Wednesday, Mar 29
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Friday the 13th has foreboding reputations dating back from ancient times. There are two such occurrences in 2013 and Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) 225 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. is one of them. The second infamous "Friday the 13th" is in December and the two such occurrences happen to be 13 weeks apart. Why is Friday the 13th considered one of the unluckiest days on the calendar? Well, the superstition does have deep, compelling roots in Western Culture, but stems from two separate fears - the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Friday's.  

Racing superstitions are nearly as old as the sport itself and although they are not as prevalent today, there are still certain fixtures drivers and crew members shy away from. Peanuts, $50 bills and even the color green are primarily superstitions that many drivers have steered clear of over the years. Although Joey Coulter, driver of the No. 18 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports, doesn't have any superstitions he does believe that he could use all the "luck" he can get in the final seven races of the year starting with this weekend's NCWTS 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.


Coulter's "bad luck" stems from a four-week span of misfortune dating back to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (August). After wrecking his primary Toyota Tundra in practice - a truck he says was capable of winning the race and the best truck he has had all year - the Miami Springs, Fla. native had to pull out his back-up and finished 14th at the 2-mile oval - ending a two-week streak of top-five finishes. At Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway just four days later, Coulter made contact with the Turn 2 wall in qualifying relegating the No. 18 team to a 34th-place starting position - his worst start of the season. The following week in Canada at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Coulter was unable to control his "bucking" Monster Energy Tundra and found himself in the tire barrier early in the inaugural event forcing him to take the checkered flag from the 26th position. Finally, in last weekend's Truck Series event at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Coulter was forced into the Turn 2 wall when the No. 62 machine of Brendan Gaughan had a break issue on a green-white-checkered restart relegating Coulter to a 25th-place finish and his first DNF of the season.


Coulter would like nothing more than to turn his luck around this weekend in Chicago by turning the fifth day of the week and the number 13 into a lucky No. 18 after 150-laps on the 1.5-mile oval in the "Windy City."



It will be a flashback to the past for Kyle Busch in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., as long-time partner Dollar General returns for a one-race deal to sponsor his No. 51 Tundra in the 225. Since 2010, KBM has compiled five wins- including the team's historic first victory at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in April of 2010 - and 14 top-five finishes across 27 races with Dollar General as a primary sponsor. When Busch was behind the wheel, KBM's owner-driver has collected four of the victories and 11 of the top-five finishes in his 14 starts in the black and yellow Tundra.

Whether it has been as an owner or driver, Busch and Dollar General have celebrated in victory lane together in five consecutive seasons. The Las Vegas native won as a driver with the Tenn.-based company as a sponsor of his No. 32 Camry in the Nationwide Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in 2008, won a race that Dollar General was the title sponsor of at Charlotte in 2009, collected KBM's first win at Nashville with DG as the sponsor in 2010 and scored three victories in his black-and-yellow Tundra in 2011. Last year, Brian Scott put KBM's No. 18 Dollar General Tundra, owned by Busch, in victory lane at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway to keep the streak alive.


The Las Vegas Native leads the Truck Series with three victories this season, despite only starting seven of the 15 events. The talented wheelman has finished third or better in the six races he has been running at the finish and has led seven or more laps in all seven events. With only a partial schedule, Busch ranks second in the series with 150 Fastest Laps Run and fourth with 235 laps led.


Busch heads to Chicagoland on Friday where he is a five-time winner across NASCAR's top three divisions, including two Truck Series wins in three starts. With the 28-year-old's history of success at the 1.5-mile track and Dollar General's famous black and yellow paint scheme onboard his No. 51 Tundra, there is a good chance that it will be a #FlashbackFriday and the he will be celebrating another victory for the nation's largest small-box discount retailer.



Ben Kennedy made his second start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on Sunday at Iowa Speedway. The 21-year-old Daytona Beach, Fla. native participated in the one and only practice session of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. Kennedy completed a total of 62 laps during the session to finish 10th on the practice chart. After practice, Kennedy qualified his No. 96 Ben Kennedy Racing (BKR) Chevrolet Silverado in the 22nd position for the Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland. After two pit stops and six cautions, including two attempts at the green/white/checkered finish, Kennedy brought his No. 96 Ben Kennedy Racing Chevrolet Silverado home in the 15th position.


