Wednesday, Nov 29
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished fourth (Max Papis), 12th (Brian Scott) and 21st (Austin Dillon).
  • Dillon is tied for third in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Sam Hornish, Jr. by 15 points, while Scott is seventh in the standings, 63 points behind the leader.
  • The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks sixth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 2 team ninth in the standings and the No. 33 team 13th.
  • According to NASCAR's Post Race Loop Data Statistics, Papis ranked second in Quality Passes (25), had the fourth-best Driver Rating (107.5) and ranked fifth in Average Running Position (8.047).
  • Scott ranked eighth in Speed in Traffic (92.879 mph).
  • Dillon ranked third in Green Flag Passes with 72.
  • AJ Allmendinger earned his second victory of the 2013 Nationwide Series season and was followed to the finish line by Michael McDowell, Hornish, Papis and Brian Vickers.
  • The next Nationwide Series race is the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, August 23rd. The 23rd race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 90.



Brian Scott Earns a 12th-Place Finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course


Brian Scott and Richard Childress Racing's No. 2 Shore Lodge team were on tap for their first top-10 road course finish of the season, but a late race caution and unfortunate pit road penalty consigned Scott to a 12th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series' inaugural appearance at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Buckeye State. The Boise, Idaho-native took the green flag from the 12th spot Saturday afternoon for the scheduled 90-lap event. During the opening portion of the event, Scott reported that he needed more rear grip. The afternoon's first caution flag was displayed on lap 20, which gave the No. 2 Shore Lodge driver the opportunity to hit pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 23 with Scott in the 12th position. The 25-year old Nationwide Series driver ran a consistent race navigating each corner with skill and avoided trouble. When green-flag racing resumed on lap 66, Scott advanced from 12th to seventh after several competitors veered off track or spun. In the closing laps of the race, the Nationwide Series competitor was in position for a solid top-10 finish, but a caution flag with two laps remaining created fuel concerns for the RCR team. With less than enough fuel in his tank, Scott visited pit road for a splash of Sunoco Green E15. NASCAR deemed that he entered pit road too early and forced the No. 2 Shore Lodge driver to start from the rear of the field. Upon taking the green flag from the 23rd position, Scott maneuvered his way up through the field ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 12th position.


Start - 12       Finish - 12    Laps Led - 0    Points -7th


"We had a fast Shore Lodge Camaro, but the way these road courses work out you need some luck. We were in line for a top-10 finish, but luck wasn't on our side and we came home 12th. I'm proud of Phil (Gould, crew chief) and the guys who worked hard all weekend. We'll head to Bristol (Motor Speedway) this coming weekend and have a good run. "



Last-Lap Spin Relegates Austin Dillon to 21st-Place Finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course


Despite running within the top-10 for much of the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Austin Dillon earned a 21st-place finish in the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet after spinning on the final circuit of the 94-lap event. The Welcome, N.C., driver started the race from the rear of the field as a result of missing qualifying and the driver's meeting in favor of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices at Michigan International Speedway earlier in the day. He gained track position by staying out on the racing surface while the majority of the competitors pitted under a full course caution on lap 20, advancing to second in the running order. Dillon remained in the top five until making his first pit stop of the race on under caution on lap 25, dropping him to the 26th spot for the restart. Dillon led lap 59 to gain a championship bonus point before making his next green flag pit stop on lap 60. Just a few laps later, he was punted from behind and ran off course on lap 67, dropping him from 10th to 25th in the running order. He raced his way up to 12th, but was again spun on the white-flag lap and ultimately posted a 21st-place finish.


Start - 13             Finish - 21             Laps Led - 2           Points - 3                           



"Today was a rough day but I am so proud of the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet team. They had a fast car for me. We just didn't get the finish we deserved but we certainly improved our road course game. I'm excited for Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend."


Max Papis Earns a Top-Five Finish at Mid Ohio


When the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 began at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday afternoon, Max Papis and the No. 33 Menards/Rheem Chevrolet team lined up 10th. In the early going around the 2.258-mile road course, Papis did what he does best on the left and right-turn tracks by starting out strong. He gained two positions in the first five laps and remained there until the first caution waved on lap 20. Crew chief Ernie Cope stuck to the team's pre-race strategy and kept Papis out on the track while other teams headed for pit road. When the race restarted on lap 23, Papis had the lead and held onto it for three circuits. The second caution flag waved on lap 26 as Cope called the Italian-born driver to pit road for four new tires with different air pressures, a full tank of fuel and a spring rubber change in the Chevrolet Camaro's rear end. Restarting 27th, Papis quickly moved through the field and was up to 19th for the lap 30 caution, and when the race restarted on lap 32. One lap later he was up to 14th place, 11th on lap 38 and ninth by lap 41. The team made their second pit stop, as planned, on lap 59 under green, after leading lap 58, for tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. When the sixth caution waved on lap 63, Papis was in ninth place and fairly content how his Camaro was handling. He quickly jumped to sixth on the lap 66 restart. The final caution waved on the white flag lap, thus forcing a green-white-checkered finish and extending the race by four laps past the scheduled 90 circuits. Papis put his extensive road racing experience to use and gained two more positions to finish fourth when the checkered flag waved.


            Start - 10                 Finish - 4              Laps Led - 4              Owner's Points - 13rh   


"This Menards/Rheem Chevrolet team was pretty darn good for most of the day. We had a little problem with it being loose into the corners, but that got fixed up on the first stop. From there, we stuck to our game plan on pit road and I did my part on the track. This has been a great opportunity for me to drive for Richard Childress and Richard Childress Racing and this top-five finish was great for everyone on the team. I can't thank Menards and Rheem enough for allowing me to drive their car. Good day, very good day."



James Buescher came into the Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) looking to put the previous outing behind him and his Rheem team. Coming off solid practice sessions and a stellar qualifying effort, Buescher started the 100-lap race in the third position. After dropping back in the field for the first half of the race, Buescher worked his way up to the top five with under 10 laps remaining. Coming to three laps to go, Buescher made a great move on the first and second-place trucks in Turn 3 and vaulted himself to first. Buescher grabbed the lead and never looked back, earning his first victory of 2013. In the process, Buescher moved up one position in the championship standings to third and is now just one marker behind second place.


The Rheem team felt like they had a great truck at Pocono, so they worked to quickly turn it around, preparing the chassis for this week's race at MIS. This proved to be a smart decision as the No. 31 team finished second and ninth in Friday's two practice sessions, respectively. Buescher followed up his practice results with a third-place qualifying effort for the Michigan National Guard 200. As soon as the green flag flew on the 100-lap event, it was quickly slowed by a yellow for an accident on the backstretch. Following the first restart, Buescher fell back a few positions and searched for a place to settle in and log some laps. The yellow flag flew once again on lap 17,which allowed the Rheem team to call the No. 31 truck down pit road for two right-side tires and fuel. Once the race went back to green, Buescher found himself battling for the 10th position. On lap 35, Buescher radioed to his crew that his Rheem Chevy was still a little too free entering the corners. Despite this, Buescher was recording the fastest lap times of any of the trucks on the track. The yellow flag was once again displayed on lap 57 for debris on the backstretch. This yellow put the No. 31 team within their fuel window, so Buescher came back down pit road for four tires and a slight air-pressure adjustment as his Rheem team their Chevy full with Sunoco fuel.


Following this pit stop, Buescher began to creep back into contention and move closer to the top five. With the laps dwindling down, Buescher found himself back inside the top five for the first time since lap four of the race. Following two more cautions, the No.31 Rheem team restarted in the third position, directly behind their Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Miguel Paludo. The two leaders got a great restart and Buescher dropped back to fourth with just five laps to go. Just one lap later, Buescher was able get that position back on the frontstretch. As the field was coming to three laps to go, Buescher made a move down to the bottom of Turn 3 and passed both first and second place, giving Buescher the lead. The 23-year-old never looked back and went on to win his first race of the 2013 season. This victory moves Buescher up to third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Points Standings, just one point behind second place.


"I've got to thank everyone on this team and really want to thank Rheem for coming on board with us this year," said Buescher. "I knew we had a shot at this, but the first half of the race was tough. We couldn't catch any breaks and couldn't get into position where we needed to be, and it was tough battling through traffic. We got the balance right at the end and figured out where I needed to position myself to make passes at the end. I can't say enough about these guys. They never give up, and we're going to go after that championship now."


The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return right back to action under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday August 18 at 8pm live on Fox Sports 1.



Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Ty Dillon) and eighth (Brendan Gaughan). 
  • Dillon is fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, 62 markers behind the leader; while Gaughan ranks sixth in the standings, 74 points out of the top spot.
  • The No. 3 Chevrolet team is fifth in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team eighth in the standings.
  • According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Dillon earned the second-highest Driver Rating (113.1), while Gaughan ranked ninth with a rating of 87.9.
  • Combined, Dillon and Gaughan posted the Fastest Laps Run 12 times during the event, ranking them third and ninth respectively.
  • Dillon tied for fourth in the Closers category and was the Fastest Driver Late in a Run.
  • Dillon scored the seventh-highest Average Running Position of 7.480, while Gaughan was ninth in the category (8.750).
  • James Buescher took the checkered flag and was followed to the line by Kyle Busch, Dillon, Joey Logano and Miguel Paludo.
  • The next scheduled Camping World Truck Series race is the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 21. The 13th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.



Ty Dillon Earns Triumphant Third-Place Finish in Michigan


After suffering from a pit road mishap and falling out of the top 15, Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team clawed their way to a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Dillon started the 100-lap affair from the fifth position, but was shuffled back to 12th on the initial green flag start. The Richard Childress Racing driver worked through traffic, making his way back into the top five and was scored second on lap 45. Under caution on lap 55, crew chief Marcus Richmond called Dillon to put road for four tires and two cans of fuel. During the pit stop, the No. 3 machine slipped off the jack causing the team multiple spots on the race track. Dillon returned to the racing surface in the 18th position on lap 60. During the course of the next 40 laps, Dillon maneuvered through the field and improved his position to third, before crossing the finish line at Michigan International Speedway.


Start - 5                       Finish - 3                       Laps Led - 0                 Points - 4th



"This is a small victory in my book. We had a mistake on pit road that cost us quite a few spots, but we had a really fast Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet and made up the ground to come back to third. My spotter, Billy (O'Dea), did a great job keeping me out of trouble. I'm hoping to ride this momentum into next week and put this bad luck behind us."






Gaughan Finishes Eighth at Michigan International Speedway


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team finished eighth at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday after starting in the front row and battling handling issues during the 200-mile race. Taking the initial green flag from the second position, the Las Vegas native immediately alerted crew chief Shane Wilson that the black and gold machine was very loose around the two-mile track. Gaughan fell as far back as 16th in the running order while the Richard Childress Racing pit crew worked on the truck's handling during scheduled four-tire pit stops on laps 18 and 30. Following their time on pit road, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran began working his way toward the front of the field settling into the 11th position before visiting pit road for the final time on lap 58 taking on right-side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The speedy stop placed Gaughan in the third position for the ensuing restart, and he remained a fixture in the top 10 during the late stages of the race. Moving into the second position with four laps remaining in the 100-lap event, Gaughan was shuffled out of the lead pack forcing him to cross the finish line in the eighth position. Following his top-10 finish, Gaughan remains sixth in the Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings.



Start - 2         Finish - 8          Laps Led - 0         Points - 6th



"This definitely wasn't the finish we wanted or deserved today. We had such a strong South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Silverado this weekend, and the boys worked so hard to get us back up front at the end. We went three wide at the end, I got stuck in the middle by myself and we just lost track position."



Matt Crafton, in the immediate aftermath of his ninth-place finish in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Michigan National Guard 200, was having a hard time finding much to be cheerful about at Michigan International Speedway.

"We definitely had a better truck than what we finished," Crafton said, particularly citing two restarts in the race's last 25 laps. "We lost track position and I started on the outside, but then it's like everybody shuffled and then it's just you try to be a little bit smart and you can't put yourself in a bad position...

"But when we got ourselves hung back there it was just damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Crafton's championship-leading No. 88 Great Lakes Wood Floors / Menards Toyota started sixth and actually moved up into the top-five for most of the first half of the race, where he challenged polesitter Jeb Burton, who led the race's first 16 laps, for the lead early.

But in the end, Crafton and his ThorSport Racing team survived a wild, swirling melee of a last few laps in Michigan's high-speed draft and Crafton scored his 12th consecutive top-10 finish this season -- and he out-ran his closest championship contender, Burton, by one spot.


But defending series champion James Buescher won the race and Burton, who won his series-best fourth Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday morning and led the most laps, picked up a point on Crafton. Buescher picked up 12.


Thus, Crafton's unofficially 51 points ahead of Burton and 52 ahead of Buescher heading to Wednesday night's 13th event of the 22-race season, at Bristol Motor Speedway.


That event might either give Crafton an opportunity to be more aggressive or to continue the tack he's employed thus far, carefully weighing his options, and their ramifications, before he makes any rash moves.


"I could have been a little bit more aggressive, maybe," Crafton said. "And taken a little more chances and maybe got up a few more spots, but... You had to have track position -- it was everything.


"The 31 (Buescher), he got one run on the (last) restart -- he started right in front of me and then all of the sudden he wins the race. It was just all about momentum on the restarts and we just never had really good ones there towards the end for whatever it was worth."


Crafton could have been in the position of his ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter, who had a truck that was as good as Crafton's despite suffering fender damage on the race's third lap, only to get completely wiped out in a multi-truck accident and finish 20th.


Quasi-teammate Brett Moffitt, whose Hattori Racing Enterprises Tundra was being tended by ThorSport crew chief Jeriod Prince and his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship-leading crew, was looking at a top-10 finish with less than 10 laps to go until it hit the wall and finished 17th.


Still, Crafton was blunt when he evaluated the race.


"Bad day -- we've got to run better," Crafton said. "We lost points, but at the same time we didn't lose a ton of points. The 4 (Burton) was behind us but like I said, looking back at points racing, that's stupid.


"We're only halfway through the season (Saturday) -- we have 10 more races to go so there's a lot of racing to be done before we talk about points and championships."


Thorsport PR

Returning to the place of his best career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish to date, Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 60 WinField team hoped for a repeat performance at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. With Joe Shear, Jr. calling the shots as crew chief for the first time with the Turn One Racing team, Armstrong qualified solidly in the 13th position for the Michigan National Guard 200. Hanging tough in the draft and avoiding several on track incidents, the Indiana native was shuffled out of line on the final restart and came home in 13th place. 
Taking the green flag from inside row seven, Armstrong quickly realized how important staying in line to draft was very early on. Clearing the first caution on Lap 1 with ease, Armstrong settled in and first reported his WinField Chevrolet was too tight just prior to the second caution on Lap 17. Crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. decided to bring Armstrong down pit road for fuel and a track bar adjustment that carried him to the very next caution 10 laps later. During this break in the green flag action, Armstrong was again called to pit road for another swing at the handling and two right side tires. Returning to the field for the restart in the 12th position, Armstrong was able to hold ground just outside the top-10 through the next green flag segment of the 200-mile event. 
With three cautions falling fairly close together in the mid-portion of the race, it was up to Shear when to bring Armstrong down pit road and what calls would be made. Receiving four fresh tires, a chassis adjustment and fuel under caution on Lap 57, the No. 60 WinField Silverado was called back to pit road for the final pit stop of the afternoon under the fourth caution, just six laps later, to top off with fuel. Shear informed his driver they were good to go to the end and it was all up to the Armstrong and the WinField Silverado to make the moves to the checkered flag.
Steering clear of the sixth caution on Lap 76, Armstrong found a good drafting group and tucked in line to make his way into the top-10. The final caution of the day came with less than 10 laps remaining, and Armstrong took the restart from the eighth spot with six laps to go. Pushed down to the bottom after taking the green and away from the top line that had worked all afternoon, the driver of the WinField Chevy was unable to tuck up and rebuild his momentum. As a result, Armstrong was left with a 13th place finish. 
"Momentum and staying in line in the draft were just really important today," Armstrong said. "It was super hard to pass and we couldn't get in a good position on the last restart like we needed to. I'm proud of how hard this Turn One Racing crew worked this weekend to give me a truck that was good in the draft and decent by itself, and the adjustments Joe Shear, Jr. called for during the race really put us in contention. I wish we had a better finish to show for how fast the WinField Silverado was, but it felt good to run with the leaders most of the day."
Dakoda Armstrong PR


What is it about Penske Racing's No. 22 Ford Mustang?

AJ Allmendinger drove it to victory in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, making it three straight races the car has ended the day parked in Victory Lane.

Brad Keselowski has won four times, including the last two races, and Joey Logano has won twice in it, including a July 21 victory at Chicago. Add Allmendinger's two victories in the car and that's eight this season.

Allmendinger also made it a clean sweep of the series' road races for Penske. Keselowski drove the No. 22 car to victory last weekend at Watkins Glen.

