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The following is a statement from Dale Earnhardt Jr., founder and owner of JR Motorsports, regarding the departure of crew chief Tony Eury Jr.:
As the championship battle heats up at the newly reconfigured Kansas Speedway, actor-comedian Rob Riggle, has decided to join in on the action and has been named Grand Marshal for the Hollywood Casino 400, the sixth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Riggle recently hosted the 20thannual ESPY Awards on ESPN, which is also airing the Hollywood Casino 400 live from Kansas Speedway on Oct. 21 at 1 PM CT.
"I am so honored to be the Grand Marshal for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway! I love NASCAR racing and I love going home to Kansas City,” said Riggle, a native of Overland Park, Kan. and a University of Kansas graduate. “I'm not 100% sure what my responsibilities are as Grand Marshal? Do I get my own race car?"
“I’m excited to have Rob at Kansas Speedway and be the Grand Marshal for the Hollywood Casino 400 and to be a part of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” said Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren. “To be able to have Rob come to his home track and be a part of our championship weekend means a lot to me and our fans.”
Riggle was recently added to the “FOX NFL Sunday” pre-game studio show this season, taking over the role of the show’s in-house comedian. He served as a Correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and he has also appeared in several movies, including: this year’s box-office hits Dr. Suess’ The Lorax and 21 Jump Street as well as The Hangover, The Other Guys and Step Brothers. Riggle was a regular on Saturday Night Live (2004-2005) and has appeared in several television shows, including Arrested Development, The Office, Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV, Wilfred and 30 Rock. He has also appeared on numerous talk shows, including Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan and The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Earlier this year, Riggle also took part in the Drive4COPD Pro-Am Celebrity Racing Challenge at Auto Club Speedway to help raise awareness for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Kansas Speedway PR
Justin Lofton and the No. 6 Lofton Cattle team's night came to an early end in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway when the No. 6 Chevrolet suffered terminal damage in a lap 95 accident. After leading laps and racing inside the top 10 throughout most of the night, Lofton's championship battle took a hit as a result of a 31st-place finish.
With two practice sessions over two days, Lofton worked closely with the Lofton Cattle team to fine-tune the handling of their Chevrolet. Extremely pleased with their machine in race trim, the No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team knew that their Lofton Cattle Chevrolet would be one to contend with during Saturday night's race.
Lofton rolled off 13th in the American Ethanol 200 after recording a 23.267-second lap during qualifying. With his truck initially a bit tight, the Lofton Cattle team utilized the lap 24 caution period to make a chassis adjustment to increase the forward bite in their Chevrolet. The team also serviced the No. 6 machine with four tires and fuel, enabling him to remain on track when most of his competitors came down pit road during the lap 36 caution period.
By lap 56, Lofton inherited the lead under caution and led the field to the green for the lap 59 restart. As a result, the championship contender gained a pivotal bonus point that is sure to be important in the 2012 championship hunt. With many close competitors on fresher tires, Lofton held the lead for just five laps before falling back a few positions.
Still running in the seventh position on lap 95, Lofton was racing through lap traffic when the No. 07 spun off turn two in front of the Lofton Cattle Chevrolet. The other truck cut a right front tire and rode along the outside wall and Lofton went low on the track hoping to avoid the incident. However, when the No. 07 turned across the track he caught the right side of Lofton's machine and turned him into the outside retaining wall. The incident resulted in terminal damage to Lofton's No. 6 Lofton Cattle Chevrolet and a 31st place finish.
"Obviously we're disappointed about our finish," commented Lofton. "We had a great truck and were able to lead some laps in the Lofton Cattle Chevrolet. It's just frustrating when you're running for a championship and the guys are all working so hard to be taken out in the middle of the race."
Justin Lofton PR
The number 33 will always be a number near and dear to Ron Hornaday's heart as he took the number to victory lane many times with Kevin Harvick, Inc. in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) before teaming up with Joe Denette Motorsports (JDM) in 2012. However, it's safe to say Hornaday didn't want to see his name beside that number on the final finishing order for Saturday night's American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee at Iowa Speedway.
