Speedway Digest Staff
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James Buescher came into the Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) looking to put the previous outing behind him and his Rheem team. Coming off solid practice sessions and a stellar qualifying effort, Buescher started the 100-lap race in the third position. After dropping back in the field for the first half of the race, Buescher worked his way up to the top five with under 10 laps remaining. Coming to three laps to go, Buescher made a great move on the first and second-place trucks in Turn 3 and vaulted himself to first. Buescher grabbed the lead and never looked back, earning his first victory of 2013. In the process, Buescher moved up one position in the championship standings to third and is now just one marker behind second place.
The Rheem team felt like they had a great truck at Pocono, so they worked to quickly turn it around, preparing the chassis for this week's race at MIS. This proved to be a smart decision as the No. 31 team finished second and ninth in Friday's two practice sessions, respectively. Buescher followed up his practice results with a third-place qualifying effort for the Michigan National Guard 200. As soon as the green flag flew on the 100-lap event, it was quickly slowed by a yellow for an accident on the backstretch. Following the first restart, Buescher fell back a few positions and searched for a place to settle in and log some laps. The yellow flag flew once again on lap 17,which allowed the Rheem team to call the No. 31 truck down pit road for two right-side tires and fuel. Once the race went back to green, Buescher found himself battling for the 10th position. On lap 35, Buescher radioed to his crew that his Rheem Chevy was still a little too free entering the corners. Despite this, Buescher was recording the fastest lap times of any of the trucks on the track. The yellow flag was once again displayed on lap 57 for debris on the backstretch. This yellow put the No. 31 team within their fuel window, so Buescher came back down pit road for four tires and a slight air-pressure adjustment as his Rheem team their Chevy full with Sunoco fuel.
Following this pit stop, Buescher began to creep back into contention and move closer to the top five. With the laps dwindling down, Buescher found himself back inside the top five for the first time since lap four of the race. Following two more cautions, the No.31 Rheem team restarted in the third position, directly behind their Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Miguel Paludo. The two leaders got a great restart and Buescher dropped back to fourth with just five laps to go. Just one lap later, Buescher was able get that position back on the frontstretch. As the field was coming to three laps to go, Buescher made a move down to the bottom of Turn 3 and passed both first and second place, giving Buescher the lead. The 23-year-old never looked back and went on to win his first race of the 2013 season. This victory moves Buescher up to third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Points Standings, just one point behind second place.
"I've got to thank everyone on this team and really want to thank Rheem for coming on board with us this year," said Buescher. "I knew we had a shot at this, but the first half of the race was tough. We couldn't catch any breaks and couldn't get into position where we needed to be, and it was tough battling through traffic. We got the balance right at the end and figured out where I needed to position myself to make passes at the end. I can't say enough about these guys. They never give up, and we're going to go after that championship now."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return right back to action under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday August 18 at 8pm live on Fox Sports 1.
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Ty Dillon) and eighth (Brendan Gaughan).
- Dillon is fourth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, 62 markers behind the leader; while Gaughan ranks sixth in the standings, 74 points out of the top spot.
- The No. 3 Chevrolet team is fifth in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team eighth in the standings.
- According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Dillon earned the second-highest Driver Rating (113.1), while Gaughan ranked ninth with a rating of 87.9.
- Combined, Dillon and Gaughan posted the Fastest Laps Run 12 times during the event, ranking them third and ninth respectively.
- Dillon tied for fourth in the Closers category and was the Fastest Driver Late in a Run.
- Dillon scored the seventh-highest Average Running Position of 7.480, while Gaughan was ninth in the category (8.750).
- James Buescher took the checkered flag and was followed to the line by Kyle Busch, Dillon, Joey Logano and Miguel Paludo.
- The next scheduled Camping World Truck Series race is the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 21. The 13th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Ty Dillon Earns Triumphant Third-Place Finish in Michigan
After suffering from a pit road mishap and falling out of the top 15, Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team clawed their way to a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Dillon started the 100-lap affair from the fifth position, but was shuffled back to 12th on the initial green flag start. The Richard Childress Racing driver worked through traffic, making his way back into the top five and was scored second on lap 45. Under caution on lap 55, crew chief Marcus Richmond called Dillon to put road for four tires and two cans of fuel. During the pit stop, the No. 3 machine slipped off the jack causing the team multiple spots on the race track. Dillon returned to the racing surface in the 18th position on lap 60. During the course of the next 40 laps, Dillon maneuvered through the field and improved his position to third, before crossing the finish line at Michigan International Speedway.
