Speedway Digest Staff
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Coulter hopes to hit the "Jackpot" in Friday night's N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte
With finishes of 22nd, 15th, 13th and second, respectively, in the first four NCWTS events on the 2013 schedule, Coulter has improved his finishing position in each race and knows that his momentum coming off a season-best finish at Kansas will lead him straight to familiar territory with the No. 18 machine. A solid effort by the 22-year-old Miami Springs, Fla. native has allowed him to gain 12 positions in the NCWTS driver point standings since Daytona and currently sits comfortably inside the top-10 with 125 points; a mere 10 points behind fifth-place Ty Dillon and 37 points behind series point leader Matt Crafton. With only one goal in mind, to win KBM their first driver championship, Coulter knows a solid finish at CMS this weekend will keep him on track to "runnin' down his dream."
Making his third start at CMS this weekend, Coulter hopes to improve on his 2012 track-best finish of seventh and "scratch off" another "W" in the win column in the 11th Annual N.C. Education Lottery 200 at CMS.
Ryan Blaney Charlotte Trucks Preview
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-Series, will make his 13th career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night.
This Friday will mark Blaney's first career NCWTS start, and second ever career start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Blaney's first start at Charlotte Motor Speedway came last October during the Dollar General 300 in NNS. Blaney started 22nd and finished 14th.
Blaney and the No. 29 Cooper Standard team sits 4th in the NCWTS driver point standings, only 21 points back from first after four races.
"I'm really looking forward to the racing at Charlotte, because of the speed the track has, especially under the lights. I'd love to get the Cooper Standard Ford F-Series in Victory Lane, that'd be quite the thrill with all of our sponsor's onsite for Friday's race. A win here would put everyone at BKR in good spirits heading into the summer and sitting decent in the driver point's standings." - Ryan Blaney
Ross Chastain Charlotte Trucks Preview
Ross Chastain (@RossChastain), driver of the No. 19 Melon 1 Ford F-Series, will make his third start for Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) during the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 this Friday, May 17th.
Melon 1 will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 19 BKR (@TeamBKR) entry this week for the second time this season. He is on deck for three more entries this season as primary sponsor.
This Friday will be Chastain's second career NCWTS start at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chastain's first start at Charlotte came last May in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, where he started 18th and finished 35th due to engine trouble.
Chad Kendrick will lead the No. 19 Ford F-Series team as crew chief in Charlotte.
The No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing entry currently sits 13th in NCWTS Owner's points, 58 points behind the leader.
"I can't wait to get back in the Watermelon Ford F-Series for Brad Keselowski Racing at Charlotte this Friday. Last year I had a tough race at Charlotte, because we blew up on lap 12. This year I expect to be fast and competing right up to the end -- hopefully taking these guys to Victory Lane for the first time of the season. We look to be fast all night and Charlotte Motor Speedway is the right place for speed." - Ross Chastain
Brad Keselowski Charlotte Trucks Preview
The Penske Racing driver will pilot the No. 2 BKR Ford F-Series in only his third career NCWTS start at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keselowski had engine trouble in his 2010 NCWTS start at Charlotte. Last year, Keselowski, started ninth in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and finished 2nd after leading 32 laps.
Keselowski will be pulling double duty, competing in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion on Saturday night in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star race.
Jeremy Bullins, crew chief of the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang, will be calling the shots for Keselowski.
"A chance to win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series would be an incredible feat. It would be great to rewind to the beginning of my career and become the only father/son combination to win in the Truck Series. I'm more than ready to hop into the BKR Draw-Tite Ford F-Series for my first Series race of the season." - Brad Keselowski
Jackson L. Dodson II, a crew member in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Frank W. Earnhardt, a crew member in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, have been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.
On May 9, Dodson was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book.
On May 10, Earnhardt was found to have violated Sections 12-1 and 19.
Kangaroo Express Hops on Board the No. 4 Arrowhead Machine
Jeb Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team is thrilled to announce the addition of Kangaroo Express to their Turner Scott Motorsports Silverado for the Friday, May 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). Kangaroo Express will adorn the truck bed for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, accompanying full-time sponsor Arrowhead. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender will continue his record-breaking season as he endeavors to claim his first-career win under the lights at CMS.
