Speedway Digest Staff
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News & Notes:
- This Week's Zaxby's Toyota ... John Wes Townley will pilot RAB Racing with Brack Maggard Chassis No. 39 in Friday's Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- Zaxby's Returns ... RAB Racing'sToyota Camry will sport familiar colors this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway when the red and yellow paint scheme of Zaxby's adorns the No. 99. The Athens, Ga.-based chain was the primary sponsor of RAB Racing's NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA Racing Series entries with Townley from 2008 through 2010. Zaxby's was also on the hood when RAB Racing scored their first Nationwide Series victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2010, with Boris Said behind the wheel of the No. 09 entry.
- Townley at Bristol... In four Nationwide Series starts at the .533-mile oval, Townley has posted one top-20 finish, in 2009's Scotts Turf Builder 300. Additionally, the 22-year-old driver has competed in one Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol, in 2008's O'Reilly 200, where he posted a 35th-place finish after being involved in an early incident that eliminated him from competition prematurely.
- RAB Racing at Bristol... In six NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at the Tennessee track dating back to 2009, RAB Racing entries have earned two top-20 finishes and have completed 1,314 of the 1,954 (79.4 percent) laps contested in those events.
- Bristol Flashback ... Last time RAB Racing competed at "Thunder Valley," in the third race of the Nationwide Series season, Wallace and the Mac Tools Racing Team had a strong run going in the early part of the race, but an engine failure left the team with a 33rd-place finish.
- Get to the Points ... RAB Racing currently holds down the 19th slot in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner point standings. In 22 races this season, RAB-prepared Nationwide Series entries have notched one top-five and two top-10 finishes. RAB-prepared Toyotas have completed 3,428 laps with drivers Patrick Carpentier, Victor Gonzalez, Jr., Brett Moffitt, Travis Pastrana, Townley, Ryan Truex and Kenny Wallace.
- Zipadelli at Bristol ... Scott Zipadelli, crew chief of the No. 99 Toyota Camry, has sat atop the pit box at Bristol Motor Speedway ten times in his Nationwide Series career, garnering three top-ten and five top-20 finishes, with drivers Kelly Bires, Jason Leffler, and Wallace.
- Double Duty ... Townley will be pulling double-duty for RAB Racing this week at Bristol, driving the No. 09 Zaxby's-sponsored entry in Wednesday's UNOH 200. Live coverage of the event begins Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The race will be televised live on SPEED and broadcast on the Motor Racing Network.
- Get Well, Torie ... In recognition of his 16-year-old daughter Torie Costa's battle with childhood rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue malignant tumor of skeletal muscle origin that accounts for approximately 3.5% of the cases of cancer among children aged 0 to 14 years, crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the members of RAB Racing's Nationwide Series team are wearing pink bracelets in support of Torie. A CaringBridge site has been created where Torie and her family post updates as she battles her disease. Family and friends are able to visit the site, stay informed and leave supportive messages. To keep up with Torie's journey, visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/toriecosta
- Catch the Action ... Friday's Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway will be televised live Friday, August 24th beginning at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network. NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying will be televised live Friday, August 24th beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT on SPEED.
John Wes Townley Quotes:
"I'm really looking forward to heading to Bristol Motor Speedway this week. I'll be pulling double duty, racing in both the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races. With Thursday being an off day, it will give us the time to dedicate to each of our Toyotas without going back and forth from one to the other. Wednesday, we will be focused on our Tundra, and Friday will be dedicated to our Zaxby's Camry. This will be the first time most of us will get to try out the new surface, other than the Cup drivers that participated in the tire test. So, I think it may give us a little bit of an advantage on the Nationwide side with the experience I'll get on Wednesday night."
Scott Zipadelli Quotes:
"Bristol is one of everyone's favorite race tracks to go to. It's the best short track on the schedule. We will have a bit of a new challenge this time because of the track configuration change since the spring race, and we will be racing on a different left-side tire, the one that was also used at Richmond. The racing groove all the way up against the wall has been ground down, so cars have to run the middle or the bottom. In the past few years, the very top groove was faster because the car could keep the RPMs up and carry more momentum and speed off the corner. Now, that won't be an option anymore. Cars will race side-by-side and there will probably be more contact than the past few races there. So, you better leave your feelings at the gate when you walk in, because this is going to be a physical race."
RAB Racing PR
When it comes to the actual Ford Fusion, there is a big difference between the road-course No. 95 Leavine Family Racing (LFR) Ford that finished 17th two weeks ago at Watkins Glen International and the short-track car that will race this Saturday in the Irwin Tools Night Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
However, when it comes to momentum, everything carries over.
Driver Scott Speed looks to improve on the young team's best effort in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend, during one of the most-popular short-track races of the season.
