Speedway Digest Staff
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The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) heads to the high-banked, concrete track at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. In addition to their strong short-track program in 2013, the Pilot Travel Centers team is coming off of a top-10 finish at the one-and-a-half mile track of Kentucky Speedway and look to carry that momentum into this weekend's race.
Annett has nine starts at the one-mile track. His average finish is 13.4, and his best finish of third came in the fall of 2012. Earlier this year, Annett posted a 13th-place finish at Dover in his second time back in the car since his accident in Daytona. The team will return with last year's set-ups and look to top his career-best finish at the track of third.
Annett will be participating in the NNS autograph session on Saturday, September 28th from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. ET. The autograph session will be located adjacent to the Lucas Oil Display in the FanZone. Autographs will be received on a first come, first serve basis to the first 150-200 fans in line on Saturday.
Comments from the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers Ford Mustang driver Michael Annett:
"We've been running really well on short tracks lately, so I'm really looking forward to Dover. We fought hard for a top-10 finish last week, and we have good momentum going into the weekend. We had two really good races here last year and earned a top-three finish in
the fall. This year's spring race was only my second race back after the injury in Daytona, and we came home 13th so we have some pretty high expectations going into the weekend."
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Dover:
"Our strategy will be a lot like last weekend, to stick to the meat and potatoes, what has worked well in the past. We won't really try too much this weekend and just try to get a good race out of it. We've run well there in the past, and we'll unload just like we did last year and see what we can do. We finished third there in the fall last year, so we'll try to capitalize on that and shoot for an even better finish.
"You have to have a perfectly balanced car at Dover. Aero is important, but at the same time, the chassis has to be able to turn the whole race. It usually turns into a fuel mileage race at the end, so it'll be important to have good strategy. We've really had an advantage in the fuel mileage races with our Roush Yates engines. Doug and his team have done an excellent job in providing us with great fuel mileage."
Turner Scott Motorsports announced today that SEM Products, Inc. will sponsor the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Justin Allgaier in this weekend's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) 5-hour ENERGY 200 race at Dover International Speedway. SEM Products, Inc., whose is in partnership with Turner Scott Motorsports, provides adhesives, sealers and paint products to the organization's teams.
SEM Products is a leading manufacturer of products for automotive body repair and refinishing. The company, which was founded in 1948, manufactures a wide array of automotive repair products including adhesives, fillers and sealers; flexible coatings; rust and corrosion prevention and treatment; trim paints and truck bed liners.
"Everyone at SEM Products is excited to be on the No. 31 car at Dover," said Brian Joyner, SEM Products Business Development Manager. "We have a great relationship with Turner Scott Motorsports and this is an expansion of that. Justin is a great driver and representative for our company."
Justin Allgaier, who has been running in the NNS since 2008, has participated in 168 Nationwide Series events and has three wins in his career. Allgaier made his first Sprint Cup start at Chicagoland Speedway earlier this month.
"I'm excited to have SEM on the car this weekend at Dover," said Allgaier. "It's a great company, and I had the opportunity to go on a tour of the facility earlier this year and meet the employees. SEM is very supportive of our racing organization, and the NASCAR industry as a whole. I'm looking forward to getting out on the track at Dover and getting them a great finish."
Pocono Raceway is accepting applications for the 2014 Pocono Raceway Fan Council, a 20-member board to be comprised of race fans to assist “The Tricky Triangle” staff in developing and improving overall fan engagement. Members of the inaugural Pocono Raceway Fan Council, created last year, will play a vital role in the selection process of the 2014 group.
“The creation of the Pocono Raceway Fan Council has provided a different perspective with the way we engage race fans,” said Brandon Igdalsky, President and CEO of Pocono Raceway. “The 20 members selected for the inaugural council provided us with some great feedback, which will shape our fan-engagement planning for years to come. Their roles will change from providing input about our facility to assisting us with selecting new members for the 2014 Pocono Raceway Fan Council. We are excited to see who will apply this year!”
The Pocono Raceway Fan Council will complete surveys, meet quarterly (either in person or through conference calls) and assist with promotional events throughout the year. Members are selected to a one year term from January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014.
Pocono Raceway PR
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, will make his first career start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' (NCWTS) Smith's 350 on Saturday night.
