Christopher Bell Is In Search Of His Fifth Win This Week

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell and the No. 4 Toyota Tundra Racing team head to Bristol Motor Speedway leading reigning champion Johnny Sauter in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season standings with three races remaining before the playoffs start. Bell will be in search of his series-leading fifth win of the season on Wednesday night, a win that would go a long way in his effort to earn the much-coveted 15 playoff points that are awarded to the regular season champ.

Over the last four races, two wins and a runner-up finish have helped Bell make a 79-point swing in the regular season standings on Sauter. He entered the series’ 10th race of the season at Kentucky Speedway with a 42-point deficit and now enters the 13th race of the season this week with a 37-point lead. After spending nine weeks in the runner-up position in the championship standings, Bell moved ahead of Sauter with his victory at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., two races ago. The Oklahoma native nearly made it two wins in a row last week at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, but had to settle for a runner-up finish behind former Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) driver Darrell Wallace Jr.

The talented wheelman showed he has the speed necessary to conquer “The Last Great Colosseum” in last year’s event, but wasn’t able to pull off the victory. After starting from the fifth position, he made his way to the front of the field just before a competition caution at lap 41. Bell would remain out front for 100 of the next 101 laps, stretching his lead to over four seconds at one point. With 58 laps remaining in the event he was in a side-by-side battle with KBM teammate Daniel Suarez shortly after a restart and ended up spinning. After pitting for four fresh tires, he restarted from the 12th position with 52 laps remaining and would end the night with a seventh-place finish.

The 22-year-old driver enters this year’s event at Bristol as a more polished talent. In addition to leading the Truck Series point standings, he also leads NASCAR’s third division in a majority of the statistical categories, including wins (four), poles (three), driver rating (118.2), playoff points (24), average starting position (4.9), average finish (5.3), laps led (521) and fastest laps run (232).

While the application of the PJ1 TrackBite will make the bottom the preferred groove in the first half of Wednesday night’s race, when it comes down to the closing laps and the substance has worn off the winner will likely have to be able to run what Bell and other dirt racers refer to as “the bonus lane” — high up against the wall. With nine dirt wins in addition to his four Truck Series victories this year, the driver No. 4 Toyota Tundra will be in a prime candidate to ride “the bonus lane” to the five bonus points awarded at the end of the night to the winner and will also help him inch a step closer to the 15 bonus points awarded at the end of the regular season.

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

Do you enjoy racing at Bristol?

“Bristol is one of my favorite tracks — it’s one of everybody’s favorites because it’s so unique. We don’t go to a place where you pretty much run inside a cup. It’s so banked that you barely turn the wheel left because you almost ride around it instead of turn around it. It’s one of the best race tracks we go to, it’s one of the fastest race tracks that we go to — not mile per hour wise, but lap-time wise and it’s a ton of fun. After watching it on TV and then going there in person, TV just doesn’t do it justice of how banked and how fast it really is. It’s just an immaculate place.”

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief of the No. 4 NCWTS Toyota Tundra:

How will the PJ1 TrackBite being applied to the surface affect the racing at Bristol?

“With PJ1 going down, we expect that the racing will be a lot like it was for the Cup Series race earlier this year. The trucks will probably stick to the bottom early, but as the stuff starts to wear out towards the middle of the race you’ll see guys moving up and running higher. Christopher likes to run the high side from his dirt racing, so hopefully that high side comes in. I think it will be a fun race.”

Christopher Bell’s No. 4 Toyota Tundra:

 

KBM-28: The No. 4 Toyota Tundra team will unload KBM-28 for Wednesday night’s UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. It is the same Tundra that Bell led 54 laps with en route to victory at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta last month.

KBM-28 Performance Profile:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
7/6/2017
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
6/23/2017
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
10/1/2016
Las Vegas
Byron
10
5
146/146
0
Running
11/13/2015
Phoenix
Jones
1
9
150/150
106
Running
8/19/2015
Bristol
Jones
4
6
202/202
0
Running
7/9/2015
Kentucky
Jones
3
2
145/145
55
Running
6/19/2015
Iowa
Jones
1
1
200/200
112
Running
5/29/2015
Dover
Jones
2
3
200/200
50
Running
Totals
8 starts, 2 Win
3.1
4.0
476

 

Notes of Interest:

 

Christopher Bell NCWTS Career Stats:

 

Year

Age

Races

Win

T5

T10

Pole

Laps

Led

AvSt

AvFn

RAF

LLF

2015

20

7 of 23

1

2

3

0

1018

111

9.3

11.9

6

4

2016

21

23 of 23

1

9

17

0

3237

197

9.2

9.5

20

19

2017

22

13 of 13

4

9

12

3

1803

521

4.9

5.3

12

12

3 years

 

43

6

20

32

3

6058

829

7.9

8.6

38

35

 

Christopher Bell’s NCWTS Bristol Performance Profile:

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

8/17/16

5

7

200/200

101

running

 

Christopher Bell 2017 Highlights

  • Has posted four wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.), three poles, 521 laps led, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 5.3 across 13 NCWTS events

  • After 13 races, leads Johnny Sauter by 37 points in the NCWTS regular season driver’s point standings

  • Leads the NCWTS in wins (four), poles (three), driver rating (118.2), playoff points (24), average starting position (4.9), average finish (5.3), laps led (521) and fastest laps run (232)

  • Became first driver under NASCAR’s new format to sweep all three stages of a race when he led 99 of 130 laps en route to victory from the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3/14/17)

  • Has one pole, one top-five and one top-10 finish in two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing

  • In Midgets has six victories; opened the 2017 season by winning the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Raceway (1/15/17), swept both features at the Fourth Annual POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Turnpike Challenge at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. (3/26/17), won consecutive USAC National Midget events at Macon (Ill.) Speedway (7/1/17) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway (7/2/17) and the USAC National Midget event at Solomon Valley in Beloit, Kansas (8/3/17)

  • In Sprint Cars has three victories; won the NRA Sprint Invaders feature at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio (4/21/17), the Ninth Annual Lou Blaney Memorial All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car race at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway (7/8/17) and the Knight Before the Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (7/14/17) 

Christopher Bell 2016 Highlights

  • Finished third in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase after collecting one win, nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes across 23 NCWTS starts in his first full-time campaign

  • Earned his first NCWTS win of 2016, his first on pavement and the second of his career, when he led 38 of the final 42 laps at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.

