Speedway Digest Staff
Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest
NASCAR has announced a set of officiating revisions to further reinforce its in-race rules and regulations following a week-long review of events that transpired during last Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
PAUL WOLFE, crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – DID THEY TELL YOU WHERE THE LINE IS AND WHEN IT IS CROSSED? “Yeah, I think everyone should have a pretty clear understanding of what that is now. If you go out there and run 100% to your ability and run a normal race then everything will be fine.”
DID THEY TALK ABOUT VIDEO EQUIPMENT IN THE FUTURE? “No, nothing about that.”
DID THEY TALK ABOUT THE RESTARTS AT ALL? “No, it was all just about racing in general.”
DID THEY TELL YOU HOW THEY WOULD POLICE IT? “I think a lot of it is just common sense and it is just to go out there and run 100-percent to your best ability and everything will take care of itself.”
WHAT WAS THE TONE IN THERE? Did you guys get yelled at or what? “I think it got everyone’s attention. Like I said, I don’t expect it to be a big deal moving forward.”
James Buescher and the Rheem team came into the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway as the defending race winner and were looking for their third win of the season. Carrying momentum from last week's victory at Iowa Speedway, Buescher appeared to be a viable contender in the middle portion of the 150-lap race when he went from eighth position to third in just under 10 laps. A tight-handling race truck in the final laps relinquished Buescher and his Rheem team to an eighth-place finish. This is the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports team's fifth consecutive top-10 finish.
The Rheem team unloaded a brand-new truck at Chicagoland Speedway looking to continue their cut into the Drivers Point Standings lead. The No. 31 Rheem looked solid, posting two top-10 results in the practice sessions Friday morning. Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team backed up their practice times with a ninth-place qualifying effort for the EnjoyIllinois.com 225.
When the green flag released the 36-truck field, battles heated up when Buescher was forced three-wide on the first lap. Buescher slipped back to the 13th place before settling into a groove. Buescher radioed to his crew on lap four that his Rheem Chevrolet was really loose. Crew chief Michael Shelton acknowledged the handling issue and told Buescher that their Rheem team would get him fixed up on the next pit stop. The race's first yellow flag flew on lap 14 and Buescher took advantage of the caution to bring his Rheem Silverado down pit road for a full load of fuel and a chassis adjustment. Restarting in the ninth position, Buescher was once again put three wide, immediately slipping Buescher back in the running order for a couple laps before the field settled in for a long 30-lap green-flag run. During the run, Buescher worked his way up to eighth position. The Rheem team came down pit road for their second pit stop, this time taking four tires, fuel as well as a big chassis adjustment to correct the handling issues. The adjustments that Shelton gave Buescher made the No. 31 come to life as Buescher had a great ensuing restart, vaulting him from eighth to third in just nine laps. The third and fourth yellow flags were displayed right near the halfway mark of the 150-lap race. Still running inside the top five, Buescher's handling started to slip away when his No. 31 Rheem Chevy began to get very tight. With still just one pit stop left to make, the team got the opportunity when the yellow flag was displayed which just happened to be inside the team's fuel window. After the clean up was complete for the accident on the front stretch, Shelton ordered his driver down pit road to top off with fuel and take four fresh Goodyear Wrangler tires.
Restarting in the fourth position, Buescher wasn't able to hold off the charge from behind, forcing the No. 31 Rheem team to slip back in the running order on the long green-flag run to the checkered flag. Buescher fought very hard for an eighth-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway. Buescher remains second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivers Point Standings with only six races left.
"It was looking like we were going to have a solid night," said Buescher. "After our second pit stop, Shelton called for some great adjustments to our Rheem Chevy and we were able to battle inside the top three before I settled into a groove. Unfortunately at the end, handling on our Rheem truck just went away on us. We'll take this top-10 finish and we'll take what we were able to learn this weekend and apply it to Las Vegas in a couple weeks and hopefully bring home another victory."
The NCWTS will have a week off before returning to action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Smith's 350 on Saturday September 28 at 8:30pm EDT live on Fox Sports 1. The event can also be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90 or MRN Radio.
Over the past three seasons, the No. 18 Tundra of Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) has celebrated several victories with Dollar General as its primary sponsor. It was a different number but the same result for the combination in Friday's EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. With the nation's largest small-box discount retailer adorning Busch's No. 51 Toyota for a one-race deal, the Las Vegas native outdueled Brad Keselwoski to pick up his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of 2013.
