Justin Haley replaces Kyle Busch in Kaulig car for Xfinity race


Justin Haley will drive Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car in Monday morning’s scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Haley replaces Cup Series regular Kyle Busch, who was scheduled to drive for Kaulig in the 300-miler. The race was postponed from Saturday to Monday because of weather, giving NASCAR a 900-mile doubleheader at the track.

Busch decided to concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race, scheduled for a  3 p.m. start.

Haley also will race in the 600.

Ty Gibbs is scheduled to run in both races.

Darlington drama: Frustration, elation, irritation swirl at historic track


DARLINGTON, S.C. — One name was prominent Sunday night at Darlington. One performance was overlooked. One ruling was questioned.

There was much to dissect after more than 400 miles at one of NASCAR’s oldest tracks.

MORE: Darlington winners and losers

Ross Chastain didn’t win, but he was the talk of many after the race. William Byron won, and he made the case to be the early championship favorite. Other drivers questioned how NASCAR set the running order late.

Chastain again was the focus. Team owner Rick Hendrick rebuked Chastain for an incident in the final laps with Kyle Larson while racing for the lead.

“I don’t care if he’s driving a Chevrolet if he wrecks our cars,” Hendrick said of Chastain, who drives a Chevy for Trackhouse Racing. “I don’t care. I told Chevrolet that. If you wreck us, you’re going to get it back. If you don’t do it, they’ll run all over you.

“I’m loyal to Chevrolet, but when somebody runs over us, then I expect my guys to hold their ground. I’m not going to ask them to yield just because of Chevrolet.”

Hendrick’s voice was only the latest in a growing chorus in the garage against Chastain.

Consider the last four races for Chastain:

  • Talladega: In the first overtime restart, Chastain was second to Noah Gragson on the outside line. Gragson drifted up the track. Chastain shot to the gap between Gragson and Ryan Blaney, who led the inside lane. Gragson and Chastain made contact. Gragson wrecked. The incident also collected Larson.
  • Dover: Less than a quarter of the way into the race, Chastain, running fourth, came up on the slower car of Brennan Poole. Chastain made contact. Poole’s car slid up the track into the path of Larson’s car. Poole said that Chastain “probably needs his butt whooped.” Larson was critical of Chastain for causing an incident early in the race.
  • Kansas: Chastain and Gragson have their second incident in two weeks. Upset that Chastain pinched his car on track and he hit the wall, Gragson retaliated on the track. Gragson approached Chastain after the race on pit road. Gragson grabbed Chastain and shook him before Chastain punched him in the face.
  • Darlington: Chastain and Larson made contact on a restart with six laps to go. That sent Chastain sideways into Larson’s path, ending the hopes either driver had of winning.

While Hendrick was upset with Chastain after the race, Hendrick still had reason to celebrate. Byron’s victory was his third of the season. All of Byron’s wins have come at what will be the most important tracks in the playoffs.

Byron has won at Darlington, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

  • Darlington is the playoff opener in September.
  • Las Vegas is the first race in the third round, making it the first chance for a driver to earn a spot in the Championship 4. Joey Logano won at Las Vegas last year and used that as a springboard to the championship.
  • Phoenix is the site of the championship race.

Byron also has placed in the top 10 this season at six of the seven tracks that will host a playoff race.

“I think we’re safely in a groove here where we’ve got to continue our processes, continue what got us here,” Byron said. “It definitely feels different than what we had last year — where I felt like after we won those couple races (early in the season) … we had just kind of a false confidence.”

Byron has a series-high 16 playoff points despite a penalty that took five points away earlier this year. He’s also climbed to fifth in the standings even though he was penalized 60 points earlier this season.

A key moment in Sunday’s race proved to be the incident triggered by Martin Truex Jr. and Logano on a restart with 16 laps to go. Logano and Truex made contact, blocking the top line, which included Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.

Elliott ran into the back of Logano. Keselowski hit the back of Elliott’s car. Harvick hit the back of Keselowski’s car. As that happened, Harrison Burton, Bubba Wallace and Justin Haley drove by on the inside lane.

But on the ensuing restart, Elliott, Keselowski and Harvick were ahead of Burton, Wallace and Haley in the running order.

