Tuesday, Dec 05
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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The race dates are just two months apart, but the Sprint Cup Series' two visits to Michigan International Speedway are distinctly different.  David Ragan cites the rise in temperature in August as the cause of a more challenging race for the second visit, so the No. 34 Taco Bell team is preparing for a hotter, slicker racetrack as they gear up for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.


Ragan earned a top-25 finish in the June visit to the two-mile oval, despite windy conditions that kept blowing trash on the car's grille and forcing some unscheduled pit stops to prevent overheating.


In 13 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan, Ragan has one top-five, two top-10 and five top-15 finishes, and hasn't finished outside the top 25 in his last six starts at the venue.


Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan heading to Michigan:


"I think the Michigan racetrack has aged a little bit.  And Goodyear's found a good combination with the tire that allows us to be aggressive.  We don't have any tire issues.  But it's still fast.  We saw some 200-mile-an-hour speeds there in the spring.  The second race is always a little slower because it's hotter when you get into August in Michigan, and so it's always a little more challenging than the first weekend.


"We'll have to really be on our marks, see what we can take from that first weekend and adjust on our Ford Fusion a little bit.  It was great to see Ford get that win in the spring, so hopefully another Ford can back it up this weekend.  But again, that second race is a little slower, has a little less grip, and you just have to know that going in.


"The racing groove at Michigan has widened a little bit.  We really haven't gotten up to the wall, but I think the bottom two, two-and-a-half grooves are very racy.  A lot of guys were right on the white line running along the bottom.  It's only going to get better with time.  I don't think we're going to be in that third or fourth groove for this upcoming weekend, but I think in another year or so you'll see the four- or five-wide guys rim-riding around the top of that place before you know it."


You could say David Gilliland's first run at Michigan International Speedway this season fell a little flat.  That's because he suffered two flat tires over the course of the 400-mile race, yet still brought home a top-25 finish with a fast Long John Silver's Ford.


The No. 38 team will look for redemption during this weekend's Pure Michigan 400, bringing the same speed to the two-mile, D-shaped oval, and hopefully better luck with tires.


Gilliland has 15 Sprint Cup starts at the Brooklyn, Mich., venue, with a top finish of 17th (2007).


Comments from Long John Silver's team driver David Gilliland heading to Michigan:


"We ran very well at Michigan earlier.  We had a very fast car.  But I had two flat tires during the race, two right rear flat tires.  That's kind of odd for us.  But we still had a good run, and we're looking forward to going back there with exactly what we took from that track and building on it.  I feel like we learned a lot during the race.  I feel like we figured the tire out, and it's going to be the same tire going back.  So we have a lot of confidence going back into Michigan.


"I feel like the grooves of the racetrack opened up more last time.  I felt like we could run the bottom and the middle for sure.  That's progress since the repave a while ago.  And maybe this time it will open up another groove for us.


"Michigan is always an important race for our team because we're in Ford's backyard, and we always want to have a good showing for Ford Racing.  We usually get to meet with some of the Ford executives on race day and hear about some of the cool things going on there.  At Front Row Motorsports, I feel like we've made really good gains on our intermediate program this year, so I think we can have a really good showing with our Ford Fusion on Sunday."



riStar Motorsports driver Chad Hackenbracht will return to his home track on Saturdayto make his road course debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It will be a homecoming for Hackenbracht, who grew up in New Philadelphia, Ohio, and whose No. 44 Toyota Camry will carry sponsorship from Ohio based Tastee Apple Inc.


The Inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 will be the first time many Nationwide Series drivers have sat behind the wheel on the 2.258 mile paved road course.  Fortunately for Hackenbracht, he recently had the opportunity to race at Mid-Ohio in a 1989 RX-7 in a local event sanctioned by NASA.  The added seat time at the unfamiliar track will give Hackenbracht an edge on the competition.  In addition to his time at Mid-Ohio, the 22-year-old recently participated in a road course test at Virginia International Raceway. 


This will not be the first time the Ohio native will meander through the turns at Mid-Ohio, but it will be his first time in a stock car with 40 other competitors.  Although he is considered a rookie in the Nationwide Series, he is not new to road course racing. He earned his first road course pole in 2012 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the ARCA Racing Series and finished ninth there in 2011. 


