Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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This week the No. 54 Monster Energy seat will again see 26-year-old driver Drew Herring in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry. Herring, a familiar face at JGR, along with the now 10-time 2013 winners, look forward to week 27 running the Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The team drives into the Bluegrass-state event, on a race high, having won the previous NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway in Joliet, with driver Kyle Busch. With the week 26 victory, their seventh win from the pole qualifying spot this year, the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 group and owner J.D. Gibbs continue to target first place in the series’ Owner’s Championship battle, now only 13 points behind the No. 22 Penske Ford. This week, with the help of Herring, they hope to reduce that deficit and keep the No. 54 headed on the right track for a championship. 

Herring began his Nationwide Series career in 2010 at Baker Curb Racing with his debut race at Iowa Speedway. He accomplished a 15th-place finish in that inaugural series run and then continued that year with two top-20 finishes in four series starts. The next year, Herring connected with Joe Gibbs Racing and finished 12th or better in all four of his Nationwide Series starts.

2012 brought continued growth for the Benson, N.C. native when he made his first start in the No. 18 JGR entry at the site of this weekend’s event, the Kentucky Speedway, where under this year’s No. 54 crew chief Adam Stevens, he qualified fourth, led two laps and brought home a fourth-place finish, the highest finish of his career to date. This was also the year when Herring made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with Kyle Busch Motorsports, back at Iowa Speedway for the fall race. His first foray into truck racing accomplished a 17th-place start, 19 laps led and a seventh-place finish.

Herring has two starts already under his belt in the black No. 54 Camry this year. During the first 2013Nationwide Series Iowa race in June, Herring and team started ninth, battled weather and car conditions to produce an 11th-place finish. For the second Iowa Nationwide event in August, Herring again piloted the Monster Energy Toyota, and this time produced an exciting pole-qualifying position, the first of his young Nationwide Series career and the team would go on to record a sixth-place finish. In need of another seat to be filled, at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in late August, Joe Gibbs Racing asked Herring to drive the No. 18 Z-Line Designs machine. The rookie was happy to have the opportunity to compete on the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’ and posted a top-15 starting spot, but was disappointed when a late-race accident forced him out of the show and into a 36th-place finishing position.

Herring hoped the Bristol event would not be his last opportunity to compete in the Nationwide Series this season. While he does have a full-time role filling test session duties for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports, and also works the CNC machine at JGR, making internal parts for the race team, his continual goal is to earn more seat time, to further his growth as a NASCAR driver. This weekend Herring will have that additional opportunity and plans to take full advantage of the extra track time with the already successful winning team. Together they will drive towards their 11th victory of the season.

KBM PR

23-year-old Parker Kligerman will make his 45th career NASCAR Nationwide Series start in Saturday's Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Coming off an eighth-place finish at another mile-and-half venue last week at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Kligerman and his No. 77 Camp Horsin' Around Racing team enter the final stand-alone event of the season optimistic that they can challenge for the win in "The Bluegrass State."

To compete for a win Saturday night, Kyle Busch Motorsports' (KBM) Nationwide Series program will need to make their second visit to Kentucky less eventful than the first one. After positing the sixth fastest time in final practice, the team was only able to earn the 12th starting position when a tire punctured during Kligerman's qualifying run.  The team's bad luck continued when shortly after pitting early in the race a caution flew before several cars had made their way down pit road. While many teams elected to take the wave around, the No. 77 bunch was forced to pit to replace a battery due to an issue with the alternator. After fighting their way back to the lead lap, the team was relegated to a 16th-place finish when torrential rains fell and the race ended before its scheduled distance.

 

While his first Nationwide Series event at Kentucky wasn't as successful as it could have been, Kligerman has been very successful at the 1.5-mile oval in other series throughout his career. He led 58 laps en route to victory in the 2009 ARCA Racing Series event. In four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, he posted two runner-up finishes. In his first time in a truck at the 1.5-mile tri-oval he nearly ran down now-owner Kyle Busch but came up just short and in his last Truck Series race in "The Bluegrass State" finished second to 2012 Truck Series Champion James Buescher.   

