Monday, Mar 27
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Eric McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds® team headed to Kentucky Speedway looking to not only improve on last year’s 26th and 21st-place finishes at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, but also gain some much needed momentum heading into the summer swing of events.  After starting the weekend with two positive practice sessions, things quickly turned sour as the No. 14 Camry didn’t pass pre-qualifying inspection.  Although McClure was unable to post a qualifying lap, he was still able to start the event in the 39th position as a result of the 2013 rule book.  Despite the set-back, McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds® team rebounded quite nicely and posted a 23rd-place finish in the rain-shortened event.

Early in the race, McClure battled a car that was a little free in the center and on exit of the turns.  It didn’t slow down his progress through the field though as he was up to the 29th position by lap 40.  Green flag pit stops began on lap 42 with McClure bringing his Camry to pit road on lap 51 for four tires, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment to help the car’s handling.  Just as the Hefty®/Reynolds® team was finishing the service, the event’s first caution flag waved.  The leader was also on pit road at the time and beat McClure off pit road.  Although this made the Virginia driver ineligible to receive the wave around when he returned to the track, he advanced two positions in the running order when the race resumed on lap 59.

As the race progressed, the car’s handling on entry improved, allowing McClure to advance to the 26th position by lap 94.  The second round of green flag pit stops began on lap 98.  McClure was getting great fuel mileage and was able to remain on track and advance to the 23rd position before bringing the car to the attention of his crew on lap 111.  The team changed four tires and added fuel before sending McClure back on the track.  Once the pit stops cycled through, the Virginia native was scored in the 25th position.

During the final stages of the 200-lap event, McClure posted his fastest lap of the race, informed his crew that the car was the best it had been, and advanced two positions in the running order.  When the event’s fifth and final yellow flag was displayed on lap 163 for rain, the team decided to bring McClure down pit road for their final pit stop of the evening since the rain showers seemed brief.  Shortly after McClure visited pit road, NASCAR displayed the red flag and immediately started drying the racing surface.  Just as the track was about ready to go back racing, mother nature had a different plan and unloaded a large amount of rain on the 1.5-mile speedway.  As a result, NASCAR called the race for inclement weather and McClure was credited with a 23rd-place finish.

Driver, Eric McClure Quotes:

Overall it was a positive weekend for us.  We unloaded decent off of the truck, probably the best we have all season.  We were able to work on a few things and get better throughout the weekend.  We had a set-back when we didn’t pass pre-qualifying inspection so we were not allowed to make a lap, but we had a decent car in the race. The guys made great adjustments on the car, pit stops were good, and we were able to get a respectable finish.”


Kentucky Speedway's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 has been postponed to Sunday, June 30 at noondue to unwelcome and persistent rain showers.

All tickets, credentials and parking passes will be honored. Parking lots will open at 8 a.m. and all speedway gates will open at 10 a.m.

Tickets remain available and will be on sale when gates open.


The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' latest two-week break couldn't come at a better time for ThorSport Racing's Johnny Sauter, who endured an abysmally frustrating night Thursday at Kentucky Speedway that resulted in a 12th-place finish in the UNOH 225.


"We just struggled getting the truck to work like we needed it to," Sauter said. "We tried a lot of things to get it down into the racetrack, but it ended up being a frustrating night for our Carolina Nut / Curb Records Toyota team."


From the time his No. 98 ThorSport Racing Toyota shut off on the pre-race pace laps to the 150th lap -- through which his crew was never able to solve his truck's handling woes -- Sauter kept trying but finally had to admit he was out of ideas to make their vehicle better.


"This track has definitely been a feast-or-famine deal for us," Sauter said. "Thursday wasn't a good day for us, that's for sure."


Along with the shutoff issue, Sauter said on his in-truck radio his truck wasn't running well down the straights, but that might have been handling-related as well.


Sauter's day was marked by being oh-so-close to being a contender, only to never quite make the key adjustment to race out front. Sauter was 13th in opening practice, .5 seconds behind session leader Darrell Wallace Jr.


In Happy Hour, Sauter fell to 21st on the time sheet and was .7 seconds off fast man Cale Gale. Ironically, Sauter outran both Wallace and Gale in the race.


After qualifying 17th Sauter's truck made it off pit road but shut off on the pace laps and had to be pushed back to pit road, where the truck re-fired.


Sauter took 50 laps to get up to 13th, enduring a pit-road penalty for an out-of-control tire in the process, but that was the best he was able to do until the final run, where he made it to 12th at the finish.


