Thursday, Sep 21
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Miguel Paludo entered the weekend at Iowa Speedway with momentum on his side and the "perfect" truck before a stuck throttle resulted in a mid-practice wreck, forcing the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team to utilize a backup for the Fan Appreciation 200. Paludo and crew persevered in a truck that did not make a lap of practice, fighting back from a lap down to finish 14th.


Running fifth in the weekend's first and only practice session, Paludo had completed 15 laps when he experienced a stuck throttle, sending him into the wall and destroying the team's primary truck. The No. 32 team worked quickly to prepare their backup chassis, but were unable to return the track before the completion of the session. Making his first laps of the weekend in his backup truck in qualifying, Paludo put the AccuDoc Solutions Silverado on the starting grid in the 20th position.


When the green flag waved, Paludo immediately relayed to crew chief Jeff Hensley that his truck was too tight, especially back to the gas, but it wasn't until the first caution flag of the day waved on lap 38 that the team would have an opportunity to make adjustments. Pulling onto pit road in the 19th position, the Turner Scott Motorsports crew provided their driver with four tires, fuel and a major track-bar adjustment.


Lining up 17th for the lap 45 restart, the AccuDoc Chevrolet was now a little free on entry, but remained tight in the middle and back to the throttle. Over the course of an extended green-flag run, Paludo battled against his truck's handling and maintained his position, but was now one lap down. When green-flag pit stops began on lap 122, Paludo advanced into the sixth position before peeling his own truck onto pit road. Hensley called for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, and the crew sent Paludo back onto the track after a quick stop.


Paludo was scored 18th when the caution flag waved for debris on lap 136, and the Brazilian reported to his team that his truck was still snug off but better on entry. Paludo was 17th when green-flag racing resumed once again on lap 141, and by lap 167, the No. 32 was laying down times only 0.10 seconds off the leader. As Paludo continued to battle with the truck that his team had worked hard to improve all day, the No. 32 was faced with another setback when a competitor made contact with him in the closing laps, causing him to spin. However, he was able to quickly right himself and the caution flag was not displayed, forcing him to drop to the 20th spot and fight a bad vibration as a result of the contact. Despite the obstacle, Paludo did not give up and he was still able to run competitively and pick up positions with his wounded machine.


A caution with only three laps remaining put the Fan Appreciation 200 into overtime and set up the field for its first attempt at a green/white/checkered restart. Paludo took the green in 16th and in position for the free pass, and a quick yellow one lap later meant that Paludo would return to the lead lap. Despite starting at the tail end of the field, Paludo was able to gain two more positions in the final two laps, taking the checkered flag in 14th.


"I'm obviously very disappointed with this weekend," said Paludo after the race. "I give Jeff [Hensley] and everyone on my team a lot of credit, because they built me a fantastic truck for this weekend and we didn't get to race it. We could have competed for the pole and for the win in our primary truck. Unfortunately, when the throttle stuck in practice, there was nothing I could do to save it and we took a hard hit. Still, the entire Turner Scott Motorsports team worked together to prepare the best truck we could in the time before qualifying and impound, and they worked hard throughout the race to improve it without any practice to assess it. This isn't the kind of weekend we wanted, but we fought hard and I'm proud of my guys and to say that we finished on the lead lap. I'll be glad to leave Iowa behind me and I'm looking forward to Chicagoland next weekend."


Paludo's 14th-place finish means that he is now sixth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Driver Point Standings, just one point behind fifth. The NCWTS next heads to the Windy City to Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, September 13. The 225 will air on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. EDT.


RAB Racing with Brack Maggard, driver Kenny Wallace, ToyotaCare and American Ethanol are proud to announce a milestone in NASCAR racing, as Wallace will be making his 900th NASCAR start at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, September 14thin the Dollar General 300. Joining the "900 Club", Wallace will be amongst an elite group of drivers including Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, and Dale Jarrett.


