Speedway Digest Staff
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Ryan Reed is set to return to Richmond International Raceway in the No. 16 Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ Roush Fenway Ford Mustang Friday, September 6, 2013. Reed made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut with Roush Fenway Racing in April posting a solid 16th-place finish on the ¾-mile Richmond, Virginia racetrack. The young driver advanced the No. 16 Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ Ford Mustang to the sixth position and was battling for fifth with just 10-laps remaining when he was involved in an on-track exchange– relegating the team to a 16th-place finish.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Richmond,” Reed said. “We had a great run there in the spring and this time I’d really like to get that top-10 finish for this Roush Fenway team. It is much easier as a driver to come back to a place you have driven prior, as the experience factor does pay off. Richmond is an awesome track and looking forward to putting on a good show for the American Diabetes Association guests and all the fans Friday night.”
Reed will continue to support the American Diabetes Association’s “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” campaign at Richmond International Raceway. Encouraging supporters to submit a personal image to the Association’s Facebook mosaic representing what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means to them. Reed will showcase the mosaic on the No. 16 Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang at Phoenix International Raceway November 9th, 2013 during American Diabetes Month. The Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ cars will feature 18,000 photos including a race simulator that will be onsite at PIR.
The Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ campaign features awareness and educational efforts at NASCAR Nationwide race events, as well as off-track health and wellness initiatives across the country throughout the year.
As part of the effort, Reed will compete at Richmond International Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway NASCAR Nationwide Series race events for Roush Fenway Racing, driving the No. 16 Ford Mustang which features a Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ paint scheme.
The Virginia College Savings 250 is slated to begin Friday, September 6, 2013 at 7:30pm and will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 7:00pm ET.
For details on the American Diabetes Association’s A Day in the Life of Diabetes, visit http://diabetesstopshere.org/2013/06/12/catching-up-with-mosaic/
To view the mosaic itself, visit www.DiabetesMosaic.org.
Ryan Reed PR
For the third week in a row the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will compete under the lights. The night race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway is always a contender for one of the most exciting night races of the season and Michael Annett and the No. 43 Flying J Travel Plaza Ford team are hoping they can make it their best run of the year.
Annett has eight starts at the .75-mile track with one top-five and two top-10 finishes. His best finish of fifth came in the fall of last year and his average finish at the Virginia track is 18.1.
In Richard Petty Motorsports' two short years in the NNS, they have earned one top-five and three top-10 finishes in three starts. The team hopes to continue that streak this weekend.
Fans can ask Annett their questions at the Ford Display on Friday, September 6th from 12:30 - 12:45 p.m. ET. Also, he will be signing autographs during the NNS Autograph session, located at the Amphitheater behind the frontstretch grandstands on Friday from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET.
Comments from the No. 43 Flying J Travel Plaza Ford Mustang driver Michael Annett:
"I didn't get a chance to race at Richmond in April, so I'm really looking forward to racing there this weekend. Our short track program has been pretty good this year and we feel that we can have another strong car this weekend. We have a streak of top-10 finishes at this track and we really want to continue that this weekend. That's an immediate goal.
"Looking at the past month, we still haven't been able to put together the finishes that we deserve. Some of it has been bad racing luck and other times we're just working hard on our cars. The highlights since coming back for me have been the short tracks. We are still strong here and I feel that we can have a good run this weekend."
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Richmond:
"We need to make sure the car has good forward bite all night long; cars tend get getting looser there as the race goes on. We have to be careful about how we practice during the day versus running at night. We have good notes and we've run well there in the past so I think we have a good idea of what to do. Any time we go to a short track I expect a top-10, if not better."
On a streak of three top-15 finishes, Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 DEWALT Ford team expect to continue to run up front this weekend at the Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Ambrose and the No. 9 team have turned a corner in the past three races with finishes of sixth, eighth and 13th. The team just missed finishing in the top-10 at Atlanta after running third late in the race.
Ambrose heads into Richmond with nine starts at the Virginia track and has posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes. In April, the No. 9 team showed they were strong before an engine failure ended their day early. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer has seven starts at the .75-mile track. He tallied two top-five and three top-10 finishes in those starts.
Comments from DEWALT Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:
"I've been really proud of our Richard Petty Motorsports team the past month. It just seems that we're working really well together, and we're making the most of our races. We've been really strong on race day, and even if we don't have the best car, we are still in position to race up front. That's really made a difference and where we are seeing the good results.
"I think it has given everyone a lot of confidence and is making us stronger as we go into the final 11 weeks. We just seem to be getting better, and it's making me feel good behind the wheel. We wish we had these results earlier in the year, but that's a part of racing. We had to let some bad luck get behind us, and now, we're really starting to show some strength.
"We still have some work to do to get better, but Richard Petty Motorsports is getting stronger. This year has been another step moving in the right direction for us. We just need to concentrate on the end of the year. We want to get a win really bad. We're getting closer."
Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on Atlanta:
"We have significantly improved our finishes the past few weeks. I'm excited to race a new chassis. We have been working on it, and I can't wait to see how it races. Our DEWALT team is pretty strong right now, and we're looking forward to this race."
Heading into Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Aric Almirola is looking to turn his momentum around and post a top-10 finish in the No. 43 Gwaltney Ford. The team's finishes the last few weeks are not what they expect, and they are working diligently to get back to posting top-10 results.
Almirola has three starts at the .75-mile track. In April, he posted an eighth-place finish during the team's top-10 streak. Veteran Crew Chief Todd Parrott has sat atop the box for 33 races at the Virginia track and has scored two wins with Dale Jarrett in 1997 and 1999. Also in those 33 starts, he finished in the top-five nine times and the top-10 11 times.
Comments from Gwaltney Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:
"There is a lot of stuff on the line at Richmond. Unfortunately we are outside of the Chase, but we are still going to try to run as well as we can - maybe even spoil the event and get a win. We have to get back on track. We are capable of finishing up front but have struggled the past few weeks. With the Chase out of the picture, we are going to focus on winning and racing up front and not worry as much about the points.
"The fun thing about Richmond is that the tires fall off really bad. You get slipping and sliding around, and forward drive is really important. That's the one race track we go to that you wish you didn't have 900 horsepower. Halfway through a tire run, we literally can spin the tires at the flag stand. That just becomes a huge challenge. It's a fun racetrack to race at. You really have to focus on your setup there and get it right."
Comments from Gwaltney Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:
"We got a top-10 the last time we were at Richmond and our first race at the track with the Gen-6 car. We've come a long way since then, so I expect that we can run up front this weekend. We didn't make the Chase, so that will allow us to just focus on getting better and getting a win this season."
Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team finished 27th at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 1. Kvapil overcame starting from the rear of the field for an engine change, to race through the pack and bring home another solid top-30 finish.
NASCAR's unofficial Labor Day classic, one of only two races of the season scheduled on a Sunday evening, moved to the fast Atlanta Motor Speedway a few years ago. With only one race remaining until the cut-off for the Sprint Cup Series "Race for the Chase," tempers usually flare throughout the weekend, just like the summer Georgia heat. Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper crew had a clean race on Sunday night, surviving an event that many did not, to record a solid 27th-place finish.
The weekend kicked off with a practice session and qualifying on Friday afternoon, followed by two practices on Saturday. Kvapil's No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team found a problem with their motor on Friday, which left the team to switch out the engine before going on track for Saturday's two practice sessions. With a new engine in place, the BK Racing team made 40 practice laps on Saturday afternoon to prepare for Sunday's race.
Kvapil dropped to the rear of the field for the start of the Advocare 500, but didn't stay there for long. By lap 40, Kvapil had already broken in to the top 30 and was looking to pick up more positions on the track. As the race progressed, there were several long green-flag runs, which made the changing track conditions appear even more dramatic as the cars burned off their fresh tires and fuel. Kvapil's car became free on exit and while the BK Racing team made adjustments with each stop to improve on the balance of their racecar, they weren't able to get ahead of the changing track conditions.
Several of the championship point front-runners were involved in accidents throughout the night, but Kvapil was able to keep the nose of his racecar clean and finish the event without incident. By the time the checkered flag waved, Kvapil was scored in the 27th position.
"Thankfully we had an uneventful night," commented Kvapil. "The balance of our No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry got a little bit ahead of us as the night progressed, but the guys did a great job making changes and our car improved with every pit stop. I'm thankful that we were able to have a clean race and bring the car home in one piece. We planned to race this racecar in a few weeks at Dover, so we're happy to not have to make any repairs. We're headed back to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway this coming weekend. We had a broken axel there in the spring race, but I felt like we made a lot of gains throughout that race weekend. We recently participated in the Richmond test and made some headway, so I'm looking forward to getting there with our No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry."
BK Racing PR
David Reutimann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team finished in the 32nd position at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 1. During the 500-mile race over Labor Day weekend, the BK Racing team endured adjustment issues early in the event that affected the balance of their car throughout the majority of the night.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series only races on a Sunday night twice a year-once to kick off summer over Memorial Day weekend, and once to bring summer to a close over Labor Day weekend. Historically held at the legendary Darlington Raceway, NASCAR's Labor Day race moved to the fast Atlanta Motor Speedway a few years ago. Since then, teams have endured the strong Georgia heat during one of the last official weekends of summer. Reutimann and his No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team started off their weekend with a solid racecar. Completing nearly 60 laps in practice, the team ranked as high as 31st on the practice charts and went on to secure the 34th starting position for Sunday's race.
Reutimann's car started off the Advocare 500 strong, and the driver moved into the top 25 within the opening 40 laps of the race. In a race that is typically tough on equipment, Reutimann would soon experience some hardship of his own. The team was utilizing a specific rear spring and rubber setup to help Reutimann navigate the turns. However, by lap 60, that setup failed, lowering the rear of the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry. With less air on the spoiler, Reutimann's Camry became excessively free making it difficult to navigate the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
With nearly 200 laps remaining, the BK Racing team utilized each pit stop to work on their car and improve the balance. However, with the track continually changing as the temperatures cooled, the Burger King / Dr. Pepper team was never able to get ahead of the track to have their car handling exactly as Reutimann needed. Reutimann skillfully avoided all of the on-track incidents and crossed the finish line in the 32nd position.
"It was a long night for our No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper team tonight," commented Reutimann. "We had a really strong car at the beginning of the race--we were able to race through the field and pick up positions. However, when we had the failure with our rear spring and rubber set up, it just put us behind the eight ball. We tried to adjust on the car to improve the balance, but with the track changing as much as it does throughout the course of the race here, it's hard to get back ahead of the changes once you fall behind. We had another strong car that was capable of probably a top-20 finish. We'll get back at it next week at Richmond International Speedway, and hopefully we'll be able to bring home a strong finish there."
BK Racing PR
It is pretty simple, really. Win and Jeff Gordon is in.
Heading into race No. 26 at Richmond International Raceway, Gordon is 11th in the point standings, six markers behind 10th. Following Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400, the top 10 in the standings plus two wildcard spots - based on most wins for drivers ranked 11th through 20th - will comprise the 2013 "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" field. There are numerous scenarios where Gordon earns a berth, but a victory guarantees at least a wildcard spot.
"Winning is our goal this weekend - it's what we want to do every weekend," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. "Through practice, during qualifying and during the race, we're doing every thing we possibly can to win.
"I've said all along that I think [Chase berths] will come down to the last lap at Richmond, and we're going to battle all the way to that checkered flag to try and earn one of those spots."
Last year, Gordon entered this race facing a similar challenge - down double the amount of points (12) and needing to erase that deficit to secure the final wildcard spot. After starting second and leading a lap early, Gordon struggled with the handling on his No. 24 Chevrolet and was nearly two laps down with just over 150 laps remaining in the 400-lap event. But Gordon continued to battle and he earned the "free pass" onto the lead lap (awarded to the highest positioned driver scored one or more laps down when a caution flag waves) at lap 275. Less than 40 laps later, Gordon was solidly in the top five and, when all was said and done, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion had secured a hard-earned runner-up finish and the final berth in the 2012 "Chase."
"We missed it early (in the race) last year, but we were able to make some good changes and the car came to life," said Gordon. "This year, I'm hoping we'll be strong from the drop of the green flag all the way to the checkered flag."
In 41 starts at the three-quarter-mile track, Gordon has two wins, five poles, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10's. He also has led 1,415 laps - the most among active drivers. Gordon is hoping a test here a few weeks ago can help improve those numbers.
"We were much better the second day of the test, but we still have a weekend full of hard work ahead of us," said Gordon. "We must focus on our team and getting the most out of the Drive To End Hunger Chevy SS Saturday night and see how things work out after the race ends. Hopefully, we've done enough to earn our spot in this year's title race."
A victory Saturday night ensures that.
Stuart, Florida native Bryan Silas scored his career-best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) on Sunday afternoon.
After dropping to the rear of the field for an unapproved adjustment, Silas, the sophomore full-time NCWTS driver steadily and methodically climbed his way through the field.
Staying on course and posting exceptionally competitive lap times, Silas took the white flag in 13th, but after escaping the last lap-carnage at the front of the field, the 26-year old took the checkered flag in 11th, surpassing his season-best finish of 16th at Michigan International Speedway last month.
Previously, Silas mounted a career-best finish of 12th last October at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after also starting a career-best 15th.
The Floridian partially credits the success at the 10-turn, 2.459-mile track to his prior experience at the track in a road course touring series earlier this summer, plus his most recent NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
“I am so proud of everyone on this T3R2 team,” said Silas. “I love road course racing. It’s a lot of fun. We had a very strong No. 99 Bell Equipment Ford F-Series all weekend long. I made a mistake in qualifying, but promised Gary (Cogswell, crew chief) and the team, I would make it up to them. The track is a lot of fun and it seemed to be a great race for the fans. More importantly, we need to take this finish and build some momentum and have another strong showing at Iowa Speedway on Sunday afternoon.”
The Fan Appreciation 200 from Iowa Speedway is set for Sunday, September 8 with live coverage on Fox Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM Satellite Radio beginning at 1:00 p.m. (Central). Silas will make his fourth career NCWTS start at the 0.875-mile paved oval.
Bryan Silas PR
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, will make his third career start at Iowa Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) during Sunday afternoon's Fan Appreciation 200 Presented by New Holland.
Last year, in Blaney's inaugural NCWTS start at Iowa Speedway, he started second and won after leading over 50 laps. The first ever win in the NCWTS for Blaney, and also a first for the Brad Keselowski Racing organization.
Between the two NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) starts and two NCWTS at Iowa Speedway, Blaney has three top ten's and looking for one more Sunday.
The No. 29 BKR team currently sits seventh in the NCWTS driver points standings, 82 points back from first.
"I always love coming to Iowa. This track is a blast and the people are great. My Cooper Standard team is looking to make up for last weekend as well as the last time we were here at Iowa. I can't wait to get on the track and help put this team back in the championship conversation after Sunday's race." - Ryan Blaney