Saturday, Dec 04
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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NASCAR fans have spoken and the design of the commemorative ticket for the 55thannual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 will showcase the Harley J. Earl trophy and the American flag.

Between July 12-19 on Daytona International Speedway’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/daytonainternationalspeedway), Twitter (www.twitter.com/DISUpdates) and Google + (http://gplus.to/daytonaintlspeedway) sites, race fans selected their favorite commemorative Daytona 500 ticket among three different choices.

The race fans’ selection of the commemorative ticket with the Harley J. Earl trophy is a fitting choice for 2013 Daytona 500 as the Harley J. Earl trophy, for the first time, is proudly featured on the race logo.

Awarded to the champion of the Daytona 500, the Harley J. Earl trophy is named after Harley J. Earl, a famous General Motors designer and friend of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.  The trophy, one of the most prized possessions in motorsports, weighs 54 pounds and has a black base with a scaled-down replica of the Firebird One that Earl created in 1954 at the peak of his career with General Motors.

Tickets for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race – the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 – start at $65 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

For the second straight year, the Speedway is offering special youth pricing for the Daytona 500.  Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all Superstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. In addition, children 12 and under are free in the Sprint FANZONE throughout Budweiser Speedweeks. 

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500.  In addition, fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook  and Google+ for all the latest news all season long.

DIS PR

It was a commendable showing for the JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller team in NASCAR’s inaugural Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.

After the two practice sessions on Thursday, Mike Wallace was 19th in the G&K Services Chevrolet and teammate Jeremy Clements was 28th in the No. 4 Tradebank Chevrolet. For the second practice, they reversed positions on the speed chart with Wallace 28th and Clements 20th.

When qualifying ended on Saturday morning, Wallace laid down the 23rd fastest lap and Clements was 16th to line up outside Row 8 for the big event. Wallace said afterwards he gave up too much upon entry into Turn 1 causing him to not have a better lap.

After a group photo along the famous Yard of Bricks on the start/finish line to mark the first NASCAR Nationwide race at IMS, it was time to get down to racing action. Right from the initial green flag, Wallace and Clements settled in to get a feel for how their Chevrolets would handle on the quad oval of Indy.

With a competition caution on lap 16, teams were able to hit pit road for tires, adjustments and fuel. Newt Moore, crew chief for Wallace, and team got their driver in and out in good time.

During the race, four more cautions slowed the pace and allowed for more stops. With fresh tires, topped off tanks and adjustments for handling, Wallace and Clements raced their way up the scoring pylon.

However, on the second last pit stop, the fate of the race changed for Wallace and the No. 01 G&K Services team. As he was coming into his pit stall while running 14th, the rear tire carrier for the No. 70 pitted one stall ahead made contact with Wallace’s Chevrolet. The carrier was uninjured, but when he moved around the tire he was carrying hit the left front fender on Wallace’s car.

The fender was damaged from the center of the wheel well back. This forced extensive repairs for the No. 01 Chevrolet and forfeiting of many spots on pit road. They weren’t able to get back out until the field was in Turn 3 coming for the green.

While Wallace was able to battle back into the top-20, his car started to get very loose at the end. In turn, this caused him to lose three positions in the last 10 laps.

With the checkered flag looming, both drivers were vying for all they could get out of their Chevrolets for a great finish. Clements was making the best of it by breaking into the top-15 then top-10 as the race neared an end.

Wallace did his best with the damaged car and finished in the top-20, on the lead lap, for a commendable result. Once again, the “never-say-quit” attitude of JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller comes through.

This weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to Iowa Speedway for their second visit of the season.

Mike Wallace Quotes: “We had a great car there in the beginning and we were running better and better the longer we went. Once we got into that deal on pit road, the car was just way too loose to try and return to where we were in the top-15.

“I’m glad the tire carrier was okay, that’s important to me and the team. There towards the end, I just did all I could to get the best finish as possible from Indy. It was great to run on the historic track.”

Jeremy Clements Quotes: “This was a great run for this No. 4 Tradebank Chevrolet team. Our car got better and better through the weekend and the race. Once we settled into a good rhythm, we were able to hold our own out there and race faster.

“A top-10 finish for the first Nationwide Series race at the famed Brickyard is great. I can’t thank Johnny Davis and the entire team for a great run - can’t wait to race with them again.”

