Wednesday, Feb 01
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Without any prior notes or data to fall back on, BK Racing had a fresh slate when they started the season. Now that they've raced at most tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, their notebook has strengthened considerably, and so have their results. Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 93 Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota, set a new milestone for BK Racing last weekend at Michigan. He finished 15th in the Pure Michigan 400, which marked the organization's best finish to date. It was 11 positions better than his finish in the Michigan spring race. Kvapil expects similar improvement to be shown as he returns to Bristol Motor Speedway in this weekend's Irwin Tools Night Race.

In Sprint Cup competition, Kvapil has 12 starts at BMS. He carries a best finish of fifth place (2005) into this weekend and only one DNF (2006). In this year's spring race, Kvapil started 34th and finished 27th.

Comments from BK Racing Driver Travis Kvapil heading into Bristol:

"In the spring, our car was pretty good. We had a decent run. I'm looking forward to going there and implementing some of the things we've learned since then. Last week proved what a difference a return trip can make. Our first race and second race at Michigan were night and day apart. We've gained a lot since the spring and our cars are getting better and better each race. I feel like it's all coming together. Hopefully we'll show just as much improvement at Bristol as we did last week at Michigan. You've got to remember, we had nothing but equipment when we started BK Racing in February. All of our notes and data have come from what we've learned at each race track. So as we return to these tracks in the second half of the season, we expect to be a lot better than our first time there.

"It's going to be interesting to see what the track is like now. We've heard that the upper groove has been ground away and that area isn't able to be raced on anymore. We'll see if that's the case, or if that changes when rubber gets worked into the track. Of course it could be that we've lost a third of the groove and we just have to work with it.

"Ever since the resurfacing in '07, you could run two lanes, sometimes even three-wide. There were really three racing grooves in the corners. It sounds like that won't be the case now. It's going to tighten up the field to take a lane away. You'll have the cars running closer and guys will make mistakes. Accidents will happen, but there won't be as much room for correction. It could make things more exciting. There might be a few more caution flags. I remember us having green-flag pit stops in the spring, which is unheard of at Bristol. Maybe we'll be getting back to some of the crazy racing this week that we were used to.

"I really enjoy Bristol. There's nowhere else we go that's like it. It's a high-banked, short track. It's so fast. You really have to be looking ahead when you're racing there. When accidents happen, you're in the wreck before you know it, so you've got to be alert at all times. Your spotter has to be paying attention. You can't race off your hood pins. Your eyes have to be looking ahead. Even with all that going on, it's still a lot of fun to race there."

BK Racing PR

Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 car will have two old friends aboard with Aric Almirola this weekend - Goody's Powder and Petty's Garage.  Goody's, a long-time partner of team owner Richard Petty, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 43 Ford for Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.  And, making its debut on the No. 43 car as an associate sponsor will be Petty's Garage, the custom- and collector-car speed shop that builds and restores performance vehicles. 

The Level Cross, N.C.-based Petty's Garage, located at the site where the Pettys first began racing, offers production-based vehicles such as the Richard Petty Signature Series, custom-made rides built from scratch, restoration of aged classics and even a parts store for do-it-yourselfers.

Along with these two "old" friends, the No. 43 team will also welcome a new one.  U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue will take in Saturday's events as a guest of the team and a fan of Petty.  The Lenoir City, Tenn., swimmer earned a gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay in the London Olympic Games after swimming the butterfly leg for the team in preliminaries.

Bristol Motor Speedway could be considered both a new and old friend on this week's visit.  The .533-mile concrete oval underwent track reconfigurations since it last hosted a Cup race in March.  Surface grinding to eliminate the top groove was completed to help return Bristol to its "old style" of one-groove racing - the bump-and-run passing that produced high-drama action before 2007 renovations widened the racing groove. 

Almirola has one top-10 and one top-15 finish in six Cup starts at the concrete oval with a best finish of eighth (2008).

Comments from Goody's Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:

"It's going to be really interesting to see how the changes to the track affect the racing.  We went from 'old Bristol' to 'new Bristol,' and now it seems like we're trying to go back to 'old Bristol' again.  And that means a lot of tight racing, a lot of moving people with your bumper and possibly a lot of people losing patience.  We'll see.  Most of the Cup drivers haven't been on the track yet.  Only a few of them went up for a tire test.  So, we have one day, Friday, to get two practice sessions and qualifying in to see what it's like.

