Saturday, Sep 23
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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With only Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway left in the regular season, five positions are up for grabs in NASCAR’s 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. is one of the drivers in the fiercest battle in the Chase’s 10-year history. He is 13th in the standings, 15 points out of 10th, but holds the second wild card position. Truex finished third in Atlanta despite driving with a cast on his right wrist after suffering a scaphoid fracture and sprain during the Bristol race on Aug. 24. 

Truex hopes to join Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Clint Bowyer in each clinching their second-consecutive berths in the Chase for MWR.

CAST UPDATE: “The cast did its job at Atlanta. It got a little soft in the palm area during the race but all and all, everything went fine. I’ve had it checked over again and had a new cast put on. We’ve made a few adjustments to this new cast and I expect it to be a whole lot better. Everything has gone well so far. I cannot complain. I mean to go to Atlanta and to have a shot at the win at the end, at that point, what pain I felt was gone.”

THOUGHTS ON FINAL RACE BEFORE THE CHASE: “Our strategy is the same as we had last week at Atlanta. This NAPA team needs to go out and try to win the race. If we can’t, we need to get all we can. We cannot make a mistake. No matter what kind of night we are having, we will keep our heads down and focus on where we are heading towards lap 400. Depending on cautions, Richmond has a tendency to swap the field around at times. We just have to do the best job we can do at getting track position and keeping it. The goal for us is to be ready for the end. That’s all we can do at this point. We can’t get worried about the points. It is what it is. We need to focus on finishing up front and trying to win. Wherever we finish, I hope it is enough.

“To be honest, with the season we have had with all the ups and downs, I am so excited to still be in this thing. We have fought so hard this year and have overcome a lot to be in this position. It will be awesome and a huge deal for us if we can make it in again. This NAPA team is not a 12th or 13th-place team. In my opinion, we are a top-five team. We want to get in and make up for the mistakes and mishaps we experienced earlier in the year to have a great ending to our season.”





The last time NASCAR fans saw Farm Rich on David Ragan's No. 34 Ford, he was celebrating in Victory Lane.  Four months after Front Row Motorsports' historic win at Talladega (Ala.) Motor Speedway, the frozen snacks and appetizers brand returns to Ragan's car for this weekend's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.


Farm Rich partner Kroger will be included on the No. 34 car and host Farm Rich product demonstrations at more than 650 stores nationwide on race day.  Ragan will also make a special appearance at the Kroger store at 9351 Atlee Road in Mechanicsville, Va., on Thursday, Sept. 5, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to greet fans and sign autographs.


Richmond International Raceway is a track that Ragan enjoys and a place where he has seen success.  He has three top-five and three top-10 finishes at the three-quarter-mile track.


Comments from Farm Rich team driver David Ragan heading to Richmond:


"Richmond is one of my favorite tracks.  I've had some really good runs there in the past.  It's all about getting good forward drive so you can get on the throttle and get underneath other cars.  Usually we have a couple of long runs, and even a green-flag pit stop is not unheard of.  If you can really work on your rear tires, getting them to grip under power, especially off Turn 4, where you're still trying to turn and you're under throttle, it can be a fun race.  It's one of the more exciting races because a lot of guys are racing for that final Chase spot.  So there will definitely be some excitement.


"Farm Rich will be on our No. 34 Ford Fusion.  It will be their second race of the year.  The only other race they've been on our Ford was at Talladega when we were able to win the race.  We've got a great-looking car for Richmond.  To have Farm Rich snacks on board, it's going to be a lot fun to see them there at the track.  It's the first race where they're really activating. 


"A lot of people are coming out, and they're tying in with Kroger, too. We'll be doing a store appearance in the Richmond area at a Kroger, too.  So there's a lot of neat stuff associated with the race, not only with the Saturday night race but also the Thursday and Friday leading up to the race weekend.  We'll have a lot of guests there, so it's going to be fun to get a good run in for everyone.


"Saturday night races are tough for the crew chiefs and engineers to really get a trend on how the rubber's laying down.  The temperature changes a lot, just because you have a one-day show to get your car set up for the race and for qualifying, and then you come in the next day for a race that night.  It's challenging.  But we've got good notebooks.  We've been on that schedule for a number of years.  We've just got to look back and be smart with what adjustments we make."



Jimmie Johnson Just win

Wednesday, Sep 04

Jimmie Johnson has led the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings since leaving Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April, when he qualified on the pole, led a race-high 346 laps, and won the race. The victory was his second of 2013 after winning the season-opening Daytona 500. Since then, he and the No. 48 Lowe’s team haven’t looked back, their consistency allowing them to be the first to lock into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Aug. 11 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

The past three weekends, however, have seen the points lead dwindle after finishes of 40th, 36th and 28th at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, respectively. Winning the “regular season” is something Johnson and team would like to add to their resume this season despite the fact, as Johnson puts it, “you don’t win anything – not even a T-shirt or a mug” – for the accomplishment.

