Speedway Digest Staff
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DEBUT AT THE ROCK: This may be the first visit to 'The Rock' for three-time NASCAR Mexico Series champion German Quiroga, but the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year contender has momentum from his NET10 Wireless team. Rockingham Speedway is known for tire wear, but if strong runs this season are any indication, the driver of the No. 77 Toyota Tundra will be battling up front for the win.
In the series first two races at Daytona International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, Quiroga has made his presence known by racing in the front of the pack. At both race tracks, (Daytona a 2.5 mile superspeedway and Martinsville, a 0.526 mile track) Quiroga has demonstrated his ability to adapt and eagerness to arrive in the winner's circle at any type of venue.
NET10 WIRELESS® RETURN FOR 'THE ROCK': In the Series third race of the season at Rockingham Speedway, NET10 Wireless will return as primary sponsor for German Quiroga and his No. 77 Toyota Tundra team. The no contract cell phone leader will continue to support the team as primary or associate sponsor all season. For more information on NET10 Wireless, visit www.NET10Wireless.com.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 77 team will utilize chassis No. 005 at Rockingham Speedway. Chassis No. 005 was new to the Red Horse Racing stable in 2012 and built for intermediate competition. The chassis has three races to its credit with, one top-five finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and an eighth place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. The chassis also collected an 11th place finish at the 2012 season closer at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
REARVIEW MIRROR - MARTINSVILLE: German Quiroga unloaded on Friday morning with a fast NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra. In his debut at the paperclip, Quiroga started fifth and ran in the top-five for the beginning of the race, never falling out of the top-10. It was Lap 71 when Quiroga reported something had broken in his Tundra. A broken rear axle claimed Quiroga on Lap 71 forcing the NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra team to a 29th place finish in the Kroger 250.
Germán Quiroga talks about Rockingham Speedway:
What have you done to prepare for your debut at Rockingham Speedway?
"I was at the race last year as a spectator, so I have a general idea of how the race is going to be. I will review practice, qualifying and race so I have more knowledge. Each race I gain better communication with Dan (Stillman, crew chief) and my entire NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra crew. We just came off of a top-five qualifying spot. We are on the right path to hopefully improve our results.
Are there certain characteristics about 'The Rock' that you've heard about that you are anxious about?
"For sure. Thankfully, we got to test at Greenville-Pickens Speedway before the Martinsville race and I learned a lot with tire management. In the NASCAR Mexico Series I had the advantage over the competition in tire management. I gained a lot of positions because of it. Greenville-Pickens and the race at Martinsville gave me a good feeling for this weekend."
ROCK AND ROLL: Timothy Peters is ready to 'Rock' and roll this weekend at the 1.017-mile track of Rockingham Speedway. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to the track for the sophomore showing and after a solid run in 2012, Peters is ready to take his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra to victory lane.
The Red Horse Racing driver has a bit of an advantage over the field as they enter the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine. Peters began his driving career in go-karts dating back to the early 1990's and has captured two championships at the track.
PARTS PLUS: Timothy Peters has partnered with Parts Plus for an additional race this season. The No. 17 Toyota Tundra will serve as primary sponsor this weekend at 'the Rock'. The Memphis-based warehouse distributor originated more than 56 years ago tracing back to a series of jobber programs. Since 2005, Parts Plus has been a member of the Automotive Distribution Network that has over 300 member distributors under five brand names and from over 400 separate warehouses across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information on Parts Plus and locations near you, visit PartsPlus.com.
CHASSIS HISTORY: This weekend, Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra team bring out one of their favorite chassis. Chassis No. 093 will race the 200-lap event at Rockingham Speedway. The chassis recorded two wins in 2012 at Iowa Speedway where Peters started the race from the pole position. The second win was captured at Bristol Motor Speedway where he led all 204 laps in dominating fashion. This is a chassis sure to tame 'The Rock'.
REARVIEW MIRROR - MARTINSVILLE: Timothy Peters and the No.17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra collected a solid 4th-place finish during Saturday's match at the paperclip. The hometown favorite qualified for the Kroger 250 in the third position and was comfortable in his Tundra at the beginning of the race. With a solid handling truck, only minor adjustments were needed throughout the course of the race. Peters collected a bonus point for leading a lap and was able to improve 13 positions in the drivers point standings, rising to 13th.
Timothy Peters talks about Rockingham Speedway:
What is it like to race at Rockingham Speedway?
"It's tire management. The place is really abrasive but it makes for a fun afternoon of slipping and sliding. The guy that goes to victory lane has the most forward drive and is the one who can take care of his truck.
Tire wear was the name of the game at Rockingham last year. Do you expect more of the same?
