Speedway Digest Staff
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NASCAR K&N Pro Series West teams went to Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) for the NAPA Know-How “125”. Sergio Pena, who pilots the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing, goal of recording the first win was hampered two flat left rear tires at the 2.5-mile road course.
Practice had the No. 16 NAPA Toyota sixth on the timing charts. Pena would qualify on the inside of row two, with a time of 1:33.450.
The field took the green with the series point leader taking the lead before lap one was even complete. After the first 15 laps of the 50 lap race, Pena was now in seventh. There was another lead change at lap 17. The first of two cautions came out at lap 20 as a car dropped oil on the track with Pena making a pit stop for fuel shortly before the caution flag was displayed. He reentered the race in eighth. By lap 29, the NAPA Toyota was up to fifth. The second caution came out at lap 32 resulting in the race being red flagged for cleanup of the track.
At lap 35, Pena radioed in to the team that he had a left rear tire going down. He would finish the race in ninth. He is now fifth in the chase for the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship and only seven points out of the top three.
“It was kind of a disappointing weekend,” said Pena. “I really had high hopes going into this weekend because of my road course racing background. It took a while to figure out the track because I had never been there.”
“I was really happy with qualifying 3rd. Our chances were looking good but I made a mistake going into turn 1 and lost some ground. Then we ended up getting two flat left rears under green which put us a lap down. We were able to bring the No. 16 NAPA Toyota Camry home in 9th after a long frustrating race.”
The NAPA team from BMR would like to thank NAPA Otawana and Minneapolis for their great support this weekend.
Next up for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota team will be at Iowa Speedway for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West combination race and on the same weekend the teams will head to Lebanon I-44 Speedway on June 7th – 9th.
Ken Schrader, fresh off wins on Indy mile dirt, ARCA race at Toledo, preps for ARCA's Akona 250 at Elko Speedway
The victory came on the heels of his historic win in the Menards 200 ARCA Racing Series event recently at Toledo Speedway. His next stop - Elko (Minn.) Speedway for ARCA's Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care Saturday, June 1.
"Thought we were going to have a real busy week racing last week, but we rained out most everywhere," Schrader said. "We got two out of six (races) in."
In addition to his win in the Indy mile Friday, Schrader finished second in his modified at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois Sunday night.
"Other than the mile and Granite City, everything rained out. Terre Haute rained out Wednesday night. The Indy mile got rained out Thursday, so they moved it to Friday. Got rained out at Pevely Saturday night, raced Sunday in Granite City, and got rained out tonight (Monday) at Macon."
Attempting to run six races in six nights would wear most people out, but apparently not Schrader, who's been doing it this way for the last 40-plus years. The NASCAR/ARCA veteran racer will turn 58 Tuesday, May 29, ahead of this Saturday's Akona 250 at Elko. He's also on track to compete in more than 80 races by year's end. A combination of ARCA races, dirt modified races, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Camping World Truck Series will keep Schrader plenty busy for the year.
His ARCA win at Toledo earlier this month distinguished Schrader as the oldest winner in ARCA Racing Series history.
"We got caught off guard with all the publicity we got from that. For one, it was the only Sunday race, so that helped a lot. But ARCA did such a great job with the promotion of that event, and it was live on SPEED, so it opened it up to an even bigger audience. But I was quite surprised."
His ARCA triumphs are a stark reminder of his versatile driving skills, with wins at Toledo, the Topeka, Kansas road course, the Indiana State Fairgrounds mile-dirt, the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile-dirt, DuQuoin, the Hagerstown Speedway half-mile dirt, Nashville Superspeedway, and other short tracks at Salem, South Boston Speedway, and Anderson Speedway.
In 61 career ARCA starts, he's earned 16 wins among 40 top-five finishes and 48 top-10s, with 15 Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell. Through it all, he's led an impressive 2,226 laps in 35 races.
Schrader was also the 1999 ARCA Racing Series car owner champion with Bill Baird driving, and a back-to-back car owner winner at Daytona with Mike Wallace and Andy Hillenburg.
His NASCAR career includes four Sprint Cup Series wins at Charlotte, Dover, Talladega, and Atlanta, two wins in the Bud Shootout at Daytona, three poles in the Daytona 500, and eight top-10 Cup championship points finishes.
Prior to his stock car career, Schrader first made a name for himself in USAC where he earned the USAC Silver Crown Series championship in 1982 and the USAC Sprint Car championship in 1983. He has 33 career USAC victories overall in Silver Crown, Sprints and Midgets.
