Saturday, Dec 04
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Every crew chief wants to win Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Chad Johnston has been dreaming of it since childhood.

No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota crew chief grew up in Cayuga, Ind. racing midgets on the state’s short tracks. Like most Hoosiers, he’s dreamed of taking the checkered flag at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and afterwards kissing the famous bricks.

A Martin Truex Jr. victory Sunday would mean more than just fulfilling Johnston’s childhood dreams. A victory would significantly help the NAPA team’s effort to secure MWR’s first Chase for the Sprint Cup berth. The team is eighth in the standings, 50 points ahead of 11th place with just seven races before the start of the Chase.

Johnston On What Indy Means To Him:“All of the races pay the same in points. But, if I had to pick one race to win, Indy is the race that means the most to me. I have a tough time putting Indy into words. It ranks up there along with winning a championship. If I had a bucket list for things I wanted to accomplish, Indy is at the top, or very close to the top. I mean, I remember walking out through the sea of people to pit road on a Sunday in 2006. I had always been on the other side of the fence. I saw where I used to sit in the stands every year for both the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races. To now be a part of the show is unbelievable.”

Going To Indy With MWR Teammates Who Have Contended For Indy Victories:“I think having knowledge from guys like Brian Pattie and Mark Martin will raise the bar for us this weekend. Brian knows how the race strategy plays out. He’s called some impressive races at Indy and for his No. 15 team this year. He is going to be someone I will lean on if I need to. Mark is so good in getting a car prepared on Saturday to run well on Sunday. I look to Mark a lot just because he has so much experience. It’s hard not to pay attention to the resources MWR has on hand.

Thoughts On Truex At Indy:“Martin has been good everywhere we’ve been. He is not scared to go fast. He is especially not scared to go fast right from the get-go. Indy is intimidating with the speeds you carry heading into the corners. Martin doesn’t flinch at it. He’s wide open. Plus, from an organizational standpoint, we have been fast at all the big tracks this season. We’ll also have a new Toyota spec engine out this week and a brand new car to put under Truex. We are going all out with everything we have for this weekend. I think this is our best shot yet.”

Martin Truex Jr. On Johnston:“I feel like Chad is one of the best guys out there who can go through all the simulation data and put together a car set up that’s fast right off the truck. He always gives me something I can work with. Right now, he and I are working together to find that little bit we are still lacking in order to get our first win. It sure would be great to hit on it this weekend because I have no problems kissing bricks.”

MWR PR

After a relaxing off-weekend, Marcos Ambrose is ready strap back into his DEWALT Ford and vie for a win and the opportunity to kiss the bricks on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ambrose will head to the iconic 2.5-mile superspeedway this weekend to make his fifth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.

The Australian native's best career start at the Indianapolis, Ind., track is 11th. His best career finish (21st) came in 2010. Ambrose has completed 637 of 640 laps attempted at the Brickyard. Ambrose enters this weekend's 400-mile race in 18th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings.

Ambrose will carry the DEWALT colors this weekend as they will be the primary partner on the No. 9 Ford Fusion in Indy.

Don't forget to tune into Sirius XM Radio on Channel 90, Thursday, at 10:30 a.m. ET for the Morning Drive with Pete Pistone and Mike Bagley to listen to Marcos talk about racing at the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway this weekend.

Marcos Ambrose's Thoughts on Racing at Indianapolis: "I'm excited to get back in my DEWALT Ford after having a week off. It was nice to be able to take a little break at the halfway point of our season, but now I'm ready to get back to racing. I really enjoying going to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The track has so much history and prestige associated with it, and it would be an honor and a dream to be able to win at the Brickyard. Racing at Indy ranks right up there with racing in the Daytona 500. It's a race win any driver would like to be able to add to their resume. I know my team has worked really hard to give me a fast DEWALT Ford this weekend, and I hope at the end of the day on Sunday we will all be kissing the bricks at the start/finish line."

