Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Bet On Brazil...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) heads north for the series' only stop of the season at Michigan International Speedway. Paludo has made two visits to Michigan in the past, finishing and starting in the top 10 in both previous starts. Paludo's best start at the track (third) was earned last year with Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM), while he garnered his best finish of third in 2011.
Flags Are Crossed...The most recent NCWTS race at Pocono Raceway marked the halfway point in the 22-race season. In the 11 completed events, Paludo has earned one top five, seven top 10s and has led a total of 42 laps. Paludo started from the pole in one event, and his best finish of 2013 is second.
This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team will unload chassis TSM-600 this week at Michigan. TSM-600 has not finished worse than seventh in its three previous races and was driven to Paludo's career-best finish (second) in the most recent NCWTS race at Pocono Raceway.
It'll Be Worth Something...If you're at the track this weekend, stop by and meet Paludo and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session on Friday, August 16 from 4:15-5:00 p.m. EDT. The session will be held in the tent at the Turn 1 tram stop.
Watch And Listen...The Michigan National Guard 200 can be seen live on Saturday, August 17 on Fox Sports 1. Catch all the action in the cockpit as Paludo will carry an on-board camera for the television broadcast. Coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Don't Say Green Isn't Lucky...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 was the class of the field when the NCWTS headed to the Tricky Triangle for the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway. Paludo topped the practice charts and took the green from the pole position, consistently running the fastest laps of the race and surviving multiple green/white/checkered restarts before finishing in the runner-up position.
Miguel Paludo on driving at Michigan International Speedway
"Michigan is a track where I enjoy racing and I feel like it suits my driving style. Up until last weekend, Michigan was my career-best finish, and we're bringing the same truck we brought to Pocono. That truck keeps getting better and better every time we race it, and after finishing second, the next step is bringing it to victory lane. We've been getting so close to a win, and I've got a good feeling about this weekend."
Gotta Have a Rheem...Rheem will once again adorn the sides of the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado at MIS for the Michigan National Guard 200. Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 87th year of operation, the company manufactures a full line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company's premium brands, including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem, have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design and high quality. Rheem, now in its seventh consecutive year as a NASCAR sponsor, is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Turner Scott Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing. Rheem also sponsors RCR's No. 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by Paul Menard.
Chassis Info...Making a quick turnaround, the Rheem team will bring the same Chevrolet Silverado to MIS that they ran at Pocono Raceway. Chassis TSM-217 has seen action in three previous events this season.
Previous Race Recap....Looking to continue his move to the top of the NCWTS Point Standings, Buescher went into the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway with a great history at the track, having earned second and third place finishes in the two previous years. With qualifying rained out on Saturday morning, the field was set based on speeds from the weekend's only practice session. Starting the race from eighth position, Buescher ran just outside the top five most of the 50-lap race until contact with another competitor sent Buescher spinning, relegating him to a 21st-place finish.
Watch and Listen...The National Guard 200 can be seen live on Saturday, August 17 on the newly rebranded channel FOX Sports 1. Race coverage will begin at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
It's A Boy!!!...Buescher and wife Kris welcomed a baby boy to the world on Friday, July 26. Stetson Rees Buescher was born at 10:02 a.m., weighing in at 7 lbs, 15 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.
Get Your Sharpies Ready...Come out and meet Buescher, along with the rest of the Turner Scott Motorsports drivers, and get an autograph on Friday afternoon from 4:00-5:00 p.m. The session will be held in the tent outside of Turn 1.
James Buescher on Returning to Michigan International Speedway
"For a while it was looking like we were going to have a pretty good day at Pocono; unfortunately, we got turned around on the last lap and gave back all the points we were going to gain. I really like running at Michigan, it's a lot of fun and I've had some good runs there, so I think this could be a great place to turn around our season."
Back on Track...Making their way to the Great Lake State, Jeb Burton and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) head north to tackle Michigan International Speedway in Saturday's Michigan National Guard 200. Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team remain second in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings heading into this weekend's race.
This Week's Silverado...The No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team will unload chassis TSM-220 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Although it boasts quite the resume, including Burton's first career win at Texas Motor Speedway, TSM-220 had a disappointing run at Pocono Raceway. Hoping to bounce back, the No. 4 team will try once again to land this truck in victory lane.
Stop and Say Hello...If you're at the track on Friday, stop and meet Burton and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session located in the tent outside of Turn 1 from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. EDT.
