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Todd Bodine returned to the No. 30, the truck number he drove to 21 wins and two championships, in his debut for Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM). Running in the top five for most of the Pocono Mountains 125, Bodine pulled out to a late-race lead and paced the field for 16 laps before a spin on lap 48 sent him to the rear of the field. However, the driver known as "The Onion" made an impressive recovery, finishing 11th at Pocono Raceway.
In his first ever laps in a TSM truck, Bodine immediately proved that he and the No. 30 were a formidable combination. Laying down the seventh-fastest lap in the weekend's only practice session, Bodine took the green flag from seventh when a qualifying rainout set the field by practice speeds.
After taking the green flag, Bodine quickly bonded with teammate Miguel Paludo, drafting into the second position by lap 12. Bodine radioed crew chief Jimmy Villeneuve that the Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Chevrolet was a bit tight and was having trouble arcing it into Turn 3, but was informed by his spotter that he was "killing them through the tunnel." Bodine would get an opportunity for adjustments when he made a green-flag pit stop on lap 24, taking four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.
As green-flag stops cycled through, Bodine advanced through the field, taking the lead on lap 31. Bodine held the top spot for 16 laps, pulling out to an impressive lead. A caution flag on lap 43 tightened up the field, eliminating the distance between Bodine and his competitors. After the restart on lap 47, it appeared that Bodine would once again go to victory lane in the No. 30 truck, but misfortune struck on lap 48 when contact with another competitor sent Bodine spinning. Relegated to restart in the 20th position, it looked like Bodine would finish outside the top-15. However, the veteran's experience and tenacity paid off in the closing laps, and Bodine fought his way up to the 11th spot in only four laps.
"This race was a bit of a heartbreaker for me," said Bodine. "There is no doubt in my mind that we could have won this race, and it's a shame that we had that late-race caution to bunch us up. Unfortunately it put us in a position that resulted in a spin. It felt really good to be running up front and to feel back at home in the No. 30. Turner Scott Motorsports gave me a great truck and a great opportunity. [Crew chief] Jimmy Villeneuve did a really nice job and they gave me one heck of a pit crew. I can't thank everyone at TSM enough, as well as Whelen Engineering and Team Fox for making this race possible."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series takes a week off before heading to Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 17. The National Guard 200 will air on Fox Sports 1 (currently SPEED) at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
Miguel Paludo was the class of the field when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) headed to the Tricky Triangle for the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway. Paludo topped the practice charts and took the green from the pole position, consistently running the fastest laps of the race and surviving multiple green/white/checkered restarts before finishing in the runner-up position.
Pacing the series' only practice session with a blazing lap more than two tenths faster than the second-fastest truck, Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team were determined to earn their first pole award of the season. With rain washing out Saturday morning's qualifying session, the field was set per the NCWTS rule book, putting the No. 32 in the point position based on the previous day's practice speeds. Opting to take the outside starting lane by virtue of the Leader's Choice provision, Paludo took the green flag, but found that his line was not effective for his Chevrolet Silverado.
Paludo dropped to third after the start, but was consistently making the fastest laps on the racetrack. He reeled in the leaders with drafting partner and teammate Todd Bodine, and the two closed the gap on the front of the field just as green-flag pit stops began on lap 23. Paludo took over the lead on lap 25, leading two laps before bringing his own truck to the attention of the Turner Scott Motorsport team. He relayed to crew chief Jeff Hensley that his AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet was a tiny bit tight, and the crew provided him with four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment.
Paludo returned to the track in sixth place, but advanced to the second position by the time pit stops had cycled through on lap 34. With only 16 laps remaining, Paludo didn't have much time to put himself in position for the win, but having the fastest truck on the track allowed him to chip away at Bodine's lead. Paludo was close to making the pass when the caution flag waved on lap 43 for debris, tightening up the field for a restart with four laps remaining.
The caution flag waved only two laps later for a spin, and Paludo was scored in the third spot as the field was set up for a green/white/checkered finish. Paludo held his ground for the restart, but once again the trucks were slowed by a caution for a wreck. Paludo got his final chance at a restart on lap 53, and as the green flag waved, the leaders went five wide into the first turn. An aggressive dive to the inside gained Paludo a spot and he began to hunt down leader Ryan Blaney. Paludo was in the No. 29's mirrors and had a run on him in Turn 1 of the final lap, but the checkered flag waved before he could make the pass.