NASCAR stated that officials reverted to the previous scoring loop before the caution. NASCAR also stated that Elliott, Keselowski and Harvick slowed when the caution was out and maintained reasonable speed, thus they were given their positions back.

“I keep looking at the pylon and I’m pissed off,” Wallace told FS1 after the race. “There’s a couple of cars that were involved in a wreck that got put back in front of us. … Frustrating to see that we got beat like that.”

Denny Hamlin also wasn’t happy, saying on his podcast: “The order was all wrong. Why were the cars that were in the wreck placed back in front of cars that missed the wreck?

“They said, ‘Well, they maintained caution pace.’ Well, you watch the in-car camera … they were destroyed, and saying that they were running pace car speed was maybe, probably, a stretch.”

Sunday Cup race at Darlington: Start time, TV info, weather


The Cup Series hits the halfway mark of the 26-race regular season Sunday at Darlington Raceway. The pressure will be build on drivers to win and earn a spot in the playoffs.

The focus Sunday will be winning at one of NASCAR’s toughest tracks. Four drivers finished in the top 10 in both Darlington races last year: Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Michael McDowell.

Denny Hamlin has the best average finish at Darlington (7.48) among drivers with more than two starts there. Kyle Larson is next with an average finish of 9.2.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Members of NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers will give the command to start engines at 3:02 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:12 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at noon. … Drivers meeting is at 2:05 p.m. … Driver intros are at 2:25 p.m. … Susan Chastain, mother of Cup driver Ross Chastain, will give the invocation at 2:54 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by Master Sergeant Ashley Keeks, United States Air Force Band, at 2:55 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 293 laps (400.2 miles) on the 1.366-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 90. Stage 2 ends at Lap 185.

STARTING LINEUP: Darlington Cup starting lineup

TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 3 p.m. … Coverage begins with NASCAR RaceDay at 1:30 p.m. on FS1. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 2 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.


FORECAST: Weather Underground — Mostly cloudy with a high of 83 degrees and a 21% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Erik Jones won the Southern 500 to open the Cup playoffs last September. Denny Hamlin finished second. Tyler Reddick placed third. Joey Logano won at Darlington in May 2022 after a late-race duel with William Byron. Tyler Reddick was second. Justin Haley placed third.


Friday 5: Should NASCAR let drivers fight or break up confrontations quickly?

Dr. Diandra: Darlington mellowed over decades but still one of NASCAR’s toughest tracks

Cup teams ask NASCAR for “meaningful” talks on charters

David Pearson: A superhero in plain clothes

NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron remains No. 1

Drivers to watch at Darlington

What drivers said at Kansas Speedway


A look at what drivers said during and after Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway:

Denny Hamlin — Won: “It’s the new NASCAR – it’s what everyone cheers about when someone else does it. I was just trying to side-draft him there and miscalculated. It was great for us to get back into position to get close to him and get him loose through one and two. … I had such a fast car, just couldn’t get long enough runs for it to materialize. Finally, we had just enough time. This is a team win. These team guys, this pit crew, stepped up in a huge way this week. I’m proud of them. It is so important. It is a big win for Joe Gibbs Racing, for myself. Every win is very, very hard to get, so you have to take every one you can get. I knew the only way I was going to have an attempt to get near him was to get a huge run off of Turn 4, so I ran way up high in Turn 3, really kind of a Kyle Larson line, way up by the fence, and I just pulled it down and got a huge run, and that run down the front straightaway allowed me to pack air on him getting into the corner and get him up the racetrack so I could get beside him. We were both pedaling the throttle on the exit. I was sideways and he was sideways, and as he started to — I knew it was going to be close whether he was going to clear me, and I’m just trying to grind on his left side, trying to keep the side draft as tight as I could, and it’s just a super-sensitive part of the car if you get to the left rear, and obviously it hooked him to the right, and we won. The end.”

MORE: Ross Chastain, Noah Gragson in post-race scuffle

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Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: “I was really loose. I was trying to do what I could to manage it, just was really loose at that end, and yeah, just he was a little bit better than me there at the end. I haven’t seen a replay, either, but obviously he was side-drafting really aggressively like you would, but he was like touching me it felt like, and it just had me kind of out of control.”

