Newberry Races Close to Home
Born and raised on the West Coast in Bakersfield, California, Brennan Newberry has a special place in his heart for Phoenix International Raceway. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Lucas Oil 150, hosted by a venue Newberry frequently refers to as his "favorite place to race", was a night unlike any other with drama both on and high above the race track. The lights that tower over the 1-mile asphalt oval, delayed the initial drop of the green flag and brought Newberry's resurgence back to the front of the field, after an early incident, to an abrupt end. Running only 126 of the scheduled 150 laps, Newberry was forced off of the lead lap after contact from a competitor took him outside of the top-10 and was unable to make his way back to the front before the event was cut short. The strength and speed of the No.9 NTS Motorsports GunBroker.com team was evident throughout the Arizona weekend and Newberry shined on track under the light of a full desert moon.
Preparing for a double duty weekend in Avondale, as Newberry was slated to run back-to-back PIR events in the NCWTS and the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Friday and Saturday, NTS Motorsports geared up to fire off strong in the first of dual practice sessions. The track would be available to teams for over two hours and No.9 Crew Chief Ryan McKinney was pleased to see that, once again, the team was fast during their first run on track. In the course of the two practice session, Newberry would complete 38 laps and on his final circuit, posted a time of 26.956 that would hold for a spot inside the top 5. With a top speed of 133.55 MPH, Newberry and McKinney prepared to fight for the pole with a fast Chevrolet for Friday afternoon's Knockout Qualifying.
One of the major changes to NASCAR competition throughout the top 3 touring series in 2014 came in the form of Knockout Qualifying. Teams continue to adjust their approach in order to advance to the final round to have a chance at the top starting spot. The first session to post a time inside the top-12 would see the track open for 30 minutes. On his one and only lap during the first round, Newberry placed himself inside the top-5 with a lap of 26.908 seconds and would advance to fight for the pole. The final round, 10 minutes to determine the first 12 starting spots, saw a host of drivers completing laps as the final moments of qualifying approached. As the temperatures were drastically warmer than they would be during the event, Newberry knew that the surface would be slick during his 2nd run after scuffing in his tires. After a time of 27.01 seconds, Newberry would start the Lucas Oil 150 in 11th.
After a highly publicized power outage in the areas surrounding Avondale, the track was dimly lit with auxiliary power and the start of the last event for the NCWTS before the 2014 season finale was delayed for more than an hour. When drivers were called to their trucks, Newberry strapped in excited to race in front of hometown friends and family as well as representatives from GunBroker.com and his primary sponsor Qore-24 Antimicrobial Hand Purifier, which is based in Tempe, Arizona a short drive from the race track. Multiple cautions, a red flag condition, and several on track incidents halted green flag runs and the first stretch of multiple laps would only come after 30 miles into the event. By lap 72, Newberry had settled inside the top-10, in 9th, and was working a strategy with Ryan McKinney atop the pit box to continue his march forward. Just a few circuits later, Newberry would hit pit road for adjustments after reporting to his team that he was free in all four corners of the track. Approaching lap 100, Newberry was racing hard coming out of turn four when he was tagged in the left rear and was spun as the caution was displayed.
Keeping his GunBroker.com Chevrolet off of the wall and avoiding major damage, Newberry made a trip down pit road to replace the tires after sliding to a stop. Conserving fuel to the finish, McKinney and his driver had developed a plan to stay out and gain valuable track position as the closing laps of the event approached. As they began to implement their blueprint for a top finish, the lights gave way once again and trucks were brought to pit road as the red flag was displayed. Without the proper lighting to safely navigate the 1-mile racing surface, NASCAR deemed the event concluded and decided to forego the last 24 miles of the Lucas Oil 150. Newberry and McKinney would come home 16th but had shown, once again, that they have the speed and strength as a team to run up front. The next event on the NCWTS schedule for Newberry will be the 2014 season finale in South Florida, as he drives the No.9 Qore-24 Chevrolet Silverado in the Ford Eco Boost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
From the Driver's Seat with Brennan Newberry: "Once again, we unloaded very fast and had a top-5 truck in both practice sessions in Phoenix. I always have a lot of confidence in my No.9 Gun Broker Chevrolet Silverado team. Two week in a row, we have made the final round of knockout qualifying and that is huge for me, since I have not always been the best on two lap runs for the older style qualifying. Ryan McKinney and I had our plan to run all the laps and, until the lights went out late in the race, we were right on task. The result was not what we wanted but the speed in our truck is there, the confidence in my team is there, and I have the focus I need. My NTS Motorsports team and I have one more shot this season to execute our plan for the 2014 season: Get to Victory lane."
Atop the Pit Box with Crew Chief Ryan McKinney: "We had a lot of high hopes going into Phoenix this weekend. We had a really fast truck that had ran so well recently in Loudon and Brennan's confidence has been at an all-time high and Phoenix is one of his favorite places to race. We unloaded fast, just as we have the last several weeks, and worked through our practice plan and ended with a really good GunBroker.com Chevrolet. It was great to qualify into the top-12 and make the final round once again. Brennan was working his way forward when we had contact on track and were spun out coming off of turn four. This put us behind for the rest of the night and when the event was cut short, we didn't have the time we needed to get back to the front. All of the NTS Motorsports guys will keep digging hard and we will roll into Homestead looking for a win to cap off the 2014 season for Bob Newberry and Qore-24."
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