With new sponsor Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff making their debut on the No. 9 Chevrolet in the 200-lap event, Hornaday and the JDM team were hoping to best their previous finishing position of second at the 0.875-mile Iowa oval with a trip to victory lane Saturday night. Unfortunately, Hornaday was caught up in a wreck at lap 69 of 200 in which JDM chassis No. 3 sustained severe damage to the rear and was eventually deemed terminal, ending the sophomore team's night early.
The 200-lap battle under the lights at Iowa Speedway was the 15th race on the 22-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule and marked Hornaday's 315th series start.
In Friday's first NCWTS practice session Hornaday went to third on the board early and only complained that his Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff No. 9 Chevrolet was too free exiting the corner. After falling to tenth midway through the session, the JDM team made adjustments to get the splitter off the race track and sent Hornaday back out to post the sixth-fastest time. Hornaday, who did not make a mock qualifying run that session, ended the first round of practice 12th-fastest overall.
The team got one final round of practice for an hour on Saturday afternoon before Saturday night's American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee. On his first run, Hornaday posted the second-quickest time, but reported the track had no grip. As the session progressed, the Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff No. 9 developed a tight condition through the center of the corner and an uneasy feeling in the right front. After making adjustments to combat the tight condition and preparing the No. 9 Silverado for a mock qualifying run Hornaday went to third on the leader board. When the session concluded, Hornaday was scored in the 14th position.
Hornaday rolled off 20th in the American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee time trials and went to the provisional pole on his first lap with a lap of 23.12 seconds (136.216 mph) before reporting that his Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet was chattering all four tires and lacked grip. After the final qualifiers took time, Hornaday settled his No. 9 onto the inside of row four in the seventh position, his career-best starting position at the Newton, Iowa track.
In the opening laps of the 200-lap NCWTS event, Hornaday wasted no time and was already up one position to sixth on lap two. As the green-flag run continued Hornaday began running lap times faster than the leaders from the sixth position at lap 21.
The first caution flag of the night flew at lap 24 and Hornaday radioed to crew chief Terry "Richie" Snyder that his Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff machine was loose both in and off Iowa Speedway's high-banked corners. Snyder chose to keep Hornaday off pit road and on track with the leaders.
The 36-truck field took the green flag to resume the American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee at lap 28 and after a short battle for position with the No. 33 of Cale Gale, Hornaday pulled away with a tight grasp on the sixth-position before the yellow flag waved again at lap 36. Under the second caution of the night, crew chief Terry "Richie" Snyder chose to follow the leaders again and this time it was to pit road. The JDM No. 9 crew fitted Hornaday's Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Silverado with four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel before sending him back out scored 17th fort the restart.
On the restart at lap 40, Hornaday once again wasted no time and gained five positions in five laps to find himself scored 12th as things shook out and then up to 11th by lap 49. It was only a handful of laps before the caution waved for a third time in the American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee at lap 55 and Hornaday reported to pit road that his No. 9 machine was getting loose into the corner. Under the third caution of the night Hornaday consulted his spotter, and former NCWTS champion, Ted Musgrave and explained he couldn't quite arc the truck into the corner like he wanted. Musgrave encouraged Hornaday to work on exiting the corners and opted to stay off pit road under this caution. When the NCWTS field restarted at lap 59, Hornaday lined up fifth on the leader board.
Unfortunately, Hornaday didn't get the chance to advance any further as he lost the fifth-position to Todd Bodine on lap 65 and was then caught up in an incident at lap 69 that caused damage eventually deemed terminal to the Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff No. 9 Chevrolet. Although the JDM crew took the No. 9 Silverado to the garage for repairs, they were unable to rejoin the field for the remainder of the 200-lap event.
When the checkered flag fell at lap 200, Hornaday was scored in the 33rd position behind winner, Ryan Blaney. Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Johnny Sauter and Cale Gale rounded out the top-five.