Wallace will be behind the wheel of the RAB Racing No. 29 ToyotaCare, American Ethanol Toyota Camry, in a special paint scheme to commemorate the NASCAR milestone. Keith Hinkein will serve as crew chief for the No. 29, making his fourth start with Wallace and RAB Racing. Hinkein spent last season as a crew chief in the ARCA Racing Series securing one win with Kevin Swindell and has prior experience in the Hooter's Pro Cup Series winning 10 races with drivers Trevor Bayne and Joey Logano. Wallace currently sits at 898 NASCAR starts, but will also compete in the Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in the No. 81 SS Green Light American Ethanol Toyota Tundra on Friday night, September 13th, thanks to Illinois farmers and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.


To put into perspective 900 NASCAR starts over his 24-year career, Wallace has traveled over 276,000 miles across the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series, garnering nine wins, 75 top five finishes, 204 top 10 finishes, and an astonishing 198,164 completed laps. Wallace has also been named the Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver three times in his career.


Wallace has made 55 starts with Robby Benton, founder and co-owner of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard. "We are proud to be going to Chicagoland Speedway with Kenny Wallace for his historic 900th NASCAR start," said Benton. "We were together when he broke the record for starts in the Nationwide Series in 2011, so to be able to share another milestone with him means a lot to us. Kenny has been an integral part of RAB Racing as we've grown and I owe him a debt of gratitude for what his popularity and experience has done for us. I hope we can make this year's race at Chicago as memorable as last year's event was for us all."


"Wow, 900 NASCAR starts means a lot to me," said Kenny Wallace. "It means I've been able to stay in the game a long time, it means I mattered to the sport, and it means that people cared enough to keep me in the sport. I've dreamed about racing since I was a kid and to be able to achieve 900 starts is a dream come true and I'm thankful to have so many great people and corporate partners apart of my life along the way. Toyota and American Ethanol have given something that no one can buy; they care about me getting to my goal of 900 starts."


"Besides the thrill of racing they've given me life experiences which I'm equally thankful for. For Toyota this year I've gone to the New York Auto show, went to Columbia, SC to give away a Toyota Sequoia to the winner of the Betty Jane Humanitarian Award which was so emotional, and even gave pace car rides at the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix. Then, with American Ethanol, they've given me the chance to meet all the American farmers who've grown the corn to supply our race cars, and go around the country and educate people on the benefits of American Ethanol. I've been on farms, I've learned to drive a combine, I've driven tractors, I've gone into ethanol plants, I've made friends with all these farmers across the country and all those things I would have never been able to experience without the help of American Ethanol. For that I thank everyone at Toyota and American Ethanol for giving me this terrific ride outside of the race track, I could have never dreamed about having."


"Toyota is excited to partner with Kenny to help celebrate his 900th NASCAR start - an extraordinary milestone. I'm sure his legions of fans are very proud of his accomplishments and we look forward to watching him race his #29 ToyotaCare Camry at Chicagoland", said Les Unger, Toyota's National Motorsports Manager.


"It has taken boundless energy and drive to reach this remarkable milestone of 900 races," said Jon Holzfaster, a Nebraska farmer and American Ethanol spokesman. "Kenny has devoted the same tireless approach to building the American Ethanol brand and showcasing the important contributions family farmers and the ethanol industry make to our country. He has our admiration for what he has accomplished in the sport and our appreciation for all he has done for American Ethanol."


The Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway will be televised live September 14th on ESPN2 at 3:30pm. The 225 at Chicagoland Speedway will be televised live September 13th on Fox Sports 1 at 8:30pm.


RAB Racing PR

Timothy Peters came to Iowa Speedway as the only two-time winner at the track and had high hopes of making it his third win. He qualified the No. 17 Parts Plus Toyota Tundra sixth and as soon as the green flag dropped started moving forward. Peters was able to collect a bonus point on lap 122 as he lead a lap before hitting pit road for green-flag pit stops. The No. 17 Toyota Tundra was scored in the third position as the caution was displayed for only the second time of the race on Lap 136 for debris.

