Monday, May 23
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

VOTE BRUTON TO THE NASCAR HALL OF FAME: Next week, Bruton Smith will find out if a lifetime of achievement in motorsports has earned him a spot in the prestigious 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. The committee of voters – 53 in all, including 21 from the nominating committee; 31 from former drivers, owners, crew chiefs, manufacturers and media; and one to represent the fan vote – will gather Thursday at the downtown Charlotte shrine to narrow the field from the 25 nominees.

Smith, Speedway Motorsports Inc. chief executive officer and chairman of the board has long been a pioneer in motorsports, dating back to the 1950s, when he was the promoter at tracks such as the old Charlotte Speedway and the Shelby Speedway located at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds.

Smith’s first major speedway endeavor began when he partnered with racing legend Curtis Turner to open Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960 and held the first World 600 that year.  Since then he has built a racing empire of eight speedways across the nation under the SMI umbrella, with those speedways hosting 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, 17 NASCAR Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series races and many other high-profile motorsports events.

Smith has previously been inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2007), National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (2006) and Texas Motorsports Hall of fame (2008).

JOSH TURNER CONCERT A HIT WITH NASCAR FANS: Country music singer, songwriter and two-time Grammy nominee Josh Turner entertained the infield crowd Saturday prior to NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race with his deep, melodic voice. The pre-race concert was presented by Lance sandwich crackers.

“I have done a lot of NASCAR events throughout my career.” said Turner. “It’s always fun to come out here, because the NASCAR fans and country music fans are kind of one and the same, from my experience.  Just being able to come out here and play in the infield, it’s just a lot of energy. People are excited about the show, the race and everything else going on around it. It’s great, and I’m honored to be here today at Charlotte.”

CAM ON A WIRE: By now everyone knows about Fox Sports and SPEED’s famous CAMCAT, the 85-mph, high-tech camera suspended above the race track by a pair of gigantic cranes positioned outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. The camera made its debut this year at Daytona and will return to add excitement for today’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

The two-point, flying camera system developed in Austria is suspended a maximum of 140 feet in the air, dipping to 45 feet above the track at the 2,900-foot cable’s midpoint.

Aside from the sheer engineering greatness of this cutting-edge technology, what makes the Cat Cam even more special for fans at the track is that speedway officials will be pulling that phenomenal footage from SPEED to air directly onto the world’s largest HDTV, the 200-foot wide, 80-foot tall screen located on the speedway backstretch.


Twenty years after NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt drove into the record books with an exhilarating sweep of both the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway is honoring the legendary driver’s accomplishment with a limited edition LiftMaster Pole Night commemorative ticket.

For just $20, Earnhardt fans and enthusiastic race historians can get their hands on this unique keepsake, which marks Earnhardt’s memorable back-to-back wins at his hometown track. The tickets feature photos of Earnhardt with the trophies he earned at the 1993 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600.

Earnhardt entered the 1993 All-Star race with two victories in the special event already in his possession. Danny Lawrence, who was then the team’s assistant engine builder and second gasman, noted the environment created by the All-Star race was electrifying.

“When (we pushed the car) around the corner (onto the frontstretch), it sounded like an earthquake (the way) people were roaring. It sent chills through your bones,” Lawrence said.

Earnhardt struggled with his car during the race’s first two segments. However, when it came time for the race’s 10-lap shootout, Earnhardt once again reigned supreme.

After Earnhardt jumped the restart, NASCAR threw the yellow flag, lined up the cars again with Earnhardt still in second, and then threw the green flag. Earnhardt didn’t jump the second restart. This time he passed Martin with slightly more than a lap remaining for the victory.

“That was all him. Our car really wasn’t that good,” Lawrence said.

When it came time for the Coca-Cola 600, Earnhardt once again produced a phenomenal performance to win stock car racing’s longest event for the third and final time. He shook off two penalties and came from a lap down on two occasions to become the first driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 at night.

“What Dale Earnhardt was able to do was damn near impossible,” said Danny “Chocolate” Myers, Earnhardt’s long-time gasman who now co-hosts a show on XM-SIRIUS Satellite Radio. “It was through sheer dedication and determination that he was able to pull it off.”

Earnhardt’s victory made him the first driver to claim two consecutive Coca-Cola 600 victories since Darrell Waltrip in 1988-89. And Earnhardt accomplished the feat with an event record of 145.504 mph, breaking the old one of 145.327 mph set by Richard Petty in a Dodge in May 1975.

