Speedway Digest Staff
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Mike Wallace pushed his way through a tough Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway to score a 27th-place finish in the Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 Nationwide Series race.
Wallace started 27th in the GK Services Chevrolet and raced in the mid-20s most of the evening before finishing exactly where he started in the lineup.
“We tried to get the car better, but we couldn’t move up through there,” Wallace said. “It was a tough night, but we hung in there. We’ll take it and move on from here.”
Wallace stayed 17th in Nationwide Series driver points.
Kevin Harvick won the race, leading 132 of the 195 laps and outrunning Kyle Busch on the final lap.
The Nationwide Series moves on to Richmond International Raceway in Virginia for a Sept. 6 race.
JD Motorsports PR
Landon Cassill had one of his best runs of the Nationwide Series season Saturday night in the Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Starting 22nd, Cassill pushed the LINE-X Chevrolet through the field to reach a high of 14th before finishing one of the longest races of the Nationwide season in 19th.
The run was Cassill’s third best of the year.
“We had a good car,” Cassill said. “It was a pretty good night all around. We would have liked to have gotten into the top 15, but, all things considered, not a bad race for us.”
Kevin Harvick won the race, leading 132 of the 195 laps and holding off a late-race charge by Kyle Busch.
The series moves on to Richmond International Raceway for a Sept. 6 race.
JD Motorsports PR
Crafton's No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Toyota improved its best lap of the weekend on the 2.459-mile road course to 82.367 seconds, an average speed of 107.475 mph in Saturday's one-hour morning practice.
That earned Crafton the right to qualify in the fourth of six groups on Saturday afternoon. The groups were arrayed from the slowest drivers to the fastest in the final group -- but ironically the pole-winner for the 30-truck field, defending series champion James Buescher, came from the next-to-last group.
In qualifying, Crafton improved to 82.323 seconds, 107.533 mph, but he'll only line up 13th.
"It's going to be a long race," Crafton said. "We feel like there'll be a lot of people off-course and people using up their equipment racing too aggressively. We're going to concentrate on taking care of our stuff and be there at the end and we'll be fine."
Jeb Burton's truck, which was the next on-track behind Crafton, spewed fuel from its fuel-filler neck for Burton's entire four-lap run.
"The 4 (Burton) was spilling a ton of fuel and that certainly didn't help the grip level on the racetrack," Crafton said. "But we weren't nearly as good as we'd been in practice (Saturday) morning. The truck was really loose -- the loosest it had been all weekend. I tried to get as much as I could, but I was just dead sideways everywhere."
Crafton and crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner made some significant suspension setting changes Saturday morning and that paid off in practice -- and they hope, in the race Sunday.
"We didn't really change anything from practice, for qualifying," said Crafton, who practiced only 32 laps in four sessions over two days. "We just put four sticker tires on 'er and let 'er eat. Staying on the racetrack and making sure I shift all four gears right is what I'm going to look out for, now."
Sauter's No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota nearly equaled its championship-leading teammate in Happy Hour as Sauter ran his best lap of the weekend, 82.897 seconds, an average speed of 106.788 mph. Sauter ran a total of 50 laps preparing to qualify and was a little baffled to be lining up 16th, Sunday.
"It was OK, but really not anything to write home about," Sauter said of his first road-course qualifying session in a truck, which amounted to three laps. "The truck was about the same as it was in practice. We didn't really make any changes to it because we just wanted to go out and make a solid lap, not make any mistakes, get it into the field and go racing (Sunday)."
The only benefit of qualifying, which according to Sauter's crew chief Dennis Connor might've been a coincidence, was the acceptable pit positions Connor and Joiner were able to select.
Crafton will pit from the fourth pit box while Sauter's truck will be serviced in box No. nine, which has an opening adjacent to it, which will give Sauter's over-the-wall crew more room to work.
"I don't really know how that (No. nine) box was still left," Connor said of his mid-field spot in the pit selection order. "But we're glad to have it and see if we can't make something happen with it."
Both Sauter and Crafton are looking forward to the 64-lap race -- though no one knows how it'll play out.
"I don't know how these guys picked up a second-and-a-half (in qualifying, over practice) like they did," Sauter said, shaking his head as he walked out of the garage. "Like we've been talking about all along, playing the right race strategy and just keeping your truck on the racetrack all day is the only thing that's going to make the difference."
