Speedway Digest Staff
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When the No. 01 G&K Services Chevrolet of JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller takes the historic green flag as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series first appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, Mike Wallace will be making a mini-milestone start of his own.
For the 760th time in his career, Wallace will be competing in one of NASCAR’s top-three series’ races. And, as one of the drivers in the inaugural Brickyard 400 back in 1994, Wallace will also be marking the milestone start as one of the first 43 drivers in the inaugural NNS race at the Brickyard, as well.
Making his 435th NNS start, the four-time race winner is looking forward to being part of NASCAR history – again – at the famed 2.5-mile oval. With a recent uptick in performance, the team is leasing an Earnhardt Childress Racing powerplant to keep their upward momentum going.
His teammate this weekend, Jeremy Clements, is driving the No. 4 TradeBank Chevrolet for JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller. This will be his 19th start of the season in the series, and 89th NNS start of his career.
Since this is the first race for the NNS race at the “big track” in Indianapolis, teams don’t have as many notes and past experience to draw from as other track. Thus, NASCAR is bringing back the “pill draw” to establish the qualifying order, as opposed to going off practice speeds, for Saturday.
The entire JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller team remained in the Midwest after the Chicagoland Speedway race last Saturday before heading to Indy.
Mike Wallace Info
- Making 760th-career NASCAR start, achieved nine wins in that span
- Making 435th-career start, where he earned four of those nine victories
- Currently 14th in points, trailing 13th by just five markers, Wallace is making his 19th start of the 2012 season
- During that span, he’s completed 2,984 of 3,220 laps contested (92.7 percent) and led four races
- The team has nine top-20 finishes, with six of them taking place in the last eight races
Jeremy Clements Info
- Making his 89th career NNS start
- Will be 19th of 2012 for the Spartanburg, S.C. native
- During that span, he’s completed 2,990 of 3,220 laps contested (92.9 percent) and led three races
- He’s currently 15th in Driver’s Points with one top-10, two top-15 and five top-20 finishes
Mike Wallace Quotes
“This is an incredibly big deal for the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend. I was in the first Brickyard 400 in 1994 and remember how pumped up everyone was to be part of history in NASCAR on that day.
“Our race this weekend is no different and it means a lot our series is considered good enough to race on the hallowed grounds of Indy. This is a big shot in the arm for the status of Nationwide racing in NASCAR.
“We have leased an engine from Earnhardt Childress Racing so we can get all the horsepower we’re going to need at this track. Those straightaways are so long and we need every bit of speed we can get for our No. 01 G&K Services Chevrolet throughout the weekend. Those two practice sessions on Thursday are going to be very important with this being our first time at Indy.
“The random draw for qualifying will make it a little more interesting, too. Our team was talking about this race right after the Chicago race, so I know Newt Moore (crew chief) and the guys are looking forward to racing Indy as much as I am, too.”
JD Motorsports PR
No. 99 Boost Mobile driver Travis Pastrana knew embarking on a NASCAR career would be tough. Not long after beginning a Nationwide and K&N schedule, he surrounded himself with people who could make his transition from X Games superstar and rally driver to NASCAR driver a bit easier.
That’s how he met Matt Crafton.
Since joining Pastrana at a January 2011 test at New Smyrna Speedway, the two-time Camping World Truck Series winner has served as Pastrana’s unofficial driver coach. Crafton calls on his 13 years of truck experience to teach Pastrana how to manage tires, pick driving lines, and hone some of the techniques needed for NASCAR success. Crafton’s even climbed in the No. 99 during practices to speed Pastrana’s development.
This weekend Pastrana will once again have Crafton on hand as he makes his first start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, is seventh NASCAR Nationwide series start on 2012.