Sauter, who came into the race fourth in the Truck Series' standings, 43 points behind ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton, unofficially fell into a tie for fifth with Ryan Blaney, 47 points behind Crafton as ThorSport's lead driver finished just two spots ahead of Sauter, in 10th.


Sauter's scheduled to race his Super Late Model in the July 9 ARCA Midwest Tour Howie Lettow Memorial 150 at The Milwaukee Mile. The next Camping World Truck Series race is at Iowa Speedway on July 13.


Thorsport PR

Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) Travis Pastrana finished 15thFriday night at Kentucky Speedway after the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race was called 30 laps early due to rain.

The NNS had two practice sessions to prepare for the Feed the Children 300.  After Friday’s lone session, the No. 60 team worked diligently to adjust the car.  The changes worked as Pastrana was quickest in final practice Saturday morning.  He followed that up with a second-place qualifying effort.

“It was great to finally find the speed of the top drivers through practice,” Pastrana said.  “That was by far the best qualifying effort I've ever had on a 1.5-mile track.  We were a little conservative with the changes because we anticipated the track getting looser as the night progressed.”

To start the race, Pastrana dropped back a little bit and settled into the top-12.  As green flag pit stops began to cycle through, the No. 60 remained on the track.  A timely caution during those pit stops helped to gain track position for the team, as they were able to make their way down pit road under caution.  The car was too tight in the center of the corner, so Crew Chief Chad Norris adjusted the track bar and air pressure in an effort to help the No. 60 turn through the center better.

Although the caution helped propel Pastrana towards the top of the pack, the No. 60 Mustang showed strength, running in the top-six for the middle portion of the race, until a late-race restart shuffled Pastrana back.

The team continued to visit pit road throughout the race, fighting the same handling issue on the No. 60 Ford Mustang.  Pastrana made his way down pit road for the final time on Lap 167 during a caution for rain.  He exited the pits in 15th.  On Lap 170, NASCAR brought the cars down pit road, calling the race for rain shortly thereafter.

“We learned a lot for next time,” Pastrana said.  “It was an extremely disappointing race, but we learned a lot and it gave me some confidence for future 1.5-mile tracks.”

Brad Keselowski won, while Elliott Sadler, Matt Crafton, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five.  RFR teammate Trevor Bayne finished 12th.


Kyle Busch Motorsports' Nationwide Series program entered Friday night's Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta with high hopes of being able to compete for their first win of 2013. The team unloaded a brand new Camry for the race and came into the event with a wealth of notes from a successful two-day test they participated in at the 1.5-mile tri-oval earlier in the month. After experiencing a variety of issues - a flat tire in qualifying, a broken alternator in the early stages and an untimely caution, just after their first-scheduled pit stop of the race -- the No. 77 Camp Horsin' Around team found themselves two laps down just past the halfway mark of the race. The team was able to claw their way back to the lead lap, but just as they did, the rain moved in and ended the race prematurely, leaving the team with a hard-fought 16th-place finish.


"It was an eventful race -- broke an alternator early on and wasn't able to use the blowers and fans and then the caution came out right after we made our first stop and put us a lap down early," Kligerman said. "Because of the alternator issue, we had to replace the battery and weren't able to take the wave around like the other cars and that put us behind the eight ball the rest of the race. At one point we were two laps down, but Eric (Phillips, crew chief) and the guys on this No. 77 Camp Horsin' Around Camry never gave up - we replaced the battery twice, used a wave around to get one lap down and then fought our way to the lucky dog to get back on the lead lap. Once we got back on the lead lap, I felt like we had a Toyota Camry that was capable of a top-five finish but the rain picked up and we weren't able to finish the race."



Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Nationwide Series program's eventful day began in qualifying when Kligerman punctured a tire after running over a piece debris. The soft right rear tire caused the No. 77 Camry to be tight and the team, who were sixth quick in final practice earlier in the day, was only able to post the 12th fastest time. After NASCAR officials examined the damage, crew chief Eric Phillips and his squad were able to replace the tire and maintain their position for the start of the race.




Upon race start, Kligerman remained just outside the top 10 as he communicated that his Camry was "loose in and tight off." The car began to come to him as the race proceeded caution free in the early stages and by the time he came down pit road for the first time on lap 50, he had maneuvered his way up to the ninth spot. The over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop and returned him to the track.




Five cars hadn't made their first stop when the No. 87 team's engine expired on lap 54, leaving KBM's Toyota one lap down in the 18th spot. With the alternator issue leaving the battery with low volts, the team couldn't chance leaving their driver on the track and were not able to take the "wave around" when the lead lap cars pitted. To add insult to injury, Kligerman communicated that since the pit stop he was experiencing a severe vibration. When pit road opened for lap-down cars, the team replaced the battery, tightened all lug nuts and returned the No. 77 back to the track.




As Kligerman exited pit road and accelerated to catch up with the rest of the field under caution, he radioed to Phillips that the vibration still existed, so the team came back down pit road and replaced all four tires. When the race went back green, the team was scored one lap down in the 21st position.




Shortly after the lap-59 restart, the young driver communicated that the voltage meter had stabilized and the vibration no longer existed. Another long green-flag run ensued and at the halfway mark of the 200-lap race Kligerman had made his way up to the 17th position, but remained a lap down. As lead lap cars made their scheduled stops, he returned to the lead lap momentarily and was scored in the fifth position when he came down pit road for his four-tire and fuel stop on lap 117.




The No. 77 Camp Horsin' Around Camry returned to the track just in front of the race-leading No. 22 car. Kligerman was able to hold off a hard-charging Brad Keselowski for a couple of laps, but on lap 121 the Sprint Cup Series champion made his way around his former driver, putting him two laps down.




A debris caution occurred two laps later, leaving Kligerman two laps down in the 17th position. The field was slowed for the third time on lap 133 for debris and when the lead-lap cars elected not to pit, Phillips summoned his driver to his crew's attention for four fresh tires, a wedge adjustment and a full tank of fuel, knowing that the move would put his team in position for a "wave around" when the leaders finally pitted.




On lap 142, a one-car spin slowed the field and the lead-lap cars made their scheduled stops. Kligerman took the wave around and was scored one lap down in the 16th position for the lap-146 restart. When the race resumed, the talented youngster was posting lap times equal to the top-five cars as he held "The Lucky Dog" spot. When slight precipitation began falling on lap 164, the caution came out and the No. 77 team had fought their way back to the lead lap.




When pit road opened, the Connecticut native brought his Camry to the attention of his over-the-wall crew, who changed batteries once again as part of their four-tire and fuel stop. He caught up to the field and felt rejuvenated now that he was back on the lead lap and knowing he had a fast Camp Horsin' Around Camry. As the rain continued to fall, NASCAR red-flagged the event and ordered the cars to pit road. Shortly after the precipitation intensified and the race was deemed official with just 170 of the 200 scheduled laps completed.




Keselowski picked up his second Nationwide Series victory of 2013 and the 22nd of his career. Elliott Sadler came home in the runner-up spot, followed by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point's leader Matt Crafton, who finished third in his Nationwide series debut. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five finishers.  



There were five caution periods totaling 25 laps. Seven drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead 12 times. Ten drivers failed to finish the 170-lap event.




Kligerman's eventful night cost him one spot in the championship point standings, where he now stands seventh, 46 points behind series leader Regan Smith. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 entry also lost two positions in the owner's point standings and are now 10th, 131 points behind the series-leading No. 54 team.




The No. 77 Bandit Chippers Racing team heads to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway July 5 for the Subway Firecracker 250. Live television coverage of Friday's 100-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.




The No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team continued a strong start to what will soon be the halfway point in the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ 2013 season with a fifth-place finish Friday night on Kentucky’s 1.5-mile Speedway. Although drivers weren’t afforded the chance to complete the rain-shortened Feed the Children 300, Kyle Busch and his Monster Energy team left the Bluegrass State pleased with a solid run. The team has now recorded 6 wins, 12 top-five finishes, 3 poles and 973 laps led in 15 races this year.  All six of the victories and 11 of the 12 top-five finishes have been driven at the hands of Kyle Busch, the series’ all-time winningest driver.

The team started the weekend with one practice session Thursday, which saw Busch top the speed charts various times. Because of the extreme bumps on Sparta’s paved track, there was a real challenge for teams to decide whether they set the car up for speed or for handling over the bumps. Busch preferred handling over the bumps, however on race day morning during the second and final practice session, the No. 54 team struggled to find that perfect combination of speed and car handling.

With a fifth-place qualifying lap run, the Monster Energy Camry began the race in row three, when Busch made quick work of the competitors in front of him, driving to the third spot by lap eight. “You’re the fastest car out there man,” crew chief Adam Stevens relayed to his skilled driver, Busch, who replied, “Ya man!” Spirits were high as the team watched Busch reel in the leaders and take the race lead on lap 19 of the scheduled 200-lap race. When asked how the car was handling, Busch confirmed, “It’s good, turns good.”

The No. 54 unit had their first opportunity to replenish fuel and tires and make one small car adjustment, when on lap 50 they visited pit road under green-flag conditions. As they returned to the race track and Busch blended back into the field, an event caution waved, but it didn’t hinder the 54 team’s track position. As cars cycled through pit road and the field was set, the No. 54 took the green-flag restart back in the lead position.

Around lap 78 the team started to hear of changing car conditions, when Busch reported a ‘free-in, tight-center’ handling. Having raced the evening before on the same track, in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series event, Busch knew the track’s surface would likely change further, becoming more ‘loose’ as the cool evening progressed. This played into the discussion between driver and team as they started to feel pressure from the second-place competitor and eventual race winner, Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 Ford.

One lap shy of the event’s halfway point, Keselowski took the race lead and the No. 54 team continued to strategize their next move to regain the top spot. “Tight is where he is beating me, but with the time of day I wouldn’t free it up,” described the Monster Energy driver. At lap 110 the team visited pit road for the second time under the green flag and felt car changes made from that pit road visit would help Busch maneuver back towards the No. 22 leader.

A series of subsequent caution periods over the next 15 laps proved challenging for the No. 54 team, as driver and team contemplated whether visiting pit road would yield enough benefit for what would be track position lost. Ultimately in both cases, under yellow on lap 123 and lap 131, they chose to follow the leader and remain on the track surface, forgoing time in the pits to make further adjustments. The No. 54 team began turning attention to the weather radar at this point and tracked an oncoming storm, although no precipitation had begun to fall.

On the next event caution at lap 140 the team, now in third place, was finally in their fuel window to allow for one remaining pit stop, so they visited the pits but didn’t achieve the result they were hoping for. As Busch entered the team’s designated pit box, he slid slightly over the front line, and then fought the transmission to throw it back into reverse, which caused delay for the team to work on the car. Lost time on pit road would put them at the tail end of the lead line, scored now in 14th at restart.

With car adjustments made that helped Busch drive the No. 54 Camry better, he began to flex his muscle and made a serious drive towards to the front of the field with the green-flag restart at lap 145. By lap 149 Busch was seventh, then fifth on lap 154 when he had gained nine spots in nine laps. Busch was focused and final laps would prove to be exciting, until the rain started falling.

NASCAR would exhibit the yellow flag once more at lap 163 for rain over the race track but kept the competitors on track in an effort to maintain a dry track surface, then eventually pulled the teams down pit road to stop. After showers continued to fall NASCAR determined the race complete at lap 170 of the scheduled 200 laps, recording 255 miles completed, short of the planned 300-mile event.

When asked about the car’s handling post-race Busch commented, “A couple runs ago we started getting tight, but the guys here have done a stellar job today being able to give me a race car capable of running up front the way we have. Earlier this morning we weren’t very good and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys went to work and made some smart changes and made us a really fast race car. Just not quite fast enough. The 22 (Brad Keselowski) definitely had the field covered.”

Busch earned the 3M Lap Leader Award by leading a race-high 74 circuits, at laps 19-49, 55-93 and 95-98. JGR earned the Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race Award with its 5th-place spot. The No. 54 Monster Energy team owned by J.D. Gibbs maintains first place in the Owner’s Point standings, now leading the Penske Racing No. 22 by 39 points.

Keselowski won the event with his 22nd series victory, followed by Elliott Sadler, Matt Crafton, Brian Vickers and Busch. There were five caution periods for 25 laps of the race along with 12 lead changes across seven drivers.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Daytona (Fl.) International Speedway on July 5 for the Subway Firecracker 200 with television broadcast starting at 7p.m. on ESPN. Busch will make his 13th start behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.


Kentucky Speedway is one of only a few race tracks on the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) schedule that Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Larson has already raced at, as he made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the 1.5-mile track in 2012. Larson used the experience he had from previously racing at Kentucky Speedway to work his way up from a starting spot of 21st to finish in seventh place as the skies opened up and forced the Feed The Children 300 to finish 30 laps early. This is Larson's seventh top-10 finish in a row and 10th overall in 2013.


