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It’s a sure sign of progress when a Sprint Cup team and driver outside the top 35 in car owner points and not assured a starting spot, are somewhat disappointed with a top-15 qualifying effort.
Trevor Bayne turned a lap at 181.354 miles per hour in his No. 21 Good Sam/Camping World Ford Fusion to earn the 14th starting spot for Sunday’s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Bayne, however, had bigger goals in mind.
“I needed to hustle it a little more,” Bayne said. “It felt like a pole run to be honest. The car was solid and felt good, and I thought we would have a shot at it today.”
There’s still Sunday’s race, and he’s thinking positive about it too after posting the ninth fastest overall lap time in the final “Happy Hour” session, a practice in which teams typically work solely on race set-ups.
“I am a little disappointed to qualify 14th, but on the other hand we are in the show, and can race from there and have a good race-trim car,” he said.
Eddie Wood said Bayne’s qualifying effort was stronger than it might have seemed because of the time he went out on the track. During Friday’s first practice, which sets the qualifying order, Bayne was fourth fastest.
“You have to go as fast as you can in the first practice to see what you have,” Wood said, adding that a quick lap in the opening practice wound up being a disadvantage because it put Bayne on the track later in the day on Saturday when the track was hotter and slicker.
“Trevor did a good job in qualifying. You’ve got to be fast, but you also have to be careful not to overdrive the car, especially with the track being so much hotter than it was when qualifying started.”
Just like his young driver, Wood is optimistic about his team’s chances on Sunday.
“The race set-up was really fast,” he said. “I think we’ll be OK.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated the final moments of Saturday afternoon’s Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race and in the process earned Roush Fenway Racing’s first ever NASCAR win at the 1.5-mile tri-oval of Chicagoland Speedway.
Stenhouse battled back after an early pit road mishap, restarted sixth after the team’s final pit stop, and meticulously drove his Ford through the field. He took the lead on lap 180 of 200 and pulled away from the field in striking fashion; taking the checkered flag by almost 2.5seconds.
“We just never gave up,” said Stenhouse in victory lane. “At the end, the Blue Bird Ford was the best it ever was. I stalled it there in the pits earlier, but(crew chief) Mike Kelley and the team just did a great job all day. It was an all around team effort.
“That was a lot of fun and to get Jack’s(Roush) first win at Chicago is pretty cool.”
With the victory Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide Series Champion, took over the top spot in the points and now leads second-place Elliot Sadler by nine markers.
The win is Stenhouse’s fifth of the 2012 season and his seventh career NASCAR win. It marked Roush Fenway’s 130thwin in the Nationwide Series and its record-extending 308th NASCAR victory.
It is the first win for Roush Fenway Racing at Chicagoland, after 91 starts and six runner-up finishes at the track.
Roush Fenway Racing PR
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, NASCAR issued technical bulletins in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series that address a safety enhancement to the driver’s roll cage and will take effect beginning in January, 2013. The cars in both series will feature an additional forward roof bar and a center roof support bar that will intersect near the front center of the roll cage. This addition comes following extensive testing at the NASCAR R&D Center and is an effort to strengthen the roll cage and help make it an even safer compartment for the driver.
Iconic driver Parnelli Jones will be saluted in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of his victory in the 1963 Indianapolis 500 during "Legends Day Honoring Parnelli Jones" on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jones drove the No. 98 Agajanian Willard Battery Watson/Offy roadster, nicknamed "Calhoun," to victory from the pole in the 47th Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1963. Jones will drive the fabled car May 25 in parade laps on the 2.5-mile oval, accompanied by 34 other Indianapolis 500 front-engine roadsters.
1961 Indianapolis 500 co-Rookie of the Year Jones will participate in a question-and-answer session with fans May 25 on the Coca-Cola Stage in the Pagoda Plaza, followed by an autograph session.
"I am thrilled that Indianapolis Motor Speedway has picked me to be honored on Legends Day on the Saturday before the 2013 Indianapolis 500," Jones said. "I've watched the day and the events surrounding it grow over the past couple years. I remember A.J. Foyt being honored two years ago and Roger Penske being honored last year - that's a pretty good group of guys to be associated with in the racing world and at Indianapolis.
"It will be fun to come back to Indy this year and remember my win from 1963, 50 years ago. Although I'll tell you what: It seems like only 15 years ago. Time sure flies. I've been very fortunate to have been a winning driver and winning car owner at Indianapolis over the years. I always like coming back to the Speedway to catch up with friends, drivers and fans. I wish it was May already!"
