Speedway Digest Staff
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Parker Kligerman ran just inside the top 20 during the first half of the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway as he battled a loose-handling Camry. The handling of the No. 77 Toyota improved with each adjustment that crew chief Eric Phillips made over the course of the first three pit stops and as the race moved into the second half Kligerman began surging through the field. The talented youngster took the lap-180 restart from the 19th spot and just 10 laps later was battling for the 10th position when an electrical issue ended his night and relegated him to a 36th-place finish.
"I felt something strange in the left front just before the last restart and then about 10 laps into the run -- just as I was about to break into the top 10 -- a small fire broke out on the left side of the dash," Kligerman said. "My first reaction was to get to pit road, but I was on the outside lane and couldn't get down. By the time there was an opening to the bottom lane the fire had diminished, so I decided to continue on. It flickered on and off over the course of the next 20 laps and then all of a sudden the car just shut off. It's disappointing, we struggled a little bit early in the race but Eric Phillips made some good adjustments and our No. 77 Camry really came to life that last run. We've had a tough last couple of months, but nobody on this team is going to give up. We had a strong run at Chicago earlier this season and we'll head there next week confident that we can have another one."
The day got off to a promising start as Kligerman paced the lone practice session with a lap of 21.63 seconds. The No. 77 team was confident of earning a top-10 starting position, but Kligerman reported that his Camry was "a little too tight" and ended the qualifying session with the 12th best time.
By the time the field had made 10 green-flag laps, the Connecticut native had fallen outside the top 15. He was scored in the 17th position when the first caution of the race occurred on lap 17. While the field was slowed, Kligerman communicated to Phillips that his Toyota was "really loose everywhere." With track position being important on the .75-mile tri-oval, Phillips elected to keep his driver on the track.
During the next green-flag run, the handling of the No. 77 worsened and the team fell just outside the top-20. Kligerman this time reported, "wrecking loose and no drive off." A debris caution on lap 67 would allow the team to make their first adjustments of the night. When pit road opened, the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop, inserting a spring rubber and making wedge and track bar adjustments in the process.
Kligerman took the lap-73 restart from the 21st position and quickly worked his way back inside the top 20. During the lengthy green-flag run he reported, "better all the way through, especially as the run continues." He had maneuvered his way up to the 17th spot when a one-car spin slowed the field for the third time.
After visiting pit road for four fresh tires and a full tank of fuel, the No. 77 Camry restarted from the 14th spot when the field went back green on lap 138. Kligerman got stuck behind a slower car on the outside lane for the restart and by the time he was able to work into the inside land had subsided to the 19th position. He was scored 20th when debris on the track brought out the fourth caution of the night.
Phillips summoned his young driver to pit road where the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop with a wedge adjustment. Kligerman took the lap 180 restart from the 19th spot, but the latest adjustment had made major improvements to the handling of his Camry and he began his march towards the front. After advancing up to the 11th spot, the electrical issue slowed his progress and he subsided to the 18th position. He ran around in the 18th spot for 30 laps hoping that the issue would disappear, but on lap 210 his Camry shut off and he ended the race in the garage.
Brad Keselwoski picked up his fifth Nationwide Series victory in 2013 and the 25th of his career. Brian Scott, who led the first 239 laps, finished 1.946 seconds behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot. Regan Smith finished third, Kyle Busch fourth and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were seven caution periods totaling 35 laps. Keselowski's late pass of Scott was the only lead change of the night. Kligerman was one of six drivers who failed to finish the 250-lap event.
Kligerman remains 10th in the Nationwide Series championship standings with 25 of 33 races complete, 148 points behind series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 fell one position in the owner's championship standings to 14th, 262 points behind the series-leading No. 22 team.
Kligerman and his No. 77 Toyota Racing team head to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Sept. 14 for the Dollar General 300. Live television coverage of Saturday's 200-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.
It has been a stellar season so far for NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Larson and his No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team, as they've racked up seven top-five finishes, including two runner-up finishes, and 14 top 10s. However, Larson and his SNICKERS Bites team struggled at Richmond International Raceway (RIR), battling a loose race car throughout the 250-lap race and finishing in the 14th position in the Virginia529 College Savings 250.