William Byron — Finished 3rd: “It was an amazing effort by our No. 24 Liberty University Chevy team. We all but wrecked twice, went three laps down and came back to finish third – it’s just incredible. It’s just a testament to the strength of this race team. The tail wasn’t exactly right there at the end. It was knocked over, and the car was really loose toward the end of any longer run. A tough situation, but really happy with that effort. Just a great job by this whole Liberty University Chevy team. They gave us a really hard fight, so good to come home third.”

 Bubba Wallace — Finished 4th: “I was terrible on restarts. We would lose spots in one and two and gain about 50 back in three and four. Just a grind all day trying to figure out what we needed for our Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar Toyota Camry. All four corners of the car, we were just missing a little something. Good day, we have to keep climbing the ladder. It’s been a frustrating start to the season, when you are thinking it is going to be your best start. We’ve got to do a little personal reset, mental reset and come out and fight and claw for everything and put together a solid race. This is our second clean race (this season). This is what happens when we have good clean races.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 5th: “I got tight off of 4, for sure. Noah and I have a very similar attitude on the racetrack, and we train together, we prepare together, we know each other’s — every little bit about each other. Yeah, definitely crowded him up off of 4, and he took a swipe at us in 3, and then he came down and grabbed a hold of me, and a very big man once told me we have a no-push policy here at Trackhouse. Hats off to everybody at Advent Health for coming here to the Advent Health 400 and fight for a top 5. There was times in the race where we did not have the grip and the balance in the car to do that. A couple good restarts at the end, and perfect matched set of tires by (crew chief) Phil Surgen to see a heck of a fight from this group.”

Joey Logano — Finished 6th: “Well, if we had the right tires on, it’s pretty good. Seems like it’s an inconsistency in tires. We’ve been fighting that the last few weeks. So we got to get to the bottom of that to understand it a little better. Overall, the stage points were big. Getting a stage win was a big one – decent points with the 10 points, as well. Probably with a better restart, I could have finished top-two or three. But, oh well. We just need more horsepower – all of us.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 7th: “We didn’t really show it with the results, but I was excited about how the day went for our No. 9 UniFirst Chevy team. We had a couple of high spots. Got the lead there when we were racing with Kyle (Larson). That’s better than normal for me, so we’ll just try to build on that and get better. We fired off tight there a couple of times and then lost the track position. I thought we were pretty decent again that last run. Ryan (Blaney) and I got together off (turn) 4, and I hit him pretty good with my right-front, and I don’t think that was doing me any favors.”

Aric Almirola — Finished 13th: “We had an OK day. We got up there and I thought we were going to run top 10, and then out of nowhere, spun off of Turn 2. Our cars are really knife-edge right now. We’re having a lot of trouble getting our cars balanced where we need it to be. There is such a small window to get the balance where we need it to be, that it just makes it really difficult to race. We can be really tight; we can be really loose, but we can’t get it in the window where we need it to be – consistent. So, we’ll just keep working.”

AJ Allmendinger — Finished 14th: “I felt like we fought hard all day. We got the car closer overall, but we were still kind of fighting back and forth between loose and tight. The No. 16 Action Industries crew did a good job on strategy, making adjustments, and our pitstops were really good. We were able to get some stage points, as well. Today was definitely something we can build on.”

Justin Haley — Finished 18th: “We had an up-and-down day today. We fired off a little tight, but I was pretty optimistic about our No. 31 Celsius Camaro ZL1. Unfortunately, some pit road issues and a flat tire were indicative of our day. My crew chief, Trent (Owens), had a great strategy to get us back on the lead lap, but I felt like the flat tire did some damage early on to the splitter, so we just struggled the rest of the race. We will take a top 20 and head to Darlington next week where we had a great run last year.”

Erik Jones — Finished 21st: “It was an OK day for the No. 43 Allegiant Chevy team. Just kind of up and down and kind of a lot of chaos. Got wrecked and ended up just finishing farther back than we wanted. We’ll take it, learn from it, and hopefully be better for next week.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 35th: “Just tried to get below the No. 6 (Brad Keselowski) off of two. I wasn’t quite clear, got clipped and spun out. I feel bad for my guys. We’ve been fighting hard all day long to get ourselves up there and get further up with track position. We finally got it and then all of the cautions kind of came to kind of throw off strategy. We weren’t able to get stage points and then ruined our race there with getting clipped. Just bad luck situations. A lot of guys up there on older tires — you’re trying to get by them, make the most of your stage and then stuff like this keeps happening.”

