Monday, Aug 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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On the heels of this week’s “under the lights” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing excitement at Richmond International Raceway, even more stars return to America’s Premier Short Track,  August 26-27. Prior to the September 7 Federated Auto Parts 400– “One Last Race to Make The Chase” – at America’s Premier Short Track, drivers will prepare their cars at RIR, and grandstands will be open free to the public from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. each night.

Drivers will get precious track time “under the lights” in preparation for one of the most anticipated races of the season. Only the top 10 drivers in the point standings and two Wild Cards (drivers who are in positions 11-20 with the most wins) will earn a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The way things are shaping up, there could be more than 10 drivers on the proverbial “bubble.”

Participating Monday, August 26 & Tuesday, August 27:

  • Danica Patrick
  • Mark Martin
  • Ryan Newman
  • David Reutimann
  • David Stremme
  • Travis Kvapil
  • Parker Kligerman (NASCAR Nationwide Series)

Fans may enter Richmond International Raceway through the Main Gate, located at the corner of Laburnum Avenue and Meadowbridge Rd. Parking will be on the Midway, outside of Gate 70. A concessions stand will be open with food and beverages, and fans are allowed to bring in their own food and beverage (no glass allowed).

RIR PR

Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today that NASCAR driver Jeb Burton will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks game vs. the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, August 27.  First pitch for Tuesday’s game is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MST at Chase Field.

In addition to the first pitch, Burton will also lead the seventh-inning stretch, will wave the checkered flag for the Legends Race in the fifth inning and will show off his arm in a sixth-inning t-shirt toss atop the D-backs dugout.  He will also be available for interviews with Phoenix-area media before and during the game.

Burton earned his first career victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series when he took the checkered flag in the WinStar World Casino 400K at Texas Motor Speedway on June 7.  He currently sits in third place in the Truck Series season points standings with nine races remaining in the season.  Burton will make his Truck Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, Nov. 8 in the Lucas Oil 150.

“We are thrilled that the D-backs have invited Jeb to throw out the first pitch,” Sperber said. “This will be an opportunity for D-backs fans to meet one of NASCAR’s promising young stars.”

Burton, 21, is the youngest member of one of the most recognizable and most successful families in NASCAR history.  His father, Ward Burton, won the 2002 Daytona 500; and his uncle, Jeff Burton, was the 1994 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year and is a 21-time winner in Cup Series races.

PIR PR

Jeb Burton and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) put on an impressive show under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) in Wednesday's UNOH 200. Making multiple adjustments throughout the day, the No. 4 Arrowhead Chevy landed outside the top 10 in both practice sessions and qualified 18th, despite a spin during the warm-up lap. Burton remained patient during the race and managed to fight his way into the top 10 just before a last-lap incident forced the No. 4 truck into the wall, resulting in a 12th-place finish and one-position drop inthe NCWTS Driver Point Standings.

 

Tweaking the handling throughout the first practice session, the No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team made numerous adjustments to correct the truck's tightness, placing Burton in 14th position on the speed charts. During the second practice session, Burton reported a slight chatter in the front nose, leading the No. 4 crew to another adjustment; one they felt was a game-changer. With only minutes remaining, Burton returned to the track, feeling comfortable for the first time of the day. As Burton prepared to make his qualifying run, however, the No. 4 truck got loose in Turn 2, causing him to spin. Burton avoided contact with the wall and resumed his qualifying run, laying a time of 15.630 seconds, placing him to start in 18th position for the UNOH 200.

 

As the green flag dropped at what's known as the "World's Fastest Half-Mile" track, the action quickly led to the first caution of the night on lap three. Burton reported to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his No. 4 Chevy Silverado felt a bit free on entry but controllable. By lap 35, Burton had climbed his way into the top 15 and, according to spotter Kevin Hamlin, was running smooth and hitting his marks flawlessly. The No. 4 team was able to make adjustments on lap 71 as the second caution came out, pitting for four new tires and fuel, along with a slight air-pressure and track-bar adjustment. Jumping to the 11th position, the third caution of the night arose on lap 83 as Burton reported that the No. 4 truck felt a little off balance. At the halfway mark of the UNOH 200, the Arrowhead Chevy had fought its way into the top 10 but dropped back to 13th position after a tight battle with Ty Dillon and Dakota Armstrong on lap 157.

