Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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STEVE NEWMARK, President, Roush Fenway Racing – “I appreciate all you guys being here today.  Ryan apologizes for not being able to be here, but he did prepare a statement:

RYAN NEWMAN STATEMENT:

“I’m sorry that I can’t be at the track in person, but I asked Steve to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for all the support that was shown last week to both me and my family.  The outpouring of emotion from not only the NASCAR community, but across the country has been truly humbling.

“I want to personally thank everyone, including the man upstairs, for their support, encouragement and the numerous offers of assistance.  We always say that the NASCAR community is one big family and never has that been more evident to me than after seeing this family rally together and provide the comfort and support that has been shown to my family and me over the past few days.  The calls and visits from the NASCAR executives and my friends and competitors has been truly uplifting.

“I want to thank everyone involved in my care, especially the staff at Halifax Medical Center, where I am convinced I received the best care available.  I’m confident the efforts of each of those trained professionals played a major role in where I’m sitting today.  And to the entire NASCAR organization, led by Jim France, thanks for being by my side the entire time.  You truly stepped up to support me unconditionally when it mattered most.

“Most importantly, I have to thank the guys back at the Roush Fenway Racing shop that built me a car not only fast enough to lead the final seconds of the Daytona 500, but strong enough to do its job under great distress, allowing me to survive such an accident.  I am truly indebted to each of you and it is unlikely I will ever be able to properly express to you how much the diligent effort with which you conduct your craftmanship has affected me and my family.  I hope you took pride in the photograph of me walking out of the hospital hand-in-hand with my daughters on Wednesday.  Thank you.  I can’t wait to get back in your race car.

“I was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones.  I did sustain a head injury for which I’m currently being treated.  The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days.

“Again, I want to thank each of you, from my partners, teammates and competitors and each and every fan across the country.  Thank you everyone for the unparalleled concern and unwavering support.  And to the media, who has acted with such respect and class during this time.

“I have spoken with Jack Roush and he has assured me that the number six car will be waiting and ready for my return.  I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and battling for another race win in the Roush Fenway Ford.”

Ford Performance PR

Bridgeport Speedway Micro Sprint regular Jon Keller of Salem, NJ raced to a thrilling victory Saturday night in the East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals 600 Sprint race held inside Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ. The race was a 50-lap event and paid $5,000 to win.

“I can’t believe I even made it into the A-Main all the way from the E-Main let alone win the race,” Keller, 33, said. “I got run into the wall during the feature and rode along it and flipped in Saturday afternoon practice. On Friday, I got black flagged for spinning out three times in my heat and that put me in the back of the E-Main,” Keller related.

“I was discouraged enough after Friday that I actually went home.  But as the crew told me the next morning, we’ve come all this way, now’s not the time to give up. They were right, and here we are.”

Keller started the feature dead last, from the thirteenth row, sidestepped several multi-car crashes, and took the lead with two laps to go, bringing Kenny Miller, III, who had started from the twelfth row, with him.

Billy Pauch, Jr., finished third. He led the first ten laps, then was involved in a six-car crash that affected several other front runners including Eddie Strada and Tim Buckwalter. All restarted, but at the back of the field.

Brenden Bright picked up the lead after the big tangle with the remarkable run of Keller first becoming apparent when he moved into the top three on lap 20.

Erick Rudolph, defending race winner, took the lead with 11 laps left as Bright faded. Keller grabbed second, closed on Rudolph and then, on the final restart of the race, shot by Rudolph on the high side of the multi-groove course to complete his shocking ride.

Miller was second, Pauch third, Rudolph fourth and Strada fifth.

“I don’t believe any of this. Winning this race against these top guys from the back of the field,” Keller said. “I don’t belong here, but here I am.”

Larry Wight, who worked his way through from the D Main into the A was sixth after running as high as third at one point. Kyle Spence, Mike Bednar, Bright and Jesse Maurer completed the top ten.

