Speedway Digest Staff
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Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra, admits that his 32nd-place finish in last week's N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway was a set-back in his hunt for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Driver's Championship. However, the 22-year-old Toyota Racing driver knows that a good poker player never shows their hand and although he may be down, he's definitely not out.
When you think about Dover International Speedway (DIS), you think of a unique dual-purpose facility designed to accommodate both motorsports events and horse racing. Since September of 2000, the NCWTS has made an annual stop at what is now known as the "Monster Mile." Although the one-mile oval may be intimidating to some, Coulter finds the high-banked concrete track and the high speeds it produces as a breath-taking thrill ride.
Making his third start at DIS this weekend, Coulter hopes to improve on his 2012 track-best finish of sixth and take a gamble on his odds in the sixth race on the 2013 NCWTS schedule - when you play big, you win big and the monster-sized trophy is worth the price to ride.
Cole Whitt will return to the wheel of a stock car this Saturday in the 5-Hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway, teamed up with the four-car NASCAR Nationwide Series team of TriStar Motorsports. Whitt, a former Red Bull Racing development driver who most recently drove for JR Motorsports, is expected to be behind the wheel of a TriStar Toyota for a number of races this year.
“I’m really excited to hop back in the seat of a race car; it feels like forever since last season,” said Whitt. “I’ve had success in my four starts at Dover and look forward to taking on ‘Miles the Monster’. I am grateful for the opportunity Mark (Smith) and TriStar have lined up for me and I hope to have success with the No. 44 crew.”
Whitt and TriStar Motorsports, owned by veteran team owner and engine builder, Mark Smith, already have a head start working together in 2013. The 21-year-old native of Alpine, CA has been working in the shop daily as a mechanic in TriStar’s research and development department.
“We are really excited to add Cole to our driver lineup,” Smith said. “We have been watching Cole since he made his debut in the NASCAR K&N Series and he has already shown that he has the talent to win at many different levels.”
Whitt joins TriStar after earning four top-five and 14 top-10’s while driving for JR Motorsports last year. As a rookie, Whitt ended his 2012 campaign sitting seventh in the Driver Points Standings. Without sponsorship, the third-generation driver from the outskirts of San Diego was left sidelined and looking for a ride.
Arguably one of the brightest young talents in racing, Whitt will drive the No. 44 Toyota at “The Monster Mile” with sponsorship from Lockton. The 2008 USAC National Midget Series champion has competed at the one-mile oval in four previous events with his best overall finish coming from the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Whitt battled door-to-door with Kyle Busch in the closing laps before settling for second after leading 23 laps.
Whitt hopes to top that performance on Saturday as the NASCAR Nationwide Series descends on Dover International Speedway. Watch for Whitt and his No. 44 Lockton Toyota when the field takes the green flag at 2:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be seen on ESPN.
Charlotte was previously one of Mike Bliss’ favorite tracks but after Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, his opinion may differ. Bliss is happy the History 300 is just that, history. There was a lot of back and forth with car handling and track condition.
Bliss started the History 300 from the 15th position and uncharacteristically fell back in the field early in the race. “The car’s not handling bad, so I don’t know why we’re so slow,” exclaimed Bliss, who seemed slightly irritated. Shortly after, Bliss came back over the radio saying the car was “a little tight.”
At lap 39, a caution was thrown for debris, allowing Crew Chief Paul Clapprood and the No. 19 TriStar Motorsports crew an opportunity to free-up Bliss’ Toyota Camry. Doing so, they put on four fresh Goodyear tires, a full tank of Sunoco race fuel, added some tape to the grill, and made track bar and air pressure adjustments.
Restarting 20th, it took a few laps before Bliss came back over the radio stating, “I need it to roll a little better in one and two, you just can’t go anywhere out here.”
The second caution of the day was brought out on lap-45. Bliss from the 23rd position said, “I need more grip.” So, Clapprood and the crew put scuff tires back on Bliss’ Camry and took two rubbers out of the left rear.
Again, Bliss restarted 20th and set out to find balance with his race car. Bliss became silent over the radio for over 30 laps. At lap 140, Bliss expressed that “It’s tighter getting into one and two and I need more front grip.”
Clapprood instructed Bliss to “hang in there for six more laps and then we’ll come in for a green flag pit stop”. At lap 146, Bliss barreled down pit road for his second set of fresh Goodyear tires, air pressure adjustment, made a wedge adjustment and a full can of fuel.
Shortly after the green flag stop, a caution came out. At that point, Bliss came over the radio stating he had a “real bad vibration, the rear of the car feels like it is moving side to side, and I think something is broke.” Without a doubt, Clapprood quickly called Bliss to pit road so his TriStar crew could examine the left rear track bar bolt, put scuff tires on and slide a rubber in the right rear.
