Friday, Dec 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. admitted in June that Sonoma Raceway wasn’t one of his favorite road courses. Days later the Michael Waltrip Racing driver led 51 of 110 laps before winning the first road-course race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

In what could be a scary omen for the rest of the field, Truex says he loves Watkins Glen International where he’ll race this weekend.  Truex owns four top-10 finishes in seven starts on the New York track and has a good shot at sweeping both road-course races on the schedule.

“I still really like Watkins Glen a lot,” said Truex. “I just love the speed it generates. It’s a place that has always been special to me. I went there when I was younger running Busch North and stuff back in the day. It was the first road course that I ran a stock car on. I’ve got a lot of experience there and I can remember going there just to watch my Dad. It’s like New Hampshire and Dover to me -- it’s one of those tracks that I was going to before I ever raced. It’s definitely a cool place for me to go. It’s a place that I definitely want to win. I’ve had some good runs there and hopefully this is the year we can get it done.”

A victory at The Glen would help solidify Truex’s bid for a second-consecutive berth in the Chase. He is 14th in points and holds the second of two wild cards.

ON CHASE: “We are in the hornets nest this weekend when it comes to Watkins Glen and the points situation. We are holding a wild card position and it’s not the ideal situation to be in. Based on what we did at Sonoma, I feel good about our chances because we have performed better at Watkins Glen. I have very high expectations for this weekend. It’s going to be fun and hopefully we’ll go up there and have another great weekend.”

THE GEN 6 IN 2013: “It is amazing what has changed this year with the new car. It seems like it’s constantly evolving. Our set ups for our new 2013 Toyota seem to change every week. And all of a sudden there are certain teams that hit on something and are good for a couple of weeks. Then another team seems to take over. MWR just needs to keep plugging away to find that little bit of an edge that’s missing. Hopefully we will find it soon.”


Danica Patrick No Boot?

Wednesday, Aug 07

The road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International is one of the few tracks on the NASCAR schedule where Danica Patrick has a lot of experience.

Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has made seven starts at Watkins Glen dating back to 2005.

Six of those starts came in the IZOD IndyCar Series and unfortunately won’t offer much assistance to Patrick as she competes in Sunday’s 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. As if the incredible difference between a stock car and an Indy car weren’t enough, the IndyCar Series used the longer version of the Watkins Glen road circuit, which includes the famous “boot” portion of the track.

Patrick did compete in last year’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen, but she finished 43rd after Ryan Truex spun in front of her on the start. She could not avoid his spinning car and made heavy contact with his machine. It was part of a memorable, if not downright strange, three-race Nationwide Series road course experience for Patrick last season.

In June 2012 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Patrick was fourth on the final lap when she was bumped into the gravel trap by Jacques Villeneueve, which dropped her to a 12th-place finish.

One week later, Patrick led 20 laps and was on the point at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal when a fan threw a shoe onto the track and she ran over it on lap 38 of 81. Shortly thereafter, whether the shoe caused the problem or not, Patrick was forced to pit for mechanical repairs and finished 27th.

Patrick’s only Sprint Cup Series start on a road course came two months ago when she started 31st and finished 29th at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. She and the GoDaddy team are hoping that a productive test July 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., will help them to a solid finish at one of the most famous racetracks in the world.





Brian Vickers has set the bar pretty high whenever he drives Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota Camry.

Not only did Vickers win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, but the Thomasville, N.C. native has delivered impressive performances over the last two seasons driving a part-time schedule. In just 13 races Vickers owns eight top-11 finishes and an average finish of 13th in the No. 55. 

This weekend Vickers races the No. 55 at Watkins Glen International. He finished 13th in the Sprint Cup Series only road course race of 2013 in Sonoma. 


VICKERS ON WINNING: “I didn't give up on myself, but when you have so much love and support around you, that makes all the difference. I've got to thank my family and friends for getting me that through all that (health issues that forced him to miss races in 2010). Being able to win after that is almost unimaginable. It's so beyond what I was thinking about in the moment, getting back into a race car was all I could think about. But once I decided to get back in, my goal was to win a championship, and along the way win some races, and that’s still my goal. I feel like for the first time in my career, and this has nothing to do with anybody else or anyone I've worked with or worked for, sometimes it's just about chemistry - and I feel like the partners, the owners, the management and crew probably click as good as it ever has in my career.”





