Speedway Digest Staff
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Bouncing Back: For the second time in as many races, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will visit a facility with a newly repaved surface as the teams and drivers head to Michigan International Speedway to compete in the VFW 200. Timothy Peters and the No. 17 Red Horse Racing team have prepared a brand-new Tundra for battle, hoping to increase their chances of finishing up front. Peters enters Michigan with an eight point lead over second place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point standings, and finished second at the 2-mile oval last season.
Crew chief Butch Hylton guided the entire Red Horse Racing crew through critical damage repair at Pocono Raceway after a late race incident knocked their Tundra out contention for the win. The teamwork displayed by the team will help Peters bounce back from an unfortunate situation and gives him confidence heading into competition each week.
"It gives me all the confidence in the world that this Red Horse Racing team pulls together to work as hard as they do and it's cool to see. It means that they care and that means a lot to me, which I knew before and never questioned that, but it really showed in the effort they put forth at Pocono. I've told these guys before, they're my family away from family and I wouldn't have it any other way," Peters explained.
Timothy at the Track: Peters and teammate Todd Bodine will participate in an open-garage autograph session at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, August 17th from 4-5:00 pm. Peters will also make an appearance on the SPEED stage for Trackside Live on Friday night to talk about his current NCWTS points lead and his goals for the rest of the season.
Chassis History: Electing to utilize the newest chassis in the Red Horse Racing fleet for this weekend's VFW 200, the No. 17 team will bring chassis number 004 to Michigan for competition. This particular Tundra will see its very first laps on the track with Peters behind the wheel.
Previous Race Recap: Heading into Pocono Raceway last Saturday holding a solid lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings, Timothy Peters and the No. 17 Red Horse Racing team had high hopes to continue extending their reign over the rest of the field. Skillfully maneuvering his way through the first few rows of traffic, Peters raced in the top three from his eighth place starting position after lap one, but was taken out of contention after an incident in the tunnel turn. His crew made extensive repairs and Peters returned to the track to claim a 22nd place finish.
Jason Bowles continued his streak of strong runs with his 11th top-20 finish of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season Saturday at Watkins Glen International. After starting 27th, Bowles quickly moved up through the field into the top-15. Following a long race with many adjustments being made to the American Majority No. 81 Toyota, Jason brought home a 17th place finish.
“We worked really hard to get a handle on the car all race long, searching for a good balance,” explained crew chief John Monsam. “Jason did an excellent job racing inside the top-15 almost the entire race. Unfortunately, we could never find a happy medium on the setup to make a run for a top-10 finish.”
Bowles moved up one spot in the points standings to 13th, just 31 points out of the top-10. The American Majority No. 81 also moved up one spot in the owner standings to 21st.
Next week the NASCAR Nationwide Series continues to turn to the right with another road race on the schedule. The American Majority Toyota team heads north of the border for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Montreal next Saturday afternoon. The race can be seen live on ABC at 2PM ET.
Kyle Busch saw a sure victory transform into a heartbreaking seventh-place finish after a wild final lap in the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday on the 11-turn, 2.45-mile road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), led three times for a race-high 43 laps. He also led at the start of the final lap, with Brad Keselowski a few cars lengths behind in second and Marcos Ambrose on Keselowski’s bumper in third.
As the leaders came to the white flag, Bobby Labonte’s car experienced engine issues and started to leak oil throughout the track.
As Busch entered turn one on the final lap, his M&M’s Camry ran over some of the oil and began to slide, which allowed Keselowski to close the gap and attempt a pass as the duo entered the second turn and the beginning of the “Esses.” As they began turning into the right-hand corner, the left front of Keselowski’s Dodge made contact with the right rear of Busch’s Toyota.
The contact sent Busch’s Toyota spinning, while Keselowski continued in the lead. But that lead was short-lived, as Ambrose soon was hot on his tail. The two battled for the win to the final corner, where Ambrose finally cleared Keselowski to score the victory.
Busch was able to get his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota pointed in the right direction quickly after the spin and managed a respectable seventh-place result. But that provided little consolation after it appeared a victory was nearly locked up.
