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TONY STEWART, NO. 14 RUSH TRUCK CENTERS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – FINISHED 22nd
WHAT DID YOU TAKE ISSUE WITH AT THE END OF THE RACE?
“Well, Joey (Logano) spun the tires on the restart. Everybody had trouble with that so, but it’s not my fault that he spun the tires. For a guy that has been complaining about how everybody else is driving here and then (for) him to do that it’s a double standard. He makes the choice. He makes the decision to run us down there and when you run a driver down there then you take responsibility for what happens after that. He is a tough guy on pit road as soon as one of his crew guys gets in the middle of it. Until then he’s a scared little kid. Then he wants to sit there and throw a water bottle at me. He is going to learn a lesson. He can run his mouth on Twitter and stuff all he wants tonight. I’ve got plenty of people that are going to watch for that. It’s time he learns a lesson. He’s run his mouth long enough. He has sat there and done this double standard and he’s nothing but a little rich kid that has never had to work in his life. He’s going to learn with us working guys that had to work our way up how it works.”
BEFORE THAT, YOU CAME STORMING UP THROUGH THE FIELD. TELL US ABOUT THAT
“We came in that one stop and got two tires that got us an awesome restart on the outside that got us to third. I was proud of the restart and really proud of the team. They did an awesome job and had awesome pit stops and made great changes all day. I don’t know what happened at the end. I think we had a tire going down. If not, we had something else that actually happened. But it started right before the caution and was really bad afterwards. It’s still no excuse for Joey to do what he did. I’m just tired of watching these kids whine and then they sit there and act tough when their crew guys get in the middle of it. If NASCAR wants us to let the guys have at it, it shouldn’t be any different than hockey. Let the guys have at it and then when one guy goes to the ground, then it’s over.
INAUDIBLE QUESTION REGARDING JOEY LOGANO AND BLOCKING
“He still takes the responsibility on himself. He has that right. He has the choice to do that. He’s in control of his car. But if he ever turns down across in front of me again, I don’t care what lap it is, he won’t make it through the other end of it. If I didn’t hit the chip, he wouldn’t have made it through Turn 1 to begin with. I’m tired of these guys doing that stuff; especially out of a kid that’s been griping about everybody else, and then he does that the next week. I mean he’s sent Denny (Hamlin) to the hospital and screwed our day up. He’s talked the talk, but he hasn’t walked the walk yet. He’s always got his crew guys walking the walk for him.”
HE SAYS HE WANTS TO CALL YOU THIS WEEK. WILL YOU ACCEPT HIS CALL?
“Hell no. If he wants to talk about it, we’ll talk about it. After he threw the water bottle at me like a little girl, we’ll go at it now.”
Team Chevy Racing PR
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 AAA Southern California Ford Fusion (Finished 6th) – WHAT HAPPENED THERE AT THE END OF THE RACE? “Racing for the lead. Going for the win. That is what you’ve got to do.”
WHAT HAPPENED WITH TONY STEWART? “Tony was just upset about a restart that I was racing him really hard on the bottom trying to make sure I protected my spot. What I was doing actually was I was racing the 18 on the restart and he was spinning his tires. The rule is you can’t beat him to the start finish line so I am pedaling it which gave Tony the run to go underneath me. I wanted to block that because I knew if he put me three-wide that would be the end of my race and I wouldn’t win. I was smart enough to realize that. Then I had to just do what I had to do to get to the front and try to win the race.”
ADDITIONAL JOEY LOGANO QUOTES – YOU JUST SAW THE REPLAY WITH DENNY HAMLIN. YOUR SIDE OF IT? “We worked it last week. He probably shouldn't have done what he did last week, so that's what he gets. And besides that, I think our Auto Club Ford was very strong all day. I was very happy with the car we had. We were super fast, led a lot of laps. Nothing to hang our head down about, that's for sure. We were very proud of that. Doug Yates, thank you so much for the motor. That thing ran the last seven, eight laps with no water in it, just pushing water over 300-degrees. So it's really amazing for those guys. So thank you guys, everyone in the engine shop to get a solid run out here today. I look forward to get back to the race track and try it again.
WE JUST SPOKE TO TONY STEWART. HE WAS REALLY ANGRY. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED ON THE RESTART? “I had to throw the block there. That was a race for the lead. I felt if the 14 got underneath me, that was going to be the end of my opportunity to win the race, so I was just trying to protect the spot I had. I was actually pedaling, because I couldn't keep the 18 aligned. I was actually faster than the 18 getting our tires hooked up. And then I'm trying to stagger myself making sure I don't beat him to the line and then I had to block the 14 because I was pedaling it. I'll talk to him and we'll see what happens. I think he finished decent. We'll just talk about it some more.”