Larson started his long day at RIR by laying down the fourth-fastest time in the lone practice session on Friday morning. Despite running a quick lap early in the session, Larson wasn't happy with his No. 32 SNICKERS Bites Chevrolet, and his TSM crew worked during and after the two-and-a-half hour practice session to find a setup that was more agreeable. He went out late in qualifying on Friday afternoon and placed the SNICKERS Bites Chevy Camaro 18th on the starting grid.
Following the drop of the green flag, Larson remained in the 18th position when the first caution was displayed on lap 15. Larson radioed crew chief Trent Owens to say that his SNICKERS Bites Chevy felt "pretty good," and Owens had Larson remain on the track. After the race went back to green on lap 20, Larson started to work his way forward, taking over the 15th spot on lap 29. The 21-year-old remained in the top 15 until lap 59 when he fell back a position and radioed that he was starting to lose grip. When the second caution was displayed a few laps later, Larson explained that his car had gotten loose and Owens called his driver into the pits for four tires, fuel and adjustments to his No. 32 SNICKERS Bites machine.
After a solid pit stop by his TSM pit crew, Larson restarted in 14th on lap 74. After a few laps around the track, Larson told his team that his No. 32 was still really loose, prompting them to worry that he may have a tire going down. However, Larson was able to remain on the track and raced in the 15th position. The Elk Grove, Calif. native slipped back to 17th just before the caution flag waved for the third time on lap 132. After explaining that his No. 32 SNICKERS Bites Chevy was loose into and off of the corners, but good in the center, Owens brought Larson back to pit road for four tires, fuel and wedge and air-pressure adjustments. Larson restarted in 16th on lap 139 and was scored in 18th when the caution came out again on lap 172.
Larson returned to pit road for four tires, fuel and another adjustment to tighten up his car, restarting in 18th with 70 laps to go. After initially falling back to 20th, Larson began to work his way forward, taking over the 16th spot on lap 205. He was running in 14th when the caution was displayed again on lap 229 and he came in for his final pit stop, with Owens calling for four tires, fuel and a final adjustment. Larson had two strong restarts, moving from 15th to 12th and 12th to 10th before the final caution waved on lap 240. Restarting 10th with just a handful of laps to go, Larson moved up to ninth before getting shuffled back to 14th when the checkered flag flew.
"My Turner Scott Motorsports team and I had a tough night," said Larson. "We never really got the balance right, and I was loose throughout most of the race. Towards the end, we started to move forward and I thought we might end up with a good finish, but we just got shuffled back on the last restart. There hasn't been many times this year that my team and I have been off, so I know we can go to Chicago and have a better run in the SNICKERS Bites Chevrolet."
The NNS returns to Chicagoland Speedway for the Dollar General 300, powered by Coca Cola, on Saturday, September 14. The race will be broadcast on ESPN2, with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT. You can also listen to the race live on MRN Radio or SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
* Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Brian Scott), 12th (Austin Dillon) and 16th (Ty Dillon).
* Dillon is second in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Sam Hornish, Jr. by 16 points, while Scott is seventh in the standings, 61 points behind the leader.
* The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks fourth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 2 team ninth in the standings and the No. 33 team 12th.
* According to NASCAR's Post Race Loop Data Statistics, Scott led the field in Average Running Position (1.064), Driver Rating (144.9), Fastest Drivers Early in a Run (119.795 mph), Fastest Laps Run (57), Fastest on Restarts (119.553 mph), Green Flag Speed (116.563 mph) and Laps Led (239).
* A. Dillon was the seventh-Fastest Driver Early in a Run and posted the Fastest Lap for four circuits.
* T. Dillon made 35 Green Flag Passes.
* Brad Keselowski earned his fifth Nationwide Series victory of the 2013 season and was followed to the finish line by Scott, Regan Smith, Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne.
* The next Nationwide Series race is the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 14. The 26th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio channel 90.
