Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Kevin Harvick is nice look at 16/1 to win at Talladega



Talladega Advance

No. 4 Busch Light #Hunt4Busch Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview


● Event:  YellaWood 500 (Round 31 of 36)

● Time/Date:  2 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 3

● Location:  Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway

● Layout:  2.66-mile oval

● Laps/Miles:  188 laps/500 miles

● Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 60 laps / Final Stage: 68 laps

● TV/Radio:  NBC / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


●  With summer in the rearview mirror and fall now upon us, hunting season has commenced. Busch Light has geared up accordingly to create a hunt of its own this Sunday during the YellaWood 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway with Kevin Harvick leading the way. The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and winner of 58 Cup Series races is, of course, dressed appropriately. Harvick’s No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang rolls into Talladega carrying a sportsman theme, with blaze orange signifying Busch Light’s #Hunt4Busch challenge. Fans can win up to $1,000 in beer money in each stage of the race by logging onto their Twitter feed, following @BuschBeer, and turning on their notifications. At the beginning of each stage, Busch Light will provide different targets for fans to hunt while watching the race live on NBC, and all fans have to do is tweet #Hunt4Busch and #Sweepstakes when they spot one of the targets. It’s the only way to bag some bucks from the comfort of your couch.


●  Harvick comes into Talladega on a four-race top-10 streak, a run punctuated by a strong second-place drive Sept. 18 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway where he led three times for 71 laps. Before finishing second at Bristol, Harvick finished eighth Sept. 11 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway and fifth Sept. 4 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. In his most recent outing last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Harvick came home ninth. He has finished among the top-15 in the last 10 races, a streak that began July 11 with an 11th-place result at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


●  Harvick has scored 20 top-10s in the 30 races run this season, third-most among NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Only Kyle Larson (22 top-10s) and Denny Hamlin (21 top-10s) are ahead of Harvick in this category.


●  Harvick is currently 10th in the NASCAR Playoff standings, seven points below the cutline with only two races remaining before the current 12-driver playoff field is whittled down to eight. Harvick is in the midst of his 12th consecutive playoff appearance and his 15th overall. He has advanced into the Round of 12 in all eight editions of the current playoff format. Coming into this season, he had advanced all the way to the Round of 8 since 2014, and five times he’s competed in the Championship 4, winning the title in 2014.


●  The driver of the No. 4 Busch Light #Hunt4Busch Ford Mustang finished fourth in his last outing at Talladega in April. Harvick led three times for 12 laps to increase his laps-led total at the 2.66-mile oval to 276. It was his eighth top-five and 17th top-10 in 41 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.


●  Harvick’s eight top-fives at Talladega tie him with Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano for the second-most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Hamlin stands at the top of this category with nine top-fives at Talladega.


●  Harvick’s 17 top-10s at Talladega are the second-most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Only Busch has more (21 top-10s).


●  Among those stats is a lone win at Talladega. Harvick came out the victor in a dogfight of a NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega on April 25, 2010. There were an incredible 88 lead changes in the 200-lap race around the 2.66-mile oval and three massive accidents that collected a total of 24 cars. Harvick kept his car intact throughout each bout of calamity and despite leading only two laps, the second lap led was the one that counted most. Harvick got underneath race-leader Jamie McMurray in the track’s tri-oval to sweep past McMurray and take the win by just .011 of a second. It was just the 12th of Harvick’s 58 career Cup Series wins.


●  In addition to his 41 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega, Harvick has eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, with a best result of second in April 2006.


●  At Talladega in October 2008, Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) enjoyed one of its most dominant days ever. The team qualified 1-2-3-4 for the first time in its history. SHR drivers then led 155 of the race’s 193 laps (80.3 percent), including the last lap by Aric Almirola, who delivered SHR’s milestone 50th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory and the organization’s 11th win of 2018.


Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light #Hunt4Busch Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


Describe the intensity of racing at Talladega.

“You have to be aggressive just for the fact that if you’re not aggressive, it always seems like you’re not going to be where you need to be. Nine times out of 10, the aggressor is going to be the guy who comes out on the good side of things just for the fact that you’re making things happen and you’re not waiting for something else to happen. When you wait for something else to happen, that’s usually when you get in trouble because it’s usually someone else’s mess. You can still get in trouble if you’re aggressive, but with this rules package and the way things are, it’s best to stay aggressive and try to stay up front.”


Blocking seems to be a necessary evil at Talladega. What’s your take?

“I don’t like blocking, but it’s a necessity. Blocking is something that has evolved over the years as people have figured out trying to time the runs, and people have figured out when you can block and when you can’t. It’s just a matter of putting yourself in a position where you think you’re making the right move, and sometimes you make the wrong move. It’s just a game of inches. It just really is a high-speed chess match that you have at 200 mph – and this week will be absolutely no different. There will be a big crash. There will be mistakes made. There will be pit errors made. There will be strategy played. But I can promise you we’re all going to race in a pack – and that’s the way Talladega should be.”


What are your expectations for Talladega?

“For me, it’s been a destruction derby over the last couple of years. We’ve run really well at Talladega, but that’s just kind of the phases you go through when you go to Talladega. I’m doing worse than 50-50 on whether you crash or finish the last few years, but it’s one of those places where you want to race up front and race hard all day because you have to try to win stages. I believe you have better odds at the front of the pack when it comes to staying out of a wreck if you can keep that track position all day. You’re going to race in a pack – three-wide at times – and you’re going to get pushed and have to push at times. You just never know what’s going to happen because Talladega is its own animal. It’s hard to finish a race there. As we’ve seen over the past however many years, you try to put yourself in the right position and hope you have a little bit of luck on your side that particular day. I know our Busch Light Ford Mustang will be fast enough to contend for the win, but you just have to get to the finish.”