 

So far this season, only three Nationwide Series regulars have collected a victory. The final stand-alone event of the season will provide the opportunity for Kligerman and the other young starts of the Nationwide Series to mix it up with each other and compete for the victory. KBM's colt is hoping that as the field gallops to the finish at Kentucky Saturday night, the horse that encompasses the logo on the hood of his Camp Horsin' Around Camry will be the first to cross the stripe and his 45th career start will be a memorable one.

 

KBM PR

With a little help from NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Martinsville Speedway announced Tuesday that the North Carolina State University Marching Band will perform the National Anthem prior to the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot500 Powered by Kroger on October 27.

The band, which has over 335 members, is known for its Saturday afternoon performances in Carter-Finley Stadium for Wolfpack football games, but “The Power Sound of the South” has played for United States presidents, performed in the Rose Bowl and marched through the streets of Dublin, Ireland for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They will be playing in Spain in 2014.

“We are excited and honored to have the North Carolina State Marching Band here for the Goody’sHeadache Relief Shot 500 Powered by Kroger. It’s become a tradition here at Martinsville to have a college marching band perform the anthem for our fall event and I don’t think we could have done any better than North Carolina State,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell.

“We are big believers here that the National Anthem should be played in its traditional form, the way it was meant to be played. We know we will get that type of performance from North Carolina State.”

“Going to such a great venue to play the Anthem in front of the entire NASCAR nation around the world is an honor to us,” said Dr. Paul Garcia, the N.C. State band director. “Just to get to walk on the track where so many great people have raced is an honor.

“And the National Anthem is very important to us, to honor all of those who have served and are serving.”

Stenhouse will be busy on race day at Martinsville, but just in case he has time to help with the anthem, Dr. Garcia and some band members worked with him Tuesday, trying to teach him the finer points of conducting the band, along with playing the bass drum and other instruments.

“These guys are really good,” Stenhouse said of the N.C. State band after his brief performance with them. “That’s why they are coming out to Martinsville to play the National Anthem. I think it’s really neat to tie it into North Carolina State. It’s not too far from the race track. It’s a good event and they will enjoy it.”

Martinsville Speedway PR

Johnny Giesler finished fifth and that was more than enough to clinch the 2013 ASA Western Winged Sprintcars championship Saturday night at ASA-sanctioned Rocky Mountain Raceways as Scott Aumen, who has run only a handful of races this year, called his season a success after picking up his third win in just six starts.
 
For Spiers-Jackson Racing it’s a second consecutive title as Giesler’s teammate Sierra Jackson was last year’s champion.
 
The Salt City 200 was the longest race most of the participating drivers had ever taken part in. The race, unique by sprint car racing standards, was split into four 50-lap segments.
 
The ASA OK Tires Sportsman Series presented by Advance Testing closed out its 2013 season Saturday at Motoplex Speedway in Vernon, British Columbia with past champion Mark Berriau scoring his first win of the season.
 
Korbin Thomas, who finished fourth on Saturday, clinched the season championship after winning two races in 2013. Logan Jewel finished third in the race giving him second overall in the season point battle.
 
Six ASA Member Tracks hosted Championship Nights after rain forced Shangri-La II (Tioga Center, NY) to cancel its event.
 
Aaron Paulsen’s effort for an unprecedented three track championships at I-25 Speedway in Pueblo, CO was a success as he clinched the Grand American Modified championship for the third straight season and his first Sportsman title on Saturday after securing the Super Late Model division championship the previous weekend.
 
A breakdown of ASA Member Track results from the weekend follows:
 
BIG COUNTRY SPEEDWAY (Cheyenne, WY)
1/5-Mile Asphalt Oval
Divisions: Late Models; Sportsman; Grand American Modifieds; Mod 4; Super Stocks; Junkyard Warriors
Time: Gates Open at 3:00 PM; Racing at 6:00 PM
Of Note:  Weather forced the cancellation of Saturday’s program at Big Country Speedway.
Web: http://warconline.com/Big_Country_Speedway.html
 
