NASCAR Cup Series

Brakes blow up, Busch blows up Gateway

3 Mins read
Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Not a lot of people were thrilled at the end of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The race had been delayed after just two laps by lightning, four drivers were forced to retire after their brake rotors exploded and sent them into the wall, teams lost their wi-fi capabilities when an off-site fibre connection failed, and eleven cautions occurred that set up overtime.

Kyle Busch was one of the few happy faces as he led 121 of 243 laps including the final sixty for his third win of the year. He faced a challenge from Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson in overtime but kept them at bay to secure the win.

Overtime was activated when Bubba Wallace‘s brake rotor failed and sent him into the turn one wall with four laps remaining. The same fate befell his 23XI Racing team-mate Tyler Reddick on lap 176, as did Noah Gragson and Carson Hocevar that ended their days. Reddick was also spun by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just two laps into the race before a series of lightning strikes prompted a red flag that lasted an hour and forty-five minutes.

“I obviously don’t know what package they ran,” Busch added. “I’m sure they would run the short track package here for brakes. I never felt any vibration, never had any issue, never had any long pedal or nothing with mine. I was confident in our stuff and what we had going. I felt like that was actually a really strong suit for me today, was on the brakes, get in the corner, get whoa’d up in time for the rest of the corner.”

While he did not have the issues, Michael McDowell suggested the brake failures could be due to Gateway having “really hard braking and really strong straightaways, so you’re heating and cooling, and a lot of times that creates fractures and those cracks sometimes explode. I think that’s what you saw today. I don’t know, I’m not an engineer, but typically too much tape on the grille will get them hot and then too cold.”

Gragson’s accident on lap 199 resulted in a nine-minute red flag due to fluid leaking from his car. His team-mate Erik Jones lost his front tyre changer during the previous caution after being hit by Austin Dillon, resulting in hospitalisation though he was reportedly awake and alert.

A third delay running four and a half minutes occurred after Austin Cindric clipped Dillon, a move that the latter decried as intentionally attempting to wreck him.

Brakes were not the only anomaly of the day as networks FOX Sports (television) and Motor Racing Network (radio) both briefly lost their broadcasts, while teams were unable to connect to wi-fi or access their scoring and timing information. Gateway has occasionally suffered technical issues such as power outages in the 2010 and 2021 Truck Series races. According to a NASCAR statement, the problem stemmed from AT&T’s connection fibre outside of the track.

“During today’s NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway, there was an off-site fiber connectivity failure that briefly interrupted the television and radio broadcasts, as well as impacting internet for teams on pit road,” the sanctioning body explained. “There was not a failure with any track or NASCAR equipment at the facility during today’s event.”

Hocevar’s retirement marked a disappointing end to his Cup début, having taken over for Corey LaJoie in substitute duty while LaJoie was driving the #9 for Hendrick Motorsports while Chase Elliott served his one-race suspension. LaJoie struggled throughout the day and finished twenty-first.

Race results

118Kyle BuschRichard Childress RacingChevrolet243Running
2311Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota243Running
3622Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord243Running
4225Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet243Running
5519Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota243Running
6212Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord243Running
71399Daniel SuárezTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet243Running
8724William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet243Running
92134Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord243Running
1044Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord243Running
111720Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota243Running
122717Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord243Running
13102Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord243Running
141116A.J. AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet243Running
152838Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord243Running
162331Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet243Running
172941Ryan PreeceStewart-Haas RacingFord243Running
183143Erik JonesLegacy Motor ClubChevrolet243Running
192410Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFord243Running
201554Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota243Running
21309Corey LaJoieHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet243Running
2281Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet243Running
231421Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord243Running
243651J.J. Yeley*Rick Ware RacingFord243Running
253377Ty DillonSpire MotorsportsChevrolet243Running
261848Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet243Running
273478B.J. McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsChevrolet243Running
28196Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord243Running
293515Gray Gaulding*Rick Ware RacingFord242Running
302023Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota236Accident
31163Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet223Accident
321247Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet219Accident
333242Noah GragsonLegacy Motor ClubChevrolet197Accident
342514Chase BriscoeStewart-Haas RacingFord193Running
35945Tyler Reddick23XI RacingToyota174Accident
36267Carson Hocevar*Spire MotorsportsChevrolet91Accident
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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