Talladega and its sister track, Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, are often mentioned in the same breath, but there are differences between the two venues. What are they?

“Talladega is a lot bigger. It’s a lot wider. The track itself is bigger. The shape of Talladega is different than Daytona because of the track being wider and the way the tri-oval is shaped. The start-finish line is almost all the way down into turn one, which seems to change some of the outcomes of the finishes because you have to go all the way down the front straightaway before you get to the finish line. Talladega’s tri-oval is a little bit different than Daytona’s. That bottom groove has a little less banking than the rest of the racetrack, so it’s almost like you’re dipping down into a hole. Sometimes you see guys get loose down into the tri-oval and spin out, so it ends up being where some of the wrecks are caused. It’s really hard to push through that tri-oval, especially as you’re heading down into that bottom lane. It’s tough to know exactly where you need to be at the end of the race. I’ve only won one of them there. In that particular race, we were tandem racing and I was second coming into the tri-oval and was able to get past Jamie McMurray. But I would still rather be leading and in control. It’s a chess match all day. You have to have a little bit of luck on your side, but you can also put yourself in a good position by making the right moves, having a good day on pit road, and not making any mistakes.”

Denny Hamlin is 11/1 to win YellaWood 500 at Talladega

Denny Hamlin

11 FedEx Express Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Sunday Race Info:

Race: YellaWood 500
Date/Time: Sunday, Oct. 3/2:00 p.m. ET
Distance: 188 laps/500.08 miles
Track Shape: Tri-Oval
Track Length: 2.66 Miles
Banking: 33 degrees

Express Notes:

Press Kit: Download the 2021 FedEx Racing press materials at, including bios for Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart and Joe Gibbs Racing leadership, program highlights and statistics.

Las Vegas Recap: Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team scored their second win of the Playoffs and claimed their spot in the Round of 8 with a dominant win Sunday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hamlin led more than half of the race and claimed the Stage 2 win before pulling away in Stage 3 to lead the race’s final 39 laps. Crew chief Chris Gabehart and the #11 team got the FedEx Office Toyota handling better and better as the race wore on, and the pit crew gained Hamlin positions on pit road with fast stops as well. The win is Hamlin’s first at the 1.5-mile Nevada oval and his second of the 2021 season.

Talladega Preview: Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team now head into the more precarious Round of 12 races at Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval knowing they’ve already advanced to the next round. First up is the 2.66-mile superspeedway at Talladega on Sunday. In 31 career starts at the tri-oval track, Hamlin has recorded two wins and nine top-5 finishes, including a win at the fall race one year ago.

Hamlin Statistics:

Track: Talladega Superspeedway

Races: 31
Wins: 2
Poles: 0
Top-5: 9
Top-10: 13
Laps Led: 389
Avg. Start: 16.4
Avg. Finish: 17.2

Hamlin Conversation – Talladega:

Do you feel a sense of relief to know you’re already moving into the Round of 8?

“Definitely. Especially with the rest of this crazy round coming up. Talladega and the Roval are places where you don’t always have control over your own result, so it’s good to know we don’t have to worry about what might happen these next two weeks.”

Do you consider Kyle Larson your biggest competition in winning a title?

“We are our own competition. As long as we don’t make mistakes, we’re going to be OK. When we have clean races and don’t make any mistakes, we’re contending for race wins. We can’t really focus on one guy. I have to focus on the process that gives me a chance to race for a win. I just want an opportunity to go to Phoenix and have a chance.”

FedEx Express Along for the Ride at Talladega: Two Category 4 hurricanes just five weeks apart in September/October 2020 decimated Lake Charles, La., including the LCHA station. Despite catastrophic losses, station employees rallied as a team to provide humanitarian relief to the community while operating out of a makeshift trailer with limited connectivity. Fast forward to 2021, Lake Charles and surrounding communities once again were hit with two hurricanes just weeks apart, including another Category 4. Once again, the LCHA team responded by providing support and relief to the communities of Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Supporting the communities where they live and work epitomizes the FedEx culture value of CARING and is why FedEx Express is proud to honor its Lake Charles employees by featuring the letters LCHA on the B-post of the FedEx #11 at Talladega Superspeedway’s YellaWood 500.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Kevin Harvick is 10/1 to win 2021 South Point 400



Las Vegas Advance

No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview


● Event:  South Point 400 (Round 30 of 36)

● Time/Date:  7 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 26

● Location:  Las Vegas Motor Speedway

● Layout:  1.5-mile oval

● Laps/Miles:  267 laps/400.5 miles

● Stage Lengths:  Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 107 laps

● TV/Radio:  NBCSN / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


●  Subway® restaurants has joined with Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to put its Eat Fresh Refresh™ on the fast track by becoming a primary sponsor of the championship-winning NASCAR Cup Series team. The world’s largest quick-service restaurant brand is leveraging the partnership to highlight Subway Delivery powered by DoorDash, which allows guests to order their Subway favorites via the Subway app or on Guests can earn and redeem Subway MyWay® Rewards points on Subway delivery orders as well. In conjunction with Harvick being in the NASCAR Playoffs, Subway ha a $0 Delivery fee on all Subway Delivery orders plus a 15 percent discount on a footlong for a limited time when using promo code KEVIN15. Subway will return as the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Ford Mustang for the Oct. 24 race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Subway will also serve as a major associate sponsor of the No. 4 car Oct. 10 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval, Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Oct. 31 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.