"I want to thank the Lord for this one," said Busch, who now has three Truck Series victories in four starts in the Windy City. "Also, thank everyone from Dollar General. This Toyota Tundra was awesome today. Thanks to TRD (Toyota Racing Development), Toyota, Flexco, Monster Energy Drink and Camping World, of course the fans for being out here tonight -- we appreciate their support and it was just an awesome truck tonight. We tried a couple things in practice that worked for us and really liked the way the thing felt. Hopefully we can take those to a couple more places this year."
After finishing Friday morning's practice session third quick, Busch and crew chief Rudy Fugle were confident enough that they had dialed in their Tundra that they elected not to participate in the final practice session. In the afternoon qualifying session, the 28-year-old driver earned the seventh starting position turning a lap of 30.986 seconds at 174.272.
When the green flag dropped on a balmy evening, Busch slowly maneuvered his Toyota towards the front of the field. By the time the first caution flew for a one-truck spin on lap 13, the Dollar General Tundra was scored in the fourth position as the driver communicated that his truck was "a little loose." Fugle summoned his driver to pit road for a full load of fuel and a track bar adjustment to provide more stability.
The No. 51 Toyota restarted from the seventh spot when the field went back green on lap 18. By lap 35 he had advanced back into the top five and when the second caution of the night occurred on lap 48, he was running in the third position. KBM's owner-driver radioed that his black and yellow machine was "really good that run."
Varying pit strategies took place under caution, but Fugle elected to keep Busch on the track. He took the lap-52 restart from the second position and one lap later took the lead for the first time of the night. As he battled side-by-side with Keselowski, he lost the lead one lap later, but returned to the point on lap 55. After pacing the field for the next five laps, debris had attached itself to the grill of the Dollar General Tundra and caused the temperatures to sky-rocket.
Trying to get the debris off the grill, Busch fell back to the runner-up spot as he tried to position the nose of his truck behind race leader Ryan Blaney to try and use the aerodynamic forces between the two trucks to displace the rubbage. The maneuver was successful and after temperatures subsided on his Toyota, "Rowdy" put his Tundra back out front on lap 66.
Oil on the track slowed the field for the third time on lap 69. Fugle once again elected to keep his driver on track. While under caution, NASCAR alerted the No. 51 team of an issue with the scoring transponder and the Dollar General Tundra was summoned to pit road to have it replaced. Due to the technical malfunction, Busch was allowed to keep his position at the front of the field for the restart on lap 81.
Two laps into the next run, Keselowski worked his way to the front and remained there until Timothy Peters slammed the frontstretch wall and brought out the fifth and final caution on lap 100. Busch reported that his Toyota was "a little tight center," before bringing it to the attention of his over-the-wall crew. A speedy four-tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment put KBM's owner-driver back out front for the ensuing restart.
Keselwoski worked his way past Busch on the lap-107 restart and despite two near passes from Busch remained on point until lap 122. The Dollar General Tundra retook the lead for one circuit before falling back in behind the No. 19 machine. Rowdy finally was able to make it back to the front on lap 127 and as the race approached the final 10 laps opened up a 1.2-second lead.
After cooling his tires, Keselwoski was able to pull to the back bumper of the Dollar General Tundra multiple times over the closing laps, but each time Busch was able to change lanes and break his momentum. "Rowdy" crossed the stripe out front, picking up the 22nd Truck Series win for KBM since the team originated in 2010, six which have come with the nation's largest small-box discount retailer as the primary sponsor.
Busch picked up his 34th career Truck Series victory, his third in NASCAR's third division at Chicagoland and his 122nd career National Series win - 17 which have come in 2013. Keselowski crossed the stripe 0.338 seconds behind him in the runner-up spot. Blaney finished third, Matt Crafton fourth and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five finishers.
KBM driver Darrell Wallace Jr. finished 11th in the ToyotaCare Tundra. Joey Coulter ran out of fuel early in the race and finished the race two laps down in the 23rd position.
There were five caution periods for 27 laps. Four different drivers led, exchanging the lead 12 times. Ten drivers failed to finish race number 16 on the 2013 Truck Series schedule.
The No. 51 team remained second in the owner's championship standings after 16 races. The team now sits 18 points behind the series-leading No. 88 team.
Chad Hackenbracht will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tastee Apple/Ingersoll Rand Tundra when the series resumes action on Sep. 28 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway for the Smith's 350. Live Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 beings at 8:30 p.m. ET with the NCWTS Setup Show.
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, made his debut at Chicagoland Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Friday night during the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 after qualifying 15th earlier in the day.
Blaney came on the radio chattering positively on how good his Cooper Standard Ford was after the first caution came out on lap 14 due to a spin. Crew chief, Doug Randolph brought Blaney to pit road for fuel only -- getting Blaney off quickly and restarting him in the eighth position on lap 18.