Sauter's gamely fighting to get back into the championship race -- a race he once led by 25 points before a technical violation by the 98 team at Kansas led to a 25-point driver and owner-point penalty. Sauter's currently 17 points outside the top five in the standings -- his immediate goal before he attacks Crafton's hefty 89-point advantage.
Sunday's race is the first Truck Series road race since 2000, at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. None of the drivers entered this weekend competed in that race, but Ron Fellows, an ownership partner of CTMP, finished third in that event at the track where he won five NASCAR races, two in the Truck Series and three in the Busch Series.
Ron Hornaday, who'll start 17th, is the only driver in the field who's previously road-raced a truck.
On Sunday, Chevrolet Silverado 250 TV coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins at 1 p.m. ET with The Setup pre-race show. The green flag for the event, which will also be covered on MRN Radio, with live timing and scoring on NASCAR.com, is set for 1:30 p.m.
Ross Kenseth led the most laps, but had to fend off a furious late race challenge from rookie Jared Irvan to win the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model SoBo 100 Saturday night at South Boston Speedway. With his win, Kenseth completed a sweep of both PASS South events held at South Boston Speedway this year.
“It’s always fun coming back here, heck of a job by Jared Irvan, he raced us really clean and it was fun racing him for the win,” said Kenseth after his 4th career PASS South Super Late Model win. “I felt like we were really good, but if we got pinched down to the bottom it would take us about two or three laps to get going. Real proud of the guys, we brought the same thing back here as last time and it work really good again.”
Defending PASS South Champion Kyle Grissom set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 98.307 miles per hour when the race was originally scheduled on August 17th. Due to rain, that event was cancelled and the 24 car starting field was lined up based on that qualifying session from two weeks ago. The top 10 qualifiers redrew for their starting positions which put Kenseth and rookie Spencer Davis on the front row, while Grissom would be relegated to ninth.
At the drop of the green flag, Kenseth quickly jumped into the lead before the first caution of the night would wave on lap 3 for a spin by Justin Allison in turn three. Kenseth continued to lead, but the car on the move was Grissom. He made his way by PASS South points leader Jay Fogleman and Brandon Ward for second on lap 16 and set his sights on the leader Kenseth. Following a spin in turn two by Clay Rogers on lap 20, Grissom moved around Kenseth for the lead on the restart. Grissom’s stay up front was short lived though, as Kenseth retook the top spot on lap 31. On lap 36, the lapped machine of Jerrick Johnson would spin in front of the leaders in turn two collecting the second and third place cars of Grissom and Fogleman. Both pitted with Fogleman having to make extensive repairs to the front end of his damaged Ford.
One of the hardest crashes of the night occurred on lap 39 when rookie Tyler Audie lost control of his machine and made hard contact with the front straightaway wall. Then, three laps later fellow rookie and PASS South title contender Spencer Davis would be sidelined when he broke a right front suspension after contact with Joseph Mursuli.
Kenseth continued to run out front with Jared Irvan now in second followed by Brandon McReynolds in third, who was also making his PASS South debut. Meanwhile, Fogleman and Grissom were making their way back to the front moving around Joe Ryan Osborne with 19 laps to go to take fifth and sixth respectively. Following another spin by Rogers in turn two on lap 91, Irvan moved around Kenseth to take the lead on the ensuing restart. But, the caution would wave one lap later for a multi-car incident on the front straight away involving Tanner Rumburg, Jerrick Johnson, John Batten, Tate Fogleman and Cole Timm.
Irvan and Kenseth led the field to the race’s final restart with eight laps to go with Kenseth taking over the top spot on lap 93. Kenseth held on for his second PASS South win of 2013 over Irvan, McReynolds, Clete Caywood, and Kyle Grissom. Following the race, Irvan and his Auramist team were extremely excited with their second place effort.
“Finishing second is as good as a win to us because I’m a rookie just trying to get my feet wet with the series,” said Irvan after his best career PASS South finish. “It’s a lot more fun to be in the front than in the middle, I just hate the caution came out because I think we would have been in really good shape.”
Rounding out the top ten at the finish were Jay Fogleman, Bobby Measmer, Jr., Rodney Brooks, Brandon Ward, and Osborne.
The PASS South Super Late Models will be in action again on Saturday night, September 21st at Hickory Motor Speedway for the Over The Mountain 150 along with the PASS Pro Late Models, CCS Modifieds, and CCS Legends. For more information please go to ProAllStarsSeries.com.