Watch and Listen...NASCAR trucks action will be live from Michigan on Saturday, August 17 on the newly branded FOX Sports 1. Coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The race can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap...Making their return to pavement, Burton and the NCWTS headed to the Tricky Triangle of Pocono Raceway. Following a top-three finish in practice, qualifying was cancelled due to rain, placing Burton in third position on the starting grid for the Pocono Mountains 125. Early on, Burton struggled with handling issues and despite several adjustments made by the No. 4 team, Burton was unable to gain solid control of the truck on the 2.5-mile track. Fighting until the end, Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead Chevy crossed the finish line in 12th place.
Jeb Burton on Racing at Michigan International Speedway
"To say I'm ready to race at Michigan is an understatement. We just couldn't get things right at Pocono. The handling was off; it felt like it was all over the place the entire race. I know what our team is capable of and I definitely know what our truck can do, so we've put that race behind us and set our focus completely on Michigan. I've been studying race film, talking to teammates and doing some iRacing to prepare. I think our Arrowhead Chevy has a good shot this weekend. Like always, we'll sure give it all we've got."
Max Gresham and the No. 8 AmWINS Group Chevrolet Silverado team will meet the majestic landscape of Brooklyn, Michigan, this weekend, returning from an off-weekend for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). Gresham and Sharp-Gallaher Racing look to continue the accelerating performances they have had in recent races when they roll into Saturday's Michigan National Guard 200 at the Michigan International Speedway.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has not waved a green flag since the August 3 race at the Pocono Raceway. However, that doesn't mean Gresham has been on vacation; he is coming off a whirlwind week.
The driver of the No. 8 AmWINS Group Chevrolet has not only gone through testing in preparation for the road course event at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, he has also attended the Speedway Children's Charities' breakfast with Governor Nathan Deal in Atlanta. He's also welcomed Bill Gallaher as a new partner at Sharp-Gallaher Racing (formerly Eddie Sharp Racing).
"There really aren't any off days in racing," Gresham said. "We never stop working on our No. 8 AmWINS truck. It's a never-ending process. Just because the calendar says 'off' doesn't mean we're not at it full speed."
Sharp-Gallaher Racing will make its on-track debut this Saturday at the two-mile tri-oval in the Irish Hills of Michigan.
"We're building for the future one piece and one race at a time," the 20-year-old driver said. "We know when we go to the track we're going to have a fast Chevrolet Silverado and plenty of horsepower from ECR Engines. We know we have all the tools necessary to be successful at Michigan."
Leaving Pocono Raceway with a 13th-place finish, Gresham and the No.8 Chris Showalter-led team feel confident their luck will continue as they head into this weekend. The Milner, Ga., native has one prior Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Racing Series start at Michigan International Speedway; this finish came in the summer of 2011 when he qualified seventh and finished second.
Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway presents a unique, and very likeable, challenge to the truck series. It is one of the few places where drivers can fan out in the turns to find a comfortable way around the track. Two and three-wide racing should be common during Saturday's race.
"You don't want to be dedicated to a single groove," Gresham said. "You want to be able to move around."
Saturday's race, which takes the green flag at 12:30 p.m. on the newly-branded Fox Sports 1 (formerly SPEED) channel, will be the first of five races on five consecutive weeks for the truck series.
"It won't change what we do," Gresham said, "because we don't slow down anyway. Vacation-time isn't until the season's done. Even then it won't last long because it will be time to get ready for 2014."
Max Gresham PR
Aaron’s & MWR Announce Full-Season NASCAR Sprint Cup Sponsorship; Vickers to Pilot the No. 55 for All Sprint Cup Races in 2014
Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN) announced today it has reached a multi-year agreement to sponsor Brian Vickers in Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) No. 55 Toyota Camry in every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
“We at Aaron’s are thrilled about this partnership. We’re building a championship organization – and we know that Brian Vickers and the No. 55 team, under Michael Waltrip’s tradition of winning, are focused on building a championship caliber team," said Ronald W. Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “So many of our customers are enthusiastic and loyal NASCAR fans and we are proud to be a part of a sport they are passionate about. We are looking forward to continued success with Brian Vickers both on and off the track.”
Vickers has raced the No. 55 on a part-time basis the last two seasons for MWR posting several impressive performances including his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14.
Beginning in 2014, he'll pilot the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with a fresh new paint scheme, unveiled today at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. in every race.
“I can’t put into words how this makes me feel,” said 29-year-old Vickers. “I’ve really found my home at MWR over the past few years, and I've enjoyed getting to know the Aaron's associates and customers. I am honored that Aaron’s is welcoming me into their family full-time. Knowing that I have a top-notch team and a dedicated sponsor for a full season is a really great feeling every driver dreams about, and like everyone else, I want to win races and win a championship. Michael and co-owner Rob Kauffman are really building something special at MWR and are giving me the tools to accomplish those goals.”