Between the four previous mile and a half tracks this year on the NCWTS schedule, Blaney has an average finish of 8.8 and one pole award.
Blaney is coming off a career milestone after winning his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race for Penske Racing during the Kentucky 300 this past weekend. Blaney and the Discount Tire team started second and lead a race-high 96 laps.
The No. 29 BKR team currently sits fifth in the NCWTS driver points standings, 82 points back from first.
"Mile and a half's are very fun to drive on, so I'm certainly excited about getting to Vegas and giving this Cooper Standard Ford all I've got. My BKR team has been great this year and I want to get them in victory lane Saturday night. It's a true testament to the BKR organization on how far we've come since Daytona this year. These guys never give up." - Ryan Blaney
Ross Chastain (@RossChastain), driver of the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150, will make his 10th start for Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) and his second start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Saturday night's Smith's 350.
Last year, in Chastain's first start at LVMS, he finished 25th after having a suspension issue that took him out of contention early. Chastain had a strong run winning the pole award and leading many laps the last time he was in the 19 truck for BKR at Iowa Speedway.
The No. 19 BKR team now sits fourth in the NCWTS owner points standings, 52 points back from first.
"I'm excited to get back in the Truck at a fast track like Las Vegas. This team has been in contention for the win each of the last few races and I want to get the job done Saturday night for them. I have to thank Brad Keselowski for such an awesome opportunity." - Ross Chastain
Ryan Truex will drive the No. 51 Shooters Sporting Center Chevrolet this weekend for Phoenix Racing in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.
David Gilliland was having a solid weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway during the Sprint Cup Series' first visit to the track in June. His Long John Silver's Ford showed good speed throughout the practice and qualifying sessions and was logging fast laps in the race when Gilliland was knocked into the wall by Ryan Newman, who had grown impatient after trying unsuccessfully to pass the No. 38.
Dover is one of many tracks where Gilliland and crew chief Frank Kerr have made strides in their program this season, and the team will return to the "Monster Mile" with something to prove in the second visit this weekend.
Sunday's AAA 400 will be Gilliland's 15th start at the one-mile oval. His best career result at Dover is 16th (2008).
Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Dover:
"Dover was really good for us in the spring. The car was really fast, but we ended up getting caught up in an accident with Ryan Newman that ended our day early. We were very disappointed with that but felt like we learned a ton in the race and felt like when the race started we were right where we needed to be.
"We had really good speed throughout the long runs and actually got better throughout the runs. So we were really happy with that and look forward to going back and taking what we learned in the weeks preceding that race and see what we got.
"The track definitely lives up to its name for sure. It's definitely the Monster Mile, but it's a great racetrack. It's very challenging and very physically demanding and very different from anything else we go to. To see long green-flag runs was a little bit surprising last time. But I think toward the end of the year here, people are going to be more aggressive, and I don't think we're going to see as many long green-flag runs as we had."
Don't mess with the Monster, but don't let him walk all over you either. Racing at the track known as the "Monster Mile" can be a difficult balance. Driver David Ragan believes that attacking Dover (Del.) International Speedway requires being both aggressive and conservative. The challenging part is figuring out how to walk that line.
The No. 34 Taco Bell team will take on that challenge this weekend as Ragan and his crew returns for its second visit to Dover in 2013 for Sunday's AAA 400. During the June race at the one-mile oval, the team made good adjustments to their car and used smart pit strategy to earn a 22nd-place finish. They look to take what they learned and build on it for the Generation-6 car's second race on the concrete track.
Ragan has 14 career starts at Dover, with one top-10, three top-15 and six top-10 finishes. His best result was seventh in 2011.
Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan heading to Dover:
"Dover is a fun racetrack. We took the Generation-6 car there for the first time earlier this year, and the car is fast, being a little more lightweight with a little more downforce. So it made for a fun race, taking that speed with us. But it's one of the more grueling 400-lap races that we have all year long. Physically and mentally, it's tough.
"For us and our Front Row Motorsports team, we look at races like this as an opportunity to learn from the first race and try to improve on that. That's what we look forward to certainly in the second half of the year at a lot of tracks like Dover.
