Sunday, May 28
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Travis Pastrana earned his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) pole at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, but finished 36thin the Aaron’s 312 after a mid-race accident took the No. 60 Ford Mustang out of contention.

“I practiced with the 43 car and we had a strategy to stay in the back,” Pastrana said.  “I don’t know what happened, but we were up there in the front and got tangled up in someone else’s mess.  I just want to thank Jack Roush and all the team for giving me a great car out there.  I think we definitely could have put it on top if we just had a little more patience.”

Both Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) Ford Mustangs were strong in each of Thursday’s two practice sessions.  On Friday, Pastrana set the fastest lap, earning his first NNS pole and car owner Jack Roush’s first pole in the Nationwide Series at Talladega Superspeedway.

Saturday morning brought lots of rain, delaying the start of the race until nearly 5:00 p.m. CT.  Pastrana decided before the race that after leading a lap he would drop to the rear of the field in an effort to avoid the multi-car accidents that restrictor plate racing is known for.

At the drop of the green, Pastrana led his first laps in NASCAR competition, holding the point for the opening four laps around the 2.66-mile superspeedway.  After that Pastrana dropped to the back of the pack, according to his plan. 

The No. 60 team took the first opportunity to pit under caution on Lap 15 for right side tires and fuel.  Pastrana reported that he was very happy with the handling of the car.  On the restart, Pastrana continued to ride in the top-20, biding his time and ticking off laps.

Crew Chief Chad Norris called Pastrana back down pit road under caution on Lap 36, pitting for left side tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.  He restarted 12th, but began to make his way to the front of the pack in his No. 60 Ford Mustang, climbing all the way to second by Lap 59.

On Lap 73, while running in the top-10, Pastrana was involved in an accident.  The damage was severe enough to end the day for the No. 60 team.

“We had a great car and could have met up with him [Trevor Bayne] later, but I didn’t stick to the strategy and that’s why I’m being hard on myself,” said Pastrana.  “Much thanks to the crew.  Everybody worked really hard.  I learned a lot about drafting.  I learned a lot about racing these restrictor plate races.”

Regan Smith took the checkered flag in a wild finish, while NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch rounded put the top-four.  Justin Allgaier finished fifth, while RFR teammate Trevor Bayne finished 28th after his No. 6 Ford Mustang was involved in an accident. 


The No.6 Cargill Beef Ford Mustang was again one of the fastest cars on the track at Talladega Superspeedway before Roush Fenway’s Trevor Bayne was caught up in the middle of a massive crash.  Talladega is known for such multi-car accidents and Bayne was knocked out of Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race after 92 laps, landing in 28thplace in the Aaron’s 312.

“It stinks to have a finish like that,” said Bayne after the race. “There was nothing we could do to really avoid it.  I got in the middle of it with nowhere to go.”

Before the crash, Bayne and the No. 6 Cargill team were running strong. Bayne led two laps and spent several more in the top ten.  Bayne said showing so much speed at NASCAR’s longest track made the results especially frustrating, “I hate it for the team because we had such a fast car again this week.”

The finish earned the No. 6 team another 17 points; enough to keep them in the top 10 in the NNS standings.  By rounding out the top-ten, Bayne is 75 points behind the new NNS points leader, Regan Smith.


A potentially-strong run for Danica Patrick ended early when an issue with the tandem draft occurred. Patrick started the race on the outside of the second row in the fourth position and had high hopes for a strong finish for the AccuDoc Solutions/Go Daddy team. Just 14 laps into the Aaron's 312, Patrick was logging laps when she and her drafting partner lost contact, sending Patrick spinning in turn three. The damage to the No. 34 was to severe to repair, relegating the team to a 39th-place finish.


Patrick came into the weekend looking to make her second start of the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season with Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM). During Thursday's two practice sessions at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, Patrick worked on the tandem draft and made a mock-qualifying run. The team was confident going into Friday's qualifying session and Patrick backed it up with a stellar lap, placing the No. 34 AccuDoc Solutions/Go Daddy Chevrolet in the fourth position for Saturday's Aaron's 312.


After a long rain delay on Saturday, NNS eventually took the green flag hours after the scheduled start time. Patrick wasted no time in picking a partner and rode inside the top five for the first five laps. On lap eight, Patrick found a drafting partner, and the duo worked to make a move to stay towards the front of the lead pack and get to the NASCAR-mandated caution on lap 20. Unfortunately, it was on lap 14 when Patrick got disconnected from her drafting companion and sent the No. 34 AccuDoc Solutions/Go Daddy Chevy spinning. After making a couple trips down pit road, the Turner Scott Motorsports team decided that the damage was too severe to repair and retired from the Aaron's 312 in the 39th place.


