For the 4th total time in his career, Brennan Newberry took the track for some restrictor plate racing. Superspeedway racing is one of the jewels of NASCAR but a top challenge for all competitors. After grabbing the pole at Daytona in 2013, Newberry proved to everyone that he has what it takes to be fast on the high banks and he continued to drive that point home this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The No.20 Qore-24 Chevrolet Silverado team filed into the garage bright and early on Friday morning for 120 minutes of practice and looked to execute fast laps in the draft with NTS Motorsports teammate Ron Hornaday Jr. in the No.9 and the rest of the Chevrolet drivers in the pack. Executing their blueprint throughout practice, qualifying, and the race, Newberry and crew chief Ryan McKinney showed plenty of speed and overcame every obstacle thrown their way, to rebound for a solid finish at the end of the Fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola after they had to overtime laps in a green-white-checkered finish.
Once the track was opened for Friday's lone practice session, Newberry and McKinney headed out to join the other Chevrolet Silverados, to test their setup and see how it would work in the draft. The answer was a positive one, as the pack of Chevrolet Silverados rose to the top of the board. Turning only nine total circuits on the 2.66 mile tri-oval, Crew Chief, Ryan McKinney elected to end practice early and began preparing the truck for 3 rounds of knockout qualifying. With a lap time of 50.730, the No.20 crew ended practice in 7th and carried their speed into qualifying later that afternoon.
With the sun beating down on the massive Talladega tri-oval, Newberry would hit the track in the second group for round one qualifying, with five minutes to determine the top 24 for the 2nd round. When time expired, the No.20 Chevrolet was posted 4th, with a time of 50.841 and three total laps. As knockout style qualifying has proven to be a perpetual chess match during each round, lining up to go out for the second five minute segment, Chevrolet drivers were not able to hook up together, to get the drafting help needed to set a fast lap. When the clock had expired on the second round, the No.20 Chevrolet had earned a solid 15th place starting spot, alongside NTS teammate Ron Hornaday in the No. 9 Chevrolet.
On a hot Alabama day with clear skies, Newberry strapped in for 250 miles of high speed chess in the draft and picked his way to the front quick during the first green flag run. By lap 34, Newberry has picked his way to inside the top-10 and was running single file with the leaders, biding his time, and working with spotter Tim Fidewa and Ryan McKinney, atop the pit box, to find the right partners to keep moving up the leader board. When the caution was displayed with just over 30 laps to the finish, Newberry came to pit road to the service of his NTS Motorsports pit crew who executed perfectly during the entire event and placed the Qore-24 truck on the outside of the front row to restart in the 2nd spot.
Sticking to the plan and maintaining a spot in the top-10 throughout the later point of the race, Newberry was poised to make a run for the checkered flag when, by all account, disaster struck and threatened to end a fast and competitive weekend for the NTS Motorsports entry. On lap 83, a multi-truck crash ensued on the 'Alabama Gang Superstretch', sending Newberry through the grass at a high speed before returning to the racing surface at the entry of turn 3. With multiple trips down pit road, Crew Chief McKinney kept his crew and driver calm and collected and got the damage repaired, without every losing a lap and rejoining the field to salvage as much as they could. Newberry pulled his belts tights, pulled back on the gloves one more time, and knew he could still pick his way forward.
Restarting just inside the top-20 with only 6 laps to go, the task seemed unsurmountable to some, but NTS Motorsports and their young driver looked to bounce back. With just 3 laps remaining, Newberry had made his way up to 15th when the caution was displayed again, sending the event into overtime and a first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Taking the white flag after the restart, Newberry was racing his way forward looking for the right partners and managed to make a run to the checkered flag. Coming across the line 5-wide at the conclusion of the race, Newberry regained 9 spots in the last 7 laps to finish 11th in the Fred's 250 at Talladega. Newberry's next event with NTS Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series will be at Martinsville on Saturday, October, 25th in the No.9 Qore-24 Chevrolet Silverado.
From the Driver's Seat with Brennan Newberry: This was by far the best overall SuperSpeedway weekend I have had in my career. It was awesome that Chevrolet had a plan for all of it's bow tie teams to work together on track, and it worked flawlessly. Qualifying was completely wild and while I didn't get the starting spot I wanted, we were all very pleased with our starting position. I have to give it up to my No.20 Qore-24 pit crew, as they gained spots for me on every stop and had zero mistakes. The ENTIRE NTS Motorsports team helped me recover late in the race, after some heavy damage during a small Big One'. My crew chief, Ryan McKinney and spotter, Tim Fedewa, kept me calm all day to make sure we executed our game plan effectively. Getting the pole at Daytona last year was great, but having pure speed all weekend, running up front all day and coming home with a good finish at 'Dega trumps it all. We will keep the fun times rolling in Kernersville heading into Martinsville next week.
Atop the Pit Box with Crew Chief Ryan McKinney: I am very proud of my team after Talladega, Plate-racing can be stressful on everyone in the garage, but the fans love it. It takes an entire team to pull off a great run in Talladega and we all worked together and got it done. Our pit-crew was incredible all day long, they gained us spots after every stop and that is invaluable during any race. I have to say thank you to Bob Newberry for making sure we always have everything we need to run up front every weekend, and to the guys for working so hard back at the shop, and to Qore-24 Antimicrobial Hand Purifier for their continued support as we keep working toward our first win as a team.
NTS Motorsports PR