Speedway Digest Staff
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A total of 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams took part in a Goodyear tire test on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR night race weekend August 30th to September 1st.
“The thirteen teams testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway is the most we’ve had at the track in a number of years,” said Ed Clark, President of Atlanta Motor Speedway. “It shows how important the AdvoCare 500 is as teams head towards the Chase.”
Among speeds seen today in Atlanta include 189.150 mph by Aric Amlirola while Jamie McMurray turned in a speed of 188.443 mph on the 1.54 mile speedway.
Carl Edwards, who won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Atlanta in 2005, was among the drivers testing on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“The first win in Atlanta was a life changing event,” said Edwards. “If it was up to me, we’d race here once a month.”
A three-time winner in Atlanta, Kurt Busch was also at Atlanta Motor Speedway testing in preparation for the AdvoCare 500. Busch, whose most recent Atlanta win came in 2010 currently 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Busch said that Atlanta’s racing surface sets it apart from other facilities.
“Tire wear is so different at Atlanta than any other race,” said Busch. “I’m excited to see how the tire is going to be with the race and the restarts and the long green flag runs.”
Other drivers that took part in the testing in Atlanta included Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Martin Truex, Jr., AJ Allmendinger and David Reutimann.
As the Nationwide Series heads to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International to tackle the first of two consecutive road-course races, many Nationwide Series regulars will be hoping to just make it to the finish of the events and minimize the damage to their spot in the championship standings. On the other hand, former road-course racer Parker Kligerman - who ranks 10th in the championship standings - and his Bandit Chippers Racing team eye the next two weeks as an opportunity to run up front, compete for wins and begin chipping their way back up the point standings.
Kligerman had a strong showing in the first road-course race of the season at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. The Connecticut native qualified third and made his way to the front of the field in the early stages before being knocked off course. He was scored in the 33rd spot just past the halfway mark of the race, but maneuvered his way back through the field to earn a third-place finish- a career-best in the Nationwide Series.
The Road America event was Kligerman's fourth start in a stock car on a road course, including two in the Nationwide Series, all which have resulted in top-10 finishes. He has qualified inside the top three in all but one of his road-course starts in a stock car, resulting in an average starting spot of seventh and an average finish of 4.75.
Kligerman - who will celebrate his 23rd birthday on Thursday - will be making his first career start at Watkins Glen, but just as he did in his inaugural visit to Road America earlier this season, he hopes to be able to adapt quickly to the new course and put together another solid run. With just 13 races remaining on the schedule, it is time for the talented youngster to start chipping his way back through the standings if he hopes to be a title contender at the end of the season.
Landon Cassill will drive a Nationwide Series car at Watkins Glen International this weekend for the first time in five years.
Cassill will be back in the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet for Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen, the second road-course race of the season for the Nationwide Series.
Cassill ran in the 2008 Nationwide race at the Glen, finishing 31st.
Last season, he finished 23rd in the Sprint Cup Series’ visit to the fast road course.
“Watkins Glen is one of the most challenging road courses because it’s so fast practically all the way around,” Cassill said. “But that makes it a lot of fun, too.”
Saturday’s race will be the second of three road-course events for Nationwide drivers this year. Next week, the tour visits Mid-Ohio.
JD Motorsports PR
Energized by a productive road-course run recently, Mike Wallace rolls into Watkins Glen International this weekend looking for a good performance in the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet in the Zippo 200 at The Glen.
Wallace finished 13th in the recent Nationwide race on the Road America road course at Elkhart Lake, Wisc. He ran as high as 12th after starting 31st, scoring his second best finish of the season to date.
“Our little team has run pretty good on the road courses,” Wallace said. “Of course, Watkins Glen is a high-speed road course and is totally different from Road America. In fact, the Glen is high speed compared to all the other road courses.”
In six Nationwide races at the Glen, Wallace has finished 18th three times and 20th, 26th and 39th.
Watkins Glen is the second of three road-course events for Nationwide drivers this year. Teams will race at Mid-Ohio next weekend.
