Monday, Feb 06

No. 31 Central Wire Chevrolet News and Notes

  • At It In Atlanta...James Buescher and the No. 31 team head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Friday-night race under the lights. The Texan has two previous starts at the Georgia quad-oval, completing 100% of the scheduled laps in both of those events on his way to earning one top-10 and an average finish of 12th.
  • Intermediate Interest...Turner Motorsports has been the team to beat at the intermediate tracks in 2012, earning five wins in eight NCWTS races at tracks one to two miles in length. Buescher is responsible for three of the five Turner victories, all three of which came at 1.5-mile tracks (Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway).
  • All Wired Up... Turner Motorsports welcomes Central Wire to its roster of partners as they make their on-track debut in Atlanta. Central Wire manufactures quality stainless steel wire, nickel alloy wire, and related products in alloys tailored to meet specific customer requirements. With manufacturing locations strategically located throughout North America Central Wire provides the widest range of stainless steel, nickel alloy, copper alloy, brass alloy, bronze alloy and zinc alloy wire products for the North American and global marketplace. For more information, visit www.centralwire.com.
  • In Memory of Beau Slocumb...This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the No. 31 truck will carry a very special message on its tonneau cover: "In Memory of Beau Slocumb." Slocumb, a fabricator for Turner Motorsports and a native of Macon, Ga., lost his battle with cancer a little over a year ago. Slocumb was a racer himself, having made four ARCA Racing Series starts in 2009 and logging an impressive 7.0 starting average combined with a solid 11.2 average finish. The 26-year-old driver logged a pair of top-10 finishes over those four starts including a career-best fifth-place finish at Kansas Speedway. Slocumb began his career racing Legends cars and climbed the professional ladder through the late model ranks, earning 131 feature wins in Legends and late model competition, eventually making his mark in the ARCA series.
  • This Week's Silverado...The No. 31 Central Wire Chevrolet Silverado team will unload chassis TMS-220 this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is a brand-new truck and will hit the track for the first time this Friday.
  • Last Race Recap...Buescher and the No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet team rolled into the half-mile high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway sporting the blue and gold colors of sponsor Exide Batteries and made it through the overtime race unscathed, finishing in the seventh position.
  • Watch LIVE...The Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 200 can be seen live on Friday, August 31st on SPEED. Race coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. EST. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 90.

Buescher on returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway - 

"I'm really looking forward to Atlanta. It's a fast, wide-open racetrack. It has a lot of grooves, so you can run anywhere from the white line all the way up to the wall. Tires wear out fast there, so there's a lot of slipping and sliding. I'm obviously really excited about getting back to a mile-and-a-half racetrack; Turner Motorsports as a whole has run so well at the intermediates this year. We're bringing a new truck this week, and I have a feeling it's going to be even better than the one I got all three of my wins in."

 

Turner Motorsports PR

With only three races remaining before the cutoff to the Chase, Carl Edwards took a gamble Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.  The thing about gambling is you never know the outcome in advance.  Edwards led 45 laps late in the race and tried to finish the race without pitting, but in the end came up shy on fuel and finished 22nd.

Edwards had his work cut out for him at Bristol starting 27th after qualifying was rained out and the field was set based on first practice speeds.  With patience, a good Fastenal Ford and smart pit strategy he worked his way up to 10th by lap 130.  Crew chief Chad Norris made good calls in the pits going back and forth between two and four-tire stops to gain or maintain track position all night.

Edwards made his final pit stop on lap 324 for two tires and fuel.  With many cautions in the last quarter of the race the Blue Team tried to stretch its fuel mileage.  He was up to fourth with 110 laps to go and when a caution came on lap 415 Norris called Edwards to the pits for fuel only, but Edwards opted to stay out and take the lead.

When the race resumed on lap 420 Edwards jumped ahead of the field and led for 40 laps until Denny Hamlin challenged him for the lead with 39 laps to go.  Edwards did all he could to hold off Hamlin but as his older tires began to fade he started to slip back in the field.  He had dropped to sixth with 20 laps to go and continued to slide back.  With just four laps remaining Edwards’ fuel gage showed it was time to pit.  He came to pit road under green for a splash of fuel which resulted in a 22nd-place finish, four laps down.

