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Wallace finishes 28th at Chicago
Mike Wallace came home 28th Saturday in the Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Wallace, driving the GK Services 01 Chevrolet, qualified in mid-pack at 26th and had trouble improving his positioning for most of the race. He ran in the 20s virtually all afternoon in one of the season’s longest races.
“We had a decent car but not one that we could improve a lot,” Wallace said. “We kept hanging around and hoping circumstances could help us move up, but it was a tough afternoon.”
Wallace retained the 17th position in the Nationwide driver point standings.
Kyle Busch won the race easily, leading 195 of the 200 laps.
The Nationwide Series moves on to Kentucky Speedway for a 300-mile race Sept. 21.
JD Motorsports PR
Eric McClure Posts 25th-place Finish at Chicagoland Speedway, His First Race Since Watkins Glen
Eric McClure, who was recently cleared to race after being sidelined for four weeks with acute renal failure, traveled to his sponsor’s home track, Chicagoland Speedway, for the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola where his Camry sported a new look with the Hefty® Ultimate™ with ARM & HAMMER™ logo adorning the hood of the car. Starting from the 25th spot, the Virginia driver was able to maintain his position throughout the race, despite battling a tight-handling car and having troubles with the battery, to bring the No. 14 Camry home in the 25th position. With this finish, the TriStar Motorsports team is 22rd in the NASCAR Owner Standings while McClure is 19thin the NASCAR Driver Standings.
Before the green flag fell to start the event, McClure struggled with what he thought was a faulty battery, as he needed a push from his team to get going off of pit road. Nevertheless, once the silver, blue and orange Camry started rolling, the issue seemed to cease. When the race started, McClure advanced one position in the opening laps, although he battled a car that was too free in the center of the turns. The caution flag waved on lap 23, allowing McClure to bring his car to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a track-bar adjustment. Once the stop was complete, McClure was scored in the 24th position for the lap 28 restart.
During the long green flag run, the handling on the Hefty® Ultimate™ car became tight. McClure was still able to run consistent lap times, however, and maintained his position through lap 59. On the following lap, the Toyota Camry was passed by the leader, putting McClure one lap down in the 26th position. Green flag pit stops began around lap 80 and the Hefty®/Reynolds® car came to pit road on lap 83 for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help the car’s tight-handling condition. When McClure returned to the track, he was scored in the 27th position, two laps down to the race leader.
By the halfway point of the race, the leader had passed all but 12 cars on the track. When the event’s second caution flag waved on lap 107, crew chief Todd Myers brought his driver to pit road for fuel, four tires and another track-bar adjustment to help the car’s handling. Once the stop was complete, McClure was scored in the 28th position.
Upon returning to the track, the 34-year-old driver began chipping away at the positions lost on pit road. He ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 119, and by lap 151, he was sitting in the 22nd position as the drivers that took the wave around during the last caution period started pitting. As the leaders started closing in on the Virginia driver, the third caution flag of the day flew allowing him to again bring his silver, orange and blue Camry to pit road for four tires, fuel and another slight track-bar adjustment on lap 161. When McClure returned to the track, the No. 14 team was scored in the 21st position, two laps down.
As the laps began winding down, two more caution flags waved on lap 164 and again on 175 with the Hefty® Ultimate™ car remaining on the track. Battling for position to the end, McClure ended the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola in the 25th position.
Driver, Eric McClure Quotes:
“It was a lot of fun to get back into the race car this weekend. We ran competitively today, better than the finish showed. I am disappointed because I made mistakes on the final restart and should have been able to finish in the top-20. I am thankful for the opportunity to race. I love my race team and I had a lot of fun.”
After fighting hard for and successfully securing the Lucky Dog when the third caution of the race occurred on lap 159, Kligerman returned to the lead lap. After taking the lap-163 restart from the 13th position, the Connecticut native slowly but surely maneuvered his way back inside the top 10 and was able to grind out an eighth-place finish.
