Speedway Digest Staff
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As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves towards the second-to-last race prior to the Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the AdvoCare 500, the series saw one of the wildest finishes of 2012. The Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen produced another new winner on the year and jumbled the battle for the Chase for the Sprint Cup wild-card as the series visited Watkins Glen on Sunday.
Australian-born Marcos Ambrose, a noted road racing expert, maneuvered his No. 9 machine around Brad Keselowski on the last lap of Sunday’s event to claim his second-career Sprint Cup win, defending his victory in the same race a year ago. The event was filled with drama as Kyle Busch, seeking his second victory of the year and the chance to lock in a wild-card position, was spun on the final lap by Keselowski after Busch hit oil on the track and slowed dramatically.
The oil on the racing surface caused Keselowski and Ambrose to slide around the track as they raced back to the checkered flag. Ambrose gave Keselowski a slight tap as the two raced toward turn 10, allowing the No. 9 to move past and hang on for the win. Ambrose’s win now makes him wild-card eligible and continued solid runs, could become a serious factor in the battle for the playoffs.
The ending of the race was not the only dramatic racing of the day, as several contenders for the wild-card experienced up-and-down days. Kasey Kahne, who leads the wild-card chase with his two wins, spun earlier in the event but managed to rebound for a 13th-place finish. Ryan Newman was able to bring home an 11th-place finish, which moved him into the second wild-card spot. Jeff Gordon, who entered the day holding onto the second wild-card courtesy of his win last week at Pocono, spun from the oil on the final lap, relegating him to a disappointing 21st-place finish. This caused him to fall two spots in the standings, behind both Newman and Busch, all three with one win.
Carl Edwards currently sits 12th in points, behind Kahne but ahead of Newman. This is important as the series moves to Michigan for the next race. Michigan is the home track for Roush-Fenway Racing, and all RFR teams historically run well at the 2.5-mile speedway in the Irish Hills. An Edwards win could move the Missouri-native into one of the coveted wild-card spots as the series moves towards Atlanta’s AdvoCare 500, the second-to-last event prior to the Chase cutoff. AMS will play a crucial role in determining the Chase lineup, being a track where all wild-card contenders have had various levels of success.
The current wild-card standings following Watkins Glen are below
Position Driver Points Points Back Wins
11. Kasey Kahne * 653 --- 2
12. Carl Edwards 650 -3 0
13. Ryan Newman** 644 -9 1
14. Kyle Busch 638 -15 1
15. Jeff Gordon 634 -19 1
16. Paul Menard 629 -24 0
17. Marcos Ambrose 600 -53 1
18. Joey Logano 587 -66 1
*currently holds the first wild-card position
**currently holds the second wild-card position
Shelby Stroebel won his 12th straight feature event this past weekend at Meridian Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Meridian, ID. It his 14th win in a row going back to last season in the ASA Modified divison.
Lance Gatlin had his streak snapped by two-time Lonesome Pine Raceway track champion Nate Monteith. Gatlin finished second in the Limited Late Model feature event at the ASA Member Track in Coeburn, VA.
The ASA Member Track National Championship updated point standings will be released later this week.
Here are the other results from our ASA Member Tracks and Series this past weekend.
ASA MIDWEST TOUR (Super Late Models & Trucks)
Norway Speedway (Norway, MI)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Super Late Models
1. Nathan Haseleu
2. Chris Weinkauf
3. Jonathan Eilen
4. Chris Wimmer
5. Jamie Iverson
ASA Midwest Truck Tour
1. James Swan
2. Chad Knaus
3. John Wood
4. Jacob VanWazer
5. Jerry Wood
ASA PRO TRUCK SERIES
Rocky Mountain Raceways (West Valley City, UT)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Maverik Clash of the Titans
1. Scott Luttmer
2. Alan Larson
3. Drew Reitsma
4. Doug Dugger
5. Jerry Rice
ACE SPEEDWAY (Altamahaw, NC)
Friday, August 10, 2012
Late Models: Barry Beggarly
Limited Late Models: Patrick Coleman
Modifieds: Rodney Cook
Mini Stocks: A.J. Sanders
X-Treme: Keith Brame
BIG COUNTRY SPEEDWAY
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Please visit their website.
EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK (Tampa, FL)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Open Wheel Modifieds: John Inman
East Bay Sprints: Gene Lasker
4 Cylinder Bombers: Raymond Vann
Florida Mini Sprints: Eddis Moss Jr.
Dirt Dauber: Bill Dixon
I-25 SPEEDWAY (Pueblo, CO)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
ILLIANA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Schererville, IN)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Late Models: Paul Shafer Jr.
Turbo Stox: Shawn Wiltjer
Legends: Chris King
Pure Stocks: Alex Treptow
Bandoleros: Kenny Myer
LEBANON I-44 SPEEDWAY (Lebanon, MO)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
USST Trucks: Ron Hartford
ASA Late Models: Mike Slone
Modifieds: Rick Icenhower
Sportsman: Robert Reeves
Chargers: Lauren Buhr & Paul Jepsen
LONESOME PINE RACEWAY (Coeburn, VA)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Late Models: Nate Monteith
Street Stocks: Chris Tunnell
Mod 4’s: Kirby Gobble
Pure 4’s: Jackie Jackson
Renegades: Iggy Greer
Iron Warriors: Jamie Meadows
MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY (Meridian, ID)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
ASA Modifieds: Shelby Stroebel
Super Sixes: Kevin Detweiler
Pro-4’s: Jim Bailey
Super Stocks: Justin Ellis
Junior Stingers: Riley Rogers
NEWPORT MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Newport, TN)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Late Model Sportsman: Wayne Webb
Street Stocks: Alan Rich
Front Wheel Drive: Dakota Slagle
Mod 4’s: Josh Beal
Mini Cup: Lee Gibson
Legends: Tyler Goodwin
NORWAY SPEEDWAY (Norway, MI)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
ASA Midwest Tour: Nathan Haseleu
ASA Midwest Truck Tour: James Swan
Super Stocks: Jim Stahowicz
ROCKY MOUNTAIN RACEWAYS (West Valley City, UT)
Saturday, August 11, 2012 & Sunday, August 12, 2012
Maverik Modifieds: Mark Ith Jr.
Super Stocks: Tim Fahrner
Hornets: Jayden Park
SHANGRI-LA II MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Tioga Center, NY)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Sportsman Modifieds: Jimmy Zacharias
Late Models: Scott Nurmi
Street Stocks: Chris Zacharias
4 Cylinders: Frank Morich
Saturday, August 11, 2012
410 Sprints: Kevin Smith
360 Sprints: Kelsey Carpenter
Sportsman Sprints: Cory Swatzina
Outlaw Hornets: Freddie Vela
SOUTHERN OREGON SPEEDWAY (Medford, OR)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
ISCS Sprint Cars: Kyle Hirst
Pro Mods: Brad Alfrey
Super 4’s: Tony Bartell
Mini Stocks: Toby Judd
STATE PARK SPEEDWAY (Wausau, WI)
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Super Late Models: Mark Eswein
Super Stocks: Natalie Decker
Pure Stocks: Tim Nawrocky
Mini Stocks: Mariah Gajewski
Mini Mods: Phil Malouf
VIRGINIA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Jamaica, VA)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
YAKIMA SPEEDWAY (Yakima, WA)
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Pure Stocks: Rob Allen
Mini Stocks: Josh Washington
Bump to Pass: Thomas Benscoter
Sportsman: Lucas Valdez
Hornets: Jeff Ball
Pro 4 Late Models: Cody Walker
Joe Denette Motorsports (JDM) is honored to announce the signing of Arthur Krenzel Lett (AKL) Insurance Group, a risk management solutions firm specializing in auto, home, life, and commercial insurance products, as an associate sponsor for three races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).
AKL Insurance Group, with two branches located in Winfield, WV and Dublin, OH, will be displayed on the No. 9 Chevrolet Silverado driven by four-time NCWTS champion, Ron Hornaday at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, Kentucky Speedway on September 21 and Martinsville Speedway on October 27.
At Arthur Krenzel Lett their mission is to provide clients with the highest quality risk management solutions available today. AKL Insurance Group addresses everyday personal, family, and business needs by offering quality insurance products at competitive pricing from some of the most trusted and respected insurance companies in the market. Their strict dedication to service and personal attention allow clients to meet and exceed their goals by experiencing the full capabilities of the companies they represent.