●  While the NASCAR Playoffs have been in existence since 2004, it wasn’t until 2014 that rounds were added, with three separate cuts whittling down the 16-driver field during the 10-race playoffs. After the first three playoff races, the four lowest drivers in points get eliminated. Then, after the next three races, only the top-eight drivers move on. Three more races follow, with only the top-four drivers advancing to the Championship 4 where they compete in a winner-take-all title match in the season finale. Harvick is in the midst of his 12th consecutive playoff appearance and his 15th overall. He has now advanced out of the Round of 16 in all eight editions of the current playoff format. Coming into this season, he had advanced all the way to the Round of 8 since 2014, and five times he’s competed in the Championship 4, winning the NASCAR Cup Series title in 2014.


●  Harvick comes into Las Vegas on a three-race top-10 streak, a run punctuated by a strong second-place drive last Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway where he led three times for 71 laps. Before finishing second at Bristol, Harvick finished eighth Sept. 11 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway and fifth Sept. 4 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Harvick has finished among the top-15 in the last nine races, a streak that began July 11 with an 11th-place result at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


●  Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has finished among the top-10 in seven of the 11 NASCAR Cup Series races contested at Las Vegas. In that span, Harvick has led 621 laps and won twice – March 2015 and March 2018


●  Harvick’s win at Las Vegas in March 2018 was his 100th career victory across NASCAR’s top-three national touring series – Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck. He has since scored 19 more Cup wins to bring his tally to 119 total victories – 58 in Cup, 47 in Xfinity and 14 in Truck. Only three other drivers in NASCAR history have surpassed 100 wins across NASCAR’s top-three series: Kyle Busch (222 wins), Richard Petty (200 wins) and David Pearson (106 wins).


●  Harvick has a total of 12 top-10s at Las Vegas, the most of any active NASCAR Cup Series driver. Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are next best with 11 top-10s apiece.


●  Harvick has made 11 starts in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas. He has two wins, six top-fives and seven top-10s. His first Xfinity Series win came in 2004 when he started 11th and led 14 laps. His second triumph came in 2010 when he started second and led 82 laps.


●  Harvick has made three Truck Series starts at Las Vegas, earning two top-10s with a best finish of eighth in 1997.


Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


You’ve won at Las Vegas twice and have finished among the top-10 there seven times since joining SHR in 2014. What do you need to be quick at Las Vegas?

“Las Vegas has a lot of tire fall off, so it’ll be important to have a good-handling Subway Delivery Ford Mustang. It’s also a track where you’re constantly moving around trying to find the right grip.”


You advanced to the Round of 12 for the eighth straight time. What do you need to do in theses next three races to advance to the Round of 8?

“Right now, we’re just taking it one week at a time. That’s really the best way to go about it, and see where it all falls in the end.”


Does the intensity of the racing increase after each playoff round?

“For us, there’s no intensity dialed up. It’s exactly the same as it would be for the first race of the season, the second race, the third race. We try to approach things the same way, whether we’re running well or running badly, and whether or not it’s a cutoff race. You try to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s and control all the things that you can control, perform at a high level and do the things that you know how to do, whether it’s me in the car or Rodney (Childers, crew chief) on the pit box or everybody around us, it just takes the execution of a complete race. Our team has done a great job of that all year. Obviously, our cars have not performed to the level that we’d have liked them to perform, but we’ve been getting the finishes that we have and keeping ourselves around. We just keep plugging away and keep trying to reach out and do what we can by getting good finishes and not making any mistakes. That’s really what it boils down to this time of year. It doesn’t matter how you get there, it just matters if you advance or you don’t advance, and a lot of times it comes by controlling the things that you can control.”


You were very consistent throughout the regular season and that has continued into the playoffs. How important is it to maintain that consistency?

“We’ve gone about this a number of different ways throughout the years. We’ve pointed our way through and we’ve won our way through when our backs were against the wall. You’ve got to take what each race will give you, and there’s no way you can force things. That’s where a lot of people get themselves in trouble – when they start trying to do things outside their comfort zone of where their car is that particular day. Some days you have what you have and you need to get that finish with your car, and if you do that, usually you finish better than probably you would have otherwise. Las Vegas is no different. We’ll just have to go out there and grind away and see where we end up.”


Kyle Busch is +650 to win 2021 South Point 400



Home is Where the Trophy Is


HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Sept. 21, 2021) – Kyle Busch’s return to his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend could go a long way in determining his NASCAR Cup Series playoff chances when the Round of 12 kicks off Sunday.


The driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) heads to the 1.5-mile desert oval fifth in the playoff standings, and with the unpredictable Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval set to close out the Round of 12, the Las Vegas native wants to get off to a strong start to the round with a solid finish Sunday.


Aside from NASCAR’s biggest events like the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a win at the hometown racetrack is always high on the priority list for most NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Busch crossed that all-important hometown win off his list when he won in just his fifth Las Vegas Cup Series start in 2009.


The 2002 honors graduate of Durango High School in Las Vegas qualified on the pole that weekend but was forced to start at the rear of the field because his team needed to change engines during Friday practice. Unfazed, Busch remained patient on race day as he and the M&M’S team worked their way to the front of the field by the 54th lap. He went on to lead three times for 51 laps en route to claiming what he called at the time the biggest win of his young career.


This weekend, he would like nothing more than to double his number of Cup Series wins at Las Vegas to go with that emotional first hometown win.


While Busch added 2016 and 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins at Las Vegas to go with three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins in a row there from 2018 to 2020, he already was no stranger to winning on Las Vegas Motor Speedway property. From 1999 to 2001, he earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars while racking up two track championships at the facility’s “Bullring,” which existed for several years before the NASCAR oval was built. When .Busch moved up to Late Model stock cars, his winning ways continued with 10 victories at the Bullring in 2001.


