Monday, Feb 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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It might not have been what The Mamas and the Papas had in mind with their 1965 hit song, but for Bakersfield native, Austin Reed, “California Dreaming” is all about a win in the July 2-3 Legends Big Money 100 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 18-year-old Californian moved across the country to Mooresville, N.C. for the summer to compete in the NOS Energy Legend Car Semi-Pro division of the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series and in the Legends Big Money 100, the largest event in grassroots racing.

With the Legends Big Money 100 next week, Reed knows that this can be his moment to shine against the greatest racers in Legend Cars. 

“It’s a big survival race,” Reed said of the 100-lap main event. “It’s just the best competition.”

Up to 200 drivers will register for the Legends Big Money 100, but only 30 will make it to the A-Main feature. Everyone wants to win the race, but Reed understands how important it is to even just make the race.

“It’ll be something different getting to run with the pros out here,” said Reed. “Hopefully I’ll learn a lot from them and figure out what I need to be doing differently.”

However, having been racing for the past six years and having a father who has always owned race cars, Reed has a good amount of experience himself.

“I originally got started in racing through my dad,” said Reed. “He used to own multiple cars from Nationwide Series all the way down to Legend Cars.  It’s kind of in my blood.”

If Reed finds himself in Victory Lane, he knows exactly how he’ll spend his $25,000 prize.

Reed, like most young drivers, said, “I have a feeling a lot of it will go to racing in general: Legend Cars, late models, a K&N Pro Series East model we’re expecting to run and other stuff like that.”

Last week, he raced in the Summer Shootout Series on Tuesday and then went back to California to race at Sonoma Raceway in another Legend Car over the weekend.

Looking up to Kevin Harvick and being friends with Kyle Busch, a former Legend Car racer, Reed knows just how important Legends Cars are to advancing his racing career.

“From everyone I’ve talked to and kind of from what I’ve learned, Legend Cars are the hardest thing you’ll ever drive. So if you can get car control, and get halfway decent in a Legend Car, I think it’ll make it easier to make it all the way in bigger cars,” said Reed.

The Jack in the Box Summer Shootout is a great place to get seat time and gain experience in a Legend Car because so many people from all over the East Coast come to race in the series.

“The main reason that we come out to run in the Shootout is to run with the best drivers out there,” Reed said of his fellow competitors. “It’s great competition and the car count is great compared to what we have on the West Coast.”

But Reed knows that the key to being successful in any type of race car, from Legend Cars to stock cars, is patience.

“The best thing to do on the race track is be patient. You have guys that go out there and they try and win it on the first or second lap and it usually doesn’t work out,” Reed explained. “Last week I ended up destroying an entire car, rolling a few times down the backstretch. If I had been a little more patient, that might not have happened.”

As Reed works his way up through the ranks of racing, he is sure to do well because he has a passion for racing that runs through his blood.     

“It’s just something I’ve always done and will always do,” Reed said with confidence.

The third annual Legends Big Money 100 boasts a $100,000 purse and will feature some of the best grassroots racers in the country.

In addition to the on-track action, fans can enjoy a pre-race concert with popular radio personalities Ace and TJ and their band, Charity Case, on Tuesday, prior to the start of the Legends Big Money 100 A-Feature. Drivers will also participate in an autograph session on the frontstretch during the concert. At the conclusion of the Legends Big Money 100 A-Feature on Tuesday, Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the area’s first Fourth of July Fireworks celebration.

CMS

"Contrary to recent published speculation, Penske Racing has not sold its engine company.  The team’s focus continues to be on successfully completing the 2012 season, competing for championships and victories in the both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series for Dodge and our other sponsor partners.”

Penske Racing PR

Race Recap:

Max Gresham went into Thursday night's UNOH 225 with ­one goal in mind, to finish the race and gain experience. However, that theory went up in smoke during Thursday night's NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series (NCWTS) event at Kentucky Speedway when an engine failure left Gresham and the No. 24 Made In USA Brand Team with a disappointing 30th-place finish.

 

Making his debut at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Gresham used the Thursday morning practice sessions to gain experience and learn how his Chevrolet Silverado would handle over the tracks infamous bumps. After two practice sessions, where he finished 21st and 20th respectively, Gresham qualified his No. 24 machine 19th for the 150-lap feature that evening.

 

The event got off to a promising start but quickly came to a halt for the team when Gresham radioed into his crew that he had no fuel pressure during the first caution period at lap 18. Gresham brought his Made In USA Brand Chevrolet to pit road and a faulty oil pump belt was determined to be the culprit. The No. 24 Joe Denette Motorsports crew quickly replaced the belt but Gresham was scored five laps down to the leaders when he made his way back out on the track in the 31st position.

