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Less could lead to more for Gordon at Bristol
For someone who ranks third on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list with 86 victories, Jeff Gordon desperately wants another.
The five-time Bristol Motor Speedway winner enters Saturday night's IRWIN Tools Night Race 16th in the point standings. Only three races remain before the 12-driver "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" field is set, and it appears Gordon's best opportunity to secure one of those spots is through one of two "wild card" slots. Those spots will be awarded to the two drivers with the most wins ranked No. 11 - 20 in the point standings after the Richmond event on September 8 - with the tiebreaker being points accumulated. In that "wild card" chase, Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne currently holds the top spot with two victories while Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano are each searching for their second win of the season.
"It's about wins for us now," said Gordon, who is 30 points behind Newman for the final spot. "And we have three good tracks for us - Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond - to try and get another victory."
Along with five wins at the 0.533-mile high-banked track, Gordon has five poles, 15 top-fives and 21 top-10's in 39 starts. But the top lane of the track has been "ground down" since the series last visited here in March, so a different racing surface awaits.
"I love what's been done because I typically run a groove off the wall - I don't run that top groove," said the driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. "Our car works much better further down, so I don't think it will affect us.
"The fans want to see excitement, bumper-to-bumper action and the drivers getting upset with one another. Eliminating that groove might help.
"I respect the fact that (Speedway Motorsports Chairman) Bruton (Smith) is being proactive. I applaud him for putting that effort into it and the money behind it as well, and I think it's going to really pay off."
And less track could just pay off for Gordon Saturday night.
Goody's® Powder is bringing its fast pain relief to a race that's considered by some as the "king of pain" ... the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 25. Goody's® will be the title sponsor on the Richard Petty Motorsports' (RPM) No. 43 Ford driven by Aric Almirola.
In six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, Almirola has scored one top-10 finish at Bristol. His mentor, team owner and lifetime spokesman for Goody's, Richard Petty, has accumulated 60 starts at the .533-mile oval, three victories and 26 top-five finishes. Since 2009, RPM has finished twice in the top-five and three times in the top-10 in 22 starts at Bristol.
"I'll have a Goody's ready to go on race day," said Almirola. "Bristol can be a real pain for drivers, because it's tight racing for the entire 500 laps. I'm glad the No. 43 will be covered from bumper to bumper with Goody's."
Goody's has been involved in the sport for 35 years, but this marks only the third time it's appeared on Richard Petty's famed No. 43 car. The paint scheme will include the traditional blue and white colors that customers associate with the fast pain reliever.
"Goody's and I have had such a great relationship for decades, and it's an honor to see them on the 43 car at Bristol," said Petty, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. "The only thing I reach for when experiencing pain is a Goody's and I know race fans do, too."
"There are no fans in the world like NASCAR fans," said Joseph Juliano, brand director for Goody's Powder. "All of us at Goody's know that gaining the support of motorsports fans is a winning strategy. Richard and the entire RPM organization are great supporters, and we are showing our support in return with this paint scheme sponsorship."
For the first time, Goody's will sample Extra Strength Caplets this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The caplets were developed to compete with the active ingredients in Excedrin® Extra Strength Caplets and are available in select stores. A larger promotional and trial effort of this new form is planned for the fall.
To experience the fast pain relief of Goody's, pick up a free sample at the Goody's Fast Relief Zone located in the Bristol Motor Speedway midway Friday, August 24, and Saturday, August 25.
David Reutimann started the Pure Michigan 400 from the 39th position. The Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) team worked on a tight handling Chevrolet throughout the race. The team made the right calls, and the No. 10 Chevrolet finished in 21st place at Michigan International Speedway.
Reutimann made his first start on the new pavement at Michigan International Speedway from the 39th position. By the end of the first lap, he drove into the 29th position. A spin in turn four brought out the first caution on lap seven with the No. 10 Chevrolet in the 31st spot. Knowing how important gas mileage is at Michigan, Crew Chief Ryan Pemberton called Reutimann down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop during the caution.
The No. 10 Chevrolet restarted on lap 10 from the 32nd position. Reutimann radioed that the Chevrolet was free entering the corner and tight in the center and off the corner. He drove into the 30th spot on lap 31 and told the crew that the Chevrolet needed some front grip. As green-flag pit stops began, Reutimann moved into the top-five before hitting pit road on lap 41.
The TBR crew changed four tires and made a wedge and air pressure adjustment. The No. 10 Chevrolet returned to the track in the 34th position, one lap down. Three laps later, he worked into the 32nd spot, one lap down.