Another thing the No. 48 Lowe’s team would like is to start the Chase in the top spot. It was a feat Johnson was close to locking down as he owned the top seed over Matt Kenseth prior to the race at Bristol. Both had four wins with Johnson holding the tiebreaker with a next-best finish of second to Kenseth’s fifth. But Kenseth went on to score his fifth win of the season that weekend while Johnson got caught up in someone else’s mess, finishing the aforementioned 36th.

Adding to the mix was last weekend’s win at Atlanta by Kyle Busch, who equaled Johnson’s mark of four wins and two second-place finishes. But the five-time champ still owns that tiebreaker, for now, with a next-best finish of third to Busch’s next-best of fourth.

While it may seem like being in the top-three to start the Chase is good enough, there are several competitors, including Johnson (see his 2004 season), who know that every single point counts. This weekend, the only thing that can give Johnson the top seed when the Chase begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., is a win Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

It’s possible, despite the fact that the .75- mile oval ranks in the bottom four, statistically, for Johnson. He does have three wins there and is looking to make it four come Saturday night.


Josh Wise will take a new primary partner to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Saturday night, introducing NASCAR fans to The Pete Store, LLC.


The Pete Store is a Peterbilt dealer group with nine full-service locations from Delaware to Georgia, and is the provider of Front Row Motorsports' race haulers.  The company has been an associate sponsor with Front Row for previous races, but Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 will be The Pete Store's first primary sponsorship with the team.


The three-quarter-mile raceway takes the 30-year-old Wise back to his early racing days when he competed on Saturday nights under the lights of neighborhood short tracks.  Currently in the Sprint Cup Series, Wise has three career starts at Richmond.  He finished 28th in his last trip to the track in April.


Comments from The Pete Store team driver Josh Wise heading to Richmond:


"We've got The Pete Store on our No. 35 this week at Richmond, which is pretty cool.  They're already a team partner of ours - we use Peterbilt trucks for our race haulers - and they've been an associate sponsor a couple times on our cars, but now they're going to have a whole paint scheme just for them.  So we're happy to show that off under the lights on Saturday night.


"I like short-track racing.  It's awesome.  It's just great racing under the lights and I always look forward to it.  It brings back memories of racing like most of us in the garage did in the past, racing Saturday night under the lights.  So it's always something to look forward to.


"It can be tough to prepare for, though, because not a whole lot of other information from other tracks applies to Richmond.  There's a little correlation maybe between Loudon and Richmond and maybe a little bit of Martinsville.  A lot of the tracks we go to are kind of their own animal even though they may look similar.  They all still have their own neat little quirks.


"You fight the same challenge at all the short tracks typically.  You need the front to turn better at the center of the corner, and you've got to maintain forward drive while doing that.  I think we qualified pretty good at Richmond in the spring, and we had a decent run.  But the track definitely tightened up, and I remember that much about it.  So we'll definitely try to adjust for that in practice this time."



A 17th-place lead-lap finish at one of the toughest tracks on the schedule is proof of just how far David Gilliland's No. 38 team has come this season.  Sunday's top-20 finish at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway was the team's fifth of the season, already matching last year's total with 11 races still to go.


The team carries confidence headed into this weekend's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, a type of track where the No. 38 team has improved this season.  Saturday night's race will be Gilliland's 15th Sprint Cup career start at the three-quarter-mile oval.  His best finish is 18th (2008).


Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Richmond:


"I'm really proud of the progress we've made this year.  Our Atlanta race showed how far we've come.  We're racing against more competitive cars this year, up in the field where we weren't competitive in years past.  I'm really proud of Frank Kerr and the guys, and I think we're just continuing to get even better.  I think we can rack up a few more really good finishes in these final 10 or 11 races.


"I thought Richmond went well for us last time.  And Phoenix was really strong for us this year.  Even though we blew a tire there, we ran really well.  So we've learned a lot from those two races that we can take with us this weekend.  We've updated our braking package, which is crucial, obviously, at a place like Richmond.  So, we're looking forward to going there and having our brakes where we think they need to be, and taking what we learned from Richmond last time and Phoenix as well and putting it to work.


"We feel very confident now.  Those styles of racetrack were a challenge for us last year and I feel like we made some great improvements this year.  I can't wait to go and take what we've learned and put it to the test.


"It's an exciting race being under the lights on a Saturday night.  I love night races.  With all the Chase drama that will be going on, it's definitely going to be a fun race for the fans.  Richmond's a short track, and most of us came from short-track racing obviously.  It's a racetrack that drivers like to go to and I think we'll put on a good show."



Fans looking to stock up on tailgating items this weekend at Richmond International Raceway can visit a new, on-site Kroger store for their race day needs.

Kroger is setting up shop in Parking Lot D this Friday and Saturday at RIR from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Click here for a map to locate the store.

The list of items available for purchase include hot dogs and hamburgers, Coca-Cola products, Gatorade, bagged ice, charcoal grills and much more. Click here for a complete list of products available.


Mike Wallace didn’t get a good chance at scoring a good finish in the spring Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

Engine problems forced Wallace to the garage after 233 laps, and he finished 33rd.

The GK Services team returns to RIR this week for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 for another shot at one of the country’s fastest short tracks.

