Inspections Issues Sends Blaney To The Tail End At Kansas

Image result for wood brothers racing kansas speedway

Ryan Blaney, who enters the final race of the Monster Energy Cup playoff’s Round of 12 in seventh place, had been among the fastest drivers in practice and qualifying on Friday at Kansas.

Now he’ll need all that speed to work his way up from his 40th starting spot in Sunday’s 400 miler.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said that in today’s competitive environment, teams tend to take chances when it comes to preparing their cars.

“The rules are pushed to the max in every area, and today the NASCAR officials found something they didn’t like about our car,” Wood said. “We’re not disputing their decision. We’ll own it and move on.

“We’ll work on our car in Saturday’s practice, line up in the back on Sunday and look forward to watching Ryan drive his way to the front.”

Blaney and his Wood Brothers team, participating in the NASCAR playoffs for the first time, enter the final race of the Round of 12 two points ahead of eighth-place Jimmie Johnson and nine ahead of ninth-place Kyle Busch.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Ryan Blaney Thinks That Kansas Speedway Works In His Favor

If Ryan Blaney and his No. 21 Omnicraft team had their pick of race tracks to run the elimination race of the Round of 12 of the Monster Energy Cup playoffs, they’d likely pick Kansas Speedway, the site of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

Blaney made his Cup debut at Kansas in 2014, driving a Team Penske Ford. Since moving to the Wood Brothers No. 21 the next season, Kansas has statistically been his best track.

He has three finishes of seventh or better in four Kansas starts in the No. 21 Fusion with an average finish of 7.5. He won his first Cup pole there in May, and set a career record for points earned in a single race with 51.

In that Go Bowling 400, he led 83 laps, finished third in Stage One and won Stage Two before finishing fourth at the checkered flag.

Blaney, who will carry the colors of Omnicraft for the second time this season, enters this weekend’s 400-miler seventh in the points standings, two points ahead of eighth-place Jimmie Johnson and nine ahead of ninth-place Kyle Busch. The bottom four drivers in the playoff standings will be eliminated from championship contention after Sunday’s race.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he’s happy to have come this far in the playoffs and hoping to make it to the third round.

Wood said the team will be focusing on earning stage points, beginning with practice and qualifying on Friday. A top starting spot means there are fewer drivers to pass to be among the top 10 and thereby earn points in the first stage.

Stage points have been key to the success Blaney and the No. 21 team have enjoyed throughout the season.

Through Talladega, Blaney has earned 193 stage points. He’s won four stages, plus a win at Pocono Raceway, and scored 17 top-five stage finishes and 36 top-10s.

“We saw how important stage points are last week at Talladega, and it’ll be the same this week at Kansas,” Wood said. “The 18 points Ryan earned in the first two stages at Talladega allowed us to move up four spots in the standings even after wrecking out of the race.”

Wood also said he believes his team’s battle for a spot in the Round of Eight will bring extra attention to Omnicraft, which is Ford Motor Company’s new brand of quality replacement parts for non-Ford and non-Lincoln vehicles.

The Omnicraft brand, which made its debut in January, is Ford’s first new parts brand in 50 years and will give its dealers and the Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers access to quality parts for any vehicle brought in for service.

“One of the perks of being in the playoffs is that it brings more attention to our car and its sponsor, and this weekend’s media coverage will raise awareness for the Omnicraft brand,” Wood said, adding that he’s cautiously optimistic about the upcoming weekend. “Hopefully we can build on our run at Kansas in May and make it to the Round of Eight.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Harvick Rolls Into Kansas With A 22 Point Cushion

Kevin Harvick

 Kevin Harvick is heading to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for the Hollywood Casino 400, the third and final race in the Round of 12 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, with a 22-point cushion over the ninth-place driver.

The driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) scored two stage wins and a third-place finish to open the Round of 12 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and a 20th-place finish last weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to open up his points advantage.

Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing won two weeks ago at Charlotte and Brad Keselowski of Team Penske followed suit last weekend at Talladega to secure their spots in the Round of 8. Now, 10 drivers are in contention for the final six positions with the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway as the stage for the final showdown. Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing holds a 29-point advantage over ninth place as the only non-secured driver ahead of Harvick. Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Rickey Stenhouse Jr. and Jamie McMurray all sit below the cutoff line heading into the weekend.

Harvick has reason for optimism heading into Kansas.

The 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion won at Kansas Speedway in October 2016, when he started 11th, led 74 laps and beat runner-up Carl Edwards to the finish line by 1.183 seconds and it came in a must-win situation during that year’s NASCAR playoffs. After Harvick suffered a mechanical failure the week before in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte that resulted in a 38th-place finish, he was 12th in the standings. He trailed Denny Hamlin by eight points for the final transfer position into the Round of 8 with Talladega looming the following week.

It was the second Cup Series win for Harvick. He also won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas in October 2013, when he started from the pole position, led 138 of 267 laps and beat current SHR teammate Kurt Busch to the finish line by 1.140 seconds to score his first Cup Series victory at the 1.5-mile oval.