A four-car accident in turn four brought out the second caution on lap 65. Pemberton called Reutimann down pit road on lap 70 for a four-tire pit stop and trackbar adjustment. The No. 10 Chevrolet restarted in 30th place, one lap down, on lap 74. Three laps later, a two-car incident in turn three brought out the caution. Reutimann restarted in the 30th position on lap 81 and drove into the 29th position and the first spot one lap down.
On lap 90, Joey Logano had trouble in turn three, and NASCAR Officials waved the yellow flag. The No. 10 Chevrolet was still in the 29th position and received the lucky dog. The team made a four-tire pit stop with an air pressure and trackbar adjustment. Reutimann restarted on lap 93 in the 28th position. He raced into the 24th position by lap 106, turning his best laps so far.
Green-flag pit stops started on lap 109, and the Zephyrhills, Fla., native drove into the 16th position before pitting on lap 126. The TBR team changed four tires and made a wedge and air pressure adjustment. Reutimann returned to the track in the 27th position, one lap down. On lap 137, Kurt Busch had an accident in turn three and brought out the fifth caution period. Reutimann pit for four tires and major chassis adjustments.
The TBR team restarted in the 25th spot on lap 141. Three laps later, NASCAR Officials called a caution for debris on the track. The team pit for four tires and restarted in the 25th position on lap 148. Reutimann drove into the 24th spot and radioed that the Chevrolet was the tightest it had been all day and chattered entering the corner. He fell back to 25th, and the team inferred that the there was a problem with the car hitting the splitter.
On lap 179, Pemberton called Reutimann down pit road for the team’s final scheduled pit stop. The team made a two-tire, green-flag stop. As Reutimann left pit road, the tire blew on the No. 21 and brought out the caution. The No. 10 Chevrolet was in the 25th position, two laps down. The team took the wave around and restarted in the 23rd spot, one lap down, on lap 187.
He drove the No. 10 into the 22nd position by the last caution on lap 195 for a blown engine in the No. 48 Chevrolet. Being the only car a lap down, the team elected to pit for four tires and adjustments. Reutimann restarted in the 20th position on lap 199 and finished the race in 21st place.
The No. 10 team is currently 33rd in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Owner Points and locked into the top-35 by 131 points. The team is 20 points behind the No. 83 and eight points ahead of the No. 32. Reutimann is also 33rd in NSCS Driver Points. He is 16 points ahead of teammate Dave Blaney and 46 points behind Landon Cassill.
“We had a good 21st-place finish,” explained Reutimann. “We battled a tight condition all day but kept working on making changes to help. There were times we were pretty fast. We are doing better each week we run, so we are meeting our goals. At a track like Michigan, we are very happy with a top-25.”
The next stop for TBR and the NSCS is Bristol Motor Speedway. Blaney will pilot the No. 36 SealWrap Chevrolet in the first event since the revamp.
The NASCAR Foundation Announces New Executive Director
The NASCAR Foundation has announced Lorene King will serve as its new executive director. The announcement was made today during the unveiling of the new The NASCAR Foundation emblem at the International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., marking the foundation’s official headquarters move to the birthplace of NASCAR.
Brake Failure Sees Carpentier Finish 29th at Montreal
Patrick Carpentier joined RAB Racing this weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to competein Saturday'sNAPA AUTO PARTS 200.Carpentier demonstrated the speed of RAB Racing's Toyota Camry in practice but an early-race brake failure forced the team behind the wall.The hard work of the RAB Racing team was once again put on display as Carpentier returned to the track, able to salvage a 29th-place finish.
Making the only international trip on the NASCAR Nationwide Series circuit to Montreal, Canada,Carpentier and RAB Racing recorded the 12th and eighth-fastest times, respectively, in the two scheduled practices leading up to the NAPA AUTO PARTS 200.
Later that afternoon, Carpentier ran a lap of 102.198 seconds, at an average speed of 95.427 mph, to earn the 13th starting position for the final road course race of the 2012 season.
Upon taking the green flag on Saturday afternoon, the Quebec, Canada-native was plagued with misfortune. Only six laps in, Carpentier was penalized by NASCAR for cutting the corner in Turn 14and forced to come to a complete stop on the racetrack. After he got back up to speed, a rear brake line on the No. 99 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry was severed after being hit by debris on the track, forcing Carpentier to pit for repairs. He brought the NAPA AUTO PARTS Camry to the attention of his RAB Racing crew, where lengthy repairs saw Carpentier return to the track 12 laps down. The five-time Champ Car Series winner logged laps for the remainder of the event, taking the checkered flag in the 29th position.
The next stop for the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, August 24th, 2012.
RAB Racing PR
Homestead-Miami Speedway, McDonald's and Coke Ticket Offer
Homestead-Miami Speedway is teaming with Coca-Cola and select Florida McDonald’s restaurants to offer a ticket package to the Ford EcoBoost 400 – NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series championship race, set for Sunday, November 18, 2012. The offer is now available at participating McDonald’s restaurants of Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, and Florida’s Treasure Coast.
The cost is $55, which represents $65 in savings, and includes two Grandstand tickets and a $10 coupon redeemable for Coca-Cola products to be used during the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The offer is available for purchase online at www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com/McDonalds, or by calling the Homestead-Miami Speedway Ticket Sales Department at 305.230.5255.
Homestead-Miami Speedway-themed cups promoting the package and the 11th consecutive year that South Florida has hosted NASCAR’s championship races are now available at participating McDonald’s. The 32- ounce keepsake cups feature an image of NASCAR Sprint Cup cars racing around Homestead-Miami Speedway. The cups are free with the purchase an a la carte soft drink or an Extra Value Meal that includes a large soft drink.
"McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and NASCAR are each iconic brands and we’re thrilled to bring all three together for this program," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. "Miami is fortunate to be hosting a championship event of this magnitude for an 11th consecutive year, and we’re pleased to bring this unique offer to South Floridians.”
The cups are available through September 16.
Homestead-Miami Speedway PR
Richard Petty Motorsports Pure Michigan 400 Report
Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Stanley Ford
Starting Position: 8
Finishing Position: 5
Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 Stanley Ford team earned the team's second consecutive top-five finish of the 2012 season with a fifth-place finish in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400. The effort began with an eighth-place starting position after the team turned in its second straight strong qualifying effort at Michigan International Speedway, where the team earned the pole in June.
Just a few laps into Sunday's 400-mile race, Ambrose reported to crew chief Todd Parrot that his Stanley Ford was loose as he was jostled back to 19th in the pack. But the first caution of the day - on Lap 5 when David Gilliland spun through the grass - came too early in the event to bring the car to pit road. Adjustments had to wait until the first green-flag pit stop of the afternoon, which came on Lap 34 for the No. 9 team. Knowing tire wear would not be much of an issue on the recently repaved surface, Parrott ordered right-side tires only, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help tighten up the car.
After returning to the track in the 23rd position, Ambrose told his crew chief that he didn't feel the adjustment helped the car and that he really needed rear grip. Despite the free condition of his Ford Fusion, Ambrose's lap times were improving, and by Lap 59 he had moved up to 16th position. A multi-car accident and second yellow flag of the day at Lap 64 gave the team another chance to work on their machine. Bringing the car down pit road on Lap 69, the team went with another two-tire change and a trackbar adjustment and reversed the previous wedge adjustment.
Ambrose continued to climb the board, moving up to the 12th spot by Lap 76 when the third caution came out for a spinning Regan Smith. The team elected to maintain track position and stay out on track. Ambrose had advanced to 11th by the time the fourth caution came out just a few laps later on Lap 88 when Joey Logano hit the wall. This time, Parrott called his driver down pit road - but only to fill up the gas tank as Ambrose said he was happy with the balance of the car.
He took the ensuing restart in the 16th position but didn't stay there for long. With his Stanley Ford handling better than it had earlier in the race, Ambrose began passing cars one by one until he was back in the top 10 by Lap 110. As the green-flag pit cycle started for much of the field, the No. 9 Ford climbed as high as second position before finally peeling off for his fourth pit stop of the day on Lap 125. Knocking out a fast, routine stop, the Stanley crew changed four Goodyears and filled up the tank with Sunoco fuel, sending Ambrose back into the pack to gain more ground.
Pitting on a different sequence from many of his competitors worked to Ambrose's advantage. On the fifth of eight cautions, he was running in 13th and able to stay out while others had to come to pit road, giving him another boost up the leaderboard and setting him up to take the Lap 140 green flag in the fifth position. But after their last green-flag stop of the day on Lap 164, the team's pit sequence cycled them back to 15th.
The last 30 laps of the race gave the team the chance to use their fast Stanley Ford and smart pit strategy to climb the leaderboard one last time. Up to 10th position by Lap 180, Ambrose stayed out on track when others pitted after Trevor Bayne brought out the seventh caution on the day. The decision put him in seventh position for the restart and ready to make what he thought would be his last green-flag charge. But the wreck-filled race saw one last yellow flag fly on Lap 195, setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
Sitting in the sixth position, Ambrose and Parrott knew they had a car deserving of a top-five finish. They stayed out on track, ready to get all they could out of the final two laps of the race. When the green flag flew on Lap 199, Ambrose charged hard, gaining one more position to cross the line in fifth and follow-up last week's Watkins Glen win with a top-five finish at Michigan.
