Friday, Dec 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Burton put on a show for all spectators when he quickly climbed his way into the top five and gave seasoned NASCAR veterans a run for their money. The 21-year old thought his night was over when his Arrowhead Chevrolet made contact with the wall with only ten laps to go, but that didn't stop him from giving it his all. Restarting just outside the top-20, Burton battled back to a third-place finish after multiple green/white/checkered attempts and ended his rookie season with a top-five spot in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings.


In his first visit to the 1.5-mile track, Burton spent Thursday afternoon studying the layout, getting tips from his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) teammates and watching race footage from previous years. When track activity began on Friday, Burton used the day's only practice session to get more acquainted and master his line. The young driver's determination paid off when he jumped to the top of the speed charts after running 50 practice laps. In his qualifying effort, however, Burton drove his Chevy Silverado a bit too hard and placed the No. 4 truck in the 15th position for the start of the Ford EcoBoost 200.


The No. 4 Arrowhead truck didn't stay out of the top 10 for long. Within the first 20 laps, Burton had climbed his way into the seventh position and said his truck felt "awesome." Throughout the race, Burton ran consistent lap times, many of which were the same as the leaders, and the TSM team performed impressive pit stops,which helped Burton break into the top five by the halfway mark. In the second half of the race, the rookie driver found himself in several tough battles for the lead with NASCAR veterans Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon. Having settled into the second position with less than ten laps remaining, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. told Burton, "It's time. Go get 'em!" When a determined Burton made an effort to take the lead, however, his No. 4 Arrowhead truck made contact with the wall, sending out a caution and allowing the TSM team to repair minimal damage and provide four new Goodyear tires.


Restarting outside of the top 20, Burton fought his way back into the top 10 before another caution arose, followed by another. In the final attempt at a green/white/checkered finish, Burton put on a show as he charged to gain even more track position, crossing the finish line in the third position.


"That felt good," said an excited Burton. "That was one of the most fun races I've ever been in. It felt so good to be competitive and fight for the lead. My team gave me an awesome truck to work with tonight and I couldn't let our season end on a mediocre note. I've got the hardest working group of guys out there and I couldn't be more grateful for everything they've done for me, as well as my sponsor, Arrowhead. We've exceeded every goal I set for our team at the beginning of the year. I can't wait to get back in this truck next year with more experience and compete for that championship. I think we're already ready for Daytona after tonight."


In an impressive rookie season, Burton added one win, five top fives and ten top 10s to his racing resume. In his 22 starts, Burton led a total of 289 laps and received seven Keystone Light pole awards, sharing the NASCAR record with Austin Dillon. Having remained in the top five in point standings throughout the year, the young driver finishes the 2013 season in fifth place in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings.



Coming off of a fourth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway a few weeks ago, Ben Kennedy made his final start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS). After one practice session at the 1.5-mile track, Kennedy qualified 17th for the Ford EcoBoost 200. While the laps continued to wind down on Friday evening, Kennedy maintained a top-25 position until a mechanical failure sent him to the garage early and relegated him to a 30th-place finish for Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM).


After starting Friday night's race in the 17th position, Kennedy was in the 19th position when the first caution of the race came out. Kennedy radioed in that his truck's balance was pretty good and he could get back to the throttle well. After the restart on lap nine, Kennedy worked his way up to the 17th position when the second caution came out at lap 42. Kennedy relayed to crew chief Chris Carrier that he was a little bit loose all the way around. Carrier called the No. 30 Florida Lottery Silverado down pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and adjustments.


After restarting 21st on lap 46, Kennedy maneuvered his way up way up to the 19th position when the third caution was displayed at lap 65. Kennedy communicated to Carrier that he was free on entry and exit, and a little tight in the center. Carrier called Kennedy down pit road to change four tires, add fuel and make adjustments. After restarting 17th on lap 70, Kennedy was in the 21st position on lap 80 when he radioed in that his oil temperature was really high. Upon inspection of the No. 30 Silverado's grille, spotter Jimmy Kitchens reported debris blocking the grille opening. Kennedy worked to get behind another competitor to maneuver his truck back and forth in hopes of removing the piece of trash. Fortunately, the oil temperature dropped back to a comfortable level and Kennedy was in the 21st position when the fourth caution came out at lap 95. After coming down pit road for service, Kennedy was lining up on the track when he radioed in that his motor was sounding flat. After agreeing with Kennedy, Carrier told him to drop to the rear to prevent from stacking up the field. After restarting on lap 100, Kennedy maintained the 25th position until the fifth caution came out at lap 103. Carrier called the No. 30 truck down pit road and raised the hood to investigate the problem. After further evaluation under the hood, the team determined the No. 30 Florida Lottery Silverado had dropped a cylinder and would have to go to the garage, ultimately ending Kennedy's night early. The No. 30 Florida Lottery Chevrolet Silverado finished the season finale at HMS in the 30th position for TSM.