"We are extremely proud to partner with Joe Denette Motorsports and Ron Hornaday for the remainder of the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season," said Craig Lett of Arthur Krenzel Insurance Group. "At Arthur Krenzel Lett Insurance Group we understand that vision, strategy, and teamwork are vital in the work of motorsports. At AKL we rely on the same attributes to meet the insurance needs of our loyal customers. We are very fortunate to partner with Hornaday and look forward to being a part of his continued success."
With over 200 years combined experience, the AKL Insurance Group is highly skilled in developing custom solutions that protect your family through every walk of life. For more information please visit: AKLInsuranceGroup.com
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 12th (Paul Menard), 15th (Kevin Harvick) and 30th (Jeff Burton).
- According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Menard ranked eighth in the category Fastest Drivers Late in a Run (120.444 mph) and tied for fifth in category of Quality Passes with 20 made while running in the top 15 during the Finger Lakes 355.
- Harvick ran within the top 15 for 44.4 percent (40 laps) of the 220.5-mile event and maintained an average speed of 121.304 mph ranking him fifth amongst his competitors in the category of Green Flag Speed.
- Burton made 22 green-flag passes over the course of the 90-lap event.
- Marcos Ambrose captured his first Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Sam Hornish Jr.
- The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 19. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at noon Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard, No. 27 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet Team Bring Home 12th-Place Finish from Watkins Glen International
Paul Menard started the No. 27 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet from the 22nd position in Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, driving to a 12th-place finish at the seven-turn upstate New York-based road course. Early in the 90-lap event, the Eau Claire, Wis., native reported he was experiencing a tight-handling condition on the No. 27 Chevrolet in the exits of the right-hand turns. As teams began to cycle through green-flag pit stops, Menard moved the neon yellow machine into the 13th position by the time the first caution period occurred on lap 25 and competed in the top 15 for the remainder of the race. The Slugger Labbe-led team made minor air pressure adjustments during the two routine four-tire pit stops on laps 27 and 59 to assist with the car's balance. Following the final restart on lap 74, Menard broke into the top 10 one lap later; however he lost two positions in the closing turns on the last lap to bring home a 12th-place result in the second and final road course event on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.
Start - 22 Finish - 12 Laps Led - 0 Points - 16
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"Well, it wasn't the result we had hoped for today. The Rheem/Menards team did a great job this weekend and the pit crew had solid stops today."
Kevin Harvick and the Budweiser Team Finish 15th at "The Glen"
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team brought home a 15th-place finish in the Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International Sunday afternoon. The 2006 WGI race winner started the 90-lap event from the 19th position and gained two spots during the early laps as he reported to the Shane Wilson-led team that the Budweiser Chevrolet was tight when traveling through the left hand turns and in the esses. Harvick had worked his way into the 14th position when Wilson instructed him to pit road on lap 22 for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Back on track, the Bakersfield, Calif., native worked his way into the top 10 and informed the team that the handling of the red, white and blue Chevrolet had improved, but was still tight through the esses. As the race progressed, Harvick brought the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing machine down pit road for additional pit stops on laps 46 and 59 for new tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. After the final pit stop, Harvick radioed to the team that last set of tires did not agree with the car and he needed more grip as he fell back in the pack, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 15th position. Harvick remains ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 67 points behind the leader.
Start - 19 Finish - 15 Laps Led - 0 Points - 9
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"The Budweiser crew worked hard and had some great pit stops today, but that last set of tires didn't agree with the car and we couldn't get the grip we needed to make it toward the front at the end."
