Nationwide Series News (1596)
NASCAR Nationwide Series News
The #99 RAB Racing SchoolTipline.com Toyota Camry came into Darlington Speedway with the 9th place in drivers points standings, and the most recent Sunoco Rookie of the Race award from Talladega.
The weekend started off on Thursday when Bowman visited Darlington Middle School, apart of the "Drive Away Bullying Campaign" from SchoolTipline.com. The visit was in front of close to 400 students to raise awareness on bullying, and to award the school with a year's worth of the anonymous SchoolTipline.com service.
All track activities were held on Friday with only one practice session for the rookie driver that had never seen a track like Darlington. "It was sure challenging with only 2 hours of practice around here, I took the entire practice session just trying to get a feel for the high speeds, and running right on the edge the entire lap, not to mention right up against the wall" said Bowman. The #99 finished the only practice session in 20th position. The team rolled out for qualifying, and Bowman put down the 13th fastest lap, running almost a full 4 tenths of a second faster than his practice time.
During the course of the 147 laps Bowman continuously became faster and faster with setup changes from crew chief Chris Rice to loosen the car in the center of the corner. Through some adversity with a damaged grille, the team came from a lap down to finish in the 17th position. Both Bowman and Robby Benton maintained their points positions with a 9th place in drivers points standings and 13th in the owners points standings.
Alex Bowman: "Wow what a track Darlington is, when they say its the track that's "Too Tough to Tame" they really mean it. We struggled with a few things in practice and I struggled learning the fastest way around the track, so those two things together just threw us off just a little in the race, and in this competitive series you just can't afford a learning curve. Chris Rice made some great calls on the pit box, we were tight in the center of the corner which just killed our momentum coming off the corner and down the straightaways so I couldn't use my Joe Gibbs Racing Engines horsepower to its full advantage. Once Chris made that change we ran times just as fast as the top 10 the rest of the night, but couldn't ever get the track position to show it. Atleast the car is in one piece, and I never even got my Darlington stripe, maybe next time! Excited to get back to a mile and a half in two weeks at Charlotte where our RAB cars really shine, so looking forward to that."
Chris Rice: "What an eventful night we had, but I'm really proud of my rookie driver, he drove a really smart race and kept his nose clean all night. The thing that really hurt us was we ran over a piece of debris, maybe a spring rubber and it went through the front of the grille and severely damaged it. We were running in the 16th position at the time, and really going forward through the field, but had to take the time during a pit stop to repair it. That put us really far back on a restart with 60 laps to go and took us the rest of the night to get all those positions back. The car is in one piece and not bent up, so I'm really happy on how the kid ran, and the maturity he showed through the race, he really used his head all night long."
The next race will be May 25th at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the History 300 which will be the first race of the year televised on ABC.
RAB Racing PR
Kyle Busch and the No. 54 Monster Energy team won Friday night’s VFW Sports Clip 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The victory was Busch’s 56th in 252 series starts and the team’s fifth series win and seventh top-10 finish in nine starts this season. Busch accomplished the win from the pole position, the last driver to accomplish the feat, previously doing it in 2011.
For the second time this year, the No. 54 team accomplished a victory from the pole-qualifying position, previously mastered at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA and now Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Busch started from the pole in Darlington and led the field four times for 107 of the 147-lap event.
The race started smoothly for Busch and his black machine, taking the green flag and remaining in first place through the first of four caution periods. During the second yellow-flag of the race, crew chief Adam Stevens called his driver down pit road where the team replenished Sunoco fuel, Goodyear tires and made some car adjustments. Unfortunately the crew’s jack man slipped on dust in the pit box and the team lost a few spots driving off pit road.
Once back to green-flag conditions Busch worked his way from fifth place to second place within 10 laps, then taking over the lead again on lap 82 of 147, from teammate Matt Kenseth. Another pit stop would give the crew a chance to address the No. 54’s loose-handling condition with further car adjustments. But it was the pit stop towards the end of the race, within 30 laps to go that was a key decision. While Busch and crew chief Stevens discussed whether two tires or four tires would be an advantage, they knew paying attention to the No. 18 of Kenseth would be important. Once they saw their fellow JGR teammate hit pit road, the No. 54 team also visited the pit stop area and made a gutsy call to replace four tires that Busch felt would ensure the best possibility of winning.
In the final laps of the race, Busch felt secure in his decision to pit for four tires. While he did contend with former JGR teammate Joey Logano, Busch eventually passed him and then maintained the lead until the end.
Upon completion of victory lane activities Busch described his excitement from the night, “The guys gave me a great race car and there towards the middle part of the race it was really starting to get loose and had to make a lot of adjustments to it. This Monster Energy Camry tonight was awesome and the guys did a great job. I really appreciate Monster Energy, Toyota and Nationwide Insurance – they’re all awesome. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) Engines – Mark Cronquist (engine builder) did a great job for us and appreciate the fans as well…gave them a little treat tonight.”
The No. 54 Monster Energy team owned by J.D. Gibbs maintains first place in the Owner’s Point standings, now leading the No. 7 of Kelley Earnhardt-Miller by 20 points.