"We had a really good Bandit Chippers Camry," said Kligerman, who posted his third top-10 finish in four Nationwide Series starts at Chicagoland. "We made the right adjustments and we were keeping up with the track, but we had that one run where we ran out of fuel and ended up a lap down -- almost two laps down. But thankfully we were able to fight Kyle (Busch) off to hold onto the lead lap. We got all the way back on the lead lap and started to fight back and had two bad restarts where it wasn't even any fault of our own, just a car in front of us would wreck or a car in front of us would miss a gear and people would go around me. So, I had to fight all the way back through and on that last restart finally got a bunch of them and ended up eighth. I passed (Kevin) Harvick there coming to the checkers and thought I could get (Matt) Kenseth, but just ran out of time. I'm proud of everyone on this No. 77 team for fighting back after a bad few weeks to get our Toyota Camry up here in the top 10 again and showing top-five speed - was a good day."
In Saturday morning's qualifying session, Kligerman toured the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval in 30.463 seconds at 177.264 mph. The lap earned the No. 77 team the fifth starting spot, the team's fifth top-five start of the season.
The Bandit Chippers Camry was scored in the sixth position when the first caution of the race occurred on lap 24. Kligerman followed the top-five cars down pit road, where the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop that included wedge adjustment. With teams on varying strategies, the No. 77 Toyota returned to the track scored in the 10th position.
The field went back to green-flag conditions on lap 28 and the talented youngster began to make his way back towards the front. On lap 31 he had maneuvered up to the eighth spot and by lap 50 he had advanced into sixth. As the run continued, he communicated to Philips that his Toyota was "tight center to exit." The No. 77 machine remained in the sixth position when Kligerman was told to start eyeing his pit road entry they would be pitting shortly.
The team targeted lap 84 for their green-flag stop, by on lap 82 Kligerman alerted them that his Camry was out of fuel and coasted around the track and into this pit stall. The crew went to work on a four-tire and fuel stop and worked to get the Bandit Chippers Toyota re-fired. It took longer than expected to get the engine running and when their young driver returned to the track, he was scored one lap down in the 24th spot.
The good news was that as the race continued, Kligerman was posting lap times as fast at the top-three cars. He was scored in the 22nd spot when the field was slowed for the second time on lap 107. Projecting that the race would see a few more cautions and the team would be able to compete for the "Lucky Dog", Phillips elected to bring his driver down pit road for a four-tire and fuel stop, while many other cars one lap down took the wave around.
The Bandit Chippers Camry took the lap-112 restart from the 21st position and continued to post impressive lap times. By lap 130, the talented youngster had advanced into the 14th spot and was in position for the "Lucky Dog." As another long green-flag period continued, the cars that took the wave around had to visit pit road, many going back a lap down, and Kligerman began picking up several spots. On lap 145 he was scored in the 14th spot, where he remained until a two-car accident on lap 159. The No. 77 team remained in the "Lucky Dog" spot and returned to the lead lap.
When the field went back green for the final time on lap186, the Bandit Chippers Camry was scored 11th. Kligerman had a strong restart and had picked up two spots by the time the field crossed the stripe one lap later. On lap 194, the talented youngster worked his way around the outside of Sprint Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick for the eighth position, where he would remain for the remainder of the race.
KBM owner Kyle Busch picked up his 10th Nationwide Series victory in 2013 and the series leading of his career. Joey Logano finished 1.615 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up spot. Sam Hornish Jr. finished third, Austin Dillon fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five finishers.
There were six caution periods totaling 27 laps. Four drivers led a lap, exchanging the lead four times. Eleven drivers failed to finish the 150-lap event.
Kligerman remains 10th in the Nationwide Series championship standings with 27 of 33 races complete, 153 points behind series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. The Kyle Busch owned No. 77 moved into a tie with the No. 33 team for 13th in the owner's championship standings, 269 points behind the series-leading No. 22 team.
The No. 77 Toyota Racing team heads to Kentucky Speedway in Sparta Sept. 21 for the Kentucky 300. Live television coverage of Saturday's 200-lap event begins with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.
Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) fans following the team’s 2013 bid for the Sprint Cup Championship on RFR’s social channels are encouraged to use the new #DRIVENfortheChase hashtag when discussing NASCAR’s winningest organization during the 10-race stretch that will decide the 2013 Sprint Cup Champion. The special hashtag is a part of RoushFenway’s 2013 ‘Driven’ marketing program, designed to showcase the team’s continued dedication and desire to be the best on and off the racetrack.
Roush Fenway enters the 2013 Chase with both Carl Edwards (5th) and Greg Biffle (7th) vying for the Sprint Cup Championship. It marks the 10th time in 10 seasons of the Chase, that RFR has fielded at least two entries in the Chase field, including 2004 when the team won the inaugural Chase and in 2005 when RFR placed a record five entries in the 10-race field. Two seasons ago, RFR and Edwards finished tied for the lead in the 2011 Chase.
Roush Fenway boasts the broadest reaching social media audience in NASCAR (USA Today), spread across its award-winning Google+ Channel, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
In addition, RFR has launched an official Chase Infograph and “Driven for the Chase” trailer.
Q&A with Rick Hendrick on events from Richmond
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS WEEK?
“Well, it was probably one of the most, I don’t know, up-and-down weeks. I thought, as the race (at Richmond) ended Jeff (Gordon) was in the race until the monitor showed that he wasn’t. And then I didn’t really learn a lot of the facts until I got back home. And I applaud NASCAR for really looking at things and trying to make it right. I thought he deserved to be in the race and I’m glad he’s in the Chase. So, I think it’s all worked out now and we kind of move on and I’m really ready to focus on the Chase now that we’ve got all four cars in it and hopefully we’ll have a good day here today.”
FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE, WHAT DOES HAVING JEFF GORDON IN THE CHASE MEAN TO YOUR BOTTOM LINE?
“Well, it makes all the sponsors happy. And you know, it’s something you shoot for the whole year. And being in the Chase, that was one of the things that we worked for. We did it last year. We had all four in and we wanted to do it this year. And of course, AARP was calling me all week like they were very disappointed and upset. And I happened to be with them Thursday night here, when they were packing meals, and they were happy to find out Friday, I guess it was, that he was in the Chase. Everybody is happy now. It’s important to the sponsors. I mean you know, the teams have bonuses and you know it’s a shot at the championship. Everything has happened during the year with all your bad luck and whatever and it’s down to 10 races. The guy that runs good and has good luck could win this thing; anybody can win it. It’s just a lot of excitement for the sponsors on the car.”
THESE ARE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR DECISIONS THAT NASCAR MADE THIS WEEK
“Oh, it’s huge. You don’t want a sponsor to feel like they got robbed and NASCAR’s in a tough spot. You can’t make everybody happy. They have to have a rule and live by the rules. And I think they did a good job. And I think they’re going to, from what I’ve heard, Brian (France) is putting his foot down and we’re going to see a lot tighter reigns on what’s going on on the track. And I think if we can fix the restart deal now, and I’d love to see timing lines like we have on pit road. What’s wrong with running the pit road speed, a light comes on, the leader goes, and everybody runs instead of running all over each other. So, we’ll see what happens there. But everybody has had an up-and-down week. I’m just ready to get on with the Chase and you know you have all the excitement and the nerves of the race in Richmond, and then you come away disappointed because you thought you were in. Literally, coming off the box, I thought we were in. And I heard the radio say you missed it by one or two (points) and I said, ‘How could that be?’ And I went back and it was just – The Chase is a great deal. It’s great for the fans. But man, it’s a nail-biting time for teams and drivers.”
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED IN THE MANIPULATION?
