William Byron, Denny Hamlin, NBC discussed on NASCAR on NBC

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Welcome to the NASCAR NBC podcast. I'm your host Nate Ryan and so glad to be joined for the first time this season by our resident Hall of Famer on NASCAR NBC Dale Jarrett, DJ. Welcome back to the show. Welcome back to Charlotte. Live in Phoenix full time. So good to see you here. Yeah, thank you. Glad to be back and always interesting to come back and catch up on things. I look at things from a different perspective sometimes whenever I'm away from everybody and kind of away from the scene a little bit and so I'm interested to see and hear about comments that people have to say in this part of the country because believe it or not, even when the race isn't in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, there's a lot of fans out there that come up to me and talk about that. So what led to be back. So before we delve into the scene here, what's the scene been like in the Phoenix area where I presume you're playing a lot of golf these days, enjoying the weather. Yeah, yeah. I wish I were playing better, but the golf game is not very good, but I do play the weather is fantastic. Just really enjoying the time there. But fans are excited out there. As I think they are and showing us all over the country with what is happening. I will say that before the season started as people ask me my opinion of the new car. I was very hesitant because I really wasn't sure what may come of this and how it may perform. But I've been more than pleasantly surprised with how the competition has been. So people are recognizing that even fans that I'll call more casual fans that they're excited about what they've seen to this point and what may come as the drivers and teams get more custom with these cars. Definitely want to get into the new car in the next gen discussion with you DJ and we were just talking about before we got started here. That enthusiasm and the good racing that they've had this year and certainly that was evident on Sunday at Richmond Raceway and definitely want to talk about that on the NASCAR NBC podcast with you here today and I want to start DJ with the way the race unfolded was interesting and that you had these long green flag runs. You had the caution breaks, but it came down to essentially divergent strategies where Denny Hamlin makes an extra pit stop in the final hundred laps William Byron tries to stretch it. And it works out that Hamlin's strategy is better. What did you make about just how the whole 100 final laps unfolded and how you think the drivers handled it. Because if you're in the position of William Byron or Mark trex junior and you're being asked to stretch, I'm sure it's much different than Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, where you've got tires that were almost 50 laps fresher. Yeah. And so let's start there in the fact that as a driver with fresher tires, very seldom are where they put in a position where there were cars that were faster than them that was costing them time, whereas if you were William Byron and many others Martin Truex Junior who were the first two there, they were having to not only worry about racing each other, but pay attention to faster cars coming at them and a lot of times cars that hadn't been faster than at any point in time during the race, but because they had these new tires. And so that's costing you time on the racetrack. And so trying to figure what you're doing at that particular time and what you need to be doing is way more difficult than what Danny and Kevin Harvick were going through and the way the situation they were put in by their teams with this strategy because they're always moving forward. They're being the aggressors and making passes where the other drives are just kind of hanging on and trying to get the most out of it and trying to win the race at the same time. So fascinating to watch. Interesting that a couple of teams changed their strategy kind of midstream in the race. And I don't even know if it was midstream. It might have been three quarter stream into this race that they opted out of a similar strategy that Denny and Kevin employed later in the race that put them first and second. So I would have to think that some of them might look back and as we go to other races that may be similar and certainly as we go back to Richmond the next time that they'll be looking at things a lot differently. William Byron made his last pit stop with 89 laps to go and again, he had enough fuel. He had enough tire to a degree to get to the end, it was just going to be a matter, could he maintain the pace and ultimately he couldn't. So you've been in that situation DJ in terms of you've started hundreds of cup races. I'm sure you've been in this situation before that he's in. Did you know watching that at some point, okay, sorry about the 24 is dead in the water here. Strategy is not going to work. Yeah. I mean, you have that idea, but I'll have to say that there was a lot going on. And so I'm not just going to fault Fox in the commentators there for not picking up on Danny and Kevin a little bit sooner to get their progression through the field because I felt like that we were kind of led to believe in what we could see on TV that this was going to be a battle between could William Byron hold off Martin Truex Junior for the biggest part of that last run. And let's say the last 25 or 30 laps that we could see that Truex was gaining and they were mentioning that. But we weren't talking about and weren't being told about Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick slicing through the field at that point in time. Yeah, but there was so much other stuff going on. You had Larsen who was making an appearance up into the top 5 for Canada the first time yesterday and so you had to pay attention was he's going to be able to pull this off among others. So it's so hard when you're there own tires that are much older than many of the cars. And again, sometimes you're letting cars go or having to race around others that you aren't necessarily haven't been accustomed to during that particular race or even many other times during other races. And so you're not exactly sure what to expect from them because they're so much faster and how are they going to handle this situation? Where are they going to go and how much room do you need to give them? So your focus is lost on trying to make your best lap time sometime and exactly where you need to be. And that's the difficult part of employing that strategy. You just hope that you've built up enough to give yourself the opportunity at the end. And certainly sounds like all the things you got going on there, it would favor somebody with experience of veteran and we see the top two finishers are two guys. Over 40, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick, 47th victory, and his career for Denny Hamlin first and 12 races. It ends a streak of 12 consecutive winners under the age of 30. And it also was Denny Hamlin's first top ten of 2022. And I believe Kevin Harvick's first top 5. What do you make of all that? I mean, 6 races into the cup season. Did you think that Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick would be without a top 5 and then to see them finish one two at Richmond? Yeah, you wouldn't think that even with the new car and the adjustments as a driver. And even as veteran drivers because these guys are so talented, you just have to imagine that they're going to adapt pretty quickly to any changes, but we can see it has been a struggle. And I won't say that even though they finished first and second, that were they necessarily a top 5 car all day long.

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