With the leader to pit road, Peters assumed the second place position for the restart. Peters took over the lead on Lap 141 and would lead for 21 laps before the third caution was waved with 31 laps remaining. As the field took the green flag, Peters made contact with another competitor shuffling him to the third place. Peters really showed his mettle as an experienced driver by staying in the race with a wounded vehicle and was looking to capture a solid third or fourth place finish. But then there was contact with another truck that took Peters out of contention with four laps to go. The race ended on a green-white-checkered finish with the Parts Plus Tundra finishing 12th.


Timothy Peters talks about his race Iowa Speedway:

"The Parts Plus Tundra was good all day. I kind of question that debris caution and then someone ran over us. We'll go to Chicago. I appreciate everybody at Red Horse Racing for what they do -- Toyota, Parts Plus, OtterBox, Net 10, Zaxby's. Just a disappointing day to what could have been great."



John WesTownley returned to Iowa Speedway after having had his best showing in three starts at the 0.875 mile tri-oval in the series last visit to the track. In his last outing in the No. 7 Zaxby's Toyota Tundra, Townley qualified 14th and finished 12th. The team came to the track with notebooks full of information eager to top that finish.

The team qualified 15th and Townley spent most of the race in the middle of the pack driving a smart, conservative race as he battled a loose-handling race truck. Townley capitalized on his opportunity and beat his previous high finish crossing the line in 11th. 


John Wes Townley talks about his 11th-place finish at Iowa Speedway:

"Yeah, it was a good recovery. We fought loose in all day, but we got it fixed at the end. We ended up with a pretty good finish. All the guys fought all day and that's all you can ask for. All in all, you've got to look at the whole week and it's a pretty good day for Zaxby's, it's a good day for Red Horse Racing and that's all you can ask for."



In Newton, Iowa in July, Germán Quiroga and the No. 77 OtterBox Toyota Tundra captured the pole position and in doing so, set a new track record. This gives a driver confidence in his ability to negotiate his way around the track and Quiroga was ready to prove his mettle. Not qualifying where anticipated, in the 18th position, he quickly began to demonstrate his maturity as a driver by carefully picking his opportunities during the course of the race. By lap 65 he was running inside the top-10 and by lap 116 he was in 7th. The team calmly made their way through two green-white-checker finishes to take sixth place.


Germán Quiroga talks about his sixth-place finish Iowa Speedway:

"I'm happy. To be honest, I thought we were going to be out of the top-10. For a long time, we were out of the top-10, but my team never gave up. We changed engines yesterday and we kept on trying to make the truck better -- I don't know what happened to be honest -- but we didn't give up and it's good. We're going out with a sixth place. That's good for the points and I'm happy."



Jeb Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team are back on track after an eighth-place finish at Iowa Speedway. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) returned to the Midwest state for its second and final visit this season, which allowed Burton to race for redemption after a rookie mistake cost him a top-10 finish in his track debut three months ago. Throughout the two-day event, Burton and the No. 4 team had a solid truck, ranking fourth fastest in the weekend's only practice session and qualifying eighth for Sunday's Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland. Despite a spin with just 10 laps remaining, the No. 4 Chevy managed to collect only minimal damage and continued to race within the top 10 for the remainder of the race. In what was another wild NCWTS finish, Burton's No. 4 Arrowhead truck finished in eighth place after two green/white/checkered flag attempts. Burton remains fourth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings, trailing 66 points behind the current leader.


No longer a rookie at the 0.875-mile track, Burton and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team came prepared with a game plan following their disappointing finish earlier this year. During the weekend's only practice session, Burton provided consistent feedback to his No. 4 team during his 54-lap run and was able to place the Arrowhead Chevy in fourth place on the speed chart. Burton then hit the track to qualify his TSM truck and landed the No. 4 in eighth place on the starting grid for the Fan Appreciation 200. Shortly after the green flag dropped, it was evident that Burton's truck was a force to be reckoned with. As the first caution came out on lap 38, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. told Jeb to remain on the track despite a slight issue with the truck's handling.