"Great job today guys and thanks for all of your help this year," commented Kennedy after the race. "I owe a lot to Steve Turner and Harry Scott Jr. and everyone at TSM. They really helped me get comfortable in these trucks and have been patient with me each weekend. I also can't thank Florida Lottery enough for coming on board. I just wish we could've had a better finish for everyone tonight, but it's certainly not from a lack of effort. This has been a special year in my career to make my first truck start and I'm thankful for all of those who have supported me."



Looking to close out the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on top, James Buescher and his Rheem team wouldn't go down without a fight. After a sixth-place starting position for the Ford EcoBoost 200, Buescher searched around the 1.5-mile oval for a groove in which was suitable for his Rheem Chevrolet. Running inside the top-10 for most of the night, slight contact with another competitor forced Buescher down pit road multiple times for repairs to his left front nose. These unscheduled pit stops forced Buescher to give up valuable track position and put him deep in the field for the eventual three attempts at a green-white-checked finish. Not giving up, Buescher stuck his No. 31 Rheem Chevy in some tight spots in the final laps to bring home a 13th-place finish in the NCWTS season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


With just only one practice session available to the teams,, the Rheem team went to work on finding the right balance for their Silverado. Battling a tight-handling race truck much of the two hour practice session, the Rheem crew hit on a set up that would place them third quickest on the practice charts heading into the qualifying session later that afternoon. Buescher was able to back up his practice times with a solid sixth-place starting position for the scheduled 134-lap Ford EcoBoost 200.


When the green flag released the 36-truck field for the final time in 2013, Buescher found himself in some tight battles inside the top-10. While running in the seventh-position, the yellow flag slowed the field on lap six for a piece of debris. When the field got the green again, they picked up where they left off with some feverish battles throughout the field. Buescher eventually settled into ninth-place and would hold that position until the first round of pit stops on lap 43 after the yellow was displayed. Complaining of a tight-handling race truck, crew chief Michael Shelton called for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. Restarting in the eighth spot, Buescher went back to work, trying to reel in the top-five. On lap 55, Buescher radioed back to his crew that his Rheem Chevrolet was still tight and that he believed he had some damage on the left front of his nose when close racing action found that a competitor slid up into Buescher. Hoping for a yellow flag to come work on their truck, the Rheem team worked to fabricate a patch in which they would use to put over the damaged area of the Silverado. The Rheem crew got their opportunity to come down pit road multiple times on lap 66 when the third yellow flag was displayed.


With their truck repaired, Buescher gave up valuable track position and would restart 23rd. Buescher went to work and started to pick up positions one-by-one, eventually getting up to 17th before the next yellow was displayed on lap 94. After coming down pit road to work on his tight handling truck, the Rheem crew gave Buescher four fresh tires, fuel and made a track-bar adjustment for the shootout to the checkered flag. This wouldn't be their last pit stop as a flurry of yellow flags would be displayed and different strategies would start to take shape. On lap 132, just two laps before the end of the scheduled distance, Buescher ducked down pit road for two right-side Goodyear Wranglers. Buescher would restart in the 10th position. Buescher tried to hang on to his top-10 but two more yellow flags sent the 2013 NCWTS season into overtime. Buescher weathered the tight quarters racing and was able to bring his Rheem Chevrolet home in the 13th-position and third in the NCWTS Drivers Point Standings.


"It wasn't the way we were hoping to close out our season, but my Rheem team fought hard all season long and we weren't going to give up. We lost valuable track position when we had to make those multiple pit stops to repair the nose of the truck and we weren't able to get back up to contention until late. I can't thank my entire Rheem team enough for sticking through an up and down year and giving us a truck to contend with each and every week."



