Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
Potomac Family Dining Group along with Applebee's will support the NASCAR Unites program through the "Thank You Movement", in celebrating military families and the heroes of our American Armed Forces.
The Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet Silverado driven by Tim George Jr. will sport a special patriotic-themed "Thank You" paint scheme at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. on June 28.
The Applebee's "Thank You Movement" is an ongoing worldwide program offering fans an opportunity to personally say Thank You to the U.S. Military - via the Applebee's website, Twitter, Facebook and You Tube pages.
"NASCAR Unites -- An American Salute" is a six-week patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans to celebrate America and support United States military families.
"Because of our many locations in and around our nation's capital, the Potomac Family Dining Group is honored every day to serve the families of the brave men and women of the military," said Jim Rieger, President and CEO of PFDG. "We proudly join forces with NASCAR in their support of this honorable celebration."
Fans of NASCAR and the No. 2 Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet will have several ways in which to express their support for the troops, including special Twitter hashtags and messaging along with a dedicated NASCAR website.
"Our servicemen and women are genuine heroes," said driver Tim George Jr. "This is our way of recognizing their contributions to this great nation and to say thanks."
Driver George Jr. will also make appearances in the broader race market, including Cincinnati and Louisville, during the weeks leading up to race day in support of the program.
For more information on Applebee's "Thank You Movement" visit www.applebees.com/thankyoumovement and for NASCAR Unites visit www.nascar.com/unites.
The Sonoma raceway left a lasting impression on Scott Speed, as each turn brought back a familiarity to the California native. It was this knowledge that helped Leavine Family Racing (LFR) overcome early trouble and rally the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford to finish 25th at the Sonoma road course.
As it turns out, a spark plug wire was the difference between finishing a lap down in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Sonoma raceway and finishing in the Top 10 for Speed and the No. 95 Ford.
Speed had barely gotten up to speed on the second lap when he noticed something was terribly wrong. He stopped on the third lap for a pit stop, and the team quickly realized a spark plug wire had come off.
"It was incredibly disappointing because we were among the leaders in practice and we had such a solid qualifying run," Speed said. "We felt like Sonoma was a chance for our best finish. We did well, but it should have been a lot better."
Speed wound up 25th, a lap down, after starting 22nd.
There are several ways a plug wire can come loose, according to crew chief Wally Rogers. The 1.99-mile road course has a lot of curbing and bumps, and any one of them could have jarred the wire off the spark plug.
"The good thing is we were able to fix the issue and get back into the race," Rogers said. "We're glad it wasn't a terminal issue. But we lost a lap early and never got it back."
Speed exited the pits down in 41st, but he was able to improve his final position by 16 spots to provide LFR its best qualifying effort and race finish in the team's young history.
"When we got back on the track we were as fast as the leaders," Speed said. "But there weren't a lot of cautions, especially in the first half of the race, so it was really hard for us to get one of the lucky dog spots. The leaders were putting other cars a lap down and that kept dropping us down the lucky dog list."
"We just couldn't catch a break with the cautions," Rogers said. "We had one of the best cars out there, but that early stop kept us from a really good finish. That was the best 25th-place car I've ever had."
Speed was 19th on the charts during the first practice session. He followed that up by qualifying 22nd.
"The car had really good balance," Speed said. "We looked forward to this race all year because Sonoma is my home track. Wally built a great car for that track. If we didn't have to make an unscheduled stop for a plug wire, I think we could have been Top 10."
"We'll put this car on jack stands in the shop and bring it back out for the Watkins Glen race. We shouldn't have to make any changes to it. It's fast just like it is," Rogers said.
Leavine Family Racing is running a limited schedule in the Sprint Cup Series. The team's next scheduled race is at the Kentucky Speedway next weekend.
Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) had a tough day in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Sonoma on Sunday. Tomy Drissi made his series debut in the No. 10 Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet. A lap 82 incident ended his day early, and he finished 38th. Dave Blaney started 32nd and was on point for a solid finish before a fuel pressure problem and broken trackbar ended his day early. The No. 36 Chevrolet finished in 37th place.
