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Visiting the final short track on the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule, Dakoda Armstrong and the No. 60 WinField team headed to Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon. Rebounding from a practice crash that forced the team to a backup truck, Armstrong stayed out of trouble but was mired in traffic due to a one-lane racing groove for most of the Kroger 200. Fighting a tight handling condition, Armstrong was unable to move toward the front but brought home an 18th-place finish.A failed brake line during the final moments of the first practice session on Friday caused heavy damage to the primary WinField Silverado. The No. 60 team hustled to bring out their backup machine before the end of final practice, getting their driver valuable track time with the new truck. Though the WinField Chevy was originally scheduled and setup to run in two weeks at Phoenix International Raceway, Armstrong reported that he was more pleased with the stability than he was with the primary and was confident about his chances during the race.
"The way the race played out here today really didn't benefit us at all; We kept getting hung out on the outside line and you just can't make any passes out there. The only way you could really pass is move people out of the way and I don't race like that. I really am proud of how this WinField team worked together to get this truck ready after our practice crash and we had it handling better on the long runs at the end of the race. Most importantly, we needed to keep this thing in one piece for Phoenix and we were able to accomplish that."
Dakoda Armstrong PR
Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, made his third start at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday afternoon after qualifying in the 24th position Friday.
The second caution came out on lap 68, because the No. 18 got into the back of the No. 29. Blaney was directed by crew chief, Doug Randolph, to bring his Cooper Standard Ford to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment, as Blaney had been losing grip towards the end of the run.
After Blaney went one lap down due to the prior incident with the No. 18 KBM machine on lap 69, Blaney received the lucky dog on lap 99 under caution. He restarted in the 19th position on lap 105 after coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and one up on the track bar.
When the eighth caution came out on lap 170, Blaney was relieved to bring his Cooper Standard Ford to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and two up on the track bar as he had come on the radio two laps prior stating his F-150 had simply just lost everything. Blaney restarted in the 18th position with 25 laps to go.
The final caution came out on lap 187 for a tangle between RCR teammates. Blaney restarted in the eighth position with six to go and muscled his way to a fifth place finish in a spectacular display of racing.
The No. 29 BKR team currently sits sixth in the NCWTS driver points standings, 92 points back from first.
"Well that's Martinsville for you. It was a great performance by my Cooper Standard team to never give up today. I'm extremely happy for our entire organization and I'm looking forward to Texas next Friday night under the lights." - Ryan Blaney
Ross Chastain (@RossChastain), driver of the No. 19 Reese Towpower Carbon Forged Ford F-150, made his 12th start for Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) Saturday afternoon and fourth start at Martinsville Speedway after qualifying eighth on Friday.
On the second caution of the afternoon during lap 68, crew chief, Chad Kendrick, brought Chastain in for a round up on the track bar, fuel and four tires. Chastain entered pit road in the sixth position and after a very quick pit stop, Chastain was able to restart in the fourth position on lap 76.
On lap 106, Chastain made a power move to propel his Ford F-150 by Sprint Cup Series regular, Denny Hamlin, to grab the second spot. By lap 122, Chastain had taken over the lead of the Kroger 200, and went on to lead 14 consecutive laps.
On lap 143, Chastain came in under caution for his second pit stop of the afternoon, to get fresh tires and fuel. He restarted in the 19th position and was able to make his way up to the top 10 by lap 182.
Chastain had a solid run all day long, but was shuffled towards the rear during the last restart with six to go due to a slow line. He came home with a hard fought 14th place finish.
The No. 19 BKR team currently sits third in the NCWTS owner points standings, 46 points back from first.
"It was a tough day for us; we just couldn't stay out front once we got there due to all the cautions falling. I appreciate the opportunity that Brad gives me week in and week out driving his Truck. I look forward to Phoenix and Miami to wrap up a great year for our Cequent Performance team." - Ross Chastain
Martinsville (Va.) Speedway's "paperclip" is known to produce action-packed racing around the half-mile oval - trucks get roughed up and tempers tend to flare - which was no different after 200 laps in Saturday afternoon's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Kroger 200. However, Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra stayed out of trouble and muscled his way through traffic to finish 12th in his fifth start at the Virginia track.
"Our day was pretty good overall," Coulter said. "We worked our way up front, got in a few bang ups, but tire strategy was really important and I think we did that really well. The truck got really tight there at the end and could have probably had an even better day, but we got punted off of Turn 4 there at the end, but I guess that's Martinsville."
Starting on the outside of row 11 in the 22nd position, Coulter was able to break into the top-20 by lap three and began to muscle his way through traffic around the .526-mile oval. Complaining of a Tundra that was "tight in the center and on exit," the Miami Springs, Fla. native held a position inside the top-15 during a long green-flag run, until the second caution flag of the afternoon waved on lap 70 for a spin in Turn 4.
Crew chief, Harold Holly summoned the No. 18 Toyota Tundra down pit road for four tires, including an air pressure adjustment, and fuel. When racing resumed on lap 76, Coulter was scored in the 14th position.