Hamlin won the race followed by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers and Marcos Ambrose.  Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.

“It’s all you can do is gamble like that,” Edwards said.  “If we would have pitted when we should have pitted we were going to run 10th or 15th anyway.  We were just going to get fuel and the tires were done at the end and that’s all we had.  I made the decision to stay out, which in hindsight that was the wrong decision because we probably would have finished better than we are right now, but I wanted a chance to win the race.  If we would have had one more caution, or a couple cautions and short runs, we were up there in a position to win this thing.  You don’t get those opportunities very often, so I had to take it. The car was okay and I was really encouraged at Chad’s strategy.  He did a really good job and I’m ready for Atlanta.  I’m excited about Atlanta, so we’ll go there and go for another one.”

Edwards and the No. 99 remain 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, 34 points behind 10th place. 

RFR PR

Greg Biffle secured a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the fifth time in his career last night in Bristol.  Despite battling an ill-handling 3M Bondo Ford Fusion for the majority of the night, crew chief Matt Puccia and the team were determined to use adjustments and pit strategy to turn things around.  Biffle led a total of 42 laps throughout the race but had to settle for a 19th-place finish at the checkered flag.  He was able to maintain the points lead by 11 points over Jimmie Johnson.

Rain caused the cancellation of qualifying on Friday evening which put Biffle third on the starting grid because he was third-fastest in practice.  Shortly after the start of the race, Biffle reported that the Bondo Ford was tight entering and through the center of the corners but loose on exit.  The 3M pit crew made several adjustments during two pit stops over the course of the first 150 laps.

Biffle took the lead on lap 227 by staying out during a caution but maintained the lead for 28 laps.  On lap 270 Biffle reported that the Bondo Ford needed to be a little looser and took the opportunity to pit under caution for a wedge adjustment and four tires.  He restarted 15th as several drivers were on different pit cycles and had stayed out.

On lap 352 Biffle was back in the lead because of the various pit cycles but again maintained the lead for several laps.  A caution on lap 413 allowed Biffle to make what he hoped would be his final pit stop of the night for two tires and fuel.  Unfortunately, shortly after the restart it was clear that the Bondo Ford was tight on two new tires and Biffle was unable to make up any ground from his 13th-place restart position.

When a caution came out on lap 435, Biffle and Puccia decided to pit for four tires and a wedge adjustment to try make the car faster in the closing laps.  Biffle restarted 21st but was only able to pick up two positions before the checkered flag for a 19th-place finish.

“It feels really good to be locked in (to the Chase) with two races to go,” said Biffle. “It was a tough night here, but we did lock ourselves in and still have the point lead. This wasn’t the run we were looking for. We pitted at the end to try and make the car better and learn something, but it was probably the wrong thing to do because we lost about eight spots. We weren’t gonna win, so we thought we might as well try what we can.”

RFR PR

The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will be featured in the ABC television special Catching Speed presented by John Deere that airs at 2 p.m. ET Sunday. The show features the Michael Waltrip Racing team as it prepares for The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway—one of NASCAR’s most prestigious races.

“The opportunity for theCatching Speed program came along and it was just too good to pass up for our team and our sponsors,” said Ty Norris, MWR executive vice president business development. “The No. 15 team is all-new this year—a new driver, crew chief, crew, sponsor—and they along with the NAPA team are combining to make this the best year in Michael Waltrip Racing’s brief history.

“The No. 15 team is a group of great guys that has a ton of characters—they know how to have fun better than most of the teams in the garage, so it should be a very entertaining hour of television.”

The show features the 5-hour ENERGY team’s race preparation and execution from several different perspectives including the crew chief, driver, crew and marketing team.

“Indianapolis is a stressful weekend for a team,” said Bowyer. “I think thatCatching Speed showed just how stressful it can be and how difficult some weekends are when you don’t unload with the speed you like to see. It was a real struggle that weekend. From my perspective it would have been great to have the crew follow us in Sonoma so the show would have ended with us celebrating in victory lane, but a weekend like Indy will probably make for better TV—lots more to overcome.”