Ford Racing PR
Kevin Swindell raced at Auto Club Speedway for the first time this weekend, as the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Racing team made their 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut. After recording the 10th-quickest lap in practice and qualifying 17th for the race, Swindell brought his No. 98 Ford Mustang home in the 10th positionin Saturday’s Royal Purple 300.
On Friday, the NNS had one practice session, which Swindell used to become accustomed to the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway. After logging a lot of laps, the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Racing machine ended practice with the 10th-fastest speed. Feeling confident for Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Swindell laid down the 17th-quickest lap, locking himself into the field and earning the highest qualifying position of the cars that needed to qualify in on speed.
Swindell quickly went to work in Saturday’s 150-lap event, moving into the 14th position by lap 9. He let his team, led by crew chief Jon Hanson, know that his No. 98 Ford Mustang was loose coming out of the corners and that he lacked overall grip. Over the next 10 laps, Swindell’s car began to move from a loose-handling condition to a tight-handling condition as he continued to race in the 14th position.
When the first caution flag waved for debris, on lap 34, Swindell was in 13th. Looking to correct his tight-handling car, Swindell came to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. When the field went back to green-flag racing on lap 39, the No. 98 Ford Mustang was in 18th. Swindell quickly went to work, gaining five positions before the next caution on lap 45. The Biagi-DenBeste Racing team kept Swindell out under that caution period, and he raced his way to the 11th spot on lap 63.
Swindell made a green-flag pit stop on Lap 80 and returned to pit road under the caution flag on lap 95. Restarting in 16th position, Swindell had maneuvered his No. 98 Ford Mustang to 12th when the final caution flag waved on lap 110. He returned to the pits for four tires, fuel and a final adjustment before restarting in 16th on lap 116. Over the final green-flag run of the 300-mile race, Swindell worked his way up to seventh on lap 125 but settled for a 10th-place finish as his car returned to a tight condition in the race’s final laps.
“Overall I would say we had a pretty good day, especially for our first time out this season,” commented Swindell. “I’ve got to thank my team for all the hard work. Our car wasn’t too bad, but we did have some runs where it was really tight, including the end of the race. We really have something to build on, and I am looking forward to our next race.”
Swindell and the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Racing team will return to the track in the next NNS race, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 12.
Spire Sports PR
Roush Fenway’s No.6 Cargill Ford Mustang was one of the fastest cars on the track Saturday at Auto Club Speedway, helping RFR driver Trevor Bayne rack up his third top-10 finish of the 2013 season. With the finish, Bayne moved up one more spot to sixth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings.
Bayne’s car was tight through the corners early in the race, but loosened up with changing track conditions. A track-bar adjustment during the No.6 teams’ second pit stop cleared up the problems prompting Bayne to radio his crew chief, “We have her dialed in now!”
Bayne spent two-dozen laps picking off cars and climbing as high as fourth place before a late-race adjustment worsened the car’s handling. Still, the team held on for a solid ninth-place finish.
“We got it way too free there at the end. It is frustrating when you have a car you can run top five with and you give it up from ill handling,” said Bayne. “The right rear is probably worn out on this thing from letting the wall hold me in the race track. That was all I could do with it though. It is frustrating.”
The No.6 team maintained its’ consistency through the early part of the NNS Season, claiming one pole, two top-five’s and three top-tens. This week’s ninth place finish earned Bayne another 35 points and moved him up one more spot into sixth place; 47 points behind the leader.
After a two week break for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Bayne and the No.6 Cargill will head in to Texas Motor Speedway for a Friday night race. Bayne walked away with his first NNS win during his last trip to Fort Worth in November of 2011.
Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson made his first trip to Le Mars, Iowa today to announce the 2013 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign. Le Mars is the home of Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream. Johnson was joined by Mike Wells, President and CEO of Wells Enterprises, Inc. to unveil this year’s Jason Beam designed helmet, and to recognize the first charity selected, Make-A-Wish Iowa.
The Blue Bunny 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, a Blue Bunny ice cream party, and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet.
“We’re thrilled to have Blue Bunny partner with us again for this year’s Helmet of Hope,” Johnson said. “My wife Chani and I always look forward to learning about the great charities that are submitted and the amazing work they do across the country. We feel fortunate to have the ability to use my helmet to raise awareness for these causes.”
