Thursday, Sep 21
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Greg Biffle drove his No. 16 Red Cross Ford Fusion, honoring blood donor Maureen Holt, to a fifth-place finish Saturday night under the lights at Darlington.  Biffle qualified 19th, earned a “Darlington stripe” just 16 laps into the race, and a two-tire gamble resulted in Biffle leading for five laps before settling into the top five. 

“We worked really hard all night and we had good pit stops and track position was everything tonight,” said Biffle.  “Those last restarts we were on the outside, the inside and then the outside and we picked up one or two spots there at the end. Everybody worked hard and we will keep working on our car. We have to get better here but we will keep working at it.”

Biffle started the race 19th and by lap 16 had brushed the outside wall, earning his “Darlington stripe” at the track knick named “Too Tough to Tame.”  In the first half of the race, Biffle hovered just outside the top 15 with a Ford that was too tight and needed more turn.

Crew chief Matt Puccia made a bold two tire call under caution on lap 273.  Biffle came onto pit road 15th and left with the lead.  Biffle lost a few spots to those with four tires, but settled into the top 10 as tire wear started to even out.

Biffle was 10th when the caution came out with 11 laps remaining.  Puccia made another two tire pit stop call and Biffle restarted the race sixth.  Two more cautions followed, resulting in two green-white-checkered attempts to finish the race.  When the checkered flag finally waved Biffle was fifth, earning his first top-five finish of the season and advancing to 11th in the point standings.


At one point in the Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Tony Stewart was two laps down and outside the top-25. But when the checkered flag waved on the 65th annual race at the venerable 1.366-mile oval, Stewart was ninth.

It was an incredible rally for Stewart, crew chief Chad Johnston and the entire No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR.) It was the group’s fourth top-10 of the season and it moved Stewart up two spots in the championship point standings to 12th.

“To end up ninth after where we were most of the race, we’ll take it,” said Stewart, who now has 12 top-10s in 22 career Sprint Cup start at Darlington. “We were stuck in traffic all night, but right at the end, we were able to make some headway and get a top-10.”

Stewart started 23rd and while he was able to crack the top-20 and rise to 17th by lap 64, he was back in 23rd by lap 100 as his Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy was too tight through the track’s corners. This handling condition stayed with Stewart throughout the majority of the race, and with a blistering pace being set by his SHR teammate Kevin Harvick, who ended up leading seven times for a race-high 238 laps en route to winning the Southern 500, Stewart eventually was mired in traffic and two laps down.

When the caution came out on lap 359 for fluid on the racetrack, Stewart radioed that his car was the best it had been. The constant tinkering Johnston had performed on the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy on each and every pit stop paid off. Stewart’s lap times were as good as the leaders, but they were seemingly irrelevant since Stewart wasn’t on the lead lap.

But thanks to some fortuitous caution periods and smart pit strategy by Johnston, Stewart earned his way back onto the lead lap. Still, he was stuck in traffic, all the way back in 21st position with only a handful of laps remaining.

But a caution for debris on lap 366 pushed the race into overtime, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Johnston called Stewart to the pits for four fresh tires and no fuel, which meant Stewart’s car had plenty of grip and nowhere near the weight of his competitors.

Stewart restarted 13th and shot into the top-10 until the caution flag waved for the final time for Kurt Busch’s spin on the backstretch. In the next attempt at a green-white-checkered, Stewart muscled his way to ninth and held onto the spot until the finish. It was his 294th top-10 in 529 career Sprint Cup starts.


Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was unable to survive the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish in the Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and finished 31st.

Busch started 13th and ran in the top-15 for the majority of the night – as high as seventh on several occasions – at the 1.366-mile oval. Crew chief Daniel Knost and Busch agreed on a two-tire strategy for the team’s final pit stop on lap 361, when the No. 41 came in 12th and restarted ninth. Busch was able to keep the Haas Automation Chevrolet in the ninth position until the next caution on lap 365. The entire field stayed out and set up the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

As Busch took the green flag on lap 369 for the first attempt at the green-white-checkered, the car immediately behind him made contact with the rear bumper of the No. 41 car, forcing a slide into the inside wall that caused enough damage to prevent Busch from finishing the event.

“That was a terrible way to end what could have been a decent night,” Busch said. “We struggled at times to get the balance of the Haas Automation Chevrolet right, but we kind of found our spot just past the halfway point and made slight adjustments the rest of the way. We called for a two-tire stop at the end hoping to gain some track position, but it seemed like everyone had the same idea. We gained a little, but the guys behind us all had four tires. I tried to hold them off the best I could, but someone moved me out of their way and it ruined our night. I hate it for the team, but we keep learning each week and we will get better.”


Martin Truex Jr. was cruising in the top-15 in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway. But on Lap 266 of 374 he made contact with the infamous Darlington wall, which resulted in an unscheduled green-flag pit stop for quick repairs and four fresh tires.  
The incident put Truex three laps down and when the checkered flag waved he was credited with a 27th-place finish.
“I thought we had a shot of having a breakthrough race tonight, but it just didn’t turn out that way,” said a disappointed Truex. “The pit crew was on top of their game again and if things worked in our favor I felt we had a potential top-10 car. But the Darlington wall that has slapped so many cars over the years got us tonight.”
Truex, who started the Bojangles' Southern 500 from the 12th position, consistently ran in the top-15, and at times flirted with the top-10. 
“Grip was a big issue tonight and we made a number of changes throughout the race to counter the changing conditions,” explained Truex. “The car was getting better and I was looking forward to an exciting finish. But once our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet hit the wall it was the end of what could have been a pretty good day for our Furniture Row Racing team.”

Coming off a 24th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway, Eric McClure and the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® team headed to Darlington Raceway to try their luck with "The Lady in Black". Despite qualifying 30th, McClure was able to earn a track-best finish of 21st. With this finish, the team advanced one position to 24th in the Owner Standings.

When the green flag fell, McClure quickly began working his way through the field and by the completion of lap one, he was in the 26th position. However, by lap three, McClure began sliding backwards as the car became too tight and lacked front grip especially in the center of turn 2. When the caution flag waved on lap 17, the team brought the Hefty® Ultimate ™/Reynolds Wrap® Camry to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.   When the race resumed on lap 23, the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® team was scored in the 29th position.

During the next 30 laps, McClure was able to maintain his position despite a persistent vibration in the rear of the car. When the second caution flag waved on lap 56, McClure returned to pit road where the crew changed four tires, added fuel and made another air-pressure adjustment to help the car's drivability in the turns. After a quick stop by the team, McClure returned to the track in the 27th position.

As the race progressed, the vibration became progressively worse. On lap 88, the caution flag waved once again allowing the team to take a gamble and remain on track to receive the wave around, placing them back on the lead lap. However, with one lap to go before the race resumed, McClure hit pit road because the car became "evil" as he was driving down the straightaway, weaving back and forth removing the marbles from his tires.   Discovering a loose left-rear wheel, the team changed four tires and sent McClure back on track just as the field was entering turn three to take the green flag on lap 93. Luckily, the event's sixth caution flag waved one lap later, allowing McClure to remain on the lead lap and catch up to the rest of the field.

During the final caution, with the rear of the car still weaving, the team decided to drop to the rear of the field to protect the car and as a result, McClure finished the VFW Sport Clips 200 in the 21st position.

Eric McClure quotes:
"I'm proud of the team tonight; it was our best race overall this season. The issues with the tire or rear end really hurt us on long runs and cost us a better finish, but still much improved. I'm really excited going forward with our guys."


Friday nights Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway lived up to the track's nickname, "Too Tough To Tame". Two of TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camrys sustained damage early into the race, but the TriStar Motorsports team worked long and hard to get both cars repaired and back on track. The Nationwide Series has this weekend off from racing, but we will be prepping for the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 25th.


