Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

The world famous West Coast Customs (WCC), renown vehicle customizers and producers of the hit vehicle-build reality TV show Inside West Coast Customs, has partnered with Best Buy’s Geek Squad to develop Carl Edwards’ No. 99 race car design for the NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 race.  Ryan Friedlinghaus, a NASCAR fan, was excited when long-time partner Geek Squad approached the WCC team on designing a car for this race.

“This was a very unique and exciting opportunity for West Coast Customs,” said Ryan Friedlinghaus, CEO and founder of West Coast Customs. “As a devoted NASCAR fan, seeing the WCC design and logo on Carl Edwards’ race car will be an amazing experience. We are filming the unveiling and all the activities throughout the weekend for our TV show Inside West Coast Customs.”

“The race this weekend is huge for us,” said Carl Edwards.  “To have Ryan Friedlinghaus, who designed the paint scheme, and all the West Coast Customs and Geek Squad people there will be really cool. I got a chance to visit Geek Squad City when we were in Kentucky for the race and I met a lot of really great people there who are behind us and I hope we can get a win for them."

West Coast Customs will feature a display in the NASCAR fan zone area at Michigan International Speedway August 17th – 19th.  The West Coast Customs booth will feature a variety of autograph signing sessions / appearances.  On Saturday, August 18th, Jack Roush will be on hand for a Q&A Session with fans.   On Sunday, Aug. 19th,  the schedule includes: Ryan Friedlinghaus 9 am, Carl Edwards Q & A in the WCC booth at 10 am and special guest Dj ASHBA, the lead guitarist for the band Guns and Roses will be signing at 11 am.  

The Inside West Coast Customs Geek Squad/Carl Edwards episode will be airing this fall.  A complete TV show schedule will be on the www.westcoastcustoms.com website Nov 1st.

Owner Ryan Friedlinghaus and his shop have been doing exclusive custom builds for the MTV show Pimp my Ride, TLC’s Street Customs, Street Customs Berlin and now on his new show Inside West Coast Customs. Ryan and his crew are world-renowned for their extreme vehicles, outrageous features, and next level designs.


Jason White on Michigan:  “We all know that Michigan is a wide and fast race track.  But the new pavement has taken it to a whole new level as we saw with the Cup cars.  We were lucky enough to test there at the Goodyear tire test recently and there is so much grip in the track which really allows the truck to handle through the corners.  Michigan has always been a horsepower track and we have an awesome engine package from Roush Yates Engines and that will play a crucial part for us this weekend.  I think the groove on the new pavement will widen out as the race goes on and we will very likely have an awesome three-wide finish.”

“I feel that this GunBroker.com team has really turned the corner and are starting to hit on all cylinders.  We are halfway through the season and sitting in the top-10 in points – now it is time for us get up front and challenge for some wins here in the second half of the season and that starts this weekend in Michigan.”

Jason at Michigan:This will mark Jason’s sixth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the track in the Irish Hills of Michigan. Jason has two Top-10 finishes at the track with a sixth place finish in last year’s event and seventh in the 2010 race.  White also has a start at the track in the NASCAR Nationwide Series finishing 32nd in the 2003 event.

Race Rewind:  In what turned out to be an event-filled few days for Jason White, the driver and his team stayed focused on what was important and came home with an 11th-place finish in the running of the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway.  One of the shortest races of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season presented White and his team with little time to adjust on the handling of their No. 23 GunBroker.com Ford, but their determination and focus led to a solid finish in the race representing the halfway point of the season.

The finish kept Jason in the 10th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers’ standings – only 16 points out of the ninth spot.  

“Sniper” Targets Success at Michigan: The GunBroker.com team will be bringing the truck they nicknamed “Sniper” to Michigan International Speedway this week.  In honor of the team’s sponsor, GunBroker.com, the GB Racing team uses gun and shooting themed names for most of their trucks – thus the name “Sniper”.   “Sniper” is the team’s newest truck that Jason ran for the first time at Kentucky Speedway as well as last time out in Pocono.  Jason and the team also recently tested “Sniper” at Michigan International Speedway at the Goodyear tire test and they hope to utilize the information gathered to help them this weekend.