“Yes. And, but you know, I think maybe that’s something that’s going to do us all a lot of good. The sport will move on and learn from it and go out and race and show the fans a heck of a good time and get what they pay to see. These guys drive their hearts out every week. I’ve been doing this over 30 years now and it’s the most competitive I’ve ever seen. I’ve raced when you could clinch a championship with three or four races to go, and that wasn’t any fun for people watching. It was fun for the guy; as a car owner it was fun. It took a lot of pressure off. But this is what has made it exciting and everybody’s got a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. And now it’s going to be interesting to see how these guys race today and the next 10 races because they’ve got to be a little bit cautious but you’ve got to be really fast. And I think the fans are going to see some extremely hard racing. And I think it’s going to come down to somebody making mistakes and other guys not making mistakes. We’ll see.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT ALL THAT NASCAR TOOK SUCH AN UNPRECEDENTED ACTION IN RESTORING JEFF (GORDON) TO THE CHASE? “Well you know I didn’t have to make that decision, but I sure felt like it was obvious that he got taken out by a manipulation instead of getting beat. I think the world knew it and they had to do what they did.”
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT YOU GUYS GOT DRAGGED INTO IT WHERE ALLEGATIONS MAYBE YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN UP TO SOMETHING OR THE NO. 48 AND NO. 24 MAYBE HAD HELPED EACH OTHER. WERE YOU ANGRY AT THAT? DID YOU MAYBE HAVE WORDS WITH MICHAEL (WALTRIP)? “Well it was kind of stupid if you saw that Jeff (Gordon) was running top seven, he pits and the caution comes out. It hurt Jeff. How can anybody say it helped Jeff? We burned the alternator up on the car that is what we were talking about voltage.
“I think people were just stabbing at things to get the pressure off of them maybe. I didn’t really hear what anybody said. When you have that kind of trouble and when that happened I was thinking our caution has cost Jeff the deal. That is what I was thinking. Then for somebody to turn around and say that was somehow timed or whatever that was a miserable night for the No. 48 and we were changing batteries. The alternator was burnt up on the car, so that hurt all of our teams that caution did. You know I’m just ready to end it. I’m glad that Jeff is in the Chase.
“I think NASCAR, I think Brian France did a great job, he stepped up and he said I made the decision and this is the way it’s going to be. It sounded like Bill. I’m going to make sure this doesn’t happen and this is the way we are going to race from here on. I applaud NASCAR for what they have done. I think everybody in the garage if we could go back and run Richmond over it would be a lot different.”
DID YOU GET ANY CALLS OR DO ANYTHING TO TRY TO HELP JEFF’S CAUSE WHEN YOU GOT WIND THAT MAYBE SOMETHING MIGHT HAVE BEEN UP LAST SATURDAY? “Well, you know you talk to everybody. I was just like all the fans. I was texting and emailing and saying ‘how could this be’. Really nobody was responding so I didn’t have any idea what would happen. I thought it was just 50/50, either they were or they weren’t. I thought all of you folks in the media did a great job of breaking it down. You were the ones that had it on TV and I saw and read and listened to all of the information. I think they did a good job of waiting and dissecting everything. And then before they pulled the trigger they knew what they were doing and knew what they were looking at. It was such a mess Saturday night in Richmond; everybody was going home confused because you just didn’t know what happened. I had no idea anything happened other than the No. 15 spun. That is all I knew when I left the track.”
WE DON’T HAVE CHALLENGES LIKE THEY DO IN THE NFL. THE TEAM OWNERS OR DRIVERS OR CREW CHIEF OR WHOEVER CAN GO TO THE HAULER TO SHOW THEIR DISPLEASURE. WHY WASN’T THERE MORE OF THAT THAT TRANSPIRED ON SATURDAY NIGHT? WHY DID WE HAVE A HANGOVER ALL THE WAY UNTIL MONDAY OR EVEN FRIDAY IN YOUR PLACE? “I’ve been doing this 30 years and I’ve never been to the hauler at the end of the race and had any decision reversed for jumping the start or whatever. The race is the race and that is it. That is the way it’s been for 30 plus years. I was just disgusted and left. I didn’t hang around. I got out of there as soon as it was over because it wouldn’t have done any good.”
Team Chevy Racing PR
Pastrana and the No. 60 team finish 27th in Chicago
Roush Fenway Racing’s Travis Pastrana and the No. 60 Ford Mustang finished 27thin Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Chicagoland Speedway.