Christopher Bell — Finished 36th: “I think I made a mistake trying to get off of Turn 2 and got into the 1 (Ross Chastain) and spun out. Disappointing day. I felt like our SiriusXM Camry was everything I needed to compete for a good finish at least, and I’m out of the race. (I was) just trying to get a little too aggressive on the side draft and got into the 1  and spun out.”

What drivers said at Dover Motor Speedway

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What drivers said Monday during and after the NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway:

Martin Truex Jr. — Winner: “Man, it feels incredible. It felt like we’ve been close a bunch of times, and we gave some away, that’s for sure. Thought today, man, late caution, what’s going to happen here? But just a great call by James (crew chief James Small) to take two and then was able to get a pretty good restart and get (Dave) Blaney there. He raced me hard but clean. I’m out of breath, I’m breathing so much Goodyear rubber. Thanks to everybody that stuck with us, all our fans, Bass Pro Shops, Auto Owners, Reser’s, Toyota, TRD, all my personal sponsors. We know we could do this. We’ve showed it. We’ve led laps. We’ve dominated races, and it just would never all come together. I kept saying that we’ve got to just keep doing what we’re doing and not overthink it. Tough day today with a few pit stops early and then obviously the guys got it going at the end, so really psyched and happy for everybody. Just thanks to everybody at JGR, as well. Awesome job.”

Ross Chastain — Finished 2nd: “Whoever got in the lead was going to have a shot at it. First, I want to say so sorry to Brennan Poole and everybody at Rick Ware Racing. I owe them a big apology and a bit more. I’ll head over there tomorrow and talk to those guys, and make some of that right. We were just so close again for our No. 1 Jockey Chevy team and everybody at Trackhouse Racing, Advent Health, Moose Fraternity, Worldwide Express. It’s surreal to continue to do this and get to race against my heroes. I guess I told him (Martin Truex Jr.) too many of my secrets last year after we went fishing.”

MORE: Brennan Poole says Ross Chastain ‘probably needs his butt whooped’

MORE: Dover Cup results, driver points

Ryan Blaney — Finished 3rd: “Either two (tires) or we’re staying out was the call, and we came in and took two. It got us on the front row. I think if we had taken four, we would have lined up fourth. So it really wouldn’t have been much different. But, being on the front row gave us a shot to win. I tried to send it into (turn) 3 to clear the No. 19, and he did the same thing and was able to get around us. It was a really smooth day for us, honestly. We ran third all day. Just didn’t have quite enough speed for those top-two guys at the end there. Overall, really great effort – especially for how we’ve been here in the past. It’s kind of been a struggle track for us, and I’m proud of the gains we made.”

William Byron — Finished 4th: “The middle section – I don’t know, I need to maybe do a little better job on the feedback, and then just us communicating the adjustments there. We took off, had clean air and the car was just too loose. I couldn’t load the rear tires, and we were just hanging on. That run was obviously really bad – we fell from first to seventh. We just had to work our way up from there. Proud of the effort. Getting a top five is great. The No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy was really good today. Definitely needed some more, but we’re having speed at all different kinds of tracks. In our history, this hasn’t been our best track. We came with something a little bit different to try and help that. I think it did for the majority of the race, but just got too loose.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 5th: “Our car was really fast. Long run was pretty good. I’m proud of this FedEx team for bringing me a car capable of winning today, but sometimes you can’t get those last few spots. It is what it is. We will work hard and try to get better.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 8th: “We had a good recovery. Had top five in the first stage, had a pit road issue, and we recovered from that. Solid top-10 day — drove back through. We’re not far off here. Just looking for a little more, and I felt like we were pretty close. Excited about that, proud of our day – especially Chris (Buescher) running well. Just a strong showing. It was just a big day for us. We’re just grinding. The whole company is just grinding and committed to taking us to the next level to get both these cars in the playoffs.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 9th: “It was a solid day. I’m really proud of our group. This Fastenal Mustang had good speed in it all day – probably fifth to 10th is probably where we were going to be. Ended up ninth with the late restart and had a lap-down car racing us pretty hard. Jacked us up there, but at the end of the day it was solid. Everyone did a good job on pit road, kept track position, worked hard on-track, and it’s a solid one. Just wanted to be a little more free on that last race restart to see if we could drive forward a little bit more, but it was good to stay up there all day and in contention. This was a really good day. Especially when it’s eight or nine cars on the lead lap at the end. We stayed in it that whole time. That’s strong. I think this was about the time we hit our stride last year. I feel like we’ve had a little bit of a stronger start to the season, but not always had the results. But we have speed, and we were able to work steadily today and be solid. We got the result we deserve and worked for.”