DILLON MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Dillon, SC)
4/10-Mile Asphalt Oval (14 degree banking in the corners)
September 14 Results –
Late Models:  Ryan Hall
Trucks:  Hal Goodson
Chargers:  William Haynie
Vintage Cars:  Jeff Melton
Mini Cup Stocks:  Steve Chauncey (Race 1); Bill Willis (Race 2)
Pure Stocks:  Bobby Tumblestone
Of Note:  2013 Dillon Motor Speedway track championships were awarded Saturday night to Ryan Hall (Late Models), Brian Owens (Chargers), Hal Goodson (Super Trucks) and Andy Norton (Pure Stock 4)… The Street Stock champion will be crowned on October 5 when the class runs on the PASS Super weekend and the Mini Cup champion will be crowned on the Fall Spectacular weekend of October 18-20.
Web:  www.DillonMotorSpeedway.com
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/pages/Dillon-Motor-Speedway/50352486700
Twitter:  @DillonSpeedway
 
EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK (Tampa, FL)
1/3-Mile Clay Oval
September 14 Results –
Open Wheel Modifieds:  Thomas Pratt
Street Stocks:  Justan Rodgers
Outlaw 4s:  Jesse James Foster
4-Cylinder Bombers:  Raymond Vann
Sprints:  Danny Martin Jr.
Web: www.eastbayracewaypark.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/eastbayracewaypark
Twitter: @eastbayracepark
 
FULL THROTTLE SPEEDWAY (Bradenton, FL)
3/8-Mile Asphalt Oval
September 14 Results –
Rookie 4s:  Sherry Best
Midgets:  Mike Belusar
Of Note:  A hard rain brought an abrupt end to the racing action at the Full Throttle Speedway Saturday night after all of the preliminary races and two of the nine scheduled feature races were completed.
Web: www.fullthrottleracepark.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FullThrottleSpeedwayFL
 
I-25 SPEEDWAY (Pueblo, CO)
1/4-Mile Paved Oval
September 14 Results –
Grand American Modifieds:  Blane Lujan
Sportsman:  Thomas Palmer
Street Stocks:  Cole Roberson
Of Note:  A week after capturing I-25 Speedway’s Super Late Model title, Aaron Paulsen clinched track championships in the Grand American Modifieds and Sportsman divisions on Saturday… Track titles also went to Bill Simmons (Street Stocks), Daniel Payne (Mini Stock), Leann O’Lear (Hornets) and Sean Frank (Charger Figure-8s).
Web: www.i25speedway.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/I-25_Speedway/180709515284138
 
ILLIANA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Schererville, IN)
1/2-Mile Asphalt Oval
Divisions:  Super Late Models; Turbo Stox; Legends; Pure Stock; Bandoleros; Figure 8 Buses Race; Trailer Race
September 14 Results –
Super Late Models:  Brian Campbell
Turbo Stox:  John Senerchia
Pure Stocks:  Ricky Wilson
Of Note:  The 52nd Annual Tony Bettenhausen Classic on Saturday saw Boris Jurkovic set a new track record for Late Model qualifying with a lap of 19.135 seconds but it was Brian Campbell capturing the season-ending $3,000 to win, 100-lap Memorial.
Web: www.illianaspeedway.com
 
LONESOME PINE RACEWAY (Coeburn, VA)
3/8-Mile Asphalt Oval
September 14 Results –
Late Models:  Ronnie McCarty
Mod-4s:  Rocky Yates
Super Streets:  Kirby Gobble
Pure-4s:  Jackie Jackson
Pure Streets:  Roby Orr
Iron Warriors:  Emory Ratliff
Of Interest:  Ryan Stiltner, who finished fourth in Saturday’s 100-lap, $1,500 to win Late Model Extreme, clinched Lonesome Pine Raceway’s 2013 Late Model championship... Other track champions are Kirby Gobble (Mod-4s), Dan hall (Pure-4s), Rusty Ratliffe (Pure Streets) and Emory Ratliffe (Iron Warriors).
Web: www.thepineraceway.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Lonesomepineraceway
Twitter: @LPRaceway
 
