Xfinity Series News (7501)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
Trevor Bayne will make his NASCAR return next week in the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. As a precautionary measure, Roush Fenway Racing and Wood Brothers Racing have decided to withhold Bayne from NASCAR competition this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but subject to any unforeseen changes, the 20-year old driver is expected to fully resume his regular racing schedule beginning at Chicagoland in the No. 16 Roush Fenway entry.
He will make his next Sprint Cup start in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford two weeks later at Michigan (June 18.)
“By all standards Trevor had a great week,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “His symptoms have completely subsided. He tested at Virginia International Raceway on Tuesday, had one of the fastest Nationwide Series cars on the race track and his team was extremely pleased with his progress. As a result, we plan to have him back in competition next week in Chicago, and have consulted with his doctors at the Mayo Clinic and the NASCAR medical staff about that timetable.
“Of course, Trevor is a competitor and he wanted to be back on the race track this weekend,” added Newmark. “However, we feel it is in his best interest for us to exercise an abundance of caution with this matter and withhold him from racing this weekend; especially considering the length of the races and the fact that Trevor is just starting to get back into his daily routine. Although Trevor would have preferred to compete in all 900 miles this weekend, he respects and understands our decision and will shift his considerable focus to his return at Chicagoland next weekend.”
Roush Fenway Racing PR
TriStar Motorsports is pleased to announce a one-race partnership with Miller® Welders, who’s famous tagline, “The Power of Blue®”, refers to the iconic color of the machinery. Miller® Welders will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 19 Chevrolet Impala with driver Mike Bliss in the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 2011. This partnership will mark Miller® Welders’ first NASCAR primary sponsorship endeavor.
Headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin and founded in 1929, Miller® Welders has grown from a one-man operation to the world’s largest manufacturer of arc welding and cutting equipment. Keeping the people as its primary focus and valuing things as integrity, commitment, loyalty, and teamwork, Miller® Welders continues to maintain its global leadership, setting the industry standard for reliability, quality, and responsiveness.
“It’s an exciting time for us to be able to partner with TriStar Motorsports and Mike Bliss”, stated Andy Weyenberg, Manager of Motorsports Marketing at Miller® Welders. “We believe in Mike’s ability and have worked with him at Xpress Motorsports when he won his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship and then again at the Haas CNC Sprint Cup program. Miller® Welders are used daily at most of these race shops, so when Rick Carpenter brought this opportunity to us, we thought it would be a great way to promote our products to everyone from the casual hobbyist to the hardcore racer.”
TriStar Motorsports Driver Mike Bliss reiterates Weyenberg’s excitement about the partnership especially at the track where he recorded his last Nationwide Series victory in 2009.
“It’s an honor to once again work with Andy (Weyenberg) and the entire Miller® Welders organization for this weekend’s race at Charlotte (Motor Speedway). Not only is their equipment first class, they also put a large emphasis on people and commitment which is just one of the many reasons they have a large global presence. I know we will represent them well and will put on a great show for them and the fans.”
TriStar Motorsports PR
Eric McClure and the Hefty® Racing® team headed to Iowa Speedway looking to improve on the 25th-place finish earned in the Dover event. Starting the race from the 29th position, the 32-year-old driver overcame early contact with the outside wall to finish Sunday’s John Deere 250 in the 23rd position. This finish not only marks the team’s best finish in the past seven events, but also propelled the team one position in NASCAR Owner Standings.
“We had a fair day today. We had a really good car in practice and were fast the first few laps, but I got into the wall pretty hard with the rear of the car. The car then became extremely loose which caused me to hit the wall again before the first stop. We adjusted all day and did our best to overcome the damage, which turned out to be more severe than we first thought. But Gary Cogswell and the guys really did a great job and salvaged a decent day for the Hefty® Racing® team.”
For the third consecutive week inclement weather forced the cancellation of qualifying, placing McClure 29th on the starting grid as the field was set per the NASCAR Rule Book. Advancing to the 25th position by lap 30 and running lap times consistent with those competitors in the top-10, the Hefty® BlackOut™/Reynolds™ Impala made contact with the outside wall, and then became “wrecking loose” under braking, causing the Virginia driver to scrape the wall two times over the next ten laps. Despite the car’s handling and losing five positions as a result, the Virginia driver was able to remain only one lap down to the race leader when the competition yellow flag was displayed on lap 50. The call was made to bring the No. 14 Chevrolet to pit road for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment, fuel, and to make a significant track-bar adjustment. Following the service, the team was scored in the 27th position on the lap 56 restart.
Over the next 50 laps, McClure was able to maintain his position despite continued inconsistencies with the car’s handling. When the event’s second caution flag was displayed on lap 109, the car was once again brought to pit road for four tires with an air-pressure adjustment, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment. Once the service was complete, the Hefty® BlackOut™ Chevrolet returned to the track and was scored in the 26th position on the lap116 restart.
The car’s handling improved slightly over the next 20 laps which allowed McClure to advance three positions, but the longer the race progressed under green conditions; the car’s handling became “loose on entry; tight exit.” The leaders began visiting pit road on lap 195 with McClure bringing his car to pit road on lap 207. Before all cars could make their last pit stop the event’s fifth and final caution flag was displayed. With the team being scored in the 24th position and being trapped a lap behind those cars that had not yet visited pit road, the call was made to stay out and receive the “wave around,” which put the team in position to advance two positions in the closing laps of the event. In the end, McClure was able to advance one position to finish the John Deere 250 in the 23rd position. As a result the team sits 29th in NASCAR Owner Standings heading in to next weekend’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
TriStar Motorsports PR
Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge of R3 Motorsports had 43 competitors to deal with at Iowa Speedway this past weekend for their NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
There were the usual 42 other cars on the track, but Mother Nature decided to jump into the event and become a factor, as well. Enough rain fell over the .875-mile oval on Friday to cancel both practice sessions on the schedule.
So, the teams came out again on Saturday for practice and qualifying. They were able to accomplish half their goal as qualifying was rained out, but the practice session took place where Richardson posted the 28th-fastest time, and was ninth fastest for a 10-lap average.
With the owner’s points determining the starting field, the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge lined up 28th for the 250-lap race on Sunday afternoon.
In the early going, Walter Giles’ set-up was working out great as Richardson moved up four positions to 24th place. A pre-determined competition caution on lap 50 allowed for the first adjustments on the car, fuel and four tires.
The crew did their usual good job returning to the track right where they were running in 24th place for the restart. From there, Richardson would slide up and down in the mid 20s running positions as the laps counted to down to the checkered flag.
The fate of the race almost changed for the R3 Motorsports team at the midway point on a lap 123 restart.
As the field came up to full speed, some cars in mid-pack didn’t get an ideal restart. This caused others behind them to check up and make contact with each other. Such was the case with Richardson as he went forward on the restart, and the car in front of him didn’t causing slight damage to nose of their No. 23 Dodge.
In turn, this caused the motor to run hotter than desired as the water temp began to climb. Luckily, another caution waved on lap 130 allowing Richardson to make a trip down pit road.
Giles called for tape to be taken off the front of the car to allow more air in and help cool the engine down. It worked out to a tee as the water temperature came down enough so Richardson could maintain ideal speed and keep his pace in the race.
Through the next 100 laps, the team would make one pit stop for fuel, tire and adjustments while running in the top-25 positions. Towards the end, Richardson was able to race his way to a 22nd place finish when the checkered flag waved over the Midwestern track.
In addition to the commendable finish, despite the lack of practice, the No. 23 Dodge of R3 Motorsports solidified their 28th position in the Owner’s Points where they trail 27th by four markers, 26th by six and 25th by 10 points.
It’s a homecoming weekend for the NASCAR Nationwide Series as they take to the 1.5-mile oval of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes: “We had a pretty solid weekend in Iowa, and that’s a good feeling knowing we did the best we could with how things went for us. It didn’t help those practices were rained out on Friday, but we made the best out the one we got in on Saturday to gets us ready for the race. We were able to maintain a good pace in the race where we were competitive enough to keep our position and move up, too. I hated the nose got a little crinkled up on that mid-race restart. I can’t control what the other drivers do out there, just hope it doesn’t happen again. We were able to get that taken care of and have a good run for the rest of the day to finish 22nd and move up some in the Owner’s Points. It was a solid weekend for this team. We’ll head to Charlotte (Motor Speedway) this weekend and look for even better things. We’re headed in the right direction, and that’s a good feeling for all of us.”
R3 Motorsports PR
One of the most accomplished racers in recent history will join Penske Racing for two upcoming road course races on the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) schedule.
Former world champion driver Jacques Villeneuve will compete behind the wheel of the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger in the Nationwide Series races at Road America (June 25) and Montreal (August 20). Villeneuve will fill in for reigning Nationwide Series champion, Brad Keselowski, at the two events, which will be run on non-companion race weekends with the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I am really looking forward to joining Penske Racing and getting the chance to race at two of my favorite tracks with the series championship team,” said Villeneuve, who recently tested with the team at Road Atlanta. “I am excited to work with the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge crew and we should be very competitive in both of these events.”
Villeneuve is one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500, the Indy Car championship and the Formula One Series world title, joining former Penske Racing drivers Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi in the rare racing triple crown. Villenueve won the Indy 500 and the CART Series Indy Car crown in 1995 before moving to Formula One where he captured the driver’s title in 1997.
“It’s great to be able bring aboard a driver like Jacques, who has raced and won at the highest levels of motorsports,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. “Jacques has run well at both of these tracks before and he’ll be a good fit on the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday team.”
Villeneuve has made eight NASCAR starts over the past four seasons, including five in the Nationwide Series. His top NASCAR result came last season when he finished third at Montreal.
Competing at both Road America and Montreal, Villeneuve will return to two tracks where he’s enjoyed some impressive history. He has already been to Victory Lane at Road America as he won the CART Series races there in both 1994 and 1995. He will then race in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the circuit named after his famous father, former Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve.
For the two upcoming events, Villeneuve joins a team that certainly has experienced its share of success over the last 16 months. Since the team made its debut in February 2010, the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge NNS team has recorded six wins, five poles and a remarkable 32 top-five finishes in 47 races. The team claimed Penske Racing’s first-ever NASCAR title when it won the series championship in 2010.
Penske Racing PR
Sunday's 250-lap event at Iowa Speedway was a hard-fought affair for Rusty Wallace Racing's Steve Wallace (No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry).
After rain cancelled qualifying and forced him to start from the 17th position, Wallace quickly moved forward at the start of the event. The 5-Hour Energy pilot climbed as high as 12th-place in the first quarter of the race. Soon thereafter, the handling began to go away on Wallace's Camry, however and he found himself battling a loose race car.
Wallace and Crew Chief Doug Randolph continued to make adjustments throughout the day, significantly improving the handling on the 5-Hour Energy machine for the race's final stints.
After much hard work, Wallace's No. 66 team finally cracked the top-ten just around the halfway point of the race. They appeared to have a top-ten finish in their sights until a spin by Joe Gibbs Racing's Brian Scott brought out the caution with thirty laps to go.
The slower cars of Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace and Jeremy Clements had not yet pitted at the time of the lap 220 caution, allowing them to catch the No. 66 and many of the other top-ten contenders a lap down.
After a "wave-around" put the No. 66 and the other top-ten runners back on the lead-lap, Wallace found himself in the 14th-position for the lap 229 restart,. He mounted a strong charge over the race's final 21 laps, climbing three spots to 11th, where the 5-Hour Energy team ultimately finished.
Wallace's effort in Iowa was his third 11th-place finish of 2011, again leaving him just shy of posting a top-ten effort.
However, it did mark his third finish of 11th or better in the last four events and allowed him to continue his march forward in the Nationwide Series driver standings. Wallace bypassed Brian Scott and Gibbs's No. 11 team in Iowa for sole possession of eighth place. It marked the third-straight race that Wallace has gained a position in the driver standings and a gain of five positions over the last five races.
Wallace now stands 40 points behind Kenny Wallace for seventh and maintains a 12-point margin over ninth-place Scott, as the Nationwide Series heads to Charlotte for round 13 of 34 in the 2011 championship.
Stated Steve Wallace, "Man, 11th is so frustrating. I feel like I'm the king of 11th right now; we have to get better and consistently get back into the top-ten and then, the top-five. Our 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry was really, really loose getting into the corner all day long; we got it a little better as the day went on, but couldn't ever get it quite where we needed to be.
"It looked like we were going to have a top-ten, but I guess some of the cars behind us topped off on fuel after the last round of stops and they just got lucky with a caution. I don't blame them; when you're in that spot, you have nothing to lose by stopping and topping off. That's just the way it goes. Still, it's frustrating when you have a top-ten car and don't finish in the top-ten. At least we moved up another spot in points; we'll go get them in Charlotte."
Rusty Wallace Racing PR
In an effort to improve on-track performance, Rusty Wallace Racing announced today several changes within its competition department.
Headlining them is the addition of veteran Rick Viers as Crew Chief for the No. 62 Toyota, currently piloted by Michael Annett. An eight-time Nationwide Series winner, Viers comes to RWR after serving as Crew Chief for Roush-Fenway Racing's No. 16 entry last season. Prior to his stint with Roush, Viers led the No. 27 Baker Curb team and driver Greg Biffle.