“We didn't have the speed we did at the last race here in Chicago, but I thought we had a good car for the long run,” said Pastrana. “Unfortunately, I crashed at the end of practice and had to go to the backup car. We were just starting to get the car set up when I ran out of gas before making it to the pits.”
The NNS headed back to the 1.5-mile race track for the second time this season. Pastrana was involved in a practice accident with less than 30 minutes remaining in the final practice session of the day on Friday. The team quickly prepared the backup car and sent Pastrana back out to practice with 10 minutes remaining.
Saturday morning teams qualified, with the No. 60 posting the 24th quickest lap time, using the same backup car the team raced to 10th at Indianapolis. Pastrana picked up a few positions at the drop of the green, ultimately settling into 22nd.
On Lap 25, the team visited pit road under caution for the first stop of the day. Pastrana was too free on the opening run, so the team put a spring rubber in the left rear, along with bolting on four fresh tires and filling the car with fuel.
After a quick pit stop, Pastrana restarted 19th. On this run, the driver informed the team that the car continued to get looser. During a scheduled green flag pit stop on Lap 81, the team took four tires and fuel, this time opting for a wedge adjustment to the chassis.
The No. 60 returned to the track in 20th, with Pastrana radioing that the car was still too free. The team opted not to pit during a Lap 107 caution, and instead took the wave around in order to get back on the lead lap.
The team hoped for a timely caution that would allow them to pit with the leaders and get back on the same sequence. The caution never came, with the No. 60 running out of fuel on the same lap the team was scheduled to make a green flag pit stop.
Pastrana made it to the pits, but could not get the car re-fired quickly, which cost the team four laps under green. Without a tachometer he received a pass through penalty for speeding entering pit road, losing one more lap under green.
When Pastrana returned to the track after the lengthy visit to pit road, he radioed to the crew that the handling of his Ford Mustang felt the best it had all day. The team maintained position for the final 50 laps, crossing the finish line in 27th.
Kyle Larson appeared to be on his way to the greatest comeback of the season as he overcame a spin in qualifying which resulted in a 39th-place starting position. Larson was fighting for the win in the top five, but his bad luck streak for the day continued when he experienced a smoking tire while running second. Dropping to the rear of the top 10, Larson's tire eventually gave way, causing extensive damage to the SNICKERS Bites Chevrolet, forcing him to retire from the race with a 32nd-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.
Larson's weekend started off strong when the 21-year-old rookie paced the opening practice session at Chicagoland Speedway. Confident he had one of the best cars in the field, Larson took to the track for Saturday morning's qualifying session. Unfortunately, the No. 32 SNICKERS Bites Chevy spun before a timed lap was recorded, and though the car was undamaged, he was relegated to a 39th-place starting position.
Taking the green flag from the last row of the field, Larson began a march to the front, gaining 16 positions in the first four laps. Although his No. 32 Chevrolet was a little tight in the opening run, Larson had worked his way into the top 15 before the first caution flag of the day was displayed on lap 25. While under yellow, crew chief Trent Owens called his driver into the pits for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. With several competitors opting for fuel-only or two-tire stops, Larson lined up 17th for the lap-29 restart.
Larson continued to advance through the field on a long green-flag run, and by lap 61 he was running ninth as one of the fastest cars on the track. Relaying to his crew that his SNICKERS Bites machine was beginning to get a little tight once again, Larson would have another shot at adjustments during a green-flag pit stop on lap 79. The No. 32 crew serviced the car with four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment, sending Larson back onto the track in the seventh position.
Cracking the top five on lap 131, Larson was third when a yellow flag slowed the field on lap 159. Making his final planned pit stop of the event, Larson brought the No. 32 down pit road for four tires, fuel and another track-bar adjustment, maintaining his position for the lap-164 restart. After the green flag waved, Larson easily made the pass for second and appeared to be on his way to passing the leader when smoke was briefly visible coming off the left-rear tire. Both Owens and the team's spotter assessed their vehicle and did not see any reason for a tire rub, so Larson remained on the track to continue to diagnose his car. Larson dropped back to the seventh position and was just relaying that he could smell smoke again when the left-rear tire failed on lap 175. With extensive damage from the blowout, Larson drove his SNICKERS Bites Chevy into the garage where the crew determined that it was irreparable in the remaining laps. Retiring from the race with 25 laps remaining, Larson was ultimately credited with a 32nd-place finish.