"Kangaroo Express is committed to serving our on-the-go guests with a fast and friendly experience, and joining forces with Turner Scott Motorsports and the No. 4 Arrowhead racing team shows just how fast we're ready to go," said Scott Smith, division vice president, Kangaroo Express. "To celebrate this partnership, we would like to invite fans to come check out our new store infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway and meet Jeb Burton on May 17 as he gears up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series."
Kathy Farley, president of Arrowhead and Sequoyah Brands, is equally anticipating the new opportunity.
"Burton and the entire Turner Scott Motorsports organization has helped give Arrowhead the edge and exposure it needs on and off the track," said Farley. "Burton's breakthrough season has been a joy to be a part of, and I'm happy to get to share that excitement with our new partner Kangaroo Express."
This will be Burton's second start at the famed North Carolina track, as he captured his first career top-10 finish there last season. With two pole awards, two top-five and one top-10 finishes this season, Burton is anxious to continue that momentum and take Arrowhead and Kangaroo Express to victory lane at CMS."
"Thankful is truly how I feel about the new opportunity to work with Kangaroo Express," said Burton. "They'll be taking care of our race fans off the track at their infield store at CMS, and I hope to repay them by giving them and their customers a win on the track."
Burton and his No. 4 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express Chevy will be stopping by the Kangaroo Express CMS infield store on Friday May 17, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. EDT to take pictures and sign autographs before taking on 200 miles around the 1.5-mile track.
Mark Martin All-Star Preview; Martin Owns Most All-Star Starts
No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Mark Martin claimed his first NASCAR All Star race victory in 1998 and scored another in 2005. As the Michael Waltrip Racing driver prepares for his 24th All-Star Race -the most of any driver- he figures Saturday night will be a good time to hoist another trophy in victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Saturday night’s race will consist of 90 total laps; four 20-lap segments followed by a mandatory four-tire pit stop and a 10-lap sprint to the $1 million big-money finish. If one driver wins all four 20-lap segments and bests the field in the final 10-lap shootout, he will double his winnings and take home Bruton Smith's Big Bonus of an additional $1 million.
MARK MARTIN:“The All-Star race is one of the highlights of the season for all of us. It’s just a great event for the fans and the drivers. Charlotte is home for a lot of people in NASCAR. Friends and family get to come out and watch you race. The other thing is the All-Star race is really a break from counting points. In this race you run for a big trophy and a big check. That’s incentive enough for me. I’d love to take a big trophy and some of Bruton’s money home Saturday night.”
MOST STARTS:“Sure that is gratifying. I’ve been fortunate to work with a whole lot of great people, teams and organizations over the years. I’ve had a ton of help. It’s hard to believe this will be number 24, but I’ve enjoyed every one. It’s a great event and I’m honored just tobe part of it. This race creates memories.”
Almirola Aims to Win Showdown, Compete in All-Star Race
Aric Almirola will compete in Saturday's Sprint Showdown looking for a win to gain a spot in the headline Sprint All-Star Race. To qualify for the All-Star Race, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team will have to finish first or second in the Sprint Showdown 40-lap qualifier race. The race will have two 20-lap segments and an optional pit stop between them.
Almirola can also be voted in by the Sprint Fan Vote. Fans can go to www.nascar.com/SprintFanVote or NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile '13, where votes count twice, until May 18.
The Tampa, Fla., native has made two starts in his Sprint Cup career at Charlotte, both with Richard Petty Motorsports. He won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 last May. In the fall event, he started 17th with the Todd Parrott-led team and finished 12th. Almirola also has seven Nationwide starts at the 1.5-mile track with an average finish of 13th and two truck starts with an average finish of eighth. Parrott has success at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. As a crew chief, he tallied two wins, eight top-fives and 14 top-10s in 31 starts.
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"I'm really excited for All-Star weekend. Our team, both the 43 and 9, have been fast at Charlotte. We had an all RPM front row last spring. We tested there in January and were the fastest car, so I have a lot of confidence that we will be fast this weekend. Our mile-and-a-half program has been strong since Todd (Parrott) and I teamed up last season. Our goal is to win the Sprint Showdown and race for the win in the All-Star Race."