“Dale would tell us all the time, ‘Boys, we’re making history’, but we never thought about it,Lawrence said. “It was neat to be able to go to any race you wanted to and you felt like you had a chance to win. When we had a bad day it was when we finished 12th. If we had a 12th-place car, he somehow would finish fifth. It was awfully neat to be working on that deal back then when he was so good. He wasn’t happy unless he was winning.

“He was cool under pressure. He always thought if the race was still running he still had a chance of winning it. He never overdrove it; he never got in trouble. That’s why he was the best.”


NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE A GREAT PLACE TO GET MARRIED: When John and Monica Russell decided to get married, they knew exactly where to do it. As diehard race fans, there was really no other option.

“I thought, ‘Well, let’s get married at a race track,’” John Russell said. “Why not get married on the biggest stage (in racing).”

The couple met online in October, and three days later they were engaged.

“It was his wedding,” said Monica, who has been married once before. “I said, ‘What do you want, baby?’ So here we are. I haven’t actually been to a race here since 1994, so I am loving it.”

Both diehard Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, the bride and groom wore No. 88 T-shirts for the ceremony, which took place Saturday morning at the start/finish line of Charlotte Motor Speedway They took their wedding photos in Victory Lane and will be featured live on the Speed Stage at 4 p.m.

The Russells, from Bethune, S.C., spent the week before the wedding taking a NASCAR-themed pre-honeymoon in the area, checking out Victory Junction Gang Camp, Stewart-Hass Racing Wednesday, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Whisky River, Victory Lane (go-kart racing), Roush/Fenway Racing and the NASCAR R&D Center.

BEST CAMPGROUND IDEA EVER: Imagine you come to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 10 Greatest Days in Racing. But because you want to get there early and set up camp, and enjoy the atmosphere, the 10 Greatest Days in Racing turn into about two great days of camping at the race track. After two weeks, you have a mountain of dirty, smelly laundry to take home. Until now.

Just outside Turn 1 in the Tim Flock Campground is the new all & Snuggle Laundry Pit Stop, which is offering free laundry service for all race fans. But not only that, they are also a family entertainment zone, complete with cornhole, kids’ games, movies, popcorn and more.

“A lot of fans come in kind of skeptical, like what’s the catch,” said Jody Bennett, Senior Vice President for Aquarius Sports and Entertainment, who was manning the welcome table inside the Laundry Pit Stop Saturday. “They can’t believe it’s really free. But after we show them around and explain that it really, truly is a free service courtesy of all, Snuggle and Target, they love it.”

Open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the all & Snuggle Laundry Pit Stop has provided free wash, dry, fold and delivery services for 32 loads in each of its first two days, which is the capacity for the eight-washer, eight-dryer trailer. But they’ve also given away loads of coupons, Snuggle mini teddy bears, Laundry Pit Stop cinch sacks, and even free full-size all and Snuggle products.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Bennett said. “And we haven’t even lost a sock.”

Fans are invited to attend the all & Snuggle Happy Hour next Thursday, 4:30-6:30 p.m., for free food, prizes, giveaways and a free qualifying ticket, as well as the chance to meet Target driver Juan Pablo Montoya.


Miguel Paludo and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team continued their strong start to the 2013 season, exhibiting clever strategy and skillful driving in the fifth race on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earning their third top-10 start of the year, Paludo went on to lead 33 laps and dominate on late restarts before bringing home a seventh-place finish in the Levine Children's Hospital Chevrolet.


After laying down the fifth-fastest lap in the afternoon's qualifying session, Paludo took the green flag with the intent of bringing home the first win of his NCWTS career. Paludo dropped to the 11th position after finding that his Silverado was pushing tight back to the throttle, so when the yellow flag waved on lap 17, the No. 32 team took the opportunity to adjust the Levine Children's Hospital machine, taking two tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.


Restarting in the 10th spot, tightness continued to affect the handling of the No. 32, and despite maintaining their position, the team decided to make a bold move when the second caution of the day came on lap 27. "I want to make some big changes and get this thing right early," said crew chief Jeff Hensley. "We're going to gamble and give up some track position, but let's see if we can get ourselves one of these wins." Performing a thorough four-tire pit stop, the TSM team gave Paludo a track-bar adjustment, air-pressure adjustment and fuel while pulling a spring rubber. Although he emerged from the pits in the 26th position, Paludo now had a truck that was adjusted for the track conditions and more fuel than his competitors that opted to remain on track.