MARSHFIELD MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Marshfield, WI)
1/2-Mile Asphalt Oval
September 13 Results –
Trucks:  John Wood
Limited Late Models:  Brandan Strelka
Super Stocks:  Ernie Schlough
Pure Stocks:  Travis Volm
Bandits:  Kevin Burns
September 14 Results –
Super Late Models:  Tim Schendel
4-Cylinders:  Adam Kryzkowski
Vintage:  Aaron Anderson
Of Note:  Rain forced an abbreviated Yellow River Racing Series on Saturday at Marshfield Motor Speedway with the feature only completing 23 laps and Tim Schendel awarded the win… Weather also forced cancellation of the Sportsman race.
Web:  www.marshfieldspeedway.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/53090931911/?fref=ts
Twitter: @MarshfieldMS
 
NEWPORT SPEEDWAY (Newport, TN)
4/10-Mile Asphalt Oval (26’ in turns)
September 14 Results –
Late Models:  Brian Blevins
Street Stocks:  Ricky Brown Jr.
Mini Cup:  Paul Burford
Front Wheel Drive:  James Powell Jr.
Mod-4s:  Luke Fox
Web: www.newportspeedway.weebly.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Newportspeedway/145845592131633?fref+ts
 
NORTH FLORIDA SPEEDWAY (Lake City, FL)
3/8-Mile Semi-Banked Clay Oval
September 14 Results –
Sportsman:  Scott Waters
Box Stocks:  Cody Buntinos (Race 1); Dylan Crews (Race 2)
Pure Stocks:  Dale Graham
Street Stocks:  Ronnie Newsome
Web: www.northfloridaspeedway.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/northfloridaspeedway
 
ROCKY MOUNTAIN RACEWAYS (West Valley City, UT)
3/8-Mile Banked Asphalt Oval
September 14 Results –
Sprints:  Scott Aumen
Maverik Modifieds:  Mark Ith Jr. (Race 1); Nick Parker (Race 2)
Hornets:  Dana Combs
Figure-8s:  Corey Walker
Double-Deckers:  Con Rock Crusher
Of Interest:  Scott Aumen held off a determined Mike Murgoitio to win the inaugural Salt City 200 at Rocky Mountain Raceways closing the season for the ASA Western Winged Sprintcars.
Web: www.rmrracing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rockymountainraceways
Twitter: @RMRSLC
 
SHANGRI-LA II MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Tioga Center, NY)
1/2-Mile Concrete Oval (16 Degree Banking in Corners)
Divisions: Late Models; Sport Modified; Street Stocks; 4-Cylinder Trucks
Of Note:  Rain forced the cancellation of Shangri-La II Motor Speedway’s Championship Night, the fifth rainout of the season for the track… Track championships went to Gene Purvis, who had already clinched the 4-Cylinders title amassing nine feature wins in 2013; Jeff Goodwin and Chris Zacharias were named co-champions in the Street Stocks; and Tyler Rypkema (Sportsman).
Web: www.shangrila-2.com
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/pages/Shangri-La-II-Motor-Speedway/11121182229103
 
SKAGIT SPEEDWAY (Burlington, WA)
3/10th-Mile Clay Oval
Divisions:  410 Sprints; 360 Sprints; Sportsman Sprints; Outlaw Tuners; Midgets
September 14 Results –
410 Sprints:  Travis Jacobson
360 Sprints:  Kelsey Carpenter
Sportsman Sprints:  Steve Parker
Outlaw Tuners:  Rick Young
Of Note:  Saturday at Skagit Speedway Travis Jacobson won the main event and wrapped up the season championship in the 410 Sprints while Steve Parker clinched his second consecutive championship in the Sportsman Sprints… With eight main event wins on the season Rick Young captured both the main event and championship for the Outlaw Tuners… Kelsey Carpenter picked up his third track title but first in the 360 Sprints with the main event win.
Web: www.skagitspeedway.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/skagitspeedway?fref=ts
Twitter: @skagitspeedway
 
SOUTHERN OREGON SPEEDWAY (White City, OR)
.333-Mile, Semi-Banked Clay Oval
Divisions:  Modifieds; Pro Stocks; Super 4s; Sprint Cars, Mini Stocks; Dwarf cars
September 14 Results –
Modifieds:  Jesse Bailey
B-Modifieds:  Dwayne Melvin
Sprints:  Matt Moberly
Mini Stocks:  David Steele
Dwarfs:  CJ Putnam
Web: www.sospeedway.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-Oregon-Speedway-Community/148453468499496?ref=ts
 
