Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard RAM in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), finished eighth in the VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Saturday afternoon. Cooper Standard employees and guests filled the MIS grandstands to root for their Rochester Hills, Michigan native.
Keselowski's day started with a 10th place qualifying effort in front of his home state fans and sponsors. The Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) / Cooper Standard partnership made its debut at MIS last year and has grown to include primary sponsorship for a number of races as well as a personal services relationship with Keselowski and charitable component.
When the green flag waved at MIS, Brad quickly worked his way to eighth place. On lap 12, the first caution flew for debris on the track. Crew Chief Jeff Stankiewicz began the fuel mileage game early by staying on the track in favor of position. The Cooper Standard RAM restarted as the race leader and fended off the field for four laps on old tires. By lap 19, Keselowski was racing three wide for the lead and fell back a few positions due to tire wear.
On lap 26, Keselowski brought his truck into the pit for Sunoco fuel and fresh right side Goodyear tires. As the leaders raced by, Keselowski skillfully avoided a multi-truck incident and was able to take advantage of the wave around. Within 9 laps, the No. 29 Cooper Standard RAM moved from 20th to 11th place positioned for a solid run to the finish.
A final fuel-only stop on lap 88 set the team up for another top 10 finish.
"This is an all-Michigan weekend, and I'm thrilled about it," said Keselowski. "To be in the BKR truck at MIS and carry the Michigan-based Cooper Standard colors in front of more than 1,000 of its employees and their families is a special deal. We are still looking for some speed with our RAM, and I'm excited to hop in a second BKR truck at Bristol this Wednesday night."
The No. 29 BKR RAM is fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner point standings just 29 points behind the leader. Keselowski will take the wheel of the No. 29 Reese Towpower RAM on Wednesday night alongside new teammate Ryan Blaney in the No. 19 Cooper Standard RAM.
John Wes Townley proved RAB Racing's No. 09 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra was fast in the early laps of Saturday's VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Lamentably, the team was unable to prove it in finishing position after a mid-race incident relegated Townley to a 25th-place finish.
Townley competed in two of the three scheduled NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practices leading up to the 100-lap event, posting speeds fast enough for 15th position in both. In Saturday morning's qualifying session, he drove the No. 09 ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra to 16th on the starting grid.
From the drop of the green flag later that afternoon, Townley wasted no time advancing position, breaking into the top 10 by lap 40. Following a debris caution on Lap 42, Townley restarted on the front row in the second position. Finding a drafting partner in the No. 11 truck of Todd Bodine, the two circled the Brooklyn oval with Townley pushing.
Unfortunately, Townley got loose coming out of Turn 4 and spun his Toyota Tundra, making heavy contact with the outside retaining wall. After a thorough investigation, the Chris Rice-led RAB Racing team determined the damage was too severe to repair, ending their day early.
Despite finishing in the 25th position, Townley advanced one position, to 18th, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings.
The next stop for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.
RAB Racing PR
Two of the biggest brands in all of sports, NASCAR and FOX Deportes, announced today they are teaming up to provide the sport’s most expansive Spanish-language broadcast offering ever with coverage of 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as well as original programming, daily news segments and weekly updates starting in 2013.
Of the 15 race broadcasts, FOX Deportes, the No. 1 U.S. Latino Sports network, will carry live six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including, for the first time ever, a Spanish-language broadcast of NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 24).
In addition to the 15 Spanish-language race broadcasts, FOX Deportes will also produce and air a series of original NASCAR programs focused on engaging the Latino fan base. This series will be complemented by daily NASCAR news segments in the No. 1 rated U.S. Latino sports news franchise, Central FOX.
“It’s a historic milestone in the evolution of FOX Deportes, and we’re excited to be working with NASCAR to add the most popular motorsport in America to our overall programming mix for the first time,” said Vincent Cordero, executive vice president and general manager of FOX Deportes. “There’s no sport more deeply rooted in the fabric of America than NASCAR, and having it on our own network represents our continued commitment to expand and diversify our content portfolio by adding the biggest sporting events in the world that impassion today’s U.S. Latino.”