Coulter ran as high as ninth over the next 54 circuits, but began to lose ground to the leaders as he battled for position late in the run. With tire wear at a premium around the Virginia short track, Holly opted to bring the Darrell Gwynn Foundation machine down pit road under caution on lap 130 for Coulter's last set of sticker tires. When the field took the green flag, the No. 18 Tundra was scored in the 12th position with 66 laps remaining.
As the laps "ticked" down in the Kroger 200, the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) No. 18 machine began to get tight and Coulter would fall as far back as 15th in the running order. A four-truck accident in Turn 2 slowed the field for the 10th and final time on lap 189. Coulter took the restart with six laps remaining from the 13th position and was able to gain one spot before crossing the line in the 12th position, his 10th top-15 finish of 2013.
KBM driver, Darrell Wallace, Jr. earned his first career NCWTS victory, making history as the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR national touring series event in 50 years. Brendan Gaughan came home in the runner-up position with Jeb Burton behind him in the third. Ben Kennedy and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five finishers.
KBM teammate Denny Hamlin led 65 laps en route to a sixth-place finish behind the wheel of the No. 51 Jordan Brand Toyota.
There were 10 caution periods for 52 laps and five different drivers exchanged the lead seven times during the 200 lap event.
Coulter remains 14th in the 2013 NCWTS driver point standings with 538 points; 54 markers behind 10th-place Timothy Peters, 87 points behind fifth-place Johnny Sauter and 169 markers behind series point leader Matt Crafton.
Greg Pursley won the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Kern County Raceway Park on Saturday to claim the victory in the inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at the new high-banked, half-mile track that opened earlier this year.
It marked the fifth win of the season for the 2011 series champion and his 18th career series victory.
Pursley moved to the lead just before the midway point and ran a fierce pace in the final laps to hold off a strong challenge from Michael Self to win by .178 seconds. Conserving early was part of his strategy for the race, Pursley said.
“When we got the race going, I hung out for a little bit and saved the tires as much as I could,” he said. “And once we got out front, I tried to save as much as I could.”
But he turned up the wick in the closing laps, as he was challenged for the lead.
“The (car No.) 21 was coming on pretty hard there at the end,” Pursley said. “We had a yellow flag with about 20 to go. I had to put down about 20 qualifying laps and he was right there. He gave me a great race.”
For Pursley, who early in his career was a regular competitor in the late model division at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield before its closure, winning the first series race at the new track had extra meaning. In addition, it was a special win for some of his crew.
“It’s a hometown win for my crew chief Jerry Pitts and a couple of our guys,” said Pursley – who raced out of Newhall, south of Bakersfield, for much of his career. “It’s a real emotional win. I won a lot of races at the old Mesa Marin track and I’m happy to be the inaugural winner at Kern County Raceway.”
Self trailed Pursley to the finish, with Eric Holmes close behind. David Mayhew and Cameron Hayley rounded out the top five.
Championship points leader Derek Thorn, who started on the outside of the front row and led the initial lap of the race, faded in the closing stages of the event and finished sixth. He was followed by Dylan Lupton, Shane Golobic, Matt Tifft and Jason Fensler.
Gray Gaulding captured the spotlight earlier in the day at KCRP as he won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing Co., and in doing so set the record for the youngest pole winner in the series at 15 years eight months 16 days. Gaulding – who also holds the record as the youngest pole winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he ran the full season this year – led 60 laps early, but had his night end early when he punctured a tire and hit the wall on Lap 112.
With the win, Pursley moved back to second in the standings – 16 points behind Thorn with one race remaining to decide the 2013 championship. Thorn has 593 over Pursley’s 577. Pursley's teammate Hayley is 18 behind Thorn with 575 points . Self is fourth with 563, while Lupton is fifth with 506. Completing the top 10 in points are Carl Harr, Daryl Harr, Taylor Cuzick, Eric Holmes and Giles Thornton.
The NAPA Auto Parts 150 marked the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West to Bakersfield, an area rich in West Coast racing history, after Mesa Marin Raceway closed in 2005.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will wrap up its 2013 schedule with the Casino Arizona 50 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 9.
As the most prolific player in the history of the National Basketball Association, Michael Jordan introduced many defenders to his devastating spin move that ended with a thunderous slam. Unfortunately his iconic Jordan Brand's first primary sponsorship of a NASCAR Camping World Series truck, came out on the wrong end of a 'spin and slam' and Denny Hamlin went from challenging for his third consecutive Truck Series victory at his home-state track to scratching and clawing his way to a sixth-place finish.
After starting from the pole, Denny Hamlin put his Jordan Brand Tundra out front for 65 of the first 105 laps in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and appeared to have a truck capable of ending the day in victory lane. The No. 51 Tundra was on point for the lap-105 restart, but shortly after going back green Kevin Harvick tried to split the top two trucks and knocked Hamlin into the rubbish on the high side of the track. By the time the Virginia native was able to get back in line, he had subsided to the ninth position.