Tomy Drissi – No. 10 Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet:
Drissi took his first laps in a NSCS car on Friday for practice and qualifying. As he worked to get comfortable with the bigger car on the track, the California native captured the 41st starting spot for Sunday’s race.
He took the green flag from the 41st position and worked his way to the 38th spot as he drove through turn 10 on the first lap. By lap five, the No. 10 Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet moved into the 36th position, and Drissi radioed that the car needed to turn better. Still struggling to get the car to turn, Drissi fell to the 38th position before green-flag pit stops began.
On lap 28, Crew Chief Ryan Pemberton called the NSCS rookie down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and air pressure adjustment. During the stop, Drissi was caught speeding on pit road and had to make a drive-through penalty with the No. 10 Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet. After the penalty, he returned to the track in the 38th position, two laps down.
When pit stops cycled through, the No. 10 Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet was in the 37th spot, one lap down. By lap 45, Drissi held the 38th position, one lap down, and struggled with a loose handling racecar as well as having trouble turning. He fell a second lap down on lap 51.
Pemberton called the No. 10 Chevrolet down pit road on lap 60 for a four-tire pit stop and air pressure and trackbar adjustment. Drissi worked up to the 35th position by lap 76 but still struggled with a loose racecar. On lap 82, an on-track incident in turn 10 caused severe damage to the No. 10 Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet ending the team’s day early. The Ice Age: Continental Drift Chevrolet finished in 38th place in Drissi’s NSCS debut.
“It was a disappointing day,” explained Drissi. “The car needed to turn better. As the race went on, we got better on the speed charts. Unfortunately, an incident in turn eight ended our day early. I’ve just got to thank Ice Age: Continental Drift, TBR and Racers Drive for making my first NSCS start a reality.”
The No. 10 Chevrolet is now 34th in the NSCS Owner Points and locked into the top-35 by 62 points. The TBR team is two points behind the No. 32 and three points ahead of the No. 36 TBR Chevrolet.
Dave Blaney – No. 36 Chevrolet:
Blaney returned to Sonoma for his 12th start at the 1.99-mile road course. He drove the No. 36 Chevrolet to the 32nd starting spot. The Hartford, Ohio native moved into the 27th position by lap 31 before making a scheduled pit stop on lap 32.
The No. 36 Chevrolet returned to the track in the 33rd position, one lap down. When the first round of pit stops were concluded on lap 37, Blaney held the 32nd position on the lead lap. He moved into the 31st spot by lap 44.
On lap 50, he had a problem with fuel pressure, so the team worked to replace the fuel line and get Blaney back on track. Nine laps later, the No. 36 Chevrolet returned to the track in the 38th position.
Unfortunately, on lap 91, the trackbar broke on the No. 36 Chevrolet forcing Blaney to retire early. The team finished in 37th place, 28 laps down.
The No. 36 team is now 35th in NSCS Owner Points and locked into the top-35 by 59 points. They trail the No. 10 TBR Chevrolet by three points. Blaney is 33rd in NSCS Driver Points. He is eight points behind Landon Cassill and 21 points ahead of teammate David Reutimann.
“It was a tough day for us,” commented Blaney. “The car wasn’t bad, and we were on point to get a solid top-25 finish. Unfortunately, we had something get into the fuel system and had to come in to fix that, and then the trackbar broke. I’m excited to head to Kentucky and see what we can do with our mile-and-a-half program.”
Following a five-race absence from NASCAR Nationwide Series competition due to injuries sustained in an accident at Talladega Superspeedway, Eric McClure returned to the seat of the No. 14 Hefty® Reynolds Wrap® Toyota this past weekend at the 14-turn Road America road course. After posting the 29th fastest speed during time trials, McClure overcame a lengthy pit stop to fix a broken battery box lid, which ultimately resulted in a lap lost to the race leader, to post his career-best road course finish. The 21st-place finish advanced the 33-year-old driver one position (21st) in NASCAR Driver standings and allowed TriStar Motorsports owner Mark Smith to advance to the 25th position in NASCAR Owner standings.