"We'll have a new look for our No. 43 Ford that we haven't had this year.  Goody's is going to return to our car.  They've always been a Petty partner and have a long history with 'The King,' but it's been a few years since they've been on the 43 so it will be good to have them back.  We've also got Petty's Garage on the car, another member of the Petty family.  We're hoping to get some attention for them as well.  They do some cool stuff up in Level Cross restoring collector cars and custom-building cars and more people should know about it.  Whatever your wildest 'cool car' dream is, they can probably do it for you.

"We're also going to have a pretty special guest at the race.  We've got an Olympic gold medalist coming.  Claire Donahue is from Tennessee and she won a gold medal with the U.S. swim team in London a few weeks ago.  I understand she's a big Richard Petty fan and wanted to come hang out with us for the Bristol race, so of course we said 'absolutely.'  Obviously winning a gold medal is an unforgettable experience, but hopefully we can give her an experience to remember in Bristol, too, and thank her for representing our country so well."

Comments from Crew Chief Mike Ford on Bristol:

"Bristol will be an about-face from Michigan last week because Bristol isn't about aerodynamics and horsepower, it's just about grip and track position.  You go into it knowing you're going to get knocked around and that's not something you really have to worry about as long as your car is enough in one piece to cross the finish line at the end of the night.

"Bristol is one of the tracks where Aric already has quite a few Cup races under his belt so the only thing he'll be learning is the new track surface, but so will everyone else.  Track position is going to be more important than it has been the last few years because passing will presumably be more difficult with the narrower groove this time around.  So, we'll want to work hard to get our car where we need it during practice on Friday so we can qualify well and get a good starting position."

RPM PR

With theIRWIN® Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) just days away, IRWIN Tools has numerous initiatives planned across the country to celebrate tradesmen's skill and contributions, kicking off with a salute to "America'sReal Working Hands" at NASCAR's most popular event, and culminating with the second annual National Tradesmen Day on Sept. 21.

The IRWIN Tools Night Race, set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m., features NASCAR's best drivers and teams tackling the toughest half-mile, high-banked oval in all of motorsports. But, without the support of professional tradesmen, the race wouldn't be possible, and IRWIN is recognizing the "Tradesmen of the Track" - the Bristol Motor Speedway Operations Team. These 23 men and women work behind the scenes, in the toughest and most unforgiving conditions imaginable, to bring the IRWIN Tools Night Race to life.

IRWIN Tools is proud to announce activities that will take place over the next few weeks to salute and thank all of America's hardworking tradesmen, who roll up their sleeves every day to build new roads; repair our cars, trucks and planes; and cool and heat our homes - oftentimes without recognition or appreciation from our society. They are the backbone of our country, and IRWIN wants to say "thanks."

Throughout race weekend, IRWIN and BMS officials will build awareness for National Tradesmen Day, which is set for Friday, Sept. 21, 2012.
In an exclusive opportunity, 300 professional tradesmen from across the country will serve as the IRWIN Tools Night Race Grand Marshals. At the base of the track's turn four, these individuals will give drivers the command to "start your engines."  

As a special tribute, IRWIN will honor the 23 "Tradesmen of the Track" BMS Operations Team in several ways:
Video tribute of the BMS Ops team working on track projects will be shown on the track's large video screens in pre-race ceremonies
Recognition by the President of IRWIN Tools on the pre-race stage
Take part in a race day press conference to talk about preparation for the Night Race, plus discuss National Tradesmen Day
Will serve, along with 300 other tradesmen, as the event's Grand Marshals
Featured on IRWIN collateral pieces handed out throughout race weekend
"Thank You" signage displayed on-site at BMS, including corporate display area
Recognition on IRWIN social media and racing websites

IRWIN will give race fans an opportunity to share how tradesmen have made a positive impact in their lives at the IRWIN event marketing display, located in the Corporate Display Area outside of the front stretch. This area will feature a giant message board, where fans can thank their favorite tradesman by writing a personal message for everyone to see.