The Pylersville, MD native also held the reins of Red Bull Racing's No. 84 Sprint Cup Series team in 2007 and 2008. Prior to that, he served as Crew Chief for Richard Childress Racing's Nationwide Series operation, with drivers Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.
In line with the addition of Viers, former No. 62 Crew Chief, Jason Overstreet, will now assume the role of Car Chief for RWR's No. 64 Toyota, piloted by David Reutimann and Jason Bowles. Overstreet will provide strong leadership and stability to the part-time effort.
Both changes will go into effect immediately.
Noted Rusty Wallace, "Rick Viers's ability to lead and be successful in the Nationwide Series is well documented. We're looking forward to adding his knowledge and experience to our toolbox at Rusty Wallace Racing. I look forward to good things from that team.
"As for the No. 64 team, we started it to improve our whole organization and Jason Overstreet is a big part of our team. We've been staffing the No. 64 car with a variety of team members, so having someone with Jason's ability to oversee that car will definitely help our effort."
Rusty Wallace Racing PR
Perseverance paid off on Sunday as Kenny Wallace and RAB Racing with Brack Maggard earned their best finish of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season at Iowa Speedway with a sixth-place
position in the John Deere Dealers 250 presented by Pioneer. The day proved to be extra special for Wallace as he made his 500th career-start competing in the Nationwide Series and his 855th combined career-start in NASCAR’s top-three divisions.
For the third week in a row inclement weather canceled NNS qualifying, forcing Wallace to take the green flag in the No. 09 American Ethanol/Iowa Corn/G-OIL Toyota Camry from the 14th position based on current owner points. The event ran caution free over the opening laps until the mandatory NASCAR competition caution flew on lap 52. RAB Racing Crew Chief, Scott Zipadelli, took advantage of the first two cautions, bringing Wallace to pit road for chassis adjustments to improve the handling of the No. 09
When the caution flag waved for the third time, Wallace visited pit road for a lengthy pit stop to fix front end damage suffered during the second caution period restart. Wallace and Zipadelli continued their radio communication in order to make changes on the No. 09. During the fourth caution on lap 130 for a spin in turn 2, Wallace returned to pit road for new tires, fuel and adjustments. When the fifth and final caution flag flew on lap 220, Wallace found himself with the track position he needed to stay at the front of the field. Finishing the final 25 laps under green, Wallace battled to the sixth position to earn the team its best finishing position and second consecutive top-10 of the season.
With two back-to-back finishes inside the top-10, Wallace remains in the seventh position in the driver point standings, 20 points from the fifth position. The No. 09 gained in the owner point standings to 13th.
RAB Racing PR
If the Fastenal Ford Mustang seems to be all over the track during the May 28 Nationwide Series race, that’s because it will be – or rather, THEY will be. In a rarity for NASCAR, Fastenal, a regular primary on Carl Edwards’ No. 60, will sponsor all three Roush Fenway Fords in this week’s Nationwide race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Fastenal’s blue and white colors will be featured on three of the fastest cars in the series. The all-star lineup includes the No. 60 Fastenal Ford Mustang driven by series champion Carl Edwards, who’s already chalked up three Nationwide Series victories this season; the No. 6 Ford Fastenal Mustang of 2010 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who earned his first career NASCAR win last week in Iowa; and the No. 16 Fastenal Ford Mustang, scheduled to be driven by 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne.
"I think it's big that Fastenal will be on all three of the Roush Fenway Ford Mustangs this weekend in the Nationwide Series,” said Edwards. “Fastenal is a great sponsor and it would be huge to get one of them into victory lane at Charlotte Motor Speedway."
This season, the three Roush Fenway teams bring a combined 33 Nationwide wins along with 127 top-five finishes and 189 top-10 finishes. As a whole, Roush Fenway’s Nationwide program boasts 116 victories, 399 top fives, 622 top 10s and has led over 19,400 laps it its illustrious history. In addition, Roush Fenway has won 10 times in Nationwide action at Charlotte.
Each car will promote a different market offering from Fastenal, a leading national industrial and construction supplies distributor. The design on Carl Edwards’ No. 60 car will feature Fastenal Automated Supply Technology (FAST). Edwards recently hosted a video promoting the FAST system, which provides customers with secure, 24/7 access to critical supplies like safety glasses and tooling. Bayne’s No. 16 car will showcase Fastenal’s Body Guard™ safety brand, and Stenhouse’s No. 6 car will display the company’s FMT™ cutting tool brand.
“It’s exciting to have the Fastenal name associated with three great cars and drivers in a single race,” said Fastenal President and CEO Will Oberton. “Carl always gives us a great chance to win, but with Ricky and Trevor joining our ‘blue team’ in Charlotte, you really have to like the odds of seeing at least one Fastenal car in the hunt on Saturday.”
Roush Fenway Racing PR
Sunday afternoon, Michael McDowell made the most of his first start in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 and his first start in the No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, leading laps and coming home with a strong seventh-place finish in the Iowa John Deere Dealers 250 at Iowa Speedway.
Michael and the No. 18 team started the day in the second-position after qualifying was rained out and the lineup set by owner’s points. After running in second to start the event, McDowell passed JGR teammate Drew Herring to grab the lead on lap 38. A strong stop by the No. 18 JGR team allowed Michael to hold onto the top spot following the lap 50 competition caution, a lead which he held until lap 57. However, the rest of the afternoon Michael and the team fought a tremendously loose racecar. Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff made a number of adjustments through the event to try and keep the No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota as competitive as he could near the front of the field. A late-race caution during a round of green flag pit stops caught the Michael a lap down, forcing the team to have to take the wave around rather than come in and pit to make final adjustments for the race’s final 40 laps. McDowell was able to overcome the loose condition and an overheating problem to pick up a number of positions in the race’s final laps, bringing the No. 18 Pizza Ranch Toyota home seventh. The finish allowed the No. 18 to hold onto its second-place standing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship. The team trails the No. 20 car by just 24 points.
"It was a good day for the Pizza Ranch Toyota. We led laps and brought the car home in one piece. That was one of the biggest things I wanted to get out of today; to log laps, to be competitive and to stay out of trouble. I don’t think we ended up where we wanted to, but that is the way things go sometimes. We had a car that could have finished a couple of spots higher than where we finished. It was a great first weekend with the No. 18 team, Jason (Ratcliff) and all of the guys. They worked hard this weekend with the position we were put in with little track time because of all of the rain.
“Our car wasn’t very good on restarts and on the short runs because we were just too loose. We were pretty good on the long run and we showed that during those couple of green-flag runs we had. The guys were making adjustments and I think, had we not got caught a lap down during those green flag stops and forced to take the wave around, we could have come in and made one more adjustment and been able to get a few more spots there at the end. I really think we could have gotten a top-five with just a little more adjusting. But it was a good start for my relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and all of the guys on the No. 18.
“I’m very thankful to Joe Gibbs Racing and Pizza Ranch for giving me this opportunity. We came in with high expectations and we didn’t quite live up to them, but we have a good baseline now. After a weekend of working together, Jason knows more what I want out of a car and I know how to better communicate with Jason and get him the information he needs to make the car better. I’m looking forward to being back in the car for a few more races.”
Joe Gibbs Racing PR
West Palm Beach, Florida native Blake Koch continues to turn heads with his impressive runs each week at tracks that he’s never seen before. Returning to one that he had previous experience on didn’t change anything this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Blake had a strong second half of the race and crossed the finish line with a 21st place finish. The solid run earned Blake $1,000 for Sunoco Rookie of the Race as well as $2,400 for being the Featherlite Most Improved Driver.
Returning to a familiar track proved beneficial for Blake as he practiced the Daystar.com Dodge. This allowed the MacDonald Motorsports team to be fast right out of the gate and he was just that. Blake turned in a fast lap of 129.662 mph which put him 22nd. Unfortunately, rain showers throughout the weekend caused qualifying to be cancelled for the third straight race.
After a short race last weekend with some bad luck on the first lap, almost anything would be an improvement. After starting in 26th because of car owner’s points, Blake ran the first half of the John Deere Dealers 250 between 25th and 29th. The last half of the race Blake and the MacDonald Motorsports team made a surge forward, advancing 7 spots to bring the Daystar.com No. 81 home in 21st place.
The finish gave Blake his third Sunoco Rookie of the Race award of the year so far. Also, with his 43rd place finish last week after the accident, his strong run this week won him the Featherlite Most Improved Driver award.
The Daystar.com No. 81 moves up one position in the owners standings ahead of the No. 39 car to 26th. Blake remains 23rd in the driver’s standings but is just 14 points behind 22nd.
MacDonald Motorsports PR