Friday, Dec 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team finished 26th at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Competing at the speedway nicknamed "The Tricky Triangle," Kvapil was poised to have his best finish of the season when a late-race accident left his team fighting for a lead-lap finish.

 

Rain washed out practice on Saturday afternoon leaving many Sprint Cup Series teams to start the race with less than 15 laps of practice. Kvapil completed just 13 practice laps during Friday's sole practice session to prepare for qualifying and Sunday's 400-mile event. The No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper team picked up nearly a full second from practice to record a 50.678-second qualifying lap and secure the 23rd starting position.

 

When the green flag waved for Sunday's GoBowling.com 400, Kvapil's No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry was just a bit free, but the driver asked for no chassis adjustments during the day's pit stops. Crew chief Dale Ferguson and the team worked to fine-tune the handling of their Camry through air pressure adjustments, and were able to utilize pit strategy to gain additional track position.

 

Racing solidly inside the top 20 throughout most of the day, Kvapil was en route to one of his best finishes of the season. Working lap 110, with just 50 laps remaining in the event, Kvapil was battling side-by-side with Danica Patrick for the 17th position. Contact was made sending both cars spinning across the track in turn 2, and resulted in several other competitors being collected in the accident.

 

With moderate damage to the body of his car, Kvapil made a series of pit stops during the ensuing caution period allowing his team to make repairs to his Toyota Camry. The team carefully planned the length of their stops to ensure that Kvapil would remain on the lead lap of competition. With a little BearBond on the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry, Kvapil was able to make it to the finish line of the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway and was scored with a 26th-place finish.

 

"We had another great No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry today," commented Kvapil. "We had a solid race all day, and were in position for a great finish. Unfortunately we got caught up in an accident in the tunnel turn with about 50 laps to go. My BK Racing team did a great job making quick repairs to keep us on the lead lap. We raced in the top 20 for most of the afternoon, but the damage we sustained in the wreck removed us from contention for that top 20 finish. I'm excited to get to Watkins Glen next week. We had a good road course car at Sonoma [Calif.] Raceway last month, so I'm looking forward to another competitive race."

 

BK Racing PR

Max Gresham, driver of the No.8 AmWINS Group, Inc. Chevrolet for Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR), finished 13th in his first race at the Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on Saturdayin for the Pocono Mountains 125.

 

The 20-year-old driver was so excited at the end of the race, he couldn't remember if the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series planned to return to the 2.5-mile "Tricky Triangle" again this year.

 

"A 13th-place finish, that's not bad," Gresham said to his crew chief Chris Showalter. "Do we come back here again?"

 

Inclement weather at the Pocono Raceway forced the cancellation of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying, but did not put a damper on Saturday's Pocono Mountains 125. The starting lineup was set by speeds from the first practice session, placing the Eddie Sharp Racing driver 17th heading into the 50-lap shootout.

 

A gamble by crew chief Chris Showalter to go with two tires on his final pit stop allowed Gresham to gain much-needed track position, and he finished the Pocono Mountains 125 in the 13th position.

 

The Saturday afternoon skies gave way early enough to have a beautiful day for racing. The track conditions, however, would be extremely different from the single practice session on Friday. During the race, the No. 8 Eddie Sharp Racing team made both track bar and air pressure adjustments on pit stops to help Gresham with the handling on the AmWINS Chevrolet Silverado.

 

Gresham's crew chief, Showalter, and his spotter Lorin Rainer, decided to bring in their driver for two right-side tires making the final pit stop of the day on Lap 45. The quick and flawless work by the AmWINS pit crew helped Gresham gain three positions. Additionally, the benefit of two cautions in the last 10-laps gave the Gresham the advantage of fresh tires for the restarts, giving him the edge to pass five trucks in the final laps.

 

The Milner, Georgia, driver said he was happy with the way his Chevrolet Silverado performed in the final 10 laps.

 

"We just needed a few more laps and we would have had another Top 10 finish," Gresham said.

 

The 13th-place finish helped Gresham improve to 16th in the current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, just four points from 15th.

 

Gresham is in his first full season of racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

 

With half of the season in the books, Eddie Sharp Racing is taking what they've learned thus far, and will apply it to the remaining races to figure out optimal strategies looking forward to continue the progress and strides they have made this season.

