Speedway Digest Staff
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Everything went as planned for Max Gresham's No. 8 AmWins Chevrolet in the first 99 laps of last Friday night's NextEra Energy Resources 250.
However, the season-opening race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) is 100 laps.
Gresham was able to recover from an earlier accident in the race and be as high as eighth place with 15 laps to go at the Daytona International Speedway, but he couldn't escape the carnage of a final lap melee that sent his Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team to a 24th-place finish - and Gresham to the infield care center.
"Those were some hard licks, especially the last one," Gresham said. "It's really a shame. We had a great Eddie Sharp Racing truck. We were solid in qualifying, and we got up in the top 10 a couple times but we wound up being the victim of someone else's mistake.
"We can take a lot of positives out of our effort, but the truth of it all is that all we really have is a crashed Chevrolet Silverado and a 24th-place finish."
Crew chief Chris Showalter had devised a plan that would keep the 19-year-old driver from Milner, Ga., in contention for the first 90 laps so he could make a charge in the final 10.
The No. 8 AmWins truck ran comfortably in the outside lane until a 13-truck accident on Lap 55. Gresham brushed the third-turn wall trying to escape the crash, but he was able to stay on the lead lap.
"I think this says a lot about the trucks Chris and everyone else at ESR builds," Gresham said. "We put a few dents in the AmWins Chevy, but we were able to get right back into contention."
The lead pack stacked up three-wide and six-deep coming to the white flag. Gresham was running 16th when four cars tangled ahead of Gresham coming through to the tri-oval. This time, he couldn't escape.
"There was a lot things going on coming to the checkers," Gresham said. "I wish we could have made it one more lap so we could have finished on the lead lap. We had a great plan and a great truck."
Gresham and Eddie Sharp Racing will return to action on April 6 for the Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway.
"We have more than a month to get ready," Showalter said. "If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll be fine."
Max Gresham PR
German Quiroga: Red Horse Racing Team Post Race Report
German Quiroga started the NextEra Energy Resources 250 in the 20th position in the No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra at the historic Daytona International Speedway. During the course of the race he worked his way up into the top-10, to the eighth position, spending the majority of the race running in the bottom groove. The race was proceeding in a very orderly fashion until lap 54 when a 14 truck pileup caught Qurigoa, running 10th at the time. After the team repaired as much of the damage as they could on pit road, Quiroga was able to finish the race and bring the No. 77 Toyota Tundra across the finish line in 25th.
Quiroga finished the race with his No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra with the leadership and coaching skills of his crew chief, Dan Stillman. Stillman has been both a mechanic and driver throughout his NASCAR career and has a real understanding of all phases of the sport. He also has the ability to convey confidence and knowledge to the driver which will prove to be a great combination as they fight for the Rookie of the Year title, during the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
"I just want to thank the whole Red Horse Racing team. They did a great job putting this truck together. I was laughing at the beginning of the race because I was really comfortable and the truck was great. We were way faster than the other guys and we were just keeping it clean. Unfortunately, we got wrecked. We'll put that No. 77 NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra up front, next time."
Timothy Peters: Red Horse Racing Team Post Race Report
Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra qualified 23rd for the Daytona International Speedway NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday night. Peters was driving a masterful race, laying back from the pack with teammate, John Wes Townley in order to have a dancing partner should the need arise. At lap 50, Peters got the cue from crew chief Butch Hylton to 'Go', as he made his move to the front. Peters began weaving through traffic in his Parts Plus Toyota Tundra and managed to make it to 11th place, until a five truck accident caught Peters, ending the evening for the No. 17 Toyota Tundra on lap 92.
While Friday's race turned out to not be a great evening for Red Horse Racing, it did demonstrate that all the drivers, as well as the crew chiefs, are going to bring a lot to the table in the upcoming season. What happened in the Camping World Truck Series is part of the appeal of racing on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. There's more of the unknown factor that exists than the known on the shorter tracks.
"Usually, it's a good plan to stay in the back of the pack, but it didn't work well for me tonight. I have to take the blame for that because it's worked well for me in the past. We just had some issues with the front shocks not wanting to release. Frustrating, but at the same time I have been coming here since 2006 and this is my first DNF so not a bad track record."
