Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Roush Yates engines took Watkins Glen International and the racing world by storm over the weekend, winning 8 races in 6 different forms of motorsports. The commitment made to providing consistent power and performance for all racers shined through as Roush Yates-powered engines found Victory Lane in racing's premiere series and beyond.
Marcos Ambrose came alive during the last lap of the Finger Lakes 355, racing past Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski in a hectic finish to win at Watkins Glen International for the second straight year. Ambrose led eight of the 90 laps around the road course but was shuffled back after a late race caution. He used his Roush Yates Ford powered engine to fight to the front despite a massive oil spill on the track laid down by the No. 47 of Bobby Labonte.
"It wasn't going to be handed to me. I had to get myself back up there," said Ambrose. "It was absolutely chaos at the end. I had really burned off the brakes and I wouldn't figure out where the oil was coming from. It was just absolutely crazy."
"In the end, nobody knew what was going on," said Richard Petty, team owner. "They were slipping and sliding off the race track. Marcos stayed with it all day. Everything fell our way."
Carl Edwards found victory lane this weekend in his first race of the season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Holding off series regular Brad Keselowski, Edwards powered his Ford Mustang to the front to take the checkered flag in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
"We got the trophy, and that is nice to win a race," said an elated Edwards. "We really need to win a race in the Cup series. I think this will help with that. It never hurts to get to Victory Lane."
Roush Yates and Ford Racing continued their dominating success in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series this weekend with the No. 8 Starworks Motorsports team of Ryan Dalziel and Lucas Luhr winning their first race of the season in the Continental Tires 200 at Watkins Glen International. Starworks Motorsports teammates Sebastien Bourdais and Alex Popow finished second in their No. 2 Ford/Riley. Saturday's race marked the third win of the season for Roush Yates and Ford Racing teams, following their win last weekend at the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the historic podium sweep at the 24 hours of Daytona. With only three races left in the season, Roush Yates powered Ford teams hope to use their consistent show of power and performance to make a run for the Grand-Am Rolex Series Championship.
"This was sweet redemption. We needed this one today," said Ryan Dalziel, co-driver of the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley. "When the yellow came out I got a little nervous, but there was no way we were not going to come out of it without a victory. Once I saw I got the jump on the first lap after the restart I was relieved."
Ford engines were once again in Victory Lane in Round 9 of the Traxxas TORC Series at Bark River Raceway (MI). Bryce Menzies finished first in the Pro 2 division and Ricky Johnson won in the Pro 4 division. Johnson's victory marked the 100th win of off-road racing for Menzies Motorsports.
Chris Buescher drove to another short track victory on Saturday in the Berlin ARCA 200 at Berlin Raceway. Buescher led the final 17 laps of the 40-lap race and joined Alex Bowman as a three-time winner in the ARCA series this season. This is his eighth career win and he now leads the standings in the ARCA series Championship.
Dirt late model racer Gregg Satterlee and dirt modified racer Jeremy Payne won with Roush Yates power over the weekend. Satterlee captured his 10th win of the season on Sunday at Hesston Speedway in Hesston, PA with his Ford DLM engine. Payne raced to his first United States Modified Touring Series win of the season on Friday, effectively turning around a slow rebuilding year.
The success filled weekend brings Roush Yates' total win count for the season up to 105. To learn more about all of the racing series Roush Yates supplies engines, technology, and performance products for, please visit www.roushyatesparts.com or call 1-877-798-RYPP.
While the No. 01 Chevrolet team of Mike Wallace makes their way to Circuit Gilles Villenueve for this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series road course race, his teammate in Daryl Harr is looking forward to competing in his homeland of Canada.
This week’s NNS race is being held on the road course located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. After last week’s action at the twists and turns of Watkins Glen, the anticipation for another crowd pleaser is already building.
Harr, who hails from St. Alberta, Canada, hopes to add his personal involvement to the excitement driving the No. 4 iWorld Chevrolet for JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller.