When racing resumed, Paludo began a march to the front that put him into the 14th spot by the time green-flag pit stops began on lap 66. With plenty of fuel to continue, Paludo remained on track as other trucks peeled off the track to pit road. The Brazilian was scored 10th when the third yellow flag of the day waved on lap 73, allowing Paludo to come to pit road for a final tweak of the Levine Children's Hospital Chevrolet. Hensley called for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment, putting Paludo ninth for the green flag. "Save me some fuel," said Hensley. "We're about five laps short but we're getting exceptional fuel mileage tonight. We're not going to pit again if we can help it."


When green-flag racing resumed on lap 77, Paludo did an excellent job of moving around the racetrack, finding the best possible lines to improve his lap times. When the caution came out again eight laps later, Paludo was scored seventh. With several competitors opting to pit for tires and fuel, Paludo was on the front row for the lap-88 restart in the second position.


Paludo quickly overtook the first-place truck after the green, leading at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the first time in his career. Once in clean air, Paludo promptly pulled away from the pack, holding a steady lead as the yellow was shown on lap 95. Making his lane choice as the leader for the restart, Paludo battled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski on the front row, pulling away effortlessly in the first turn. "This running up front thing is fun," relayed Paludo over the radio.


The field was tightened by caution flags two more times, and each time Paludo dominated the restart and defended his position as the fastest truck on the track. Paludo continued to battle hard, finally being forced to relinquish his lead on lap 120 to a truck with fresher tires. Restarting with eight laps remaining, Paludo fell victim to other competitors who opted for fresh tires in the closing laps, and as a result of aero tightness as his clean air was lost, Paludo crossed the finish line seventh.


"I like being up front," said Paludo with a smile. "We were really good tonight, we were great in clean air, we just lost to fresher tires at the end. My guys did a great job tonight. We made the calls we needed to make to win a race, and I'm very proud of everybody. We keep showing them we're here; we haven't had a race this season that we weren't good enough to win. I'm hoping Dover will be the one where we finally make it to victory lane. I have to thank Levine Children's Hospital for coming on board, they've taken good care of my son Oliver in the past and I'm looking forward to visiting with some of the kids there next week."


Paludo gained two spots in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, now ninth in the standings and three points out of eighth. The Truck Series has a one-week break before going 'off to the races' at Dover International Speedway on Friday, May 31st.


Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 60 WinField Silverado team entered the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) NC Education Lottery 200 on Friday night with high hopes after successful practice sessions and a top-10 qualifying effort. Rallying back from an early incident on pit road and damage repair, Armstrong pushed forward from the rear of the field to put himself back into contention. Racing inside the top-five with less than 30 laps to go, Armstrong avoided several close calls on track to claim his second-consecutive 12th place finish.

Breaking away cleanly from his eighth place starting position, Armstrong settled in comfortably inside the top-10 after the drop of the green flag. The first caution period of the evening on lap 17 allowed his No. 60 crew to bring their driver to pit road for a splash of fuel, hoping to gain some track position. Unfortunately, Armstrong made slight contact with another competitor while exiting his pit box, forcing him to come back down pit road for repairs. With only minor damage to the left front bumper, Armstrong was able to confidently return to NCWTS competition at the tail end of the field.

Knowing he couldn't waste any time, Armstrong began his march back towards the front immediately, climbing from 31st to inside the top-25 in four laps. Another quick caution bunched up the field once more, allowing Armstrong to gain even more positions, surviving three-wide racing to move back inside the top-20 by lap 70. Just as the WinField pit crew was preparing for a green flag pit stop, the caution flag dropped for the third time on lap 73, allowing Armstrong to come down pit road with the rest of the leaders the following lap. Getting four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment, Armstrong returned to the track in the 14th position.

The fourth caution of the evening followed shortly after the field returned to green, putting Armstrong in his fuel window to make it to the checkered flag. Crew chief Gere Kennon took advantage of the opportunity, bringing the WinField Silverado down pit lane for a final set of adjustments to help improve Armstrong’s tight handling condition, four fresh tires and fuel.