"I think we will have the same tire, which means you'll have the same type of strategy as last year. It'll be who can treat the gas pedal the best so you don't use up your tires too fast consequently they hold up on long runs. We had a good Toyota Tundra last year and learned some things that we want to do better. That should help us when we unload this weekend.
Does it help that while the Series had time off, teams were able to go and test there?
"To somebody who has never been to Rockingham before, absolutely that can help them. We had a pretty good notebook from last year and Butch Hylton (crew chief) had been there a bunch of times when the Cup series ran there, so he keeps me in check when we go there."
RETURN TO 'THE ROCK': After a successful inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway in 2012, the series returns for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine for its sophomore race at the 1.017-mile speedway. John Wes Townley will pilot the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra for the 200-lap event in what will be his third race at the track.
In the series debut at 'The Rock', Townley raced a solid race having started in the 20th place and crossing the finish in 20th. In his 2008 ARCA Racing Series rookie season, Townley started 16th and finished 12th in his first race at the track.
NEW AT ZAXBY'S: Zaxby's, a southeast favorite for chicken fingers and wings, has been indescribably good for more than 20 years. The Athens, Georgia based chain offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Capturing the essence of a southern classic, guests can now enjoy Zaxby's new Banana Pudding Milkshake for a limited time. It's just the treat to complement Zaxby's House Zalad, a popular menu item with mansion-sized flavor. The company operates more than 570 locations in 13 states. John Wes Townley will compete with Zaxby's serving as primary sponsor for the entire 22 Truck Series race schedule. For more information, please visit zaxbys.com, facebook.com/zaxbys or follow on Twitter @Zaxbys.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The first newly constructed chassis at Red Horse Racing in 2013 belongs to the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra this weekend at Rockingham Speedway. Chassis No. 009 will hit the pavement for the first time after having wind tunnel testing earlier this year.
REARVIEW MIRROR - MARTINSVILLE: John Wes Townley started Saturday's 250-lap event in the 17th position and was showing progress throughout the race in his No.7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra. The young driver was looking for grip early on in his race but drove up inside the top-10 with 50 laps to go. Townley fighting to protect and advance his position on the track got slammed from behind, and with nowhere to go, made contact with the wall. The contact ended the day for Zaxby's Toyota Tundra and Townley was scored 32nd at race's end.
John Wes Townley talks about Rockingham Speedway:
How do you feel about racing at 'The Rock'?
"It's a track that has a lot of character. It can be a little challenging getting our Zaxby's Toyota Tundra dialed in because of the tire wear. All-in-all it's a really fun race track and I really enjoy racing there. It's a racer's race track.
How do Martinsville and Rockingham compare in tire management? Did you learn anything from Martinsville to help you prepare for this weekend?
"Tire management varies. You want to save the tires coming up off the corner and getting into the corners. You don't want to burn the tires off in five laps. As far as correlation to Martinsville, it's a completely different track the way you race but you still have a lot of wear. Having previous race experience helps us all around."
Red Horse Racing PR
NASCAR veteran and popular on-air personality, Kenny Wallace, has joined the grass roots bid to nominate and elect Fred Lorenzen to the NASCAR Hall of Fame 2014 class.
“Fearless Freddy is one our true pioneers,” said Wallace. “We are all beneficiaries of Fred Lorenzen’s commitment to the sport, and a place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a way of saying thanks and acknowledging his contributions.”
Wallace joins the grass roots effort spearheaded by Lorenzen’s children, Amanda and Chris, along with motorsports activists like Chicagoland Speedway president Scott Paddock and Waddell Wilson, who worked as NASCAR crew chief and engine builder for nearly 30 years.
Wallace was briefed on the Lorenzen bid during meetings in Springfield, Ill. where he was advocating on behalf of American Ethanol for wider use of E-15 fuel.
Earning the nicknames “Fearless Freddie” and “Golden Boy,” Lorenzen recorded 26 wins in his NASCAR career and is still the only NASCAR driver to win 20 races in their first 100 starts. He also became the first driver to earn more than $100,000 in winnings in a single season, claiming $113,570 driving for the legendary Holman-Moody team in 1963. Lorenzen is a member of more than one motorsports hall of fame including the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
“I had the honor of being there when my brother Rusty was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame last year. Recognizing the efforts of those who have contributed to the growth and popularity of the sport is so important. We really need to concentrate on getting more of the pioneers into the Hall of Fame,” Wallace added.
The co-host of two weekly SPEED TV programs, NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane, Wallace said he hopes to spread the news of the Lorenzen campaign in the weeks ahead.
Wallace has nine wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and nearly 900 starts in NASCAR’s top three series. He plans to drive in limited Nationwide Series schedule in 2013.