IRWIN, proud sponsor of SkillsUSA®, partnered with NCCER'sBuild Your Future Campaign and gave top winners in the National Automotive Service Technology and Carpentry competitions an "Ultimate Race Experience." Winners were Josh Myers (St. Louis, Mo) and James Lassmann (League City, Texas) in the Automotive Service Technology division, while Seth Miller (Litchfield, N.H.) and Brandon Hicks (Tiffin, Ohio) took honors in the Carpentry category. The quartet began working alongside the No. 81 NASCAR Truck Series team this week at the Arrington Racing shop, and then shifted over to IRWIN's corporate headquarters for an exclusive look into the development behind professional-grade hand tools and power tool accessories. The foursome will attend Wednesday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol as honorary pit crew members for driver David Starr.

IRWIN will distribute National Tradesmen Day information and banners throughout Bristol's campgrounds as part of the "Get Caught Camping with IRWIN" campaign. The campsite that does the best job showing support for America's tradesmen will win the grand prize - a private tour of the SPEED stage with Jeff Hammond, a former championship crew chief who is now a SPEED and FOX television commentator, as well as an assortment of IRWIN tools!
IRWIN has given away more than 1000 grandstand tickets to tradesmen to experience The World's Fastest Half-Mile and show the brand's appreciation for the contributions they make every day to America.

"The IRWIN Tools Night Race is a powerful way to connect with our nation's professional tradesmen," said Curt Weber, Vice President of Marketing for IRWIN Tools. "At IRWIN, recognizing the efforts of America's tradesmen is part of our brand's DNA. America's tradesmen are electricians, plumbers, welders, drywall installers, framers, masons, carpenters, auto mechanics and more. They are our nation's real working hands. Whether they are grizzled veterans or young apprentices just learning the trade, these men and women work in the toughest, most unforgiving conditions - often with no break room in sight. In recognition of their contributions, we are proud to honor the Bristol Motor Speedway Operations team, as well as all professional tradesmen around the country, at the IRWIN Tools Night Race and on National Tradesmen Day."

"IRWIN has always been an amazing partner for Bristol Motor Speedway," said Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of BMS. "The fact that they're honoring the men and women in our Operations Department is further evidence of that support. We all know that those folks are crucial to our success, and we really appreciate the fact that IRWIN is taking this opportunity to recognize them."

BMS PR

After finishing seventh in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut last season, Ross Chastain was excited for his next race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. However the day did not go as well at the Florida teen had hoped and Ross came home battered and bruised with a nineteenth place finish. Wednesday night Chastain will return to “Worlds Fastest Half Mile Track” with the SS Green Light Racing Team lead by veteran Crew Chief Bryan Berry with the vision of putting last years race behind him and securing his third top-ten finish of 2012.

“I wrecked in practice and we had to run a back-up truck and it ran over somebody in the race,” Ross said of his debut last year at the hi-banked half-mile track. “Let’s just say it was not a good week.”
 
“I’ve been looking forward to this one all year, Bryan has ran well there with Brendan (Gaughan) in the past and we are going to go with the same kind of set-up that he has run there before,” he continued. “Hopefully it works on the bottom now that they have ground the top of the track down. I think your going to have to be on the bottom to go fast this year.”

Melon 1, one of the largest shippers of fresh watermelon in the United States will once again support the Florida farmer on Wednesday evening when the truckers invade Thunder Valley for the UNOH 200. “Our promotions with all our partners has been good and I’m hoping we can get Melon 1 some additional exposure by running up-front this week.”

Ross has shaken off of some of the early season bad luck that often get’s the best of young drivers in one of NASCAR’s toughest series hand is showing maturity, patience and poise beyond his limited experience having finished on the lead lap in six of the last seven races that he has completed. “The whole team is excited; we have run well over the last four races, I’m thinking Wednesday is going to be pretty good!”

The UNOH 200 is the 283rd consecutive NCWTS start for the SS Green Light Racing team and the eighteenth career start for Chastain in the Truck Series. Ross has moved up to sixteenth in the NCWTS point standings and has four top fifteen finishes in 2012 including a career best seventh at the half-mile Martinsville Speedway in March.