Returning to the track for his final run to the finish, Armstrong restarted eighth and quickly blasted his way to fourth. However, four cautions in the final 39 laps didn’t work in his favor as Armstrong struggled shifting into fourth gear and fought a tight handling condition, serving him a 12th place finish.

"We definitely had a better truck tonight that what our finish showed,” Armstrong explained. “My entire TurnOne Racing team did a great job getting us setup for tonight and adjusting when the track changed. I just had a hard time shifting into fourth gear on the final two restarts and we lost some spots because of that. But I’m proud of how much speed our WinField Silverado had and it was a solid night in the point standings for us.”

Dakoda Armstrong PR

It was difficult for Max Gresham to pinpoint his favorite part of Friday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Certainly a career-best third-place finish created a lasting memory. So did leading three laps for the first time in his young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career. Maybe it was giving the Charlotte-based sponsor, AmWINS Group, a top-three run at its home track. Perhaps it was climbing two spots to 17th in the driver standings.


In the end, Gresham decided it was all of the above.


"This is really just a win all around for us," the 20-year-old driver from Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) said. "This is justification that we're going in the right direction, and that [crew chief] Chris [Showalter] and I are working well together, and we're getting better.


"I'm getting better every week; Showy's (Showalter) getting better every week; the trucks are getting better. That's all we can ask for."


Gresham started the race with the No. 8 AmWINS Group Chevrolet in the 21st position, and methodically worked his way into the top 15. Shortly after, a series of late-race cautions gave Showalter a chance to make final adjustments to the truck.


"Man, this thing will hunt now," Gresham reported to Showalter after the caution on Lap 116.


Though it took a combination of three pit stops to get the No. 8 AmWINS Group Chevrolet perfect for Gresham, who reported the truck to be tight thought out the night, the pit-strategy by the Showalter led "Team Ocho" also helped put the Milner, Georgia, native in contention for the win.


"Eddie Sharp Racing won this race last year with Justin Lofton, so we had some good information for how the track changes at night," Showalter said. "Charlotte is one of the most temperature-sensitive tracks we go to, but we had a good idea what we wanted for the final 50 laps."


The late surge was impressive. Gresham drove from 14th place to eighth place in a brisk two-lap stretch, and later narrowly missed a crash on Lap 121 involving Lofton, Brad Keselowski and Darrell Wallace Jr.


"That last wreck almost got me," Gresham said. "I got out of the car, and I was like, 'I'm amazed there's no paint on the left side because of how far low we had to go.' We had a lot of close calls there at the end. Every restart when I was on the outside was just hectic, especially the last few.


"My spotter Lorin Ranier did a great job talking me through it. I've got a lot of good people around me helping me to get where I need to be, and I think it showed tonight."


Gresham restarted fourth following the final caution. He quickly got to third place and methodically separated himself from the rest of the field. Kyle Busch also pulled away for the victory, with Brendan Gaughan in second.


"After that last pit stop it really came to life," Gresham said. "It was hunting very well there at the end."


Sharp was thrilled to see his team continue to make huge strides.


"It's big win for all of us. For these kids, this is all about confidence and knowing they can do it, believing in the team and the group that's around them," the team owner said. "And he does that. He's just a blessing to have in the shop. He brings a lot of energy, and the guys love him. We want it for him as much as he wants it. I'm proud of him. He deserves it, and it's something to build on."


The team now will shift its focus to the Lucas Oil 200 May 31 at the Dover International Raceway.


"This year is definitely putting us on the right path," Gresham said. "This is a huge confidence gainer for us. We're going to go to Dover and have that extra confidence, and we're going to make it work."


The race promises to bring on a few more lasting memories.


Max Gresham PR

Joey Coulter and the No. 18 team went "All In" for Friday night's N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) but "busted" just past the halfway mark in the 134-lap event, relegating the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) driver to a 32nd-place finish in just his third start at the 1.5-mile tri-oval.


"It was definitely a tough night at the office for everyone on this No.18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation team," Coulter said. "I was really happy with my Tundra for the first part of the event. We came down pit road for fuel only under the first caution and must have picked up debris at some point because we ended up having a slow tire leak. I realized it early enough and made it to pit road before it completely blew. Unfortunately when that happened, it broke a fender brace and when we put the second set of tires on it cut the right front tire halfway down the backstretch and that pretty much ended our night. The guys did a really good job getting this Toyota Tundra fixed and back out so we could finish the race and didn't lose any more points. We will re-group on this week off before Dover and I know we will come back strong."