"We were really good today," said Larson after retiring from the race. "Starting 39th was unfortunate, but I really didn't have a whole lot of trouble getting up through the field to the front. We were great once we got up there, and I think we had a real shot at the win until the tire went out. We just had too much damage to get back out on the track. I have to thank Trent [Owens] and all of my guys for giving me a really good car this weekend. It was great from the time we unloaded. We'll put this weekend behind us and hopefully we can regain our momentum next weekend in Kentucky."
RCR Post Race Report -- NNS Chicagoland Speedway
- Richard Childress Racing teammates finished fourth (Austin Dillon), ninth (Kevin Harvick) and 14th (Brian Scott).
- Dillon is second in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Sam Hornish, Jr. by 17 points, while Scott is seventh in the standings, 72 points behind the leader.
- The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks fourth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 2 team ninth in the standings and the No. 33 team 11th.
- According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Dillon ranked fourth in Average Running Position (4.515), was the Fourth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (167.403 mph),was fourth-Fastest on Restarts (167.124 mph) and had the fourth-best Driver Rating (114.1).
- Harvick ranked third in Quality Passes with 35 and was the fifth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (167.396 mph).
- Scott made 21 Quality Passes.
- Dillon and Harvick were among five drivers who spent 100 percent of the race running in the top 15.
- Kyle Busch earned his 10th Nationwide Series victory of the 2013 season and was followed to the finish line by Joey Logano, Sam Hornish Jr., Dillon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- The next Nationwide Series race is the Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 21. The 27th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPNEWS beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio channel 90.
Brian Scott Finishes 14th at Chicagoland Speedway
Start - 19 Finish - 14 Laps Led - 0 Points - 7th
BRIAN SCOTT QUOTE:
"We were just too tight all weekend. From the time we unloaded our Shore Lodge Camaro through the whole race we battled the tight-handling issue, which was really different from our first visit to Chicagoland Speedway earlier this season. I'm proud of the guys on pit road, they were solid all day long. We'll evaluate and learn from this race and move on to Kentucky Speedway next week."
Austin Dillon Earns Top-Five Finish in No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway
Austin Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish in the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday afternoon, after starting the 200-lap race from the second position. Dillon reported to crew chief Danny Stockman the black No. 3 Chevrolet was tight in the middle of the corners during the initial run, prompting the team to make a chassis adjustment during the first round of pit stops under caution on lap 26. The Welcome, N.C. driver restarted in the sixth spot on lap 28, but struggled with a loose-handling condition on exit of the corners during the ensuing run, prompting an additional adjustment during a lap-84, green-flag pit stop. Running solidly in the top five for a majority of the 300-mile race, Dillon was scored in the fourth position for a restart on lap 171 and took the opportunity to make a three-wide pass to claim the second position. Several late-race restarts ensued in which he battled side-by-side with fellow championship point contender Sam Hornish Jr. for the second position. Dillon prevailed and maintained the second position before developing a tight-handling condition and dropping to fourth for the race's finish.
Start - 2 Finish - 4 Laps Led - 0 Points - 2nd
Kevin Harvick Collects Top-10 Finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Chicagoland Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 Rheem/MenardsChevrolet team battled handling issues during the Dollar General 300 on Saturday afternoon and finished ninth at Chicagoland Speedway. Starting from the 13th position, the two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion maneuvered his way into the top 10 within the first 10 laps of the 200-lap affair, while battling a Chevrolet that was tight in and loose off of the turns. The Ernie Cope-led pit crew made adjustments to the car during scheduled four-tire pit stops on laps 25, 82 and 109 in an effort to alleviate the handling issue. Harvick was running in the fifth position when he alerted the team the handling of the neon yellow machine had transitioned from loose to tight during the final laps of the event, leaving him to settle for a ninth-place result.
