Sunday, Apr 02
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Wauters Motorsports owner Richie Wauters has announced that his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Team has made a change of manufacturers from Ford to Chevrolet, effective immediately.
The decision by the veteran crew chief and owner follows a series of frustrating performances in the opening rounds of the 2013 season.
“We didn’t see our truck as being capable of producing the kind of speeds to keep up with the rest of the competition during the first few races,” said Wauters. “As a result, we found ourselves losing ground in a series where everybody brings their “A” game.”
“We also feel that there are some opportunities at our disposal with this switch to Chevrolet that will be beneficial to growing our program,” Wauters added.
Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines, the prominent supplier of engines for Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series teams will provide the power.
"We welcome Wauters Motorsports into the Chevrolet camp as we go into Charlotte this week,” said Dayne Pierantoni, Program Manager NCWTS for GM Racing Services. “Having worked with Richie Wauters in the past, we are well aware of his capabilities and past success as a crew chief. We look forward to working with Richie as he continues to build his team utilizing his ECR powered Chevrolets.”
Driver Tim George Jr. is eager to get back behind the wheel this weekend.
“It will be good to be racing a Chevy again,” said George Jr. “My best racing performances have come in a Chevy.
“I’m happy to continue an alliance with Richie Wauters. I'd like to thank everyone involved who made this possible."
The Wauters Motorsports No. 5 Applebee’s Racing Chevrolet will make its debut at the upcoming NCWTS race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17.
Wauters Motorsports PR

No. 81 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver David Starr will race the BYF Toyota Tundra in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17. The race will be televised live on SPEED Network at 8:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast via the Motor Racing Network on SIRIUSXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

After his successful fifteenth truck series season in 2012, BYF was eager to expand its support of Starr in its third consecutive year as a sponsor. This expanded sponsorship includes a brand new BYF racing suit and a season-long presence on the No. 81 Toyota.

Starr, a former Career and Technical Education (CTE) student from the Houston, Texas area, has been an ambassador for the BYF initiative since 2011. During that time, he has spoken to thousands of students about the value of hands-on learning and how CTE provided him the avenue to achieve his dream of becoming a professional driver.

“In David, we were fortunate to find a successful driver who also has genuine enthusiasm for our goal of making CTE a priority in secondary schools,” said Diane Greene, executive director of BYF.

Prior to next week’s race, Starr will be the keynote speaker at the apprentice graduation for ABC of the Carolinas and Carolinas Construction Institute on May 14 at the Speedway Club in Charlotte. Eleven electrical apprentices will be honored at the ceremony for completing craft training that will allow them to become journeymen. Each apprentice has completed four years of training, including 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and additional classroom instruction.

SS Green Light Racing PR

Max Gresham will not have to go far to find the blueprint for success at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. All he has to do is ask his boss, team owner Eddie Sharp Jr.


A year ago Justin Lofton drove Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) to a victory in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Gresham hopes to use the same winning setup in his No. 8 AmWINS Group Chevrolet during this Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race.


Eddie Sharp Racing clearly has an edge when it comes to 1.5-mile speedways. The team also won at the Homestead-Miami Speedway last November with driver Cale Gale.


The Milner, Georgia, native's first Charlotte Motor Speedway start ended with a 24th-place finish a year ago. In addition to his one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Charlotte, he has had countless laps under the lights on the quarter-mile oval in the U.S. Legends Cars International (USLCI) series.


"It's always nice to unload with a setup that's already proven to be a success," Gresham said. "ESR has a proven track record, especially on the intermediate tracks like Charlotte. Hopefully, between [crew chief] Showy (Chris Showalter) and I, we can tweak it just a little bit to make it even better."


The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been off for nearly a month. The last time Gresham raced was April 20 at the Kansas Speedway. Gresham's team used the time to go through all of their trucks.


"All of us would rather be racing every week, but every once in a while it's good to take a step back and go through everything," Showalter said. "You find plenty of little improvements, and you get some ideas of things you can change to make the truck race a little better. We may have been off the track for a month, but we've made good use of our time."


Gresham, 20, will focus on his qualifying setup during one of two practice sessions on Thursday. The team has qualified 18th or better in every race, including a career-best ninth-place start a month ago at Kansas - another 1.5-mile speedway.