Mike Bliss Finishes 16th at Darlington Raceway


Mike Bliss and the No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Toyota Camry qualified 20th on Friday for the Sport Clips 200 at Darlington Raceway. Early into the race, Bliss got caught up in a wreck, which caused front-end damage to the No. 19 Camry. The team worked diligently to repair the hood and quickly got Bliss back out on track. With 90 laps to go, Bliss was in the Lucky Dog position sitting 22nd.  Due to a caution late into the race, Bliss was able to bring home a 16th place finish at the track that is "Too Tough To Tame". Mike Bliss gained 28 Driver's Points and currently sits 11th in the Driver's Standings.


Eric McClure Finishes 21st at Darlington Raceway


Eric McClure and the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry qualified 30th at Darlington Raceway Friday afternoon. Early into the race, McClure began sliding back into the field due to the car lacking front grip and becoming too tight. The No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® team made an air-pressure adjustment under caution on lap 17. During the next 30 laps, McClure was able to keep his on track position despite a vibration in the rear of the car. On lap 88, the caution flag waved and McClure brought the Camry to pit road after discovering a loose left-rear wheel. McClure was able to finish the race 21st and currently sits 16th in the Nationwide Series Driver's Standings.


David Starr Finishes 35th at Darlington Raceway


David Starr and the No. 44 Striping Technologies Toyota Camry qualified 24th for the Sport Clips 200. After sustaining front-end damage in a wreck early on into the 200-mile race, Starr took the No. 44 Camry to the garage for repairs. The TriStar Motorsports team worked hard to make repairs. After evaluating the damage caused to the front-end, the No. 44 Striping Technologies Camry was unable to return to the track. Starr finished the race 35th and gained 9 Driver's Points.



Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher exhibited one of the fastest racecars on the track during the weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) action at Darlington Raceway.  The rookie led Thursday’s final practice session in his No. 60 Mustang 50thAnniversary Ford and qualified a career-high sixth for Friday night’s race. Unfortunately, Buescher’s strong run came to a halt, after he was caught up in a mid-race accident that effectively put an end to his bid for victory at “The Lady in Black.”

“You know, we are racing hard and everything but I really thought we would have a little more give and take this early in the race,” said Buescher. “Our 50th Anniversary Mustang was good and I think everyone saw in practice and qualifying that we had a good race car.

“It is really unfortunate,” added Buescher. “This is not how we need to go out and it isn’t the way I like to race. I am hoping to get a little smarter race out there. I feel like I gave a lot of guys a lot of room early and I guess I was hoping for the same back. When you are on the outside getting into one, you are kind of at the mercy of somebody below you. It is unfortunate. The guys worked really hard to get the car back out so we could salvage some points.”

The race marked Buescher’s third NNS start at Darlington Raceway and his familiarity with the 1.3-mile track was noticeable immediately. When the green flagged waved, the No. 60 Mustang 50th Anniversary Ford rolled off in the sixth spot and quickly settled into the top-five. After losing ground following the day’s first pit stop, Buescher restarted just outside of the top-10 where he would remain until the No. 31 car of Dylan Kwasniewski lost control, taking out Buescher and sending the No.60 car to the garage.  The team worked feverishly to correct the damage and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender would make it back out, finishing the day in 34th.

The No.60 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Mustang was fast all week, finishing fourth in first practice before topping the charts during final practice with a high speed of high speed of 170.365 with a fast lap of 28.865 seconds. The Prosper, Texas native had a solid qualifying run, with a finish of sixth after all three segments were completed.

Right out of the gate Buescher worked his way into the fifth spot by lap three where he would stay until the first caution of the day. After losing seven spots on his first trip to pit road, Buescher was intent on working his way back up the field. The track proved to be ‘Too Tough to Tame’ on lap 68, as Kwasniewski got loose into turn one, hitting Buescher twice and sending him into the path of the No. 44 car of David Starr.