 

With less than 30 laps remaining in the UNOH 200, the fourth caution flag of the night came out on lap 179 and Burton quickly relayed that his Chevy truck was way too tight. The No. 4 team pitted for four new tires, fuel and a slight track-bar adjustment, leaving pit road in 12th position and receiving the Lucky Dog. In true Bristol fashion, the final 10 laps were action-packed, with the fifth caution of the night dropping on lap 190, leaving only seven laps for the field to gain track position. As Burton quickly climbed to ninth position, the field began to race three wide. Unfortunately, on the final lap, Burton was collected by Ron Hornaday Jr. and his Arrowhead Chevy was forced into the wall, ending their night with a 12th-place finish and a disappointing points drop.

 

"It's just really disappointing," said Burton. "We gave it all we had tonight and to see it end like this, it's just tough. It was out of our control. We wanted a top 10 and we should've had it."

 

Trailing only four points behind TSM teammate James Buescher, Burton lands in third-place in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings following his finish at BMS. Burton also dropped to second-place in the Rookie of the Year standings, which he has led all season.

 

Hoping for redemption, Burton and the NCWTS will make their 2013 road course debut next weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for The Chevrolet Silverado 250 on Sunday, September 1 live on FOX Sports 1 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

 

TSM PR

Coming off their first win of the 2013 season, James Buescher and the Rheem team looked to continue their momentum in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) Wednesday night. After posting solid practice times, Buescher was able to follow up with an eighth-place starting position. When the green flag flew on the 200-lap event, Buescher wasted no time in moving up into the top five within a couple of laps. Buescher stayed close to the top five the majority of the night, and held his ground during the wild restarts at the end of the 200-lap race., Buescher brought his No. 31 Rheem Chevrolet home in the seventh position and moved into second-place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Driver Point Standings.

 

During the one-day NCWTS show at BMS, the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports team unloaded with a fast Rheem Chevy showing that they would be a contender once again. Backing up their practice times in qualifying, Buescher started the UNOH 200 in the eighth spot. When the green flag released the 36-truck field, Buescher wasted no time in gaining three spots within four laps, just before the first of five yellow flags slowed the field. Restarting fifth, Buescher was caught on the bottom line and gave up a couple spots before settling into the seventh position for the first long green-flag run of the night. The race saw its second yellow flag on lap 71, which put the No. 31 Rheem team in their fuel window. The team relinquished their sixth running spot and ducked down pit road for four Goodyear Wranglers, Sunoco fuel and a chassis adjustment to help cure the loose condition that Buescher was feeling in the corners of the half-mile oval. With a stellar pit stop by the Rheem team, they were able to come back out of the pits where they entered in the sixth position. When the field went back green, it was only for a couple laps as the field was once again slowed for an accident in Turn 4.

 

During the second long green-flag stretch of the UNOH 200, Buescher found himself in fierce battles for a top-five running position. With an accident on lap 179, crew chief Michael Shelton had to make a decision whether to pit and give up the fifth position for fresh tires, or stay out. Buescher and the No.31 team opted for the four fresh tires and a little extra fuel. Buescher restarted seventh with just over 10 laps remaining in the 200-lap race. As the green flag waved, the field struggled to get going when the front row stumbled and sent trucks behind them spinning, immediately bringing out another yellow flag. This set up a short shootout for Buescher and NCWTS field, with Buescher restarting in the sixth position. After the restart, Buescher battled side-by-side with competitors on the short high-banked oval, ultimately bringing his Rheem Chevy home in the seventh spot. With the effort, Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team moved up to second-place in the NCWTS point standings with nine races remaining.

 

"I'm really proud of my entire Rheem team," said Buescher. "With this track being so fast, anything can happen in a hurry and I'm really excited that we battled for a top five all night long. Last week's win was such a momentum boost for us. We know what lies ahead of us in this championship hunt, and we scored a top-10 finish in one of the "wild card" races. We also moved up a position in the point standings and narrowed the points lead, which was huge. We'll continue to work hard at our goal of bringing home the championship."

 

The NCWTS will head north of the border for the inaugural race Chevrolet Silverado 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on Sunday, September 1 at 2 p.m. EDT live on FOX Sports 1.

 

TSM PR

16-year-old Brandon Jones made his first start in one of NASCAR's top-three national series Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). Jones and his No.33 Katy Springs team worked on getting familiar with the famed 0.533-mile concrete oval during both practice sessions held on Wednesday. The Atlanta, GA. native and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team were able to learn information that would carry over into the race during the two practice sessions. Jones made his first qualifying attempt in the NCWTS and earned the 26th starting spot in his No. 33 Katy Springs Silverado for the UNOH 200. After 200 laps, Jones was able to gain valuable experience and brought his Katy Springs Silverado home with a 27th -place finish.