“The 47 (Bobby Labonte) broke, you can see him, he just went by smoking, he left oil down all over the track,” said Dave Rogers, crew chief of the No. 18 M&M’s Camry. “Kyle hit the oil, and it allowed the 2 car (Keselowski) to get to us, and he kind of raced us the way he raced us. It was a good car, and Kyle gave a great effort – really proud of everyone on this M&M’s Toyota Camry team. We were fast, and we were here, but we didn’t get the job done today.”
Watching the victory slip away was even more painful since Busch is still trying to secure a spot in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase. Chase positions 11 and 12 are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points who have the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Kasey Kahne holds the 11th-place wild-card spot thanks to his two victories, the most of any driver outside the top-10. Ryan Newman assumed the 12th-place wild-card spot by virtue of his April 1 victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, combined with his 13th position in the point standings, which is higher than his fellow single-race winners in the top-20 in points – Busch, Jeff Gordon, Ambrose and Joey Logano.
Had Busch secured a victory, he would have vaulted himself ahead of Newman in both points and wins and nearly guaranteed himself a spot in the Chase. Instead, he finds himself still trying to lock down a Chase spot with four races remaining before the field is set.
“You can get in the Chase without winning (a second race),” Rogers said. “But it certainly would be nice to have that win. We’re going to the racetrack the next four weeks to win the race. I think if you plan on going there to run top-five and beat the 24 car (Gordon), you’re fooling yourself. That’s a really strong team with a lot of veteran guys that have won championships. We’re going to bring our best cars to the racetrack and do our best to win the race. I’m happy with the way the team is performing. I think if we keep performing the way we’re performing, we’ll get this turned around and get another win.”
The good news for Busch and the M&M’s team is they have won at each of the four remaining racetracks on the schedule before the Chase field is set. Busch has one with at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (August 2011), five wins at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (March 2007, March and August 2009, August 2010 and March 2011), one win at Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 2008) and four wins at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (May 2009 and 2010, April 2011 and May 2012).
Busch’s JGR companions –Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry – finished 32nd and 34th, respectively. Logano was involved in an accident, while Hamlin had engine problems.
Ambrose’s victory in the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen was his second career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his second Sprint Cup win in a row at Watkins Glen.
Keselowski finished .571 of a second behind Ambrose in the runner-up spot while Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle, Busch, Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith and Martin Truex Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 13 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 90-lap race.
With round 22 of 36 complete, Hamlin leads the Team Interstate trio in the championship point standings. He dropped two spots to 10th with 693 points, 84 behind new series leader Johnson and 40 points ahead of 11th-place Kahne. Busch improved one spot to 14th with 638 points, 139 out of first and 55 behind 10th-place Hamlin. Logano fell one position to 18th with 587 points, 190 away from the top spot and 106 behind 10th.
Either Busch or Logano can earn a wild-card spot by grabbing another victory in the next four races or by climbing into the top-10 in points.
It doesn’t happen often, but it happened Sunday in the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Tony Stewart was running second on lap 71 when he spun off the final corner of the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course. His No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet backed into the Armco barrier that lined the inside of pit road, sustaining heavy damage.
Several trips to the pits allowed his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) crew the opportunity to repair the car enough to finish the race, and that’s just what Stewart did, rallying from 29th on lap 74 to finish 19th when the checkered flag dropped after lap 90.
“Sorry, guys,” said Stewart over the radio on the cool-down lap. “I gave it away there.”
Crew chief Steve Addington was quick to correct his driver: “You give it 110 percent every lap, every race. That’s what we live for. Don’t be sorry for anything.”
Before the spin, the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen was looking familiar for Stewart. A five-time Sprint Cup winner at Watkins Glen, Stewart started seventh and rose to second. He certainly would’ve been a factor in the late-race shootout between Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch, where all the drivers were on worn tires and sliding around as they rooted and gouged for the top spot.
Ambrose wound up the victor after a spirited battle with Keselowski, who knocked Busch out of the way in the esses on the final lap. The victory was the second of his Sprint Cup career and his second straight at Watkins Glen.
Keselowski finished .571 of a second behind Ambrose in the runner-up spot while Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle, Busch, Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith and Martin Truex Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet for SHR, finished 11th to earn his fifth top-12 result in 11 career Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen, his 10th of the season and his fifth in a row. It also vaulted Newman into the second wild-card spot with four races to go before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
There were four caution periods for 13 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish.