"When you are a young team and working with a limited schedule, you have to build a foundation," the 29-year old Speed said. "We have been doing that, so at our last race at Watkins Glen we began building the structure. Now we have a baseline, something we can work from every time we come to the race track. Our goal is to leave Bristol Motor Speedway with another team-best finish."
Speed has five career starts at the half-mile track, where his best performance came in 2009, starting third and finishing 15th. This weekend will mark Leavine Family Racing's second start at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Bristol has an additional challenge: it was recently re-configured since the last race on March 18 with the intention of moving the racing groove to the inside lane.
"When they re-paved Bristol last year, it moved the groove to the high side," crew chief Wally Rogers said. "It really didn't affect the side-by-side racing too much, but it took away the beating and banging, the bump-and-run. Fans wanted to see a little more action, so they re-did everything to make it more like it was."
And that means bringing a car that's equally adept in delivering bumps as taking them. Speed will drive the No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales (JTS) 500 laps under the lights with chassis No. 702.
"There's a line you have to be careful not to cross at Bristol," Speed said. "But when you race there for 500 laps it's hard to keep that in mind. You're going to get knocked around. But if you can keep your fenders on the car and be around for the last 100 laps, that's when you're attitude changes. That's when you give a lot more than you take."
Leavine Family Racing will make 17 selected starts this year. The Irwin Tools Night Race, which starts at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC, will kick off a season-ending stretch of nine starts for the team in the final 13 races for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
- Back to Bristol... Justin Lofton will take on Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway ("World Fastest Half-Mile") for the third time in his career this Wednesday night as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races on the legendary half-mile track. In two previous NCWTS starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, the driver of the No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet has completed 100% of laps he has attempted, and has never finished worse than the seventh position.
- Closing in on the competition... Lofton is one of the best when it comes to closing in on the competition at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to NASCAR's loop data which averages the data for the past seven years at each particular track, Lofton ranks second among all NCWTS drivers when it comes to closing in on the competition at the end of the race at the Tennessee short track. In the final 10 percent of the laps at Bristol Motor Speedway, Lofton typically gains an average of 5.5 spots.
- The action heats up as the summer winds down... With six races scheduled over the next seven weeks, the battle is definitely on for the NCWTS championship. Lofton enters the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway in the fourth position, just 17 points out of the championship point lead, and 11 points behind third place. The 26-year-old led the standings through three events earlier this season, and notched both his first career win and first career pole during a career-best year. Ten races remain in the NCWTS season before a champion is crowned at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
- Follow Justin... Follow Justin Lofton, driver of the No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet Silverado, on twitter (@jlracing) and facebook(facebook.com/jlracing), and check out loftonracing.com for the latest news and updates.
- Get the Inside Scoop... Follow Eddie Sharp Racing on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook to get real-time updates and behind-the-scenes information: @TeamESR or facebook.com/teamesr.
- Watch and Listen... The action will heat up as the stars of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series beat and bang under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 22. Qualifying from the World's Fastest Half-Mile will be broadcast on SPEED at 5:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the UNOH 200 will be aired on SPEED, MRN & SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
From the Driver's Seat
Justin Lofton Quotes... On looking forward to racing at Bristol Speedway: "I can't wait to run at Bristol Motor Speedway. It's one of my favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit. There's something about getting out there on the high banks and racing hard with 35 other trucks. It's always a really exciting race, and I'm sure things will be even more interesting with the new track configuration."
On what to expect from the new track surface: "It will be interesting to see how the new surface changes the racing at Bristol Motor Speedway. They took out the top groove, so we won't be able to run side-by-side like we have in the past few races. I expect that there will be a lot more beating on each other as we fight for position. There should be a lot of action on the track, and I expect that it will be a very exciting race for the fans. I'm looking forward to it."
On staying out of trouble at Bristol Motor Speedway: "Bristol has always been known for wild finishes and a lot of wrecks, but we need to be sure to keep our nose clean and stay out of trouble with the Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet. We need to remember to stay focused on the big picture-we're racing for the championship. We're only 17 points out the lead right now; we need to come to the track with our best equipment every week and stay on top of our game all season. We don't need to lead the points every week, but we need to keep ourselves within striking distance to have a chance at it when we get to Homestead. This is one of those wildcard races where anything can happen; we just need to be sure that it doesn't happen to us."
From the Pit Box
Dan Bormann Quotes... On looking forward to Bristol Motor Speedway with the No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet team: "We have a lot of confidence in Justin at Bristol. He's always run really well at this track and has been able to pick up a lot of positions throughout the race. The Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet team has been putting in long hours to be sure that we put the best equipment under Justin going into the race at Bristol. We hope to walk out of this weekend gaining ground in the points battle-we only have 10 races left until they crown a champion in Miami."