Starting 17th, Coulter maintained his position inside the top 15 before the first caution of the evening was waved at lap 17 for oil on the backstretch. Crew chief Harold Holly brought the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra down pit road for fuel only and when service was completed Coulter returned to the track in the 11th position for the lap-23 restart.




Battling a tight Toyota Tundra in the center of the corner and on exit, Coulter once again maintained a top-15 position on the track. As the run progressed, Coulter settled in and was battling the No. 7 Tundra of John Wes Townley for the 12th position. However, at lap 70, just prior to green-flag pit stops Coulter realized he had a flight right front tire going down. Making his way to pit road, Coulter's right front tire finally gave way, and blew just eight stalls away from the No. 18's pit box.




The over-the-wall crew bolted on four fresh Goodyear Eagle's and sent Coulter back out on the track scored 31st. Unfortunately, a broken fender brace cut the right front tire just one lap later and sent the No. 18 Tundra hard into the frontstrech wall.




Ultimately, the 18 machine was forced to the garage for an extended period of time for repairs. After replacing the right front suspension on the Darrell Gwynn Foundation Tundra, Coulter returned to the 1.5-mile tri-oval scored 32nd, 44-laps down which is where he took the checkered flag at lap 134.




Kyle Busch owner-driver of No. 51 entry for Kyle Busch Motorsports won the 11th Annual N.C. Education Lottery 200, his 31st victory in 107 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, first victory of 2013, and fifth win at CMS. Brendan Gaughan (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at CMS. Max Gresham (third) posted his career-best finish in 21 series starts. Matt Crafton and Ty Dillon rounded out the top five. Rookie teammate, Darrell Wallace, Jr. was involved in an accident on lap 121 and relegated to a 27th-place finish.




The field was slowed eight times during the 134-lap event for 40 laps and the lead was exchanged seven times between five different drivers.




The unlikely results in Friday night's fifth race on the 2013 schedule forced the No. 18 down two spots in the NCWTS driver point standings to 11th - seven points behind 10th-place Darrell Wallace, Jr., 34 markers behind fifth-place James Buescher and 65 points behind series leader Matt Crafton.




The NCWTS will take another week off before heading to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for the Lucas Oil 200 on Friday, May 31. Coulter has two starts at the "Monster Mile" including one top-10 finish (sixth, 2011). Live television coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET with the NCWTS Setup Show on SPEED.




James Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team came into Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) looking to continue the momentum they started to build last month in Kansas. Starting the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 from the 12th spot, Buescher quickly worked his way up to inside the top five. During a late race restart, Buescher came into contact with another competitor when running three wide close to the wall, which caused Buescher to suffer slight damage. Dropping as far back as 19th in the running order, Buescher masterfully picked his way through the field to bring home the team’s second consecutive top 10 in 2013 with a sixth-place finish. 

With nearly six hours of practice time for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on the weekend at CMS, the Rheem team took advantage to fine tune their chassis that took home four victories in 2012. It was undoubted that Buescher was going to be one to contend with, as during the first practice the Rheem team finished in the 2nd spot on the charts. When it came to qualifying, Buescher just missed placing the No. 31 Chevy Silverado in the top 10, setting Buescher to roll off the grid in the 12th position for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.

When the green flag released the 36-truck field for the 134-lap main event, Buescher immediately went to work picking his way through the field. By lap two, Buescher had already cracked the top 10 and he didn’t quit there. By lap 18, he was hunting down a top-five running spot. The race saw its first of eight yellow flags on the night, and during this yellow crew chief Michael Shelton called his driver down to pit road to top the Rheem Chevy off with Sunoco race fuel. When the race went back green, Buescher went back to work trying to pick his way through the field. On lap 30, Buescher reported to the crew that the truck was too tight, and Shelton radioed back to his driver that the team would fix him up on the next stop. After stalking the top five for many laps, Buescher finally cracked it on lap 53 and was running lap times quicker than the trucks in front of him.