Sebastien Bourdais and Alex Popow won the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix Grand Am Rolex Series race on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway driving the No. 2 Soloson Ford/Riley for Starworks Motorsports.

 

Bourdais took the lead with just over a half hour remaining and pulled away on the final restart to win the Daytona Prototype division's first Brickyard Grand Prix and the North American Endurance Championship. Winning on the 2.534-mile road course in Indianapolis, IN was another highlight in the team's incredible season which includes a second-place finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  

 

As has become tradition in other races at the historic track, the winning drivers bent down to kiss the bricks at the start/finish line after the race.

 

"It was a pretty special day. I felt strong in the car. I ran a good lap in the test and thought we had a good chance," said Bourdais. "It was win No. 1 for me this season. I've been winning a race every year for many, many years, and I was starting to get worried. I'm glad we could put it together".  

 

Friday's win, coupled with the team's win at the Rolex 24 with drivers Potolicchio and Dalziel in the No. 8 Ford/Riley, gave Starworks the North American Endurance Championship title. The Championship is determined by a 3-race stint in the Rolex, Sebring, and Indianapolis races.

 

"We have had a great year and I don't know whether any other team has won at Sebring, Indianapolis and LeMans in the same year. Also, it is incredible to win the North American Endurance Championship," said team owner Peter Baron.

 

RYE PR

 

FRESH PAVEMENT: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams are in for a thrill this weekend at Pocono Raceway as they hit the track for the first time since the repaving of the 2.5-mile track. Timothy Peters and the No. 17 Toyota Tundra are anxious for the 50-lap Pocono Mountains 125 as the pavement gives the Truck Series garage a level playing field. With two top-10 finishes in two starts at the Raceway, Peters is looking forward to improving his highest eight-place finish. The Red Horse Racing team has collected one pole, one win, seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes in the 10 races this season.

 

SEASON-TO-DATE: Peters notes that the team that will win the championship is going to be the one with the highest average finishing position. After 10 races this season, the No. 17 Toyota Tundra team led by crew chief Butch Hylton, has a 5.2 average finishing position, 2.1 positions higher than the next competitor. He has the second highest starting position with a 6.9 and also ranks second in the average mid race position with a 5.3. Out of 1674 laps raced thus far, Peters has spent 91.5% of all laps completed in the top-15.

 

AUTOGRAPH SESSION: Peters and teammate Todd Bodine will join a lineup of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers for an autograph session on Friday, August 3rd from 1:00-2:00 p.m. at Pocono Raceway in the Fan Fair area.

 

CHASSIS HISTORY: Racing continues this weekend at Pocono Raceway for the No. 17 Toyota Tundra team utilizing Chassis No. 073. The chassis scored a third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway on July 21 after a fourth place qualifying effort. Its highest finishing position was on April 21at Kansas Speedway where Peters captured a second-place finish. The chassis is also credited with a seventh place starting spot and a fifth place finish at Kentucky Speedway on June 28.

 

PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: The No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra has had an unforgettable 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season to date. On Saturday, July 21st at Chicagoland Speedway, Timothy Peters and his Toyota Tundra drove from the back of the field after an engine change, to the front of the field capturing a well-deserved third place finish. Hard work, determination and perseverance has allowed Peters to bring home seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 10 Truck Series races this season.

 

Timothy Peters talks about Pocono Raceway:

Talk about the new pavement at Pocono and what it will do for the truck race on Saturday.

"I'm excited for Pocono. This year we have been going to the tracks where our results have not been all that good in the past and we are leaving the track with our best finishes ever. The new pavement will change the ballgame in the garage if anyone had an advantage before. We are all on the same page when we unload. That's what I am looking forward to."

 

You have 50 laps to get the job done at Pocono. How will that change the racing?

"50 laps is a short race - 125 miles - so the race will be over with before you know it. Business as usual, though. We will go out and get the best finish we can. Butch (Hylton) has put a great package underneath me- where I can get in, drive and hustle right from the get-go. My No. 17 Toyota Tundra guys do a great job. It's more up to me because the trucks are so close now.

 

"The groove isn't widened out so we really have to go. In the past, you could run bottom, middle and top in turn one, but now it seems you can run bottom and a little middle. It's going to be a chess game. As always, patiently aggressive is going to be key."