PASTRANA ON CRAFTON: “Having Matt around has been awesome for testing and just getting to know the race tracks. It really helps when Matt can jump in the car and I can actually see where he is braking on the telemetry. He can also tell me turn by turn what the car is doing. He helps get the car set up a little quicker than I can. He is a constant reminder to me that I can’t over drive these cars. I have always manhandled everything I have ever driven and it doesn’t work in NASCAR. The more you try and manhandle them the slower you are going to go. Matt has been a tremendous help and I think he has helped my learning curve.”
MATT CRAFTON ON PASTRANA: “He really wants to be successful in NASCAR. He has a lot of talent; it’s all about breaking some bad habits. For example, in some of the rally stuff, drivers use ton of brake. That’s 100 percent the opposite you want to do in a stock car. You want to be smooth on the brake pedal. With all the telemetry, he can see exactly what I’m doing with the brake pedal and with the throttle. All it is, is speeding up his learning curve. Travis has a lot of talent and he has the drive to make it in this sport. I think if he can run a bunch of races in a row the results will come.”
RAB Racing PR
The opportunity to be a spectator at any major sporting event can be an awe-inspiring occasion. Surrounded by tens of thousands of like-minded fans cheering for a common goal creates an adrenaline-filled experience for competitors and spectators alike. Elite sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the World Series inspire an even more electric atmosphere for the simple reason that they are historic.
Now, take that major sporting event and place it on the hallowed grounds of one of the nation’s most revered venues and the atmosphere becomes more than just a game, but also a moment in time. While a handful of such venues have gone to the wayside, many of the nation’s older venues continue to thrive in today’s sports world. A simple Google search yields a variety of top lists featuring some of the nation’s most storied locations. From Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., and Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., these historic sites could be considered national landmarks for what they have meant to sports history and the competitive landscape that fans know today.
Certainly a fixture in most all listings of top-10 historic sports venues is Indianapolis Motor Speedway – site of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The famed, 2.5-mile oval has been in existence for more than 100 years and has hosted more than 250 races since 1909. For most of its existence, Indianapolis had been an open-wheel series track, but that changed when the Sprint Cup Series first started competing there for the annual Brickyard 400 in 1994. This weekend, the drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series will for the first time know the thrill of competing at and crossing the famed yard of bricks with the running of the inaugural Indy 250.
Driver Kurt Busch competed in his very first Brickyard 400 during his rookie season in 2001 and this weekend will be part of the cast competing in the track’s first-ever Nationwide Series race. An avid sports fan himself, the significance of competing at Indianapolis is not lost on the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion. Having been to Indianapolis as both a competitor and a fan, the driver of the No. 51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet understands the importance of being able to compete at the famed track.
Busch has made 11 career starts at Indianapolis and scored his best finish there during his very first Indy start, finishing fifth after starting 34th in 2001. He has scored a total of four top-10 finishes during that 11-year stretch and has been running at the end of all 11 races, aside from one which was the result of an accident during the 2002 race.
While he is still looking for his first career Brickyard 400 win, Busch will have two opportunities to become a victor at Indianapolis this weekend. Busch has scored two wins in Nationwide Series competition this year with victories at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in May and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway earlier this month.
The history books of Indianapolis once again will add a new chapter this weekend, and Busch and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team look to add themselves to the track’s lore and have their names forever linked.
Making his sixth career Sprint Cup start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, David Ragan will be welcoming back Scorpion Truck Bed Liners to the No. 34 Ford as the primary sponsor. In their first season partnering with Front Row Motorsports, Scorpion will once again be featured at one of the most historic tracks on the circuit. It is also the company's home track as they are based in near-by Cloverdale, Ind.
Ragan is no stranger to success at the Brickyard, finishing in the top-25 in all five of his previous Sprint Cup Series races including a career best finish of 14th in 2008. Ragan will look to duplicate his qualifying efforts from last year's run at the Brickyard where he won the pole, but looks to improve on his 23rd-place finish from last year.
David Ragan on Indianapolis:
"I am very excited to return to Indy this weekend. I think this is a perfect opportunity to have an excellent run and show people what all we can do. The off week really helped our team by giving us a long window to work on the car and I expect it to be very strong when we finally get to the track."