Blaney was able to maintain pace inside the top 10 for the rest of the night. He gradually moved inside of the top five on lap 27 after making a bold move to the inside of the No. 62.
On lap 48 the caution fell for the second time of the night and Randolph brought the No. 29 BKR driver in for fuel, four tires a slight track bar adjustment -- getting him off pit road in a timely fashion for the restart on lap 52.
Blaney continued his momentous surge into the top three by lap 55 and took the lead away from the No. 51 by lap 60.
On lap 84, Blaney, who was running in second at the time, only saw the rear bumper of his Truck owner and teammate, Brad Keselowski, as BKR was running first and second.
The No. 17 brought out the fifth and final caution on lap 101 for a wreck in the frontstretch. This triggered Randolph to bring Blaney to pit road for one last stop as the strategy was to go the remaining distance without pitting again. The Cooper Standard team buckled down and executed a phenomenal pit stop, changing four tires, fuel and one down on the track bar.
The last 40 plus laps wound down ever so quickly as Blaney made a late charge, but came up just a bit short, bringing home a impressive third place finish on the night and capped off a solid run for Brad Keselowski Racing who placed in the second and third positions respectfully.
"I am very proud of these BKR guys, my Cooper Standard Ford was super fast, but just didn't have enough for the leaders during the final run. We continue to bring awesome stuff to the track and it will pay off soon for these guys who work so hard to get me up front each race. I can't wait to get to Vegas and give it another shot on that mile and a half in a couple of weeks." - Ryan Blaney
Brad Keselowski (@Keselowski), driver of the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150, made his fourth start of the season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway after qualifying 11th earlier in the afternoon.
Keselowski got off to a hot start moving into the top 10 before the first caution came out on lap 14 due to a spin in the backstretch. Crew chief, Chad Kendrick brought Keselowski to pit road for fuel and a track bar adjustment, restarting the Draw-Tite machine in the fifth position on lap 18. One lap after the restart, Keselowski moved into the third position with his strong F-150.
On lap 48, after the second caution flew, because No. 10 was leaking oil on to the track, Kendrick brought the Draw-Tite machine to pit road for four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment and a tear-off, getting Keselowski off first for the next restart.
On lap 76, when the fourth caution flag came out for an accident in turn four, Kendrick kept Keselowski out for track position telling him to aggressively save fuel just in case there was a green-white-checkered at the finish.
By lap 84, Brad Keselowski Racing (@TeamBKR) was running first and second, with Keselowski leading teammate, Ryan Blaney.
As the final caution came out on lap 101, Kendrick assured Keselowski he was good to go until the checkered flag on fuel and told him to go after it. Unfortunately he came up one position short, finishing a strong second with a very fast Draw-Tite Ford F-150 in his first ever NCWTS race at Chicagoland Speedway.
The No. 19 BKR team now sits fourth in the NCWTS owner points standings, 52 points back from first.
"What a heck of a run we had tonight in the Draw-Tite Ford F-150. I could not be happier with my team for all the effort they showed tonight. We are running very strong and continue to make positive improvements race to race. This team deserves to be in victory lane and I know it will happen for them soon." - Brad Keselowski
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished fifth (Ty Dillon) and 25th (Brendan Gaughan).
- Dillon is third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, 59 markers behind the leader; while Gaughan ranks 10th in the standings, 126 points out of the top spot.
- The No. 3 Chevrolet team is fifth in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team 13th in the standings.
- According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Dillon earned the third-best Average Running Position (4.700), was the third-Fastest on Restarts, earned the fourth-best Driver Rating (111.2), had the fourth-Fastest Green-Flag Speed and Speed in Traffic, was the fifth-Fastest Driver Early in a Run and fifth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run.
- Dillon was one of three competitors in the 36-truck field to spend 100 percent (150 laps) running in the Top 15.
- Gaughan was the Fastest Driver Early in a Run and Late in a Run that didn't finish within five laps of the leader, earned the fifth-best Average Running Position (6.847) and was the fifth-Fastest on the Restarts.
- RCR teammates posted eight of the Fastest Laps Run, Dillon earned five and Gaughan three.
- Kyle Busch took the checkered flag and was followed to the line by Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Matt Crafton and Dillon.
