Speedway Digest Staff
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If NASCAR drivers raced in production versions of their cars, 57 percent of KBB.com visitors think the Chevrolet SS would perform best in the Sprint Cup Series, according to a recent online poll from Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the only vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.
KBB.com Quick Poll: If NASCAR Drivers Raced In Everyday Cars Sold at Dealerships,
Which Model Would Perform Best in the Sprint Cup Series?1
Percent of KBB.com Visitors
“Nearly 60 percent of consumers polled believe the everyday version of the Chevrolet SS would take home first place if a NASCAR driver was racing it, demonstrating that the Chevrolet brand resonates for performance both in the racing realm and in the real world,” said Arthur Henry, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “When NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently raced his Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet SS to victory lane for the third time this season alone, he helped increase the model’s perception as an attainable performance vehicle.”
Kelley Blue Book is a sponsor of Earnhardt and his Hendrick Motorsports team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2014 and 2015. So far this season, Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 and both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono.
Two-time NASCAR champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. traveled to Fastenal headquarters in Winona, Minnesota last week to unveil the 2015 No. 17 Fastenal Ford Fusion in front of the ‘Blue Team’.
“It was great to unveil our 2015 Fastenal paint scheme at Fastenal’s headquarters in front of their employees,” Stenhouse said. “I got to meet a lot of individuals and their excitement has me looking forward to the 2015 season. On our tour, they showed me a wall that was designated for win banners so our No. 17 team will have to work on that for them.”
In Indianapolis, Roush Fenway Racing announced that long-time partner Fastenal will serve as the anchor partner on the No. 17 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) for a multi-year agreement beginning next season.
Fastenal first joined with Roush Fenway in 2010 and has served as a primary partner for multiple Roush Fenway teams and drivers in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and NSCS.
If fans want to see a man on a mission during the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway – with an amazing savings package named in his honor - they won’t have to look any further than five-time Talladega winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
With the track’s “Two for $88” Dale Jr. Ticket Package, for an incredible price, fans can witness 43 drivers battle it out on the biggest and baddest race track on the planet, and NASCAR’s Most Competitive facility. The special offer gives fans a $32 savings off the regular price of two Lincoln Grandstand tickets to the Sunday, October 19 GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race – the pivotal sixth race of The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The offer is for a limited time, ending in just one week on Friday, August 29.
The GEICO 500 will be the sixth race of the new Chase and final event of the Contender Round, in which the field of 12 drivers eligible for the title will be reduced to eight. Earnhardt, Jr., currently second in The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, will eagerly return to the 2.66-mile venue to avenge a disappointing weekend in May. In the latter stages, mired outside the top 20 after a fuel stop, Earnhardt drifted back in the pack to avoid a possible wreck, but late-race circumstances prevented him from being able to make a calculated late-race charge. He tallied a 26th-place effort, a result that didn’t sit well with NASCAR’s Most Popular driver.
“The way we ran and what I chose to do at the end of that race is just really uncharacteristic of anybody that is in the field and trying to compete,” Jr. said of the Aaron’s 499 in May. “I just got really frustrated with the way things were working out for us. I lost sight of the overall big picture, what you are out there trying to do, who all is out there depending on you to do it, and what you need to do. Lot of fans there to see us race, showed up to spend hard-earned money, so it was a difficult thing to go through. I learned some lessons. You are never too old to be taught a lesson either. I definitely experienced that in Talladega this year.”
Known for constant three and four-wide action 10 or more rows deep, racing at Talladega Superspeedway mid pack or further back can make it extremely difficult to maneuver to the front. Sometimes, there just isn’t anywhere to go, and if you do get a shot to move forward, a car in front of you can alter a driver’s momentum in a split second, thus preventing a driver in making up any ground. Such was the case for Dale Jr. in the spring, despite leading three times for 26 laps.
“You have to get that track position and you have got to be first,” added Jr., who has five wins at Talladega, including a record four straight from 2001-2003. “When everybody is done pitting, you don’t want to have to drive through the pack. It’s hard to pass and you get boxed in. So what happens is that you need to be putting fuel in your car as often as you can so that the last time you have to come down pit road to get in that window, you only need to put a few gallons in the car to reach that window.