Comments from Crew Chief Todd Parrott on Going to Indy: "I love going to the Brickyard. I've been fortunate enough to win at Indy twice in the past, and it's an awesome feeling to be able to kiss those bricks at the end of the day. It would mean a lot to be able to do it for a third time with Marcos and the whole DEWALT crew this weekend.

"We need a car that's fast down the straightaways and well balanced. Indy is unlike any other place we race at. It's unique because it has four very distinct corners and we want to be able to carry a lot of speed though each of those corners. If we can get our DEWALT Ford dialed in we've got a good shot to win this weekend."

RPM

Kyle Busch’s 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories have come at 16 different racetracks of virtually every shape and size – living proof of the talented 27-year-old’s versatility and fierce appetite for checkered flags.

Always looking for more, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) can’t help but think about the voids on his racing resume, one of which he would most certainly love to fill this weekend. On Sunday, he’ll have his sights set on one of NASCAR’s “Crown Jewel” events when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard – aka the Brickyard 400.

Busch would like nothing more than to add to his win list a race he and his fellow competitors consider part of Sprint Cup’s “Big Three” – the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.

In the process, Busch will hope to snap out of a bad-luck streak that has hindered his team the last seven races, where several great runs have been thwarted by a combination of mechanical issues and other unfortunate circumstances. Still, Busch sits in the second wild-card spot as the highest driver in the standings with one win. Another win would certainly bolster his chances as the Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set seven races from now.

So, earning the right to kiss the “Yard of Bricks” come Sunday afternoon – the winning driver and team’s tradition at Indianapolis –would shoot straight to the top of Busch’s growing list of accomplishments, for certain, but also could mean much more as the season reaches NASCAR’s playoffs in September.

TSC PR

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 22 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.

On July 24,Allmendinger was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (NASCAR’s substance abuse policy) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.

As outlined in the rule book, NASCAR next will provide Allmendinger a letter outlining a process for reinstatement. By agreeing to the letter, he will be allowed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program.

STATEMENT FROM PENSKE RACING

In accordance with NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy, Penske Racing was notified today of AJ Allmendinger’s positive B sample test.  We respect NASCAR’s policy and the process they have taken with this matter.

Penske Racing is very disappointed with the result of the B sample test and will evaluate its course of action as it pertains to AJ over the coming week.

Sam Hornish Jr., will drive the No. 22 Dodge Charger this weekend at Indianapolis and next weekend at Pocono

STATEMENT FROM SHELL

Shell and Pennzoil believe that the process and procedures that NASCAR has in place as part of their substance abuse policy are appropriate and serve to ensure that the sport and its participants are held to the highest standards.

We share Penske Racing’s disappointment with the result of AJ’s (Allmendinger) B sample test and will work closely with them to determine plans moving forward.  We hope for the best for AJ during this difficult time.

STATEMENT FROM AJ ALLMENDINGER

Aegis Analytical Laboratories in Nashville has delivered the results of the “B” sample test for
Penske Racing driver AJ Allmendinger, which confirmed the results of  the “A” test.

“This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this. To that end, we have secured the services of an independent lab to conduct thorough testing on every product within AJ’s home and motor coach to find what might collaborate with his test, which created results that  were within nanograms  of  accepted standards. We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process.  We continue to be extremely grateful by the breadth and scope of support for AJ from his fans and partners. We would like to again thank NASCAR, Penske Racing and all our sponsor partners for the open communication, and for helping us at every step in this process. We expect to have further updates in the upcoming days.”

Coming off a highly successful inaugural event, Dover International Speedway and Red Frog Events are pleased to announce a renewed partnership that will bring the East Coast’s premier music event, Firefly Music Festival, back to Delaware in 2013.

Presale tickets for the 2013 Firefly Music Festival go on sale tomorrow, July 25 at noon EST and can be purchased at www.FireflyFestival.com.

