CHEVROLET NCS AT KANSAS 2: Post-Race Report

 Utilizing a two-tire pit strategy ahead of the overtime restart, Erik Jones drove his No. 43 Allegiant Camaro to the battle for the lead – ultimately taking the third position to lead Team Chevy to the checkered flag in today’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

 

·       Three Chevrolet teams collectively claimed top-10 finishes in race two of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 – led by LEGACY MOTOR CLUB’s Erik Jones in third; Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson in fourth, Chase Elliott in sixth and Alex Bowman in 10th; and Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch in seventh.  

·       Heading into the final race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson maintains the top position of the points standings with a six-point lead over second-place Tyler Reddick. 

TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL TOP-10 RESULTS

3rd      Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1

4th      Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1

6th      Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

7th      Kyle Busch, No. 8 Casey’s General Stores Camaro ZL1

10th    Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1

 

 

TOP-FIVE UNOFFICIAL RESULTS:

POS.  DRIVER

1.        Tyler Reddick (Toyota)

2.        Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

3.        Erik Jones (Chevrolet)

4.        Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)

5.        Joey Logano (Ford) 

 

 

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16 concludes at Bristol Motor Speedway with the Bass Pro Shops Night Race on Sunday, September 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on the USA Network, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE QUOTES:

Ross Chastain, No. 1 Kubota Camaro ZL1

Finished: 13th

“It was hard to recover after we got shuffled back in traffic on that one restart. We were just a few spots short of getting a top-10 for Kubota’s Geared to Give program but we’ll take a 13th-place finish and look forward to Bristol.”

 

 

Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Camaro ZL1

Finished: 33rd

“We had a really fast Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road Chevrolet this weekend at Kansas Speedway, so I hate that the results do not show what this team is capable of. We had a solid qualifying effort on Saturday, and the beginning of our race was really strong. I just pushed it a little too hard and ended up making contact with the wall in Stage 1. It knocked the toe out and ruined our race. No matter what we did after that, we couldn’t get our Chevy tight enough. We’ll keep working on it and head to Bristol Motor Speedway next week.”

 

 

Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1

Finished: 4th

Larson on the strategy to rally back to a top-five finish at Kansas Speedway:

“Just picking and choosing your lanes the right way. We had a great No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevy. It was good on the short runs and really good on the long runs compared to everybody else. I was struggling, as well, but I felt really good about my car.

 

It’s a bummer, but sometimes it goes that way. All-in-all, we were able to recover. I only got into the wall once today. We had two great cars to start the playoffs. You have to look at the positives. We got stage points, so that’s good, as well.”

 

The call for four tires there at the end, what were you trying to do over those last two laps?

“Obviously with the No. 99 (Daniel Suarez) staying out, you just don’t know what his grip level is going to be, so I choose the top. I just didn’t want to be in the same lane as him. Obviously with the pack, if I would have chosen the bottom, that’s where the No. 45 (Tyler Reddick) ended up and he came out the winner. I need to see how the replay looks, but I thought I could get to Denny’s (Hamlin) outside, he blocked me. I went to the middle, got clear of him and then he just had a good run off of (turn) two and was able to get to the bottom and get in front of me. Maybe if I would have went to the bottom and protect it a little bit, I could have been leading that. I still don’t think I would have gotten to the lead, but maybe I could have finished second like he did.”

 

 

Kyle Busch, No. 8 Casey’s General Stores Camaro ZL1

Finished: 7th

“It wasn’t going to be a play to win the race, but it was going to be a play for our best finish. We just got a couple bad aero spots there with the last restart and probably lost one more spot than I should have, but all-in-all, that was better than we should have performed anyways. We fought hard with our No. 8 Casey’s Camaro and that’s all we had.”

 

For Bristol, do you feel pretty confident about going there next week?

“With the way everything is going right now, no.. but we’ll work as hard as we can and get what we can get.”

