Saturday, Sep 23
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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On this opening weekend of college football, Jeff Gordon's weekend kicks off at the University of Georgia on Thursday. But game day for the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is not until Sunday night in the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, will visit the University of Georgia on Thursday to view firsthand how The Campus Kitchens Project and the Campus Kitchen at UGA provide healthy meals to older Georgians who struggle to put food on the table.


"I'm looking forward to Thursday's visit," said Gordon. "It's always cool to see communities get involved with this issue, and I think it will be interesting to learn and see what the university and the students are doing."


On Friday, he will turn his attention to winning his sixth race at the 1.54-mile Georgia track. Along with five wins, Gordon has two poles while leading active drivers with 16 top-fives, 25 top-10's and 1,280 laps led in 39 starts.


"This has always been such a fun race track - one we always slide around on," said Gordon, who made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut here in the 1992 season finale. "The surface - with its abrasiveness - provides the teams and drivers with a huge challenge.


"And that challenge is what makes it so fun."


Another challenge facing Gordon is securing one of the 12 spots in the "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup." After a seventh-place run at Bristol last weekend, Gordon chopped 15 points off the deficit to 10th and is only 11 points out of that guaranteed berth with two races remaining before the field is set.


"We just need to do our job and get the best results possible these next two races and see how things shake out," said Gordon, who has 12 top-13 finishes in his last 13 starts at Atlanta including a win in 2011 and a runner-up finish here last year. "We'll go out every practice and try to get everything out of the car.


"You'll have 'ups' and you'll have 'downs' throughout race weekends. It's how you manage the peaks and valleys that allow you to stay focused."


And that focus is firmly set on a Chase spot.



NASCAR DRIVER DAVID RAGAN, along with Front Row teammate David Gilliland and special guests, will be in Perry Thursday, August 29, as he returns home for a special date with members of the David Ragan Fan Club on the eve of NASCAR racing Labor Day Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The Fan Day party is open to the public. Ragan, winner of the 2013 Aarons 499 at Talladega Motor Speedway, will be displaying his Talladega trophy and his 2012 Sprint Cup Car and inviting race fans to get in line for an autograph.

2:00-2:30 Arrive and walk thru dealership
2:30-3:15 Ragan available for media interviews
3:15-3:45 Welcome with Laura Starling WDEN Remote
3:45-5:00 Autograph Session: David Ragan, David Gilliland, Chris Buescher
5:00-6:00 Group Photos: fan club members, Boy Scouts, etc.

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland, Nationwide driver Chris Buescher,
The Southern Bell Outdoor Girls with the famous Turtle Motorcycle,
Steve West with Rick Steiner of the wrestling group The Steiner Brothers.

Phil "The Killer" Davis, Monty Milikin, Chuck Hancock, Alex Clements, plus Macy Pruitt and Delma Cowart.

David Ragan No. 34 Peanut Patch Ford Fusion, Atlanta Motor Speedway Pace Car, Kyle Plott late model race car, Max Hennebaul 1/4 midget race car, Justin Bridges Bandolero race car, the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports hauler (the truck Ragan co-drove from Charlotte, N.C., to Sonoma, Calif.), plus the Peach County High School "Hot Rodders of Tomorrow" engine build team who will disassemble and reassemble in the parking lot ...without electricity...twice!

Jet Food Stores Cook-Out, Chick-Fil-A Perry, David Ragan sponsors
McCall Farms / Peanut Patch and the Georgia Peanut Commission,
plus Carl Hammock with his Hit or Miss Ice Cream Machine. 



David Ragan Ford

1608 Sam Nunn Blvd.

Perry, GA  31069


David Ragan PR

The start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is still three weeks away. The Goody’s™ Headache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger, the seventh race in the chase, is two months away.

But after Saturday night’s race, the Chase field is beginning to shape up and Martinsville Speedway fans have a better idea who will be chasing the championship in the Goody’s™ Headache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger on October 27.

Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer have clinched berths in the 12-driver Chase. Matt Kenseth picked up his fifth win of the season Saturday night, and is guaranteed at least a wildcard slot behind the strength of those five wins even though he is sixth in points.