Along with the familiar primary colors of M&M’S, the Henderson, Nevada-based Ethel M Chocolates brand will have its logo on the No. 18 Toyota’s decklid and front quarterpanels this weekend. The brand was primary sponsor of a car for the first time ever during the March Las Vegas race. Ethel M Chocolates is a marquis offering, manufactured by Mars Wrigley North America and dedicated to creating premium chocolates with fresh ingredients and no artificial preservatives. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Ethel M Chocolates, a momentous milestone for the brand.


So as Busch returns to Las Vegas this weekend, he hopes the he can turn a trip back home into a trip back to a victory lane. As the saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” And for Busch, home is where the trophy is, along with an automatic ticket into the Round of 8 of this year’s Cup Series playoffs.


KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

Is there more pressure to go out there and win at your hometown track than anywhere else?


“I used to put more stress on myself to win there, no doubt. I never knew if winning there would happen for me and it’s neat I’ve been able to win in all three series at Vegas. There is stress going into those events. For myself, I was able to get that done in 2009 there at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to get into victory lane. That felt good. To be able to go back there years after and go out there and race, and not have to worry about the stress of winning that race, you still want to win. We want to win every single one of them. That’s a fact. Overall, when you come into your hometown, and we watched this place get built from nothing, it means that extra more to you and it would be great if we could get back to victory lane this weekend with our M&M’S Camry.”


What was it like to bring home a Cup Series win in your hometown in 2009?


“It was cool. To go out there and to run a smooth race and to have a shot at winning at the end of the race, that’s what it’s all about. I watched Vegas being built from the ground up, and I remember when it wasn’t anything but a gleam in the eye of Richie Clyne (founder of Las Vegas Motor Speedway) – all those guys who made that place happen.”


What’s changed to make Las Vegas grow into a real sports town?


“I think it’s definitely grown into that more and more over the years. When I was a kid there, I always kind of wondered why we didn’t have a professional team of any kind. You know, whether it would be hockey or basketball or baseball or football, but it’s becoming a sports town more and more, which is good. There are a lot of stars in all kinds of sports who come from our town with (Bryce) Harper, myself and Kurt (Busch), some other, younger, up-and-coming drivers, as well, like Noah (Gragson), and such. It’s nice to have an opportunity to have that place to be able to go play if you can make it to the hometown team and be a star in that series, that league. The Golden Knights are really big in town, now, and I’m sure there’s a lot of buzz having the NFL there, now, with the Raiders, as well.”


With the Round of 12 having two wild-card races at Talladega and the Charlotte Roval, how important is it to get off to a good start in Las Vegas this weekend?


“I think everyone heads to Las Vegas putting a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure they run well in that event because they know what the next two race have in store for them. If you asked any crew chief what race are they are most focused on in that round, they would all tell you Vegas to try and have a good race. With having that much focus on that race, it’s going to make that one tough, as well. You just go out there and do the best you can do. We ended up throwing a bit of a Hail Mary at the Roval and it ended up costing us a bit, so that’s just the unfortunate nature of those two races being in the round together, and we certainly want to get off to a strong start at Vegas with our M&M’S Camry. We’ll have our friends at Ethel M with their logos on our car, as well. They are located right there in Henderson and we are hoping to give them a great run.”


What is your fondest racing memory of growing up in Las Vegas?


“My fondest racing memory is probably my first Late Model race. I started about eighth or 10th and ended up winning it. My first-ever start, I won. So that is definitely a great memory to have.”



Event Overview:

● Event: South Point 400

● Time/Date: 7 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 26

● Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

● Layout: 1.5-mile oval

● Laps/Miles: 267 laps, 400.5 miles

● Format: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 80 laps / Final Stage: 107 laps

● TV/Radio: NBCSN/ MRN/ SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Hendrick Motorsports driver quotes for Las Vegas

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to Las Vegas: “It’s nice going back to a track we’ve won at before. We were really good at Vegas earlier this year, so definitely excited to go back and hoping we have similar speed. The temperature will be much warmer this weekend, so that changes things but our team has been really good at adapting to every situation this year. Hopefully, we can prepare well and have another good car and battle for the win.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on hotter temperatures compared to March: “It definitely presents a lot of challenges – from the ambient air temperature to the track temperature, and the pace is going to be slower and (tire) fall off is going to be higher. We’re taking all that into consideration and hope we make the right decisions to have a good car – not only for speed but longer into a run when grip is lacking.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to Las Vegas: “We haven’t had the best results at Las Vegas. The good thing is I feel like we have been fast out there at times. That’s the frustrating thing. Terrible results. I feel like every time I leave out there I’m mad and ready to go home, but I’m looking forward to this trip. Vegas is a place that I don’t have any ill will toward and again, I feel like we have had pace there. We have just really struggled to get the results. Hopefully, this time is a little different. It would be nice to get a win out there. That would be even better.”

Elliott on not looking ahead to next race or round in playoffs: “Ideally, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to win that last race. You’d love to win the first one of every round. Maybe the first one and the last one of that round. I think the big thing is not getting ahead of yourself. The way this format is it’s really easy to look ahead a round or set your sights down the road and I think that’s the worst thing you can do. This stuff is taken for granted, in my opinion. You could have two bad races and then the next thing you know you have to win that final race in the round. That’s just the way this format is, and I think we recognize that and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. For us, we take it a week at a time and enjoy those tough spots when they come.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on all four teammates advancing to the Round of 12: “I think everyone is super focused on running as best as we can and winning and transferring. What the No. 24 and No. 48 teams did was great, so to have more Hendrick Chevys in there and more opportunities to advance cars is what we’re going for, so it’s good.”

