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Jeb Burton NCWTS Preview: Iowa Speedway
Short-Track Roots...Jeb Burton and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will head to the Midwest for the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway. Having grown up on and around the short-track circuit, Burton will go back to his racing roots on Saturday night as the No. 4 Arrowhead team debuts at the 0.875-mile oval track.
This Week's Silverado...The No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team will unload Chassis TSM-229 this weekend in Iowa. No stranger to short tracks, TSM-229 brought Burton his first career pole award along with two top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway and Dover International Speedway earlier this year.
Stop and Say Hello...If you're at the track this weekend, stop by and meet Burton and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session located under the Turn 4 grandstands from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. CDT.
Stay In The Loop...Be sure to follow along as Burton brings you the latest information, race updates and behind-the-scenes looks on Twitter (@JebBurtonRacing) and Facebook (JebBurtonRacing).
Watch and Listen...The American Ethanol 200 can be seen live on Saturday, July 13th on SPEED. Race coverage will begin at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap...Following his first career win, Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team carried momentum and continued to perform at Kentucky Speedway. After ranking top three in both practice sessions, Burton started Thursday night's UNOH 225 from 11th position. The No. 4 team fought hard to gain track position, something that is particularly difficult to do at Kentucky Speedway, and finished the race in the ninth position. With another top-10 finish, Burton remains second highest in points on the NCWTS leaderboard.
Jeb Burton on Racing at Iowa Speedway
"I can't wait to race on this track. I love short-track racing and I feel like our No. 4 Arrowhead Chevy will be fast this weekend. My Turner Scott Motorsports teammates have had pretty good success at Iowa, so that's all the more reason to race hard and give it my best shot. After Kentucky, it's safe to say that my team and I are more determined and ready than ever."
With an eye on a Chase spot, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team are focusing on a solid finish this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. A late-race incident last weekend dropped the team to 19th in championship points. Looking to gain nine positions and a 36-point deficit, the team is ready to post top-10 finishes.
Almirola has five Sprint Cup Series starts at the New England track. He posted his best finish of 18th in the September 2008 event. He also has one Nationwide start, where he started fourth and finished fifth, and five truck series starts at the mile-track. Veteran Crew Chief Todd Parrott has 29 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In his nearly 30 starts, he has one win, six top-fives, 14 top-10s and an average finish of 16.9.
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"I've always enjoyed going to New Hampshire. I love that area. It's beautiful country. The track has always been one of my favorites. This weekend we just need to have a good finish. Hopefully, we can learn some stuff through the Ford camp to help us. Roush went here to test, and we're going to lean on those notes.
"It's a flat racetrack, one of the flattest we go to. The corners are extremely long. It feels like you are in them forever, so you have to have a good handling car to get off the corners. You want to get back into the gas early, and you have to handle well to be able to do that. It is really important to get your car rotated early in the corner, so you can get back in the gas and make those corners as straight as possible.
"Last week was really disappointing for us in the points. We are going to have to really focus and get some top-fives, top-10s and win a race to be able to get in the Chase now. We haven't lost sight of our shot to make the Chase."
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:
"Loudon has long straightaways and really tight turns. Brakes are very important and we have to be careful we don't overuse the brakes. It's a short race in terms of miles, but it is a very hard race on the car and equipment. The biggest problem we fight at New Hampshire is being tight in the center of the corners. If we can get the car to handle well in the center then we should be in good shape. We need to bounce back in the points this weekend to stay in the hunt for the chase, so a solid finish is really important for us."
Marcos Ambrose Has Taste of Victory Heading Into New Hampshire
Last weekend at Daytona, Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 Stanley Ford team showed their strength and speed. Fresh off a shot at a win in Daytona, the team looks to continue their summer momentum and post a finish that reflects how well the team has progressed this summer.