John Wes Townley: Red Horse Racing Team Post Race Report
John Wes Townley came to the NextEra Energy Resources 250 having won last Saturday's ARCA Racing Series race from the pole at Daytona International Speedway. All indications were good for the young driver's inaugural race with Red Horse Racing behind the wheel of the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra. After qualifying 28th, Townley hung back with teammate Timothy Peters so they could team up when the right opportunity presented itself to go to the front. Townley's highest running position was 13th, but the Zaxby's Toyota Tundra was damaged a crash at lap 92 resulting in a 21st-place finish.
While both crew chief Mike Beam and John Wes Townley are serving their rookie year at Red Horse Racing, both of them are bringing a lot of experience to the table. Beam has had a long and varied career in all phases of NASCAR which merges nicely with the skills of John Wes Townley who has been racing since he was a child. Townley has competed in go-Karts, Bandoleros, K&N East, ASA Late Models, ARCA, Nationwide, and in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The depth of experience held by these two men promises to add a lot to an already highly talented group of people at Red Horse Racing for the 2013 series.
"I thought we had a pretty good truck and I thought about getting up there and giving Timothy (Peters) a push. Maybe we could have tried something there, but unfortunately something happened in front of Timothy and I was sort of boxed in. The check-up was just too extreme and I ended up getting in the back of him. We ended up tearing the nose up enough that it really hurt us the rest of the race. We'll go to Martinsville and get the Zaxby's Toyota Tundra back out there and see what we can do with it next time."
Eric McClure Posts Career-Best Finish at Daytona
With a new crew chief at the helm of the No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Racing team, Eric McClure headed to Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway looking to improve on the team’s successes of 2012. Taking the green for his 200th-career Nationwide Series start from the 28th position, the Virginia native ran as low as 31stbefore finishing the DRIVE4COPD 300 as follows:
8th-Eric McClure, No. 14 Hefty®/Reynolds® Toyota Camry
- Starting the 120-lap event from the 28th position, McClure quickly settled into the draft, working primarily the middle lane around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. By lap four, the 34-year-old driver had worked his way up to the 18th position.
- A caution on lap seven allowed McClure to bring his orange and blue Toyota Camry to pit road for fuel only. When the race resumed on lap 11, McClure was scored in the 20th position since some drivers elected not to visit pit road during this period.
- Shortly thereafter, McClure again found himself in the middle lane working the draft. This lane seemed to work best for the Virginia native as he worked himself up to the 12th position by lap 20. However, one lap later, he was shuffled out of the middle groove and slid back to the 28th position.
- When the event’s second caution flag waved on lap 30, McClure brought the No. 14 Camry to the attention of his crew. The call was made for four tires, fuel, and a slight air-pressure adjustment to help the car’s handling off of the turns. When the race resumed on lap 35 McClure again settled into the draft and by lap 40, he had once again found himself in the 12th position.
- Two laps later, McClure informed the crew that the water temperature gauge had pegged and water was spewing out of the car. Not wanting to hurt the engine, McClure elected to abort the draft and allow the car to cool down before working his way back to the front of the field. By the halfway point of the race, the orange and blue Camry was scored in the 22nd position.
- After several laps of allowing the temperatures to cool, McClure again pushed his way up to the 11th position. After visiting pit road twice under the lap 64 caution period, McClure was scored in the 24th position when the race resumed on lap 70.
- Over the next 20 laps, McClure continued to utilize the draft and found himself at the front of the field on lap 99. One lap later, while running in the fourth position, the event’s fifth caution flag waved. Pleased with the handling of the car, McClure decided to stay on track and not visit pit road for service. When the race resumed on lap 106, McClure was scored in the fourth position.
- With the laps winding down, McClure slipped to the 18th position as a byproduct of the draft. However, he didn’t stay there long as he found a “dancing partner” with the No. 30 car, driver Nelson Piquet Jr. The duo quickly began working the middle lane around the speedway and found themselves in the 15th and 16th positions respectively when the first “Big One” occurred on lap 115.
- After a brief red flag to clean up the debris, the race resumed for a green-white-checkered finish. Restarting in the 11th position, McClure advanced one position when the white flag waved. However, when the field exited turn four to take the checkered flag, another multi-car accident occurred. Although the Hefty®/Reynolds® Camry received minor damage in the accident, McClure was still able to cross the finish line in the 8th position, a career best finish for him.