This will not be the first time the Ohio native will meander through the turns at Mid-Ohio, but it will be his first time in a stock car with 40 other competitors.  Although he is considered a rookie in the Nationwide Series, he is not new to road course racing. He earned his first road course pole in 2012 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the ARCA Racing Series and finished ninth there in 2011. 


"I'm looking forward to racing in my home state in front of family and friends," said Hackenbracht, who will have many of his supporters at Mid-Ohio this weekend. "I have raced in Ohio before at Toledo Speedway but I am really excited to race on a road course here. Road courses are fun to drive and to be a part of an Inaugural event is pretty cool."


Hackenbracht will have his family's business Tastee Apple, Inc. as his primary sponsor on the No. 44 Toyota Camry. 

On Wednesday, August 14th, Hackenbracht, along with fellow Nationwide Series driver Trevor Bayne and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will make a special visit the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to visit with children being treated there.  Later in the week, Hackenbracht will participate in the Nationwide Series autograph session on Friday, August 16th, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.  The autograph session will take place on Championship Row.  Spaces are limited to the first 350 fans who get their wristbands early from the Nationwide Insurance display in the infield. 
The Inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 will be live on ESPN on Saturday August 17th with coverage beginning at 2 p.m.


Ryan Blaney (@RyanBlaney22), driver of the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford F-150, will make his first ever career start at Michigan International Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) during Saturday afternoon's Michigan National Guard 200.


Previously in June of this year, Blaney started first and finished second after leading 64 laps in the 2013 Patriot Pumps 200 ARCA race at Michigan.


Blaney is coming off his second career NCWTS victory in his first ever start at Pocono Raceway two weekends ago in the Pocono Mountains 125.


It will be Blaney and his Cooper Standard team's first and only run on a two-mile track this season in the NCWTS. In Blaney's first two races this season on tracks of two-miles or greater, he has an average finish of 4.5.


Proud sponsor, Cooper Standard, will have over 2,000 employees on the ground at Michigan International Speedway this weekend to enjoy the race.


The No. 29 Cooper Standard team currently sits third in the NCWTS driver points standings, 62 points back from first and just 10 points back from second.


"I'm so proud of my team for performing the way they did a couple of weeks ago when we won at Pocono. I can't wait to get on the track at Michigan and back that win up. Our team has come a long way since day one this year and with that said, I'm confident we can run for this year's drivers' championship, but we have to take it one race at a time." Ryan Blaney 




Joey Logano (@JoeyLogano), driver of the No. 19 Draw-Tite Ford F-150, will make his third start for Brad Keselowski Racing (@TeamBKR) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) during the Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 17th.


The Penske Racing driver will pilot the No. 19 entry in his fourth career NCWTS start. In Logano's previous two starts this season for BKR, he's finished second at Rockingham Speedway and 24th at Kansas Speedway, after battling a mechanical failure that took him out of contention early in the going. 


Saturday will be Logano's 15th career start at Michigan International Speedway and his first in the NCWTS, all 14 prior races coming in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS). Logano has one win at Michigan, coming last season in the NNS, where he started third and won the 2012 Alliance Truck Parts 250.


Logano will also be competing in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion for Penske Racing on Sunday afternoon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.


The No. 19 BKR team now sits seventh in the NCWTS owner points standings, 71 points back from first.


"I'm very excited about the opportunity Brad has given me this year to run a few races in one of his Trucks. Michigan is a fast, fast track and I can't wait to get out there and get these guys a win. It should be a very fun race and can't wait for the chance to hopefully get the Draw-Tite guys their first victory of 2013."  - Joey Logano



Richmond International Raceway has options available for fans to enhance their September 6 & 7 race day experiences with packages that include pre-race pit passes, exclusive driver appearances, food & beverage and much more.

Pit Stop Club ($2,300 per group of 8), includes:

  • Eight reserved grandstand seats in the Commonwealth Mezzanine on the frontstretch for the Saturday, September 7, Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
  • Guided garage tours for each guest
  • Pre-race pit passes for each guest
  • Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Two VIP parking passes
  • Admission to the Pit Stop Club hospitality area, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., which includes a full buffet with beverages – complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and water

Torque Club ($800 per person), includes:

  • Reserved, outdoor stadium seat for both the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
  • Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR drivers Marcos Ambrose (Friday); Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski (Saturday)
  • Pre-race pit pass for both days
  • All-inclusive gourmet food package
  • Unlimited soft drinks and water
  • Adult beverage tickets
  • Reserved parking
  • Access to the indoor, air-conditioned lounge