 

"But all in all, it was a good race for our AmWINS Chevrolet," Gresham said. "We keep getting better and better each week."

 

Gresham's next chance will come Saturday, August 17 at the Michigan National Guard 200 at the Michigan International Speedway.

 

Max Gresham PR

Sunday was a big day for Kasey Kahne fans everywhere. The rest of this week will continue to get better.

Kahne blasted past Jeff Gordon on the final restart with two laps remaining Sunday to notch his second NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season. He’s now eighth in the points, and with those two wins, is pretty much assured a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

With Sunday’s win came the opportunity to watch Kahne in the seventh race of the Chase, the Goody’sHeadache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger at Martinsville Speedway on October 27 at a reduced price.

Kahne took the victory in his No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet SS and that means a $5 savings on tickets in the Blue Ridge Tower, rows 17-66.  Regular price is $79.  Order now through Sunday, August 11th to receive the special savings with the Kasey Kahne Offer for $74. Call toll free at 877-722-3849 or visit us online to take advantage of the offer.

Advance tickets for the Goody’sHeadache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger are available in all areas of the grandstands. Advance tickets start at just $37.

Martinsville Speedway PR

R3 Motorsports is proud to announce that Tony Eury, Sr, “Pops”, has signed on to lead the #23 NASCAR Nationwide team with driver, Robert Richardson, Jr.   With the leadership, experience and proven record, R3 Motorsports is excited and views this as a great opportunity to raise the level of competition for their racing program.

Owner, Robert Richardson, Sr., states, “We are excited to have Pops on board with us!  We feel with what he brings to the table, this is our opportunity to get our program turned around and become more competitive.”

Robert Richardson, Jr., driver of the #23 Chevrolet Camaro, comments, “I am thrilled to be able to work with a top level crew chief.  Pops has a lot of experience and am looking forward to his expertise to lead our team.  Bristol will be our first race together and I am ecstatic.”

“I have known the Richardson’s for a long time and am looking forward to working with Rob, Jr and the R3 Motorsports team.  This is a great opportunity to get back to the race track and help this team achieve the performances I know they are capable of,” said Eury, Sr.

With the addition of Tony Eury, Sr. to the R3 Motorsports roster, Chevrolet is looking forward to having Eury back in their stable.  Shane Martin, NASCAR Nationwide Series Program Manager for Chevrolet says, “"I am pleased to have Tony Eury, Sr. (Pops) back in the Nationwide Series garage. We have a long-standing working relationship with Pops, and feel he will be a great addition to R3 Motorsports in helping Mr. Richardson put his Chevrolet Camaro in Victory Lane." 

R3 Motorsports gets their horsepower from leasing engines from ECR.  Richie Gilmore, Chief Operating Officer, replies on Eury joining the program, “I look forward to working with Pops once again. We shared a lot of big victories together. He will be a great influence on guiding R3 Motorsports in the future.”

The sponsors of the #23 R3 Motorsports Camaro are looking forward to continuing a great working relationship with the team and Eury as well.

Willbros, a global contractor specializing in energy infrastructure serving the oil, gas and power industries, is a partner of R3 Motorsports. Mike Collier, Willbros Vice President of Investor Relations, Communications and Marketing, said,     “We are elated with the news that Tony Eury Sr. will be leading the R3 Motorsports crew.  His career in racing is incredible.  Tony has worked with a legion of notable and legendary teams and drivers, and we know that we’ll see great things from Robert Richardson, Jr. , Tony and the 23 car at the Texas Motor Speedway this Fall.  Willbros is proud to stand behind and sponsor R3 and the 23 car.

Stalk It™ is an innovative eco-driven longboard company that uses CornBoard™ in the construction of its custom, hand-crafted longboards. Utilizing innovative CornBoard™ material allows Stalk It™ to reduce dependency on wood products while creating boards that are high-performance with low-ECO impact. All Stalk It™ boards are hand-made in the USA. www.stalkitblog.com and www.stalkit.com

Founder of Stalk It™, Lane Segerstom is excited about the partnership, stating,

"We are excited for Robert to be able to work with Tony Eury Sr.  Let the show begin!"

