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5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer will get his first taste of drafting in race conditions at Daytona during Wednesday’s two practice sessions and in the second 150-mile Duel on Thursday. The two Duel races set the 43-car field for Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Despite finishing second in the 2012 points, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver did not qualifying for last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited because he didn’t win a pole during the season. Bowyer spent Saturday watching the dirt late model teams he owns race in Tampa. He also watched the Unlimited on television to learn what he could about NASCAR’s new Gen-6 cars on the Daytona high-banks.
“I have officially reset my 2013 goals … win a damn pole, this sucks!!!”
ON WATCHING THE SPRINT UNLIMITED: “I didn’t enjoy watching the Sprint Unlimited on TV. I know that I didn’t win a pole and I didn’t earn my spot in that race, but watching everyone else strap in and go for broke when you’re watching on TV is not my idea of a good time. I am going to have to fix that for next year and make sure we get our chance to race. When cars are going around Daytona - I want to be in one of those cars.”
ON DUEL No. 2: “We qualified about how I expected we would based on our practice times, so I’m good with that. It put us in a pretty good position. We are racing in the second duel with our teammate Mark Martin and I think we’ll do just fine. We’ll run our race, learn as much as we can and get a good starting spot for the Daytona 500.”
Justin Lofton and the No. 6 MadVapes (www.MadVapes.com) Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team are excited about the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season.
After a strong 2012 season, Lofton and ESR are primed to run for more wins and poles in 2013. Crew Chief/Engineer Eddie Troconis returns to the top of the box but with the addition of new team personnel over the off season, the No. 6 MadVapes team is confident they have put everything in place to make a powerful statement this week at the Daytona International Speedway.
Same team, new sponsor, new look: Lofton returns to NCWTS competition for the fourth straight year in 2013. His return to Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) with new sponsor MadVapes (www.MadVapes.com), a leader in electronic cigarettes, parts and accessories.
Justin Lofton Quotes..."I am really excited about 2013, my crew chief Eddie (Troconis) put together a great team. We basically rebuilt everything; from the trucks, the guys on the team, to our pit crew," Lofton said. "This is going to be a fun year. We have good group with a lot of experience and with the support from MadVapes, Chevrolet and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines, we have everything we need to run up front."
On what to expect in Daytona: When he takes the green flag this Friday for the NextEra Energy Resources 250, Lofton will be making his fourth career truck start at the famed 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. In 2012 Lofton finished 3rd, respectfully.
How big of a confidence lift does your win in ARCA last weekend carry to this weekend in the Truck race?
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, Blake Koch received the positive news just two weeks ago that he would once again be behind the wheel of the #24 Toyota Camry fielded by SR2 Motorsports based in Mooresville, North Carolina. In addition to full time competition in 2013, Koch announced today, three organizations which he will endorse this season; Crusader Staffing, Support Military.org and Finish A Winner.
Crusader Staffing, owned by Dell Hamilton Co-Owner of Sprint Cup team Hamilton/Means Racing, was the first primary sponsor that assisted Koch when he made his first start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Crusader is a nationwide company that specializes in professionally managed warehouse labor. Since 2002 the company has been serving customers nationwide, providing a wide range of logistics services with a core specialty in loading and unloading of freight.
The company strives to be the preferred choice for managed labor and value added services by partnering with warehouses and distribution centers to reduce labor cost, increase productivity, increase safety and provide unmatched customer service.
"Crusader staffing is a very important company to me, they were the primary sponsor for my first ever Nationwide race and that will always be very special," said Koch. "They are an honest company that I am proud to represent."
Supportmilitary.org's mission is to link America to verified organizations that provide needed support to Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Veterans and their families. The organization's goal is to connect a grateful nation through armed forces awareness and personal involvement. Supportmilitary.org provides a launch pad for turning awareness into action for individuals, businesses, non governmental agencies, community civil groups, local governments and faith based organizations in support of our uniformed services past and present.
Being a NASCAR driver allows Koch to reach beyond just the steering wheel each week. In his travels to and around each track he competes, Koch offers a high speed ministry to the sporting world's greatest fans, sharing his faith in nearly every town he visits each weekend by telling his story through Finish A Winner ministry.
Koch believes that God has a plan for everyone and that plan for Koch was to become a NASCAR driver and a voice of faith in the NASCAR community. Koch's strong faith and story has drawn much national attention including Fox News, CNN, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and numerous news agencies throughout the United States.
“We are so proud to have Blake represent Crusader Staffing, Supportmilitary.org and Finish A Winner,” said Dell Hamilton who is involved in each organization. “His great talent, high moral standards and strong faith are an asset to everything we do,” Hamilton added.
Koch will make personal appearances, participate in awareness campaigns; meet with fans, clients and supporters for each organization. Koch is a great talent on and off the track, reaching out to the community in his unique form of ministry and representing his team and sponsors with the greatest professionalism.