Michigan Tire Testing: Jason White and his team took part in the July 30th Goodyear tire test at Michigan International Speedway.  As a follow up to the first event of the season on the newly re-paved track, the test served as an opportunity for Goodyear to confirm the new tire compound needed to handle the faster speeds on the 2-mile oval.  “We were really fast at the tire test and there is no reason to believe that we won’t be when we go back this week for the race,” stated White.  “There is a tremendous amount of grip on the track and with these trucks it is going to produce some awesome racing.  I have been good at Michigan with top-10 finishes the last two races there and I think this is our time to challenge for a win.”


No. 32 Duroline Brakes and Components Chevrolet News and Notes
Brazilian in the Irish Hills...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) heads from the Pocono mountains to the Irish Hills of Michigan for the VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Paludo has one previous start at the 2.0-mile D-shaped oval. In 2011, Paludo started ninth and finished third, which remains his career-best NCWTS finish.

Meet Me Halfway...With 11 races in the record books, the 22-race 2012 NCWTS season has reached the halfway point. Going into this weekend's race in Michigan, Paludo now sits 11th in the driver point standings, eight points outside the top-10. Paludo has scored one top-10 and eight top-15 finishes and has one pole. Paludo has led 66 laps, completed 1,696 of 1,724 laps of compitition (98.4% laps completed), has an average start of 10.5 and an average finish of 15.2.

Changes Atop the Pit Box...Turner Motorsports would like to welcome Jeff Hensley to the No. 32 Duroline team. Hensley, who most recently served as crew chief for four-time NCWTS champion Ron Hornaday Jr., will take over as crew chief for Paludo and will lead the No. 32 team for the remainder of the 2012 season. Former No. 32 crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. will remain with Turner Motorsports to serve as crew chief for the team's fourth NCWTS entry when it competes and will be involved in the organization's other NCWTS and NNS efforts.

Meet and Greet...Paludo will be participating in the MIS open garage experience, part of the track's Fan Appreciation Program. All fans that have purchased a Pit Pass for Friday, August 17th are invited to visit the NCWTS garage where Paludo and other drivers in the series will be signing autographs from 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET. For more information, visit mispeedway.com.

This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 Duroline Brakes and Components team will unload chassis TMS-216 for this weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway. This is the same chassis that Paludo got behind the wheel of in the most recent NCWTS race at Pocono Raceway, in addition to Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway earlier this season. TMS-216 has a best finish of 12th (Kentucky).
Diabetes Fact of the Week...Diabetes and its complications have a significant economic impact on individuals, families, health systems and countries. For example, the World Health Organization estimates that in the period from 2006-2015, China will lose $558 billion in foregone national income due to heart disease, stroke and diabetes alone

Previous Race Recap...Paludo was once again denied the finish his truck was capable of when he was swept into another competitor's wreck in the closing dozen laps of the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway. Paludo was running solidly in the top-10 when another competitor wrecked, sideswiping the No. 32 Duroline Brakes Chevrolet and sending him spinning, forcing a late-race pit stop and resulting in a 13th-place finish at the "Tricky Triangle.

Follow Me...Visit www.twitter.com/miguelpaludo or www.facebook.com/miguelpaludo for the latest news and updates on Paludo and the No. 32 Duroline Brakes and Components team

Watch and Listen...The VFW 200 can be seen live on Saturday, August 18th on SPEED. Race coverage will begin at 12:00 p.m. EST. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 90.

Miguel Paludo on driving at Michigan International Speedway

"I've been looking forward to getting back to Michigan pretty much since we left there in 2011. I seem to excel on the bigger, more sweeping tracks, and Michigan is no exception. I had a really great race there, finished third, which is my best finish in Trucks so far. I can't wait to get back there and improve my finish by two more spots."