Watch for great things to come, as R3 Motorsports, Robert Richardson, Jr. and Tony Eury, Sr. head to Bristol Motor Speedway for their first race together!

R3 Motorsports PR

Jeff Gordon is ready to turn the corner(s).

 

The all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader in road course victories with nine, Gordon has experienced success at Watkins Glen International. In 20 starts at the 2.45-mile track, the driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS has four wins, two poles, six top-fives and nine top-10's. But while he has reeled off eight consecutive top-10 finishes at Sonoma, Gordon has only two here during that span.

 

"You approach the two tracks differently," said Gordon, who moved up to ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings following his runner-up finish at Pocono Sunday. "Sonoma is a 'finesse' track while Watkins Glen is a track that you have to attack and be aggressive.

 

"We used to head into road course events feeling confident we would gain points and have a shot at the win. With the competition so much stronger, it's a battle just to get a top 10 now.

 

"But I feel good about our road course program. We had a runner-up finish at Sonoma earlier this year and I felt we learned a lot in the second half of this race last year.

 

"And the road course test we did earlier this year was more for this race instead of Sonoma, so I'm hoping that pays off this weekend."

 

The introduction of the Generation-6 car to the New York track should make an already fast track even faster, while a returning component will make the race exciting. And crazy.

 

 "I expect it to be an exciting race, especially the restarts," said Gordon. "Like we've seen recently on the road courses, the double-file restarts should be wild and crazy.

 

 "The new Chevy SS has a lot of downforce and drag which helps you get into the braking zones, so I expect the lap times to be quicker here this weekend compared to years past. But the faster you're going, the more 'on edge' you are with the car and the tires."

 

If he can master the new car and the double-file restarts Sunday, Gordon would be the first to reach double-digit road course wins.

PPR PR

Race Highlights:  

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 17th (Kevin Harvick), 32nd (Paul Menard), and 36th (Jeff Burton) in the GoBowling.com 400.
  • Following the event at Pocono Raceway, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 97 markers, while Paul Menard sits 19th, 67 points outside of the top 10, and Burton ranks 20th, 265 points back of the leader.
  • The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 20th in the standings and the No. 31 team 21st.
  • According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick led the competition in Green-Flag Passes with 124, 41 of which were made while running in the top 15, ranking him 11th in the Quality Passes category.
  • Harvick posted two of the Fastest Laps Run during the 160-lap event.
  • Menard tied for ninth in the Closers category after gaining one position during the final 10 percent (16 laps) of the race.
  • Of drivers who did not finish within five laps of the race leader, Menard was the Fastest Driver Early in a Run, with Burton third. Menard was the second-Fastest Driver Late in a run, while Burton ranked third in the loop-data category.
  • Kasey Kahne earned his second victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Watkins Glen 335 at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 11. The 22nd race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at Noon Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

  

2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards  

Menard Finishes 32nd at Pocono Raceway After Involvement in Late-Race Incident

 

Paul Menard started the Go.Bowling.com 400 from the 21st position and finished 32nd after being caught up in a late-race accident on lap 110 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon. In the early laps of the 160-lap event, Menard relayed to the No. 27 Tarkett/Menards crew that his Chevrolet was loose on entry into turn three and exit of turn one. An early yellow flag on lap 16 provided Menard and crew the opportunity to play the pit strategy game when crew chief "Slugger" Labbe told his driver to stay out under caution. Menard restarted fourth and maintained a position inside the top-10 until having to pit for a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 33.The Eau Claire, Wis., native remained off sequence from the majority of the field for the next 60 laps. Though he was off sequence, Menard communicated to the crew that his car was handling well and the changes made on the previous stop had helped. A lap 96 caution allowed Menard to return to the same pit sequence as the rest of the 43-car field as he restarted 21st. The 32-year-old driver was running in 20th on lap 110 when he was caught up in an accident directly in front of him, which caused severe damage to the front end and left rear of the No. 27 machine. Unable to make the repairs on pit road, Menard took his Chevrolet to the garage. The crew never gave up and Menard returned to the track in the 33rd position with 17 laps remaining in the 160-lap event. By virtue of returning to green-flag action, Menard was able to gain one valuable position, ultimately finishing 32nd. Menard remains in the 19th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Watkins Glen International next weekend.