Cale Gale came into the Ford EcoBoost 200 looking to defend his crown as the defending race winner. After a disappointing practice session, Gale's solid qualifying effort placed him in the ninth-place starting position for the 134-lap Ford EcoBoost 200. Battling a tight-handling Ruud Chevy Silverado, Gale settled into a groove around mid-pack and waited to make his move. With two-laps remaining in the scheduled distance, Gale relinquished the 13th-position to duck down pit road for two right-side tires. The Turner Scott Motorsports team's strategy paid off as Gale was able to fight hard for a 10th-place finish in the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


During the events only practice session, the No. 33 team struggled to find the right balance for their Ruud Silverado, placing them 19th on the practice charts. After making some adjustments before heading into the qualifying session that afternoon, the Ruud team seemed to hit on a setup, which placed Gale in the ninth starting spot for the series finale race.


When the green flag released the field, Gale settled into a groove and waited for the right opportunity to make his move. When the second yellow flag of the evening was displayed on lap 42, Gale gave up the 16th running position to come down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to loosen up his Ruud Silverado. Back under green, Gale went back to work, trying to close the gap to the top-10. While running in the 15th spot and still battling a tight race truck, Gale came back down pit road for his second time of the night on lap 66. After receiving four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment, Gale would restart just outside the top-10 in the 11th spot.


On lap 110, Gale would find himself running inside the top-10 for the first time since lap 10. With just under 25 laps to go in the scheduled race distance, Gale found himself in some tight racing quarters, trying to hold onto his position. The race was slowed once again with just two laps before the scheduled distance. Gale, along with many of his other competitors,ducked down pit road for two right-side tires. After slipping as far back as 16th, Gale was able to fight his way back into the top-10 with the help of multiple green-white-checkered restart attempts. Gale brought his Ruud team home a 10th-place finish, his second top-10 in two weeks.


"I had a lot of fun out there tonight," said Gale. "We had a tight handling Ruud truck all day, but my crew made some great adjustments and the right call by taking those two tires at the end. I want to thank Turner Scott Motorsports and Ruud for giving me this opportunity to come out and defend my race win. We came up a little short but a 10th-place finish is pretty solid for what we were battling."



Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished fourth (Brendan Gaughan) and 14th (Ty Dillon). 
  • Dillon finished second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings and Gaughan finished seventh in the standings.
  • The No. 3 Chevrolet team finished third in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team ninth in the standings.
  • According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Gaughan earned the fourth-highest Driver Rating (104.1), and Dillon ranked fifth with a rating of 102.4.
  • Combined, Dillon and Gaughan posted the Fastest Laps Run 18 times during the event ranking them third and seventh, respectively.
  • Dillon and Gaughan were ranked the third and fourth-Fastest Drivers Late in a Run.
  • Gaughan scored the fifth-highest Average Running Position of 6.432, while Dillon was sixth in the category (6.784).
  • Kyle Busch took the checkered flag and was followed to the line by Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton, Gaughan and Ron Hornaday, Jr.
  • The Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony is Monday, Nov. 18, which will be taped and aired at a later date.



Dillon Salvages 14th-Place Finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway


Despite suffering a broken jack and a flat left-rear tire, Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team finished 14th in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night. Dillon and company started the 134-lap affair from the third position and ran as high as second during the first half of the race. The Richard Childress Racing team came to pit road on lap 63 for a routine visit, but the jack broke during the pit stop costing them valuable track position. Dillon restarted 21st on lap 69 and maneuvered through traffic to sixth by lap 100. With 34 laps remaining in the event, Dillon continued his trek to the front of the pack but suffered a flat left-rear tire with four laps to go, forcing the team to pit under caution. After restarting 24th and surviving three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, Dillon crossed the finish line in 14th-place. Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team cap off the 2013 season second in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings on the strength of two wins, one pole award, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.


Start-3        Finish-14          Laps Led-0       Points-2nd



"I can't say enough about this Bass Pro Shops team. These guys are like brothers to me. We've been through the highs and the lows as one team. We had a lot of bad luck this year, but we always battled back from them. I wish we could have contended for the championship, but we still had a great season. I'm so proud of these guys. It's an honor to carry the Bass Pro Shops logo on our truck every week. Without them and Johnny Morris we wouldn't be here. As a team, we thank all of the store employees and fans for a great year."