Turner Motorsports PR

As Michigan prepares for the upcoming Pure Michigan 400, select Walmart stores will offer authentic NASCAR merchandise and host exclusive fan events starting Aug. 15. Customers are invited to attend these special events and enjoy show car and simulator displays – perfect to safely get behind the wheel and feel the power of NASCAR – August 15-18 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., depending on the location.

The Michigan International Speedway recently completed its fourth repave in the track's history producing some of the fastest speeds in NASCAR. With 18 degree banking and 73-foot wide sweeping turns, MIS provides drivers with three and four grooves to run around the two-mile speedway. On June 17, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Quicken Loans 400, his first victory in four years, at the same track where he got his last NASCAR Sprint Cup win.

Race Time at Walmart
In addition to the fan events happening in Walmart parking lots, area Walmart stores will feature savings on all the food and snacks you need to enjoy the race, plus authentic NASCAR merchandise such as T-shirts and racing flags, with an even bigger selection of exclusive products available at Walmart.com/NASCAR.

Participating stores near the Michigan International Speedway include:

Wednesday, Aug. 15


Events free and open to the public include the Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Wheaties Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator, Keystone Light Show Truck, Budweiser Show Car, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, Oreo Ritz Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger and Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator at:


Store #1593
800 E. Chicago St.
Coldwater, Mich.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 16


Events free and open to the public include the Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Wheaties Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator, Keystone Light Show Truck, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, Oreo Ritz Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger and Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator at:


Store #1809
701 Olds St.
Jonesville, Mich.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Friday, Aug. 17

Events free and open to the public include the Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Wheaties Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator, Miller Lite Show Car, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, Oreo Ritz Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger and Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator at:


Store #5472
7000 E. Michigan Ave.
Saline, Mich.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 18

Events free and open to the public include the Shell-Pennzoil No. 22 Dodge Charger, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, Hefty Show Car Simulator, Keystone Light Show Truck, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Wheaties Show Car and 5-hour Energy Show Car at:

Store #1836
1601 U.S. 223
Adrian, Mich.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Events free and open to the public include the Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator, Miller Lite Show Car, Budweiser Show Car and Oreo Ritz Show Car at:

Store #5160
1700 W. Michigan Ave.
Jackson, Mich.
11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Walmart PR

The time couldn’t be better for Ryan Newman and his No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing team to turn up the “WIX.”

Last Sunday’s 11th-place finish at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International vaulted Newman into the second wild-card spot for this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with four races to go before the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Only the top-10 in points are locked into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase. Positions 11 and 12 are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points who have the most wins. In the event multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Kasey Kahne holds the 11th-place wild-card spot thanks to his two victories this season, the most of any driver outside the top-10. Newman assumed the 12th-place wild-card spot by virtue of his April 1 victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway combined with his 13th position in the point standings, which is higher than his fellow single-race winners in the top-20 in points – Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano.

Considering the wild-card scenario seems to change each and every week thanks to one of the tightest Chase battles in recent memory, keeping the second wild-card spot in his clutches will be no easy task for Newman and the No. 39 WIX Filters Racing team.

The easiest way for the 11-year Sprint Cup veteran to help his cause would be to capture at least one more win. Luckily, the South Bend, Ind., native is no stranger to victory lane at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where the Pure Michigan 400 will be run this Sunday.

In fact, it was at Michigan, on Aug. 18, 2001, that Newman drove to his first-ever NASCAR victory by winning the Nationwide Series race in dominating fashion. After qualifying on the outside pole, Newman wasted no time taking over the point and he never looked back. He led 119 of 125 laps and won by 1.3 seconds. Four years later, in 2005, Newman won his second Nationwide race at the track.

