The regular-season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway set the stage for raw emotion that bubbled over on the radio and into the pits.
Jamie McMurray and William Byron knew their only hope to make the playoffs was in winning one of the biggest races of the NASCAR season, but they were not the only drivers crushed when Brad Keselowski pulled into victory lane instead.
Here are some of this week’s highlights:
“All right driver. You know what we got to do today. Make it happen.” – Matt McCall, Jamie McMurray’s crew chief
“Boys remember, a win gets us in,” Darian Grubb, William Byron’s crew chief
“It was really fast man; sorry about the brakes.” Cole Pearn, Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief
“I let him go every time he’s been even close to me all year. Lead lap or not. If he don’t want to do the same, then the next time racing, good luck getting around me.” – Matt Kenseth on Joey Logano.
“The 6 wasn’t too appreciative of the blocking.” – Logano’s spotter
“Yeah, well I’m not too appreciative of a lot of things from that guy – so: so what.” – Logano
SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Denny Hamlin’s best finish in more than three months meant little to him after he lost the lead in Monday’s Brickyard 400 coming to the white flag.
Hamlin’s third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway normally would be seen as a way to build momentum into the playoffs, which begins next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. But Hamlin would have none of that. He was frustrated with his finish and with some other cars.
“I don’t care about the playoffs at this moment. All I care about is not winning this race,” said Hamlin, who sought to add an Indianapolis victory to the crown jewel wins he’s scored in the Daytona 500 and Southern 500.
“It’s big on my list of races I wanted to win and the team gave me the car and we certainly were capable of doing that.”
Had he won, it would have left him needing to win only the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to triumph in each of the sport’s four major races.
“Just those meaningless cautions at the end by drivers multiple laps down,” Hamlin said. “What they’re doing crashing with three laps to go, I have no idea. It cost us the race.
Hamlin’s finish Monday was his first top-five result since placing third at Charlotte in May.
“We deserved to win this race,” said Hamlin, who led 37 of 160 laps, tying Clint Bowyer for most laps led. “We had the fastest car or one of them. Us and (Bowyer) were very strong. I hate that the cars that caused the caution had nothing to do with this race.”
Martin Truex Jr. laments woes on pit road in Southern 500
DARLINGTON, S.C. — With one race until the playoffs begin, Martin Truex Jr. sounded a warning to his team after an up-and-down night in the Southern 500.
“It’s really disappointing to have a car that good to be up front and have that many troubles on pit road,” Truex said after an 11th-place finish Sunday night. “It’s pretty disappointing. We have to clean it up. Playoffs are coming. We do that in the playoffs and we’ll be out in the second round.”
Truex had a strong car — he led 30 laps and ran in the top three most of the first 165 laps — but his fate changed when he was called for an uncontrolled tire penalty.
Replay showed that after the front tire changer placed the tire to his right and completed his work, he ran to the left side of the car. The right tire was out of arm’s reach of any other crew member at that point.
Section 10.9.10.4.1.b of the Cup Rule Book states that “a crew member must remain within arm’s reach and moving in the same direction as the tire/wheel when removing the tire/wheel from the outside half of the pit box.”
After serving the penalty, Truex was two laps down and running 20th.
He was the first car a lap down and in position to get his lap back when the second stage ended on Lap 200, but leader Kyle Larson nipped Austin Dillon at the line to end the stage. That made Dillon the first car a lap down and eligible to get his lap back.
With about 100 laps to go, Truex reported that he thought he had a loose wheel. He was running 15th at the time, the second car a lap down and didn’t want to pit to lose the chance to get his lap back. He eventually pitted about 20 laps later.
Truex didn’t get back on the lead lap until a caution for Jeffrey Earnhardt’s incident on Lap 345. It took Truex 175 laps — nearly half the race — to get back on the lead lap.
It’s finally here! The 69th running of the Southern 500 will be held at 6 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN.
The night will be a blast from the past with paint schemes representing NASCAR’s history as the track celebrates NASCAR’s seven decades.
Here’s a roundup of the paint schemes:
No. 00 – Landon Cassill: The StarCom Racing driver will pilot a car with Bobby Allison’s 1988 Miller High Life paint scheme. Derrike Cope, StarCom’s team manager, drove for Allison from 1994-96. Matt DiBenedetto drove the scheme in last year’s Southern 500.
No. 1 – Jamie McMurray: The Chip Ganassi Racing driver will have a paint scheme based on one Bill Elliott drove in 1998. Instead of being dedicated to the 50th anniversary of NASCAR, it’s dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac.
No. 10 – Aric Almirola: The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will have Helping Hungry Homes, Smithfield’s initiative focused on alleviating hunger & helping Americans become more food secure.
No. 11 – Denny Hamlin: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will throwback to his his short track days with the paint scheme he competed in mini-stocks with in 1997.
