Codie Rohrbaugh Is Determined To End The Season On A High Note

Image result for codie rohrbaugh

 Make no mistake about it, partial schedule or not, Codie Rohrbaugh and his Grant County Mulch Racing (GCM) team have made the best of their appearances in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards in 2017.

Set for his eighth ARCA start of the season in Friday night’s Kansas ARCA 150, Rohrbaugh and his family-owned team are determined to end the year on a high note with their second top-10 finish in his second appearance in the land of Oz.

“I can’t believe it’s the end of the year,” said Rohrbaugh. “It seems like this year went incredibly fast but we’ve made a ton of gains from when we took the green flag this season and hope to make some more when the checkered flag fallson Friday night.”

With a career-best eighth place finish earned in June at Michigan International Speedway, the Petersburg, West Virginia native says his team has had the speed and car capable of earning better finishes, but when it boils down to lady luck, it hasn’t been on their side.

Especially the last two races.

“We’ve had some bad luck at Chicago and Kansas, but I’m hoping we can right the ship and return to Kansas with some speed and shake the monkey off our back and give us some momentum to get ready for 2018.”

Rohrbaugh says he likes the fast 1.5-mile track of Kansas Speedway and despite having a fast No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet in the 2016 ARCA finale, an electrical issue 35 laps into the race left the former CARS Tour competitor with a 32nd place finish.

This weekend, anything less than a top-10 performance would be just as disappointing.

“We’re taking the car we had at Chicagoland and Kentucky,” offered Rohrbaugh. “We got collected in a late race situation at Kentucky and banged up the car, but my guys have done a great job putting her back together for Kansas.

“I feel like with the speed we had last year, that setup will be a good place for us to start. The biggest challenge for our team will be keeping up with the handling throughout the day from practice to qualifying and then the race.

“We need to be able to roll our car through the corners and carry the speed on the exit of the turns to get that momentum for the frontstretch and backstretch. We’ll have an opportunity to tweak on it once the race starts, but we need to be in the ballpark.

“We’ll hope for the best and just be grateful we’re at the track!”

Entering Kansas, the 23-year-old has competed in seven races this season, qualifying inside the top-10 five times, including a career-best fourth at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in July. The Petersburg, W.V. native averages a 14.9 finish, which includes six top-16 finishes in the last seven races.

In nine career ARCA starts, he has a best finish of eighth at Michigan International Speedway (June 2017) after starting a career-best eighth at the same 2.0-mile speedway.

Marketing partnership opportunities are available for the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet for the 2018 ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series seasons and beyond. Interested inquiries are encouraged to contact kyle@gcmulch.com.

The Kansas ARCA 150 (100 laps / 150 miles) is the 20th of 20 races on the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., Oct. 20 with a two-hour practice session planned from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at2:30 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag later shortly after 7:30 p.m. The event will be broadcasted live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2), whileARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the week’s activities. All times are local (CT).

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

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!

Hendrick Motorsports Previews The 2017 Kansas Race

KANSAS SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)

LOCATION: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 32 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 22 (NBCSN/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 37                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 13th in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 1 race win
  • 0 stage wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 38 laps led

Career

  • 499 starts
  • 18 wins
  • 27 pole positions
  • 92 top-five finishes
  • 175 top-10 finishes
  • 4,645 laps led

Track Career 

  • 20 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 5 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 102 laps led
UNIFIRST: The green-and-white colors of UniFirst return to Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Kansas Speedway. UniFirst signed an eight-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 to be the organization’s official workwear provider. The workwear and textile service company will also adorn Kahne’s Chevy at next week’s Martinsville Speedway event.

500 STARTS: This weekend at Kansas Speedway marks Kahne’s 500th start in the NASCAR Cup Series. Kahne’s rookie year in the Cup Series was in 2004, when he won four pole awards and took home Rookie of the Year honors. At the time, the 24-year-old was the youngest rookie of the year since Jeff Gordon won the honor at the age of 22 in 1993.