When the 50-lap race began, pit strategy immediately came into play as several cars came to pit road on lap two. Adhering to the game plan discussed prior to the race, McClure remained on track and was scored in the 17th position on lap nine. Battling a car that was extremely loose on the right-handed turns, crew chief Wes Ward called McClure to pit road on lap 11 for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment. Just as McClure hit pit road, the event’s first full-course caution flag was displayed. With fuel normally playing a major role in the outcome of road course races, McClure returned to pit road on lap 13 to top off the fuel tank and to make an additional chassis adjustment to help the car’s -handling condition. When the race resumed on lap 15, the Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Racing™ team was scored in the 19th position.
The event’s second caution flag waved one lap later for debris which allowed McClure to once again visit pit road for fuel. It was then that the team discovered that the debris found on the racetrack came from the No. 14 Toyota. Needing to repair the broken battery box lid, McClure was called to pit road just as the race resumed on lap 18. Despite returning to the track in the 32nd position, McClure was able to advance to the 29th position by lap 25.
In spite of losing a lap to the race leader, McClure received the “lucky dog” award on lap 30 when the third caution flag waved. Following a routine pit stop, McClure returned to the track in the 26th position.
In the closing laps, McClure advanced as high as 19th before running off course with eight laps remaining in the event. Slipping to the 23rd position, he was able to overcome the mishap by advancing two positions in the final two laps to post his career-best road course finish.
Eric McClure Quotes:
“It was as solid day for us. We overcame some things and, although it wasn’t pretty, we almost scored a Top 20 finish at a road course. More importantly, it was a blessing to be able to work with Wes and the guys again. They rallied behind me and I had a lot of fun. I felt very comfortable in the car and look forward to building on this for the future.”
TriStar Motorsports PR
Kentucky Walmart Stores Offer NASCAR Driver Appearance, Authentic Merchandise, Fan Events Starting June 26
As the Kentucky Speedway prepares for the upcoming Quaker State 400, select Walmart stores will offer authentic NASCAR merchandise, a driver appearance and host exclusive fan events starting June 26. 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 – June 26-29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., depending on the location.
"Walmart is the champion of the racing fan, and we are committed to providing customers with savings on authentic merchandise, as well as unique race time experiences," said Walmart market manager Beth Dlutowski. "We want to give fans affordability and accessibility, so they can enjoy race time with their families and friends."
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 Kentucky Speedway include:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the M&M's Show Car, Simulator Pod and Trophy Display, Hefty Show Car Simulator and Coors Light Show Car at:
3450 Valley Plaza Parkway
Ft. Wright, Ky.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator, Miller Lite Show Car, Walmart's 50th Anniversary Show Car, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator and Oreo Ritz Show Car at:
7625 Doering Drive
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the M&M's Show Car, Simulator Pod and Trophy Display, Coors Light Show Car, Hefty Show Car Simulator, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Oreo Ritz Show Car and 5-hour Energy Show Car at:
500 Taylorsville Road
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, Walmart's 50th Anniversary Show Car, Miller Lite Show Car and Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator at:
1015 New Moody Lane
La Grange, Ky.
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator, Hefty Show Car Simulator, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, Oreo Ritz Show Car and 5-hour Energy Show Car at:
