Monday, Feb 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Back to the Beach...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will make its second trip of the 2013 season to Daytona Beach and Daytona International Speedway (DIS) this weekend for the Subway Firecracker 250. Nelson Piquet Jr. will make his second career NNS start at DIS on Friday night, having previously earned a top-15 finish back in February.


This Week's Camaro...The No. 30 WORX team will have chassis TSM-110 for this Friday night's race at DIS. TSM-110 was previously used by Piquet Jr. at DIS and Talladega Superspeedway, where he earned an 11th and 29th-place finish, respectively.


Kentucky Recap...Making his first career NNS start at Kentucky Speedway last Friday night, Piquet Jr. made the most of his time in the "Bluegrass State" in the Feed The Children 300. Piquet Jr. and his No. 30 WORX Yard Tools team started the weekend by qualifying 18th at the 1.5-mile oval. After getting his No. 30 WORX Yard Tools Chevrolet Camaro dialed-in, Piquet Jr. earned his second top 10 in the last three weeks, coming home with an eighth-place finish.


Yard Tools...Piquet Jr. will again display the WORX colors on the No. 30 this weekend in Daytona. Established in 1994, WORX Yard Tools USA, based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the fastest growing companies serving the global power equipment market today. A diversified manufacturer and marketer of a complete range of electric-powered lawn and garden equipment and related products, WORX has over 4000 employees worldwide. The WORX line-up includes innovative grass trimmers, chainsaws, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, blowers and more. All WORX products are emission-free and feature intuitive functions, tool-less adjustments and best-of-industry ergonomics. You can find WORX yard tools at retailers such as Lowe's, Walmart, Sears, and local lawn & garden dealers. More information is available on the company's website, at


America Salute...In Daytona, as part of the NASCAR-An American Salute platform, The NASCAR Foundation, in partnership with the USO, is hosting a volunteer project to stuff 1,250 kits for children whose parents are deployed.Piquet Jr. will join NASCAR executives and stuff kits that promote self-confidence and resiliency among military children as they tackle difficult issues which are unique to growing up in a military family. The event kicks off at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 5 in the Sprint Fan Zone


Come and See...Piquet Jr. will join his Turner Scott Motorsports teammates, as well as other NNS drivers, in the NNS autograph session on Friday, July 5 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. EDT in the Sprint Fan Zone.


Watch and Listen...The Subway Firecracker 250 can be seen live on Friday, July 5th on ESPN. Race coverage will begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Nelson Piquet Jr. on his return to Daytona:

"Daytona is such a wild card where anything can happen and usually does. It's a very fast superspeedway, and we are running wide open most of the time. I am becoming more and more comfortable in these restrictor-plate races, and I am really looking forward to getting out on the track this weekend."

For the first time this seasonMike Bliss will team up with Tweaker Energy Shot for Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.  Established in 2008, Tweaker Energy Shot is one of the fastest growing energy shot brands in the United States. Under the lights, the No. 19 Tweaker Energy Shot Toyota Camry will take the green flag for 250 laps around Florida’s fastest 2.5-mile track.

“We at Tweaker Energy Shot are extremely excited about our partnership with TriStar Motorsports and Mike Bliss. We are looking forward to our debut at Daytona International Speedway which is undoubtedly one of the most famous sporting venues in the world. We wish Mike all the best and will be supporting him with Tweaker’s signature energy,” said Vice President of Sales, Derek Lind.

“I am excited about our partnership with Tweaker Energy Shot,” said Bliss. “Daytona is a great track to debut our Tweaker Energy Shot Camry and I hope we can bring home a good finish for them. Daytona tends to produce a high charged event, especially under the lights. I’m glad we’ll have Tweaker on board to help energize our team.”

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Tweaker Energy Shot will not only be on Bliss’ #19 Camry at Daytona; they will partner with Bliss at Indianapolis on July 27th, Bristol on August 23rd, Texas on November 2nd and Phoenix on November 9th.


After earning a career-best 19th-place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeeday in May, Josh Wise is eager to go back to a restrictor plate track.  His No. 35 MDS Transport Ford team will be ready to go racing at Daytona International Speedway this week for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.


The team's 19th-place effort at Talladega was part of Front Row Motorsports' best day at the track in team history, in which David Ragan and David Gilliland finished first and second for FRM's first win ever.  Wise's result was the No. 35 team's best of the season and the best of the driver's Sprint Cup Series career.


Saturday's night's race on the 2.5-mile superspeedway will be Wise's third Cup race at the Daytona Beach, Fla., track. 


Comments from MDS Transport team driver Josh Wise heading to Daytona:


"I don't know if the night race at Daytona will be much different from the previous two restrictor plate races we've seen so far.  I know all of us at Front Row Motorsports are really excited about going there with the success we've had this year on the speedways.  David Ragan and David Gilliland ran 1-2 at Talladega, and we (No. 35 team) had our best finish of the year in the restrictor plate race at Talladega as well.  So, it will be a race that we'll all look forward to.  The guys are working hard on the cars and we'll get out there and mix it up.


