Trevor Bayne and the No. 16 Fastenal team started very strong in Friday night’s Food City 250 Nationwide Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bayne, working with new crew chief Chad Norris, started in the seventh position and got out of the gates quickly, running in the top- five by the halfway point of the race and threatening the race leaders during an 84 lap green-flag run. Bayne climbed as high as the third position by lap 152, but fought a tight race car that derailed his charge to the front. Bayne pit three times during the race for tires, fuel and minor air pressure and track bar adjustments. Bayne commented he was free on exit of the corners and tight over the bumps on the race track. Bayne still ran lap times consistent with eventual race winner Kyle Busch in stretches, but could not close the gap and was caught up in traffic as the race neared an end. Bayne was scored in 13th-place when the checkered-flag fell. It was a valiant effort by Bayne and the No. 16 Fastenal team. Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished the race in the fourth and 11th position respectively.
“I thought we were going to have a good night when we were driving up through the field there for a while,” said Bayne. “Past the half way point we were up to third and then got up to second and I was thinking it was going to be awesome. Then we kind of fell apart at the end. We got the car too tight and then we had a minor mistake on pit road. We had an easy top-10 going, but with the mistakes we made, it is hard to make up ground, even if you are faster than the guy in front of you. It was a decent day though and the first time working with my new crew chief Chad Norris, who did a good job. Having Fastenal on the car was nice, but it is too bad that one of the cars couldn’t get them to victory lane though.”
Roush Fenway Racing PR
HOT LAPS, FAST TIMES IN 'HOTLANTA': Returning one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR Circuit - Atlanta Motor Speedway, Johnny Sauter finds himself once again at the top of the driver points in the Camping World Truck Series. It is the 10th week out of 17 that the veteran driver has led the points. Sauter has made two appearances in NCWTS at Atlanta, in 2009 and 2010- with his best start at ninth and finish at eighth in 2010. He hopes to improve on the last finish with the team's newest chassis - 39.
DUGGER PLAYS COOL COUNTRY DESPITE THE HEAT: The No. 13 team hosts Curb Recording artist for the weekend - Tim Dugger - both in the pits and on the decklid. Dugger will play the pre-race concerts at both the NCWTS and Cup races in Atlanta and is one of the most promising young Curb artists.
WISCONSIN ROOTS RUN DEEP: Sauter heads to Atlanta after a return to his hometown of Necedah, Wisconsin for the 4th Annual Summerfest Olden Days Car Show on August 27th, sponsored by Sauter Family Racing. The annual festival is hosted by a local school and draws race fans and local supporters from all over Wisconsin.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 13 team will utilize chassis No. 039 this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Built for the 2010 season, this chassis has dominated on performance - with a potential win at Texas Motor Speedway. Its most recent appearance was at Michigan Int'l Speedway, where Sauter was caught in a spin and hit the interior wall. The chassis got a refresh at the Sandusky, Ohio shop and is game-ready for Atlanta.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Sauter drove the No. 13 home to a podium finish after a wild ride at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 24th. He qualified 12th on the grid; then ran much of the race in the fifth to ninth position. With fifteen laps to go, Sauter's fuel maintenance strategy outlasted other teams, as well as driving past competitors to finish just behind winner Kevin Harvick. His second place finish preserved his points lead for the 10th week, by a narrow seven points over James Buescher.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Johnny Sauter
How do you feel going into the race at Atlanta?
"We're starting to bear down on some serious Fall competition, and I know the guys feel it in the shop. They are working really hard, and they busted their butts to get this chassis ready right after Bristol. We all know we can make a championship run here, we've just got to stay clean and make smart decisions all the way around from here on out."
What's the biggest challenge going into Atlanta?
"This is probably the fastest track we've got on the schedule, and it has a tendency to collect even the most veteran of drivers. It's going to be interesting to see how everyone handles the speed, especially if we have a full field. I'm pretty confident we've got what it takes to handle the speed this week."
What's it like to have country stars in your pit?
"My relationship with Mike Curb is special, and it's great that we showcase different Curb recording artists. Tim is very talented - we had him out at the ThorSport grand opening last month, and he blew the house down and wanted to play all day. We actually met at Curb at the Nashville race a few months back when we previewed his new song. I wish him all the success in the world, he shares so many of our roots and values."
How do you feel coming out of Bristol?
"That was a comeback, I'll tell you. It was a testament to the team - it was a pretty phenomenal tire that you can make one stop and get that far. I knew in practice we were good on long runs, just lacking in speed so I had to be patient. It was a good last start and we had it in us, now we kept the point lead and it worked."
Mike Wallace and the No. 01 G&K Services Chevrolet of JD Motorsports had a long and trying day at Bristol Motor Speedway for Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
During the one practice session held during the morning, Wallace and team were shown 40th on the practice chart. They knew they needed to make some massive adjustments to the car for qualifying. But, when that concluded, they were listed as 39th on the scoring chart.
Once the race started under the lights of Bristol, the .533-mile concrete oval wasn’t kind to the St. Louis native. He worked his way forward in short bursts to crack the top-25 for most of the race. However, with the way the car wasn’t handling, he wasn’t able to muster too much of an effort to gain more positions.
Working against them was the race itself as it yielded a mere five caution periods during the 250 circuits towards the checkered flag. With that, a crew chief doesn’t have much aid in figuring a pit strategy to benefit their struggles. The stops for Wallace included chassis and air pressure adjustments to get the car better. After fuel and new tires were placed on the car, Wallace went back out to see what he could do to pick up more positions.
At one point when they were down laps, the decision as to whether or not to take the wave around ensued. The decision to take tires and make more adjustments was made and Wallace returned to action in search of track positions. By the time the checkered flag waved, the good news was the No. 01 Chevrolet of JD Motorsports was still in one piece. The not-so-good news was they were trapped on their own lap with only one other car saddling the team with a 26th-place finish.
He remains 13th in the Driver’s Standings as the NNS heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Saturday race.
Mike Wallace Quotes:
“We just didn’t have a very good weekend on the track. We kept trying and looking to see how we could get better, but when you only have five cautions it doesn’t give you the opportunities to pit like you’re used to at Bristol.”
“One thing I can say about this team is that we never give up trying and we hung in there from the green to the checkered flag. We just need to be better from the beginning of the race weekend.”
“We’ll get ready for Atlanta and give it our best to pick up some more points. I know this team has what it takes to get the job done.”
JD Motorsports PR
After three rough weekends in a row, Blake Koch bounced back at Bristol Motor Speedway with a solid run. After starting near the back, Blake rocketed through the field to a 23rd place finish. Blake was closing in on the No. 15 of Timmy Hill for the Rookie of the Race award in the final laps but came up just a little short. The Daystar.com team was happy with the run and glad to bring a car back to the shop in one piece.
Friday morning practice got the teams spirits up as the Daystar Television Network No. 81 was hooked up. Blake spent most of the 2 hour session in the top-10 on the speed charts before ending the session 16th. Everyone on MacDonald Motorsports was excited for a strong qualifying run but the track changed and Blake’s Dodge got tight. He ended up pushing up the track both laps and having to start the race in 40th position.
The Daystar team proved how fast their race car was as they moved into the top-30 after just 15 laps. Blake used the high line to make passes throughout the race and steadily moved forwards through the field. Blake’s car was one of the fastest on the track with old tires allowing the team to stay out and use the wave around twice during the race. During the late stages, it was going to be a battle for Rookie of the Race with Timmy Hill, as it seems like it always is. The Daystar.com No. 81 was running Hill down during the final 10 circuits but simply ran out of laps. However, everyone on the team was still satisfied with their 23rd place result.
Blake remains 19th in the driver standings but is now just 3 behind Eric McClure. In the owner’s standings, the MacDonald Motorsports No. 81 was able to jump back ahead of the No. 39 to 25th place.
MacDonald Motorsports PR
Richmond International Raceway will host its annual Drive for Life, a Virginia Blood Services blood drive, on Thursday, September 8, from noon to 5 p.m. in the historic Old Dominion Building. Participants should enter the property at Gate 4, off of Laburnum Avenue. Richmond International Raceway’s Drive for Life is a partnership between the track and Virginia Blood Services. Donors may register in advance by logging on to www.vablood.org.
“Richmond International Raceway recognizes the need of blood donation throughout Virginia,” said track president Dennis Bickmeier. “I hope we can rally our fans who are in town for our September 9-10 NASCAR weekend and our Richmond community to help Virginia Blood Services meet their goals. Please join us on September 8 for our fifth Drive for Life blood drive.”
Richmond International Raceway’s Drive for Life has collected more than 400 units of blood during its four-year span.
Richmond International Raceway’s Drive for Life kicks off the “One Last Race to Make The Chase” weekend, September 9-10. In addition to the blood drive, Thursday features the Rockin’ the Raceway Dierks Bentley concert, benefitting the Cullather Brain Tumor and Quality of Life Center at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. Tickets for the concert are $35-$55 and can be purchased online at www.rir.com or by calling 866-455-7223.
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson finished inside the top four during Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. crossed the finish line 16th. Mark Martin was scored with the 38th-place finish.
With the fourth-place finish, Johnson, the five-time defending champion, locks up his spot inside the upcoming Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Gordon lined up his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet from the fourth position and held steady among the leaders for the majority of the race. Gordon led a race-high 206 laps and was in a position to pick up his sixth career victory at the short track when the caution flag was issued with just 87 laps to go. Despite an efficient four-tire stop, Gordon lost spots on pit road and wound up battling Johnson inside the top five on the ensuing restart. Gordon finished third.
“Man, me and Matt (Kenseth) and Jimmie (Johnson) fought for third and fourth position, and we used up a lot of our stuff,” Gordon said. “Brad (Keselowski, race winner) was able to go out there and cruise.
“We just didn’t get it done on the racetrack. We had a great battle, heck of a race car, led a lot of laps. Brad did a great job, and Matt did a great job to hold me off there. We had a great Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, I’m proud of our guys, and I can’t wait to go to Atlanta (Motor Speedway).”
Johnson, who quickly improved from his 13th-starting spot, ran among the top five and led 76 laps early in the race. He maintained his position within the top 10 and battled with Gordon and Kenseth in the closing laps to finish fourth. He is tied with Kyle Busch for first in points, and ranks second currently in the standings.
“We had a very solid night all night long,” Johnson said. “I’m just proud of the effort and the way we’ve been building all season long to get ourselves ready for the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup). We’re getting close.
“Very excited to be locked up there with Kyle (Busch) in the points. We’ll go to these next two (races) and see if we can’t get the W.”
Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/Bristol 50th Anniversary/National Guard Chevrolet, remains ninth in the standings after finishing Saturday’s race in 16th. There are two races before the final field is set for the 2011 Chase. During Saturday’s race, Earnhardt improved from his 22nd starting spot to run inside the top 15 as his team worked out a handling issue on the No. 88 Chevy.
“Well, we struggled all night, really, trying to get a good car,” Earnhardt said. “Trying to get a good car; trying to get the car to drive. We just couldn’t really get a good balance all night. The balance was decent on the car, but we were just slow, we didn’t have enough grip. Just sliding around a whole lot. Thankful to finish where we finished.”
Martin lined up his No. 5 Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in the fifth position, but struggled to maintain that track position. On Lap 360, though, Martin was racing for position when he slipped up the racetrack and made contact with the No. 83. Martin’s No. 5 Chevrolet ricocheted off the infield wall, and his team worked hard to repair the damage. Martin finished 38th and now ranks 19th in the standings. He is 10th in the wild card standings, 77 points outside of 10th-place.
“I just want to thank all my crew guys, they gave me a really good race car tonight,” Martin said. “Our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was better than we looked out there. We got stuck in the field without track position and tried to make our way back through. Unfortunately, when we were making our come back, we got tagged from behind. Once you make contact with that inside wall, it is hard to recover from. Good job by all the guys tonight and we’ll just go on from here.”
Hendrick Motorsports PR
- RCR teammates finished 15th (Jeff Burton), 22nd (Kevin Harvick), 26th (Clint Bowyer) and 30th (Paul Menard).
- Menard has completed each of his nine contested NSCS races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- Menard gained one position on the half-mile concrete race track in the final 50 laps, tying for eighth in the Loop Data Statics category of Closers.
- Menard remains behind Brad Keselowski (three wins) and Denny Hamlin (one win) for the wild card spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
- Burton ran as high as seventh and as low as 33rd during the race, finishing 15th.
- Burton made 112 passes under green-flag conditions ranking him third in that category.
- Bowyer made 63 green-flag passes during the race according to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics.
- Bowyer was third in the "Closers" category by improving his position twice over the last 50 laps of the race according to NASCAR Loop Data Statistics
- Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway by 0.951 seconds over Martin Truex Jr. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five.
- The next NSCS race is the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 4, televised live on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio beginning at 6:30 p.m. EDT.
following an early pit road penalty and a series of wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time events, very typical at the half-mile bullring. Following the rock and roll and very patriotic kickoff to the 266.5 miler, Menard took the green flag and settled into the ninth spot. He came to pit road during the lap-nine caution period for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, ordered by crew chief Slugger Labbe to combat the loose-handling condition that the driver of the No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was facing. He was penalized for exiting pit road too fast, costing the No. 27 team valuable track position and relegating him to the 35th spot on lap 37. By lap 60, Menard had advanced to the 27th spot and was turning laps as fast as the leader. As he battled to remain on the lead lap, Slugger asked his driver if the adjustments had assisted in the car's balance. It was at lap 100 that the team realized that Menard was unable to communicate with them over the radio. As the yellow flag was displayed on lap 102, the No. 27 team scrambled to communicate to Menard that they wanted him to come to pit road. Shortly following the caution, Menard's voice was heard over the team radio and he reported that the wiring had been jostled out by some zip ties on the interior of the car. With the communication blackout remedied, it was back to work with the over-the-wall crew changing four tires, making a wedge adjustment and packing the car with Sunoco E15 fuel. Menard returned to the track and restarted in the 27th position on lap 110. He climbed to as high as 20th, but was plagued by a persistent loose-handling condition that caused him to slip back to 28th. The Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet suffered a number of tire rubs due to fender-to-fender racing around the Bristol, Tenn.-based facility. On lap 298, melee broke out when the No. 00 entry spun on the track. The car in front of Menard came to an abrupt stop. With no time to react, Menard made hard contact with the No. 11 entry, resulting in significant damage to the No. 27 Chevrolet. Several trips were made to pit road, where the Sylvania/Menards crew worked to make repairs. Restarting 32nd on lap 311, Menard was only able to climb back to 30th by the time the checkered flag flew on lap 500.
Start - 7 Finish - 30 Laps Led - 0 Points - 20
PAUL MENARD QUOTES:
"If it could go wrong tonight, it did for the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards team. I put us back in the field with the pit road penalty, and was just never able to make it back. Track position here is so important, especially with the long green-flag runs at such a short track. This was definitely not what we needed in our effort to make the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup). We have two races to go and really need to capitalize on things. I think a second win is going to be what it takes for us. But, we have a great team and I know we can do it."
Harvick and the No. 29 Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet team score 22nd-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet team scored a 22nd-place finish in the IRWIN Tools Night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Harvick started the night from the 15th position and battled handling problems from the beginning of the race. The No. 29 Chevrolet Impala started off tight at the beginning of the run and a few laps later Harvick would radio to the team that he was loose. Crew chief Gil Martin called for the Harvick to stay out when the caution flag waved for the first time at lap 31, earning valuable track position. Harvick restarted in the seventh position and remained inside the top 10 until the caution flag waved again at lap 103. Martin called Harvick in for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment and thanks to a solid pit stop, the No. 29 Chevrolet restarted in the seventh position when the field took the green at lap 110. As the laps clicked off, Harvick started dropping back as he battled an extremely loose-handling condition. By lap 178, he was running in the 26th position and at lap 200 he went down a lap to the leader. Harvick brought the No. 29 Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet down pit road at lap 239 for service and as the field cycled through green-flag stops, he went down a second lap to the leader before the caution flag waved again at lap 297. The No. 29 team elected to gamble on pit strategy and opted to stay out instead of pitting so that Harvick could take the wave around to gain one of his laps back. He restarted in the 24th position at lap 310. Just as the No. 29 team reached a point where they were going to have to pit for fuel, they caught a break as the caution flag waved at lap 360. Harvick brought the car in for four tires, fuel and additional adjustments and restarted in the 24th position when the field took the green at lap 368. The caution flag waved again at lap 413 and once again, Martin called for Harvick to stay out and take the wave around to get back on the lead lap. The No. 29 Chevrolet restarted in the 23rd position at lap 420. At lap 463, Harvick went down a lap to the leader again, then switched to focusing on saving fuel as the team was going to be close on the finish. Harvick was able to save enough gas to make it to the checkered flag and finished in the 22nd position.
Start - 15 Finish - 22 Laps Led - 0 Points - 5
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"The No. 29 Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet struggled tonight. We just couldn't get the car to handle well at all. We tried everything and nothing seemed to help. It was just a frustrating night to say the least, but we'll get it figured out over the next few weeks leading into The Chase."
Burton and Caterpillar Team Persevere to Post top-15 Finish at Bristol
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Racing Team battled a loose-handling condition throughout the IRWIN Tools Night Race to finish 15th in the 500-lap event at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night. The South Boston, Va. native took the green flag at the half-mile concrete oval in the 21st position and learned early on the handling on the yellow and black machine was too loose for his liking, dropping him back to the 26th spot by lap 50. When the caution flew on lap 103, crew chief Luke Lambert made the call for a two-tire pit stop on the CAT Chevrolet, vaulting Burton from his 26th running position to line up ninth for the restart on lap 110. With each pit stop came an additional adjustment to the No. 31 Chevrolet, which assisted Burton with the handling in the opening laps of the runs, only to have the loose-handling condition return later, resulting in loss of track position. After a long green-flag run during the middle stages of the event found Burton and the Caterpillar Chevrolet one lap down to the leaders in the 22nd position, a pit stop under the lap-299 caution allowed for larger chassis changes to the No. 31 machine. When the yellow flag was displayed next on lap 362, Lambert made the call for Burton to remain on track to receive the wave around, allowing the No. 31 Chevrolet to regain the lost lap and restart from the 19th position on lap 368. Burton was able to maintain track position during that run and once the final caution of the event flew on lap 415, he brought the Cat machine down pit road to the attention of the 31 pit crew for a chance to make one final adjustment. Armed with four fresh tires for the restart on lap 420, Burton took the green flag in the 19th position and fought his way up to 13th with just 25 laps remaining. Unfortunately, the loose condition once again returned to the Caterpillar Chevrolet, dropping Burton to 15th at the checkered flag.
Start - 21 Finish - 15 Laps Led - 0 Points Position - 24
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"We battled a loose handling CAT Chevrolet all night long. Luke made a good call early on to regain us track position, but we just got too loose late in the runs. We were looking for more out of tonight's race but we'll build on this top-15 finish and move on to Atlanta."
Bowyer Finishes 26th at Bristol, Remains in Hunt for Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
After starting 16th, Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team finished 26th in the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Immediately following the start of the 500-lap event at the facility deemed the "World's Fastest Half Mile," the Richard Childress Racing driver radioed to his crew chief Shane Wilson that his Chevrolet Impala was having trouble passing other competitors and it needed more grip in the middle of the 30-degree banked turns of the Bristol, Tenn.,-based bullring. Wilson chose to change two right-side Goodyear tires and make a chassis adjustment during a lap-33 caution flag period. However, on the ensuing restart, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner began to slide back through the field complaining of a loose-handling racer and eventually fell one lap down to the leaders before the next caution flag was displayed on lap 105. Under this caution, Wilson directed the "Helping Hands" pit crew to make wholesale chassis adjustments to the No. 33 Chevrolet. On the next 164-lap green-flag run which included two pit stops, Bowyer couldn't find the necessary grip to improve his lap times and position on the track and dropped four laps down to the leaders in 37th position. However, the No. 33 team never gave up and played their strategy in an effort to get back on the lead lap by accepting the "wave around" pass from NASCAR officials during a lap-299 caution-flag period. Back on the track three laps down, the 32-year-old Bowyer relayed that his No. 33 Chevrolet had no grip at all, but he started to pick off the competitors that were on the same lap, working his way up to 31st. Once again, the RCR driver took another "wave around" pass on the final caution flag period of the day on lap 415 and restarted 28th. Over the final 80 laps, the Emporia Kan., native improved two more positions and crossed the finish line in 26th position, two laps down to the leaders. Bowyer, still deep in the hunt for the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth, now sits 12th in the NSCS driver championship point standings with only two races remaining before the Chase cutoff. He currently sits 22 points out of the top 10.
Start - 16 Finish - 26 Laps Led - 0 Points - 12
CLINT BOWYER QUOTE:
"To come out and be this far off was the last thing we needed right now. We had the opportunity to gain major ground on the other Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) contenders and we blew it. There is obviously something wrong with our Bristol package. We were just too loose all night long and I couldn't find any grip out on the track. We aren't out of this thing yet, but we must get better these next two weeks to survive."
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
RACE: O'Reilly 200
TRACK: Bristol Motor Speedway
DATE: August 24, 2011
Tough Night at Bristol for Austin Dillon
Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team were running solidly in the top 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night but fuel issues with less than 20 laps remaining caused the team to make an unexpected pit stop, fall three laps down to the leader and finish a disappointing 23rd. After qualifying in the 17th position on Wednesday afternoon, Dillon & Co. knew they had to work hard in order to make their way to the front of the field. Dillon spent the opening laps experimenting with different lines on the race track, eventually discovering that the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet was fastest in the middle of the track. He was running 11th when the team made their lone pit stop of the night under caution on lap 51 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment designed to loosen up the handling on the truck. Dillon restarted 15th on lap 58 and once again began to move forward in the running order. The 21-year-old driver noted that the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet developed a tight-handling condition as the race progressed, making it difficult to roll through the center of the corners. Dillon was running seventh when the caution flag was displayed on lap 170 of 200, but with 19 trucks on the lead lap the team opted not to pit in order to maintain track position. Dillon noted that the black No. 3 was sputtering and worried about running out of fuel, but according to team calculations they were good through lap 207 so crew chief Danny Stockman advised the sophomore NCWTS competitor to run on the apron of the high-banked, half-mile track until green flag racing resumed. Dillon obliged but when racing resumed at lap 183, the truck lost fuel pickup and Dillon was forced to coast around the track until NASCAR officials displayed the caution flag, losing three laps to the race leader in the process. The team quickly pitted for fuel and right-side tires and finished the remaining 10 laps of the race to post a 23rd-place result.
Start - 17 Finish - 23 Points Position - 4 Laps Led - 0
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
"It's not the ending we were hoping for tonight but it's something I can't change so there is no point in getting mad about it. This team is very solid and I still feel like we have a shot at the championship. We won't give up."
Rookie Joey Coulter Powers His Way to a Sixth-Place Finish at Bristol
After starting 10th, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Joey Coulter ran 197 of 200 laps in the top-15 and powered his way to a sixth-place finish in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway driving the No. 22 RCR Graphics Center powered by Roland Chevrolet. At the start of the 200-lap event in "Thunder Valley," Coulter started off with a fast Chevrolet Silverado immediately working his way up to seventh by lap 10 and sixth by lap 45. Under a caution-flag period on lap 54, Coulter reported over the radio to crew chief Harold Holly that he was happy with the handling on his truck, but it was a little tight in the center of the 30-degree banked turns of the half-mile bullring. Holly called the 21-year-old driver to pit road for his only pit stop of the night, a four-tire stop that included minor chassis and air pressure adjustments to accommodate the tight-handling condition. After another quick caution on the ensuing restart, the competitors began to settle down and the first extended green-flag run of the evening happened from laps 71-97. During that run, the Miami Spring, Fla., native reported that his red and black machine handled great, especially on long runs. Over the next 70 laps, Coulter ran consistently in the top six. Under a lap-172 caution flag period, many trucks began to run out of fuel on the racing surface. Holly came over the team radio and assured the RCR driver that the No. 22 racer would have more than enough Sunoco E15 fuel to make it to the end of the race. Coulter lined up fifth on the final restart of the night with 10 laps remaining and raced clean with other competitors before crossing the finish line in sixth place for his 10th top-10 finish of the 2011 season. Coulter was also the highest finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate and gained two positions in the NCWTS driver championship point standings. He now sits sixth, 13 points out of fifth, and leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings by 17 points over Cole Whitt.
Start -10 Finish - 6 Laps Led - 0 Points - 6
JOEY COULTER QUOTE:
"It was a solid night all around for the No. 22 RCR Graphics Center Chevrolet. The truck was fast all day and I can't thank Harold (Holly, crew chief) and these guys enough for building me such a strong piece. I wish I was able to get up there to the top five, but we just couldn't run the bottom line at all. This team is starting to show how strong it is with all of these top-10 runs."
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
RACE: Herr's Live Life with Flavor! 200
TRACK: Madison International Speedway
DATE: August 26, 2011
Tim George Jr. Endures Rollercoaster Night at Madison to Finish Ninth
A less-than-desired 14th-place starting position plagued Tim George Jr. and the No. 31 Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group team at Madison International Speedway but they were able to persevere through a pit road penalty and a late-race incident to finish ninth in the Herr's Live Life with Flavor! 200 on Friday night. Shortly after the start of the 200-lap affair, the first caution flag of the night was displayed on lap six, with George very happy with the handling on the No. 31 Chevrolet. He restarted in the 12th position for the lap-nine green flag and began to move through the field. After enduring four caution periods by lap 65, George was scored eighth in the 31-car field. The New York, N.Y., native made his first trip to pit road during the lap-86 caution period. With no changes needed on the black and red Chevrolet, the Gere Kennon-led team made a quick stop for four tires and fuel and headed back out onto the racing surface in sixth place. George continued his march through the field and was scored second at the halfway mark. On lap 106, the Pocono ARCA 200 event winner was making the pass for the lead when he made contact with the leader to bring out the yellow flag. Fortunately, the No. 31 machine only suffered minimal hood damage and became the new leader. George led the next 34 circuits around the Oregon, Wis.-based facility before slipping back to second on lap 142. Kennon called for the No. 31 machine to come to pit road during the ensuing caution on lap 158 for right-side tires and fuel, but as George was leaving pit road, he failed to stop for an official stop sign at the exit of pit road resulting in a penalty. The RCR entry was forced to start from the tail end of the longest line when green-flag racing resumed on lap 162. He took the green flag from the 14th position and moved into the top 10 by lap 173 before being involved in an incident the following lap. George returned to pit road to assess the damage and was able to return to racing action for the lap-179 restart in 14th position. In the final 20 laps of the 200-lap contest, George picked off five spots and brought home the No. 31 Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet to a ninth-place result.
Start - 14 Finish - 9 Laps Led - 34 Point Position - 7
TIM GEORGE JR. QUOTE:
"It was a disappointing night for the No. 31 Applebee's/Potomac Family Dining Group Chevrolet team. We had a fast car and led some laps, but that penalty and on-track incident hurt us at the end of the race. We have to look at the whole picture and that is a top-10 finish."
Ty Dillon Overcomes Adversity to Earn a Top-Five Finish at Madison International Speedway
Ty Dillon and the No. 41 Hemelgarn/Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma team had high hopes for the Herr's Live Life with Flavor! 200 at Madison International Speedway on Friday night before two pit road penalties hindered the RCR entry resulting in a fourth-place finish. Dillon started the 200-lap contest from the third position and quickly settled into his racing rhythm, gaining one spot by lap nine. The Lexington, N.C., native began reeling in the leader over the next 60 circuits on the half-mile oval before attempting to make the pass for the lead just as the lap-86 caution was displayed. Dillon brought his black and white Chevrolet Impala to pit road for four tires, fuel and a tear off. The young driver won the race off pit road, but was soon informed he was too fast entering and was regulated to the 14th position at the tail end of the longest line, for the lap-92 restart. Over the next 15 laps, Dillon improved his position to seventh place. Another caution was displayed to the field on lap 129. Crew chief Scott Naset discussed with his driver different pit strategies for the remainder of the race and ultimately deciding to stay out during the ensuing caution resulting in Dillon restarting sixth on lap 135. The High Point University freshman made his way to third on lap 147 and continued to chase down the leaders when the lap-158 yellow flag was waved. Naset called the No. 41 Chevrolet to pit road for the final stop of the night for four tires and fuel. With a mirror full of cars, Dillon took the lead from pit road, but failed to stop at an official stop sign at the exit of pit road, resulting in another penalty. Dillon was once again forced to restart from the tail end of the longest line for the lap-162 green flag. Restarting in the 15th position with 38 laps remaining in the 200-lap affair, the seven-time ARCA Racing Series event winner charged forward. Dillon increased his position 11 spots, to fourth, in 10 circuits around the Oregon, Wis.-based track. Unfortunately, with two more cautions periods occurring before the checkered flag was displayed, Dillon ran out of time to make any additional passes, resulting in the fourth-place finish.
Start - 3 Finish - 4 Laps Led - 0 Point Position - 1 (leads by 410 points)
TY DILLON QUOTE:
"This wasn't the night that we had hoped for when we unloaded here on Thursday. Flash (crew chief Scott Naset) and the guys put together a fast car for me, but those two penalties really hurt us. It's back to the dirt track next week at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds; we'll try for a better finish there."
Following three consecutive weeks of misfortune, Eric McClure returned to Bristol Motor Speedway looking for a change of luck in the Food City 250. Despite starting the 250-lap event from the 36th position, and facing a myriad of issues during the day, McClure was able to complete the event in the 27th position.
“We were okay in the beginning, but kept getting tighter as the race went on and adjustments were limited. We raced hard and were decent at times, and the guys did all they could, but we just had too many obstacles to overcome. We struggled in practice and the team found a broken spring bucket afterwards, so we just had to take a chance on the setup for qualifying and the race. It’s been hard on our team having to repair all three of our cars after getting caught up in stuff the last few races, but at least we were able to bring the car home in one piece.”
At the drop of the green flag, McClure progressively worked through the field and was scored in the 30th position when the event’s first caution flag was displayed on lap 34. Reporting that the car was “decent, but just a little free on entry and a little tight in the center of the turns,” crew chief Gary Cogswell brought the car to pit road for tires with an air-pressure adjustment, fuel, and to remove a spring rubber from the left rear tire. Once the service was complete, the TriStar Motorsports team was scored in the 29th position for the lap 41 restart.
As the race progressed McClure was able to maintain the position, despite continuing to battle a car that was tight in the center of the turns as the adjustments had helped early into a run, but made the handling progressively worse on the long green flag run. Needing the car to turn better in the center, the Hefty Racing® team took advantage of the second caution on lap 124 to bring the Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ Chevrolet to pit road for tires with an air-pressure adjustment, a wedge adjustment, and fuel. When the race resumed, McClure was scored in the 27th position. Four laps later, on lap 135, the third caution occurred. Remaining on track, the team was able to advance one position for the lap 140 restart.
Over the next 50 laps, McClure was able to maintain the 26th position in the running order in spite of being unhappy with the car’s overall balance. Reporting that the car was “chattering the front tires,” the team took advantage of the event’s final caution on lap 191 bring the No. 14 Chevrolet to pit for four scuffed tires with an air-pressure adjustment, a track-bar adjustment, and fuel. It was during this time that a car in which McClure was racing for position stayed on track and received the wave around. Thus, McClure lost the 26th position in the running order and had to settle on finishing the Food City 250 in the 27th position.
TriStar Motorsports PR
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), picked up his third win of 2011 in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) on Saturday night. The finish marked the fourth-consecutive top-three result for the Penske Racing driver. Keselowski’s average finish of 1.75 over the last four events is the best in the Cup Series during that period.
Keselowski began the 500-lap event from the eighth position after posting a lap of 15.683 seconds, or 122.349 miles per hour, during Friday’s qualifying session. From the drop of the green flag, Keselowski began moving his way to front and he moved inside the top five by lap 13. He continued his march to the front of the field by consistently turning some of the fastest laps on the track during the first 30 laps of the race. However, Keselowski narrowly escaped an incident with the No. 17 car driven by Matt Kenseth during a lap 32 race restart. Kenseth made contact with the left front fender of the “Blue Deuce” when his car got loose underneath Keselowski on the exit of Turn 4. Despite the slight contact, Keselowski was able to continue.
Crew chief Paul Wolfe brought his driver down pit road for the first time on lap 106 as the field was under the yellow flag. Keselowski, who was very happy with the balance of his car, told Wolfe he needed no adjustments and the Miller Lite Dodge left pit road with only four fresh tires and two cans of fuel. Good work by the No. 2 pit crew saw Keselowski restart the race from the second position on lap 111.
With Keselowski doing a great job in managing his Goodyear tires, Wolfe elected to make a long run following the first round of pit stops. Keselowski did not visit pit road again until a green-flag pit stop at lap 241. He was able to maintain his position inside the top-five cars during the run, as Wolfe developed a plan to get the team to the end of the race. Small air pressure adjustments were made at lap 241, in an effort to alleviate a “numb” feeling that Keselowski began to experience as the race moved past the halfway point.
As the green-flag pit stops cycled through at lap 251, Keselowski found himself running in the seventh position, his lowest spot in the running order throughout the event. By the time the caution flag waved for the fourth time at lap 298, Keselowski was back in his familiar top-five territory. He radioed to Wolfe that the handling on his car had freed up over the last green-flag run, but he was confident that it was the fast way around the track on that particular night.
On the final restart of the night at lap 421, Keselowski was able to get around then race leader, Martin Truex Jr., to assume the lead. While Truex and the No. 24 car of Jeff Gordon were racing side-by-side behind him, Keselowski was able to drive out to a three-second lead before lap traffic helped cut that time down to one second before he crossed the finish line.
With the win, Keselowski captured the championship in the DIRECTV Head2Head Knockout challenge. As a result, the Paralyzed Veterans of America will receive over $200,000 as they were designated as Keselowski’s charity of choice.
Penske Racing teammate, Kurt Busch, finished 17th in Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race
Following Saturday’s result, Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team improved one position to 11th in the Cup Series driver and owner point standings. The team solidified its hold on the No. 1 wild card position for the “Chase for the Championship.”
"An awesome Miller Lite Dodge,” said an excited Keselowski in Victory Lane.”An awesome race team in Penske Racing. The night race at Bristol! This is the race that Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt win. It’s the race of champions. I can't believe it. There are races that pay more. There are races that might have a little more prestige, but this is the coolest damn one of them all. We won it!"
Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite team will next compete in the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 4. Live coverage will begin at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN. The race will also be heard on the Performance Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 90.
Penske Racing PR
The performance was better than the result for Regan Smith, who finished 18th in Saturday's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Smith, who ran solidly in the top-10 for the majority of the first half of the race, got trapped in the middle of pack during the second half of the 500-lap event, making it difficult to drive away from the congestion at the high-banked, half-mile oval.
Smith lost his hold in the top-10 during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 243 when he came down pit road in 10th place and went out 15th.
"There were a combination of issues during that stop and it definitely bit us because we weren't able to get back up front," explained Smith, who ran as high as fifth. "We were strong the first half of the race and felt we could get back up there. But it seemed like our Furniture Row Chevrolet was in a traffic jam for the entire second half of the race."
Smith added, "We were much better than our finish and that makes it frustrating. We qualified 12th and ran with the lead guys for a long time. We were a top-10 car and that's where we should have finished."
If there were a consolation for the Furniture Row Racing team, Smith finished on the lead lap and posted his 11th top-20 result of the season.
"I guess when I take a few deep breaths and let time heal some of the wounds tonight, I will probably say that we had a decent night of racing at a difficult venue. But right now I don't feel that way."
The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top-five in order were: Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray.
Furniture Row Racing PR