Monday, Mar 27
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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In the early stages of Saturday's Dollar General 200 fueled by AmeriGas at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, Parker Kligerman alerted his crew that he was experiencing a persistent vibration while applying the brakes. Despite the issue, Kligerman was running inside the top 15 until lap 132, when his brakes went to the floor as he entered Turn 3. The young driver attempted to deliberately spin his Camry, hoping to avoid contact with the outside wall, but the right side of his car - from the door number to the right rear bumper - smashed into the outside wall.  


The race remained under green-flag conditions, but with significant right side damage, Kligerman was forced to bring his car down pit road to avoid further problems. He was able to stop inside his pit stall, where his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew cleared the fenders, put on four fresh tires and filled his Camry with fuel. The No. 77 Toyota returned to the track two laps down, scored in the 24th position.  Over the course of the final 50 laps, the 22-year-old driver was able to pick up five positions in the running order and ended his first Nationwide Series start at the 1-mile oval with a hard-fought 19th-place finish.


"This wasn't the run we were looking for out here in Phoenix -- this place has been tough on me the last few years," said Kligerman, who failed to make it to the finish in his two Truck Series starts at the Arizona track. "We wanted to come out of here with a top-10 run and it appeared that we were going to be able to do that for the first 130 laps, until we had a brake malfunction going into (Turn) three and that was the end of that. We were able to fight our way back to a 19th-place finish -- which isn't terrible considering the circumstances. We're still fifth in the point standings and ready to move on to Vegas and prove that we're a top-five team."


The Connecticut native started the 200-lap event from the 11th position, but had fallen back to the 15th position by the time the second caution of the race occurred on lap 38. Kligerman communicated to crew chief Eric Phillips that his Camry was "loose on entry and tight on exit." When pit road opened, the KBM over-the wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop, which included a track bar adjustment in an attempt to improve the handling of the No. 77 Toyota.


Shortly after the lap-43 restart, Kligerman alerted his crew for the first time that he was experiencing a vibration while braking. Over the course of the next 50 laps, he remained just inside the top 15, but the vibration persisted.


After a one-car incident on lap 102 slowed the field for the fourth time. Phillips summoned his driver to pit road. The crew put on four fresh tires, filled the car with fuel and made another track bar adjustment in attempt to make their driver's Camry more stable on corner entry. Kligerman returned to the track scored in the 11th position for the lap-109 restart.


The latest adjustment appeared be a positive one, as Kligerman posted lap times comparable to all of the cars scored inside the top five, except Kyle Busch, who was the class of the field throughout the event. The Connecticut native remained just outside the top 10 until he experienced a brake malfunction on lap 132 and smacked the outside wall in Turn 3.


After visiting pit road under green-flag conditions, the young driver returned to the track two laps down scored in the 24th position. Despite severe damage to the right side of his Camry and subpar brakes, Kligerman gingerly mustered along as the race approached the final 50 laps.


Busch was able to work his way past Kligerman, putting his KBM entry three laps down, shortly before a one-car spin slowed the field for the sixth time on lap 151. With the championship chase in mind and five competitors scored two laps down, Phillips elected to keep his vehicle on the track to be "wave around" eligible. When the race resumed on lap 157, the No. 77 Toyota was scored two laps down in the 24th position.


Kligerman had worked his way up to the 22nd position when a two-car accident on the backstretch slowed the race for the final time on lap 172. When pit road opened for lap cars, the KBM over-the-wall crew went to work again, administering another four-tire and fuel stop, including the third track bar adjustment of the day.


The race restarted for the final time on lap 176, with KBM's young driver scored in the 23rd position. Over the final 25 laps, Kligerman was able to maneuver his wounded Camry around four more competitors, who were also two laps down, to bring home a hard-fought 19th-place finish.


Busch picked his Nationwide Series-leading 52nd career victory, his first in NASCAR's second division since 2011. Sprint Cup Series regular Brad Keselwoski finished in the runner-up position and Justin Allgaier, the top-finishing series regular came home third. Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five finishers.


There were seven caution periods for 38 laps. Four drivers led at least one lap, exchanging the lead six times. Nine drivers failed to finish the 200-lap race.


Kligerman, who lost two spots in the Nationwide Series driver point standings, heads into next week's Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway ranked fifth in the championship standings. Live television coverage of the 200-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.



Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch brought the No. 54 Monster Energy program to victory lane Saturday, a mission started in 2012 and finally fulfilled, back under a familiar roof. The win gives Busch his 52nd career visit to victory lane in 246 starts, earning Toyota Racing their 75th Camry win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Taking home the trophy Busch captured his fifth victory and 11th top-10 in 15 starts at what is referred to as the “crown jewel” of desert racing. 

From the moment they unloaded at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, the newly formed Joe Gibbs Racing team was the group to beat. Through two practice sessions Friday, the 27-year-old Busch showcased his talents pacing fastest lap speeds around the one-mile oval, where he already had seven career wins across all three of NASCAR’s top racing series.

Race day morning the team continued their positive momentum when Busch earned the 27th pole of his Nationwide Series career, at a speed of 133.057mph, his fifth pole on the Arizona-based track.