The Bakersfield, California native also owns the Cup Series qualifying record at Kansas, which he set May 9, 2014 with a lap of 27.799 seconds at 194.658 in the second round of qualifying. It was Harvick’s second of three consecutive Cup Series poles at Kansas from October 2013 through October 2014.

He also has three runner-up finishes in six Cup Series starts at Kansas since joining SHR in February 2014.

Harvick knows that the best way to finish up front is to start up front, which he has done four times so far in 2017. He has scored four Cup Series pole awards – three coming on 1.5-mile racetracks. He scored his first of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 29.118 seconds at 190.398 mph. His second of the season came at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, when he made a lap at 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. His third came at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph. The most recent came at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where he posted a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph.

Harvick also has four poles at Kansas, which are tied with Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne for most all-time at the 1.5-mile track. Harvick and Johnson are the only two drivers to win consecutive poles at Kansas Speedway. Johnson completed the task in 2007 and 2008, while Harvick scored three in a row starting in the fall of 2013 followed by a sweep of 2014.

While Harvick has raced up front and scored five stage wins this year, he is still in search of his first Cup Series race win at a 1.5-mile track this season. However, he has scored the second-most points of any driver over the last 10 races on a 1.5-mile track by knocking down five top-five finishes, nine top-10s and four poles.

This weekend, Harvick and the No. 4 Jimmy John’s team hope to repeat their performance from last October and return to victory lane in pursuit of a second NASCAR Cup Series championship.

KEVIN HARVICK, Driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
You’ve performed much stronger at Kansas the last couple of years. Is that because of the repave, or did you find something you were missing previously?

“The repave is definitely what changed and turned things around for us at Kansas. Really, I liked the racetrack the way it was before with the asphalt really worn out and cars sliding all over. But, once the repave happened, we were able to really hit on some things and, for whatever reason, it kind of fits my driving style and we have gotten some good results out of it. It has been a really good-performing racetrack for us and one that we look forward to going to and hopefully continue to get good results out of it because it’s been so good for us in the past.”

Take us on a lap around Kansas.

“It’s definitely a little bit different just for the fact the (corner) entries are a little different than at most places. Turns three and four remind me of turns three and four at Chicagoland Speedway, but there’s a lot more grip and fresher asphalt than what Chicagoland has nowadays. It’s a very high-speed racetrack. You run the middle to the bottom of the racetrack. But I’m sure, as time goes on, that the groove will move back up. But, for right now, it’s very fast and very sensitive to your line and, with all the speed and how tricky the entrance is into turn one, you can miss your line easily. So, you have to be very specific about where you put your car and pay attention to what you’re doing.”

 

Jimmy John’s Racing Team Report

Round 32 of 36 – Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas

At-Track PR Contact: Ryan Barry, True Speed Communication (704-500-1553, Ryan.Barry@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Primary Team Members:

Driver: Kevin Harvick

Hometown: Bakersfield, California

 

Crew Chief: Rodney Childers

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Car Chief: Robert Smith

Hometown: Whitewater, Wisconsin

 

Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines

Headquarters: Moorseville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Robert Brandt

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

 

Spotter: Tim Fedewa

Hometown: Holt, Michigan

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Justin White

Hometown: Lynnville, Tennessee

 

Front Tire Changer: Eric Maycroft

Hometown: Algonquiin, Illinois

 

Second Gas Man: Marc Wulf

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

 

Front Tire Carrier: Matt Holzbaur

Hometown: New Egypt, New Jersey

 

Windshield: Matthew Custer

Hometown: Bedford, Pennsylvania

 

Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

 

Jackman: Stan Doolittle

Hometown: Ninety Six, South Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Mike “Shrek” Morneau

Hometown: Oxford, Maine

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Rick Hodges and Stephen Mitchell

Hometowns: Raleigh, North Carolina, and Woodville, Ohio, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Dustin Keath

Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania

 

Shock Specialist: Mike McCarville

Hometown: Kensington, Prince Edward Island, Canada

 

Engineers: Dax Gerringer and Billy Kuebler

Hometowns: Gibsonville, North Carolina, and Saline, Michigan,respectively

 

Mechanics: Richie Bean and Allen Mincey

Hometown: Bradford, Vermont, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida,respectively

 

Fuel Runner: Chris Clayton

Hometown: Modesto, California

Chassis Information – Chassis No. 4-986:
Kevin Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion built on Chassis No. 4-986 in the Hollywood Casino 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Built new in 2016, Chassis No. 4-986 made its NASCAR Cup Series debut in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, where it started 22nd, led one lap and finished 10th. In its second appearance, Harvick started first after rain cancelled qualifying at Kentucky, led 128 laps and finished ninth. In its final start of 2016, Harvick started fourth, finished fifth and led 33 laps at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in August. Chassis No. 4-986 finished sixth at Phoenix International Raceway in March in its lone start of 2017.