 

RHR PR

POCONO, CLOSE TO HOME: For two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine, Pocono Raceway is home away from home. The Chemung, N.Y. native and driver of the No. 11 Northeast Toyota Dealers Toyota Tundra is anxious to be in Long Pond, Pennsylvania after spending many years racing with older brothers Brett and Geoff at the 2.5-mile Tri-oval. Collectively, the Bodine brothers have 87 Sprint Cup Series starts, with brother Geoff collecting three wins at the raceway.

 

In his two Truck Series starts at the track, Bodine has finished both races in the 12th position and holds an average starting position of 8.0. The veteran also has 15 starts on his resume in the Sprint Cup series, capturing one pole and two top-10 finishes.

 

ONION SLICE OPEN: Bodine and wife Janet will host the Third Annual 'Onion Slice Open' on Thursday, August 2nd. The golf tournament will be held at Blue Ridge Trail Golf course located in Mountaintop, PA. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the pediatric patients suffering from traumatic brain injury at Allied Services Rehabilitation in Wilkes Barre, PA. The Northeast Pennsylvania Toyota Dealers will serve as the presenting sponsor of the tournament alongside the primary sponsorship on Bodine's No. 11 Toyota Tundra during Saturday's Pocono Mountains 125.

 

YOUR CHANCE TO MEET THE ONION: Bodine and teammate Timothy Peters will join a lineup of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers for an autograph session on Friday, August 3rd from 1:00-2:00 p.m. at Pocono Raceway in the Fan Fair area.

 

CHASSIS HISTORY: Todd Bodine will drive chassis No. 110 for the Pocono Mountains 125 on Saturday afternoon. This year, other RHR drivers have utilized this chassis at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8 where it qualified second and finished 11th and at Kansas Speedway where it qualified 19th and finished 13th.

 

PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: History was made on July 21st at Chicagoland Speedway during the American Ethanol 225 and it involved Bodine. The RHR driver took the green-flag for the 200th time in Truck Series competition. That 200th start plus his 200+ starts in both the Cup Series and Nationwide Series makes him the only driver to have reached that milestone in all three of NASCAR's premier series. The Onion battled up front for the majority of the 150-lap event before making contact with another competitor, relegating the No. 11 Toyota Tundra team to an 18th place finish.

 

FOLLOW THE ONION: Fans can catch the latest news and whereabouts on Bodine on Twitter @Team_Onion and online at www.teamonion.com.

 

Todd Bodine talks about heading to the Pocono Raceway:

What are your thoughts heading into the Pocono Mountains?

"It's going to be interesting. Pocono's a lot of fun for a driver. There are three different turns, three different straightaways and it gives us all a lot of excitement. Now, with the new pavement, running a Truck around there is going to be very exciting. I've got a feeling we are going to run through the tunnel turn and through turn three without lifting. That is going to be very hair rising. It's going to be a lot of fun. I've been going to Pocono since 1972 watching my brothers race Modified's. I've never driven a Modified but I've changed tires on pit road. I've been to victory lane a couple times with my brothers. Pocono is part of the Bodine heritage."

 

Tell us about hosting the Third Annual 'Onion Slice Open' on Thursday. What does this Tournament mean to you?

"I'm really excited about the Third Annual Onion Slice Open. It's pretty cool to have Northeast Pennsylvania Toyota dealers on our No. 11 Toyota Tundra as well as being the presenting sponsor of the tournament. Whelen is also back on board for the third year. I drove for Sonny back in the Busch Grand National days and he remains a big supporter of mine. The tournament is for a great cause and a great opportunity for the Valley - the folks at Blue Ridge know how to put on a show."