 

 

AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Nutrien Ag Solutions Camaro ZL1

Finished: 30th

“I’m really happy with the speed we had in our No. 16 Dyna-Gro Seed Chevy. Disappointed with the small mistake there hitting the wall but really proud of my guys for bringing a competitive car. The speed we’ve had the last couple weeks is definitely encouraging and we’ll keep gaining on that. ”

 

 

William Byron, No. 24 RaptorTough.com Camaro ZL1

Finished: 15th

You got all the way back to 15th, talk me through this run.

“Our No. 24 RaptorTouch.com Chevy was loose. Once the track took a set in Stage One and kind of got all the rubber from yesterday’s race off, it seemed like we were just free from that point on. I didn’t know how free in that first stage – I just let the No. 45 (Tyler Reddick) go and it just came around on me. We tried a lot of things to tighten it up after that point, but our Raptor Chevy just kept building to the same spot on the long runs. We were just starting tighter and it would build to a similar spot in 15 laps or so, I would say. We’ve got a lot of work to do to try and figure out what that was.

 

It’s just tough. We had to kind of maintain on the long runs and just finish a solid race. We really needed to finish there, so happy with that. Happy with our team’s effort. We worked really hard on it. We’ll go to work at Bristol (Motor Speedway). It looks like we’re plus-41 points, so we just have to have a good, solid couple of stages there.”

 

 

Carson Hocevar, No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Camaro ZL1

Finished: 20th

“To come from one lap down, really struggling myself to get a grip on the racetrack to finish in the top-20 is super big for me. We finished 15th in one of the stages, and were one or two restarts away from having a great finish. I plugged the fence once or twice and got myself a little bit behind, and by that point I was kind of deep. It was a lot of fun trying to get the balance right and learn this stuff. For it to be my first true mile-and-a-half and finish top-20, I can’t hang my head too bad on that. I’m thankful to Maury (Gallagher), Jimmie (Johnson), and Richard (Petty) for the opportunity to drive their Sunseeker Resorts Chevy and can’t wait for Bristol!”

 

 

Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1

Finished: 3rd

Those last laps, what could have done differently?

“I just needed to clear the No. 22 (Joey Logano) in (turns) three and four. I tried to do all I could, it’s just when a guy gets loose under you and kind of runs you up – I had to lift and the No. 45 (Tyler Reddick) obviously had a big run there. You want to be frustrated, but you have to be happy with the run. All day, the No. 43 Allegiant Chevy was fast and we were up in contention. We were able to drive through the field a handful of times, so it was a good day. That was probably the fastest car we’ve had all year. We would have loved to get one there, but our year has been up-and-down and having a good run like that is just a good day for the team.”

TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES:

 

STAGE ONE

·       Coming off a crown-jewel win in last weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff opener at Darlington Raceway, Kyle Larson took his No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 to a second-place qualifying effort to lead the field to the green in today’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

·       The first caution of the day came early on lap four, involving playoff driver Martin Truex Jr. With pit road open, the majority of the field opted to stay out. Running in the second position, Larson took the outside lane of the front-row for the restart with 71 laps to go in Stage One and quickly gained the lead for the first time on lap 10.

·       Pulling out to nearly a 2.5-second lead at the 25-lap marker, Larson reported that he was starting to fight free conditions on his Chevrolet as the field closed in on the first round of scheduled pit stops. Crew Chief Cliff Daniels called then-race leader Larson to pit road for four tires and fuel – returning to the field in the sixth position and quickly cycling back to the lead with 36 laps to go in the stage.  

·       After tagging the wall in practice and forcing the team to start at the rear of the field following repairs, Team Chevy playoff contender Kyle Busch quickly became the race’s biggest mover of the race – gaining 18 positions by lap 35 in his No. 8 Casey’s General Stores Camaro ZL1.