In its first year, Firefly featured 48 national musical acts on four stages, including The Killers, The Black Keys, Jack White, John Legend, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Lupe Fiasco, Death Cab for Cutie and many more. The festival was set in an area dubbed The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway, which serves as RV Lot 10 during the Monster Mile’s NASCAR race weekends.

Drawing guests from 48 states, Firefly made significant contributions to the Delaware economy throughout its three days in the First State. Hotel rooms were at capacity and all camping spots at the Speedway sold out to the friendly, good-natured crowd.

“The event was wildly successful and we’ve found our home on the East Coast. We’re excited to be amongst the leading festivals in the country,” said Director of Firefly Greg Bostrom.

No stranger to large scale events as it hosts two NASCAR tripleheader weekends each year, Dover International Speedway has already started its work with Red Frog for 2013, with plans to build upon Firefly’s initial success.

“The first-ever Firefly Music Festival was a resounding success for Red Frog, Dover International Speedway, our city, state and region, and helped put our property on the map as the host of a premier musical event, in addition to our solid reputation in the sporting world,” said Michael Tatoian, executive vice president and COO of Dover Motorsports, Inc.

“We’re excited to again be working with Red Frog Events, and look forward to the months ahead as we help build upon Firefly’s initial success. With our background in hosting large-scale events, and Red Frog’s creative and innovative team, the second annual Firefly Music Festival will certainly be a must-see event.”

Before the next Firefly Music Festival rolls around though, NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on Sept. 28-30, 2012 with the Sept. 30 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Sept. 29 “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Sept. 28 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.

For race tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com. You can also keep up with the Monster Mile at Facebook.com/DoverInternationalSpeedway or on Twitter at @MonsterMile.

Dover Motorsports PR

A huge lineup of talent headlined by The Romantics and Fuel is planned for the Budweiser Acceleration Concert at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Detroit’s own The Romantics will headline the always popular and free post-race concert in Lot 10. The concert will begin shortly after the VFW 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

The concert is free for anyone with a VFW 200 race ticket.

Joining The Romantics will be Fuel, The Last Nova and Ghosts of August.

“We are excited to bring four top bands to MIS in August,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “The Budweiser Acceleration Concert will be a great way to conclude the VFW 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday. The four bands are sure to play a variety of music that will entertain all our fans, no matter what their musical tastes are.”

The Romantics cut their teeth on the Detroit streets with sound characterized by the MC5, the Stooges, Bob Seger and the Last Heard, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Rationals, SRC and the Underdogs. The band infused it with sincerity, irony, spontaneity and, of course, volume. They favored short hair, short songs and popularized red leather suits. The band has produced such songs as “Hey!...uh-huh!,” “Talking in Your Sleep,” “What I Like About You,” “Little White Lies” and “I Can’t Tell You Anything.”

Fuel will also take the stage for the Budweiser Acceleration Concert on Saturday evening. The band has sold more than 3.5 million albums in the United States and has scored a trio of top five singles, including “Shimmer,” “Innocent” and “Hemorrhage (In My Hands).” Fuel has sold out tours all over the world, headlining venues and opening for Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Creed and 3 Doors Down. Fuel is primed to continue its momentum with its latest release, “Angels and Devils.”

MIS PR

When the No. 01 G&K Services Chevrolet of JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller takes the historic green flag as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series first appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, Mike Wallace will be making a mini-milestone start of his own.

For the 760th time in his career, Wallace will be competing in one of NASCAR’s top-three series’ races. And, as one of the drivers in the inaugural Brickyard 400 back in 1994, Wallace will also be marking the milestone start as one of the first 43 drivers in the inaugural NNS race at the Brickyard, as well.

Making his 435th NNS start, the four-time race winner is looking forward to being part of NASCAR history – again – at the famed 2.5-mile oval. With a recent uptick in performance, the team is leasing an Earnhardt Childress Racing powerplant to keep their upward momentum going.