In Sprint Cup competition at 2-mile oval, Newman has one pole, two wins, five top-five finishes and six top-10s in 22 starts. Newman’s two victories actually came back-to-back. He won the August 2003 race and followed it up with a repeat performance in June 2004. In 2003, Newman started on the outside pole and led 32 laps en route to the win. In the 2004 race, he started fourth and led 22 laps on his way to taking the checkered flag.

Newman’s record behind the gold-and-black colors of the No. 39 WIX Filters Chevy isn’t too shabby, either. In six races with WIX Filters on the hood of his No. 39 Chevy, Newman has four top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place run at Michigan last August.

Despite having five consecutive finishes of 11th or better in the past five races, Newman knows it’s likely going to take more than top-five and top-10 finishes over the next four races to guarantee himself a spot in his fifth Chase. A win is what he needs.

With wins being more important than ever, nothing gives a driver like Newman more confidence to take on the demands and high speeds of the newly resurfaced Michigan track than knowing he has a great team, a great racecar and the horsepower he needs to go to the front of the field and stay there.

That is exactly the confidence Newman and his WIX Filters team need during their full-throttle race to the Chase. Behind the wheel of his No. 39 Chevy, Newman is ready to turn up the “WIX” and take on the competition at the track he considers to be home, and one he has proven, time and again, that brings out the best in him.


For the sixth time in NASCAR history, the Nationwide Series will bring their garage across the border to Montreal, Quebec, Canada for the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve track. Kyle Busch will make his second attempt at the 2.709-mile road course, in a field laced with road-course experts such as Alex Tagliani, Ron Fellows and Jacques Villeneuve, whose father's name the track is entitled to.

Busch's past international road-course success includes a win in the Nationwide Series in 2008, at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez track in Mexico City, Mexico. It was his second visit to the Mexico facility. The young, but veteran, driver who holds the record for most wins in the Nationwide Series, first tackled this week's Canada track in 2009, and recorded a 10th-place finish. This week will mark his second visit to the Montreal facility, but first as the owner-driver of the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for his first-year Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Nationwide Series team. While he has also enjoyed success on the U.S.-based road course Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it would be a feat and a NASCAR record, for Busch to record a victory at three different road-course events in three different countries.

In order to pursue this accomplishment, Busch will work between two race markets and two countries. While the Sprint Cup Series will hold their weekend event at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Owen Kelly of Tasmania, Australia will help Busch prepare for the Saturday event in Canada. Kelly will support the No. 54 team during practice and qualifying sessions, while Busch remains in the States, preparing his Sprint Cup Series entry for Sunday's race. Busch will make the trip to Montreal Saturday morning prior to race start and will be looking to achieve victory amidst a busy schedule.


… Goodyear hosted a tire test at Michigan International Speedway on July 30 and 28 teams took advantage of the extra practice time. The test allowed Goodyear to confirm what tire compound to use for the Pure Michigan 400.

… In June all three series that raced at MIS posted track qualifying records. Marcos Ambrose turned a lap of 203.241 MPH for the Quicken Loans 400, the top speed at a non-restrictor plate track. In the Nationwide Series, Austin Dillon won the pole for the Alliance Truck Parts 250 with a speed of 190.375 MPH. Joey Coulter had a top mark of 192.149 MPH to win the pole for the RainEater Wiper Blades 200 in the ARCA Racing Series present by Menards.

… Michigan International Speedway has taken fan appreciation to new heights and will host a driver Q&A with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth on Friday, Aug. 17. The Q&A session will start at 5:30 p.m. In addition, 300 fans will have the opportunity to tour the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, 200 guests will be invited into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage for an autograph session and 125 fans will get hot lap rides.

...MIS is continuing a tradition of giving a fan the opportunity to present a trophy on behalf of the race fans to the Pure Michigan 400 winner. The presentation is awarded to fans through the speedway’s Fan Appreciation Program. The Fan Appreciation Program also hands out other memorable race weekend experiences to various fans including access to pre- and post-race ceremonies, pace car rides, pit passes and more.