Gustafson on how the team is preparing for the different style tracks in the second round: “It’s a really tough round. We just have to perform every week. Every track is very different, so we have to be good across all three of those disciplines, which are quite a bit different. It’s rare to have a really good intermediate program and superspeedway program and a good road course program. I feel like we have that – we just have to bring the best cars possible and execute at the track. Stage points will be important. Certainly, everybody knows the volatility of Talladega, so you just want to make sure you get as much as you can in Vegas and as much as you can at the ROVAL. I think we can have success at Talladega but there’s just a lot of circumstances that can get us in trouble.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on how crucial Las Vegas is for the next round of the playoffs: "It’s a great feeling knowing that we had the performance we did in Bristol and were able to advance on. I knew this team was capable of it but to be able to execute it in a Game 7-style situation is even more impressive. Now we’re moving on and turning or focus to the next round. These upcoming tracks are ones that have always been good for us but they also can be wildcards in their own respective, especially Talladega (Superspeedway) and the Charlotte ROVAL. That’s why it’s even more important for us to go to Vegas, execute everything and maximize points. We don’t want to start this round off in a hole like we did the first round. Myself and Rudy (Fugle) would rather play offense through these next three races than have to worry on defending points. Vegas is crucial, in my mind, to determine how you play the rest of the round. Hopefully, we come out with a win and the only points that matter for the next two races are playoff points.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the momentum heading to Las Vegas: “We’re super excited to hit the reset button at this stage. Darlington put us behind and we didn’t have a good run at Richmond. It made Bristol way too stressful. I feel like Vegas is really good for us, and this whole round has tracks where we are fast and perform well. I’m really excited about getting a reset, getting a good start at Vegas, competing for a win and maybe not having to worry about the next two (races), so that would be great.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on moving on to the Round of 12: “Advancing to the Round of 12 was exactly what we needed to do going into the Bristol race. It is obvious we struggled in the first two races in the playoffs, but we went into Bristol with a strategy and Greg (Ives) and the team did a great job with adjustments throughout the race. We fought hard and coming out with a fifth-place finish was big for this Ally team. We want to take Ally as far as we can in these playoffs and putting races together like last weekend will do just that for us.”

Bowman on returning to Las Vegas for a playoff race: “Going to Vegas this weekend, it is a good track for the 48 team. We have seen success there in the past, and earlier this season we had a top-10, if not a top-five run going before we had a tire go down. Our mile-and-a-half program is strong and this Ally team has been working hard on our Chevrolets. This round of the playoffs has a lot of good tracks for us, so we are looking to have strong runs in the next three weeks.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on moving on to Las Vegas with momentum: “Whether it’s a great week or a bad week, you try to look at each week as a new start and have realistic goals in mind. A realistic goal for us at Las Vegas is a win. There are some places you go and try to get top five in stages and then come out with a good finish. With Vegas, I feel like we got great race cars capable of going out there and scoring a lot of stage points and getting the win. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we have teammates who have the same thing. We just got to go out there and execute to the best of our abilities and take advantage when we can. Whether it’s a restart or on pit road or short runs or long runs. We just got to stay focused on that. I feel like we’re capable of winning at any racetrack, but there’s a lot of confidence going back to Vegas.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Denny Hamlin is 4/1 to win 2021 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond

Denny Hamlin

11 FedEx Ground Toyota
Joe Gibbs Racing

Saturday Race Info:

Race: Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders
Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 11/7:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 400 laps/300 miles
Track Length: .75 mile
Track Shape: Oval

Express Notes:

Darlington Recap:
Denny Hamlin kicked off the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with a win Sunday night at Darlington Raceway – his first of the season. Hamlin battled Kyle Larson for much of the event on the historic oval, but the driver of the #11 held off a late-charging Larson on the final lap of the race to bring home his third Southern 500 trophy. The win punched Hamlin’s ticket to the Round of 12 of the Playoffs, with two more races remaining in the opening Round of 16.

Richmond Preview: Race #2 of the Round of 16 takes Hamlin to his hometown track of Richmond Raceway, a three-quarter-mile oval where the Chesterfield, Va., native owns three wins in 29 Cup starts. The FedEx Ground Toyota team performed well at the track in April, starting and finishing the race in second. Saturday night’s race falls on a somber anniversary – the 20-year mark since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In commemoration, the 300-mile race has been specially named the Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders.

Hamlin Statistics:
Track: Richmond Raceway
Races: 29
Wins: 3
Poles: 3
Top-5: 14
Top-10: 18
Laps Led: 1,911
Avg. Start: 9.7
Avg. Finish: 9.0

Hamlin Conversation – Richmond:

Does having one win already in the Round of 16 change the way you approach the rest of the round?

“We want to win these next two races, too. We’re not going to take these next two weeks off. We want to keep this momentum going. That way, when we get to the treacherous second round, we’re ready and we’re in Playoff form.”

Do you remember where you were on the day of the 9/11 attacks?

“I was putting the exhaust on my new late-model car that my parents spent every dollar they had on, and tragedy struck, and we all were glued to the TV for the next eight hours. It was certainly a defining moment in our country. We don’t take lightly everything that happened, and we have such an appreciation for all the first responders who went to the scene and especially for those who never went home again.”

FedEx Ground Along For The Ride: The SCAL district’s focus on “Safety Above All” lands them a placement on the B-post of the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota race car during the Sept. 11 Richmond Raceway race.