Not surprisingly, Schrader has already raced on the three-eighths-mile Elko track a few years back when track officials created a dirt surface over the asphalt.
"We raced up there a few years ago, but that was on the dirt. Either way, it's a great little track. I like it either way."
Raceday at Elko starts with ARCA Racing Series practice from 2-2:45 p.m., with final practice following from 3:15-4. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell starts at 5:30 with the Akona 250 set to take the green flag at 8.
ARCA Racing PR
As NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie driver Timmy Hill entered his first 600 mile race he knew a long night was ahead of him. What he didn't expect was the crazy events that would unfold during the longest race of the season. However, the mature 20-year old driver kept his composure and with his FAS Lane Racing team behind him brought his No. 32 OXYwater Ford home to a solid 27th place finish in the running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"That was a solid and clean race for our OXYwater team and one that we really needed," stated Hill. "Like everyone else we did our best to adjust our No. 32 OXYwater Ford as the track conditions changed from daylight to night. My FAS Lane Racing team stayed on top of that and we had a solid race car all night. That was some crazy stuff with the TV cable and I hope that all of the fans are OK. We had some minor damage on the roof of our car from it but from the looks of some of the other cars it could have been worse."
Hill will be back behind the wheel of the No. 32 OXYwater Ford next week as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the "Monster Mile" of Dover International Speedway.
"We definitely needed a solid run like we had tonight," said FAS Lane Racing team owner Frank Stoddard. "Timmy did a good job in staying patient with the handling of the car and in a long race we were able to keep up with the changing track conditions fairly well. We still have some work to do to get better and up to speed a little quicker into the race weekend but this was a solid outing for our OXYwater team and one that we needed at this time. Now we will need to build on it and get some momentum going."
Can Jeff Gordon and company find the last piece of the puzzle Sunday so their day ends in Victory Lane after the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway?
While Gordon won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year marking his 87th career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory, he has yet to secure a win this year. Accidents, part failures or other issues have ruined potential strong finishes in the first dozen races of 2013. Last weekend at Charlotte, Gordon had moved up to third before an ill-timed caution and pit stop cost him a lap. It later cost him a car after he was involved in a multi-car accident.
"It just hasn't all come together yet," said Gordon. "If we keep having strong cars and running in the top five each week, we'll battle for wins."
The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion appeared to be in that position here last year. Gordon led 60 laps, but an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel ultimately cost him a lap. He recovered to finish 13th at the one-mile concrete track.
"Dover has high speeds with high-banked turns and high-banked straightaways, as well," said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 AARP Credit Cards from Chase Chevrolet SS this weekend. "Here, just like Darlington, you have to really respect the race track.
"You can't get too caught up in racing the competition. If you get track position, you have to try to maintain it. Survival and having a good car here are very important, though."
In 40 starts at "The Monster Mile," Gordon has four wins, four poles, 15 top-fives and 22 top-10's. But he knows the Delaware track earned its moniker for a reason.
"It's a track where you're on the edge," said Gordon, who is 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. "There's not a lot of room for error.
"It can happen by itself. On your own, you can break your car loose and find yourself in trouble - and it's hard to recover. Usually when you have a problem, you're in the wall.
"And the same thing when you're in a group. If it happens as a group, there is going to be a big wreck.
Girl Friday PR
THE ONLY SURE THING ABOUT LUCK IS THAT IT WILL CHANGE: The three-time Mexico Series champion Germán Quiroga will enter the sixth NASCAR Camping World Truck series race this season at Dover International Speedway. The Rookie of the Year contender has found exceptional speed in his No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra but anxiously awaits his first win in one of NASCAR's premier series.
With eight wins on the NASCAR Mexico Series short tracks, Quiroga anticipates the 'Monster Mile' with pure excitement and determination. Quiroga made his Truck Series debut at the 1.06-mile track of New Hampshire Motor Speedway where he earned a 16th-place finish.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Germán Quiroga will celebrate his 33rd Birthday on Wednesday, May 29th. Be sure to follow @gerspeed1 on Twitter to wish him a 'Happy Birthday'.
NET10 WIRELESS®: The Truck Series returns to action at Dover International Speedway and so does NET10 Wireless as primary sponsor on German Quiroga's No. 77 Toyota Tundra. The no contract cell phone leader will continue its support as primary or associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. For more information on NET10 Wireless, visit www.NET10Wireless.com.