FOX Deportes coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing gets underway Saturday, Feb. 16 with coverage of the Daytona Shootout, a non-points race from Daytona International Speedway that unofficially kicks off the 2013 season. In addition to the Daytona 500 a week later (Sunday, Feb. 24), FOX Deportes will also broadcast live in Spanish four additional races from Auto Club Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
“The thirst for NASCAR programming, and in particular race broadcasts, is very strong and we’re constantly looking for ways to expose the sport to new fans in new places,” said Steve Herbst, NASCAR vice president of broadcasting and production. “To be able to put a deal like this together with FOX Deportes, a leader in U.S. Latino sports media, is something we believe will help satisfy the strong demand for NASCAR racing in the Hispanic community while also exposing the sport to new audiences.”
In addition to the six live and nine live-to-tape race broadcasts, the four 30-minute original programs that will air early next year will highlight NASCAR’s storied history and personalities that make NASCAR one of the most popular sports in the world.
All original NASCAR-related programs will air on Fridays at 10:30 p.m. ET, with encore presentations the following Monday at 4 p.m. ET. FOX Deportes also plans weekly NASCAR in-season updates during regularly-scheduled programming to keep fans up-to-date with their favorite teams and drivers. A comprehensive on-air promotional campaign, as well as coverage of NASCAR on Central FOX, will accompany FOX Deportes’ NASCAR race broadcasts throughout the 2013 season.
Greg Biffle took home the trophy and grasped the points lead after a victorious run at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. He now leads the Sprint Cup Championship standings by 20 points over Ford teammate Matt Kenseth.
Biffle stormed past Brad Keselowski and was running a close second to Jimmy Johnson when with eight laps left, Johnson started to slow due to engine troubles and Biffle breezed by to take the win.
"I got it turned around and was catching him, and then his engine failed," Biffle said. "It was going to be a great race, no matter what. I felt like I could catch him, but we'll never know."
Shortly after Biffle sailed by for the lead, there was a caution for oil on the track. Biffle held Keselowski off during the exciting green-white-checkered finish to take home his second win of the year.
After taking a four-month absence to pursue his NASCAR Nationwide series aspirations, Josh Richards was not only back on dirt this weekend, but also back in Victory Lane. Richards was victorious at Merritt Raceway in Merritt, Michigan after winning the World of Outlaws sanctioned NAPA Auto Parts Merritt 50. His teammate and fellow Roush Yates Engines driver, Brandon Sheppard finished out strong at second place.
Roush Yates and Ford Racing continued their success this weekend at the final night of the Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcar Series at Western Speedway in Victoria, British Columbia. Sierra Jackson became the first woman to win the 52nd annual Daffodil Cup with her Roush Yates Ford 360 engine. In addition, Jack Dover took the checkered at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas with the Speedway Motors ASCS Warrior Region.
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished ninth (Paul Menard), 16th (Kevin Harvick) and 19th (Jeff Burton).
Menard maintained an Average Running Position of 9.587, the eighth-best of the 43-car field and spent 163 out of 201 laps (81.1 percent) running in the top 15, earning a 101.2 Driver Rating.
Menard ranked fifth in NASCAR's Loop Data category Fastest Drivers Early in a Run (190.674 mph), eighth in Green Flag Speed (190.212 mph) and 10th in Fastest Drivers Late in a Run (189.927 mph).
According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Harvick maintained an Average Running Position of 16th and completed 84 Green Flag Passes during the Pure Michigan 400.
Harvick ranked second in the Loop Data Statistics category Closers, gaining seven positions in the last 10 percent (20 laps) of the race.
Burton made 106 green-flag passes over the course of the 400-mile event.
Greg Biffle captured his second victory of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is IRWIN Tools Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 25. The 24th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ABC beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM beginning at 6:30 p.m.