Start - 5 Finish - 3 Laps Led - 0 Points - 4th
TY DILLON QUOTE:
"This is a small victory in my book. We had a mistake on pit road that cost us quite a few spots, but we had a really fast Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet and made up the ground to come back to third. My spotter, Billy (O'Dea), did a great job keeping me out of trouble. I'm hoping to ride this momentum into next week and put this bad luck behind us."
Gaughan Finishes Eighth at Michigan International Speedway
Start - 2 Finish - 8 Laps Led - 0 Points - 6th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
"This definitely wasn't the finish we wanted or deserved today. We had such a strong South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Silverado this weekend, and the boys worked so hard to get us back up front at the end. We went three wide at the end, I got stuck in the middle by myself and we just lost track position."
Matt Crafton, in the immediate aftermath of his ninth-place finish in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Michigan National Guard 200, was having a hard time finding much to be cheerful about at Michigan International Speedway.
"We definitely had a better truck than what we finished," Crafton said, particularly citing two restarts in the race's last 25 laps. "We lost track position and I started on the outside, but then it's like everybody shuffled and then it's just you try to be a little bit smart and you can't put yourself in a bad position...
"But when we got ourselves hung back there it was just damned if you do, damned if you don't."
Crafton's championship-leading No. 88 Great Lakes Wood Floors / Menards Toyota started sixth and actually moved up into the top-five for most of the first half of the race, where he challenged polesitter Jeb Burton, who led the race's first 16 laps, for the lead early.
But in the end, Crafton and his ThorSport Racing team survived a wild, swirling melee of a last few laps in Michigan's high-speed draft and Crafton scored his 12th consecutive top-10 finish this season -- and he out-ran his closest championship contender, Burton, by one spot.
But defending series champion James Buescher won the race and Burton, who won his series-best fourth Coors Light Pole Award on Saturday morning and led the most laps, picked up a point on Crafton. Buescher picked up 12.
Thus, Crafton's unofficially 51 points ahead of Burton and 52 ahead of Buescher heading to Wednesday night's 13th event of the 22-race season, at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That event might either give Crafton an opportunity to be more aggressive or to continue the tack he's employed thus far, carefully weighing his options, and their ramifications, before he makes any rash moves.
"I could have been a little bit more aggressive, maybe," Crafton said. "And taken a little more chances and maybe got up a few more spots, but... You had to have track position -- it was everything.
"The 31 (Buescher), he got one run on the (last) restart -- he started right in front of me and then all of the sudden he wins the race. It was just all about momentum on the restarts and we just never had really good ones there towards the end for whatever it was worth."
Crafton could have been in the position of his ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter, who had a truck that was as good as Crafton's despite suffering fender damage on the race's third lap, only to get completely wiped out in a multi-truck accident and finish 20th.
Quasi-teammate Brett Moffitt, whose Hattori Racing Enterprises Tundra was being tended by ThorSport crew chief Jeriod Prince and his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship-leading crew, was looking at a top-10 finish with less than 10 laps to go until it hit the wall and finished 17th.
Still, Crafton was blunt when he evaluated the race.
"Bad day -- we've got to run better," Crafton said. "We lost points, but at the same time we didn't lose a ton of points. The 4 (Burton) was behind us but like I said, looking back at points racing, that's stupid.
"We're only halfway through the season (Saturday) -- we have 10 more races to go so there's a lot of racing to be done before we talk about points and championships."
What is it about Penske Racing's No. 22 Ford Mustang?
AJ Allmendinger drove it to victory in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, making it three straight races the car has ended the day parked in Victory Lane.
Brad Keselowski has won four times, including the last two races, and Joey Logano has won twice in it, including a July 21 victory at Chicago. Add Allmendinger's two victories in the car and that's eight this season.