There are 40 trucks on the entry list for the UHOH 200, which will be the second half of an exciting double-header at the Bristol Motor Speedway, as the NCWTS will follow the Whelen Modified Tour Perfect Storm 150. Jeff Agnew will pilot the Team 7 Motorsports No. 07 for SS Green Light Racing.

SS Green Light Racing PR

A New Track for the Rookie Driver: Dakoda Armstrong has never been to Bristol Motor Speedway, and with the newly refinished track, he knows that track position will be more important than ever. Armstrong and his No. 98 EverFi Toyota Tundra team have worked hard in preparing a truck for the UNOH 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Although Armstrong has never run at Brisol, the truck has had success at there already with Dakoda's teammate, Matt Crafton, behind the wheel. Dakoda hopes to follow up his 3rd place finish at Michigan International Speedway with yet another solid run and finish.

"I have no idea what to expect when preparing for Bristol. All I know is that I think the race will remind the fans of the old-Bristol style of racing, and that's pretty exciting. We are going to come to the track with a baseline setup, and we will see what happens from there."

The UNOH 200 will be a one day show for the NCWTS on Wednesday August 22. There will be two practice sessions held for the competitors and teams. The first of the practices happens from 10-10:50 am EST, and the second practice will take place from 12-1:30 pm EST. Qualifying for the NCWTS is set to start at 4:35 pm EST. The driver introductions will then take place at 7:30 pm EST followed by the UNOH 200 race broadcasted live on SPEED at 8:00 pm EST.  

Social Media: Stay tuned to Facebook and Twitter (@DakodaArmstrong) for race weekend updates

A Look Back at Michigan: Armstrong had his best career finish of third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Michigan International Speedway this past Saturday. Armstrong and his No. 98 EverFi Toyota crew started the VFW 200 in the 20th position, but by lap 20 they had already rallied to break into the top 10. With a clever call by crew chief Dan Stillman to pit at lap 59 with no intentions of stopping again, the green flag stayed out and Armstrong was able to conserve fuel and come across the line in the third position.

"We knew we were a few laps short on fuel, but we were able to stay in the draft and conserve fuel to get our best finish. It's exciting for my team. I feel like we have been making steps in the right direction all year, and it finally paid off. We have such a quick turn around coming to Bristol in three days, but we will sleep well with this good finish under our belt. I hope we can go out at Bristol and have another great run."

Chassis History: Dan Stillman and the No. 98 ThorSport Racing team have prepared chassis No. 33 for this week's events at Bristol Motor Speedway. This will be the first start Armstrong has had with this truck, but teammate Crafton finished 2nd with chassis No.33 at Bristol Motor Speedway back in 2009. 

DAPR

Brian Scott will make his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), driving the No. 18 Dollar General Tundra in Wednesday night's UNOH 225 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The Idaho native will be looking to give Dollar General two trips to victory lane this week at their home-state track. The nation's largest small-box discount retailer, based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., also serves as the full-time primary sponsor on Scott's Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, which will compete in Friday night's Food City 250.

In his first Truck Series start of 2012, Scott overcame several obstacles to post a 13th-place finish for KBM in the rain-shortened Lucas Oil 200 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in May. Although the Truck Series result wasn't what he had hoped for, the 24-year-old driver parlayed the extra laps at the Monster Mile into a season-best third-place finish in the Nationwide Series event the following day. 

Scott will be looking to carry the momentum that KBM's flagship Tundra has built over the last six races. The team has recorded six consecutive top-10 finishes, including a ninth-place result with Kurt Busch in last weekend's VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Last week's result wasn't indicative of the strength of the No. 18 Tundra, which led three times for 57 laps before surrendering the lead to come down pit road for a regularly-scheduled stop with 21 laps remaining.

KBM has collected four of its 16 Truck Series victories on concrete surfaces. Owner-driver Kyle Busch scored the team's first-ever victory at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in April of 2010 and in April of 2011 made it back-to-back in the 'Music City.' Busch posted a win in the 2010 Truck Series race at Bristol and also won at Dover in 2011. The No. 18 team hasn't just lucked into these victories -- they've led a total of 698 laps over eight starts on concrete, including 311 in four starts with this week's primary chassis, KBM-128.