 

Start - 21         Finish - 32         Laps Led - 0          Points - 19

 

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:

"Our Tarkett/Menards Chevrolet was pretty good today. We just got caught up in someone else's mess. We were off pit sequence from the majority of the field and got caught back in the pack. It's unfortunate our day ended the way it did. I have to give my guys credit, they worked really hard to get the car fixed up and back on the track so we could gain some points. We'll keep our heads up and hope for better results at Watkins Glen (International) next weekend."

 

 

 

   

Harvick Finishes 17th at Pocono Raceway

 

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team finished 17th in the GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon after battling handling issues during the 160-lap affair. The California native started the 21st race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season from the 14th position and worked his way into the top 10 during the early laps when a loose-handling condition developed on the red and white Chevrolet forcing him back in the running order. The Budweiser crew made a variety of adjustments during multiple two and four-tire pits stops throughout the race, but the handling issues persisted leaving Harvick to run within the top 20 for the majority of the afternoon. Crew chief Gil Martin called his driver to pit road one final time, with 10 laps remaining, for right-side tires and fuel positioning Harvick 14th for the final restart on lap 158. The Richard Childress Racing driver was shuffled back in the field leaving him to finish 17th. Following the event at Pocono Raceway, Harvick remains fourth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

 

Start - 14         Finish - 17         Laps Led - 0         Points - 4

                       

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:

"These fast, flat tracks have not been kind to us this season. It's not fun for anyone on our team to run and finish in the top 20. Even though we didn't get the finish we were looking for today, we're not going to let it get us down. Next week is another race and a completely different style of track."
 

   

 

 

Burton and the No. 31 FXI GutterClear 365 Team Has Race Cut Short by Wreck

 

Jeff Burton started 13th in Sunday's 400-mile race at Pocono Raceway and quickly started to battle a loose condition upon entry into the corners while driving the No. 31 FXI GutterClear 365 Chevrolet. In the opening circuits of the 160-lap race, he fell to 18th when the second caution flag waved on lap 14. During the ensuing pit stop, crew chief Luke Lambert called for a track bar and spring rubber adjustment, in addition to changing four tires and topping off with fuel. From there, Burton motored his way to 10th during green-flag pit stops before pitting on lap 41 for four tires and fuel. After falling back to 18th, he would return to the top-10 before pitting under green on lap 72. On a lap 82 restart, tight racing forced another car to get into the back of No. 31 Chevrolet causing damage to the left-rear quarter panel. The crew had an opportunity to repair the damage under caution on laps 97 and 98. Restarting 24th, Burton moved forward in the running order when the fate of his race changed on lap 110. While exiting turn two, two cars got together in front of Burton collecting the Chevrolet SS along with Richard Childress Racing teammate, Paul Menard. Damage was severe enough that the blue and white machine was taken to the garage on a flatbed. It was quickly determined the car was beyond repair and the team was saddled with a 36th-place finish. Burton remains 20th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings as the series heads to Watkins Glen International next weekend.

 

Start - 13         Finish - 36         Laps Led - 0         Points - 20

 

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:

"I didn't see the cars wrecking in front of me until I got there. My spotter said to go low, but by the time I exited turn two it was too late. We got a little behind on track position there, but we were able to race our way back into the top-10 twice. I seriously feel like we had a seventh to 10th-place car today. Getting in that wreck is just kind of how our year has gone, it seems. We tried to fix it, but there was no way the guys were going to be able to get us back out there with 40 laps remaining." 

 

RCR PR

Ryan Newman, driver of the Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), overcame an ill-handling racecar and a series of slow stops on pit road throughout the GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway to record a fourth-place finish.

“It was a good run for our Haas Automation Chevrolet but not as good as it could have been,” said Newman, who scored the win last week in the 20th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We struggled in the pits today, but overall it was a good effort. We raced a lot of the guys around us in points, guys that all have the same sense of urgency that we do to score a win, or another win, in my case. Jeff (Gordon) was really close, and he’s fighting for a wild-card spot just the same as we are. Just a bad day on pit road for us. We’ll have to get that figured out.”

Newman started fourth in the 43-car field and was able to maintain his position despite fighting a lack of grip in the opening segment of the 160-lap race. An incident involving Denny Hamlin brought out the caution at lap 14, and Newman came to the attention of his Matt Borland-led team for right-side tires and a track bar adjustment. A dropped lug nut resulted in a long stop, and Newman was relegated to the 18th position for the restart.

