NASCAR’s return to Nashville didn’t go well for several drivers Sunday. And most of the issues were due to brakes. Sunday marked the first time the NASCAR Cup series had raced at Nashville Superspeedway a 1.33-mile concrete track.
There was a total of 11 cautions on the day, 10 for accidents, and many of those involved cars with broken brake rotors.
The trouble started even before the green flag fell for Ryan Blaney. Exiting the pits for the pace laps, Blaney’s Ford caught on the area between pit lane and the track. He was forced to give up his 10th place spot and pit. He started from the back of the field.
His day ended however on lap 53 when a rotor exploded sending the No. 12 Ford into the outside wall and out of the race.
“It was not a very good start to our day and not a good end either,” said Blaney, still appearing somewhat dazed after leaving the infield care center. ““We had an issue before the race and had to come and fix it. Then we had some brake trouble and we came in and pulled tape, and then on the restart I’m not sure if I broke a rotor — I think that’s what happened because something exploded into one and then no brakes and took a pretty big lick. It’s a shame. Just not a very good day for us and hate that it ended early.”
He was followed 24 laps later when the Ford of Chris Buscher suffered the same fate. He blamed his crash on a cut tire caused when Justin Haley lost a brake rotor.
“It’s not like we did something wrong to cause our own DN,” Buscher said. “That’s a bummer.”
David Starr and Ryan Preece would both suffer brake issues and retire from the race. The last car out of the race was Chase Briscoe. He had led five laps and was running inside the top 10 when his brakes let go and he was forced to retire on lap 227 of the 300 run.
“It’s really wild with all the brake issues we’ve had today,” Briscoe said. “We were able to do the Goodyear test and knew that brakes were gonna be way worse than everybody else thought. We beefed them up and it still wasn’t good enough, so it’s unfortunate.”
Race winner Kyle Larson had no brake issues.
“We were short track brake,” his crew chief Cliff Daniels said. “Very, very, very conservative on everything braking, from brake tape open, our whole strategy. Unfortunately, you see some of the issues out there.
“We had a decision to make coming here. Our kind of process this year has led us down a conservative road in these categories. We were conservative at Darlington, we were conservative at Dover, places like that that we ran okay.”
“It’s tough when you go to these races, new track here, so we don’t have a data point of what the race is going to be like. Then you go to Darlington, unload, race, Dover, unload, race. I’m conservative by nature. Our nature was to try to be conservative with that. Everything held up well.”