 

RHR PR

Race Highlights:        

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 13th (Kevin Harvick), 14th (Paul Menard) and 32nd (Jeff Burton).
  • Harvick maintained an average running position of 17.594 during the Brickyard 400 while spending 69 of the 160 laps (43.1 percent) running within the top 15. 
  • Menard maintained the eighth-best Average Running Position (11.688) according to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics.
  • Spending 153 of 160 Laps in the Top 15 (95.6 percent), Menard ranked fifth in the Loop Data Statistics category.    
  • Burton made 69 green-flag passes over the course of the 160-lap event.
  • Jimmie Johnson captured his fourth career win at the Brickyard and was followed to the finish line by Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.  
  • The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 5. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

 

  2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards   

Paul Menard and the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Team Finish 14th at the Brickyard

 

Returning to the site of his career-first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, Paul Menard made his best start of eighth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday's Brickyard 400 and drove the No. 27 NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet to a 14th-place finish. Shortly after the green flag dropped on the 160-lap affair, the 2011 Brickyard 400 Champion reported that he was battling a tight-handling condition on the No. 27 Chevrolet as he fell in the running order. He remained a fixture in the top 15 for the first half of the race, breaking back into the top 10 by lap 68. During routine green-flag and caution period pit stops, the Slugger Labbe-led crew made air pressure and chassis adjustments, which improved the car's handling. Following the final caution period of the afternoon on lap 134, Menard restarted from the ninth position, but as the field took the green flag, the No. 27 Chevrolet made contact with the car in front of it, resulting in minor front-end damage that caused an extremely tight-handling condition for the closing laps. The Eau Claire, Wis., native ultimately took the checkered flag at the Brickyard in the 14th position.

  

Start - 8                                          Finish - 14                                      Laps Led - 0                Points - 16

 

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:  

"There were certainly a lot of great memories from last year's win on everyone's mind this weekend and it was great to be back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but we had one focus and that was to win again. The NIBCO/Menards Chevrolet was solid all weekend, but started off really tight in today's race. The No. 27 team was great in the pits all day and the handling was better until that last restart. We made contact with the car in front of us and were just really tight until the end. We had a top-10 finish until then."

 

 


  2011 CC Team Logo 29 Jimmy Johns
Kevin Harvick and the Jimmy John's Team Settle for a 13th-Place Finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's team settled for a 13th-place finish in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after battling handling issues during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the 160-lap race from the 27th position and reported that the Jimmy John's Chevrolet had an extremely tight-handling condition, but shifted to a loose-handling condition as the race progressed. Throughout multiple green and yellow-flag pit stops, the Shane Wilson-led Jimmy John's crew made several adjustments to combat the handling issues Harvick was battling, and the Richard Childress Racing driver worked his way into the top 15 by lap 90. During the late-race runs the 36-year-old driver reported that the tight-handling condition had returned, and the No. 29 Chevrolet was becoming increasingly worse as the race neared the end. The No. 29 crew made one final attempt to alleviate the handling issue during their final scheduled yellow-flag pit stop on lap 125, but Harvick continued to fight the tight-handling condition and ultimately crossed the finish line in the 13th position. Harvick remains sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 78 points behind the leader. 

  

Start - 27                                          Finish - 13                                      Laps Led - 0                Points - 6

 

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:

"This was not the result I was looking for today. Unfortunately we struggled all weekend to find the right setup for the Jimmy John's Chevrolet, but we fought hard and salvaged a top-15 finish."  

 

 


 

Late-Race Issue Relegates Jeff Burton to 32nd-Place Finish in the 2012 Brickyard 400

 

After running in the top 20 for most of the afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Burton's No. 31 Rain-X Chevrolet suffered a broken brake rotor and relegated the Richard Childress Racing driver to a 32nd-place finish in the 2012 Brickyard 400. Starting from the 21st position, the South Boston, Va., native worked his way into the top 20 where he remained for the majority of the 19th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the historic 2.5-mile track. Working with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer and the No. 31 Rain-X Chevrolet pit crew to improve the handling of the car, Burton entered the top 15 after the halfway mark of the 160-lap affair. On lap 126, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner radioed to the team there was a problem with left-front wheel of the RCR machine. The left-front tire blew as Burton brought the car to pit road for service. After analyzing the wheel, Blickensderfer diagnosed the issue as a broken brake rotor and Burton drove the car to the garage area where the Rain-X crew fixed it promptly, returning the No. 31 Chevrolet to the track in less than eight laps listed in the 35th position. Burton spent the final 20 laps running consistent top-15 lap times and the 45-year-old driver gained three positions scoring a 32nd-place result with the Rain-X Chevrolet. Burton sits 20th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

 

Start - 21                        Finish - 32                        Laps Led - 0                  Points - 20    

 

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:

 "It was a tough day for the No. 31 Rain-X Chevrolet team. We were hanging around the top 15 when the brake rotor broke and sent us to the garage area for repairs. I'm not sure what happened, but proud of the team for getting me back out there to gain some spots in the end. This team never gives up. We showed some speed once again during the race and had very productive practice sessions all weekend. We just need to stay positive and look forward to Pocono Raceway next weekend."