Scott will be looking to post a pair of solid runs on Bristol's revamped concrete surface this week and have the Dollar General double feature end in Hollywood fashion, with two trips to victory lane.

KBM 

Back at Bristol... Cale Gale will return to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway ("World's Fastest Half-Mile") for the third time in his career on Wednesday, August 22.  The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) and one NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at the World's Fastest Half-Mile previously in his career.  With each race resulting in a top-10 finish, Gale has completed every lap he attempted at the fast track with an average start of eighth, and an average finish of 6.5.  In his most recent event at Bristol Motor Speedway, Gale sat on the pole and drove to a fourth-place finish in the August 2008 NNS race.


Spending Time with Students in the Tri-Cities Area... Gale made a special trip to the tri-cities area last Wednesday, August 15, to help promote the upcoming race at Bristol Motor Speedway.  The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender stopped at two elementary schools to talk to students about staying in school, working hard and staying safe while doing things like riding a bike.  Gale was joined by Daytona NCWTS winner John King on visits to Weber City Elementary School in Weber City, Va. and Lake Ridge Elementary School in Johnson City, Tenn.  Between the two schools, Gale spoke to approximately 600 students in an effort to spread awareness that kids 15 and under are free for the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.


Battling for Points... With just 10 races remaining in the 2012 NCWTS' season, Gale is currently ranked inside the top-15 of both the championship driver and owner point standings.  Gale, who has scored three top-10 finishes this season, is ranked 13th in driver points and 15th in owner points.  Currently second in the Rookie of the Year points, Gale is chasing down leader Ty Dillon.


Follow Cale... Follow Cale Gale, driver of the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado, on twitter @CaleGale and Facebook (facebook.com/CaleGale), and check out CaleGale.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

Cale Gale Quotes... On how to get around Bristol:  "It's all about manhandling the truck at Bristol.  It's a fast track where you use very little brake.  We need to really focus on the handling of the Rheem Chevrolet and get that right; it isn't about aerodynamics or running around flat-footed at that track.  You have to play with the throttle coming up off the corner to find grip.  This year's race will be interesting with the new track configuration.  I think it will take away the ability to run against the wall-at least for this race-but I still think that we'll see two grooves of racing.  With only two grooves, I think there will be a lot more beating and banging, which is what the fans said they wanted to see.  It should be a really exciting race; I'm looking forward to being a part of it with the Rheem Chevrolet."

On looking forward to Bristol Motor Speedway:  "Bristol Motor Speedway is one of my favorite tracks on the NASCAR circuit; it's a fast, high-banked half-mile, just like the tracks I grew up racing.  There are very few short tracks left on the schedule, and coming from a short-track background I always look forward to races like Bristol and Martinsville with the Rheem Chevrolet.  Bristol [Motor Speedway] really fits my driving style-it's where I have my best NASCAR finish and my only pole award.  We've had a couple races where we've been close with the Rheem Chevrolet, and I feel like this is a track where we really have the potential to have a good night, compete up front and even race for the win.  I'm really looking forward to Wednesday night."  

On watching the action from Bristol as a kid:  "Bristol was always my favorite track growing up. I never missed watching that race-if my dad or I were racing that night we made sure that we had a TV to keep up with the action at Bristol.  It's a really exciting place to race; I can't wait to get back out there with the Rheem Chevrolet."


From the Pit Box                       

Jerry Baxter Quotes... On getting ready to race at Bristol Motor Speedway:  "The entire Rheem team is really looking forward to the race at Bristol Motor Speedway.  It's a track where Cale has always run well, and I've always had good runs there as a crew chief too.  We feel like we have a good opportunity to capitalize on our strengths and have a strong run this week.  We're taking chassis No. 46; it's the same truck that we ran at Rockingham and Pocono.  The biggest unknown going into this weekend is simply the track-it's a new track.  Cale had a media event in Bristol last week and was able to get inside to take a look at the surface and communicate to us what it looked like.  It will be interesting to see how the race unfolds."

ESR

NASCAR has reinstated driver Aaron Fike upon his successful completion of NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. Fike had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR July 11, 2007 for actions detrimental to stock car racing.

NASCAR PR

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage always has been kidded that he has some P.T. Barnum in him and beginning in 2013 he will have a three-wide wild asphalt circus atmosphere to go along with it.

Texas Motor Speedway announced its 2013 season schedule Tuesday and also unveiled its "No Limits" Wild Asphalt Circus marketing theme for next year. The theme comes with a new logo and will be heavily incorporated into the speedway's marketing and advertising materials, souvenir merchandise, tickets, signage, web site and the overall fan experience.  In addition to the wild race action on the asphalt, fans also will be treated to a wide range of entertainment associated with the theme that will range from the newly formed "No Limits" Thrill Riders to high divers to popular musical acts.

Local media outlets got the first peek at the new theme as circus performers delivered wagons filled with various circus items, big-top concession food and t-shirts featuring the new look. Gossage also has special visits planned next week to several season ticket holders to bring them a "No Limits" Wild Asphalt Circus starter kit and personally thank them for their continued support of Texas Motor Speedway. A sneak preview of the "No Limits" Wild Asphalt Circus for fans will come at the upcoming AAA Texas 500 NASCAR triple-header weekend scheduled for Nov. 1-4.

"Most cities look forward to the circus coming to town once a year, but we'll guarantee three coming next year to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with the Texas 500 in April, Firestone 550 in June and AAA Texas 500 in November," said Gossage, who is in the final stages of the completion of the 2013 race sanction agreements with NASCAR and INDYCAR. "We had great success with our 'No Limits' campaign that had its debut in 2011, but it was time to incorporate a creative, next generation of the theme that would capture the imagination of our fans. We're going to have some fun with this Wild Asphalt Circus theme and in the end it's all about creating a memorable experience and environment for our fans."

Outside of the circus-themed ambiance for next year, Texas Motor Speedway's 2013 season schedule will consist of its three customary weekends in their traditional dates and featuring NASCAR's three premier series and INDYCAR.

April's Texas 500 - formerly the Samsung Mobile 500 - and November's AAA Texas 500 will once again serve as signature events on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule as will the Firestone 550 on the IZOD IndyCar Series calendar.

The Texas 500, set for April 13, will anchor Texas Motor Speedway's season-opening NASCAR doubleheader race weekend that is scheduled as the first Saturday night event of the Sprint Cup Series season. The three-day race week opens with practice sessions for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series on Thursday, April 11. SportsDay Qualifying Days Powered By The Dallas Morning News for both series will be held Friday, April 12, and the day's on-track activities will be highlighted by the running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race that evening. The race action will culminate with the Texas 500 on Saturday, April 13, which will fall on the same weekend as The Masters golf tournament but will not conflict due to the evening start time.

Despite speculation about its future at Texas Motor Speedway, the IZOD IndyCar Series will return for its 17th season with the Firestone 550 on Saturday, June 8. The event will be an INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader weekend as the IZOD IndyCar Series will be paired with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, a combination that has been together since the speedway opened in 1997.

Qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400 will be held Thursday, June 6, while qualifying for the Firestone 550 will take place Friday, June 7. The Firestone 550 pole qualifying will be immediately followed by the running of the WinStar World Casino 400 that night, setting up an all-evening race weekend. The race weekend concludes Saturday, June 8, with the running of the Firestone 550 - "America's Original Nighttime IndyCar Race" - on the speedway that has hosted the most INDYCAR events (23) in the history of the series.

The Texas Motor Speedway season closes with its busiest race week of the season as all three NASCAR series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series) visit Oct. 31-Nov. 3 for the AAA Texas 500 event. The AAA Texas 500 serves as the eighth race in the 10-event, playoff-style Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup while the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Nationwide Series race and WinStar World Casino 350 Camping World Truck Series race could be pivotal in the championship aspirations for their respective series contenders as the season winds down.

