Speedway Digest Staff
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NASCAR has penalized the No. 3 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during post-race inspection last Friday at Kentucky Speedway.
The No. 3 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12.8.1C (body height requirements – car failed to meet the minimum rear car heights) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.
As a result, crew chief Danny Stockman Jr. has been fined $10,000, while owner Morgan Shepherd and driver Austin Dillon have been penalized with the loss of six championship owner and six championship driver points, respectively. In addition, Stockman and car chief Robert Strmiska continue to remain on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Highly decorated U.S. Army Colonel Greg Gadson will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday night, July 6 at Daytona International Speedway.Gadson, who lost both of his legs when he was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device, will give the starting command, “Drivers start your engines,” in the 120-lap, 250-mile race.
He’ll also be introduced at the driver’s meeting, participate in the driver introductions and ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during the pace laps prior to the green flag.Gadson has served in every major conflict of the past two decades including Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Kuwait), Operation Joint Forge (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq).
Through his service, Gadson has been awarded the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Star medals and a Purple Heart among nearly two dozen medals and honors.
Gadson, has continued to serve on active in various command and staff positions.Serving as an Honorary Captain, he was a source of inspiration for the New York Giants during their Super Bowl seasons in 2008 and 2012; he most recently appeared in the sci-fi film Battleship.
Matt Crafton captured the pole Thursday evening at Kentucky Speedway. Out of 40 entries, the No. 88 Menards/Great Lakes Wood Floors Toyota Tundra had the fastest truck at 173.288 mph. Crafton led four different times throughout the 150 lap race, constantly staying in the top-five and getting no further back than seventh.
"It was awesome, I mean it was an awesome run for ThorSport Racing", said Crafton. "This Menards Toyota Tundra was so good. I just needed track position at the end. On the 2nd restart it put me four wide going into turn one and we played catch up from there. We drove back from seventh to third, but really needed a caution at the end and ended up in fourth. I can't thank these guys enough from what they've done this year switching all of these trucks over. These Toyota Tundra's, we've got something for them now. Were going to win some races."
Kenny Wallace and RAB Racing overcame handling issues in the first half of Friday night's Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway to post an 11th-place finishing position.
Making the first of two trips to the Bluegrass State during the 2012 season, Wallace and RAB Racing recorded the 19th and 21st-fastest times, respectively, in the two scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series practices leading up to the Friday night event. After his qualifying attempt on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Wallace posted a speed fast enough to slot into the 26th starting position.
Upon taking the green flag, Wallace reported a loose-handling condition with the No. 99 American Ethanol from Family Farmers Toyota Camry. The RAB Racing crew, led by crew chief Scott Zipadelli, worked tirelessly throughout the night to make the right adjustments that kept their machine in tune with the changing track conditions, allotting Wallace the ability to gain positions when it counted. Breaking into the Top 20 by Lap 140, The St. Louis native would continue to wage battle with the front-runners in the closing stages of the race, continuing to improve positions as the laps wound down, helping them secure a solid 11th-place finish.
Team owner Robby Benton gained one position in the owner point standings, moving into 20th position.
"We're happy with that finish," said Wallace. "Our American Ethanol from Family Farmers Toyota Camry wasn't the best all night, but Scott Zipadelli and the guys kept adjusting on it all night and got it dialed in at the end. I thought we'd have a shot to get a few more position at the end, I knew some of the guys up front were tight on fuel. Regardless, I'm happy with the finish and have to thank everyone at RAB Racing for their hard work."
Turner Motorsports Set for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Debut This Weekend at Daytona International Speedway with Bill Elliott in the No. 50 Walmart Chevrolet
Turner Motorsports makes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Daytona International Speedway (DIS)... This weekend will mark a major milestone for Turner Motorsports, which fields three teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) and three teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The team will make its debut in the NSCS with veteran and legend, Bill Elliott. Elliott, who has accumulated 44 series wins over the course of his career, will drive the No. 50 Walmart Chevrolet in conjunction with the company's 50th birthday celebration. This will mark Elliott's 828th career NSCS start.
Elliott at Daytona International Speedway, by the numbers.... Bill Elliott has made 59 career NSCS starts at DIS, accumulating four wins, 15 top-fives, 24 top-10s and five poles. He has an average starting position of 17.4, coupled with an average finishing position of 15.6. His last win at Daytona came in 2001 after starting fifth while driving for Ray Evernham.
Other interesting stats:
Elliott is one of six drivers to win at Daytona from the Coors Light pole more than once - he did it in 1985 and 1987.