"This was a really, really good weekend for us," said Paludo after the conclusion of the 125-mile race. "We were fast right off the truck, fastest in practice and got to start from the pole. If I could do it again, I wouldn't have picked the outside for the start since it didn't work quite right for my truck, and I spent most of the day trying to get those one or two positions back. I was starting to catch the No. 30 on lap 43 when the caution came out, and if it had stayed green, there was no doubt that we would have won it. It's a little frustrating to finish second, we really thought that this was going to be our first win, but things happen. We're lucky to be running so well that we feel disappointed with second. When you have this kind of weekend, it means a lot; it makes the guys more motivated and it motivates me as well. Michigan is a good track for me and I think we'll be able to bring the same truck, so look for us to be in victory lane in two weeks."
Paludo's runner-up finish surpassed his career-best finish of third (Michigan, 2011) and moved him up to seventh in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings. Paludo is just three points behind sixth and 10 points behind fifth. The NCWTS takes a week off before heading to Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 17. The National Guard 200 will air on Fox Sports 1 (currently SPEED) at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
Parker Kligerman and his Toyota Racing team fought hard to put themselves in a position for a top-10 finish in the closing laps of the US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, unfortunately for the second straight week the team ended up on the losing end of a three-wide battle late in the race. After taking the lap-225 restart from the seventh spot, Kligerman found himself caught in between Alex Bowman and Brian Scott as the field approached Turn 1. The trio ran out of real estate and Scott's No. 2 machine came across the front of the No. 77 Camry, knocking it loose and costing the Connecticut native several spots by the time he collected his car. The race would remain caution free to finish, leaving the talented youngster with a disappointing 16th-place result.
"We qualified 20th, but had fought our way all the way up to seventh and then on that last restart we got hit, moved and put in the wrong position by some guys and we came home 16th," Kligerman said. "It was a tough way to end, but overall we had another solid car. Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all the guys on this No. 77 team did a good job all weekend -- our pit stops were probably the best they've been all year."
After posting the third-fastest lap in final practice, Kligerman reported a tight-handling Camry during his qualifying run and earned the 20th starting spot for the race. Five laps into the event, he had advanced three positions, but would remain in the 17th spot until the first caution of the race occurred on lap 54.
The young driver reported that his Camry was tight in the early stages and brought it to the attention of his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew. The team administered a blistering-fast four-tire and fuel stop, which included a wedge adjustment to free up the car, and returned their driver to the track scored in the 14th position for the restart on lap 59.
Kligerman fired off strong and by lap 65 had made his way into the top 10 for the first time. The No. 77 Toyota remained in the 10th spot on lap 100 as its driver communicated that the adjustment was too extreme and his car was now too loose. He had surrendered four positions when fluid on the track slowed the field for the second time on lap 140.
Crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road, where the crew gave their driver four fresh tires, a full load of fuel and put wedge back into the car. Once again the team had a successful stop, gaining four positions and returning their driver to the track scored in the 10th spot for the lap-145 restart.
Kligerman ran inside the top 10 for several laps, but had subsided to 11th when the No. 60 spun off Turn 3 bringing out the third caution of the race. Before coming down pit road, the young driver reported that his Camry was "About a three loose in, five tight in the center and three loose off." When pit road opened, the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment.
The Connecticut native had another strong restart, moving from 12th to seventh in just five laps. He remained in the seventh spot when a one-car spin on the frontstretch slowed the field for the final time. Shortly after the lap-228 restart, the three-wide battle ensued and Kligerman's promising run turned into another disappointing finish.
Brad Keselowski picked up his third win of 2013 and the 23rd of his Nationwide Series career. Keselowski's teammate, Sam Hornish Jr., finished 0.536 seconds behind him in the runner-up spot. Brian Vickers finished third, Austin Dillon fourth and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were four caution periods totaling 21 laps. Five drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead six times. Nine drivers failed to finish the 250-lap event.
Kligerman remains 10th in the Nationwide Series championship standings with 20 of 33 races complete, 81 points behind series points leader Austin Dillon. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 entry ranks 12th in the owner's championship standings, 187 points behind the series-leading No. 54 team.
Kligerman and his No. 77 Toyota Racing team head to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International Aug. 10 for the Zippo 200. Live television coverage of Saturday's 82-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2 p.m. ET on ABC.
Daryl Harr returned to the cockpit of the iWorld Connect/JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet to score a 25th-place finish Saturday night in the U.S. Cellular 250 Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.
Harr, who runs a limited schedule with the JDM team, finished 24th earlier in the season at Iowa, a seven-eighths-mile track that tests a driver’s speed and short-track skills.
“We made up some positions early in the race but couldn’t move up further,” Harr said. “But we learned a lot, and we’ll be back stronger the next time out.”
Harr started 32 and ran in the mid-20s most of the race. He finished one spot behind JDM teammate Mike Wallace.