… After debuting in June, the APEX RV Park is completely sold out for the Pure Michigan 400. The Apex Campground consists of 20 spaces outside of Turn Three, so close that you can feel the rush of the race. Each trackside campsite is 20- x 55- feet wide and has water and electric hookups, a picnic table and grill.  Apex is the perfect spot to receive the full effect of NASCAR.

… The new Budweiser Party Porch at Michigan International Speedway is a respite area and hang-out at the track, all overlooking Turn Four. The patio includes concession and merchandise stands, as well as a full bar. Plus, there will be umbrella-covered picnic tables for fans to sit and relax during the day. Paragon will play on both Friday and Saturday night from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m.

… A pair of bands will headline the annual Saturday concert on Aug. 18. Detroit’s own, The Romantics, will play at this year’s Budweiser Acceleration Concert at Michigan International Speedway. Joining them as a headliner will be Fuel, a band that has sold more than 3.5 million albums just in the United States. The concert will begin after the checkered flag for the VFW 200.  The Romantics and Fuel concert will be held in Lot 10 and is free to anyone with a VFW 200 race ticket.

… The largest fundraiser for MIS cares is back. The third annual Fish Your Bass Off will be held on Wamplers Lake off the shore of Jerry’s Pub on Thursday, Aug. 16. Fish Your Bass Off raised $40,000 last year and the funds were used to help local community programs. This year, the world’s No. 1 ranked bass angler, Kevin VanDam, will be competing against 30 teams for the Fish Your Bass Off Championship. NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and Mark Zona, fromZona’s Awesome Fishing Show, will be joining VanDam in the competition. There will be a silent auction at 5 p.m. and a dinner at Jerry’s Pub starting at 6 p.m. Following the dinner will be a live auction at 8:30 p.m.

…Stop by the “MIS Rookie Pit Stop” to learn about NASCAR. Throughout the race weekend, first-time race fans are asked to stop be the welcome tent and ask a member of the speedway’s Fan Advisory Board (FAB) and some motorsports insiders for tips and advice on how to understand the speedway and the sport of NASCAR.

NSCS Pure Michigan 400 Facts and Storylines

… The National Anthem will be performed by Ride Records singer-songwriter Steve Azar.

… Kid Rock will serve as the Grand Marshal.

… WJR broadcaster Paul W. Smith will serve as the honorary starter.

… Dale Earnhardt’s Jr’s last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins have come at MIS. He won the Quicken Loans 400 in June, breaking a 143-race winless streak.  His previous win came in June of 2008, also at MIS in the LifeLock 400. He has a average finish of 15.2 and has led 268 laps at Michigan International Speedway. In 26 starts at MIS, Earnhardt, Jr. has nine top 10 finishes.

… Marcos Ambrose set a track qualifying record of 203.241 mph to garner the pole for the Quicken Loans 400. That speed made MIS the fastest track in NASCAR

… The Pure Michigan 400 features 10 drivers who have won multiple times at MIS. Bobby Labonte has three wins while Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman each have two victories.

… The top four spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are separated by 17 points. Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson leads with 777 points. Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are each one point behind while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. trails by 17 points.

… Greg Biffle has completed a series-high 5,834 of the 5,836 laps raced this year. Kevin Harvick is second with 5,823 laps completed.

… Jeff Gordon has led 954 laps in 39 starts at Michigan International Speedway, the most laps led by an active driver. Mark Martin is second on the list with 911 laps led.

…Despite his recent strong showings, Jimmie Johnson has yet to win a race in the Irish Hills in 21 Cup race appearances. In fact, MIS is just one of four Sprint Cup Series tracks overall that he has not won at in his brilliant career, a list which also includes Chicagoland, Homestead-Miami and Watkins Glen. MIS is the only track left on the list that hosts two Sprint Cup races a year. His average finish at MIS is 14.7.