CHASSIS HISTORY: Quiroga will pilot Chassis No. 002 this weekend at Dover International Speedway. This chassis was raced at Martinsville Speedway in April where Quiroga qualified fifth. In 2012 the truck saw action at Rockingham Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway and had its best finish (3rd) at Iowa Speedway in the series second visit to the track.
MEET & GREET: Quiroga, along with teammates Timothy Peters and John Wes Townley will head to the Lucas Oil display in the FanZone outside turn four after qualifying on Friday, May 31st from 1:30 - 2:15 for a Truck Series autograph session.
REARVIEW MIRROR - CHARLOTTE: The No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra team was forced to start in the rear of the field at Charlotte Motor Speedway after fixing right rear damage from contact with the wall during Quiroga's qualifying lap. The team rallied to fix the NET 10 Wireless Tundra in time for the green flag. Early on, Quiroga made contact with another competitor sustaining right side damage. Quiroga was forced to pit road where his team rallied once again to put the NET10 Wireless Tundra back out on the track. As Quiroga was making his way back to the pack, he cut down a right front tire and slammed into the wall in turn three ending their night.
Germán Quiroga on Dover International Speedway:
Your crew chief Dan Stillman has had multiple top-five and top-10 finishes at Dover. What advice has he given you about the 'Monster Mile'?
"Dover seems like a very tough track. But that's the type of track that I like. It's really banked and concrete instead of pavement. I think we are getting faster and faster each time we are at the race track or testing, so my goal for the weekend is to complete all the laps in my NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra and hopefully bring home a top-10 or better top-five finish.
Your teammate Timothy Peters mentioned that Dover is intimidating for first timers. Are you intimidated by the 'Monster Mile?'
"No. The majority of the tracks this season have been my first visit. I'm pretty sure I am going to like it right away and feel comfortable. Hopefully we can gain speed during practice and learn more about my Tundra and be ready for qualifying and the race."
TURNAROUND TIME: The 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season has seen its ups and downs for Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra. Friday evening, Peters will take on the 1-mile oval of Dover International Speedway in hopes to capture the win that will turn his season around. In five wins, Peters has collected four of those victories on tracks less than 1-mile in length including Martinsville Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly International Raceway Park), Iowa Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. The 'Monster Mile' is his to tame on Friday evening.
PARTS PLUS: Timothy Peters' No. 17 Toyota Tundra will again proudly represent Parts Plus at Dover International Speedway featuring their orange and red color paint scheme. Parts Plus has served as the primary sponsor for the first five races of the season. The Memphis-based warehouse distributor originated more than 56 years ago tracing back to a series of jobber programs. Since 2005, Parts Plus has been a member of the Automotive Distribution Network that has over 300 member distributors under five brand names and from over 400 separate warehouses across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information on Parts Plus and locations near you, visit PartsPlus.com.
CHASSIS HISTORY: Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Toyota Tundra team will utilize Chassis No. 010 this weekend at Dover International Speedway. The chassis was most recently raced at Kansas Speedway where Peters collected his first top-10 finish of the season. Since Kansas, this brand new chassis had vital testing time during a two-day test at Texas Motor Speedway as well as spending time at the wind tunnel.
MEET & GREET: Peters, along with teammates John Wes Townley and German Quiroga will head to the Lucas Oil display in the FanZone outside turn four after qualifying on Friday, May 31st from 1:30 - 2:15 for a Truck Series autograph session.
REARVIEW MIRROR - CHARLOTTE: Timothy Peters qualified third for the NC Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and was battling for the lead before he brought his Parts Plus Toyota Tundra to pit road for early adjustments. The stop put Peters in seventh place but that didn't stop Peters. From there, he worked his way back to the front and was battling for the race lead. During the lap 84 caution, Peters visited pit road when he hit another truck as he was coming out of his pit box and had to return to fix the damage. He restarted 19th but quickly brought his Tundra behind the wall to assure there would be no further damage. The No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra finished 26th, 12 laps down.
Timothy Peters on Dover International Speedway:
What is it about short track racing that fits your driving style? Four of your five wins are on tracks under 1-mile.
"I look at Dover kind of like a big Orange County Speedway - fast, high banked. I've had a lot of success with my late model at Orange County. It's something about the G forces in the corner and how fast you can hustle the Parts Plus Toyota Tundra at a mile race track. You wouldn't think what you could do what's being done speed wise. It's an intimidating racetrack if you've never been there before but it's a fun track to race."
What is it about Dover that gets drivers and the fans excited?