 

Kansas Speedway Notes of Interest:
· Earning It Since 2014: Harvick is in his 17th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his fourth at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with crew chief Rodney Childers at the helm. Since joining forces in 2014, Harvick and Childers combined to produce 13 victories, 14 poles, 64 top-five finishes and 93 top-10s; led 6,590 laps; won the 2014 Cup Series title; finished runner-up in 2015 to champion Kyle Busch and eighth in 2016.

 

· Points Position: Harvick arrives at Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 ranked fourth in the driver standings with 3,089 points after his 20th-place finish Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He maintains a 22-point advantage ahead of ninth in the standings heading into the final of three Round of 12 races this weekend.

 

· Playoff Qualifier: Harvick clinched his position in the 2017 playoffs as he scored his first Cup Series win of the season at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June. He started 12th, led 24 laps and had more than a five-second cushion when the final yellow flag waved to end the race under caution.Harvick and the No. 4 team scored one race win and three stage wins to account for eight playoff points. They finished fourth in regular-season points to pick up an additional seven points to earn the sixth seed for the 2017 playoffs. The No. 4 team scored two additional stage wins at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October for two playoff points.

 

· 11,000 Laps Led: Harvick led 149 laps at Charlotte and has now led 11,016 laps in his NASCAR Cup Series career, becoming just the 17th driver in Cup Series history to surpass 11,000 laps led for his career. Johnson, Busch and Matt Kenseth are the only active drivers to accomplish the feat.

 

· Harvick at Kansas since Joining SHR:Harvick has seven Cup Series starts at Kansas since joining SHR at the beginning of the 2014 season and has one win, won the pole for two of the six races, finished runner-up three times and third in his most recent start. He won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas in October 2016, when he started 11th, led 74 laps and beat runner-up Carl Edwards to the finish line by 1.183 seconds. In May 2014, he won the pole with a speed of 194.252 mph, led 119 laps and finished second to Jeff Gordon by .112 of a second. He won the pole with a speed of 197.621 mph, led 61 laps and finished 12th in October 2014. He started sixth, led 53 laps and finished second to Johnson by .487 of a second in May 2015. In October 2015, Harvick started fourth, led 21 laps and finished 16th. In May 2016, he started 26th and raced his way to a runner-up finish, trailing race-winner Busch by 1.112 seconds at the finish line.

 

· Harvick in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas: The Hollywood Casino 400 will mark Harvick’s 24th career Cup Series start at Kansas. He has two wins (October 2013 and 2016), three poles (October 2013, May and October 2014), seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. The 41-year-old driver has led 559 laps, has an average starting position of 15.4, has an average finish of 10.0 and has completed 98.2 percent (5,980 of 6,091) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· Track Record: Harvick set the track qualifying record at Kansas Speedway on October 3, 2014 with a lap of 27.304 seconds at 197.773 mph in Cup Series qualifying. Harvick’s four poles at Kansas are tied with Johnson, Kenseth and Kasey Kahne for most all-time at the 1.5-mile track. Harvick and Johnson are the only two drivers to win consecutive poles at Kansas Speedway (Johnson in 2007 and 2008, Harvick in the fall of 2013 followed by a sweep of 2014).

 

· Never Missed a Cup Series Start at Kansas: Harvick is one of four drivers to participate in every Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. The other four drivers to have started all 23 Cup Series events are SHR teammate Kurt Busch, Kenseth and Ryan Newman.

 

· Three-Time Runner-Up: In addition to Harvick’s two wins at Kansas, he also leads the series in runner-up finishes there with three. Edwards, Kahne, Martin Truex Jr. and Newman each have two.

 

· Harvick in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Kansas: Harvick has made 11 starts in the Xfinity Series at Kansas. He has one win (October 2006), one pole (October 2008), six top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has led 208 laps, has an average starting position of 9.5, an average finish of 9.3 and has completed 94.4 percent (2,080 of 2,204) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

· On The Pole: Harvick has scored four Cup Series pole awards in 2017 – three coming on 1.5-mile racetracks. He scored his first of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 29.118 seconds at 190.398 mph. His second of the season came at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, when he made a lap at 27.217 seconds at 198.405 mph. His third came at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 27.918 seconds at 193.424 mph. The most recent came at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where he posted a lap of 27.669 seconds at 177.730 mph.

 

· All-Time Wins List: Harvick scored his 36th career Cup Series win at Sonoma in June, which is ranked 22nd on the all-time wins list. His next Cup Series win will move him into a tie with Bobby Isaac for 21st on the all-time list. Among active drivers, Harvick ranks fourth behind leader Johnson’s 83 career wins, Kyle Busch’s 42 and Kenseth’s 38 wins.

 

· Career NASCAR Cup Series Totals: Harvick has 36 wins, 164 top-fives, 302 top-10s and 21 poles in 605 career Cup Series starts heading into Sunday’s race at Kansas.

 

· Personal Announcement: On Tuesday, July 11, Harvick kicked off his SiriusXM Radio show “Happy Hours” by announcing that he and wife DeLana are expecting to add a daughter to their family around the first of the year.