JD Motorsports PR
Headed In The Right Direction...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will be making right and left turns this weekend as it heads to the second road-course race of the season at Watkins Glen International. Kyle Larson does not have any previous starts at the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course, but he scored a seventh-place finish when the NNS visited Road America in June.
Would You Like Fries With That?...For the second time this season, Larson's No. 32 Camaro will sport the McDonald's golden arches. McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with more than 34,000 locations serving more than 69 million customers in 119 countries each day. More than 80% of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women. To learn more about the company, please visit www.aboutmcdonalds.com.
This Week's Camaro...Crew chief Trent Owens and the No. 32 McDonald's team have prepared chassis TSM-304 for competition this weekend at Watkins Glen. TSM-304 previously served as the No. 32 team's backup at the season's only road course so far, Road America.
Come Down To The Bog...Larson and his NNS competitors will be signing autographs at The Bog Hospitality located inside of Turn 11 on Friday, August 9. The session will run from 4:30-5:30 p.m. EDT. Fans can pick up wristbands at the Cheez-It or Zippo displays in the Fan Midway while supplies last.
Watch and Listen...The Zippo 200 can be seen live on Saturday, August 10 on ABC. Race coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap... In his fourth race at Iowa Speedway, Larson earned another top-five finish in his No. 32 Eveready Chevrolet, coming home fifth in the U.S. Cellular 250 on Saturday night. In his one other NNS race at the 0.875-mile track, Larson also finished fifth. In addition, he has two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, finishing sixth and second.
Kyle Larson on Watkins Glen International
Finger Lakes...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) heads to its second of three road course races this season. Allgaier will be making his fifth start at Watkins Glen International. In last year's race, Allgaier started in the eighth position and finished ninth, after having led one lap at the 2.45-mile road course.
In-Car Camera...This weekend Allgaier will have an in-car camera in his No. 31 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet Camaro. Allgaier will also have an additional over-the-shoulder camera providing fans with another unique view as he navigates his way around the 11-turn road course.
Recapping Iowa...The NNS completed its second and final stop of the season at Iowa Speedway. Allgaier qualified his No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet Camaro ninth for the U.S. Cellular 250. After four cautions, three pit stops and 250 miles of racing at Iowa Speedway, Allgaier brought his No. 31 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet Camaro home in the 17th position for Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM). With Saturday night's finish Allgaier is currently seventh in the NNS Driver Point Standings.
This Week's Camaro...This weekend the No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet team will utilize chassis TSM-308. TSM-308 will race for the first time this season.
Meet Justin...Allgaier will sign autographs at The Bog Hospitality area located inside of Turn 11 at Watkins Glen International. Allgaier will sign with other NNS drivers from 4:30-5:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 10. Fans can pick up wristbands at the Cheez-It or Zippo displays in the Fan Midway while supplies last.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli on Watkins Glen International:
"Watkins Glen [International] is our second road course race this season. Justin finished second at Road America earlier this year, so hopefully some of that road course momentum will carry over into this race. Watkins Glen is very fast and it's different from other road courses because of the banking. If we play our pit strategy correctly and are up front near the end, I think we have a great shot at winning."
Justin Allgaier on Watkins Glen International:
"I'm excited to get to Watkins Glen [International]. We finished second at Road America earlier this year, so it will be nice to get back to a road course. Road racing is challenging, but it's always fun. I don't have the best results at Watkins Glen, but my team at Turner Scott Motorsports has prepared a great chassis, and I think we have great chance to win."
Right Turns Ahead...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will make its second of three road-course stops of the 2013 season at Watkins Glen International (WGI) this weekend for the Zippo 200 at The Glen. Nelson Piquet Jr. has one previous NNS start at the 2.45-mile road course, coming in 2010 where he started 10th and finished seventh. Piquet Jr. is no stranger to success on a road course, he visited victory lane in 2012 when he earned his first NASCAR top-three series win at Road America.
This Week's Camaro...The No. 30 Qualcomm team will have chassis TSM-300 for Saturday afternoon's race at WGI. TSM-300 has been on the track one other time this season at Road America in June.