Bouncing in between the top five and the top 10, Burton reported that the handling in his truck was getting worse and it was becoming more difficult to turn. At the halfway mark of the Fan Appreciation 200, the No. 4 truck had dropped just outside of the top 10. Hillman encouraged Burton to continue what he was doing, and within 20 to 25 laps, the TSM crew would fix him up. By lap 112, the Arrowhead Chevy was running the same lap times as the leader and making its way back into the top 10 with a vengeance. Following Hillman's strategy, the No. 4 crew performed a green-flag pit stop on lap 125, providing the truck with four Goodyear tires, Sunono fuel and a slight air-pressure adjustment. Just after visiting pit road, the second caution arose, giving Burton the perfect opportunity to remain on the track and take the wave around, moving him three track positions up to eighth place.


With less than 50 laps remaining, the track went yellow for the third time and Burton came down pit road to receive four new tires, making him one of the only drivers to have fresh rubber. The No. 4 truck continued climbing within the top ten until another competitor got into the back of Burton, causing him to spin and send out the fourth caution of the day. Fortunately, the Arrowhead Chevy suffered minimal damage and was able to quickly return to the lineup after a brief inspection by the TSM crew. After two attempts at a green/white/checkered finish, Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead truck crossed the finish line in eighth place.


"We missed it a little today," said Burton. "We had the fastest truck on the track and I couldn't be happier with my No. 4 Arrowhead team. I wish we could've cracked the top five, but hey, I'll take an eighth place finish any day. It was definitely the comeback we needed and we'll keep fighting."


Carrying that momentum to the Windy City, Burton will make his track debut at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, September 13 in the 225. Watch live as the NCWTS races under the lights on FOX Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. CT.



James Buescher headed to Iowa Speedway looking to continue to chip away at the series points lead after having done so in the three previous races. Buescher and his Turner Scott Motorsports team set themselves up for a strong finish with a late-race pit stop that allowed his Exide crew to put on four sticker Goodyear tires and fill the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado up with fuel. Surviving multiple green/white/checkered attempts, Buescher drove to the lead and never looked back, earning his second victory of the season and his first victory at Iowa Speedway. Buescher continued his march forward in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Driver Point Standings and now sits just 37 points out of first.


The teams persistence paid off through the entire final practice session as the No. 31 Exide team, led by crew chief Michael Shelton, found a setup that would allow them to have a shot at the win for Sunday afternoon. Buescher rewarded the Exide team with a third-place qualifying effort for the Fan Appreciation 200.


When the green flag was shown at Iowa Speedway, Buescher quickly jumped into the second spot and aimed to take care of him equipment for later in the race. The race saw its first yellow flag on lap 38 for a spin in Turn 1, and Buescher took advantage of the caution to bring his No. 31 Chevrolet down pit road for fuel and a chassis adjustment while much of the field decided to also take Goodyear tires. Despite not having fresh tires, Buescher held his ground on the ensuing restart and continued to ride inside the top 10 throughout a long green-flag run. He came back down pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 123, taking four tires, fuel and a slight chassis adjustment.


After getting caught a lap down due to an untimely yellow flag for debris, Buescher and the Exide team decided to take the wave around, which put the No. 31 back on the lead lap. Buescher went back to work on the restart and quickly gained three spots, putting himself in the seventh spot with under 50 laps remaining. When the yellow flag was displayed again with 32 laps to go, Shelton called his driver down pit road to bolt on their four remaining sticker Goodyear tires. With the field on older tires, Buescher and the Exide team made their charge through the field and found themselves running in third position when another yellow flag slowed the field with just over 10 laps to go. Once again restarting in the third position with six laps to go, Buescher didn't have an ideal restart but he continued his tight quarter racing into one. The yellow was displayed once again when a truck spun in Turn 1. The yellow flag set up the first attempt at a green/white/checkered finish and Buescher had a very strong restart, but the field didn't get very far before the yellow flag was again displayed. Buescher found himself restarting in the second position for the second attempt at a green/white/checkered finish and quickly cleared his competition, taking the lead and claiming the checkered flag in his No. 31 Exide Silverado.


"My Exide team never gave up," said Buescher. "It was clear when we unloaded we didn't have the best of trucks this weekend, but my team kept digging deep and it paid off. We are definitely hitting on all cylinders, and we're not done yet. I am looking forward to returning to Chicagoland Speedway next week and hope we can continue our march forward."