 

· Harvick’s Happy Hours on SiriusXM Radio: On March 14, Harvick announced that he will hostHappy Hours on SiriusXM Radio. The show debuted March 28 and airs on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. ET, featuring Harvick’s distinctive perspective on his sport and life outside the track. Harvick and co-host Matt Yocum take calls from listeners and give NASCAR fans a unique view on the driver’s life and interests when he is away from the racecar.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kansas Has Turned Into A Major Challenge For Kyle

Kyle Busch

 If one were to look at Kyle Busch’s last seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the difference for the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) couldn’t be any more stark.

The 1.5-mile oval built in 2001, which originally featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns, underwent a massive renovation project leading into its October 2012 Cup Series event. The changes included repaving of the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The oval’s geometric shape also was changed to feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.

To say that Busch didn’t take well to the new surface would be quite the understatement. From October 2012 to 2013, Busch had three consecutive DNFs (Did Not Finish) there, with accidents ending his day each time for final results of 31st, 38th and 34th.

Feeling snakebit on the new Kansas surface, Busch and his M&M’S Halloween team took a different approach starting with the April 2014 race there by starting from scratch with a brand new car. They attacked the track in the Heartland of America with hope that a fresh outlook would produce vastly different results. While a pit-road speeding penalty cost them precious track position and an even better finish in the race, the result was still much different than the three previous trips. They began to turn the corner in terms of competitiveness and results.

Starting with the October 2014 Cup Series race at Kansas, Busch brought home his first ever top-five finish at the track. Anyone who has ever followed Busch’s career knows the 2015 Cup Series champion never cared much for moral victories. However, the momentum carried over from the October 2014 top-five to his next Kansas race in October 2015, when he finished a solid third. It was a finish that helped vault him through to the next round of the Cup Series playoffs and eventually to the championship stage.

Busch keeps making strides each time he goes back to the Heartland, where he broke through for his first Cup Series win at the 1.5-mile oval in May 2016 as the surface finally started to wear and become more agreeable to Busch’s driving style.

Sunday afternoon in Kansas, Busch and the M&M’S Halloween team will look to tackle the final race of the Round of 12 of the 2017 Playoffs. Busch is looking to overcome a seven-point deficit to the all-important eighth-place spot in the playoff standings after bad luck struck when he was collected in a multicar accident Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The Las Vegas hopes for a strong run at Kansas in order to advance to the Round of 8.

So, as the Cup Series heads to the Heartland of America Sunday, a sixth top-five finish in a row at Kansas could be just what Busch needs to move on to the next playoff round. And even though Halloween is fast approaching, Kansas isn’t as scary as it used to be for Busch and his colorful M&M’S Halloween Toyota.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
With a seven-point deficit to eighth place coming into Kansas, what is the mindset going into this weekend as you go to place you have improved so much over the last three years?

“We’re going to do the same things we’ve always done – same preparation, nothing different. I think we need to go in there and do our best to be prepared and when it comes to race time, try to limit our mistakes. I think that helped out there over the years and that has turned our team into a contender every time we race there, now. We’ll just do the same things this time around. It’s no different than what we typically do each and every week, though. I know Adam (Stevens, crew chief) will have a good M&M’S Halloween Camry and we will keep doing what we’ve been doing well all year long and see where the points fall for us if we can’t get a win.”

What difference have the bonus points for stage wins and race wins made for you so far in the playoffs?

“We’ve obviously had a terrible round and we are still within striking distance. If we didn’t have those bonus points, we wouldn’t have much shot going into this weekend. So I’m thankful that the system is in place that rewards the good runs we had during the regular season. We are still some points out but we can go out there and try and get as many stage points as possible and, if we get a good run, we still have a shot to make it through. We’ll just have to do what we’ve been doing all year and see where that puts us.”

You won at Kansas in 2016 after all the trouble and so many close calls and so much bad luck. Does it help your confidence at all that you’re going into Kansas knowing that you finally hit on something there?

“It certainly did. Not that long ago I probably wouldn’t say those words but, you know, it’s suddenly become a really good place for us recently. We’ve had a good string of top-fives so, hopefully, we can go there and have another good run to give us a shot of making it to the next round. We just have to move on from the last two weekends, try to score the most points possible.”

Kansas had been a frustrating place for you during your career, but have you and your team turned the corner there with five top-five finishes in a row there?

“I think so. We ran third there in the fall of 2014. I wasn’t there in the spring race of 2015 since that was the last race I was recovering from my injury, but (Erik) Jones ran up front until he ended up wrecking. Last fall, Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the M&M’S guys did an awesome job and we ran top-five again. The last few several races there, the track really has started to change and the groove is starting to spread out, and it makes me more comfortable when a track gets worn in. Adam and the guys have been bringing really good racecars to the track every weekend and, when you have great cars and run up front, good things are going to happen.”

M&M’S Halloween Racing

Race 32 of 36 – Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas

Car No.: 18 – M&M’S Halloween Toyota Camry

 

Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Toyota Camry; Daniel Suarez – No. 19 Toyota Camry; Matt Kenseth – No. 20 Toyota Camry.