His teammate this weekend, Jeremy Clements, is driving the No. 4 TradeBank Chevrolet for JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller. This will be his 19th start of the season in the series, and 89th NNS start of his career.

Since this is the first race for the NNS race at the “big track” in Indianapolis, teams don’t have as many notes and past experience to draw from as other track. Thus, NASCAR is bringing back the “pill draw” to establish the qualifying order, as opposed to going off practice speeds, for Saturday.

The entire JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller team remained in the Midwest after the Chicagoland Speedway race last Saturday before heading to Indy.

Mike Wallace Info

  • Making 760th-career NASCAR start, achieved nine wins in that span
  • Making 435th-career start, where he earned four of those nine victories
  • Currently 14th in points, trailing 13th by just five markers, Wallace is making his 19th start of the 2012 season
  • During that span, he’s completed 2,984 of 3,220 laps contested (92.7 percent) and led four races
  • The team has nine top-20 finishes, with six of them taking place in the last eight races

Jeremy Clements Info

  • Making his 89th career NNS start
  • Will be 19th of 2012 for the Spartanburg, S.C. native
  • During that span, he’s completed 2,990 of 3,220 laps contested (92.9 percent) and led three races
  • He’s currently 15th in Driver’s Points with one top-10, two top-15 and five top-20 finishes

Mike Wallace Quotes

“This is an incredibly big deal for the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend. I was in the first Brickyard 400 in 1994 and remember how pumped up everyone was to be part of history in NASCAR on that day.

“Our race this weekend is no different and it means a lot our series is considered good enough to race on the hallowed grounds of Indy. This is a big shot in the arm for the status of Nationwide racing in NASCAR.

“We have leased an engine from Earnhardt Childress Racing so we can get all the horsepower we’re going to need at this track. Those straightaways are so long and we need every bit of speed we can get for our No. 01 G&K Services Chevrolet throughout the weekend. Those two practice sessions on Thursday are going to be very important with this being our first time at Indy.

“The random draw for qualifying will make it a little more interesting, too. Our team was talking about this race right after the Chicago race, so I know Newt Moore (crew chief) and the guys are looking forward to racing Indy as much as I am, too.”

JD Motorsports PR

No. 99 Boost Mobile driver Travis Pastrana knew embarking on a NASCAR career would be tough. Not long after beginning a Nationwide and K&N schedule, he surrounded himself with people who could make his transition from X Games superstar and rally driver to NASCAR driver a bit easier.

That’s how he met Matt Crafton.

Since joining Pastrana at a January 2011 test at New Smyrna Speedway, the two-time Camping World Truck Series winner has served as Pastrana’s unofficial driver coach. Crafton calls on his 13 years of truck experience to teach Pastrana how to manage tires, pick driving lines, and hone some of the techniques needed for NASCAR success. Crafton’s even climbed in the No. 99 during practices to speed Pastrana’s development.

This weekend Pastrana will once again have Crafton on hand as he makes his first start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and, is seventh NASCAR Nationwide series start on 2012.       

PASTRANA ON CRAFTON: “Having Matt around has been awesome for testing and just getting to know the race tracks. It really helps when Matt can jump in the car and I can actually see where he is braking on the telemetry. He can also tell me turn by turn what the car is doing. He helps get the car set up a little quicker than I can. He is a constant reminder to me that I can’t over drive these cars. I have always manhandled everything I have ever driven and it doesn’t work in NASCAR. The more you try and manhandle them the slower you are going to go. Matt has been a tremendous help and I think he has helped my learning curve.”

MATT CRAFTON ON PASTRANA: “He really wants to be successful in NASCAR. He has a lot of talent; it’s all about breaking some bad habits. For example, in some of the rally stuff, drivers use ton of brake. That’s 100 percent the opposite you want to do in a stock car. You want to be smooth on the brake pedal. With all the telemetry, he can see exactly what I’m doing with the brake pedal and with the throttle. All it is, is speeding up his learning curve. Travis has a lot of talent and he has the drive to make it in this sport. I think if he can run a bunch of races in a row the results will come.”