Brad Keselowski scored the race win, leading the final 35 laps.
The Nationwide Series next races at Watkins Glen International Aug. 10.
JD Motorsports PR
In his fourth race at Iowa Speedway, Kyle 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 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at the .0875-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.
Iowa Speedway is one of the few tracks on the NNS circuit where Larson has raced several times before, and the young rookie showed that he needed no learning curve at the Iowa short track, as he laid down the third-fastest lap in first practice and the second-quickest lap in final practice on Friday evening. Larson went on to qualify his No. 32 Eveready Chevy Camaro 11th for Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.
Following the drop of the green flag, Larson fell back in the early going of the 250-lap race, settling into 13th position after several laps. He radioed to his Eveready team to explain that his Chevrolet was really loose off of Turn 4 and loose into Turn 3. Larson moved into the 14th position on lap 24 and remained there until the first caution flag waved on lap 53. Crew chief Trent Owens called the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender down pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments to tighten his No. 32 machine up on exit.
After his pit stop, Larson restarted in 18th on lap 60. He slowly gained positions on the track, but reported that he was still struggling with the same loose-off issues that he had prior to the pit stop. He continued to fluctuate between 16th and 17th position until he entered the top 15 on lap 107. On lap 133, he took over the 13th position and Owens radioed to his driver that he was the fastest car on the track. The caution flag was displayed again on lap 139 and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team made a large track-bar adjustment and gave Larson four tires and fuel.
Larson restarted in 12th position on lap 146 and radioed his crew two laps later to say "I have a racecar again," as he moved into seventh place. The 21-year-old took over the sixth position on lap 154 and entered the top five for the first time on lap 194. The third caution of the race waved on lap 200 and Larson brought his No. 32 Eveready Chevy in for four tires, fuel and no adjustments. With several cars in front of him taking two tires, Larson restarted in ninth on lap 206.
After a crazy three-wide restart, Larson slipped back to 11th initially but moved back up to eighth place by the time the final caution waved on lap 223. Larson restarted in eighth on lap 229 and went right to work, racing into fifth position by lap 233. He remained there until the conclusion of the race, bringing home another top-five finish at Iowa Speedway. Immediately following the conclusion of the race, Larson hopped in his car and traveled to Knoxville Speedway to compete in the 360 Nationals, where he started ninth and finished third.
"We had an interesting night," commented Larson. "After doing well in practice, we were pretty loose in qualifying and then once the race started, I continued to be really loose, especially on exit. The first two runs I wasn't able to do much, because I just couldn't get back on the gas quick enough. Trent [Owens] and my Turner Scott Motorsports crew made some great adjustments and after our second pit stop, our car was back to being really good. It's nice to be able to come back to tracks where I feel more comfortable; I think this 32 team is going to have a really solid second half of the season."
Larson will continue to race in Iowa for the remainder of the week, competing at Knoxville Raceway and Southern Iowa Speedway, before heading to Watkins Glen International for his first visit to the 3.4-mile road course. The Zippo 200 at The Glen will begin at 2:15 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 10, with live television coverage beginning on ABC at 2:00 p.m. The race can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Mike Wallace rolled home 24th Saturday night in the U.S. Cellular 250 Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.
Earlier in the season, in the series’ first visit to the seven-eighths- mile track, Wallace finished 20th.
“It wasn’t the finish we were looking for,” Wallace said of Saturday’s race, “but we hung in there and brought the car home with a decent run. We’ll look to be better next time.”
Wallace started 28th, ran in the mid-20s virtually the entire race and finished one spot in front of his JD Motorsports with Gary Keller teammate, Daryl Harr.
Sprint Cup invader Brad Keselowski won the race, leading the final 35 laps. Austin Dillon dominated the evening, leading 116 laps.
The Nationwide Series moves on to the Watkins Glen International road course for an Aug. 9 race.
JD Motorsports PR
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., No. 17 Zest Ford Fusion (Involved in Lap 2 wreck) – WHAT HAPPENED? “I haven’t seen the replay yet but the 42 got us three or four wide and I moved up to give him a whole lane and typical I think he just ran in there and drove right into us. It’s not the way we want to start the day for all our Zest people that are here. I thought our Fusion was good in practice on Friday but we won’t really get a chance to see how good it was. These guys will work on it and we will get back out there and at least finish.
IT SEEMS SO EARLY TO HAVE THINGS GET THAT CRAZY. “Yeah, you and me both agree on that. I was just thinking to myself on that pace lap that before we went green I was kind of hoping everyone would stay in line since we haven’t had much track time this weekend. It didn’t play out like that though.”