Ambrose remains in 17th in the driver point standings, just 11 points behind 16th.
Ambrose's Thoughts after Racing at Michigan:
"It is a great day for the Stanley Ford team and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports. Todd Parrott made some great calls today. We had a plan with tire strategy going into the race and it worked our way. A few more laps and we would have had something for them. We had a great car, we just couldn't quite get enough track position at the end. We had as good a car as anyone out there today."
Aric Almirola, No. 43 Eckrich Ford
Starting Position: 41
Finishing Position: 20
The No. 43 crew aimed to help him out on their first pit stop of the day on Lap 34, bringing him down pit road under green-flag conditions for right-side tires with an air-pressure adjustment, a turn of the trackbar and fuel. A few short laps later, Almirola reported back to his crew chief that changing only two tires contributed to the tightness of the car.
The Lap 64 caution gave the team a second opportunity to make adjustments to loosen up the car for the driver. After communicating to Ford how difficult it had become to pass under tight conditions, Almirola came to the pits on Lap 69, where Ford ordered four tires, fuel, and air-pressure and track bar adjustments. Restarting 22nd, Almirola radioed a short time later that the changes helped the car to turn better and he soon climbed up to the 19th position.
Plenty of cautions provided plenty of chances to work on the car's handling, and soon on Lap 88 the yellow flag waved again. With Almirola explaining that his car would start a run a little loose and get tighter as it ran, Ford brought him to pit road for another track bar adjustment and fuel. The changes seemed to keep the car's handling moving in the right direction, as Almirola was once again passing cars and had climbed to the 16th position by Lap 110.
A lengthy mid-race green-flag run gave the driver and crew chief time to assess their car and plan their next stop. They decided to keep adjusting in the same direction, and on their next green-flag stop on Lap 126, brought the car in for additional track bar and air-pressure adjustments along with four tires and fuel. Back on track in the 19th spot, Ford told Almirola he was running top-10 lap times. Staying out on the next caution on Lap 134, the No. 43 entered the top 10 to restart ninth. Another caution on Lap 142 brought another decision not to pit, and Almirola advanced one more position to eighth.
It was on this next green-flag run that Almirola reported his Ford Fusion was suddenly loose, a condition that Ford attributed to the track dryers blowing the rubber off the track during the previous caution period. The change in handling had the No. 43 back in 14th position at Lap 148. Two final pit stops on Laps 165 and 182 brought final changes to set the car up for what would be a green-white-checkered finish. Taking the final green flag in 13th position, Almirola was pushed up into the wall off Turn Two on the restart by another car. He was able to save the car, but the hit made him lose momentum. Almirola was able to hold on with the damaged car for a 20th-place finish.
Almirola remains 21st in the point standings heading to Bristol next week.
Comments from Almirola after Michigan:
"I've got to hand it to this 43 team. They worked so hard this weekend. And even with the trouble we had, we had a pretty good back-up car that was pretty fast in clean air. Obviously, we want to do better, but a top-20 sure isn't bad considering what we went through this weekend. The last restart we just got pushed up into the wall and just lost what we had gained. That was really frustrating after having a strong run all afternoon."
he action at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend won’t be confined just to the track as the new Guest Welcome Village also features plenty of music on the Great American Country stage.
Country music artists Eric Paslay and Matt Stillwell headline the musical guests performing at the Village on both Friday and Saturday afternoons.
“The Fish Don’t Bite” is the latest hit for Capitol Records’ Paslay, a native of Texas. Paslay, who has opened for Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Eric Church, also is an accomplished songwriter, has co-written such hits as Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” Lady Antebellum’s “Friday Night” and Jake Owens’ “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Stillwell, who is from Western North Carolina, broke into the country music scene with his single “Shine” debuting at No. 25 on iTunes country chart. He recently put the finishing touches on his upcoming sophomore album to be released nationwide in 2013 by Average Joes Entertainment.
Stillwell will perform on the GAC stage at the Guest Welcome Village after the Food City 250 Friday Night, and again on Saturday from 12:45-1:30 p.m. Pasley follows Stillwell on stage from 2-3 p.m. Saturday.