"The last laps in these races are crazy.  It's kind of interesting to see just how it all unfolds and the times that it becomes important to jockey around for position. You see guys start to get desperate knowing that they're not in the position they need to be in to really make a run at the end of the race.  And then there's a wreck, so that kind of resets it all.  It's one of those crazy things.  You don't want to get caught out of the mix and not be in position to make a run at a race where it's really anybody's race until the last lap.  But at the same time, you've got to be smart and watch out for these big wrecks.  You've got to make it to the end so you can have the opportunity to win.


"We are learning more about this new car and teams are getting better at making the cars better.  As far as the racing goes, I think as drivers, we just go and drive hard every week. And I think we've seen some great racing with the Gen-6 car all year this year.  It's been a testament to the car and the changes that NASCAR has made.  Everything from the appeal of them when they're just sitting in the garage to how they race on the track has been pretty awesome to see unfold."



David Ragan will go to Daytona International Speedway this week with a standout partner and a car that knows how to find Victory Lane.  The bright yellow and green colors of Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts return to the No. 34 Ford this weekend in NASCAR's first race at a restrictor plate track since Ragan's dramatic win at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on May 5.


Retail partner Winn Dixie will join Peanut Patch on the car for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.


Ragan's No. 34 Ford Fusion for the 400-mile race will be the same car that surged to the front on the final lap of the Talladega race to capture Front Row Motorsports' first win in team history.   


"We're excited for Peanut Patch to be on the same car Front Row Motorsports driver David Ragan drove at Talladega," said Woody Swink, regional director of sales and owner of McCall Farms.  "And hoping yellow and green make its way into Victory Lane this time at the upcoming Coke Zero 400 in Daytona this weekend." 


The 27-year-old driver has been to Victory Lane at Daytona before, too, earning his first Sprint Cup Series win at the Coke Zero 400 in July 2011.  He has 13 total starts at the track, with one win, three top-fives and four top-10s.


Comments from Peanut Patch team driver David Ragan heading to Daytona:


"Absolutely, we're eager to get to Daytona.  We're taking our same car to the Fourth of July Coke Zero 400 that we won with in Talladega.  Restrictor plate races are difficult, in a sense.  You can very much get caught up in a wreck not of your doing pretty quick.  So we just want to make sure it's handling well and we've got a good strategy.  There is some element of luck involved in winning those races.  But if we can be around at the end and have a good handling car, we'll have a shot to win again.


"The end of restrictor plate races are crazy.  Everybody gets aggressive and there's no give-and-take.  Track position means a lot.  If you're running 25th on the white-flag lap, you're not going to have a chance to win.  You've got to be in the top five or six or seven cars to win, and we all know that.  So, about 15 or 20 laps to go, everyone stops giving and taking some, everyone gets very aggressive and you set yourself up for those final few laps with about 20 laps to go.


"We're bringing Peanut Patch with Winn Dixie to Daytona with us.  Peanut Patch has been a loyal partner of Front Row Motorsports over the past two seasons, and they stepped up to be on our car at Daytona.  Obviously, because of our Talladega win, there will probably be a lot of eyes on our No. 34 Ford, and with the bright yellow and green paint scheme, it will be hard to miss.  We're looking forward to getting Peanut Patch and Winn Dixie some attention at Daytona and maybe even getting them into Victory Lane."



Everyone jokes that David Ragan owes David Gilliland a victory.  After Gilliland pushed his teammate to Front Row Motorsports' first win at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for a 1-2 finish in May, it's only natural to rib Ragan about returning the favor this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.  Gilliland is very much in favor of that role reversal.


In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' first return to restrictor plate racing since that Talladega race, Gilliland knows that Victory Lane is once again in sight for this young team.  The No. 38 Long John Silver's crew is taking the same car that earned that runner-up finish at Talladega to Daytona Beach, Fla., for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.


In 10 Cup career starts, Gilliland has a pole position, one top-five and two top-10 finishes at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.


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


"Our 38 team is excited to get to Daytona. We're taking the same car.  Both of us are, the 34 and 38 teams.  Daytona in July drives a little bit different, but overall I think we'll be close and we're definitely anxious to get back there.  We obviously have confidence in those cars and what they can do, and I think you can probably see us working together again.


"It's just so much hotter in July than in February.  The track just has so much less grip.  It's actually more similar (for the two races) now than ever since they repaved it, but it still definitely goes through quite a big swing.  But I have a lot of confidence in my crew chief, Frank Kerr, and my team, and also our Ford engines, so I think we can be just as competitive as we were at Talladega.  Only this time maybe we'll flip-flop who finishes first and second.