Two B Mains, from which the top six transferred to the A Main, were won by Joey Amantea and Pat Bealer.

C Main race winners were Brandon Pavel and Kyle Spence. Sammy Martz, Jr. and James Morris captured the pair of D Mains. Mike Mahaney and Matt Warner won the two E Mains.

The Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels concludes its 2020 season with the final ‘Concrete Series’ event at the New York State Fairgrounds Expo Center in Syracuse, NY on March 13-14, 2020 at which time the Series 2020 champion will be crowned.

For more information, visit indoorautoracing.com.

East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. Jon Keller, 2. Kenny Miller III, 3. Billy Pauch Jr., 4. Erick Rudolph, 5. Eddie Strada, 6. Larry Wight, 7. Kyle Spence, 8. Mike Bednar, 9. Brenden Bright, 10. Jesse Maurer, 11. Mike Thompson, 12. Gary Bozowski, 13. Pat Bealer, 14. Christian Bruno, 15. Tyler Lindsay, 16. Doug Snyder, 17. Whitey Kidd, 18. Tim Buckwalter, 19. Brian Carber, 20. Alex Bright, 21. Joey Amantea, 22. Brett Altemose, 23. Jim Radney, 24. Aiden Bordan, 25. Wayne Scott.

AARN PR

Rain has postponed the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the completion of Stage 1.

All Saturday tickets will be honored on Sunday, and seating priority will go to those with Pennzoil 400 tickets. Saturday ticket holders will have access to standing room only areas for the Pennzoil 400.

The race is scheduled for completion on Sunday, and will be run after the conclusion of the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube. The Boyd Gaming 300 will resume approximately one hour after the Cup race concludes.

Club and suite ticket holders for the Boyd Gaming 300 will be admitted to the grandstands for the Pennzoil 400 – which begins at 12:30 p.m. – on Sunday, but will not be allowed to access the premium areas until 30 minutes after the Cup Series race concludes.

The Pennzoil 400 will air live on FOX at 12:30 p.m., and the Boyd Gaming 300 will follow with live coverage on FS1.

LVMS PR

What seemed like an eternity was actually 19 seconds.

After Ryan Newman’s battered race car came to rest last Monday at the end of the tri-oval in a brutal wreck at the finish of the Daytona 500, it took only 19 seconds for the first emergency vehicle to arrive, according to a chronology provided by NASCAR officials during a question-and-answer session with reporters on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“The tool truck arrived at the vehicle 19 seconds after it came to rest,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “The fireman that you saw with the extinguisher was in that vehicle. One of the three trauma doctors assigned to the safety team for the race arrived at the car at the 33‑second mark, and a paramedic entered the vehicle at the 35‑second mark.

“For the next three and a half minutes, two doctors and paramedics attended to Ryan. At the 4:05 mark, the decision was then made to roll the car over while continuing to help aid the driver. At the 6:56 mark, the car was upright. The extrication team then began cutting the car, and a doctor continued to provide treatment.

“The roof was removed at the 11:10 mark, and the extrication was completed at 15:40, and the driver was then moved to the ambulance for transport. During this entire time, doctors and paramedics were attending to Ryan, except at the moment of the car rollover.”

Newman, who was taken directly to the Halifax Medical Center and released from the hospital on Wednesday, may well have benefitted from the so-called “Newman bar,” reinforcement for the roll cage that strengthened the roof and the windshield that was implemented after a wreck involving Newman in 2013.

“So when we look at the cars and look back at what we've been able to do with the cars as an industry, we've been able to make improvements,” said Dr. John Patalak, NASCAR’s senior director of safety engineering. “The one you've referenced in 2013 with the additional roll bars and the roof and the windshield area… we were also able to do things with the laminate windshield in 2013 and improved window net mounting in 2013.

“All of those things really contribute and work together as an assembly to improve the overall outcomes to what we saw in Daytona.”