VIRGINIA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (Jamaica, VA)
1/2-Mile Clay Oval (14 degrees of banking in both corners)
September 14 Results –
Late Models/Pro Late Models:  Joe Ender
Sportsman:  Brett Adkins
Modifieds:  Mike Reynolds
Limited Stocks:  Brandon Sandridge
Of Note:  Championship Night at Virginia Motor Speedway on Saturday saw
Brett Adkins pick up the win and championship in the Truckin Thunder Sportsman feature by nipping Junior Carter at the line by .055 seconds and in the Collision One Limited Stock Cars Brandon Sandridge took over the lead from Shawn Otey on lap 16 and went on to take the win. Also winning 2013 Championships were Justin Williams (Victory Lap Late Models); Jimmy Duncan (Budweiser Modified) and Davis Padula (Fastrak Pro Late Model).
Web:   www.vamotorspeedway.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/vamotorspeedway
Twitter:  @vamotorspeedway
 
YAKIMA SPEEDWAY (Yakima, WA)
1/2-Mile Asphalt Oval
September 14 Results –
Late Model Sportsman:  Randy marshall Jr.
Hobby Sportsman:  Rich Peters
Pure Stocks:  Chris Marang
Mini Stocks:  Mike Valcich
Hornets:  Derek Raptcheff
Bump to Pass:  Joe Stevens
Of Note:  Saturday was Championship Night at Yakima Speedway with division titles going to  Jeff Ball (Hornets), Joe Stevens (Bump to Pass), Josh Parmenter (Mini Stocks), Chris Marang (Pure Stocks), Morgan Morrison (Hobby Sportsman),  and Randy Marshall Jr. (Limited Late Models).
Web: www.yakimaspeedway.us
Facebook:   www.facebook.com/YakimaSpeedway?ref=ts

ASA PR

It was only the first race of the 10-race run to decide the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but Kyle Busch and his M&M’s team started NASCAR’s playoffs with a championship-like effort.

The driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Peanut Butter Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) brought home a solid second-place finish Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., leading 67 laps and enabling the No. 18 team to come out of the gates strong and move up one spot to second in the standings behind JGR teammate and Chicagoland winner Matt Kenseth.

Fans will even have more reasons – a million to be exact – to hope Busch continues to show the consistency in order to win the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship as primary backer M&M’s will celebrate with America by giving away 1 million free bags of M&M’S.

Even more good news is that the next race on the schedule is Sunday’s Sylvania 300, the site of another strong second place for Busch and the No. 18 team during their last trip there together in July. And as everyone has learned over the years, consistency is the formula for championship success. To be in this position, Busch and his M&M’s Peanut Butter team have been among the most consistent in Sprint Cup with a series-leading 12 top-five finishes and an impressive 16 top-10s in the 27 races contested thus far in 2013.

It’s on to New Hampshire for round two of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, and Busch has enjoyed plenty of success at the “Magic Mile,” particularly at the start of his career when he scored a Sprint Cup win in July 2006 to go with seven top-10s in 17 starts. Outside the Sprint Cup ranks, Busch has four wins, one pole and five top-five results in eight NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Loudon to go with three wins, one pole and six top-10s in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the 1.058-mile oval.

With a close call in July, might this finally be the weekend Busch, Rogers, and the M&M’s Peanut Butter team will have things fall into place in the form of a magical finish together at the “Magic Mile?” If their last trip there is any indication, they just could be the ones to watch come Sunday afternoon.

And while it’s “so far, so good” at the start of this year’s Chase, things could turn into “so far, really good” with another solid run and a continuation of an already good start to this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs.

TSC PR

JTG Daugherty Racing welcomes back Bobby Labonte to the No. 47 BUSH’S Beans Toyota Camry at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after missing races due to three broken ribs from a cycling incident.

In 37 starts at the 1.058-mile Loudon, N.H. track, Labonte has one pole award (9/16/00), five top-five, 11 top-10 finishes and has led 72 laps overall. His best finish is second (9/17/2000).

His average start is 16.595 and his average finish is 17.162 at Loudon.  

The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion's best finish of the season is 15th, which occurred at Daytona International Speedway in February.