Come and See...Piquet Jr. will participate in the NNS autograph session on Friday, August 9th from 4:30-5:30 p.m. EDT at the Bog Hospitality located inside of Turn 11. Fans can pick up wristbands at the Cheez-It or Zippo displays in the Fan Midway while supplies last.
Iowa Recap...Making his second career NNS start at Iowa Speedway last weekend, Nelson Piquet Jr. and his No. 30 WORX Yard Tools team looked to build on what they learned from their previous trip to the 0.875-mile speedway in June. Piquet Jr. started the weekend by earning a top-15 qualifying spot, placing the No. 30 WORX Yard Tools Chevrolet Camaro 13th on the starting grid. After running in the top-10 for the first part of the race, Piquet Jr. and his Turner Scott Motorsports team earned a 14th-place finish.
Welcome Back...For the fifth time in 2013, Turner Scott Motorsports partner Qualcomm will be the primary sponsor for Piquet Jr. and No. 30 team in this week's Zippo 200 at The Glen. Qualcomm Incorporated is the world leader in next-generation mobile technologies. For 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of wireless communications, connecting people more closely to information, entertainment and each other. Today, Qualcomm technologies are powering the convergence of mobile communications and consumer electronics, making wireless devices and services more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com.
Watch and Listen...The Zippo 200 at The Glen can be seen live on Saturday, August 10 on ABC. Race coverage will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Radio, channel 90.
Nelson Piquet Jr. on his return to Watkins Glen:
"I am looking forward to getting back on the track and making my return to Watkins Glen this weekend. It has been a few years since I have raced at Watkins Glen in a Nationwide car, but we have had some success there and on road courses in the past, so I am really looking forward to it. My guys have worked hard all week at the shop to get this car ready to race. Qualcomm is back on board this weekend; they have been great partners of ours, so hopefully we can reward them with a trip to victory lane on Saturday."
Ryan Newman’s 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories have come at various venues across the circuit. From a superspeedway win in the 50th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to a short track victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, it seems Newman has won at every type of track. However, there’s one trophy missing from his shelf.
With a victory at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International this weekend, Newman would join an elite list of drivers who have won at every type of track on the Sprint Cup circuit: superspeedway, speedway, intermediate, short track and road course.
Newman came close to winning at Watkins Glen during his rookie year in 2002. He started fifth and led 11 laps before relinquishing the lead to his current teammate and car owner Tony Stewart, who went on to beat him across the finish line by 1.636 seconds.
In 11 career Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen, Newman has the one top-five finish and three top-10s. And while he hasn’t won there in Sprint Cup, Newman did capture a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at The Glen in 2005.
The legendary road course’s long straightaways and fast, sweeping turns have proven their difficulty for some of the sport’s greatest drivers. Recent series champions Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth are all winless at the 2.45-mile venue. Road racers Boris Said and Ron Fellows have fallen short in their bid to upset the series regulars. Busch, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr., are among those who have victories at the other road-racing venue on the circuit – Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway – but are winless in their attempts to conquer The Glen.
Which is why a win this weekend at The Glen would not only complete Newman’s trophy case, it would do so in fantastic fashion as it would also move him ahead of his fellow competitors in pursuit of a wild-card berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
Just five races remain before the 12-driver field is set for the 10-race Chase, which will crown the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. And, as the series heads to The Glen for the second and final road-course race of the season, Newman is in the midst of a hotly contested battle for a coveted Chase berth.
He jumped from 19th to 15th in the point standings thanks to his win two weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, followed by his fourth-place finish at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Sunday. Newman finds himself only 24 points outside the all-important top-10 and, as one of only three drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory, he finds his chances of making the 12-driver, 10-race Chase either by climbing inside the top-10 or via a possible wild-card berth certainly within reach.