Brian Scott Finishes Second at Richmond International Raceway After Dominating Performance
Brian Scott dominated the Virginia 529 College Savings 300 at Richmond International Raceway by leading 239 laps, but settled for a second-place finish after losing the lead during a restart following a late-race caution. The Boise, Idaho-native claimed his second career NASCAR Nationwide Series pole to start from the prime position. In the opening portion of the event. Scott reported that he was fighting a tight condition through the center of the corner, but still led the way. The evening's first caution flag flew on lap 66, which allowed crew chief Phil Gould to bring Scott to pit road for routine service, along with a chassis adjustment. Scott continued to lead despite occasional challenges for the lead by the No. 18. The caution flag was displayed on lap 235, setting up a sprint to the finish with 11 laps remaining. Scott was beat to the line on the ensuing start by the No. 22, thus sliding into the second spot for the first time in the event. A second caution flag and subsequent restart with five laps remaining provided Scott with one additional opportunity to regain the lead. However, he ended up sliding into the third spot on the restart, but battled back to receive the checkered flag in second place.
Start - 1 Laps Led - 239 Finish - 2 Points - 7th
BRIAN SCOTT QUOTE:
"Our Shore Lodge Camaro was amazing; I have to thank everyone at Richard Childress Racing and Nationwide Insurance. It's a real honor to race in the 1,000th Nationwide race. That was cool and we just had a great car. Unfortunately on the second-to-last restart we were beat to the line and I was a little upset about that call. On the final restart the leader went early, which never gave us the chance to put on the race for the fans at the end. I'm proud of Phil Gould (Crew Chief) and this No. 2 team, we'll have to go get it in Chicago next week."
Austin Dillon earned a 12th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series' 1000th race on Friday night at Richmond International Raceway. Dillon started Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet from the third spot, but lost track position early in the event as he struggled with a tight-handling condition in the middle of the corners and a lack of forward drive. When the caution flag was displayed on lap 66, crew chief Danny Stockman directed his driver down pit road so the RCR team could change tires, add fuel and work on the handling of the Camaro through a series of chassis adjustments. Dillon restarted from the ninth spot when green-flag racing resumed on lap 73, but continued to experience handling issues during the ensuing run. The pit crew made sweeping changes during caution periods on laps 135 and 174, but to no avail. He was able to climb up to fifth in the running order following a lap 180 restart, but lost track position during the final stages of the race during a series of late-race restarts, ultimately securing a 12th-place finish.
Start - 3 Finish - 12 Laps Led - 0 Points - 2nd
Ty Dillon Finishes 16th Under the Lights at Richmond International Raceway
Ty Dillon and the No. 33 Armour Vienna Sausages Chevrolet team finished 16th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night. After starting the 250-lap affair from the 19th spot, Dillon reported a tight-handling condition in the center of the turns and loose on exit. The Ernie Cope-led team utilized caution flag periods to service the blue and yellow machine with four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to alleviate Dillon's handling issues. The Welcome, N.C., driver was scored in the 14th position prior to making his first pit stop of the race when the caution flag was displayed on lap 66. On the lap 72 restart, Dillon restarted 13th but quickly jumped to 10th. He continued his trek into the top 10 and was scored seventh on lap 138. During the ensuing green flag run, the handling issues facing Dillon returned causing him to slip to 16th in the running order. With minimal laps remaining in the event, Dillon was unable to retrieve track position and ultimately finished 16th.
Start-19 Finish-16 Laps Led-0 Owners Points- 12th
TY DILLON QUOTE:
"That was a lot of fun. The Armour Vienna Sausages team worked really hard today. We had a fast car in the middle of the race when we got the handling dialed in, but there at the end I got tight in the center of the corners. I wish we could have finished in the top 10. We definitely had a better car than the result we got."
Landon Cassill motored through a late-race crash and scored a 23rd-place finish in Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Cassill, driving the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 4 Chevrolet, was shooting for a top-15 run with 10 laps to go when he became ensnarled in the middle of a crash with Travis Pastrana and Johanna Long. Cassill spun out in the second turn after contact with both Pastrana and Long but corrected his car and finished the race, one lap down.
“We could have gotten a better finish out of it if not for that situation,” Cassill said. “It was just tight competition late in the race with everybody going for the next spot. We got crowded up in the turn, and that was the result.”
Brad Keselowski won the race by leading the final 11 laps after Nationwide Series regular Brian Scott had led the first 239 laps.
The series will race at Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 14.