…Mark Martin has 31 career Top 10 finishes at MIS in 53 Sprint Cup starts.

... Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth are the only active drivers to average a top-10 finish at MIS. Edwards ranks first all-time at MIS with an average finishing position of 8.4 among drivers, with at least five Sprint Cup starts since 1969. In 25 career starts at MIS (16 Cup, 7 Nationwide, 2 Truck), Edwards has 18 top-10 finishes (12 in Cup, 4 Nationwide, 2 Truck). Edwards’ first career Sprint Cup Series start came at MIS in August of 2004.

… Michigan International Speedway has hosted a NASCAR race in August every year since 1969. The Pure Michigan 400 will be the 87th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS. In the 86 previous races, there have been 42 different pole winners. David Pearson leads with 10. Mark Martin has five poles.

… There have been 86 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan International Speedway since the first race there in 1969. Other than 1973, which had just one race, there have been two races each season since 1969. The first race was 500 miles in length; the second was scheduled for 600. The track was re-measured to 2.04 miles for the last race in 1970 and both races in 1971 – with the race distance being 402 miles. All other races have been scheduled for 400 miles.

… Donnie Allison won the first pole. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was won by Cale Yarborough.

… The race winner has started from the pole 16 times, the most productive starting position. Brian Vickers (August, 2009) was the last driver to win from the pole. 66 of 86 races have been won from a top 10 starting position, including 46 from the first four spots.

… 34 different drivers have won races, led by David Pearson (nine); 20 drivers have more than one victory at Michigan.

… The Wood Brothers and Roush Fenway Racing both have 11 wins, more than any other team. Jack Roush needs one more victory to become the all-time winningest car owner at Michigan. Roush is trying to get back into Gatorade Victory Lane at MIS since his last win here in August of 2008. Prior to that, Roush had posted a victory in the Irish Hills for seven consecutive years.

… Four Keselowski’s have raced at MIS. Bob and his sons, Brad and Brian, have challenged the two-mile track. Also, Ron Keselowski, Bob’s brother, has started races in the Irish Hills. They have combined for 14 starts in ARCA, two starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, nine starts in the Nationwide series and 15 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ron also started three USSC races. They have two Nationwide wins (Brad) and one ARCA victory (Bob).

… Brad Keselowski will be making his seventh career Sprint Cup Series start at MIS in the Pure Michigan 400. His best finish at MIS is third.

… Joe Gibbs Racing won both NASCAR Sprint Cup races at MIS in 2011. The last team to sweep the season series at MIS was also Joe Gibbs Racing in 1985 when Bobby Labonte won both races.

… A year ago the winner of the Pure Michigan 400 held at Michigan International Speedway was Kyle Busch in August of 2011.

…The manufacturer Chevrolet has 698 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drove a Chevy to Gatorade Victory Lane in June.

…Cale Yarborough leads all drivers by wheeling four different makes of cars to Gatorade Victory Lane in the backyard of the automotive capital of the world. Yarborough won in a Buick, Chevrolet, Mercury, and Oldsmobile at MIS.


NCWTS VFW 200 Facts and Storylines
… Greg Biffle won the first two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at MIS. He posted victories in 1999 and 2000. Stacy Compton won the pole at the 1999 race.

…In the second closest finish in MIS history (all series), Johnny Benson finished second to Erik Darnell in the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The .005 margin of victoryis also the second closest finish under electronic timing (.005) and the second closest in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.

…Two former winners of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at MIS are on the VFW 200 entry list. Colin Braun (2009) and Brendan Gaughan (2003) have won truck races in the Irish Hills.Braun’s victory came from the 12th starting position, which is the farthest back a Camping World Truck Series driver has started and won an MIS race from.

…Travis Kvapil is the only driver in Camping World Truck Series history to win a race from the pole at MIS (2007).

… There are four previous winners from the NCWTS events at MIS racing n the Pure Michigan 400. Greg Biffle and Travis Kvapil each have two truck victories at MIS. Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola have one win a piece.

… Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch will be pulling double-duty this weekend. They will both race in the VFW 200 and the Pure Michigan 400.

… James Buescher finished second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 in June.

… Joey Coulter makes a return trip to MIS in 2012. He won the pole for the ARCA Racing Series present by Menards RainEater Wiper Blades 200 in June. Coulter finished the race ninth.


When Brad Keselowski likes a race track, REALLY likes it, he simply cannot get enough of it.

Such is the case with Bristol Motor Speedway. The 28-year-old winner of the last two Sprint Cup events at BMS decided several months ago when August race week rolled around, he would stay as busy as possible.

So his goal while at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile next week is not to just complete the 950 laps of the UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series event, Food City 250 Nationwide Series race and Sprint Cup IRWIN Tools Night Race, but to be the one doing the burnout after each one.

“I just really enjoy racing at Bristol,” said Keselowski. “It’s a track that I’ve been comfortable on from my very first lap. I will always seriously consider running the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series races there each (year) because it’s a good race track for me.”

Keselowski, whose first win at BMS came in the August 2008 Food City 250 while driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr., is a bit more anxious than usual to get some laps on the concrete oval. Since NASCAR last raced at Bristol in March, the track’s surface has been altered through a milling process, removing the progressive banking in the top groove of the turns. Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer took part in a June tire test and believed the alteration would result in less racing space on the revamped surface.

“This time around, running those races will mean a little more as it will give me a chance to get on the new surface prior to Saturday night,” said Keselowski. “I feel like I’ve had a pretty good handle on Bristol Motor Speedway over the last few years, but with the new surface it will almost be like starting over. Plus, I want to get a (NASCAR Camping World) Truck Series win and Bristol gives me a good shot to do that.”

Keselowski begins his quest for a Camping World Truck Series win when the green flag drops on the UNOH 200 Doubleheader Wednesday night, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. After a day off, he will race in the Food City 250 under the lights Aug. 24 and complete his race week work Aug. 25 with the IRWIN Tools Night Race. Both races get under way at 7:30 p.m.


 Round two for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) takes place this Sunday during the Pure Michigan 400.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first bout and may favor the two-mile D-shaped oval, but no one favors it more than driver Bobby Labonte.

“A long time ago when a fan asked me my favorite track, my response was Michigan,” Labonte said. “Today, if you were to ask me, I’d give you the same answer.”

Michigan is a fast-track with multiple grooves where the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has won three rounds - - not to mention he also has nine top-five, 16 top-10 finishes, four pole awards and has led 241 laps.  His average start is 15.825 and his average finish is 16.925 at the two-mile D-shaped oval.

In the most recent event at MIS, the JTG Daugherty Racing driver crossed the finish line 16th. This time around Labonte has Clorox on the hood of his No. 47 Toyota Camry and looks to improve upon that finish with interim crew chief Brian Burns at the helm.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Brian and I’m looking forward to this weekend because we had a decent run there in June,” Labonte said. “Brian’s jumped right in and done a great job. He is very smart, works hard and is very organized.”

Burns, who received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering technology from Purdue University (Indianapolis), has been in the sport for years. The first role in racing for Burns was race engineer from 2003 to 2009 with Chip Ganassi Racing. His first crew chief role came at Front Row Motorsports with driver Travis Kvapil beginning in June 2010 for the remainder of the season and was a lead engineer before stepping up.

The Indiana native then moved over to Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) at the beginning of the 2011 season as a race engineer. He was assigned to JTG Daugherty Racing to produce and analyze fully dynamic simulation results, coordinate all geometry setup changes along with a laundry list of other responsibilities.

At the end of the season, he served as interim crew chief for Labonte in the final six events and then moved to the Harrisburg, N.C. shop at the beginning of 2012. His input is invaluable to the success of JTG Daugherty Racing while the team owners search for a long-term crew chief.