There wasn’t any movement up or down in the middle portions of the points standings, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans can breathe a sigh of relief after he ended a two-week downward skid and solidified his seventh-place spot. He’s 13 Points ahead of Kasey Kahne in eighth, and more importantly 29 points ahead of Joey Logano in 10th with just two races to go before the Chase starts.

The top 10 in points move into the Chase, while positions 11 and 12 are wildcards, determined by number of wins. Right now those positions are filled by Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman.

The Goody’s™ Headache Relief Shot™ 500 Powered by Kroger is the only short-track race in the Chase, which makes it a pivotal race down the stretch.

Of the three drivers locked into the Chase, Johnson, Bowyer and Kenseth, only Johnson has a win at Martinsville, even though Bowyer and Kenseth have been knocking on the door the past couple of years.

Kevin Harvick (4th) and Kurt Busch (12th) are the only other two drivers currently in the top 12 positions with Martinsville Speedway wins.

While Earnhardt has never won at Martinsville, he has the highest driver rating of any driver on the half-mile track. In 27 starts, he has 10 top 5s, 14 top 10s and has led almost 1,000 laps. He’s finished second twice, third three times and fourth three times.

Martinsville Speedway PR

The AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend will play a pivotal role in determining who qualifies for the Chase for the Sprint Cup with numerous drivers in striking distance as they search for wins and points.

"Some drivers’ season will be determined this weekend," said Atlanta Motor Speedway President and General Manager Ed Clark. "A win can provide the necessary momentum needed to propel a driver into the chase while a bad showing could have dire consequences."

Joey Logano, former Atlanta Motor Speedway Thursday Thunder champion, moved into 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series point standings with a fifth place finish at Bristol on Saturday night.  Logano entered the race in 13th place in the point standings, 17 points out of the top 10.

After being involved in a crash, a 30th place finish at Bristol on Saturday night dropped Brad Keselowski three positions and he is now four points out of the Chase in 11th.  Other drivers on the outside include Kurt Busch, who fell from 8th to 12th following Bristol along with Jeff Gordon, who is currently in 13th. Busch and Gordon are both past winners in Atlanta and join Keselowski in a must-win situation to keep their Chase hopes alive.

With one win apiece, Martin Truex Jr. in 14th place and Ryan Newman in 15th, are currently in the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wild card positions.  A win by any of the three winless drivers ranked ahead in the standing could results in their elimination as a candidate to make the chase.

Major Change in Tire Construction to Debut at AdvoCare 500

Goodyear introduced a new tire that will be utilized during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Announced just days after a 13-team tire test at AMS on August 6th, Goodyear will utilize "zone tread" technology to create a more durable tire that will also have grip for Saturday's Great Clips / Grit Chips 300 and Sunday's AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"Atlanta is a track with multiple grooves, you can run the high groove, the low groove or even the middle - based off your tire wear," said Kurt Busch at the August 6th test.  "The tire wear element [at Atlanta] is so different than at any other track, I'm excited to see how the tires are going to be with the race, the re-starts and the long green flag runs."

The left side tires scheduled to be used at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend will remain unchanged from the tire that ran the AdvoCare 500 last year.  The right side tires will utilize the "zone tread" technology to create the tire tread.  Two-thirds of the tire will be based on the previous tires used in Atlanta and will provide grip while the other third of the tire will utilize the tread similar to that used at Michigan that is designed to counteract heat produced from the high speeds.


“It was always our intention to extend Kurt's contract with Furniture Row Racing. We made him an offer last week to to continue as the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in 2014 and beyond. Though he did not accept our offer we respect his decision and wish him future success. His driving skill and being a dedicated team player will always be appreciated at Furniture Row Racing. But for right now the main focus for Kurt and the team is to qualify for the Chase and contend for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series championship.
“Furniture Row Racing’s technical and engineering programs along with a talented road crew have made great strides this season, which have been evident with the consistently fast race cars that we have brought to the track week in and week out. We, along with our technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, are deeply committed to continuing the work in progress. We are currently in a search process for a new driver in 2014, one who shares the same commitment and winning attitude that we all do at Furniture Row Racing.”