“I think, just to add to that, John and I were talking earlier about the fact that Ryan Newman was involved in this accident, with his engineering background, has been someone who we have turned to in many times talking about safety enhancements,” rejoined O’Donnell.

“One of the reasons you won't hear as many details today is we still haven't had the chance to go through this with Ryan and his team, with the other drivers in the garage, but Ryan's feedback as we go through this will be key, and I think that'll be a key component as it's always been throughout the process when he's been racing.”

Both Newman’s car and the No. 32 of Corey LaJoie, which collided with Newman’s Ford as it flipped upside-down, were destroyed in the wreck, and both were taken to NASCAR’s R&D Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection and evaluation.

 

MARTIN TRUEX JR. ELATED TO SEE CLOSE FRIEND RYAN NEWMAN AFTER WRECK

Driver Martin Truex Jr. and long-time girlfriend Sherry Pollex were among the first to see Ryan Newman after he was released from Halifax Medical Center on Wednesday.

The relief and elation were still evident when Truex stopped by the media center on Saturday, after rain washed our NASCAR Cup Series qualifying and put Truex on the outside of the front row, based on final 2019 owner points.

“It was cool to just go down there and see him and make sure he was OK,” Truex said. “Really, Sherry and I just wanted him to know we were there for him if he needed anything. It was cool. It was good to see the good shape he was in. It was a little surprising as well.

“We’re planning fishing trips already, so it was a fun visit to hang out. I’ve been talking to him throughout the week, obviously. He’s doing real good. I feel like he’ll be back before anybody thinks he could. He’s a tough son of a gun. He’s in good spirits and hanging out with his family, so he’s doing well.”

Truex didn’t have any qualms, though, about some playful ribbing of his friend.

“He’s got no neck and a big hard head, so that helps for sure,” Truex said. “I told him this week he’s lucky he’s such a hard-headed son of a gun. All those things, and God was riding with him. What else can you say? It was a scary wreck, for sure. Hopefully, we don’t have to worry about things like that, for sure. We just have to figure out ways to keep the cars on the ground.”

 

KEVIN HARVICK ISSUES CHALLENGE TO KYLE BUSCH’S DOMINATION IN TRUCKS

With seeming ease, Kyle Busch won Friday night’s Strat 200 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Busch’s seventh straight victory in as many starts in his own trucks.

But when fans on Twitter decried the reigning NASCAR Cup champion’s moonlighting in the Gander Truck Series, fellow Cup champ Kevin Harvick came to his defense, offering a $50,000 bounty if any driver could beat Busch in any of his four remaining truck races this year (Atlanta, Homestead, Texas and Kansas).

The rules are simple. The Cup driver has to beat Busch fair and square, without wrecking him.

Marcus Lemonis, owner of the series sponsor, chimed in with an offer to match Harvick’s $50,000. Naturally enough, Busch wanted to know what he would get if he kept the competition at bay for all four races.

“If you put money on a bounty on somebody, then bad things tend to happen,” Busch said. “Make it whatever you want. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve got great stuff, I’m a good driver—bring it.”

Harvick later tweeted that, if Busch wins the challenge, he would donate the $50,000 to the Bundle of Joy Fund founded by Busch and his wife Samantha to help couples who are having difficulty conceiving children.

Austin Hill cashed in at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) on Friday night with a third-place finish, his first top-five of the year, and continued his strong start to the 2020 campaign. The result earned Hill the lead in the points standings after two events, and marks the second time in his career that the driver of the No. 16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra has led the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship standings.
 
Hill’s evening began from the sixth position after a strong performance in qualifying and climbed as high as third in the opening stage. Despite having cleaner air, Hill dealt with a tight handling condition which contributed to concerns about tire wear in the first stint. In the closing laps of Stage 1, Hill was forced to conserve his tires as excessive wear on the left front tire burned through the tread and down to the cords. As a result, Hill ran fifth at the lap 30 stage caution and collected six points.
 