2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards
Paul Menard, Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Team Finish Ninth at Michigan International Speedway
Paul Menard started from the 10th position and drove the Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. When the green flag dropped on the 201-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup Series affair Menard powered into the top five by lap 10. Battling a tight-handling machine in the center of the turns, the No. 27 Chevrolet team lost track position but remained in the top 10. Crew chief Slugger Labbe called for air pressure and chassis adjustments during scheduled caution-period and green-flag pit stops throughout the race to help alleviate the challenges that Menard was facing on the No. 27 Chevrolet. A lap-137 pit stop under yellow-flag conditions and a subsequent visit to pit road under caution seven laps later, armed the neon yellow racer with fresh tires and a full tank of fuel. As teams began to make green-flag pit stops, Menard assumed the lead on lap 175. The Eau Claire, Wis., native made his final pit stop under caution on lap 182, forfeiting the point position for new tires, Sunoco Green E15 fuel and one last set of adjustments to improve the car's handling. Menard survived two final restarts, including a green-white-checkered finish, advancing from the 12th spot to cross the finish line in the ninth position.
Start - 10 Finish - 9 Laps Led - 8 Points - 15
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"It was a pretty good day for the Pittsburgh Paints/Menards team. We adjusted on the car's handling throughout the race and the pit crew was solid in the pits as always. We took a gamble at the end and thought we had more cars a lap down when they cycled through their green-flag pit stops and the caution came out. Still, we're happy with a top 10 and are looking forward to heading to Bristol (Motor Speedway) next weekend."
2011 CC Team Logo 29 Jimmy Johns
Kevin Harvick and the Jimmy John's Team Finish 16th at
Michigan international Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's team finished 16th at Michigan International Speedway after battling handling issues during the Pure Michigan 400. The 36-year-old driver started from the 20th position and ran within the top 20 as he fought a tight-handling Chevrolet. Harvick brought the Richard Childress Racing machine down pit road under yellow and green-flag conditions as the Jimmy John's pit crew executed two and four-tire pit stops with air pressure and chassis adjustments, in an effort to combat the handling issue on the No. 29 Chevrolet. As the 201-lap event neared an end, the caution flag was displayed for the final time with five laps remaining in the event. During the caution period, crew chief Shane Wilson called Harvick to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment on lap 196 for one final attempt to correct the handling issue. The RCR driver was scored in the 17th-position for the green-white-checkered restart and was able to pick up one spot during the final laps, crossing the finish line 16th. The top-20 finish moved Harvick up one position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, to eighth, 85 points behind the leader.
Start - 20 Finish - 16 Laps Led - 0 Points - 8
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"Obviously, that was not the kind of day we were expecting to have. Our team struggled all weekend to find the speed and setup we needed to get the Jimmy John's Chevrolet out front. We'll regroup this week and switch our focus to Bristol (Motor Speedway)."
Jeff Burton and the Wheaties Chevrolet Team Finishes 19th at Michigan International Speedway
After starting from the 32nd position in the Pure Michigan 400, Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet team scored a 19th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway. As soon as the green flag was displayed, Burton showcased speed by passing 10 competitors in the first two laps. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer played different strategies throughout the day, taking only right-side tires only during most of the routine pit stops while Burton ran in the top 20. By lap 140, the South Boston, Va., native climbed his way into the eighth position. On a lap-148 restart, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner made contact with another competitor, sending the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet back in the field. Burton overcame handling challenges of the car and passed three cars over the final portion of the 201-lap event to bring home a 19th-place finish. Burton now sits 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 32 Finish - 19 Laps Led - 0 Points - 20
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"While we were expecting a better finish than 19th-place, I felt like this team played a good strategy today. We were much improved from the first time we came to Michigan (International Speedway) in June. We were able to test at Bristol (Motor Speedway) a few months ago so I plan to improve on my top-10 finish there in March next Saturday under the lights."
Country music star Luke Bryan will perform a pre-race infield concert on Sunday, September 16, at Chicagoland Speedway as a prelude to the GEICO 400 and the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All fans with a race ticket can enjoy the concert from the grandstands, and for the first time ever season ticket holders and fans with pit passes will be able to walk down to the infield to enjoy one of country music’s premier talents. Bryan will also be performing the National Anthem prior to the GEICO 400 getting underway.
The concert will take place from the grass in the tri-oval, which can be accessed through newly-installed crossover gates in the grandstands. Fans can also remain in the infield during driver introductions for an up-close-and-personal experience like never before. For NASCAR fans unable to attend the race, ESPN will carry one song from Bryan’s live performance during NASCAR Countdown (1p.m. ET).
“Adding an artist of Luke Bryan’s caliber and appeal to our GEICO 400 pre-race festivities only increases the excitement that the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup brings,” said Scott Paddock, Chicagoland Speedway president. “By providing our fans access to the infield and an up close and personal look at what is sure to be a remarkable concert performance, we’re confident that we will provide them with an experience that will exceed all expectations.”
All fans with a race ticket will be able to see the concert from the grandstands, with the ability to purchase a pit pass for infield access. A special “Luke Bryan Fan Section” package is also available in the grandstands. For more information on the Luke Bryan concert, visit www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com.
Bryan recently scored his third consecutive Platinum single with “Drunk On You” from his Platinum-certified album, tailgates & tanlines. The single joins previous Platinum tracks “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and the two-week #1 hit “I Don’t Want This Night To End.” Luke is one of only three country artists, including Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift, to have three consecutive Platinum-selling tracks on their current album. Bryan was named “Top New Artist” by the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2010 and won “Male Video of the Year” for “I Don’t Want This Night To End” at the 2012 CMT Music Awards.
Chicagoland Speedway is the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this September – the first of ten ‘playoff’ style NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in pursuit of the 2012 championship. The Dollar General 300 powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series will kick off the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 15 with the GEICO 400 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup concluding the weekend on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Jason White knew the hard work of his GunBroker.com team was going unnoticed. On Saturday in the Irish Hills of Michigan, it all came together for the young race team and their No. 23 GunBroker.com Ford. White earned a career best second place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series running of the 13th Annual VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
White started the 200-mile event from the 12th position as a result of his qualifying effort earlier in the day at the recently repaved 2-mile oval. He would begin the race fighting a “tight” condition, but a great adjustment on the team’s first pit stop had the No. 23 Ford rocketing to the front of the field. With track position at a premium with limited racing grooves, crew chief Doug George made a decision to gamble and come down pit road just past the halfway mark for fuel right on the edge of their pit window. The strategy would pay off perfectly with Jason charging to the second place finish.
“This is awesome for me and this GunBroker.com team,” stated White. “We had a strong truck all weekend and after that first pit stop we were one of the fastest trucks on the track. With the track having just one groove of racing, we knew it would come down to a track position battle at the end. We made a decision to take a gamble on the fuel mileage and it paid off for us. I saved as much as I could the last few laps and actually ran out on my cool down lap, so the guys had it calculated just right. I knew we were on the verge of performances like this and hope it serves as a spring board for the remainder of the season.”
White, who earned his fifth top-10 finish of the season, maintains his 10th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers’ standings – 15 points out of the ninth position.
“I am very proud of the guys on this team,” added Jason. “We are a single truck team competing against much larger organizations but we have a close knit atmosphere here with these guys. They put forth a tremendous effort and take pride in what we accomplish. While I am proud of myself for getting my best NASCAR finish, this is really a testament to the hard work of the guys on this team. I firmly believe we are ready to visit Victory Lane and that is just around corner for this team.”
Jason and his GunBroker.com team have very little time to enjoy this finish as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action on Wednesday August 22nd when the series visits Bristol Motor Speedway for the very popular running of the UNOH 200.
Richmond International Raceway has options available for fans to upgrade their September 7 & 8 race day experiences with packages that include pre-race pit passes, exclusive driver appearances, food & beverage and much more.
Pit Stop Club ($2,300 per group of 8), includes:
· Eight reserved grandstand seats in the Commonwealth Mezzanine on the frontstretch for the Saturday, September 8, Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
· Guided garage tours for each guest
· Pre-race pit passes for each guest
· Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano
· Two VIP parking passes
· Admission to the Pit Stop Club hospitality area, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., which includes a full dinner buffet with beverages – complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and water
Torque Club ($800 per person), includes:
· Reserved, outdoor stadium seat with arm rests, cup holders and in-seat beverage service for both the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
· Pre-race pit pass for both days
· All-inclusive gourmet food package
· Unlimited soft drinks and water
· Adult beverage tickets
· Reserved parking
· Access to the indoor, air-conditioned lounge
Veranda Club ($320 per person), includes:
· Reserved seat in the top row of the Veranda grandstand for both the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
· Pre-race pit pass for Saturday, September 8
· Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano
· Guided garage tour on Saturday, September 8
· VIP parking for both September 7 and September 8
· Access to the Pit Stop Club hospitality area prior to the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, September 8, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., which includes a full dinner buffet with beverages – complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and water
The first twelve races of the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season have been a learning experience for rookie Ross Chastain. There are many ups and downs for young drivers and it’s all part of the learning curve that a rookie goes through competing in one of NASCAR’s top touring series.
On Saturday afternoon, Ross and the SS Green Light team ran the entire gamut of emotions while having a very solid run in the Melon 1 / Engine Parts Plus Toyota running inside the top-fifteen for nearly the entire NCWTS VFW 200 at the Michigan International Speedway.
Through different pit strategies during the middle stages of the 100-lap event the rookie driver found himself running in the top-five with less than five laps remaining before having to pit for a splash of fuel and dropped all the way to eighteenth at the checkers behind first-time winner Nelson Piquet Jr.
Chastain was featured on SPEED-TV’s “NCWTS Setup” show as former Daytona 500 winner and NCWTS announcer Michael Waltrip joined Ross at one of Melon 1’s watermelon farms in Delaware to explain the process of growing and distributing watermelon throughout the United States.
Ross qualified for the VFW 200 in twenty-first with a lap of 40.27 seconds at over 178.75 mph on the freshly re-paved two-mile speedway in the Irish Hills of Michigan. The Melon 1 / Engine Parts Plus Toyota would not stay back in the field for long as Ross moved up five spots in the first ten laps and then into the top-fifteen where he would stay for the entire race before pitting with less than five laps to go.
“We had a very good handling truck,” Chastain said. “We didn’t have the overall speed to run with the front trucks. I really don’t understand everything yet with all the aerodynamics on these trucks; between the amount of downforce and drag we just didn’t have the outright speed some of the other trucks had, but we were pretty good around other trucks.”
“We weren’t quite fast enough to lead a pack, but when I got behind a couple trucks and helped push we could run faster lap times. I could really eat them up in the corners and that was a bit frustrating.”
“We kind of pit on accident on that last caution. They told me to come if the other trucks came, one or two in front of me came to the pits and I followed them and then no one came behind me. We could have restated about eighth or ninth. But once we were going on the long green I thought it as a good thing we came in,” Chastain explained. “Several of the other trucks made it to the end, but they tell me we wouldn’t have made it. I guess it’s the program we are on with the combination of aero and motor. It’s just one of those things. If there was a late caution we might have been right in a perfect spot to make it to the end.”
“At three or four races earlier this year we would have been happy with an eighteenth place finish,” Ross concluded. “Realistically we were a tenth to thirteenth place truck and if things had worked out a little differently with the stops we could have lucked our way to a top-five. We were running ahead of Dakota (Armstrong) when we came into the pit and we were right behind Jason White so we could have been right there in third or forth.”
“We learned a lot, but in the end we just needed a little more gas in the tank!”
Chastain picked-up one position to sixteenth in the NCWTS point standings as the SS Green Light Racing Team quickly prepares for Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
SS Green Light Racing PR
Ryan Newman turned up the “WIX” in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The driver of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) put in a gutsy performance as he fought through sickness and an ill-handling racecar to finish eighth. It was Newman’s eighth top-10 finish this season and his fifth top-10 in the last six races.
Newman, who fought flu-like symptoms Sunday, was able to maintain a hold on the second of two wild-card spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with three races to go before the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
“I’m actually better now than I was getting into the racecar,” Newman said. “I think adrenaline takes over for most of that part. It was just a good run for the WIX Filters Chevrolet. We need to win, no doubt, but if we can manage those others guys, then we’re doing a good thing. A win is going to answer a lot of questions, and we’re all trying really hard.
“I think we had a 10th-place car today and we finished eighth, so that’s a bonus. I’m just proud of the guys – they kept working on this WIX Filters Chevrolet. We all worked hard today to have a good run and hold onto that wild card. Everything was good. We’ve just got to get great.”
Only the top-10 in points are locked into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points who have 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 holds the 11th-place wild-card spot thanks to his two victories, the most of any driver outside the top-10. Newman has the 12th-place wild-card spot by virtue of his April 1 victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, combined with his 13th-place position in the point standings, which is higher than his fellow single-race winners in the top-20 in points – Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano.
For Newman, Sunday’s race was an exercise of determination. He started 15th and broke into the top-10 for the first time on lap 12. Soon after that, however, Newman told crew chief Tony Gibson that the handling on his WIX Filters Chevy needed to be tighter. After just a few laps in the top-10, Newman fell back to 12th.
On lap 35, Newman pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires, fuel and wedge and air-pressure adjustments. Newman returned to the track in 21st, but his car remained “unsettled.” It started the run tight and then became loose over the course of the next green-flag run.
Despite the uncomfortable handling of the racecar, Newman had moved up to 13th by the time the caution flag waved on lap 65. Newman pitted for four tires, fuel and another air-pressure adjustment. Shortly thereafter, Newman radioed that the adjustments did not help his WIX Filters car. He told his crew that it was “way too loose” and that the adjustments they had been making were not keeping up with the changing conditions of the 2-mile oval.
Under caution on lap 88, Newman, who had been running in 18th, brought his gold-and-black Chevy back to the attention of his crew on pit lane. They executed a wedge adjustment, added fuel and changed right-side tires. He returned to the track for the lap-92 restart in 21st.
As the race wore on, loose turned out to be the theme of the day for Newman and his WIX Filters Chevrolet.
By lap 150, Newman had climbed back into the top-10. However, he told his crew he still needed to be “snugged up” in order to gain spots on the racetrack. He pitted under green on lap 165 for another wedge and air-pressure adjustment, four tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 20th.
Although Newman now had the fuel to make it to the end, the racecar was still too loose for his liking. When the caution flag waved on lap 182, Gibson opted to give up 15th place and bring Newman back down pit road to take a big swing at tightening the racecar. He pitted under caution for right-side tires and a wedge adjustment. Newman returned to the track for the restart in 13th.
The South Bend, Ind., native was determined to overcome his sickness and the loose racecar and get a top-10 finish at the track he considers home. Newman made a gutsy, three-wide move on the lap-187 restart and picked up five spots to move from 13th to eighth, which is the position he held until the checkered flag flew.
Newman’s teammate and SHR co-owner, Tony Stewart, finished 32nd after engine issues forced the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet to retire early.
Greg Biffle won the Pure Michigan 400 to score his 18th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his third at Michigan.
Brad Keselowski finished .416 of a second behind Biffle in the runner-up spot, while Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Ambrose rounded out the top-five. Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Newman, Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr., comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were eight caution periods for 35 laps, with 15 drivers failing to finish the 201-lap race, which was extended one lap beyond the scheduled race distance by a green-white-checkered finish.
With round 23 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He fell one spot to ninth and has 728 points, 95 back of new series leader Biffle and one point ahead of 10th-place Denny Hamlin with a 34-point cushion over 11th-place Kahne. Newman remained 13th in the standings and has 680 points, 143 behind Biffle and 47 behind Hamlin.