The race week opens with two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions on Thursday, Oct. 31, and is followed with a day that features all three series on track. SportsDay Qualifying Days Powered by The Dallas Morning News for the Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350 and Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 will be held on Friday, Nov. 1. The day also will include two NASCAR Nationwide Series practices for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge and culminate with the WinStar World Casino 350 being run that evening.

The Nationwide Series takes center stage Saturday, Nov. 2, as SportsDay Qualifying Days Powered by The Dallas Morning News will take place in the afternoon and be followed by the evening running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge race. The day also will feature Sprint Cup Series "Happy Hour," with the final two practice sessions being run in preparation for the next day's AAA Texas 500.

The weekend and Texas Motor Speedway race season will conclude Sunday, Nov. 3, with the running of the AAA Texas 500, the eighth race in the 10-event Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship format. The AAA Texas 500 has proven to be a critical Chase race in determining the sport's next champion. The mid-afternoon start offers a unique setting and strategy for teams as the race will begin in daylight and culminate under the lights.

Official start times for each event will be announced at a later date.

Season tickets, which consist of three race weekends and 16 events, begin as low as $270, and went on sale in conjunction with the schedule announcement. Season ticket holder benefits include best seat selection; discounts up to 29 percent (varies on seat location) over purchasing tickets individually; special discounts on concessions, merchandise, camping, parking and pit passes; access to the pre-race "No Limits" Wild Asphalt Circus Garage Party presented by WinStar World Casino access in April and November; and special offers on additional events held at the speedway.

Individual tickets go on sale Nov. 16, 2012, for the 2013 Texas 500 and Firestone 550 race weeks. Individual tickets for the 2013 AAA Texas 500 race week will go on sale following the 2013 Texas 500 race weekend. For additional ticket information, please call the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

2013 TMS SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE 

Texas 500 NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend - April 11-13
Thursday, April 11 - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series opening practice sessions
Friday, April 12 - SportsDay Qualifying Days Powered By The Dallas Morning News for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Texas 500 and Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300; O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race
Saturday, April 13 - Texas 500, the first Saturday night race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season

Firestone 550 NASCAR/INDYCAR Doubleheader - June 6-8
Thursday, June 6 - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400 qualifying
Friday, June 7 - IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550 qualifying;  WinStar World Casino 400 race
Saturday, June 8 - Firestone 550, "America's Original Nighttime IndyCar Race"

AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend - Oct. 31-Nov. 3
Thursday, Oct. 31 - Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350 practice sessions
Friday, Nov. 1 - SportsDay Qualifying Days Powered by The Dallas Morning News for the Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 and Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350; WinStar World Casino 350 race
Saturday, Nov. 2 - SportsDay Qualifying Days Powered by The Dallas Morning News for the Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge; O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge race
Sunday, Nov. 3 - AAA Texas 500, eighth race in the 10-event Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup

TMS PR

While there are  few similarities between Chicagoland Speedway, where the Ricky Benton Racing (RBR) Enterprises team last raced, and Bristol Motor Speedway, where the No. 92 Black's Tire and Auto Service/fleetHQ.com/QMI Chevrolet will be racing this week, driver Chad McCumbee feels the outing in Illinois is going to make the team much better on the Tennessee short track.

"I think we learned a lot at Chicago primarily from a team chemistry standpoint," said McCumbee. "I was very pleased with the communication between (crew chief Kevin) Cowboy (Starland) and I as we dialed in our truck there.

"We will be able to build on that for Bristol. Even though the tracks are very different I think Cowboy has a grasp of what I want to feel week in and week out."

Like all the other drivers and teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, McCumbee and the RBR Enterprises crew will be facing a whole new animal when they come to Bristol this week. After the spring Sprint Cup race, Speedway Motorsports, Incorporated, announced they would be reconfigured to bring back more of the racing that made Bristol famous.

"We are really moving into uncharted territory at Bristol this weekend with the new surface," McCumbee said. "I feel we will see somewhat of the old Bristol; on the bottom, bump and run type racing."

Regardless of the style of racing, McCumbee feels that Bristol will be another measuring stick for RBR as they finish out 2012 and look to the 2013 season.

"This is our first short track outing and will give us a good idea of what direction we need to head with that part of our program," McCumbee said.

"I look forward to a very solid performance this week from this team."

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