NASCAR will be featured in new advertising launching today as part of HP’s “Build a better enterprise. Together” marketing campaign, which highlights stories of collaboration and co-innovation. NASCAR’s story illustrates how the company worked with HP to create the Fan and Media Engagement Center(FMEC), which incorporates innovative technology that is transforming its relationships with fans and partners. The centerpiece of the campaign is a fast-paced, 30-second TV spot highlighting NASCAR as one of HP’s lighthouse customers and featuring NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps.

The NASCAR-themed creative will air on national news networks including CNBC, CNN and FOX News, and will also appear in a wide range of print outlets such as Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and Wired, among others.

In the latest example of the convergence of Big Data and marketing, this campaign brings to life how HP helps NASCAR make sense of the noise – juxtaposing the chaos of a NASCAR race with the order and precision the FMEC provides. The spot showcases how technology turns millions of tweets, posts and stories into business-impacting analytics.

“HP has done a masterful job, not only in partnering with us to create this cutting-edge tool, but in telling the story of how and why we developed it together,” said Phelps. “The amount of conversation and media coverage around our sport is staggering. Thanks to our Official Technology Partner HP, we’re now able to glean the insights we need to make more informed decisions that benefit our entire industry.”

“This is a true example of HP partnering with our customers to build a better enterprise,” said Susan Popper, Senior Vice President, Experience Marketing, HP. “We are excited to tell the story together with NASCAR.”

Filmed during the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola, the TV spot is packed with night racing action at Daytona International Speedway and imagery of NASCAR’s famously brand-loyal fan base. It is produced by The Garage and directed by Brett Morgan, known for his documentary projects: “Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane” and “June 17, 1994” for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. 

To view the spot click here.

The FMEC is state-of-the-art facility that enables near real-time analysis and response to traditional, digital, and social media. Housed in a 500-square-foot, glass-enclosed room outfitted with touch screens and digital displays, the FMEC is the focal point of the newly designed offices that house NASCAR Digital in Charlotte, N.C.


Heading into Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Casey Mears and the No. 13 GEICO Racing team's goal was to leave Thunder Valley with a solid finish and a race car in one piece. Known as the ‘World’s Fastest Half-Mile’, the track is known for hard side-by-side racing, ensuring fans would see plenty of action under the Saturday night lights in Tennessee. 

After a loose-handling condition in qualifying placed Mears in the 30th starting position, the Germain crew faced a bigger obstacle, but the team was ready to tackle the challenge. Under clear skies, Mears took the green flag and quickly moved up a handful of positions within the first 25 laps. Shortly after, the veteran driver radioed to his team that the GEICO Ford Fusion was "plowing tight". Crew chief Bootie Barker made numerous adjustments with each opportunity that allowed Mears to visit pit road under caution. The track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments took some time to react but finally made their presence known just past the halfway mark of the race. 

On lap 359, while Mears was running in the 27th position and on a lap on his own, a caution slowed the field, allowing the GEICO Ford to receive the Lucky Dog Award. Once the California native was back on the lead lap, Mears moved his way through his competition and was scored as high as 18th by lap 445. However, only a few laps later, trouble struck the GEICO machine. As fellow competitors began to make contact on the track, Mears was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffered significant front-end damage, leaving the nose caved in with tubing pushed through the radiator. 

Within 40 laps, the GEICO crew changed the radiator, made all necessary repairs, and had Mears back on track for the final 20 laps. Because of the quick work by the team, Mears crossed the finish in the 33rd position. 

"Even though the result wasn't what we deserved, I'm proud of the guys for never giving up," said Mears. "We kept working on the GEICO Ford throughout the entire race and finally had it hooked up where we could move forward. For once I thought we were going to leave this place with a solid finish but we just got caught up in someone else's mess. It's a shame but the team did a good job of getting me back out there for the final 20 laps."