Other featured events on "Legends Day Honoring Parnelli Jones" will include the annual Public Drivers' Meeting on pit road adjacent to the Tower Terrace grandstand, autograph sessions with the 2013 Indianapolis 500 starting field of 33 drivers and former Indy 500 drivers, and a huge Indianapolis 500 memorabilia show.
Admission to IMS on "Legends Day Honoring Parnelli Jones" will be $10 for adults, with children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult.
"Parnelli Jones was one of the most skilled and popular Indianapolis 500 drivers of all time and always has been a wonderful ambassador for 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,'" said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. "It's a great pleasure and privilege to honor him on the 50th anniversary of his victory in 'Calhoun.' This special day will create many magical memories for everyone who loves IMS and this great race."
Longtime California resident Jones also won the pole in 1962 at 150.370 mph, the first single lap and four-lap qualifying average faster than 150 mph in Indianapolis 500 history. Jones finished in the top 10 four times in seven "500" starts. He led 492 laps, still seventh among all-time lap leaders.
Jones also won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in 1970 and 1971 as co-owner of Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing, which fielded the famed Johnny Lightning Special for driver Al Unser.
The 97th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26.
Brent Kirchner won his first ever ASA Midwest Tour presented by SCAG Power Equipment and Lester Buildings in the ‘3M 150’ at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night.
Brent Kirchner and Chris Wimmer battled all night long and finished one-two. The irony of it all is that Kirchner was running Chris Wimmer’s old car and got set-up tips from Wimmer.
“I can’t thank Chris Wimmer enough for his help. He gave me a good set-up and I couldn’t have done this without him,” said Kirchner.
Wimmer did all he could but just came up short. “I got really tight right at the end there. I just overdrove it,” said Wimmer.
ECHO and ECHO Bear Cat Touring Star, Jonathan Eilen started on the outside of the front row and quickly pulled away from the field but Chris Wimmer was not going to let him get away that easily as he came back on lap to on the inside challenging for the lead. The two were side-by-side on laps two and three as the #34 of Brandon Hill hit the turn two wall bringing out the first caution of the night.
Eilen once again pulled away but this time it was Brent Kirchner who wanted the lead. He took it on lap 18 and Wimmer followed suit as Eilen fell all the way back to fifth. Last year’s winner, Jeff Choquette passed Eilen for fourth behind Nathan Haseleu who kept the top two within reach.
As the top three began to pull away from the rest of the field, back in the pack Jeff Storm and Steve Wallace were on the move along with ECHO Bear Cat Quick Cut Qualifier, Griffin McGrath. All three were running in the top ten.
On lap 40, Wimmer started to look inside Kirchner to take the top spot but Kirchner shut the door. The two went back and forth as Kirchner was a little better coming off turn four allowing him to pull back in front of Wimmer.
Griffin McGrath had one of the fastest cars on the track moving into sixth on lap 50. As Kirchner and Wimmer encountered lapped traffic it gave Wimmer the opportunity to finally make the move and take the lead from Kirchner.
Nathan Haseleu was a factor running in the top three and keeping the top two in his sights. At the break Haseleu discovered a possible electrical issue and made some changes in hopes to stay up front.
Well, the changes worked. When the green flag fell at the restart, Wimmer and Haseleu took off with the top two spots. Wimmer started to pull away, but Kirchner once again was on the move passing Haseleu for the second position.
By lap 100 the field seemed to settle in. Griffin McGrath was still on the move along with Jeff Storm. The two of them were picking off the top ten running in sixth and seventh. The caution came out once again however, as Austin Theriault left fluid on the track.
As the green flag fell the top four crossed the line but Griffin McGrath and Dillon Oliver weren’t so lucky. The two got together and Oliver’s car was on top of McGrath’s. After having the fastest car of the day, McGrath’s day ended in the trailer.
After clean-up there were only 12 laps to go but Wimmer and Kirchner wanted to make sure they each had a fair shot. The first restart was waved off because Wimmer got too much of a jump and when they came around to try it again, Kirchner got too big of a jump. The two were warned and the third time was a charm.
Wimmer and Kirchner battled back and forth lap after lap until Kirchner seemed to pull away a little bit with a handful of laps remaining. Nathan Haseleu slowed off the pace ending his chances at a victory.
Chris Weinkauf snuck up to third followed by last year’s winner, Jeff Choquette, Jeff Storm, Nick Panitzke, Steve Wallace, Jason Weinkauf, Nathan Haseleu, and Peter Cozzolino rounded out the top ten.
Iowa Speedway PR