Tuesday, Nov 28
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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HIGH BANKS, HIGH EXPECTATIONS: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year contender Germán Quiroga looks forward to every new challenge the 2013 season brings him. He is especially anxious for the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The No. 77 NET10 Wireless driver has captured eight wins on tracks smaller than one mile in length during his reign in the NASCAR Mexico Series and has no doubt that his Toyota Tundra will be fast as he makes his debut at the World's Fastest Half-Mile.


NET10 WIRELESS®: NET10 Wireless will be on board the No. 77 Toyota Tundra this weekend at the World's Fastest Half Mile. Quiroga has competed in nine races this season with NET10 Wireless as primary sponsor. The no contract cell phone leader will continue its support as primary or associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. For more information on NET10 Wireless, visit www.NET10Wireless.com.


CHASSIS HISTORY: Germán Quiroga will unload Chassis No. 014 this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. The chassis most recently raced at Kentucky Speedway where the No. 77 Toyota Tundra team started and finished in the eighth position. The chassis made its racing debut earlier this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway.


REARVIEW MIRROR - MICHIGAN: Germán Quiroga welcomed back NET10 Wireless as primary sponsor on his No. 77 Toyota Tundra at Michigan International Speedway. Quiroga qualified 16th for the National Guard 200 and found himself racing for position inside the top-10 for the first three quarters of the race. It was lap 76 when Quiroga spun down the backstretch and made contact with the wall. Quiroga finished 19th and remains 14th in the driver point standings.


Germán Quiroga on Bristol Motor Speedway:

Has Timothy Peters given you the secret to getting around Bristol Motor Speedway?

"Part of the success that we are having right now with our No. 77 NET10 Wireless Tundra comes from all the things that Red Horse Racing has established. Timothy (Peters) is very talented and hopefully he is going to give me good advice once we get to the track. I know Red Horse Racing has good data for the track and hopefully things go our way and we collect a one-two-three finish for Red Horse Racing.


What has been the most memorable part of your season thus far?

"I would say my third-place finish at Texas. It opened many doors and gave me a lot of opportunities. It was my best result on track and the best results for a Mexican in a National division of NASCAR. It also brought OtterBox on board our No. 77 Toyota team and I am very proud and happy with the experience. Hopefully we will have a win soon in the second part of the season. I want to make things happen and start finishing consistently in the top-10. Our goal is to finish in the top-10 in the driver championship."



READY TO REPEAT: Timothy Peters may not be able to repeat his dominating performance from last year's UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but you know that his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra team will try. After becoming only one of three drivers to lead every lap at the World's Fastest Half Mile and go on to capture the race win, expectations are high for this weekend's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

In eight starts at the 0.533-mile speedway, Peters has two top-five and four top-10 finishes including 224 laps led. All of Peters' top-10 finishes have come in the last four trips to Bristol. Since Peters seems to have the track figured out, the Danville, VA. native will once again serve as a threat.

PARTS PLUS: Parts Plus is back as primary sponsor on board Timothy Peters' No. 17 Toyota Tundra for the exciting thrill of Bristol Motor Speedway this week. The Memphis-based warehouse distributor originated more than 56 years ago tracing back to a series of jobber programs. Since 2005, Parts Plus has been a member of the Automotive Distribution Network that has over 300 member distributors under five brand names and from over 400 separate warehouses across the United States, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information on Parts Plus and locations near you, visit PartsPlus.com.

CHASSIS HISTORY: Isn't it ironic - The defending race winner, Timothy Peters and his No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra team will bring a winning chassis to Bristol Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 010 captured Peters' second win at Iowa Speedway just weeks ago as well as two sixth-place finishes (Kentucky Speedway, Dover International Speedway) and a 10th at Kansas Speedway earlier this year.

REARVIEW MIRROR - MICHIGAN: Timothy Peters put on a show in his No. 17 Spartan Toyota/Valvoline NextGen Toyota Tundra during the 200-lap National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Peters qualified in the 12th position and quickly put himself inside the top-five for the majority of the race. Peters' experience as a great wheelman served him well as he stayed out of trouble for the entire race and collected a sixth-place finish for Red Horse Racing. This finish moves Peters up in the driver point standings to seventh.