Borland continued to make chassis adjustments throughout the race, which saw Newman steadily climb his way toward the front of the pack. By the halfway point, the Haas Automation Chevrolet was scored in the fifth position, and Newman was able to maintain position inside the top-10 for the remainder of the race.

After making their final scheduled pit stop of the day at lap 131, Newman methodically worked his way forward from the ninth position and used a late-race restart to advance his racecar to the fourth position, where he would take the checkered flag.

“We had to overcome quite a bit today, but to finish fourth says something about Matt Borland and all the guys on this team,” said Newman, who scored his ninth top-five finish in 24 starts at Pocono. “It was good for the Quicken Loans group, as well, with their ‘Bring it Home’ sweepstakes. Five people are going to get their mortgages paid for a month as a result of this finish today. Go to QLRacing.com to find out more about that. And, obviously, it’ll be a Bloomin' Monday for everybody from Outback Steakhouse.”

Newman’s SHR teammate Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished ninth. It was his 22nd top-10 in 30 career Sprint Cup starts at Pocono and his eighth top-10 of the season.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 35th in her 31st career Sprint Cup start and her second at Pocono. Patrick was running among the top-20 until becoming involved in an accident on lap 111. She was unhurt, but her car was too damaged to continue the race.

Kasey Kahne won the GoBowling.com 400 to score his 16th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono.

Jeff Gordon finished 1.392 seconds behind Kahne in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Stewart and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were nine caution periods for 35 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race.

With round 21 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He remained 11th and has 594 points, 178 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and five points behind 10th-place Biffle. Newman gained one spot to rise to 15th. He has 575 points, 197 out of first and 24 behind Biffle. Patrick dropped one spot to 27th and has 373 points, 399 behind Johnson and 226 away from Biffle.

Five races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Newman are the only drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory. Since Stewart and Truex sit 11th and 14th, respectively, in the standings, they hold the first and second wild-card spots.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished one spot behind Stenhouse, who placed 34th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the 355k at The Glen on Sunday, Aug. 11 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon. 

TSC PR

This weekend saw Casey Mears and his GEICO team visit the Poconos for the second time in two months.  One of NASCAR’s original racetracks, the Tricky Triangle sits tucked away quietly in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. 

A questionable weather forecast left many wondering if Saturday’s scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices would be canceled, and made Friday’s opening session even more critical.  The Germain Racing team struggled early and was relegated to 34th on the final chart when the first practice ended.  Later in the day, he qualified 29th for Sunday’s GOBOWLING.COM 400.  Rain set in on Saturday and blanketed the Long Pond area causing the cancelation of both practices, sending Mears and company into Sunday’s race nearly blind. 

Race day weather betrayed that of Saturday and provided a perfect backdrop for racing.  When Mears and his GEICO car arrived on pit road, the sun was bright and the temperature hovered around 70, with the track temperature a significant 12-degrees cooler than practice on Friday. 

Starting 29th, Mears had work to do and he got right to it when the action heated up in turn one on the opening lap of the race.  Juan Pablo Montoya, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Matt Kenseth all found themselves collected before they could turn a single lap, bringing out the event’s first caution flag no sooner than the green flag stopped waving.  Mears had picked up four positions and sat in the 25th position when the race returned to green four laps later. 

When the second caution slowed the field on lap 14, crew chief Bootie Barker ordered Mears and his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion to stay put and not visit pit road.  A fuel strategy was in play and it paid dividends throughout the afternoon.  Mears had worked his way up as high as sixth, but ran solidly in the top 15 and top 20 for the bulk of the day.  The GEICO driver was afforded a bit of good fortune on lap 53.  Mears was riding in the 10th position when the caution flag came out just moments before he was to travel down pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop, saving him from going a lap down to the field had the timing been a few seconds different. 