Chicagoland Speedway PR
JTG Daugherty Racing Quotes
Labonte talks Texas: "I think every time it's exciting for me to go back to Texas Motor Speedway," Labonte said. "I was there when they started to build that facility and Bruton Smith had a bunch of drivers come down. I have a picture of me with the soil after the dynamite. It was cool to see the track built in the state where I was born and raised. It's a great track to race on as far as the drivers go. There are multiple grooves and tires give up, which makes for good racing and excitement for the fans. I always look forward to going back there."
Labonte getting a grip: "I anticipate the grip level at Texas Motor Speedway will be different than Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway)," Labonte said. "It gives up more at Texas than at Vegas. NASCAR is giving us a half day to test at Texas, which is huge for us. At Vegas earlier this season, we never really got to practice much because we had brake issues. Racing at Texas in the evening will help out as far as the track temperature being cooler. There will be multiple grooves and one groove will not be a dominating factor. We're trying to learn more about this car. Thursday will mean a lot and qualifying is key. You're not going to be able to pass 20 cars in a run. We have a great group of people in place and we are further than where we were last year. We are just trying to see why we may have taken a step back and trying to look at things at a different angle. Thursday's test session is going to be real important to us.
Labonte on approaching his 700th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Talladega Superspeedway: "You don't go home after every race and count them," Labonte said. "You don't keep track. You just don't. Looking back, it gives you a cold chill knowing how incredible it really is. It's just an awesome accomplishment in this sport and it's hard to achieve in a lot of ways. I'm thankful to be able to get to that point."
Labonte a fan favorite: "Fans are so supportive," said Labonte, who is eligible again for the Sprint Fan Vote leading up to the All-Star event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's so neat to be put in the right place at the right time to be able to start 700 races and have a fan following like we do. I guess I came about it at the right time and studied my peers racing growing up and how they treated people. I was raised to be a certain way and learned to try not to be too vocal and that sometimes privacy is the best way. I learned to try not to cause a ruckus on the track. I'm not a guy to try to make more out of me than I am. The way I grew up watching my brother (Terry Labonte) race and guys like Ricky Rudd and Richard Petty. I grew up watching what Richard did and what he did for the community and what he does for racing. The fans, I can't say enough about them and the loyalty they have to the sport."
Upcoming charity events Labonte has scheduled: "On May 8th, we have a celebrity golf classic at TPC Piper Glen in the Charlotte area benefiting JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)," Labonte said. "And then on Sunday, May 19th, we are having our third annual Share the Road Memorial Ride cycling event and 5K/10K run kicking off at Wheatmore High School in Trinity, N.C. Archdale Drug is a title sponsor and this event benefits Communities in Schools of Randolph County Backpack Pals Program (providing food for children who wouldn’t have food on the weekends and also letting them know someone cares about them) and Bikes Belong Foundation promoting bike safety and sharing the road. There have been some friends of ours that have lost their lives and we want to help promote safety for cyclists on the road. Last year, we had 250 cyclists. The cycling community is an awesome crowd and I'm fortunate to be a part of it and meet people who ride bikes. It's a great event that helps raise money and awareness."
Caleb Holman along with the Food Country USA Racing Team plan to make their second start of the season at Rockingham Speedway this Sunday in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 presented by Cheerwine.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is set to qualify at 11:05am Sunday morning with the race following at 2:00pm and will be aired on the Speed Channel.
Caleb Holman PR
Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota team finished 39th at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway after sustaining damage in an 11-car crash midway through the race. With a fast car, the team recorded their best qualifying effort of the season and led a lap early in the 500-lap event.
With a strong car right off the hauler, the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Camry handled well throughout the three practice sessions at the 0.526-mile paperclip-shaped track. By Saturday's final practice session, the team felt the car was exactly where it needed to be and decided to utilize that particular setup to start the race on Sunday afternoon.
Kvapil rolled off 25th following his best qualifying effort of the season. The BK Racing team was caught a bit off guard when their Camry was tighter than it had been throughout the weekend. With a long race and plenty of opportunities for adjustments, the team utilized early pit stops to fine-tune the handling and get the car turning how Kvapil needed. By lap 73, the team found themselves in front of the field during a caution and Kvapil gained a bonus point after leading a lap.
Nearing lap 200, the entire field was racing hard for position on the historic short track when a competitor was turned sideways on the front stretch. The field had to quickly slow exiting turn four causing a multi-car accident in front of the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Camry. Kvapil was left with nowhere to go and was involved in the accordion-style pileup on lap 181. Kvapil brought his machine down pit road for repairs, but the damage left him out of contention for the rest of the afternoon. By the end of the 500-lap race, Kvapil was scored in the 39th position.