Veranda Club ($320 per person), includes:

  • Reserved seat in the top row of the Veranda grandstand for both the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race
  • Pre-race pit pass for Saturday, September 7
  • Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Guided garage tour on Saturday, September 7
  • VIP parking for both September 6 and September 7
  • Admission to the Pit Stop Club hospitality area, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., which includes a full buffet with beverages – complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and water

For more information on these options, please call RIR’s Sales Office at 804-228-7611 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Veteran driver Mike Bliss hit a milestone on Saturday as the NASCAR Nationwide Series entered Watkins Glen International for the second road course race of the year.  As one of 19 drivers to make 300 or more starts in the Series, Bliss and his crew were eager for a change in pace and luck.  Bliss prepared to play it safe at the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course, high atop Seneca Lake in New York. Always an eventful outing, the Zippo 200 lived up to its reputation for Bliss and his TriStar crew, who overcame a broken track bar early in the race to finish 27th

Starting from the 25th position, Bliss was forced to take evasive action on the first lap of the 82 lap event.   Applying his brakes more than normal, entering the first turn to avoid a wreck, Bliss was left unscathed but the two-car pileup halted the field under the first full course caution on lap one. Deciding to stay on track to "feel out" whether he ran over debris or flat spotted his tires, Bliss restarted 21st.  

On lap 7, while running in the 20th position, Bliss radioed to Crew Chief Paul Clapprood "it feels like the track bar is broken". Driving his Toyota Camry to pit road, Bliss' crew surveyed the  car and made the observation that the track bar and mount were broken.

Bliss pulled the No. 19 into the garage so his crew could remount the track bar.  The crew made quick work of the repairs, returning Bliss to the track only 11 laps down in the 34th position.   

Bliss capitalized on the final two cautions to make slight adjustments to his Camry. During the final caution with 25 laps to go, Bliss made his final stop of the day.  Restarting  28th, Bliss was able to gain a position in the final laps to finish the Zippo 200 in the 27th position.

 "Again my guys worked really hard this weekend," said Bliss. "We were set up for a good race, but when something uncontrollable goes wrong there's not much you can do."

Following the Zippo 200, Bliss still maintains the 13th spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Points Standing. Bliss and his crew will head into the third road course of the season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, August 17th.

Bet On Brazil...The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) heads north for the series' only stop of the season at Michigan International Speedway. Paludo has made two visits to Michigan in the past, finishing and starting in the top 10 in both previous starts. Paludo's best start at the track (third) was earned last year with Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM), while he garnered his best finish of third in 2011.


Flags Are Crossed...The most recent NCWTS race at Pocono Raceway marked the halfway point in the 22-race season. In the 11 completed events, Paludo has earned one top five, seven top 10s and has led a total of 42 laps. Paludo started from the pole in one event, and his best finish of 2013 is second.


This Week's Silverado...Paludo and the No. 32 AccuDoc Solutions team will unload chassis TSM-600 this week at Michigan. TSM-600 has not finished worse than seventh in its three previous races and was driven to Paludo's career-best finish (second) in the most recent NCWTS race at Pocono Raceway.


It'll Be Worth Something...If you're at the track this weekend, stop by and meet Paludo and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session on Friday, August 16 from 4:15-5:00 p.m. EDT. The session will be held in the tent at the Turn 1 tram stop.


Watch And Listen...The Michigan National Guard 200 can be seen live on Saturday, August 17 on Fox Sports 1. Catch all the action in the cockpit as Paludo will carry an on-board camera for the television broadcast. Coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Don't Say Green Isn't Lucky...The No. 32 Chevrolet is once again going green, sporting the colors of AccuDoc Solutions this weekend. AccuDoc Solutions is based in Morrisville, N.C. and provides billing-statement printing and processing to hospitals and hospital-based physicians. In addition to paper-based billing statements, ADS enables patients to choose electronic statement delivery and make payments through secure online payment portals. Notable North Carolina based clients include Carolina's Healthcare System, the UNC Healthcare System, Sentara Healthcare, Baptist Health Care Pensacola, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Memorial Healthcare System and WakeMed. To learn more, visit www.AccuDocSolutions.com.


Previous Race Recap...Paludo was the class of the field when the NCWTS headed to the Tricky Triangle for the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway. Paludo topped the practice charts and took the green from the pole position, consistently running the fastest laps of the race and surviving multiple green/white/checkered restarts before finishing in the runner-up position.