The Camping World RV Sales 301 will mark Ambrose's ninth start at the one-mile track. The Australian native's best finish of ninth came in the July event in 2011 with the No. 9 team. He also has two Nationwide and one truck series start at the Northeast track. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer has 6 'Cup starts under his belt as a crew chief and a best finish of seventh with David Ragan in 2011. The Illinois native also has four Nationwide starts, three of which he finished in the top-five.
Comments from Stanley Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:
"Last weekend really showed we can run up front and compete for wins. I feel the same this weekend as well. It's a completely different track, different style of racing, but I think our team is really strong right now. We have a lot of confidence that we can run up front each weekend.
"This weekend track position and a good balanced car are extremely important. The biggest challenge at Loudon is the flat nature of the track. It's really difficult to carry your speed through the turns and then have grip coming off of them. It's hard to pass which is why track position is so critical. But, Drew (crew chief Drew Blickensderfer) is pretty smart, and I know he can put us in a good spot at the end."
Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on New Hampshire:
"Keys to Loudon are track position and more track position, so qualifying and pit stops will be very critical. Being such a flat track, handling through the corner is very important. The straightaways are long, so we'll rely on our Roush Yates Engine to get power on the straightaways. With narrow pit stalls, pit selection will help our pit stops, so we'll need to put up a good lap in qualifying to be ahead of the game when we take the green on Sunday."
Kyle Busch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Native New Englander Dave Rogers has spent many special moments with his family at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, but two days in particular stick out for the crew chief who hails from nearby Marshfield, Vt.
Rogers and his father attended the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire in 1990 as fans, but a return trip in 1992 to see the late Dale Earnhardt and Joe Nemechek battle door-to-door over the final laps is something that has stuck with him to this day.
Fast-forward to June 2008, when Rogers wasn’t in the grandstands but atop the pit box as Nationwide Series crew chief for former Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Tony Stewart. That day, Stewart delivered Rogers’ first win as a crew chief at the track just a two-hour drive from where he grew up. It was an emotional day for the New Englander. Rogers’ father Davis C. Rogers was able to experience NASCAR victory lane for the first time, and Stewart, knowing what it meant to Rogers and his family, gave him the firesuit he wore that day.
Along with that Nationwide Series win as a crew chief, Rogers also visited victory lane at New Hampshire as a NASCAR Sprint Cup crew member – winning with Stewart in 2000 as his lead engineer on JGR’s No. 20 team.
Now the 38-year-old Sprint Cup crew chief for Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR, is hoping Busch can deliver another special New Hampshire moment for him and many family and friends expected to be in attendance for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301. That’s something Rogers’ friends and family would welcome, particularly his father Davis, who remembers fondly the 1990 trip to New Hampshire with his son when the Nationwide Series made its first visit to the 1.058-mile oval.
Busch has also enjoyed plenty of success at the “Magic Mile” throughout his career, having scored a Sprint Cup Series win in July 2006 among his six top-10 finishes in 16 starts. He’s also scored three wins, one pole and four top-five results in seven Nationwide Series starts at Loudon to go along with three wins, one pole and six top-10 finishes in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
In keeping with the family theme this weekend, Busch and Rogers would like nothing more than to celebrate in victory lane with many families that are Interstate Batteries dealers and distributors from New England and across the country.
With the marathon-like 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule, Busch and Rogers don’t have much time to attend many, if any, family reunions. But, they’ve had Sunday circled on their calendar in hopes of bringing the celebration to them in victory lane in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Brian Keselowski Motorsports to Make History at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with Morgan Shepherd
Brian Keselowski Motorsports heads back to the track this weekend with veteran driver, Morgan Shepherd as he makes his historical return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to pilot BKM's No.52 Toyota in Louden at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013.
"This is truly a milestone, a great opportunity and I want to thank all who are involved to help make this happen. This will be my first Sprint Cup race since 2006. It will be good to be back for such a historical day, and I love the New Hampshire Speedway", said Shepherd.
“It is great to be able to work with Morgan Shepherd who is as well known, respected and dedicated to this sport as we are with our team to make it back to the track. We're happy to be part of Morgan's return to the Sprint Cup Series and we hope he does well in our car”stated Keselowski.