The NCWTS will return to action at Chicagoland Speedway for the 225 on Friday September 13 at 8:30pm EDT

live on Fox Sports 1. The event can also be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90 or MRN Radio.


If it weren't for Joey Coulter's bad luck, he may not have any luck at all. After a 17th-place qualifying effort and going a lap down to the race leader prior to the half-way point in the 200-lap event, the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra was on the fast track to a top-10 finish in the closing laps of the Fan Appreciation 200 when a late race accident with the No. 62 machine of Brendan Gaughan sent him hard into the Turn 1 wall, relegating the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver to a 25th-place finish at Iowa Speedway - his first DNF of the 2013 season.

"I guess today wasn't our day," said Coulter after being released from the infield care center at Iowa Speedway. "We didn't have a good qualifying effort because the truck was just too loose on entry and then we struggled with the same thing at the start of the race. I just couldn't make my Tundra stick in the corners like everyone else and we dropped like a rocket. The guys worked hard - didn't give up - and we ended up getting our lap back. On that first green-white-checkered restart we were in line for a solid top-10 finish, but the 62 got into me in Turn 2 and that ended our day early. It's disheartening - to have that kind of day and to come back from it and then have this happen just really show's what kind of year we have had. Our day is coming and we will regroup and I look forward to a solid run in Chicago next week."

Starting from the inside of row nine, in the 17th position, Coulter was able to gain three positions in the early stages of the Fan Appreciation 200 at Iowa Speedway before settling into the 14th position by lap three. Suffering from a, "free on entry" condition, crew chief Harold Holly brought the No. 18 Toyota Tundra to pit road under the first of six caution flags on lap 38 for fuel and a chassis adjustment. While most of the leaders opted to take tires, Coulter would gain eight positions on pit road and restart from the sixth position on lap 44.

On the restart Coulter would get loose entering Turn 1, forcing the No. 18 machine to lose multiple positions on the race track. Still suffering from a loose Toyota Tundra, Coulter was forced to search for grip on the race track during a long green flag run. By lap 64, the 23-year-old driver was scored in the 18th position, one lap down to the race leader.

By lap 121 the race leaders began to make their way down pit road for green flag pit stops. Coulter, who was one lap down to the race leader, opted to stay out for as long as he could to try and catch a caution. Unfortunately, the race stayed caution-free and Coulter would give-up the second position on lap 128 to come down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. When the field cycled through, the No. 18 machine was scored 17th one lap down.

Just eight laps later the second caution flag of the afternoon was displayed for debris on the backstretch. Having just hit pit road, Coulter opted to stay out and would take the lap-140 restart from the 17th position, the second truck one lap down.

Four laps later, Coulter made a pass on the No. 7 truck - putting him in position for the "Lucky Dog" award - which is where he remained until the third caution flag was displayed on lap 170 for debris in Turn 2.

As the "Lucky Dog" recipient, Coulter brought his Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra to pit road for four tires, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment. As one of the only trucks on pit road with new tires, the No. 18 was set-up to make a charge in the final 30 laps of the 200 lap event.

Starting 14th on lap 173, Coulter was able to gain four positions on track before the fifth caution was displayed on lap 197 for a three truck accident in Turn 2. Complaining that his Tundra was, "tight in the center of the corner and on exit" Coulter discussed bringing his 18 machine to pit road for a quick chassis adjustment, but opted against it for track position.

Coulter found himself lined up 10th for the green-white-checkered restart on lap 203. Unfortunately, just two laps later, the No. 62 machine of Brendan Gaughan made impact with the 18 Tundra in Turn 2, sending Coulter hard into the wall and relegating him to a 25th-place finish, seven laps down to the race winner.

James Buescher won the 2nd Annual Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland, his second win of 2013. Ross Chastain (second) posted his first top-5 finish in four races at Iowa Speedway. Ty Dillon (third) posted his third top-10 finish in four races at Iowa Speedway. Johnny Sauter finished fourth and Coulter's Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr. was the highest finishing rookie in

Erik Jones finished ninth behind the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra - his fourth consecutive top 10 finish in four career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts.

