Speedway Digest Staff
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After racing its’ way into the top fifteen, the Johnny Davis owned No. 4 Flex Seal Chevrolet piloted by Landon Cassill suffered an engine failure, resulting in a 36th place finish.
The Texas Motor Speedway weekend started off with a bang for the team, as Flex Seal returned to sponsor the No. 4 entry with Landon Cassill competing in his first race for the team. The results were immediate, as the team ended both practices in the top 25. With confidence in the car, Cassill qualified for the race, and would roll of 26th.
Immediately from the drop of the green flag, Cassill moved the Flex Seal Chevy toward the front. While racing conservatively, the team eased up into 21st through the first round of stops. Just before halfway, the caution flag flew for Kyle Larson as he spun on the front stretch. Cassill had to dip low, driving onto the apron, to avoid the car. Crew chief Dave Smith radioed for Cassill to bring the No. 4 entry to pit road for adjustments and a new set of Goodyear tires.
The changes to the car, coupled with the new tires, resulted in a charge to front over the next 20 laps. Within 10 laps of the stop, Cassill entered the top 15, then securing the 14th spot. At that point, the driver immediately radioed to the crew that something was wrong in the engine compartment. As the cockpit filled with smoke, the crew met the car in the garage and discovered a broke piston as the culprit.
Although the results do not reflect where the team ran, Cassill was excited about the future. “Really a shame that we blew the motor on this No. 4 Flex Seal Chevy. The car was racing really well, and I was having a ton of fun out there in the top 20. These guys work hard, and so do the engines, and sometimes things just break. We will be back, there is more of this to come.”
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will have next weekend off, and return to action at Richmond the following weekend.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Kyle Busch extended his status as the winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), earning his 55th career victory Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth. It was the 27-year-old’s 250th career start in the NNS, and only his sixth start with the recently formed No. 54 Monster Energy Joe Gibbs Racing team. Not only has the team stamped a seal on their quick success together, but they have also elevated Busch into the history books. Tonight’s win of the O’Reilly Autos Parts 300 placed Busch first on the series’ all-time win list at Texas with six victories, labeling him with 110 NASCAR national series victories and recording him as the first ever to win four of the first six events in Nationwide Series history.
During initial on-track activity in Texas on Thursday, with evening weather conditions similar to what race time would show, Busch and team exhibited a strong race car in the first of two practice sessions, posting the third-fastest lap time. Then during the final practice session conducted Friday morning, where track conditions did not reflect what the race would be run in, the team fought tight-handling conditions and ended 11th-quick on the board. Crew chief Adam Stevens knew, however, the car would be fast once the sun went down over the race field Friday night and looked forward to making final adjustments as the race progressed that evening.
Busch had his No. 54 at the top of the board late in Friday afternoon's qualifying session, until the final car took to the track and out-paced the JGR team by three-tenths of a second. Rookie Alex Bowman, a fellow Toyota competitor, would capture the pole, placing Busch and his Monster Energy team on the outside of row one for the start of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300.
As the sun set over the Fort Worth area, the Nationwide Series field took the green flag for 200 laps covering 300 miles. Immediate feedback from the driver relayed ‘tight-handling’ car conditions as he battled among the top-five spots early in the race. The first of eight cautions appeared early on lap 23 and the team pitted for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to loosen up the Camry’s handling for Busch, who then took the race lead within two laps of the restart. During another caution 20 laps later crew chief Adam Stevens inquired about the last round of adjustments made, to which Busch explained, “It took off super then lost grip.” The team did not pit during that sequence and the subsequent green-flag run proved challenging for Busch as he battled over several laps with another NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Brad Keselowski in the No. 22.
A third race caution appeared on lap 64 and the team gambled with a fuel-only stop, choosing not to change Goodyear tires. Within ten laps, Busch exclaimed conflicting conditions over the radio, “I’m tight everywhere” and then “I’m loose.” Cooling track conditions and the decision to remain on old tires for a long segment caused the No. 54 machine to drop as many as 13 spots.
At the race’s halfway point, during another track caution, the team replenished tires for Busch’s Toyota giving him the grip needed to work his way back through the front runners, capturing the lead once again by lap 120. Areas of concern during final pit-stop transitions continued to be tire wear and grill cleaning, to ensure the Toyota’s engine was free from debris for temperature maintenance. Through that second half of the event, Busch and his JGR crew settled in and dominated the field, holding first-place over 56 laps, ultimately bringing home the black-and-green machine in first place.
