Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
In a Nutshell: Jeb Burton took the checkered flag just 0.139 seconds ahead of Ty Dillon to score his first career victory in the WinStar World Casino 400K Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 4 Arrowhead Chevrolet took the lead on a lap 144 restart and never looked back, despite a hard charge from Dillon. Rookie German Quiroga, Matt Crafton and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Jeb Burton While Ty Dillon led a race-high 76 laps and had arguably one of the more dominant trucks of the night, it was the driver of the No. 4 out front when it mattered most. After taking the lead, Burton saw his lead shrink down to two-tenths of a second and expand to just over a second. And while it looked like Dillon would make a charge at the start / finish line, Burton had enough to keep the lead and hang on for his first career victory, something that’s been coming since the season opener at Daytona in February.
Welcome to the newest addition to Tracking the Trucks! In this section for each race, we’ll take a look at the most important things to know just in case you weren’t able to watch it. Love it? Hate it? Just want to tell me something about? Let me know in the comments below.
Two Cautions, Two Kyle Busch Motorsports Trucks
Aside from the sixth-place finish that Darrell Wallace, Jr. notched (his fourth top 10 on the season), it was a tough night in Texas for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The WinStar World Casino 400K was slowed by just three cautions on Friday night and two of those saw a KBM truck damaged and out of contention.
Chad Hackenbracht made his Truck Series debut on Friday night behind the wheel of the No. 51 KBM Toyota that had been to victory lane in the last two races with team owner Kyle Busch. But it wasn’t meant to be for the debuting driver. After starting 21st, he remained in that area for much of the first part of the race. Then, with leader Ty Dillon getting ready to put him two laps down, Hackenbracht caught up to Jennifer Jo Cobb’s No. 10 truck and was forced into a three-wide situation to pass the much slower truck. Stuck in the middle, his No. 51 Toyota turned and bounced off of the outside wall before hitting the inside and coming to a stop. The damage proved terminal and Hackenbracht was left to settle for a 26th-place result in his debut.
“My Tundra was pretty decent tonight, a little tight off the corners, but I was just logging laps and gaining experience. Unfortunately, I was coming up on lapped traffic there and moved up to go around the 10 truck and thought the leader was going to give me enough room on the outside to go three wide, but that wasn’t the case,” Hackenbracht said. “The air was taken off my right side and I got loose and hit the inside wall on the backstretch. I can’t thank everyone enough at Kyle Busch Motorsports and all the guys who worked hard on this Tundra. I was hoping to come out of here with a really good run and keep the truck up there in the owner’s points. I’m looking forward to going to Pocono and seeing where we go from there.”
Heading into Texas, Hackenbracht’s goal was to complete the race and take advantage of the seat time in his quest to further his NASCAR career. It’s hard to get excited about only managing to run 40 laps, but the 21-year-old does have three more shots at some seat time scheduled this year. He’ll be in the KBM truck at Pocono (August 3rd), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (September 1st) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (September 28th).
Meanwhile, teammate Joey Coulter, who struggled with a “wicked tight” truck in the first run, gained three spots on pit road under the first caution. But just four laps later, he brought out the second caution when his No. 18 Toyota just snapped around on the straightaway, thanks to a flat left rear tire. After spending 89 laps in the garage area getting repairs, Coulter returned to the track where he ran the final 24 laps and settled for a 25th-place result.
“Man, I had a really good feeling about tonight,” Coulter said. “That pit stop by my guys was killer and I really thought we were going to be able to drive up to the front and lead some laps. Unfortunately, we just had a left rear tire go down – not sure if something cut it or what. I drove into Turn 3 and felt it go down after that. I hate it for these 18 Tundra guys, but they did a good job getting it back together and getting me back out on the track to finish the race. I know we couldn’t gain anything and probably lost a bit of ground on the point’s leader, but it says a lot that we can bounce back from something like this and finish a race. That’s what championship teams are made of.”
Obviously 25th is not the run the driver of the No. 18 Toyota was looking for in his quest for the championship this year. The sub top-20 result dropped him another two spots in the standings, and now he almost needs a miracle to bring himself back into contention. Needless to say, it was a pretty expensive night for KBM with two damaged trucks.
Turner Scott Motorsports Shines Bright in Texas
For the first time this season, Turner Scott Motorsports saw all three of their full-time entries finish inside the top 10. With rookie Jeb Burton celebrating his first career win, defending champion James Buescher notched a much needed ninth-place result. Though he hadn’t finished outside the top 15 all season, the ninth marked Buescher’s third top 10 in four races, something that’s valuable in his goal of becoming the first driver to score back-to-back championships.
So what? Who cares about a ninth-place result? It’s not so much the finish but rather what the No. 31 team managed to do on Friday night. After struggling for much of practice with handling, the changes made to the truck improved that, but Buescher reported that he felt a lack of speed. As a precaution, the team changed the carburetor, forcing the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet to start at the back of the field. But he drove through on a mission, spending just five laps to get inside the top 20. While it wasn’t enough to challenge for the win, he still brought home that solid ninth-place result.
“This was another very difficult weekend for our crew but our guys never gave up on this truck,” said Buescher. “They continue to work really hard, and I feel like our luck is going to turn around soon so we’ll be able to get this team some solid finishes. I can’t thank Ruud enough for coming on board this weekend. I hope we were able to put on a good show coming from the back of the pack for another great top-10 finish.”
Though Buescher did lose points to the leader, he remained in sixth and will likely move into the top 5 following penalty day this week. It’s solid runs like the one the No. 31 team put on Friday night that will add up if someone ahead of him in the standings falters as the season wears on.
Meanwhile, teammate Miguel Paludo, who’s had several strong races this season, headed into one of his favorite tracks, hoping to capitalize on the improvements the No. 32 team has made this year. After starting fifth, Paludo managed to remain inside the top 5 for much of the day before his truck faded a little late in the race and he had to settle for a tenth-place result.
“I’ll take a top-10 finish for sure, but we were better than that.” said Paludo. “It’s frustrating, we had a top-five truck, but when the field spreads out over long green-flag runs like tonight, you can’t always catch the guys in front of you. We had a chance with that last caution, but we just got too tight at the end. I’m very happy for my teammate Jeb [Burton] getting his first win. The entire Turner Scott Motorsports team is so strong; I know that our time is coming, and it’s very soon. We had a good truck and we learned a lot that we can take to Kentucky in a few weeks.”
We’ve seen it so many times in NASCAR—green flag runs that stretch out the field make it nearly impossible to make up ground. But with that said, it’s yet another top 10, his fourth in seven races (he had five in the entire season last year), and exactly what Paludo needs to finally secure his first career Truck Series victory.
While the organization hasn’t been quite as dominant this year as they were with James Buescher last year, they’re actually showing more strength with the ability to run three successful teams. Look for TSM to continue their strong runs and really shine through the summer months.
- On Friday, race winner Jeb Burton was announced as part of the 2013 NASCAR Next roster, a program that highlights young drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 who might one day become NASCAR’s future stars. Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Kyle Larson have all been featured in NASCAR Next in the past.
- Kyle Busch Motorsports General Manager and Director of Competition, Rick Ren, stepped in for Darrell Wallace, Jr.‘s normal crew chief, Jerry Baxter on Friday night. Baxter flew home to be at his daughter’s graduation ceremony. Wallace, Jr. started 16th and adjustments throughout the race allowed him to post a solid sixth-place result.
- According to the official Truck Series Twitter page, Ryan Blaney’s No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford failed post-race inspection for being too low. Blaney finished eighth and currently sits fifth in the standings. Any penalties will be announced early in the week and will likely drop him outside the top 5 in points.
- Can someone please teach the SPEED announcers the Truck Series driver names? For the second week in a row, Michael Waltrip identified Jeb Burton as Jeb Bush during the race.
Truck Rookie Report
No. of Rookies in the Race: 10 (add Danny Efland, Justin Jennings, Tyler Young and a debuting Chad Hackenbracht)
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 4; Jeb Burton, finished first; German Quiroga, finished third; Darrell Wallace, Jr., finished sixth; Ryan Blaney, finished eighth
Rookie of the Race: Jeb Burton
Biggest Winner: After running inside the top 3 in points for the entire 2012 season, Timothy Peters has struggled a bit this year, notching two DNFs in the first three races. But a sixth-place run at Dover, combined with a 14th at Texas _and Joey Coulter’s misfortune, has allowed him to move into 11th in the standings. And while it’s far from the championship run that he enjoyed last year, moving forward one position at a time is just what’s needed for the No. 17 team.
Biggest Loser: While Joey Coulter avoided a DNF after bringing out the first caution, he did drop another two spots in the standings to 13th and now sits 93 points behind the leader. And while dropping two positions isn’t a huge deal, it is for the No. 18 team. After starting off with a 22nd-place run at Daytona, Coulter was left to dig himself out of a hole in the championship battle. A runner-up finish allowed him to sneak into the top 10 at Kansas, however the last three races have seen him lose a bit of ground, leaving Coulter in a position to need several consecutive solid finishes in order to be around for the championship battle in November.
Points Update: At this point, the positions inside the top 10 remain unchanged following Texas. Matt Crafton maintains his spot atop the standings, however that lead shrank to 23 points with Jeb Burton’s win. Brendan Gaughan remains in third, followed by Johnny Sauter. Ryan Blaney, who will likely face penalties following a failure in post-race inspection, rounds out the top 5.
“We finally did it. I’ve been telling everybody once we get one, they’re going to start stacking up. I’ve got the best team in the series and couldn’t have done it without all of them. My dad taught me how to be the best driver I could be and never stopped putting his time and money towards my career. This is just awesome; it took a lot of blood and tears to get here and it means a lot.” Jeb Burton
“It’s a heartbreaker. Man, I thought we had it tonight. I am so proud of Marcus (Richmond, crew chief) and the entire Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team. They did a great job putting together this truck. We were really fast tonight and were there in the end. If I had another corner, I think we could be the ones sitting in Victory Lane tonight. We’re going to carry this momentum over to Kentucky (Speedway) and get us a win.” Ty Dillon, finished second
“I want to thank the whole team at Red Horse Racing. The No. 77 Net 10 Wireless Toyota Tundra was great. I knew we were fast, we just need to work on pit strategy—I need to get better. Of course, we were very fast on the track and we gained the position we lost here. I’m very happy and very proud of the whole team and all the guys back at the shop. I’m looking forward to my first win for Mexico.” German Quiroga, finished a career-best third
“It was a great run all in all. We just missed it a little bit, just didn’t have the speed on the short run for whatever it was. I was decent on the short run but those two up front (Jeb Burton and Ty Dillon), they would take off and just be gone. I needed probably 25 laps so I could pace them. At the end of a run I could start running them back down, but not a bad day, finished top 5. It’s definitely not what we wanted—disappointed with it—but I can’t thank these guys enough. Each and every week they just surprise me with what they pull out of their hats, but this Menards Toyota Tundra is pretty good.” Matt Crafton, finished fourth
“The No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team put in a great effort. We were fast all night long. Our ECR engine stayed strong throughout the race. Our engine builders are one of a kind. Not only do they build speed but they build durability. We’ll get the win we’re searching for soon; we’re headed in the right direction.” Brendan Gaughan, finished fifth
Up Next: The Camping World Truck Series takes a couple weeks off before heading to Kentucky Speedway on June 27th. Last season, James Buescher handily took his second win of the season by nearly four seconds over Brad Keselowski. The UNOH 225 will be televised on live SPEED beginning at 7:30 PM ET; it can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate or SiriusXM Channel 90.
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