Speedway Digest Staff
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Ryan Newman was quick enough when it mattered most and scored a seventh-place finish in the 19th annual Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), engineered a drive to the top-10 throughout the final quarter of the race that resulted in his third consecutive top-10 finish.
“I’m from the Midwest and so is Quicken Loans, so it was nice to get a top-10 finish,” said Newman, who scored his sixth top-10 finish of 2012 and his second top-10 in 12 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2.5-mile oval. “I wish we could’ve gotten them a win. We finally got good track position there toward the end and we were able to keep it. The Quicken Loans Chevrolet was good. We just didn’t have quite the speed we needed.”
Newman started 11th in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet and, for the first half of the race, battled a tight condition on his car. As is typical at Indianapolis, the track conditions began changing as the afternoon wore on and Newman’s car became loose throughout the second half of the event.
Veteran crew chief Tony Gibson tweaked on the car with a series of small track bar, wedge and tire pressure adjustments, but it was his last adjustment and some quick work by the Quicken Loans pit crew that made the difference when it mattered most.
After a caution on lap 126 for debris on the backstretch, Newman and the rest of the field headed to pit road for what would be their final pit stop of the day on lap 127. Newman, who entered pit road 11th, took four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment and exited seventh as his crew gave him an extremely quick stop.
Both the fast stop and the adjustment made the difference as Newman never again was outside the top-10. He managed to get as high as fifth on lap 142, but faded back to seventh by the time the checkered flag flew.
“The guys gave me a great pit stop at the end,” Newman said. “It was a fantastic stop and I’m proud of them. Tony Gibson made some great calls, as well.”
Newman’s teammate, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for SHR, finished 10th to notch his 10th top-10 finish of 2012 and his 10th top-10 in 14 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis.
It was the fifth time this season the SHR duo finished in the top-10, and the first time since three weeks ago at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where Stewart won and Newman finished fifth.
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 the 160-lap race
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 Earnhardt, 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.
Even though Kyle Busch finished second in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 19th annual Brickyard 400, don’t blame him for wanting to do a celebratory burnout after taking the checkered flag.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), had been experiencing a bad-luck streak over the last seven races that had left him without a top-five finish since May. But Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the talented 27-year-old finally got the monkey off his back by bringing home his sixth top-five finish of the season that vaulted him two spots upward to 11th in the point standings.
“It was just a great day for us in this M&M’s Camry – it was phenomenal,” said Busch, who now has six top-10 finishes in eight career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis. “We unloaded really well. Dave Rogers (crew chief) and the guys gave me a great racecar. I can’t say enough about them. We gave it everything we had – we had a little miscue on a pit stop, there, but we rebounded nicely and we were able to come out of here with a second place today. It feels like a win for us for as bad as the last two months have gone. Just excited to hopefully be able to turn this around and hopefully start getting headed in the right direction – get ourselves finishing the way we we’ve been running.”
After starting seventh, Busch quickly picked off positions ahead of him from the start of the green flag. He sat fifth by lap three and briefly took the lead during a round of green-flag pit stops on lap 27. He moved his way up to third after another round of pit stops, this time under caution, on lap 43. But, as he exited his pit stall, Busch’s engine briefly stalled and several cars were able to pass him along warm-up lane exiting pit road. NASCAR ruled that he would have to restart behind all the cars that passed him when his engine stalled, putting him 13th on the ensuing restart.
Despite the setback, it didn’t take Busch long to gain those lost positions back. After that great restart on lap 45, Busch moved up to ninth by lap 57 and into the top-five by lap 60. Busch sat among the top-five for the next 35 laps, but used another incredible restart on lap 97, when he jumped from seventh to second in just one lap, to put himself in position to fight for the race win. From there, Busch never dropped below third for the remainder of the 160-lap race.
While Busch had a strong racecar, he knew he didn’t have anything for race-winner Jimmie Johnson, who appeared to be the class of the field as he pulled away easily in the final laps and beat Busch across the finish line by 4.758 seconds.