"The best way to pass somebody is to do it in qualifying," Gresham said. "Every spot you gain in qualifying is one less truck you have to try to pass during the race. We've worked hard to find speed in our AmWINS Chevrolet Silverado. That search has paid off, and will allow us to concentrate on finding a balance for the race.


"We have a great starting point. We won't veer too far off that winning setup. After all, we already know it works."


Max Gresham PR

Justin Lofton returns to ESR this weekend to defend his 2012 Charlotte Camping World Trucks Series victory with sponsorship backing from MadVapes, "The True Experts in Electronic Cigarettes".

Last year Lofton qualified 2nd and ran up front the entire race, dominating late only to be challenged by Brad Keselowski at the end. But with a late green-white-checker finish Lofton took off and drove away from a battling Ron Hornaday and Brad Keselowski giving Lofton his first NCWTS victory.


"I'm pumped to get back in the ESR #6 to defend last year's win, it's been a tough year not running all the events but I'm going to make the best of this opportunity and go for the win again for ESR and MadVapes"! States Lofton, the 27-year-old ace from Southern California.


"We are excited to be back on board with ESR for our home race, they did a great job for us in Daytona and of course they're the defending race winners so we hope they can repeat this year"! Stated MadVapes CEO, Mark Hoogendoorn.


From Team Owner Eddie Sharp; "It's a privilege to put Justin back in the #6 MadVapes Chevy where he belongs. Last year's win was awesome and the Lofton's are like family to me so words can't express how proud I am to get Justin back, I can't wait for Charlotte this week"!


The NC Education Lottery 200 will air live from Charlotte Motor Speedway this Friday, May 17th with coverage starting at 7:30pm (EST) on SPEED. Please check your local listings for broadcast times and highlight shows.



For The Kids...This weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the No. 32 gets a bit more colorful with Carolinas Healthcare System's Levine Children's Hospital on board as primary sponsor. Levine Children's Hospital's mission is to ensure excellent children's healthcare by building partnerships between caregivers and families. Just five years after opening, the hospital has grown to include more than 30 pediatric specialties and has twice received the national distinction by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals."

Staffed by some of the most respected medical professionals in the world, Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Children's Hospital leads the nation in offering a comprehensive range of specialized pediatric services, including kidney, liver and heart transplants; cardiac and cancer care; neurosurgery; rehabilitation services and the highest designated level of neonatal intensive care. In 2012, Levine Children's Hospital received national recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best Children's Hospitals" in six different categories, the third year in which at least one specialty has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report.


Going Home...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway is a "home game" for Paludo, who recently purchased a home in the Charlotte suburb of Mooresville. The Brazilian has competed in two previous events at CMS, earning an average start of 12th and a best finish of 14th.


This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 Levine Children's Hospital team will once again utilize chassis TSM-216 this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. TSM-216 was a strong contender in the last two NCWTS races at Rockingham Speedway and Kansas Speedway, earning a best finish of 10th at Rockingham.


Watch and Listen...The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 can be seen live on Friday, May 17 on SPEED.  Pre-race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT, and the event can also be heard live on MRN Radio, as well as SiriusXM Radio, channel 90.


Previous Race Recap... Paludo's potentially race-winning run ended in the wall at Kansas Speedway. After starting on the front row and leading his first laps of the 2013 season, the No. 32 Duroline Brakes and Components Chevrolet was one of the trucks to beat before getting caught up in an incident on lap 35, which ended Paludo's race in the garage and relegated him to a 31st-place finish in the SFP 250.


Miguel Paludo on driving at Charlotte Motor Speedway

"I'm really proud to be running Levine Children's Hospital on our No. 32 Chevrolet this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a father, there is nothing more important than your child being healthy and happy, and it's great that we have one of the best pediatric hospitals in the country right nearby. Some of the other Turner Scott Motorsports drivers and I are going to be doing a visit there next week, and I can't wait to see the facility and meet the kids."


"I have been looking forward to getting to the track in Charlotte since we left Kansas Speedway; I feel like that could have been a win and it got away from us. We were probably the best we've been all season, so I feel really confident going into a similar track in the same truck we brought to the last two races. I could not be prouder of my team and the direction we're going this year. I'm ready to get to Charlotte and set it on fire."



