Button Get Advice; Byron and Harvick clash over Hamlin penalty

NASCAR Saturday Atlanta Notes: Button gets adviceJonathan Bachman – Getty Images

Keselowski: NASCAR’s penalty is good for RFK Racing

A year ago, after the NASCAR Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski was frustrated and angry at the huge penalty NASCAR assessed him and his No. 6 team for modifying a single source part. Today, the co-owner of the team is happy that it happened.

“It was one of the best things that ever happened to us because it forced us to look inward and improve ourselves,” said Keselowski. “It changed our culture within the company to where we had better behaviors. It was good for the industry. I thought it set the tone for the industry.”

The only source-supplied part that was modified was a rear panel. Keselowski was stripped of 100 driver and 100 owner points, 10 playoff points, had team principal Matt McCall suspended for four Cup races and fined $100,000.

“I think it’s too easy, and I’ve been a victim of that myself, to look at NASCAR as the bogeyman,” said Keselowski. “In many ways they are trying to help us and trying to help the sport and make sure it is healthy.

“Whether NASCAR is right or Hendrick is right with his penalty, I don’t know for this specific situation, but as a whole, I understand the slant and emotion behind teams and maybe fans saying goodbye over a penalty, but in the end, penalties exist for a reason. They are there to make this circus manageable and sustainable.”

garage 56 test in daytona

Button makes his NASCAR debut next weekend at Circuit of the Americas.James Gilbert – Getty Images

Preece gives Button advice on pit crew practice

When former Formula One champion Jenson Button makes his NASCAR debut next weekend at Circuit of the Americas, it will be the first time he has experienced a pit stop the way it is performed in stock car racing.

During a recent pit stop practice at Stewart-Haas Racing, Ryan Preece’s advice to Button was to pretend his team members didn’t exist.

“You will not hit them. They won’t let you hit them,” Preece told Button.

“He’ll be fine. He was hitting the marks.

Button, who won the F1 championship with Brawn GP in 2009, is driving the No. 15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing in three NASCAR Cup races this year. In addition to COTA, he will participate in the Chicago Street Race on July 2nd and the August 13th event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

auto mar 18 nascar cup series ambetter health 400

NASCAR fined Denny Hamlin $50,000 and deducted 25 driver points last week. Sportswire Icon – Getty Images

Byron considers Hamlin’s penalty unfortunate; Harvick has a different view

William Byron believes that the $50,000 fine and 25-driver points deduction that NASCAR assessed Denny Hamlin for admitting on his podcast that he wrecked Ross Chastain on the last lap at Phoenix Raceway is “unfortunate”.

“You’re going to play poker, because now the guys can’t say what happened,” Byron said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “There are a lot of guys who fake this in interviews and we riders know that. So it’s unfortunate that these are the guys who get away with it.”

However, Kevin Harvick sees it differently, as NASCAR considered the crash between Hamlin and Chastain on the last lap to be a racing incident before Hamlin broadcast his admission.

“It’s like going to court and saying you’re guilty,” Harvick said. “It’s hard not to answer. It is difficult to answer differently when the confession is already guilty.

“I think from the driver’s point of view you still have a lot of room for manoeuvre. There will always be differing opinions, but I can say that wrecking people under caution and wrecking people on purpose in the state we’re in, prone to injury and the way the car still crashes, those things need to end.

“Running strong, things happening and being able to pay a guy is still possible.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 Qualifying

Kevin Meendering was formerly Jimmie Johnson’s chief of staff. Jared C. Tilton – Getty Images

Familiarity with acting crew chiefs varies

With all four Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs suspended earlier this week by NASCAR, Kyle Larson is probably the least familiar with his replacement.

Greg Ives, who was Alex Bowman’s crew chief for six seasons, returns to the pits after stepping aside at the end of last season.

William Byron expects interim crew chief Brian Campe to be “great” because he works with him a lot in the shop during team competition meetings and spends “a lot” of time with him. He has been working with his engineer Brandon McSwain since his days at JR Motorsports in 2017.

“He was my engineer at JRM when we won the championship and he will be a bigger factor, a bigger role all weekend,” Byron said. “I’m excited about it because we know each other so well. We probably text each other about 10 times a week in the car.”

However, Kyle Larson did not see interim crew chief Kevin Meendering until he arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *