Speedway Digest Staff
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Danica Patrick finished 23rd in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was making her 33rd career Sprint Cup Series start and her second at Michigan.
After struggling with the handling of her car early and going one lap down, Patrick’s car came to life in the second half of the race thanks to a series of wedge, tire-pressure and track-bar adjustments called for by her crew chief Tony Gibson. With the car handling well, Patrick was able to secure the “lucky dog” free pass back to the lead lap on lap 136 as she was the first car one lap down when the caution came out.
She was able to work her way into the top-20 but, after a two-tire pit stop on lap 158, a tight-handling condition on the GoDaddy Chevrolet hindered Patrick from making any more progress and she took the checkered flag in 23rd place.
“Late in the race, the car just got tight,” Patrick said. “It was really good from the halfway point until we made that last pit stop. Then it just went tight. Overall, though, the car was pretty good all weekend. We had good practices and it felt comfortable throughout the weekend. I’m proud of Tony Gibson and the GoDaddy crew. We’re making progress and getting better each weekend.”
Patrick’s SHR teammate Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans/PTA Chevrolet SS, finished 13th.
The third member of SHR, Austin Dillon, interim driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS as he subs for the injured Tony Stewart, finished 14th.
Joey Logano won the Pure Michigan 400 to score his third career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Michigan.
Kevin Harvick finished 1.018 seconds behind Logano in the runner-up spot while Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five. Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were nine caution periods for 34 laps with six drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
With round 23 of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He dropped one spot to 15th place and has 636 points, 177 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 27 behind 10th-place Biffle. Stewart, who was forced to miss the race due to injury, dropped one spot to 18th, 594 out of first and 219 points behind Biffle. Patrick remained in 27th place and has 418 points, 395 behind Johnson and 245 away from 10th.
The No. 14 team is 13th in the owner standings with 653 points, 160 points behind the series-leading No. 48 team of Hendrick Motorsports.
Three races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Kasey Kahne, who is 11th in points, is the first wild card via his two wins. Martin Truex Jr. holds the second wild-card spot as he is 12th in points with one victory. Logano, Newman, and Stewart each have one victory and are 13th, 15th, and 18th in points, respectively.
Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished four spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 19th.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Irwin Tools Night Race Saturday, Aug. 24, at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with its pre-race show at 7 p.m.
Joey Coulter traded in his fire suit for fatigues on Thursday before making his way to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) for the Michigan National Guard 200. "Private Coulter" spent the day with the men and women of Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich. and experienced first-hand a day in the life of a new recruit in the National Guard.
Much like NASCAR teams, the National Guard is a team, and they are taught in basic training how to work together in times of trouble to accomplish a mission. Coulter's mission seemed simple this weekend, but quickly changed when he was forced to a backup truck in final practice on Friday. However, he and his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsport's team accepted the challenge and worked together to bring home a 14th-place finish in the 12th race on the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule - Coulter's eighth top-15 finish of 2013.
"I hate that we had to get the backup truck out this weekend," said Coulter. "Our primary truck was so good, but Harold and all the guys on this No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsport's team did a great job getting the backup ready for today. We had a solid qualifying effort and knew we were going to have to work on it to get it dialed-in for the race. Unfortunately, the back-up truck lacked the side force that the primary had and we just struggled with an aero-tight Toyota Tundra all day. I hate that we didn't have a better showing for the Truck Series' first race on America's New sports network, but I have to thank everyone at FOX Sports 1 for allowing me to carry their colors. We aren't that far back in points and a good run in Bristol next week will put us right back in it."
After finishing fourth in the first NCWTS practice session at MIS on Friday, Coulter knew he had a solid FOX Sports 1 Toyota Tundra. However, after laying down the fifth fastest time in the final practice session of the day, a cut right rear tire would send Coulter hard into the backstretch wall and the No. 18 team would be forced to bring out the back-up truck for Saturday's FOX Sports 1 debut.
Starting ninth on the inside of row five, Coulter was shuffled back to the 16th position on the opening lap when the field went three-wide into Turn 1 and the bottom line didn't move.
After restarting 15th on lap six, following a lap two-truck incident on the backstretch involving the No. 29 and 54 machines, Coulter would use the next 11 laps to evaluate his new trucks performance on track.
Battling an "aero tight" Tundra - a problem that would plague the FOX Sports 1 machine for a majority of the 100-lap event - Harold Holly brought the No. 18 machine down pit road under the second caution at lap 17 for a major chassis adjustment and fuel. When racing resumed on lap 20, Coulter was scored in the 13th position.
A continuous battle on-track with the handling of his backup truck in the draft forced the Miami Springs, Fla. native to lose several positions over the next seven laps. Coulter would be scored in the 17th position when the third caution flag of the afternoon was displayed on lap 27 for an accident in Turn 4 involving three of the front runners.
Coulter would take the lap-32 restart from the 13th position - running as high as 12th before the fourth caution flag was waved for debris. Crew chief Harold Holly would use this opportunity to bring Coulter down pit road on lap 57 for two right side tires, a track-bar adjustment and fuel. However, due to a lengthy pit stop, Holly would opt to bring Coulter back down pit road a lap later - before the field went back to green - for left side tires and to top his Fox Sports 1 Tundra off with fuel. When racing resumed on lap 60, Coulter was scored in the 13th position.
The field was slowed three more times over the next 32 circuits at laps 66, 76 and 92, respectively. Coulter utilized each restart to gain positions on-track and was lined up seventh for the final six-lap stint at lap 94. Unfortunately, the aero-tight condition in traffic would handicap the No. 18 machine and Coulter would lose seven positions to cross the line in the 14th-position.
James Buescher of Turner Scott Motorsports won the 14th Annual Michigan National Guard 200, his first victory and third top-10 finish in five races at MIS. Kyle Busch (second) posted his fourth second-place finish in seven starts at MIS and Ty Dillon (third) posted his second top-10 finish in two starts at MIS. Joey Logano and Miguel Paludo rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM teammate Darrell Wallace Jr was involved in a lap 27 accident in Turn 4 and relegated to a 21st-place finish, 48 laps down.
The field was slowed seven times for 29 laps and the lead was exchanged 10 times by five different drivers.
Following his 14th-place finish, Coulter remains 11th in the 2013 NCWTS driver's point standings after 12 races; a mere three points outside the top-10, 25 markers behind fifth-place Miguel Paludo and 98 points behind series point leader Matt Crafton.
The NCWTS will make its 13th stop of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway for the UNOH 200 on Wednesday, August 21. Coulter has two starts at the.533-mile oval, including one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
The Hefty®/Reynolds® team had a new, yet familiar face behind the wheel of the No. 14 Camry for the inaugural running of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Former series champion and TriStar Motorsports teammate Jeff Green was tabbed as Eric McClure’s replacement earlier in the week when he was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. Starting the race from the 24th position, the Owensboro, KY native was in position to record a solid top-20 finish on the white-flag lap when he was hit from behind by another competitor and sent spinning off the course. In the end, the team was credited with a 24th-place finish, slipping to 25th in the NASCAR Owner Standings.
In the opening laps, Green slipped two positions to 26th while battling a car that lacked rear grip. The team took advantage of the event’s first caution period on lap 20 to bring the car to pit road for four tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and the addition of spring rubber to help the car’s handling. When the race resumed on lap 24, the team was scored in the 25th position.
Four laps later, the pace was slowed for a multi-car accident and then again on lap 30. Although the Hefty®/Reynolds® team had just visited pit road a few laps prior, Green brought the orange and blue Camry to pit road for fuel and additional chassis adjustments. Once the stop was complete, Green returned to the track in the 24th position for the lap 33 restart.
Over the next 20 laps, Green was able to remain in the top-25, despite a continuous battle with the car’s handling. Green flag pit stops began shortly thereafter and just as Green was about to hit pit road for service, the caution flag waved. Since most of the leaders had pitted under green-flag conditions, Green had to start behind them once the stop was complete. When the race resumed, the team was scored in the 18th position.
As the laps began winding down, Green maintained a top-20 position in the running order. A late-race caution on lap 88 not only put a damper on what was going to be a top-20 finish for the Hefty®/Reynolds® team, it also forced an overtime situation and had most teams worried about fuel. While many drivers opted to visit pit road during this time, Crew Chief Myers instructed Green to stay on track since he had plenty of fuel for the remaining distance. When the race resumed on lap 93 for the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Green was scored in the 15th position. As the field took the white flag, things looked to be going well for the Owensboro, KY native as he was scored in the 16th position; however, the team’s hope of a hard-fought finish was quickly deflated when Green radioed the crew that he was hit from behind by another competitor and had spun off course. Having suffered major rear-end damage as a result of the accident, Green limped around the track to finish the event in the 24th position.
Driver, Jeff Green Quotes:
“I really thought we were going to have a decent day but I just got pushed off of the track at the end. These guys take more than they give and it cost us a good finish. I really appreciate the opportunity Hefty® and Reynolds® gave me this weekend to drive their car.”
Add another name to the Chase conversation.
Joey Logano started Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from the pole, and after a convoluted mix of strategy and racing incidents, it was Logano who claimed the victory and established himself as a contender for a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The victory was Logano's first of the season, his first at Michigan, his first for Penske Racing and the third of his career. Kevin Harvick ran second, followed by Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer.
The victory moved Logano from 16th to 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, 17 points out of 10 place. The youngest winner in MIS history also is in play for a Wild Card, with two spots available to the drivers in positions 11-20 in the standings with the most victories.
"This is huge for our Chase hopes," Logano said. "We needed this to have a shot at getting in the Chase. We're close now, but we can't make any mistakes. This sure does help a lot."
Mark Martin took off after a restart on Lap 178, as Kurt Busch, Logano and Harvick battled for the second spot behind him. But Martin was short on field, and after the running order shuffled out with Logano in second and Harvick in third, the pursuers began to close in on the leader.
But Logano, 23, who came to the public eye as a 14-year-old with praise from the 54-year-old Martin, couldn't make the pass for the lead, even though Martin was trying mightily to save fuel.
"I noticed he was lifting early, because I was catching him on entry (into the corners)," Logano said. "He was able to pull me on exit. I wanted to get by him, because I knew the 29 (Harvick) was fast, too…
"It is so cool to be here in Victory Lane. It's crazy racing Mark Martin, my childhood hero. I was able to race against him in Pocono last year for the win. It is so cool racing against a guy like that."
But when Martin slowed in Turn 3 on Lap 197 and brought his car to pit road for fuel, Logano shot past him into the lead with Harvick in hot pursuit. Logano held the top spot for the final four laps and took the checkered flag by 1.018 seconds over the No. 29 Chevrolet.
To Harvick, the race was decided on the final restart. Harvick lined up inside Martin with Logano's No. 22 Ford behind the No. 29 Chevy.
"Just mistimed that last restart there," Harvick said. "I had a great run on the 55 (Martin). Was going to beat him to the line by too much. Wound up having to drag the brakes. From there, it was going to be sketchy if we were going to keep the 22 back there.
"Went for it, backfired a little bit there as we got three?wide and lost some track position. I didn't think we were going to be racing the 55 there for the win (because Martin was short on fuel). I thought if we could just get out of Turn 2 in second we'd be in good shape. Got a little bit greedy and lost a couple spots there. That's what ultimately cost us the win."
Series leader Jimmie Johnson couldn't exorcise his Michigan jinx. After wrecking his primary car in Saturday's practice, Johnson started Sunday's race from the rear of the field in a backup car. He took the lead on Lap 43 during a cycle of green-flag pit stops, but shortly thereafter Johnson exited the race because of an engine failure.
"The engine broke there," Johnson said after bringing the car to the garage. "I guess when we came in for a green flag pit stop, something started then and made it a few more laps and didn't really notice anything off.
"Then it finally dropped a cylinder or two down the backstretch. Definitely an unfortunate thing, but we had plenty of speed in the car and I think we were going to be a factor."
Johnson could afford that sort of failure, having locked himself into the Chase last week at Watkins Glen. The same couldn't be said of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who smacked the Turn 2 wall on Lap 135 -- after leading 20 circuits earlier in the race -- and took his crippled car to the garage for repairs.
Earnhardt finished 36th and dropped from sixth to seventh in the standings, 20 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne with three races left before the Chase field is set at Richmond.
Though he was the victim of an early spin in Turn 4, Austin Dillon rallied from a lap down to finish 14th in his substitute role for injured Tony Stewart, the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet is in a tight battle with the No. 56 of Michael Waltrip Racing for a spot in the owners' Chase.
After Sunday's race, the two cars are tied for the final Wild Card spot, with the No. 56, driven by Martin Truex Jr. holding the tiebreaker based on quality of finishes.
Fans in the stands may not see a difference, and drivers on the track may not be able to feel it in the seat of their pants.
Nevertheless, the new tire Goodyear is providing for upcoming races at Atlanta Motor Speedway represents one of the most significant advancements in the construction of racing tires in the company's history.
The right-side tire that NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will run Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, respectively, isn't just a new tire. It's a new concept for NASCAR racing, using a process Goodyear calls "zone tread" technology.
The inboard shoulder of the tire -- roughly the inner third, and the area that receives the most stress at an oval such as Atlanta -- features a firmer, more heat-tolerant compound. The outer portion of the tire features a softer tread designed to provide more grip.
The two compounds are melded seamlessly during the extrusion process.
Results of a 13-team test Aug. 6 at Atlanta were positive, encouraging Goodyear to use the new tire, married with more traditional left sides, for the upcoming races at the 1.54-mile speedway.
In 2004, Goodyear introduced its Assurance TripleTred tire for street cars. That tire combined three tread zones for different weather conditions: wet, icy and dry.
Race tires, of course, don't have tread patterns, and wet and icy conditions don't apply; hence, the tire for Atlanta features two zones instead of three -- the inboard to provide durability and the outer portion to provide grip.
The introduction of NASCAR's lighter Gen-6 race car this year, along with new rules that allow latitude in rear camber, facilitated the introduction of the NASCAR racing application of the zone tread technology, a concept that's been in the works from a racing standpoint for roughly two years.
"It makes a little more sense for us to do now, because they do have the flexibility in the rear," Greg Stucker, Goodyear's manager of race tire sales, told the NASCAR Wire Service on Saturday at Michigan. "If we would have been doing it in the past, obviously we'd have been focusing more on the right front, but it would have been a little bit more of a compromise for the tire on the right rear.
"Now, with their ability to run that camber, it's really more matched for both front and rear. I think the fact that they can run that has made the car handle better. The fact that the car's lighter has manifested itself in a faster race car, and we're just trying to deal with that. We're seeing the speeds come up everywhere, and Atlanta was one of those that was on our radar that was going to be a tough race track."
The pavement at Atlanta is old and abrasive, but that doesn't mean there aren't applications for the zone tread technology at recently repaved speedways.
"We think this technology really opens the door for a lot of new things, a lot of new ways to approach things from a compounding perspective," Stucker said. "We're going to move slowly on it, but you're certainly going to see more of it. We've tested it at a number of different places.
"We tested it at Kansas. We're talking about it as a potential there. We tested it at Las Vegas. We tested up here (at Michigan), actually. … Everything has been very positive in testing so far, but until you make a huge volume and get them out there in race conditions -- that's always the ultimate test."
The harder inboard shoulder may give crew chiefs a broader range of possibilities when it comes to tire pressures.
"It's probably going to open the window for them to do a whole lot more stuff," Stucker said with a smile. "Pressures -- and everything. So we've got to watch that as well. Obviously, if we give them something that's a little more robust, they'll start to push that, too."
After posting solid results in the first two road-course races of the season and showing speed in all four practice sessions for the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Parker Kligerman and his Bandit Chippers Racing team believed they could contend for a victory on Saturday. The talented youngster methodically worked his way from his ninth starting position to run in the top five for the majority of the first half of the race, but was knocked off course twice over the final thirty laps and relegated to a disappointing 13th-place finish.
"We had top five car and maybe we didn't have the raw speed to contend with AJ (Allmendinger), but it was going to be a really good day for this No. 77 Bandit Chippers team -- probably had a top-three car -- until we got our day ruined by ignorance from another driver that had nothing to lose because he wasn't running for points," Kligerman said. "We got up into the top five and we were saving fuel and saving our equipment for the end of the race. Then after getting knocked off course the first time, we rallied back to the top 10 before that last caution came out. We were close on fuel so we decided to play it safe and come in for tires and fuel and not take a big hit in points by running out of gas. I restarted mid-pack and was coming back through the field and probably would've still had a top 10 if we didn't get knocked around again by the same guy. I'm proud of Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all of my guys for having another fast car. We are ready to put together strong runs these last 10 races and work our way back towards the top five in points."
Kligerman finished all four practice sessions, two each on Thursday and Friday, inside the top 10 and followed it up by earning the ninth starting position for Saturday's race. He had maneuvered his way up to the seventh spot by the time the first caution of the race occurred on lap 21. Before pit road opened, he communicated to Phillips that his Toyota was "tight rolling through the center." The Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop and returned their driver to the track scored in the eighth spot for the lap-23 restart, with two of the two three cars electing not to pit.
The talented youngster was able to pick up one spot before the field was slowed again for a three-car accident on lap 27. After two cars pitted, the Bandit Chippers Camry took the ensuing restart from the fifth spot. Kligerman would remain in fifth until 10 laps later when Nelson Piquet Jr. overcharged the corner and made contact with him. The contact would send Piquet Jr. spinning and allowed Brian Vickers to work his way around the No. 77 before the caution came out for the 30 car.
Kligerman returned to the top five shortly after the lap-41 restart, where he would remain until the fifth caution occurred on lap 46. On lap 55, the No. 77 Camry's 86.36-second lap was the fastest of any car in the top five as it began closing on the top-four cars. One lap later, Phillips summoned his young driver down pit road under green-flag conditions for a regularly-scheduled stop. With four fresh tires and full tank of fuel, the Connecticut native returned to the track in the 16th position.
The sixth caution of the day slowed the field on lap 63 with the Bandit Chippers Camry scored in the 12th position. Several cars that hadn't pitted made their stops, leaving Kligerman scored in the seventh spot when the field went back green on lap 66. Shortly after the restart, he got knocked off course and through the grass. By the time he emerged back on the pavement, he had subsided to the 13th spot.
As the race progressed towards the final stages under green-flag conditions, Kligerman produced fast lap times and erased a large margin between himself and the 10th and 11th-place competitors. He worked his way around Elliott Sadler for the 10th spot with just two laps remaining and appeared to have salvaged a top-10 finish. The No. 75 car got stuck in the gravel pit just before race leader A.J. Allmendinger took the white flag. The seventh and final caution of the race set up a green-white-checkered finish.
The caution put the No. 77 team in a tough position, with its fuel-mileage calculation uncertain to make it to the end of the race. Anticipating that it would take more than one attempt to finish the race, Phillips summoned Kligerman to pit road where the over-the-wall crew put on four fresh tires and filled the Bandit Chippers Camry with fuel.
Kligerman took the green-white-checkered restart from the 16th position and set his sights on maneuvering his way back to the top 10 over the final two laps. He appeared to have accomplished the task but once again was knocked around by Marcos Ambrose and lost several spots on the final lap. As the field completed the race on the first attempt, the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry would cross the stripe with a disappointing 13th-place finish.
Allmendinger picked up his second career win, both on road courses this season, in just his 10th career Nationwide Series start. Pole Sitter Michael McDowell finished 1.164 seconds behind him in the runner-up spot. Sam Hornish Jr. finished third, Max Papis fourth and Brian Vickers rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were seven caution periods totaling 18 laps. Seven drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead eight times. Ten drivers failed to finish the 22nd event of 2013.
Kligerman remains 10th in the Nationwide Series championship standings with 22 of 33 races complete, 82 points behind series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 entry ranks 12th in the owner's championship standings, 180 points behind the series-leading No. 22 team.
Kligerman and his No. 77 Toyota Racing team head to Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 23 for the Food City 250. Live television coverage of Friday's 133.24-mile event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
With five laps remaining in the Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, it appeared that Kyle Busch - who entered the day with three runner-up finishes in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action at the 2-mile oval - was finally going to get the monkey off his back and earn a trip to victory lane. The Las Vegas native led four times for 33 laps and was out front in the closing stages before he got slightly loose as he positioned his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra to cut off the momentum of then second-place runner Brendan Gaughan. James Buescher was able to slingshot past both trucks and remained out front for the final four laps en route to his first victory of 2013. Busch edged Ty Dillon at the stripe to pick up his fourth top-two finish in six Truck Series starts this season.
"I don't know where (James) Buescher came from, but he got by us, passed us, beat us, so that's all there is to it," said Busch, who has led double digit laps in all six of his Truck Series starts this season. "The Toyota Care Tundra was great today -- really, really fast. I figured that once I got out front, I felt like I could hold everybody off because it was hard to pass. The 62 (Brendan Gaughan) got a run on me down the backstretch and I pulled a little bit low to block and I heard that the 31 (James Buescher) was on the inside of him, so how the 31 can get a run on the 62 who's got a run on me is beyond me. It blows my mind. He got a run on all of us and I got down in turn three way too low on my entry to try to block and I got loose. I don't know if he was that close to me or not, but I had to save my truck and in doing so he just drove right on by."
Busch started from the seventh position and maneuvered his way into the top three by lap 12. When a stalled truck brought out the second caution of the race on lap 16, crew chief Rudy Fugle brought his driver down pit road for a fuel-only stop.
The No. 51 Tundra took the lap-20 restart from the third position and set his sights on the lead. He remained in the third spot when a three-truck accident slowed the field for the third time on 26. Under caution he described his Toyota as "aero loose into Turn 3," a condition that would remain throughout the 100-lap race.
Shortly after the lap-32 restart, "Rowdy" made his way to the front for the first time. The lead would be short lived, as Jeb Burton - who led a race-high 41 laps - made his way back around Busch one lap later. A determined Busch put the ToyotaCare Tundra back out front on lap 45, where he remained when a debris caution slowed the field on lap 56.
Busch brought his Tundra to the service of his over-the-wall crew, who administered a four-tire and fuel stop, along with a track bar adjustment to try and provide their driver more stability into Turn 3. The No 51 Toyota returned to the track scored in the second position, behind a truck that made a two-tire stop, for the ensuing restart.
After taking the lead for a one-lap stint, the Las Vegas native settled into the runner-up spot. After a one-truck spin on the backstretch slowed the field for the sixth time, Busch restarted second on the inside of race leader Miguel Paludo. "Rowdy" was able to muscle his way to the lead by the time the field got back to the stripe and remained out front when a debris caution occurred on lap 91.
Busch would hold serve on the lap-94 restart and remained on point until Buescher's slingshot move gave him the lead on lap 97. The No. 51 Tundra pulled to Buescher's bumper but was unable to get back by, leaving Kyle Busch Motorsports' owner-driver with his fourth runner-up finish in seven Truck Series starts in the Irish Hills of Michigan.
Buescher ended up finishing .546 seconds ahead of Busch. Dillon finished third, Joey Logano fourth and Paludo rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM driver Joey Coulter finished 14th in a backup Tundra after cutting a tire and crashing into the wall during Friday's final practice session. Coulter's teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr., was involved in two separate accidents and relegated to a 21st-place finish after completing just 52 of the 100 laps.
There were seven caution periods for 29 laps. Five different drivers led, exchanging the lead 10 times. Twelve drivers failed to finish race number 12 on the 2013 Truck Series schedule.
The ToyotaCare Racing team moved up one position to second in the owner's championship standings after 12 races. The team now sits 45 points behind the series-leading No. 88 team. Busch will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra when the series resumes action on Aug. 21 for the UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Live Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 beings at 7:30 p.m. ET with the NCWTS Setup Show.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) made its maiden voyage to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Mid-Ohio) for the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200. Track activity began on Thursday with a day of testing for the NNS. On Friday, Allgaier participated in both practice sessions and completed a total of 51 laps. Allgaier went out in group six out of eight for road-course qualifying, and he earned the 15th-starting position with a lap time of 85.629 seconds. After leading two laps and completing all 90 laps, plus the additional laps for the green/white/checkered finish, Allgaier brought his No. 31 AccuDoc Solutions/Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet Camaro home in the eighth position for Turner Scott Motorsports.
The NNS took the green flag on Saturday afternoon at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course in front of a large crowd for the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200. Allgaier quickly worked his way up to the 11th position by the third lap. Allgaier maintained the 11th position until the first caution at lap 20. After Allgaier reported he was really struggling with side bite on lap 14, crew chief Scott Zipadelli called for Allgaier to bring his No. 31 AccuDoc Solutions/Nationwide Children's Hospital Camaro down pit road for Sunoco fuel, four Goodyear tires and adjustments. Allgaier restarted in the 16th position on lap 23, and on lap 27 Allgaier reported he was struggling for grip when the second caution of the race came out for an accident in Turn 5. Allgaier stayed out on the track during the caution, while competitors on different pit strategies came down pit road. Allgaier restarted in the 11th position on lap 29 and while racing side-by-side with Marcos Ambrose, contact from Ambrose sent Allgaier off the track and down into the sand trap causing a caution. Luckily, Allgaier was able to power through the sand trap and get back on the track. Allgaier brought his No. 31 AccuDoc Solutions Camaro down pit road for fuel, four tires and a quick repair to the nose with barebond. After Allgaier visited pit road, he restarted in the 36th position on lap 32. On lap 36, Allgaier was in the 33rd position and reported he was really struggling for rear grip.
On lap 38, the fourth caution of the race came out and Allgaier came down pit road for fuel only and an adjustment. He restarted 27th on lap 40 and worked his way to the 19th position by lap 42. After the fifth caution at lap 45, Allgaier restarted 18th on lap 48. Allgaier continued to work his way up through the field and was in the 14th position by lap 51. During a green-flag pit stop cycle, Allgaier was able to lead two laps until he came down pit road at lap 62. Allgaier was back on the track at lap 63 when the sixth caution came out after a competitor made contact with Allgaier and sent him off of the track for the second time during the race. After getting back on the track, Allgaier and Zipadelli made the decision for Allgaier to stay out on the track to keep from losing valuable track position. On lap 66, Allgaier restarted in the 13th position and by lap 73 he had advanced to the eighth position. Allgaier continued to maintain the eighth position and reported on lap 84 that his car didn't have any forward bite. He was in the 11th position on lap 89 when the seventh caution came out for a car off of the track in Turn 11. The late-race caution sent the regularly scheduled 90-lap race into overtime and brought out the first attempt at a green/white/checkered finish. Allgaier restarted in the ninth position on lap 92 after some competitors had to make pit stops for fuel. During the first and only attempt at the green/white/checkered finish, Allgaier was able to make his way up to the eighth position, where he ultimately finished in his No. 31 AccuDoc Solutuion/Nationwide Children's Hospital Chevrolet. With Saturday's eighth-place finish, Allgaier is currently sixth in the NNS Driver Point Standings.
"We came away with a decent finish from Mid-Ohio [Sports Car Course]," said Allgaier. "We had a good test Thursday, and my guys worked really hard on preparing this car for the road course. It's an interesting track, because a lot of the track is narrow which makes it difficult to pass. There were a ton of fans at the track this weekend and I'm really glad we were able to walk away with a top-10 finish, especially considering we were off the track a couple of times today. Luckily, we were able to have a nice recovery. I can't thank my guys at Turner Scott Motorsports enough, they've been working really hard."
RAB Racing and the No. 99 Children's Hospital Toyota Camry driven by Alex Bowman came into the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with two objectives, keep it on the race track, and finish the race. In just his third NASCAR Nationwide start, Bowman did just that and finished in the 11th position. Even with the finish, sometimes its not always about the on-track activity that matters most, RAB Racing and Bowman had a very special passenger on the hood and in the pits, Janet Gregory a Patient Champion from The Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The teams had two full days of practice to get orientated with the new NASCAR track at Mid-Ohio, a track that no competitor had ever seen before except for the small number of road course specialists in the field. Thursday was all about getting Bowman experience around the 2.4 mile course, and Friday was reserved for fine tuning of the car in preparation for the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200. Bowman qualified the No. 99 in the 17th position, and although the driver and car didn't show outright speed for one lap, the team knew they could contend during a long green flag run.
At the start of the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 Bowman began to get into a rhythm and immediately started to save his equipment for the long day ahead of him. Crew chief Chris Rice coached him throughout the race to save his brakes and save fuel so he had something to race with at the end of the 200 miles. By the time the 94 lap event was half way through the No. 99 was solidly in the top 10 thanks to pit strategy by crew chief Chris Rice and fast pit stops by the RAB Racing pit crew. Bowman's good run was almost derailed by a speeding penalty in the pits which relegated him back to the 23rd position, but Bowman and the team never gave up. While under caution with three laps to go Chris Rice rolled the dice and came into the pits to get four new tires and gas to ensure the No. 99 could make it to the finish. Bowman restarted in the 22nd position after the pit stop but in amazing fashion came through the field to finish in the 11th position, the team's best finish on a road course this season. With the 11th place finish and the Sunoco Rookie of the Race, Janet Gregory came on the radio after the race to congratulate Alex on his run. Janet Gregory and her family were only supposed to stay for the driver introductions, but she wanted to watch he race from the No. 99 pit area and stayed until the very end, a good luck charm for Bowman and RAB Racing, and a true Patient Champion.
Alex Bowman: "If you would have told me on Thursday that we would have come home in the 11th position with barely a scratch on the car I wouldn't have believed it. Especially if you would have told me we would restart the race with three laps to go in 22nd, and almost get to the top 10, that just goes to show the level of dedication and fight that my team has. I'm definitely no road course driver and we had a lot of great competition this week, so I'm elated to get that kind of finish and move back onto ovals for the remainder of the 2013 race season. With all that said it doesn't equal up to having Janet Gregory in our pit stall for this entire race, I got the chance to hang out with her and her family a lot before the race and she has such a great story of never giving up in life, and that's kinda what we did today...if anything she was our team's inspiration for this race, and I can't thank her enough for being there with us."
Bowman's 11th place finish was the team's seventh top 15 finish in the last ten races, and the 13th of the 22 race season. The finish allowed Bowman to stay in the 11th place in driver point standings, and owner Robby Benton maintained the 15th position in owner point standings. The next race on the NASCAR Nationwide schedule is in "Thunder Valley" at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, August 23rd which will be televised live on ESPN.
RAB Racing PR