What was shaping up to be another top-10 finish for Ryan Newman and the No. 39 Quicken Loans team in the Irwin Tools Night Race Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway came to a disappointing end when a multi-car incident on lap 448 collected the red-and-white Chevrolet SS, resulting in heavy damage that would see Newman finish the race in the 21st position.

While the accident ruined what appeared to be the team’s 11th top-10 finish of the 2013 season, a number of incidents saw many of the drivers competing for a spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship encounter trouble throughout the night, slotting Newman back into the second wild card spot with two races to go before the Chase begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

“I really don’t know what happened there,” Newman said. “A couple of guys around us, I think it was Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin, made contact and that triggered a big mess. Our Quicken Loans Chevrolet was damaged pretty significantly; it was a handful to drive those last 50 laps with. I basically tried to just stay out of everyone’s way and bring the car to the finish.”

Newman maintained position inside the top-10 for the majority of the race despite struggling with a tight-handling Quicken Loans Chevrolet. Crew chief Matt Borland called for minor adjustments each time Newman hit pit road, which allowed him to continue making his presence known toward the front of the field.

As the laps wound down, Newman made his final scheduled stop on lap 441. With enough fuel to make it to the finish of the race, Newman set his sights on improving his position. Unfortunately, Newman didn’t get that chance. As a multi-car incident unfolded, Newman was sent into the outside retaining wall, resulting in heavy damage to the Quicken Loans Chevrolet.

The Borland-led crew made various repairs to its battered racecar to try to collect as many championship points as possible. Their efforts proved worthwhile, as a 21st-place finish was enough to advance Newman back into the wild card battle.

“The car was an absolute handful for the final 50 laps,” Newman said. “But the guys worked fast to make the repairs we needed to get back out there. At a place like Bristol, you don’t have a ton of time because the laps go by so fast. If you’re sitting on pit road getting work done, you’re losing about four laps a minute. So, their hard work paid off because we were able to stay on the lead lap to that point.

“With the point battle being what it is, every single point is so important. We need to score maximum points at each race. Even on nights like these, it’s important that we don’t give up. We’ll keep fighting until the final lap at Richmond.”

Mark Martin, interim driver of SHR’s No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS as he subs for the injured Tony Stewart, led the way for SHR by finishing 20th in the Irwin Tools Night Race.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Go Daddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 26th. It was Patrick’s 34th career Sprint Cup start and her third at Bristol.

Matt Kenseth won the Irwin Tools Night Race to score his 29th career Sprint Cup victory, his fifth of the season and his third at Bristol.

Kasey Kahne finished .188 of a second behind Kenseth in the runner-up spot, while Juan Pablo Montoya, Brian Vickers and Logano rounded out the top-five. Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 11 caution periods for 74 laps, with six drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race.

With round 24 of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He maintained his 15th-place standing and has 659 points, 162 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 26 behind 10th-place Logano. Patrick maintained her 27th-place standing and has 436 points, 385 behind Johnson and 249 away from Logano.

Just two races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Martin Truex Jr., who is 14th in points, has the first wild card via his win earlier this season at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Newman holds the second wild card as he is 15th in points with one victory, earned in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart is next in line for the wild card by virtue of his victory at Dover (Del.) International Speedway and 19th-place point standing.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished eight spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 18th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 7 p.m.


Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished sixth (Paul Menard), 13th (Jeff Burton) and 34th (Kevin Harvick) in the IRWIN Tools Night Race.
  • Following the event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 61 markers, while Menard sits 17th, 183 points back, and Burton is 20th, 229 points behind the leader.
  • The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 18th in the standings and the No. 31 team 21st.
  • According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Menard ranked third in Laps Led, with 64 during the 500-lap event.
  • Menard was the fourth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run.
  • Burton made 120 Green-Flag Passes, third-most in the 43-car field, with 37 of them coming while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
  • Completing 55 passes while running in the top 15, Harvick ranked fourth in Quality Passes.
  • Harvick was the third-Fastest Driver Early in a Run and sixth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run, who did not finish within five laps of the leader.
  • Matt Kenseth earned his fifth victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano.
  • The next Sprint Cup Series race is the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 1. The 25th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.