“It’s where most of the field is putting 12 to 22 gallons in on that stop and you are only putting in what you need, and you beat them off pit road. And there you are – in position to win - as long as you, as a driver, can maintain that track position over the restarts and all the things that are going to go on over that run. So we know we need to do it that way, it’s just hopefully everything else falls in place that way such as the cautions and everything else.”
Just a year ago in Talladega’s GEICO 500, the cautions didn’t fly Earnhardt, Jr.’s way. Running second to Jamie McMurray, he had a plan for the pass during the final mile, but an accident behind him brought out the yellow flag and he settled for second. The last time Jr. won a race at Talladega in the fall was 2004. That year, he also won the season-opening Daytona 500. Flash forward 10 years - he won this year’s Daytona 500. Can history repeat itself at Talladega as well? It would be huge, especially after what happened in May, for Earnhardt, Jr., who has a tremendous desire to get back into Victory lane at a track that is special to his heart.
“I always feel confident when we come here that we are going to have a good car,” Earnhardt, Jr. said at a recent Talladega event. “But this racetrack is really a special race track, just in general, to the sport. I think the history of this place and just how it was conceived, and how the track eventually turned into one of the most impressive and unique, concerning speed, and how the style of racing that you have is so unique, it’s just amazing what this place has been able to deliver year after year. I do enjoy coming here and I remember this was one of my favorites as a kid.
“When I was young, out of all the tracks that I had the chance to go to, this was definitely one of my favorites to come to. Milling around in the garage during the race and just how big the place was and the cars looked different because of the superspeedway bodies and it was just a really fun experience for me. And this was actually the first track that I drove on aside from Myrtle Beach,” added the Hendrick Motorsports driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet.
“It is a real special place. My dad won a lot of races (10) here and I’ve had the fortune of being able to get to Victory Lane several times. I think this place will just continue to deliver, year after year, long after I’m gone. It’s just an impressive track and I really enjoy it. It makes it fun to come here knowing you’ve got a lot of people excited to see you run.”
And, those fans – whether they are loyal Dale Jr. fans or not - can watch the GEICO 500 for the incredible “Two for $88” ticket package, a savings of $32, and join in on the post season action. The results at Talladega are always wildly unpredictable, but fans can be certain Earnhardt Jr., who will be looking for redemption, and the rest of the 43-driver field, won’t hold back because, after all, a win in the GEICO 500 guarantees advancement to the Eliminator Round of eight. It is a “Must See” event.
Timothy Peters and the No. 17 team have had Bristol Motor Speedway circled on the calendar all year. With a win in 2012 and a close second-place finish in 2013, the team was anxious to return to the 0.533-mile short track. Rain shortened the practice time on Wednesday, and limited the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams to a single session, where Peters turned in the seventh-fastest lap. However, following a 20th-place qualifying effort the No. 17 Red Horse Racing team opted to work on the impounded Toyota Tundra and start the UNOH from the rear of the 36-truck field. Rain delayed the start of the 200-lap race to the following morning. Under sunny skies the green flag was displayed and Peters climbed to 25th in the running order, but had nowhere to go when two trucks spun in front of him on lap 15. The red and white machine received front-end damage, requiring multiple visits to pit road for repairs. The Marcus Richmond-led team kept the veteran driver on the lead lap during the first caution period of the day. The damage created an extreme tight-handling condition, and Peters fought to maintain track position. The team worked throughout the morning to make additional repairs to offer reprieve during routine pit stops, but the tightness persisted, relegating the No. 17 team to a 26th-place finish.
Start - 20
Finish - 26
Driver Points Position - 8
Laps Led - 0
Timothy Peters Quote:
"This was not what we expected from ourselves here at Bristol (Motor Speedway). We've had such success here that this finish is a big disappointment to all of us. We just need to learn from it, not beat ourselves up or get down, and move forward."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams took to the track early Thursday, August 21, for a rain delayed UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 77 NET10 Wireless team was forced to rely on only one practice session due to inclement weather on Wednesday morning, and after struggling to find the right set up, they were scored the13th fastest. Quiroga advanced to the second and final round of the knock-out qualifying session, where he earned a top-10 starting position, securing the sixth spot. Once weather delayed the start of the race, the teams knew that they would be faced with changed track conditions due to going from a night race to a day race. The sun was shining on Bristol Motor Speedway once the green flag dropped the following morning, and Quiroga found himself inside the top-five, but handling conditions of his Toyota Tundra quickly changed. Crew chief Butch Hylton called for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment for the blue and white machine in an effort to tighten the truck up. Quiroga remained in the top-10 for the majority of the 200-lap race. The team made a wedge adjustment during the final pit stop of the day, in an effort to give the Mexican-born driver a truck he could fight for positions with. Unfortunately, not enough laps remained in the race, and he was marked in the 14th position when the checkered flag was displayed.