Ron Hornaday Quotes:
"We really struggled with getting the splitter off the race track in both of the practice sessions this weekend. I thought the truck was pretty good in qualifying but it lacked grip and I was unable to make it stick on the second lap and I left a few tenths out on the race track, but it was still a solid effort by this Joe Denette Motorsports team. The truck was really good at the beginning of a run and I thought we would be pretty decent during the race. I got loose on the longer runs and it snapped loose on entry into turn-two and the 30 clipped me in the left rear and I spun up into the wall. It was unfortunate we weren't able to get it back out there but I have to thank Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff for their support, the truck looked good out there it's just a shame we weren't able to deliver the results this time."
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made a statement Saturday night in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finishing first in the Dollar General 300 and leaving Chicagoland Speedway (Joliet, IL) with the series championship points lead. Stenhouse crossed the finish line 2.4 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Busch to earn a fifth win of the season and the seventh of his young career.
"The last four races we've finished second, first, second, and first, so I think we've got good momentum," said Stenhouse. "But in this business, in this sport, anything can change at any time. You've got to keep your guard up, and you've got to keep not making mistakes."
Stenhouse led 22 laps, including the last 21, to give Jack Roush his first victory at the 1.5-mile track and Roush Fenway Racing their 130th series win.
Only hours after earning the exciting win in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Stenhouse Jr. had even more reasons to celebrate a great day of racing. Stenhouse Jr. also is the owner of Jason Johnson's No. 41 sprint car.
Jason Johnson cruised to victory lane in his 300th career Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series start at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track (Ft. Worth, TX) on Saturday night. Johnson stayed competitive in a race full of cautions and restarts to capture his 11th victory of the 2012 season with his Roush Yates-powered Sprint 360 engine.
"For Ricky and I, ever since we teamed up we've always both tried to win on the same day and today was that day. We have a great team and sponsorship partners that work hard together to give me a good car every night," said Johnson. "This is a lot of fun. I am glad we got the win here in Texas tonight with this Roush Yates Ford engine."
Chris Brown is continuing to find success with his Roush Yates-powered Modified engine. Brown took the checkered flag at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track in Saturday night's Port-O-Cool U.S. National Dirt Track Championships. Due to hard luck and missing parts, Brown had been disqualified from the race twice before after finishing first but came to win in 2012.
"It was pretty frustrating, pretty heartbreaking so that's why we keep coming back - to win one of those cowboy hats," said Brown. "Without a doubt we came here to win. We kept our nose clean and it feels great to get this victory."
Fans at Douglas County Speedway (Roseburg, OR) witnessed the first and only female to win an ASA/NSRA main event twice on Saturday. Defending 2011 Champion, Sierra Jackson, captured a win with her Ford Roush Yates-powered Sprint 360 engine.
Brandon Sheppard earned his first World of Outlaws Late Model Series win at Belle-Clair Speedway (Belleville, IL) on Friday night. Sheppard, racing in front of his hometown, took the checkered flag in the Photobilly 50 and collected $12,550. With his Roush Yates-powered Dirt Late Model engine, he lowered the track record in time trails, led every lap of the heat race and stayed in contention throughout the evening's main event.
"This is just an amazing feeling," said Sheppard. "It's a huge confidence booster for me to get my first WoO win off my back. It feels really good to know I can do it."
As the Three States Flyers Super Late Model Series point leader, Gregg Satterlee was looking forward to returning to Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway this past weekend. Satterlee won the main event, pocketing $10,000 with the help of his Roush Yates-powered engine. His win over the weekend at "Dirt's Monster Half-Mile" marked his 13th of the season.
Roush Yates Engines PR
Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Sam Hornish Jr. overcame an early speeding penalty that put him a lap down in today’s Geico 400 here at Chicagoland Speedway to finish 11th. It marked his third consecutive 11th-place finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition.