 

At-Track PR Contact: Bill Janitz, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 803 or Bill.Janitz@TrueSpeedCommunication.com).

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Kyle Busch

Hometown: Las Vegas

 

Crew Chief: Adam Stevens

Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio

 

Car Chief: Nate Bellows

Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont

 

Race Engineer: Ben Beshore

Hometown: Hometown York, Pennsylvania

 

Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson

Hometown: Bozeman, Montana

 

Spotter: Tony Hirschman

Hometown: Northampton, Pennsylvania

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Kenneth Purcell

Hometown: Savannah, Georgia

 

Front Tire Changer: Clay Robinson

Hometown: Simi Valley, California

 

Jackman: Trey Burklin

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris

Hometown: Winter Springs, Florida

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Matt Ver Meer

Hometown: Montezuma, Iowa

 

Rear Tire Changer: Adam Hartmann

Hometown: Oxford, North Carolina

 

Pit Support: Marcus Bonicelli

Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

Pit Support: Jeff Koons

Hometown: Greenfield, Indiana

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Brendan Greene and Jamie Price

Hometowns: Midland, North Carolina, and Choteau, Montana, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Jon Desrocher

Hometown: Plattsburgh, New York

 

Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape

Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

 

Race Engineer: Tyler Allen

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

 

Ride and Handling Engineer: Chris Chase

Hometown: Nichols, New York

 

Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones

Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

 

Mechanic: Todd Foster

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

 

Front End Mechanic: Brandon Griffeth

Hometown: Pittsfield, Illinois

Notes of Interest:
  • The Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City will mark Kyle Busch’s458th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 20th NASCAR Cup Series start at Kansas.
  • Busch has career totals of 42 wins, 27 poles, 159 top-five finishes, 237 top-10s and 14,035 laps led in 457 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came three weekends ago at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 27th of his career, came last month at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He has eight poles this season, a career high.
  • Busch has one win, five top-five finishes and seven top-10s and has led a total of 215 laps in 19 career Cup Series starts at Kansas. Busch’s average Kansas finish is17.7.
  • Clean Sweep Times Two: For the second time in his career, Busch swept a weekend in all three of NASCAR’s National Series –Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck –in August at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The first time Busch completed the feat also happened to be at Bristol back in 2010, and the 2015 Cup Series champion is the only driver to do so –now twice – in NASCAR history.
  • Starting Up Front: Busch captured another pole last month at New Hampshire, which was the eighth of 2017 for the Las Vegas native. Eight poles is the most Busch has captured during any season of his career with 29.6 percent of his career poles coming this season alone. In fact, prior to 2017, the most poles Busch had captured in a season was three, which he did on two different occasions –2013 and 2014.
  • 42 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Dover, the 42nd points-paying win of his career, Busch now sits alone in 17th on the all-time Cup Series win list.With his 40th Cup victory coming at Bristol in August, Busch became the fourth-youngest driver to reach 40 Cup wins at 32 years, 109 days, behind only Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, and Herb Thomas.
  • Trimming the List: With wins at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Kansas added to the list last season, and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway crossed off the list in July, Busch has won Cup Series points races at 22 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. The only track remaining to conquer in the Cup Series is Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Busch, of course, was the winner of the All-Star non-points race at Charlotte back in May but is still chasing a points-paying Cup Series victory there. During his 2015 Cup Series championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Of the 22 different tracks where Busch has won, he has multiple wins at 11 of them.
  • All-Time JGR Wins Leader: With his Brickyard 400 win in July 2016, Busch passed three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart for most all-time Cup Series wins for JGR. Busch now has 38 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33 following his most recent win at Dover.
  • 182 and Counting: Busch enters Kansas with 182 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (42), Xfinity (91) and Truck (49) following his Cup Series win three races ago at Dover.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

David Ragan: “You Can Run All Over The Place At Kansas”

David Ragan

Ragan on Kansas

“The Goodyear tires have been a little more consistent and grippy as the Kansas track surface has aged over the last couple years. You can run all over the place — you can run the middle, run the top. It’s always a good event. A lot of race fans come out to Kansas. It’s always a fun weekend for us.

“It’s another mile-and-a-half track, and we finish our season on a mile-and-a-half at Homestead. So, for our Front Row Motorsports team, we want to keep trying to push it as hard as we can to get better on these intermediate tracks. We want to make sure we finish off the season on a high note. We had a top-20 at Kansas in the spring race, but there are always things we can improve on.”
Meet David
Sunday,  Oct. 22, 11am – Fanatics Ford Merchandise Hauler (Kansas Speedway Fan Zone)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Landon Cassill Feels Really Good About Going To Kansas

Landon Cassill

Cassill on Kansas

“We had a pretty good car at the first Kansas race. We just got bit by some other things. A blown tire set us back, and then I think we had to pit under green for a loose wheel. But the car raced well, and we still wound up with a decent, lead-lap finish, so I definitely think we can run well again.