 

Scored the only truck a lap down to the leaders, Gresham utilized a series of cautions to retain three of his laps and also make some adjustments to loosen up his Chevrolet Silverado. When the field went back to green at lap 66, Gresham, scored 30th, quickly realized that his bad luck was continuing. He radioed into the crew that his engine had expired and he brought his Made In USA Brand machine to pit road having only completed 63 of 150 laps. James Buescher would go on to win the eighth event on the 2012 NCWTS schedule.

 

Max Gresham Quotes:

"Our Made In USA Brand Chevrolet was really good tonight. We had a strategy to just play the waiting game so that I could stay out of trouble, get comfortable and gain experience. All day the truck had been rough over the bumps but in the first part of the race, the truck was really good over the bumps, decent in the corners and a little free into the corners. As soon as I started moving forward, we had the oil pump belt issue and lost a lot of ground replacing it. I don't know that we would have ever got back on the lead lap there, but we were definitely heading in the right direction. We were only two laps down when the engine expired. I was a little loose right before the engine problem but the truck was really coming to me on the longer runs and I knew we were going to be ok. I feel like this has been the story of our year, we had a fast truck and something out of our control ends our day. We can't catch a break."

 

JDM PR

Facing triple digit heat for the first time in 2012, Dakoda Armstrong and the rest of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors struggled to conquer slick track conditions and survive the UNOH 225 on Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway. Armstrong's No. 98 EverFi Toyota Tundra team had high hopes entering the event after their driver scored his best career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) finish in the last visit to the Bluegrass State. The intense heat served up a challenge for Armstrong and his team during practice and qualifying, but after starting from the 26th postion, the rookie gained traction as the sun went down and claimed a 13th place finish. 

 

Making some quick moves in the first two laps after the drop of the green, Armstrong jumped up six positions and rode quietly inside the top-20 for most of the first segment of the race. Under the first caution, crew chief Dan Stillman pulled his driver down pit road for fuel and a chassis adjustment, hoping to help the EverFi Tundra gain some grip on entry and exit of the corners. Armstrong toughed it out through slick track conditions over the next 40 laps, and came down pit road for four tires and adjustments on lap 64.  

 

The first round of adjustments made under the pit stop seemed to help the EverFi machine, and Armstrong continued his climb up to the top-15. A close call came just a few laps later with a multi-truck accident directly in front of the No. 98 Tundra just after the restart. Narrowly dodging several spinning competitors, Armstrong came out clean with just minor damage to the splitter that did not hurt its performance. 

 

ThorSport Racing teammate and ARCA Racing Series driver Frank Kimmel worked with Armstrong from the spotter's stand, giving him tips to improve his  line throughout the  rest of the night and found groove that helped him stay consistent on the long run. Cleanly making his way through several incidents and close calls after restarts in the second half of the race, Armstrong pushed forward to cross the stripe in 13th place. 

 

"Our Toyota Tundra was definitely better at the end of the race than what it was when we started the day. Dan Stillman and the EverFi crew did a really great job of making adjustments throughout the race to help us keep up with the track as it cooled," Armstrong explained. "I was happy when the truck gained some grip on the long run because we were really able to make our passes then."

 

Armstrong wasn't surprised with the seven cautions that plagued the 150 lap race. 

 

"I can't believe how slick the track was tonight, it was really wild. There was zero grip on the track surface because it was just so hot today, and it was especially hard to hang on to after all the restarts. I'm not surprised that there were as many wrecked race trucks as there was, I was almost one of them a few times. So I'm really happy we can come home with a good finish and in one piece."

 

Dakoda Armstrong PR

Justin Lofton drove the No. 6 College Complete Chevrolet home to a solid 14th place finish after getting caught up in a wreck in the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday night. Despite damage to the right side of his truck, Lofton dug in to reclaim as many positions as possible in order to remain in the championship hunt.
 
"This is what can make or break a championship run, overcoming adversity like that. We've had a lot of luck this year so far, and unfortunately, we got the wrong end of it tonight," Lofton said. "We started off real loose so we had to hold on for a while. The track was just really rough and it made things dicey out there."
 
Lofton took the green flag for the 150-lap race from the 10th position. His qualifying effort was intense after his No. 6 College Complete Silverado broke loose on the second lap of his run. Once the green flag waved, Lofton continued to battle his machine, before getting a break courtesy of the first caution flag on lap 18. He pulled his truck onto pit road, taking on two right side tires and a slight adjustment to help the handling condition.
 
Back on track, Lofton, the points leader entering the race, maintained a spot within the top-five before the time came for another round of pitstops. Under the second stop, the team swapped out all four tires.
 
Once the restart waved, the competition got dicey, and with trucks scattering three-wide around the 1.5-mile track, Lofton dropped back a few positions. With a slick and bumpy track providing a competitive race, Lofton had nowhere to go as a multi-truck wreck broke out in the midst of the intense battle on lap 70 off of turn 1.
 