Elliott Sadler, Brian Vickers, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth filled out the top-five finishing positions. There were four caution periods for 17 laps of the race along with 10 lead changes across eight drivers.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series competes again on May 25 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the DRIVE4COPD 300 race on Saturday, with television broadcast starting at 2:30 p.m. EST on ABC. Kyle Busch will make his ninth start behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.
Kyle Busch kept it simple Friday night at Darlington Raceway.
The strategy was basic—win the pole and win the race. Busch dusted the rest of the field at the venerable track in the South Carolina sandhills, pulling away to win the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 by .935 over Elliott Sadler, who recovered from an early spin to finish second.
Brian Vickers came home third, followed by Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth.
The victory was Busch's fifth in eight Nationwide Series starts this season. Busch, who led 107 of 147 laps, extended his career win record in the series to 56.
About the only thing that could slow Busch's progress was an issue on pit road. Busch came out sixth after a slow stop on Lap 51 under yellow for Sadler's spin off Turn 2. Charging forward after the restart, Busch was on Kenseth's bumper, challenging for the lead by the time the race reached Lap 74, just past halfway.
For the next eight laps, Busch hounded Kenseth, finally clearing his teammate for the lead on Lap 82. Busch held the top spot until a caution on Lap 119 for Kyle Fowler's wreck changed the running order again.
Joey Logano and Austin Dillon stayed out on old tires and led the field to a Lap 125 restart. Sadler restarted third after a two-tire stop, while Busch took the green in fourth on four fresh tires.
Busch made short work of the drivers on older rubber and passed Logano for the lead on Lap 130. Game over.
Brian Vickers came into the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season amidst high expectations and title aspirations. Although they haven't found Victory Lane yet, he and his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team are poised for a run at the championship.
Vickers hopes Friday night's VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Darlington Raceway will propel him up the standings and right in the middle of the championship battle. He currently sits eighth in the standings, 54 points behind Regan Smith.
Vickers has found success at Darlington and enjoys racing there.
"Darlington is one of my favorite tracks, if not my favorite," said the 2003 NASCAR Nationwide champion.
"It's been a quite a while since I won there, and it would be great to do it again this weekend."
In addition to his one victory there, which came there in 2003, he has finishes of seventh, ninth, 10th and 12th. These strong performances, however, are offset by finishes of 37th, 37th and 43rd. These three finishes were each the result of either an accident or overheating. Every NASCAR Nationwide race he's finished at Darlington, he's placed in the top 12 and on the lead lap.
In nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Darlington his best finish is 10th, coming in 2010.
Vickers has finished in the top 15 in five of the past six races, including a pair of back-to-back third-place finishes at Las Vegas and Bristol. The only race in which he finished lowered than 19th was at Auto Club when an engine failure relegated him to a 34th-place finish.
Vickers will need to have his "A" game to make up a lot of ground in the standings, however, he understands the unique challenges the Darlington track presents.
"With the two distinct corners, each lap can present a challenge, especially when you get into lapped traffic," said Vickers. "You have to be on your game the whole time and know the limits. And with fast speeds and tight racing, you can easily push it over the limits.?
The No. 1 brand in tire repair, Fix-A-Flat, will debut on Mike Bliss’ Toyota Camry for tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway. On a track that is notorious for ‘eating-up’ tires, the timing of Fix-A-Flat’s first appearance with TriStar Motorsports seems perfect.
“Having Fix-A-Flat on board for tonight’s VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 is awesome,” said Mike Bliss, driver of the No. 19 Fix-A-Flat Toyota. “I think fans will really be able to identify with the brand, it’s a product that I’ve even used.” Fix-A-Flat is a state of the art emergency aerosol tire inflator. Fix-A-Flat allows you to seal and inflate a flat tire in seconds, without the need for a jack.
Invented in 1970 by Snap Products, Fix-A-Flat became the first emergency aerosol flat tire sealant and inflator. In 2011 Fix-A-Flat was acquired by Illinois Tool Words (ITW) and joined the Accessories Marketing family of brands under ITW in March of 2012. With the launch of several new and exciting products under the well-known Fix-A-Flat brand, 2013 has been a cutting-edge year. With a name that says exactly what is does, Fix-A-Flat has become a household name and continues to dominate the aerosol tire inflator market; just connect, inflate and go!
Roush Fenway Racing’s (RFR) Chris Buescher and the No. 16 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team will run a special Boston Strong paint scheme Friday, May 10 in Darlington.
“I am happy to carry these colors and try to do our part to support the victims and families impacted by the recent events in Boston,” Buescher said.
The No. 16 Ford Mustang will carry the red, white and blue Boston Strong colors on Friday as a continued tribute to those impacted by the tragic events in Boston.
Shortly after the events in Boston, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino announced the formation of “The One Fund Boston”, the purpose of which is to raise money to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during the Boston Marathon.
“In light of our relationship with Fenway Sports Management, this is a cause that is close to our hearts,” said RFR President Steve Newmark. “Roush Fenway is proud and honored to continue its support of the “B-Strong” effort.
“Hopefully a platform like this can keep the families and those impacted by this tragedy in the minds of others and further the “B-Strong” cause.”
