Speedway Digest Staff
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Racing in the Corn Fields...The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) returns to the 0.875-mile oval of Iowa Speedway for the second of two events in 2013. The last time out at Iowa Speedway, Dylan Kwasniewski finished second overall but captured the NKNPSE win, earning his second of three wins this season. When the green flag falls on the Pork Be Inspired 150, the NKNPSE will once again take on the stars of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKNPSW) in the combination event.
Last time Out...Last time out for the NKNPSE, Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) made a trip to the short track of Columbus Motor Speedway. Austin Dyne was forced to retire early from the event when he got tangled up in an accident in the early going. Kenzie Ruston was able to secure her fourth top-10 finish of the season while Dylan Kwasniewski continued his season of highs, collecting his fifth top five of the 2013 season.
Austin Dyne...After coming off their best finish to date at Langley Speedway, Dyne and his KMC Wheels team were unable to finish the race at Columbus after being caught up in an early-race accident. Dyne returns to Iowa Speedway, a race track that he is very familiar with. Dyne will be looking for his second top-ten finish of the season.
"I am ready to get back to Iowa. We had a hard time adjusting to the track last time, but I think now that we have raced there once together, we should be ready to go. I'm just looking for my team and I to have a good day and get our momentum back."
Ben Rhodes...Returning to the NKNPSE for the first time since his third-place finish among the East cars last time out in Iowa, Rhodes has been running in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series across the southeast region. This will be Rhodes' second trip to Iowa, and he looks to use his previous track time to his advantage and score the Alpha Energy Solutions team another top-five finish.
"We had a great race at Iowa Speedway back in June. Since it was my first time there, I spent a lot of the practice sessions working on my line. Once I got that down, Lee McCall and my Turner Scott Motorsports team worked on getting the car up to speed and handling through the corners. I qualified a bit back from where I wanted to, but we were able to work our way up to finish fifth. Now that we have some great notes, we are looking forward to a strong run Friday in the Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy and hope to contend for the win."
Brandon Jones...Much like his TSM teammate Ben Rhodes, Jones returns to the NKNPSE series for the first time since the last time the series visited the 0.875-mile oval of Iowa Speedway. Jones is continuing to hone his skills in the UARA-Stars series where he sits fifth in points. Overcoming his previous misfortunes in the NKNPSE, Jones brought home a solid top-10 finish amongst the NKNPSE competitors.
"I am really looking forward to returning Iowa and the K&N series this weekend. My Rheem team really prepared a great car for me last time here, and I feel like we have a great opportunity to back up that result with another solid finish."
Dylan Kwasniewski...Kwasniewski continued to show why he is a favorite to win every time out in his No. 98 Rockstar Energy/Royal Purple machine, as he led 64 laps en route to his fifth top-five of the NKNPSE season last time out at Columbus Motor Speedway. In the process, he maintained his points lead with just seven races left in 2013. He returns to Iowa Speedway where he has been credited with two wins, last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and earlier this season in the NKNPSE, but has never visited victory lane.
"I really, really want to win at Iowa We always run well there and I've gotten the credit for two wins, but I have never actually been to victory lane, so it's kind of frustrating. I'm very confident in my Turner Scott Motorsports team and in our cars. I plan on being in victory lane at the end of this race."
Kenzie Ruston...After a rough couple of weeks, Ruston was able to get back on track at Columbus Motor Speedway with a top-10 finish in her AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet. Ruston returns to Iowa Speedway looking to continue her stellar rookie season, as she currently sits on top of the Rookie of the Year standings heading into Iowa.
"I'm really looking forwarded to returning to Iowa. We had some bad luck last time but I also believe we learned a ton since our last visit which I hope will allow us to capitalize on our experience this time around. We are taking a completely different racecar to Iowa this time and we haven't ran it since Richmond where it had solid a performance, so I'm excited to see what it will do at Iowa."
This weekend's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway presents an opportunity for Bryan Ortiz to grow as a racer. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico native did as much last season, jumping almost 3.5 positions in average finish from the first half of the season (11.1) to the second half (7.7). This year's second-half slate contains several tracks that offer Ortiz a serious chance at success.
Last season, he finished sixth or better at New Hampshire, Dover and Greenville, which all are all included in the back half of this year's schedule. Also included are the road courses at Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta. A champion Formula Renault racer and driver in Grand-Am's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge - which included a race at VIR - Ortiz has accumulated extensive road course racing experience.