The 2012 ARCA Racing Series champion headed to the garage where his team conducted extensive body repairs to the No.60 Ford Mustang, getting Buescher back onto “The Lady in Black” where he would end the day in the 34th position -- 28 laps behind.

Tune in two weeks from now as Buescher heads to Richmond International Raceway for the TOYOTACARE 250 on Friday, April 25th. Race coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS. 


It all started in the fall of 1949, when a crisp breeze toyed with the loose soil of an old cotton field on the west side of rural Darlington, South Carolina.  Harold Brasington saw more than just dirt dancing around that patch of land. He saw the future.  He saw Darlington Raceway.

Today, Darlington Raceway is a place of history, where fans reminisce about the past, while creating lasting memories of the present.  Where NASCAR legends were born and the youth of NASCAR dream about making their mark on the famed walls of The Lady in Black.

Celebrating its roots and looking forward to the future of NASCAR at Darlington Raceway, track president Chip Wile unveiled plans today to honor the track’s history and shape its future, as his team turns its attention to 2015. 

“As the drivers, teams, fans and media leave here this weekend thinking about who visited Gatorade Victory Lane, focusing on the next race and looking towards the 2014 Championship, we’re thinking about the future of Darlington Raceway, as we celebrate our past,” said Wile during today’s announcement. 

Darlington Raceway’s place in history sets it apart from all other tracks.  It’s hallowed ground, where drivers dreams were shattered and new fans were born.  It continues to make its mark on drivers and fans with the great racing of today and the nostalgia of the past. 

“Our history defines us,” added Wile.  “Without history we wouldn’t know where we’ve come from or where we’re going.  NASCAR legends and loyal fans have all played a role in defining Darlington Raceway.  Together, we’re celebrating where we came from and where we’re going.”

As part of the celebration, five-time Darlington Raceway winner and 1988 NASCAR Champion, Bill Elliott, as well as his son, Chase, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, a member of the NASCAR Next program, one of the sport’s rising stars and the youngest winner at Darlington Raceway, will serve as the “face” of the 2015 platform.  The father-son duo joined Wile to give media and fans in attendance a glimpse of what’s to come, which includes a “throwback” ticket design for the 2015 Bojangles’ Southern 500 and a Classic product line with merchandise through the decades that will be available for fans to purchase.

The track “Too Tough to Tame” will unveil elements of the 2015 platform throughout the season, as it celebrates the past and embraces the future as one of NASCAR’s most famed tracks. 

“We’re excited about what the future holds for Darlington Raceway,” continued Wile.  “We have the most passionate, loyal fans in all of motorsports and we look forward to the role that they will play as we celebrate our past, present and future.”

Fans are encouraged to join in the celebration as Darlington Raceway plans for the 2015 Bojangles’ Southern 500.  “Tell us your Darlington story,” said Wile.  “If you have ideas about how Darlington Raceway and NASCAR can celebrate our history and embrace our future, please let us know.” 

Fans can share their stories and submit celebration ideas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Darlington Raceway PR

Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne and the No. 6 AdvoCare racing team visited "The Lady in Black" Friday night in NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) action under the lights at Darlington Raceway.  The team battled hard on the 1.3-mile asphalt track to take the checkers in the ninth position.

Bayne took the green flag in 10th and quickly radioed to his crew that his car was really tight through the middle of turns one and two.

Veteran Crew Chief Chad Norris called his driver down pit road for the first round of pit stop at lap 18; calling for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. The pit crew went to work,  gaining Bayne two positions on pit road and putting Bayne’s No. 6 Ford Mustang back out in the seventh position.

By lap 82 Bayne had slipped back to the 15th position radioing in that his car was "wrecking loose". Norris told his young driver to ‘hang on’ and that changes were coming.

Fortunately the yellow flag flew on lap 88 and Norris was able to bring the AdvoCare Mustang down pit road for service. The quick stop once again gained the team three positions on pit road with Bayne blending into the field in the 10th position.

The team fought hard to maintain track position as the laps winded down, eventually picking up one spot and finishing the race in the ninth position.



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