- The next scheduled Camping World Truck Series race is the Smith's 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 28. The 17th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Dillon Earns Second-Consecutive Top-Five Finish in Chicago
Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team finished fifth under the lights at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday night despite battling a tight-handling Chevrolet for the majority of the 150-lap event. After posting the second-fastest time in qualifying, Dillon took the initial green flag and immediately reported his black and orange machine was too tight. Crew chief Marcus Richmond called for chassis adjustments during routine two and four-tire pit stops under caution periods on laps 68 and 100. Quick work by the Richard Childress Racing pit crew allowed the North Carolina native to maintain track position within the top-10 for the entire 225-mile race. Due to multiple long green flag runs, the handling on the No. 3 Chevrolet didn't improve causing Dillon to battle handling issues until the checkered flag waved when he crossed the finish line in the fifth position. Friday night's result marks Dillon's second-consecutive top-five finish.
Start - 2 Finish - 5 Laps Led - 0 Points - 3rd
TY DILLON QUOTE:
"I'm glad we could bring home a fifth-place finish tonight. We battled a tight-handling condition all night. It was a lot worse on long green flag runs, but the Bass Pro Shops team never gave up. I hope we can continue this momentum and turn these top fives into wins before the season ends."
Solid Run by Gaughan Spoiled by Misfortune at Chicagoland Speedway
Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino team fell victim to another round of bad luck Friday night when overheating issues relegated the team to a 25th-place finish in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway after a solid run by the Richard Childress Racing team. Starting from the fifth position, the Las Vegas native maintained a spot within the top 10 during the majority of the 150-lap event while battling a tight handling Chevrolet. Gaughan was scored fourth when he radioed to crew chief Shane Wilson that the temperature of the black and gold machine suddenly skyrocketed, forcing the team to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 141 to assess the issue. The pit crew pulled tape from the grille in an attempt to bring down the engine temperature. Gaughan returned to the racing surface, only to come back down pit road the following lap. After final evaluation, Wilson determined the issue could not be remedied, forcing the team to settle for a 25th-place result. Following the 16th race of the season Gaughan remains 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 5 Finish - 25 Laps Led - 0 Points - 10th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
"It just seems like we can't shake this bad luck lately. We had an incredibly solid run going tonight, and the South Point Hotel & Casino crew did a great job working on the truck and keeping us up front. This is not the way I wanted tonight to end, but we'll move on and focus on the next race at my home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway."
Probation did little to slow down Penske Racing.
Less than three hours after NASCAR placed the organization on probation for alleged collusion last Saturday at Richmond, Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski qualified 1-2 for Sunday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the first race in the expanded Chase for the Cup.
Logano, who streaked around the 1.5-mile track in 28.509 seconds (189.414 mph), led a parade of 14 drivers who broke Jimmie Johnson's 2005 qualifying mark of 188.147 mph during Friday's time trials. He edged Keselowski (189.248 mph), his teammate, for the pole by .025 seconds.
This is the second time this season Logano won a pole and the seventh of his career. Juan Pablo Montoya (189.062 mph) qualified third, followed by Kasey Kahne (188.785 mph) and rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (188.772 mph).
"The mile-and-a-half, two-mile race tracks are where we've been our strongest throughout the year," Logano said. "The shorter tracks have been a little tougher for us. We know in these races (at intermediate tracks) that we really have to capitalize, and the other ones we have to be on damage control and try to get our cars as fast as we can.
"We'll work hard (Saturday) in practice and get our car as good as we can get it, and we'll wait and see what happens."
Keselowski felt his teammate made a statement with his pole-winning run, though not necessarily in response to the adversity his organization has faced over the past week.
"Any time you run well, it's a statement," Keselowski said. "It doesn't have to be just when you're facing adversity. There's a lot of adversity as drivers we face all the time. Some of it is in the media, and some of it isn't."
NASCAR placed Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports on probation Friday for allegedly trying to strike a deal for Front Row's David Gilliland to finish behind Logano at Richmond, as Logano was striving -- successfully as it turned out -- to qualify for the Chase. Logano finished 22nd and Gilliland 23rd, with Logano knocking Jeff Gordon out of the Chase by one point.
In the interest of fairness, and in light of the competitive manipulations by more than one team, NASCAR added Gordon to the Chase on Friday, expanding the field from 12 to 13 drivers. Gordon responded by qualifying sixth for Sunday's race.
In addition to Logano, Kahne and Gordon, other Chase drivers secured the following starting spots: Greg Biffle, seventh; Carl Edwards, eighth; Jimmie Johnson, ninth; Matt Kenseth, 10th; Kyle Busch, 12th; Kurt Busch, 16th; Kevin Harvick, 17th; Dale Earnhardt Jr., 18th; Ryan Newman, 20th; and Clint Bowyer, 24th.