But as good as his chances seem to look, Newman heads to Watkins Glen in a precarious position as only the top-10 are locked into the Chase, which begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Chase positions 11 and 12 are wild cards and are awarded to those drivers between 11th and 20th in points who have the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same amount of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Stewart holds the 11th-place wild-card spot thanks to his victory at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and his current point standing of 11th. But he will miss the race this weekend at Watkins Glen due to an injury sustained in a Sprint Car accident Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. Martin Truex Jr., currently 14th in the point standings, holds the 12th-place wild-card spot thanks to his win at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and his nine-point advantage over the 15th-place Newman.
Newman will likely inherit Stewart’s wild-card spot this weekend but could solidify his place in the standings by earning another victory in the next five races, or by climbing into the top-10 in points.
So, Newman and his team, led by crew chief Matt Borland, will look to continue their trend of strong finishes with their eye on taking The Glen’s winding road to victory lane. They know what a second win would mean in their bid to make the Chase. And, for Newman, it would fill the lone void in his personal trophy case.
This weekend AJ Allmendinger is slated to race the No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota Camry for JTG Daugherty Racing in the Cheez-It 335 At The Glen. This is his third time behind the wheel of the No. 47 car.
In four starts at Watkins Glen International, the 31-year-old has one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
The California native's finishes at the road course include 11th, 13th, fourth and eighth respectively since his first visit in 2008. His best start is second place (8/15/11).
Allmendinger's average finish is 9.0 and his average start is 15.3. His average running position of 14.2, ninth-best and his driver rating of 92.4, eighth-best.
JTG DAUGHERTY RACING QUOTES:
CONTROLLING HIS LEVEL OF EXCITEMENT: "I am excited about Watkins Glen (International), but I do not want to be overly excited," AJ Allmendinger said. "We have a really good starting package with our No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota Camry. Of course, the track will change over the weekend with the rubber build up.
"When we tested there last week, we had good speed," continued Allmendinger. "This is one of my favorite tracks and that is why I am trying to maintain my excitement level. I don't want to be overly confident and we will take it as it comes. We have the potential of having a really good weekend."
ROAD COURSE RACER AT HEART: "My background is road course racing," Allmendinger said. "Watkins Glen is more of a commitment and is different than Sonoma (Raceway). You cannot bend your fenders at Watkins Glen and you have to take care of your equipment. It is a place I always enjoy racing. We were up to speed with our SCOTT Products Toyota Camry at the test. We will see where we shake out on Sunday. We feel good about it."
TEAM EXCELS ON WINDING ROADS: "JTG Daugherty Racing has excelled at road courses," Allmendinger said. "Marcos Ambrose drove for them a few years ago, but he is the type of guy that is fast no matter what he is in. Since Marcos was there, the team has done a great job of continuing to build good road course cars. Unfortunately, during the last road course race at Sonoma Raceway, they had mechanical problems before the green flag that took Bobby Labonte out of the race. They had pretty good laps times during practice. The car had speed and it's a shame Bobby did not get to race. Hopefully, we can build off of what we learned at the test and bring home a solid finish."
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: "I enjoy being around the guys at JTG Daugherty Racing because they are fun to be around," Allmendinger said. "I've had a great time bonding with them. It is important to build good relationships. We are testing Atlanta Motor Speedway today and we are trying to figure it out. Being a single-car team, they don't have a lot of test days. So, we are gathering as many notes as we can to try to narrow down the gap of what we have to work on."
DAUGHERTY ON TESTING WITH ALLMENDINGER AT WATKINS GLEN LAST WEEK: “We did some testing with AJ Allmendinger at Watkins Glen International," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "It is going to be a great opportunity for us. He is an excellent road racer and I know our guys are really excited for it. We have kind of a road racing lineage from when our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team started because of having Marcos Ambrose in our car, who is also an excellent road racer.
"Being able to put AJ in the car is going to be a great shot in the arm for our team because it is a unique race and he is a unique talent that plugs well into what we are trying to do," continued Daugherty. "We learned some things when we tested with set-ups and fuel-runs. We have seen fuel mileage play a very important role at road course races and Watkins Glen in particular. We are pleased about the opportunity and look forward to going back there this weekend with AJ in the car. We are hoping to get our No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota Camry up front.”