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 Motor Speedway on May 26th. Johnson will draw two charities each week to be included on the helmet, for a total of thirteen charities. Nominations are currently being accepted at www.HelmetOfHope.org. To date, the program has contributed more than $430,000 to 61 different charities.
At the announcement, Johnson and Wells were joined by Rob Kelly, CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa, and several children who have been granted wishes through the organization. The event was capped with an ice cream party in the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor.
“At Wells, giving back and being a good corporate citizen is an important commitment we’ve made through our core fundamentals,” Wells said. “We are incredibly pleased to support the work of Make-A-Wish Iowa in their efforts to change lives of kids and families in our state by awarding them the first Helmet of Hope grant in 2013.”
Make-A-Wish Iowa grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Established in 1987, Make-A-Wish Iowaispart of a nationwide network of nearly 25,000 caring people dedicated to making wishes come true.
Johnson will take to the track this weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. in the No. 48 Lowe’s/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevrolet SS, which features the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope logo on the decklid. Johnson will wear the actual Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope during the Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in August. A replica helmet will be a part of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope World Tour, which will launch this fall and include visits to each of the selected charities.
JJ Foundation PR
Making his first career start at Auto Club Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday, Nelson Piquet Jr. looked to gain momentum in the Royal Purple 300 before heading into the upcoming off weekends. Piquet Jr. and his No. 30 Qualcomm Chevy team started the weekend off strong by qualifying fifth on the two-mile oval. Fighting a loose car most of the day, Piquet Jr. was able to drive his Qualcomm Chevy to a 16th place finish.
During the lone practice session on Friday afternoon, crew chief Chris Carrier and the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports team worked to find speed for the Qualcomm Chevy. Their hard work paid off as Piquet Jr. and his team had their best qualifying effort of the young season, starting the 300-mile race on Saturday from the fifth position.
Shortly after the green flag dropped, Piquet Jr. radioed to the crew that he was battling a loose race car. During the first caution of the day, on lap 35, Carrier called Piquet Jr. down pit road to change four tires, add fuel and make a chassis adjustment to fix the loose condition the No. 30 Qualcomm Chevy was experiencing. A few laps after the restart, Piquet Jr. told his crew that the car was still too loose and he was working to find a line he could run until the next caution. Working under long green-flag conditions, Piquet and team found themselves in the 18th position at the halfway mark of the race.
Still getting accustomed to the two-mile oval, Piquet Jr. relied on his Qualcomm team to get adjusted to the different racing grooves on the track during the second half of the afternoon. The final pit stop came on Lap 110, after a spin in turn 4 brought out the final caution of the day. Piquet Jr. brought his Qualcomm Camaro down to the attention of the crew to make chassis adjustments and added fuel only, gaining the No. 30 Qualcomm team three spots. During the remaining portion of the race, Piquet Jr. would turn top-10 lap speeds en route to a 16th-place finish.
"After a rough week last weekend in Bristol, our Qualcomm crew put in a solid effort this week here in California," Piquet Jr. said. "With this being my first start at Auto Club Speedway, I feel like I learned a lot that I can apply to the rest of the year. My Turner Scott Motorsports team and I will use the upcoming off-weekends to get prepared for a strong race at Texas."
Making his first career start at Auto Club Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) on Saturday, California native Kyle Larson had momentum on his side heading into the Royal Purple 300. Following a strong showing in practice and qualifying ninth, Larson kept the Eveready Camaro inside the top-10 of the running order for the majority of the afternoon. Overcoming a miscue on a pit stop just past the halfway point, Larson motored to a sixth-place finish.
Crew chief Trent Owens and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team worked to dial in the Eveready Camaro on the long run during the lone NNS practice session on Friday, which proved to pay off for the rookie driver on Saturday. Following the drop of the green flag, Larson was content to stay safely inside the top-10, telling Owens after the first 10 laps that he was pretty happy with his Eveready Camaro and needed very small adjustments on the first round of pit stops. Owens decided to call his driver to pit road under the first caution period of the day on lap 35, giving him four fresh tires and a minor adjustment. Larson’s Camaro responded well to the first changes, and he pushed forward a few more spots to move into the top-five by the halfway point, continuing to improve under lengthy green flag racing conditions.
