Steven B. Wilson
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Martin Truex Jr.’s last two finishes have been somewhat concerning for the Furniture Row Racing driver, who finds himself in the perilous eighth-place bubble position for advancing to the next playoff round.
After having solid performances in the first round of the playoffs with third-place results in Las Vegas and Richmond and a near win at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s road course, Truex has not had any satisfaction in the second round (Round of 12) with finishes of 15th at Dover and 23rd at Talladega.
With the NASCAR Cup Series heading to Kansas Speedway for the third and final race in the Round of 12, Truex, who is ranked eighth in the playoff standings, will take an 18-point cushion to the 1.5-mile track.
“There are a number of scenarios for the remaining six transfer spots,” said Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota in Kansas. “From our standpoint it’s very simple. We can’t worry about others, just need to focus on our program and go out and do it ourselves. Kansas has been a great track for us and we just need to continue what we’ve been doing there the past few years. But this is racing and anything can happen as we saw in Talladega.”
While the anxiety level will skew a little higher at Kansas, Truex couldn’t be going to a better venue to remain above the cutline for the playoff transfer spot. In his last three starts at Kansas, Truex swept both races in 2017 and was runner-up in this year's spring race.
“As far as why we’ve been good there (at Kansas) over the years, I’m not sure,” Truex said. “It’s a place where I really feel comfortable. Have had chances to win multiple races there over the years with different teams even. It was one of the places I was successful at before Furniture Row so for whatever reason it just points towards my driving style and my comfort level, what I like in my race car and it just seems to work out well there.”
Truex’s career record at Kansas includes 20 starts, two wins, seven top fives, eight top 10s, two poles and 726 laps led. His average starting position is 10.4 and average finish 14.4.
It’s October and, as usual this time of year, M&M’S has brought back its Halloween-themed No. 18 M&M’S Toyota for driver Kyle Busch during the next two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races – this weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and the following weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway – during one of M&M’S busiest seasons.
In keeping with the Halloween theme, if one were to look at Busch’s three-race stretch at Kansas in NASCAR’s top series following the summer 2012 repave of the 1.5-mile oval, the result sheet was downright spooky for the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). Starting with the October race in 2012, Busch finished 31st, 38th, and 34th, respectively, with all three races ending in an accident.
The 1.5-mile oval built in 2001, which originally featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns, underwent a massive renovation project leading into the aforementioned October 2012 Cup Series event. The changes included repaving of the track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The oval’s geometric shape also was changed to feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.
Feeling snakebit on the new Kansas surface after those three consecutive accidents, Busch and his M&M’S Halloween team took a different approach starting with the April 2014 race there by starting from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked the track in the Heartland of America with hope that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in the race, the result of 15th was still much different than the three previous trips. They began to turn the corner in terms of competitiveness and results.
Starting with the October 2014 Kansas Cup Series race, Busch brought home his first-ever top-five finish at the track. Anyone who has ever followed Busch’s career knows the 2015 Cup Series champion never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum carried over from the October 2014 top-five to his next Kansas race in October 2015, when he finished a solid third. It was a finish that helped vault him through to the next round of the Cup Series playoffs and eventually to the championship stage.
Busch has kept making strides each time he goes back to the Heartland, where he broke through for his first Cup Series win at the 1.5-mile oval in May 2016 as the surface finally started to wear and become more agreeable to Busch’s driving style as he now has seven consecutive top-10 finishes there, a streak that at one point included five consecutive top-five finishes.
Sunday afternoon in Kansas, Busch and the M&M’S Halloween team will look to tackle the final race of the Round of 12 of the 2018 playoffs. Busch has a 43-point advantage over the all-important cutoff spot for the Round of 8, a gap he hopes to keep in order to make it through to the next round. The Las Vegas native hopes for two strong finishes in the first two stages, along with a solid result in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 to make his advancement to the next round a formality.
So, as the Cup Series heads to the Heartland of America Sunday, an eighth top-10 finish in a row at Kansas could be just what Busch needs to move on to the next playoff round. And even though Halloween is fast approaching, Kansas has been solid – not scary – for Busch and his colorful M&M’S Halloween Toyota.
Ragan on Kansas
"Kansas has really matured into a great track. It’s got multiple grooves, and we have run really well there over the past season and a half at Front Row Motorsports. We’ve worked really hard on our mile-and-a-half program, and I feel like we’re still putting a lot of effort into it, even these last five races. There’s a rule change coming next year, so these cars aren’t going to be the same. We’ll try to make them faster and have more downforce and drive better. So, Kansas is an important race for us. We’ve been able to run in the top 15, top 20 the last few races there.