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:
"We have been really good at mile-and-a-half tracks with the Gen-6 car. Last week, we fought hard for a 20th-place finish, but that is not where we expect our team to be. I'm thrilled that Charlotte is next on the schedule because we are good there. Our test in January went really well, and we learned a lot. Being fastest at the test was a good boost, but we need to capitalize on that and be fast this weekend."
Reutimann Finishes 36th at "The Lady in Black"
David Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper team finished 36th at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday night. After racing inside the top 25 most of the night, Reutimann got caught up in an accident with less than 40 laps remaining in the 64th annual Bojangles' Southern 500.
Darlington Raceway, nicknamed "The Lady in Black," has earned its nickname for being both physically and mentally demanding on drivers, as well as its unforgiving nature. Recognized as one of the toughest races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' 36-race schedule, teams work hard to prepare for 500 miles at the South Carolina speedway. The No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper team was no different logging over 50 laps in the two practice sessions on Friday afternoon. Reutimann secured the 33rd starting position for Saturday night's race, and the team knew they would need to stay focused and avoid earning the infamous "Darlington stripe."
When the green flag waved, the BK Racing team found the set up on the No. 83 Camry to be a bit too loose. The Burger King / Dr. Pepper team worked carefully during each pit stop to adjust the balance of their Toyota, and dial in the car as Reutimann needed. By the third run of the night, Reutimann was very happy with his car and picking up positions on the track. Solidly racing inside the top 25, the BK Racing team felt they were headed for a solid finish. However, with less than 40 laps remaining in the 64th annual Southern 500, Reutimann got caught up in a wreck entering turn one. Another competitor lost control of their car entering the corner and slid up the track directly in front of Reutimann. Without any time to react or room to escape, Reutimann drove into the other competitor and sustained race-ending damage to the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota. When the checkered flag waved, Reutimann was credited with a 36th-place finish.
"I can't thank my Burger King / Dr. Pepper team enough for all the hard work they put into preparing for Darlington Raceway this weekend," commented Reutimann. "They built a great Toyota Camry and did a great job on pit road all night. It's really unfortunate that we were caught up in that wreck, but there was nothing I could do to avoid it. I'm really looking forward to getting to Charlotte Motor Speedway this week, and I'm looking forward to starting our preparation for the Coca-Cola 600 two weeks from now. Our intermediate track program keeps getting better week after week, and I'm looking forward to putting it to the test over the next two weeks."
BK Racing PR
Top-25 Finish for Kvapil at Darlington Raceway
Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry finished 23rd at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday afternoon. In the 64th annual Bojangles' Southern 500, and at one of NASCAR's toughest tracks, Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper team were able to put on one of their strongest performances of the season to bring home their third top 25 finish of 2013.
Known for its unforgiving nature, Darlington Raceway coined the nickname "The Lady in Black" from drivers who endured its tough mental and physical demands. Kvapil and his BK Racing team worked hard to prepare for all the challenges the unique 1.366-mile track typically presents. The group posted over 40 laps during Friday's two practice sessions, ranking 30th and 16th on the speed chart, respectively. During time trials on Friday night, Kvapil went on to secure the 28th starting position for the 367-lap race.
With the race scheduled to transition into the night, competitors in the Sprint Cup Series expected the race track to "loosen up" as the night progressed. As a result, the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper team started the race with a set up that was slightly tight to enable them to adjust the balance of their car throughout the evening. The crew worked on their Toyota Camry during each pit stop, and had the car handling to Kvapil's liking by the midpoint of the race. Kvapil raced a steady and competitive race throughout the 500 miles at Darlington Raceway, carefully avoiding the notorious "Darlington stripe," and went on to finish the 64th annual Southern 500 without incident. When the checkered flag waved, Kvapil was scored in the 23rd position.
"Our No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry was really strong this weekend," commented Kvapil. "The team did a great job preparing the car before we got to the track, and then adjusting on it all weekend. It's always nice when you can bring home a solid finish that reflects all the hard work and dedication that your team put into the race weekend. I'm excited to get to Charlotte Motor Speedway next week for the Sprint Showdown and the Coca-Cola 600 the following week. We get a lot of track time to try different things, and ultimately get ready for the 600 over Memorial Day weekend. It's nice to race at "home" where all of our family and friends-and our crews' families too-can come be a part of the action."
BK Racing PR