With round 22 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He fell two spots to eighth and has 716 points, 61 back of new series leader Johnson and six points ahead of ninth-place Kevin Harvick with a 63-point cushion over 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Newman improved one position to 13th and has 644 points, 133 behind Johnson and 49 behind 10th-place Denny Hamlin.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 19 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.
Mike Wallace and the No. 01 Chevrolet team of JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller twisted and turned their way to a top-20 finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International. His teammate for the weekend, Daryl Harr driving the No. 4 iWorld.com/Tradebank Chevrolet, gained eight spots from where he started to finish 30th.
After the only practice session on Friday, Wallace and Harr posted the 23rd and 29th fastest times, respectively, during the two hour session. However, part of it was marred by rain, which allowed some teams to make only a few practice laps.
For qualifying, dry conditions on the 11-turn road course allowed for better handling. With that, Wallace posted a time to line up 28th and Harr in 38th for the initial green flag.
Once the race started, Wallace and crew chief Newt Moore had a pre-arranged strategy for fuel stops. They were going to stay out longer than other teams and hope for a caution to make everyone pit on their fuel cycle.
By lap 54, the strategy was working out as two cautions had already taken place and Wallace was running in the top-five. Hoping other teams would be forced to go three more green laps and allow them to pit, while others would have to stop again, didn’t work out when the caution waved on lap 58, then again on lap 70.
From there, Wallace raced his way through the twists and turns, kept his No. 01 Chevrolet in one piece and on the track to earn a lead-lap, 18th-place finish.
As a result of the commendable finish, he moved up to 14th in the points standings where he now trails 13th place by a mere six markers. Next week, the NNS heads to another road course in Montreal.
The JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller team is headed to Scranton, Penn. to work on their Montreal cars at the RJ Burne Cadillac dealership before making their way to Montreal.
Mike Wallace Quotes: “It was a fairly simple race for us as far as anything on the track. We didn’t go spinning off anywhere, didn’t get tangled up with anyone too bad and brought it home in one piece.
“What we did was try a different fuel strategy that would have been perfect, we were just three laps shy of it working out. If others would have gone with it, it would’ve been huge for us. But, they didn’t and we had to go with how things played out in the race.
“We were running in the top-five there for awhile before we had to pit. From there, it was just race our way through the field and get a good finish. We managed to take the checkers for 18th and moved up one place in the driver’s points, so that’s good for us.
“Now, we’ll be heading for another road course this weekend up in Montreal. The guys will spend some time in Scranton at RJ Burne’s Cadillac place to get the cars turned around before crossing the border into Canada.”
JD Motorsports PR
The No. 54 Monster Energy team, with owner-driver Kyle Busch, entered the Finger Lakes region hopeful for a strong run on the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen (N.Y.) road course. What the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team encountered over the weekend tested their skills as a team. Overcoming a variety of hurdles - such as a practice session in the rain, a broken engine, a deficient oil tank, starting from the rear of the field, a broken shifter handle and a stuck throttle - to finish sixth, the young team ultimately showed their strength in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The first day at track started with thunderstorms, which delayed the one and only practice session scheduled. As this was a road-course, Goodyear had a rain tire available for use in wet conditions. While it continued to rain, NASCAR required all the teams to hit the track and complete at least one timed lap, in order to be eligible to participate in the qualifying session that would happen Saturday morning. The teams had a certain window of time to accomplish this and the No. 54 group waited as long as possible in order for the rain to stop and the track to possibly dry.
When they finally did go out, the rain had subsided and the Monster Energy team was able to run on normal tires. Busch made two laps and immediately posted the second fastest time of the field. The crew and driver were happy with their results, considering the earlier weather hurdles, until Busch indicated on practice lap four, the motor had blown.
A disappointed crew brought the black machine to the garage and quickly began replacing the broken engine with a fresh one. This work continued late into the night Friday and early Saturday, with NASCAR's approval for extended garage time, in order to make the repair. The KBM group completed the major fix in time to qualify the car Saturday morning. NASCAR approved the team to begin the race in their qualifying spot, without any penalty from the engine change. Although once a fifth-place starting position was secured, Busch and team discovered an issue with the car's oil tank, and made the decision to replace it.