Ortiz looks to begin a stellar stretch of races this weekend, driving the No. 4 L&M Ethanol Maintenance and Contracting Toyota Camry for Rev Racing at Iowa. He currently sits 12th in the K&N East point standings, 11 points out of 10th.
Bryan Ortiz, on racing at Iowa... "Our last outing at Iowa (finishing 10th among K&N East drivers) wasn't what it needed to be. I believe we've improved a lot as a team since then. It's always a tough race there when you mix in the drivers from the West Series, but I think we're definitely capable of getting a better finish this time out."
A cameo appearance in Super Late Models... Ortiz recently made his Super Late Model debut at the prestigious Milwaukee Mile. Driving for car owner Richie Wauters, he qualified 25th out of 60 drivers into the Howie Lettow Memorial 150. He climbed into the top 15 before driving through oil and looping his car around on lap 67. He suffered minimum damage, but the repairs and laps lost saddled him with a 27th-place finish.
Bryan Ortiz signature sunglasses... ZOL Eyewear recently produced a limited number of Bryan Ortiz signature sunglasses. To get your own pair of Ortiz signature sunglasses, log on to http://www.zoleyewear.com/Bryan-Ortiz-p/ortiz.htm.
Rev Racing returns to Iowa Speedway this Friday, Aug. 2, for the second East-West combination race of the season, The Pork Be Inspired 150. This is another monumental weekend for the team as Ryan Gifford becomes the third Rev Racing driver to make his NASCAR national series debut when he competes in the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) event on Saturday.
Ryan Gifford (No. 2 Universal Technical Institute/NTI Toyota Camry) – Gifford will be doing double duty this weekend in the NKNPS East and NNS. He is currently fourth in the NKNPS East standings with one win, and four top-five finishes. His best finish in a K&N East-West combination race was of sixth in 2011.
Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 L&M Ethanol Maintenance and Contracting Toyota Camry) – Ortiz is currently 12th in the series standings, with a best finish of sixth this season and four top-10 finishes. He has an average finish of 13th in the K&N East-West combination races at Iowa.
Mackena Bell (No. 27 Toyota Racing Development Toyota Camry) – Bell who is competing in her rookie season is currently 11th in the point’s standings and a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender. She has one top-five and two top-10 finishes this season, with a best finish of fifth at Richmond earlier this year.
Daniel Suarez (No. 69 Visit Acapulco Toyota Camry) – Suarez is headed to Iowa fresh off his first NKNPS East win, at Columbus Speedway the last time out. He’s currently ninth in the K&N East Championship standings, with one win, two top-five and four top-10 finishes this season. His best overall K&N East-West finish was 10th in 2012. This weekend Bell and Suarez will be running with different numbers due to point standings in the NKNPS East-West combination race. Bell will be in the No. 27 Toyota Racing Development Toyota Camry and Suarez will be in the No. 69 Visit Acapulco Toyota Camry.
Rev Racing PR
Trevor Bayne’s No. 6 Pillow Pets Mustang was one of the fastest on the track last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As part of the famed weekend and the regaled Pillow Pets ‘invasion’ of Indy, the team has launched “Code: TBAYNE6”; a program that allows fans to receive $6 off any purchase of a Pillow Pet at www.pillowpets.com.
“It is exciting to have a company like Pillow Pets on our race car,” said Bayne, the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500. “The kids love it, and the coolest thing about this partner this year is how they have marketed and gone out into the communities where we race.
“At Charlotte we gave a couple thousand Pillow Pets to military members and their families, we got to go to a minor league baseball game at Indy and throw out the first pitch and now we are rewarding the fans with this $6 off promo code online.”
The TBAYNE6 code launched last Friday and will run through August 16.
Pillow Pets will again serve as the primary on Bayne’s No. 6 Ford Mustang at Dover on Sept. 28.
As a special thank you to the greatest race fans in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is offering special pricing for selected days for the 2014 Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard for those who reorder their Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard tickets by Monday, Aug. 12.
Fans reordering tickets to the 2014 Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard will be entitled to special "Fan Prices" on tickets to these days:
Day Gate Price Fan Price
Nationwide Race Reserved Seats $65/$50 $55/$40
Nationwide Race General Admission $25 $15
United SportsCar Racing Race $30 $20
FanVision Rental $59.99 $39.99
FanVision's handheld, video-streaming device gives fans a world-class, in-venue viewing experience. Featuring built-in digital radio scanners, fans can listen directly to driver-team communications, review real-time stats, watch live race broadcasts, view eight different in-car cameras and have access to other live-action features during practice, qualifying and the race Friday through Sunday of the Kroger Super Weekend for the Indiana 250 and the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard.