Start - 13 Finish - 9 Laps Led - 0 Owner Points - 11th
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
"This wasn't the most fun race for our team today. We had a solid run, but struggled all day to find the right handling we needed to get the Rheem/Menards Chevrolet up front."
From Pole Position, No. 54 Toyota leads 195 of 200 laps to earn 10th Victory of the Season
Kyle Busch not only grabbed the No. 54 team’s 10th victory of the season, but he and the Joe Gibbs racing (JGR) unit did it with dominance. The Monster Energy athlete captured victory at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway in Joliet Saturday afternoon, his third win and sixth top-10 finish in 10 races on the 1.5-mile oval in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The result came from the pole-qualifying position, followed by an incredible 195 of 200 laps in the lead position, across the start/finish line, then victory to the Las-Vegas native, his 61st career win and 50th series victory behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry. Busch’s win set a series record for leading the most laps at a 1.5-mile race track, surpassing Dale Earnhardt’s 194 laps led at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in 1986. The win from the pole position was Busch’s 19th – another series record.
The Monster Energy team was ready for a Chicago return, having raced there earlier this season with rookie driver Joey Coulter, who qualified 15th, drove steadily and completed a 14th-place finish. Their return to the Joliet, Ill. facility this time, included their 28-year old veteran, the winningest driver in the Nationwide Series garage.
Good signs were evident right away, when Busch and team ran quick laps over two practice sessions on Friday. The JGR driver felt comfortable with his car setup, telling the crew early in the final practice session, “thanks boys, car’s good, we can park it now.” The now seven-time Chicago winner knew what he was feeling in the seat of the No. 54 was right, and Saturday morning he proved it, when he paced the track at 178.968 mph over 30.173 seconds, and earned his eighth Coors Light Pole Award of the season. The first-place starting spot would become Busch’s 34th pole capture in 264 Nationwide Series career races.
On a beautiful warm, late summer afternoon, the green flag dropped and Busch made quick work to advance ahead of the field as much as 10 car lengths, within the first five laps. First comments heard over the radio came on lap 19, when Busch asked his team to check the car’s side skirts to make sure they were wearing in correctly. His spotter confirmed the car looked as it should, and they continued until the first event caution appeared on lap 25.
Under yellow-flag conditions Busch visited pit road for what would be the first of three times in the event. After taking on fresh Goodyear tires and more Sunoco fuel, the No. 54 prepared to exit the pit box and Busch encountered traffic driving off pit road. The delay scored the No. 54 team in sixth place on the restart, but in three laps, Busch had already moved his team back into the lead position.
On lap 56 of the 200-lap race, Busch reported to his team about the car handling, “The balance is really good, just when it gets into the corner it starts to shoot out a little.” Crew chief Adam Stevens replied, “10-4 we’ll stay on top of it.”
The next opportunity to visit pit road was taken on lap 83, under green-flag conditions, when Busch brought his black machine to the stall and his Camry team provided new tires, more fuel and a car adjustment. “I’m more free than I want to be sometimes,” described Busch, “But it’s not bad. Otherwise car’s really good!”
Busch continued to maintain his first-place position and felt good about his car’s progress over the next 20 laps, until he finally saw the track conditions start to change. Busch was heard telling his team, “It’s greasier now, you might want to tighten it (car) up a bit.” Crew chief Stevens replied, “Yeah, everyone is dealing with it.”
On lap 106, an event caution occurred and the Monster Energy group took the opportunity to visit pit road for more replenishments. They remained in first place over 50 more laps, until the next yellow flag waved and they drove down pit road for more tires and fuel.
A green-flag restart on lap 163, then a subsequent yellow flag on 165, slowed progress of the remaining race laps, however, the No. 54 chose not to pit. Green, then yellow again, on lap 173 and Busch maintained his first-place spot, again staying on the racetrack while others visited pit road for adjustments.