Elliott is tied with Dale Jarrett for the seventh-most all-time points race wins at Daytona in the NSCS with four.
Elliott is ninth overall in laps led in points-paying races at Daytona with 617 laps led.
Elliott has started 59 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races at Daytona, the fifth-most all-time behind Richard Petty (74), Dave Marcis (67), Buddy Baker (64) and Ricky Rudd (60).
Elliott holds the NSCS track qualifying record for Daytona with a speed of 210.364 mph (42.783 sec.) on Feb. 9, 1987 driving a Ford for Harry Melling.
Happy 50th Birthday Walmart!... Walmart's sponsorship of the No. 50 entry at DIS was announced in January as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. In honor of the occasion, Walmart's Race Time program was launched and it is the largest retail promotion in NASCAR history. Race Time 2012 gives customers more accessibility to discounted race tickets, driver appearances and fan events at Walmart stores. It also offers a greater selection of authentic NASCAR merchandise available at Walmart stores and www.Walmart.com/NASCAR.
Who's on the pit box? Trent Owens will call the shots for Elliott and the No. 50 Walmart team this weekend. Owens is typically atop the pit box for Turner Motorsports' No. 30 NASCAR NNS entry which currently sits fifth in owner points. The Owens-led team captured the victory in the 2012 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway with driver, James Buescher. Most recently, he led Nelson Piquet, Jr. to victory at Road America.
Elliott on this weekend's Pepsi 300
Any favorite Daytona memories? " Obviously the wins are pretty special, but for the most part, any time you can go down there and run well it's a good deal."
What makes Daytona different than any other race? "At Daytona, handling used to be the most important thing and what you spent most of your time working on. Then with the new surface, handling became less of an issue. Now, since they have changed the rear spolier, handling is back in and something you have to keep up with."
Expectations for this weekend? "I'm looking forward to being a part of Turner Motorsports Cup debut and to celebrating Walmart's 50th birthday. This has been a pretty cool deal to be a part of. I know we're going to have a good, competitive car. We just have run a smooth race and put ourselves in the right position at the right time."
Favorite statement about Daytona? "I think Tony Stewart said it best when he talked about what it's like to race at Daytona. He said 'Racing at Daytona is like a high speed chess game but I ain't smart enough to even play checkers.' I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us out there. (laughs)"
Owens on leading Turner Motorsports into their NSCS debut
"It's exciting to be part of Turner Motorsports first Cup race with Bill Elliott and support from Walmart. We've come a long way in just the last two years, so to take this step is really going to be a milestone for everyone who works so hard for this team every day."
Turner Motorsports PR
After spending the weekend in Kentucky for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing’s Matt Kenseth traveled to Wisconsin to compete in Sunday night’s Slinger Nationals. Kenseth outdrove the field in the feature event at Slinger Super Speedway and earned his sixth victory at the event, which sets a record number of wins by any driver in the 33-year history of the Slinger Nationals event.
Kenseth’s win at the 200-lap event did not come easy however for the two-time DAYTONA 500 winner and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion. Kenseth battled with fellow NASCAR star, Kyle Busch, as the duo led for a total of 175 of 200 laps.
Some controversy came late in the race on lap 153, after a lapped car spun out in Turn 4 following contact with Kenseth’s No. 17. Initially race officials were going to send Kenseth to the rear of the field, but decided that he would restart in second since the lapped car had been warned to stay out of the leaders’ way.
Busch had opted for the outside line for every restart and it worked in his favor until the final restart set up leaving only 24 laps in the race. Kenseth restarted on the bottom line since Busch restarted up top, and the pair raced side-by-side until Kenseth was able to edge his way to the lead. Once he was out front, Kenseth and his No. 17 machine built a one-second lead on Busch to cross the line as Sunday’s victor.
Kenseth’s sixth win at Slinger Nationals set a record for the most wins in the super-late-model event’s history, breaking a tie with local Wisconsin racing hero, Lowell Bennett. Kenseth’s son, Ross also competed in Sunday night’s event, and finished third after running within the top five all race. Kenseth returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action this weekend as the series travels to Daytona International Speedway where Kenseth and his No. 17 team look to once again have a successful run. Kenseth claimed victory at the 2.5-mile superspeedway earlier this season winning both the Gatorade Duel and the DAYTONA 500. Television coverage of Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 begins at 6:30pm EST on TNT.
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 11th (Kevin Harvick), 12th (Paul Menard) and 24th (Jeff Burton).
Harvick ranks sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 68 points behind Matt Kenseth's lead, while Menard ranks 13th and Burton ranks 20th.