Miguel Paludo on driving at Michigan International Speedway

"Michigan is a track where I enjoy racing and I feel like it suits my driving style. Up until last weekend, Michigan was my career-best finish, and we're bringing the same truck we brought to Pocono. That truck keeps getting better and better every time we race it, and after finishing second, the next step is bringing it to victory lane. We've been getting so close to a win, and I've got a good feeling about this weekend."



Racing in the Irish Hills...James Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team head to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) looking to rebound from a disappointing finish at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago. This visit will mark Buescher's fifth start at MIS in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). In his last run at this track, Buescher brought his Silverado home with a fifth-place finish.  


Gotta Have a Rheem...Rheem will once again adorn the sides of the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado at MIS for the Michigan National Guard 200. Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 87th year of operation, the company manufactures a full line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company's premium brands, including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem, have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design and high quality. Rheem, now in its seventh consecutive year as a NASCAR sponsor, is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Turner Scott Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing. Rheem also sponsors RCR's No. 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series car driven by Paul Menard.


Chassis Info...Making a quick turnaround, the Rheem team will bring the same Chevrolet Silverado to MIS that they ran at Pocono Raceway. Chassis TSM-217 has seen action in three previous events this season.


Previous Race Recap....Looking to continue his move to the top of the NCWTS Point Standings, Buescher went into the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway with a great history at the track, having earned second and third place finishes in the two previous years. With qualifying rained out on Saturday morning, the field was set based on speeds from the weekend's only practice session. Starting the race from eighth position, Buescher ran just outside the top five most of the 50-lap race until contact with another competitor sent Buescher spinning, relegating him to a 21st-place finish.


Watch and Listen...The National Guard 200 can be seen live on Saturday, August 17 on the newly rebranded channel FOX Sports 1. Race coverage will begin at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


It's A Boy!!!...Buescher and wife Kris welcomed a baby boy to the world on Friday, July 26. Stetson Rees Buescher was born at 10:02 a.m., weighing in at 7 lbs, 15 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.


Get Your Sharpies Ready...Come out and meet Buescher, along with the rest of the Turner Scott Motorsports drivers, and get an autograph on Friday afternoon from 4:00-5:00 p.m. The session will be held in the tent outside of Turn 1.


James Buescher on Returning to Michigan International Speedway

"For a while it was looking like we were going to have a pretty good day at Pocono; unfortunately, we got turned around on the last lap and gave back all the points we were going to gain. I really like running at Michigan, it's a lot of fun and I've had some good runs there, so I think this could be a great place to turn around our season."



Back on Track...Making their way to the Great Lake State, Jeb Burton and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) head north to tackle Michigan International Speedway in Saturday's Michigan National Guard 200. Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead team remain second in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings heading into this weekend's race.


This Week's Silverado...The No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team will unload chassis TSM-220 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Although it boasts quite the resume, including Burton's first career win at Texas Motor Speedway, TSM-220 had a disappointing run at Pocono Raceway. Hoping to bounce back, the No. 4 team will try once again to land this truck in victory lane.


Stop and Say Hello...If you're at the track on Friday, stop and meet Burton and his TSM teammates at the NCWTS autograph session located in the tent outside of Turn 1 from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. EDT.


Watch and Listen...NASCAR trucks action will be live from Michigan on Saturday, August 17 on the newly branded FOX Sports 1. Coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. EDT. The race can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Previous Race Recap...Making their return to pavement, Burton and the NCWTS headed to the Tricky Triangle of Pocono Raceway. Following a top-three finish in practice, qualifying was cancelled due to rain, placing Burton in third position on the starting grid for the Pocono Mountains 125. Early on, Burton struggled with handling issues and despite several adjustments made by the No. 4 team, Burton was unable to gain solid control of the truck on the 2.5-mile track. Fighting until the end, Burton and the No. 4 Arrowhead Chevy crossed the finish line in 12th place.


Jeb Burton on Racing at Michigan International Speedway

"To say I'm ready to race at Michigan is an understatement. We just couldn't get things right at Pocono. The handling was off; it felt like it was all over the place the entire race. I know what our team is capable of and I definitely know what our truck can do, so we've put that race behind us and set our focus completely on Michigan. I've been studying race film, talking to teammates and doing some iRacing to prepare. I think our Arrowhead Chevy has a good shot this weekend. Like always, we'll sure give it all we've got."




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