The race event started strong for Busch and team, eclipsing his 11,000th Nationwide Series career lap led on circuit 29 and continuing to lead until lap 43 of the 200-lap race where a mistake on pit road dropped the team to 22nd place. Overcoming the mid-race penalty, for too fast entering his pit box, Busch regrouped and worked his way through the field to regain the lead and bring the black Monster Energy machine home in style.

The NASCAR veteran, young but experienced celebrated taking the checkered flag with a smoke show that didn’t disappoint. When interviewed post-race, the excited driver described, “It feels awesome. I wish everything in the world that we could have gotten it done with my guys at Kyle Busch Motorsports, but I can’t say enough about Joe Gibbs Racing -- all these guys on this team.  They do a phenomenal job and it all pays off.  We see it.  We’ve seen it in the Nationwide Series for years.  I can’t say enough about Monster Energy.  These guys are awesome.  They stuck with us through last year and everything.  We had a trying time, but we are here together in victory lane now so it’s all sweet and fun right now.  It’s fun to always come out here and win in the Nationwide Series.  It gets us warmed up a little bit for tomorrow.”

Busch secured the lead three times for a total of 142 race laps. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Elliott Sadler, Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers finished 5th, 8th and 17th respectively. Brad Keselowski, Justin Allgaier, Trevor Bayne and Sadler completed the top-five finishers. There were seven caution periods for 38 laps of the race along with six lead changes across four drivers.

The No. 54 Monster Energy team jumps from 32nd to 11th in the Owner’s Point standings, now only 18 points from the lead. 

The next event on the NNS schedule is the Sam’s Town 300 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas (Nev.) with the race television broadcast starting at 4:00 p.m. EST on ESPN2. Busch will make his third start of the season behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.


Greg Pursley won the 31st Talking Stick Resort 60 NASCAR K&N Pro West Series race at Phoenix International Raceway and found victory lane at PIR for the third time. The history of the event is populated with some of the greatest names in motorsports history, and Pursley now has his name with that of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, with the second-most wins (three) at the PIR.

Pursley set a new track record in winning the pole, and his teenaged teammate, Cameron Hayley, joined him on the front row. Pursley led all the way until Hayley teamed with Michael Self to dash high and low, respectively, to wedge Pursely back to third on a lap 41 restart. But when Dylan Hutchison and Ryan Philpott wrecked behind them, the leaders had not completed the lap. So, they were reset to the last full lap with Pursley back at the front. 

Pursley was grateful for the reprieve, but when the field took the green flag for the restart on lap 49, Hayley again roared past on the outside for the lead.

A multiple car pileup on lap 52 necessitated a red flag stoppage, and when the race got going again, the teammates went door-to-door for more than a lap until the veteran Pursley wedged past his young teammate four circuits from the end.

Afterward, Pursley had nothing but praise for Hayley, saying, "That was a real battle, and it's going to be great going against that kid all year."

Hayley finished second, while Self held on to third, with Derek Thorn fourth, and Sergio Pena fifth in the series season opener.

1. (1) Greg Pursley, Newhall, Calif., Ford, 60 laps, 72.973 mph.

2. (2) Cameron Hayley, Calgary, Alberta, Ford, 60.

3. (5) Michael Self, Park City, Utah, Chevrolet, 60.

4. (6) Derek Thorn, Lakeport, Calif., Ford, 60.

5. (7) Sergio Pena, Winchester, Va., Toyota, 60.

6. (3) Gray Gaulding, Colonial Heights, Va., Toyota, 60.

7. (10) DJ Kennington, St Thomas, Ontario, Toyota, 60.

8. (9) Brett Thompson, Jerome, Idaho, Chevrolet, 60.

9. (8) Brandon McReynolds, Mooresville, N.C., Toyota, 60.

10. (13) Taylor Cuzick, Tolleson, Ariz., Chevrolet, 60.

11. (18) Jamie Krzysik, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Toyota, 60.

12. (21) Carlos Vieira, Atwater, Calif., Toyota, 60.

13. (19) Carl Harr, Edmonton, Alberta, Chevrolet, 60.

14. (14) Dylan Lupton, Wilton, Calif., Ford, 60.

15. (22) Jack Sellers, Sacramento, Calif., Chevrolet, 60.

16. (23) Scott Ivie, San Ramon, Calif., Toyota, 59.

17. (25) Greg Rayl, Roseville, Calif., Ford, 59.

18. (26) John Wood, Eagle, Idaho, Toyota, 59.

19. (27) Jack Chisholm, Cranbrook, British Columbia, Ford, 58.

20. (17) Travis Milburn, Eagle, Idaho, Toyota, 58.

21. (28) Billy Kann, Tempe, Ariz., Toyota, 57.

22. (30) Rich DeLong, III, Santa Clarita, Calif., Ford, 57.

23. (16) Kelly Admiraal, Edmonton, Alberta, Chevrolet, 51, accident.

24. (11) Dallas Montes, Bakersfield, Calif., Chevrolet, 51, accident.