KAHNE AT KANSAS: In Kahne’s 20 Kansas starts, he has led 102 total laps in six races, which ranks him 11th among current drivers and 19th all-time. In the 11 starts the 37-year-old has made at the track while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, he has earned four top-five finishes and six top-10s, including a second-place finish in April 2013, in addition to one pole position in October 2012. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has an average starting position of 14.7, an average finishing position of 13.4 and has completed 99 percent of the laps possible.

POLE AWARDS: Kahne has earned three of his 27 career Cup Series pole awards at Kansas – in October 2006, October 2010 and October 2012. The three Kansas pole positions tie him for the most among active drivers alongside Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. The three poles are tied for Kahne’s second-most at a track alongside Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. The only track where the Enumclaw, Washington, native has more pole awards is Darlington Raceway, where he has amassed four.

KANSAS LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR’s loop data since 2005, Kahne is sixth among his peers in the driver rating category with an average of 91.1. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. He’s second in green-flag passes with 1,438 – teammate Johnson owns the tie breaker because of a higher average finish, and he’s also second in quality passes with 713. Quality passes are the number of times a driver passes another car that is running in the top 15 while under green-flag conditions. The Chevrolet driver is fourth in laps spent in the top 15 with 3,364, and he’s sixth in the fastest laps run category with 173.

TALLADEGA RECAP: Last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Kahne completed final practice in the first position on Friday afternoon, with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounding out the top two. Saturday, he qualified the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS in the 11th position. Sunday, Kahne survived a pit road miscue, a left-front flat tire and damage to the No. 5 machine to bring it home in the eighth position, earning his third top-10 finish in four superspeedway starts this season.

CREW CHIEF WINS: Darian Grubb — Kahne’s crew chief since September’s New Hampshire weekend – is a two-time winner at Kansas. He visited Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile track in October 2009 with Tony Stewart and again in April 2012 with Denny Hamlin. Grubb’s 23 wins tie him with Paul Wolfe for the third-most among active crew chiefs in the NASCAR Cup Series.

No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott

Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 21                      Resides Dawsonville, Georgia

2017 Season

  • 6th in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 3 stage wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 402 laps led

Career

  • 72 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 19 top-five finishes
  • 34 top-10 finishes
  • 760 laps led

Track Career 

  • 3 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 0 top-five finishes
  • 1 top-10 finish
  • 4 laps led
NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET: This weekend at Kansas Speedway, NAPA AUTO PARTS will return to the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS. The Atlanta-based company serves as majority sponsor for Chase Elliott during the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season. Most recently, Elliott piloted the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy to a 16th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.

KANSAS STATS: The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is set to make his fourth Cup start at Kansas this weekend. In his previous three starts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Elliott has collected one top-10 finish and averaged a starting position of 12.0 and a finishing position of 23.0. He also has two starts at Kansas Speedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, earning two top-10 finishes and averaging a starting position of 12.0 and finishing position of 8.5.

‘DEGA REWIND: Elliott led three different times for a total of 26 laps in Sunday’s Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS driver’s race ultimately ended with a 16th-place finish after he was collected in a multiple-car incident while trying to take the lead in the final 10 laps of the race.

PLAYOFF STANDINGS: With the 16th-place result at Talladega, Elliott ranks sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings heading into the Round of 12 cutoff race Sunday at Kansas Speedway. The second-year driver holds a 20-point advantage over the ninth-place driver, which would be the first competitor eliminated.

ELLIOTT AT CHEVY STAGE: Elliott will appear at the Team Chevy Stage on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 11:30 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 42                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 8th in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 3 race wins
  • 1 stage win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 4 top-five finishes
  • 11 top-10 finishes
  • 193 laps led

Career

  • 574 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,639 laps led

Track Career 

  • 22 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 9 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 601 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 20, at 11:15 a.m. local time in the Kansas Speedway media center.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: This weekend in Kansas is the final race of the Round of 12 and Jimmie Johnson will have to stay within the top eight to continue to the Round of 8. With five playoff races complete and an unfortunate 24th-place result at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, Johnson finds himself in eighth place, just seven points ahead of ninth place — the first driver that would be eliminated.