"I hate it for everyone at Turner Scott Motorsports, this is the second time they gave me great car this season," said Patrick. "We were just riding and trying to make our way back up to the front. I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to bring the AccuDoc Solutions/Go Daddy Chevy home with a finish that I felt like we could have gotten."



A rain-delayed, incident-filled race at Talladega Superspeedway resulted in a disappointing finish for Kyle Larson. After a blown tire put the No. 32 Cessna Chevrolet in the garage for a majority of the race, an 11-car pileup late in the event brought the Turner Scott Motorsports team's night to an end, relegating Larson to a 38th-place finish.


Taking the green flag from the 19th position, Larson began to search for a drafting partner, eventually finding one in Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Danica Patrick. Larson had pushed Patrick up into the 14th position when he noticed that his temperatures were running hot. Peeking his nose out for air, Larson brushed his front bumper across the rear of the No. 34. Unfortunately, the contact caused him to hook the back of her Chevrolet, resulting in a spin and a caution on lap 15.


After apologizing profusely to his team, Larson was called by crew chief Trent Owens onto to pit road for right-side tires and fuel. Emerging from the pits in 11th, Larson decided to lay back and avoid the melee in the front of the field, dropping to 18th with a small pack of cars. Suddenly, the No. 32 took a sharp turn into the grass in turns three and four. "I just blew a left-rear tire," the Rookie of the Year contender reported over the radio. After bringing the Cessna Camaro down pit road to assess the damage, Owens directed his driver to the garage for more thorough repairs.


The damage to the Camaro was extremely severe, with much of the left-rear of the No. 32 destroyed. The Turner Scott Motorsports crew worked diligently to get Larson back on the racetrack to pick up valuable positions, and on lap 94, the Cessna Chevrolet returned to green-flag racing.


Due to the heavy damage to his machine, Larson rode a comfortable distance behind the lead pack. Unfortunately, a wreck unfolded in front of him, taking out much of the field, and Larson was collected as a pair of competitors slid down the banking, leaving him nowhere to go. The damage to the No. 32 was irreparable in the handful of remaining laps, and Larson retired for good to the garage, ultimately scored in the 38th position.


"This was a rough one," said Larson after the race. "First of all, I have to apologize to Danica [Patrick]. I would never wreck my teammate like that. I was just trying to get some air to the nose because my water temp was getting high, and I hooked her. Then later, that tire blew without warning. I feel awful that our day ended like this. My guys worked so unbelievably hard to get me back out there and let me finish, but we couldn't even make it to the end when that big wreck hit. We've just had a lot of bad luck so far this season. I'm fortunate to say that over the last few years, I've had a lot of good luck, I'm just having a bad luck streak right now. But it's still early in the year, we've got a lot of ground we can make up, and I can feel that we're going to get our first Nationwide win soon."


Larson now sits 12th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Point Standings. The NASCAR Nationwide Series next hits the track next Friday, May 10 in VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.


GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion – “I just saw them wrecking above me.  I thought about going to the left, I had plenty of room and probably should have, but I didn’t.   I just stayed straight and moved down all I could and it wasn’t enough.  They got me in the right-rear and turned me the wrong way up into the wall, a pretty hard hit, but that’s all you can do is hang on when stuff like that happens.” 

KIND OF EARLY FOR SUCH A BIG WRECK?  “It can happen at any time.  You just never know.  We were trying to be cautious, but that didn’t work.”

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 10th (Austin Dillon), 24th (Ty Dillon) and 27th (Brian Scott).
  • Dillon is sixth in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Regan Smith by 48 markers, while Scott is seventh in the standings, 51 points behind Smith.
  • The No. 33 Chevrolet team ranks sixth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 3 team ninth in and the No. 2 team 10th.
  • Each of the RCR drivers led laps.
  • According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, A. Dillon was the seventh-Fastest Driver on Restarts, T. Dillon made 113 Green-Flag Passes and Scott tied for first in the Fastest Laps Run category with seven.
  • Smith earned his first victory of the 2013 Nationwide Series season and was followed to the finish line by Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Justin Allgaier.
  • The next Nationwide Series race is the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on Friday, May 10. The ninth race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

