Speedway Digest Staff
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After spending a day testing at the 2.5-mile, triangular-shaped Pocono (Penn.) Raceway last week, Marcos Ambrose and his No. 9 Stanley team feel they have a winning game plan heading into Sunday's GoBowling.com 400.
Evidence of the successful test came at Indianapolis this past weekend when the No. 9 Ford was one of the fastest cars during practice and then qualified 10th. A piece of trash on the grill left Ambrose outside the top-10 at the end of the day.
Ambrose is looking to improve on his 17th-place finish in June.
Comments from Stanley Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:
"I feel that we had a really good test here last week, and I think that will improve our chances this weekend. We tested early last week and then went to Indianapolis and showed a lot of speed in practice and qualifying. I think we learned a lot and will now take that information into Pocono this weekend.
"We still have the opportunity to get into 'The Chase,' and we have some opportunities to make that happen this month with some good tracks. We looked at testing at Pocono to give us a good chance to get a win. Watkins Glen is coming up, and then we also have run well at Michigan too. We are not counting ourselves out, and we're just going to keep working hard."
Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on Pocono:
"The test helped, and then we learned a lot during the race at Indy too. I think we are all feeling good about what we're bringing to Pocono this weekend. We have a few good races for Marcos coming up, and I think we have some good opportunities. The test helped, and now we're ready to go capitalize on that."
Aric Almirola will head back to Pocono (Penn.) Raceway this weekend in the No. 43 GoBowling.com 400. After a successful two-day test last week, Almirola looks to strike a win at the 'Tricky Triangle.'
In the June race, Almirola started from the 12th spot and raced in the top-10 and top-15 most of the day. Two on-track incidents in the final 30 laps of the race marred the team back in the field, and he finished 21st. He posted his best finish of 18th-place last August in his second start at the Pennsylvania track. Almirola also has one start in the truck series where he started fifth and finished fourth at the track.
Veteran Crew Chief Todd Parrott brings 31 races of experience to Pocono. He tallied two wins (2002, 1997), 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. In those 31 races at the 'Tricky Triangle,' he has an average finish of 14.6.
Comments from GoBowling.com Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"We were pretty good at Pocono last race. Our car handled decent in the top-15, but once we fell back, it was really difficult to drive in 'dirty air.' I think last week's test will really help us with that. We showed speed in Indy last week but also struggled when we were deep in the field. We'll work hard this weekend to get a good starting spot and stay up front.
"We're still in the hunt for the Chase, but we are going to need some top-five finishes or even a win to get there. I think our team can do it. We're going to work really hard in the next six races to make something happen and make up some ground in the points."
Comments from GoBowling.com Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:
"Pocono is a very unique track. With all three turns different, we'll focus on getting the handling in Turn Three so we can get some speed off the corner. We ran pretty well in June but need to work on finding some speed for qualifying so we can start up front and stay there. We made some gains at our two-day test last week. Hopefully, we can come out that much better this time around. We need a solid finish this week to stay in the hunt for the Chase."
Two-time defending Tennessee NASCAR Whelen All-American State Champion Nate Monteith of Blountville, and Bristol businessman KD Moore, are pleased to announce the formation of DDK Motorsports. The stars of NASCAR like to play at night and DDK Motorsports will make their debut under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 21, competing in the NASCAR UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series event.
“I am really excited to be teaming with KD Moore and our new truck team,” said Monteith. “He has been involved with our late model program and we talked about taking the jump together to a NASCAR top-tier touring division.”
Monteith will be piloting a No. 45 Toyota Tundra in the UNOH 200 in his hometown, which will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 (formerly Speed Channel). DDK Motorsports is planning a test on August 5 to shake down the new race truck.
“I’ve got some experience at Bristol,” added Monteith. “We’ll just have to get the truck dialed-in during practice and get it handling well. DDK Motorsports is providing me with an incredible opportunity and great equipment. My late model guys are helping me put the deal together and I am pretty confident we can make a good showing in August.”
DDK Motorsports is tentatively planning to run a limited schedule of 4-6 races this season, with hopes of building to a full schedule in 2014. It has always been the dream of successful developer, KD Moore, to field a team in NASCAR.