All 2014 ticket reorders must be received no later than Monday, Aug. 12. There are two ways to reorder seats for the 2014 Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard:
1. Visit www.ims.com/tickets, log in to your account and reorder tickets
2. Mail 2014 Reorder Form (enclosed with your 2013 tickets) to:
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
P.O. Box 24910
Speedway, IN 46224-0910
The 2014 Kroger Super Weekend will culminate with the 21st running of the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard featuring the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will both try to become the first driver to win five oval races at IMS.
The exciting weekend also features the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and racing by the new-for-2014 United SportsCar Racing series.
Tickets also are still available for the remaining 2013 event at IMS, the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP World Championship motorcycle race Aug. 16-18.
IOWA-BOUND: Johanna Long and the No. 70 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet team head to Iowa Speedway to compete in the second NASCAR Nationwide Series event of the season at the track. The ML Motorsports team will utilize chassis No. 63 last raced at the first event of the season at Iowa Speedway, where the No. 70 team finished 12th.
IN THE REARVIEW: INDIANAPOLIS: Starting from the 26th position at the famed Indianapolis Speedway, Long struggled to control the loose-handling Chevrolet around the 2.5-mile track. The 21-year-old driver did her best to muscle around the track, finishing 27th.
MEET THE DRIVER: Fans will be able to meet Long this weekend at Iowa Speedway. On Saturday August 3, the Pensacola, Fla., driver will participate in the Nationwide Series autograph session at 3:30 p.m. ET.
ALERT THE MEDIA: Long will address the media on Friday at the Iowa Speedway infield media center at 3:00 p.m.
JOHANNA LONG QUOTES:
"I am thrilled to head back to Iowa Speedway. It's like a short track, but definitely has the characteristics of a mile-and-half track. Not only do I feel like we race well here, the fans are always awesome. The fans always come out to support the Nationwide Series, so that makes it one of the best stops on the schedule. Racing at night also brings even more excitement to the event, and brings back memories of short-track racing under the lights."
Drivers Choice Marketing PR
This week the No. 54 Monster Energy seat will again see 26-year-old Drew Herring in the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) eight-time season-winning Camry. Herring, a familiar face at JGR, along with the 2013 winners look forward to week 20 running the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Enlist Weed Control System at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The team drives into the Iowa event, on a race high, having won the previous NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the Indianapolis (Ind.) Motor Speedway – the famed Brickyard, with driver Kyle Busch. With the week 19 victory, the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 group and owner J.D. Gibbs maintain first place in the series’ Owner’s Championship points. This week they look to extend that lead with the help of Herring, who while young, has good statistics as a driver in Iowa.
In 2010 Benson, N.C. native Herring began his Nationwide Series career at Baker Curb Racing with his debut race at Iowa Speedway. He accomplished a 15th-place finish in that inaugural series run and then continued that year with two top-20 finishes in four series starts.
The next year, Herring connected with Joe Gibbs Racing and finished 12th or better in all four of his Nationwide Series starts. In the spring 2011 race, Herring started from the pole position, since the No. 20 team was leading the Owner’s Championship Point Standings, at the time, and qualifying was rained out. He led 39 laps that event and finished 12th. Overall in 2011, Herring improved his statistics by achieving two top-10 finishes in four starts and by completing all 929 event laps.
2012 brought continued growth for Herring when he made his first start in the No. 18 JGR entry at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where he qualified fourth, led two laps and brought home a fourth-place finish. This was also the year when Herring made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with Kyle Busch Motorsports, back at Iowa Speedway for the fall race. His first foray into truck racing accomplished a 17th-place start, 19 laps led and a seventh-place finish.
In addition to filling test session duties for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports now, Herring is also a shop employee within JGR, where he works the CNC machine making internal parts for the race team and learning more about each team member’s role. His goal has been to make himself available for any driving opportunities and this year he’ll compete in three total Nationwide Series events with the high-performing JGR Nationwide Series shop.
At the first 2013 NASCAR Iowa race in June, Herring and team battled weather and car conditions to produce an 11th-place finish. Both driver and team were disappointed with the result the last time together and look to improve that position Saturday, this time under the lights on the Iowa short track.
Hitting Up the Heartland... Kyle Larson and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team will be heading to America's Heartland as they visit Iowa Speedway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series' second and final trip of the 2013 season. In their previous race at the Newton, Iowa short track, Larson qualified 10th and finished fifth in the rain-delayed event. Larson also previously raced at Iowa in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, earning two top-10 finishes, finishing sixth and second, in his 2012 championship campaign.
