Wednesday, Nov 29
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Race Highlights: 

  • Brian Scott started 32nd in The Profit on CNBC 500 presented by Small Business Fueling America. In only his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, Scott finished 32nd.
  • Next up for Scott and the No. 33 team is Auto Club 400, at Auto Club Speedway. See the race live on Sunday, March 23 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.  


Brian Scott Finishes 32nd in Hard-Fought Race at Phoenix International Raceway


The NASCAR Sprint Cup series began the new qualifying format this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The one-mile track of PIR participated in NASCAR's new qualifying format consisting of one 30-minute session with the top-12 transferring into a 10-minute final session after 10-min break. Brian Scott and the No. 33 Whitetail Chevrolet qualified in the 32nd position. For the majority of the 312-lap event, Scott battled both tight and loose conditions in and out of the turns. On lap 172, Scott was hit from behind causing damage to the right-side quarter panel and rear end of his Chevrolet SS. The team rallied to a 32nd-place finish.
                    Start - 32nd        Finish - 32nd     Laps Led - 0        Owner Points - 29th


BRIAN SCOTT QUOTE:  "I really hate it for my guys. Nobody hates running in the back as much as I do.  I'm really proud of my Whitetail crew for not giving up on our Chevrolet SS and working hard to get the most out of our finish as possible.  I'm looking forward to my next Sprint Cup race at California with these guys."


Circle Sport/RCR PR

Kurt Busch and the No. 41 Haas Automation team watched their potential top-10 finish dry up in the Arizona desert due to an engine failure Sunday in The Profit on CNBC 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, resulting in a 39th-place finish.

Busch got off to a fast start in the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS in the early going of the 312-lap race, racing from 12th to eighth in the opening laps. The No. 41 remained in the top-10 and ran as high as fifth by lap 170.

The first sign of a problem reared its head on lap 208 when Busch, racing in 10th position, radioed to crew chief Daniel Knost that “we dropped a cylinder.” Busch did his best to hold his position, but the issue prevented the No. 41 from maintaining its top-10 speed. On lap 232 the Haas Automation team lost its first lap to the leaders, and just 10 laps later the car ran out of gas while coming to pit road, causing the team to lose two additional laps.

The No. 41 suffered total engine failure on lap 292 while racing in 33rd position. Busch radioed the team to notify them of the failure before returning to the garage for the final time. As the No. 41 Chevy circled the track coming to the garage, fluid from the engine dropped onto the track to bring out the final caution of the race on lap 298.

“That was another disappointing finish for the No. 41 team. We had a good Haas Automation Chevrolet early on and ran in the top-10 for more than 200 laps,” Busch said. “But we dropped a cylinder late in the race and couldn’t do anything to fix it. I’m proud of my guys for sticking with it and doing what they could. We had some great pit stops today and were in position for a good afternoon. To have a top-10 car all afternoon and then not finish the race is a tough way to end your day. We learned some things today and found some things to work on moving forward, but this is a young team and we will come back stronger for it.”


Tony Stewart had a solid top-10 finish in his grasp Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway until an ill-timed caution with less than 65 laps remaining in The Profit on CNBC 500k NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race left Stewart with a 16th-place finish.

Stewart had piloted his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS from 20th in the 43-car field to as high as eighth on lap 235 of the 312-lap race. A routine, green-flag pit stop on lap 237 for four tires and fuel set Stewart up for a strong run to the finish.

But when the yellow caution flag waved on lap 248 for debris, Stewart was caught a lap down, as not everyone had pitted. As a result, Stewart had to take the “wave around” where any car that doesn’t pit under caution can get a lap back if every car on the lead lap does pit.

Stewart earned his lap back, but instead of being eighth, he was mired in 15th. The sudden loss of track position proved detrimental, as Stewart’s forward progress was stymied.

In an effort to make some gains on those ahead of him, Stewart pitted for four tires and fuel during another caution period on lap 278. He came in 15th and left 15th, and when the race restarted, he remained 15th.

When another caution came on lap 298 for oil on the track, Stewart pitted again for four fresh Goodyears. He emerged in 19th and rallied his way to 16th in the final nine laps of green-flag racing.

It was a far cry from the finish Stewart wanted, but his result was at least buoyed by the win scored by his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS.

Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas, congratulated Harvick in victory lane for the team’s first win of the season and SHR’s 20th since its inception in 2009.

“Kevin had the best car yesterday in practice, so I’m glad to see those guys finish it up,” Stewart said, alluding to the fact that Harvick was the fastest driver in the two practice sessions on Saturday. “Kevin had a lot of confidence in Rodney (Childers, crew chief). I didn’t know Rodney that well, but Kevin’s pretty keen on all aspects of this. He’s been confident all winter with our program, and today it showed. They’ve been working hard.”