The oil tank replacement was considered an unapproved adjustment during post-qualifying impound, so the No. 54 dropped to the rear of the field upon race start. From the 41st-position, Busch took the green flag and around the first 2.45-mile circuit drove his black Monster Energy car into the 25th spot. Three laps later the No. 54 team was scored in 19th, then in 17th when the first yellow-flag caution of the race waved.
"Save fuel," commented Crew Chief Mike Beam as the team chose not to visit pit road but discussed the car's handling with their veteran driver. Busch relayed to his group, "the car is good, only thing I would like is a little better rear grip." The team noted the car condition and discussed amongst themselves what changes would be made when the first pit stop did occur.
A green-flag restart on lap 11 offered Busch the opportunity to advance further, passing road-course expert Ron Fellows for the 10th spot, then on lap 15 by passing NNS championship contender Elliott Sadler for the ninth position. The No. 54 car was responding well to the course, allowing Busch the opportunity to reach as high as third place, when the team chose to make their first pit stop of the day under green flag conditions.
"I need side bite," described Busch on the radio. Beam and crew worked on the black machine at lap 21, providing a track bar adjustment, fresh tires and fuel. The pit stop was fast and once other competitors cycled through pit road, the No. 54 team still remained in the top-10 of the field, now back to sixth place.
Team and driver were quiet on the radio while Busch focused on the field ahead, until the team owner relayed that his shifter handle broke. After discussing the problem, Busch determined it would take too long during a pit stop to repair the ball and shaft, so he pushed through, continuing to work the 11-turn racetrack without it.
Another yellow-flag caution occurred at the mid-way point in the race but the No. 54 team chose not to visit pit road, instead salvaging their top-five position. The green-flag restart this time showcased Busch's talent, as he passed three cars within one lap and moved into the second-place spot, behind race leader Brad Keselowski.
Another round of green-flag pit stops began and during the transition of cars to pit road, Busch took the lead at lap 51 for one circuit, before visiting pit road himself. The crew made more chassis adjustments and air pressure changes in the tires, to give their driver a better handling machine. A third yellow-flag event caution ensued and the team remained on-track in the eighth position, as they had pitted four laps prior. Another green-flag restart and Busch made an exciting pass from fifth to third place behind event leaders Kasey Kahne and Keselowski.
With 20 laps remaining in the event, Busch wheeled his car to second place, working to reduce the 0.79-second lead Keselowski had on the No. 54, while also defending his position to the third-place car and eventual race winner Carl Edwards. A fourth yellow-flag caution period waved at lap 68, when the team heard Busch communicate another hurdle, "the throttle is sticking now." Beam and team hoped at this point, the Monster Energy Toyota would continue for Busch without further issues, allowing the team to salvage a good run, amidst obstacles.
A fifth and final event caution occurred with six laps remaining in the event. "You've done a hell of a job," Beam relayed to his driver before Busch completed the final event laps. Happy to bring their car home in one piece and having overcome multiple challenges presented to them during their first visit to The Glen, the No. 54 KBM team recorded a sixth-place finish, their 11th top-10 of the year.
Crew Chief Beam commented on the weekend hurdles post race, "We've had so many issues, it's just crazy. The shifter ball broke off 30 laps into it and Kyle (Busch) did a great job sticking with it. The throttle is sticking - we've had so many issues. Just losing that engine yesterday and then having the problem there at qualifying and starting at the rear. Everybody has done a great job on this Monster Energy Toyota. I'm proud of everyone. Kyle (Busch) was hanging tough for us."
Edwards recorded his first win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this year and 38th of his career. Keselowski finished in the second-finishing spot, while Sam Hornish Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Fellows completed the top-five finishers. There were five caution periods for 15 laps of the race along with 13 lead changes across nine drivers, including Busch who recorded one lap led. The No. 54 Monster Energy team remains 11th in the Owner's Point standings, 129 points from the leader.
Miguel Paludo got behind the wheel of a NASCAR Nationwide Series car for only the second time in his career, tackling the road course circuit of Watkins Glen International. After fighting a free racecar and having to make an unscheduled pit stop for debris on the grille, Paludo brought the No. 30 Duroline Chevrolet home in the 13th position.