Crew chief Scott Zipadelli and the United Rentals team gave Hill four tires under the stage caution as well as fuel and air pressure adjustments to improve the handling and tire wear. Despite quick work on pit road, Hill was tagged with a pit road penalty and restarted the race in 27th on lap 39. The balance of Stage 2 ran under green and allowed Hill to advance through the pack and into 12th by lap 60.
 
Zipadelli and company dialed up the same plan and adjustments on pit road, as a lightning quick pit stop allowed Hill to restart seventh on lap 68. Hill stayed committed to the bottom side of the speedway on the restarts and allowed him to advance inside the top five by the race’s final caution on lap 91. The Winston, Ga wheelman had to navigate a chaotic restart with three-wide racing on lap 96 after restarting sixth and immediately jumped back into the top five. Hill took over the third position on lap 102 and held off a strong challenge from the No. 88 truck in the waning laps to finish in a podium position. The third-place result is Hill’s third top-10 finish at LVMS in five starts and earned him the lead in the championship standings by nine points.
 
Austin Hill Quote:
“If you look at our left front (tire), it’s all corded. This tire that we brought just wasn’t what we needed. I’ve always went by the philosophy that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They came with a different tire compound and we just struggled all night finding grip. I could only run the bottom, I couldn’t run up the racetrack any, and if I did it was just a four-wheel slide. I felt like we were on top of the racetrack. Can’t thank United Rentals enough for coming on board. Our Tundra was okay early in the run, but then once the tire wear came in and the left front started cording, there’s really nothing else you can do. I have to thank my guys Scott (Zipadelli, crew chief) and all the guys at the shop. Eddie (D'Hondt) up in the spotter’s stand, he gave me a lot of tips and tricks in the race that seemed to help me get back up to the front. It was an okay day for us. I wanted to race against Kyle (Busch), but we weren’t good enough.”
 
HRE PR
Tanner Gray, No. 15 Ford Performance F-150
 
Start: 14th
Finish: 8th 
  • Stage One: 20th
  • Stage Two: 11th
  • Stage Three: 8th
 
  • Tanner Gray and the No. 15 Ford Performance team started the Strat 200 from the 14th position. He fought the handling of his F-150 throughout Stage One, reporting that he was way too free and loose off of corner exit. Gray made it through the first 30 laps without incident but was scored 20th when the stage-ending caution came out. Crew Chief Shane Wilson called for major adjustments along with four tires and fuel under caution.
  • The adjustments proved to be helpful as Gray had worked himself up to the 12th position by lap 50 of the 134 lap race. When the green-white-checkered flag flew to end Stage 2, the No. 15 Ford Performance team was scored 11th. Gray once again brought his F-150 down pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and more adjustments to help with the handling.
  • Gray started Stage Three from the 11th position. When the caution came out on lap 89 for a wreck, he was scored eighth. The team called him down pit road for the last pit stop of the night, where they set him up for the final long green-flag run. On the restart, Gray got a great run and worked himself up to third, and eventually went on to battle back and forth for the second position. He reported that the truck was starting to get more free every lap and eventually lost some of his momentum as the laps wound down. Gray ended the night with an eighth-place finish in his first race at the mile-and-a-half track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • Gray collected his first top-10 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series finishes and sits 17th in Driver Point Standings after two races this season.
 
Gray on Las Vegas: "Obviously it was good to get up front and be behind Kyle [Busch] and learn from him, but I'm also disappointed because I had them over adjust there on that last stop and we just ended up too free. All in all, it was a good night. I'm really happy with everyone at DGR-Crosley, they put together an awesome truck, and I feel like we had a pretty fast Ford F-150. It's good to have a race like this and get some confidence to learn and build off it. We'll go back to the shop and regroup to get ready for Atlanta, but it's hard not to be happy with that."
 
DGR Crosley PR

 

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