"As a team we are still getting better each race and we will be able to show it in the second half of the season. Last year winning the pole was a huge accomplishment for me. It's pretty special to get to start in the front at such a famous track as the Brickyard. It was an incredible experience. I really hope we can do that again this weekend."
Jay Guy on Indianapolis:
"David has had a lot of success here in Indy early in his career. We feel that as long as we can put him in a good car he can do the rest. This weekend we really want to focus on the little things and make sure that we put him in the best possible position."
There’s no doubt Ryan Newman is riding on a personal high as he rolls into Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.
Not only has Newman and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team scored two consecutive top-10 finishes, Newman welcomed his second daughter, Ashlyn Olivia, on Monday, July 16 at 12:20 p.m. EDT.
After a little more than a week at home with his three girls – wife Krissie and daughters Brooklyn and Ashlyn – Newman is ready to return to the racetrack and take care of business. And the South Bend, Ind., native hopes his own personal bliss can translate into professional elation and success on his home turf at the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval.
For the 11-year Sprint Cup veteran, racing at Indianapolis isn’t significant just because he is a Hoosier. Instead, it’s the history of the 103-year-old Speedway that makes this weekend’s race one of the most important events he competes in each season.
Newman, who prides himself on carefully studying the history of the sport, considers the Indianapolis racetrack to be the cornerstone of the history of auto racing.
So for Newman, it is an honor to simply walk through the Speedway’s Gasoline Alley as he knows he is following in the footsteps of some of his heroes. And he admits he has caught himself thinking about whose tire tracks he could be following as he travels down the long straightaways.
While Newman is fascinated with the history at the Brickyard, his performance at the track has been lackluster.
In his 11 Sprint Cup visits to Indianapolis, Newman has started outside of the top-eight just two times. But while he has made a habit of starting near the front of the Brickyard 400 field, he has not enjoyed the same kind of success when it comes to recording solid finishes in the 160-lap race. Newman has just one top-five at Indianapolis – a fourth-place effort during his 2002 rookie campaign.
Newman wants to turn that stat around. And with his team’s recent top-10 runs, perhaps Newman & Company have the momentum to do just that.
Three weekends ago, Newman finished fifth at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It was his first top-10 finish at the superspeedway since his win in the 2008 Daytona 500. More importantly, it was the No. 39 team’s first top-10 in more than three months. The following weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, Newman finished 10th.
Currently 14th in points with one win to his credit this season, Newman is one of several drivers involved in a hotly contested battle for one of two wild card spots for the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. While top-fives and top-10s are good, what Newman would really like is to engineer another win for his No. 39 Quicken Loans team.
And a win at the Brickyard wouldn’t just give Newman his own page of history at the 2.5-mile track, it would also greatly help his team’s quest to make this season’s Chase. Of course, too, it would be difficult to find a better congratulatory baby gift than a big win for this new, second-time dad.
NASCAR has issued penalties to the No. 09 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as a result of rules infractions found on July 22 during post-race inspection at Chicagoland Speedway.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli has been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5 for violating Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20A of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); 20A-2.3A (improperly attached weight); and 20A-2.4B (car failed to meet minimum weight requirements in post-race inspection). Car chief Travis Young has been placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5 for the same infractions.
Driver Kenny Wallace and owner Robby Benton have been penalized with the loss of six championship driver and six championship owner points for violating Sections 12-1; 12-4J; and 20A-2.4B.
STATEMENT FROM RAB RACING
NASCAR announced yesterday, July 24, penalties for the No. 09 RAB Racing with Brack Maggard team which competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 22. The penalties are a result of rule infraction found in post-race inspection.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli has been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5. Car chief Travis Young has been placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 5. Additionally, car owner Robby Benton and driver Kenny Wallace have been penalized with the loss of six driver and six owner points, respectively.