Allmendinger also made it a clean sweep of the series' road races for Penske. Keselowski drove the No. 22 car to victory last weekend at Watkins Glen.
Teammate Sam Hornish Jr., who finished third Saturday and assumed the NASCAR Nationwide points lead, said the men driving the car make a big difference.
"Those guys are good," he said. "Brad is good in either car in this division and Joey always has run good in this series. And AJ is great on road courses."
The win had another meaning for No. 22 crew chief Jeremy Bullins. Penske logged the first-ever NASCAR Nationwide win here.
"It was cool to get that for him," he said of owner Roger Penske, one of the most successful owners in the history of motorsports. "It's another page in the history book."
Hornish said he feels his No. 12 Mustang has worked well with the No. 22 car no matter who's driving it. He's got a 13-point lead in the standings with 11 races left in the series.
Saturday's race was the first ever for the series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and NASCAR fans in the Buckeye State were ready.
Track management does not release attendance figures but a Mid-Ohio spokesman said Saturday's turnout was the best for the track's season.
Allmendinger said the track here is much different from the other road circuits on the schedule.
"It's definitely more narrow than the other places," he said. "Here, there's a lot of twists and turns to it and in a way it's a little more frustrating at times but it's a little more fun, too.
"It's a thinking place. It's not going to be easy to make a pass and that's what makes it fun."
Saturday was the third and final road course on the NASCAR Nationwide schedule. It replaced last season's road race at Montreal and NASCAR has not announced if the series will return in 2014.
The Trans-Am Series was the under card for Saturday's race.
Saturday's race was a homecoming of sorts for series sponsor Nationwide Insurance, which is headquartered about 30 miles from Mid-Ohio. Ohio's capital city also is home to the race sponsor and children who have undergone treatment for cancer were the guests of honor.
Thirteen children were paired with drivers who hail from or live near their current hometowns and those drivers carried the kids' names on their cars. Hoods or pieces of sheet metal from those cars were scheduled to be auctioned after the race with all proceeds benefitting The NASCAR Foundation.
Nine of the children attended the race and Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer Matt Jachius thanked drivers and teams during the afternoon meeting for donating a combined $650,000 in sponsor space on their cars.
Germán Quiroga talks about his race at Michigan International Speedway:
"We started out the race very very free. There was even a point that I was screaming on the radio. I was able to keep a hold of my NET10 Wireless Toyota Tundra for a little while, but unfortunately lost it with 25 laps or so to go. We are close and I am getting anxious for my very first win. Hopefully it will be coming soon."
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. The Zaxby's team put on a fresh set of Goodyear tires and restarted in the 18th position. Townley went on to fight his way through the field to cross the finish in the seventh position. A spin and a career-high finish for Townley demonstrate his continued progress as a Red Horse Racing driver.
John Wes Townley talks about Red Horse Racing 350th Start and his career high finish:
"Actually, I was the third Red Horse Racing truck to cross the line on the start, therefore technically I was the 350th. That's really cool. The team has a good bit of history and having all this experience and being part of it is just an honor. I'm so thankful.
"We were really free to start out with and ended up coming down through the grass here. It's always a wild ride, but we pulled it off. We got the Zaxby's Toyota Tundra back up through the field and finished seventh. That's a career best and I'm pretty happy with that and we'll go from here and go to Bristol next week."
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. The two-mile D-shaped oval is a hard track to maneuver due to its wide sweeping corners and long straightaways. The new repave makes it like a super-speedway and the trucks are running right on the edge of control. Peters' experience as a great wheelman served him well today 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 three positions in the driver point standings to seventh.
Timothy Peters talks about Red Horse Racing's 350th Start and his race at Michigan International Speedway:
"What an accomplishment and I'm glad to be a part of Red Horse Racing's 350th start. Everybody works hard from the track crew, back to the fab shop, suspension -- just everybody. It's a great accomplishment. I'm glad to get a good run for NextGen Valvoline, Spartan Toyota Scion and our Tundra is good -- just needs to be a little bit better. We learned a lot today and we know what beat us. All in all it was a good day and a good points day."