Kennedy took the green flag for the Sunday matinee under the guidance of crew chief Chris Carrier for his second career NCWTS race this season. Kennedy's first pit stop of the day came at lap 41 after the caution flag flew for an accident in Turn 1. Kennedy radioed to Chris Carrier that his No. 96 BKR Silverado was a little loose on entry after braking. Carrier made the call to put two Goodyear tires on the truck, fill it with Sunoco fuel and make a wedge adjustment to help tighten up the truck. Kennedy gained eight spots on pit road and restarted in the ninth position on lap 44. With varying pit strategies during the most recent caution and a long green-flag run, Kennedy slipped back to the 20th position. Kennedy relayed to Carrier that his truck was tight in the center, and on lap 127 he came down pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop. Carrier made the call for fuel, four tires and an adjustment. After the pit stop, Kennedy was in the 18th position with 70 laps remaining. The second caution of the race came out at lap 136 for debris on the backstretch. Kennedy restarted in the 17th position and continued to work his way through the field, surviving four additional restarts to bring his No. 96 BKR Chevy Silverado home in the 15th position.


"First I have to thank my team," said Kennedy. "They've been putting in a lot of hours at the shop and have been instrumental in helping me improve in the truck. We had the raw speed, but it was hard to pass and we needed track position. Everyone is working really hard and providing me with great feedback. Our next race is Chicagoland Speedway, and it will be nice to race two weekends in a row and get in a rhythm."



Bound for Chi-Town...Kyle Larson and the No. 32 SNICKERS Bites team return to Chicagoland Speedway as the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) heads to the Windy City for the Dollar General 300 powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, September 14. This will be Larson's second race at the 1.5-mile oval; he finished 12th when the NNS visited Chicagoland Speedway in July. 


Rookie of the Year Update...With just eight races to go in the 2013 NNS season, Larson currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 73 points over his nearest competition. He also ranks as the highest-positioned rookie in the NNS Driver Point Standings, sitting in ninth. 


Grab a SNICKERS...Larson's No. 32 Chevrolet will again sport a scheme featuring SNICKERS® Bites this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. SNICKERS® Bites are a new hunger-satisfying innovation introduced earlier this year that offers the trademark SNICKER® combination of chocolate, peanuts, caramel and nougat shrunk down in small, no fuss, "pop 'em in your mouth" milk chocolate cubes. The unwrapped treats are ideal for sharing, whether you're watching a movie, attending a gathering or cheering on the No. 32 as it speeds towards victory lane.  SNICKERS® Bites are available nationwide at club, convenience, drug, grocery, mass, specialty and value stores.


This Week's Camaro...Crew chief Trent Owens and the No. 32 SNICKERS Bites team have prepared chassis TSM-403 for this weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway. This chassis has been used two previous times, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring one top-five finish and earning an average finish of eighth.


Watch and Listen...The Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway will be broadcast live on ESPN2, with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT. You can also listen to the race by tuning in to MRN Radio or SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.


Previous Race Recap...Larson started his long day at Richmond International Raceway by laying down the fourth-fastest time in the lone practice session. Despite running a quick lap early, Larson and his Turner Scott Motorsports crew weren't happy with their SNICKERS Bites Chevrolet, which qualified 18th for the Friday night race. After battling a loose race car throughout the 250-lap race, Larson finished in the 14th position.


Kyle Larson on Chicagoland Speedway

"I'm looking forward to going back to Chicagoland Speedway. We had an up-and-down race there back in July; we didn't qualify or finish as well as we would like, but we ran pretty well during the race, especially on the longer green-flag runs. I feel like my Turner Scott Motorsports team and I have been really strong at the mile-and-a-half tracks this season, so I'm looking forward to getting a good finish this weekend."


Home Again...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will make its second and final stop of the 2013 season at Chicagoland Speedway (CLS) this weekend. Justin Allgaier, a Riverton, Ill. native, is returning to his home track where he finished eighth in the July race. It's not only a home race for Allgaier, but it's also the home track for his primary sponsor, BRANDT Professional Agriculture. BRANDT originated in Pleasant Plains, Ill., and is currently located in Springfield, Ill. In seven starts at CLS, Allgaier has one win and an average finishing position of 8.1.


ESPN In-Race Reporter...Justin Allgaier will be the ESPN in-race reporter for Saturday's 200-lap race. The No. 31 WinField Chevrolet Camaro will carry the in-car camera sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. Allgaier was also the ESPN in-race reporter for the July race at CLS.


This Week's Camaro...This weekend, the No. 31 WinField Chevrolet team will utilize chassis TSM-401. TSM-401 has raced three times this season, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and CLS, and has earned two top-10 finishes.