Mike Wallace Notes
· This will be the 438th career start for the four-time race winner
· For 2012, the St. Louis native is making his22nd NNS start
· During that span, Wallace has completed3,410 of 3,652 laps (93.4 percent) of those contested and led four races
· He’s currently 14th in points trailing 13th by six markers
· This will be his sixth start at Montreal
· During the first five races, he’s completed343 of 350 laps (98 percent) contested on the road course
· His last four finishes have all been in thetop-20 at Montreal
Daryl Harr Notes
· The native of St. Alberta, Canada is making his 11th NNS start of his career
· This is his seventh start this year, and first ever at Montreal
· He’s completed 904 of 1,132 laps contested this year
Mike Wallace Quotes: “After I went home and watched the replay of our race, I couldn’t believe all the excitement I missed in the car. I see some of it on the big screens under caution, but fans certainly were entertained by our race at Watkins Glen.
“With another road course on the schedule for this weekend at Montreal, I can see why people are looking forward to our race on Saturday. The people of Montreal reallyget into us being up there at their track.
“Their excitement is contagious and we can hear them in the stands and while we ride around for intros. The course is tricky and challenging, but fun if you get your car good for the left and right turns.
“The secret to success is keeping the car on the track and in one piece. From there, you just have to pick and choose where to pass to gain positions. I’m looking forward to this weekend in the beautiful city of Montreal and a good finish for our team.”
Daryl Harr Quotes: “What can I say; I’m getting to race in my home country of Canada this weekend in Montreal. I know people are going to be watching what we do in the No. 4 iWorld Chevrolet during practice, qualifying and the race.
“So, it’s up to me and the team to give them a great show. I’m going to be trying my best to get a great finish. Once I figure out the course during the two practice sessions, I should be good to go for the race.
“Like Mike said, last week had some action at Watkins Glen. I’m expecting nothing else this week and I hope we’re part of it – on the good end, of course.”
Matt Wallace Update: Matt Wallace, son of Mike, is currently leading the ASA National Championship driving his Late Model at Lebanon I44 Speedway in Missouri. However, since he’s not leading at his home track, he isn’t eligible to obtain the National or Midwest ASA Championships. He’s closing in on first place in his track division with a handful of races remaining.
JD Motorsports PR
This Week's ToyotaCare Toyota Tundra ... John Wes Townley will pilot RAB Racing Chassis No. 48 in Saturday's VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway. A workhorse of the 2012 season, this Toyota Tundra raced at Kansas Speedway in April, Charlotte Motor Superspeedway in May, twice in the month of June, at Texas Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway, and at Chicagoland Speedway in July. Most recently, Townley raced this chassis to a career-best eighth-place finish at Pocono Raceway when the series last competed two weeks ago.
Rearview Mirror ... Townley was able to turn a season-best 11th-place starting position into an eighth-place finish two weekends ago at Pocono Raceway, marking his career-best finish in NASCAR competition.
Townley at Michigan ... While Townley has not yet raced at Michigan International Speedway in Camping World Truck Series competition, he has raced there before. In one Nationwide Series start at the two-mile oval, Townley finished 17th in 2010's Carfax 250. Additionally, Townley competed there in the ARCA Racing Series, posting a 13th-place finish in 2008's Racing for Wildlife 200.
RAB Racing at Michigan... While RAB Racing has not yet competed at Michigan International Speedway in Camping World Truck Series competition, they have competed in three Nationwide Series events at the Brooklyn track dating back to 2010. The team's best showing is a 17th-place finish, which was posted by Townley in 2010.
After 11 Races... Over the first 11 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races of the 2012 season, Townley has accumulated one top-10 finish, seven top-20 finishes, an average starting position of 20.1 and an average finish of 19.2. Townley has completed 88.7 percent of the laps he's contested (1,433 of 1,615) thus far.
Get to the Points ... Townley's first top-10 finish of the 2012 season in Pocono Raceway's Pocono Mountains 125 allowed him to hold steady at 19th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings.