Kansas Recap...James Buescher came into the SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway as the defending race winner and, for a while, it looked like Buescher was going to repeat as race winner. After grabbing his first pole since 2011, Buescher quickly shot off to the lead and collected valuable championship bonus points in the process. With a late-race pit stop, Buescher and the Rheem team elected to take four tires, which put him 20th in the 36-truck field. After some daring restart moves, Buescher worked his way back up to inside the top three. While dealing with lapped traffic and some close competition, Buescher fell back outside the top five to sixth, where he eventually finished. This was Buescher's first top ten of the 2013 season.


Under the Lights...After the season's second extended break in the schedule, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). The last time the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team competed at CMS, Buescher went on to lead 10 laps and was running inside the top five before getting collected by a spinning lapped truck. The Turner Scott Motorsports team is very confident heading into CMS after a strong run at Kansas Speedway four weeks ago.


Gotta Have a Rheem...The No. 31 TSM entry will once again run the Rheem colors this weekend at CMS. Buescher and TSM hope to build off the last race's momentum and capture the team's first victory of the season. Rheem Manufacturing Company ( is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 87th year of operation, the company manufactures a full line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company's premium brands, including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem, have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design and high quality. Rheem, now in its seventh consecutive year as a NASCAR sponsor, is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Turner Scott Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing. Rheem also sponsors RCR's No. 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by Paul Menard.


Return of Honey Badger...For the second time this season, TSM will bring Chassis TSM-214, aka "Honey Badger," to the track. During its first appearance at Rockingham Speedway, Buescher led 17 laps and was running close to the top five before being collected by a lapped truck. During 2012, "Honey Badger" recorded 4 wins, all on 1.5-mile tracks.


Watch and Listen...The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 can be seen live on Friday, May 17th on SPEED. Race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


James Buescher on returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway

"I'm really looking forward to getting back on track this weekend in Charlotte. We had a great run in Kansas, and I hope we can build off that and use our past success on mile-and-a-half tracks to our advantage and put our Rheem Chevrolet Silverado in victory lane. It would definitely mean a lot to our team, as we'll be able to compete in front of many family and friends that will be at the track."



Hopping on Board...Turner Scott Motorsports' No. 4 Arrowhead team welcomes aboard Kangaroo Express for 201 miles around Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). Kangaroo Express is committed to providing fast, friendly service in convenient and clean locations, including the new infield location at CMS. With over 1,550 stores spanning 13 states in the southeast, Kangaroo Express is ready to keep race fans moving.  For more information visit:


Come Say Hi...Burton will be signing autographs and taking pictures at the Kangaroo Express infield location on Friday, May 17th at 2:30 p.m. EDT. See Burton's No. 4 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express Chevy on display and pick up a special edition hero card.


This Week's Silverado...For the second race in a row, Burton and the No. 4 team will utilize powerhouse chassis TSM-220. Under the direction of veteran crew chief Mike Hillman Jr., this truck has led laps at both Kansas Speedway this season and in the 2012 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with rookie Kyle Larson behind the wheel.


Take Two...The North Carolina Education Lottery 200 will be Burton's second NCWTS start at CMS, after previously claiming his career first top 10 finish at the famed North Carolina track.


Watch and Listen...Make you sure you watch all 201 miles of racing action on SPEED.  Race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Jeb Burton on his second start at Charlotte Motor Speedway

"I'm thankful to get the chance to welcome Kangaroo Express to our No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports team. It's been a great season so far and it's only getting better. We're bringing the same truck from Kansas Speedway so I know we'll have a competitive machine. Hopefully I can claim my first win and take Arrowhead and Kangaroo Express to victory lane."



Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race may be pointless, but it provides a valuable learning tool for Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 Cromax® Pro team.


Gordon, a three-time winner (1995, 1997 and 2001) of this annual event, believes aggression is key in the race split into four segments of 20 laps and one final 10-lap sprint to the checkered flag.


"The All-Star race is kind of a 'win-or-nothing' scenario, and that's not the case on other race weekends," said the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion who captured his 300th top-five finish in his 700th career start last weekend. "I've always approached it being as aggressive as I possibly can.


"We push hard trying to win every race, and this weekend is no different. The only difference is there are no points on the line.


"While the segments are short and it's a different type of race compared to the next weekend's '600,' it does give us a chance to learn what may or may not work for next weekend."


No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson agrees.