“Jimmie had a really, really good racecar, that’s for sure,” Busch said. “Jimmie Johnson wasn’t even in his own ZIP code today, he was in his own country. But, all in all for our team, we’re just excited about the opportunity to get going here to Pocono and Watkins Glen – a couple of places we’re really excited about going back to and build of our finish here today.”
Busch’s JGR companions – Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry, and Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry – finished sixth and 33rd, respectively.
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 at Indianapolis.
Finishing behind Johnson and Busch were Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Gordon to round out the top-five. Polesitter Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were five caution periods for a total of 25 laps, with nine drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race.
With round 20 of 36 complete, Hamlin leads the JGR trio in the championship point standings. He remained fifth with 667 points, 64 behind new series leader Earnhardt. Busch moved up two spots to 11th with 588 points, 143 out of first and 55 behind 10th-place Clint Bowyer. Logano dropped one position to 17th with 544 points, 187 away from the top spot and 99 behind 10th.
Make room for Jimmie Johnson among the legends of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 29, joining Jeff Gordon as the only four-time winners of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS.
Five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson also won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He joins Gordon and Indianapolis 500 legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of an oval race at IMS. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix five times on the IMS road course.
"Man, you just hope to race here," Johnson said. "To come here and win is a huge honor. And to win four - four wins! I'm at a loss for words. It was a total team effort. We put it on them today. It was nice."
Johnson drove his No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet to a 4.758-second victory over the No. 18 M&M's Toyota of Kyle Busch. He earned $430,461. Hendrick Motorsports earned its eighth Brickyard victory, extending its event record.
Greg Biffle finished third in the No. 16 3M Ford.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished a Brickyard career best fourth in the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, taking the Sprint Cup points lead. Gordon was fifth in the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, his 11th top-five finish in 19 starts at this event.
Johnson led 99 of 160 laps in a dominant performance. He took the lead for good by passing Biffle on Lap 132. Johnson's crew won the race in the pits on the final stop of the race, under caution on Lap 134. Johnson then did his part by holding off Biffle on the final restart of the race, on Lap 141, and he pulled away over the final laps on the 2.5-mile oval.
Pole sitter Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski were Johnson's toughest challengers over the first 100 laps.
Hamlin led the first 26 laps in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota and one lap thereafter but finished sixth. Keselowski led three times for 22 laps in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge but faded to ninth.
Indiana natives and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart both finished in the top 10. Newman, from South Bend, placed seventh in the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet. Stewart, from Columbus, finished 10th in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet.
2011 "400" winner Paul Menard finished 14th in the No. 29 Menards/Nibco Chevrolet.
In his eleventh start behind the wheel of the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry, Kyle Busch began Saturday's inaugural Indianapolis 250 from the outside front row, in second, the highest starting position for the first-year Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Nationwide Series team.
By the close of lap one of the 100-lap event, Busch had already taken over the first position and proceeded to pull away from the field. Lap times recorded by the Monster Energy athlete showed the black No. 54 machine one-half second ahead of its competitors. Initial feedback from driver to crew chief, "pretty good, really good, don't do anything to it," when describing the car that dominated the Nationwide Series field all weekend, including being the fastest car through two practice sessions on Thursday.
A competition yellow-flag period waved by NASCAR on lap 15 offered the team a chance to visit pit road. While other competitors 'short-pitted' in order to gain track position, the
No. 54 team took on a full tank of gas, as part of their fuel strategy plan for later in the race. The added time on pit road cost the team four positions and Busch restarted the event in fifth, on lap 21.
Busch made quick work of the field once again, moving to third within the green-flag restart lap, to second place two laps later and back to the lead by lap 27. The team maintained the lead and showed the car's strength as it pulled away from the field again, at one time six-tenths faster than the cars behind him.