2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards   

Menard Captures Third-Consecutive Top-10 Finish at Bristol Motor Speedway


Paul Menard captured his third-consecutive top-10 result in "Thunder Valley," finishing sixth under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. Starting 21st, Menard maintained a spot within the top 20 until a lap-91 caution-flag period when the No. 27 Schrock/Menards team elected not to come down pit road, positioning Menard in fifth for the ensuing restart. Another caution on lap 108 positioned Menard in the inside lane for the restart and he slipped back to 19th before blending back in line with the rest of the 43-car field. Struggling to get his No. 27 machine to point through the center of the corners, Menard pitted under yellow for four tires and fuel with wedge and air pressure adjustments. Upon exiting pit road, Menard was tagged with a speeding violation forcing him to serve a "pass through penalty" and he restarted in 29th on lap 185. With his car handling to his liking, the Wisconsin native worked his way back inside the top 20 and was running in 20th when the caution flag flew on lap 258. With track position proving to be crucial in the 500-lap event, crew chief "Slugger" Labbe elected not to bring his driver down pit road. The 19 cars in front of Menard pitted and he took the green flag as the race leader on lap 267. The Richard Childress Racing driver maintained the point position for the next 64 laps before falling to third with a tight-handling race car. Menard maintained a spot in the top 10 until pitting on lap 361 for fuel only. Several cars in front of the 33-year-old driver elected not to pit or take right-side tires only and Menard restarted 15th. Another caution period on lap 440 allowed Menard and crew to play pit strategy and Labbe again elected to keep his driver out under caution. Menard restarted in seventh on lap 447 and was able to gain one position in the remaining laps to finish sixth in the IRWIN Tools Night Race. Menard's top-10 finish at Bristol marks his sixth top 10 of the season. He remains in the 17th spot in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend.


Start - 21            Finish - 6           Laps Led - 64          Points - 17



"It's great to bring home another top-10 finish this weekend. Bristol (Motor Speedway) has been good to me over the past couple of years and I love this short-track racing. We had a great Schrock/Menards car and it was awesome to be able to lead some laps tonight. We got shuffled back in the field taking fuel, but we were able to make some ground up with pit strategy at the end. It was a solid night for the No. 27 team and we're looking forward to going to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend and continuing our top-10 finishes."





Late-Race Accident Leaves Harvick with a 34th-Finish at Bristol Motor Speedway


Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John's team finished 34th under the lights of Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday evening after being collected in a late-race accident. The California native started the 500-lap event from the 15th position and competed within or near the top 10 of the running order for the majority of the IRWIN Tools Night Race, leading the field for seven laps, all while battling a lack of grip on the red, black and white Chevrolet. Harvick was running in the second position on lap 360 when crew chief Gil Martin called his driver to pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The Richard Childress Racing driver lined up 19th for the ensuing restart and worked his way up to the 13th position before being collected in a multi-car accident on lap 446. Harvick brought the battered Chevrolet into the garage for the team to repair damage and returned to the track with two laps remaining in the event. Despite returning to the racing action, Harvick crossed the finish line 34th, 51 laps down to the lead lap cars. Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.


Start - 15         Finish - 34         Laps Led - 7         Points - 4



"This is definitely not the result we were going for tonight. I just hate it for the Jimmy John's crew, but that's part of racing at Bristol (Motor Speedway)."