According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Harvick spent 93.3 percent (249 laps) running within the top 15 during the Quaker State 400.
Harvick made 66 Green-Flag Passes, tying him with RCR teammate Menard for sixth in the NASCAR Loop Data statistics category.
Menard ran as high as fourth and maintained a 15.772 average running position before crossing the finish line 12th at the 1.5-mile track.
Burton made 54 green-flag passes over the course of the 267-lap event.
Brad Keselowski captured his third Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 7. The race is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Team Finish 12th
in the Bluegrass State
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards team battled back to regain lost track position after a lengthy pit stop to finish 12th in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. After starting the 267-lap event in the 15th position for the Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race under the lights of the Sparta, Ky. facility, Menard was faced with a tight condition in the center of the corners. Scheduled pit stops allowed the Slugger Labbe-led pit crew to service the neon yellow machine with fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments to improve the car's balance. The first pit stop on lap 44 was extended do to difficulty removing a lug nut that became wedged on the wheel, costing the No. 27 team valuable track position. Restarting in the 22nd position on lap 48 the Eau Claire, Wis., native climbed back into the top-20 one lap later. Chasing the changing track conditions as the sun set, the Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet shifted from an extremely loose-handling condition to tight; however, Menard maintained a position in the top 20 and cracked the top 15 by lap 148. The loose on entry and tight in the center conditions persisted and Menard fell to 19th on lap 209. In the closing laps, the Richard Childress Racing driver was able to fight through the handling challenges and began climbing through the field, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 12th-position. The top-15 finish allowed Menard to gain one position, up to 13th, in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 15 Finish - 12 Laps Led - 0 Points - 13
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"We had a fast Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet tonight at Kentucky Speedway. Unfortunately, we just couldn't get the handling to where we needed it to be. The guys were on it in the pits. We head to Daytona next weekend, where it can be anyone's race.
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Team Finish 11th
Under the Lights at Kentucky Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor team crossed the finish line in the 11th position in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway after battling handling issues during the 267-lap event. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race from the fourth position before sliding back in the field reporting that the red, white and blue Chevrolet was extremely tight during the early portion of the race. The Shane Wilson-led pit crew made several scheduled two-tire and four-tire pit stops in an effort to improve the handling issue their driver was battling, allowing Harvick to maintain a position within the top 15. As the sun set on the Sparta, Ky.-based facility, track conditions began to change and Harvick informed the crew the Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet went from being too tight, to developing a loose-handling condition. Despite changing handling issues, the Richard Childress Racing veteran driver was able to maintain a running position within the top 15, ultimately crossing the finish line to bring home the 11th-place finish. Harvick remains sixth in the Sprint Cup Series driver point championship standings, 68 points behind the leader.
Start - 4 Finish - 11 Laps Led - 0 Points - 6
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"It was a tough night for the Budweiser Folds of Honor team. We spent all night fighting handling issues and just couldn't get the car where we wanted it. We'll put this race behind us and start preparing for Daytona (International Speedway) next week in hope of finding a better finish."
Burton Finishes in 24th-Place at Kentucky Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team posted a 24th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner started the 267-lap event in the 29th position and raced his way into the 22nd position in the early stages of the race despite battling a tight-handling Chevrolet. A long green-flag run out the field and Burton fell one lap down to the leader. Unable to secure the "Lucky Dog" award after caution-flag periods on laps 126 and 150, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer decided to use a different pit strategy than other teams in the field by working to make it to the end of the race by utilizing one final pit stop instead of two as all other teams were planning. The No. 31 team engineers calculated the ECR engines were getting superior fuel mileage in comparison to the competition and Blickensderfer's plan was coming together as Burton brought the No. 31 machine to pit road for routine four-tire service on lap 210. However, the caution flag was displayed for an accident on the track while the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet was on pit road and the team ended where they started, pinned one lap down. In the final stages of the race Burton's car developed a loose-handing condition, but the veteran Sprint Cup Series driver battled his way to a 24th-place finish on the slick asphalt surface and now sits 20th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start-29 Finish-24 Laps Led-0 Points-20
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"Tough finish tonight because I thought we had a top-15 car, but terrible luck found us again and we were pinned one lap down for most of the event. I really wanted to get a good finish for everyone today because I felt like these guys worked so hard and stayed positive all night. We also had a lot of CAT folks in the stands so we were racing hard for them. We should be very competitive next weekend down in Daytona where we finished fifth in the Daytona 500."