Paludo positioned the No. 30 NNS machine 14th on the board during road-course style qualifying at the 2.45-mile track. Taking the green flag in the Zippo 200 at The Glen, Paludo moved into 13th before the first caution flag of the day waved on lap six. Strategy indicated that it was too early to visit pit road, so Paludo remained on the track, and after taking the lap 10 restart, he worked his way into the 12th spot by lap 18. The Brazilian driver relayed to his crew that the Duroline Chevy was too free, but despite the condition, he broke into the top-10 on lap 20. As green-flag pit stops began, Paludo remained on the track longer than many of the leaders, taking over fourth before bringing his car down pit road for his first scheduled stop of the day.
The Duroline crew provided their driver with four Goodyear tires, fuel and wedge and air-pressure adjustments before sending the car back onto the track. Paludo fought his way back into 13th as the rest of the field's pit stops cycled through, but on lap 34, he radioed crew chief Trent Owens that his water temperature and water pressure were too high. Owens stated that there was probably debris on the grille causing the high temperatures, so he called the No. 30 to pit road for a quick brush of the nose and a splash of fuel. With the grille freed of any debris blocking airflow, the temperature and pressure returned to normal.
The yellow flag waved for the second time on lap 40, and the No. 30 team used the opportunity to get four more tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. Paludo was 19th when green-flag racing resumed, and with the handling of his car improved, Paludo began to chip away at his track position and re-entered the top-15 on lap 50. The leaders soon began to make green-flag stops, and due to his differing pit strategy, Paludo was able to remain on the track longer than his competitors and soon he found himself in second place. After a hard fight for the lead, Paludo took over the first spot on lap 54. After leading four laps, Paludo finally relinquished the point position to make his way to pit road for his final pit stop of the race. After taking four tires and fuel, and once again receiving a wedge adjustment, Paludo returned to the track in 18th.
In the remaining 20 laps, Paludo elbowed his way through the field, taking over the 12th position with 14 to go, and appeared to have an advantage with fresher tires than the cars around him. However, a pair of cautions in the closing laps and the ensuing wild restarts shuffled Paludo back to 13th before the drop of the checkered flag.
Miguel Paludo: "I would have really liked to do better than we did today; I can't say that I'm satisfied with a 13th-place finish when we came in here aiming for a top-five. But we had some good moments and led some laps. The guys did a great job on their pit stops and adjustments and everyone worked really hard this weekend. I had a lot of fun doing another road course, but I'm ready to head to Michigan and go back to focusing on the Truck Series."
Paludo returns to action in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Michigan International Speedway for the VFW 200 on August 18th.
Turner Motorsports PR
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished eighth (Paul Menard), 12th (Elliott Sadler) and 23rd (Austin Dillon).
- Sadler leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., by 13 points. Sam Hornish ranks third, with Dillon fourth in the standings, trailing his teammate by 29 points.
- The No. 2 Chevrolet team is second in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, nine points shy of the No. 18 team's lead, with the No. 3 team fifth in the standings and the No. 33 team seventh.
- Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
- According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Menard ranked sixth in the Closers category, gaining two positions in the last 10 percent of the race, and was the sixth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run.
- Sadler and Menard were the eighth and ninth-Fastest on Restarts, respectively.
- Sadler's Average Running Position of 9.793 ranked him ninth amongst his competitors.
- Dillon made 40 Green Flag Passes.
- Carl Edwards earned his 38th career Nationwide Series victory and was followed to the finish line by Brad Keselowski, Hornish, Stenhouse and Ron Fellows.