BK Motorsports PR
Ryan Newman Doubling Down in Loudon
Ryan Newman has a lot of racing scheduled for this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon as he attempts to do the double, driving WIX Filters-sponsored entries in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Whelen Modified Tour races.
Newman is scheduled to run the Modified race Saturday before returning to his regular driving duties Sunday behind the wheel of Stewart-Haas Racing’s (SHR) No. 39 Chevrolet SS.
For Newman, running the Modified race offers him a chance to have a little fun and a release from the stress of his day job, where he is currently fighting to race his way into position to claim a coveted spot in the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
This weekend’s race couldn’t come at a better time for Newman. Given his track record at the “The Magic Mile,” he and his No. 39 team expect to score a strong finish, if not contend for the win, in Sunday’s 301-miler.
Three of Newman’s 16 career Sprint Cup Series wins – September 2002 and 2005 and July 2011 – and six of the 35-year-old driver’s 49 career poles have come at the 1.058-mile oval.
In fact, his 2002 win during his rookie season was Newman’s first points-paying Sprint Cup victory. On that September afternoon, the South Bend, Ind., native started from the pole and dominated the rain-shortened race, leading 143 of 207 laps.
His second victory three years later in September 2005 came after Newman narrowly squeaked into the inaugural Chase for the Championship. He used pit strategy to gain the lead late in the race after starting 13th and, in the closing laps, he dueled with now-team owner and teammate Tony Stewart for the lead. Newman passed Stewart with two laps remaining and held on to take the win, renewing Newman’s hopes for a run at the championship.
The July 2011 win was a wire-to-wire effort as Newman drove from his No. 1 starting spot to victory lane. Newman led six times for 119 laps in winning from the pole position for just the fourth time in his career.
And that win was all part of a banner weekend for SHR. Newman and Stewart, now his teammate and team owner, started 1-2 and finished 1-2. The last time a team started 1-2 and finished 1-2 was Hendrick Motorsports in the 1989 Daytona 500. However, the last time a team started 1-2 and finished 1-2 with the same drivers in the same order was back on April 7, 1957, at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway, where DePaolo Engineering’s Fireball Roberts won from the pole while teammate Paul Goldsmith started and finished second.
After a 10th-place finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last weekend, Newman and his Matt Borland-led team have shaved their deficit to 10th place in the Sprint Cup Series point standings to just 17 markers. Knowing they are headed to one of their best tracks, the No. 39 team is eager to continue closing in on securing a Chase berth.
For Newman, coming “home” to New Hampshire always brings back great memories thanks to his previous successes at the track. This weekend, a trip to victory lane in the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet SS could provide him with the ticket he needs to reserve his spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Loudon: No Banking, No Grip, No Problem
David Ragan calls New Hampshire Motor Speedway a "tough little racetrack." But he's ready to gain the upper hand on the 1.058-mile oval when the Sprint Cup Series heads to Loudon for this weekend's Camping World RV Sales 301.
After a weekend of restrictor plate racing at Daytona International Speedway, the No. 34 Taco Bell team will need to change gears and focus on bringing a car that handles well on a much shorter and flatter track. The team will look for a solid finish before the series takes its last off week of the season with no race scheduled for the weekend of July 20-21.
Ragan has one top-10 and three top-15 finishes in 12 starts at New Hampshire.
Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan heading to Loudon:
"Loudon's a tough little racetrack. It's a track I've struggled at a little over the years. I've had a few good runs and I've had a few bad days up there. It's very flat, there's not a lot of banking and not a lot of grip, so you slide around. And usually there's one person who's hooked up and they can just whoop everyone. But our Front Row Motorsports team has been working hard on our flat track cars. We need to go up to Loudon and have a good race. It's the last race before an off weekend and then the rest of our stretch.