Catching Speedeven ventured away from the racetrack to follow the No. 15 team as it visited the high school of crew mechanic and Indiana native Travis Stock as the team went to play basketball after the garage closed.

“This was really a fun opportunity for the race fans that watch on television to get a look at some of us guys that work on the car and travel with the team each week,” said Stock.

“I think they captured us in our element. We clown around from time to time and take pride in having fun while we do what we do, but it also shows how stressful it can be when things aren’t going just right. Indy was not one of our best weekends on the track, but we all came together and worked through it and came out with a decent finish.”

MWR

While others are barbecuing and boating this Labor Day weekend, Aric Almirola is ready to get back into his "office" at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway. The driver is eager to climb back into the cockpit of the No. 43 Ford after a mid-race accident forced an early exit from last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Before the accident, Almirola was running in the top-five.

Sunday night's race at Atlanta will mark the 2012 debut of the blue-and-white AdvoCare paint scheme on the No. 43 Ford. In addition to being the primary sponsor for Almirola, the company that makes energy, weight-loss, nutrition, and sports performance products will also be the title sponsor of the 500.5-mile race. Almirola also personally endorses AdvoCare products as part of his fitness and nutrition regimen.

The 28-year-old driver has one Sprint Cup Series start at Atlanta - a 21st-place finish in 2009. He also has two Nationwide Series and three Camping World Truck Series starts at the 1.54-mile oval.

Comments from AdvoCare Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:

"Atlanta is a fun track and it's a really fast track. And you can kind of run all over the place, so it's always got the potential for lots of action. It's one of the places where we practice during the day and race at night, and the conditions change from day to night. So you've got to be prepared to adjust on your car from the green flag to the checkered to stay on top of it.

"We've got AdvoCare on our No. 43 Ford this weekend, which is cool for me because it's a company whose products I use personally. I'm a big believer in staying fit and making sure I'm eating right so I have enough energy, and AdvoCare products are a great help to me with my daily workouts and keeping me fueled up."

Comments from Crew Chief Mike Ford on Atlanta:

"We've had some fast cars and some good runs on mile-and-a-half tracks, so I think Aric can run well at Atlanta. It can be challenging to plan for the conditions of the race because we'll only have one early-evening practice session on Saturday. So the key will be to build adjustability into the car so we can adapt to the changing conditions as the night goes on.

"We also need to be mindful of tire wear. Atlanta can have a lot of long green-flag runs, and the more laps you try to stretch on older tires, the more ground you're going to lose on other guys with fresher tires. So that's something we'll definitely be keeping an eye on."

RPM PR

With time running out to make the Chase, a victory this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway would go a long way to help solidify Marcos Ambrose's chance for a wild-card spot. With a win at Watkins Glen and two top-five finishes at Michigan and Bristol, Ambrose needs a victory this weekend to cap off what has already been an impressive month for Richard Petty Motorsports and the No.9 team.

Kasey Kahne still maintains the first wild-card position by virtue of his two wins, and heading into Atlanta Ambrose is 28 points out from clinching the second wild-card spot among drivers with one win this season.

Coming off of his third-consecutive top-five finish in Bristol last weekend, Ambrose has momentum on his side as he will make his seventh career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Australian native has two top-15 finishes at Atlanta. His best finish (10th) came in 2010 and his best start (11th) came in 2009. He has completed 1,816 of 1,971 laps attempted at the Georgia track. Ambrose enters this weekend's 500-mile race in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings.

Don't forget to Tune into Sirius XM Radio on Channel 90, Friday, at 10 a.m. ET for the Morning Drive with Pete Pistone and Mike Bagley to listen to Marcos talk about his wild-card chances and this weekend's race at Atlanta.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARCOS: Saturday Marcos will turn 36-years-old. If you see him in Atlanta this weekend, don't forget to wish him a very Happy Birthday!