FedEx Office – Closest to Richmond Raceway: 1111 E Main St, Richmond, VA (804) 783-9880

Hendrick Motorsports driver quotes for Richmond

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the spring Richmond race: “Richmond was really the only bad race from start-to-finish we’ve had this year. I know we’ll be better this time around because we learned a lot. Alex (Bowman) won there and we have their notes, but we learned a lot even from how we ran in the spring.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on confidence level heading into Richmond following the race earlier this season: “We were absolutely terrible in the spring. Once we were able to compare notes (with other Hendrick Motorsports teams) it made sense – we know where we were weak and need to get better. We’re very fortunate to have the success of the 48 (team) and their baseline.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on 9/11: “Sept. 11 is always a day that I think sticks out to any American. I don’t think you could ever just ignore that or act like it’s just any other day. That’s a major tragic event in our history and one that we’re all going to live with for the rest of our time. Our sport is patriotic, but just being an American, you could never forget about that.”

Elliott on the challenges of the playoff format: “It’s a cutthroat 10 weeks. Unfortunately, the more the rounds go on you just can’t have poor races. A lot of times having a poor race doesn’t mean you did a bad job or you weren’t fast, it just means something didn’t go your way. Unfortunately, that could be the end of your season. Do I necessarily agree with that all the time? No, but at the same time we had 26 weeks to win races and to accumulate playoff points. The more of those you accumulate, you’re hedging your bet to make it further in the round. That’s the best thing you can do, try and build that buffer and get those points and get yourself in a better position to where if you do have a bad day you can still recover.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on if a specific playoff round matches up best for the No. 9 team: “There’s not one round that stands out to me. You could go to any of the races and have a problem or issue and have a terrible points day and then start significantly worse than you expected for the next race, like Darlington for us. All of those things can happen at any point in time, so you are always apprehensive and a bit nervous. But, at the same time, I have a lot of confidence in what we can do. We should be on the attack mode not conserve mode. I feel good about it, but I certainly respect all of the tracks and all the potential hurdles that they all have. I think we can compete well at any one of them and win at any one of them and that’s what we are going to try to do. At the same time, we certainly understand that you’ve got to be at your best form and really super prepared because at a moment's notice anything can happen that puts you in a bad spot.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Richmond: “Richmond has always been a challenging track for me. The track already has very low grip and making sure the tires last during a long run is key. The surface resembles Atlanta (Motor Speedway) but has characteristics of Phoenix (Raceway). I feel like every time I’ve run there that I’ve learned a bit more and improved each time. With Darlington not going the way we hoped, we will need to really execute this weekend and maximize whatever situation we are in to set us up for Bristol and advancing on through the playoffs.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on rebounding for race two of the Round of 16:
“Obviously, this isn’t the position we want to be in this weekend on the outside looking in, but we’re also are by no means out of the hunt, either. The No. 24 team has the speed capable of winning and I think we’ve done a good job of showing that, especially lately. Unfortunately, we’ve just been wrong place wrong time the last couple weeks. We’ve already put that behind us, though, and moved on to the next task at hand – Richmond. We had a top-10 car there earlier this season and the guys are putting in extra hours this week to make sure we bring a rocket to the track for Saturday night. This isn’t a must-win situation, but we’re going to execute what we need to maximize on our results.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to Richmond after winning there in April: “Going back to Richmond is something to look forward to this week. Richmond is a track where our No. 48 team feels really strong at, and we are bringing the same car from earlier this year when we ended up in victory lane. After last week, we need to rebound and capitalize on a good night on Saturday. There’s not a lot of comfort going forward the next two weeks, but we are going to two places we know we can be strong at and have good runs.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 team, on chassis for Richmond: “It is going to be the same car and same chassis but obviously different things that you’re able to do, either to make it better or in NASCAR’s world, you’re able to regulate or put a little more sight and difficulties on you. Whatever that scenario is, whether it’s true or false or to allow other guys to get their cars get better, you have to keep up with it. That’s ultimately the goal – to bring a better race car and try not to reinvent the wheel. For the most part, the general setup is going to be very close. Just trying to fine tune and then make things a little bit better.”

Ives on how quickly the playoff rankings can change: “You got to look at history, right? The biggest factor I see (are) the unknowns. Putting yourself in a bad situation and then hurting yourself. You kind of look at the history of last year’s playoffs and we scored the second-most points in the playoffs. We didn’t go to the final four but, in the end, it calls for a really good run and the 4 team there with Kevin Harvick, they had how many wins last year? Eight wins and a lot of points and they got themselves in a bad spot and wasn’t able to transfer to the final four. It definitely is a tough grind and tough season, but then you add on the quickness of a reset and going to probably one of the toughest racetracks (Darlington) to either get the handling right (or) the toughness on the teams from a pit standpoint (or) the ease of getting damage to the car and putting yourself in a bad situation with the wreck. It’s a tough place to start out, for sure, and you have to be pretty flawless. If not, you got to learn how to overcome dramatically. Unfortunately, that’s what we have to do – overcome a really bad situation.”


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Hendrick Motorsports driver quotes for 2021 Southern 500

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on Darlington and the start of the playoffs: “This is the best opportunity I’ve had to win a championship. There’s nothing easy about Darlington. It’s tough because we run so close to the wall and it’s so tough getting to pit road. It’s a crown jewel that we all want to win, and it means even more since it starts off the playoffs.”

Cliff Daniels, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on point standings affecting race strategy: “I have not looked at points (during the races) all year – I did not look at the points even once (last) Saturday night at Daytona. If we do our jobs correctly, the points should take care of themselves.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on working with kids from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on DESI9N TO DRIVE: “The program is a really big deal to me, personally. I don’t think all of these kids watch NASCAR every weekend, so we have that opportunity to introduce some of them to it and allow their ideas and designs to come to life. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about to me. It’s about giving them some excitement, something to look forward to whether they watch racing or not. It doesn’t matter. If it gives them three hours of excitement or five minutes of excitement, that is a win, in my opinion. Obviously, the proceeds of the auction items benefit Children’s, which is bettering their program. It’s all for a great cause. For the kids specifically, it’s just about their imagination and ideas coming to life.”