The NASCAR veteran captured the checkered flag and proceeded to victory lane complete with fire, smoke and a big Texas-style celebration. When interviewed post-race, the six-time Nationwide series winner at Texas Motor Speedway described the track, “It’s fast, man. It just suits right into my driving style. I love going out here and it’s just a fun race. You get to race against all the guys you’re going to race against tomorrow night, but you get to beat them here on Friday night. It’s also being a part of this JGR team. The Monster Energy Camry was flawless today. I can’t say enough about Toyota and JGR Engines and Nationwide Insurance -- it’s always fun to get to victory lane for those guys in their series here. Of course the fans, we appreciate their support. I love running Texas and most importantly, I love winning here, that’s the best part of it, the best of it and of course celebrating with some Monster Energy.”
On the race challenges with tire strategy and changing car conditions, Busch continued, “It was a tough race, you know. It was a good race, but we had to work ourselves to have a better race car there through about half the race. Brad (Keselowski) was strong and so was Sam (Hornish Jr.) and it just kind of played into our favor there through some of the pit stops and pit strategy. At one time I thought I was fading way too fast and I was like, ‘Man these tires are terrible.’ But we had to save them and wait in order to put on our fresh tires in the middle part of the race. This Monster Energy Camry was awesome today. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and these guys do such a great job. Hopefully we can back this up with another one tomorrow.”
With this win, the No. 54 Monster Energy team has jumped to first place in the Owner’s Point standings, now leading the field by 27 points with the J.D. Gibbs-owned Toyota.
The seasoned lap leader led the field five times for 91 laps. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Elliott Sadler finished sixth, ninth and 13th respectively. Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick completed the top-five finishers. There were eight caution periods for 42 laps of the race along with 22 lead changes across 11 drivers.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series takes a break in the schedule, resuming on April 26th at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for the ToyotaCare 250 night race, with the race television broadcast starting at 7:00pm EST on ESPNEWS. Busch will make his seventh start of the season behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Austin Dillon), fifth (Kevin Harvick) and 11th (Brian Scott).
- Dillon is third in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Sam Hornish, Jr. by eight markers, while Scott is tied for fourth in the standings, nine points behind Hornish.
- The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks fourth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 2 team sixth in and the No. 33 team seventh.
- According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Dillon had the third-best Average Running Position, ranked third in the Closers category, earned the third-best Driver Rating (113.2), was the third-Fastest Driver Early in a Run (177.648 mph), the fourth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (174.175 mph), fourth-Fastest on Restarts, had the fourth-best Green-Flag Speed and spent 100 percent of the laps in the top 15.
- Harvick ranked sixth in Average Running Position (9.165), was the fifth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (174.142 mph) and was the seventh-Fastest on Restarts.
- Scott ranked fourth in Green Flag Passes with 56.
- Kyle Busch earned his fourth victory of the 2013 Nationwide Series season and was followed to the finish line by Brad Keselowski, Dillon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Harvick.
- The next Nationwide Series race is the NASCAR 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 26. The seventh race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPNEWS beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio.
Brian Scott Drives the No. 2 Husky Liners Camaro to an 11th-Place-Finish Under the Lights at Texas Motor Speedway
Brian Scott earned an 11th-place finish in Richard Childress Racing's No. 2 Husky Liner's Chevrolet Camaro Friday evening at Texas Motor Speedway, after battling a loose-handling condition for a duration of the 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event. The 25-year-old Boise, Idaho, native took the green flag from the 20th spot and worked his way forward after the field had settled in to a lengthy green-flag run. Proving strong on long green-flag runs, Scott moved up to the 11th position by lap 92. During a caution period on lap 120, he brought his Husky Liners Camaro to the attention of the Phil Gould-led crew for much needed chassis adjustments to improve the loose-handling condition. Following the restart, Scott reported the adjustments helped the handling of his No. 2 machine, allowing him to maintain track position. Scott engaged in a heated battle with the No. 31 team for the 10th spot during the final 10 laps, but ultimately settled for an 11th-place finish.
Start - 20 Finish - 11 Laps Led - 0 Points - 4th
BRIAN SCOTT QUOTE:
"It was a tough night for us; we never had a car that was great on the restarts. We were too free at the start, but it eventually came around on the long runs. Once the race shook out we were able to turn solid laps, but just didn't have what we needed on the restarts. We'll take 11th and move on to Richmond (International Raceway). I can't thank Husky Liners enough for coming on board this weekend."