"It's exciting for me as a driver because it's like a roller coaster. You're driving off down a hill and then up out of a hill. There is just so much movement with the truck going into turn one especially because the track just feels like it falls out underneath you. A fans perspective - if you are standing on the infield down in the corner, the track is above you. It doesn't matter if it is a NASCAR Camping World Truck, Nationwide Series Car, or Sprint Cup Series car the sensation of speed coming into the corner is amazing."
DRIVER FAVORITE: If you ask Red Horse Racing driver John Wes Townley what one of his favorite race tracks is, he will reply Dover International Speedway. With the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season five races in, the 23 year-old driver has had many positive experiences with his No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra team and looks forward to adding to them at Dover.
TRIPLE THREAT AT DOVER: Crew chief Mike Beam is a four-time winner at Dover International Speedway and has captured a win in each of NASCAR's three premier series as crew chief. Beam earned the Cup Series win with driver Bill Elliott in 1990 where they were able to win after starting on the pole. It was 2006 when Mark Martin was coached by Beam into victory lane in the Truck Series. And in 2011, Beam went back-to-back with Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series winning both races at Dover that season, where they started from first and second respectively.
NEW AT ZAXBY'S: Zaxby's, a southeast favorite for chicken fingers and wings, has been indescribably good for more than 20 years. The Athens, Georgia based chain offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Capturing the essence of a southern classic, guests can now enjoy Zaxby's new Banana Pudding Milkshake for a limited time. It's just the treat to complement Zaxby's House Zalad, a popular menu item with mansion-sized flavor. The company operates more than 570 locations in 13 states. John Wes Townley will compete with Zaxby's serving as primary sponsor for the entire 22 Truck Series race schedule. For more information, please visit zaxbys.com, facebook.com/zaxbys or follow on Twitter @Zaxbys.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra team will utilize Chassis No. 001 on Friday night at Dover International Speedway. Chassis 001 collected four consecutive top-five finishes on intermediate tracks in 2012 at Michigan International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.
MEET & GREET: Townley, along with teammates Timothy Peters and German Quiroga will head to the Lucas Oil display in the FanZone outside turn four after qualifying on Friday, May 31st from 1:30 - 2:15 for a Truck Series autograph session.
REARVIEW MIRROR - CHARLOTTE: The shining star for the Red Horse lineup was John Wes Townley and his No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Townley drove a masterful race after starting in the 18th position and drove into the top-10, collecting an 8th place finish which tied his previous career high NASCAR Camping World Truck Series captured at Pocono Raceway in August 2012.
John Wes Townley on Dover International Speedway:
What is it about Dover that makes it one of your favorite tracks?
"I love the speed. I've always enjoyed racing at Bristol and before I raced at Dover I thought man Bristol would be a lot more fun if the straight-aways were longer. So running at Dover, it was like my dream came true. The speed really hustles your Toyota Tundra. I'm really looking forward to continuing our progress on this Zaxby's team.
Your Crew Chief Mike Beam has a win in every series at Dover. Does that give you more confidence heading into the weekend?
"I don't have any expectations, but he does help me a lot as far as confidence goes and him having the experience and knowledge to help out. I think we will definitely be able to put that knowledge to use and it'll be a great weekend for our Zaxby's Toyota Tundra."
Every year on Memorial Day weekend, three of the biggest motorsports events - Formula1 at Monaco, IndyCar at Indianapolis, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway - take place across the globe, creating a special day for teams and fans alike. After watching fellow GEICO Racing driver Tony Kanaan win the historic Indianapolis 500, Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO team looked to record a solid performance in the longest race of their 2013 season. Despite two pit road penalties and a brush with the wall in the first 115 laps, the Germain Racing team battled back to finish in the 23rd position.
The Coca-Cola 600 race weekend kicked off on Thursday as Mears took to the 1.5-mile track for practice and qualifying. After a 27th-place effort in the opening practice session, the GEICO crew made changes to the car prior to qualifying. The set-up tweaks significantly helped the Ford Fusion during time trials, as Mears laid down a lap of 28.142 seconds while the sun was still heating the track. A traditional off-day on Friday allowed the team additional preparations before returning to the track on Saturday for two final practices. The Germain Racing team, led by Crew Chief Bootie Barker, completed their sessions in the 16th and 15th positions, respectively.
