For Brennan Newberry's fifth start of the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the young driver teamed up with the world's largest online gun auction website, GunBroker.com, to tame the world's Last Great Colosseum, Bristol Motor Speedway, in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee. Scheduled for a one day show, Newberry's showing at the world's fastest half-mile would see its ups and downs, more than a few passing showers, and a triumphant rebound at the end for a respectable finish after losing track position and being forced to drive his way back through the field.
On Wednesday, the original plan was to hold two practice sessions, knockout qualifying, and the main event all within a few hours. As would be the story throughout most of the day, rain would change the schedule early and teams would lose the first practice to dark skies and showers. Once the track was dried and the surface was cleared by NASCAR, Newberry fired up his No.9 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado. Crew Chief Ryan McKinney was confident in his setup going into the 90 minute sole session of the day, after leaning what the truck and driver needed to be fast, in an all-day test one week prior to the event. After spending much of the session inside the top 10, Newberry and the No.9 crew finished practice 11th on the board with a top speed of 123.205 and were confident of their equipment going into knockout qualifying.
NASCAR would use the two-round procedure for knockout qualifying, a 30-minute session in which the top 12 would advance to fight for the pole in a final 10-minute term. Going into practice, McKinney knew that his truck was fast after a long green flag run. During the first few laps of the initial session, Newberry was holding a time close to the front runners and was just inside the bubble to make it into the top 12. After a few additional laps, nine in total, Newberry would qualify 18th with a time of 15.604 going into the main event, 200 laps around the famed, high banked, Bristol Motor Speedway. With trucks lined up on pit road, ready for drivers to strap-in and fire the engines, the skies opened and Mother Nature showed that she was not done changing the schedule for the day. As heavy rain moved through the region and storms lingered throughout the night, NASCAR officials moved the main event to the following morning. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series would have to wait a few more hours to take the green flag, on Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m.
After a full day of on-track activity on Wednesday, Newberry and the GunBroker.com No.9 team removed the truck-cover and prepared themselves for 200 laps of battle on a speedway, that is just as much stadium as short-track. Inside the center of Tennessee's coliseum of speed, Newberry started 18th and began working his way through the field quickly. By lap 15, the No.9 Chevrolet Silverado had moved into 13th. The time the competition caution was displayed on lap 50, for teams to check tires after changing track conditions due to the heavy rains the day before. On the pit-stop, McKinney called for four fresh tires and minor changes as his driver was very happy with the setup. An equipment malfunction in the pits would relegate Newberry to 18th on the restart and would force a trip through the pack once again. Throughout the event, Newberry continued to pick his way around competitors and stayed in contact with the leaders. A product of short-track on a tight race track, would result in some minor damage for Newberry and another loss of track position close to the end of the event. However, Brennan Newberry was able to rebound and finish strong, coming home in 17th. Newberry's next start with NTS Motorsports in the No.9 Chevrolet will come on a road course on August 31st, at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Brennan Newberry's Post-Race Thoughts: "It was awesome to be back in the No.9 GunBroker.com Chevrolet Silverado. What made it even better was that my return to the series came at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway. Ryan McKinney and my NTS Motorsports team brought me an awesome truck for The Last Great Colosseum. I think if we had qualified just a little bit better, our race result would have been much different. Our consistent lap times and speeds throughout the race tells me that we are making our trucks better and better. I am looking forward to racing with these guys again next week north of the border in Canada."
Ryan McKinney's Post-Race Thoughts: "I am really proud of our speed and our equipment after Bristol. We fought hard to get Brennan comfortable in the truck and in the end we found a balance that he really liked so he could race and make passes on track. Unfortunately, we lost track position through no fault of our own but Brennan and the GunBroker.com guys salvaged a good finish and left with a lot of confidence in our short-track program. Our trucks keep getting better and better each week."
NTS Motorsports PR