Elliott on kicking off the playoffs at Darlington: “We are super excited for Darlington this weekend. These next three weeks are exciting races. Three, I feel like, really cool racetracks with fun environments for us. It’s getting to be that time of year. Fall is an exciting time of year for a lot of things around sports and our season is getting down to it, as well. We are just excited to get going. It’s hard to believe we are 26 weeks in. It doesn’t really seem like it, but here we are starting another playoffs and heading into the final 10 of the year. It goes by fast, but over two months of racing is still a long time. They will click off and you’ll get in certain moments that you might like, some you might not like, and we’ll make the most of them all.”

Elliott on crew chief Alan Gustafson: “He has really seen a lot through his career and I feel like people sometimes don’t realize that and how much experience he does have. I am certainly thankful for that. He does a fantastic job with just keeping our team super levelheaded and really just riding the waves, both the ups and the downs, kind of with the same mentality. He does a great job of not only exemplifying that but making sure the rest of us understand that that’s important, too.”

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on making his 600th Cup start as a crew chief: “That’s a lot of races. Surviving 600 races is a pretty big feat in itself. I’m certainly honored to be able to do what I do. I’ve been able to work with some great people and that’s the biggest thing that stands out to me – those relationships and working through, you know, like you mentioned, the ups and downs, the successes and the failures together. Overcoming that, the relationships you form – that, to me at this point of my career, is the sweetest thing about victory – is just being able to do that with people you care about and work with and see them enjoy it. That’s what really motivates me and fuels me and gets me excited. It’s crazy; it’s a big number, so I feel super fortunate. Hopefully, I can get quite a few more.”

Gustafson on the pressure of the playoffs: “It is a little daunting, but I really enjoy it. This time of the year, I enjoy that feeling or pressure, however you want to describe it, of the urgency and finality of if you don’t get it done. I like that. It’s something that I enjoy and feel like our team thrives in. We are ready to do it. The past is the past and all the talk about the future is really kind of pointless. It’s just doing what you have to do and that’s what we need to focus on. Focus on what we can control and if we do that, we will be in great shape.”

Gustafson’s mindset heading into 14th career playoffs: “My mind set is just to get the team and everybody operating at their maximum potential. You got to be operating at 100%. I feel we got the team, the car, the sponsors. We got what we need to do it; we just have to make sure that everybody is operating at their maximum ability. If we do that, I feel very confident that we can compete with anybody. That’s it and peaking at the right time and all those things you hear from Chase, that’s what it’s about. Just getting everything working to see what’s optimal. (We’re) trying to get that.”

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Darlington for the first race of the playoffs: “Darlington is a track that has a lot of character. I feel like you really have to drive your car to its limit all while understanding the grip and limit of your tires. You can’t exceed that level every lap. You have to stay within a certain limit. I think that is a factor at just about every track, but it’s really magnified at Darlington. Any time the drivers are challenged like they are at Darlington, it brings out the desire and passion within all of us. It just makes it that more intense when it’s kicking off the most intense part of our season with the playoffs. It’s definitely a cool race if you can win it track-wise but also because it sets the tone for how the next nine races go.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on what it will take to be successful in the playoffs: “Daytona was a tough one for us, just because we had a car that could have won and the extra playoff points would have been nice. Unfortunately, preparation doesn’t always equal results, but you can’t get results without the preparation. While we’ve been preparing every week like we’ve already started the playoffs, we’re resetting for the start of the Round of 16 this weekend. The playoffs are a long, hard-fought war, but it starts with small battles. Our team has had the speed all year; we just need to execute and put ourselves in the best position to keep moving forward and get through the rounds. Obviously, the goal is to make it to the final four at Phoenix, but we need to win the small battles along the way to ensure we get there. This team is fully capable of doing that and it starts this weekend at Darlington.”

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the momentum the team has going into Darlington: “Last year, we had some rough weeks during the summer but showed up in the playoffs strong each and every week. I believe we have the ability to repeat that and go further in the playoffs this year. Hendrick Motorsports has a lot of momentum right now as an organization and the No. 48 team is bringing some fast Ally Camaros to the track every week. Darlington is a place where we have had good results in the past, and I think it is one of three or four in the playoffs that suits our program."

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on bringing the energy from last season’s playoff run to this year: “I feel like having three wins in the first 26 races is definitely marked for a good season. You can check off some boxes like getting a win, getting a pole and making the playoffs. Obviously, there are a couple of races that we would want to take back and think we could have run better at. Most teams, if not all teams, find the one or two things that didn’t go right during certain races and focus on improving those going into the playoffs. We had a great playoff run last year and we are going to try to pull from that experience going into the playoffs this year.”

Ives’ thoughts on how the repave will affect Sunday’s race: “The repave at Darlington in turn two is going to provide some challenges for teams just because we don’t know how it will affect the tire wear. Going to a track that has been repaved typically doesn’t wear tires as much and has a tendency to run edgy free versus more of a slidable free. You also tend to run a little faster, for sure. It is going to be fun and exciting to figure out on Sunday. There are some things that we can look at doing differently as a team with the setup, but ultimately the teams and drivers that adapt quickly will be successful with it.”