 

Jones and the rest of the 36-truck field took the green flag under the lights at BMS. Shortly after the green flag waved, the first caution of the day came out on lap 3 for a spin in Turn 4. Crew Chief Mike Greci decided to stay out during the caution and Jones restarted the race in the 25th position. Following the restart, the field settled into the 200-lap race. During the long green flag run, Jones passed multiple trucks and worked his way up to the 18th position until another competitor got into the back of his No.33 Katy Springs Silverado causing Jones to spin and bring out the second caution of the day on lap 70. During the caution, Greci brought the No.33 down pit road to change four tires, add Sunoco race fuel and make adjustments to his Katy Springs machine. After the pit stop, Jones restarted the race in the 28th position, one lap down.

 

The third caution of the day came out on lap 81 for a spin on the frontstretch. Jones was the beneficiary of the caution and was able to gain his lap back after receiving the free pass. Jones restarted the race in the 25th spot on lap 89. After the restart, the field settled into another long green flag run, and Jones worked his way up to the 22nd position until making an unscheduled green flag pit stop on lap 119 for a flat tire. After bringing in his Silverado to pit road to fix the problem, Jones was scored in the 30th position, four laps down. The 16-year-old however did not let the problem frustrate him, as he would turn lap times as good as the leaders for the remaining portion of the race, bringing home his No.33 Katy Springs Silverado in the 27th position

 

"Today was a very special and exciting day for me," Jones said. "I had a lot of fun out there tonight, and it was amazing taking the green flag here at Bristol. I would like to thank all my guys at Turner Scott Motorsports for the hard work they put into the No.33 Katy Springs Silverado. We learned a lot today that I think we can carry over to our next race and I am already looking forward to my next start."

 

TSM PR

New advancements in fan-centric traveling technology, designed to enhance the fan's enjoyment at live events and entertainment venues, will be tested this week at Bristol Motor Speedway during the IRWIN Tools Night Race NASCAR Weekend.

The "Digital Signage, Mobility & Security" kiosks, devised and operated by the Heads and Tails Company of Southern California, will be showcased during NASCAR's visit this week to Bristol Motor Speedway, owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI). During the four-day event, track guests stopping by one of the digitally automated and unmanned kiosks will be able to explore a multitude of value-added, venue-enhancing experience features in advance of wider deployment in 2014 at other SMI facilities.

Tony Loiacono, founder and CEO of Heads and Tails, stated the multiple technologies used are powered by Cisco Systems and Meraki along with eco-partners VieDrive, Industry Weapon, and Babelpay. Meraki and Ovideon were utilized to create the kiosks in order to provide an access to new fan and venue centric mobile technologies.  While each unit stands alone, they are interconnected onsite via an easily-managed localized wireless network."

Like a futuristic mall directory, these traveling kiosks are eight-feet tall and fitted with HD video screens and customized "Bristol Battles" graphics. The units provide an interactive display experience of event news, content, and full interoperability with the mobile phone gateway allowing users to interact through mobile GPS and in-venue Wayfinding.

Kiosk and mobile network-based communications allow for local level delivery of content offers, schedules, track maps, NASCAR standings and current track results, while the Wayfinding feature guides app users to locations around the venue utilizing a sensor based facilities location map.

"This first-of-a-kind traveling DSMS system enhances the fan experience to entertain and inform our guests in remote and convenient locations around our tracks as if wireless broadband access and speeds are as plentiful as air," said Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway.

Beyond a static board, the SMI mobile kiosk supports connectivity to a smartphone/tablet app to serve fan interaction throughout venues. While various service needs will be gauged during the test at Bristol Motor Speedway, the fan kiosk is capable of providing GPS guidance to: seating, food, refreshments, restrooms, souvenirs, friend locations, and much more.

Optimum times to see how the units operate and talk with officials from Heads and Tails are August 21 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and August 22 9 a.m. until 6 p.m at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Heads and Tails PR

 

International Speedway Corporation ("ISC")today announced that it has named Chip Wile as President of Darlington Raceway (“DAR”) effective immediately.  Wile accepts the role from his most recent position as Director of Business Development for the Motor Racing Network (“MRN”).  Current DAR President, Chris Browning, has resigned to pursue other career opportunities.

Wile joined MRN in 2012, bringing with him over a decade of experience in the motorsports industry servicing partners such as Caterpillar, Verizon, Exide Technologies, and Dollar General.  His responsibilities at MRN included developing and overseeing new business opportunities; acting as the network's primary liaison to ISC’s sponsors and integrated media sales; directing MRN’s overall marketing and promotional efforts; and managing its annual budget. Wile received his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Georgia. 

