Tuesday, Nov 28
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Not only did Ryan Newman earn his first win of the 2013 season from the pole Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his native Indiana, it also came at a most critical time for the driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

Newman, who jumped from 19th to 16th in the point standings after his win, finds himself only 25 points outside the all-important top-10. And, as one of only three drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory, he finds his chances of making the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship by way of a possible wild-card berth certainly within reach.

Newman heads to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the site of Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 Sprint Cup race 20 points behind 12th-place Martin Truex Jr., who also has scored a win this season. While the points deficit is one that can be overcome by consistent finishes in the next six races, it can be erased completely by scoring a second win Sunday at the “Tricky Triangle” and vaulting Newman to the first wild-card berth.

Over the years, the triangular layout of Pocono has proven to be complicated and vexing to many drivers, but that has not been the case for Newman. In fact, the demanding dynamic and the unique shape of Pocono have made the famed triangle a favorite of the South Bend, Ind., native. And his history at the 2.5-mile track isn’t too shabby, either.

In 23 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono, Newman has finished outside the top-15 just five times. He has two poles, one win, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s.

Historically speaking, drivers who experience success at Indianapolis are likely to follow that up with a strong run at Pocono. Given some of the similarities between the facilities, it’s easy to understand how Newman has to be considered a favorite heading into this weekend’s race. And considering he will be behind the wheel of Chassis No. 39-733, the same Chevrolet SS he drove to victory lane at Indy, his odds would seem to be all the better.

So, Newman and his team led by crew chief Matt Borland head to Pocono with visions of repeating last weekend’s successes. They know what a second win would mean in their bid to make the Chase. And with Haas Automation – the world’s largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western world – behind him and on his racecar’s hood at Pocono, Newman knows he has the “tools” to put his No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet in victory lane for the second consecutive week.


Leavine Family Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) continues its strategic growth development with the addition of Jeremy Lange as vice president of marketing and partnerships. Lange will design activation programs for new and existing sponsors as well as marketing sales focused on landing new partners and fulfilling those sponsor contracts.


"Being a part of Leavine Family Racing is exciting for many reasons," Lange said. "I am looking forward to the opportunity of leading the marketing and sales department while building strong relationships with the team and our current and future partners."


A marketing and industry veteran, Lange boasts over 15 years of experience in strategic brand activation, creative marketing and advertising, most recently serving as national account manager in the business sales division at Best Buy. There, his responsibilities included the development of the strategic sales and marketing approach that delivered increased revenue within the automotive, communications and motorsports business verticals.


With the addition of Lange, Leavine Family Racing continues to advance its continued mission to be a growing and thriving team in NASCAR.  Lange's guidance will help the third-year team to increase its marketing resources that are available to the team's partners, giving sponsors incremental and tangible participation benefits.


"Jeremy Lange makes a great addition to the Leavine Family Racing team" team owner Bob Leavine said. "We are proud to have him aboard and believe his extensive knowledge in the industry will help us to reach our goal of attaining sponsorship."


During his impressive career, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University graduate was an account director at GMR Marketing where he oversaw the motorsports strategic and activation plans for accounts including Best Buy, Jim Beam, as well as the strategic planning for HBO's college marketing platform.


He has led marketing efforts for Retail Sports Marketing, where he managed the development and execution of retail marketing programs for key accounts, including Miller Brewing Co., Top-Flite and Kroger's partnership with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.


He's worked for Fanz Enterprises and was responsible for negotiating and managing all motorsports and consumer partnerships on behalf of the company 


Lange started his career at MediaCom, a division of Grey Advertising in New York City, where he managed, developed, and presented strategic media and marketing plans for Diageo and LVMH (Tanqueray, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Ruffino and Moet & Chandon).



Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team finished 31st at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Competing in the 20th Running of the Brickyard 400, Kvapil had a special paint scheme featuring the new Rib Sandwich available for a limited time at Burger King locations nationwide. After sustaining damage in final practice, Kvapil's team fought back to repair their primary car en route to a 31st-place finish.



With only two practice sessions to prepare for the 400 mile event at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kvapil worked closely with the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota team to fine-tune the handling of their Camry. Tight in practice, Kvapil brushed the wall during the final session and sustained damage to the right side of his Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry. The BK Racing team worked quickly to repair the damage and kept Kvapil in his primary car for Sunday's main event. With a repaired racecar and qualifying setup, Kvapil laid down a 48.734-second lap during time trials. Beating his fastest practice speed by three hundredths-of-a-second, Kvapil secured the 22nd starting position for Sunday's Brickyard 400.