You will have to find a cake large enough to hold 75 candles if you want to celebrate the birthday of "The King" Richard Petty on Monday. Petty, the seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and owner of 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, including seven Daytona 500 victories, is celebrating his 75th birthday in the same town he was born, Level Cross, N.C. Petty will spend time working at the current location of Petty's Garage and will later spend time with his family.
Later this week, Petty will fly to a familiar summer spot for him in early July, Daytona Beach, Fla. This is where Petty, family and friends will not only celebrate the 4th of July, but also a birthday dinner in the honor of Petty's 75th. The dinner, coined "Red, White and Petty Blue," will take place at the Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort and feature guest speakers who have been a part of Petty's life. The night will conclude with a fireworks display and a birthday cake made by the TLC hit show "Cake Boss."
"I'm really thankful for everyone who has supported us over the years," said Petty. "I really don't think about age too much. I just keep going to the next race. I've been doing that all my life and that's what I'm going to keep doing. But, I am grateful for each day and all the fans who make this a lot of fun for us."
The NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Petty is one of the most celebrated athletes in all of sports and his trademark cowboy hat, sunglasses, belt buckle and cowboy boots have made him an American icon. His accomplishments over 75 years list like a "Who's Who" of American athletes, including:
- A record 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Wins
- A record seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships (1964, '67, '71, '72, '74, '75, '79)
- A record 27 wins on one season (1967)
- A record 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup wins in a row (1967)
- Led Petty Enterprises and Richard Petty Motorsports to a record 271 wins, most of any team
- Member of four generations of Petty athletes (Lee, Richard, Kyle and Adam)
- Has met United States Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama
- Awarded Medal of Freedom (1992)
- Elected into three motorsports Hall of Fames including inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class (2010)
- Has appeared in or voiced movies such as "CARS," "Swing Vote," "Days of Thunder," "Stroker Ace" and others
- Has appeared in television shows including Arli$$, Hee Haw, David Frost Show and others
- Donated his personal land, over 75 acres, to help build the Victory Junction Gang Camp
- Has his name behind the original and most popular stock car driving school, the Richard Petty Driving Experience
- Is honored by the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C., a museum that houses Petty's racing and personal memorabilia
- A trustee Chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association
- Current owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, Petty's Garage, Board Member of Victory Junction Gang Camp, Board Member of Richard Petty Driving Experience, Co-Founder of Petty Family Foundation
Petty continues to be a major figure in the sport and works with current partners of his three-car race team and Petty's Garage daily. His schedule makes him just as busy as he was when he ended his driving career in 1992.
His familiar smile and wave will be seen this weekend at Daytona for the running of Coke Zero 400.
Penske Racing will reward its most loyal and creative fans through “Penske Pride,” a unique social media contest that will run through the remainder of the 2012 racing season.
Fans of the Penske Racing organization that follow its teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series, through Twitter @PenskeRacing are encouraged to show their pride by tweeting their creative photos with the hashtag - #PenskePride.
Photo submissions will be accepted Thursday-Wednesday during each race week with the Penske Pride Photo of the Week winner selected each Thursday. Weekly winners will receive team or driver merchandise and will be automatically entered in the Photo of the Month competition. At the conclusion of each month, Penske Racing will select a Photo of the Month winner who will receive autographed items from a Penske Racing driver.
Each monthly winner will be eligible for the Grand Prize Penske Pride Photo of the Year, to be determined by a vote of @PenskeRacing Twitter followers. Voting will take place between November 30 and December 14, 2012. The Grand Prize winner will be selected no later than December 21. The winner will receive the Penske Racing VIP Experience which will include:
· Tickets to the 2013 NASCAR All-Star Race in Charlotte or a 2013 U.S. domestic IZOD IndyCar Series race other than the Indy 500 race or qualifying, at the winner's choice
· Four “Hot Passes” for the All-Star Race or the same IZOD IndyCar Series race, at the winner's choice
· Private Tour of the Penske Racing facility in Mooresville, NC by one of Penske Racing's drivers
· Autographed Merchandise
“Penske Racing has some of the most loyal fans, not only in motorsports but across all sports,” said Jonathan Gibson, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Penske Racing. “Penske Pride gives our fans an opportunity to showcase the creative ways that they celebrate their devoted following of the organization and our teams, drivers and partners. We want to see that Penske Pride and reward our fans with some great prizes along the way.”
Penske Racing PR
To say it was a hot day at Kentucky Speedway Friday night would be a huge understatement. Triple digit temperatures put the drivers and crews to the test for the Feed the Children 300, the 15th race on the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. After another solid top-20 qualifying effort from Jason Bowles, the team battled hard to record a 22nd place finish.