- The next scheduled Nationwide Series race is the Napa 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, August 18. The 22nd race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Charter Chevrolet Team Finish 12th at Watkins Glen International
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Charter team claimed a 12th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series road course event at Watkins Glen International. After starting the race from the seventh position at the scenic facility in upstate N.Y., the Richard Childress Racing driver battled with lack of rear grip throughout the course of the event but was able to maintain a top-10 position in the early laps. The Luke Lambert-led pit crew developed their road course racing strategy and stuck to it, utilizing a two pit-stop approach to the 82-lap race. In an attempt to gain more rear grip on the Charter Chevrolet, Lambert called for chassis adjustments during the team's four-tire pit stops on lap 22 and 52. Following the final pit stop, Sadler was concerned the changes did not help and was soon challenged with additional handling issues on the No. 2 Charter Chevrolet, dropping the Nationwide Series driver championship point leader to the 14th position on lap 57. Fighting to gain position on the seven-turn road course, Sadler remained on track during the final caution period of the day on lap 76, lining up the No. 2 Chevrolet in the 11th position for the final restart. Sadler battled over the closing laps but the loose-handling condition returned, ultimately dropping the blue and green Chevrolet one position and crossing the finish line in 12th for the second of three road course events on the Nationwide Series schedule. Sadler maintains the lead in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings by 13 points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Start - 7 Finish - 12 Laps Led - 0 Points - 1
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE:
"We had a solid finish today but not what we were hoping for at Watkins Glen (International). Luke (Lambert, crew chief) and the Charter Chevrolet team had the strategy down and made good calls, we're just not sure if we had a set of tires that didn't work out as well for us or what on that last run. We'll get back after it next week in Montreal."
Late-Race Contact Relegates Austin Dillon and the No. 3 AdvoCare Team to a 23rd-Place Finish at Watkins Glen International
Making his career first NASCAR Nationwide Series start at Watkins Glen International, Austin Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a 23rd-place finish in the Zippo 200 at The Glen. Dillon started the 200-mile race from the 30th position after Friday afternoon rain showers limited his practice session at the 2.45-mile road course and raced his way into the top 15 by lap 34. As he was approaching the carousal turn on lap 38, cars began colliding in front of him, causing the Sunoco rookie of the year contender to bypass the turn, losing him three positions on the race track and a NASCAR-issued pass through penalty for failing to stop before proceeding on the racing surface. As he continued around the track to serve his penalty, a car spun directly in front of him and Dillon spun off course to avoid making contact as the race leader passed him. He immediately drove to pit road where the RCR team serviced the AdvoCare Chevrolet with four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Restarting at the tail-end of the longest line to satisfy his carousal turn penalty, Dillon was scored in the 22nd position, one lap down when green flag racing resumed on lap 41. He rejoined the lead lap cars by taking the wave around when the caution flag was displayed on lap 56 and ran competitively on the lead lap. However, another car braked in front of the RCR driver during a restart in the closing laps of the race and Dillon drove into the back of the car in front of him, causing a right-front fender rub that eventually led to cut a right-front tire on lap 76. Repairs were made on pit road and Dillon nursed the black No. 3 to a 23rd-place finish. The result dropped Dillon two positions, to fourth, in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 30 Finish - 23 Laps Led - 0 Points - 4
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: "Well, definitely not the result we were hoping for today for the AdvoCare team. It's disappointing but I learned a lot about road course racing. On to the race next weekend in Montreal."
The No. 33 Rheem/Menards Team Rallies to Eighth-Place Finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series Race Following Battery Issues at Watkins Glen
Paul Menard started the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet from the third position in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at The Glen and persevered through battery issues to earn a top-10 finish at Watkins Glen International. The Eau Claire, Wis., native battled a tight-handling condition early in the 82-lap event and while running in the fifth position, reported that the No. 33 machine had zero volts. Following a lap-21 green-flag pit stop, Menard radioed the Rheem/Menards team that he was experiencing additional issues. Crew chief Ernie Cope called him to pit road for service and to replace the battery. Returning to the race track in the 25th position and almost two laps down to the leader, Menard and the No. 33 team began to fight their way through the field. During green-flag stops, Menard was able to pass the leader and make it back on the lead lap by the lap-56 caution period. Menard restarted in the 19th position and broke back into the top 10 on lap 68. Despite changing the battery three times over the course of the 82-lap event, the No. 33 Rheem/Menards team never gave up and gained two more spots to take the checkered flag in the eighth position.
Start - 3 Finish - 8 Laps Led - 0 Owner Points - 7
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards team did a great job this weekend. They brought a really fast Chevrolet to Watkins Glen (International) and when we had the issue with the battery, they never gave up. We passed a lot of cars today and truly earned this eighth-place finish."