“Another solid day for the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge,” Hornish said after the race. “We had a fast race car all day. I messed up coming to pit road early in the race and got caught speeding which set us back a bit. We hung in there and battled. We caught a break when the caution came out and we hadn’t pitted yet. We gained a bunch of spots back and got on the lead lap. I thought before the race that we had a top-five car and race day was no different. We just got too tight on our last run when we opted to put on two tires. I’d like to get top 10s and we’re stuck a bit around that 10-11-12 spot. A good day for us, though.”
Hornish started today’s race from the 16th spot, which he earned in Saturday’s qualifying session where he turned in a lap of 29.793 seconds (181.251 mph). He was up to 13th on the second lap and climbed to 11th on Lap 6.
Fighting a tight handling condition, Hornish was still running 11th when the first round of green-flag pit stops started on Lap 37.
Crew chief Todd Gordon called Hornish down pit road on Lap 40 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment (13.4 seconds). However, the 22 car got tagged with a speeding penalty on exiting the pits after the stop.
The “pass-through” penalty saw Hornish running 33rd and a lap down to the leaders when the stops finally cycled around on Lap 49. A caution flag on Lap 65 (for debris) bunched the field up for a Lap 71 restart. Hornish pitted under the yellow for four tires, fuel, air pressure changes and a track bar adjustment and was running 32nd and a lap down.
Great patient driving by Hornish (and coaching by spotter Chris Osborne and team owner Roger Penske) saw the 22 car pass four cars and grab the “Lucky Dog” free pass back onto the lead lap after 101 circuits. The second yellow flag of the race flew for debris and Hornish was 27th and on the lead lap when the race returned to green on Lap 105.
Hornish was very impressive in his steady move back to the front. He had advanced six positions on Lap 117 and cracked the top 20 on Lap 129. He had climbed all the way back up to 17th when Casey Mears tagged the wall on Lap 148 to bring out the third caution flag of the race.
After a Lap 150 pit stop (four tires, fuel and a left-front air pressure adjustment in 12.4 seconds), Hornish was up to seventh for the Lap 158 restart. He climbed to sixth on Lap 159, before a tight handling condition stalled his move forward.
Hornish had fallen to ninth on Lap 187. One lap later, Jeff Gordon hit the wall hard due to a stuck throttle and brought out the fourth caution of the race on Lap 188. When Hornish hit pit road on Lap 189, the call was for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.
The top-six starters on the Lap 195 restart had gone with only right-side tires during the yellow and Hornish was 11th when the green flag fell once again. Hornish was able to climb as high as eighth on Lap 195 and maintained that position when the final round of green-flag stops began on Lap 226.
The 22 car hit pit road for the final time on Lap 229, with the call going for rights only and fuel. The stops finally cycled around on Lap 242 with Hornish running seventh and racing against a lot of drivers who hat gotten four tires on their final stops.
The handling issues saw Hornish drop to 12th with five laps remaining and he moved up to 11th as Denny Hamlin ran out of fuel at the end of the race.
Up front, it was Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski taking the victory and the points lead by holding off Jimmie Johnson by 3.171 seconds at the finish. The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Team gave Keselowski the fastest stop during their final trip to pit road on Lap 229. Keselowski blasted off pit road with the lead and never looked back in scoring his fourth win of the 2012 season.
Johnson finished second, with Kasey Kahne third, Kyle Busch fourth and Ryan Newman fifth. Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer completed the top-10. Hornish, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin and Paul Menard rounded out today’s top-15 finishers.
“We’re really proud of the great job that Sam did out there today and what he continues to do in our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge,” offered crew chief Gordon. “He deserves a lot of credit for keeping his cool and staying focused when we got the speeding penalty early in the race and fell a lap down. You can just hear in his voice how much he wants to be logging those top-10 finishes. It’s three straight races where we had to settle for 11th and we all know that we had a stronger car than that. The great thing is that we have the consistency going now and we’re convinced that a lot of top-10s and top-fives are right around the corner.”
Penske Racing PR
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 12th (Kevin Harvick), 15th (Paul Menard) and 24th (Jeff Burton).
According the NASCAR Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick completed 100 Green Flag Passes during the 267-lap event, the most of any driver.