“We are excited to announce Chip Wile as President of Darlington Raceway,” stated John Saunders, ISC’s President.  “He is a respected and seasoned motorsports executive and is well prepared to accept the leadership position at Darlington Raceway. We were fortunate to have such a high-caliber individual to transition into a strategic position within our organization. We congratulate Chip on his new position and look forward to his continued success within our organization.

 “I would also like to thank Chris for his many years of service at Darlington.  We wish him much success in his future endeavors.”

ISC/Darlington Raceway PR

 

Johnny Sauter and his No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota crew finally got a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish that they deserved with Sauter's fourth-place run Wednesday night in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
 
Sauter finally broke a nine-race skein in which he hadn't scored a top-five finish, after opening the 2013 season with ThorSport Racing by posting four consecutive top fives, including winning the first two races.

 

"Most people don't think of Bristol as being a place where you can come and turn things around, but I'm not surprised to be here with a truck that's in one piece," Sauter said on pit road, chuckling. "I just love Bristol, because it's good short-track racing and I just can't get enough of that stuff." 

 

Sauter's spectacular closing run, in which he made up seven spots on two restarts in the last 12 laps, enabled him to move back into ninth place in the standings, 89 points behind championship leader and ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton.

 

"I'm really proud of everybody at ThorSport -- all the guys on this Carolina Nut / Curb Records Toyota," Sauter said. "This is what we needed. We've had four horrible weeks -- not that we weren't running good, we just got wrecked in unfortunate deals when we had trucks that I felt could get top fives and last week (at Michigan) could've even won the race.

"To get a top-five, hopefully this turns the corner for these guys and old truck 23 (team designation for the chassis used at Bristol). She did it again for me."

It wasn't looking that way at the beginning of practice, where Sauter was 12th in the first session and 19th in Happy Hour. A pre-qualifying adjustment cause the truck's front "splitter" to hit the racetrack -- resulting in a 21st starting position.

"We got the splitter too low there in qualifying and I don't know why," Sauter said. "We fired up in first practice and were decent and then all of a sudden the splitter started hitting and we were the same in qualifying."

The adverse handling condition was enough of a concern that crew chief Dennis Connor and Sauter decided to change it in impound, which resulted in Sauter being one of three trucks that had to drop to the back of the field for the initial start.

It was a preview of what happened a couple times to Sauter, as he lost spots on pit road thanks to some "hired-hand" crewmen.

"We came from the back and had some trouble in the pits and came from the back again," Sauter said. "I was really digging on that long green-flag run and got up to sixth or seventh. Then we had some more trouble in the pits but I got a good restart there (with 12 laps left). Like I said, just proud of the guys."

The key restart wasn't that easy to explain, Sauter said.

"It's just a lot of action and reaction -- I just saw people stacking-up, people spinning their tires and trying to spin out and I just said 'we're not lifting, we're going,'" he said, laughing. "There are just so many things going on, but this is short-track racing -- it's great and a lot of fun. I know a lot of people have complained about this track configuration, but as a competitor I love it, because it gives you options of running all over the place.

"Bristol is one of my favorites -- it always has been -- and another top-five is really good. Bristol's been a good racetrack for me -- especially in the trucks -- and this new configuration is all about racing, at least I think so because it gives you options to move around."

Connor, who said getting a full-time pit crew in-house so the entire squad could regularly practice was just one priority of his. And he chuckled on Bristol's pit road as he looked at Sauter's No, 98 Tundra, which was immaculate except for a minor scuff on the right-front fender.

"It figures that the last couple of races that I've been (with ThorSport) the trucks had excellent bodies on them -- you could take them anywhere that you wanted to go race," said Connor, who joined the team, as an observer, at Pocono in July. "And they both ended up all torn to hell -- completely destroyed.

"Now this truck, the body's not quite in the configuration we want -- it's ready for a new body -- so it figures it would come out of (Bristol) without a scratch on it. But it's not a total loss because at least now we have a good, solid backup truck, which we didn't have before."

The series now heads to the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course in Bowmanville, Ontario. The race on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend will be the first NCWTS road race in 13 years, since the series last raced at Watkins Glen in 2000. 
 
Thorsport PR

Matt Crafton had a shot to score a breakthrough NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway in Wednesday night's 16th UNOH 200, but after a typically spectacular Bristol finish, Crafton was relieved to come home 10th.

Crafton's crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner and his crew turned a No. 88 Great Lakes Wood Floors / Menards Toyota that wasn't very good in the day's opening practice, where it ran 19th, into a Tundra that qualified sixth and ran in the top five for virtually the entire race.