Mechanical Issue Relegates Jeff Burton to a 30th-Place Finish at Watkins Glen International
After climbing into the top 20 just past the halfway point of the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, Jeff Burton's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team experienced a fuel pump issue, temporarily forcing the Richard Childress Racing driver to the garage area, relegating him to a 30th-place finish. The South Boston, Va., native started in the 28th position, climbed into the top 25 by lap 20 and cracked the top 20 by lap 30. Just past the halfway mark of the 90-lap event, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner reported that the fuel pressure on the No. 31 Chevrolet dropped dramatically and the engine was beginning to miss fire. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, car owner Richard Childress and ECR engine specialists worked together in an attempt to find a solution to the problem, but Burton couldn't maintain minimum speed on the race track and was forced to the garage area for repairs. The Caterpillar pit crew quickly diagnosed the issue and replaced a faulty fuel cell in six laps and Burton returned to the track in the 31st position. Over the remaining 30 laps, the RCR veteran posted his fastest laps times of the race while testing different strategies and gaining one position to finish in the 30th position. The "never give up" attitude that the No. 31 team has displayed all season paid off as Burton also gained one position in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings to 19th.
Start-28 Finish-30 Laps Led-0 Points-19
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"Once again, bad luck found us, this time it was in the form of a fuel pump issue. I am so proud of the No. 31 team. We had to go to a backup car on Friday after spinning in some oil and damaging the car. The guys had me in the backup car ready to go in less than 10 minutes. That is impressive. We had a good test up at Michigan International Speedway not long ago, so I am expecting to run well up there next week."
Richard Petty Motorsports earned its fourth win during Sunday's running of the Finger Lakes 355 at the Watkins Glen International road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Marcos Ambrose made a last-lap pass to collect the win for the organization. It's the second consecutive year that Ambrose has won this race.
Richard Petty Motorsports now has wins in three of its four years. The finish yesterday was the eighth top-10 finish for the company this season and puts Ambrose and the No. 9 team in contention for a wild-card birth. They are currently fifth in the wild card standings.
Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Stanley Ford
Starting Position: 5
Finishing Position: 1
Marcos Ambrose drove to his second-consecutive victory at Watkins Glen International in thrilling fashion as he traded spots for the lead multiple times coming to the checkered flag on an oil-slicked race track. Ambrose started the 90-lap race at "The Glen" from the fifth position. After losing a spot on the initial lap to Ryan Newman, Ambrose found his preferred line and had regained that spot, plus one, by Lap 7. Though he was running in fourth, Ambrose communicated to his Stanley team that the car was tight in the middle and loose on exit of the corners.
Ambrose continued to hold down the fourth position until his first scheduled pit stop of the day on Lap 20. Crew Chief Todd Parrott called the No. 9 machine into the pits for four fresh tires, fuel and track bar and air pressure adjustments in an attempt to help the car's loose condition. Just a few laps into his second run of the day, Ambrose relayed to the crew that he liked the changes made to his Stanley car and to continue going in the same direction for the next stop.
Pitting a few laps earlier than the majority of the field, Ambrose fell back in line in the 21st position exiting the pits. As more of the field began to cycle through green-flag stops, the first caution flag of the day flew on Lap 25 and Ambrose was scored in 18th. The rest of the field came to the pits under caution and with Ambrose's car just being serviced five laps prior, Parrott elected not to bring his driver down pit road. By virtue of not pitting, Ambrose restarted in the second position on Lap 29. Having a car that was handing to his liking, Ambrose passed the leader and was pacing the field from the top spot by Lap 39.
Easily outpacing the field, Ambrose held down the point position until having to come into the pits under green on Lap 46 for his second pit stop of the day. Noting Ambrose's earlier comment of making similar changes this stop as they did the previous stop, the No. 9 crew bolted on four fresh tires and again made track bar and air pressure adjustments. Still slightly off pit sequence from the rest of the field, Ambrose was running in the 14th spot when the second caution flag of the day was displayed on Lap 58.
Now in their fuel window, Parrott made the call to bring Ambrose down pit road one final time for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. The rest of the field elected to pit under caution and Ambrose was now back on sequence with the leaders, restarting in sixth. Shortly after the restart rain drops began to fall, bringing out the third caution of the day. On Lap 68 Ambrose again restarted in sixth.
On a mission to find his way to the front of the field, Ambrose quickly jumped into fifth position on the restart and then passed Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer going into Turn 1 to take over the third spot. With just 19 laps remaining, the second-place car of Tony Stewart spun bringing out the fourth caution of the day, advancing Ambrose to the outside pole for the restart on Lap 74.