20 Ferguson Blvd.
Dry Ridge, Ky.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Unilever's Nationwide Driver Cole Whitt Appearance at 1 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Walmart's 50th Anniversary Show Car, Coors Light Show Car and M&M's Show Car, Simulator Pod and Trophy Display at:
200 Floyd Drive
Noon – 6 p.m.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Displays free and open to the public include the Cheez-It Show Car Simulator, Kingsford Ultimate Tailgate Truck, Coors Light Show Car, Walmart's 50th Anniversary Show Car, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Show Car, No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Show Car, Oreo Ritz Show Car, 5-hour Energy Show Car and Wheaties Show Car at:
567 Ivy Tech Drive
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Displays free and open to the public include the Coca-Cola 2-Seat Simulator, Hefty Show Car Simulator, No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger, No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet, Miller Lite Show Car, M&M's Show Car, and Simulator Pod and Trophy Display at:
200 Floyd Drive
11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Racing on Thursday night rekindles fond memories for Jason Leffler. The former open wheel standout put his name on the racing map by winning several of the United States Auto Club (USAC) Thursday Night Thunder shows that were televised nationally in the late 90's. The California native is hoping that the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta will provide another sentimental moment in his racing career, as he aims for his first win behind the wheel of the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
Leffler has rebounded from misfortunes that plagued the team earlier this season, posting a pair of solid finishes in his last two starts behind the wheel of KBM's flagship Tundra. The 36-year-old driver registered a season-best fourth-place finish in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and after a one-race hiatus, which saw Brian Scott in the truck at Dover, returned with a sixth-place effort at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
While top-10 finishes are a step in the right direction, after leading the Series in victories each of its two seasons in existence, the No. 18 team is still looking for its first win of 2012. The venue for this week's race - located along the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail - may be just the elixir that Leffler and his Dollar General Crew need, as both have previous success in the Truck Series at the 1.5-mile Tri-oval.
Leffler captured the pole for his first Truck Series event at Kentucky and led double-digit laps en route to fifth-place finishes in both of his previous starts in NASCAR's third division. The Dollar General Tundra is the defending UNOH 225 winner, as owner-driver Kyle Busch came from the rear of the field - after being late to the driver's meeting due to Sprint Cup Series testing - to earn his team's sixth 2011 victory. Busch also had the dominant truck in the 2010 event in The Bluegrass State, leading a race-high 73 laps before being relegated to a seventh-place finish, when the race was decided by fuel strategy.
Jason Leffler, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS Dollar General Tundra:
Does running a Thursday night race bring back memories for you?
"It definitely brings back memories of the old Thursday Night Thunder. It should be a cool event and I think that the TV viewership should be pretty good. I was fortunate enough to win a lot of races on Thursday Night Thunder and it helped me get noticed by a lot of people -- it's too bad that it's not around today. Maybe we can get a few more truck races on Thursday night -- that would be pretty cool."
Is Kentucky the most unique of the mile-and-a-half tracks?
"For sure -- it has a lot of character. It's rough, it isn't banked as much as some of the other ones and it's really wide. It's a really cool place to drive. You have to get your truck handling right in order to have a lot of speed.
The team has showed improved results in your last few races, do you feel like you're on the cusp of your first KBM victory?
"Absolutely -- we had a shot to win at Charlotte and we are bringing the same truck that was decent at Texas. It was a new truck at Texas and since that race Eric (Phillips, crew chief) has fine tuned that thing. I look forward to running it with the updates he and the guys made and seeing how they go when we get on the racetrack. We have a lot of confidence rolling into Kentucky."
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS Dollar General Tundra:
What makes Kentucky a difficult track?
"With all the repaving that has gone on the last few years, it is really the only mile-and-a-half track that we go to that is really rough. It was rough when they originally built it, and over the years the pavement has gotten a lot older and it has gotten so rough. There are a lot of bumps, so it presents a lot of different things we have to work through. Trying to get the truck to ride through the bumps with the front end and still continue to try and turn is a difficult challenge."
How would you evaluate your team's performance so far this season?
"We've been fast. I feel like we've had really good trucks, but haven't been able to finish the weekend as strong as we've been when we unload. We had a lot of issues early in the season -- we had an engine issue, been in a wreck and a few other things of our own doing. I feel like we've had top-three or four race trucks every week in practice, but we haven't been able to finish that. Hopefully going into this weekend and this summer stretch, we can put those things behind us and be strong."
Rev Racing brings home three top-10 finishes in Saturday night's action packed Visit Hampton, VA 175, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, race at Langley Speedway. Rev Racing rookies, Bryan Ortiz and Kyle Larson, bring home sixth and seventh place finishes, while teammate Jorge Arteaga cracked the top-10 for the first time this season.