With a long 60 lap green flag run to kick off the race, teams were forced to make two back-to-back green-flag pit stops. Kvapil reported a loose handling condition on his Toyota Camry and requested that the Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team tighten the balance of his racecar. By the second stop, Kvapil's Camry was handling much better, but the driver still noticed that the car became loose late in the run. The No. 93 BK Racing team continued to adjust their Camry to ensure the car wasn't too tight on the short run, but that it was capable of maintaining competitive lap times throughout the duration of a long green-flag run. By the end of the race, Kvapil's car was handling the best it had all day. Competing in his sixth Brickyard 400, Kvapil crossed the finish line in the 31st position.


"My No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team put in a lot of hard work this weekend," commented Kvapil. "Getting damage during final practice could have easily put us behind for qualifying and the start of the race, but the guys did a great job repairing the car and getting us just as good, if not better, than we were before the accident. I'm really proud of how well we qualified. Unfortunately, we were just too loose at the start of the race and we lost some valuable track position. With long green flag runs, the field easily gets strung out and passing becomes difficult at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I'm excited to get back in the car next week. We had a good run at Pocono Raceway last month, and I'm looking forward to going back with my No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team."


BK Racing PR

Walking through the garage this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Danica Patrick will spot another driver in a GoDaddy firesuit.

And it won’t be because GoDaddy IZOD IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe took a wrong turn on his way to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. 

It’s because Patrick’s boss and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Tony Stewart has joined the GoDaddy team for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono and will drive the No. 14 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS.

While Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, will be behind the wheel of her iconic green car at Pocono, Stewart’s will be painted primarily black. 

And both will attempt to figure out how to go fast around the one-of-a-kind 2.5-mile triangular racetrack at Pocono.

Designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward, Pocono has three different corners each modeled after a different track. Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the now-closed Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at 8 degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked a 6 degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.

Patrick made her first start of any kind at Pocono in the June Sprint Cup Series race, when she started 30th and finished 29th.

She’s hoping to improve in her second race at the “Tricky Triangle” as the long summer stretch marches on.


David Reuitmann and the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team finished in the 29th position on Sunday afternoon at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Faced with a broken gear within the opening 60 laps, the team persevered through the challenges to maintain track position and finish the race inside the top-30.


With only two practice sessions to prepare for both qualifying and the 400-mile race, Reutimann completed just 34 practice laps before recording the 31st-fastest lap of the day during time trials.


Marking the Sprint Cup Series' 20th Running of the Brickyard 400, Reutimann rolled off 31st in the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry on Sunday afternoon. The race started without incident as a long green flag run set the pace for the opening 60 laps. Reutimann worked on his line around the 2.5-mile track and worked with his BK Racing team to develop their strategy for the afternoon.


A few laps prior to the lap 60 caution, Reutimann brought the No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry down pit road for a green-flag pit stop. In the exchange, Reutimann lost third gear on his Toyota Camry, which made both pit stops and restarts a bit more challenging throughout the afternoon. Despite that, Reutimann was able to compensate for the missing gear and continued to pick up positions on the track. Meanwhile, his Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry team continued to improve their racecar with each pit stop. By the end of the day, they had what team members described as one of their "most competitive racecars" of the season.


"We had a really good No. 83 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry today," commented Reutimann. "We got a little behind with a broken gear, and it was really hard to regain track position with so many long green flag runs today. Our Burger King / Dr. Pepper team was working with a new crew chief [Doug Richert] this week, and I'm encouraged by how well we seemed to mesh. We have a test coming up at Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway this week. I'm excited to continue working on the communication between Doug and myself during that test session, and then getting back on the track next weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway."


BK Racing PR

Just 50 miles separate the headquarters of Mars Chocolate North America and the site of Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

A pre-race visit to the Hackettstown, N.J., headquarters by driver Kyle Busch and his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) might be just the spark that will help them capture their first-ever win together at Pocono.

Busch will no doubt find plenty of encouragement during the pre-race visit to Mars Chocolate North America. There, the M&M’s driver and the entire No. 18 JGR team will have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of Mars associates, and many of those same associates will travel just down the road to Pocono Sunday to cheer for Busch.