RFR is half owned by Boston’s Fenway Sports Group; the same company that owns and operates the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park as well as a majority stake in the region’s premier sports network, NESN.
In support of its sister team, RFR carried the same B-Strong decals that the Boston Red Sox organization used, on all three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) cars in Kansas and on all NSCS and NNS cars in Richmond, Talladega as well as this weekend in Darlington.
Buescher will make his second NNS start at Darlington Raceway on Friday and his fifth NNS start overall. In 2011, Buescher finished 17th at the 1.37-mile track. The 20-year-old driver has competed in two races this season and has been the highest finishing RFR driver in each of those races. Buescher finished seventh at Bristol Motor Speedway and 17th at Texas Motor Speedway.
The VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 will take the green flag from Darlington Raceway on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
For more information about “The One Fund Boston” and how you can help those most affected visit: www.onefundboston.org.
Despite a 22nd place finish last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers team is headed to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway with a lot of momentum. The last two weeks, Reed Sorenson had strong runs with the potential of top-five finishes and consistently ran in the top-five during last week's race before getting caught up in an on-track accident among the leaders.
This week the team will head to Darlington Raceway, where Sorenson has four NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) starts. Of those four starts, he finished in the top-10 twice with an average finish of 13. Sorenson's best start and finish at the Lady in Black came in 2011 with a fifth and eighth, respectively.
Richard Petty Motorsports has one NNS start at the 1.366-mile oval with driver Michael Annett in 2012. Annett started 22nd and finished 14th at the historic South Carolina track.
Comments from the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers Ford Mustang driver Reed Sorenson:
"Darlington is a lot different than any other track that we go to. The shape of the track is so unique. The line that you run through Turns One and Two stands out to me the most because the closer you get to the wall the better you can run which isn't the case at any other track.
"You have to go into the weekend with a short-track mentality but with a lot of speed. Darlington is a really fast track. By the time the weekend is over, most of the cars will have hit the wall, sometimes you can get away without a lot of damage.
"Richmond was the fastest that we've been on a short track, so hopefully we can carry that momentum into Darlington. These last two weeks, we've had really good cars, so we are definitely looking at running in the top-10 and being at the front in the end to go for the win."
Comments from Crew Chief Philippe Lopez on Darlington:
"After the last two weeks, we feel like we've had top-five cars in both races. Everything seems to be coming together now; it's unfortunate it couldn't have started earlier. Darlington tends to reward experienced drivers, and Reed is an experience driver. He knows that it's not about having two fast laps at the beginning of a run, but that you've got to save tires for the long runs. We're expecting to do well, and I think by the end of the race you'll see all of the experienced drivers up front.
"Darlington is one of those race tracks that when you're on you look like a rocket ship, but if you're just a little bit off, you're terrible. The disparity in speed is huge. It's a really fun race track, but it's more than just having a fast race car, you have to have a good pit crew, good pit strategy and you've got to have luck. Your driver has to respect the race track because if they get too busy racing someone, they're going to slap the wall.
"Darlington is about as unique to race as a road course, just because of the way they have to drive it and the way they have to respect it. Our strategy is to focus on race trim in practice but also to work on qualifying because it will be important. Just starting toward the front helps there. It is easier to hold your position if you start up front, and you don't have to race your car as hard and can save your car better. We'll make sure we are good on the long runs. Even if the race is a green-white-checkered, it will pay dividends because there's a good chance we'll able to save a set of tires for the end."
Regan Smith is in prime position to give his new team JR Motorsports something it's never had -- a driver atop the NASCAR Nationwide Series points standings.
When the series rolls into Talladega Superspeedway for Saturday's Aaron's 312 (3:00 p.m. ET, ESPN), Sam Hornish Jr. will be sporting a slim one-point advantage over Smith.
After taking a five-year break from the NASCAR Nationwide Series to focus on his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, Smith returned to the series for the final race of the 2012 season. He lost his seat at Furniture Row Racing with six races to go in the season and appeared in four of the last six races, splitting time between Hendrick Motorsports and Phoenix Racing.
During that time he searched for a full-time ride in 2013.
He landed with JR Motorsports' No. 5 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In his first race with them, the 2012 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he drove the Chevrolet to Victory Lane.
Seven races into the 2013 season, Smith is proving that co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the right decision by offering him the ride. All seven of his finishes thus far are top-15 performances, five of them top-10 performances.
Because of their success this year, it's normal for the No. 5 TaxSlayer.com team to expect their success to continue at Talladega. But, Smith knows its Talladega and you can't take anything for granted when it comes to the Alabama track.
"With this type of racing, absolutely anything can happen. No matter how much you prepare or how good your car is, it's Talladega," said Smith. "The best car doesn't always win the race there. We just want to keep our good finishes going."
If Smith is to pass Hornish in the standings this weekend at Talladega, he'll need to draw more upon his success this season than his previous success at the superspeedway. In two NASCAR Nationwide starts, Smith has finishes of 23rd and 37th -- not exactly the type of finish one wants when trying to claim the points lead.
In 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track, he has one top-five finish. Fortunately, the fifth-place showing came in his most recent trip -- fall 2012. In his one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, he finished a respectable ninth.