One more event caution occurred on lap 183 and the No. 54 team held their track position. On that last green-flag restart the No. 3 Chevrolet of Austin Dillon competed hard with Busch to fight for the first-place spot, but the matchup didn’t last. Busch cleared the No. 3 and kept digging, then extended his lead to the finish line. Busch took the checkered flag in first and immediately thanked his crew for the seamless effort made to capture the win.
When asked what the key was to winning today’s trophy, Busch replied, "You always have to have good race cars. So, we’ve got to have a good racecar for tomorrow’s race too. But I tell you what, this was an awesome racecar right here. This Monster Energy Camry was phenomenal. I’ve had some Nationwide Series cars that were dominant, but we had a lot of fun here.” Busch continued, “I tell you, it’s just a testament to this team. All these guys at JGR, Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everyone on this No. 54 team – they do a great job. They have all year long, and we’re chasing this owner’s deal. We’re hoping that we can keep inching closer. If they (No. 22 Penske Ford) keep finishing second like that, it’s going to take us getting wins, that’s for sure.”
Crew chief Stevens commented post-race as well, “It’s a pretty special group of guys we have got here. The majority of us have been together awhile, this is our third year now – my third year doing this job. It’s nice to come to the track when you have so much confidence in how your car is prepared. Obviously, if you give Kyle something close, you’re going to have a good day. Today we were probably able to get a little bit closer than most days, but at the end it’s not like you don’t have a lap on the field at the end of the day. You can go out there and lead a lot of laps and still have to race for it at the end. It was a good solid weekend. Like Kyle said, we’ve kind of been scratching our heads a bit and trying to keep moving forward so we can finish strong this season. We’re not really back on our heels, we’re going after it as best as we can and just going after this owner’s championship.”
Busch recorded his 61st victory in 264 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. It was his 10th victory and 17th top-10 finish in 2013. With the win, he is tied for second on the Nationwide Series’ single season wins list. Busch himself holds the record with 13 wins in 2010. Joey Logano finished in the second spot, while Sam Hornish Jr., Dillon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top-five finishers. There were six caution periods for 27 laps of the race along with four lead changes across four drivers, including Busch who led two times for a race-high 195 laps.
The No. 54 Monster Energy team remains second in the Owner’s Championship Point standings, 13 points from the leading No. 22 Penske Ford.
The Nationwide Series continues action Sept. 22 at the Kentucky 300 from Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The television broadcast will start at 7:00pm EST on ESPNEWS and on the PRN radio broadcast. Drew Herring will make his third start of the season behind the wheel of the JGR No. 54 Monster Energy Camry.
Chicago Police Department, Joliet Police Department and Joliet Fire Department Representatives to Serve as Co-Grand Marshals in Honor of First Responders Across the Country
In honor of the 12th Anniversary of Sept. 11th, 2001, Chicagoland Speedway is proud to announce cast members of NBC’s hit television series “Chicago Fire”and representatives from the Chicago Police Department, Joliet Police Department and Joliet Fire Department as the collective Grand Marshals for the GEICO 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Sunday, Sept. 15.
The cast members of “Chicago Fire,” including Jesse Spencer (Lieutenant Matthew Casey), Taylor Kinney (Lieutenant Kelly Severide), Eamonn Walker (Battalion Chief Wallace Boden), David Eigenberg (Firefighter Christopher Herrmann) and Randy Flagler (Capp), will deliver the most famous line in motorsports, “Drivers, start your engines,” prior to the green flag of the GEICO 400.
“It is our pleasure to host over 1,000 first responders and their families at Chicagoland Speedway this Sunday as we kick off the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” said Scott Paddock, Chicagoland Speedway president. "Our GEICO 400 race week falls during a very important time of remembrance for the events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, and our Grand Marshals will help us to pay tribute to the heroic efforts performed by America’s first responders on a daily basis".
The NBC drama, “Chicago Fire,” provides an edge-of-your-seat view into the lives of everyday heroes committed to one of America's most noble professions. For the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51, no occupation is more stressful or dangerous, yet so rewarding and exhilarating. The season 2 premiere of “Chicago Fire” airs on NBC, Tuesday, September 24th at 10p.m. ET.