DAVID GILLILAND, No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford Fusion (Involved in single-car wreck on Lap 53) – THAT LOOKED LIKE A HARD LICK, WHAT HAPPENED? “I am not entirely sure. It felt like a tire went down. The left front was down after the wreck that I saw but I don’t know exactly what happened. It felt like we blew a tire and hit the wall probably at one of the worst places you would want to hit it. It was a hard hit but I am alright. We will have to go back and try to get ‘em next week.”
Eric McClure and the Hefty®/Reynolds® team returned to Iowa Speedway for the second time this season looking for another top-20 finish. After posting the 26th fastest time in qualifying, McClure was able to overcome the tight-handling condition on his No. 14 Camry late in the race to finish the 250-lap event in the 23rdposition. With this finish, the team was able to advance one position in the NASCAR Owner standings.
Early in the race, McClure maintained the 26th position in the running order, despite battling a tight-handling condition on his No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Camry. A caution on lap 54 allowed the team to change four tires, add fuel, and make a chassis adjustment. When the race resumed on lap 59, McClure was scored in the 26th position.
As the race progressed, the car’s handling showed slight improvement, allowing the 34-year-old driver to advance two spots in the running order by lap 75. Still battling a car that was tight in the center and on exit of the turns, the team utilized a caution on lap 141 to bring the orange and blue Camry to pit road for tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment. After quick work by the team, the Virginia driver advanced one position to 23rd for the lap 146 restart. Despite slipping to the 25th position on the restart, McClure was able to make up one of the positions lost by lap 165.
As the laps completed neared 200, McClure not only occupied the 24th position, he was still battling a car that was tight in the center of the turns. Although the team needed a caution to make additional adjustments to the car, it unfortunately came one lap too late, trapping the Virginia driver another lap down to the race leader. Not giving up, the team brought McClure to pit road once again for four tires, fuel, and an air-pressure adjustment to help the car’s drivability. When the race resumed on lap 205, the team was scored in the 24th position.
In the closing laps, the car’s handling showed great improvement, allowing McClure to run his fastest lap times of the event, and also helping him advance one position in the running order to finish the U.S. Cellular 250 in the 23rd position.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes:
“It was a solid night for us, although the finish doesn’t reflect it. We started off just a bit tight and got trapped behind an extra lap with an untimely caution, but all in all it was a night we needed. We raced hard, made the car much better throughout the night, and the pit stops were flawless…if we can keep doing all of that the finishes will come.”
Johnny Sauter remained confident about the rest of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season following Saturday's Pocono Mountains 125 despite the dismay, disgust and confusion his team was feeling at Pocono Raceway.
For the second consecutive race -- and third in his last seven outings -- Sauter's No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota was wrecked by another competitor, which at Pocono resulted in a 19th-place finish.
"We've got better bullets coming," Sauter said of the trucks under construction at ThorSport Racing's shop in Sandusky, Ohio. "So I ain't worried about it."
A crazy end game in Pocono's fourth annual Truck Series event, which included a mid-race green-flag pit cycle and then three cautions in the race's final 10 laps -- including two that produced green-white-checker finish attempts -- seemed to be working in Sauter's favor.
Despite battling a loose truck throughout the race he'd worked his way into a top-10 position.
That had the Wisconsin native smiling in his driver's seat as Pocono hadn't been one of his better venues, with only a fourth-place finish from a tail-end start in 2011 as a positive check in his ledger. But the race's "overtime" was unkind to Sauter and company.
"We had characteristics that we didn't have in practice -- the truck was really loose for Johnny and that threw us for a loop for a little bit," co-crew chief Jesse Saunders said. "We really don't know where that came from, but we adjusted on it and made it a little better. I don't think we had it as good as it needed to be to win, but I thought a top-five definitely wasn't out of the realm of possibility.
"But again, we've got nothing to show for it because of other people's mistakes."
The first attempt at a green-white-checker led to former ThorSport teammate Todd Bodine, who was leading the race, making contact with James Buescher and spinning in Turn 1. The following green-white-checker attempt had Sauter eighth and his championship-leading ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton right behind him in ninth.
The field took the green and circled around to the Tunnel Turn behind leader and eventual winner Ryan Blaney. Then, for the second consecutive event, counting an Eldora Speedway qualifying race, Sauter got stuffed in the wall by the same competitor.
"It was pretty clear what happened," Sauter said on pit road immediately following the race. "I think Ty Dillon needs to get a new spotter. I guess he said he didn't know I was there and just drove across the front end and wrecked both of us."
Sauter and Dillon immediately drove back to pit road side-by-side after the caution flew and, after making repairs Sauter restarted 21st for the final time. He ended up passing Dillon in the final two-lap run, but that was no consolation.