Cole Custer is 300/1 to win 2021 Southern 500 at Darlington



Darlington Advance

No. 41 Demo Day Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing



Event Overview


● Event: Cook Out Southern 500 (Round 27 of 36)

● Time/Date: 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 5

● Location: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway

● Layout: 1.366-mile oval

● Laps/Miles: 367 laps/500 miles

● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 115 laps / Stage 2: 115 laps / Final Stage: 137 laps

● TV/Radio: NBCSN / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio


Notes of Interest


● Cole Custer and the No. 41 Demo Day Ford Mustang team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are bearing down for the final 10 races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season after their strong bid for a top-five finish last Saturday night at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway was foiled when Custer was caught in a multicar accident on the next-to-last restart of the race. Custer and the team left Daytona more determined than ever to lock down their first victory of the season during the home stretch, which begins with Sunday night’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.


● Appearing on Custer’s SHR Mustang for the first of two consecutive races Sunday night will be Haas Automation’s Demo Day in leadup to this year’s annual event held at the network of nine Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) locations throughout the country. Demo Day provides HFOs an opportunity to feature the latest CNC machines, innovations and technology from Haas Automation. HFOs will showcase machine cutting demonstrations, as well as educational seminars to explain how the latest Haas machines and options can make companies more efficient and profitable. Current Haas users, potential customers and anyone in the manufacturing industry are also invited to attend. To find the nearest HFO, and for more information, click here.


● Saturday’s 500-mile race will be Custer’s 66th Cup Series start and his and his fifth on the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. The reigning Cup Series Rookie of the Year’s 12th-place finish in the Southern 500 last September was the best of his three Darlington outings in 2020. In this year’s Southern 500 at Darlington in May, an accident during Stage 2 of the race ended his day prematurely.


● The native of Ladera Ranch, California, was credited with the victory in his most recent NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington in 2019 after finishing second the previous year and ninth in 2017, all behind the wheel of the No. 00 SHR Ford. In the 2019 race, he crossed the finish line .602 of a second behind the apparent race-winner Denny Hamlin. But Hamlin’s racecar was disqualified after a ride-height violation was discovered in postrace inspection, giving Custer his eighth of nine career Xfinity series victories. In the September 2018 Xfinity Series race at Darlington, Custer was runner-up to Brad Keselowski by .738 of a second.


● After last weekend’s 24th-place finish on the 2.5-mile Daytona oval, Custer arrives at Daytona 28th in the driver standings.


● Returning to Custer’s No. 41 Ford Mustang is team co-owner Gene Haas’ newest holding, Haas Tooling, which was launched as a way for CNC machinists to purchase high-quality cutting tools at great prices. Haas cutting tools are sold exclusively online at and shipped directly to end users. products became available nationally last July, and the cutting tools available for purchase at have proven to be even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as CNC machines have become vital to producing personal protective equipment. Haas Automation, founded by Haas in 1983, is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. The company manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are constructed in the company’s 1.1-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.


● September is Hunger Action Month, and SHR, its partner Wow Wow Classic Waffles, and Feeding America®, the largest hunger relief organization in the United States with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, are asking fans to think about their answer to a simple question: How will you choose to end hunger? Hunger Action Month is an annual campaign dedicated to driving awareness and inspiring action to help end hunger in America, both on a national scale and on the ground in local communities. It’s a time when the Feeding America network of food banks and the public come together to raise awareness and inspire action to help people facing impossible choices due to hunger. Fans are encouraged to visit the Hunger Action Month page via the Feeding America website to learn how they can take action through sharing, volunteering, pledging to advocate, fundraising and making a donation. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Custer and the No. 41 SHR Ford team have accumulated nearly 100 volunteer hours to date, working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in packing bags and helping with drop-off events at Charlotte-area schools.


● Fans can do their part by texting HUNGER to 50555 to make a $5 donation to Feeding America, by visiting the Feeding America donation page on Facebook, or the donation page via the Feeding America website. Each $1 donated helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.


Cole Custer, Driver of the No. 41 Demo Day Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing


Is there a race you’re looking forward to more than any of the others over these last 10 events of the season?

“I would say Darlington is one I’m looking forward to. It’s one of those races that every driver looks forward to because of the challenge behind it and how much you can do as a driver. There are so many different lanes you can work and you’re running right up against the wall. It’s just a driver’s racetrack and I feel there’s not one guy who doesn’t feel excited when they hear Darlington is coming up.”


How do you feel the team has progressed to this point, where you’re about to enter the home stretch of the season?

“There have been just so many things to work through this year that were a little unexpected, there were a lot of curveballs thrown against us. Everybody’s worked so hard to figure out what direction we need to go in. We’ve got more of an idea on what direction to go, it’s just a matter of fine-tuning that. I think we’re headed in the right direction, it’s just a matter of working the final details.”


What did it mean for you to be in the playoffs last year as a rookie?

“I think it meant the world. It was a great experience to see how everybody raced each other under tight circumstances. It was definitely a great experience and hopefully we can be right back in the thick of things next year. In the meantime, we’ll just work as hard as we can to build all the momentum we can through these final 10 races this year, maybe even pick up a win or two.”


Do you feel the playoffs are a good way to determine a champion?

“It’s how we play the game. I don’t know how else to say it. I think it generates a lot of excitement. I think it’s a lot like other sports where we have playoffs and I think it’s always been good. In all sports, you have times where the best team doesn’t win the whole thing, doesn’t win the championship. That happens in our sport, too. It’s just part of it. Our sport is a little bit unique because we do race at different tracks and things can happen. Some teams are better at certain tracks than others, but at the same time it’s the game you play. We have a playoff system and I think it’s been great for the sport in having a lot of excitement and you just have to make it happen those last 10 races.”