Victor Gonzalez, Jr. proved what RAB Racing's equipment is made of in Saturday's Sargento 200 at Road America, spending the majority of the race running inside the top 10. Though a late-race scuffle led to a finishing position unrepresentative of the team's effort, Gonzalez was still able to salvage a 17th-place finish.
In Friday's dual practice sessions, Gonzalez posted the 21st and 23rd-fastest times, respectively. He found even more speed when he took to the track for qualifying, posting a 17th-place starting position.
Though driving in his first Nationwide Series event this season and first ever with RAB Racing, Gonzalez took no time to become accustomed to his Toyota Camry. He passed Nationwide Series regulars one-by-one and had found his way into the top 10 by the one-quarter mark of the event.Gonzalez continued to battle with the leaders throughout the first half of the Sargento 200.
As is commonplace at road course tracks, a heated battle for position took Gonzalez out of contention for the win Saturday. As he made the pass for the fifth position after the lap 38 restart, he was spun by a competitor and wound up in the 28th position. But even with damage to the side of the No. 99 Delta Commercial/IMCA Toyota Camry, Gonzalez was able to power back inside the top 20 and finished the day in the 17th position.
"The team gave me a great Toyota Camry and working with Scott Zipadelli (crew chief) was awesome," said Gonzalez. "He made great calls and our pit stops were fantastic. We got inside the Top 10 quickly, for the most part by speed and not strategy, which proved how good RAB Racing's equipment is. On the last restart, everyone was pushing each other. I passed for fifth position, but got a little loose in the corner and hit from the back. Though we ended up back in 28th, I pushed as hard as I could to get it back to 17th. Our Delta Commercial/IMCA Toyota Camry was a top-five car and I don't have enough words to say to thank everyone at RAB Racing for giving me the opportunity to drive it for them."
RAB Racing PR
APlusMeUSA.com to sponsor Shepherd at Kentucky: A+ Building Services will be the "title" sponsor on both the upper sides of Morgan Shepherd's #89 car this friday night, June 29th during the "Feed The Children 300" at Kentucky Speedway. A+ Building Services is a janitorial company headquartered in Portsmouth, Ohio and specializing in window cleaning and power pressure washing. A+ Building Services is a preferred vendor for companies such as Kroger and Nest International covering seven states and is a family ran business dating back to 1964. For more information, go to APlusMeUSA.com or Morgan Shepherd.com
Morgan Shepherd PR
Jason White on Kentucky: “I have always run well at Kentucky and after a few weeks off, I look forward to getting to the Bluegrass State. We were running second in this race last year with a green-white-checkered finish but we ended up fifth. The track has a lot of character with the bumps that force you to really focus as a driver. It seems to get bumpier every year and I hope they never change that. You are not wide open all the time and there are multiples grooves on the track that produces some great racing action.
This GunBroker.com team has been giving me a great truck every week and we have awesome horsepower from Roush Yates. We have just had some bad breaks here early on in the season but I am confident that we are about to turn the corner on our luck.”
Jason at Kentucky:This will mark Jason’s eighth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at the Kentucky Speedway. His best finish was fourth during the 2010 season after starting in the 13th position. He also earned another top-five finish in the first of two races at the Kentucky track last year. He has led a total of two laps at the track and has a best qualifying effort of ninth in this event last season on his way to that fifth place finish.
Race Rewind: Jason White continues to battle the “bad luck bug” in the first half of the 2012 season and Friday night was no different. After some great pit strategy put White and his No. 23 GunBroker.com Ford in the lead, the bug bit again with front end damage being sustained when a fellow truck got loose off of Turn 4 and came across the nose of the GunBroker.com Ford. The end result was a disappointing 17th place finish in the running of the WinStar World Casino 400k at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Jason fell to 13th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers’ standings – now 15 points out of the top-10.
“Sniper” Ready to Take on Texas: The GunBroker.com team will be bringing the truck they nicknamed “Sniper” to Kentucky 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 a brand new truck that the team has built and will make its debut this week at Kentucky Speedway.