Welcome Aboard...This weekend, the No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro will sport more than just BRANDT on the car. The No. 31 will also have green and white with WinField Solutions on the hood. Winfield Solutions, LLC, a Land O'Lakes, Inc. company, offers top-performing professional products. With unmatched solutions, service and insights as core company values, Winfield Solutions matches leading products with expertise to help businesses achieve the highest level of success. The WinField brand includes adjuvants, dyes and wetting agents, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, micronutrients, turf seed and pest control products. Backed with unrivaled technical services and knowledge, WinField delivers outstanding solutions and value for the professional products industry.

Recapping Richmond...The NNS made its second and final stop of the season at Richmond International Raceway last Friday night. Allgaier came to the 0.75-mile track looking for redemption after an accident relegated him to a 31st-place finish in the spring race. Following practice, Allgaier qualified the No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet in the 13th position for the Virginia529 College Savings 250. Just a little over halfway through the 250-lap race, Allgaier lost control of his No. 31 BRANDT Chevy Camaro and spun on the track. After a great effort by Allgaier and his No. 31 team, he was able to bring the No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet home to an 11th-place finish for Turner Scott Motorsports.


Crew chief Scott Zipadelli on Chicagoland Speedway:

"Chicagoland [Speedway] has a few bumps that make the track a little more difficult. Traditionally, the track has long green flag runs and it's very hard to pass, so pit stops and track position will be crucial on Saturday. It's also Justin's and BRANDT's home track, and he's won there before, so it's a pretty special weekend for our team."


Justin Allgaier on Chicagoland Speedway:

"I can't wait to get to Chicagoland [Speedway]. It's my home track, and it's a big weekend for BRANDT. I'm also glad to have WinField on the car this weekend. We've partnered up before and it's great to have them on the car again. I've won here; so it's always nice to return and I'm looking forward to a great race."

Land of Lincoln...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) will make its second and final trip of the 2013 season to Joliet, Ill. and Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday afternoon for the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola. Nelson Piquet Jr. will make his second NNS start at Chicagoland this weekend; he finished 17th in his first NNS race there in July.


Welcome to Hooters...For the first time this year, Piquet Jr. will display the Hooters colors on the No. 30 this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. The No. 30 car sponsorship celebrates Hooters 30th anniversary year, honoring the iconic legacy of the brand and continued growth as one of the most successful dining destinations in the world. Part of the Hooters evolution is the expansion of the casual dining restaurant brand into international markets. Chanticleer Holdings, which secured exclusive rights to operate Hooters restaurants in parts of Brazil earlier this year, plans to announce its first Brazil location in the near future. Hooters of America, LLC is the franchisor and operator of more than 412 Hooters restaurants in 44 states and 27 foreign countries. The first Hooters opened in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. Everyone is liberated from the ordinary at Hooters while enjoying great food, fun and uniquely-Hooters service from the iconic Hooters Girls. For more information about Hooters, visit


This Week's Camaro...The No. 30 Hooters team will have chassis TSM-400 for Saturday afternoon's race at Chicagoland. TSM-400 has been used two times this season, at Michigan International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, earning a best finish of ninth.


Richmond Recap...Making his second career NNS start at Richmond International Raceway, Piquet Jr. looked to gain a solid finish in the Virginia529 College Savings 250. Piquet Jr. and his No. 30 WORX Yard Tools team started the weekend by qualifying 16th at the 0.75-mile oval. Piquet Jr. was able to overcome adversity towards the end of the race and bring home the WORX Yard Tools Chevrolet Camaro with a hard-fought 21st-place finish.


Watch and Listen...The Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola can be seen live on Saturday, September 14 on ESPN2. Race coverage will begin at 3:30 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 Chicagoland Speedway:

"I am looking forward to returning to Chicagoland and racing on Saturday afternoon. We tested last week in Nashville to help improve on our mile-and-a-half program, and I think we learned a lot that we can bring with us this weekend to Chicago. Our car was pretty good back in the first race in July, and we have had some success there in the truck series as well. We have a new sponsor with Hooters on board this weekend. If we can find the right setup and have a little bit of luck, we will have a good afternoon. It would be awesome to get Hooters into victory lane to help them celebrate their 30th anniversary."

With only eight races remaining in the Nationwide Series season, it’s time for Mike Wallace to take another shot at success at Chicagoland Speedway.

For the second time in eight weeks, Nationwide teams will roll into extreme suburban Chicago to test the 1.5-mile Chicagoland track, one of the series’ fastest. The Dollar General 300 is scheduled Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ET).

Wallace finished 24th in the July 21 STP 300 at Chicagoland.