QUOTES:

Back in the saddle again:“Having a few weeks off was not what I planned on doing, but I have healed up well,” Labonte said. “I am still sore in some places, but it could be a lot worse. I sat in the seat to feel comfortable. It seemed like everything went good."

Concentrating on rehab from rib injury: “These weeks off I have been really concentrating on rehab as far as my rib injury goes,” Labonte said. “I have been working with machines to heal the bone and muscle faster.

"Dry needling has helped with getting the bruising down," Labonte continued. "I have been trying to work on those things more than anything else along with relaxing to get better.”

Glad to have him back: “We are excited Bobby’s back in the BUSH'S Beans Toyota,” JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. “His commitment to our race team has been tremendous. We want him 100 percent. If he says he’s ready to go, he’s ready. We’re concerned and don’t want him to get injured, but we support him and his efforts at New Hampshire.”

Team excels at Loudon:  “New Hampshire Motor Speedway seems to be a good track for us,” Labonte said. “We run pretty good up there and have ran in the top 10 quite a bit."

Favors this track: "This track has always been a favorite of mine," Labonte said. "It is fun, but at the same time it is hard to pass. The groove is two wide and there seems to be a single groove in the middle of the corner. You tend to use your brakes a lot and most drivers struggle with forward drive. I am really looking forward to getting back in the No. 47 BUSH’S® Beans Toyota Camry there.”

Good baseline: “We are happy to have Bobby back in the car at Loudon,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “In the spring race, we had a strong setup and were looking at a top-five finish, but we were short on fuel. We plan to unload with the same baseline setup in hopes that the driver should not have to work as hard to get it tuned in.”

Driver's track:“This type of track seems to fall in our favor,” Burns said. “Bobby seems to be stronger at these flatter tracks. It is a finesse track where a veteran driver can shine. It is more about driving style and taking care of your equipment.”

JTG PR

No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. hopes to make it a Michael Waltrip Racing sweep this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. MWR teammate Brian Vickers won the July 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on the Magic Mile.

A Truex has crossed the finish line first five times at NHMS in NASCAR competition. Martin won the 2000 and 2003 K&N Pro Series East races and the 2005 Nationwide Series race. Martin Sr. won the 1994 East race and younger brother Ryan repeated that feat in 2010.

Martin Truex Jr. On Last Nine Races: “We’ve overcome a lot during our season and it was quite an accomplishment to compete for a Chase spot. Now that we are not in it, it doesn’t mean our season is over. We’ve just switched gears and simply changed how we are approaching these last nine races. We are no longer points racing. From here on out, we are going to get prepared for next year. We are going to try and figure out the tracks that we’ve struggled with this year which includes this weekend’s race at New Hampshire. Ultimately we are going to go out and try to win races. We can gamble more because points from here on out really don’t matter much. We are going to take more chances. We can gamble more on fuel mileage and things like that. I think we can also expect this No. 56 to do some experimenting and do some testing out on the track to prepare for next year. It’s important for us now to use this time to figure some things out that maybe we have put off because we were worried about points and racing conservatively. One thing is for sure, it’s all about continuing to do our best. We always have and always will. Hopefully we can end the season strong and have some things to be excited about heading into 2014.”

New Hampshire: “This weekend we’ve got New Hampshire and then Dover. Both tracks I consider to be home tracks. These next two weeks are going to be big for us. For some reason, New Hampshire has been tough on the NAPA team. We definitely need to figure some things out. It certainly hasn’t been because of a lack of effort. Chad has tried everything he can think of so we are going to take a bit of a different approach to it this weekend. It sure would be nice for it all to work out and pay off with a win. It would be a huge shot in the arm for the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization. I know it would mean a lot for my 56 team.”

MWR PR

No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer plans to bring home more than just the trophy from New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. Bowyer’s Michael Waltrip Racing team races at NHMS on Sunday but it marks his second trip to the “Granite State” in two weeks.

Bowyer visited the Swenson Granite Works in Concord on Sept. 5 to man a crane that lifted a 7,000 pound slab of granite etched with his he 5-hour car’s likeness.

The track planned to donate the rock to Speedway Children's Charities. But Bowyer said he’d make a donation to the charity if he could put it in front of the Bowyer Community Building in his hometown of Emporia, Kan. The granite will be on display outside the infield tunnel across from the fan zone this weekend before making a trip to its permanent home in Kansas.