“Richmond is a fun race track,” Wallace said. “It has the speeds and characteristics at points of a superspeedway and the same technical aspects of a short track. If you go there with a car set up properly for the corners, you can do well.”

All RIR Nationwide activities are bundled into Friday. Practice will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with qualifying at 4:05 p.m. and the race at 7:30 p.m.

The event will be the 1,000th in the history of the Nationwide Series. The opener was held in 1982 as an outgrowth of the former Late Model Sportsman Series.

JD Motorsports PR

Landon Cassill scored one of his best runs of the Nationwide Series season in the April ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway.

This week he’s back for more – and hopefully an even better result.

Cassill finished the spring race on the lead lap and recorded a 19th-place finish. It was a $20,000 payday.

“Richmond is one of the best tracks we go to,” Cassill said. “You need good speed there, but it’s also a short track so you have to handle, too. Even if you’re off a little, though, it’s wide enough that you can pick a different groove. It’s definitely a driver’s track.”

Cassill will be driving the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller No. 4 car again this week.

All RIR Nationwide activities are bundled into Friday. Practice will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with qualifying at 4:05 p.m. and the race at 7:30 p.m.

The event will be the 1,000th in the history of the Nationwide Series. The opener was held in 1982 as an outgrowth of the former Late Model Sportsman Series.

JD Motorsports PR

Today Mars Chocolate North America announced the company’s SNICKERS® Brand inked a new partnership with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (EGR) that will feature development driver Kyle Larson taking the wheel of a SNICKERS® Bites car during upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races in Richmond and Chicago. 

Larson will pilot the No. 32 SNICKERS® Bites Chevrolet Camaro at the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on September 6, as well as the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola on September 15 at Chicagoland Speedway.

SNICKERS® Bites are a new hunger-satisfying innovation introduced earlier this year that offers the trademark SNICKERS® combination of chocolate, peanuts, caramel and nougat shrunk down in small, no fuss milk chocolate cubes. The unwrapped treats are ideal for sharing, whether you’re watching a movie, attending a gathering or cheering on the No. 32 as it speeds towards victory lane.  SNICKERS® Bites are available nationwide at club, convenience, drug, grocery, mass, specialty and value stores.

“We’re thrilled to partner with such a storied organization as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, as well as build upon our longstanding position as the official chocolate of NASCAR,” said Roy Benin, Chief Consumer Officer at Mars Chocolate North America. “We’ve been involved in this amazing sport for more than 20 years, so we’re well aware of the value this partnership offers for SNICKERS® Bites.”

“We are very happy to make this announcement about a partnership with Mars and their SNICKERS® Bites brand,” said Steve Lauletta, President, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.  “We think they are a perfect brand fit for a young future star like Kyle Larson.”

Only 21, Larson has already found success on the track, securing the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship, as well as the corresponding series Rookie of the Year award. Over the past season in the NNS, Larson has logged 14 Top-10s which includes two second place finishes behind the wheel of the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro in just 24 races. He has also notched a win and a second place finish in just two races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado in 2013. A Japanese-American, Larson is also a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. Larson currently sits seventh (depending on the outcome of penalties from this past weekend) in the NNS standings.

“I’m very excited at the opportunity to run the SNICKERS® Bites Chevy Camaro in both Richmond and Chicago,” said Larson. “It is always great to run with such an iconic brand on your car and the SNICKERS® brand is huge.  I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”


The Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation is proud to announce their partnership with Max Gresham, driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for Sharp-Gallaher Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).

After meeting a young boy who had lost his father before they were able to go on an outdoor adventure together, Wally Dallenbach Jr. realized there was a need for an organization to arrange and take kids on hunting and fishing expeditions. In 2009, Dallenbach formed the Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation to give children who have lost a parent the opportunity to learn about the outdoors, their family heritage and their parent's passions through hunting and fishing expeditions. Over the past five years, Dallenbach Jr. and the Foundation have taken over 20 children on outdoor quests.


As an avid hunter and fisherman, Gresham will act as an ambassador for the foundation. To announce the partnership as well as raise more awareness of the foundation's efforts, Gresham has offered to run a special Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation paint scheme at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 28.


"Max is an outdoor enthusiast like I am and understands what an outdoor adventure means for a child who spent time with their parent hunting or fishing," Wally Dallenbach Jr. said. "When he offered to let us run the special paint scheme I was thrilled! What a great way to let more people know who we are and what we are all about. I have to say the paint scheme turned out really cool."


As part of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race weekend, the foundation will be bringing local children to the track for a behind-the-scenes race experience. The foundation has been working with two local organizations, Camp Solari and Adam's Place, that assist children who have lost a parent through the grieving process. Some of these children will be coming to the track to enjoy a tour of the NCWTS garage, a meet and greet with Gresham, photo opportunities, and seats to watch Gresham race in the No. 8 Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation Chevrolet.  


Tune in for live coverage of the Smith's 350 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 28 at 8:30 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.


For more information about the Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation, please visit

Max Gresham PR


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