Just as Buescher was scheduled to hit pit road for a green flag pit stop on lap 73, a yellow flag once again covered the 1.5-mile CMS, saving Buescher from having to pit under green-flag conditions. During this pit stop, Buescher came down and took four Goodyear Wrangler tires, Sunoco fuel and made a host of chassis adjustments in hopes to loosen up the No. 31 Rheem machine.

Continuing to run solidly in the top 10, Buescher was called on to make another great restart on lap 108. Hoping to make up some ground, Buescher saw a hole open up on the top side of the track and went for a three wide pass. During the attempt at the pass, a couple trucks below him got loose and slid up into the No. 31 Rheem Chevy, resulting in slight damage to the left front fender. During the second-to-final caution of the night, Buescher brought the Rheem Chevy back down pit road to the attention of his crew to take four tires and fix the damage on the left front fender.

Restarting the event back in the 19th spot, Buescher had his work cut out for him to make it back up to the top 10. Despite there being just under 20 laps remaining, that didn’t stop the team’s determination to bring home a second-consecutive top 10 as Buescher swiftly worked his way through the field and brought home a solid sixth-place finish. In the process, James Buescher and the Rheem team had a good points night, moving him up to a tie with fourth place in the championship standings.

“I’m really proud of my guys this weekend,” said Buescher. “It was a long weekend with lots of practice and they continued to work really hard right to the very end. We had a great truck here, and I’m happy that we were able to bring the Rheem Chevy Silverado home in the sixth place and continue our charge up the point standings. I can’t wait to get to Dover and continue our momentum.”

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off next weekend but returns to action again on May 31, when they visit the high-banked 1-mile oval of Dover International Speedway.


Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Brendan Gaughan) and fifth (Ty Dillon).
  • Dillon is third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, 27 markers behind the leader; while Gaughan ranks fourth in the standings, 31 points out of the top spot.
  • The No. 3 Chevrolet team is fourth in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team fifth in the standings.
  • According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Dillon earned the second-highest Driver Rating (118.9), while Gaughan ranked fourth with a rating of 109.5.
  • Dillon spent 94 percent of the 134-lap affair in the top 15.
  • Combined, Gaughan and Dillon posted the Fastest Laps Run 27 times during the event, ranking them second and third, respectively.
  • Dillon scored the second-highest Average Running Position of 4.970, while Gaughan ranked 12th with a 12.776.
  • Gaughan was the Fastest Driver Late in a Run and ranked third in the Closers category.
  • Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was followed to the line by Gaughan, Max Gresham, Matt Crafton and Dillon.
  • The next scheduled Camping World Truck Series race is the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on Friday, May 31. The sixth race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on SPEED beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network.



Ty Dillon Overcomes Adversity and Earns Top-Five Finish at Charlotte


Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team finished fifth under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night. The Richard Childress Racing team posted the second-fastest time during qualifying earlier in the day. Dillon took the initial green flag for the 134-lap affair and jumped to the lead. He would pace the field for the next three circuits around the 1.5-mile speedway. After a long green flag run following the halfway point of the race, crew chief Marcus Richmond called the 21-year-old driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. While Dillon was entering pit road, the caution flag was displayed placing the black and orange Chevrolet one lap down to the leader. The Welcome, N.C.-based team was able to take the "wave around" and start on the lead lap for the ensuing green flag in 17th place. Dillon was scored in the fourth spot 15 laps later as he continued his quest back to the front. He moved into third on lap 94, but was shuffled back to eighth on the following restart. Battling three wide for position, Dillon was able to climb back into the top-five and bring the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet home in the fifth position.

Start - 2          Finish - 5          Laps Led - 3          Points - 3rd           


"We had a really good truck tonight. I thought it was definitely a winner or at least a second-place truck. I can't say how proud I am of this No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team. They did a great job on pit road and worked really hard the past two days getting this truck ready for tonight. I want to thank the National Wild Turkey Federation for supporting us tonight, we brought them home a top-five finish."