Start - 6
Finish - 14
Driver Point Position - 6
Laps Led - 0
Germán Quiroga Quote:
"It was a complicated day for our NET10 Wireless team. We had a great qualifying effort of sixth, and I was battling in the top five when the race started, but as the day went on we slowly began to lose the balance of our Toyota Tundra. I can't thank all the Red Horse Racing guys enough for their hard work. I'm looking forward to doing some road course racing next weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park."
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 overcame an ill handling truck to post a 13th place finish in the UNOH 200 Thursday afternoon at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway .
Blaney started 14th and pitted on lap 19 during the event's first caution for adjustments. He restarted outside the top 20 when the race went green on lap 23 and was able to work his way to 17th place when the competition caution slowed the race on lap 52. Ryan pitted again for tires and another round of adjustments and excellent pit work moved him up to 10th for the restart on lap 57.
Blaney held his own during the next segment of the race and he was 11th when the third caution slowed the pace on lap 112. One lap later Ryan hit pit lane for four tires and another round of adjustments. He restarted ninth when the race went green on lap 118 but just a few laps into the run he was battling a tight handling condition.
When the fourth and final caution waved on lap 145, Blaney again pitted for adjustments and topped off the fuel tank. He restarted 11th but as the race neared its final quarter his truck became more and more loose. Ryan gamely held on down the stretch and was credited with a 13th place finish.
Keselowski qualified fourth but ran no lower than second place during the 200 lap race at the .533-mile speedway. He grabbed the lead for the first time on lap 12, and held the top spot until the leaders pitted under a competition caution on lap 52. Keselowski restarted second when the race went green on lap 57 and took the lead two laps later. Brad fell in line just behind the 51 truck on lap 61 and stayed in the tire tracks of the race leader for the next 64 laps. During the third caution on lap 113, Keselowski and the other leaders made their final stops for four tires and fuel. Brad restarted second when the race went green on lap 119. He took the lead for the final time on lap 125 and never looked back, taking the checkered flag .776 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
The victory was Brad's first in 62 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. He and his father Bob are now the only father-son duo to win in the NCWTS. Keselowski claimed his first victory and third top 10 finish in seven races at Bristol (he also has two Cup victories and one Nationwide win at Bristol).
No, the state fair isn’t coming back to the Richmond Raceway Complex. But, fans coming out to America’s Premier Short Track this September 5 & 6 will get a taste of some carnival fun at the Gwaltney Turn 3 Fun Zone.
Taking over the Turn 3 Terrace, the Fun Zone is FREE and open to all ticket holders on Friday and Saturday this upcoming race weekend. Fans will be able to buy unique Gwaltney-branded concessions served exclusively in Turn 3, grab a drink at the bar, and ride in a 47-foot tall Ferris wheel located right next to the “Action Track!”
“As the primary sponsor of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team for the September 6th Cup race in Richmond, Gwaltney will have two trackside footprints during race weekend. One – located in The Midway– will include sampling, a prize wheel, and a bacon-eating contest judged by racing legend Richard Petty and No. 43 driver Aric Almirola,” said Dennis Pittman, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for Gwaltney. “In the second area, since Gwaltney is such a family-oriented brand, we will be providing race attendees with picnic tables, kid-friendly concessions for sale, and a full-size Ferris wheel for families to ride and enjoy together.”
Ferris wheel rides are FREE to all ticketholders. Optional donations to the Victory Junction Gang will be accepted.
With something for everyone, the Gwaltney Turn 3 Fun Zone only adds to the excitement surrounding the Federated Auto Parts 400 – “One Last Race to Make the Chase.” Advance adult tickets start at $35; tickets for kids 12 & younger are $25 off the adult price in all sections, and can be purchased by clicking here or calling 866-455-7223.