No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services Chevrolet Truck Information
The No. 6 Millennium VIP Group Private Jet Services team will compete with chassis No. 050 as their primary truck at Bristol Motor Speedway. The team last raced this chassis earlier this season at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. In that event, Lofton rolled off sixth, ran inside the top 10 for most of the day and raced to a fourth-place finish.
Five months ago, the newly formed Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) team attempted the famous Tennessee short track for the first time with their owner-driver, Kyle Busch, who by all accounts is a master of the .533-mile short track. Their race together was a difficult one. It started with a top-10 qualifying run, followed quickly by a first-place position and the lead for 40 laps, until a pit stop miscue and then a late-race blown tire, forced the team to record a 17th-place finish. This week's visit to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (BMS) marks the 22nd race for the first-year team, who travels to the "World's Fastest Half-Mile" once again, with high hopes of giving their boss his first taste of victory in the No. 54 Monster Energy machine.
Busch is no stranger to success on the high banks of Bristol. In 38 races across all three of NASCAR's premier series, the 27-year old has amassed 12 wins, three poles, 20 top-five finishes, 27 top-10 finishes and 2,732 laps led. In the Nationwide Series specifically, over 16 starts, Busch has recorded four wins, two poles, nine top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes. He is the last driver to win from the pole position at BMS during a Nationwide Series event, done in August of 2011.
In 14 Bristol NNS starts, Busch ranks first among drivers in several statistical categories over the past seven years, including Driver Ranking (112.3), Most Green Passes (388), Most Quality Passes (296), Highest Number of Fastest Laps Run (488), Most Number of Laps Led (1014) and Highest Percentage of Laps Led (27.4%).
The KBM team travels to this weekend's event at one of the fastest short tracks on the NASCAR circuit, where they know their leader is considered the 'best' at securing victory. The goal this week is to minimize errors, which will allow their company owner-driver to take the lead and maintain it, in order to cross the finish line and register that first win in his own car.
In five months since their last Bristol Motor Speedway effort, the No. 54 Monster Energy team has improved, and looks forward to showcasing their growth. Busch, as a driver, is recorded as the number one closer and fastest driver late in a run, at BMS. You can bet money, he will be charging hard.
Fans planning to attend this year’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway can enhance their race day experience with pre-race pit access for each day of race weekend, or a Pre-Race Party Pass for Sunday.
Weekend pit passes are available for $125, giving fans access to the pits prior to green flag competition each day throughout race weekend. A ticket for that day’s race must accompany the pit pass for that day. Friday or Saturday only access is available for $75 and Sunday only pit access is $100. Customers must be 14 years of age or older to enter the pits on Friday and Saturday, with no age limit on Sunday.
Friday tickets for the Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race are only $25, with tickets for Saturday’s NRA American Warrior 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race starting at $30.
Fans looking to get up close and personal with Montgomery Gentry for the Fast Cars & Guitars pre-race concert, presented by Bad Boy Buggies can do just that with a Pre-Race Party Pass. For just $49, fans with the Pre-Race Party Pass can get stagefront access to Montgomery Gentry, as well as opening act, The LACS. This pass also allows fans to be front and center for NASCAR Sprint Cup driver introductions prior to the AdvoCare 500. Pre-Race Party Passes must be accompanied by a grandstand or infield ticket for Sunday’s race.
With AdvoCare 500 tickets starting at just $39, with student tickets available for $19, fans can have an all-access experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Labor Day weekend at an affordable price for the entire family.
To purchase upgrades for enhanced access, or to purchase tickets to any of Atlanta Motor Speedway’s three nights of NASCAR racing, contact the AMS ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra had finished in 16th place at Saturdays 13th Annual VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway.
The weekend started out looking good with Crafton posting the best 10-lap consecutive average speed in the second practice. But when it came time to race with the entire field, teams found it difficult to pass and gain positions. Fuel mileage was key, some were able to stretch it, and everybody was on a different strategy. Crafton had to pit near the end for fuel and ended up in 16th.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a quick turn around before heading to Bristol on Wednesday, the 22nd and Atlanta on the 31st.
The Chasco Constructorssponsored NASCAR driver David Starr and the Arrington Racing team ride up the road to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Wednesday night UNOH 200 race.
The veteran driver returns to the track this week sponsored by Chasco Constructors. Starr is currently 19th in points for the season and is excited to return to the Camping World Truck Series afterwithdrawing from the past two races.
David Starr welcomes longtime supporter Chasco Constructors as the primary sponsor of the No. 81 Toyota Tundra truck for this Wednesday’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“We are proud to support David Starr and the race team on the most exciting track on the schedule.” Chasco Constructors President, Chas Glace said.