 

RCR PR

Everyone loves a happy ending.  That sentiment is proving true with a popular online video that pays tribute to American military families and their emotional reunions.  The two-minute tribute, created by Eckrich® in support of Operation Homefront, has already surpassed half a million views on YouTube since its June 5 release.  The video is set to the music of Iron and Wine's rendition of "Love Vigilantes" by New Order.

 

Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, partnered this year with Operation Homefront, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides emergency financial assistance to the families of United States service members and wounded warriors.  Through the partnership, Eckrich donated a portion of every purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4 to Operation Homefront, up to $200,000. Representatives from Eckrich presented Operation Homefront with a $200,000 check at a ceremony at the Operation Homefront Village in San Antonio, Texas, on April 28.

 

"We have been overwhelmed by the response and support of the online video that highlights military family homecomings," said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group.  "This was an effort for us to show our appreciation to Operation Homefront and our military families.  It's been wonderful to see so many others who have joined us in this support.  We can only hope this video can touch more people and continue to make a difference and bring recognition to an amazing organization."

 

The partnership is supported with a broader Eckrich marketing campaign that features television, radio, online and outdoor advertising, as well as using Facebook to showcase military families with "meet-a-family" videos and stories.

 

The efforts of Eckrich to support Operation Homefront extended recently to the NASCAR world, where Eckrich has a partnership with the No. 43 Ford of Richard Petty Motorsports.  The three organizations are coming off a weekend of successfully raising awareness in Indianapolis, Ind., where they recognized a local military family with a surprise visit from No. 43 Eckrich Ford driver Aric Almirola.  The partnering organizations also unveiled a specially designed coin bank, made out of a real racing tire, on June 29 at Kentucky Speedway to encourage fans to donate spare change for the campaign.  The bank is traveling to other Eckrich-sponsored races this summer - a schedule that included Indianapolis this past weekend and Michigan International Speedway on August 19.

 

"We can't thank Eckrich enough for everything they have already done to support Operation Homefront," said Amy Palmer, chief operating officer of Operation Homefront.  "We continue to hear great feedback about the online video.  It's a tribute to our military families that over half a million people have already viewed this feature and we hope it only continues to spread."

 

After watching the tribute video on YouTube, viewers are encouraged to visit and "like" the Eckrich Facebook page to see more videos and stories and to learn additional ways that they can support American military families.

 

Watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Evx0vQmXt0.

 

RPM

Jason Bowles and his No. 81 American Majority Toyota team have been proving week-in and week-out that they can compete with the top teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  Saturday, in the inaugural Indiana 250 from the famed Brickyard, they did it again.  Bowles and his team fought handling issues in practice and rebounded to another solid top-20 finish, bringing home a 16th place result.

After qualifying 24th, Jason ran most of the race between 20th and 25th position. During the last quarter of the event, Bowles advanced into 15th place, poised for his 4th top-15 in the last eight races.  Current points leader, Elliott Sadler, moved past Jason in the closing laps, giving the American Majority No. 81 team a 16th place finish.

“The car was really fast during the race,” explained Bowles.  “We just had that one bad set of tires that put us behind.  I was really trying to hold on to that top-15 at the end there.  I have to thank my guys for all of their hard work, American Majority and Wings Etc. for their support, and Randy MacDonald for believing in me as a driver.”

The 16th place finish was the 7th top-20 finish in the past 10 races for Jason and his MacDonald Motorsports No. 81 team.  Bowles remains 13th in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings.

MMPR

On a day when track position was key, Trevor Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion came away with a respectable 17th-place finish in the Curtiss Shaver 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Bayne spent most of the 400-mile race at the famed Brickyard running door to door with some of the Sprint Cup circuit’s top drivers, but he and his fellow drivers found themselves in mid-pack most of race because passing was so difficult.

Bayne’s finish was something to be proud of, for only his second race at Indianapolis, as team co-owner Eddie Wood pointed out.