The 26 year old Florida native is excited to be back in Daytona this week with big expectations of the year to come."I'm really excited to be back with SR2 Motorsports," Koch said. "Our team chemistry is solid. We grew leaps and bounds last season and I'm optimistic that we'll continue that this year. It will be an exciting platform for my new relationships with Crusader Staffing, Supportmilitary.org and Finish A Winner.”
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After a breakout 2012 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Parker Kligerman graduates to a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) for 2013. Kligerman, whose resume includes five top-10 finishes across 18 career Nationwide Series starts, makes his KBM debut Saturday, driving the No. 77 Bandit Chippers Camry in the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
In his second full-time campaign in the Camping World Truck Series, Kligerman emerged as one of NASCAR's top young drivers. The 22-year-old registered his first career NASCAR victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in October, captured two pole awards and finished fifth in the final Truck Series driver's point standings. He collected eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes overall in 2012 and blossomed after joining the Toyota Racing Family in the second half of the season. His Talladega victory, both poles and five of his eight top-five finishes came behind the wheel of a Tundra over the final 11 races of the season.
The Connecticut native also climbed behind the wheel of a Nationwide Series vehicle three times last season, finishing in the top 10 twice, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the July race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Also graduating to the Nationwide Series in 2013 is the man who will call the shots for Kligerman, crew chief Eric Phillips. The Illinois native ranks second on the all-time wins list in the Truck Series with 28 trips to victory lane in his nine seasons atop the pit box. Phillips, who joined KBM for its inaugural Truck Series season in 2010, guided the team's flagship No. 18 Tundra to 17 victories, 8 poles, 38 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes across 72 starts. Under his guidance, KBM became the first team since the Truck Series originated in 1995 to capture the owner's championship in its inaugural season.
The two Truck Series graduates will be looking to build upon the late-season surge that KBM's Nationwide Series program showed in its inaugural season. KBM totaled 1 win, 3 poles, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes en route to an eighth-place finish in the owner's point standings in 2012. The team recorded all three of its poles, eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the last 13 races of the season.
With a Truck Series win on a superspeedway last season, Kligerman heads to Daytona with confidence in his ability to make moves in the draft. A win on graduation day, on NASCAR's biggest stage, would go a long way in proving that the talented youngster belongs as a full-time Nationwide Series driver.
Coming off a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings, Michael Annett heads to Daytona International Speedway looking to keep the momentum he found with the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford team last season.
The 26-year-old driver made eight starts at the famed, 2.5-mile race track and collected two top-10 finishes, including a third-place finish, his career-best, in the July event last season. Saturday's 400-mile event will give Annett his first opportunity to meet this season's goal to get to victory lane.
Fans will have the opportunity to see Annett at the Ford Display in the Midway area Saturday, February 23 when Annett stops by for a 15-minute question and answer session at 11 a.m.
Comments from Pilot Flying J Ford Fusion Driver Michael Annett:
"We had a lot of momentum last year and were very consistent in our performance and finishes. This year, we are looking to win. If we can win some races, we will be right there in the chase for the championship. The competition this year is very high which makes it even more important for our team to stay consistent but also win races. I have great chemistry with Philippe and the guys, so I think we can battle with the best of them.
"We had a third-place finish last summer and were running well in the season opening event before we got caught up in a late-race incident. I feel really good about our Daytona program and think that will show on the track on Saturday. I'm looking forward to starting the season with pretty much the same guys. I think that will definitely help us start off on the right foot."
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Daytona:
"We were really happy with our third-place finish last year with this car and over the off-season, have rebuilt the chassis exactly like we had last July. With Daytona, at the end of the day, it is in the driver's hands. Michael is very good at drafting, so I'm confident in our performance for our first race this season. Our team has stayed intact over the off-season, which will help us hit the ground running when we get to Daytona."
Kyle Busch is back under a familiar roof with the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team, a shop where he earned 39 Nationwide Series victories along with three Owner’s Championships and a Driver’s Championship between the years 2010 and 2008.
Although sporting familiar colors in the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry, Busch’s team is a new unit under the watch of crew chief Adam Stevens. This week Busch will tackle once again the famed Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fl. (DIS), a 2.5-mile oval that offers the best of racing, the highs and lows of superspeedway action.
After starting from the 24th position in the 2012 NNS event, Busch worked his way through the field without incident, methodically building his position towards the front. The No. 54 Monster Energy Camry led two times for two laps that year, the last time on the final lap of the event. Although he could taste the checkered flag, Busch’s opportunity for victory was snatched away from him when a crash, that brought out the race-ending caution, caused damage to the black machine forcing Busch to finish 18th.
This week Busch looks to place himself back in the lead position for redemption, again on the final lap, but with a better end result. While last year he partnered with his brother NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch through the race, to maneuver the draft, we may see a new ‘dancing partner’ in his new JGR teammate, another NASCAR Champion, Matt Kenseth.
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