Harvick improved six positions during the last 10 percent (27 laps) of the race, positioning him first in the NASCAR Loop Data Statistics Closers category.
Menard gained four positions in the final 10 percent (27 laps) of the race, tying him for third in the NASCAR Loop Data Statistics category Closers.
Menard made 83 green-flag passes, 39 of those while running in the top 15 which ranked him sixth in Quality Passes.
Burton made 57 Green Flag Passes during the 400-mile race
Brad Keselowski claimed the victory at Chicagoland Speedway, followed to the line by Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 23. The 28th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Libman/Menards Team Finish 15th
at Chicagoland Speedway
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Libman/Menards Chevrolet team battled handling challenges on Sunday afternoon en route to a top-15 finish at Chicagoland Speedway. Menard lined up the neon yellow Chevrolet in the 11th position to start the GEICO 400 after a solid qualifying effort by the No. 27 team on Saturday but quickly fell to 19th in the running order during the first 25 laps. Handling issues plagued the Richard Childress Racing group throughout the 267-lap event while the Shane Wilson-led team made a number of chassis and air pressure adjustments during routine pit stops to assist Menard, who reported the car's balance cycled from tight, to neutral, to loose throughout the course of a green-flag run at the 1.5-mile speedway. The Eau Claire, Wis., native drove to pit road while under caution on lap 189 where the No.27 Chevrolet received four fresh Goodyear tires, Sunoco E15 fuel, an air pressure and wedge adjustment, and a spring rubber inserted into the left rear spring. The car took off better than it had during previous restarts, and Menard drove from 19th up to the 16th position. Following the team's final green-flag pit stop on lap 232, the RCR driver climbed to the 15th spot where he ultimately took the checkered flag at the Joliet, Ill.-based facility. The top-15 finish moved Menard to 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 11 Finish - 15 Laps Led - 0 Points - 16
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
"It's not the finish we hoped for, but the No. 27 guys never gave up. We kept searching for the right adjustments to neutralize the Libman/Menards Chevrolet's balance and made some progress when we added the rubber to the rear spring. The pit crew did a great job on pit road, but with the long green-flag runs, it was difficult to make up a lot of ground."
Kevin Harvick and the Budweiser Designate a Driver Team Finish 12th
at Chicagoland Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Designate a Driver team scored a 12th-place finish in the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday afternoon after battling handling issues throughout the 267-lap event. The 36-year-old driver started the race from the 35th position and moved toward the front of the field as soon as the green flag dropped, but alerted crew chief Gil Martin that he was battling a loose-handling condition on the No. 29 Chevrolet during the early stages of the race. Harvick worked his way into the top 20 prior to Martin calling him to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 44 for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment in an attempt to alleviate the handling issues Harvick was fighting. Back on track, the Bakersfield, Calif., native maintained a position in the top 20, but reported the No. 29 Chevrolet was still too loose which led the pit crew to make major chassis adjustments during their next scheduled pit stops. As the race progressed, Harvick worked his way up to fourth in the running order, but as the loose-handling condition persisted, he slipped back in the field ultimately crossing the finish line in 12th position. The top-15 finish positions Harvick 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 24 markers behind the leader.
Start - 35 Finish - 12 Laps Led - 0 Points - 10
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"This was not the run the No. 29 team was hoping to bring home today. We just couldn't find the right setup we needed to correct the loose handling condition we were battling all day. The Budweiser Designate a Driver team gave it their all this weekend, we just don't have the result to show for it."