Another close call occurred on lap 110 when dust and smoke filled Mears’ front windshield when the cars of Danica Patrick, Jeff Burton, Travis Kvapil and Paul Menard got together immediately in front of the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion.  Mears quickly ducked to the inside, avoiding the incident by the narrowest of margins.  If the caution flag was out, then Mears was conserving fuel.  Spotter Ron Lewis would almost immediately bark out to his driver to save fuel each time the yellow flag began waving.  Mears drew laughter from the Germain Racing pit stall when, under the lap 110 caution, he immediately queried his team, “Want me to save fuel here?” 

As the race began to wind down, Mears commented to his crew that the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion had improved significantly from practice on Friday and that he was in a position to race his fellow competitors that lie just ahead of him.  The track tightened up later on, but he continued to race his way to the front.  He was sitting in the 13th position when he made his final scheduled green flag pit stop of the day on lap 132.  He took on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment before settling in for a race to the checkered flag.  Unfortunately, with just ten laps remaining, Mears reported a heavy vibration in the GEICO Ford and expressed heavy concern.  A caution flag with just four laps to go in the race allowed him to bring the Ford Fusion to the attention of his pit crew.  They quickly removed four tires, but found nothing wrong.  The car continued to be irritable as Mears departed pit road.  He indicated that he could feel the vibration in the gear shifter, which could be reflective of a significant problem.  Mears was instructed to return to the race, take it easy and just complete the event without incident.  While he was chasing a top 15 finish, he would settle for 24th and a racecar that remained in one piece and no chance of a DNF.  Mears’s strong day accounts for Germain Racing’s 13th top 25 finish of the 2013 season. 

“The weekend started out a little rough, but the guys on this GEICO team did a great job of getting the car to come around during the race,” Mears said.  “The car felt good today and we had a strong run, so even though the vibration there at the end set us back, we still had a solid day and leave feeling positive.  Watkins Glen should be a lot of fun next week, so we’re excited about getting there.”                                                   

Next week will find Mears and his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series counterparts making both left and right hand turns, as they embark on their second road course race of the season in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Mears finished 16th at Sonoma on June 23rd, the series’ first road course race of the year. 

Mears and the #13 GEICO Ford Fusion will hit the track at Watkins Glen International for the opening practice session on Friday, August 9th, at 12:00 PM (EDT).  Final practice will be at 4 PM (ET), while qualifying will follow a day later on Saturday, August 10th, at 11:40 AM (EDT).

The Cheez-It 355 at the Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, August 11th, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1:00 PM (EDT).  The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.

PMI PR

A little teamwork can often go a long way, and Tony Stewart put that theory to the test Sunday afternoon at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Stewart, driver of the No. 14 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), overcome a pit road speeding penalty to score a ninth-place finish in the GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was his 22nd top-10 finish in 30 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2.5-mile triangle.

“We got here today thanks to good strategy by the crew chief because the driver screwed up today,” said Stewart, who picked up his eighth top-10 finish of the 2013 season. “I got us the pit road speeding penalty and put us in the back. Steve’s (Addington, crew chief) pretty keen on the pit strategy and what to do to get us back up there. He got us back the track position; I just was a little too tight to stay there. It was a long day, but we’re glad to have a good day for GoDaddy, Mobil 1, Bass Pro Shops and Chevrolet. We had a solid day, and we’ve just got to keep clicking them off like this.”

Although Stewart qualified 20th for the 400-mile race, it wasn’t indicative of the car’s capabilities, which were established early in the race. Stewart cracked the top-10 within the first 25 laps. Varying pit strategies resulted in the No. 14 team progressing and regressing in the running order, but Stewart never lost touch from the top-20 during the first third of the event.

The team suffered its lone setback during the third caution on lap 53 when Stewart was tagged for speeding entering pit road. Because he had to restart at the tail end of the field, Addington brought Stewart back to the pits to make more extensive adjustments. Stewart was in 28th-place when green-flag racing resumed and quickly went to work, climbing back into the top-10 by lap 72 and even taking a turn at the lead on lap 76.

While the team did not contend for the win, the day ended with yet another solid Pocono performance that keeps Stewart within striking distance of the top-10 in the championship point standings, as he is just five points behind 10th-place Greg Biffle.