"Obviously, superspeedway races are wild cards - you never know what's going to happen.  You can have the fastest car out there and get caught up in someone else's wreck on Lap 1.  All three Front Row cars got wiped out in one wreck in the Daytona 500 this year through no fault of our own.  So, you could say that plate racing is certainly not 'fair.'  There's some strategy involved, but there's also some luck.  We had both on our side in Talladega and we'll hope for it again this weekend."



Several reasons can explain why Scott Speed can't wait for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway, but none are more important than another good opportunity to drive the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford to Victory Lane. 


Though the team makes selected appearances in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), the team's strength has come at the two restrictor-plate tracks, including Daytona.


A 23rd-place finish at the season-opening Daytona 500 and a ninth-place effort at the Aaron's 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway are the two best finishes for Speed and Leavine Family Racing this year.


"Even at Daytona we led laps," Speed said.


The team last raced at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26. The five-race break is the longest planned by the third year team. It also gave the team more than a month to make minor adjustments to their No. 95 Ford Fusion.


"This car finished ninth the last time it was on the track, so there's not a lot that has to be done with it," crew chief Wally Rogers said. "This car is fast and it drives really well. More than anything else we've gone over our strategy."


But once the race starts at 7:30 p.m., Speed said a lot of the planning will be pointless.


"Everyone goes into a plate race with a strategy, but it's not very often things work out to plan," Speed said. "Once everyone starts finding their place in the draft you usually get what you can get, not what you want."


Restrictor-plate tracks like Daytona and Talladega also are known for colossal multi-car accidents. Speed, however, has one of the better records for avoiding "the big one," especially at Daytona. He's finished in four of five career starts on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.


Speed has completed 877 of 886 laps in his career at Daytona International Speedway.


"You have to make sure you always understand your surroundings," he said. "You try not to be around guys who have a habit of not finishing these races. And once you find your comfort zone, if it's possible to actually find a comfort zone at Daytona, you have to be committed to everything you do. There's no time or room for second-guessing. You make your decisions, you pick your line and you hope for the best."


Speed and Leavine Family Racing's next scheduled race will be the Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at The Brickyard Powered by at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28.



Brad Keselowski gave Penske Racing their fifth win of the season in the Nationwide Series Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. Just one week after AJ Allmendinger put the #22 Ford Mustang in Victory Lane at Road America, Keselowski brought home his second win of the season in the Feed the Children 300.

Arguably the class of the field, Keselowski led four times for a total of 59 laps on the flat 1.5-mile track. After taking four tires during the last round of pit stops under caution on lap 144, he quickly moved through the pack to take the lead from Elliott Sadler on lap 156 and held him off when the rain began to fall on lap 164. NASCAR stopped the race on lap 170 of 200 when more showers moved through the area.

“It certainly was a great race for us, but I didn’t want it to end this way,” said Keselowski. “The No. 22 team did a great job. They’ve been working so hard, and they deserve these results. A car that was this good is just an honor to have. I felt really lucky today.”

Josh Richards completed a perfect weekend Saturday night during the seventh annual Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway. Richards started the weekend with preliminary victories Thursday night and Saturday afternoon and became the first driver in history to sweep the Firecracker 100 weekend since it was expanded to three full nights.

In the final race Richards overtook the polesitter and defending Firecracker 100 winner Scott Bloomquist for the lead on lap 16 and never gave up the top spot. The race was slowed by 11 caution flags and 2 red flags as it stretched into the early morning hours of Sunday. Richards was able to pull away at the final restart with four laps to go and win by 0.976 of a second with his Roush Yates powered 436 Ford.

“It means a lot to me to win a race of this much prestige – as well as this is the place that I ran my first World of Outlaw race in 2004,” said Richards, who captured his sixth World of Outlaw victory of 2013. “There are a lot of great cars here and just to be able to win one of the weekend races means a lot – to win all three is unreal.”

Johnny Scott took home the Allgayer, Inc. Southern Region point’s championship after winning three races this weekend in the USMTS series. Scott captured his third straight victory Friday night at RPM Speedway in Crandall, TX after leading his group with the fastest time in qualifying and winning his heat race from outside of the second row.

The win was his seventh of 2013 in the USMTS Series with his Roush Yates powered USMTS 410 Chevy spec modified engine.


JR Motorsports announced today that Speedco Truck Lube and Tires, which is heavily involved in the JRM late model program, will sponsor Regan Smith’s No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro in the July 21NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Smith is the current Nationwide Series point leader.  He is eight points ahead of second-place Sam Hornish Jr. heading into Friday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).
The addition of Speedco to the primary sponsorship line-up of the No. 7 team is an expansion of an already prosperous partnership.  With Speedco’s backing, JR Motorsports produced its first championship as a company last season when Josh Berry took the track title at Motor Mile Speedway (Radford, Va.).  Speedco also serves as a full-season associate sponsor on both JR Motorsports’ Nationwide entries.
Speedco is a national company that specializes in quick lubes and tire services for the trucking industry.  There are more than 51 Speedco stations across the country.

