Speedway Digest Staff
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Contending for a championship is not what Mark Martin had in mind when the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season dawned. The 40-time Sprint Cup race winner last ran a full season in 2011 and has since set his championship aspirations aside. Nonetheless, Martin could very well find himself battling for a title during the final 10 races of the season depending on how Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway unfolds.
Martin, driving in place of the injured Tony Stewart, will make just his third start behind the wheel of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) when cars hit the track on Friday for practice and qualifying at the .75-mile oval. While Martin is not in a position to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the team he’s driving for is.
The owner championship follows the same point system used to determine the winner of the 12-driver Chase. Like the driver points in the Chase, the owner points are reset following round No. 26 at Richmond, with only the top-10 in owner points and two wild cards in contention for the owner championship.
By virtue of their win June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team is very much in the hunt for one of the two wild-card spots.
The team currently sits 15th in the owner standings with 696 points, only 23 points behind the 10th-place No. 78 team of Furniture Row Racing. With seven teams already locked in, up to 12 different teams are vying for one of the remaining five spots that will make up the field of teams competing for the owner championship.
While it is a high pressure situation, the No. 14 team has a history of rising to the occasion. In both 2011 and 2012 the No. 14 team entered the last race before the Chase with its position in the championship battle uncertain. At this race one year ago, the team traveled to Richmond 10th in points before turning in a fourth-place effort to lock down their fourth straight Chase appearance. One year earlier, the team not only parlayed a seventh-place finish at Richmond into a Chase berth, but they used it as a springboard for scoring the 2011 Sprint Cup title.
Matching the No. 14 team’s Chase familiarity is Martin’s experience at Richmond. Since competing as a rookie in 1981, Martin has made 55 Sprint Cup starts at Richmond, earning one win (February 1990), five poles, 18 top-fives and 30 top-10s. He’s led a total of 449 laps and completed a whopping 21,203 of the 21,859 laps run for a lap completion rate of 97 percent.
Martin may not have envisioned competing for a championship in February, but if both driver and team compete at a level at which they’re accustomed to in September, October and November, then championship aspirations may very well become reality.
No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer heads to Richmond International Raceway for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race ranked second in the standings trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 28 points.
Bowyer secured his second consecutive Chase berth at Michael Waltrip Racing two weeks ago, but he is one of three drivers in the top-10 without a victory in 2013. Taking home the at Richmond would also garner him thee bonus points for the start of the Chase.
BOWYER ON THE CHASE: “I know we have our work cut out for us going into the Chase since we haven’t won a race to get bonus points, but those 10 races have always been good to me. I always say getting in is tough, but once we get in anything can happen. Last year we stubbed our toe at Talladega in the Chase, and if it wasn’t for that we would have been battling right to the end. We’ve always done well once we get in, we have a great team around us and I trust (crew chief Brian) Pattie completely to do what we need to win and I expect the same this year. We’ll do everything we can to be there at the end and push for a championship.”
RICHMOND: “I love going to Richmond. It’s a great racetrack and I wish we had a bunch more just like it around the country. It’s a fun track for us to race and I’ve won there. If I had one track to pick to try and get bonus points before the Chase this would be it. I’ve won here before, including at this race last year, so we are pretty confident going in and we are going to throw everything we have at it so we can get some bonus points. That said, you just never know what’s going to happen. Last year we got wrecked and thought our day was done, but it actually put us in a better position we won the thing.”
Diet Mountain Dew® is putting the pedal to the metal and giving one lucky fan the chance to win the ultimate road trip ride: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s classic Diet Mountain Dew-inspired Chevy Nomad restored by the crew at Gas Monkey Garage from Discovery Channel’s popular ‘Fast N’ Loud’ TV show. Dale Jr. worked closely with Diet Mountain Dew and the Gas Monkey Garage team to restore the iconic Chevy Nomad, which is painted in signature Diet Mountain Dew green and customized by Gas Monkey Garage’s Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman. The restoration and customization of the Chevy Nomad debuted on the first episode of season two of ‘Fast N’ Loud,’ on September 2.
“I’ve always appreciated the work that the guys at Gas Monkey Garage do, so it has been a great experience to work with them on this Diet Mountain Dew-inspired Chevy Nomad,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., currently 7th in racing point standings. “It’s pretty awesome that Diet Mountain Dew is giving one lucky fan the chance to take the Chevy Nomad home. I would love to add this ride to my collection, but think it would look even nicer in the garage of a Dew Crew fan.”