When the green flag was displayed, Ambrose was on the outside when Kyle Busch took the leaders three-wide entering Turn 1. Not having the preferred line, Ambrose was shuffled back to the third spot. Battling Brad Keselowski for the second spot, Ambrose overtook the position on Lap 83. Ambrose now only had one car to chase down, but running each lap as hard as he could, his tires began to fade and Keselowski again regained the second position.
Running in third and second, Ambrose and Keselowski were gaining on leader Kyle Busch, when the track became slick with oil on Lap 88. Busch's car bobbled and Keselowski and Ambrose took advantage, sliding past him with just one lap to go. The final lap would prove to be one of the most exciting laps of the NASCAR season as Ambrose and Keselowski traded positions on and off the track's racing surface multiple times before Ambrose would take the lead for the final time coming out of the very last turn. Ambrose crossed the finish line in the point position to bring home his second-consecutive win at Watkins Glen International to the roar of an excited crowd.
The victory moves Ambrose up one spot in the points and he now sits in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings heading into next weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway, the site of Ambrose's first career pole earlier this season.
Ambrose's Thoughts after His Win at Watkins Glen:
"It just feels so good to be back in Victory Lane. Thank you to Sprint, Stanley, DEWALT, Mac Tools, Ford, Farmland - Richard Petty Motorsports and everybody that helped to get us here today. It just feels so good. This year is pure joy. It's a great day. That last lap was crazy and I slipped in the oil right off the bat. The oil on the track just kept getting worse and worse. You could tell the car was staying out there because the oil was moving around the race track and you just take your chances. You've got to commit at that point in the race and it was great racing with Kyle (Busch) and Brad (Keselowski). They're the two best guys to race at road courses. It's just awesome fun and that's the way racing should be and we got the No. 9 Stanley Ford in Victory Lane. I didn't burn anything up. Our strategy was to do three stops and all of a sudden that caution came out and we had to pit. We came in ninth or tenth or something and I just used the stuff up coming through and you just have to take Lady Luck when she strikes and it was our day."
Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford
Starting Position: 29
Finishing Position: 18
Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team also had a strong day with Almirola picking up his best finish ever on a road course in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In fact, the finish was 10 positions better than his previous best, showing both the strength of the team and Almirola's improvement on road courses.
Starting in the 29th spot, Almirola moved up to 26th by Lap 18 when he told crew chief Mike Ford that his car was losing overall grip around the track. The team came down pit road on Lap 23 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help the car. As Almirola returned to the track, the caution waved putting the team one lap down. But, since they just came down for service, they were in position to take the wave-around and restart 30th on Lap 29.
From Lap 29 to Lap 48, Almiriola never said one word on the team radio. He didn't need to as his actions were speaking louder than any words could as he advanced from the 30th position to 17th. On Lap 51, the team came down pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments.
On Lap 57, the second caution of the day waved and this time Ford called Almirola into the pits for fuel only. This allowed Almirola to keep track position. He restarted the race in the top-15 and was able to stay in the top-20 and race to 18th in the final 30 laps of the event.
Almirola moved up one spot to 21st in the championship standings.
Comments from Almirola after Watkins Glen:
"Today was a big improvement for us at a road couse. I've got to thank Mike (Ford) and the guys, too. We had a pretty good car and we made some good calls on pit road to really gain some spots. On the track, I was pretty smooth and that helped us earn a good finish. It was a great day for Richard Petty Motorsports and Marcos. He drove a great race and deserved the win."
Newest in the Stable: Second-year NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Parker Kligerman joined Red Horse Racing last Thursday as the third member of the organization's driver lineup. Kligerman will make his first appearance in the No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) VFW 200.
Since making his first NCWTS appearance in 2010, Kligerman has posted six top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 37 career starts. The 22-year-old currently sits sixth in the NCWTS championship point standings, 35 markers behind leader and teammate, Timothy Peters. Chad Kendrick, who led the No. 7 Tundra team to victory in the season-opening NCWTS event at Daytona, will call the shots for Kligerman.
"When you look at truck series teams right now, there's no doubt Red Horse Racing is definitely one of the top organizations. I feel like Red Horse gives you the best equipment they can and at the end of the day that's all you look for as a driver; the actual chance to win, not just the trophy. So it's our job now to go out there and get the trophy and I feel like this is a place I can do that," Kligerman said.