"You are doing a great job," said crew chief Mike Beam to his team owner-driver. "The car is pretty good, a little free, but good," replied Busch. Under green flag conditions the team chose to make their second visit to pit road, continuing their fuel strategy plan by taking on another full tank of gas and refreshing four Goodyear tires. A caution period waved just after the Monster Energy Camry returned to the field, dropping the KBM team to 25th, then gaining the team the first place spot, after all the competitors cycled through their visits to pit road.
Momentum for the No. 54 team was still high at the halfway point in the race, when another caution-period waved for debris on the racetrack. The KBM team would have preferred the race remained green, in order to hit their fuel window for later in the race. Rather the yellow-flag forced the field down pit road, where Busch and team serviced their Toyota for the third time in the day. Unfortunately a slow pit stop, caused by the left rear tire getting stuck upon removal, recorded the team down eight spots upon exiting pit road.
The green flag on lap 67 scored Busch in 10th, as competitors bunched up at the restart. The team's attention immediately turned back to fuel strategy as they knew they would be four laps short to complete the race. Driver and crew agreed to maintain a slower lap pace, 54.00 seconds where possible, in order to make up the fuel deficit. Busch worked this plan while moving back towards the front of the pack, capturing fourth place at lap 71, when a fourth event caution waved. "Save fuel," Beam reminded his expert driver, who was positioned behind frontrunners Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Elliott Sadler.
The team still had their sights set on gaining that first victory with owner-driver Busch, when on lap 78 the No. 54 car was forced down on the track causing Busch to spin. Showing his amazing talent, the KBM team owner saved the car without any damage from impact. The tires however flat spotted and with a right front tire blown, the team was forced to visit pit road for repairs.
A pit under yellow-flag conditions, as the field was about to go back to green, gave the team a chance to replace the tires and fix any right-front fender damage. "Fix it nice," Busch exclaimed and then returned to the track, to restart in the 24th position.
One more visit to pit road on lap 86 was needed to remove grass from the front grill, which was overheating the engine. A grill swipe, windshield tear-off change and round of wedge into the left-rear offered final relief to the struggling machine.
Ironically the fastest car on the track at this point in the race was the No. 54 Monster Energy Camry, recording fastest lap times as it did in the early stages of the event. Unfortunately, the lost time on pit road and subsequent visits needed to repair the car from the spin, caused the team to lose sight of their victory lane goal.
Busch completed the Indianapolis 250 inaugural Brickyard event in the 22nd position.
The Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 NNS team dropped one position to 11th in the Series Owner's Points Standings, 135 points out of first place, through 19 races completed.
Keselowski collected his third series win of 2012 in the Penske owned Dodge machine, over second-place finisher Hornish, Jr., Ty Dillon, Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon completed the top-five finishers.
There were five caution periods for 24 laps of the race along with nine lead changes across six drivers.
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Ty Dillon), fifth (Austin Dillon), eighth (Paul Menard) and 15th (Elliott Sadler).
- Sadler leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings over Dillon by one point. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ranks third, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. and Justin Allgaier.
- The No. 2 Chevrolet team is second in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, 28 points shy of the No. 18 car's lead, with the No. 3 team third in the standings and the No. 33 team seventh.
- A. Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
- A. Dillon qualified for the fourth and final leg of the Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus and is eligible to win a $100,000 bonus at Iowa Speedway on August 4.
- According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, the RCR drivers posted the fastest lap of the race for 18.3 percent of the race (13 laps) with Sadler (eight laps), Menard (four laps) and T. Dillon (one lap).
- T. Dillon maintained an Average Running Position of 5.960, ranking him fourth. He also ranked fourth in Fastest Drivers Late in a Run and had the fifth-best Driver Rating (114.0).
- A. Dillon and Sadler tied for seventh in the Driver Rating category, each earning a rating of 100.6.
- With his fifth-place finish, A. Dillon leads the series in top-five finishes (11), top-10 finishes (15) and is the only driver to complete 100 percent of the laps attempted.