The Las Vegas native has won at 17 of the 23 tracks at which the Sprint Cup Series competes. The only six tracks Busch has failed to reach victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series are: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and, of course, Pocono.

Busch makes it no secret that Pocono has given him fits over the years as he has six top-10 finishes in 17 previous starts there, along with eight finishes of 22nd or worse. But, three of his top-five finishes have come during his last seven outings at the 2.5-mile triangle, and some of his best finishes have come since he joined JGR at the start of the 2008 season.

The M&M’s team will hope to glean some positive vibes from the Mars associates to finally push the racing team over the top at Pocono. This week’s visit will help Busch & Company be “Better with M,” calling upon the latest integrated marketing campaign by M&M’s, which showcases how the company’s irresistible chocolate makes moments more fun and delicious.

So, as the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400, Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers and the entire M&M’s team will hope they can use some extra motivation from a visit to “M” in order to find victory lane for the first time at Pocono.


After spending a day testing at the 2.5-mile, triangular-shaped Pocono (Penn.) Raceway last week, Marcos Ambrose and his No. 9 Stanley team feel they have a winning game plan heading into Sunday's GoBowling.com 400.


Evidence of the successful test came at Indianapolis this past weekend when the No. 9 Ford was one of the fastest cars during practice and then qualified 10th. A piece of trash on the grill left Ambrose outside the top-10 at the end of the day.


Ambrose is looking to improve on his 17th-place finish in June.


Comments from Stanley Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:


"I feel that we had a really good test here last week, and I think that will improve our chances this weekend. We tested early last week and then went to Indianapolis and showed a lot of speed in practice and qualifying. I think we learned a lot and will now take that information into Pocono this weekend.


"We still have the opportunity to get into 'The Chase,' and we have some opportunities to make that happen this month with some good tracks. We looked at testing at Pocono to give us a good chance to get a win. Watkins Glen is coming up, and then we also have run well at Michigan too. We are not counting ourselves out, and we're just going to keep working hard."


Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on Pocono:


"The test helped, and then we learned a lot during the race at Indy too. I think we are all feeling good about what we're bringing to Pocono this weekend. We have a few good races for Marcos coming up, and I think we have some good opportunities. The test helped, and now we're ready to go capitalize on that."



Aric Almirola will head back to Pocono (Penn.) Raceway this weekend in the No. 43 GoBowling.com 400. After a successful two-day test last week, Almirola looks to strike a win at the 'Tricky Triangle.'


In the June race, Almirola started from the 12th spot and raced in the top-10 and top-15 most of the day. Two on-track incidents in the final 30 laps of the race marred the team back in the field, and he finished 21st. He posted his best finish of 18th-place last August in his second start at the Pennsylvania track. Almirola also has one start in the truck series where he started fifth and finished fourth at the track.


Veteran Crew Chief Todd Parrott brings 31 races of experience to Pocono. He tallied two wins (2002, 1997), 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. In those 31 races at the 'Tricky Triangle,' he has an average finish of 14.6.


Comments from GoBowling.com Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola:


"We were pretty good at Pocono last race. Our car handled decent in the top-15, but once we fell back, it was really difficult to drive in 'dirty air.' I think last week's test will really help us with that. We showed speed in Indy last week but also struggled when we were deep in the field. We'll work hard this weekend to get a good starting spot and stay up front.


"We're still in the hunt for the Chase, but we are going to need some top-five finishes or even a win to get there. I think our team can do it. We're going to work really hard in the next six races to make something happen and make up some ground in the points."


Comments from GoBowling.com Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott:


"Pocono is a very unique track. With all three turns different, we'll focus on getting the handling in Turn Three so we can get some speed off the corner. We ran pretty well in June but need to work on finding some speed for qualifying so we can start up front and stay there. We made some gains at our two-day test last week. Hopefully, we can come out that much better this time around. We need a solid finish this week to stay in the hunt for the Chase."



Two-time defending Tennessee NASCAR Whelen All-American State Champion Nate Monteith of Blountville, and Bristol businessman KD Moore, are pleased to announce the formation of DDK Motorsports. The stars of NASCAR like to play at night and DDK Motorsports will make their debut under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Aug. 21, competing in the NASCAR UNOH 200 Camping World Truck Series event.