Double Duty: Kligerman will have a full schedule behind the wheel ahead of him at Michigan this weekend as he makes his first start for Red Horse Racing. Aside from his inaugural run in the No. 7 Tundra for the NCWTS event, Kligerman will also fill in during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying in the No. 22 Penske Racing machine. Kligerman, who was scheduled for this fill in position prior to signing with Red Horse this week, knows that he will have less time on his hands, but is confident he will have no issues balancing both schedules.
"I've done a lot of testing in the cup car before so it should be a seamless transition. Aside from having little time between practice sessions, there should be no issues with the schedule. I'm a professional race car driver and my job at the end of the day is just worry about driving as fast as possible, so that's what I'm going to do," said Kligerman.
Chassis History: The No. 7 Red Horse Racing crew, led by crew chief Chad Kendrick, pulled together to prepare chassis number 001 for their driver in his first appearance for the team a Michigan. This particular Tundra showed significant speed in its only two starts earlier this year and has been rebuilt for competition this weekend.
Ryan Newman and the No. 39 U.S. Army Racing Team showed just how tenacious they are by battling back from a flat right-rear tire to finish 11th in the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
The hard-fought result, which included gaining four positions in the closing laps to nab his fifth top-12 result in 11 career Sprint Cup starts at the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course, vaulted Newman into the second wild-card spot for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with four races to go before the Chase begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill
“I’m really proud of this entire U.S. Army Racing Team,” said Newman, who has finished 11th or better in the last five Sprint Cup races. “We had some misfortune early with the tire that got cut, but this U.S. Army team didn’t miss a beat. Just like our Army Strong Soldiers, we’re a determined bunch, and we’re not going to give up.
“We were fortunate to work our way back up toward the front. I really think we had a car that was a little better than where we finished, but in the end it was a good day for us in the points, which was what we needed to make the Chase. That’s our mission, and we’re going to have to fight it out these next four races.”
Only the top-10 in points are locked into the 12-driver, 10-race Chase. Positions 11 and 12 are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points who have the most wins. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.
Kasey Kahne holds the 11th-place wild-card spot thanks to his two victories, the most of any driver outside the top-10. Newman assumed the 12th-place wild-card spot by virtue of his April 1 victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, combined with his 13th position in the point standings, which is higher than his fellow single-race winners in the top-20 in points – Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano.
Finishing well – in the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen and in the race to make the Chase – begins by qualifying well, and after qualifying sixth on Saturday, Newman was confident his U.S. Army Chevrolet would be a solid performer in Sunday’s 90-lap race. But Newman also knew he would need a clean race, which almost didn’t happen.
A scheduled pit stop on lap 16 went flawlessly. The early stop was part of the team’s overall race strategy, but it was a strategy that would be foiled a few laps later.
When the caution flag waved on lap 27, it played into Newman’s hands. Crew chief Tony Gibson told his driver to stay out under the caution, and when everyone who hadn’t yet pitted ducked onto pit road for much-needed fuel and tires, Newman stayed out and shrewdly moved up from 24th to fifth place.
But as Newman lapped the undulating road course under caution, he keyed his radio and asked his spotter to look at his right-rear tire. It felt like it was going flat. Spotter Jimmy Kitchens confirmed Newman’s suspicions.
The flat right-rear tire forced Newman to give up his fifth-place spot and pit just as the rest of the field was restarting the race on lap 29. Newman’s crew changed four tires, added fuel and got Newman back on track, but he was mired in 33rd place.
The adversity might have put Newman and his U.S. Army Racing Team down, but they were not out. Gibson told his driver to “run hard and pass as many cars” as he could to climb back up the leaderboard.
Newman responded. By lap 50, he had moved into the top-25. Seven laps later, he was in the top-20.When the caution flag waved at lap 59, Newman had moved into 12th place.
But as he came down pit road, another bit of misfortune struck – Newman radioed that he was out of gas. Fortunately, Newman was able to coast into his pit stall. The crew quickly worked to change four tires and fuel the car, and despite the potential hiccup, Newman and his U.S. Army crew didn’t miss a beat. The pit stop was clean and Newman returned to the track in 15th place.