"We accept the penalty and fines levied by NASCAR with respect to failing to meet minimum weight requirements in post-race inspection at Chicagoland Speedway," said Robby Benton, owner of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. "We experienced a part failure that resulted in a piece of ballast being lost from within its container during the event. It was unintentional, and of no fault of Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) or Travis (Young, car chief), but the crew chief and car chief are held liable for such cases. We will not appeal NASCAR's decision, and will move on to this weekend's inaugural Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
With the final off week of the 2012 Sprint Cup season in the rearview mirror, it's full speed ahead for Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 93 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota. Kvapil and his BK Racing crew have their eyes set on this week's Curtiss Shaver 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of the most prestigious and coveted events in motorsports, and they're looking to start the final stretch off with a bang.
This will be BK racing's first time racing at the Brickyard. The team understands that all 43 teams in the garage will pull out all the stops to win and Kvapil sees this as an opportunity to make a statement. He hopes their performance reflects their capabilities and progress since forming in February.
Kvapil has competed at the Brickyard on four occasions. Half of his starts have resulted in top-25 finishes. His best finish (24th place) came in 2010.
Comments from BK Racing Driver Travis Kvapil heading into Indianapolis:
"Obviously it's a great race track with a great history. I remember growing up and watching the Indy 500 and being a fan of Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan and other guys I looked up to. I didn't really get into the open wheel stuff, but I always watched the Indy 500 in May. Being on the stock car side, I never really thought I'd have the chance to make laps around there, so it's pretty cool to be able to race there with the Sprint Cup Series and make laps around the same place that my heroes did.
"This is a great chance for us to make a statement. This is one of the biggest races of the year. For us to go to Indy as a new team and leave with a solid finish, it will show everyone what we're capable of. We've come a long way and I hope this week reflects that.
"It's definitely a unique race track. It's very challenging. It's kind of a rectangular-shaped track with four corners and it's pretty flat. It's a challenge for the teams to get the splitter down as low as they can. On the engine side, it takes a lot of horsepower to get the cars down the long straightaways. You definitely have to have the total package there. It's going to be nice going there after a weekend off. Teams will be prepared. It's just a cool place to go.
"The Brickyard is pretty unique. There aren't many tracks with the characteristics of Indy. Pocono is similar, but only Turn 2. We feel like we learned a lot at Pocono during the open test and during the race weekend. It gave us an opportunity to try some things and get data on the car, which is good moving forward because we can take some things that we learned there and apply it to Indianapolis. We'll probably run a very similar setup even though the tracks are different."
BK Racing PR
Very few venues on the Sprint Cup circuit have the grandeur of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Every driver dreams of becoming a part of the track's hallowed history. Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota, is ready to make his mark in this week's Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard. His brief record at the track shows that he can get the job done. He has confidence that his BK racing team is up to the task, but he's willing to take a few chances along the way if necessary.
Cassill has two starts at the Brickyard under his belt. His best finish came last season. He started 32nd and finished 20th. It was one of four top-20 finishes he scored in 2011.
Doug Richert, crew chief of the No. 83 team, has called nine races at the Brickyard. His best finish is sixth place, which he achieved in 2004.
Comments from BK Racing Driver Landon Cassill heading into Indianapolis:
"The Brickyard is such a special place. It's such a prestigious venue. It's really amazing to even compete at that race track.
"Of all the races we have left this season, Indy is at the top of my list for ones that I'd like to win or have our best finish at. It's one that's worth taking a gamble or taking a risk if it can get you a good finish. If we need to take a chance to get our best finish of the season, we'll definitely roll the dice. We'll stretch the fuel mileage as long as possible, or maybe try a two-tire stop if necessary. It's a special track and worth taking the risk.
"I've run well there in the past. I finished in the top 20 there last season. I really think that our Burger King/Dr Pepper team can go there and do that, too.