“Our Love’s Travel Stops Ford will have a little different look this week. Speedco is a new member of the Love’s family. They do quick lube and inspection services for the trucking industry, and they were recently purchased by Love’s. So, Love’s now has an even bigger network of tire and lube locations across the country, and we’re happy to have them on the car and welcome them to the team.”

Meet Landon
Sunday, Oct. 22, 10:45am – Ford Performance Display (Kansas Speedway Fan Zone)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kurt Busch Would Like To Matriculate His Car To Victory Lane

Kurt Busch

Hank Stram always liked Kansas City.

The Gary (Ind.) Lew Wallace High School and Purdue University graduate was head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963 to 1974.

Stram led the Chiefs to two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl IV 23-7 over the Minnesota Vikings.

He was made famous by wearing a microphone for NFL Films during the winning Super Bowl and telling the offense, “Just keep matriculating the ball down the field, boys.”

And, with the Chiefs on the goal line, calling for his favorite play, “65 toss power trap.”

So what does all this have to do with Kurt Busch?

Nothing.

But Busch would like to matriculate his No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) all the way to victory lane Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.

 

It’s one of only eight tracks on the schedule where he has not seen victory lane in his great career.

 

He’s won 29 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races and his first came at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Driving the No. 97 Ford, he found his way to the winner’s circle in just his third start at the .533-mile oval. It took 32 attempts at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway to find his way to victory lane, but he was finally able to do so in the 2017 season-opening Daytona 500.

 

At the eight mile-and-a-half venues where the NASCAR Cup Series competes, Busch has earned a total of six victories. They’ve come at four tracks – three at Atlanta Motor Speedway and one apiece at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch is still searching for victory lane at four – Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Kansas.

 

Busch has been running at the end of all but two of the races in which he’s competed at the 1.5-mile oval, the first non-finish coming prematurely with an engine failure in 2003, the other due to an accident in October 2014. And in addition to a pair of top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 23 starts there, Busch owns one pole at Kansas, having scored the top starting spot in June 2011. The Kansas pole was the first of three consecutive poles Busch scored that month.

 

So while “65 toss power trap” won’t do much for Busch at Kansas, he’s hoping he can formulate a big play to find victory lane.

 

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
Kansas hasn’t always been a strong racetrack for you but, as of late, that seems to be changing. Do you agree?

 

“Kansas has been a good track and a tough track. It’s fun to go race there and, with the way the tires change and the downforce has changed, I haven’t quite found that perfect combination to win. But, as of late, we consider it one of our strong tracks.”

 

What has been the key to your three top-10 finishes in three of your five most recent starts at Kansas?

 

“I think it’s a matter of being on the right pit strategy and understanding when to pit for the final time. Track position becomes so important at these fast mile-and-a-half tracks that, if you are stuck around 10th or 12th, there is no way to crack that top-five. You’ve got to be there before the final sequences start. But, honestly, a big part of it has been having this great car setup by Tony Gibson and everyone on the Haas Automation/Monster Energy team.”

 

What is one part of the racetrack or your driving style that you’ve had to work on at Kansas over the years?

 

“It always seems like turn four is the toughest part about Kansas, whether it’s the wind angle or the sharper corner exit with the SAFER Barrier jumping out at the cars. You either lose a lot of time or gain a lot of time in turn four at Kansas.”

Haas Automation/Monster Energy Racing Team Report
Round 32 of 36 –  Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas

 

Car No.: 41 – Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion

 

PR Contact: Joe Crowley, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388, ext. 808, Joe.Crowley@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kurt Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas
Crew Chief: Tony Gibson
Hometown: Daytona Beach, Florida
Car Chief: Chad Haney
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia

Engine Builder: Roush-Yates Engines
Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Todd Hamm
Hometown: Kutztown, Pennsylvania

 

Spotter: Tony Raines
Hometown: LaPorte, Indiana

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:
Gas Man: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Tire Changer: Shane Pipala
Hometown: Frankfort Square, Illinois

Second Gas Man: Matt Schlytter

Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida

Front Tire Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Holland, Michigan
Windshield: Jay Guarneri (also serves as interior mechanic)
Hometown: Naples, Florida
Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide
Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Rear Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore
Hometown: Griffin, Georgia
Road Crew Members:
Truck Driver: Todd Cable and Rocky Boggs
Hometowns: Shelby, North Carolina, and Burlington, North Carolina
Tire Specialist: Jeff Zarrella
Hometown: Southington, Connecticut
Shock Specialist: Brian Holshouser
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Engineers: Johnny Klausmeier and Mike Cook
Hometowns: Perry Hall, Maryland, and Annapolis, Maryland

Mechanic: J.D. Frey
Hometown: Ferndale, California

 

Mechanic: Andy Spenner
Hometown: Hoyleton, Illinois
Chassis No. 003:
Chassis No. 003 is only the third chassis Stewart-Haas Racing has built completely in-house and the first in-house chassis used by the No. 41 team. It was built at the beginning of 2017 and turned its first laps during a Goodyear tire test May 9 and 10 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Chassis No. 003’s first race came later that month in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where it qualified 12th and ran inside the top-10 all night before finishing sixth. Chassis No. 003 returned to Kentucky for the July race, where Busch started 15th but finished 30th after experiencing engine trouble. This chassis was last used in September at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where Busch started seventh and finished third.
Kansas Notes of Interest:
·   The Hollywood Casino 400 will mark Busch’s 608th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Busch has two top-five finishes and seven top-10s at the 1.5-mile oval. Additionally, the 39-year-old driver has led 263 laps, has an average starting position of 16.0, an average finish of 17.0 and has completed 94.3 percent (5,741 of 6,091) of the laps he’s contested there.