“I have entertained guests at Bristol Motor Speedway in the past, but this is going to be a very special event for me,” said Moore. “I believe having a Bristol based team should create a great deal of local interest. Nate has the talent and our goal is to become a solid addition to the Camping World Truck Series.”
Monteith and Moore will have the DDK Motorsports Toyota Tundra present at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” on Monday, July 29 for a press conference at 1 p.m., to be held in C Lot parking area just outside of the turn three pit entrance.
Want to be part of DDK Motorsports and driver Nate Monteith? For sponsor information contact Monteith at (423) 340-2004.
DDK Motorsports PR
Doug Duchardt, who joined Hendrick Motorsports as an executive in 2005, has been elevated to the newly created position of executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately. He will report to team owner Rick Hendrick and company president Marshall Carlson.
In his expanded role, Duchardt, 49, will direct all racing operations for Hendrick Motorsports, which fields four cars in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also will manage technical relationships—encompassing engine leases and chassis purchases—while serving as primary liaison between Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR’s competition group.
Duchardt’s responsibilities now include oversight of all competition-related personnel and departments, including teams; engines; race car construction (chassis and bodies); research and development; human performance (pit crews); and engineering.
“Doug has led by example from his first day with us,” Hendrick said. “We’re in a competitive and ever-changing industry, and he brings a global view that will be critical to our long-term success. Doug shares the organization’s values, understands the importance of relationships and has helped promote a culture of teamwork and communication. We know those are things he will lean on and grow in the years to come.”
A native of Morton, Ill., Duchardt joined Hendrick Motorsports in February 2005 as vice president of development. In that position, he directed all engine, vehicle engineering, chassis and body operations. He also oversaw the company’s work on the last two generations of Sprint Cup Series race cars, including Hendrick Motorsports’ role as the lead development team for General Motors’ new Chevrolet SS.
During Duchardt’s tenure, Hendrick Motorsports has won 84 Sprint Cup races and five series titles.
“Doug’s capabilities are proven, and he energetically fosters the growth of those around him at Hendrick Motorsports,” Carlson said. “As the competitive landscape continues to evolve, our team will rely heavily on his expertise and broad perspective. In this role, Doug’s leadership can be an even greater benefit to our employees, fans and corporate partners.”
Duchardt joined General Motors as a co-op student with Buick in 1983 and went on to graduate from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 1987 with a mechanical engineering degree. He earned a master’s degree in engineering from Purdue University in 1992 and received an honorary professional degree from Missouri S&T in 2009.
After nearly a decade in various roles with the manufacturer, Duchardt joined General Motors Racing in 1996. In June 2003, he was named director of North American motor sports initiatives, overseeing programs in NASCAR, Grand-Am, American Le Mans, NHRA, IndyCar and other series. During Duchardt’s leadership of GM Racing, the Chevy Monte Carlo garnered five Sprint Cup manufacturer championships.
“I’m honored to work with this incredible team of people,” Duchardt said. “I will continue to focus on giving them the resources and opportunities they need to be successful. We have a winning tradition that all of us want to protect and build on, and I’m lucky to be in a position to contribute to those efforts.”
Longtime Hendrick Motorsports executive Ken Howes will continue to serve as vice president of competition, a role he assumed in January 2005. He will report to Duchardt.
Wright, Childress Named NASCAR K&N Pro Series Directors; Glover Joins NASCAR As Touring Series Technical Director
NASCAR announced today several moves aimed at continuing to strengthen its touring & weekly series and broaden the level of experience within the competition department.
Former crew chief Chris Wright has been named the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Director, while Kip Childress transitions to become the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Director. In addition, veteran team manager and Daytona 500 winning crew chief Tony Glover has been appointed as the NASCAR Touring Series Technical Director.
Les Westerfield, who has served as the interim NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Director during the first half of the season, will resume his role as NASCAR Touring Series Technical Coordinator and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race Director.