- As a result, McClure sits in the sixth position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver standings heading into next weekend’s event at Phoenix (Az) Int’l Raceway.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes: “First of all, I hope all the fans are okay. Certainly, our prayers are with them. You want everybody to come and have a good time and be safe. For me, this is the best day of my life professionally. We’ve raced for a lot of years and never had a whole lot to show for it statistically. But we raced up front all day, survived and had a great day. I will never forget it. This is the best place you can have your best day. Daytona has so much history. For a NASCAR driver, this is the ultimate place. For my family, they won so many races here and gave me the opportunity to start the series and compete and so many people have helped me over the years -- Hefty Brand, Reynolds Wrap, TriStar, Toyota -- I don't think I'll ever get over it.”
Hit from Early Wreck Costly for Kurt Busch in Daytona 500
Statement from Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup on 2013 Daytona 500 Champion Jimmie Johnson
“Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, the entire No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team, and to every member of the Hendrick Motorsports organization on their Daytona 500 victory. Johnson adds to his already illustrious career by winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opener in his 400th career start. On behalf of everyone at Watkins Glen International we cannot wait for the Gen6 car to arrive August 8-11 for the Cheez-It 355™ at The Glen.”
Tim George Jr. piloting the No. 5 Grand Touring Vodka powered by Applebee’s Ford F-Series posted a 16th-place finish for Wauters Motorsports after overcoming an early incident in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
George Jr. placed the GT Vodka truck in 24th-place position on the starting grid for the running of the NEXTERA Energy 250 in his first start for the team owned by former crew chief Richie Wauters.
George and his teammates knew they had a strong race truck from the start as George worked the low groove of the draft pack on the 2.5-mile superspeedway for the first half of the 100-lap event. Then, on lap 54, the anticipated ‘big one’ unfolded just ahead of the GT Vodka Ford. George Jr. thought he had escaped the 14-truck pileup until he was hit from behind, sending him sideways and giving him a flat front tire. He was able to make it back to pit road where his Wauters Motorsports pit crew went to work on getting the truck back on the track.
Despite heavy nose and splitter damage on the GT Vodka Ford powered by Applebee’s, George Jr. returned to the race and was able to run some of the fastest laps of the race on the legendary high-banked Daytona International Speedway, posting very impressive NASCAR “loop” statistics. Although he was driving a heavily damaged race truck, NASCAR statisticians listed George Jr. as the fastest driver early in a run, a ranking that is made during the initial 25 percent of laps run following a pit stop.
“This was challenging to say the least,” said George Jr. after the race. “We thought we missed the accident in front of us only to get clipped from behind. I was sent into the infield which blew a tire causing heavy front end damage.
“My team did great job fixing up the GT Vodka Ford. They were able to keep me on the lead lap. But driving a truck at 180 mph with Bear Bond flapping and the wind hitting your legs was difficult. I have to hand it to my spotter Tyler Green. He kept me focused and urged me on and we were able to post a 16th place finish in my first truck race at Daytona.
“This evening would not have been possible without the support of Greg Sacks, Grand Touring Vodka and Applebee’s. Thank you for all of your support.”
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes with race number two of a 22-race schedule at Martinsville Speedway, April 6, 2013.
Wauters Motorsports PR
Ford Daytona 500 (Front Row Quotes)
DAVID RAGAN – No. 34 Detail Doctor Ford Fusion – “We were going through a green flag cycle of pit stops and just kind of riding and all I saw was the 2 coming across the race track, so I don’t know if the 2 cut down a tire or if he spun or if someone hooked him. I just saw the 2 c oming up the race track and I hit the guy in front of me and the guy behind me hits me. It was just an unfortunate event. We had some speed in our Ford and had a fast car. I enjoyed racing hard and was hoping to set ourselves up for the finish, but it just didn’t work out.”
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Fusion – “I am not really sure what happened. Someone got loose and slid up the track. I had nowhere to go. We had a great, super fast car. We had a plug wire come off in the beginning and get us behind and we were inching our way back up but I just hate to end the day this way. We were hoping to have a better day than this for Love’s Travel Stop, but we will have to come back next week and get ‘em at Phoenix.” HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE COMPETITION? “Different, definitely different. It is not the most fun kind of racing out there for sure. It will get exciting here at the end and I am sure they will put on a good show.”
JOSH WISE – No. 35 MDS Transport Ford Fusion – “I didn’t really see anything. Our line just stopped and it was kind of like a slinky. We just kind of all piled into each other. The top lane always seemed to prevail so guys were fighting to get up to the top. It would have just been nice to get to the end.”
Ford Racing PR