- Menard led the field in Quality Passes with 28 and ranked second in Green Flag Passes with 35.
- Sadler led the Closers category, advancing nine positions in the last 10 percent of the race, ranked second in Fastest Drivers Late in a Run and was the third-fastest driver on Restarts.
- Brad Keselowski earned the inaugural Nationwide Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was followed to the finish line by Sam Hornish, T. Dillon, Denny Hamlin and A. Dillon.
- The next scheduled Nationwide Series race is the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by Enlist Weed Control System at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, August 4. The 20th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Elliott Sadler Finishes 15th after Late-Race Penalty at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team settled for a 15th-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event after being penalized on the final restart of the event. Starting from the fifth position, Sadler worked his way around the 2.5-mile track, racing in the top-five early in the race. Sadler visited pit road for routine service while under caution periods on laps 38 and 62, never falling out of the top 10. Sadler moved into the third position by lap 78 and reported that he was happy with the handling on the OneMain Chevrolet. A caution on lap 78 positioned Sadler in the second spot for the restart, lining up the No. 2 Chevrolet on the outside. As the green flag dropped, Sadler moved into the lead, but was penalized by NASCAR as officials reported he crossed the start-finish line before the leader. Sadler was forced to serve a pass-through penalty on lap 89, returning the No. 2 Chevrolet to the field in the 24th position. He utilized the final 10 laps of the race to regain as many positions back as possible, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 15th position. Sadler remains atop the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship driver point standings, leading his Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon by one point.
Start - 5 Finish - 15 Laps Led - 0 Points - 1
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE:"This is a tough one to swallow. We really wanted to win this inaugural race. Today my heart was definitely ripped out of my chest. We will rebound from this, and the OneMain Financial team will be even hungrier next week at Iowa Speedway for a win."
Fifth-Place Finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Qualifies Austin Dillon for Last Segment of Dash 4 Cash Bonus
Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet team strategized with a two-tire pit stop in order to gain track position and claim a fifth-place finish in the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Dillon started the 250-mile affair from the seventh position but fell back to 11th on lap 28 after brushing the right side of the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet against the turn one wall. With minimal damage, a pit stop was not required and Dillon remained in the 11th position until the caution flag was displayed at lap 62. Crew chief Danny Stockman instructed the 22-year-old driver down pit road and the RCR team serviced the black No. 3 Chevrolet with right-side tires and fuel. Quick work in the pits allowed Dillon to gain eight positions on the race track. Dillon was scored in the third position when green-flag racing resumed on lap 67 and remained in the top five despite a tight-handling Chevrolet. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was running in the fifth position when another competitor spun directly in front of him with 20 laps remaining. Dillon maneuvered the AdvoCare Chevrolet out of harm's way and advanced to the fourth position as the field was slowed for the final caution period of the race. Dillon lined up directly behind RCR teammate Elliott Sadler for the lap-82 restart and moved into the third position before falling back to fifth for the race's finish as he battled a tight-handling condition. With his fifth-place finish, Dillon qualified for the fourth and final leg of the Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus and is eligible to earn a $100,000 at Iowa Speedway on August 4.
Start - 7 Finish - 5 Laps Led - 0 Points - 2
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: "I had fun racing in this inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I scraped the wall during the race and it flattened the right side of the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet, which hurt our chances today. Before that, the car was pretty good. We were just a little too tight for most of the race and that was difficult to overcome. Track position is huge here. I'm excited to head to Iowa next week and compete for the final Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus."