During the 2011 and ’12 racing seasons at Kingsport Speedway, the 31-year-old Monteith captured back-to-back Late Model Stock titles and recorded 10 feature wins each season (22 total pole awards) to bring his career Late Model victory tally to 67.

“I am really excited to be teaming with KD Moore and our new truck team,” said Monteith. “He has been involved with our late model program and we talked about taking the jump together to a NASCAR top-tier touring division.”

Monteith will be piloting a No. 45 Toyota Tundra in the UNOH 200 in his hometown, which will be televised live on Fox Sports 1 (formerly Speed Channel). DDK Motorsports is planning a test on August 5 to shake down the new race truck.

“I’ve got some experience at Bristol,” added Monteith. “We’ll just have to get the truck dialed-in during practice and get it handling well. DDK Motorsports is providing me with an incredible opportunity and great equipment. My late model guys are helping me put the deal together and I am pretty confident we can make a good showing in August.”

DDK Motorsports is tentatively planning to run a limited schedule of 4-6 races this season, with hopes of building to a full schedule in 2014. It has always been the dream of successful developer, KD Moore, to field a team in NASCAR.

“I have entertained guests at Bristol Motor Speedway in the past, but this is going to be a very special event for me,” said Moore. “I believe having a Bristol based team should create a great deal of local interest. Nate has the talent and our goal is to become a solid addition to the Camping World Truck Series.”

Monteith and Moore will have the DDK Motorsports Toyota Tundra present at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” on Monday, July 29 for a press conference at 1 p.m., to be held in C Lot parking area just outside of the turn three pit entrance.

Want to be part of DDK Motorsports and driver Nate Monteith? For sponsor information contact Monteith at (423) 340-2004.

DDK Motorsports PR

Doug Duchardt, who joined Hendrick Motorsports as an executive in 2005, has been elevated to the newly created position of executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately. He will report to team owner Rick Hendrick and company president Marshall Carlson.

In his expanded role, Duchardt, 49, will direct all racing operations for Hendrick Motorsports, which fields four cars in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also will manage technical relationships—encompassing engine leases and chassis purchases—while serving as primary liaison between Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR’s competition group.

Duchardt’s responsibilities now include oversight of all competition-related personnel and departments, including teams; engines; race car construction (chassis and bodies); research and development; human performance (pit crews); and engineering.

“Doug has led by example from his first day with us,” Hendrick said. “We’re in a competitive and ever-changing industry, and he brings a global view that will be critical to our long-term success. Doug shares the organization’s values, understands the importance of relationships and has helped promote a culture of teamwork and communication. We know those are things he will lean on and grow in the years to come.”

A native of Morton, Ill., Duchardt joined Hendrick Motorsports in February 2005 as vice president of development. In that position, he directed all engine, vehicle engineering, chassis and body operations. He also oversaw the company’s work on the last two generations of Sprint Cup Series race cars, including Hendrick Motorsports’ role as the lead development team for General Motors’ new Chevrolet SS.

During Duchardt’s tenure, Hendrick Motorsports has won 84 Sprint Cup races and five series titles.

“Doug’s capabilities are proven, and he energetically fosters the growth of those around him at Hendrick Motorsports,” Carlson said. “As the competitive landscape continues to evolve, our team will rely heavily on his expertise and broad perspective. In this role, Doug’s leadership can be an even greater benefit to our employees, fans and corporate partners.”

Duchardt joined General Motors as a co-op student with Buick in 1983 and went on to graduate from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 1987 with a mechanical engineering degree. He earned a master’s degree in engineering from Purdue University in 1992 and received an honorary professional degree from Missouri S&T in 2009.

After nearly a decade in various roles with the manufacturer, Duchardt joined General Motors Racing in 1996. In June 2003, he was named director of North American motor sports initiatives, overseeing programs in NASCAR, Grand-Am, American Le Mans, NHRA, IndyCar and other series. During Duchardt’s leadership of GM Racing, the Chevy Monte Carlo garnered five Sprint Cup manufacturer championships.

“I’m honored to work with this incredible team of people,” Duchardt said. “I will continue to focus on giving them the resources and opportunities they need to be successful. We have a winning tradition that all of us want to protect and build on, and I’m lucky to be in a position to contribute to those efforts.”

Longtime Hendrick Motorsports executive Ken Howes will continue to serve as vice president of competition, a role he assumed in January 2005. He will report to Duchardt.


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