JD Motorsports PR
In a relatively short race slowed by seven cautions, including some for multi-car accidents, Mike Wallace maneuvered through the trouble and brought home a 24th-place finish in the Iron Source 01 Chevrolet in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Friday night at Richmond International Raceway.
Wallace started 31st in the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller car and picked off positions to move into the mid-20s. He finished one spot behind teammate Landon Cassill.
“We got the car a little better after the start but weren’t able to move forward as much as I would have liked after that,” Wallace said. “It was difficult to pass, maybe more so than normal at this track. We’ll move on from here.”
Wallace stayed 17th in Nationwide driver points.
Brad Keselowski won the race by leading the final 11 laps after Nationwide Series regular Brian Scott had led the first 239 laps.
The series will race at Chicagoland Speedway Sept. 14.
JD Motorsport PR
On a cool late summer night, at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Kyle Busch posted his 16th top-five finish in 19 races this year, with the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy team. Busch and crew fought an ill-handling race car all day, from practice early Friday morning when they paced the field 21st quick, through qualifying that afternoon where he secured a seventh-place starting spot with a 21.857 second lap at 123.530 mph. In the main event, Busch raced as high as second-place at one point, but bounced among the top-10 most of the night, to bring home the black and green machine in seventh place.
Upon taking the green flag Busch immediately began giving his crew feedback on the car’s handling. “I’m tight in the center, have no rear lateral and it isn’t turning in the front,” described the Las Vegas native who has already chalked up nine wins this season with this No. 54 JGR team. The team spotter Tony Hirschman quickly noticed the Toyota was also showing more front brake ‘glow’ than other teams – something they would keep an eye on through the race.
Lap 14 displayed the first of seven caution periods for the event and the team elected to remain on track, foregoing a pit road visit. The car balance started to become unbearable, however, for the series champion hoping to turn his night around for a good result in the 1,000th NASCAR Nationwide Series event. By lap 69 the team took the opportunity to pit under another event yellow flag and crew chief Adam Stevens elected to take a swing at the car’s track bar setting. The crew quickly replenished Sunoco fuel and Goodyear tires, as well as made the chassis adjustment, to settle down the No. 54’s handling.
The crew examined their Goodyear tires upon completion of the pit road visit and found a great deal of brake dust on the wheels, but nothing that cautioned them.
After the subsequent race restart, on lap 73 from the sixth position, Busch relayed more positive feedback to his team, “Whatever you did on rear lateral was good, keep working it, just make sure I can still turn.” Over halfway to go in the race, and during another event caution period, Busch brought his Camry to pit road from the fifth-place spot to receive further track bar adjustments along with tires and fuel. “We are on the edge of our pit window,” claimed Stevens. He relayed, “Save fuel please where you can under caution.”
During the next portion of the race Busch exhibited fast lap times, battled for the third-place position and achieved it. After another pit road visit with air-pressure adjustments made to the tires and more fuel given, the No. 54 team worked its way to the second-place spot on lap 180, what would end up being their highest position of the night. While the move from third-place to second-place was good for the No. 54 team, Busch’s maneuver caused JGR teammate Matt Kenseth’s No. 18 car to move out of line. Busch apologized over the radio, “I’m sorry if I messed up the No. 18. I feel bad.”
While it appeared the Monster Energy team could end up salvaging a good finish, perhaps the win, their fate was ultimately sealed when two subsequent yellow-flag cautions provided green-flag restarts, that jumbled up the field, with a negative effect on the No. 54. Stuck behind slower cars, then forced to attempt progress in the outside lane, Busch worked hard to improve his position, but came up short in the end. The JGR team completed the short-track event in the fourth-place spot, their 17th top-five finish of the season. Victory evaded the team this week, but they are encouraged to try again over eight remaining weeks.
Busch didn’t have much to say post-race commenting, “We weren’t good today. Have some work to do these last few weeks.”
Brad Keselowski won the Richmond event, his 25th victory in 201 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. Brian Scott led a race-high 239 of 250 laps but finished in second place, while Regan Smith, Busch and Trevor Bayne completed the top-five finishers. There were seven caution periods for 35 laps of the race along with one lead change among two drivers.
The No. 54 Camry owned by J.D. Gibbs remains second in the Owner’s Point standings, now 18 points from the lead.