The classic Chevy Nomad is one of Dale Jr.’s favorite rides, reminding him of family road trips when he was younger. Currently on air, Dale Jr. worked closely with Mountain Dew® on his own commercial, part of DEW’s Living Portraits campaign, which showcases some of his other favorite and defining aspects of his life. Fans can checkout Dale Jr.’s spot at MountainDew.com/portraits.
VIDEO LINK: Dale Earnhardt Jr. ‘Living Portrait’
Reed Sorenson will pilot the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing (LFR) Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) event this weekend at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Sorenson will drive for Leavine Family Racing this weekend and for the foreseeable future - with the exception of the Dover International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway events.
Leavine Family Racing is in discussions with multiple drivers in search for a driver of the No. 95 car for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season
When fans flock to Richmond International Raceway this weekend, they will enjoy many free amenities and fan-favorite activities. Those who don’t already have tickets for the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race can click here for tickets. Here is a list of the great amenities awaiting fans:
General automobile parking at Richmond International Raceway has always been and continues to be absolutely FREE.
Bring Your Own Food & Beverage
Did you know fans are allowed to bring in their own food and beverage inside the gates of Richmond International Raceway? The maximum allowed cooler size is 14”x14”x14” – large enough for 36 12-oz beverages. No glass containers are allowed.
Click here for a comprehensive list of free driver appearances on race weekend.
Video Scoring Tower
RIR’s Video Scoring Tower remains one of the most impressive in NASCAR, displaying live race action, pre-race ceremonies, post-race Chase celebration and various events happening on Raceway property. Additionally, fans can stick around after the checkered flag to watch Gatorade Victory Lane celebrations and post-race driver interviews from the Media Center.
Virginia529 Kids Zone powered by the Science Museum of Virginia
Kids 12 and younger can enjoy their race day in the Virginia529 Kids Zone powered by the Science Museum of Virginia, which is a playful and educational environment featuring inflatable moon bounces, as well as scientific exhibits that will enrich their minds. While there, parents can sign their kids up for the free RIR Kids Club, with benefits including an official membership card, Kids Club gift, e-newsletter, birthday e-card, special ticket offers and contest opportunities. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano will be reading a book to children at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Available on Apple and Android devices, RIR’s free mobile app provides fans with a customizable schedule with reminder notifications; interactive GPS map with search capabilities; detailed Midway, parking and facility maps; seating charts; first aid, Will Call and ATM locations; “Friend Finder” to locate your friends on property and a race weekend postcard where you can take a photo with an RIR background to upload to your social media accounts.
Miller Lite Party Zone
Miller Lite brings the ultimate tailgate party to fans on race weekend, featuring live music, tailgate games, a mechanical bull, the Miller Lite show car and cash bar serving great tasting Miller Lite and food items for sale. Located near the Midway on the Amphitheater Hill, the Miller Lite Party Zone is the place to be from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. While in there, fans have access to the Miller Lite Party Bar, which is loaded with big screen televisions.
More than twenty 42” televisions have been installed throughout the concourse, underneath the grandstands.
Outside of the grandstands, Richmond International Raceway offers one of the best interactive and shopping experiences in all of racing, the Midway. The Midway features track and driver souvenir merchandise rigs, interactive displays, games, giveaways, music and more.
The Virginia Industry Business Expo (VIBE), located on the Midway, adjacent to the Old Dominion Building, is an indoor display area, featuring displays and exhibitions from regional businesses, open to the public on Friday and Saturday.
Before the racing action begins, check out the FREE RVA’s Stars of NASCAR Festival, featuring a public Q&A session with NASCAR drivers, food trucks and live music. All the information is available by clicking here.
Return to the Corn Fields...Brandon Jones heads to Iowa Speedway ready to make his second career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). Jones is no stranger to Iowa Speedway, having raced two previous times at the 0.875-mile oval already this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Jones recorded an 11th-place finish in his first visit to the speedway and was forced to retire early in the second visit after his Chevrolet was caught up in an accident.
The Pack is Back...The No. 33 will be sporting the Wolfpack Energy Services colors this weekend for the Fan Appreciation 200 at Iowa Speedway. Wolf Pack Energy Services is a diversified company supplying a wide range of products and services to the oil and gas industry - from top-quality wellsite accommodations to oil and gas industry rental equipment and pipe storage, inspection, threading and refurbishing.
First Time Out...The16-year-old Brandon Jones made his first start in one of NASCAR's top-three national series last month at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NCWTS. After two practice sessions spent gaining familiarity with the famed 0.533-mile oval, Jones made his first qualifying attempt in the NCWTS and earned the 26th-starting spot in his No. 33 Katy Springs Silverado for the UNOH 200. After 200 laps, Jones was able to gain valuable experience and brought his Katy Springs Silverado home with a 27th-place finish.
Chassis Info...Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) will bring chassis TSM-221 for Brandon Jones at Iowa Speedway. This is the same chassis that Jones raced at Bristol Motor Speedway last month in his first career start in the NCWTS. TSM will have Mike Greci calling the shots atop Jones' pit box. Greci serves as the Director of Competition for TSM's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams and has also served as crew chief for Danica Patrick and Jones earlier this season.
Get Your Sharpies Ready...Come out and meet Brandon Jones and the rest of the TSM drivers and get an autograph on Saturday afternoon from 12:00-1:00 p.m. local time. The session will be held in the Fan Walk, located on the Turn 4 side of the infield.
Watch and Listen...Tune intothe Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, September 8 on FOX Sports 1 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Brandon Jones on racing a Truck at Iowa Speedway
"I'm really looking forward to getting back in the truck. I think I was able to learn a lot at Bristol, and I think it will be good for myself and my Turner Scott Motorsports team that I am making my second series start at a track where I have a lot of seat time. I think if we go out and stay out of trouble, run the full race and bring home a clean truck, that will be a good run for the Wolfpack Energy Services team."
Second Time Around...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) heads to Newton, Iowa for its second and final appearance of the season at Iowa Speedway. Paludo has four previous starts at the 0.875-mile tri-oval and has started and finished in the top 15 in every event. Additionally, both Paludo's starts and finishes have improved every time he has returned to the track, with his best start of second and his best finish of seventh coming earlier this season.
This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team will unload chassis TSM-227 this weekend at Iowa Speedway. TSM-227 was used when the Turner Scott Motorsports team last visited the track in July. Paludo qualified the truck on the outside pole and brought home a seventh-place finish.
Watch And Listen...The Fan Appreciation 200 can be seen live on Sunday, September 8 on FOX Sports 1. Be sure to tune in early for NCWTS Setup at 1:30 p.m. EDT to see Paludo tour the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center located in Iowa City, Iowa. The Fan Appreciation 200 can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Meet And Greet...Come out and meet Paludo the rest of the Turner Scott Motorsports drivers at the NCWTS autograph session on Saturday afternoon from 12:00-1:00 p.m. local time. The session will be held at the Fan Walk, located on the Turn 4 side of the infield.
Green Like American Ethanol...The No. 32 Chevrolet is once again going green, sporting the colors of AccuDoc Solutions this weekend. AccuDoc Solutions is based in Morrisville, N.C. and provides billing-statement printing and processing to hospitals and hospital-based physicians. In addition to paper-based billing statements, ADS enables patients to choose electronic statement delivery and make payments through secure online payment portals. Notable North Carolina based clients include Carolina's Healthcare System, the UNC Healthcare System, Sentara Healthcare, Baptist Health Care Pensacola, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Memorial Healthcare System and WakeMed. To learn more, visit www.AccuDocSolutions.com.
Previous Race Recap...Paludo reclaimed fifth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings with his third top-five finish in four races, putting himself within arm's reach of the top three in points. Paludo, who has two championships in road-course racing series, led 10 laps and survived an epic finish in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The Brazilian finished third in the first international race in series history and first NCWTS road-course event in 13 years, earning four spots in the closing turns of the 2.459-mile track in the Duroline Brakes and Components Chevy.
Miguel Paludo on driving at Iowa Speedway
"I'm a big fan of Iowa Speedway; it's a track where I have consistently performed well since the beginning of my career, and it's a place where Turner Scott Motorsports has always excelled. We're bringing the same truck we brought earlier this season, and we learned a lot last time, so it's going to be even better this time. Our team is carrying a lot of momentum right now; we've had top-five finishes in three of our last four races and we're chipping away at the point standings. Our goal is to keep getting those top fives, keep having good points weeks, and hopefully that first win will find me."
Iowa 2.0...James Buescher and his Exide Edge AGM team return to Iowa Speedway after making strides in cutting NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Driver Point Standings leader Matt Crafton's point advantage in each of the last three weeks' events. Buescher sits second in points just 47 points out of first. Buescher and the Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team have shown some promise each time they have visited Iowa Speedway in the past, including earning a third-place finish the last time at the track.
Welcome Back...TSM welcomes back long-time partner Exide Technologies. For the first time this season, the No. 31 will carry the Exide Edge color scheme at Iowa Speedway. Exide Technologies, with operations in more than 80 countries, is one of the world's largest producers and recyclers of lead-acid batteries. The Company's global business groups provide a comprehensive range of stored electrical energy products and services for industrial and transportation applications. Transportation markets include original-equipment and aftermarket automotive, heavy-duty truck, agricultural and marine applications, and new technologies for hybrid vehicles and automotive applications. Industrial markets include network power applications such as telecommunications systems, electric utilities, railroads, photovoltaic (solar-power related) and uninterruptible power supply (UPS), and motive-power applications including lift trucks, mining and other commercial vehicles.
Chassis Info...TSM will bring back the chassis they utilized during their last visit to Iowa Speedway, TSM-601. Last time at the 0.875-mile track, Buescher was able to drive chassis TSM-601 to a third-place finish, leading 39 laps in the process.
Previous Race Recap...With the NCWTS making their return to road-course racing, Buescher turned out an impressive qualifying lap to sit on the pole for the inaugural Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. After leading the way for the first couple of laps, Buescher eventually settled into the top 10. With an eventful final restart with five laps to go, Buescher and his MotoMaster Eliminator team found themselves battling for a top 10 and were able to hold on for a ninth-place finishing spot.
Get Your Sharpies Ready...Come out and meet Buescher and the rest of the TSM drivers and get an autograph on Saturday afternoon from 12:00-1:00 p.m. local time. The session will be held in the Fan Walk, located on the Turn 4 side of the infield.
Watch and Listen...Buescher and the No. 31 Exide team will carry an on-board camera this weekend in Iowa. Be sure to tune into the Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland live on Sunday, September 8 on FOX Sports 1 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
James Buescher on returning to Iowa Speedway
"Iowa is one of those tracks that I always circle on my calendar. We always seem to have good runs there and we are looking to continue that and build on the run we had back in July. I think we have a great opportunity to get our Exide Edge Chevrolet into victory lane and continue our march forward in the points."
Second Time's a Charm...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) leaves the winding turns in Canada and heads to the Midwest for some short-track racing this weekend. Looking for redemption, Jeb Burton returns to Iowa Speedway after a mistake on a restart took him from sixth position to 22nd in his June debut. A force to be reckoned with at the 0.875-mile track, Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team are preparing for a comeback during Sunday's Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland and will settle for nothing less.
This Week's Silverado...The No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports team will unload chassis TSM-229 at Iowa Speedway this weekend. A real contender at its previous run in the Midwest state, the No. 4 Chevy was the fastest truck on the track during the race. No stranger to short tracks, TSM-229 brought Burton and his Arrowhead team one pole award and two top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway and Dover International Speedway earlier this year.
Meet and Greet... Come say hello to Burton and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session on Saturday afternoon from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. in the Fan Walk area located on the Turn 4 side of the infield.
Watch and Listen...The Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland can be seen live on Sunday, September 8 on Fox Sports 1. Race coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT and can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap...Burton fell back to fourth position in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings due to a transmission issue early on in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Cracking the top 10 in the final practice session, Burton managed to land in 11th position for the start of last Sunday's race. After replacing the transmission mid-race, Burton's No. 4 Arrowhead truck ran among the top-five fastest lap times on track and he was able to fight back to 22nd position.
Jeb Burton on Racing at Iowa Speedway
"I'm ready to get back to this track. Last time we raced here, we had the fastest truck during the race and if it weren't for a mistake on the restart, we could've had it. I told my team that we'd redeem ourselves next time around and we plan to do just that this weekend. I'm more determined now than ever to make a comeback."