Martin Truex Jr. grinded his way to a 22nd-place finish in Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Nothing worked for us today – I mean nothing,” said Truex, who started the Sprint Cup race from the 27th position. “We made a number of chassis adjustments to our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet but never could find the grip that was needed. The guys worked hard to find a combination for this track but it just didn’t materialize.” 
Truex added, “The way we struggled is not what we expected after a pretty solid final practice on Saturday. But I can honestly say that we all gave it our best effort and had to work really hard just to finish 22nd.”
Though he was disappointed about the performance Truex remained upbeat about the future.
“This was the first race with NASCAR’s new rule package for the 2014 car and we still have some work ahead of us,” said Truex. “But I am confident that we will get there. We have the people and a strong team commitment to make it work.”
From the start of the 312-lap event, it was evident that Truex’s No. 78 Chevrolet had grip issues on the 1-mile oval as he finished the race one-lap down.
“The setup wasn’t there,” noted Truex. “The car was tight, then loose, it wouldn’t roll in the center – I mean nothing worked. We all have these type of days. As far as I am concerned this race is now in the rearview mirror. Our focus right now is on the Las Vegas race next week.”

Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne finished seventh in Saturday's rain-shortened NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Phoenix International Raceway. Bayne remains second in the standings, five points behind leader Regan Smith.

“I am a little disappointed to be honest because I think we had a top-five car,” said Bayne.  “We battled back on that last green lap run. It is the best handling car I have ever had here as far as balance. We are second in points again among the Nationwide drivers here that we are battling for a championship and we gained a little on the leader.” 
Bayne rolled off 10th for the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 and quickly radioed in that he felt his car was tight through the center and loose off.  Crew Chief Chad Norris radioed back they would get him taken care of at the first yellow flag.
The team elected to bring Bayne down pit road on lap 84 under green flag conditions.  Norris called for four tires, a full load of fuel along with a track bar adjustment. The driver blended back into the field, settling into 13th.
By lap 110 the driver of the No.6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang radioed in the car was still too loose on exit but by this time had worked his way up to the 8th position even with an ill-handling race car.
The yellow flag flew on lap 136 and Norris called Bayne down pit road for their final stop of the day.  Once again a track bar adjustment along with four fresh Goodyears and a two cans of fuel was the call.
Bayne spent most of the later laps hovering close to a top-five finish until rain forced NASCAR to wave the red flag on lap 168 ending the teams day in the seventh position.

Eric McClure and the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® team finished 23rd in Saturday's rain-shortened Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix Int'l Raceway after starting the 200-lap event from the 28th position. With this finish, the team sits 26th in the 2014 point standings heading into next weekend's event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

During the early stages of the race, McClure maintained his starting position despite battling a car that was loose on entry and tight in the center of the turns.   When the first caution flag waved on lap 20, McClure brought his Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a small chassis adjustment to help the car's drivability on entry. When the race resumed on lap 29, the team was scored in the 26th position.

Slipping one position on the restart, McClure maintained this position until green flag pit stops began on lap 80. Having pitted during the first caution period, McClure was able to remain on track longer than most, allowing him to advance to the 23rd position. Ten laps prior to McClure bringing his car to the attention of the crew, the event's second caution flag waved on lap 91. This allowed the 35-year-old driver to bring his car to pit road under yellow conditions for four tires, fuel, and track-bar and air-pressure adjustments to help the car's now tight-handling condition. When the race resumed, the No.14 Camry was scored in the 23rd position, two laps down to the race leader.

In the final stages of the event, McClure was able to maintain the position, and on lap 161, the fourth and final caution flag waved for a single car accident. While safety crews were removing debris and preparing the track for race conditions, the rain began to fall, eventually forcing the race to end before the scheduled distance. As a result, the team was credited with a 23rd-place finish in Saturday's Blue Jeans Go Green 200.

Eric McClure Quotes

"Overall we had a decent car today. We started the race a bit off but we made adjustments each stop that helped the car. We didn't quite get the finish we wanted but we were able to gain spots in the owners' points."

Eric McClure PR

The second race of the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season is complete, but not in the way we hoped it would end. With 32 laps to go in the Blue Jeans Go Green 200, the red flag was displayed due to rainy weather conditions. The Nationwide Series cars were led down pit road where our teams quickly covered the cars in hopes of returning to the track. After a two hour and seven minute red flag, the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 was officially called due to rain.

Mike Bliss and the No. 19 TriStar Motorsports Camry qualified 17th for the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Bliss ran as high as 14th, but finished 17th due to in-climate weather conditions. Driver's Points Gained: 27pts


Eric McClure and the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry qualified 28th for Saturday's race. Once the green flag dropped after a caution on track, McClure battled a vibration issue and finished the race in 23rd. Driver's Points Gained: 21pts


Will Kimmel made his second career Nationwide Series start during the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway in the No. 44 Ingersoll Rand Camry. Kimmel qualified 26th and finished the race 33rd after experiencing transmission issues that sent him to the garage for repairs. Driver's Points Gained: 11pts


Driving the No. 10 Support Military Foundation Camry was Blake Koch who qualified 22nd. Koch finished the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 in 39th after having a vibration issue. Driver's Points Gained: 5pts


Overall, TriStar Motorsports had a good points weekend and are looking forward to heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Boyd Gaming 300 next weekend.



Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed finished 22ndafter a race ending single car accident in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Phoenix International Raceway.