No. 12 – Ryan Blaney: Will drive a scheme based on the car his father, Dave Blaney, raced in the 2003 Cup season.
No. 13 – Ty Dillon: Germain Racing will have its original GEICO paint scheme from the 2009 season when the car was driven by Max Papis.
No. 14 – Clint Bowyer: Bowyer will driver a paint scheme based on the car NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett drove to a win in the 1965 Southern 500.
No. 17 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr: The Roush Fenway Racing driver will have the John Deere paint scheme driven by Chad Little from 1997-2000.
No. 18 – Kyle Busch: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will pilot the original Skittles paint scheme first driven by Ernie Irvan in 1997.
No. 20 – Erik Jones: The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will pay tribute to the Camping World Truck Series career of his spotter, Rick Carelli.
No. 21 – Paul Menard: Wood Brothers Racing will pay tribute to Cale Yarborough’s win in the 1968 Southern 500, which was the first for the team and Yarborough.
No. 22 – Joey Logano: The Team Penske driver will pay tribute to Steve Park with the Pennzoil scheme Park drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the early 2000s and won two races with.
No. 23 – Joey Gase: His car duplicates the paint scheme his father, Bob, had when he won the 2003 championship in his modified at Hawkeye Downs Speedway.
No. 24 – William Byron: Will drive Jeff Gordon‘s iconic DuPont “Rainbow Warriors” scheme he raced full-time from 1993 -2000.
No. 31 – Ryan Newman: The Richard Childress Racing driver will honor the late Neil Bonnett with his scheme. The car will be painted like the Mom & Pop’s sponsored car Bonnett drove in two Cup races in 1993. He was the first RCR driver to drive the No. 31.
No. 32 – Matt DiBenedetto: Will drive Jeff Burton‘s paint scheme from the 2000 Cup season.
No. 34 – Michael McDowell: This look replicates the color scheme for the first Love’s Travel Stop in 1981 in Amarillo, Texas.
No. 37 – Chris Buescher: The JTG Daugherty Racing driver’s car will have a scheme dedicated to the 110th anniversary of Busch’s Best Beans.
No. 38 – David Ragan: Will drive a paint scheme reminiscent of Dale Jarrett’s victory in the 1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 over Davey Allison.
No. 41 – Kurt Busch: Will drive his own paint scheme from the 2003 season when he was part of one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history at Darlington Raceway, losing to Ricky Craven by 0.002 seconds. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the race.
No. 42 – Kyle Larson: The Chip Ganassi Racing car will have a scheme based on Davey Allison’s 1988 rookie paint scheme.
No. 43 – Bubba Wallace: Richard Petty Motorsports changed its throwback scheme Sunday morning to include more of STP Day-Glo red on the car.
No. 47 – AJ Allmendinger: JTG Daugherty Racing will pay tribute to one of their early entries. Allmendinger’s No. 47 boasts the colors from Robert Pressley’s 1998 car in what was then the Busch Series (Xfinity today).
No. 48 – Jimmie Johnson: The three-time Darlington winner will drive the scheme he used in 2012 when he won the Southern 500 and gave Hendrick Motorsports its 200th victory.
No. 66: Timmy Hill: Hill’s car will be a tribute to Darrell Waltrip’s farewell scheme from his final Cup campaign in 2000.
No. 72 – Corey LaJoie: He pays tribute to his father, Randy, a two-time Xfinity Series champion. The No. 72 will paint scheme mirrors the paint scheme on Randy’s cars when he had FINA has a sponsor.
No. 88 – Alex Bowman: The Hendrick Motorsports driver is sponsored by Llumar, but does not have a throwback scheme.
No. 95 – Kasey Kahne: The Leavine Family Racing driver will boast the paint scheme from his 2006 Cup season, when he won a career-best six races and claimed six poles.
No. 96 – Jeffrey Earnhardt – The grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr. will drive a scheme that the seven-time champion drove in 1978.
No. 99 – Derrike Cope: Cope will be sponsored by Bojangles and will have the paint scheme Cope drove in the Cup Series in 1993 when sponsored by the company.
NASCAR has been commemorating seven decades of the sport this weekend and the celebration culminates with tonight’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Here are the details for tonight’s race:
(All times are Eastern)
START: Randy Poindexter, Bojangles’ Sr. VP of Marketing, 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Jack Roush and other members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will give the command to start engines at 6:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 6:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 367 laps (501.3 miles) around the 1.366-mile track.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 100. Stage 2 ends on Lap 200.
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 12:30 p.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 4 p.m. Driver introductions are at 5:25 p.m.
NATIONALANTHEM: Hanson will perform the anthem at 6:01 p.m.
TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 6 p.m. Coverage begins with NASCAR America at 5 p.m., followed by Countdown to Green at 5:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 5 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 89 degrees and a 35 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms at the start of the race.