In practice, Larson and the Clear Men's team focused on setting up their No. 32 Chevrolet Camaro for the NNS race and headed into qualifying happy with their car. After qualifying not as well as expected, Larson placed the No. 32 Clear Men's Camaro 21st on the grid for the scheduled 200-lap event. When the green flag turned the field loose, Larson remained patient and picked off positions when they came to him. It wasn't until lap 40 that Larson first broke into the top 15 and when he did, he was running quicker lap times than the leader. On Lap 47, Larson reported to his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) crew that the No. 32 Chevy was too tight on exit but especially too free entering Turn 3. The TSM crew got the opportunity to adjust on Larson's car on lap 50, when he came in for a green-flag pitstop. Unfortunately, the caution came out one lap later, in the middle of the pit cycle, forcing Larson to take the wave around and trapping him in the back of the line up.


Just past the halfway mark, Larson worked his way into the top 10 while still battling a loose-handling racecar. On lap 124, crew chief Trent Owens called his driver back down pit road to take four fresh tires and make a chassis adjustment in an effort to tighten up his driver for the remaining laps of the race.Larson went back racing for a top 10, maintaining his position through a couple fierce three-wide battles. As the field entered their fuel window, they got the opportunity to top off their fuel tanks when the yellow flag was once again displayed on lap 142. The Clear Men's team topped off Larson's fuel tank, and gave him two Goodyear Eagle tires, ensuring that the team could make it to the finish.


Restarting in the sixth position, Larson made a move on the top of three wide into Turn 1 that vaulted him into the fourth spot. However, as the laps continued to wind down, Larson relinquished some spots to the teams that had taken four tires. While running in the seventh position on Lap 164, the yellow flag was displayed for rain drops. The field continued to run around the 1.5-mile oval under caution until the red flag was displayed on lap 170. The rain continued, ending for the Feed The Children 300 30 laps short of the scheduled 200-lap distance. Larson finished in seventh, securing his seventh top-10 finish in a row and qualifying for one of four spots in the Nationwide Dash4Cash program. The rookie will go to Daytona International Speedway next week with a chance of winning $100,000 dollars.


"It was another great night for our entire Clear Men's/Turner Scott Motorsports team," said Larson. "We didn't have the qualifying effort that we were looking for, but we knew that we had a great car in race trim, we just had to stay patient and work our way to the front. It's unfortunate that it rained tonight, because I think we could have gotten a top five, but we'll definitely take this seventh place and go back to Daytona and try to get our first Nationwide win."



Richard Petty Motorsports and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola logged some extra time on the track this weekend at the Kentucky Speedway. With sponsor Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, and Operation Homefront, they surprised a special member of the U.S. military and his family with a 'Ride of a Lifetime'.

United States Marine Corps Corporal Sebastian Gallegos, a 23-year-old Purple Heart recipient, and his wife, Tracie are VIP guests of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team, Eckrich and Operation Homefront this weekend. Saturday morning, the Gallegos received a 'Ride of a Lifetime' around the 1.5-mile track with Almirola in an Eckrich-branded Richard Petty Driving Experience Ford Fusion. In addition to the morning event, the Gallegos will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the garage and track and all-access with the No. 43 team prior to settling in atop the pit box for the night's race.


This isn't the first time, though, that the Gallegos family has been surprised by Almirola.


As part of "Operation Inspiration", a campaign initiated by Eckrich and Operation Homefront earlier this year, Almirola, NASCAR Hall of Famer "The King" Richard Petty and television personality Al Roker made a trip to San Antonio in April to surprise Sebastian and Tracie. The Marine, who lost his right arm while serving in Afghanistan, and his wife, a nursing student are living rent-free in the Operation Homefront Village while he receives necessary medical and rehabilitation treatment. With their car in need of major repairs, the group presented the family with a new 2013 Ford Fusion, which will be specially modified to accommodate driving with a prosthetic.


The couple's story and the surprise in San Antonio will be featured in the half hour NBC special hosted by Roker, which airs on local NBC stations across the country tonight, June 29, and in syndication throughout the summer. The special, sponsored by Eckrich, is aimed to honor, thank and support the military families who inspire us.


"This is so awesome," said Sebastian. "When Aric, The King, and Al Roker presented us with our new car, we were blown away. Now, to have this opportunity, we don't know what to say. We are really thankful for the race team, Eckrich and Operation Homefront for this experience."


"We are so excited to see Sebastian and his wife, Tracie, again," said Almirola. "All that Eckrich and Operation Homefront do to help support and assist our military families is amazing. I am honored to be able to be a small part of what they do. Families like the Gallegos are an inspiration to us all."


Eckrich is providing additional assistance to military families by donating up to $250,000 to Operation Homefront this year through the donation of five cents from the purchase of specially-marked packages through July 4.