"We are learning with every lap we make in this new Chevy SS," said Gustafson. "The segments we run this Saturday night are much shorter than what we expect to run during the '600,' but it should give us a good early indication of what will work ahead of that points race."


The Sprint All-Star Race starting lineup will be determined Friday night with a three-lap qualifying run that includes a mandatory pit stop. Gordon will try to put himself in a position to win much earlier, though.


"We'll push hard in practice to get the car really good over a 10 or 15-lap run," said Gordon. "With the shorter amount of laps (in a segment), those 10-15 lap runs are where you can really make up positions and put yourself in a position to win during that final segment.


"I really enjoy this event and I love the energy from the crowd. Those last 10 laps should be exciting for them.


"And us."



There’s no other track on the NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit remotely comparable to Darlington’s leading lady.  To leave unscathed after 147 laps of choreography at the “Lady in Black” is considered a successful effort.

New sponsor Fix-A-Flat made its’ NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on Mike Bliss’ No. 19 Toyota Camry. Ironically, Bliss and the Fix-A-Flat Camry started Friday night’s VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 from the 19th starting spot.

Bliss’ race car was lively from the start. Fighting a tight condition, Bliss and Crew Chief Paul Clapprood were quick to talk adjustments. Over the radio, Bliss said, “I’m loose off four and I’m not getting into one and two comfortably.”

A caution came at lap 24 for a spin off turn two. Bliss and Clapprood now had their chance to make the Fix-A-Flat Camry more comfortable for the veteran driver. Clapprood directed his team, “We’ll go one down on the track bar, put some air in the right front, put scuffs on and a full can of fuel.” Agreeing with the changes, Bliss came down pit road.  Restarting 22nd, Bliss quickly began battling a loose race car.

In the next ten laps Bliss fought to gain positions on the racetrack, until a caution came out at lap 34 involving his TriStar Motorsports teammate Eric McClure.  “The car is still loose. I don’t think we need tires or fuel; let’s just make a track bar and tire pressure adjustment,” said Bliss. 

Still not finding a happy-medium, the handling of the Fix-A-Flat Camry went from one extreme to another. Bliss was now fighting a tight race car in the 24th position, when caution number three fell at lap 51. This time Bliss and Clapprood agreed to raise the track bar, put another set of scuffed tires on and take on a full tank of Sunoco race fuel.

Bliss restarted in the 20th position when the race commenced on lap 55. With only 13 cars on the lead lap, Bliss maintained the 19th position for 55-laps. Still fighting a tight race car, Clapprood and Bliss decided to make a green flag stop to put on a set of fresh Goodyear tires and fill the tank of fuel.

The fourth and final caution came at lap 120 when a car spun off turn two. The four fresh Goodyears’ were not enough to change the handling of Bliss’ Camry, this time the No. 19 Fix-A-Flat team took a round of wedge out of the right rear and went back up one round on the track bar.

With 22 more laps remaining Bliss settled into the 19th position and remained there through the wave of the checkered flag.

At the end of the race Bliss said, “It felt like I was treading water the whole race; gaining positions was a challenge. My guys worked really hard making lots of adjustments just to try and find a balance. I greatly appreciate Fix-A-Flat coming on board for the race; I wish I could have gotten a better finish for them.”

Going into the off-weekend, Bliss will remain in the 11th spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings, only two points out of the top ten.


Michael Waltrip Racing will host its annual Fan Fest in the fall at the height of NASCAR’s “Chase for the Sprint Cup.” The event at MWR’s headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., has traditionally been held during Charlotte Motor Speedway’s May events, but this season the race shop is undergoing some capital improvements to further enhance the visitor and employee experience.
“We are in the process of making MWR even better for everyone, including fans, sponsors and employees,” said Waltrip. “We can’t wait to showcase our upgrades soon and appreciate all the fans who have given our facility a 100% approval rating since we opened in 2007.”
This month MWR began construction of a new 7,500-square-foot training facility. The multi-level gym will further the skills of pit crew members. The facility includes an inlaid car silhouette so crews can practice agility drills around a car, free weights, weight machines, Cross Fit elements, cardio equipment as well as locker rooms and offices. Construction should conclude in June.
MWR is at exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, N.C. about 15 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. Fans can still visit MWR’s friendly interactive facility and take public tours throughout the construction projects.

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