25. (4) David Mayhew, Atascadero, Calif., Chevrolet, 51, accident.

26. (20) Dylan Hutchison, Fair Oaks, Calif., Chevrolet, 42, accident.

27. (12) Ryan Philpott, Tracy, Calif., Ford, 41, accident.

28. (15) Daryl Harr, Edmonton, Alberta, Chevrolet, 33, accident.

29. (24) Griffin Steinfeld, Thousand Oaks, Calif., Ford, 8, accident.

30. (29) Anthony Giannone, Colorado Sprgs, Colo., Toyota, 0, engine.



AdvoCare International, LP (AdvoCare), a leading health and wellness company, today announced it will donate to the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma based on the performance of Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon, pilot of the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet. The Childress Institute invests resources in research, education and awareness to improve the treatment for critically injured children in the U.S. 

AdvoCare is pledging $5,000 for every win, $2,000 for every top five finish and $1,000 for every top 10 finish Dillon has throughout the 2013 Nationwide Series. A check for the total donation will be presented to RCR team owner and Childress Institute co-founder Richard Childress during the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint™ Cup Series Race on November 10, 2013 at Phoenix International Raceway.


"Nearly 10,000 kids die every year from life-threatening injuries - more than all other causes combined," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing and co-founder of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. "It's the number one killer of children in America, and it can happen anywhere, at any time, to any child. We are grateful for the powerful teaming of Austin and AdvoCare to help raise money and awareness for this national problem."


Race fans can follow Dillon's progress and AdvoCare's commitment throughout the year by visiting Dillon's website - Fans can help save the lives of injured children by making their own contribution to the Childress Institute in two ways: donate $33 in honor of Dillon via his website, or text WIN to 80077 for a $10 donation. When prompted reply YES (see terms below).


"The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is an organization close to the heart of AdvoCare and one that's essential to furthering pediatric trauma research for severely injured children," said Richard Wright, AdvoCare President and CEO. "We are proud to support the research and awareness the Institute facilitates, and hope our contribution can help their mission continue in the future."


In appreciation of the Childress Institute's mission and AdvoCare's contribution, Dillon and the No. 3 AdvoCare racing team plan to visit injured children in several hospitals across the U.S. throughout the 2013 race season. Follow their experiences via Twitter @RCR3ADillon or Facebook at



After a solid first qualifying lap at the Phoenix International Raceway 1-mile oval Friday, Busch's No. 78 Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevrolet SS scraped the wall during the second lap due to a malfunction in the coolant system. 
The damage (right-front and right-side) was enough that the team will go to the backup car for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup race.  
“Kurt did a great job saving the car from further damage,” said team crew chief Todd Berrier.
The culprit for the loss of grip was a parts breakage in the coolant system that sprayed water under the tires, causing Busch to wiggle and eventually lose control of the car.
"The Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevy steered to the right, brushed the wall and we'll be in a backup car come Sunday,” said Busch. “You would think after Daytona we would fare a little better. But right now we need to suck it up and battle through this adversity.”
Going to a backup car will result in Kurt starting Sunday’s race from the rear of the field.
Busch was credited with the 25th fastest speed based on his first lap, which is usually the slower of the two. His first lap time and speed were: 26.618 seconds at 135.247 miles per hour.
The pole winner was: Mark Martin (138.074 mph).  Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.
Sunday’s race will be televised on FOX, beginning with a 30-minute prerace show at 12:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. ET).

The most famous words in motorsports--Pilotos, enciendan sus motores--were enthusiastically delivered by grand marshal Sergio Romo, relief pitching ace of the world champion San Francisco Giants, and with that the American debut of the NASCAR Mexico Series was launched at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday evening.  Abraham Calderon won the Toyota 120 inaugural event, taking his first career victory.

"It is amazing," gushed Calderon in victory lane.

The race got off to a wild start in turn 1.  Pole sitter Jorge Goeters, the 2012 series champion, slipped high on the start, and fourth-starting Jose Luis Ramirez tried to fill the hole.  With cars going three-wide, Goeters and Ramirez spun.  Ramirez got the worst of it, finishing 26th and last.

Calderon, who earlier in the day announced sponsorship from the World Baseball Classic to promote the appearance of the Mexico team against the U.S. in Phoenix next week, took off to a handy lead.  The only other driver who seemed to have anything for Calderon was Homero Richards, who hung onto second place, about two seconds behind, until the mandatory break at lap 50.

After the intermission, Antonio Perez swooped low into second place and there was fierce racing for fourth through seventh places until another three-wide situation forced a wreck involving Hector Aguirre.  Aguirre's Toyota damaged the safer barrier and brought out a red flag.

The subsequent restart on lap 66 saw Ruben Pardo dash into second, which he held until fading on the last lap.

The final results behind Calderon found Perez second, Ruben Garcia Jr. in third, Pardo fourth, and Richards fifth.

Saturday will see a doubleheader at PIR as the NASCAR Nationwide Series will start at 2:30 p.m. and drivers in the Talking Stick Resort 60 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will take the green flag at 5:30.  Good seats are available for Saturday's races.



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