"Our 2018 notebook will basically be put into archives. The racing next year is going to continue to evolve with the downforce engine package, and Goodyear will probably change the tires around to accommodate. And then you always have other developments throughout the year. So, the old notes won’t be thrown away, but they’ll probably be put away to where we can reference them if we need to. But things are going to change a lot going forward."
Ragan Kansas Stats
19 starts, 1 top-10, 3 top-15s, 9 top-20s
Best finish: 8th
Sunday, Oct. 21, 10:10am - Ford Performance display (Kansas Speedway Fan Zone)
McDowell on Kansas
"We've got a new partner coming with us to Kansas. Coburn Supply Company will be on our No. 34 Ford for the weekend. Coburn's is a distributor of commercial and residential plumbing, electrical, waterworks and HVAC products. They've been around for over 80 years and have grown to more than 50 locations across the South. This will be their first time with us, so we certainly want to have a good run with their colors on our car, and our mile-and-a-half record this year shows that we can definitely do that.
"Mile-and-a-halfs have really been our strong suit this year. Kansas was a good one for us in the spring. I’m looking forward to going back there and see what we got. The mile-and-a-halfs are either good or bad, depending on how you run that year. It’s that one thing that’s pretty consistent. You can unload with a similar package that you ran at Vegas or Chicago or somewhere like that. I think we’re homed in pretty good on our mile-and-a-half program, and I’m looking forward to Kansas.
"The line moves around. Usually by Lap 50 or 60, you’re all the way up against the fence. And then, by the end of the race, you’re back down at the bottom. So, you’ve got to have some versatility in your car. It’s nice when the track falls off and the tires fall off. The difference with Kansas is, even though the line and grooves move around, it’s still pretty fast the entire time. Unlike Darlington, where one lap is blistering fast, and then you’re a second and a half slower. At Kansas, you stay hauling the mail the whole time. You just start moving around. It’s a fun track and our best mile-and-a-half."
McDowell Kansas Stats
14 starts, 1 top-15, 3 top-20s
Best finish: 13th
The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season is ready to kick off the final round on the historic Zolder Circuit, as usual the home of the EuroNASCAR Finals, the conclusive event that bring to the track thousands of fans every year. It will be a return in Belgium for the Solaris Motorsport, after taking part to the 2013 International Superstars Series event with Francesco Sini and Domenico Schiattarella at the wheel of the Chevrolets made in Pescara.
"I know the track thanks to the Superstars, even if I raced last time here five years ago. I like this track, it's tight, insidious and fast. Very old school, there are still the grass and the sand outside the white lane! They totally disappeared in Europe, unfortunately. Each mistake here will cost lot of time, details will make the difference. It will be a very interesting challenge, I'm curious to discover the behaviour of the Princess on this track." commented Francesco Sini that aims to bring home a good result as conclusion of this 2018 season and as good point to start the 2019 campaign. "With four drivers fighting for the title and, at least, other four guys that can take advantage from the race facts for the contention, I think it will be a very hot weekend. I'll try to stay out of the trouble, I don't want to disturb the title contenders, but if I have the chance to catch the podium, I will do my best to grab it!"
"We have to use at the best the free practice in order to be ready and competitive already in qualifying. In this kind of races, so eventful, starting on the front is important, but on tracks like this one it becomes fundamental." said Roberto Sini, Solaris Motorsport Team Princpal. "In Hockenheim we grew up session by session until to be very competitive in the Race 2, here we want to be ready for the Final 1. Francesco already knows the track and this will help us, it's one less variable that we have to face. Ending the season on the podium, the second one after Brands Hatch, would be great."
The 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals will start officially on Friday, but on Thursday all the show of the EuroNASCAR will fill the roads all around Zolder thanks the to iconic parade from the track to the Hassel city center, where fans will have the chance to discover, touch and meet their idols and their cars.
The two free practice sessions are scheduled on Friday afternoon,while the qualifying will start on Saturday at 10 AM as usual. The green light of the Final 1 is at 2:10 PM on Saturday, while the last race of the season will start Sunday at 3:20 PM. All the races and the entire qualifying session will be live streamed on NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page and YouTube channel, Motorsport.TV and Fan
Solaris Motorsport PR
The racing season may be over, but the fun never stops with Kingsport Speedway.
Monday, October 22, come on out to Texas Roadhouse - Kingsport (1221 E. Stone Drive) to have some Halloween fun and hang out with some of the Kingsport Speedway race cars and drivers. The 2016 track champion and current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, Chad Finchum will be there, as well as 2018 track champion, Zeke Shell and many more drivers will be on hand!
There will be face painting, crafts, & lots of candy of course and kids’ meal for ONLY $1.99.
