“That’s two guys on a short track racing for a win.” – race-winner Denny Hamlin on his aggressive style
“We’ve got plenty of races left. It’ll happen. I’ll get into him.” – runner-up Austin Dillon on Hamlin’s tactics
“Drivers can race without running into each other. If you’re not good enough to pass a guy without running into him, try and find another way.” Jeff Burton on Hamlin’s contact with Dillon
“This is the story we’ve seen at short tracks for years in the past, and we’ll see it for years to come.” – Steve Letarte on contact at short tracks
Loudon, N.H. – July 18, 2015 – NBCSN presents two NASCAR races this weekend from New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Racing from New Hampshire, Presented by Castrol, began with the Countdown to Green pre-race show hosted by Krista Voda, who worked alongside former driver Kyle Petty and crew chief Frank Stoddard. When the engines fired and the green flag came out, coverage shifted to the booth where 21-time Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte joined race announcer Rick Allen to call the action. Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag for his second XFINITY Series win of the season, leading 145 of 200 laps en route to victory.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s XFINITY pre-race and race coverage on NBCSN.
Stoddard on Brad Keselowski: “One word I’m going to give you about Brad Keselowski – methodical. This man really thinks about every race track he goes to. He’s well-prepared, his crew chief is there to help him, but Brad is a huge help to his crew chief, and that makes him different than a lot of drivers. A lot of guys just show up and drive, but Brad thinks about all aspects.”
Burton on importance of restarts at New Hampshire: “You want to try and do as much as you can on restarts. That’s the chance to pass more than one car. You’ll see today when these restarts happen, the opportunity is there to get a couple cars. And then, when you get to somebody, you’ve got to finish the pass. You can’t wait around, even if you’ve got to move them up the race track a little bit, you’ve got to get the pass done.”
Mike Massaro on Keselowski: “Using pure New England vernacular, there’s only one way to describe Brad Keselowski at this race track – wicked fast.”
Letarte on Lap 28 restart: “We’re going to see lines on this restart that we’ve never seen before. Kyle Busch is not going to worry about being in the racing groove. He’s going to be where the cars aren’t. And Denny Hamlin, one row behind him on the restart, is going to be where Busch isn’t or follow him through on the restart. This is going to be a heck of a restart and a great show early in this race.”
Burton on racing at Loudon: “From a driver’s standpoint, it actually feels like the tires are bouncing up and down as you’re turning the car. When the rear tires are chattering, there’s no rear grip.”
Letarte on Brian Scott, running in second for much of the race before his engine blew: “I continue to watch his timing and scoring, and he’s done a great job running in second to Denny Hamlin…very consistent and very smooth. This is a guy we’ve talked about trying to get his first win. He just needs to continue doing what he’s doing, and he’ll end up in victory lane.”
Discussion of Pit Stop Miscommunication Affecting Kyle Busch’s Finish
Letarte: “I completely disagree with the 54 coming to pit road and only taking right-side tires. The 54 is the second car on pit road, and the bigger key is that there’s only one car in frame behind him. Look at how far back it is to the other cars coming on pit road. That’s eight or 10 seconds on pit lane. If you’re going to come in with that much of a gap behind you, you need to take four tires…I know they probably had a hand signal, but if I was the crew chief, I’d be screaming on the radio at some point.”
Burton: “The reason for the signal is to keep things quiet… They saw the signal and they went with it. The crew chief should have just said, ‘You know what, we’ve got to have four here. I’m going over your head, we’re doing four.’”
Kyle Busch’s crew chief, Chris Gayle, to Marty Snider: “We just had our communication mixed up with signals that we had talked about before the race. It was backwards, so we just missed that.”
Dillon on Hamlin contacting him on Lap 179: “I hadn’t raced him all day. He was nervous or something. He got around me and just moved me up the track. He never wanted to race side-by-side with anybody. He wrecked his teammate in the beginning in the race. It’s all good. We’ve got plenty of races left. It’ll happen. I’ll get into him.”
Hamlin on contact with Dillon: “I was a fender ahead, and he went in there knowing that he was going to have to hold me low. I just washed up into him, but that’s two guys on a short track racing for a win.”
Burton: “Drivers can race without running into each other. If you’re not good enough to pass a guy without running into him, try and find another way. (Hamlin) got the win, he got the trophy, but if you’re Austin Dillon, you don’t feel good about it, and those things have a way of coming back around…there’s no rule against running into each other. It’s more of a driver code – what is your code? Just because I had a code doesn’t mean it’s right. I had way I wanted to race, and I wanted people to race me that way.”
Letarte on contact at short tracks: “This is the story we’ve seen at short tracks for years in the past, and we’ll see it for years to come.”
Petty: “With 21 laps to go, you’ve got to make something happen. I’m going to give Denny the benefit of the doubt here.”
Stoddard: “He also did that to his teammate twice earlier in the race. Because of that, you’re going to say, ‘Don’t you know enough to not do that?’ I’ll say this – if Austin had been in that same position on the inside, he would have driven it down there, might have gotten loose and knocked Denny out.”
NBCSN’s NASCAR coverage continues tomorrow afternoon with Sprint Cup Series racing from New Hampshire Presented by Pixels. Pre-race coverage gets underway tomorrow with Countdown to Green at 1 p.m. ET, followed by live race coverage at 1:30 p.m. ET from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–