort, they love restrictor-plate racing and we won!” Harvick told Fox Sports 1. “Our car was super fast, I could accelerate well. If I could just get to Turn 2 even I felt like we were going to accelerate passed them on the backstretch. I was not very good on the bottom. I would push and slide, but in a straight line this thing was a rocket.”

The overtime finish was setup by an incident involving Joey Logano and Kyle Larson. Coming to two laps to go in the scheduled distance, Logano ran out of room exiting Turn 4, bounced off the wall and into Larson. The contact sent Larson spinning through the infield grass. Without any major damage, Larson finished seventh.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 3 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

STAGE 4 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

MORE: Race results

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Kasey Kahne managed to finish 10th on the lead lap after getting into the front stretch wall on Lap 6 of the third stage and ultimately going three laps down … Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez each finished in the top 10 after advancing from the Monster Open. Suarez won Stage 2 and Elliott won the fan vote. AJ Allmendinger, who won the final Open stage, placed eighth after making contact with the wall in Stage 2.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were eliminated by an eight-car crash in the first overtime restart attempt in Stage 3. Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr were able to continue … Alex Bowman finished last after spinning on his own and hitting the wall out of Turn 2 with two laps left in the third stage … Stenhouse and Kenseth started on the front row but quickly fell back. They never contended after the opening laps and finished 11th and 14th respectively.

NOTABLE: Kevin Harvick is the seventh driver to win the All-Star Race more than once … Harvick joins Jimmie Johnson as only the second driver to win the All-Star Race more than once in the last 20 All-Star races.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “He fenced me, then I bounced off the wall, then there he was. After he fenced me, I bounced off. He happened to be there. Probably shouldn’t have fenced me.” – Joey Logano on his accident with Kyle Larson.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Coca-Cola 600 at 6 p.m. ET on May 27 on Fox.