Jeff Burton Finishes 24th at Chicagoland Speedway
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished 24th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway after losing laps under an ill-timed caution flag. After battling a tight-handling Chevrolet in practice and then qualifying 32nd for the 267-lap affair at the Joliet, Ill.-based facility, Burton and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer made the decision heading into the event to apply a setup that made the car loose-handling at the beginning of the race. The South Boston, Va., native made routine four-tire pit stops throughout the first portion of the event which allowed the CAT Racing pit crew to make adjustments on the Richard Childress Racing machine. Running top-10 lap times in the 24th position, Blickensderfer called the 45-year-old driver to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 149. As Burton exited pit road following the pit stop, the caution flag was displayed and the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner was trapped two laps down to the leader. The team chose to take the "wave around" pass from NASCAR officials and gained one lap back under the same caution-flag period, but Burton struggled to find the right balance on the No. 31 Chevrolet for the remainder of the 400-mile race while chasing the "lucky dog" pass to return to the lead lap. Burton managed to gain multiple positions by the time the checkered flag waved and came home with a 24th-place finish. Burton remains 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start - 32 Finish - 24 Laps Led - 0 Points - 19
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"We tried out some things today with our 1.5-mile program as we prepare for next season and just couldn't find the balance on the car. New Hampshire (Motor Speedway) and Richmond (International Raceway) have many similarities and I expect us to get back on track next weekend."
18 year-old rookie driver Ryan Blaney delivered Brad KeselowskiRacing’s (BKR) first victory Saturday night at Iowa Speedway. Blaney piloted the No. 29 Cooper Standard RAM in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee.
The weekend started strong for the team as they were fastest in the first practice on Friday evening. Blaney qualified the Cooper Standard RAM in the second position to start Saturday night’s race.
Blaney slid back to fourth place when the first yellow flag flew on lap 20. The team declined to pit in favor of track position, which would consistently prove to be a key strategic move throughout the night. The second yellow flag of the night fell shortly after on lap 39 for a three car incident in turn four. Crew chief Doug Randolph called the Cooper Standard RAM into the pits for a four tire stop and track bar adjustment. With trouble on the right front tire during the pit stop, Blaney lined up in 14th position on the lap 40 restart. He was on a mission though and drove to sixth place when the next yellow flew on lap 54 for a spin in turn two. Randolph kept the Cooper Standard RAM on track in favor of position, and Blaney lined up in the second position for the lap 59 restart. Randolph continued to keep the No. 29 BKR RAM on the track for cautions on laps 68 and 74 maintaining second place behind Parker Kligerman in the No. 7 Red Horse Racing machine.
On lap 95, Randolph made the winning call of the night pitting as the only truck on the lead lap for four fresh tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment. The team gave up valuable track position, which led to a 14th place restart. A long green flag run ensued, and Ryan Blaney took the lead for the first time in his career on lap 155. A timely yellow flag fell on lap 162 allowed race engineer Tom Akerman’s fuel mileage calculations to pay off for the pit strategy with a quick four tire change and enough fuel to make it to the finish.
Blaney continued to control the field during the lap 177 restart and had no intentions of looking back. The cautions continued to fall on laps 179 and 188. The Cooper Standard RAM then held off hard charging challenges from Johnny Sauter and Ty Dillon in the late stages of the race. A final restart on lap 197 was not a problem for the rookie driver as he cruised to Iowa Speedway’s victory lane for the first time in just his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start becoming the youngest driver to win on the circuit.
“This is pretty incredible. I’ve got to thank Cooper Standard, Reese Towpower, Draw-Tite, and Brad Keselowski for giving me this opportunity,” said Blaney. “Doug (Randolph) made some great calls there at the end. We had a really good Cooper Standard RAM for about five laps and then we’d kind of even out. I knew if I could just have the lead through one and two we would have had them. It’s just unbelievable. I’m so thankful for the chance I’ve been given here with BKR, and hopefully we get a few more.”
Randolph joined Blaney in the celebration saying “Man, it was just a pleasure to watch him drive tonight. He was on it. The Cooper Standard RAM was solid all night. The guys on pit road did a great job. I feel great for Ryan and his family. My first crew chief gig was with his dad (Dave Blaney) so I feel really close to the family, and it’s exciting to see this.”
Ryan Blaney is back behind the wheel of the Cooper Standard BKR entry on Friday night, September 21st, at Kentucky Speedway for the Kentucky 201. Race coverage begins at 7:00 P.M. EDT on the SPEED Channel. Radio coverage can be found on MRN and Sirius XM Channel 90 beginning at 7:45 P.M. EDT.