Timothy Peters on Bristol Motor Speedway: 
How excited are you to return to Bristol Motor Speedway? 
"It's cool coming back to a place where we led every lap. Last year I came in the same truck I won Iowa with, and we're able to do the same thing again this year. Hopefully, that means the stars will align for us and we can bring our Parts Plus Toyota Tundra back into victory lane.

What is the best thing about racing at 'The World's Fastest Half Mile'? 
"Everyone gets pumped up for good, short-track racing under the lights. It can be so difficult to pass there, and it seems like every time they pull that last loop on a driver's helmet at Bristol the intensity goes up - like it cuts off our oxygen a little and makes us act a little crazy."

HIGH STRUNG: There is no better place to race than 'The Last Great Colosseum' after capturing your NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career-high finish. That's the case for the driver of the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra, John Wes Townley after finishing seventh last weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The young driver is anxious for Bristol Motor Speedway to see that he tops his career best finish during the UNOH 200 behind the wheel of his Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra.


NEW MENU ITEMS AT ZAXBY'S: Zaxby's, a southeast favorite for chicken fingers and wings, has been indescribably good for more than 20 years. The Athens, Georgia based chain offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Mixing things up, guests can now enjoy Zaxby's new Cobb Zalad through summer's end. Additionally, Zaxby's offers a new line of premium milkshakes including the popular Birthday Cake and Banana Pudding Milkshakes and the new Chocolate Cookie Milkshake. The company operates more than 575 locations in 13 states. John Wes Townley will compete with Zaxby's serving as primary sponsor for the entire 22 Truck Series race schedule. For more information, please visit zaxbys.com, facebook.com/zaxbys or follow on Twitter @Zaxbys.


CHASSIS HISTORY: John Wes Townley and his No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra team will unload Chassis No. 003 this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Most recently, the chassis raced at Iowa Speedway where Townley finished 12th. The chassis was rebuilt after Martinsville Speedway earlier this season. Chassis No. 003 also competed in five races in 2012 including the win at Dover International Speedway, both Martinsville Speedway races, the series first visit to Iowa Speedway in July and Bristol Motor Speedway.


REARVIEW MIRROR - MICHIGAN: It was a standout day for the driver of the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra during the National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway. John Wes Townley captured a seventh-place finish which marked his highest finishing position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The Tundra driver qualified 17th and battled a loose handling truck for the majority of the 100-lap event. Townley was the cause for caution on lap 66 as he lost control of his Tundra coming out of Turn 4. With some masterful driving, Townley was able to keep his Tundra off the wall, sustaining no damage. Townley went on to fight his way through the field to cross the finish in the seventh position.


John Wes Townley on Bristol Motor Speedway:

What do you like the most about Bristol?

"I've always liked Bristol a lot. Since the repave it's been a really fun place to drive on. The high banks and short tracks are what I grew up on. It's a lot of fun. It reminds me of my roots. The new walls certainly made it a little more challenging. I'm looking forward to this week. I will definitely have a good Zaxby's Tundra which will hopefully make for an exciting weekend for our team.


Is there something about Bristol that gets you excited?

"I love it. I love the way the grandstands are. They call it the last great colosseum and it really has that feel to it. With it being so high banked it makes it a lot of fun to drive on. It's a challenging place too which makes it a real fun race as a driver overall.


Do you approach Bristol any other way?

"I think you have to guard yourself a little more. You don't want to overdrive it too fast. It is very easy to do. You can drive down into the corners and really overdrive getting it in. That can be a problem early in the race. It's one of those tracks where you really have to be disciplined and wait till the where it really matters to put yourself in contention to make the move. It's really intensified at Bristol."



Having worked for Richard Childress Racing for the last three years, Matt McCall is no stranger to Bristol Motor Speedway.

But Wednesday, the race engineer for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 31 Chevrolet entry will get a whole new view of the high-banked half mile. McCall will be behind the wheel of the Ricky Benton Racing (RBR) Enterprises No. 92 BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors/Goodyear FleetHQ/QMI Chevrolet for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) UNOH 200.

"I'm thrilled to have this opportunity," said McCall, who will be making his first NCWTS start in 10 years. "I've worked with Ricky (Benton) over the last several years with my late model team and he and Black's Tire have been big supporters.

"It is an honor to be able to drive the truck at Bristol."

Despite his limited experience in the series, McCall has high expectations for himself and the team.