“We knew the race was coming and we were faster than the guys in front of us and running them down,” said Reed.  “On the replay we could see drops on the windshield.  It was a perfect situation for me to get myself into trouble. I got a little loose and any other time I think I would have gathered it up, but it got a little too far stepped out on me and the damp race track just got out from underneath me. I tried to save it and then chased it down into the inside wall. I tore up another good race car that these Roush Fenway guys worked so hard to build. We had a really fast Ford Mustang.”

After the morning qualifying session, Reed wound up with a 15th-place starting spot.  The NNS race took the green flag on time, although rain was forecasted for much of the day. 

The driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop DiabetesSM presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang was happy with the balance of his race car, working his way up to 10th by a Lap 28 restart.

On the next green flag run, Reed reported to the crew that the handling of his Mustang started to swing to the tight side, as the car was a little too snug.

Crew Chief Seth Barbour radioed his young driver down pit road for the first pit stop of the day under green flag conditions on Lap 82.  The team opted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

A caution flag during the cycle of green flag pit stops left the No. 16 team in 17th, one lap down.  As the leaders visited pit road, Reed took the wave around, in order to get back on the lead lap.

Reed restarted 15th on Lap 96; settling into the top-15 during the next green flag run.  The driver came over the radio to inform the crew that as the green flag run progressed, his Mustang continued to loosen up.

Barbour called Reed back down pit road to adjust on the handling of his Ford Mustang during a caution period on Lap 136.  The pit crew changed four tires and added fuel as well as making an air pressure adjustment and removing a rubber from the right rear.

The race resumed green flag racing on Lap 142, under heavily clouded skies.  With the threat of rain looming, Reed battled hard to work his Mustang towards the front of the pack.  Ultimately, as the rain started to fall, Reed was involved in a race-ending single car accident on Lap 166.

NASCAR displayed the red flag shortly thereafter.  When the race was called, the No. 16 team was credited with a 22nd-place finish.


The first day of March also meant the first day of the 2014 Southern National Motorsports Park racing season.  While practice and qualifying saw overcast skies and cooler temperatures, the clouds dissipated just in time for a sunny and warm afternoon in Lucama.


In the first of two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock races, Justin Snow was the fast qualifier and led early.  It wasn't until a mid-race caution came out that Tommy Lemons Jr. made a move.  Lemons and Snow battled side-by-side for ten laps, with Lemons leading the bulk of the laps by a nose.  Eventually Lemons would succumb to the Danville, VA driver. 


The 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina champion, Deac MCaskill, looked to improve on his third-place starting position.  McCaskill fought with Lee Pulliam hard, with both drivers taking shots at one another.  On a Lap 46 restart, McCaskill and Pulliam made contact again, this time sending Pulliam around.  Michael Hardin found himself with nowhere to go, impacting Pulliam's passenger-side door hard, leaving the Semora, NC driver out of the remainder of the race.


Snow would pull away from Lemons, seemingly winning the first 75 lap event.  Snow's car, however, failed post-race tech, giving Lemons the victory.   McCaskill finished second, while Myatt Snider, Dillon Bassett and Bradley McCaskill rounded out the top five.


The second Late Model race was to feature an eight-car invert, placing Ricky Jones on the pole.  Jones, though, came on to pit road for service before the green flag and was subsequently moved to the rear of the field.  That, coupled with engine trouble for Bradley McCaskill, placed Myatt Snider on the pole.  The Charlotte, NC driver led the first 20 laps, holding off charge after charge from Brandon Brown.  Brown eventually made his way past Snider, holding onto the lead until Lap 40. 


While that racing was taking place up front, Lee Pulliam was meticulously charging through the field in his battered Chevrolet.  Starting 21st, Pulliam made his way to the front using both on-track passes and the cone restart to get to the front.  On lap 40, Pulliam made the pass for the lead and wouldn't look back.  Though some slower traffic held up Pulliam, Tommy Lemons Jr. couldn't make a move, and finished second.  Payton Ryan started back in the field after an early exit to the first race and worked his way up to a third place finish.  Ryan, however, failed post-race tech and was disqualified.  Brown, in turn, was credited with third, while Dillon Bassett and Brenden Queen finished fourth and fifth, respectively.


"It just shows my team can overcome anything.  After the wreck they got right to work, the toe was knocked out, it was all bent up, and they gave me a car like-new," Pulliam said.  The two-time national champion will run a full K&N East Series schedule, racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on off weeks.


The 2013 champion, Robert Arch, picked up right where he left off, winning from the pole in the 30 lap Charger division event.  Arch, who had flown in from New Hampshire earlier in the day, had all of five practice laps in his Toyota Camry before running in Saturday's event.  That was enough to keep the field behind for the length of the race, as Arch cruised to victory.  Tom Sauls and Wayne Goss were credited with second and third, while Paul Williamson and Jeff Rogers rounded out the top five.


In UCARs, James Stroud took the lead 10 laps into the 25 lap event after leader Duane Walker found himself hung up behind slower traffic.   Walker could never recover and Stroud took the win, matching his 2013 win total at SNMP.  Lynn Waller battled mechanical issues but managed to finish third.




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