A recent test session at Watkins Glen International has sprung new optimism for the Chase-contending Kurt Busch, who will make his 13th career start at the central New York road course in Sunday’s CHEEZ-IT 355 At The Glen.
Busch, driver of the Denver-based No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS, spent two days testing at the 11-turn, 2.45-mile circuit on July 29 and 30.
Though he is known as one of the premier road racers on the Sprint Cup Series circuit, Busch has had mixed results at the Watkins Glen track. In 12 previous Cup starts at the Glen, the former NASCAR series champion has claimed one top-five and four top-10s. His best finish was second in 2010.
“Watkins Glen is a fast road course that has been tough on me over the years,” noted Busch, who finished fourth in the June road race in Sonoma, Calif. “We actually used one of our NASCAR tests at Watkins Glen and I am glad we did.”
Busch, a 24-time tour winner, said what the team learned during the two days of testing, especially with braking, will be a huge benefit for Sunday’s 90-lap, 220.5-mile race, the second and final road-race competition of the season.
“When we went there (Watkins Glen) we opened up Pandora’s box with some braking issues and were able to master that by the end of the test,” said Busch. “I feel confident heading back there – not to just have speed in qualifying but to have speed throughout the race. It’s an important race in a critical juncture of the season.”
Busch, who is attempting to become the first driver to qualify for the Chase with a single-car team, finds himself in 13th place, 11 points from the coveted 10th position in the standings. The top-10 in points qualify for the 10-race Chase playoffs along with two wildcard entries. 
“We have five races remaining before the Chase and in those five races we need to do what we did last week in Pocono,” stated Busch. “We had a fast car and closed the deal at the end with a third-place finish. It’s this type of finishes that it’s going to take to get into the Chase. We had fast cars a number of times this year but could not close the deal with a strong finish.”
Busch said the competition is fierce among the drivers battling to make the Chase.
“You’re running against Jeff Gordon, a four-time champion and (Brad) Keselowski, a champion from last year is in the mix. (Greg) Biffle is strong, (Martin) Truex won earlier in Sonoma, (Ryan) Newman won at Indy. They’re all Chase material,” stated Busch. “For us, we’re just putting the blinders on and worried only about the 78. We just need to have nice, smooth races and execute like we did in Pocono.”

With the NASCAR Nationwide Series geared up for some road course action for the second time this season, Canadian Derek White prepares to return to the driver's seat as well.  White will once again climb behind the wheel of the No. 24 Toyota of SR2 Motorsports for the running of the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International in scenic Watkins Glen, New York.


"We are excited to have Derek back behind the wheel of our SR2 Motorsports Toyota," stated SR2 Motorsports team owner Jason Sciavicco.  "He drove for us at Road America earlier this year and he did a great job before we had an oil leak late in the race end our day.  These NASCAR Nationwide Series road course events are some of the most exciting races all year for the fans and I think for the teams as well.  We have worked hard on our road course package since Road America and look forward to a great race this weekend in Watkins Glen."


The start on Saturday will be White's sixth career start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and his second this year with his previous start at the road course of Road America.


Much like that Road America event, White and the SR2 Motorsports team will be sponsored by VIP Poker for the 200 mile event at Watkins Glen.  Situated in Kahnawake territory, just a short drive from Montreal, VIP is the epicenter of the Quebec poker boom. VIP is brought to you by management who has long understood and catered to the desires of the local poker playing population. VIP knows what players want; VIP knows what players deserve. The room was founded on the principal that all players should be treated as VIP's.


Derek will be joined by SR2 Motorsports teammate Blake Koch who will pilot the No. 00 Toyota for the team.  The event will be Blake's 17th start of the season and he currently sits 24th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings.


The running of the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 10, 2013.  The race can be viewed LIVE nationally on ABC Sports and heard on affiliated MRN radio stations and on Sirius NASCAR Radio 90.


SR2 Motorsports PR

Cole Whitt and his TriStar Motorsports team welcome back Gold Bond to the No. 44 Toyota Camry. As one of the top selling medicated powders in America, Gold Bond will serve as the primary sponsor on Whitt's Camry for this weekend's Zippo 200 during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the 2.45-mile road course of Watkins Glen International on Saturday.  

Located on the southern tip of Seneca Lake in New York's wine country, the 11-turn road course will post a challenge for 40 NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers who are used to turning left. Whitt, who grew up racing open wheel cars on dirt tracks across the country, has become quite a road course racer in recent years.  Most recently, the 22-year-old stock car standout from Alpine, California finished eighth while driving for TriStar Motorsports at Road America's 4.048-mile complex course back in June.


"I'm looking forward to having Gold Bond back on the car this weekend," said Whitt. We finished 16th the last time we had them on the car in Daytona [July] and I can only hope we can secure an even better finish for them. I feel that my team has a lot in common with Gold Bond's philosophy. We're strong, hard-working and trusted and our gold Gold Bond Camry will be fast," Whitt continued.


Whitt will make his second road course start of the season and his second career start at Watkins Glen International. Live coverage of the Zippo 200 can be seen at 3 p.m. ET on ABC and you can listen live on MRN Radio. 



This week the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will compete in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, a 2.45-mile, 11-turn road-course, their second ‘left and right-turn’ event of the year. Kyle Busch has piloted the No. 54 Monster Energy Nationwide Series car 15 times this season which has yielded eight wins, five pole positions, 13 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes, but has yet to try his hand on a road-course in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NNS Toyota.

In June, Australian driver Owen Kelly traveled with the JGR team to their first non-oval event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. where they accomplished a fourth-place result, their 11th top-five finish in 14 races of the season. The No. 54 team hopes to improve on that finish Saturday, this time working together with their veteran Monster Energy athlete.