This week’s race truck also bears the name of top winners of the National Automotive ServiceTechnology and Carpentry competitions from SkillsUSA Champions at Work® 2012. In cooperation with IRWIN® Tools, and NCCER’s Build Your Future campaign, the winners names, Josh Myers (St. Louis, MO) and James Lassmann (League City, TX) in the Automotive Service Technology division, and Seth Miller (Litchfield, NH) and Brandon Hicks (Tiffin, OH) in the Carpentry category, will be featured on the deck lid of the race truck.
In the 2012 NCWTS season, Starr races with primary sponsorshipfrom longtime supporter San Antonio-based Zachry Holdings, Inc. Other sponsors throughout the season include: AdvoCare, NCCER’s Build Your Future campaign, Striping Technologies, Chasco Constructors, and fentonmotors.com.
Arrington Racing PR
NASCAR announced today penalties and fines to the No. 18 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions at Michigan International Speedway.
The No. 18 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-2.3A (improperly attached weight) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book. The infraction occurred during practice on Aug. 18.
As a result of the violation, crew chief Dave Rogers has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Oct. 3. In addition, car chief Wesley Sherrill has been placed on NASCAR probation until Oct. 3.
Turner Motorsports announced today changes within two of its NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) teams. Effective immediately, the No. 30 and No. 38 teams will interchange their entire crews, including crew chiefs, in an effort to evaluate performance and prepare for the 2013 season.
Trent Owens, who has led James Buescher and Nelson Piquet Jr. to NNS victories this season, will take over as crew chief for the No. 38 Great Clips team with drivers Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet. A former driver himself, Owens is a long-time fixture in the NASCAR garage. Over the years, the Darlington, S.C., native has been successful working with a variety of drivers with different levels of experience and has visited victory lane with both rookies and veterans alike including Buescher, Piquet. Jr., Mark Martin, Dave Blaney and Reed Sorenson.
Mike Hillman Jr., who joined the organization this season to lead Miguel Paludo's efforts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this season, will take charge as crew chief of the No. 30 team, which features a myriad of drivers. Hillman Jr. has served as a NCWTS crew chief since 2005, amassing two championships, 19 wins, 81 top-five and 107 top-10 finishes in 185 races atop the pit box. Hillman Jr.'s most recent NNS event as crew chief came with Paludo at Road America in June of this year.
The changes are part of an ongoing process by Turner Motorsports, which is credited with five NCWTS and six NNS wins since September, 2010, to gauge performance and ensure that the right people are in the right place to achieve race wins and championships.
"We have a responsibility to all of our marketing partners to consistently be doing everything we can do to make our programs stronger," said team owner Steve Turner. "This personnel change is an effective way to evaluate each team's strengths and to build upon them as we prepare to contend for a Nationwide Series championship in 2013."]
Turner Motorsports PR
Landon Cassill doesn't know what "old Bristol" is all about, but he's about to find out. His first NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway came in 2008, after the track was resurfaced with multiple racing grooves. He never experienced the hardcore rooting and gouging that were once synonymous with the half-mile oval. Now that the latest resurfacing project has eliminated one of the racing grooves, Cassill expects to see shades of the once-uncompromising race track in this weekend's Irwin Tools Night Race. He looks forward to his first race at "old Bristol."
Cassill drove his No. 83 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota to BK Racing's best starting position to date last weekend at Michigan. His ninth-place qualifying run was BK Racing's first top-10. He was poised to cap off the achievement with a top-15 finish, but experienced transmission trouble with 10 laps remaining and settled for 25th place. It was Cassill's eighth top-25 of the season and his third top-25 in the past four races.
Cassill has three previous Cup Series starts at Bristol. His best finish is 29th, which he achieved in this season's spring race. Cassill has one NASCAR Nationwide Series event under his belt at BMS. In 2008, Cassill started 27th and finished 22nd, driving for JR Motorsports.
Comments from BK Racing driver Landon Cassill heading into Bristol:
"I never raced at Bristol before it was resurfaced in 2007. I'm used to seeing the side-by-side racing, even making some green-flag pit stops. All of the bumping and banging that the track is famous for happened just before I started racing there. It sounds like they've ground away one of the racing grooves and it will be more like it used to be. It will give us less room to race. I don't know what to expect. I'm sure that if there's less room for us to race, there's going to be closer competition and less room for error.
"Even with the extra groove, Bristol was an action-packed track. It might not have been as crazy as years past, but it was still tough to make passes. You were always on your toes. You definitely had to stay alert and be ready for trouble. I think the new surface will still allow us room for some side-by-side racing, but it's going to ramp up the intensity. I think it's going to be exactly what the fans have wanted to see.
"We had a great race going last week at Michigan. It looked like we were going to get our first top-15 of the season. Unfortunately we had some trouble with our transmission and it got stuck in third gear with a few laps to go. It was disappointing for it to end that way, but I'm really excited about the progress we've shown. I think we're really starting to show what we're capable of and I hope we can keep it up this week at Bristol."
BK Racing PR