The field was slowed six times for 35 laps and the race set a track record for the most lead changes in a NCWTS race at Iowa Speedway with 12.

Following his second straight finish of 25th or worse, Coulter remains 12th in the 2013 NCWTS driver's point standings, 28 markers behind 10th-place Brendan Gaughan, 59 points behind 5th-place Timothy Peters and 133 markers behind series point leader Matt Crafton.

The NCWTS will make their 16th start of the season at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet for the 225 on Friday night, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET.  Coulter has two previous starts at the 1.5-mile oval including two top-15 finishes.



Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Ty Dillon) and 24th (Brendan Gaughan). 
  • Dillon is third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, 58 markers behind the leader; while Gaughan ranks 10th in the standings, 105 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 13th in the standings.
  • According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Dillon was the Fastest Driver Late in a Run, earned the second-best Driver Rating (123.7), had the second-best Green-Flag Speed, was the third-Fastest on Restarts and fifth-Fasted Driver Early in a Run.
  • Gaughan completed 59 Green-Flag Passes, 26 which came while running in the top-15 (Quality Passes).
  • RCR teammates posted 49 of the Fastest Laps Run. Dillon earned 38 second-most of all competitors, while Gaughan posted 11.
  • James Buescher took the checkered flag and was followed to the line by Ross Chastain, Dillon, Johnny Sauter and Darrell Wallace Jr.
  • The next scheduled Camping World Truck Series race is the 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, Sept. 13. The 16th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.




Dillon Fights Back to Finish Third at Iowa


Despite battling alternator issues throughout the second portion of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway, Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team earn a third-place result. After starting from the fifth spot, crew chief Marcus Richmond instructed the 21-year-old driver to stay on the racing surface during the lap 38 caution period to assume the lead on the ensuing restart. Dillon led the race until lap 80 when he was called to pit road under green-flag conditions for his first pit stop of the day for four tires and fuel. When Dillon returned to the track, he was scored 22nd, one lap down to the leader. When green flag pit stops began on lap 127, the Richard Childress Racing team gained their lap back and resumed the race lead. Trouble struck on lap 135 when the black and orange Chevrolet lost battery voltage. While under caution, the Richmond-led pit crew changed left-side tires and the battery. Dillon returned to pit road in the following lap for fresh right-side tires. He restarted 13th on lap 141 and maneuvered through the field, moving up to fifth by lap 179. Alternator issues continued to plaque the young driver forcing him to turn off all of his brake fans that kept his tires cool which made the No. 3 machine tight. Dillon survived two green-white-checkered attempts and battled through low battery voltage during the final laps to finish third at Iowa Speedway.


Start - 5         Finish - 3          Laps Led - 46          Points - 3



"Man, what a day. Our alternator broke halfway through the race, so I couldn't use any of my fans. That really hurt our tires, and we couldn't get back up there to contend for the win. This Bass Pro Shops team has a lot to be proud of. We're going to keep our heads up and go get us another win."





Late-Race Incident Relegates Gaughan to a 24th-Place Finish at Iowa Speedway


Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino team brought home a 24th-place result Sunday afternoon at Iowa Speedway after battling handling issues, surviving a blown tire and being involved in a late-race incident. The Las Vegas native started the scheduled 200-lap event from the fourth position and battled an extremely tight-handing Chevrolet during the initial race run. Following a visit to pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, Gaughan made his way toward the front of the field settling into the second spot on lap 80. While running in the front of the pack, the Richard Childress Racing driver radioed to the Shane Wilson-led team that he had a flat right-front tire, forcing them to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 115 under green-flap condition for repairs. Gaughan returned to the track a lap down to the leader, but was able to regain a position on the lead lap as green-flag pit stops cycled through the field, and moved back into the top 10 by lap 128. A timely caution followed, allowing the South Point Hotel & Casino pit crew to work on a brake issue caused by the blown tire. Gaughan returned to the track in the 12th position, and worked his way into the top 10 during the final laps when he connected with another competitor during the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, relegating the team to a 24th-place finish. Following the race at the America's Place to Race, Gaughan dropped two positions, to 10th, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings.