“Aaron’s is a cornerstone to MWR's success. This is a big announcement today because it shows a tremendous vote of confidence in the sport of NASCAR and the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization,” said Michael Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing.
“The relationship with Aaron’s is very personal to me because they helped place Michael Waltrip Racing on the map in 2000 when I was running a half dozen Nationwide Series races from a small garage in my backyard. Now they are enabling MWR to continue its growth as we will have three drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and beyond. So much of this confidence comes from the NASCAR fans who continue to support the sponsors of our teams. I want to sincerely thank the NASCAR fans who are Aaron’s customers because you make this all happen,” said Waltrip.
Aaron’s support of NASCAR goes beyond its support of MWR. In 2002, the company became a title sponsor of Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, with the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race and the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. took Chicago by storm on Monday, performing a celebratory burnout on State Street in front of the legendary Chicago Theatre before travelling to Millennium Park to greet a crowd of adoring fans. Earnhardt Jr., currently sixth in the point standings, will return to Chicagoland Speedwayon Sept. 15 for the GEICO 400, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The GEICO 400 is part of a triple-header weekend of action at Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 13-15, including NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday afternoon, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday night, Saturday’s Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola and Sunday’s GEICO 400, the start of NASCAR’s playoffs.
“Chicago is a great town with great fans. It’s fun for us to get out there and do something different, so to put a Cup car on State Street made for a cool day,” said Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard ride for Hendrick Motorsports. “We appreciate everyone coming out to see us and we’re looking forward to putting on another great show in September.”
Following the burnout, Earnhardt Jr. visited fans in Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square for a question-and-answer session lead by Miss Sprint Cup, Jaclyn Roney. Roney, a native of Ann Arbor, Mich., and graduate from Eastern Michigan University, has held the title of Miss Sprint Cup since 2011.
Fans looking for daily and overnight RV parking during the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR weekend at Richmond International Raceway September 6-7, should look no further than the BLUE OX Meadowbridge Unreserved RV Parking (Lot J). This lot opens at noon on Thursday, September 5 and at 7:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday for daily and overnight RV parking. BLUE OX Meadowbridge Unreserved daily and overnight RV parking spaces are available for oversized vehicles, RVs and motorcoaches in Lot J.
Passes for BLUE OX Meadowbridge Unreserved RV Parking can be purchased in advance for $90 for the weekend. To purchase passes in advance, please click here or call 866-455-7223. The lot has continuous tram service throughout the day until approximately an hour and a half post-race Friday-Saturday, as well as 24-hour security. Sites do not contain utilities (no power, water or waste connections). Shower facilities are available for $5 per shower. Portable restrooms are provided. Pump out and fresh water service is available for a fee.
New for September 2013, Richmond International Raceway offers tent camping in Lot J. Fans may purchase a reserved 25’ x 45’ tent camping spot for $75 by calling 866-455-7223. Fans must have two or more Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets in their account to purchase a reserved tent camping spot in that account. A tent camping ticket package, which includes two tickets (in Henrico Grandstand, rows 1-10) to the race and a reserved tent camping spot, is available for$145. Shower facilities will be available in Lot J for $5 per shower. Tram service is available from Lot J.
Click here for our campfire policy and additional camping rules.
Once again proving NASCAR is one of the fan-friendliest sports in America, NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Travis Pastrana, Elliott Sadler and Trevor Bayne, along with 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee, Jack Ingram, will sign autographs for fans attending the Virginia529 College Savings 250 race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, September 6. Additional drivers are expected to be added to the lineup.
The autograph session will be held at 2:00 p.m. in the Amphitheater, located behind Turn 1. Wristbands will be available at the Virginia529 College Savings Midway display starting at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 6, and will be distributed until supplies last. Guests who receive wristbands may enter the Amphitheater at the Commonwealth Mall. Guests must have a Virginia529 College Savings 250 race ticket in order to receive a wristband and to access the autograph session.
Driver participation is subject to change and without notice. Neither NASCAR nor any of its affiliates are sponsors of this promotion.
The Virginia529 College Savings 250 signifies an historic landmark in racing history, as it marks the 1,000th race in series history. All drivers want to win at RIR, but to say they won such a monumental event could make for some added drama to the night.