POS CAR DRIVER TEAM TIME SPEED
1. 11 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H. Phoenix Pre-Owned Motors Chevrolet 14.771 96.270
2. 28 George Brunnhoelzl, III, West Babylon, N.Y. Epox-Z Cool Roof Coating/Oval Speed Chevrolet 14.794 96.120
3. 25 John Smith, Mount Airy, N.C. G-Oil/Shady Grady Racing Chevrolet 14.827 95.906
4. 02 Tim Brown, Rural Hall, N.C. Hayes Jewelers/T&C Motorsports Chevrolet 14.858 95.706
5. 59 Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, Conn Space Fitters/Ed Bennett Properties Chevrolet 14.876 95.590
6. 65 Danny Bohn, Freehold, N.J. Cedar Peaks /Rustoleum/Ray Evernham Ent Chevrolet 14.969 94.996
7. 5 Kyle Ebersole, Hummelstown, Pa. Ebersole Excavating Inc Ford 14.995 94.832
8. 9 A.J. Winstead, Richmond, Va. Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc Chevrolet 15.007 94.756
9. 07 Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y. Emerling Chevrolet Chevrolet 15.013 94.718
10. 1 Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C. Citrusafe /Adams Towing & Recovery Ford 15.037 94.567
11. 7 Thomas Stinson, Chester, Va. M&M Custom Painting Chevrolet 15.112 94.097
12. 4 Jason Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C. Myers Racing Ford 15.114 94.085
13. 40 Luke Fleming, Mount Airy, N.C. * Koma Unwind/Autos By Nelson.com Ford 15.294 92.978
14. 2 JR Bertuccio, Centerrach, N.Y. Gershow Recycling/Hagerman Systems Chevrolet 15.300 92.941
15. 97 Bryan Dauzat, Alexandria, La. O B Builders Inc Chevrolet 15.359 92.584
16. 77 Gary Putnam, Concord, N.C. Stock Car Steel Chevrolet 15.404 92.314
17. 70 Jeremy Gerstner, Wesley Chapel, Fla. * GMR Complete Lawn/Fountain Mtsprts. Chevrolet 15.421 92.212
18. 12 Mike Norman, Lewisville, N.C. DMC Auto Exchange/Auto Solutions/Lewisville Motor 15.549 91.453
19. 04 David Calabrese, Toms River, N.J. * Diamond Back Towing Chevrolet 15.732 90.389
* Denotes Rookie of the Year Contender
TRAVIS PASTRANA PRACTICE: NASCAR Nationwide Series driverTravis Pastrana got a hand from his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards during Saturday’s first practice session. Pastrana, who turned the 9th-fastest lap time of the session at 177.630 mph (31.211 seconds), said he asked Edwards to make laps in the car to compare notes with the veteran.
“I was kind of going down a different route than my teammates, so I just wanted to verify, because every time I’ve gone down a different route than my teammates, we’ve thought we were good and then we’ve gone into the race and hit walls and crashed and stuff,” Pastrana said. “So Carl got in, and he said the exact same thing that I was feeling. So I don’t know if it’s right, but at least I got someone else to verify it.”
Qualifying for Saturday night’s Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 begins at 4:05 p.m., and Pastrana was excited to see how he would do.
“It feels awesome now,” said Pastrana, who is 14th in points. “We’re not the quickest; I think we’re going to be pretty competitive today, but I’ve thought that before, so we will see.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER NAMED No. 47 DRIVER: AJ Allmendinger will have a fresh start in NASCAR for the 2014 season, as he was named the driver of the No. 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup entry during a press conference Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“In a way, I never thought I’d have this opportunity again, so it’s almost like starting over, but kind of being reborn and knowing that I have a real shot,” Allmendinger said. “It’s what made it exciting for me to be a part of this race team. I feel like we can do this together.”
Allmendinger has already driven the no. 47 in three races this season, giving the team its best finish of the year – a 10th place at Watkins Glen. He also ran five IndyCar races this year.
#500 MILES FOR MARCY: Everyone at AMS this weekend is missing Marketing and Promotions Director Marcy Scott, who is undergoing cancer treatment. To let her know just how much she is missed, there will be a giant card to be signed by media, PR reps, drivers and anyone else who wants to lend support to Marcy’s fight. The card will be kept on the counter in the media center and will be in the back of both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup drivers’ meetings to be signed.