Your Point Is... As we head into the 12th race of the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, RAB Racing currently occupies the 17th position in the owner's points standings.
RAB Racing in 2012... With ten races completed in the 2012 season, RAB Racing's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entries have recorded one top-five, top-10 and eight top-20 finishes with drivers Travis Kvapil and Townley.
Catch the Action ... The VFW 200 from Michigan International Speedway will be televised live Saturday, August 18 beginning at 12:00 p.m. EDT on SPEED and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network. Qualifying will be Saturday, August 18 beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
John Wes Townley Quotes
"I'm feeling pretty good heading into this weekend at Michigan. It means a lot to improve the way we have lately; to keep coming back to the racetrack better and better. I've had my troubles there in the past, but going on a high like this is really going to aid in my performance. My goal is to get out there and match or improve upon my previous weekend; I'm fighting to better myself every weekend. My confidence in myself and in RAB Racing will be extremely advantageous this weekend."
Chris Rice Quote
"Michigan International Speedway is a nice, smooth racetrack. They've done a great job with the repaving of it. It's going to be a fast, drafting-style race and fun to watch. Our team is coming off a great run at Pocono and will be taking the same truck to Michigan. We're really excited about the progress this Toyota Tundra team has made this year and looking forward to continue improving as the season progresses."
RAB Racing PR
Once again proving NASCAR is one of the fan-friendliest sports in America, NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Danica Patrick, Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will sign autographs for fans attending the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, September 7. Additional drivers are expected to be added to the lineup.
The autograph session will be held at 2:00 p.m. in the Amphitheater, located behind Turn 1. Wristbands will be available at the Virginia 529 College Savings Midway display starting at 10:00 a.m.on Friday, September 7, and will be distributed until supplies last. Guests who receive wristbands can enter the Amphitheater at the Commonwealth Mall.Guests must have a Virginia 529 College Savings 250 race ticket in order to receive a wristband and access the autograph session.
Driver participation is subject to change and without notice. Neither NASCAR, Inc., nor any of its affiliates are sponsors of this event.
Landon Cassill and Michigan International Speedway (MIS) go together like peanut butter and jelly. The driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota scored his career-best finish (12th) in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition at the track last season. His best finish of 2012 is 18th place, which he most recently achieved at MIS in June. His affinity for the two-mile speedway has him excited about the potential to top his season-best performance in this weekend's Pure Michigan 400.
Following his 18th-place run at MIS in June, Cassill has gone on to score three more top-25s, including a 23rd-place finish last week at Watkins Glen. With momentum on his side, he sees this weekend as an opportunity for BK Racing to rally for
Doug Richert, crew chief of the No. 83 Toyota, has sat on the pit box for 30 Cup races at MIS. He's achieved two wins (2004, 2005), five top-fives and 10 top 10s.
Comments from BK Racing Driver Landon Cassill heading into Michigan:
"Since the repaving at Michigan, we've had a race and a test session. We have a much better idea of what we're up against. We weren't quite sure what to expect when we went there in the spring. Now we've got some experience to look back on and build upon. We had a really good Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota for our test and I think we'll be in good shape for Sunday. We have a solid race to reference. We finished 18th there last time, so we've got good notes to get us started this weekend.
"The track still drives the same. It feels the same. You're just going 10 miles per hour faster than you were on the old pavement. It's still Michigan. It has a lot of the same characteristics. It really won't be long until it's back to where it was.
"I'm not sure why, but it's a track that I've seemed to do well at. I've had good opportunities with good equipment there. That's a big part of it. Last year I had a really good car when I finished 12th. I've qualified well there, too. That always helps. It's a good intermediate track for me, but I've also had good race cars to get me there. I know that my team will have an awesome car for me this weekend and we can put together another good performance this weekend.
"We've put together some great finishes since our last race at Michigan. I feel like our race there really helped get the ball rolling for us. I think this weekend will be a good chance for us to keep momentum rolling for a late-season rally."