Slowly but surely, Hamlin maneuvered his way back into the top five and was running in the fourth spot on lap 143 when Matt Crafton drove into his left rear off of Turn 4, stayed in the gas and sent the No. 51 Tundra spinning rear-end first into the inside wall down the frontstretch. Following two trips down pit road to repair the damage, the Carolina blue and grey machine restarted from the tail end of the field in the 21st position with 50 laps remaining. Twenty laps later he had only advanced to the 16th spot when the eighth caution of the race occurred.
Hamlin communicated that his Goodyear tires had "no rubber left," so crew chief Rudy Fugle summoned his driver to pit road. With no sticker tires left in the arsenal, the over-the-wall crew put on a set of used tires from Friday's practice sessions and returned their truck to the track scored in the 18th position for the ensuing restart with 25 laps remaining.
With a damaged Jordan Brand Tundra, Hamlin was having a hard time gaining any ground until a four-truck accident occurred on lap 189. The talented wheelman took the final restart from the ninth position with seven laps remaining and was able to weave his way around three more competitors in the closing laps and ended the day with a sixth-place finish.
Darrell Wallace Jr., Hamlin's KBM teammate, led a race-high 96 laps en route to his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory. With the win, Wallace Jr. became the second African-American driver to collect a victory in a NASCAR National Series race. Brendan Gaughan crossed the stripe 1.673 seconds behind Wallace Jr. in the runner-up spot. Turner Scott Motorsports drivers Jeb Burton and Ben Kennedy finished third and fourth, respectively and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five finishers. Joey Coulter finished 12th in KBM's third entry.
There were 10 caution periods for 52 laps. Five different drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead seven times. Five drivers failed to finish the 200-lap event.
The No. 51 team remained second in the owner's championship standings, but were able to gain 12 points on the series-leading No. 88 team. With three races remaining, the difference sits at just 15 markers.
Owner-driver Kyle Busch will be back behind of the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra when the Truck Series returns to action next Friday, Nov. 1, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for the Winstar World Casino 350. Live Television coverage on Fox Sports 1 beings at 8 p.m. ET with the NCWTS Setup Show.
Timothy Peters came to Martinsville Speedway, which is just a chip shot away from his hometown of Danville, Virginia with high hopes having captured the pole in last year's race. He qualified the No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra in 10th place. Peters let the dust settle at the front of the field when the green flag waved, but soon started to move through the pack and by lap 20 was in sixth. It was looking to be a good race as he had a fast Tundra and all the necessary skills but then the 'Martinsville Mayhem' reared its ugly head.
At the lap 77 restart the field checked up, leaving Peters to make contact with the truck in front of him. This caused the hood to release and flop on top of the windshield requiring him to drive blind back to the pit where the Parts Plus team pulled out all the equipment to get the truck back out on the track. When they returned to the track, the Tundra was several laps down. The loss of track position trapped the No. 17 five laps down with no way to recover and a disappointing 26th place finish at race's end.
Timothy Peters talks about this race at Martinsville Speedway:
"Just a disappointing day for our Parts Plus Tundra team. We've got three to go."
John Wes Townley arrived at Martinsville Speedway bringing with him a lot of momentum having three consecutive top-10 finishes and five consecutive top-12 finishes over the last five races. The driver of the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra qualified 17th and battled loose conditions at the beginning of the Kroger 200.
Townley drove a smart race, picking up positions one-by-one and holding steady in the 13th-place for the majority of the 200 lap event. The restart on lap 134 was a scuffle for position, forcing Townley back to the 18th spot. As the laps wound down, Townley continued to fight back for position claiming a 13th-place finish at the paperclip.
John Wes Townley talks about his race at Martinsville Speedway:
"Sadly, I think we had a better truck today than we finished. We had a top-10 truck but we just got hung out on a few of the restarts because of the positioning, lining up on the outside. When you are on the outside at this place it kind of hurts you. All-in-all a good day for the Zaxby's Toyota Tundra and we brought it home in one piece. We'll go to Texas next week and get back to top 10s."
Germán Quiroga came to Martinsville Speedway with some experience under his belt having qualified fifth in his debut at the 0.526-mile speedway in the spring. The driver of the No. 77 OtterBox/NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra qualified in the sixth position. Quiroga battled loose conditions in the early stages of the Kroger 200 but was battling hard for position inside the top-15.
It was the restart on lap 150 where Quiroga switched lanes before the start
, finish line and was penalized by NASCAR with a pass thru penalty on pit road. As the three-time Mexico Series champion always does, he battled back from the punishment earning his lap back after another caution flag was displayed. The No. 77 OtterBox/NET10 Wireless team gave the driver fresh tires, and Quiroga demonstrated his talent as a real wheelman, managing to work his way back to finish seventh.
Germán Quiroga talks about his race at Martinsville Speedway:
"It was going pretty well at the beginning. We were loose in, loose off. The No. 77 OtterBox/NET10 Wireless was good, and fast. I was very happy with the setup and my pit crew did a great job today. We were good, then I made a mistake by changing lanes on the restart. We got penalized and lost a lap but recovered. With 25 laps to go we battled from 21st to finish seventh. Let's keep going to make the first win happen for a Mexican in NASCAR."