Comments from the four eliminated drivers
By Dominic Aragon
October 3, 2016
The Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway Sunday marked the conclusion of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Round of 16, eliminating four drivers from championship contention.
Tony Stewart (-11 points)
Stewart started Sunday’s race with an 11 point deficit to 12th in points, the final transfer spot.
Stewart’s finish of 13th one lap down was not enough to transfer the three-time Sprint Cup champion into the Round of 12.
Starting 15th, Stewart ran as high as ninth place.
“I’m pretty excited about our day,” Stewart said. “We were much better than we were yesterday. Really proud of our team. We kept making it better all day. That is good as we had.”
Kyle Larson (-12 points)
Larson entered Sunday 12th in points, holding the final transfer spot, with a five point advantage over teammate Jamie McMurray.
Larson started 12th and ran as high as seventh, but loss of power issues and a penalty on lap 38 for too many men over the wall trapped Larson multiple laps down.
By lap 48 of 400, Larson was scored three laps down in 39th.
Additionally, Larson had a right-front tire issue on lap 182, causing the race’s third caution when his car to made contact with the outside wall.
“There wasn’t much we could do,” Larson said. “I cut the right front tire down and got in the wall and still had good speed in the race car after that but it just didn’t work out.”
Larson eventually finished 25th, six laps down.
“Our team has come a long way this season from where we started the year,” he said. “We were pretty awful at the start of the season but then got a win at Michigan to lock ourselves in the Chase. That was good.
“I know we have the speed to have made it past a couple of rounds but it’s my typical luck I guess, where it just doesn’t work out.”
Jamie McMurray (-32 points)
McMurray started the final race of the Chase’s first round with a five point deficit to 12th place in the points.
McMurray started 13th and ran as high as ninth place before engine woes plagued the driver before the halfway mark. McMurray brought out the race’s fourth and final caution on lap 193 when his motor expired.
McMurray finished last place, 40th, for the first time in 2016 and for the second time in his career (Bristol 03/2008).
“Well, horrible day for our organization,” McMurray said. “...I don’t know, we had a vibration early in the race and it went away and the car was fine. Then it started vibrating again. It lasted about 20 or 30 laps and finally the engine let go.
“Then we were just trying to run long enough that you could see if it was something as simple as a spark plug or what the issue is, we don’t know. Finally, obviously, the motor completely blew up. They said what happened, but I couldn’t hear them over all the cars on track.”
Like 2015, McMurray failed to advance to the second round of the Chase, the Round of 12.
“Very unfortunate and disappointed, but very proud of our organization, where our cars started the year at to where we are right now we have made huge progress and we will just go race as hard as we can the next seven races,” he said.
Chris Buescher (-40 points)
Buescher entered Sunday’s race with a 30 point deficit to the transfer spot.
Starting 16th, Buescher ran as high as 15th, eventually finishing 23rd, six laps down.
“It was great to be in the Chase,” Buescher said. “To even be in the running and be participating in it was a really special deal, especially for our first season, so that’s pretty awesome.
“These three races never really rolled our way. We had long green-flag runs in all three of them and we just haven’t had a chance to really dial it in. This weekend was especially tough without getting hardly any practice.
“We never made a long run, so we didn’t really know exactly where we were gonna be. It wasn’t bad. The car drove pretty decent, but those leaders set a blistering pace.”