Paul Menard and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Team Earn Eighth-Place Finish in Inaugural Nationwide Series Race at the Brickyard
Paul Menard started the No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet from the ninth position in the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and drove the neon yellow machine to an eighth-place finish. The Eau Claire, Wis., native battled a loose-handling condition in the early portion of the 100-lap affair. Crew chief Ernie Cope called for minor adjustments in addition to fuel and fresh Goodyear tires for the No. 33 Chevrolet during routine visits to pit road during lap-15 and lap-39 caution periods. With the handling improved, especially on long runs, Menard began to pick positions off one at a time. On lap 66, two cars made contact in front of the 2011 Brickyard champion, requiring him to dive onto pit road to avoid contact. He slowed on pit road as a safety precaution and instead of being returned to his original position, he was sent to the rear of the field. Restarting in the 24th position, Menard passed 16 competitors over the final 21 laps to secure an eighth-place finish in the Indianapolis 250.
Start - 9 Finish - 8 Laps Led - 0 Owner Points - 7
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the No. 33 Rheem/Menards team did a great job today. We had a good car and definitely did not get the finish that we deserved."
Ty Dillon Finishes Third at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his Second-Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Event
Ty Dillon and the No. 51 WESCO Chevrolet team earned a third-place finish in the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dillon started the 100-lap affair from the third position and reported a tight-handling condition on the No.51 Chevrolet to the Gil Martin-led crew. Relief came on lap 33 when Martin called Dillon to pit road under green-flag conditions for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco Green E15 fuel and a chassis adjustment. As the pit crew was bolting on the last few lug nuts, a caution came out for an incident on the track. Dillon returned to the racing surface ahead of the leader, remaining on the lead lap. With multiple teams pitting during the caution period, the WESCO Chevrolet moved into the position to fourth for the ensuing restart. Just past the halfway point, another competitor spun in front of Dillon and made contact with the No. 51 Chevrolet. After confirmation from the spotter's stand that the No. 51 racer sustained minimal damage, Martin instructed Dillon to remain on track. Restarting from the 10th position, the Welcome, N.C., native piloted the blue and black machine into the top-five with 12 laps remaining in the event. The 20-year-old driver drove past two additional competitors in the closing laps of the race and scored a third-place result in his second-career Nationwide Series event.
Start - 3 Finish - 3 Laps Led - 0 Points - N/A
TY DILLON QUOTE:
"Today was awesome. I can't thank WESCO enough for coming on board and giving me the opportunity to race at such a historic track like Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gil Martin and the guys did a great job all weekend giving me a fast car and working hard on pit road. This is a weekend I'll never forget."
NAPA AUTO PARTS NASCAR Sprint Cup team co-owner Michael Waltrip made a special delivery last night in Colorado.
Through a week-long initiative, he along with his NAPA Racing driver Martin Truex Jr., helped their sponsor raise more than $72,000 through a NAPA KNOWS HOW TO CARE campaign. The proceeds will help victims of the wildfires which swept across Colorado last month.
Waltrip, NAPA management and local store owners delivered the check during ceremonies before Saturday night’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Colorado National Speedway. An additional check will be presented with the proceeds raised by online, local NAPA store efforts and at-track fundraising. Waltrip drove the No. 55 NAPA KNOWS HOW TO CARE Toyota in the event to raise awareness for the NAPA KNOWS HOW TO CARE program.
“Last night I had the opportunity to show the great people of Colorado what NASCAR is all about,” said Waltrip. “We collected donations from fans and partners and delivered a message of support. Those fires cost more than $60 million to fight and burned more than 225,000 acres of land and they needed our help.
“I loved racing in the K&N West Series event and it was a big weekend for NAPA. We hosted almost 700 guests there. We wanted to do more than race, we wanted to help heal.”
Truex said raising money for the wildfire victims fits with NAPA’s effort to assist people in need.
“NAPA has done some great things helping families with the NAPA KNOWS HOW TO CARE program and I’m really proud to be able to join in helping the people of Colorado,” said Truex. “We have race fans all over the country and I know some of our fans lost their homes and personal belongings. They will have to rebuild and this is our small way of helping out.”