 

·   Busch has career total totals of 29 wins, 21 poles, 130 top-fives, 256 top-10s and 8,877 laps led in 607 starts.

 

·   His most recent Cup Series win came 31 races ago in the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 26).

 

·   His last Cup Series pole came 63 races ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway(March 4, 2016).

 

·   Busch’s best finish at Kansas is second in October 2013 after he started in the rear of the field in a back-up car. 

 

·   The Las Vegas native has one pole to his credit (June 2011) at Kansas. Busch has 21 career NASCAR Cup Series poles.

 

·   Thus Far in 2017 – Busch has accumulated one win, five top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in 31 starts.

 

·   Get to the Points – With his 25th-place finish last Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Busch is 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings with 2,089 points.

 

 

·   The No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion will carry decals on the lower-rear quarter panel for:

 

Creative Blow Mold Tooling – 2350 N.E. Independence Ave., in Lees Summit, Missouri 64064 –www.creativeblowmold.com

 

Creative Blow Mold Tooling was founded in 1984. Creative began with a focus on the design, manufacture, and repair of tooling for the blow mold industry. From concept to finished product, Creative delivers with innovation and quality. Plastic blow molds and plastic bottle mold tooling are its specialties. Creative works closely with its customers from initial concept and product design through the creation of high-quality blow-molded parts in the customer’s plant. Throughout its manufacturing process, Creative maintains an unwavering commitment to quality, on-time delivery, and customer service.

 

Haas Factory Outlet Kansas City – 15661 South Mahaffie in Olathe, Kansas 66062 –www.haascncoutlet.com/contact.cfm

 

Haas Factory Outlet, Kansas City, a division of NYMAT Machine Tool Corporation, serves all of Kansas and Western Missouri. It is dedicated to providing the best service possible to ensure the Haas machines it sells provide the best overall value of any machine tool brand.

Michael McDowell Looks Forward To Kansas This Weekend

Michael McDowell
Leavine Family Racing (LFR) and Michael McDowell are confident returning to Kansas Speedway, where they earned one of their best finishes of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season.

During last weekend’s trip to Talladega Superspeedway, McDowell ran in the top half of the field the majority of the day and ran as high as 2nd place before getting hit during “The Big One”. The damage caused him to earn his second DNF (Did Not Finish) of the 2017 MENCS season.

Though Talladega did not end with the results the team had hoped for, McDowell and LFR are confident in their 1.5-mile success from earlier this season, as they prepare for their return to Kansas this weekend.

During the team’s last trip to Kansas back in May, McDowell was able to overcome early-race adversity and finish 13th, earning LFR’s second best finish of the 2017 MENCS season. The team will once again don the Tommy Williams Drywall paint scheme on the No. 95 Chevrolet SS, just as they did the first time at Kansas earlier this year.

“Kansas was a great race for us earlier this season, and we ended up finishing 13th,” said McDowell. “For a team like us, a single-car team, that’s like a win for sure. We are definitely looking forward to going back, because it’s one of the 1.5-mile tracks that we were really good at this season. Hopefully we will have similar success when we go back this weekend.”

The Hollywood Casino 400 will take place on Sunday, October 22 at 3PM ET.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Would Like To Prove A Point At Kansas

Erik Jones
With five races remaining in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team return to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 with a couple of points to prove.

Point No. 1 is that the pre-season goal of winning a race during Jones’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year season is still very much alive and attainable. Despite an early exit last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the Furniture Row Racing team has earned very respectable averages in both starts (15.5) and finishes (16.7) after the first 31 races. Continuing to build on that now solid foundation creates the drive to achieve all they can.

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team has been able to learn and get better every week of the season, regardless of some of the results we’ve had,” said Jones. “Sure I’d like to get rid of some of the bad finishes we’ve had but a lot of them were out of our control so there’s really not a lot you can do about it. We keep chipping away at it and I feel confident we’re going to be ready when the opportunity comes our way.”

The second point is that the Furniture Row Racing team has been learning and progressing since the season’s first race at Kansas Speedway in May when they finished 22nd. Handling issues on the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota hampered the team’s efforts throughout the day. Jones, however, showed flashes of promise during the race, finishing ninth in the second stage and running ninth again with 60 laps remaining. A spin and later contact with another car with less than 10 laps remaining resulted in the 22nd-place finish.