John Wes Townley overcame a mid-pack starting position to have a strong run in Saturday night's American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway, but problems on pit road, including on a late-race stop, resulted in a 15th-place finish for the Zaxby's team.
Townley recorded the 21st and 22nd-fastest times, respectively, in the dual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions. The 22-year-old driver toured the .875-mile oval in 23.339 seconds during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session to earn the 16th starting spot for the 200-lap event later in the evening.
Upon taking the green flag, Townley quickly demonstrated the strength of his Zaxby's Toyota. Despite losing a handful of positions in the early going of the event, the Watkinsville, Ga. native was able to work his way inside the top 10 as the laps clicked off. Townley held his own as the race continued under green-flag conditions, but experienced miscues not of his own doing when he hit pit road for scheduled service throughout the early going of the race.
The No. 09 advanced to ninth on the scoring pylon, where Townley would maintain position until being called to pit road, under green-flag conditions, for routine service of four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, a slow pit stop resulted in the loss of several positions, placing Townley two laps down as the cycle of stops came to completion.
As drivers made daring moves over the final laps of the event, Townley exercised extreme patience, relinquishing positions when necessary, and taking positions whenever possible. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to regain position in the running order and was forced to settle for a 15th-place finished when the checkered flag was displayed.
"We were pretty solid tonight," said Townley. "We struggled a little bit with being loose getting into the corners, but once we got that solved, we were good. It's unfortunate what happened on pit road tonight, but the important thing is we got this Zaxby's Toyota Tundra out of here in one piece and we'll have it for Martinsville later in the season. This is a really good short track truck. I've got faith in it, and I've got faith in these guys and everyone at RAB Racing, and we'll get everything together and we'll go to Kentucky next week and we'll get us a good one."
Next weekend, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers and crews head to Kentucky Speedway for race 16 of 22. SPEED's live television coverage of the Kentucky 200 begins Friday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
RAB Racing PR
Danica Patrick’s continued her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series education with a career-best 25th-place finish in the Geico 400 on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Patrick, who drives the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing via a collaborative agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, was making just her sixth Sprint Cup Series start and her first at the 1.5-mile oval.
“I think we made a lot of progress in the race,” said Patrick, who grew up in nearby Roscoe, Ill. “I think Zip (Greg Zipadelli, race strategist) did a good job of changing the car and making good changes each time. We got a little bit loose toward the end, and I feel like we lost a little bit of ground in that run. But then in the last run, I felt like we got a little bit of that back, and, if anything, we were a little tight. So be careful what you ask for, I guess. Ultimately I think it was generally a big improvement on overall lap time throughout a run, and that is the kind of stuff we need to be doing.”
Patrick started 41st but ran a smooth, clean race as she steadily rose through the field. Her spotter, Tab Boyd, worked with her to find different lines on the racetrack to provide more speed, while Zipadelli massaged the car’s handling through a series of chassis and tire pressure adjustments. Both efforts produced progress throughout the day.
Near the end of the race, Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya and Patrick were the only drivers one lap down in the field. In the closing laps, Patrick was catching both of them with a chance to gain one or two more positions. Unfortunately, time ran out, and the checkered flag flew before she was able to work her way past the veteran drivers.
While every track where Patrick races is important to her development, intermediate tracks (1.5 and 2 miles in length) like Chicagoland are critical as they comprise 14 of the 36 races on the Sprint Cup Series schedule as Patrick prepares for a full-time schedule in 2013.
Brad Keselowski won the Geico 400 to score his eighth career Sprint Cup victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Chicagoland.
Jimmie Johnson, who led four times for a race high 172 laps, finished 3.171 seconds behind Keselowski in the runner-up spot. Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five. Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer comprised the remainder of the top-10.
There were four caution periods for 23 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish the 267-lap race.
The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule – the second race of the 10-race Chase – is the Sylvania 300 on Sept. 23 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The race begins at 2 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.