“We can take what we learned in July there and make a better run,” Wallace said. “The corner entries there are different from those at the other 1.5-mile tracks, and the speeds are really fast. You have to have a fast car and one that can get through the turns.”

Practice rounds for Saturday’s race are scheduled at 2:40 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. (ET) Friday.

Qualifying is scheduled at 12:05 p.m. Saturday.

JD Motorsports PR

The last time the Nationwide Series visited Chicagoland Speedway, Landon Cassill rolled home 21st in the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet.

Cassill will be looking for improvement over his performance in the July 21 STP 300 at the track as the series makes its second stop of the year for Saturday’s Dollar General 300.

“Chicago is fast, and you have to be on your toes,” Cassill said. “A lot of it there is about engine power, but the turns are unique, too. You have to be able to drive in fast, control the tendency of the car to want to move outside and push out of the turn with momentum. It’s a tough track.”

Nationwide teams will have two long practices to prepare for one of the season’s longest races. Practice is scheduled at 2:40 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. (ET) Friday.

Qualifying will be held at 12:05 p.m. Saturday, with the race scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

JD Motorsports PR

Iowa Speedway officials announced today that track CEO Doug Fritz tendered his resignation in August to pursue another opportunity on the east coast, which was effective on Monday.

“We wish Doug the very best in his new venture, and thank him for all of his efforts on behalf of our racetrack,” said Conrad Clement, Chairman of the Board and principal owner of Iowa Speedway. “Stan Clement will continue in his role as President of the track, and will consolidate the duties of CEO as well.”

“Right now, our senior staff is focused on assembling a very attractive schedule for our 2014 racing season,” Clement noted.  “We are discussing specific race dates with all of the sanctioning bodies, and plan to have a final schedule approved within the next two weeks. Season Ticket packages will be available for sale shortly after approval of the 2014 schedule.”

“Thanks to the great fan support we have enjoyed over the last seven years, Iowa Speedway has a very bright future ahead,” Clement said. “We have many facility improvements and fan amenities on the books for next season, and we are looking forward to another outstanding year in 2014.”

Iowa Speedway PR

According to motorsports pundits, Kurt Busch and Furniture Row Racing accomplished one “improbable” mission and will embark on another when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Busch, who became the first driver from a single-car team to qualify for the Chase, is now looking to become the first single-car driver to win the outright championship since Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 Cup title.
“I can understand how some folks felt it was an improbable accomplishment for a little single-car team from Colorado to make the Chase, but in reality the Chase was our goal from the beginning of the year,” said Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Cup champion. “And believe me this Furniture Row team continues to move the needle forward and grab traction. We have some muscle to flex in the next 10 weeks.”
Though Busch has yet to win a race this season, he enters the playoffs with some of the strongest momentum among the 12 Chase drivers. He is coming off his best finish of the season – runner-up at Richmond -- and also posted three top-five results in three of the past four races and five top-10s in his last six starts. 
The only stumble in the last six races was at Bristol when a part failure (wheel hub) doomed Busch’s performance after he was leading the race by more than 15 car lengths.
Busch finished the regular season eighth in driver points but was reseeded to 10th when the points were reset for the Chase championship run.
“I keep saying we need to keep plugging away, protect our car and avoid major mistakes,” explained Busch, a seven-time Chase participant. “These Furniture Row guys keep on giving me fast cars and I expect the same during the Chase. Look at our record. Our worst finish since the middle of March when something didn’t go wrong was 15th. The downer during this period is that we had six finishes in the 30s due to either a mechanical issue or an accident. It’s a matter of putting it all together in the 10 crucial Chase races.”
Busch’s finishes since the middle of March were: 13 between 1-10, four between 11-15 and six between 30-37.
Busch, who will drive the No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet during this weekend’s race, is looking to bring home his best finish at Chicagoland Speedway. In 12 starts at the 1.5-mile track he has claimed six top 10s, but no top-fives. 
"My fondness for Chicago has been well documented over the years,” noted Busch “It is indeed my kind of town. I'm a diehard Chicago sports fans -- have always loved the Cubs and the Bears in both good and bad times.  
‘I am hoping my fondness for Chicago will rub off at Chicagoland Speedway and I'll have a breakthrough race there on Sunday afternoon. For us to do well in the Chase we have to master the 1.5-mile tracks like Chicagoland since there are five of these mile-and-a-half tracks in the Chase. It's a great feeling to make the Chase and be here with the big dogs as we compete for the Sprint Cup championship."    

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