  • Led a race-high 91 laps, including the final 44, of the 200-lap event at Salem (Ind.) Speedway en route to victory in his first-career start in the ARCA Racing Series and made it a sweep of the Indiana track leading 88 laps and bringing home the victory in the September event

  • Picked up his eighth career Late Model victory for KBM with a win in the CARS Super Late Model Tour event at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C and on dirt collected four 410-Winged Sprint Car wins and one USAC National Midget victory 

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 4 Tundra:

  • The No. 4 Tundra has collected eight wins, eight poles, 29 top-five and 49 top-10 finishes across 59 starts since originating in 2015

  • Ten members of this year’s No. 4 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 9 Tundra team which collected seven wins, three poles, 727 laps led, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2016 NCWTS Owner’s Championship

  • Erik Jones delivered KBM its first-ever NASCAR Camping World (NCWTS) Driver’s Championship behind the wheel of the No. 4 Tundra in 2015 

KBM NCWTS Program

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (62), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 62 wins, 33 poles, 146 top-five and 236 top-10 finishes across 389 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 32. Erik Jones and William Byron each collected seven victories, Christopher Bell has earned six triumphs, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Bristol Motor Speedway

  • KBM drivers have collected two wins, three poles, 387 laps led, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.7 across 14 starts at Bristol

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch earned the organization its two wins at the half-mile track in 2010 and 2013

The Fugle File:

Ryan “Rudy” Fugle begins his fourth season as a crew chief at KBM and sixth overall with the organization.  The New York native has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all three of his seasons (2013, 2015 & 2016) atop the pit box at KBM, including a combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championship with Erik Jones in 2015. His drivers have combined for 20 wins, 12 poles and 41 top-five finishes across his 81 races calling the shots for the organization. Under his tutelage last season, William Byron collected a Truck Series’ rookie record seven wins while leading the No. 9 Tundra team to KBM’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Owner’s championship.

Fugle’s NCWTS drivers have posted one win, eight laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 3.7 across three starts at The Last Great Colosseum. Kyle Busch led seven laps en route to victory in the 2013 event with Fugle calling the shots.

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

 

Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/24/17
Daytona
Bell
4
8
100/100
6
Running
33/9th
3/4/17
Atlanta
Bell
1
1
130/130
99
Running
93/1st
4/1/17
Martinsville
Bell
6
3
250/250
96
Running
136/2nd
5/12/17
Kansas
Bell
1
4
167/167
37
Running
187/2nd
5/19/17
Charlotte
Bell
1
3
134/134
2
Running
227/2nd
6/2/17
Dover
Bell
3
25
35/200
0
Accident
239/2nd
6/9/17
Texas
Bell
21
1
167/167
92
Running
298/2nd
6/17/17
Gateway
Bell
3
6
160/160
7
Running
342/2nd
6/23/17
Iowa
Bell
2
5
200/200
99
Running
391/2nd
7/6/17
Kentucky
Bell
2
1
150/150
54
Running
436/2nd
7/19/17
Eldora
Bell
4
9
150/150
22
Running
471/2nd
7/29/17
Pocono
Bell
3
1
60/60
7
Running
528/1st
8/12/17
Michigan
Bell
13
2
100/100
0
Running
572/1st

 

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

The Pressure To Make The Playoffs Is Mounting For Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer said coming close to victory in several Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races in 2017 is nice, but it isn’t good enough. He’d like to change that Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race 500.

With three races remaining in the regular season, Bowyer is in a battle to secure one of the 16 spots in the 10-race Cup Series playoffs. He trails Matt Kenseth by 31 points, Jamie McMurray by 52 points and Chase Elliott by 62 points in the battle for the final three berths in the playoffs.

A win would secure a postseason berth, but a good points finish Saturday night would increase the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver’s chances in the playoff race.

“We’ve come close to victory several times this year,” said Bowyer, who has scored the 10th-most points of any driver this season with three second-place and two third-places finishes. “That’s what can be so frustrating. You are only one or two spots away from where you want to be, but there’s a huge difference between first and everything else in this business.”

Like many drivers, Bowyer feels the Bristol night race on the .533-mile, high-banked oval with lap speeds at 130 mph is one of the highlights of the Cup Series season. Although he won an Xfinity race at Bristol in 2008, a Cup Series victory at Bristol would be near the top of his career accomplishments.

He owns seven top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 23 Bristol races during in his 11 full Cup Series seasons. He finished second to Jimmie Johnson on April 24 in a race that saw Bowyer battle back from 21st midway through the race, then restart seventh with 48 laps remaining. He used new tires to slice through the field and drive to within 1.199 seconds of Johnson’s bumper.

If he finishes one spot better Saturday night, he promises a victory party unlike any other Bristol fans have witnessed since its first race in 1961.

“I want to celebrate in front of all those wild and crazy fans,” he said. “There’s no better atmosphere. They’re so close to you that you feel that environment.