Gaughan Collects Top-Five Result in Season Finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet team collected their 10th-top five finish of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season Friday night under the lights of Homestead-Miami Speedway in the season finale. Starting from the 13th spot, the Las Vegas native fell as far back as 15th during the initial green-flag run. As the early laps progressed, Gaughan alerted the team he was fighting a Chevrolet that was free overall, but tight in the center of the turns. Crew chief Shane Wilson directed his driver to pit road on laps 31 and 42 for the pit crew to service the black and gold machine with four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. After working his way into the top five on lap 88, Gaughan informed Wilson the truck's handling had transitioned from loose to tight. The pit crew made a final adjustment during a four-tire pit stop on lap 96 and sent the Richard Childress Racing driver back to the racing surface in the fourth position. Gaughan maneuvered his way into second on lap 129, survived three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish and crossed the finish line in the fourth position. Gaughan closed out the season seventh in the Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings on the strength of 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.


         Start-13         Finish-4          Laps Led- 0         Points- 7th



"This was a disappointing finish for the South Point Hotel & Casino team. We had a truck that could have won the race, but Kyle (Busch) beat us on the final three restarts and then Ryan (Blaney) tried to push me at the end, but almost wrecked me so I had to settle for a fourth-place result. My team worked hard today and all season, just wish we could have gotten a win for them tonight."



Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) announced today that rising star driver Tyler Reddick will pilot the No. 19 BKR Ford F-150 for the team that is owned by the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion.


Reddick will compete in at least fifteen (15) events during the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, and contest the entire Series schedule in 2015. The BBR Music Group, which has supported Reddick as he has climbed the racing ladder, will join BKR as a sponsor. The record label group, whose roster of talented artists includes multi-platinum country superstar Jason Aldean, will be the primary sponsor for four (4) races in 2014 as well an associate sponsor for the additional races in which Reddick will drive. In 2015 the BBR Music Group will expand its presence with Reddick and the BKR team to 12 primary sponsor races and 10 associate sponsor races.


"Tyler caught my eye at the Rockingham NASCR K&N Pro Series East race in November of 2012. I continued to follow his progress and he definitely made a positive impression on me and our competition staff at BKR. We're pleased to be able to bring Tyler into the program that, with the support of the BBR Music Group, Ford, and long-time BKR partners Cequent and Cooper Standard, has a very solid foundation to compete for wins and championships in the coming seasons. We look forward to helping develop Tyler into a championship-caliber driver and ultimately seeing him progress within NASCAR," said Keselowski.


Reddick started racing at the age of four-years old in Outlaw Karts where he developed and enhanced his driving skills weekly for the next seven years. At the age of 13, Reddick's family moved from California to the Midwest where he began racing mini sprints, 410 sprint cars, and super late models. At age 16 Tyler moved to asphalt and in his NASCAR debut, won the K&N Pro East Series race at Rockingham in 2012. For the past couple of seasons Reddick has competed in the Late Model Dirt Series, K&N Pro Series, and other NASCAR development series.


"I'm thrilled to be joining Brad and BKR in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series," said Reddick. "As Brad is one of the young champion superstars in the sport today, I am confident I can learn a lot from him not just from a driving and competition standpoint, but also how to build a team around me and engage with sponsors and the media at the NASCAR level. I have no doubt that this is going to be a tremendous experience as I look to progress within the sport."


"We are excited to partner with Brad Keselowski and the BKR team for the 2014 and 2015 seasons," said Benny Brown, founder of the BBR Music Group. "NASCAR will be a great promotional platform for our label group and its artists, and aligning with a champion driver in Brad and a successful team in BKR that is solidly established for the long-term will provide BBR and Tyler with some tremendous opportunities going forward."



Matt Crafton captured his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver's championship when he took the green flag to start Friday's season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Crafton guided his ThorSport Racing No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra to a 21st-place result at Homestead and captured the title by 40 points over second- place Ty Dillon.

En route to his 2013 championship, Crafton won one race at Kansas and recorded seven top-five finishes and 19 top-10 results in 22 races. He began the year with a streak of 16 consecutive top-10 finishes, including top-five results at Martinsville (second-place), Charlotte (fourth), Dover (second), Texas (fourth) and Chicagoland (fourth). The Tulare, Calif.-native held the lead in the series standings since the fourth race of the year.