"We are very excited about the debut of the 'Operation Inspiration' television special tonight," said Chuck Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "It has been our privilege to get to know the military families we are profiling in the show, like Sebastian and Tracie. Being able to provide this experience is just a small way to thank them for all they have done."


Almirola and the No. 43 Eckrich Ford will race under the lights at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. Television coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.


For local listings, more information and a preview of the NBC special, please click here.



Teaming up for the second time this season, fans witnessed Cole Whitt and the No. 44 Ferguson Toyota Camry take to the jarring surface of Kentucky Speedway. 

The 22-year-old California native made his fourth start at the 1.5- mile, bumpy tri-oval in Sparta, Kentucky.  Whitt raced as high as ninth before experiencing a fuel pump issue and brought the Ferguson Camry home in the 31st position in Friday night’s Feed the Children 300.

Starting from the ninth position, Whitt hung on as the No. 44 Ferguson Toyota bobbed and weaved around Kentucky’s fastest track. “My guys put together a really great car, it handled really well even through the bumps,” said Whitt.

Whitt was in the 13th position when he started experiencing difficulties with his Ferguson Camry.  After conversing with his Crew Chief Randy Cox, they were forced bring their Toyota to pit road to investigate. Realizing the fuel pump cable fell off, Whitt and his team pushed their car to the garage for repairs. Diligently replacing the fuel pump cable, Whitt’s team doctored the No. 44 and sent their driver back to the track.

“I can’t say enough about my guys’ effort, they worked really hard and gave me a good car. When we needed to replace the cable, they got me back on track as fast as they could,” said Whitt. “Although we didn’t get the finish we wanted, we had a top-10 car going into the race. I am now more determined than ever to succeed knowing that we can be one of the top competing teams. Also, I can’t thank Mark and Kathy [Smith] enough for the opportunity to be in this car,” continued Whitt.

Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway was the fifth race for Whitt with TriStar Motorsports. While Whitt finished 31st, he still helped the No. 44 team solidify a top-25 position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner Points Standing. Putting Friday night’s race in his rear view, Whitt and his team prepare for next Friday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.


RAB Racing and the No. 99 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, ToyotaCare Camry piloted by Alex Bowman came into the bluegrass state of Kentucky with high hopes of a good finish. Crew chief Chris Rice brought chassis No. 42 which earned RAB Racing and Bowman's first Coors Light pole award at Texas Motor Speedway in April of this year and was the first chassis that Bowman drove for RAB Racing at Kentucky Speedway in September of 2012.


Thursday began the first day of on track activity with practice for the No. 99 Toyota Camry, and the team found chassis No. 42 was fast right off the trailer. Bowman was 8th quickest in the first practice session on Thursday, and showed even more speed in final practice on Friday morning with the 3rd fastest lap. This translated into a good lap in qualifying, posting the 10th fastest lap, positioning the No. 99 towards the front of the 40 car field.


RAB Racing and Bowman ran solidly in the top 10 for most of the Feed the Children 300, and Chris Rice positioned the team for a strong run in the closing laps only to have severe thunderstorms interrupt those plans and end the race on lap 170 out of the 200 projected laps. RAB Racing and Bowman finished the race where they started, in the 10th place position.


Alex Bowman: What a great run we had in the RAB Racing St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, ToyotaCare Camry this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Chris Rice gave me one of the best cars we've had all season, and there's no doubt in my mind that we could have challenged for the top 5 if the race had gone the full 300 miles. We raced hard all race long and had one of the better cars on long runs, which played into our strategy of long green flag runs throughout the race, the car really took off towards the front after 10 laps in a run. At the end of the race, we decided to go with 4 tires and gas when a lot of the other teams didn't come down pit road, if the race would have gone those extra 30 laps we would have been in really good shape with newer tires, and enough gas to make it to the end of the race. Although we didn't finish where this car and this team were capable of running, I'm glad we brought it home in one piece, a top 10 finish, and finally got some momentum back. I can't wait to get to Daytona where we always run good on these big restrictor plate tracks.


The top 10 finish was Bowman's third top 10 finish, and the eighth top 15 finish of the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. The finish allowed Bowman to stay in the 11th position in driver point standings, and Robby Benton maintained the 15th position in owner point standings. The next race for RAB Racing and Bowman will be the Subway Firecracker 250 on Friday July 5th at the Daytona International Speedway, the race will be televised live on ESPN.


RAB Racing PR


No right click

Please link the article.