“Speedco is a strong supporter of our racing programs on multiple levels,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, co-owner and general manager of JR Motorsports. “This is a great example of a partner growing along with our company.  Speedco was initially involved with the late model team, and out of that relationship, they’ve expanded into our Nationwide Series program.  With Regan’s two wins already this season, I think we’re all excited at our chances to visit victory lane with Speedco in Chicago.”
Smith has led the Nationwide Series points race since his win at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4.  He added another victory two weeks ago at Michigan.  For the season, Smith has two victories, four top-5s and 11 top-10 finishes.
“It’s an honor to be part of the JR Motorsports team,” said Mark Clark, Speedco president and CEO.  “This is an exciting new step for Speedco.  Our expanded partnership is a great opportunity for our company to get further involved in the Nationwide Series and we’re thrilled to be part of a winning team.”
The July 21 event at Chicagoland Speedway is a stand-alone weekend for the Nationwide Series and marks the first of two annual races at the 1.5-mile facility.
JR Motorsports PR

Coming off a discouraging finish at Road America, Mike Bliss and his No. 19 TriStar Motorsports crew worked feverishly at the Bluegrass State’s fastest 1.5-mile oval. At the start of the race Bliss knew he had his work cut out for him as he rolled off 24th for the 12thAnnual Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Within the first 40 laps, Bliss gained a few spots and merged into the top-20 and stayed there for 12 laps.  A caution fell at lap 51 just as Bliss’ car started to feel a “wrecking loose.”

“The car is tighter when I’m on the gas, but I’m really loose on entry,” said Bliss.  This was the beginning to a series of adjustments throughout the action packed event. Bliss and Crew Chief Paul Clapprood made track bar, air pressure, shock and wedge adjustments all in an attempt to find a balance with Bliss’ Toyota.

By lap 87 Bliss was racing in the 20th position and radioed to Clapprood, “I can’t turn the wheel in the center of three and four; it seems like it’s going to snap loose on me.”

At lap 110 there were only nine cars on the lead lap as Bliss fluctuated between 19th and 23rd.  At this point the team met their limitations as to what they could do to accommodate the ill handling No. 19.  Simultaneously, Bliss’ spotter Toby Whealdon radioed, “I’m feeling some rain up here on the roof.”

With rain sparsely falling over Kentucky Speedway; the field ran under caution for seven laps. Bliss maintained the 19th position as NASCAR made the official decision to end the Feed the Children 300 at lap 169 due to excessive precipitation.

“The fact that the race was shortened by rain didn’t hurt our finishing efforts. My crew worked really hard and we tried everything we could think of to balance the car out,” said Bliss. “I can’t say enough about my guys; they never gave up.”

Bliss’ 19th place finish at Kentucky is the 12th top-20 finish of the season.  Falling one spot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver points standing to 13th, Bliss and his crew set their sights on NASCAR’s iconic track, Daytona International Speedway.


One of the hottest drivers in NASCAR right now will heat up Martinsville Speedway’s new Party Plaza on October 27.

Jamie McMurray, who finished second in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event and was the pole winner two weeks ago, will stop by the Party Plaza on the morning of the Goody’sHeadache Relief Shot™ 500. Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, and Rookie of the Year candidate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will also make appearances in the Party Plaza.

The Party Plaza is a new addition to Martinsville Speedway’s race-morning lineup.

There will be food vendors in the Party Plaza selling great treats and Pepsi products will be available for purchase. There will be a beer garden with an assortment of beer at affordable prices.

McMurray, whose half-dozen career Sprint Cup wins have all come on tracks over a mile in length, has been surprisingly successful on Martinsville Speedway’s tight half-mile layout.

He finished seventh in last spring’s STP® Gas Booster™ 500 and has finished in the top 10 in 11 of his 21 Martinsville starts. He’s finished second twice at Martinsville, in the spring of 2004 and again in the fall of 2004.

He won the pole for the spring race in 2011 and wound up finishing seventh. McMurray has also won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville, picking up the victory in the fall of 2004.

“Jamie is a great addition to our new Party Plaza. He’s probably got some good Martinsville stories because he has been good here,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “We’re building a really strong lineup of drivers for the Party Plaza on race morning with Jeff, Jamie and Ricky and we’ll have more drivers to announce.”

Admission to the Party Plaza, which also includes a Pre-Race Track Pass to walk along the front-stretch of Martinsville Speedway, is just $49.

The drivers will appear at different times and each will participate in an emceed question and answer session during their appearance.

Martinsville Speedway PR


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