"There aren't many places we go to that are like Indy. I think that with the size of the track and the banking, Pocono is about as close as it gets to racing there, but it's still pretty unique. Doug (Richert, crew chief) knows how to run well there and knows what to unload with. I think he'll get us started off on the right foot."
BK Racing PR
NASCAR’s expanding role among global influencers of sport continues this week as Chairman and CEO Brian France participates in Beyond Sport’s annual summit in London. The Summit begins today, a few days before the start of the 2012 Olympiad.
On Wednesday, France will participate in a panel entitled “Mobilizing Millions,” in which he will highlight NASCAR’s efforts in green, diversity and charitable giving. Joining France will be Dr. Robin Peterson, CEO of the South African Football Association; Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, Emmy Award-winning television personality and health advocate; and Paddy Harverson, official spokesperson for Prince Charles, Duke of Cambridge.
Moderated by Dr. Michael Lynch, NASCAR’s managing director of green innovation, the conversation will look at how sport can be used as a tool to trigger large-scale change. Panelists will analyze how sports organizations, personalities and governing bodies can use the power of sport to improve lives, positively change behavior, or empower people on a global scale.
Additionally tomorrow, France will present Beyond Sport’s “Sport for the Environment” Award to a recipient who has put forth significant efforts to reduce sports’ impact on the environment.
"A key part of Beyond Sport’s mission is to bring together people from different spheres to share their experiences and to learn from each other,” said Nick Keller, founder of Beyond Sport. “Between them, through inspiration and education, these people and their organizations have changed the outlooks, perspectives and even living habits of millions of people around the world, and their insights are invaluable."
The Beyond Sport summit is convened to celebrate, promote and drive sport-led social change. The event features networking opportunities, panels and action-led working sessions that include influencers from the worlds of sports, business and government. It will play host to a wide range of global luminaries, including Muhammad Ali, David Beckham and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In May, NASCAR accepted an invitation to join Beyond Sport, a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change. NASCAR joined a coalition of leagues that includes Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the Women's National Basketball Association as part of Beyond Sport's wider global network. NASCAR is the first and only motorsports organization aligned with Beyond Sport.
In addition to France, each of the following panelists will share their unique perspective with the global audience
· Dr. Robin Peterson, CEO of the South African Football Association. Peterson is one of the most influential figures in African sport, and will talk about the power of the Rainbow Nation's most popular sport and how it can genuinely help unite and build a nation.
· Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, Emmy Award-winning television personality and health advocate. His popular program “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” has earned him wide notoriety as a critic of processed foods in public schools and was recently awarded the Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Cup Award.
· Paddy Harverson, a key player in the media relations world from a number of perspectives, but is best known for his role at the Clarence House as the official spokesperson for Prince Charles, Duke of Cambridge. He spent four years as director of communications for the Manchester United Premier League football club and most recently coordinated communications for the union of Prince William and Kate Middleton. He will discuss the major shift in modern media and its significance in influencing people's behavior for the better.
Big Machine Label Group and Front Row Motorsports Offer Fans Chance to Win Signed Guitar and Race-Used Firesuit
Big Machine Records and Front Row Motorsports are giving fans of racing and country music alike the chance to win a signed guitar and race-used firesuit through the Racecars and Country Stars Sweepstakes.
Fans can win a David Gilliland race-used firesuit and a guitar signed by Big Machine Label Group recording artists: The Band Perry, Justin Moore, The Mavericks, Greg Bates and Sunny Sweeney. Prior to entering, fans will need to 'like' both Big Machine Label Group and Front Row Motorsports on Facebook. Fans can earn additional bonus entries by 'liking' the pages of Big Machine recording artists and Front Row Motorsports partners.
Visit www.RacecarsAndCountryStars.com to enter and view official rules. David Gilliland will drive the No. 38 Racecars and Country Stars / Big Machine Records Ford in Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Runner-Up prizes include CD's from Big Machine Label Group recording artists and items autographed by David Gilliland.
The contest will run through August 24th, 2012. A winner will be announced by September 1st.