While making timely adjustments, Bliss restarted 22nd and one lap down leaving him racing for the ‘lucky dog’ position on the race track. Bliss earned the ‘lucky dog’ when a caution came out on lap 177. Still not happy with his car, Bliss brought the No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Camry to pit road for a single wedge adjustment.
With only a few laps to go, the field was brought under its final caution of the day. Bliss and crew knew the importance of track position at this point in the race, so they chose not to pit and hold down the 20th position. Upon the restart Bliss said “that’s the best it’s been today,” and moved up one position to close the History 300 in the 19th position.
“Aside from Kyle Busch, I think the whole field was running the same speed today, it was near impossible to gain any spots on track,” said Bliss.
With his finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bliss has earned nine top twenty finishes out of 10 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this year. Also, Bliss is 12th in the Driver Points Standings leading into this weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway.
Coming off another successful weekend, winning their sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event of the season, the No. 54 Monster Energy team and Kyle Busch now turn their attention to the appropriately named “Monster Mile” that is Dover International Speedway. This weekend the 28-year-old will attempt to break his three-way tie with Todd Bodine and Carl Edwards for most wins (three) at Dover International Speedway in the Nationwide Series.
Busch will make his 10th Nationwide Series start piloting the Monster Energy Toyota Camry with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) on the concrete oval where he has earned three wins, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. In addition, Busch has led a total of 853 laps over his NNS career at Dover. He dominated the event each of the last three times he earned victory at the Delaware track, leading the field 192, 191 and 157 of 200 laps in each of his winning runs during the Fall and Spring of 2010 and the Spring of 2008 respectively.
Another area where Busch is strong at Dover is pole-qualifying, earning three first-place starting spots from 2008 to 2010. Not only did he start from the pole position during that time, but in both years he finished the day with victory. Three times in 2013 Busch and the No. 54 JGR team have started from the pole and taken the Monster Energy machine to victory, almost doing it a fourth time last week at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where Busch narrowly missed the pole, starting second and ending the day by taking the checkered flag. Odds are a win from the pole position could likely happen again.
Busch last experienced Victory Lane at the Monster Mile in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011. This weekend he’ll try once again to win in that series Friday night, then attempt to sweep the Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series over the weekend, something he’s accomplished twice this year at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. and at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
When Denny Hamlin comes to Dover International Speedway to compete in the June 2 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, he will be sporting a special Autism Speaks puzzle piece paint scheme on his No. 11 FedEx Toyota.
This will be the third straight year that Hamlin will don a unique paint scheme for the spring event at the Monster Mile, as well as the third consecutive year that FedEx, Autism Speaks and Dover are teaming up for the spring race weekend at Dover.
In addition, drivers across all three series – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – will be showing their support for Autism Speaks throughout race weekend by displaying a puzzle piece decal on their respective cars.
In total, 28 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 17 drivers from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and 21 drivers from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are participating. They include:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford
Dave Blaney, No. 7 SANY America Chevrolet
Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Stanley Racing Ford
Danica Patrick, No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx/Autism Speaks Toyota
Casey Mears, No. 13 GEICO Ford
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota
Greg Biffle, No. 16 3M Ford
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Best Buy Ford
Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota
Paul Menard, No. 27 Libman/Menard's Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet
David Stremme, No. 30 Swan Racing Toyota
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet
David Ragan, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford
Josh Wise, No. 35 MDS Transport Ford
JJ Yeley, No. 36 Delaware Office of Highway Safety Chevrolet
David Gilliland, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford
Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Energizer Chevrolet
Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Bobby Labonte, No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota
Mark Martin, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
Michael Mcdowell No. 98 Ford
Carl Edwards No. 99 Subway Ford
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Brian Scott, No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet
Austin Dillon, No. 3 Advocare Chevrolet
Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford EcoBoost Mustang
Jeff Green, No. 10 TriStar Motorsports Toyota
Elliott Sadler, No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota
Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Toyota
Mike Bliss, No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota
Brian Vickers, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota
Justin Allgaier, No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet
Kyle Larson, No. 32 Vizio/Hulu Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, No. 33 WESCO Chevrolet
Michael Annett, No. 43 Pilot/Flying J Ford
No. 44 TriStar Motorsports Toyota
Jeremy Clements, No. 51 US Petroleum Consultants/Repairable Vehicles/USS James E. Williams, DDG 95 Chevrolet
Travis Pastrana, No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Dexter Stacey, No. 92 Maddie’s Place Rocks Ford
Alex Bowman, No. 99 SchoolTipline.com Toyota
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Chris Lafferty, No. 0 Koma Unwind Relaxation Drink Chevrolet
Ty Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
Jeb Burton, No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports Toyota
Justin Lofton, No. 6 Chevrolet
John Wes Townley, No. 7 Zaxby’s Toyota
Max Gresham, No. 8 Trimmer Assist Chevrolet
Ron Hornaday, No. 9 Andersons Maple Syrup Chevrolet
Jennifer Jo Cobb, No. 10 Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet
Todd Bodine, No. 13 SealMaster Toyota
Timothy Peters, No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota
Ross Chastain, No. 19 Melon 1 Ford F-Series
Brennan Newberry, No. 24 Qore 24 Chevrolet
Ryan Blaney, No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-Series
James Buescher, No. 31 Rheem Chevrolet
Miguel Paludo, No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet
Darrell Wallace Jr., No. 54 Toyota Tundra
Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet
German Quiroga, No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota
Matt Crafton, No. 88 Goof Off/Menard’s Toyota
Johnny Sauter, No. 98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota
Bryan Silas, No. 99 Rockingham Speedway Ford
As an added bonus, FedEx is also treating the first 11,000 fans through the gate at the June 2 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to a special giveaway, as they’ll receive a special No. 11 FedEx Delivery Manager koozie to commemorate the event.
This marks the seventh straight year the Monster Mile is partnering with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, to help raise funds and awareness for the cause throughout race weekend.
Dover Motorsports PR
No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer has the makings to be one of the coolest school teachers ever, but it appears he’d probably be pretty tough handing out grades. He gives himself and his Michael Waltrip Racing team only a B+ for its 2013 season so far despite sitting fourth in the point standings — eight spots higher with more laps led, top-fives and top-10s than at the same point last year. While he might not celebrate an A grade for the season, he’ll likely blow out some candles Thursday in celebration of his 34th birthday.
ON THE SEASON SO FAR:“I’d give the 5-hour ENERGY team, myself included, a B+ so far. I think to give yourself an A you need to win races and we haven’t been able to do that yet. Certainly in the points with all the things that have happened – we crashed out a couple races, like Talladega – we blew up at California. I mean, there’s been some setback and through all that we’re still good in points, so we’re happy so far.”
MONTH OF MAY:“The month of May has been tough on me historically and we got through it half-way decent. We didn’t have the finishes we wanted, but we didn’t have terrible finishes and that goes a long way towards moving forward to the summer months and not having to look over your back. Now we can continue to hone in and work on speed and racing for wins.”
DOVER:“At Dover you just have to race hard. That’s not a track that you can let your guard down at all. You have to be up on the wheel every lap and you have to have to whole package. You can’t be off in any way, shape or form in any area or you’re in trouble.”
BRIAN PATTIE ON MONTH OF MAY: “We had good speed in the month of May. That month is historically a challenge for Clint, so we were pretty happy that we had a top-10 car at Darlington, obviously we had a good car at Talladega and it didn’t work out as we planned there – and we finished top-10 at Charlotte. That’s decent. We’re ahead of where we were last year by quite a bit and that’s the goal. The end result is the same as last year. We have to make the Chase and continue to pay attention to 11th, so that hopefully we lock in before Richmond.”
DOVER:“Clint is fast at Dover. That’s one of his better tracks. June is full of tracks that he’s pretty good at and he likes a lot, so we have to capitalize on that. He had two solid races at Dover last year and we just need to find a tic more speed and execute throughout the event and I’m sure we’ll run really well.”
Charlotte…James Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team came into Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) looking to continue the momentum they started to build last month in Kansas. Starting the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 from the 12th spot, Buescher quickly worked his way up to the top five. During a late-race restart, Buescher came into contact with another competitor when running three wide close to the wall, which caused Buescher to suffer slight damage. Dropping as far back as 19th in the running order, Buescher masterfully picked his way through the field to bring home the team’s second-consecutive top 10 in 2013 with a sixth-place finish.
Monster Mile, Monster Milestone...After two solid top-ten finishes, Buescher and his Rheem team head to the ‘Monster Mile’ of Dover International Speedway, where Buescher will make his 100th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start with hopes of claiming the team’s first victory of the 2013 season. As of late, Buescher and the Rheem team have been creeping up the point standings and now currently sit tied for fourth, just 31 points out of the lead., heading into this weekend’s Lucas Oil 200.
Gotta Have a Rheem...The No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) entry will run the familiar Rheem colors once again this weekend at Dover. Buescher looks to cap off the special milestone of 100 career NCWTS starts with a victory at the ‘Monster Mile’. Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 87th year of operation, the company manufactures a full line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company’s premium brands, including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem, have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design and high quality. Rheem, now in its seventh consecutive year as a NASCAR sponsor, is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Turner Scott Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing. Rheem also sponsors RCR’s No. 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by Paul Menard.
Chassis Info…TSM will bring Chassis TSM-221 with them to Dover International Speedway. The last time TSM utilized this chassis was at Phoenix International Speedway last fall where Buescher and the No. 31 team brought home a top-10 finish.
Now Appearing…On Friday, come and get an autograph from Buescher and his TSM teammates during the NCWTS autograph session located in the Lucas Oil display from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Leading into the Texas weekend, James will make an appearance at the Texas Mesquite Grill in Katy, Texas on Monday, May 3and Tuesday, May 4 from 4:00 -8:00 p.m. for a family-friendly event. Visit TexasMesquiteGrill.com for more details.
Watch and Listen…The Lucas Oil 200 can be seen live on Friday, May 31st on SPEED. Race coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
James Buescher on returning to Dover International Speedway
"It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I made my first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, and now to have 100 starts under my belt is really cool. The truck series has taught me a lot, and to be able to represent them as a champion is a dream come true. I am excited about returning to Dover; it’s a great track with some awesome fans, and I hope we can get Rheem their first truck win of 2013.”
Taming the Monster...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) heads to Dover International Speedway where Miguel Paludo will attempt to tame the 'Monster Mile' for the third time in his career. In his two previous starts at the 1-mile oval, the 29-year-old Brazilian's best performance came in 2012. Paludo started the race ninth and ran in the top five for much of the event before rain shortened the race, resulting in a 12th-place finish for the Turner Scott Motorsports team.
Acc Is Back...The No. 32 Chevrolet is once again going green, sporting the colors of AccuDoc Solutions this weekend at Dover International Speedway. AccuDoc Solutions is based in Morrisville, N.C. and provides billing-statement printing and processing to hospitals and hospital-based physicians. In addition to paper-based billing statements, ADS enables patients to choose electronic statement delivery and make payments through secure online payment portals. Notable North Carolina based clients include Carolina's Healthcare System, the UNC Healthcare System, Sentara Healthcare, Baptist Health Care Pensacola, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Memorial Healthcare System and WakeMed. To learn more, visit www.AccuDocSolutions.com
Come Say Hi...Paludo and his NCWTS teammates will be signing autographs at the Lucas Oil display in the Dover International Speedway fan midway on Friday, May 31 from 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. EDT.
This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team will unload chassis TSM-216 this weekend at the Monster Mile. TSM-216 most recently went to battle at another one of NASCAR's historic tracks, earning a 10th-place finish at Rockingham Speedway in April.
Watch and Listen...The Lucas Oil 200 can be seen live on Friday, May 31 on SPEED. Pre-race coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. EDT, and the event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Radio, channel 90. The race will also repeat in prime time on SPEED, with a replay of the event at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
Previous Race Recap...Paludo and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team continued their strong start to the 2013 season, exhibiting clever strategy and skillful driving in the fifth race on the NCWTS schedule at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earning their third top-10 start of the year, Paludo went on to lead 33 laps and dominate on late restarts before bringing home a seventh-place finish in the Levine Children's Hospital Chevrolet. As a result, the team gained three spots in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, advancing to ninth, just three points behind eighth and 10 points behind seventh.
Miguel Paludo on driving at Dover International Speedway
"Dover is a lot of fun, and we ran really well there last year. If the rain hadn't cut the race short when we were off-cycle, we probably would have wound up with a top-five finish. This is a strong track for Turner Scott Motorsports as a whole, so I feel really confident going into this weekend. The No. 32 team has been doing so well this season; we haven't gone into a single race that we couldn't have won. We were so close that we could taste in in Charlotte; our first win is coming. I'd love to take home that Miles the Monster trophy."
This Week's Silverado...Jeb Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team will utilize powerhouse chassis TSM-229 for Friday afternoon's Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway (DIS). Under the direction of veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr., this truck helped claim Burton's first career pole at Martinsville Speedway earlier this season.
Come Say Hi...Burton will be signing autographs and saying hello at the Lucas Oil display in the DIS fan midway on Friday, May 31 from 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. EDT. Make sure you grab one of Burton's Arrowhead hero cards.
Follow Along...Make sure you stay in the loop with all things Burton and the No.4 Turner Scott Motorsports team by following along on Twitter and Facebook, @JebBurtonRacing and Facebook.com/JebBurtonRacing.
Take Two...This will be Burton's second race at the 'The Monster Mile.' After a qualifying effort of seventh in the then 19-year old's fifth career NASCAR start, Burton went on to finish 19th in the rain-shortened event.
Watch and Listen...
Jeb Burton on Racing at Dover International Speedway
"I'm ready to head to Dover International Speedway this Friday and go for a win. My team has been working so hard, and it's completely evident in how great my trucks have been. Having won three pole awards in just five races is proof of that. All of Turner Scott Motorsports deserves a win right now and I want to be the one who gets it for them. We're bringing the same truck that led laps and captured the pole at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year, so I don't doubt we'll be highly competitive."