This will be fun for the entire family. Hope to see you there in costume!
Got a big party? Call ahead for seating at 423-378-4104
The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), with their Virginia is for Racing Lovers brand, has continued their commitment to NASCAR racing in the Commonwealth, by agreeing to sponsor Martinsville Speedway’s newest fan experience, the SkyDeck.
The Virginia is for Racing Lovers SkyDeck is located above the suites in turns one and two and offers a unique experience with an unparalleled view of Martinsville Speedway.
“The VTC has been a great partner to Martinsville Speedway for a number of years and we are excited to see our relationship continue to grow, year after year,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “They are committed to racing and are well aware of the tourism that NASCAR in particular brings to our state.”
“Virginia is for Racing Lovers SkyDeck brings the action of NASCAR closer than ever to race fans,” Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO Rita McClenny said. “The Martinsville Speedway SkyDeck provides a fun and enjoyable way to see the race with the vibe of a rooftop experience.”
The Virginia is for Lovers SkyDeck Experience is $375 and a SkyDeck ticket is good for both Saturday and Sunday of the First Data 500 race weekend.
In addition to access to the Virginia is for Racing Lovers SkyDeck, the experience includes a general admission ticket to the Texas Roadhouse 200, a reserved seat in the Old Dominion Tower for the First Data 500, a pre-race pit pass, a rotating buffet and eight drink coupons along with free tea and lemonade.
A limited number of SkyDeck experiences remain available.
The First Data 500 race weekend is October 26-28.
The Camping World Truck Series will practice Friday and race the Texas Roadhouse 200 on Saturday.
The First Data 500 is Sunday.
Both races are a part of the NASCAR Playoffs and if the winning driver is a Playoff contender, he will be the first to claim a spot in Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
To purchase a Virginia is for Lovers SkyDeck experience, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.martinmsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
Sheldon Creed Heads to Kansas Looking to Lock Up 2018 ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards Championship16 Oct 2018
Daytona International Speedway will hold an Open House on Sunday, Nov. 4, giving the Central Florida community an opportunity to explore the state-of-the-art facility.
The Open House will take place between 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. and is free of charge. Fans are encouraged to RSVP to www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/OpenHouse and can also walk-up the day of the event.
Fans can check out the amenities inside the venue with guided tours of the Axalta Injector, Trioval Club, start/finish line seating, Harley J’s and Rolex 24 Lounge hospitality venues and the Tower roof.
“The Open House is a great opportunity for current ticket holders to visit areas that they haven’t seen previously as well as guests who have not been to the facility since the completion of the $400 million renovation project in 2016,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said. “We’re looking forward to visiting with the community and showing off the ‘World Center of Racing.’ ”
The Rolex 24 Lounge and Harley J’s, two of the Speedway’s premium hospitality experiences, will have the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race from Texas Motor Speedway on televisions and will be serving light snacks and beverages.
The Harley J. Earl DAYTONA 500 champion’s trophy will be on display for photo opportunities and there will be special giveaways including VIP experiences, race tickets and autographed items.
Tickets will be on sale for future Daytona International Speedway events including the 61st annual DAYTONA 500 and the 57th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. Staff will be on-site to view seating areas that are currently available with guests.
Parking is available in the Midway outside the Axalta Injector.
Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
ISM Raceway announced today that Whelen Engineering will serve as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Xfinity Series semifinal playoff race at ISM Raceway on Saturday, November 10th.
The Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 will be the first Xfinity Series race officially held at the track following its two-year, $178 million modernization project, part of Opening Weekend on November 9, 10 and 11. The sponsorship marks a continued commitment to the modernization of ISM Raceway by Whelen, which has also been heavily involved in the development of the lighting system for the new, cactus-shaped flag stand which will mark the new location of the start/finish line.
“Whelen has been a great partner within the industry and they have been amazing to work with as we put the finishing touches on our new venue,” said Scott Rovn, Vice President of Sales and Communications at ISM Raceway. “We’re thrilled that they have signed on as the title sponsor for this year’s Xfinity Series semifinal race, the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200.”
Based in Chester, Conn., Whelen Engineering designs and manufactures high-quality audio and visual warning equipment for Automotive, Aviation, and Mass Notification industries worldwide and employs more than 1,500 people at its facilities in Chester and Charlestown, N.H. Whelen has supported NASCAR for more than 25 years through numerous activations.
“We’ve always been about innovation, both within our products and within our partnerships,” said Peter Tiezzi, General Manager of Motorsports at Whelen. “The new ISM Raceway is the epitome of innovation in motorsports venues, and we could think of no place better to hold the very first Whelen Trusted to Perform 200.”
Tickets are available online at ISMRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the ISM Raceway ticket office.