In the end, Crafton's aggressive run to 10th enabled him to remain the only Truck Series driver that's scored a top-10 finish in all 13 races this season. But Crafton's championship lead did shrink slightly, to 49 points over defending series champion James Buescher, who finished seventh and jumped over Jeb Burton in the standings in the process.

But Crafton's finish could've easily been a lot worse, as he knew Bristol could produce.

"All in all, not a bad day," Crafton said. "I was absolutely concerned about losing points at Bristol. Every week we have to play defense. You're thinking about (points) and it's in the back of your mind, let's put it that way.

"We just have to keep doing what we're doing each and every week. This Menards Toyota Tundra ran in the top-five all day until that last deal. We had a really good truck."

The unpredictable finish, which saw Kyle Busch complete a big comeback by nosing out Timothy Peters, was set up when Jeff Agnew crashed on the frontstretch, bringing out a caution with 21 laps remaining.

That brought on a classic late-race conundrum -- to pit or not to pit?

"The 17 (Peters) was in a tougher spot than us (as the leader) -- but it doesn't get any tougher than that," Joiner said, smiling through his disappointment. "I figured, we had only lost three tenths (of a second on lap times) on a long green-flag run and I figured when the tires cooled-off (under caution) we'd be good enough to fight those guys (on new tires) off, for 10-12 laps.

"I couldn't see taking two tires because our truck hasn't been good on two tires all year and if we'd have taken four (tires) we probably would've come out of the pits last of the 12 (trucks on the lead lap) -- so the results would have been similar."

Crafton and Peters, the leader, stayed out but when the green flew with 12 laps left, neither Crafton's nor Peters' trucks took off because they were low on fuel -- a problem on Bristol's high-banked track.

"The fuel deal was a surprise -- we were good until lap 210," Joiner said. "But what happens here -- you don't run out of fuel -- but there's so much banking here that the fuel runs away from the pickup and you can't keep it fed. It's happened before and I'm sure it'll happen again, someday to somebody.

"We've just got to move on and keep digging, because we had a good truck. We ran top-five all day and I thought we legitimately had a truck that had a shot to win, at the end if that fuel deal hadn't happened."

The caution immediately flew as trucks scattered, with Brad Keselowski spinning on the frontstretch. Crafton came to pit road for fuel and four tires and when everything was cleaned up and re-aligned, the final green flag waved with seven laps left.

Crafton restarted 12th and raced up as high as eighth, nudging aside Joey Coulter -- who had smashed into the side of Crafton's truck late in last month's Eldora Speedway dirt race -- for a spot.

Crafton was unapologetic about what happened while Coulter, who finished 11th. Coulter, speaking to a Toyota representative, acknowledged he and Crafton had tangled recently and said "I'm sure we'll work it out."

"It's Bristol, what else can we say?" Crafton said. "It's like the dirt race. I think people have short-term memories. People use each other up at the dirt race and you go into the last lap at a short track and like I said, I didn't wreck (Coulter).

"He used me up at the dirt race and I ran into the back of him a little bit (at Bristol). I had four fresh tires and I thought I had to go and I knew that I needed to go somewhere."

Crafton knew the main reason for his 10th-place run, and his consistent finishing string.

It's just about having good people," Crafton said. "I've got great people, great trucks each and every week.When we're off -- like we almost got lapped at Martinsville and made some really good adjustments on the truck and came back and finished second...

"That's the difference from last year and previous years -- we've been able to work on our trucks and make them so much better throughout a race. It's just all about the guys."


The series now heads to the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course in Bowmanville, Ontario. The race on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend will be the first NCWTS road race in 13 years, since the series last raced at Watkins Glen in 2000.

 

Thorsport PR

John Wes Townley came to Bristol Motor Speedway with high hopes after a career best finish last week at Michigan International Speedway. While the UNOH 200 turned out to be less than desired for Townley and the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra team, he managed to demonstrate his ability to drive under difficult conditions. Townley qualified in the 22nd position and managed to pick off one truck at a time.

Townley raced his way into the top-15 and was racing in the 12th position when he spun coming out of turn four sustaining a fair amount of damage to his Tundra. The Zaxby's team secured the Tundra to get back out on track and finish 30th.

 

John Wes Townley talks about the race at Bristol Motor Speedway:

"It's very frustrating because our finish does not show what our Zaxby's Toyota Tundra was capable of. We had a great truck tonight and were making really great strides. The guys did a great job to get us back out on track but unfortunately there is no way to recover all the laps we lost doing the repairs."

 

RHR PR

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