"It's always a great time. New Hampshire has a lot of race fans up there. They pack that place. Since Bruton Smith (of Speedway Motorsports Inc.) has bought the facility, they've made some nice improvements and there's a lot of good stuff up there.
"It is a tough racetrack. It's a long 300 laps. So hopefully we can have a good handling car and be able to have some fun. You can get a comfortable car and be able to roll through the centers OK and get to the throttle, but there's always something you can do to go faster. At least at these other high-speed racetracks, the issues stand out a little more. It can be tough at Loudon. When you don't have the banking and you don't have that lateral load that's on the car, it's tough to fine-tune it. And we'll have to see what type of tire Goodyear brings, too. Hopefully Goodyear brings a good tire, we have good weather and it can be a great race."
Gilliland Preps for Loudon after Push for Win at Daytona Spoiled
Forgive David Gilliland if part of his mind is still in Daytona Beach, Fla., this week as he preps for the Sprint Cup Series' next race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford was in the top five entering the final lap of last weekend's Coke Zero 400 and had a shot at a win. But his lane's momentum stalled out, and then he was caught up in a wreck coming to the checkered flag. He still finished 15th for his second top-15 finish of the 2013 season.
Now it's time to shift from the high-speed Daytona International Speedway to the flat, 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H., a track that Gilliland says is always challenging when it comes to a car's handling.
The Sprint Cup veteran has 12 career starts at Loudon, with a best finish of 27th (2012).
Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Loudon:
"We definitely had a shot at the win at Daytona. We were fifth or so at the white flag. Kurt (Busch) and I had a good run on the outside but we came up a little short because we ran out of help. And then we got caught up in the wreck coming to the checkers. But I'm proud of my guys and proud of our effort. That was probably the fastest speedway car I've had with Front Row Motorsports. I'm happy and overall it was a good day for us.
"Loudon, I hate to say it, is probably my least favorite racetrack on the schedule. It's just very flat and it feels like it's very difficult to get drive in the car to power down off the corners. But my crew chief, Frank Kerr, is looking forward to going back there, and he's pumped some new life into me to go back there. Hopefully we can turn things around.
"You know what you've got to do going there. It's a flat track, so you've got to turn the center and be able to get back to the gas and have good drive off the corners. It just seems like every time you do anything to try to help the center turn better, it hurts the drive. Or, you fix the drive and it hurts the center. So, that balance is kind of weird. You're kind of tip-toeing around the whole weekend."
Wise: Loudon Is Its Own Animal
Josh Wise only has two career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but they're enough for him to know that the flat, 1.058-mile track is a unique track to attack. He and his No. 35 MDS Transport team head to the Loudon, N.H., oval for Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301 ready for the challenge.
The team is coming off its third top-25 finish of the 2013 campaign after coming home 25th in Sunday's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
In addition to two Cup starts at Loudon, Wise also has three Nationwide Series starts at the track with a top finish of 20th (2008).
Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise heading to Loudon:
"Loudon is basically a bigger short track. It's comparable, I would say, to the old Phoenix. It's pretty much its own animal now. But we had some pretty good cars there last year, I think, and it's a place I look forward to going to. It's kind of a cool track with a little bit of small banking transition and different things you can do with the drive. I always like places where you can move around a little bit.
"The short, flat tracks require a much different focus. I think set-up-wise, you focus so much on aero at the faster, high-speed tracks, and if you don't have that right, you just won't make speed. And Loudon will be a little bit of that. I think you'll want to understand the attitude of your car and what it can be for or against you. But you tune the car a lot more mechanically at Loudon than you do on the large tracks, and that's really where your focus is.
"The feel of a good car can be misleading, too. I've only driven for Front Row in the Cup Series so I don't have any other Cup rides to compare to. But in the Nationwide Series, I've had the opportunity to drive for really good teams like JR Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing, and I've also had opportunities with teams that don't have as much funding. And there've been times when I thought the car that was slower drives better than the car that was faster. And that's the type of thing we experience a lot."