LEGENDS AND BANDOLERO WINNERS: The Legends and Bandolero Series put on an afternoon show for the fans on the quarter-mile Thunder Ring, giving them a glimpse of the future of racing.
Tina Johnson scored a big win in the over-40 Masters division, holding off seven-time Thursday Thunder summer racing champion Skip Nichols. Chandler Smith won the Bandits division race for the under-12 Bandolero drivers, while Ashton Winger picked up the win in the Outlaws division and Kason Plott won the combined Pro/Semi-Pro/Young Lions race.
Final results are listed below.
Combined Young Lions/Semi-Pro/Pro
- Kason Plott (Marietta, Ga.), 2. Woodrow Mullis (Hoboken, Ga.), 3. Amber Fleeman (Dacula, Ga.), 4. Hub Talbot (Smyrna, Ga.), 5. Aaron Bailey (Burlington, N.C.)
- Ashton Winger (Fayetteville, Ga.), 2. Chase Purdy (Gallion, Ala.), 3. Joshua Hicks (Senoia, Ga.), 4. Eli Bailey (Johns Creek, Ga.), 5. Miranda Meredith (Locust Grove, Ga.)
- Tina Johnson (Senoia, Ga.), 2. Skip Nichols (Albany, Ga.), 3. Scott Moseley (McDonough, Ga.), 4. Mark Swan (Dunwoody, Ga.), 5. Robbie Woodall (McDonough, Ga.), 6. Don Maness (Duluth, Ga.), 7. John Ponzio (Tyrone, Ga.), 8. Frank Johnston (Burritts Rapids), 9. Martin Snyder (Acworth, Ga.), Spencer Moseley (McDonough, Ga.)
Chandler Smith (Talking Rock, Ga.), 2. Zach Leonardi (Smyrna, Ga.), 3. Conner Younginer (Stockbridge, Ga.), 4. Clay Thompson (Powersville, Ga.), 5. Will McConnell (Dallas, Ga.), 6. Nathan Jackson (McDonough, Ga.), 7. Hayden Swank (Woodstock, Ga.)
JTG Daugherty Racing officials announced today that AJ Allmendinger will pilot the No. 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry full-time beginning with the 2014 season.
"For me, it is an amazing opportunity," Allmendinger said. "I looked at this year as a new beginning for me. I have worked hard and feel fortunate about every opportunity this season and I am very grateful. It has been nice to have the chance to really get to know the JTG Daugherty Racing team and the owners Brad (Daugherty), Jodi and Tad (Geschickter). This is the start of something full-time and I look forward to the next full blown chapter of my career with JTG Daugherty Racing."
Allmendinger, who has five top-five and 30 top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has piloted the No. 47 in three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and delivered the team's best finish (10th-place) of the season at Watkins Glen International. The 31-year-old welcomes the newfound opportunity.
"It feels great that we chose each other," Allmendinger said. "There are many reasons why I feel good about it. I have come to know Tad, Jodi and Brad and their values with the way they treat people. It is not just at the track, but away from the track. To have the opportunity to come back full-time with everything that happened, I know how very lucky I am.
"There are a lot of things about the team I like as well," continued Allmendinger. "It is small and a fun atmosphere whether it is inside the hauler or goofing around after hours playing golf. It is the type of atmosphere and chemistry you need in this sport. I look forward to contributing to help build this team into something stronger and working with some of the best sponsors in this sport."
Those partners include BUSH'S® Best Beans, Charter Communications, Clorox®, Dell, Freightliner, Glad®, Hidden Valley®, House-Autry, Kingsford® Charcoal, Miller Welders, SCOTT® Products and Sherwin-Williams. In addition to household name longstanding partners, JTG Daugherty Racing had the fortune to work with 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte behind the wheel to establish a solid baseline for the single-car operation during the last three years.
"We are very thankful to Bobby," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "He did such a great job establishing baselines for our company and we are glad we were able to extend his racing streak as long as we did. He is a champion of our sport and has won 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. He has a Hall of Fame career and we are very thankful to him and want to work with him in the future with our company. We will try to provide him with best resources to get him to victory lane this season."
As one chapter closes for the No. 47 team, a new one begins with Allmendinger.
"We are pleased to have an opportunity to work with AJ going forward," Daugherty said. "We think he is up and coming with so much potential in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We have a great opportunity to get to victory lane. AJ's hungry to compete to win. We are looking forward to the next chapter of our program and he is a big part of it."
JTG Racing PR