More music takes place in the North lot of the Speedway (along Highway 11-E) Saturday with My New Favorites performing from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The group also will be on the GAC stage in the Village Friday from 1:45-2:45 p.m. and again from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Annabelle’s Curse takes to the stage in the North lot from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and again from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
The race week at BMS kicks off Wednesday evening with the UNOH Doubleheader, featuring the UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Race and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Up next is the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race Friday night, followed by the IRWIN Tools Night Race Sprint Cup event Saturday.
Tickets are available for all three nights of action at BMS. Tickets for the IRWIN Tools Night race start at $75, while ticket prices for the Food City 250 begin at $45. An August race weekend package, which includes a ticket to the IRWIN Tools Night Race and the Food City 250, starts at $110. A doubleheader ticket for Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series race and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 is available for $30.
Food City 250 tickets for children 15 and under are available at half price, starting at $22. Entry for children 15 and under is free with a ticketed adult for Wednesday night’s doubleheader.
T3R; Bryan Silas Achieves Career-Best Finish At Michigan
Hard work and a little bit of luck paid off in a big way for Bryan Silas and his T3R Racing team as together they achieved their career-best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this past Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway in the running of the VFW 200.
Suffering a heartbreak after losing their primary No. 99 Rockingham Speedway Ford F-150 in the final minutes of the first practice session on Friday morning, the Cal Boprey-led team was able to get their backup truck on the track in time for final practice later in the day.
A few adjustments by the team on Saturday morning allowed Stuart, Florida native Bryan Silas to qualify a respectable 23rd for the first NCWTS race on the newly repaved two-mile oval.
During the race Silas played it safe but stayed competitive. An array of early race cautions allowed Boprey the opportunity to keep the No. 99 Rockingham Speedway Ford F-150 full of fuel. Remaining in a conservative mode, Silas remained tagged onto the rear of the lead-lap pack and Boprey’s strategy of keeping the gas tank full would prove to be pivotal in the closing stages of the race.
With the field forced to make green flag pit stops, T3R had other plans. Close on fuel, but with nothing to lose Boprey decided to gamble and leave his driver on the track. The call paid off as Silas’s Ford went the distance and leaped from 20th to finishing 14th on the lead lap over the course of the final 15 laps of the VFW 200 to offer the 25-year old his career best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“This is a small victory for our little team,” said Silas. “Together, we’ve made some steady improvements with this race team over the course of the last month and I think this finish is a reward for that. It was nice to have luck on our side and we were one of a handful of trucks that were able to make it during that long green flag run. I’m really proud of the team. We’ll just keep digging and hope we’re able to put more finishes like this together the rest of the year.”
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a stop in “Thunder Valley” for the running of the Volunteer 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway set to launch on Wednesday, August 22. The 13th race of the season will be aired live on SPEED beginning at 8:00 p.m.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver Justin Lofton continued his bout for the 2012 championship this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. With a 12th-place finish in Saturday's VFW 200, Lofton was able to close in on the championship points lead to reduce the gap to just 17 points.
Michigan International Speedway's new surface made for an exceptionally fast race with drafting as the main racing component. In fact, the 200-mile event looked more like Daytona than past events at the Brooklyn, Mich. facility. Having participated in Goodyear tire test earlier this summer, Lofton and the No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet knew they would be running wide open all weekend.
In round 12 of the 22-race season, Lofton rolled off 14th in his Chevrolet Silverado. He worked closely with the team to fine-tune the handling of their Chevrolet throughout the 100-lap race. The championship contending team stayed in the hunt most of the day running in the upper third of the field.
With only a few cautions throughout the course of the VFW 200, the race quickly became about fuel mileage. Lofton was racing inside the top 10 with less than 20 laps remaining. Low on fuel, Lofton brought the No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet down pit road for fuel during a round of green-flag pit stops. The stop relegated Lofton to the 20th position, but the driver paced himself to race back through the field and crossed the finish line in the 12th position.
"The Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet was very stable and we were able to stay racy all day," commented Lofton. "It was crazy out there-trucks were moving all over the place. I think I was four-wide a couple of times. Our Chevrolet just couldn't suck up in the draft like I had hoped, and with a single-groove line it was hard for anyone to use the entire width of the track."
Lofton's crew chief Dan Bormann indicated that he knew that fuel conservation would play a role in the outcome of the race, "We conserved fuel all day knowing that we would need to have enough to finish. We just needed to draft a bit better in order to get to the front."
Entering the race weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Lofton was fourth in the point standings just 18 points out of the lead. Leaving the Irish Hills of Michigan, Lofton is still sitting in fourth place, but gained one point on the leader to be just 17 points out of first place. 10 races remain in the 2012 season.