Gaughan Battles to a Second-Place Result at Charlotte Motor Speedway


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team collected a second-place result in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 under the lights of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night. The Las Vegas native started the 134-lap event from the 23rd position and took over the lead on lap 17, after crew chief Shane Wilson directed his driver to stay on track when all teams in front of the black and gold Chevrolet elected to pit under the second caution. Gaughan remained near the front of the field until a green-flag pit stop and an untimely caution positioned the Richard Childress Racing driver in the 31st spot, one lap down to the leader. Gaughan took the "wave around" during the third caution period, regaining his lap and restarting 18th on lap 76. Back under green-flag conditions, Gaughan once again was working his way toward the front of the field when he felt as though there was an issue with his No. 62 Chevrolet. On lap 100, Wilson called his driver onto pit road for the crew to assess the problem and bolt on four fresh tires during that caution period. No issues were found with the truck and Gaughan returned to the track in 14th for the lap 103 restart. Armed with a fast Chevrolet and fresh tires, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran worked his way through the field settling into the second position on lap 127, where he would ultimately cross the finish line. Following his third-consecutive top-five finish, Gaughan gained three positions in the Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, moving into fourth.  


Start - 23          Finish - 2         Laps Led - 15          Points - 4th



"We did not have a textbook night. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) tried some pit strategy in the beginning of the race that ended up not working in our favor, and then I thought I had an issue with the South Point Chevrolet and we fell back in the field both times. We continued to work hard all night and in the end I was up front running down Kyle (Busch). Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough time to get the job done. This is our third top-five finish in a row, so I can't be happier with the entire South Point Hotel & Casino team so far this season."



Todd Bodine and his ThorSport Racing crew chief Jeriod Prince endured maybe one of the most frustrating weekends of their entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' careers at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but in the end their perseverance was rewarded with a lead-lap 17th-placeplace finish in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200.


If at first that doesn't seem like much of a reward for the No. 13 Mattei Air Compressors Toyota crew, consider that it unofficially gained Bodine two positions in the standings. He came into Charlotte 16th and heads to Dover in almost two weeks in a tie for 14th, only 15 points outside the top 10.


"That truck just wasn't lead-lap material," Bodine said of his second free pass of the race, which came on the last caution with 11 laps left. "But Jeriod and our guys never give up, they never stopped trying and the way circumstances played out, we were able to race onto the lead lap at the end, and even pick up a couple spots."


Bodine pitted and went back several spots but in the end he had the satisfaction of racing well with rookie Brennan Newberry, who lost control and wrecked Bodine at Kansas in their last race together, in very similar circumstances. Newberry was ahead of Bodine on the last restart with eight laps left, but finished just behind him.


But Bodine's career-long Truck Series frustration at Charlotte, NASCAR's high-speed showplace, continued from the moment his ThorSport Racing team unloaded their Tundra and sadly, it wasn't finished when they loaded it back up late Friday night.


"Nothing we did to the truck all weekend long did anything to change it," Bodine said. "It was too tight when we unloaded it Thursday and it was too tight when we put it back into the trailer Friday night -- but at least we put it back in there in one piece so we'll be able to work on it, and try to make it better.


"But it was pushing so badly we never could get any speed out of it, and that made it really hard to compete."


While his ThorSport teammates, point leader Matt Crafton and current sixth-place holder Johnny Sauter, mostly danced around in the top 10 in all three practices, Bodine struggled to get out of the 20s, which was an issue that continued in Friday afternoon's qualifying session, when he clocked the 32nd-best lap.


"I think there's just something wrong with the chassis, because we even tried to run the same set-up as Matt," Bodine said of Crafton's No. 88 Fisher Nuts / Menards Tundra, which came on at the end Friday for a fourth-place finish that extended Crafton's points lead to 22 over Jeb Burton. "But when we did, our truck didn't run as good as Matt's was, so that made us think something was wrong with it, so we'll have to figure it out."


One thing Bodine didn't have to think much about during the race occurred at lap 95, when the veteran Ron Hornaday had a tire go down on the backstretch. When Hornaday got to Turn 3 that caused his truck to go straight up the banking, where it wrecked two rookies, Ryan Blaney and Jake Crum. Bodine, who was a few car lengths behind that pair, knew what to do.


"I saw it coming and I knew what was happening," Bodine said. "I saw the truck sparking and I knew he wasn't gonna make the corner. Those guys were trying to go around him (on the high side) but I knew I wanted to go below him, because of it."


Crum was eliminated and Blaney, who had one of the fastest trucks all weekend, was knocked outside the top 20.


Charlotte was the first of five races this season in which Bodine and Prince couldn't find a competitive set-up with which to alter their truck. But it still has Bodine looking forward to the series' next race, which opens with two practice sessions at Dover International Speedway on Thursday, May 30.


Thorsport PR


No right click

Please link the article.