With less than 30 laps to go, Newman and his U.S. Army Chevy were on a mission. He maneuvered through the field and was able to survive three restarts and an oiled-down track in the race’s closing laps to pick up four spots and finish 11th.
Ambrose put himself in wild card contention for the Chase by winning the Finger Lakes 355k at The Glen. Winless prior to Sunday, Ambrose scored his second career Sprint Cup victory and his second in a row at Watkins Glen.
Brad Keselowski finished .571 of a second behind Ambrose in the runner-up spot while Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-five. Greg Biffle, Busch, Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith and Martin Truex Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.
Newman’s Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate, Tony Stewart, finished 19th in the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy after recovering from a late-race spin.
There were four caution periods for 13 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish.
With round 22 of 36 complete, Stewart continues to lead the SHR duo in the championship point standings. He fell two spots to eighth and has 716 points, 61 back of new series leader Johnson and six points ahead of ninth-place Kevin Harvick with a 63-point cushion over 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Newman improved one position to 13th and has 644 points, 133 behind Johnson and 49 behind 10th-place Denny Hamlin.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, Aug. 19 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at noon.
Bristol Motor Speedway’s upcoming triple header continues to be cause for added celebration for one locally owned and operated grocery chain. Twenty years ago, Food City signed on as the title sponsor of the March Food City 500 Sprint Cup event, as well as the August Food City 250 Nationwide Series race.
“Our race sponsorship actually came about as a result of Food City Family Race Night,” says Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “Our annual race night events helped us better understand the strong allegiance that the fans have with their favorite drivers and team owners. That realization is really what prompted our decision to become the title sponsor of the Food City 500 and Food City 250.”
In 1995, Food City signed on for three years as associate sponsor of the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, owned by Richard Childress and driven by the late Dale Earnhardt. In commemoration, the regional grocer has named Childress as honorary starter of the 20th Anniversary Food City 250. Childress will waive the green flag to signal the start of the August 24, 2012 event.
“I'm honored that Food City asked me to be the honorary starter to help celebrate their 20th year of involvement with the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway," said Childress. "Food City has been a great supporter of NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway, and they were a sponsor of the No. 3 Chevy with Dale back in the day. I want to thank Food City for helping grow our sport over the years and for 20 years of involvement at Bristol Motor Speedway.”
Food City is Bristol Motor Speedway’s longest running sponsor and the second longest in all of NASCAR motorsports. “The past 20 years have been filled with scores of unforgettable moments and priceless experiences. Our sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt and the No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet certainly tops the list and we’re honored to have our good friend and colleague Richard Childress serve as honorary starter for the 20th Anniversary Food City 250,” says Smith.
Food City Family Race Night also celebrates its 25th Anniversary in August. The fan-based event is among the largest on the NASCAR circuit and has contributed a combined total of over $500,000 to numerous local non-profit organizations.. Family Race Night takes place in downtown Bristol on Thursday, August 23, 2012.
Qualifying for the Food City 250 takes place Friday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. with the race slated to begin at 7:30 that evening. Tickets for the race, which features defending race winner Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick, along with Nationwide regulars Elliott Sadler, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier, are available, starting at $45.
Victor Gonzalez, Jr. struggled with a multitude of handling issues throughout Saturday's Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, but persevered to bring his No. 99 Delta Commercial/IMCA Toyota Camry to the checkered flag in the 16th position.
The No. 99 team's 11th top-20 finish of the 2012 season advanced team owner Robby Benton one position, to 18th, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner point standings. With 21 of 33 races complete, Benton's RAB Racing team trails 15th-place in the standings by just 34 markers.
Although weather wreaked havoc with Friday's schedule, final Nationwide Series practice was able to be held. The abbreviated session started on a wet surface as steady rain forced the teams to use rain tires, but Gonzalez showed his prowess by posting the second-fastest time. As the surface dried and teams switched to their standard slick tires, Gonzalez was able to maintain the 11th-best overall time. Saturday morning, the Puerto Rican driver recorded a lap of 73.550 seconds, at an average speed of 119.918 mph, to earn the 16th starting position for the 200-mile event later that afternoon.