·       Lap 63 saw the second caution of the day for two separate incidents, with one including Team Chevy playoff contender William Byron who spun on the backstretch. Still scored in the ninth position, the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Camaro ZL1 team reported that there was no damage on his Chevrolet. Byron pitted under the caution with Crew Chief Rudy Fugle calling for four scuff tires and fuel – returning to the lineup in the seventh position with 11 laps to go in the stage.

·       Opting for the inside lane of the front-row for the restart, Larson took his Chevrolet back to the lead and continued to pace the field to the green-white checkered flag to claim his fourth stage win of the season.

·       Larson led Chevrolet to three top-10 finishes in Stage One:

1st           Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1

4th           Ross Chastain, No. 1 Kubota Camaro ZL1

9th           Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

 

 

STAGE TWO:

·       Under the stage break caution, Larson reported to the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 team that he would like to be a little tighter on throttle. Leading the field to pit road, Daniels called for four tires, fuel and an adjustment – going on to win the race off pit road to regain a position on the front-row for the start of Stage Two. 

·       With a push from his Hendrick Motorsports’ teammate Chase Elliott, Larson jumped his Chevrolet to the early lead with 78 laps to go in Stage Two. The Team Chevy driver continued to build the gap back to second to over a three-second lead at the 105-lap marker.

·       Running in the second position when the caution flew on lap 107, Elliott reported to the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 team that his car fired off better for that run. Crew Chief Alan Gustafson called Elliott to pit road for four tires and fuel – rejoining the field in the second position. In a three-way battle for the lead at the drop of the green, Elliott powered his Chevrolet to the lead when another caution flew at lap 114. Scored as the race leader for the restart, Elliott again took the lead – going on to pace the field until yet another caution flag just eight laps later. 

·       The pair of Hendrick Motorsports teammates chose pit strategy under the caution, giving Elliott and Larson front-row starting spots for the restart. Track position paid dividends for Elliott on the restart with the Team Chevy driver able to regain and maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard. Working with older tires, Elliott was still able to build nearly a one-second cushion ahead of the second position in the closing laps of the stage.

·       Remaining under green-flag conditions to the end of the stage, Elliott tallied 47 laps led before losing the lead to a car on fresher tires with two laps remaining in the stage – ultimately taking the green-white checkered flag in the third position to end Stage Two.

·       Team Chevy Stage Two: Top-10 

3rd        Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

6th        Erik Jones, No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1

 

 

FINAL STAGE / POST-RACE NOTES: 

·       Erik Jones demonstrated the speed in his No. 43 Allegiant Camaro ZL1 in the closing laps of Stage Two – working his Chevrolet up to a top-10 finish in Stage Two. Under the direction of Crew Chief Dave Elenz, Jones brought his Chevrolet to pit road under the stage break caution for four tires and fuel – gaining two positions on pit road to claim a top-five position for the start of the final stage.

·       With a strong restart, Jones challenged for the lead in the opening lap of the stage – going on to settle and maintain the fourth position during the first run of the stage. With green-flag pit stops underway at the midway point of the stage, Jones brought his Chevrolet to pit road for a scheduled four-tire and fuel stop – working his way back up into the top-five after the leaderboard cycled through.

·       Also re-entering the top-10 at the conclusion of the green-flag pit cycle, Elliott progressively picked up positions under the long green-flag run – entering the top-five at lap 233. The Team Chevy driver moved up into the third position when a caution flag flew for another playoff contender (Chris Buescher) with seven laps to go.

·       Looking at an overtime finish, pit strategy shuffled the leaderboard putting Team Chevy drivers in the top-three positions for the restart including Daniel Suarez, who opted to stay out for track position and a front-row starting position for the restart. Joining Suarez was Jones, who elected for a two-tire stop before the final restart of the race.

·       On what ended up being the final restart of the race, two fresh tires provided Jones an opportunity to contend for the lead in the final two laps of the race – ultimately claiming the third position to lead the manufacturer to the finish. 

GM PR

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