“The last time we were at Kansas it was a bit of learning experience,” said Jones. “I said at the time it was something we just had to put behind us and focus on the next race, which was at Charlotte. We ended up getting our best finish of the season to date there (7th) so that showed me early in the season that our team was going to be strong.”

Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 31 races. He trails Joey Logano for 17th place by 45 points. Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 256 points, six ahead of Daniel Suarez (250) and 71 ahead of Ty Dillon (185).

The 267-lap, 400-mile Hollywood 400 will consist of three stages of 80/80/107 laps (80/160/267). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 1 p.m. MT (3 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 4:15 p.m. MT (6:15 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
24 8/19 Bristol 1 2 500/500 260 Running 50 15
25 9/3 Darlington 10 5 367/367 0 Running 37 14
26 9/9 Richmond 10 6 404/404 0 Running 43 18
27 9/17 Chicago 24 33 259/267 0 Running 4 19
28 9/24 New Hampshire 8 6 300/300 0 Running 45 19
29 10/1 Dover 10 12 400/400 0 Running 25 19
30 10/8 Charlotte 38 17 337/337 0 Running 20 19
31 10/15 Talladega 23 36 26/188 0 Crash 1 19
TOTALS/AVG. 15.5 16.7 7926/8896 310 749

 

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer David Mayo, Byron, Ga.
Front-Tire Carrier Richard Coleman, Orlando, Fla.
Rear-Tire Changer Brian Eastland, New Bern, N.C.
Rear-Tire Carrier Blake Haugland, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Jackman David O’Dell, Springfield, Ill.
Gasman Matt Tyrell, Plantation, Fla.

 

Road Crew

President Joe Garone, Denver, Colo.
Crew Chief Chris Gayle, Little Rock, Ark.
Car Chief Todd Brewer, Manassas, Va.
Race Engineers James Small, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Barber, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Engine Tuner David McClure, Carmichael, Calif.
Engine Builder Toyota Racing Development (TRD)
Spotter Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.
Shock Specialist Alex Michie, Woodslee, Ontario, CANADA
Tire Specialist Scott Simmons, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
Front-end Mechanic John Furino, East Meadow, N.Y.
Underneath Mechanic Cesar Villanueva, Parsippany, N.J.
Floater Mechanic Henry Katzke, Wausau, Wis.
Transportation Mike Clementson, Cambridge, Md.

Jason Taggart, Castleton, Vt.

Dave Shano, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Behind the Wall Support Gene Cornwell, Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach Driver Henry Benfield, Taylorsville, N.C.
IT Support Eric Cragun, Pleasant View, Utah

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Truex Has Another Chance To Shine On A Mile And A Half Track

Martin Truex, Jr.
If Martin Truex Jr. were in need of an elixir to cure any racing woes, Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile track would be the perfect remedy for the Furniture Row Racing driver.

Truex does indeed light up when discussing Kansas Speedway, knowing he has a special kinship with the racetrack; it’s also the closest track to Furniture Row Racing’s home base in Denver.

“There’s something about the track’s geometry and my driving style that suit each other,” explained Truex. “Back in 2007 we went there (to Kansas) and I just figured something out about that track late in the race and ended up having the fastest car. Even during the years when our cars didn’t seem to run so well we always for whatever reason were able to go there and run strong. Whether it was the old track, the new track with the repave and now the new track being weathered back in again.”

Though Truex will advance to the next playoff round as a result of winning in Charlotte two weeks ago, he still plans to attack Kansas Speedway’s mile-and-a-half oval with the same intensity that he has demonstrated throughout the season.

“There are seven bonus points up for grabs and we will take as many as we can get,” said Truex. “Hopefully we won’t have to use the banked bonus points next round, but in the event we do, we want to get as many as we can.”

Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota in Kansas, enters the Hollywood Casino 400 first in the driver point standings.

A six-time tour winner this season, Truex is looking to add another victory by scoring the double at Kansas. He won the spring race at Kansas and called it a “personal relief” after coming so close to a victory there a number of times.

“It was an awesome feeling,” said Truex about winning at Kansas. “Anytime you have challenges at a certain place and come out on top is very gratifying. I had a number of heartbreakers at that track so to finally get that first win just reminded me how many times we’ve been so close and how good we’ve been there over the years. Because of all that it made the victory that much sweeter.”

So far the entire NASCAR Cup season has been nothing short of sweet for Truex, who leads the series with wins (6), stage wins (19), playoff bonus points (64) and laps led (1977).

Prior to last week’s wreck-fest at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Truex was sitting on an awesome playoff finishing average. In the first four races of the playoffs he collected two wins, a fifth and a fourth for a finishing average of 2.76. At Talladega he was involved in a 16-car race-ending accident with 19 laps remaining and ended up with a 23rd-place finish. His playoff finishing average dropped to 6.8.

“We need to have a strong showing this weekend to go into the next round with some positive momentum,” noted Truex. “It’s nice not to worry about this weekend, but the three races in the next round (Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix) have been getting a lot of my attention lately.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!