Brennan Newberry and the GunBroker.com NTS Motorsports Team drive through difficulty at Daytona
Brennan Newberry and the GunBroker.com Chevrolet Silverado number 24 team rolled out of Daytona with a notebook full of speed that came at a high price of adversity after their speed weeks tour. Through a damaged hood, unloading a backup, and being collected in "The Big One" that took them out of contention for the 15th annual NextEra Energy Resources 250, Newberry and Crew Chief Gere Kennon saw a determination in their NTS Motorsports team that gave them high hopes going into the next event on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule.
The first day of practice, on Wednesday, started with a truck that could roll through the center perfectly and felt great to the driver during his first single truck run. The third time out Spotter Tim Fedewa, under instruction from the crew chief, navigated Newberry into the draft to see how the Chevrolet Silverado would hold up inside a pack. After one lap in traffic, Newberry noticed trouble with the hood and radioed to the team "something isn't right" and proceeded to head back to the team for adjustments and a quick checkup. The hood came up earlier than expected. A part malfunction caused the hood cover to open under speed and was launched onto the roof of the number 24 race truck. After inspection from the team and NASCAR it was determined that a backup would be the best course of action due to heavy damage to the windshield and roof. Newberry recorded a fast lap of 48.518 during only six total laps on track.
Working through the evening, the NTS Motorsports team prepared the backup for Newberry in time for the first of duel 80 minute practice sessions on Thursday. "With Daytona it is hard to devise a strategy, you have to be able to be there at the end and make sure you work well with people in the early stages of the weekend and race so that they will return the favor in the closing laps" said Newberry going into the final day of practice. After working on single truck runs and running in packs ranging from 10-15 trucks, speedway veteran Gere Kennon ended the sessions early as the team was happy with the setup of the GunBroker.com Chevrolet and posted a lap of 48.041 which held a 13th position on the speed chart.
With a new style for NCWTS qualifying procedures the team was excited to get back on track and see if the minor adjustments after final practice had made the 24 team even faster. Threatening rainstorms cancelled most of the early on track activities on Friday, as well as the afternoon qualifying session for the NCWTS teams, therefore, the field was set by merged practice speeds. Brennan Newberry's combined practice laps earned a 26th starting position for the event.
Following a short rain delay, the command to fire engines was given just after 8:30pm and the green flag dropped onto the 2014 field of the NCWTS for the first time to start the 100 lap NextEra Energy Resources 250. Newberry held to the high groove, working with fellow Chevrolet drivers, and made his way to 21st by lap 20 for the scheduled competition caution. Under the yellow, Kennon called for a "gas-n-go" fuel only stop and the 24 rolled off of pit road 21st for the restart.
The second caution of the night, for a truck slowing on the backstretch, came at exactly halfway on lap 50. Newberry, who had been quiet on the radio most of the night, said the truck was "handling great in the draft and was very stable going through the corners". The call was made by Kennon for four tires and fuel and no adjustments were made to the GunBroker.com Chevrolet.
Restarting on lap 56 in 22nd position, Newberry began making his way to the front and found a high lane that was beginning to roll past the bottom. By lap 64 Newberry made his first crack into the top 10 and was setting himself and his team up for a great finish with a fast truck. On lap 75, a spin in turn two collected the pack. Newberry navigated his way through the first of two collisions then, after hitting the apron to avoid another competitor, was turned up the banking and hard into the wall. Newberry was unable to drive the damaged 24 truck back to the garage area and took the mandatory ride to the infield care center.
Moments after being cleared by the at-track Halifax medical staff, Newberry climbed back into the number 24 Silverado after the team had worked quickly to get the truck prepared to go back out. Running the final ten laps, Newberry finished the night with a 25th spot on the charts.
Brennan Newberry's Post-Race Thoughts:
"My GunBroker.com Chevrolet Silverado was good all night. My crew chief Gere Kennon and my NTS Motorsports team had the truck set up to be very stable. My spotter, Tim Fedewa, had me biding my time and staying patient until the closing laps. Unfortunately, our game plan went out the window after we were involved in the big wreck. Never the less, my truck, team, and I were prepared to the best of our ability. This is exactly the motivation needed to tackle my remaining eleven events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season."
Crew Chief Gere Kennon's Post-Race Thoughts:
"Our GunBroker.com Chevrolet Silverado team had a challenging week in Daytona. Yet, we had two very fast trucks from the time the haulers pulled in. We had to go to a backup early in the first practice and that got us off of our rhythm but both trucks had everything we needed and handled great in the draft. Unfortunately, we were swept up in a crash and had a great truck, driver, and team taken out of contention. We are looking very forward to the next event at Martinsville."