Josh Berry — Finished 10th: “Happy to get another top 10. I think it was a really solid day for the No. 48 Ally Chevy team. We needed a little bit more there to be a little bit better, but overall with the amount of experience I have in Cup cars, I feel like to run about where we did was really solid. Just proud of Blake (Harris, crew chief) and everybody on this team for a great job.”

Erik Jones — Finished 16th: “It’s a good day for our No. 43 Allegiant Chevy, you know, we were kind of back and forth on the balance throughout the day just trying to get some stuff better, but we came a long way from where we were in practice. Obviously, we were pretty off there from when we unloaded, but we got quite a bit better, quite a bit closer, but we just needed to get the balance. We missed one run and kind of got mired back and lost a lap, so we couldn’t really come back from it that late in the race. We’ll take it, move on and learn from it, and take it to Kansas next week!”

Austin Cindric — Finished 20th: “I definitely learned a lot today in the Menards/Great Stuff Ford Mustang. I feel like I could come back here tomorrow and make some good decisions. I got really loose during one of the early runs and went a lap down and just got trapped there. I felt like we had a car that could run in the top 10 at times, if not the majority of the race. I just got trapped and could never make it back up. We also had an issue on our green flag stop to end it. We’ll regroup and head to Kansas.”

Justin Haley — Finished 23rd: “We showed a lot of promise early on in our No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1. We fired off so well and had a ton of speed. Unfortunately, as the track built up rubber and I got in dirty air, we just couldn’t find the grip we needed. The first five laps on tires we would be so good, but then we would lose grip and get super-free. By the end of the race I felt like we had improved and learned so much — we just couldn’t get the track position back. We will keep focusing to get back where we need to be starting next week in Kansas.”

Joey Logano — Finished 31st: “There was fire, so something broke. Something broke a long time ago, like halfway through the race. We were so slow and the car wouldn’t turn. Whatever it was, it finally broke.”

Brennan Poole — Finished 33rd: “I’m not exactly sure, but I feel like I just got ran over. As soon as he ran into me, I just kind of got shoved into the corner, like way too deep, and then I was just immediately turned around. So, I think it was the No. 1? Go figure. I mean, just a joke… 80-something laps into a race? No reason. I was side-by-side with the No. 3 (Austin Dillon), just got to the outside and it’s not like I can go anywhere or give him any more room than what I had. He just ran me over. So it’s kind of pathetic. I don’t know. It seems to be something he does a lot recently. Just uncalled for. It was my first time in a new Cup car, and 80 laps out… for what? I really wasn’t using a lot of brake at all. You’re kind of just rolling out of the gas. Maybe if you came in a little too hot in dirty air you would brake, but no. I just drove in side-by-side with No. 3, rolled out of the gas and just got ran over. It may have even been before I needed to roll out of the gas. I don’t know. I’ll have to look at the replay. I just feel like it’s not necessary. It just kind of sucks to tear up a car when you’re getting an opportunity to be here on Sunday. I’m grateful for this opportunity, grateful to be here. I got another shot next week to go prove myself again, and hopefully it turns into more.”

Noah Gragson — Finished 34th: “I don’t know what happened. I tried to get to the top and search for clean air. It was a mistake on my part. The air was tricky in the back of the pack. It was tight and it got loose. I don’t know, I need to go back and look at it. It’s just been a disappointing year overall. I’m thankful for all of the guys’ efforts on our No. 42 Legacy Motor Club team. We’ll take our Sunseeker Resorts Chevy off to Kansas next week and move on from here.”

Daniel Suarez — Finished 35th: “The conditions were perfect. I don’t think it had anything to do with the track. The track was good, the car was really good. For how quick I lost the car, I think I had a tire going down or something because it happened instantly. My car wasn’t loose, and I didn’t have a warning or anything. It’s unfortunate to be out of the race this early at a race track that we normally run very well at.”