Mears knows what it takes to win the longest event of the year - 400 laps, 600 miles - as the California native took home the trophy in 2007. Positive outlooks were seen throughout the GEICO pit stall prior to the green flag, but shortly after the race started, trouble struck the No. 13 team. As Mears came in to make his first scheduled green flag pit stop, the GEICO Ford Fusion was caught speeding, placing a pass through penalty on the team. While the problem was still being diagnosed, NASCAR informed the team that Mears was also speeding on his pass through penalty, causing him to make a stop-and-go penalty. With both of these penalties happening under green flag conditions, Mears was scored in the 40th position when the dust settled.
Unfortunately the trouble didn't stop there for Mears. On lap 115, the veteran driver made contact with the outside wall bringing out the caution. Minor damage could be seen on the GEICO Ford and the crew quickly made the repairs on pit road before returning to the track. A strange turn of events happened once the field went back to racing, as the TV camera over the frontstretch broke a cable, leaving the wire across the race track. Numerous cars, including Mears, ran over the cable causing damage to all involved. While repairs were made to the cable, NASCAR brought out a 15-minute red flag period and allowed teams to make any necessary repairs to the cars. This opportunity gave the crew time to make changes to help Mears when racing resumed.
Despite the uphill battle, the GEICO Racing team never gave up. Green flag conditions returned on lap 131 with Mears in 39th-place. Over the next 130 laps, Barker used pit road strategy to regain positions on the track and Mears continued to drive his Fusion with determination. By lap 260, the No. 13 GEICO Ford had picked up five positions to return to the top-35. As the race began to wind down, the action on the track heated up, as fellow competitors wrecked twice directly in front of Mears. By missing the spins in front of his windshield, Mears was scored in 22nd-place by lap 360.
Over the final 40 laps, Mears and the GEICO team continued their fight before crossing the finish line in the 23rd position. While this was not the finish the team had originally hoped for, focus and determination allowed Mears and his No. 13 GEICO Ford Fusion to gain positions and record their sixth top-25 performance of the season.
Next week, Mears and the GEICO Racing team head to Dover, Delaware for a meeting with the Monster Mile. The FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway will begin at 1 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, June 2nd. The race will be televised live on FOX, while the Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
Max Gresham has been waiting for nearly two weeks to get behind the wheel of his Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) Chevrolet.
For the driver of the No. 8 Trimmer Assist Chevrolet, two weeks is forever, as he has been eager to race again in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) after finishing third at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17.
"Sometimes the hardest thing is waiting for the next race, especially when you have a lot of momentum and confidence like we have right now at Eddie Sharp Racing as a team," Gresham said. "It's only been two weeks since our last race, but when you're as excited as we are to keep it going, it seems like it's been two months."
Another reason why Gresham's team is excited to be racing in the Lucas Oil 200 at the Dover International Speedway is that the track presents many of the same challenges as Charlotte. Both tracks have 24-degree banking. Both tracks require an ever-changing set-up. Both tracks demand the very best of both driver and team. However, only one is considered the "Monster Mile."
"We worked hard on our setup for Charlotte and it really paid off," crew chief Chris Showalter said. "We focused a lot on the way our Chevrolet Silverado gets through the second and fourth turns. When you're able to be on the gas pedal, and not on the brakes, on the exits, you've already got a running start down the straightaways.
"We know what our trucks like, and we know how to make them turn. That experience will be invaluable for Friday's race."
In one career start at Dover in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), the Milner, Georgia, native finished 30th as a mid-race incident took his Joe Denette machine out of contention at the 1-mile track. Gresham started 14th in the 2012 event - his best short track qualifying attempt.
The track also sparks other special memories for the 20-year-old driver. He clinched the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship at the "Monster Mile" in 2011.
"I have very positive memories at Dover," Gresham said. "It's always good to come back to a place where you have some experience, even if we're a young team overall. When I ran the last race of the 2011 K&N season at Dover, I led 39 laps and finished third in the race."
The challenge now is to create even better memories there, and one of the steps to do so is with a new look and partner.
Gresham will debut a new primary partner in Trimmer Assist. Gresham's Chevrolet will feature a green and blue fading paint scheme with a silver trimmer on both sides of the car and red trimmer string intertwining with the paint scheme.
"This has been one of the smartest things NLKUSLLC has done to date for our product Trimmer Assist," Tony Hanes CEO of NLKUSLLC said. "The NASCAR fan base is very loyal. If you have a good product the fans can get behind, they will support you to no end."
"Our paint scheme for the "Monster Mile," I assure you, is one of the best ones NASCAR fans have ever seen," Hanes said. "We really want to thank Max Gresham for an outstanding job representing our new product, the Trimmer Assist, and allowing our company to sponsor the No. 8 Chevrolet at Dover."
Max Gresham PR