"I think everyone tries to take care of their racecar at Dover. You hear that a lot of times at a track like Darlington, which is a very physically and mentally tough track. And Dover, too. It's one of those places that you can get yourself in trouble pretty quick. But you've just got to be aware of your surroundings, be conservative at times but also aggressive at times. And there's a very fine line in figuring out how to do that.
"Dover is a track that is a lot of fun, and it always gives you opportunities to play some strategy. You do have some long green-flag runs, but you always end up having some late-race cautions that bunch the field up."
ValvolineTM, a leading marketer, distributor and producer of quality branded automotive and industrial products and services, will be reunited with Hendrick Motorsports after finalizing a multi-year sponsorship agreement that will kick off next season.
The Official Lubricants Partner of Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2014, the Valvoline brand will be featured as a major associate sponsor of the team’s full stable of Chevrolet SS race cars through the 2017 NASCAR campaign. The company will utilize Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. as spokespeople to promote Valvoline premium motor oil products and services.
In addition, Valvoline will be the preferred oil poured by Hendrick Motorsports’ sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates 87 auto dealerships across the United States. The dealerships also will use Valvoline professional series, a line of fuel system preventive maintenance products that increase fuel economy and drivability, and Valvoline antifreeze. Both product lines contain patented technology that provides exceptional performance.
“The Valvoline team is thrilled to partner with Hendrick Motorsports and continue the long history of winning on the track for both organizations,” said Sam Mitchell, president of Ashland Consumer Markets. “Both companies have a strong heritage and similar values with employees driven by hard work, commitment to innovation and passion for cars. This is going to be an exciting and great relationship.”
Beginning in 2014, Hendrick Motorsports will use Valvoline products in its Chevrolet R-07 racing engines in the elite Sprint Cup Series. Valvoline was a partner of the team from 1993-95, supplying lubricant technology that contributed to the organization’s first Cup championship with Gordon.
“When I was 14 years old, I won my first drag race with Valvoline in the car,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. “It’s an innovative American brand that has great racing heritage and a winning history with our organization. This is the company that basically invented motor oil, and we’re excited about having them as a corporate sponsor and hands-on technology partner.
“Our dealerships are proud to offer a trusted product like Valvoline as our preferred oil. Hendrick Automotive Group stores serviced nearly 2 million vehicles last year, and we know our customers can rely on Valvoline’s performance in the same way our racing engineers will.”
When a new season begins at Daytona in February it will be interesting to see how many of the sport’s experts pick Brian Vickers as a favorite to secure a place in NASCAR’s 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
In August, Michael Waltrip Racing and Aaron’s Inc. named Vickers the team’s fulltime driver beginning in 2014. He’s already taken over a majority of the driving duties in 2013 and showing why he’s a legitimate Chase contender next season. Only Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon’s four top-10 finishes exceed Vickers’ three top-10s in the last five races.
It continues a string of strong performances by Vickers and the No. 55 crew since joining together on a part time schedule last year. In 19 races with MWR over the last two seasons, Vickers owns a victory, five top-fives, and 10 top-10s. Mechanical failures while racing at the front of the field skew the numbers, but the No. 55 is often one of the best cars on the track.
Vickers’ plans to add to MWR’s recent success this weekend in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. In June, Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin finished in the top 10 while Martin Truex raced in the top three before mechanical issues ended his race early.
VICKERS ON DOVER: “Dover is a fun track, it’s fast and you can move around a lot. It’s high-banked which makes it fun too. I think it’s a great track for our cars. MWR has historically run really well at Dover. The company has a pretty good setup and race package. We’ve been pretty good everywhere we have raced since I came over here. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into that back at the shop. Throw in some strong engines from TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and I’m confident we’ll have a good package for Dover.
“I think we had a winning car last weekend at New Hampshire. We had to start at the back on a track that’s as tough to pass as any on the schedule. We had a really good pit strategy. But a debris caution came just at the wrong time or I think we could have been up there trying to win again. Dover is a bit easier in that if you have a fast car you can get to the front. Obviously, our plan is to qualify up front and then stay there.”
VICKERS ON 2014: “Sure we plan to contend for the Chase in 2014. Everyone at MWR and Aaron’s believes we’ll be in it. We have the resources, expertise and backing from our partners that we need to win a championship. I’ll be disappointed with anything less than a Chase berth and a few more trips to victory lane.”