Sprinting in Knoxville and Oskaloosa...After competing in three races in three different states last week, Larson plans to race in just a single state this week. Nonetheless, he will be just as busy as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year contender will also be competing in sprint car races at Knoxville Raceway, in Knoxville, Iowa, and Southern Iowa Speedway, in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Battery Powered...After previously sponsoring Larson and his No. 32 team at Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway, Eveready will be back on board the No. 32 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend. Getting its start in the early 1900's, Eveready has been an innovator in the battery industry, developing the first 9-volt and alkaline batteries in 1956 and 1957. The Eveready name always has, and continues to stand for trust and reliability. For more information, visit Eveready.com.
This Week's Camaro...Crew chief Trent Owens and the No. 32 Eveready team have prepared chassis TSM-331 for competition this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Larson previously raced this chassis at Auto Club Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Kentucky Speedway earlier this season, earning top-10 finishes in all three races.
Happy Birthday...Larson hopes to celebrate his birthday by collecting his first NNS victory this weekend at Iowa Speedway. The young driver turns 21 on Wednesday, July 31.
Tune In...The U.S. Cellular 250 can be seen live on Saturday, August 3 on ESPN2, with race coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.
Previous Race Recap...Larson went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with high expectations for his debut at the famed 2.5-mile track after finishing second earlier in the week at Eldora Speedway. The weekend started off strong for Larson and his TSM team, with the rookie leading first practice in his No. 32 Cessna Camaro. When it came time to race on Saturday afternoon, the team struggled to find the right handling on their Chevrolet. Following the race, they discovered that a broken screw had caused the track-bar mount to fail. Despite the issue, Larson still came home with an 11th-place finish.
Kyle Larson on Iowa Speedway
"It's always nice when I can go back to a track I have raced at before, especially one where I have already had a Nationwide Series race with my Turner Scott Motorsports team. This will be my fourth start at Iowa Speedway, so I am excited to see how we can perform with less of a learning curve than normal. We had a pretty good race back at Iowa in June, and ended up with a top-five finish, so I hope we can go out and do even better this time around."
Land of Corn...The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) returns to the .0875-mile Iowa Speedway for the second and final time this season. The June race was originally scheduled for a Saturday night race under the lights, but was postponed to Sunday morning due to rain. Allgaier qualified in the 11th position for the race and brought home an eighth-place finish in his No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet Camaro. Allgaier will be making his eighth start at Iowa Speedway, which is approximately four hours from his hometown of Riverton, Ill. He is one of three drivers on the entry list who have raced in all seven NNS events at Iowa Speedway.
Driver Rating...Allgaier has an average driver rating of 100.5 at Iowa Speedway, the highest of all three drivers who are making their eighth start this weekend. (Driver Rating formula combines wins, finishes, top-15 finishes, average running position while on lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, laps led and lead-lap finishes.)
This Week's Camaro...This weekend the No. 31 BRANDT Chevrolet team will utilize chassis TSM-333. TSM-333 has been used five times this season: Phoenix International Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Iowa Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Recapping Indy...The NNS completed its only stop of the season at the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Allgaier's No. 31 Chevrolet Camaro sported a different paint scheme for the race. The car was a tribute to Jason Leffler and the Charles Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust fund with a flat black paint scheme. Allgaier qualified his No. 31 Jason Leffler Tribute Chevrolet Camaro 14th for the Indiana 250 on Saturday. Unfortunately, mechanical issues during the pace laps brought Allgaier to pit road for repairs. Allgaier spent 20 laps behind the wall while the team worked feverishly to try and diagnose the issue and make repairs. Allgaier ultimately finished the day in the 33rd position with the No. 31 Jason Leffler Tribute Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports. Allgaier is currently sixth in the NNS Driver Point Standings.
Meet Justin...Allgaier will sign autographs in the concourse under the Turn 4 end of the Iowa Speedway grandstands along with other NNS drivers from 2:30-3:10 p.m. CDT on Saturday, August 3. The session is open to fans first come, first served.
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli on Iowa Speedway:
"It's our second time at Iowa [Speedway] this season. We missed the setup last time so we are bringing a few new things to try this race. Iowa is tricky because the practice groove and the race groove seem to be different sometimes. Also, the bumps in Turns 1 and 2 can be a nuisance if your car is struggling for grip. The track will also change from when we start the race as the sun is setting, to ending it under dark skies."
Justin Allgaier on Iowa Speedway: