Steven B. Wilson
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As NASCAR prepares to roll into Richmond September 5 & 6, fans have several last-minute ticket options for Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and Friday’s Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
· Individual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series grandstand tickets start at $40 (while supplies last), and NASCAR Nationwide Series tickets are $35 (general admission)/$45 (reserved).
· Special Pricing is available for several groups:
o Kids 12 & younger feel the thrill and excitement of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at $25 off the adult price in EVERY grandstand. Kids are admitted FREE in general admission on Friday.
o College students can celebrate the start of the school year “under the lights” at America’s Premier Short Track for only $19. College students may purchase online in advance or on race day – must present college ID at ticket window. Click here for College Pricing info.
o Cheez-It and RIR are proud to bring the Military Appreciation offer, which includes a complimentary Pre-Race Pit Pass on Saturday. Cheez-It Military Appreciation Info.
o Groups of 20 or more receive special pricing and priority seating. Group Sales Info.
· Ticket Packages remain on sale through Wednesday, September 3:
o Fan Vision Ticket Package ($65) includes a Federated Auto Parts 400 race ticket and a FanVision Controller and headset rental.
o Racing Electronics Ticket Package ($50) includes a Federated Auto Parts 400 race ticket and a Racing Electronics headset scanner rental.
· Upgrade your race day experience:
o Friday Pre-Race Pit Pass ($55) gets you in the infield for NASCAR Knockout Pole Qualifying and practice. These are available for guests 16 & older and can be purchased in advance or at the gate.
o Saturday Pre-Race Ceremony Pass ($50) gets you on the track for driver introductions, preceded by live music with The Silver Bullets. This is your chance to get up close to all 43 drivers, just minutes before they battle on the track.
Be sure to stick around once the checkered flag has waved Saturday night for the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Party on the Track!
David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford, comments on racing at Richmond International Raceway:
"Richmond is always a wild race, and with it being the last race to make the Chase, it's going to be even wilder. It's always a fun racetrack, and I think they've got a different tire this year so it's going to be a little different for us. But Richmond always puts on a great show. The fans love it and we always have fun, too. It's good old-fashioned short-track racing.
"I like night racing at Richmond better. It just seems to have a little more grip. And any time a track has more grip, it puts on a better show. It becomes more racy and that lets us do more as drivers. We had a top-20, lead-lap finish there earlier this year, so we're aiming to go back this second time and get even more out of it."
JUST THE FACTS: Gilliland has 16 Sprint Cup career starts at Richmond International Raceway ... He has two top-20 finishes at Richmond ... His top finish at the three-quarter-mile oval is 18th (2008).
David Ragan, driver of the No. 34 CSX "Play It Safe" Ford, comments on racing at Richmond International Speedway:
Gray Gaulding leaves his first trip to Canada with his head held high coming off of a phenomenal weekend. Gaulding and the No.20 Gemini Southern Chevrolet were inside the top-5 in both practice sessions, qualified 2nd and rounded out the weekend with a fourth place finish in the second annual Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Gaulding who has very little road racing experience, went into Sunday's Chevrolet Silverado 250 starting on the outside of the front row. When the green flag dropped shortly after 1:45pm, Gaulding quickly got in line with the leader, riding in his tire tracks throughout the first seven laps and inheriting the lead on lap eight. Gaulding would continue in the top spot until he gave up the lead on lap 13, coming down pit road for a green flag pit stop. Gaulding would maintain track position inside the Top-10 throughout the day and let the pit strategy play its part.
The first caution flag finally flew at lap 48 and when the field received the green at lap 51, Gaulding restarted on the outside of row three. Gaulding would gain two more positions before the second and final caution flag flew at lap 55. The green flag would be displayed one more time at lap 57 for an eight lap shootout. Gaulding restarted fourth, on the outside of row 2, and would put pressure on the leaders and race side by side throughout the winding road course for several laps, and eventually settle for a NCWTS career best fourth place finish, in the second annual Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Gaulding was also named the Sunoco Rookie of the Race for being the top finishing rookie of the year contender.
Inside the Driver's Seat with Gray Gaulding: "I had a great time racing this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP). I enjoy road racing and to be able to race in Canada with the NASCAR Camping World Truck series was a blast. Chris Rice and all the guys at NTS Motorsports gave me a great truck and just let me do my job. I'm already looking forward to next year and coming back to CTMP."
On Top the Box with Crew Chief Chris Rice: "It was a great weekend for all of NTS Motorsports. Gray and Brennan were both fast from the time their Silverado's hit the track on Saturday morning. The guys at the shop and on the road have put a lot of work into these trucks, for the once a year road course race and to see all of the progress that's been made on track and off, was very rewarding. Watching Gray be in the top-5 every time he hit the track, shows the confidence he has gained as young driver and that we're headed in the right direction as a company."
NTS Motorsport PR
Free tickets to the Sept. 20 Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway remain available through a unique promotion being offered by Johnny Davis Motorsports, one of the most established two-car teams in the series.
The Gaffney, S.C.-based team, whose cars are driven by Jeffrey Earnhardt and Landon Cassill, has launched a new website, www.racingreflection.com, to give fans the opportunity to become a marketing partner with the team – and to get a free race ticket.
Beginning with the Sept. 20 race at Kentucky Speedway, fans can have their photo displayed in a beautiful mosaic on one of the JDM team cars for only $25. Also, the $25 will include a free ticket to the Kentucky Nationwide race (for the first 8,000 fans who respond) and a “hero” card featuring the team drivers.
“This is something we’ve been thinking about for a long time,” said team owner Johnny Davis. “Fans are always looking for ways to get more involved in the sport, and we think this is a perfect match. Everyone can ride along with our drivers as marketing partners. Plus, for the Kentucky race, there’s a free ticket. We think it’s a great thing all the way around.”
Fans whose photographs appear on the cars will be able to find their photos via a website link.
Earnhardt, grandson of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt St., is running the full Nationwide schedule for the first time this year. He brought the JDM No. 4 Chevrolet home in 12th place Saturday at Bristol, scoring his best finish of the season.
Cassill, who is running both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup schedules, is in 11th place in the Nationwide point standings.
For more information, go to www.racingreflection.com.
JD Motorsports PR
Twenty-three drivers are currently entered for the Greenville 140 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Greenville (South Carolina) Pickens Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 6, but 17-year-old Ben Rhodes only needs to beat one.
The Louisville, Kentucky, native enters the 15th event of a 16-race season with a 65-point lead over Cameron Hayley in the championship points standings. If Rhodes finishes ahead of Hayley, a feat he's accomplished nine times in 14 attempts this year, he will secure his first series title and the second-consecutive championship for Turner Scott Motorsports.
The NASCAR Next driver hope to clinch his first title at the track where he earned his first series victory. Back in March, Rhodes led the final 26 laps en route to a victory in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150. The event was the first of a six-race stretch that saw Rhodes earn five wins and two poles. He was the runner-up finisher in the only race he didn't win during the stretch.
“Winning at Greenville Pickens is really cool,” said Rhodes after the spring race. “It’s a place known for saving tires and our strategy worked out.”
Through the first 14 events of the season, Rhodes has five wins, five poles, 10 top fives and 12 top 10s. He's led 757 of 1,822 laps (41.5%) of the total laps run this season.
Cole Whitt led his BK Racing teammates to the finish line where he brought home a 30th-place finish in the No. 26 Rinnai Toyota Camry on Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Whitt was followed by Alex Bowman in the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry who finished 35th, and Ryan Truex in the No. 83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry who finished 36th.
Whitt made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night. The rookie contender rolled off 40th for the 500-mile event in the No. 26 Rinnai Toyota Camry. Calling into his crew early in the event to report a loose racecar while navigating the corners, the Rinnai team worked throughout the night to make adjustments to dial-in the balance of their Toyota Camry. With ever-changing track conditions as the sun set and racing surface cooled, Whitt fought the handling of his car while steadily climbing through the field. By the time the checkered flag waved, Whitt was scored with a 30th-place finish. The result marks Whitt's 17th top-30 finish of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season.
"We had a challenging night with our Rinnai Toyota Camry at Atlanta Motor Speedway," commented Whitt. "We didn't really have any setbacks, we just fought the balance of the car all night. With the leaders setting such a quick pace, it was difficult to regain any lost ground. However, challenging nights make a team stronger, so I think we learned a lot and that we'll be better the next time we come to Atlanta. I'm looking forward to revisiting Richmond International Raceway this weekend--we had a good run there in the spring and I think we'll be even better this fall."
Bowman and the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry team visited Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time this season over Labor Day weekend. The Sunoco rookie contender rolled off 30th while piloting the No. 23 Dr Pepper Toyota Camry. Bowman suffered a major setback when he sustained a flat right front tire and sustained damage to the right side of his race car. Bowman visited pit road several times for repairs to the Dr Pepper Toyota, but lost valuable track position during his many pit stops. By the time the checkered flag waved, Bowman was scored in the 35th position.
"It was a tough race tonight," commented Bowman. "We weren't the only team to have tire issues, but we were at least fortunate enough to be able to make repairs and continue. We lost some valuable track position while making repairs and we just couldn't rebound before the checkered flag."
Truex started 39th on Sunday night in his first Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Sunoco Rookie contender was steadily climbing through the field in his No. 83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry when he spun in turn four to bring out the caution flag on lap 118. Working to improve the balance of their racecar and increase Truex' control of the Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota, the BK Racing team made a series of adjustments throughout the night. However, Truex had already lost valuable ground from the spin and subsequent pit stops. By the time the checkered flag waved, Truex and the Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry team were scored with a 36th-place finish.
"Our Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota Camry team had some tough challenges to overcome throughout the race tonight," commented Truex. "We spun early to bring out the caution, and fought the balance of the car throughout the night. We only come to Atlanta once a year and I don't have many laps here, so I expected this weekend to be a challenge. I'm excited to get to Richmond next weekend and get back to some of the tracks where we have more experience. I'm looking forward to a strong run to the end of the season."
BK Racing PR
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150 scored his first victory of the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season in a thrilling finish in Sunday's Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada).
Blaney made a crossover move around German Quiroga off Turn 10 and beat his rival to the finish line by just a few feet (officially measured at a scant .049 seconds). The victory was Ryan's third in 45 NCWTS races and his first in two starts at the 2.5 mile road course. The win also gave Brad Keselowski Racing back to back victories for the first time in team history! Blaney gained precious ground in the series championship standings, moving up to third place and closing to within 13 points of the leader.
After starting 14th in the race, Crew Chief Chad Kendrick chose a pit strategy that called for just one stop in the 64 lap race. As other teams began to employ a variety of strategies, Blaney stayed the course. He took the lead during a cycle of green flag stops on lap 17 and held the top spot until he made his scheduled stop under green on lap 30. He returned to the track in 12th position but steadily began to work his way back to the front. Blaney cycled into the lead on lap 44 when his competitors began to visit pit lane for their final stop.
The second and final caution of the race slowed the pace on lap 55, setting up an eight lap dash to the finish. Blaney and Quiroga quickly pulled away from the field. On the final lap, Quiroga slipped ahead of Blaney in Turn 8 but Ryan passed his rival off Turn 10 and beat him to the checkered flag.
Tagliani grabbed the top starting spot in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series attempt race and made it look easy. His best lap in the final session (80.558 seconds, 109.889 mph) was .433 seconds better than the second place starter. The pole was the second for Brad Keselowski Racing in the last three NCWTS events.
Unfortunately, mechanical gremlins zapped Tagliani in the race. Alex led the first seven laps of the race but began to experience throttle problems just before his first scheduled pit stop under green on lap 8. Despite this issue, he scrambled his way back to fourth place when he made his final green flag stop on lap 38 and was poised to finish inside the top five when he spun in Turn 5 on lap 53, bringing out the second and final caution of the race. Tagliani would recover and post a 16th place finish.
As the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season moves along, Casey Mears and the Germain Racing team arrived in a steaming hot Atlanta looking to turn in a solid performance and continue their strong season.
Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS opened the weekend 28th on the board at the close of the first practice. Despite residing on the bottom half of the chart, his position was not indicative of the speed of his racecar. After a few laps, the GEICO Chevy was fast in race trim and solid in qualifying trim. When qualifying got underway, Mears waited until late in the opening round to go out, looking for an ally in a cooler racetrack that would increase his chances of a fast lap. It proved a wise move, as he ultimately advanced to the second round after a quick trip around the high-speed 1.54-mile paved oval. When qualifying concluded, Mears was credited with the 24th starting position.
The Oral-B USA 500 rounded out a busy Labor Day weekend when hot temperatures welcomed an anxious Sprint Cup Series field for 325 laps of racing. Armed with a strong racecar, Mears took the green flag with his sights set on chasing down the leaders. Aside from some minor handling issues, all seemed to be going well until lap 38. Crew chief Bootie Barker radioed to Mears that they would be pitting in five laps, but almost immediately Mears reported that he had a tire coming apart. He made a quick dive down pit road, doing a masterful job of collecting his racecar as it started to spin. Unfortunately, no sooner than the No. 13 GEICO Chevy hit pit road, the caution flag flew. While Barker aggressively petitioned NASCAR for the opportunity to take the wave-around, they declined his request and sent Mears to the rear of the field, leaving him two laps down to the leaders. He would restart 40th and Barker would begin using strategy to help his driver begin a trek to the front.
As the race wore on, Mears' GEICO Chevy seemed to improve with each pit stop. In particular, the wedge adjustments were helpful, but at times still left him too loose to throttle off of the corners. He slowly made headway and as the race began to wind down, the GEICO Chevy was in the top-25 and moving forward. After two attempts at a green-white-checker finish, the field calmed long enough to complete the final laps. After the lap 36 setback, a hard-charging Mears collected 18-positions after restarting 40th and recorded a 22nd place finish. More significantly, Mears now stands among just four drivers (Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon) that have completed every race this season, a feat not easily accomplished in NASCAR racing.
"We had a pretty good car throughout the weekend and I thought we'd be able to put the No. 13 GEICO Chevy up front, but that tire that came apart on us put us behind early in the race," Mears said. "We worked hard all night to regain ground and Bootie (Barker, crew chief) made some good calls that helped get us in position to get back up front. We were fortunate to be able to squeeze out a 22nd place finish. We're looking forward to getting back to Richmond. We were strong there in the spring, so we hope to do well next weekend."
Mears and his GEICO team will now head to Richmond, VA, to do some racing under the lights just 100-miles removed from the Gecko's stomping grounds.
Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will hit the track at Richmond International Raceway for the weekend's opening practice session on Friday, September 5th, at 9:00 AM (EDT). Qualifying will follow at 5:40 PM (EDT) and will air live on ESPN2.