BK Racing PR
Last weekend at Watkins Glen, Travis Kvapil scored a 24th-place finish. His teammate Landon Cassill finished 23rd. It was the second time since BK Racing formed in February that both its drivers finished inside the top 25. Kvapil sees the performance as a sign of the team's progress and hopes that this weekend's Pure Michigan 400 will reflect how far they've come since racing at Michigan International Speedway in June.
Kvapil feels that the newly paved, two-mile oval drives just like it used to, only faster. That's great news for a two-time winner at the speedway. He plans to take the same approach he's always had into this weekend and hopes for similar results.
Kvapil's results at MIS speak for themselves. He has visited victory lane on two occasions in Truck Series competition (2004, 2007) and collected one pole (2007). In his four Truck Series starts, he has never finished outside the top-10. He has competed in 11 Cup Series events at MIS. His best finish is 13th, which came in 2008. He's led four laps during two Cup Series events (2010, 2011).
Comments from BK Racing Driver Travis Kvapil heading into Michigan:
"You drive Michigan the same way that you used to. The track is quite a bit different. The surface is just super-smooth and has a lot of grip. Last year and years prior, the track was rough and pretty much worn out. You could run three or four different lines easily throughout the race and move around. Now that it's been repaved, the groove is a lot narrower, maybe one or two lanes. Until the track ages a little bit, we'll be running one or two lanes.
"We had an opportunity to test there a few weeks ago, so I feel pretty good about our package in the Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota. The spring race was OK for us. It wasn't spectacular but we had a good race for our first time there. We'll be taking what we learned in the race, along with what we gained from the test session, and I feel good about it. I think we can go there and have a really good, solid day.
"I've always really enjoyed racing there. I like the way that you can adjust your line to suit how your car's handling. It has good banking. I like tracks like that. I've always had a good feel for it. I've won a couple of Truck races there. I enjoy the track. It's close to home. It just feels good."
BK Racing PR
Scott Speed, Leavine Family Racing Smart and Fast in 17th-place Finish at The Glen Career Best Finish for Speed at Watkins Glen
Scott Speed's 17th-place finish in Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International was a perfect blend of speed, strategy and skill - all which combined to give Leavine Family Racing (LFR) its best finish yet in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.
Speed's No. 95 TWD Ford Fusion qualified 21st for the 90-lap road course race. He stuck to a plan to save the car for a final push in the second half, and managed to pass five cars in the final 10 laps despite some difficult conditions.
"We got through the oil at end of the race and got a decent finish," Speed said. "We have definitely started the momentum and are building on it now."
Not only did Leavine Family Racing enjoy its best finish in two years of selected starts, the 17th-place effort was Speed's best finish since finishing 10th at the Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2010.
There were 43 cars on the entry list which took the pressure off Speed to make the starting lineup. That allowed crew chief Wally Rogers to concentrate on race set up during all three practice sessions.
"It's completely different when you can think about the race, not qualifying, from the moment you get to the track," Rogers said. "We made sure we didn't push too hard in practice and qualifying. We had nothing to gain by taking chances. We knew Scott could get us up front no matter where we started."
Speed was as far back as 29th during pit stops and as high as 14th.
"Traffic is always an issue on road courses because there are only so many places you can make a clean pass," Speed said. "We stayed on track and we kept all the fenders straight. We beat a lot of good cars. We'll take this race and use it as momentum for Bristol Motor Speedway."
Leavine Family Racing currently runs a part-time schedule. Speed's next race is the Irwin Tools Night Race Aug. 25 at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford team will once again carry the distinctive colors of Eckrich this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. As Eckrich continues to honor military families, the No. 43 Ford will again carry a splash of red-white-and-blue by featuring the star-spangled logo of Operation Homefront, a national non-profit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.
This summer, Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has partnered with Operation Homefront to support military families. The company has already donated $200,000 to Operation Homefront through the contribution of five cents from each purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4.
The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team is personally aware of the sacrifice of military families. More than half of the members of the team have had a parent, sibling or spouse serve, including Almirola and crew chief Mike Ford. Almirola's father served as a mechanic in the U.S. Air Force while Ford's brother also served in the U.S. Air Force.