"We were loose all day with our Carolina Nut / Curb Records Toyota," Sauter said. "But I'm just proud of these guys. We've just had horrible luck lately -- we're just wrecking trucks for no reason and it's unfortunate.
"I hate it for my guys more than anybody -- they work way too damn hard for this. It's just disappointing."
The finish was particularly disgusting to Sauter's bunch because they came into the race tied for fifth in the championship, albeit 72 points behind leader Crafton. Sauter left Pocono unofficially 10th in the championship but now 84 points out of the lead.
"We were doing what we needed to do," Sauter said in the garage, about half an hour after the race. "We didn't have the best-handling truck but we were gonna have a solid finish and we just got wrecked.
"I'm proud of the guys because they worked hard all weekend -- like they always do. It wasn't a great run but I've never been that great here so I was going to be happy just to get out of here in one piece and get a top-10 finish."
And then came one apparent bad call by a spotter and a bad decision by a young driver.
Sauter's next race, Aug. 17 at Michigan International Speedway, already has him anticipating turning his season -- which began with two consecutive wins and four consecutive top-five finishes -- back in the right direction. Sauter's worst finish in races where he hasn't been wrecked is 12th.
Chad Hackenbracht, driver of the No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Toyota Tundra, made his second start of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in Saturday's Pocono Mountains 125. Following a disappointing Truck Series debut at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth earlier this season, Hackenbracht was looking for redemption this time around and feels like he did just that. The New Philadelphia, Ohio native was on the cusp of a top-10 finish on the final lap before he lost several spots while avoiding a spinning truck on the exit of Turn 3 and ultimately finished 15th.
"We were fighting a loose Toyota Tundra for much of today's race," Hackenbracht said. "With the long green-flag runs, we were unable to really make any big swings at it. We were finally able to make some adjustments on it and made it better under that caution there at the end. During those last two restarts, we kept picking off trucks and moving our way up through the field, but on the last lap the 33 spun in Turn 3 and I had to check way up to avoid him and a bunch of trucks got around me. Unfortunately, we finished 15th. It was a disappointing day, but I finished the race and learned a lot - I'm building my notebook each time I get behind the wheel."
When rain cancelled Saturday morning's NCWTS time trials, the No. 51 Toyota Tundra was forced to start from the 15th-position based on Friday afternoon's practice speeds. Fighting a Tundra that was, "free in all three corners," Hackenbracht lost positions in the early stages of the 50-lap event and was sitting 18th on the leaderboard when crew chief Ryan "Rudy" Fugle brought his Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Toyota Tundra down pit road for a scheduled stop under green a lap 23. Right side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment were in order for the No. 51 machine to help aid in the handling. When the field cycled through the green flag stops, the Toyota Tundra was scored 17th.
A welcoming opportunity for relief was displayed at lap 43, when the second caution of the afternoon was displayed for debris. Fugle brought his rookie driver down pit road to the attention of his crew for four tires, fuel and a major chassis adjustment. When racing resumed on lap 46 the No. 51 Toyota Tundra was scored 17th.
Two more cautions slowed the field on laps 48 and 51, respectively. Hackenbracht took advantage of his new tires and made quick work of the trucks in front of him. However, going into Turn 3, on the last lap, the No. 31 machine spun on the Long Pond Straightaway in front of Hackenbracht, forcing him to check up and lose several positions.
The No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Toyota Tundra would cross the stripe in the 15th position - the 21-year-old rookie's career-best NCWTS finish.
Ryan Blaney won the 4th Annual Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway, his second victory in 20 NCWTS starts and his first win of 2013. Miguel Paludo (second) posted his career-best Truck Series finish. German Quiroga (third) posted his first top-10 finish in his first visit to the "Tricky Triangle." Joey Coulter and Ross Chastain rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM teammate Joey Coulter finished fourth and Darrell Wallace Jr. crossed the line seventh in the 11th event on the 2013 NCWTS schedule.
The field was slowed four times for 10 laps and the lead was exchanged nine times by seven different drivers.
The No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra fell to third in the 2013 NCWTS owner's point standings a mere point behind the No. 4 of Jeb Burton and 53 markers behind the series leading 88 team of Matt Crafton.
Hackenbracht is scheduled to make his third of four starts for Kyle Busch Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Toyota Tundra when the series heads north of the boarder to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Canada on September 1, 2013. The New Philadelphia, Ohio native has two road course starts in the ARCA Racing Series at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, including a pole and one top-10 finish.
Owner-driver Kyle Busch will return to the seat of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra for the Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Saturday, Aug. 17.