“We have some remarkable employees at JTG Daugherty Racing,” co-owner Tad Geschickter said. “We’re lucky to have Brian, who could fit seamlessly into the crew chief role for the time being. He’s very intelligent, talented and a good communicator.  He's backed up by a bunch of talent on our road crew.  I like the teamwork I see from the whole group and, of course, having Bobby Hutchens around to help with race day calls is huge for us."

Before making a career for himself in racing, Burns was in the Indiana Army National Guard. His title on his  résumé is rather long - - Sergeant E-5, Tube-Launched Optically-Tracked Wire-Guided Missile Specialist (TOW) - - but it helped prepared him for one of the toughest jobs in NASCAR.

“The military has taught me a lot of valuable skills that help make me an even more effective leader, such as, discipline, organization, and how to effectively work with a team of specialists,” said Burns, whose merits include Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Physical Fitness Soldier of Excellence Award, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and Top Gun Award. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and look forward to working with everyone at Michigan this weekend.”


Fast and Fun Facts...
Four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) champion, Ron Hornaday has 51 wins to his resume, yet there are still eight tracks on the 2012 schedule that have eluded him, including the two-mile tri-oval of Michigan International Speedway (MIS)
This weekend's VFW 200 will mark the 13th Annual NCWTS event at MIS. In 12 previous starts, there is only one active NCWTS driver that has been to victory lane in the Irish Hills of Michigan, Brendan Gaughan (2003).

Calling The Shots... Truck chief, Terry "Richie" Snyder will assume the position as crew chief for this weekend's VFW 200 at MIS. Snyder was formerly the crew chief for Max Gresham and the No. 24 NCWTS entry for the first eight events on the 2012 NCWTS schedule. Most recently, the series veteran served as the truck chief for Hornaday in the last three events at Iowa Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

Irish Hills Stats... In eight previous starts at MIS, Hornaday has led 15 laps en route to one top-five and six top-10 finishes, scoring his best finish of fourth at the track in 2010. Additionally, Hornaday has an average start of 8.9, coupled with an average finish of 12.1 and has completed 99.5 percent of the laps he's attempted (800 of 804).

Half-way To Homestead... The 2012 NCWTS season is at the half-way point going into this weekend's VFW 200 at MIS. In the first 11 events, Hornaday has earned two top-five, five top-10 and nine top-20 finishes. The series-veteran has led 28 laps and recorded an average start of 11.4, an average finish of 11.7 and has completed 99.19 percent of laps attempted (1710 of 1724). Additionally, Hornaday's best start of 2012 is third at Dover International Speedway (June) and his best finish is second at Iowa Speedway (July).

 In The Loop... According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Hornaday has the following stats at MIS:
·         A driver rating of 88.3, ranking him ninth overall and fifth among active NCWTS drivers
·         Ranked second among fastest laps run with 18
·         Ranked third among laps in the top-15 with 513, second among active NCWTS drivers
·         Ranked seventh among laps led with 11, third among active NCWTS drivers 

This Week's No. 9 Chevrolet Silverado... Hornaday will pilot chassis No. 03 for the 13th Annual VFW 200 at MIS on Saturday. This is the same Joe Denette Motorsports chassis that the four-time champion piloted to a12th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway (June) and most recently a season-best finish of second at Iowa Speedway (July).

Get to the Point... Following a disappointing 19th-place finish at Pocono Raceway, Hornadayis down one position to eighth in the 2012 NCWTS driver point standings heading into this weekend's NCWTS event, just 33 points out of fifth and 59 points behind leader, Timothy Peters. 

A Penny For Your Thoughts-Ron Hornaday... "Unfortunately, we were unable to test on the new surface at Michigan a couple weeks ago like a couple other teams, so Friday's practice session will be the first time I've been on the new racing surface at MIS. It is guaranteed to be an entirely new animal, but the driver that adapts the best will prevail. I expect the track to be smooth, fast and have really good grip."