Waltrip signed autographs at a NAPA fundraiser for the disaster relief fund on Friday at the NAPA Denver Distribution Center. NAPA provided free hamburgers and hotdogs to the public. All donations made in person at the fundraiser, Colorado National Speedway, making PayPal donations to the American Red Cross at www.michaelwaltripracing.com or texting "RED CROSS" to the number 90999 contributed to the effort.
"The wildfires have had a big impact on our state,” said Will Rogers, District Manager of NAPA AUTO PARTS Denver Distribution Center. “Many of our friends and customers lives have been changed by this tragedy. This event was NAPA AUTO PARTS way of helping those in need and saying thank you to those who have risked their lives fighting these fires."
“When disaster strikes, it’s hard to determine how to help, so we just hoped by hosting this event and utilizing our resources we could help make a difference,” said Scott Carlson, General Manager of NAPA AUTO PARTS Denver Distribution Center.
For the Wood Brothers team it would have been humiliating to have their No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion painted in the iconic candy apple red colors with Leonard Wood’s picture on the hood to fail to qualify at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
So it wasn’t surprising to see smiles all around when Trevor Bayne posted the 18th-quickest lap in qualifying, thereby assuring that the Wood Brothers Ford Fusion would be in the show on Sunday and that the celebration of Leonard Wood’s upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame could continue as planned.
Bayne posted a lap at 180.390 miles per hour, best among the drivers not assured of starting spots for Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400. He said afterwards that he might have been a little too conservative on his qualifying lap.
“I think the car was on a little more than I was right there in qualifying,” he said. “When you are leaving pit road the last thought in your mind is that we have to make the show on time and aren’t locked in. That causes you to leave more on the table than you want to…
“I don’t feel like I got every ounce out of it.”
Team co-owner Eddie Wood was relieved nonetheless.
“The first step was to get in the show,” he said. “A lot of people were depending on us to get in the race.”
Wood said he did have an encouraging sign on Saturday morning before qualifying. Mari Hulman George, the chairman of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for decades a prominent leader in the world of motorsports, stopped by and signed the hood of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion.
“That was really cool,” Wood said, adding that the signature already has been preserved for posterity. “We’re just proud to know her. Getting her to sign the car is a bonus.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Race 19 of 33: Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile oval / 100 laps
Weather: Sunny; 85 deg.
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski
Whitt’s finish: 17th
Patrick’s finish: 35th
Cole Whitt landed a 17th-place finish for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series’ inaugural event at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday. After an uncharacteristic 40th-place start, Whitt and the TaxSlayer.com team steadily drove through the field, improving 23 positions before the race’s conclusion. Danica Patrick’s highly-anticipated return to the Brickyard in a stock car was met with misfortune. Patrick made inadvertent contact with a competitor entering turn one on lap 38. She was caught in the ensuing spin and the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet received terminal damage. The No. 7 team was dealt a 35th-place finish as a result.
Cole Whitt, driver No. 88 TaxSlayer.com team
“I think I speak for everyone on this 88 team, when I say we were really disappointed today. We come to the track to run up front and win races. Our guys work too hard and we owe it to partners like TaxSlayer, Hellmann’s and the JR Motorsports fans to run better. We have some things to work on, but we just struggled with the car this weekend. We were really tight in practice, freed it up too much for qualifying, then we were tight again in the race. We couldn’t find a middle ground with it. We’ll just stay focused, keep working on it and move on to Iowa next weekend.”
Danica Patrick, driver No. 7 GoDaddy.com team
“It’s just unfortunate for our Go Daddy team. It’s a big race and it’s a big weekend. This is a track I would have loved to have done well at. We were just trying to pick them off one by one. Tony (Eury Jr.) made the car better on that second run and we just got shuffled back on that restart there. I just picked the wrong line. I got into the center of the corner and got pretty close to the 98. I might have tapped him, I’m not sure. He was slowing down quite a bit. I didn’t mean to take him out. When I was trying to go around him, he hooked right and got in to us. It’s upsetting because there was still a lot of racing left.”