Coming down pit road with the rest of the field under the third caution of the day, on lap 95, Larson carried too much speed while entering his pit box and had to be pushed back into his stall by the No. 32 crew. Losing precious seconds during the exchange, Larson would restart from the 15th position on lap 98. The 20-year-old wasted no time, however, and regained all of the spots he lost in just two laps. Under the final caution of the afternoon, just 10 laps later, Larson returned to pit road for a fuel-only stop. After rejoining the field in the eighth spot with 35 laps remaining, he went to work on the competitors ahead of him and picked off two more positions to claim a sixth-place finish.
"We had a pretty good weekend with the Eveready Camaro, and I’m happy to leave here with a solid finish and a good day in the points,” Larson said post-race. “I overshot my pit box during our third stop, and my Turner Scott Motorsports team did a great job to recover from that. I had a lot of fun on that restart and Trent Owens and this team gave me a fast Camaro that helped me get all those spots back. I’m looking forward to staying consistent and keeping up a good string of finishes like this.”
With 90-Year-Old "Grandma Dottie" watching him race in person for the first time in his career, Parker Kligerman was looking to produce a performance to remember. After running just inside the top 10 for the majority of the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana Calif., the 22-year-old driver found himself scored in the 13th position for a lap-115 restart, the second driver with four fresh tires. Seven laps later, the talented youngster had maneuvered his way into the top five and as the race proceeded caution free made his way up to third for several laps. With just four circuits remaining, he surrendered the position to former Sprint Cup Series regular Regan Smith, but the end result was a Nationwide Series-best fourth-place finish in the sentimental race.
"That last pit stop Eric (Phillips, crew chief) made a great call to take tires and we just blasted through the field and tried to hold on for third, but couldn't quite run them down for first or second and just barely came up short on third," said Kligerman, who has two top-five finishes across five starts this season. "My 90-year-old grandma came to the race and I had my career-best finish in front of her. I'm proud of that -- happy she was here and hope she enjoyed herself."
The early indication Saturday was that Kligerman would be a force to be reckoned with, as the youngster drove from his eighth starting position up to fifth by lap 10 and proclaimed his No. 77 Toyota Racing Camry "bad to the bone." He remained in the fifth spot until a debris caution slowed the field for the first time on lap 34.
Crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road, where the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew administered an unusually slow four-tire and fuel stop and returned the No. 77 Toyota to the track scored in the ninth position. Shortly after the lap-38 restart Kligerman subsided outside the top 10, but would return to the tenth spot on lap 51.
In the middle stages of the race, the Connecticut native diagnosed his Camry as "tight in the center and needing drive off" as he ran just inside the top 10. Phillips and crew made track bar and air pressure adjustments during each of the next two stops, but their driver continued to proclaim a need for "more drive off" as the 150-lap race approached the final stages.
The No. 77 Toyota was scored in the ninth spot when a one-car spin on lap 110, produced what turned out to be the final caution of the race. With the race historically having a late-race caution, the crew chiefs for the top-eight cars elected to save their last set of Goodyear tires and made fuel-only stops, while Phillips believed the best way for his team to improve on an already strong run was to make a four-tire stop and hope that the race would remain caution free.
Kligerman was scored in the 13th position when the green flag waved, for what turned out to be the final time on lap 115. After the always adventurous restart at the extremely wide California track sorted itself out, he began his march towards the front. Using the apron and making three-wide passes, just seven laps later the 22-year-old had maneuvered his black Camry into the top five.
With just over 20 laps remaining, the talented youngster made his way around two more competitors and settled into the third spot, where he would remain for several laps. Smith emerged from a battle with eventual fifth-place finisher Austin Dillon, chased down and with just four laps remaining made his way around Kligerman for the coveted final spot on the podium.
KBM owner Kyle Busch in his Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy machine picked up his third Nationwide Series victory in just five races this season. The win was his series-leading 54th career triumph, his sixth in the Nationwide Series at Auto Club Speedway and the 108th of his career in one of NASCAR's top three divisions. Nationwide Series championship point standings leader Sam Hornish Jr. finished 0.834 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up position. Smith, Kligerman and Dillon rounded out the top-five finishers.
Kligerman was awarded the Mobil 1 Driver of the Race and his 54 quality passes tied him with rookie Kyle Larson for the most during the 150-lap event.
There were four caution periods for 17 laps. Seven drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead 17 times. Nine drivers failed to finish the race.
Kligerman, who netted KBM's 25th career top-10 finish across 38 Nationwide Series starts, will enjoy two weeks off before heading into the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 April 12 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth ranked eighth in the Nationwide Series championship standings. Live television coverage of the 200-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown Friday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.