“We’ve been running well,” Stewart said. “It’s just we still need to be a little bit better. There are cars that are still a little bit better than us right now that we’re trying to get caught up to. So, I think our focus is more than just making the Chase. It’s one thing to make the Chase, but it’s another thing that once you get there, you’ve got to have something you can contend with. We’re staying focused on just taking it one week at a time and working on our program. Everybody is working hard – all of our partners are excited, especially after Ryan’s (Newman) win at the Brickyard last weekend. Everybody at SHR is doing an awesome job, and Hendrick engines and chassis have done a great job, too. We’ve just got to keep clicking them off and just keep getting a little bit better each week.”

Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, led the SHR contingent Sunday with his fourth-place finish. It was his ninth top-five in 24 career Sprint Cup starts at Pocono and his fourth top-five of the season.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 35th in her 31st career Sprint Cup start and her second at Pocono. Patrick was running among the top-20 until becoming involved in an accident on lap 111. She was unhurt, but her car was too damaged to continue the race.

Kasey Kahne won the GoBowling.com 400 to score his 16th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono.

Jeff Gordon finished 1.392 seconds behind Kahne in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Stewart and Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were nine caution periods for 35 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race.

With round 21 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He remained 11th and has 594 points, 178 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and five points behind 10th-place Biffle. Newman gained one spot to rise to 15th. He has 575 points, 197 out of first and 24 behind Biffle. Patrick dropped one spot to 27th and has 373 points, 399 behind Johnson and 226 away from Biffle.

Five races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Newman are the only drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory. Since Stewart and Truex sit 11th and 14th, respectively, in the standings, they hold the first and second wild-card spots.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished one spot behind Stenhouse, who placed 34th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the 355k at The Glen on Sunday, Aug. 11 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.

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Danica Patrick had a strong racecar and appeared to be in contention for a solid top-20 finish in the GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

But Patrick’s efforts were foiled just 50 laps shy of the race’s completion when she was caught in a wreck at lap 110 in the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

Patrick was 18th and moving forward when she was involved in the multi-car accident. Travis Kvapil was on the outside of Patrick as they drove into Pocono’s turn two. While the two cars didn’t touch, it appeared the close racing between the two cars resulted in the air being taken off of the No. 10 Chevy, causing it to spin up the racetrack before being hit by two other racecars.

Patrick’s GoDaddy Chevy sustained heavy front-end damage. She was able to drive her No. 10 Chevy to the garage but was unable to continue in the race due to the damage.

“There was a car outside of me, and when there is a car outside of you going through fast corners, it takes the side force off of it, and the car gets looser when someone is there,” Patrick said. “It hadn’t been a problem all day. I didn’t do anything different that time. I even kind of told myself going into the corner, ‘It’s fine, just run through the corner.’ I don’t know if he was closer than other cars had been to my outside or not.

“We had freed the GoDaddy car up just a little bit, but not drastically, just a little bit because we were tight. I don’t know if that was enough to just tip it over the edge from where it was. It’s never as much rear grip when someone is outside of you. I feel bad for the team because we were having a good day, and I know it’s nice to finish those days off and it would have been nice to finish in the top 20. That is just my goal.

“It’s simple, it’s nothing crazy, but it’s been a challenge this year. It would have been nice to do that, and we were just having a steady race and a good race, and it’s over. We were way better than we were last time. We were competitive, and we were making good calls in the pits. Everything was going; it just happens.”

Patrick’s SHR teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fourth to score his fourth top-five of the season and his ninth top-five in 24 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2.5-mile triangle.

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished ninth. It was his 22nd top-10 in 30 career Sprint Cup starts at Pocono and his eighth top-10 of the season.

Kasey Kahne won the GoBowling.com 400 to score his 16th career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Pocono.

Jeff Gordon finished 1.392 seconds behind Kahne in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Stewart and Greg Biffle comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were nine caution periods for 35 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race.

With round 21 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He remained 11th and has 594 points, 178 back of series leader Johnson and five points behind 10th-place Biffle. Newman gained one spot to his 15th-place standing and has 575 points, 197 out of first and 24 behind Biffle. Patrick lost one spot and is 27th in the standings with 373 points, 399 behind Johnson and 226 away from Biffle.

Five races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Newman are the only drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory. Since Stewart and Truex sit 11th and 12th, respectively, in the standings, they hold the first and second wild-card spots.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished one spot behind Stenhouse, who placed 34th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the 355k at The Glen Sunday, Aug. 11 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.

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