The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the Dollar General 300 presented by Coca Cola on Saturday, September 14th at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway with the race television broadcast starting at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Busch will make his 20th start of the season behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.
In response to above-averages temperatures forecast for the weekend, Iowa Speedway officials announced today that the track’s beverage policy will be modified to allow patrons to bring in one sealed plastic bottle of water containing a maximum of 20 ounces during this weekend’s events at the Newton facility.
Iowa Speedway PR
Sauter's average finish in six Truck Series starts on the .875-mile oval is fifth, second only to ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton's 4.7 average. Sauter buttresses that with a 5.7 average start so it's easy to see why he's anxious for his No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota to be unloaded Saturday.
"Iowa's a short track, we all grew up racing on short tracks but it's a place that I've particularly thrived on," Sauter said. "Timing is everything and after we thought we had our season turned around back at Bristol, we went to Canada.
"But the great thing about my crew chief, Dennis Connor and my team is we never give up -- no matter how heartbreaking some of the racing luck we've had this season has been. That's why I'm glad we're in Iowa this weekend."
Sauter's five-race career record at Iowa was superlative when the series arrived for its July night race. Sauter had five consecutive top-five finishes at Iowa before he had a tire go down and send him into the wall midway through the most recent race. The fact that Sauter came back to finish 11th with a wounded Tundra has his spirits up.
"Since Dennis has come on board we've had great trucks," Sauter said. "That's got me fired-up about this weekend."
Sauter's still in a position to make a step toward getting back into the top-five in the standings. He's currently 10th, 39 points out of fifth and 107 behind series-leader Crafton.
There will be a single Truck Series practice on Saturday, from 11 a.m. - 1:20 p.m. CT. A public autograph session featuring Truck Series drivers is scheduled in the infield fan zone from 4:15-5 p.m. Coors Light Pole Qualifying to set the starting lineup is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
The 200-lap, 175-mile Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland will be telecast live on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. CT, preceded at 12:30 p.m. by The Setup pre-race show. MRN Radio's live broadcast begins at 1. Live timing & scoring is available at www.nascar.com.
Last weekend's Chevrolet Silverado 250, the Truck Series' first road race in 13 years and the inaugural event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, was a tough pill for Sauter and his team to swallow.
A baffling issue that primarily affected the fuel system last Sunday ended Sauter's race before it really got started, ultimately resulting in Sauter's second DNF of the season.
After several long pit stops -- the first of which came shortly after the 10-lap mark, though the problem was apparent when Sauter made his first pit stop, timed perfectly as the race's first caution flew at lap six -- Sauter was scored 28th in the final rundown.
"Unbelieveable -- I don't know what else can happen to us this season," Sauter said. "I hate if we ruined anyone's day by bringing out that last caution but there was nothing we could do. We were just trying to make something out of a strange day."
Sauter's truck's indecipherable condition, which the team was unable to diagnose in the first day back at the shop, before they had to set it aside to concentrate on the Iowa truck, caused it to stop on the racetrack several times, before quickly refiring.
Once, it caused a local yellow on the backstretch when the truck momentarily stopped, then refired and continued. And that's what happened in the closing laps, which was enough to bring out a caution and set up a mayhem-filled last lap that enabled Sauter's ThorSport Racing teammate Crafton to grab a 10th-place finish.
After the race, it had Connor beside himself.
"We worked so hard on it all day long to try to identify the problem so it never catches us again, but unfortunately we were unable to do so."
Sauter had improved his performance on high speed and technical road course over two days of practice, but that didn't make he or Connor feel any better.
"The frustrating thing is, we practiced for two days and ran two complete cells of fuel out of the truck and had no problem whatsoever," Connor said. "And then the race starts (Sunday) and we don't even run six laps and we're having conditions like we're out of fuel. We weren't out of fuel but we weren't picking up any fuel so it's frustrating."
It was the latest case of what could have been for Sauter and his team.
"I think we had a pretty good truck and we would have had a good finish if we hadn't had that problem," Connor said. "But I can't say it's anything that anybody did wrong -- it's just one of those things that gets you, and we'll have to find out exactly what it was and come back stronger next week."