After suffering right side damage to his College Complete ride, he made multiple pit stops for repairs to the tow of the truck, before returning to the track one lap down.  After battling just outside of the top-20 due to the damage, a break came by way of a caution flag on lap 111. The yellow provided Lofton with the wave around to rejoin the lead lap.
 
With over 30 laps to go, Lofton was able to regain multiple positions, ending the night in the 14th spot.
 
Lofton and the entire College Complete team will observe an off week before heading to Iowa Speedway on July 14th. He enters the event second in the series point standings, just four markers out of the top spot.
 
Justin Lofton PR

Celebrating their first of three primary race sponsorships of Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and their partnership with Operation Homefront, Eckrich®, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, wants you to put your loose change to good use.   

"The King" Richard Petty and Almirola, unveiled a specially designed racing tire bank today at the Kentucky Motor Speedway.  Joining the drivers were representatives of Operation Homefront and a military family who are serving as guests of Eckrich and the race team during the race weekend. 

 

The bank, made from a real NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tire, is meant to remind fans of the partnership between Eckrich with Operation Homefront to support military families by donating five cents from the purchase of specially-marked products, up to $200,000, from now through July 4.  In addition, it also allows fans to donate to Operation Homefront by placing change of their own in the tire bank to help military families.  Petty and Almirola began the collection by placing 43 cents into the tire.

 

The bank was unveiled outside the race hauler and race fans will be able to immediately start their donations this weekend.  This one-of-a-kind bank will then travel to all of Eckrich's sponsored races the rest of this summer including Indianapolis, July 29 and Michigan, August 19.   All change collected will be donated to Operation Homefront to support military families.

 

"I'm always looking for a place to throw my spare change and thought this racing bank was just about perfect," quipped Petty.  "Really, this is all about supporting military families through Eckrich's partnership with our race team and Operation Homefront.  We've always been a family and race team that wants to give back to the people who sacrifice so much for us.  Hopefully the fans will keep filling up this bank as a simple way to say, 'thanks' to all our military families."   

 

Almirola is carrying the colors and logos of Eckrich and Operation Homefront on his Sprint Cup Series car this weekend for the first time this season and is also hosting a military family as guests of Eckrich and the race team.  Almirola hopes that the fans will also support Eckrich and their cause.

 

"We started our relationship with Eckrich and Operation Homefront at the Prelude to The Dream and had a great night there," said Almirola.  "Now, coming to Kentucky and showing the colors on our Cup car and unveiling this bank, really gives the fans the opportunity to get involved with the race program.  It's just a great way to support our military families.  I'm proud to have guests here at the track this weekend too.  Hopefully they will have a lot of fun.  They deserve it for everything they have already sacrificed for us."

 

This is the first time that the Eckrich colors have graced the famous No. 43 Ford.  Their support of Richard Petty Motorsports expands throughout the summer at both Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July and the Michigan International Speedway in August.

 

"We are excited and proud to begin our Sprint Cup Series season with Richard Petty Motorsports and Aric Almirola this weekend," said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "And what better way to start than with the unveiling of this one-of-a-kind bank.  We value our relationships with the Petty race organization, Operation Homefront and America's military families. This bank will allow more people to get involved and show their appreciation."

 

RPM PR

Fresh off last week's three-peat in the Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway in Marne Mich., Kyle Busch heads to Slinger (Wisc.) Super Speedway Sunday, where he will look to add back-to-back Slinger Nationals titles to an already impressive resume of wins that he has collected over the last five years in some of the country's biggest Late Model events.

 

"The Slinger Nationals was a race high on my bucket list of big races that I wanted to win and last year I was able to accomplish that goal," said Busch, who will fly to Slinger Sunday morning after running in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. "Last year the Slinger win capped off a great weekend -- I won the Truck and Cup Series races at Kentucky and finished third in the Nationwide Series race. I'll only be running the Cup race at Kentucky this weekend, but if I can go back-to-back in that race Saturday night and follow it up with back-to-back wins at Slinger on Sunday -- I'd say that's still a pretty good weekend. I'm sure the Kenseths (Matt and Ross) are going to do everything they can to keep me from Victory Lane, since we'll be racing in their backyard. There are a lot of other solid Late Model Drivers in the Midwest that always provide great competition, so it should be an exciting race."

 

The No. 51 Camry that Busch will be driving in Sunday's Slinger Nationals is the same Kyle Busch Motorsports chassis that the Las Vegas native drove to victory in last year's event. The Toyota is a perfect five-for-five with its owner-driver behind the wheel since debuting in 2011, collecting a pair of Rowdy 251 wins at Berlin Raceway, as well as wins in the 2011 PASS 150 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine and the 2012 SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga.  

 

KBM PR

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