Despite developing a significant tight-handling condition after the green flag waved, Gonzalez was able to maintain a position inside the top 20 for the opening segment of the event. As the race ran under green-flag conditions, crew chief Scott Zipadelli called Gonzalez to pit road for scheduled service, taking on four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to correct the handling issues of the Delta Commercial/IMCA Toyota. A lightning-fast stop by the RAB Racing pit crew allowed the 37-year-old driver to maintain his position as he rejoined the field.
Gonzalez continued to maintain pace as the laps clicked off. Following the team's second and final scheduled pit stop, Gonzalez found himself running in 18th when a late-race incident brought out the caution flag. Feeling like their chances to gain position would suffer greatly if they did not pit for fresh tires, Zipadelli decided to alter the team's strategy and pit one additional time. The gamble was risky, but it paid dividends for the No. 99 team as Gonzalez was able to maintain the 16th-position as the race came to a conclusion.
"It was a tough race," said Gonzalez. "We started out with a little push, and then as we made changes, we got loose. We were working hard at that, trying to get the balance where I needed it. When the Cup drivers come over here and race in the Nationwide Series, it changes everything. At the end of the day, we had a good Toyota Camry. We put new tires on at the end, and I thought we had a good strategy to go and try to get a top 10, but we didn't this time. Still, the guys did a good job. Everyone at RAB Racing worked hard to give me a very fast car. Scott Zipadelli (crew chief) made great calls, the guys in the pits worked awesome, but this time the driver failed. We'll get them next time."
RAB Racing PR
Continuing Consistency: Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine travels with his No. 11 Toyota Care Tundra team to Michigan International Speedway this weekend, where he has shown solid consistency at the 2-mile oval. In seven previous NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts, Bodine has produced five top-10 finishes, and has completed 100 percent of the laps in every event. For this Saturday's VFW 200, crew chief Rick Gay has prepared one of the most consistent Tundras Bodine has driven all season, with hopes to get back to the front and rebound from a tough break at Pocono.
Though the No. 11 Toyota Care team suffered a heavy blow last weekend, among others throughout the season, Bodine knows that the only remedy is to leave the past in the rear view and focus on the remainder of the season.
"It's been a pretty tough season for our Tundra team but we're not going to look at the negatives. In our situation, you have to look at the positives and how fast we've been even if we don't have the finishes that show for it. Simply put, we need to focus on finishing and winning races from here on out," Bodine explained.
Dedication During Off Week: Todd Bodine joined brothers Brett and Geoff last Saturday during the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver's meeting at Watkins Glen International to help celebrate the dedication of the Bodine Grandstands. The track renamed one of its grandstand sections in honor of the Bodine family during the off-season to recognize the family's ties to the region, as well as their contributions to the track.
Fish Your Bass Off: Bodine will join several other NASCAR drivers and professional anglers for the "Fish Your Bass Off" tournament, held near the Michigan International Speedway at Wampler's Lake on Thursday, August 16. Bodine participated in the charitable event last year as well, fishing to raise awareness and funds for the host of the event, MIS Cares. A non-profit organization under the NASCAR Foundation umbrella, MIS Cares' mission is to create a lasting, positive impact on the community through charitable giving and volunteer efforts. For more info, visit MISpeedway.com.
Appearance Schedule: Todd Bodine and teammate Timothy Peters will participate in the NCWTS open-garage autograph session at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, August 17th from 4-5:00 pm.
Chassis History: Rick Gay and the No. 11 Toyota Care team have prepared chassis number 141 for Bodine this weekend at Michigan. This Tundra has proven to be one of the most solid chassis in the Red Horse Racing stable, with Bodine piloting it to two top-five finishes this season at Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Previous Race Recap: Traveling with a brand new Toyota Tundra in tow and many laps of experience in his NASCAR career on the "Tricky Triangle", Todd Bodine came to Pocono Raceway prepared to take his No. 11 NEPA Toyota Dealers Tundra to the front in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125. After making several changes from practice through the first half of the race, Bodine and his team emerged as contenders for the win at the halfway point. Running inside the top five all afternoon, Bodine's solid run came to a crashing halt on lap 38 as he was sent into the inside retaining wall and knocked out of contention. He ended the afternoon in the garage, bringing home a 26th place finish.