Marcos Ambrose's Thoughts on Racing at Atlanta: "I'm trying my hardest to get a wild-card spot in the Chase. It's been great to have two top-fives in two weeks, but we need another win to have a shot. My whole No. 9 team and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports have been working really hard to give me the equipment I need to go out and win, and we just need to put ourselves in position at the end of the race to do so. We've only got two more chances to secure a spot, so these next two weeks are going to be crucial. I'm going to drive my hardest this weekend and hope that we see the DEWALT Ford in Victory Lane at the end of the night on Sunday."

Comments from Crew Chief Todd Parrott on Going to Atlanta: "Atlanta is a track that is very fast. We start the race early in the evening and race late into the night, so the track temperature will change throughout the event. At Atlanta there are multiple racing grooves, so as the track conditions change, Marcos can move around to help the car's handling. The biggest thing we'll need this weekend is to have a good balanced DEWALT car with a lot of downforce and a lot of motor.

"We've had a great month of August with a win at 'The Glen', and we had a solid run in Bristol last weekend. We've got a good bit of momentum going into Atlanta and I'm feeling confident we are going to have another good run this weekend. We need a win to make the Chase and that will be our main focus on Sunday night."

RPM PR

For decades, we’ve all known that Richmond (RVA) loves racing of all sorts, but especially NASCAR, considering this is the seventh decadeRichmond International Raceway has hosted the top motorsports series in the country. Now in technologically-enhanced 2012, Richmonders are encouraged to show their racing spirit on Twitter, using #RVALovesRacing in their tweets about race week in Richmond.

Six digital billboards in the Richmond area will display a different tweet each day, September 2-8, which features the #RVALovesRacing hashtag. The billboard locations are:

·        I-64 West, just east of the Staples Mill Road exit
·        7912 W. Broad Street
·        I-195 North, just south of the I-64/I-95 interchange
·        Laburnum Avenue, heading west, just east of Richmond International Raceway
·        Mechanicsville Turnpike near Interstate 64

It’s never too early to start your #RVALovesRacing tweets, so go ahead and spread the word now. We’ll be monitoring the hashtag to include your tweets that just might show up on these billboards.

RIR PR

Landon Cassill's record at Atlanta Motor Speedway is nearly a blank slate. The driver of the No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota has only one start to his credit at the 1.5-mile, lightning-fast track and hopes this Sunday's AdvoCare 500 sets the tone for a bright future. Given his performance over the past few weeks, his goal is well within reach.

Cassill and his No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper team have been on a roll. He's captured three-consecutive top-25 finishes in Sprint Cup Series competition. He achieved BK Racing's best qualifying effort to date (ninth) two weeks ago at Michigan and captured his best finish at Bristol (24th) last Saturday.

At 1.5-mile tracks, the No. 83 team averaged a 33rd-place finish in the first three events. At the last two 1.5-mile venues, they've averaged a 22nd-place finish. Cassill attributes the performance to improved consistency and team chemistry, and he expects those elements to continue paying dividends in Atlanta.

In his only Sprint Cup Series start at Atlanta, Cassill started 37th and finished 22nd.

Comments from BK Racing driver Landon Cassill heading into Atlanta:

"Our Burger King/Dr Pepper team is really coming together. The bottom line is that we've got good people at BK Racing. Everyone there is committed to running well and doing whatever it takes for us to get better. Everyone from our owners to the guys in the shop are working together to give me great cars each week.

"Our first few weeks were tough because we didn't have any notes to work from. Now that we've been to most of the tracks and had a chance to build up our notebook, our performance is starting to pick up. We're going to each venue more prepared and unloading a car that's closer to what we need. It's still a work in progress, but we're not playing catch-up when we go to the track. I'm really excited about the remaining races in the season.

"I've only been to Atlanta once, but I really like it. It's a high-banked, fast track, which I seem to do well at. The speed there is amazing. At some of the tracks we go to, it's tough to appreciate how fast you're going. At Atlanta, you can feel it from the driver's seat. I'm looking forward to this weekend. Our performance at mile-and-a-half tracks has really picked up. We've had some really good runs these past few weeks. It should be a great weekend for us."