Austin Dillon Drives the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a Third-Place Finish at Texas Motor Speedway
Austin Dillon and the Danny Stockman-led No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet team earned a third-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday evening, securing the team's third top-10 finish in as many races at the 1.5-mile speedway. Dillon started the race third and never slipped lower than 12th in the running order despite struggling with a loose-handling condition during the early stages of the 200-lap event. A series of routine pit stops under caution allowed the team to make track bar and air pressure adjustments to improve the car's handling. Dillon was running fifth when the caution flag was displayed on lap 93, prompting the team to pit for fuel only during a pit cycle in which several other race teams took tires, positioning Dillon third for a lap-98 restart. A long green-flag run ensued and Dillon developed a loose-handling condition as a result of running on old tires, slipping to eighth in the running order. Handling improved following a lap-122 pit stop under caution for four tires and fuel, allowing Dillon to spend the final 60 laps of the race advancing positions. He ultimately earned a third-place finish and is now third in the driver point standings, just eight points outside of the lead.
Start - 3 Finish - 3 Laps Led - 0 Points - 3rd
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: "It's going to be a tight points battle all season. Sam Hornish, Jr. has been tough all year, but was unlucky tonight so it was good that we were able to gain some points. We just have to keep chugging. We started off a little slow this season, but I think it's just going to get better from here. We started off this race backing up. We were a little bit free and kept going backwards, but Danny Stockman and the guys made some adjustments that got the car turning good and we got some bite off the corners. When we did that the AdvoCare Chevrolet really started moving forward. I'm proud of our Richard Childress Racing team for working together so well."
Kevin Harvick Finishes Fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Event
at Texas Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro to a fifth-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. The two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion started the 200-lap event from the seventh position and remained a fixture in the top 10 during the early laps of the race. Harvick began to slip back in the field following a fuel-only pit stop under caution on lap 66 when several teams opted to take fresh tires. As the green-flag run progressed, Harvick's worn tires resulted in a loose-handling condition that caused him to fall back to 26th in the running order. When the caution flag was displayed on lap 93, crew chief Ernie Cope directed Harvick to pit road so the RCR pit crew could service the green and white Chevrolet with four tires, fuel and make a round of chassis adjustments to combat the handling issues the driver was facing. Harvick was scored in the 23rd position for the ensuing restart and worked his way toward the front of the field, returning to the top 10 by lap 108. The RCR driver climbed as high as third in the running order, but ultimately crossed the finish line in the fifth position.
Start - 7 Finish - 5 Laps Led - 0 Owner Points - 7th
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"Man, what a race. For a while there I didn't think we were going to finish as well as we did. We struggled a bit tonight trying to find the right setup for the the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet, we started the race way too tight and we were too loose at the end. I really got concerned following that fuel only pit stop in the middle of the race when we fell so far back in the pack. The tires were worn out and the car was so loose that I wasn't sure we were going to be able to recover, but the team worked hard to get me moving in the right direction and we were to get a decent result."
An early qualifying draw didn’t turn out as well for Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew as it did for some of the other teams at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday.
Drivers qualifying later in the session had the advantage of a cooler – and faster – track, but Bayne, who was the sixth driver to make his run against the clock, still will start 22nd in Saturday night’s NRA 500.
“We went out so early, but that was way faster than anything we did in practice,” Bayne said. “It’s kind of at our disadvantage to go out that early, but I think we’ll be OK.”
Bayne’s qualifying speed of 192.754 miles per hour greatly exceeded his best lap in practice, at 188.278 mph, and that improvement was in spite of a less-than-perfect qualifying run.
“We were a little free right there in [Turns] Three and Four to be able to get back to the gas and a little bit tight in One and Two,” he said.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said the qualifying effort didn’t tell the whole story from Friday. He was more interested in the speed the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion showed in the first practice session, when Bayne and the Wood Brothers crew focused on dialing in their chassis set-up for the race.
“Our times stayed good on the long runs,” he said. “I think we’ll be OK.”
The NRA 500 is set to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday with TV coverage on FOX.
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Once the rain cleared Friday afternoon, Chuck Barnes Sr. proved once again that he knows the fast way around Rockingham Speedway.
The three-time Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals (FKSSN) Rockingham winner was the fastest qualifier in Friday afternoon's session and will lead the field to the green in their 100-lap portion of the FastTrack 175 Saturday afternoon. Chad Hall, Jason Calhoun, Willie Reynes and Alan Rich.
In UARA-STARS Late Model Series action, Clay Rogers was the fastest in Friday afternoon's first practice session. Ty Dillon was fastest in the second session. Both drivers are also entered in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race.
The UARA cars return to the track for qualifying on Saturday at 11:10 a.m. After their qualifying session, the NCWTS will take to the track for their opening practice at noon. The UARA 75-lap event will follow at approximately 2:00 p.m. NCWTS final practice will be from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. The street stocks will wind down Saturday's action with their 100-lap race at approximately 4:45 p.m.