Teaming up for the second time this season, Cole Whitt and Gold Bond were eager to pick up where they left off. The 22-year-old made his second start at the 2.45-mile road course located in the "Finger Lakes" region of New York. Whitt raced as high as fourth before bringing the Gold Bond Camry home in the eighth position, claiming his career-best finish at the challenging road course and giving Gold Bond their highest NASCAR Nationwide Series finish to date.
Starting from the 17th position, Whitt was quick to capitalize on an early caution to gain track position. While running in the 15th position on lap 15, Whitt radioed to Crew Chief Randy Cox "I need more grip". Coincidentally, the following lap a full course caution occurred. Cox instructed his crew to "be ready in case the leaders come in". When the leaders hit pit road for their first stop of the day, Whitt followed suit. The Gold Bond pit crew flawlessly put on four fresh Goodyear tires and a full tank of Sunoco race fuel, sending Whitt back to the track in the 18th position.
The event's second caution came out on lap 25, and Whitt brought the No. 44 Gold Bond Toyota in for fuel only. Restarting in the 19th position, Whitt returned to the track with 53 laps to go. Not long after the restart, the caution flag flew again for fluid in the esses. Whitt and his crew opted to stay out on track to gain track position. With pit strategy in full effect, Whitt restarted his Camry in the ninth position.
The final caution fell with 25 laps to go and Cox reassured Whitt, who was sitting in the 21st position, that they were "good to go (on fuel) until the end". Restarting in the 16th position, Whitt weaved in and out of traffic gaining eight positions in the closing laps to finish the Zippo 200 in eighth spot.
"Pit strategy and clean pit stops really helped us this weekend," said Whitt. "I'm glad we earned a top-10 for Gold Bond. I'm really happy with our effort; it showed what we're capable of."
Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen was the 10th race for Whitt and TriStar Motorsports, marking his second top-10 of the season with the team. Matching his career best finish on a road course, Whitt helped the No. 44 team maintain the 20th position in the Nationwide Series Owner Points Standing. Whitt will have this weekend off and will be back behind the wheel for the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, August 23rd.
Roush Yates Fords were record-breaking fast all weekend, winning pole positions and setting qualifying records in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and ARCA Series.
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 Stanley Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, shattered the Sprint Cup track record on Saturday to win the pole for the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday. Ambrose turned a fast lap of 128.241 mph, one full mph faster than the 127.020 mark set a year ago by Juan Pablo Montoya. He was a part of the final group in qualifying and the only driver to break the 128 mph barrier.
“The old car just didn’t have a lot of downforce. With this car, you can actually get off the gas pedal and you can feel the air trying to slow the car down just a little bit, and that helps the brakes because brakes are marginal around this track,” said Ambrose, a two-time winner at Watkins Glen. “It’s got more downforce, it’s lighter, and those two factors really help. I think all-around this is a great track for these Gen-6 cars, and we’ve proved that by going under the lap record time.”
Sam Hornish Jr. claimed the first starting position by qualifying the fastest for the Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday. It was the second straight pole at The Glen for Hornish with a record-setting lap of 123.291 mph. The previous pole record of 123.241 mph was set by Kurt Busch in 2011.
Mason Mitchell, driver of the No. 82 Happy Cheeks Ford for Empire Racing-Mason Mitchell Motorsports, won his first career pole at Berlin Raceway on Saturday in the ARCA Series. Mitchell set a track record with a qualifying lap of 93.963 mph at the .4375-mile track.
“It is pretty cool to have your name in the record books with the track record,” said Mitchell. “A pole is good by itself, but a new track record is pretty special.”
Roush Yates Engines and Ford Racing won their ninth Nationwide Series race of the 2013 season with the help of Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing. Keselowski held off teammate Sam Hornish Jr. to win the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen on Saturday in a dominant performance that involved all three Penske Racing cars leading all but 9 laps of the 200 mile race.
Starting fifth, Keselowski led 46 laps in his No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang. He took the lead from teammate Joey Logano with 16 laps to go and held off Sam Hornish Jr. to win by 1.418 seconds. Saturday’s victory marked the fourth win in the last four Nationwide starts for Keselowski.
“All three Penske cars were very, very fast,” said Keselowski. “Everybody has done a great job with these Nationwide cars and it’s a pleasure to drive when you’ve got cars this good.”
Hornish, who started from the pole, closed the gap to Nationwide Championship points leader Austin Dillon from 14 to three points as they head to Mid-Ohio next week.
“It was a really great day for the Penske organization - a 1-2 finish,” said Hornish. “We’ve done quite a bit lately and one of these times we’ll get turned around where I’m leading the end of it.”