“I’m telling you, during driver intros you’re walking down there and it’s just the feeling that comes over you before you get in that car. It’s just something you don’t feel anywhere else. It’s because of the closeness of the fans to you. They’re all breathing down on you and expecting big things out of you, and you can’t wait to go out there and get in that coliseum and go to battle.”

Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford Fusion will carry the Rush Truck Centers paint scheme during Saturday night’s race. Hopefully, he’ll restart his recent hot streak that cooled last week with a 23rd-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. In the two races before Michigan, Bowyer finished fifth Aug. 6 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and sixth July 30 at Pocono (Pa.) International Raceway.

Bowyer replaced three-time champion and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart in the No. 14 car in 2017. He and the Mike Bugarewicz-led crew have enjoyed a great first season, but their view of 2017 will likely depend on how the next three races play out. Unless Bowyer wins during the next three races, it appears his playoff fate will be decided in the final laps of the last regular-season race Sept. 9 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

“I’m the hunter, not the hunted,” he said. “So it’s a lot of fun to go into this weekend knowing that you’ve got to go out there and chase that guy down or chase those guys down and, hopefully, pop off a win here and just put it all to bed.”

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What kind of pressure do you feel to get into the playoffs?

“There’s always pressure. It doesn’t matter. There’s pressure in the Daytona 500 to go out there and perform and try to win that race. There’s always pressure. It’s no different now. You still focus on the task at hand. You focus on unloading a fast racecar, making good downforce, making good horsepower, knowing it’s gonna take that on this racetrack. And you focus on the adjustments, the balance of your car, so you can go out and qualify well. That enables you to gain those stage points as we go through the race and then work hard to get a finish. It’s the task at hand, week-in and week-out, that you have to focus on. You can’t worry about those points. You have to go out and do your job week-in and week-out and, if you do that, I feel like, with the way we’re running, we can get in two different ways. I think we could win and I think we can point our way in. I think both of those are definite doables right now for us, I guess.”

 

Do you take chances?

“You always have to take chances. That’s the hard thing. When the pressure cooker is turned up and the situation is where it is right now, you can afford to take chances, you need to be able to take those chances to enable you to get those stage points if you’re out – make a gain to try to get them. But there’s also a Catch-22 to every decision there, so you just have to lay it all out, focus on the task at hand, whether that’s a stage win or the second stage or the finish at the end – focus on that and let the rest take care of itself.”

No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 24 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race 500 – Bristol

Car No. 14: Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing
 
At Track PR Contact: Mike Arning with True Speed Communication (Mike.Arning@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
Primary Team:

 

Driver: Clint Bowyer

Residence: Emporia, Kansas

 

Crew Chief: Mike Bugarewicz

Hometown: Lehighton, Pennsylvania

 

Car Chief: Jerry Cook

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

 

Engine Specialist: Matt Moeller

Hometown: Monroe, New York

 

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Spotter: Brett Griffin

Hometown: Pageland, S.C.

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ira Jo Hussey

Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire

 

Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell

Hometown: Windham, Maine

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris McMullenHometown: Canton, Michigan

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki

Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania

 

Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

 

Jackman: Getty Cavitt

Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky

 

Windshield: Justin Peiffer

Hometown: Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Road Crew:

 

Truck Drivers: William “Stump” Lewis and Rob Fink

Hometown: Linkwood, Maryland and Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

 

Engineers: Lee Deese, Chris Chidgey and Kenny Oates

Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina, Gainesville, Florida and Huntersville, North Carolina, respectively.

 

Mechanics: Tony Silvestri and Rich Letendre

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio and Lowell, Massachusetts, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Russell Simpson

Hometown: Medford, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Wayne Smith

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Notes of Interest:
  • Saturday night’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 421st career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th Cup Series start at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, where he has seven top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and led 137 laps.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 177 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 420 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories. He is 10th in the Cup Series standings after 22 races.
    • His most recent Cup Series victory came at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (Oct. 13, 2012).
    • His most recent Cup Series pole came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007).
  • SHR has one points-paying victory at Bristol (Kevin Harvick in August 2016) and has eight top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 50 starts.
  • Tony Stewart and Gene Haas co-own Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), which has recorded 38 victories and 33 poles since its inception in 2009. Stewart won the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series title and Kevin Harvick gave SHR its second title in 2014. SHR’s Kurt Busch won this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, and Kevin Harvick won June 25at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
  • Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz is in his second season after overseeing Stewart’s final campaign in 2016. Bugarewicz’s pit strategy played a key role in Stewart’s victory at Sonoma in June 2016. The Lehighton, Pennsylvania native served as the lead engineer on SHR’s No. 4 entry in 2014 and 2015. The Penn State University graduate was the only rookie crew chief to be part of last year’s Cup Series playoffs.
  • The No. 14 Ford Fusion will carry the Rush Truck Centers paint scheme this weekend at Bristol. Rush operates the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America and is a longtime sponsor of SHR. Rush has installed telematics devices on SHR’s fleet of eight Peterbilt Model 389s and five Ford F-450 trucks. With a telematics device installed on a truck and an app on a mobile device, drivers and fleet managers can access a dashboard that displays vehicle and driver performance, electronic logs, location and overall vehicle health. In addition to telematics, SHR is supported by the RushCare Service Connect team, which monitors and can alert the team to any performance issues, fault codes or needed maintenance on any of their trucks, allowing them to transport the necessary parts and equipment from race to race. SHR hauler drivers access the telematics app on their smartphone or tablet, eliminating the need for an additional display in the truck’s cab. Since the app is on their mobile device, they can access the telematics dashboard whenever and wherever is most convenient. The app is compliant with the electronic logging device requirements expected later this year and makes it easy for drivers to generate logs, as well as vehicle and trailer inspection reports.
  • Bowyer’s Top-Five Finishes In 2017
    • 2nd-place: 
      • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25)
      • Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1)
    • 3rd-place:
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (March 26)
      • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (April 9)
  • Bowyer’s Stage Victories In 2017
    • Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Stage 2 (July 30, 2017)
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Victories:
    • Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (Oct. 13, 2012)
    • Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (Sept. 8, 2012)
    • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2012)
    • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 23, 2011)
    • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 31, 2010)
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 19, 2010)
    • Richmond International Raceway (May 3, 2008)
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007)
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Poles:
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 14,2007)
    • Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (May 11, 2007)
  • Bowyer Career Cup Series Points Finishes:
    • 2016 27th
    • 2015 16th
    • 2014 19th
    • 2013 7th
    • 2012 2nd
    • 2011 13th
    • 2010 10th
    • 2009 15th
    • 2008   5th ​
    • 2007  3rd
    • 2006 17th
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Stops:
    • 2017  Stewart-Haas Racing
    • ​2016  HScott Motorsports
    • 2012-2015  Michael Waltrip Racing
    • 2006-2011 Richard Childress Racing
  • Bowyer Xfinity Series Career Victories:
    • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 26,2009)
    • Daytona (Fla) International Speedway (July 3, 2009)
    • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (March 15, 2008)
    • Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (May 4,2007)
    • Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (April 20, 2007)
    • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 23, 2006)
    • Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park  (Oct. 22, 2005)
    • Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway (June 12, 2005)
  • Bowyer Camping World Truck Series Victories:
    • Kansas (Kan.) Speedway in Kansas City (June 4, 2011)
    • Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (Nov.12, 2010)
    • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Nov 3, 2006)

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

Noah Gragson Prepares For Another Grueling Race At The Last Colloseum

Noah Gragson

This week fans do not have to travel to Rome to watch the gladiators battle in the Coliseum. They only have to get to Tennessee to see “The Last Great Colosseum,” Bristol Motor Speedway, where these gladiators will trade horses for horsepower. Rookie Noah Gragson will be making his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start at Bristol under the lights on Wednesday night in the UNOH 200 and his armor will his No. 18 Switch Tundra.

Although it will be his first Truck Series start at the famed half-mile oval, he has raced there twice in other series. Most recently he competed in the CARS Super Late Model Tour at Bristol in May driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Unfortunately, he was taken out of contention in an accident on lap 10. He also made one start there in 2016’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race when he finished 12th.

Gragson will not enter the arena alone for this event. With the addition of a fourth KBM Tundra for this race, he will have some knowledgeable teammates to lean on for information. Owner-driver Kyle Busch has won twice at Bristol in the Truck Series (2010 and 2013), Christopher Bell led 101 laps in last year’s NCWTS race and Harrison Burton captured a win (and a sword) earlier this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race leading 68 of 70 laps.

With three races remaining in the NCWTS regular season, Gragson is still fighting for his place in the NASCAR playoffs. With five drivers locked in on wins, only three spots remain and he is currently 44 points out of making it into the elite eight. A win at Bristol is the ultimate goal for Wednesday night, and Gragson is up for the challenge. He knows it will not be easy, but he has never backed down from a challenge (or a dare).

Gragson will have 200 laps to prove he is a worthy opponent and intends to leave “The Last Great Colosseum” as the winning gladiator with a sword, trophy and a spot in the playoffs.

Noah Gragson, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS Switch Tundra:

Talk about your two previous starts at Bristol?

“My previous experience there will help me quite a bit, just knowing how to get on pit road and the characteristics of the race track. I’ll be in a different type of vehicle being in the truck, but for the most part it should be the same. I haven’t really had a lot of experience with the VHT on the bottom. When I ran the CARS Super Late Model race in May was the only experience I have with the VHT, but it was three weeks after the Cup race, so it was pretty worn off by then. I have a rough idea of what to expect.”

Describe a lap around Bristol?

“Racing at Bristol reminds me of that Gravitron ride at the state fair. You go inside, lay up against the wall and it starts spinning you around really fast and the gravity holds you against the wall so you can’t move. That’s what it feels like to go around Bristol. Your head is pinned to the right side of the headrest because there are so many G-forces from the high speeds and banking. It’s utter chaos and you are always racing someone side by side, whether for the lead, or 15th place or a lapped car. That’s what makes it so difficult.”

If the NCWTS drivers could pick a driver introduction song, what would your song be and why?

“There are a lot of Tennessee fans there so maybe the Alabama fight song to make them all fired up. I did an appearance for the track in Knoxville, Tenn., a couple weeks ago and wore an Alabama hat and the track president (Jerry Caldwell) brought me a Tennessee hat. It would just be fun to get the crowd all riled up. I only root for Alabama because my friend Brandon McReynolds is a big fan.”

Marcus Richmond, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS Switch Tundra:

Is Bristol one of the toughest races for a crew chief because everything happens so fast?

“It’s hard to hit the perfect balance because you are always loose in and tight off, so you can have 10 different combinations of set-ups which will work. It just depends on what your driver likes and what your truck needs at that moment. There is a lot going on in a short period of time, driver feedback is a very big part of it and the track changes a lot, so there are a lot of variables.”

How will the VHT change how you approach this race?

“It definitely affects the track a lot. If it’s on the bottom you will have to run it and as soon as it starts wearing out, which usually doesn’t happen in time for trucks to move up, but if it does we’ll have to have a truck that’s versatile and can move up to the middle groove.”

Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Switch Tundra:

KBM-041: The No. 18 Switch team will race KBM-041, for Wednesday’s UNOH 200 at Bristol. This is the same Tundra Kyle Busch won with at Chicagoland Speedway last September and Daniel Suarez finished fifth with at Texas Motor Speedway last November. Christopher Bell placed 25th with it due to an accident at Dover in June.

 

KBM-041 Performance Profile

Starts

Wins

Average Start

Average Finish

Laps Led

 3

1

7.0

10.3

95

 

Notes of Interest:

Noah Gragson 2017:

  • Earned his first top-five finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series by finishing fourth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April. He also finished fifth at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in July

  • Won first career NCWTS pole at Texas Motor Speedway on 6/9 and second at Iowa Speedway on 6/23

  • Has posted two top-five and nine-top 10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.9 across 13 NCWTS starts this season

  • Is currently 10th in the NCWTS playoff standings, 44 points out of the eighth and the final playoff spot

  • Competed in the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway

Noah Gragson 2016:

  • Made first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in November where he completed all the laps to finish 16th. Finished 15th the following week at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway

  • Returned to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West where he earned two wins, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 starts to finish third in the driver point standings

  • Competed in 13 of 14 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races claiming two wins, four top-five and six top-10 finishes

Noah Gragson 2015

  • Finished second in the final NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver point standings as a rookie after posting two wins, one pole, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 13 starts

  • Claimed his first victory at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway battling with his teammate for the win

  • Recorded first career pole and led 176 laps to win at Meridian Speedway in Meridian, Idaho

Noah Gragson 2014

  • Started racing Bandoleros at The Bullring at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway

  • Moved up to compete in Late Models

  • Competed in the INEX Legends car racing series, winning the 2014 Young Lion Road Course championship

Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Tundra:

  • The No. 18 team is currently 11th in owner points and ninth in driver points after collecting two top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season

  • Five members of this year’s No. 18 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 4 Tundra team which collected one win, 197 laps led, nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes across 23 starts and made the inaugural Championship Four in the Chase

KBM NCWTS Program

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (62), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and mostOwner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 62 wins, 33 poles, 146 top-five and 236 top-10 finishes across 389 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 32. Erik Jones and William Byron each collected seven victories, Christopher Bell has earned six triumphs, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ Bristol

  • KBM drivers have collected two wins, three poles, 387 laps led, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.7 across 14 starts at Bristol

  • Driver-owner Kyle Busch claimed both of KBM’s victories at Bristol in 2010 and 2013

Richmond’s Record:

Entering the 2017 season, Marcus Richmond had collected nine wins, 11 poles, 52 top-five and 107 top-10 finishes across 222 races in his 11 seasons as a crew chief in the Truck Series. The veteran crew chief has been to victory lane with five different drivers (Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter and Dennis Setzer) and has recorded at least one win every year since 2012. The North Carolina native’s drivers have finished inside the top five in the Truck Series championship standings four times in the last five seasons, including a runner-up finish in the standings with Ty Dillon in 2012. His most recent stop was at JR Motorsports last season, where he guided Cole Custer to two poles, four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the last 16 races of 2016. Richmond joined KBM in December 2016 to coach rookie Noah Gragson in 2017.

Richmond has five top-10 finishes in 10 starts as a NCWTS crew chief at Bristol. His teams’ best finish was sixth with Cole Custer in 2016 and Ty Dillon in 2013.

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Switch Toyota Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

Date

Site

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

Driver Pts./Pos.

2/24

Daytona

Gragson

12

26

1/100

0

Accident

11/22nd

3/4

Atlanta

Gragson

10

14

130/130

0

Running

34/17th

4/1

Martinsville

Gragson

9

4

250/250

0

Running

70/11th

5/12

Kansas

Gragson

4

28

68/167

0

Clutch

79/13th

5/19

Charlotte

Gragson

15

9

134/134

0

Running

111/13th

6/2

Dover

Gragson

8

9

199/200

0

Running

145/10th

6/9

Texas

Gragson

1

7

167/167

13

Running

181/10th

6/17

Gateway

Gragson

7

9

160/160

0

Running

209/10th

6/23

Iowa

Gragson

1

6

200/200

16

Running

255/9th

7/6

Kentucky

Gragson

11

5

150/150

32

Running

299/9th

7/19

Eldora

Gragson

10

7

150/150

0

Running

329/9th

7/29

Pocono

Gragson

8

24

39/60

0

Accident

345/9th

8/12

Michigan

Gragson

5

7

100/100

0

Running

382/9th

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

HMS Motorsport Partners With BK Racing At Bristol

Corey LaJoie

HMS Motorsport, an industry leader in racing safety equipment, will be joining BK Racing for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Having been a long-time supporter of Corey LaJoie, HMS Motorsport will be on board the No. 83 Toyota Camry for Saturday night’s race.

“HMS, the leader in motorsport safety is proud to sponsor BK Racing and Corey LaJoie,” said Joe Marko, Owner of HMS Motorsport. “HMS Motorsport is the exclusive importer for Schroth Harnessbelts and Stilo Helmets and has been the leading supplier to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams for belts and helmets for the last 10 years. We have worked closely with NASCAR, Corey, and his dad Randy (two-time Xfinity Series Champion) since 2002 trying to educate racers and improve driver safety.”

“I’m very appreciative to HMS Motorsport for coming on board for the Bristol night race,” said LaJoie. “Their equipment has been keeping me safe since I was thirteen, and they’ve been supporting me for almost my entire racing career.”

“BK Racing is very proud to have HMS Motorsports on the No. 83 Toyota this weekend,” said Doug Fritz, BK Racing Chief Marketing Officer. “Safety is paramount in NASCAR and all other forms of racing, and HMS Motorsport’s products are keeping a lot of racers safe.”

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

Harrison Burton Is Ready To Rock And Roll At Bristol

Image result for harrison burton 

Bristol Motor Speedway is known for its short length, high banking, loud sounds and stadium-like aesthetic. “The Last Great Colosseum” is one of the most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit and provides exciting short-track racing for fans and drivers alike.

Wednesday’s UNOH 200 under the lights at Bristol will mark Harrison Burton’s fifth start for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) in the No. 51 DEX Imaging Toyota Tundra for the 2017 season, but the 16-year-old is no stranger to Victory Lane at Thunder Valley.

Burton is a regular in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, competing for a championship in the series. Earlier this season, Burton captured the checkered flag at Bristol in his first of his four wins so far in the 2017 K&N Pro Series East season. He started the race from the pole position and dominated the event, leading 68 of the rain-shortened 70-lap race. Burton hopes he can take that experience and bring it with him to the race Wednesday night while he searches for his first win in the NCWTS. Bristol is also the track that Burton captured his first K&N Pro Series East pole in 2016.

The rookie has had a solid season so far in his first four NCWTS races piloting the No. 51 Tundra. He made his season debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where he started the race from the seventh position and after a late-race spin that put him near the rear of the field, he worked his way back to a solid 13th-place finish. His second race of the season came at Dover (Del.) International Speedway where Burton started the race 10th and raced his way to a 13th-place finish. At Iowa Speedway, the Huntersville, N.C., native rolled off 14th and was en route to a top-five finish until an incident on the last lap resulted in a career-best 11th-place finish. In Burton’s latest event for KBM, he made his dirt-racing debut at Eldora Speedway in Ohio and started 23rd but brought home a hard-fought 15th-place finish.

After Bristol, Burton has one more NCWTS event behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra in 2017 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 28.

For Wednesday’s race under the lights, Burton will don the colors of his sponsor DEX Imaging. DEX Imaging, based out of Tampa, Fla., is the nation’s largest independent provider of office technology with a local touch. Burton is thrilled to have them back on board his No. 51 Toyota Tundra at one of his favorite race tracks on the racing circuit.

Although Burton has already won one sword at Bristol Motor Speedway this season, he says winning his first NCWTS race at “The Last Great Colosseum” would be even more special to him. He’s confident that Wednesday when the checkered flag waves, he will have a chance to take his No. 51 DEX Imaging Tundra to Victory Lane for the first time.

Harrison Burton, Driver of the No. 51 NCWTS DEX Imaging Tundra:

This week you’ll be competing for the win at Bristol, you already have one win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series there this season, what can you bring from that to the NCWTS?

“First, I’m really excited to go to Bristol! It’s one of my favorite tracks to race at and I feel like it’s also one of my best tracks. Getting my first K&N win there was so exciting and I learned so much about the track in that race. I’m hoping I can take my skills and get my No. 51 DEX Imaging Tundra dialed in and compete for my first NCWTS win there as well.”

 Kevin “Bono” Manion, Crew Chief of the No. 51 NCWTS DEX Imaging Tundra:

Harrison Burton is back in the No. 51 DEX Imaging Tundra, what are you looking forward to about racing at Bristol Motor Speedway?

“I’m looking forward to racing under the lights on Wednesday night at Bristol and working to get our No. 51 DEX Tundra dialed in for Harrison (Burton). We have two practice sessions Wednesday to work on our setup and make sure our Tundra is ready to race. Harrison won here earlier in the season for the K&N Pro Series East and I’m hoping he can bring that experience over to the Truck Series. He is a smart kid and a quick learner, so I’m confident we will have a successful race Wednesday night.”

Harrison Burton’s No. 51 DEX Imaging Tundra:
KBM-035: The No. 51 DEX Imaging team will race KBM-035 for Wednesday’s UNOH 200. Daniel Suarez won with KBM-035 at Phoenix last November after started second and leading 34 laps.
KBM-035 Performance Profile:
 
Starts
Wins
Average Start
Average Finish
Laps Led
5
1
4.2
12.2
136
Notes of Interest:
Harrison Burton 2017:
  • Has made four of six 2017 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where he started seventh and finished 13th, Dover (Del.) International Speedway where he started 10th and finished 13th, Iowa Speedway where he started 14th and finished 11th and Eldora Speedway where he started 23rd and finished 15th
  • After 11 events leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship standings by four points over Todd Gilliland
  • Has collected four wins (Bristol, South Boston, Memphis and Thompson), two poles, 124 laps led, 10 top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 3.0 across the first 11 K&N Pros Series East events
  • Outdueled NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver Erik Jones to pick up the victory in the prestigious ARCA/CRA Super Late Model Series Speedfest at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga. (1/29/17)
  • Crowned the Super Late Model division champion in the 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in February after posting two wins, two runner-up finishes and an average finish of 2.4 across five races (2/20/17 – 2/25/17)
  • Led 31 of 100 laps en route to victory in the CARS Super Late Model Tour event at Concord (N.C.) Speedway (3/11/17)
Series
Races
Win
Top 5
Top 10
Pole
Laps
Led
AvSt
AvFn
NCWTS
4
0
0
0
0
797
0
13.5
13.0
K&N Pro Series East
11
4
10
11
2
1207
124
3.5
3.0
Totals
13
4
10
11
2
2004
124
8.5
7.65
 
Harrison Burton 2016:
  • Competed in the NACAR K&N Pro Series East earning one top-five, five top-10 finishes and one pole in 14 starts in his rookie season
  • Won three Super Late Model events, including a Southern Super Series Blizzard Series race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.
  • Earned a third-place finish in his ARCA Racing Series debut at Iowa Speedway
  • Made first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October where he started 17thfinished 22nd
Harrison Burton 2015:
  • Became the youngest driver (15 years and eight days) to make NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start
  • Competed in two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races earning one top-10 finish
Harrison Burton 2014:
  • Became the youngest winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history with a victory at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Tundra:
  • The No. 51 team has earned two wins (Kansas and Charlotte), three top-five, four top-10 finishes, 289 laps led and an average finish of 13.1 across 13 races in 2017 and currently rank fifth in the NCWTS Owner’s points standings
  • The No. 51 Tundra team has compiled 22 of KBM’s 61 NCWTS victories, the most of any truck number in the team’s stable
KBM NCWTS Program:
  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (62), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and mostOwner’s
  • championships (five)
  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015
  • Has collected 62 wins, 33 poles, 146 top-five and 236 top-10 finishes across 389 starts since originating in 2010
  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 32. Erik Jones and Williams Byron each collected seven victories, Christopher Bell has six wins, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one triumph
  • Has collected victories at all 21 tracks on the 2017 schedule
KBM NCWTS @ Bristol Motor Speedway:
  • KBM drivers have collected two wins, three poles, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.7 across 14 starts at Bristol
  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch earned the organization its two wins at the half-mile track in 2010 and 2013.
The Manion Report:
Kevin “Bono” Manion guided KBM’s No. 51 team to one win, one pole, four top-five and seven-top 10 finishes with four different drivers behind the wheel last year in his first season as a Truck Series crew chief. Prior to joining KBM, the Massachusetts native collected five victories in 10 seasons atop the pit box in NASCAR’s premier series, including two marquee wins with Jamie McMurray in 2010; the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Before graduating into NASCAR’s top division, he guided Martin Truex Jr., to back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series titles in 2004 and 2005. In addition to his five Monster Energy Cup Series victories, Manion boasts 15 XFINITY Series wins; 13 with Truex Jr., and two with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Daniel Suarez qualified second and led 77 laps before being relegated to a 29th-place finish last season in Manion’s lone Truck Series race at Bristol. He earned one win, one top-five and three top-10 finishes in four XFINITY Series starts with Martin Truex Jr. While calling the shots in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Manion earned two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 19 starts at Bristol.
 
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Owner Pts./Pos.
2/24
Daytona
Snider
13
10
100/100
0
Running
30/13
3/4
Atlanta
Busch
2
26
127/130
25
Running
59/9
4/1
Martinsville
Burton
      7
13
250/250
0
Running
87/10
5/12
Kansas
Busch
10
1
167/167
91
Running
147/3
5/19
Charlotte
Busch
4
1
134/134
90
Running
207/3
6/2
Dover
Burton
10
13
198/200
0
Running
235/3
6/9
Texas
Snider
13
16
160/167
0
 Accident
         265/5
6/17
Gateway
Gilliland
4
21
112/160
0
Transmission
278/6
6/23
Iowa
Burton
15
11
199/200
0
Running
                               304/5
7/6
Kentucky
Snider
6
16
149/150
4
Running
332/5
7/19
Eldora
Burton
23
15
150/150
0
Running
354/8
7/29
Pocono
Busch
2
25
36/60
32
Accident
385/8
8/12
Michigan
Busch
10
3
100/100
47
Running
439/5
 
 
 
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK! 

Erik Jones Still Dreams About Winning At Michigan International Speedway

Erik Jones

Winning at his home track of Michigan International Speedway?

Of course Erik Jones thought about it. How could he not?

With the race halted by a red flag for a little over five minutes with just two green flag laps left in the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, Jones let his mind wander to what it would be like to win the race.

Not only would it have been the first win of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career and lock him into the postseason, but it would have come at his home town track. A native of Byron, Mich., Jones grew up 99 miles from the racetrack.

“(The red flag) gives you a lot of time to play through scenarios on the restart and how you want it to work out. It’s very rare it ever works out the way you picture it in your head,” he said. And this one didn’t, either. Instead,  Jones settled for third.

He would have had to beat his teammate to get that win. Jones was second on the final restart alongside his Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr.

Before the question could even be asked, Truex said flatly Furniture Row Racing does not have so-called “team orders” and that there was no chance he would let Jones win.

Jones cannot make the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs on points, and will have to win one of the next three races to make the postseason.

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

Daniel Suarez Breaks His Top 10 Finish Streak At Michigan

Daniel Suarez
Coming into this weekend, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez was on a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and was looking to make it five. Unfortunately his day was cut short after tangling with Kasey Kahne late in the race.

Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS, was attempting to pass Daniel Suarez for position on Lap 139. But he pulled up before he cleared Suarez. The contact slammed Kahne’s right side into the outside wall just past Turn 2 ending his day. He finished 38th.

“We had to fight from the back and had a good LIFTMASTER Chevrolet,” Kahne said. “We kept working to get up there. Daniel (Suarez) was going backwards and I was going by and I ran the bottom. I expected we could be close off the corner, and I was just coming off and then we hit.”

Suarez was having another good run in the first stage of the race in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, but in the final stage he started to struggle with a tight racecar before the incident.

“I was trying to give him some room, but actually I got out of the throttle at that point, but I don’t know if he was told it was already time to go up – I don’t know. It’s just unfortunate because we came from a streak of top-10s, and now this is going to be the end of it,” said Suarez, who finished 37th. “We’re going to regroup and come back stronger next week.”

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

The Playoff Clock Is Ticking For Joey Logano

Joey Logano
With three races left before the playoffs start, Joey Logano is on the outside looking in. His failure to qualify so far is arguably the biggest surprise of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season in terms of performance!

He admitted at Michigan International Speedway to feeling desperate, but he sees the closing stretch of regular-season races as really good for him, particularly Bristol and Richmond.

“Bristol is probably one of our best racetracks as well, especially in the fall race,” said Logano, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Fusion.

He has two career wins at Bristol in 17 starts. He also has two wins at Richmond. He won there in the spring, but a rules violation meant the win was declared encumbered, so it does not lock him into the playoffs. Darlington is the only weak spot in the group. His average finish there is 18.4, and he has just two top 5 finishes in eight starts.

“I don’t look at that race track (Darlington) and say we don’t have a chance,” he said. “I feel like we’ll still be fine there, it just might be a little bit different.”

Logano is too far back to points-race his way in, so his team is likely to take aggressive chances to try to grab a win.

“Every moment becomes more and more important on the racetrack, and that’s OK,” he says. “That’s where you find out what you’re made of, so I’m all right with that.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK

Danica Honors Robert Yates At Darlington

 Stewart-Haas Racing will honor 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Robert Yates with a throwback paint scheme on the No. 10 Ford Fusion Danica Patrick will race during the Southern 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sept. 3 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

 

After working in the sport for more than two decades, Yates launched his own team, Robert Yates Racing (RYR), in the late 1980s. In 1996, RYR expanded to a two-car operation, fielding the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford with Dale Jarrett. The decision by Yates to add a second car to the stable resulted in Jarrett winning the 1999 championship in a paint scheme that Patrick’s No. 10 Ford Credit Ford Fusion will emulate at Darlington.

“The throwback race at Darlington is such a cool event,” said Patrick, who has competed in five Southern 500s. “The track has done such a great job of getting the teams and drivers involved. I’m excited to run a true throwback scheme this year. It’s great that we’re able to honor Robert Yates and all he’s done for our sport.”

In addition to the championship Jarrett earned in 1999, RYR amassed an impressive 57 wins, including three in the Daytona 500.

“The No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford was definitely a memorable program for our team,” Yates said. “We won the Daytona 500 in Dale’s very first race in that scheme in 1996 and went on to win many more races and the championship in 1999. It was incredibly gratifying to have Ford as my sponsor and manufacturer, especially when we beat the competition. Getting to see this scheme run again will bring back many great memories. I can’t thank everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing enough for honoring me and everyone that was on the team during those years.”

Ford Motor Credit Company is the financial services arm of Ford Motor Company. The brand was first seen on a NASCAR racecar in 1994 when it sponsored Elton Sawyer in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The sponsorship was very successful, so much so that in 1996 it expanded into the NASCAR Cup Series, which allowed RYR to become a two-car team.

Jarrett ran the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford paint scheme from 1996 through 2000, earning 20 wins, nine poles and leading more than 5,000 laps. That tally includes wins at Darlington in the 1997 and 1998 TranSouth Financial 400.

“We are very proud of our part in the heritage of NASCAR and particularly the success of RYR,” said Dale Jones, Ford Credit executive vice president of the Americas. “The Ford Credit throwback paint scheme brings back great memories of victory at the racetrack. We are thrilled that Danica will be in the driver’s seat representing that history.”

The 1.366-mile Darlington track and its Labor Day race weekend host “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR” when the industry honors the sport’s history. Last year, 36 Cup Series teams competed with throwback paint schemes in the Southern 500, the most in any single NASCAR event in the sport’s history.

As the series returns to Darlington for the 68th Southern 500, the chance to honor Yates will be a special one for Billy Scott, crew chief for Patrick and the No. 10 Ford Credit Ford Fusion.

“It’s really an honor to race a paint scheme that has so much history,” Scott said. “Robert Yates Racing gave me my first job in the NASCAR Cup Series, so to take our No. 10 Ford Fusion to Darlington in tribute of Robert and all that he’s accomplished makes me extremely proud.”

The Southern 500 can be seen live on NBCSN beginning at 6 p.m. EDT and heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90. To experience the Southern 500 and its throwback weekend in person, purchase tickets at www.DarlingtonRaceway.com or by calling 866-459-7223.

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

Clint Bowyer: “We Didn’t Have Much Go Right At Michigan”

Clint Bowyer & Matt Kenseth
Date: Aug. 13, 2017

Event: Pure Michigan 400 (Round 23 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)

Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/82 laps)

Start/Finish: 11th/23rd (Running, completed 202 of 202 laps)

Point Standing: 10th (623 points, 310 out of first)

Note: Race ended in overtime, going two laps past its scheduled 200-lap distance

 

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):

● Clint Bowyer qualified 11th and finished 12th.

● Climbed as high as 11th in the early going as most of the field ran single file on the high-speed track.

● Car started getting loose late in the stage after a green-flag pit stop.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):

● Started 14th and finished 13th.

● Penalized for speeding on pit road at lap 63 and dropped to the back of the field.

● Used a two-tire stop midway through the stage to regain lost track position, briefly climbing into the top-10.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-202):

● Started 23rd and finished 23rd.

● Penalized again for speeding before the green flag fell on the final stage and dropped to 23rd.

● Forced to pit road on lap 150 due to right-front damage after contact with another car.

● Fell to 28th and a lap behind the leaders before battling back to a 23rd-place finish.

 

Notes:

●  Bowyer remains 17th in NASCAR’s 16-driver playoffs with three races left in the regular season. He trails Matt Kenseth by 31 points for the final playoff spot.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps.

●  Kyle Larson won the Pure Michigan 400 to score his fourth career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his third at Michigan. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was .310 of a second.

●  Truex leads the championship standings with 933 points and a 129-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Larson.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Nature’s Bakery Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We didn’t have much go right today. We had something off on our readings, and that led to the two penalties. We were trying to be real conservative on pit road all day. There at the end everyone got slowed up in front of me, and another car turned left over the front of us. That tore our car up pretty good.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

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