2011 CC Team Logo NSCS 31 CAT

Burton Survives Multiple Accidents to Finish 13th at Bristol Motor Speedway


Despite being involved in multiple accidents, Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team brought home a 13th-place finish in the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. After starting the race in the 41st position, Burton gained nine spots during the first 42 laps until the first yellow flag of the 500-lap race was displayed. Under the caution-flag period, crew chief Luke Lambert directed the Richard Childress Racing driver not to pit, allowing him to gain track position. Restarting 11th, Burton climbed into the top 10 while running fast lap times, but the No. 31 machine suffered significant damage to the left-rear quarter panel after a competitor directly in front of him struck the outside retaining wall. The Caterpillar pit crew was unable to refill the car with Sunoco fuel because of the damage and Burton was forced to make multiple pit stops for repairs. Once back on track, Burton reported that the damage suffered in the incident altered the handling on his Chevrolet, but the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner was able to maintain a top-15 running position. During the middle stages of the event, Burton radioed to Lambert reports of a tight-middle and loose-off condition, but maintained competitive lap times. After barely missing a multi-car pileup up on lap 359, Burton fell victim to bad luck when two competitors running below him made contact, sending the No. 31 Chevrolet spinning off turn two, barely making contact with the inside retaining wall. The 46-year-old driver was able to drive back to pit road and the No. 31 crew made more repairs to the battered machine without losing a lap to the leader. Burton restarted in the 24th position and worked his way back inside the top 20 over a long green-flag run, but fell one lap down to the leader in the process. The RCR driver caught a break when the caution flag was displayed and Burton was given the "Lucky Dog" award with 54 laps remaining. Restarting 21st, Burton managed to escape another multi-car pileup two laps later and Lambert decided not to pit in hopes of gaining important track position. Burton restarted in the 14th and managed and gained one position over the final 47 green-flag laps to bring home a hard-fought 13th-place result. With the solid finish, Burton remains 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.


Start - 41          Finish - 13          Laps Led - 0           Points - 20



"To bring home this Caterpillar Chevrolet in 13th-place says a lot about this team. We had a terrible day on Friday in practice and qualifying, but never threw in the towel. After being involved in two separate accidents, we didn't complain. The guys went to work, fixed it and in the end, here we are with a solid top-15 finish. It was just a great team effort by this Caterpillar crew in a tough situation."


Kyle Busch was in position to complete his second career Bristol sweep – winning the Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events in the same weekend – but wound up thwarted in the early going of the Irwin Tools Night Race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Rather than reveling with the celebratory broom, Busch settled for an 11th-place finish at “Thunder Valley.”

Busch, the driver of the No. 18 Doublemint Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), had his work cut out for him Saturday night. He started 43rd after spinning during qualifying Friday evening. But a fast racecar allowed Busch to muscle his way into the top-20 within the first 80 circuits around the half-mile bullring and riding a bullet. Not long after completing the 100th lap around Bristol among the top-15, Busch got loose in traffic and was hit from behind by Joey Logano. The push was enough to send the Doublemint Toyota into the wall, causing damage to the splitter and misaligning the toe.

“The car wasn’t perfect early, but we were fast and could actually pass people,” Busch said. “The car just wasn’t the same after the accident. We couldn’t pass and just didn’t have any speed.”

The team worked on the car on numerous occasions throughout the remainder of the race, but it was never as good as during the first 100 laps. Crew chief Dave Rogers exercised strategy just past the halfway point of the race, electing to keep the No. 18 car out while many teams made stops. The call placed Busch second for the restart. Although Busch made the most of the track position, the handling on the No. 18 car never gave him an opportunity to contend. He stretched the fuel mileage and brough the Doublemint Toyota home in 11th-place.

Busch’s JGR teammate Matt Kenseth won the Irwin Tools Night Race, scoring his 29th career Sprint Cup victory, his fifth of the season and his third at Bristol.

Busch’s other JGR teammate, Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry, finished 28th.

Kasey Kahne finished .188 of a second behind Kenseth in the runner-up spot, while Juan Pablo Montoya, Brian Vickers and Logano rounded out the top-five. Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 11 caution periods for 74 laps, with six drivers failing to finish the 500-lap race.

With round 24 of 36 complete, Busch continues to lead the JGR trio in the championship point standings. He remained in fifth place with 739 points, 82 behind series leader Jimmie Johnson and 58 ahead of 11th-place Brad Keselowski. Kenseth remained sixth with 736 points, 85 out of first and 55 ahead of Keselowski. Hamlin remained 25th with 456 points, 365 out of first and 229 behind 10th-place Logano.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Aug. 29 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 6:30 p.m.



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