Start - 4         Finish - 24          Laps Led - 0          Points - 10th



"The South Point Hotel & Casino team worked extremely hard and certainly earned their pay today. It seemed like if it could go wrong today it did, luck just wasn't on our side. We had a good run going at the end, and I thought we were going to be able to salvage a decent finish. I tried to get too much during the restart and ended up connecting with the 18, taking us both out of the race. Certainly not the way we wanted to end the day."



Johnny Sauter's crew chief Dennis Connor and their No. 98 Carolina Nut Co. / Curb Records Toyota team would probably revolt if Sauter got his latest wish, but it's a fact in their last two completed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races Sauter's come from last-to-fourth, including Sunday's conversion in the Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway.


"We started last at Bristol and finished fourth and we started last again (Sunday) and finished fourth again," Sauter said. "We had a long way to go to get here, but my ThorSport guys just never give up and I love them for that. We were solid in the pits and we needed that.

"We broke a sway-bar arm in qualifying and had to fix that (Sunday) morning and that sent us to the rear for the start, but I told the guys after the race that maybe this is our deal. I'm just proud of everybody at ThorSport Racing, Carolina Nut Company, Curb Records... The Triad motor was good, Goodyear tires were good -- I just want to thank everybody at TRD and Toyota that supports us..."

After a devastating DNF at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Sauter's bunch rebounded well after their Iowa weekend seemed to be in the dumpster. The truck didn't practice well and qualified only 25th after Connor and his men made change after change.

"We just -- for whatever reason, I couldn't get any speed (Saturday) -- we struggled mightily, I guess you could say," Sauter said. "We were just off all day, but I could run the same speed. Sometimes that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it's hot and slick."


But in the end, the change enabled by the broken part was the key. Sauter started 32nd and arrowed into 20th in the first 15 laps. Soon after, keyed by a good pit stop Sauter restarted 12th at lap 44 after the race's first caution.


Sauter rolled into 10th at lap 78 of the originally-scheduled 200 and was a fixture in the top-10 for the rest of the race. He even had a chance to win the race. A lot of slicing and dicing, which led to four restarts in the last 22 laps, including 12 laps of

"overtime" and three attempts at green-white-checkered finishes, left him in fourth at the end.   


"It's another top-five at Iowa," Sauter said. "This is just a great racetrack for me and ThorSport. I just wish we could win here, one time. We just have solid trucks and this place just reminds me of Richmond, which is one of my favorites and statistically it's one of my best.

"This is eight (career) races here and we've got seven top-fives and Matt (Crafton) had the best average finish in the series coming into this race. We both always seem to run well here so I wouldn't care if we raced here 10 times a year."

That's not going to happen, as the series next races at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, as part of a NASCAR tripleheader that kicks-off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Sauter has plenty of positive vibes to take out of Iowa, to a 1.5-mile track -- a style venue on which he also thrives.

"Our restarts were pretty solid (Sunday) and we had a good truck, but track position was everything," Sauter said. "We just fought hard all day and had a truck that I felt like, on long runs, was one of the best trucks. We had a decent restart there at the end and we'll take a fourth-place finish.

"Like I said, we were not where we wanted to be all weekend but I'm just proud of everybody for sticking in there and working hard. If you would have told me (Sunday) morning that we were gonna finish fourth I would've said 'yeah, right...'" But it worked out."

The most important aspect of the finish was that it put Sauter back into eighth in the standings, now just 30 points out of fifth, and 104 behind championship leader Crafton. And Sauter tipped that he might have a new favorite truck, currently outfitted in the "sea salt and pepper" peanuts' blue-and-black colors.

"ThorSport obviously builds great trucks -- everybody back at the shop and on the road crew does a great job," Sauter said. "This is my favorite truck, now because my favorite truck got killed in Charlotte (in May). So this is my new favorite truck and we're going to beat it out a little, polish it up and bring it to Chicago and try to run the heck out it."
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