Teammate Sam Hornish Jr., who finished third Saturday and assumed the NASCAR Nationwide points lead, said the men driving the car make a big difference.

"Those guys are good," he said. "Brad is good in either car in this division and Joey always has run good in this series. And AJ is great on road courses."

The win had another meaning for No. 22 crew chief Jeremy Bullins. Penske logged the first-ever NASCAR Nationwide win here.

"It was cool to get that for him," he said of owner Roger Penske, one of the most successful owners in the history of motorsports. "It's another page in the history book."

Hornish said he feels his No. 12 Mustang has worked well with the No. 22 car no matter who's driving it. He's got a 13-point lead in the standings with 11 races left in the series.


Welcome to Ohio

Saturday, Aug 17


Saturday's race was the first ever for the series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and NASCAR fans in the Buckeye State were ready.

Track management does not release attendance figures but a Mid-Ohio spokesman said Saturday's turnout was the best for the track's season.

Allmendinger said the track here is much different from the other road circuits on the schedule.

"It's definitely more narrow than the other places," he said. "Here, there's a lot of twists and turns to it and in a way it's a little more frustrating at times but it's a little more fun, too.

"It's a thinking place. It's not going to be easy to make a pass and that's what makes it fun."

Saturday was the third and final road course on the NASCAR Nationwide schedule. It replaced last season's road race at Montreal and NASCAR has not announced if the series will return in 2014.

The Trans-Am Series was the under card for Saturday's race.


Racing for kids

Saturday, Aug 17

Saturday's race was a homecoming of sorts for series sponsor Nationwide Insurance, which is headquartered about 30 miles from Mid-Ohio. Ohio's capital city also is home to the race sponsor and children who have undergone treatment for cancer were the guests of honor.

Thirteen children were paired with drivers who hail from or live near their current hometowns and those drivers carried the kids' names on their cars. Hoods or pieces of sheet metal from those cars were scheduled to be auctioned after the race with all proceeds benefitting The NASCAR Foundation.

Nine of the children attended the race and Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer Matt Jachius thanked drivers and teams during the afternoon meeting for donating a combined $650,000 in sponsor space on their cars.


German Quiroga welcomed back NET10 Wireless as primary sponsor on his No. 77 Toyota Tundra at Michigan International Speedway. Quiroga qualified 16th for the National Guard 200 and found himself racing for position inside the top-10 for the first three quarters of the race. It was lap 76 when Quiroga spun down the backstretch and made contact with the wall. The handling that Quiroga displayed with his Tundra during this spin demonstrated his growth as a driver during his rookie season. Damage was kept to a minimum, and with direction of crew chief Dan Stillman, the NET10 Wireless crew went to work to assure completion of the race. Quiroga finished 19th and remains 14th in the driver point standings. 

Germán Quiroga talks about his race at Michigan International Speedway:

"We started out the race very very free. There was even a point that I was screaming on the radio. I was able to keep a hold of my NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra for a little while, but unfortunately lost it with 25 laps or so to go. We are close and I am getting anxious for my very first win. Hopefully it will be coming soon."



It was a standout day for the driver of the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra during the National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway. John Wes Townley captured a seventh-place finish which marked his highest finishing position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The Tundra driver qualified 17th and battled a loose handling truck for the majority of the 100-lap event. Townley was the cause for caution on lap 66 as he lost control of his Tundra coming out of Turn 4. With some masterful driving, Townley was able to keep his Tundra off the wall, sustaining no damage. The Zaxby's team put on a fresh set of Goodyear tires and restarted in the 18th position. Townley went on to fight his way through the field to cross the finish in the seventh position.  A spin and a career-high finish for Townley demonstrate his continued progress as a Red Horse Racing driver.

John Wes Townley talks about Red Horse Racing 350th Start and his career high finish:

"Actually, I was the third Red Horse Racing truck to cross the line on the start, therefore technically I was the 350th. That's really cool. The team has a good bit of history and having all this experience and being part of it is just an honor. I'm so thankful.


"We were really free to start out with and ended up coming down through the grass here. It's always a wild ride, but we pulled it off.  We got the Zaxby's Toyota Tundra back up through the field and finished seventh. That's a career best and I'm pretty happy with that and we'll go from here and go to Bristol next week."





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