Wood went on to say that he was pleased with the performance of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion and the entire Wood Brothers team.

“We had a really good car,” Wood said. “It’s a brand-new car, and we’re looking for good things from it on down the road."

“I’m sure Donnie Wingo will run it several more times before the end of the season.”

The Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew members also played support roles as the team’s long-time crew chief Leonard Wood was honored for his upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The No. 21 Ford Fusion was painted in the candy apple red colors that it made famous back in the day, and Wood’s picture was on the hood.

“Leonard had a blast,” Eddie Wood said.

Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team left Indianapolis and headed to Michigan International Speedway, where on Monday, they will be one of 28 teams testing Goodyear tires in preparation for the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 19.

The Woods will test with the same Ford Fusion they ran in the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan on June 17. Bayne qualified seventh for that race and was running seventh when engine trouble sidelined him early in the race.

Wood and the Motocraft/Quick Lane team say they hope to use the test day to make that car even faster.

“It’s a good car too,” Wood said. “Things are looking really good for the remainder of the season.”

Officials at Michigan International Speedway will open the Turn 1 Grandstand from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday for fans to watch the test free of charge.

Wood Brothers Racing PR

Get Tony Stewart to laud a 10th-place finish and you might want to check the Mayan calendar to see if the apocalypse is near.

Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, onlookers may have done a Google search for “signs of the apocalypse” after Stewart declared he was “proud” of his 10th-place finish in the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

The driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) rallied from his 28th-place starting spot, which resulted from a trying day of practice and qualifying on Saturday that saw Stewart fight with the handling of his racecar, to post his 10th top-10 finish of 2012 and his 10th top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis.

“We just didn’t start the weekend off good enough, but I will say that I’m really proud of Steve Addington (crew chief), Greg Zipadelli (competition director) and all of our engineers and everybody who worked hard last night to make this car what it was today,” said Stewart, a two-time winner of the Brickyard 400 (2005 and 2007). “It was a lot better, but this is where we should’ve unloaded instead of trying to be good for the race. We’ve just got to be better off the truck.”

Despite a Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy that began the 160-lap race tight through the track’s corners, Stewart wheeled his way into the top-20 after just 14 laps. He hit a setback on lap 74, however, when a pit road miscue – where an errant tire had to be retrieved before the green-flag stop could be completed – dropped Stewart to 32nd.

Again, Stewart rallied, rising to 24th by lap 85, and cracking the top-15 on lap 110.

When the team made its final pit stop while under caution on lap 126, Addington called for a left-rear wedge adjustment that augmented a tweak to the tire pressure. With four fresh Goodyears and a full tank full of fuel, Stewart was set to go the distance with no more stops.

During back-to-back restarts on laps 130 and 141, respectively, Stewart drove his Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy with authority, manhandling it into the top-10.

“We just were a little bit tight in the center of the corner, and that’s kind of what we fought all day,” Stewart said. “But yesterday we had problems with security in the right rear getting into the corner and being really loose off of it. We got that fixed. We just got too tight in the center of the corner. So I was proud of the gains they made. It was a very inconsistent car yesterday, and it was a very consistent car today.”

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for SHR, finished seventh to notch his sixth top-10 finish of 2012 and his second top-10 in 12 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis.

The Brickyard 400 marked the fifth time this season both SHR drivers have finished among the top-10. Prior to Indianapolis, the duo finished among the top-10 March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 25 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and July 7 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson won the Brickyard 400 to score his 58th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his record-tying fourth Sprint Cup win at Indianapolis. Johnson tied Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the winningest Sprint Cup drivers at Indianapolis with four wins apiece. Johnson and Gordon are also tied for second on the all-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway win list with four-time Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. Seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher is the track’s all-time leader with five U.S. Grand Prix victories.

Kyle Busch finished 4.758 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Gordon rounded out the top-five. Polesitter Denny Hamlin, Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Stewart comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were five caution periods for 25 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish.

With round 20 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He dropped one spot to eighth and has 652 points, 79 back of new series leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., and three points ahead of ninth-place Keselowski with a 70-point cushion over 11th-place Busch. Newman remained 14th and has 573 points, 158 behind Earnhardt and 70 behind 10th-place Clint Bowyer.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Aug. 5 Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.

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