Among six career races at the Glen in the Nationwide Series, Busch has not recorded a win, but does maintain four top-five and five top-10 finishes along with 90 laps led. JGR statistics in the Nationwide Series at the New York facility are missing a win and a pole, but across 21 races, include six top-five finishes, nine top-10 finishes and 87 laps led.

The No. 54 Monster Energy team’s crew chief Adam Stevens recorded a steady top-five result in 2011 with then JGR driver Joey Logano. Stevens and the eight-time 2013 winning Toyota team look to achieve that first win for the JGR Nationwide shop and with Busch, a bridesmaid twice at the Glen, hoping to sip area wine from a victory chalice, this time around.


Photos Courtesy of: ISC Images and Archives

Penalties have been levied to the No. 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team following last Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway.

The No. 17 truck was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to the NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20B of the NASCAR rule book); and 20B-12.8.1A (the roof failed to meet the minimum height requirement during post-race inspection) of the 2013 rule book.

As a result of this violation, crew chief Butch Hylton has been fined $5,000. The team has also been docked six championship driver (Timothy Peters) points and six championship truck owner (Tom DeLoach) points.



Red Horse Racing will not appeal the penalty handed down by NASCAR today regarding the No. 17 found too low in post race inspection this past weekend at Pocono Raceway. 

"Our race team respects NASCAR and the way our sport is governed by the sanctioning body," said Tom DeLoach, Managing Partner of Red Horse Racing. "We fully acknowledge that the team was too low in post race inspection because of a shock malfunction. Red Horse Racing accepts NASCAR's penalty and looks forward to success for the remainder of the 2013 season."


The shock malfunction found during post race teardown hindered the team's performance at Pocono Raceway. The team is disappointed in their result but is optimistic on the results during the upcoming races.




Seventeen Texas Motor Speedway employees made the journey 90 miles south on Interstate 35W Tuesday to help residents of West, Texas, with their ongoing rebuilding process from April's fertilizer explosion that devastated the small community as part of its "Speeding to Help" community outreach program.


STH WestTexas Motor Speedway employees volunteered their time and services to the West Long-Term Recovery Center in helping longtime West residents Martha and Andrew Hlavenka, who lived just blocks away from the center of the explosion, move closer to returning to their home. The contingent painted the entire exterior of their home, removed dead and fallen tree limbs and added a sentimental finishing touch to the visit by purchasing and installing a new mailbox. The group also made another visit in town and assisted a fellow West resident with the removal of additional dead and fallen tree limbs.


"It's wonderful, I don't know what we would do without it (their home)," said Martha, an 88-year-old who treated the speedway employees to the town's famous kolaches for their volunteer help. "We worry about the inside and the outside too, but now we got the outside done so we're really happy now."


The explosion on the evening of April 17 that rocked the community with a population of roughly 2,800 that is situated 15 miles north of Waco has left a lasting mark that can be seen throughout the town. Homemade signs line the streets asking for prayers and at the center of the blast, a debris field still stands as a constant reminder of the tragedy that killed 15, injured 200 and damaged numerous homes in its wake of destruction.


West SignTractors and fertilizer vehicles are overturned, huge metal panels from the fertilizer silos are scattered and cars are not even recognizable due to the extensive damage.


The Hlavenkas traditionally sit on the patio to enjoy the Texas evenings, but did not do so that fateful night. The windows also were open, preventing them from serious injury and saving the home. The homes of her relatives that live next door and across the street were not as fortunate, as one home had to be demolished and the other is inhabitable and may have the same fate. Fortunately, they did not sustain any serious injuries either.


"I don't think anyone knows what it was like exactly because it happened so fast," said Martha, who did have a nephew perish who responded immediately to the scene to assist a fellow homeowner in saving their horses. "The house was shaking and you felt like you couldn't breathe. All at once, it just kind of popped everything open. Just like a bomb. You won't ever forget it."


West received promising news just last week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) overturned its initial decision and has approved public assistance for the community. The ruling paves the way for residents to receive federal aid to continue the rebuilding process.


Despite FEMA's ruling, volunteers still are needed to help the community's restoration efforts. Individuals or groups wanting to help make a difference can contact the West Long-Term Recovery Project by calling (254) 826-7550 or by visiting  


Texas Motor Speedway's annual "Speeding to Help" program has had an emphasis this year in helping towns rebuild following disasters. Along with the work in West, last week Texas Motor Speedway employees traveled to Granbury to assist the United Methodist Committee on Relief rebuild the home for Alfonso and Amanda Hernandez. The Hernandez home was devastated after an EF-4 tornado ripped through their Rancho Brazos community.


The program also has helped those in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex as staffers kicked off "Speeding to Help" on July 24 by assisting Mission Arlington with pickups and deliveries of various household items and furniture for the less fortunate. The program concludes next Friday with a visit to the Humane Society of North Texas, where volunteers will assist the staff in preparation of the animals for adoption by bathing, grooming and exercising those currently in the shelter.




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