Bowyer ranks ninth in the Sprint Cup Series standings with 2035 points, with the same number of points as Ryan Newman. Bowyer trails point leader Matt Kenseth by 28 points with nine races remaining in the Sprint Cup season.

BOWYER ON NEW HAMPSHIRE: “If there is a track on the schedule that I feel we could make up some ground in the Chase - New Hampshire is that track. I’ve won at New Hampshire twice and I love everything about it. The flat short tracks seem to fit my driving style the best and I have had a lot of success there - so we are pretty confident going in. We could use a big week to get back on the right track.”

VISIT TO THE SWENSON GRANITE WORKS: “It was such a great trip over to the Swenson Granite Works. That place is amazing and I’m glad they let us come over for a tour. The granite quarry has been in operation since the 1800s and it’s about a 200 ft. straight drop down from where we were standing to the bottom of the quarry. They even let me operate the crane to pick up a piece of granite. They had the piece engraved with the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota on it. I thought it was so awesome that I just had to have it for our community building in Kansas. I’ll have some friends pick it up for me after the race this weekend. It’s going to take a really big truck.”

MWR PR

Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 DEWALT Ford team will head back to New England for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second stop at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. They will do so with a nice run of momentum since August.

 

Since Pocono in late August, Ambrose and the No. 9 team have found consistency in their finishes. With two top-10 runs and three more top-15 finishes, the team is running as strong as they have all season.

 

The New Hampshire 300 will mark Ambrose's 10th start at the one-mile track. The Australian native's best finish of ninth came in the July event in 2011 with the No. 9 team. He also has two Nationwide and one truck series start at the Northeast track. Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer has seven 'Cup starts under his belt as a crew chief and a best finish of seventh with David Ragan in 2011. The Illinois native also has four Nationwide starts, three of which he finished in the top-five.

 

Comments from DEWALT Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:

 

"We've really hit our stride in the last month. We've been the most consistent that we've been, and that has really helped everyone. We're pretty confident going to the track, and Drew has been making some great calls during the races. Our cars are getting better, we still have some work to do, but overall, we're moving in the right direction.

 

"Our last trip at New Hampshire was very disappointing. We were caught up in a wreck and just didn't get a chance to even race. So, this weekend we expect a much better result. This is a hard track, using a lot of brake and getting the car to turn. We're going to have our work cut out, but our team is strong as ever now. We feel good about another good run."

 

Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on New Hampshire:

 

"We had a decent car at New Hampshire in June. Unfortunately, we had some damage early on and that just changed our day. Like Marcos said, we're running pretty strong right now. We've found some consistency and getting better results. We can pull of a win at any track if everything comes together. We are closer than ever now."

 

RPM PR

Aric Almirola hopes to repeat the No. 43 Smithfield Ford's top-five finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Sunday's 300-lap race. The team has shown speed at the short tracks recently, and we hope to build on that this weekend.

 

Almirola has six Sprint Cup Series starts at the New England track. He posted his best finish in this year's June race, where he brought home a fifth-place finish. He also has one Nationwide start, where he started fourth and finished fifth, and five truck series starts at the mile-track. Veteran Crew Chief Todd Parrott has 30 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In his 30 starts, he has one win, seven top-fives, 15 top-10s and an average finish of 16.5.

 

Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:

 

"New Hampshire is a really flat track and hard to get a hold of. I feel really good going back to New Hampshire. We finished fifth in June. I feel like our short track program has gotten a lot better. We ran really well at Richmond a few weeks ago, and I think what we learned there will really translate to running well at Loudon.

 

"Loudon is a very unique race track with really wide, flat corners. You spend so much time in the corners that your car has to handle well there. We will really focus on our car's handling and hopefully improve our finish from June."

 

Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:

 

"We made some good calls in the June race this year and have been fast at short tracks lately. I think we will be able to hit the ground running this weekend. Qualifying is important here, so we will work hard to get a good starting position and stay up front during the race. Pit calls are really important here too, since it is hard to pass. We'll focus on the car's handling in the corners and making the right calls to get or keep good track position during the race."

 

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