 RAB Racing PR

Respecting History

Tuesday, Jul 24

The opportunity to be a spectator at any major sporting event can be an awe-inspiring occasion. Surrounded by tens of thousands of like-minded fans cheering for a common goal creates an adrenaline-filled experience for competitors and spectators alike. Elite sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the World Series inspire an even more electric atmosphere for the simple reason that they are historic.

Now, take that major sporting event and place it on the hallowed grounds of one of the nation’s most revered venues and the atmosphere becomes more than just a game, but also a moment in time. While a handful of such venues have gone to the wayside, many of the nation’s older venues continue to thrive in today’s sports world. A simple Google search yields a variety of top lists featuring some of the nation’s most storied locations. From Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., and Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., these historic sites could be considered national landmarks for what they have meant to sports history and the competitive landscape that fans know today.

Certainly a fixture in most all listings of top-10 historic sports venues is Indianapolis Motor Speedway – site of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The famed, 2.5-mile oval has been in existence for more than 100 years and has hosted more than 250 races since 1909. For most of its existence, Indianapolis had been an open-wheel series track, but that changed when the Sprint Cup Series first started competing there for the annual Brickyard 400 in 1994. This weekend, the drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series will for the first time know the thrill of competing at and crossing the famed yard of bricks with the running of the inaugural Indy 250.

Driver Kurt Busch competed in his very first Brickyard 400 during his rookie season in 2001 and this weekend will be part of the cast competing in the track’s first-ever Nationwide Series race. An avid sports fan himself, the significance of competing at Indianapolis is not lost on the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion. Having been to Indianapolis as both a competitor and a fan, the driver of the No. 51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet understands the importance of being able to compete at the famed track.

Busch has made 11 career starts at Indianapolis and scored his best finish there during his very first Indy start, finishing fifth after starting 34th in 2001. He has scored a total of four top-10 finishes during that 11-year stretch and has been running at the end of all 11 races, aside from one which was the result of an accident during the 2002 race.

While he is still looking for his first career Brickyard 400 win, Busch will have two opportunities to become a victor at Indianapolis this weekend. Busch has scored two wins in Nationwide Series competition this year with victories at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in May and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway earlier this month.

The history books of Indianapolis once again will add a new chapter this weekend, and Busch and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team look to add themselves to the track’s lore and have their names forever linked.

TSC PR

Making his sixth career Sprint Cup start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, David Ragan will be welcoming back Scorpion Truck Bed Liners to the No. 34 Ford as the primary sponsor. In their first season partnering with Front Row Motorsports, Scorpion will once again be featured at one of the most historic tracks on the circuit.  It is also the company's home track as they are based in near-by Cloverdale, Ind.

 

Ragan is no stranger to success at the Brickyard, finishing in the top-25 in all five of his previous Sprint Cup Series races including a career best finish of 14th in 2008. Ragan will look to duplicate his qualifying efforts from last year's run at the Brickyard where he won the pole, but looks to improve on his 23rd-place finish from last year.

 

David Ragan on Indianapolis:

 

"I am very excited to return to Indy this weekend. I think this is a perfect opportunity to have an excellent run and show people what all we can do. The off week really helped our team by giving us a long window to work on the car and I expect it to be very strong when we finally get to the track."

 

"As a team we are still getting better each race and we will be able to show it in the second half of the season. Last year winning the pole was a huge accomplishment for me.  It's pretty special to get to start in the front at such a famous track as the Brickyard.  It was an incredible experience. I really hope we can do that again this weekend."

 

Jay Guy on Indianapolis:

 

"David has had a lot of success here in Indy early in his career. We feel that as long as we can put him in a good car he can do the rest. This weekend we really want to focus on the little things and make sure that we put him in the best possible position."

 

FRM

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