In addition to the on-track action on Saturday, the NCWTS drivers will be signing autographs at the speedway from 10:15 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. There will also be a concert outside of turn two when the racing action ends for the day featuring Ty Brown, the Chris Lane Band and Hoss Howard Band.
Rockingham Speedway PR
St Paul, MN, based 3M Company is pleased to be an active sponsor for the NASCAR Race to Green™ initiative. This month-long program will culminate on Earth Day, April 22, National Tree Planting Day.
Through NASCAR’s partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, 3M Racing (www.3M.com/racing, @3MRacing on Twitter) is excited to announce that our 3M Community Affairs organization has committed to fund the planting of 2,350 trees, or 1 tree for every lap of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series Racing that takes place in the month of April. The trees will be planted across the country in five areas: (1) portions of the Northeastern US recently hit by Hurricane Sandy; (2) areas in Northern Alabama damaged by tornadoes in 2011; (3) regions of Minnesota where forests are still in recovery following the Ham Lake Fire in 2007; (4) Central Texas’ Lost Pines Forest which was damaged by wildfire in 2011; and (5) California forests which have seen several years of consecutive damage from wildfires.
From our products to the environment to activities in local communities, 3M has a history of sustainability and innovation. Whether it's our aluminum composite high voltage conductors, which carry up to 2 times more energy than standard conductors, or Brightness Enhancing Films for LCD TV and mobile devices that reduce operating power requirements up to 30-50%, or continued investments in solvent-free, water-based adhesives, 3M has a long and proud history of sustainable innovation.
On and around the racetrack, 3M has a number of sustainability-minded technologies. Novec™ 1230 Fire Suppression, a unique technology with zero ozone depletion potential, was designed for the protection of high value computing assets and has already been on the 3M #16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle. 3M’s Paint Preparation System, used both in automotive body shops and NASCAR™ racing team garages, reduces the need for solvent cleaning products by as much as 70%. And 3M’s Window Films are used in automotive, residential, government, and commercial applications to block Infra-Red (IR) rays, help cool interiors, and reduce energy requirements.
3M is committed to both sustainable products and sustainable processes. In March of this year, 3M was awarded – for an industry-leading ninth consecutive year –the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR ® Partner of the Year-Sustained Excellence Award for our comprehensive worldwide energy conservation efforts.
3M is pleased to join in with NASCAR Race to Green™ for this 2013 racing calendar. For every lap of NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide racing you watch this April, 3M is proud that we will have joined with NASCAR and the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree in an area of need across the US.
Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson selected the first two charities to be featured on the 2013 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope today.
Against Abuse, Inc. and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired were chosen to appear on the helmet that Johnson will wear during race weekend activities at Michigan International Speedway on August 18, 2013. Each organization also will receive a grant of $10,000 and a special Blue Bunny ice cream party.
Jo Anne Pinto, an employee at Against Abuse, Inc. located in Casa Grande, Ariz., nominated the organization, whose mission is to provide services, support, and education to all who experience the effects of family dysfunction and/or abuse, past and present.
"When families have problems, children are the most vulnerable and the most at risk," Pinto pointed out in her nomination form. "AAI's children's program, La Casita de Paz (Little House of Peace) provides an island of security and support as children learn to manage their feelings, make choices for themselves and look towards a more positive future."
The Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which offers blind and visually impaired people of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, the opportunity to seek independence, was nominated by Peg Fortenbery of Liberty Township, Ohio.
Peg's daughter and son-in-law received support from Cincy Blind when they found out their son had a visual impairment. "CABVI provided the emotional support needed after the initial diagnosis. CABVI has provided them with excellent resources and unbelievable support for the past 3 1/2 years,” said Fortenbery. “One of the resources provided was access to a community of people going through the same or similar experiences."
Against Abuse, Inc. and Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired join Make-A-Wish Iowa, which was selected by the program’s title sponsor, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, as charities that will be featured on the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope.
The Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans, consumers and media members across the country to nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant, special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet and a Blue Bunny ice cream party. This year’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign will run during six NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekends beginning at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13th and culminating at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 26th. Johnson will draw two charities each week to be included on the helmet, for a total of 13 charities. To date, the program has contributed more than $430,000 to 61 different charities.
Nominations are currently being accepted at www.helmetofhope.org. For more information about the most recently selected charities, visit www.against-abuse.org and www.cincyblind.org.
Jimmie Johnson Foundation