"My BK Racing team did a really great job building us a strong car for Sunday's race," commented Kvapil. "With the new Gen-6 car, our race cars reacted differently than they did last fall, but the Burger King / Dr. Pepper crew did a great job adjusting our Camry throughout the weekend and we were able to post our best qualifying effort of the season. It's very unfortunate that we were involved in the lap 181 accident, but I feel like our team is getting stronger every week. I'm excited to get to Texas Motor Speedway-we're going to have a special Dr. Pepper paint scheme and a lot of special guests at the track."
Bk Racing PR
David Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota team finished 38th after suffering brake problems late in the race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday afternoon. After starting back in the pack at a short track where track position is always at a premium, Reutimann picked up 20 spots to race inside the top 20 during the 500-lap race.
During the opening laps of the race, the team worked to adjust the handling of their Camry. Despite being tight in the center of the turn, the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota had good drive off the corner, allowing Reuitmann to pick up several positions on the track. With a long race and a series of pit stops, the BK Racing crew utilized stop to fine-tune the handling their Toyota.
Nearing the halfway point, Reutimann and another competitor made contact coming off turn four which sent Reuitmann spinning across the racetrack. The driver skillfully avoided contact with the inside retaining wall and the other competitors to continue on in the 500-lap event.
Racing inside the top-30 with less than 100 laps to go, the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Camry suffered a broken brake rotor forcing Reutimann down pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 416. With green flag laps taking less than 20 seconds, the team worked quickly to replace the broken brake rotor and get Reutimann back on the track. However, the incident left the driver out of contention at the historic track.
After 500 laps of side-by-side competition, Reutimann crossed the finish line in the 38th position.
"I'm proud of all my guys for their hard work this weekend," commented Reutimann. "We overcame several challenges, but the Burger King / Dr. Pepper team never gave up and kept working hard. We're getting better every week, and I'm excited to see what we can accomplish this year. We have a big weekend coming up next week at Texas Motor Speedway with Dr. Pepper on the car and a lot of guests coming to the track. I know the guys are working hard to prepare our No. 83 Toyota Camry, and I'm looking forward to putting on a good show for everyone."
BK Racing PR
Parker Kligerman comes into Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth riding the momentum of back-to-back top-10 finishes, including a series-best fourth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. the last time that the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) was in action. Now in search of his first NNS victory, Kligerman will be bringing extra horsepower to the 1.5-mile oval. That horsepower will not be found under the hood, rather on the hood, where his No. 77 Camry will be adorned with the logo of Camp Horsin' Around - a non-profit camp facility in Kentucky specifically designed and equipped to enrich the lives of children with serious, chronic illness and physical difficulties.
Camp Horsin' Around proved to be a lucky charm for Kligerman last season. The first time that the non-profit appeared on the hood of his No. 7 Tundra was at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where the Connecticut native galloped to his first career Truck Series victory. The Kentucky charity returned for three more races in 2012, producing two more top-10 finishes, including a runner-up result in the Truck Series race at Texas last November. The No. 77 Camry will also have its other lucky charm onboard this weekend, co-primary sponsor Bandit Chippers, who have been a part of two of the team's three top-10 finishes this season.
The timing may be just right for another milestone in the young driver's career Friday night at Texas. The first-year Nationwide Series regular has produced several strong runs in his Truck Series starts at the Lone Star State and considers it among his favorite tracks. In five starts there in NASCAR's third division he has registered four top-10 results, including runner-up finishes in his first visit (June of 2010) as well as his most recent visit (Nov. 2012). Last November, Kligerman nearly picked up his second career Truck Series victory as he found himself at the front of the field in the closing laps before being passed by eventual winner Johnny Sauter with 11 laps remaining.
Kligerman will be bringing a strong pony to Friday night's race, in the form of chassis KBM-008, a Camry that collected three top-three finishes in five 2012 starts. It is the same Toyota that KBM owner Kyle Busch captured the pole with in last November's NNS race and went on to lead 65 laps before coming home with a fourth-place finish. The chassis has seen action once already this season, with Kligerman running inside the top 10 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway before a parts failure sent the talented youngster to the garage for several laps and relegated the No. 77 bunch to a season-worst 30th-place finish.
In their first full-season in the Nationwide Series, both Kligerman and crew chief Eric Phillips preached a need for consistency over the first five races. With two top-five finishes under their belt, the duo has proven capable of producing the speed to run up front. Beginning this weekend, the next step is to continue to run in the top five and put themselves in a position to compete for wins on a regular basis. The goal is to show other teams in the series that the No. 77 camp is no longer horsin' around.