Justin Boston made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday, and despite an early end to the afternoon due to involvement in another driver's incident, Boston left knowing he had achieved many of his goals for the weekend. Boston and the No. 25 ZLOOP Toyota Tundra were credited with 30th at the finish. Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski was the winner.
Boston started 27th but methodically worked his way through the field and into the top 20 by lap 60. He hovered inside the top 20 and was poised to potentially score a top-15 finish in his series debut but was swept into a crash on Bristol's narrow backstretch when several trucks in front of him collided, leaving him no escape route.
“We had several goals this weekend, the first and foremost to make the race and run all 200 laps,” he said. “We made the race but we didn't get to finish, but that's racing. We were competitive all day long, we gained positions on the track and on pit road. Working with Rick Ren and Johnny Benson was a huge help. We learned a lot about the trucks, and how they react to changes. We wanted to go out and not start any trouble, and we did that. It was great to get out there and race against the drivers in the Camping World Truck Series. Hopefully they saw what we did and we gained some respect from some of the other drivers and teams.”
Boston was running comfortably in 20th as the field completed lap 150, but before Boston could get back around three trucks in front of him came together on the backstretch. He made an evasive move to the inside but with Bristol's steep banking – even on the straightaways – his escape route was quickly blocked and he was forced into the inside wall. The contact wasn't severe, but it was enough to sideline the team for the remainder of the day with terminal radiator damage.
“As fast as we go out there and as tight as this track is you don't have a chance to even think about what to do when there's a wreck in front of you,” he said. “We went to the low side and it looked like there was a chance we could make it through but it just closed up on us and we got into the wall. Not much you can do about it when they wreck in front of you but that's all just part of racing. We're excited to get a chance to run a few more Truck races before the end of the year. We'll take what we learned this weekend and come out of the box at the next one even better.”
Boston returns to action in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards this Sunday, August 24 in the Herr's Live Life with Flavor 200 at the Madison International Speedway just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. The race will be televised live starting at 3 P.M. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network. He and the Venturini Motorsports team will return to action in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, October 31.
Justin Boston PR
Jimmy Weller and the No. 08 Geneva-Liberty Steel Chevrolet Silverado team finished 19th at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway yesterday. After heavy storms passed through the area on Wednesday night, the race was postponed until 10 a.m. on Thursdaymorning. Making his very first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at "The World Fastest Half-Mile," Weller was able to hold on for a 19th-place finish marking his fourth top-20 result of the year.
With his agreement to drive the No. 08 Geneva-Liberty Steel Chevrolet Silverado coming together just days before the race, Weller had just mere hours to prepare for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway. However, when the Hubbard, Ohio native arrived at the track on Wednesday morning, he was ready to go and excited to take on the challenge of yet another new track in his Chevrolet Silverado. Weller fought with the balance of his truck throughout practice and qualifying, but his crew made several changes after each session, to ensure that Weller would be comfortable in his vehicle when the green flag waved.
The Sunoco Rookie contender rolled off 30th in the UNOH 200 on Thursday afternoon. He radioed into his crew early in the race to report some challenges with the balance in his truck--namely a tight truck through the center of the corners. The Geneva-Liberty Steel Chevrolet team took advantage of an early caution period to make a series of chassis adjustments that would help Weller's truck. During a second pit stop near the halfway point, Weller's team took right side tires, and during a third pit stop with 50 laps remaining, Weller's SS Green Light Racing team applied fresh left side tires.
The No. 08 Geneva-Liberty Steel Chevrolet got better with each pit stop, but really came to life when the new left side tires were applied. By the time the checkered flag waved, Weller was running the best he had all day and was scored with a 19th-place finish.
"I had a lot of fun today in the No. 08 Geneva-Liberty Steel Chevrolet Silverado," commented Weller. "We worked really hard all week and took some huge swings at the truck, but we saw big improvements from practice to qualifying, and again from qualifying to the race. During the first half of the race, we still fought the truck trying to drive through the corners, but it got much better once we put a different set of tires on. The truck was really hooked up that last run--it was a lot of fun racing there at the end."
Jimmy Weller PR