Almirola comes into Michigan ready to make his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at the track. He's a former winner in the Truck Series at Michigan.
Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"I think if you start asking your friends, you'll quickly find out that there are many families that have been affected by a family member who has served in the military. I know what it's like because my father was in the U.S. Air Force. It's a big sacrifice by the entire family when someone is serving. Sometimes the family at home doesn't get the recognition, so that's why this program has been so cool. We're taking the time to honor our veterans, but also their family members as well.
"Michigan has been a good track for me. I won there in the Truck Series and have some good finishes in the Nationwide Series. During our first race in the Cup car in June we showed a lot of speed during the race weekend. We tested the new tire a few weeks ago and we're all going to see some slower speeds, but I think we can still have a good weekend. We want to have a good showing for Eckrich and Operation Homefront."
Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Crew Chief Mike Ford:
"There are guys on our team that understand the sacrifice of our military members and their families. Some of them have gone through it themselves or have seen another relative go through the sacrifice while someone is serving. My brother just retired from the U.S. Air Force after many years of service. I know the sacrifice he put in and everyone in our family is very proud of that. I think that's why we have really enjoyed helping entertain our Eckrich and Operation Homefront guests this summer. It's been rewarding for us to be a part of it.
"Michigan will be another challenge this time around because we're coming back with a new tire. We had a good test and learned a lot. It's going to be a different race because the speeds will not be as high. We're going to have to rely on our notes from the test and go from there."
Race fans will definitely make sure country newcomer Josh Thompson “Won’t Be Lonely Long” when he performs a post race concert following the Kansas Lottery 300 on Oct. 20. The concert is a part of the Kansas Lottery 300 ticket and will take place in the Display Midway and will begin approximately 20 minutes after the checkered flag.
“I look forward to having Josh Thompson perform after the Kansas Lottery 300,” said Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren. “I know Josh will provide our fans with a high energy concert following the race and I know our fans will like having the opportunity to see Josh perform.”
Thompson is currently out on his Change is Comin’ tour to promote his upcoming second album.
Thompson released his debut album,Way Out Here, in 2010 and began selling out clubs while also mixing in opening dates for Brad Paisley, Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dierks Bentley and Eric Church.
Thompson is also becoming an acclaimed songwriter, having written “Church Pew or Bar Stool” on Jason Aldean’sMy Kinda Party album and “A Man Don’t Have to Die” on Paisley’s This is Country Music.
Kansas Speedway PR
Brad Keselowski will take the wheel of the No. 29 Cooper Standard RAM at his home track, Michigan International Speedway (MIS), for the VFW 200 on Saturday, August 18, 2012. Keselowski will be pulling double duty this weekend driving for his own Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) team entry in addition to the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing.
The Rochester Hills, Michigan native is excited to be back in his home state representing Michigan-based partner Cooper Standard. The BKR / Cooper Standard partnership made its debut at Michigan International Speedway last year and has grown this year to include primary sponsorship for a number of races as well as a personal services relationship with Keselowski and a charitable component. BKR and MIS will welcome over 1,000 Cooper Standard guests for the race on Saturday.
"This is an all-Michigan weekend, and I'm thrilled about it," said Keselowski. "To be in the BKR Truck at MIS and carry the Michigan-based Cooper Standard colors in front of more than 1,000 of its employees and their families is a special deal. The only thing better would be celebrating with them all in victory lane after the race."
Keselowski has piloted the No. 19 BKR RAM in four races this season finishing in the top-three in his last three events. He is looking to make history at his home track and become the only father / son duo to win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (Bob Keselowski took the Mopar Performance Dodge to victory lane at Richmond International Raceway in 1997).
The BKR team looks to build on the momentum gained during the first half of 2012 and aims to get the Cooper Standard RAM into victory lane in front of native family, friends, and partners. The No. 29 BKR machine currently sits in sixth in the owner points standings only 35 points behind the current leader.