Monday, October 3, 2022

Chaos & ‘Crappy Parts’ derail NASCAR’s trip to Bristol

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The round of 16 ended at Bristol Motor Speedway. Christopher Buescher won while about half the NASCAR Cup Series field was struggling with significant tire or mechanical problems, causing considerable chaos.

Harrison Burton was the first to experience setbacks. He had three punctures early in the race. Although several other Ford drivers experienced the same issue throughout the race. That list included Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney, among others.

For comparison, the Toyota drivers experienced significant mechanical problems. Martin Truex Jr., Bubba Wallace and Ty Gibbs all had power steering failures, while Kyle Busch’s Toyota Camry suddenly started spewing smoke and liquids after an engine failure. Of these drivers, only Wallace was able to finish the race.

“Yeah, it blew out the seal and squeezed all the liquid out of the right front tire,” Truex said after exiting the race. “Just unbelievable. what would [Kevin] Say Harvick? Fucking parts.”

“It was exactly what we had in mind,” Elliott told the media after the race. “You know, power steering issues that have been a topic of conversation, there are tire issues as well. I think we were on the conservative side of life with this stuff just to try and get through it. In the end we had a shot [at the win].”

Several Toyota drivers, as well as Chevrolet’s Alex Bowman, lost power steering early in the 500-lap race. These issues weren’t all the same, considering some drivers went into the garage while others kept driving. Bowman in particular finished sixth in Stage 2 and locked himself into the round of 16 after losing power steering.

There were several other drivers who mentioned steering issues. That list includes Denny Hamlin, who finished ninth, and Chase Briscoe, who finished 14th and advanced to the round of 16.

“I didn’t have that [power steering] the whole race,” Briscoe told the media after the race. “It was… my arms were smoked. Yeah, that wasn’t the greatest fun. It yanked the wheel out of my hands every time I hit the floor. The top was a bit easier, so I kind of had to walk the top no matter what, just to try and keep going.”

Briscoe went on to say that Bristol was a track that would bring out any flaws to the full because of the strain it puts on the next generation cars. Kyle Larson made similar comments when saying that this is “what you get” with the spec parts regarding the multiple bugs.

Mechanical and tire issues disrupted the race for several drivers, including some in the playoffs. Another unexpected issue also caused “The Big One” to gather several other riders struggling to stay above the elimination line.

Daniel Suarez, whose car had been bumping around all night, lost control on a restart. He flipped into Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s side, setting off a chain reaction. The wreck collected Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Todd Gilliland, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman and Landon Cassill, among others.

Reddick’s team was able to make enough repairs to get the No. 8 back on track. He finished the race but missed out on qualifying for the round of 16 by just two points. Bowman also went into the garage, but he had already secured his spot for the next round. Dillon’s night ended after the DVP clock ran out, eliminating him from the playoffs.

“[I was] just pushing the car too hard,” Suarez said in his post-race media availability. “The car was very bad. Probably one of the worst racecars I’ve had this year and I was just trying to get more than the car could handle and I was spinning.”

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