“NASCAR is committed to enhancing the competition and organization throughout all of our series,” said Brad Moran, NASCAR Touring Series director. “Kip Childress has provided tremendous leadership and guidance in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East over the last several years. Chris Wright brings a wealth of experience in the garage, and provides us with an opportunity to have a seamless transition.
“Having Tony Glover in the NASCAR Research & Development Center is invaluable,” continued Moran. “Tony will work closely with all of the touring series directors as NASCAR continues to provide a leading role in the advancement of short-track racing. Tony has many years of technological expertise and leadership that he brings to our series.”
As a crew chief, Glover has 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, including Daytona 500 victories working with Sterling Marlin (twice) and Ernie Irvan. He also accumulated 45 Coors Light Pole Awards with 11 different drivers and guided two drivers to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year honors.
Childress has been the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Director since 2008. His tenure has been highlighted by strong competition, diversity and growth in the series. Previously, he served as an official in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and is a third-generation NASCAR official with more than 20 years of experience in the sport.
Wright has been a crew chief, shop foreman and consultant for teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, as well as Late Model teams. The University of South Carolina graduate spent more than five years apiece with Robert Yates Racing and Team Rensi Motorsports.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will be at Iowa Speedway on Friday, Aug. 2 for the second of two combination races between the East and West. The race will air on Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. ET on FOXSports1 – the first NASCAR touring series race to air on the network, which will carry the touring series through next year. Beginning in 2015, NBC Sports has exclusive rights to broadcast races from the NASCAR touring series, including the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, as part of the landmark agreement reached by NASCAR and NBC last week.
Meet Me Halfway...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) hits the halfway mark as the series rolls into Pocono Raceway for the 11th race of 2013. Miguel Paludo has two previous starts at the Tricky Triangle, with his best run coming in 2012 when he qualified third and finished 13th.
Winner, Winner...On Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Paludo participated in his first ever School Bus Grudge Match as part of the track's Summer Shootout. Paludo beat out Max Papis and others to earn his first ever win at the track. Paludo hopes to keep his winning streak alive this weekend in Pocono by taking home his second trophy of the week. If you missed the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it will air on Fox Sports South on Monday, August 5 at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
It's Not Easy Being Green...The No. 32 Chevrolet is once again going green, sporting the colors of AccuDoc Solutions this week at Pocono Raceway. AccuDoc Solutions is based in Morrisville, N.C. and provides billing-statement printing and processing to hospitals and hospital-based physicians. In addition to paper-based billing statements, ADS enables patients to choose electronic statement delivery and make payments through secure online payment portals. Notable North Carolina based clients include Carolina's Healthcare System, the UNC Healthcare System, Sentara Healthcare, Baptist Health Care Pensacola, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Memorial Healthcare System and WakeMed. To learn more, visit www.AccuDocSolutions.com.
This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team will unload chassis TSM-600 this week at Pocono Raceway. TSM-600 made its debut earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway where Paludo earned a 10th-place finish. This chassis most recently hit the track at Kentucky Speedway where Paludo qualified 10th and finished seventh.
Time to Sign...If you're at the track this weekend, stop by and meet Paludo and his Turner Scott Motorsports teammates at the NCWTS autograph session on Friday, August 2 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. EDT. The session will be held in Chalet Village located behind Turn 3 next to the Gate 8 ticket booth.
Watch And Listen...The Pocono Mountains 125 can be seen live on Saturday, August 3 on SPEED. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap... Things got a little bit dirty as the NCWTS made its debut at the legendary Eldora Speedway. After a strong qualifying run and an extremely competitive heat race, Paludo fought his way back from a lap down to finish 21st in the first ever NCWTS race on dirt.
Miguel Paludo on driving at Pocono Raceway
"Coming from Eldora, I don't think I have ever had such an appreciation for asphalt. Last week's race was fun, but I'm happy to get back to a paved track where our team has had good results in the past. We're bringing the same truck we brought to Kentucky [Speedway] and Texas [Motor Speedway], and we had top 10s at both. We qualified and ran well at Pocono last year, so based on the direction our team has been going so far this season, I know we'll be even better this time."
Tricky Triangle...After racing on dirt last week,the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to the pavement this week at the Tricky Triangle of Pocono Raceway. The last time he visited Pocono, James Buescher came up just one spot shy of the victory. Buescher and the Rheem team look to better last year's finish and bring home the first victory for the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports team in 2013. Buescher has an average finish at Pocono Raceway of 5.3.
Gotta Have a Rheem...The familiar Rheem paint scheme will be back on board the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado this weekend for the Pocono Mountains 125.Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 87th year of operation, the company manufactures a full line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company's premium brands, including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem, have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design and high quality. Rheem, now in its seventh consecutive year as a NASCAR sponsor, is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Turner Scott Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing. Rheem also sponsors RCR's No. 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by Paul Menard.
Chassis Info...The Rheem team will bring Chassis TSM-217 with them to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono Mountains 125. This chassis was used to earn Buescher's first pole in nearly two years earlier this season at Kansas Speedway. This chassis was also utilized when Buescher was forced to go to a backup truck at Dover due to an accident in qualifying.
Previous Race Recap....For the first time in 43 years, NASCAR made their historic return to the dirt at Eldora Speedway for the Mudsummer Classic. With a unique event on tap including heat races, a last chance qualifying race and a three-segment feature, Buescher and the Rheem team came into Eldora not knowing what to expect with very little experience racing on dirt. After nearly five-and-a-half hours of practice, Buescher started to get accustomed to the style of racing and was ready for the 150-lap main event. Buescher was locked into the feature and started ninth after finishing second in his heat race. When the green flag flew for the feature event, Buescher paced himself in the early going while he looked to get into a groove. During the last segment, the 30-truck field started to get antsy. Buescher sustained some damage to his Rheem Silverado, but was able to bring home the No. 31 in the 19th spot.
Watch and Listen...The Pocono Mountains 125 can be seen live on Saturday, August 3 on SPEED. Race coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Get Your Sharpies Ready...Come out and meet James Buescher, along with the rest of the Turner Scott Motorsports drivers, and get an autograph on Friday afternoon from 12:00-1:00 p.m. The session will be held in Chalet Village located behind Turn 3 next to the Gate 8 ticket booth.
James Buescher on Returning to Pocono Speedway
"Pocono is a great, fast racetrack that requires you and the team to be on top of your game. We had a great run there last year, and I really feel like our Rheem team is ready to win this year and start our push towards the back-to-back championship."
Two-Timer...Todd "The Onion" Bodine joins Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) for the 11th race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule at Pocono Raceway. The two-time NCWTS champion will make his first start for TSM, but returns to the No. 30, the truck in which he won both of his titles. Bodine has three previous starts at the Tricky Triangle, with an average finish of 16.7.
Onion On The Green...On Thursday, August 1, Bodine will hold the Fourth Annual Onion Slice Open at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Course, Mountain Top, Pa. The charity golf tournament, which benefits children with pediatric brain trauma and brain disease treated at Allied Services Integrated Health System's Heinz Rehab Hospital, raised more than $106,000 in last year's event. The 2012 Onion Slice Open broke the Pennsylvania-state record for number of participant players (224) in addition to setting fundraising records.
This Week's Scheme...The No. 30 Chevrolet Silverado is sponsored by Whelen Engineering and Team Fox this weekend in Pocono. A privately owned company, Whelen has experienced positive growth for over 60 years. The development of the first aviation light helped launch Whelen into the automotive safety lighting industry as well. Whelen currently provides safety lighting for Police, Fire, EMS, and DOT professionals as well as many other industries. In the 1970s Whelen introduced the Outdoor Warning Siren, which is totally electronic and capable of not just warning tones but also high-powered voice messages. The Mass Notification Division has saved lives around the world. For more information, visit www.whelen.com.
Team Fox is the grassroots community fundraising program at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Each year more than 1,600 Team Fox members worldwide turn their passions and interests into unique fundraising events and athletic feats. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of therapies for those living with Parkinson's today. For more information, visit www.michaeljfox.org.
This Week's Silverado...Bodine and the No. 30 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox team will unload chassis TSM-218 this week at Pocono Raceway. TSM-218 most recently hit the track at Kentucky Speedway where it was driven by Cale Gale to a 13th-place finish. This is also the same truck that Kyle Larson drove to victory lane at Rockingham Speedway in April, scoring TSM its first win of 2013.
It's A Sign...If you're at the track this weekend, stop by and meet Bodine and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session on Friday, August 2 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. EDT. The session will be held in Chalet Village located behind Turn 3 next to the Gate 8 ticket booth.
Watch And Listen...The Pocono Mountains 125 can be seen live on Saturday, August 3 on SPEED. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90. Bodine's truck will also house an in-truck camera for the SPEED broadcast so you keep up with all the action on board.
Todd Bodine on driving at Pocono Raceway
"I have been going to Pocono to watch my brothers race since I was eight-years-old. I've changed tires on pit road and raced there several times. It's a very important track in the history of our family. Pocono Raceway is also a very big supporter of the Onion Slice Open, and we're really appreciative of that."
Return to Pavement...Following their dirt debut, Jeb Burton and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) return to familiar grounds as they take on the Tricky Triangle at Pocono Raceway. In Saturday's Pocono Mountains 125, Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team will race for redemption after two previous top-20 finishes. Burton still holds second place in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings.
This Week's Silverado...The No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team will unload Chassis TSM-220 this weekend for the Pocono Mountains 125. TSM-220 took the team to victory lane at Texas Motor Speedway in June and claimed the pole award at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Stop and Say Hello...If you're at the track on Friday, stop and meet Burton and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session located in Chalet Village behind Turn 3, next to Gate 8 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EDT.
Watch and Listen...Action from the Tricky Triangle will be live on SPEED on Saturday, August 3. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT and can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap...With no dirt track experience, Burton and the No. 4 TSM team tackled unfamiliar grounds in the inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway. Burton used the three practice sessions to gain familiarity and learn from the dirt-track pros. Being patient paid off as Burton qualified among the top-five and won his eight-lap heat race. Throughout the main event, Burton ran consistent laps and stayed out of trouble. In the final segment, however, Burton was unable to avoid a wreck and received significant damage to his front end. Burton and the No. 4 team ended the night with an 18th place finish at NASCAR's return to dirt.
Jeb Burton on Racing at Pocono Raceway
"I can't wait to get to Pocono. After Eldora, I'm just ready to get back on pavement and show everyone what I'm capable of behind the wheel of the No. 4. I've never raced at Pocono but I've studied the track a lot and know my teammates do pretty well there. The truck we're taking is fast and has really performed this season. I'm hoping to land it in victory lane again, but my overall goal is a top-five finish and a few points closer to P1 on the NCWTS leaderboard."
Since making the announcement to drive for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Toyota Tundra in four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races in 2013, Chad Hackenbracht has had the 2.5-mile "Tricky Triangle" circled on his calendar. As the 2012 winner of the ARCA Racing Series August race, the 21-year-old New Philadelphia, Ohio native is ready to get back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra and this time, he's looking for redemption at one of his favorite tracks - Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
Hackenbracht, who made his NCWTS debut behind the wheel of the No. 51 machine at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, had high hopes leading up to his debut at the 1.5-mile track. However, an accident on lap 41 of 167 ended his night early and relegated the rookie to a 26th-place finish.
Fortunately, for "@Hockensomethin" he enters his second career Truck Series event with something he didn't have at Texas - seat time. Although he will sit behind the wheel of a Toyota Tundra for the first time at Pocono, the Truck Series rookie has completed 356 laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway in the ARCA Racing Series. As a challenging three-turn track, Hackenbracht feels confident that his KBM team, strong equipment and experience will take him places at Pocono. Instead of spending a lot of time getting to know his Toyota Tundra and finding his way around the unique track, he will be able to eliminate one variable in hopes of formulating a solid run for his KBM team. His goals; finish the race and gain the most points possible - to help propel the No. 51 team back into the direction of a NCWTS Owner's Championship.