Brian Scott Caught in the "Big One" at Talladega


Brian Scott and the No. 2 Armour/Hungry Man team settled for a 27th-place finish after being collected in the "big one" at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon. The 25-year old took the green flag from the eighth position for the restrictor plate event. Scott stuck to his game plan of playing it safe by settling into the 22nd-spot throughout the opening portion of the race.  On lap 27 he hooked up with the No. 43 and charged towards the front of the field, working his way up to fifth.  The field was slowed by a caution flag on lap 35, giving Scott the opportunity to pit for two tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Once the action went back to green, Scott drafted with the No. 7 all the way up to the lead.  On lap 72 the Boise, Idaho native received damage due to an incident in on the backstretch.  The No. 2 driver made several pit stops under caution to fix his Chevrolet Camaro and eventually restarted 24th on the lead lap.  As the laps wound down, Scott found teammate Austin Dillon and the duo charged towards the front. As the field entered the third turn on lap 94, Scott was collected in an incident that took out multiple cars from the race, thus resulting in a 27th-place finish.


Start - 8                       Finish - 27                   Laps Led - 2                            Points - 7th



"We had a fast Armour/Hungry Man Chevy and we were able to get up to the front. Getting caught in the big one is the unfortunate part of superspeedway races. We just have to lick our wounds and move on. I'm proud of the No. 2 guys and their hard work this weekend.


Austin Dillon Earns a 10th-Place Result in Wild Finish at Talladega Superspeedway


Sporting a special Watermelon paint scheme to commemorate the debut of the newest flavor of AdvoCare Spark, Austin Dillon and the Danny Stockman-led Richard Childress Racing team led laps and were in position to visit Victory Lane in the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway before posting a 10th-place finish. Dillon started the rain-delayed event from the second position, but fell one lap down to the race leader after losing power and dropping in the running order early in the event. A lap-14 caution period allowed the team to change a spark plug on the No. 3 machine and Dillon was up-to-speed for the remainder of the event. Running in the 35th position with approximately 30 laps remaining, Dillon earned the "Lucky Dog" award and returned to lead lap racing. From there, Dillon became a strong contender and utilized the tandem draft with a variety of partners to work his way to the front of the field. He was scored as the race leader when the caution was displayed as the field received the white flag. He worked with another competitor to tandem draft to a commanding lead on the final restart before becoming detached from his drafting partner. He was ultimately shuffled to 10th as multiple competitors, including Dillon, were collected in a pileup while crossing the finish line.  


Start - 2                 Finish - 10           Laps Led - 5                       Points - 6th                          


AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:  "That was a heartbreaker. We were in position to win and Parker Kligerman did a great job pushing us at the end but our tandem draft got broke up. We worked really hard as a team today and recovered from an early problem, so I want to thank Danny Stockman and all of the guys for keeping cool under pressure. They did a great job. These races are always so unpredictable."


Ty Dillon Collected in 'The Big One' at Talladega Superspeedway


After using the tandem draft to run in the front of the field for portions of the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Ty Dillon and the No. 33 WESCO Chevrolet team were collected in a multi-car incident on lap 93 resulting in a 24th-place finish on Saturday afternoon. Dillon started the event from the 17th position and immediately found a drafting partner to take him to the front of the pack. He was scored in third on lap five and jumped to the lead on lap six. After showcasing the speed of the WESCO Chevrolet Camaro, Dillon dropped back to mid-pack to save his equipment. Utilizing routine pit stops under yellow flag conditions, crew chief Ernie Cope called for two-tires, fuel and no adjustments as Dillon was happy with the handling of the blue and white machine. The Richard Childress Racing driver was running ninth on lap 94 when competitors in front of him began spinning and collected Dillon. The Cope-led team took the No. 33 Chevrolet to the garage for repairs. Unable to fix the vehicle to NASCAR standards, Dillon and the team were relegated to a 24th-place finish.


         Start - 17          Finish - 24             Laps Led - 1          Owner's Points - 6th



"That was pretty wild. We had a really fast car today. Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the whole WESCO Chevrolet team did a great job in putting this car together. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I really think we had a car that could have won the race today. I can't thank WESCO and all of their suppliers enough for coming out and supporting us this afternoon."



NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Germain Racing will show support for the Susan G. Komen Foundation beginning at Talladega Superspeedway by promoting the upcoming “Rivals Series Shootout”, a golf tournament held September 25, 2013, at Lake of Isles Country Club, North Stonington, CT, with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Rivals teams are made up of baseball names from New York Baseball Alumni and Boston Baseball Alumni, with Bucky Dent being the team captain for the New York side and Tim Wakefield serving as captain for Boston. The “Rivals Series Shootout” logo can be seen on the decklid of the No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion and the C-post pink ribbons Germain Racing normally places on the car will be adapted to the Susan G. Komen Foundation pink ribbon logo.

Helping raise awareness for an organization such as Susan G. Komen Foundation, is important to Germain Racing as the team has boldly displayed a pink ribbon on the C-post of the No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion for several seasons. In fact, the team first showed support for Breast Cancer Awareness efforts in the early years of the team’s foundation by running an awareness paint scheme on their race truck when the team competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

The Forze Group is organizing the Rivals Series Shootout.  For more information or to become involved in the tournament, contact Chris Bova (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Germain Racing PR

New to the No. 54 Monster Energy seat this week, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Joey Coulter and the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series team maintained their Owner’s Point lead despite a disappointing 21st-place finish, due to an accident just short of the race finish. For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Coulter, it was his third start in the Nationwide Series and the first of three times he’ll take over the seat of the black and green machine this year.

Weather issues loomed over the garage area throughout the weekend, and teams anticipated rain would be an issue. Qualifying laps were completed under overcast skies on Friday, when Coulter registered the No. 54 Camry 11th-quick on the board. When one car faster than the No. 54 failed to pass inspection, and was removed from the field, Coulter and the Monster Energy Camry moved to a 10th-place starting position for the Aaron’s 312 event.

Race day started cold and rainy as teams awaited their start time. After a three-hour rain delay, the window of opportunity finally occurred for NASCAR to call the Nationwide Series field to the grid. Upon the drop of the green flag, Coulter’s 10th-place starting spot turned to 14th within lap one, quickly identifying the need for someone to drive ‘tandem’ with the rookie driver. On lap 6 of the scheduled 117-circuit race, Coulter hooked up with Sam Hornish, Jr. in the No. 12 Ford and moved his way into the top-five, racing as high as third place.

When the first of seven event cautions waved, crew chief Adam Stevens brought Coulter and his Toyota to pit road for adjustments, the first of four pit road visits they would make throughout the race. Coulter expressed the car felt good, and the crew proceeded to give the Toyota fresh tires and Sunoco fuel, so Coulter could tackle the next green-flag run.

Mid-race Coulter fought a tight-handling car condition on exit of the turns, but otherwise expressed that his car continued to feel good to drive. During the third caution, that went long, after cars made initial pit road stops and before the race went back to green, leaders came down pit road to ‘top off’ fuel cells. The No. 54, however, made a decision not to visit pit road, placing Coulter in first place to lead the pack at the green-flag restart. Coulter maintained first place for three laps from 76 to 78, then shifted back towards mid-pack.

The team’s race played out as they planned. Coulter shifted between the middle and end of the field, as he watched the tandems ahead of him but maintained a safe distance, in the event of the ‘big one,’ a multi-car wreck that could be devastating. At times Coulter would tandem draft with the No. 3 of Austin Dillon, someone the No. 54 had drafted well with in an earlier practice session. The 54 team bided their time until 30 laps to go, when the field all began to aggressively pursue the front.

Because of the late race start and pending darkness as the sun set, NASCAR advised the teams the race would be shortened from 117 to 110 event laps, to ensure all competitors could see well going through the 33 degree-banked turns. Knowing the race end was near, Coulter mixed it up among the top-10 cars, aligning with various competitors, until he settled back into a tandem draft with the No. 31 of Justin Allgaier, another competitor whom Coulter had practiced with earlier in the weekend.

The two were strong and had positioned themselves for a run to the checkered, when the No. 31’s car began to overheat. Allgaier moved the nose of his car outside the square bumper of Coulter’s No. 54, in order to secure air flow and cool down his engine. Unfortunately, as the No. 31 slid back into position behind the JGR team, Allgaier clipped the edge of Coulter’s bumper, sending the

No. 54 Camry hard right, into the outside wall. The accident took place in the tri-oval on lap 104 and destroyed the No. 54 machine. Coulter walked from the accident and was taken to the infield care center for observation.