"It's an honor to be able to drive this Menards Toyota Tundra," says Crafton. "To be able to do this for Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners) that have been doing this for 18 years, and to give them their first championship and me driving for them for 14 years. For Menards and all the people that have been behind me, every one of these guys that work on this truck, it's an honor to be able to give them this championship. These guys are the ones that work so hard. I'm just the one that gets to celebrate and look like the hero because I got to drive a great truck all year."

The 37-year-old driver holds the record among active drivers for most consecutive series starts (316), dating back to his first series race in 2000.

"On behalf of all our associates at Toyota and TRD, I would like to congratulate Matt and the entire ThorSport Racing organization on their first NASCAR championship," said Les Unger, Toyota's national motorsports manager. "When ThorSport Racing began fielding Tundras last year for Matt and Johnny Sauter, their ultimate goal was winning a championship. Matt and the team accomplished that this year and he's the true embodiment of what the Truck Series is all about."

In 14 years competing in the NCWTS with ThorSport, Crafton has earned three victories, 63 top-five finishes, 175 top-10 results and seven pole positions. He finished as the series runner-up in 2009 and is the 2000 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Series champion.

In addition, this is the first NASCAR title for the Ohio-based ThorSport Racing team -- one of the longest-running teams in the NCWTS that has been competing full-time in the series since 1998. The team also won their first ARCA championship earlier this year with Camry driver Frank Kimmel.

This marks the fifth NASCAR driver's championship for Toyota since the manufacturer entered the sport in 2004 with the Tundra. In addition to Crafton's title, Todd Bodine is the 2006 and 2010 champion and Johnny Benson won the NCWTS crown in 2008, and Kyle Busch was the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) champion.

In 2013, Tundra drivers have won 13 of 22 races. Along with Crafton's Kansas win, his ThorSport teammate Sauter won three times (Daytona, Martinsville and Talladega), Kyle Busch registered victories at Bristol, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Dover and the Homestead-Miami season-finale, and Timothy Peters captured two checkered flags -- Iowa and Las Vegas.

In addition, Tundra driver Erik Jones made NASCAR history as the youngest driver (17 years old) to win a national touring event when he finished first at Phoenix, in only his fifth series start, and his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. also made NASCAR history with his first career victory at Martinsville to become only the second African-American to win a NASCAR national touring series race.

Trevor Bayne and his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion picked up the pace significantly from practice and will start 17th in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bayne turned a qualifying lap at 175.507 miles per hour, which was more than two miles per hour faster than his best lap in practice of 173.321 mph.

“That wasn’t a bad lap at all,” Bayne said of his best qualifying run since a 15th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. “We just got tight in the center [of the corners] there, and I wondered if I carried a little too much speed in trying not to use any brakes, so the second lap I tried to use more brake and we slowed down a lot”.

“Overall that is a really good pickup for my guys, and they did a really good job making adjustments from practice to this. I think most people were picking up like two-tenths [of a second per lap], and we picked up about five.”

Bayne said his qualifying run gives him renewed optimism heading into Sunday’s finale of the Ford Championship Weekend.

“That is a good run, and we can at least see the front from there and hopefully make it happen,” he said.
Among the 14 Ford Fusions in the starting field for the Sprint Cup season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 is the No. 32 driven by a former Wood Brothers’ driver Ken Schrader, who is making his final Sprint Cup start.

Schrader, who drove the No. 21 Ford in 2006 and 2007, started his Sprint Cup career back in 1984 in a Ford fielded by Elmo Langley, and 29 years, 762 races and four wins later he’ll end it in another Ford, the Fusion owned by Frankie Stoddard, who has been working on Fords and fielding them for most of his NASCAR career.
Wood said Schrader, one of more than 70 drivers to take the wheel of the No. 21, earned his place in the history of the family race team. “We’ve known Ken since he raced for Elmo Langley and then Junie Donlavey,” Wood said. “He came to drive for us at a time we were kind of in a transition phase and needed a veteran driver. He was a big help to us.”
Schrader said he has the utmost respect for the Woods. “Before I ever drove for them they were at the top of my list, and they still are today,” he said.

Wood Brothers Racing PR


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