BK Racing PR

Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 93 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota, is in the midst of a hot streak. His 18th-place finish at Bristol marked the No. 93 team's second-consecutive week finishing in the top 20 and the team's fourth-straight top-25. Kvapil's last three races at 1.5-mile race tracks have averaged a 23rd-place finish, which has him riding high for this week's AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kvapil has made 10 Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta. His best finish is 23rd, which he achieved in 2008. He's made five starts in Truck Series competition and never finished outside the top 20. His best finish is fourth place.

Comments from BK Racing Driver Travis Kvapil heading into Atlanta:

"BK Racing has a lot to be proud of. These past few weeks have been awesome. I feel like we're going into each race better prepared and with more confidence. The results are reflecting all of the hard work that everyone on this team has been contributing. This is definitely the best we've run all year and I think we're only getting better.

"Atlanta is really, really fast. When you have fresh tires and your car is hooked up, you're flying. The track is pretty rough, though, so it doesn't take long for your tires to wear down. After about 15 laps, your tires are worn up and you're searching to find grip.

"It's one of the few places we go that you can use the whole track. All the way from the white line to the outside wall is good for racing. You've just got to figure out where your car is at its best. As the weather changes or after your tires begin to wear, you can change your line and find a different groove that works for you. You'll see a lot of guys switching up their lines during the race.

"Our intermediate track program has really picked up this year. We've gotten a lot faster at the mile-and-a-half tracks. The guys on the Burger King/Dr Pepper team have really stepped up their game and we've got the results to show it."

BK Racing PR

Atlanta Motor Speedway is considered one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, and for good reason. Geoff Bodine set the track record in November 1997 when he qualified in the top spot at 197.478 mph. And, in March 2010, Dale Earnhardt Jr., hit 192.761 mph en route to winning the pole.

Danica Patrick will be making her first career appearance at Atlanta this weekend when she competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the 1.54-mile oval. When she drives onto the track for practice Friday in the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet to prepare for Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race, the speed – at least to some degree – won’t be new to her.

Coming from the INDYCAR world, Patrick is no stranger to going well over 200 mph. In 2005, during her rookie IZOD IndyCar Series season, she set the tone early at the Indianapolis 500 when she posted the fastest lap on the opening day of practice at 221.463 mph. She went on to set the fastest practice lap five times throughout the month – more than any other driver – including Pole Day and Carb Day.

Patrick’s practice lap of 229.880 mph on Pole Day was the fastest of any driver during the month and the fastest turned by any woman in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During her qualification attempt, Patrick made an impressive save as her car bobbled in turn one on her first lap, earning her rave reviews for her car control by longtime Speedway observers. She ended up qualifying with a four-lap average of 227.004 mph, good for the fourth spot on the grid and the best-ever starting position for a woman in the historic race.

Patrick then found victory lane in the IZOD IndyCar Series in April 2008 at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan, where speeds often hit the 200-mph mark.

That said, Patrick’s numerous moments above 200 mph came in a 1,500-pound, rear-engine car with downforce provided by front and rear wings. The No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet she will drive this weekend in Atlanta is a front-engine, 3,500-pound, stock car that couldn’t be more different from an Indy car.

So while she’ll be used to the speed that Atlanta Motor Speedway is known for, the sensory input from that high speed will be vastly different from what she’s used to.

Patrick heads to Atlanta after a solid weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway that saw her finish ninth in the Nationwide Series event Friday night at the tricky .533-mile concrete oval, then run a respectable race in the Sprint Cup event Saturday night. Patrick was on the lead lap and in the top-20 in just her fourth career Sprint Cup Series start and first at Bristol when her GoDaddy.com Chevrolet was hit by Regan Smith’s car, spinning her into the SAFER Barrier on the inside retaining wall of the frontstretch. Her night was done after 434 laps and she was credited with 29th place, but the experience and confidence taken away from the event were extremely valuable.

She’ll look to take that experience and confidence from Bristol into Atlanta and “speed” up her ongoing NASCAR education.

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