"(Crew chief) Mike (Hester) and the guys have us a good piece for the race," said McCall. "I think if we can stay out of trouble, we can run in the top 10. With a little luck, a top-five finish isn't out of the question."

Benton, likewise, is expecting a good finish at Bristol.

"Matt is a guy with a ton of short track experience and success in late models and we feel he can translate some of that success into our effort at Bristol," said Benton. "The team has worked hard on the truck for this week and I think it's going to pay off for us."

The UNOH 200 will be RBR Enterprises' sixth attempt of 2013. Scott Riggs has starts at Daytona, Martinsville, Charlotte and Kentucky. Clay Rogers drove the truck at Rockingham in April.

After Bristol, the team plans to return to the NCWTS at Chicagoland with Riggs back behind the wheel.


Trevor Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion tried some of the best plays in their strategy book at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, but in the end they had to settle for a 21st-place finish in the Pure Michigan 400.

Any disappointment from the afternoon was offset by the fact that the team’s long-time partner Ford Motor Company became the inaugural winner of the Michigan Heritage trophy, which will be awarded to the winning manufacturer of Sprint Cup races at MIS for years to come. The trophy, inspired by professional hockey’s Stanley Cup, celebrates the spirit of the automobile and its importance to the Michigan track, which is the home turf of the U.S. automobile industry.

 “We certainly want to congratulate Roger Penske and Joey Logano on their victory,” said Len Wood, co-owner of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford. “When any Ford wins, we all win.”

Ford and Wood’s team have been a big part of NASCAR history at Michigan. Of Ford’s league-leading 34 Cup victories at Michigan, the Woods own 11. One of their greatest drivers, David Pearson, still leads all drivers in Michigan victories with nine, all of which came in either Ford or Mercury race cars.

While Bayne and the Woods will have to wait for another Sunday to try to deliver Ford another Michigan Heritage trophy, they were encouraged by the team’s performance in the Pure Michigan 400.

Bayne started 18th and held his own through the opening laps. With teams on various pit strategies, Bayne wound up getting all the way into the lead before pitting on Lap 48.

Time after time, his Motorcraft/Quick Lane over-the-wall crew members helped him keep track position with their quick work on pit road.

 At one point he gained 10 positions in a single two-tire stop.

“The pit crew did a great job all day,” Wood said. “Even when we changed four tires we were able to gain positions, and they made adjustments on several stops and still got us off pit road in good shape.”

The team’s strategists, led by crew chief Donnie Wingo, also were at their best, even if circumstances, mostly caution flags, didn’t fall in their favor.

 “We had a fuel-mileage strategy working twice, but because of the way the cautions fell it didn’t work out,” Wood said. “The race wound up with a lot of short green-flag runs, which we did not need.”

Wood Brothers Racing PR

Austin Dillon, driving in place of the injured Tony Stewart, turned in a strong performance by finishing 14th in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Behind the wheel of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Dillon started 27th in the 43-car field and overcame a lap-14 accident with J.J. Yeley to post his second top-15 finish in just his 10th career Sprint Cup start.

“Our goal was a top-15, but I put us behind at the beginning,” Dillon said. “Thought I was going to be able to pass J.J. pretty easy, but I just got loose under him. It was totally my fault. I got in there hard, grabbed the brake and slid into him. I hate it for him and the 36 team. I know they’re out here battling each and every week. That was a bad deal for them. I didn’t mean to get into them like that.

“I pretty much did exactly what I did not want to do. Going into it, I knew I needed to stay calm and take my time because it was 200 laps, and then we’re wrecked before we even get to lap 20. I just made a big mistake. It happens when you’re out there racing hard and just trying to give it your all. I knew the car was fast. I was just trying to get too much, too early. But I’m proud of the way we battled back and earned this finish.”

Dillon and Addington battled back together. With a tenacious drive by the 23-year-old Dillon and savvy calls by the veteran Addington, the duo earned their lap back before the halfway mark and steadily marched through the field. After dropping to 41st following the accident with Yeley, Dillon rallied to 25th by lap 90. He cracked the top-20 after a two-tire pit stop while under caution on lap 137, and despite dropping to 23rd by lap 150, Dillon used the final 50 laps to methodically pick off cars, crossing the stripe in 14th when the checkered flag waved.  

“Our car had a little right-side damage after that early wreck, but we got that fixed and were able to come back through there still really fast,” Dillon said. “I can’t say enough about this Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops team. They fixed the car and Steve made some great calls to get us back on the lead lap. Man, that was fun. We had some really fast lap times in the middle of the race and just want to thank everybody for this opportunity. It was a blast.”

Dillon’s effort at Michigan kept the No. 14 car in a competitive position in the Sprint Cup Series’ owner standings. The No. 14 car is 13th with 653 points, 160 behind the series-leading No. 48 team of Hendrick Motorsports but only 10 points behind the 10th-place No. 16 team of Roush Fenway Racing. Stewart, out of the car indefinitely, dropped to 18th in points. He has 594 points, 219 out of first and 69 behind 10th-place Greg Biffle.

With only 10 career Sprint Cup starts, Dillon’s best finishes have come at Michigan. He has two top-15s in three Sprint Cup starts at the 2-mile oval, including his best career Sprint Cup result, which was 11th in the June 16 Quicken Loans 400. Dillon now has a total of nine starts at Michigan among Sprint Cup (three), the NASCAR Nationwide Series (three), the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (two) and the ARCA Racing Series (one).

Dillon, the 2011 Camping World Truck Series champion, pulled double-duty this weekend by also competing in the Nationwide Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. He led two laps before enduring a last-lap spin that dropped him to 21st. Dillon continues to stand strong in the Nationwide Series championship standings. He is fourth, only 15 points behind series leader Sam Hornish Jr.

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans/PTA Chevrolet for SHR, also had a solid run at Michigan. He finished just ahead of Dillon in 13th to earn his 16th top-15 of the season.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 23rd. It was Patrick’s 33rd career Sprint Cup start and her second at Michigan.

Joey Logano won the Pure Michigan 400 from the pole to score his third career Sprint Cup victory, his first of the season and his first at Michigan.

Kevin Harvick finished 1.018 seconds behind Logano in the runner-up spot while Kurt Busch, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five. Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Biffle and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were nine caution periods for 34 laps, with six drivers failing to finish.

With round 23 of 36 complete, Newman leads the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He dropped one spot to 15th and has 636 points, 177 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 27 behind 10th-place Biffle. Patrick remained in 27th place and has 418 points, 395 out of first and 245 away from 10th.

Three 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. In the event of multiple drivers having the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Kahne, who is 11th in points, has the first wild card via his two wins. Martin Truex Jr. holds the second wild card as he is 12th in points with one victory. Logano, Newman and Stewart are next in line for the wild card as each has one victory and are 13th, 15th and 18th, respectively, in points.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished four spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 19th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the Irwin Tools Night Race Saturday, Aug. 24, at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ABC beginning with its pre-race show at 7 p.m.



Mike Bliss driver of the No. 19 Toyota Camry made his first career start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday.  Bliss qualified 30th for the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 and quickly jumped five spots within the first three laps.  Despite running off the course during the 94 lap event, Bliss still managed to come home in the 17th spot, earning his 17th top-20 finish of the season. 

Bliss' first report of the car's handling to crew chief Paul Clapprood was that his Toyota Camry was "loose in but not bad."  The first full course caution came on lap 21 which enabled Bliss to come to pit road for an air pressure adjustment, four fresh Goodyear tires and some Sunoco fuel.  Later, while running in the 24th position, Bliss ran his No. 19 Camry off the track and subsequently spun while entering the 13th and final turn on the 2.253-mile course. Quickly driving back onto the track he hit pit road for service and would return to the racetrack in 34th.  Bliss and his crew capitalized on the fifth caution of the event bringing the No. 19 back down pit road to fix the left 

front brake duct screen, which was damaged during the spin a few laps earlier. 

With 40 laps remaining, Bliss was racing in the 29th position as his competitors started their green flag pit stops. The sixth caution fell on lap 62 bringing Bliss once again to pit road for four sticker tires and fuel.  


Following the final pit stop of the day Clapprood radioed to Bliss, "we'll be good on fuel through two green-white-checkered attempts."  Bliss maintained the 22nd position as the field came to its' first green-white-checker attempt.  On the restart Bliss was able to gain five spots to finish 17th in the inaugural event. 


"I'm thankful I kept my car going when I spun out," said Bliss who didn't let his mid-race spin set him back. "This track was fast and challenging.  My car took a few laps to really balance out, I'm just glad we earned a respectable finish."


Bliss still holds the 13th position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Points Standing.  Next week Bliss and his No. 19 crew will once again welcome Tweaker Energy Shot aboard their Camry for Friday night's Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.


Chad Hackenbracht made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series road course start in Saturday's inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  The Ohio native qualified 28th and quickly gained positions during the first five laps.  After taking the No. 44 Tastee Apple, Inc. Toyota Camry to the lead during the 94 lap event, handling issues would result in a 30th place finish.    

Hackenbracht steamrolled through the field during the opening laps.  On lap nine, crew chief Greg Conner called the Tastee Apple, Inc. Camry to pit road for fuel only.  Returning to the track in the 36th position, Hackenbracht had his work cut out for him as the leaders were quickly approaching.  The second full course caution came on lap 28 allowing the No. 44 car to come back to pit road for another fuel only stop. Hackenbracht was now on the same pit strategy as most of the 40 car field. 


While the field worked through green flag pit stops starting on lap 59,


Hackenbracht began inching his way up into the top-five. On lap 63, Tastee Apple was prominently visible as Hackenbracht took the lead for his first time in the Nationwide Series.  Shortly after leading a lap, the No. 44 Toyota hit pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and a full can of Sunoco fuel.  Reentering the field in the 19th position, Hackenbracht returned to hitting his marks on the 2.253-mile 13-turn road course. 


With six laps to go handling issues began ailing the Tastee Apple, Inc. Camry forcing Hackenbracht to pit again for four tires.  The tire change did not seem to heal the handling issue forcing the Toyota back to pit road for further evaluation.  With two laps to go, the crew diagnosed a broken track bar mount which would end their race for the day.  The unfortunate mechanical issue cost Hackenbracht a potential top-20 finish who instead was credited with a 30th place finish. 


"We had an unfortunate day today", said Hackenbracht. "I can't thank my family, friends and team enough for their support. It was really cool being able to lead a lap, but the end result is frustrating."

The No. 44 team remains 20th in the Nationwide Series Owner Points Standing.  Hackenbracht will return to the seat of the Tastee Apple, Inc. Camry next week when the series returns to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 250 on Friday night.

Kurt Busch was upset -- understandably so.

A four-tire pit stop under caution on Lap 158 of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway -- with most of his rivals making quicker stops for two tires -- dropped the driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet from sixth place to 14th for a crucial restart on Lap 162.

With a Chase spot on the line, and his chief rivals for a berth in NASCAR's postseason ahead of him in the running order, Busch took matters into his own hands as soon as the green flag waved.

"I was all fired up," Busch said after the race. "We were running 14th. (Martin) Truex was ahead of us. (Brad) Keselowski was ahead of us. (Greg) Biffle was ahead of us (Kasey); Kahne was ahead of us.

"You can't run 14th and gain on guys. And I had a restart where the seas parted, and I went to the high side and we got a lot of positions on that one restart. So, we'll just keep plugging away. We've got three (races) to go (before the Chase) and we're in the mix."

With a breathtaking move to the outside, Busch gained eight positions on the restart lap and was back in sixth place by the time he reached the start/finish line. He parlayed that gain into a third-place finish and jumped from 11th to ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.

"It was a game-changer," Busch said of his bold move on the restart. "That one moment was our race."


Thirteen laps into Sunday's race, Austin Dillon lost control of his car and collected the No. 36 Chevrolet of J.J. Yeley.

Dillon wasn't driving just any car. He was behind the wheel of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS, subbing for injured Tony Stewart for the first time.

Dillon, however, rallied from the mishap, regained a lap he lost speeding on pit road in an attempt to stay ahead of the pace car and ultimately finished a creditable 14th. More important, he kept the No. 14 in the running for a spot in the owners' Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

"I definitely scared myself at the beginning," Dillon said. "It was too early to be wrecking out there. I apologized to the No. 36 team and J.J. Yeley. I didn't mean to get into them like that at all. I just grabbed the brakes and locked them down in the rear, couldn't steer out of it.

"Luckily, we had saved enough car where we could work on it, get some track position. (Crew chief) Steve (Addington) made some great calls on track position. I can't say enough about those guys (the crew). They did a great job."



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