Upon exiting the medical center after being released in good condition, Coulter expressed his disappointment in the finish and excitement for the opportunity, “It’s just Talladega Superspeedway racing – just an awesome day with Monster Energy and Toyota, everybody at Joe Gibbs (Racing) and Kyle Busch Motorsports. This was a heck of a day. I hate that it ended like that, but man we played the race so smart. We stayed out of trouble. We just kind of took the first few laps easy, let the wrecks happen and then it just worked out perfect – fell right into our hands there. The tandem stuff is tough to do. We’re working in a two-foot area on that rear bumper at 200 miles per hour, so we just got a little bit disconnected and he tried to come back across and get back behind me square and just hooked us a little bit. Again, I can’t thank everybody enough for this opportunity. We’re looking forward to the next two races.”

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 9 points.

Coulter led once for three laps during the Alabama Nationwide Series event. Despite a final and large last-lap wreck that involved multiple cars, Regan Smith won the race, his second Nationwide Series victory in 111 starts. Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Allgaier filled out the top-five finishing positions. There were seven caution periods for 29 laps of the race along with 47 lead changes across 16 drivers.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series competes again on May 10 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 race on Friday, with television broadcast starting at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN2. Kyle Busch will make his eighth start behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.


In his first visit to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway since winning last year's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, Parker Kligerman was looking to repeat the feat in Saturday's Nationwide Series Aaron's 312. After leading three times for four laps, all in the second half of the event, Kligerman had his Camp Horsin' Around/Bandit Chippers Camry right where he wanted it as the field took the white flag. 


He was tucked in behind race leader Austin Dillon, hoping that the two would remain at the front when they returned to the tri-oval and then be able to slingshot his way to the win. Coming down the backstretch, a pack of cars with huge momentum caught them from behind and as the two shifted lanes in tandem, in an effort to block them, they became disconnected. The No. 77 Toyota had fallen just outside the top 10 by the time the field made its way through Turn 4, until a seven-car melee ensued and the Connecticut native came out of the pileup in sixth place as the caution waved and ended the rain-shortened event.


"This Camp Horsin' Around/Bandit Chippers Toyota Camry with Austin Dillon in front of me on the last restart we were flying and we were going," said Kligerman, who was the top-finishing Toyota driver. "It was like, 'Alright this will work out.'  But, once those pods behind us got a run on our draft we were a sitting duck. We just talked about all of the things we could've done different here and there but at the end of the day to come out sixth after that big wreck there at the end and getting split up from Austin -- to come out sixth and fifth at Daytona in our first two superspeedway races, that's a win for us.  We'll just take these championship points and move



After rain delayed the start of the event for several hours, Kligerman took the green flag from the 18th starting position. That's where he remained when the first caution of the day occurred on lap 13. Crew chief Eric Phillips summoned his driver to pit road, where the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop and returned their driver to the track scored in the 23rd position.


The Camp Horsin' Around/Bandit Chippers Camry teamed with the No. 99 Camry of Alex Bowman for the majority of the event, as they did in the first superspeedway race of the year at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, riding around near the middle of the pack in the early stages waiting for the right time to make their move. After the third caution of the day slowed the field on lap 71, Kligerman came down pit road for another four-tire stop and then just before the field went green, made a second visit to his pit stall to top off with fuel.


The Talladega Truck Series winner took the lap-78 restart from the ninth position and just three laps later he took the lead for the first time. He would remain running inside the top 10 for the majority of the final 32 laps, finding himself in the third position on lap 93 when an 11-car accident slowed the field for the fifth time.


With darkness quickly approaching, NASCAR officials announced that the race would be shortened by seven circuits, from 117 to 110. Kligerman and Bowman connected with each other and looked to make a charge to the front of the field. The No. 77 Toyota was in the third spot again when a one-car spin slowed the field on lap 106. Officials then announced that because of the darkness the field would get one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, instead of the normal three attempts.


Regan Smith picked up his second career Nationwide Series win and first of 2013. Sprint Cup Series regulars Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch were scored second through fourth when the final caution ended the race. Nationwide Series regular Justin Allgaier came home fifth.


There were seven caution periods totaling 29 laps. Sixteen drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead 47 times. Eighteen drivers failed to finish the 110-lap event.


Kligerman, who moved up four spots to fourth in the driver's point standings, and his No. 77 Toyota Racing team head to Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 next Friday, May 10. Live television coverage of the 147-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.




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