KANSAS DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Kansas with a score of 108.7. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

LAST WIN AT KANSAS: Johnson’s last win at the 1.5-mile track came on May 9, 2015, when he passed Kevin Harvick with 10 laps to go and took the checkered flag for his third win at Kansas.

MORE STATS: Johnson has spent 82.1 percent of all laps run at Kansas inside the top 15. He has made 1,438 green-flag passes and has an average finish of 8.5.

PINK HAT FOR OCTOBER: Johnson will help bring awareness and recognition of those who are fighting breast cancer by wearing a gray hat with pink accents for the month of October. The hat can be purchased here.

No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 43                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina

2017 Season

  • 22nd in standings
  • 31 starts
  • 0 race wins
  • 0 stage wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 44 laps led

Career

  • 626 starts
  • 26 wins
  • 15 pole positions
  • 149 top-five finishes
  • 258 top-10 finishes
  • 8,231 laps led

Track Career 

  • 21 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 9 top-10 finishes
  • 148 laps led
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, will be available to members of the media on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 11:45 p.m. local time in the Kansas Speedway media center.

KANSAS STATS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win a race at Kansas Speedway, but he’s earned solid stats at the 1.5-mile track. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS has one pole (2002) at the speedway. He’s earned top-five finishes in two of the last six races at Kansas and in the other four he encountered a variety of issues unrelated to the speed of the car. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt ranks first among active drivers in the closers category, which represents the number of positions that a driver improves over the last 10 percent of the race. He has improved 31 positions, gaining an average of 1.8 spots since 2005. He also ranks seventh in fastest laps run with 151 and green-flag passes with 1,280, and has the ninth-best driver rating at 88.6.

BABY ON THE WAY: Earnhardt and his wife, Amy, made a big announcement on Instagram on Monday, Oct. 16 – they are expecting their first child, a baby girl. Click here for more.

NASCAR AMERICA: On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS will appear on a live one-hour broadcast of “NASCAR America,” NBCSN’s daily NASCAR news program. The show will be broadcast from the NASCAR Hall of Fame starting at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

THE PLAYER’S TRIBUNE: Check out the behind-the-scenes photo essay from Earnhardt’s final Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, featuring photos from The Player’s Tribune senior staff photographer, Jed Jacobsohn. Jacobsohn also took over Earnhardt’s Instagram account during the Talladega race weekend.

TODAY SHOW: “TODAY Show” host Willie Geist came to Talladega for an in-depth interview with Earnhardt, which will air on NBC on Sunday, Oct. 22. The pair also took a few laps around Talladega Superspeedway in a Corvette provided by Hendrick Chevrolet of Hoover, Alabama.

CLOSEST TO HOME: Jacob Conley, fueler for the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, considers Kansas Speedway to be his home track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. Conley grew up about three hours away in Omaha, Nebraska, and said he was always a NASCAR fan, but had never attended a race until he started working for Hendrick Motorsports. He played football at Doane University before joining the organization in 2013 as a member of the developmental pit crew. In 2015, he was a backup pit crew member for the Nos. 5 and 24 teams. Conley then became a starter for the No. 88 team in 2016 as one of the six primary over-the-wall crew members.

Hendrick Motorsports

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KANSAS: At Kansas Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed six wins, five pole positions, 29 top-five finishes and 51 top-10 finishes in addition to 1,077 laps led. Johnson, who leads active drivers in wins, top-five finishes and top-10 finishes at the track, most recently won for the organization at Kansas in 2015.

ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 12 championships, 249 race victories, 213 pole positions, 1,026 top-five finishes and 1,734 top-10 finishes in points-paying NASCAR Cup Series competition. Its teams have led 67,051 laps since 1984.

QUOTABLE / 

“I’ve always enjoyed Kansas, before the repave and now the new pavement the last few years has been really good for us, too. I think Kansas is one of our best tracks in the playoffs.”

Kasey Kahne on racing at Kansas

“I don’t know. We have had some really good cars there. We had one of the best cars I think I have ever had in the Cup Series last fall in the playoff race there. Very frustrating to have our tire go down there leading. I feel like we had another good car there this past spring, which was encouraging.”

Chase Elliott on his struggles at Kansas

“You know, it just depends on where you are at in the picture. You have to run well at all of them to get in and now with the way the playoff points are you can pad your way all the way to Homestead if you’ve done a good job throughout the entire season.”

Elliott on heading into a playoff cutoff race

“Obviously we are in a tight spot in the playoffs after last weekend at Talladega. We know what we need to do in Kansas.”

Jimmie Johnson on the playoff picturing heading into Kansas

“Kansas is a great racetrack for me. That place has widened out pretty good and you can run against the fence there, which is a line that I like to run. It’s a very fast racetrack and very smooth – a lot of fun, so we should have a good time.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Kansas

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

Donny Schatz Hopes To Close Out The WoO Season With Victories

The mantra has been the same for Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing’s (TSR) Donny Schatz and the TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance team in World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series competition the past decade.

Win races and everything else will take care of itself.

The results over the past five seasons have been difficult to argue as Schatz has posted 124 wins since the start of the 2013 season and will look to continue that trend this weekend with a pair of late-season races at Midwestern dirt tracks. The eight-time and reigning WoO champion enters Friday’s FVP Platinum Battery Shootout at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas with 19 WoO A-Feature triumphs on the season following Saturday night’s victory in the Nittany Showdown at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.

If he can pick up his second career victory at the Lakeside Speedway half-mile, dirt oval, the pilot of the TSR No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J will become the only driver in the 40-year history of the Outlaws to capture 20 or more WoO A-Feature wins in five consecutive seasons. If the results are anything other than a victory Friday, Schatz will look to reach that milestone at Salina (Okla.) Highbanks Speedway Saturday night and make the 3/8-mile, dirt oval in Northeast Oklahoma the 82nd different facility where he’s scored a WoO A-Feature during his 21 seasons with “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”

One other milestone that is attainable this weekend for the Fargo, North Dakota resident is scoring his 250th career WoO A-Feature win. Schatz trails only Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell in all-time WoO A-Feature wins and last Saturday’s victory was his 248th.

The season has been another banner year for Schatz, who is in the midst of his 10th season driving for TSR. He and the TSR team of Rick Warner, Steve Swenson and Brad Mariscotti opened the campaign by winning three of the first five Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions races in Florida and continued their hot start by collecting six of the first eight Outlaw checkered flags. In July, Schatz became first driver in the 34-year history of the Kings Royal to win the $50,000 first prize in consecutive seasons, and he earned his 10th Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals victory just four weeks later. The team is in position to earn its fourth consecutive WoO championship with six races remaining.

When he returns to action Friday, Schatz will be looking to add a second Kansas victory to his 2017 win log. In early May, Schatz led from flag to flag at 81 Speedway, just outside of Wichita, to complete a weekend sweep. He first circled Lakeside during the 2001 season and finished 10th. It was during his 10th start there in July 2015 when he broke through and first won at the track. Ironically, he started 10th that night. Last October, he raced from 12th to sixth in the 30-lap A-Feature.

One of the 19 wins for Schatz this season came at a track where he hadn’t won before. In March, he won at LoneStar Speedway in Kilgore, Texas in a clean sweep. He was the fastest qualifier, won his heat race, won the Craftsman Club Dash and led all 35 laps of the A-Feature. Schatz would like to add another first career win Saturday at Salina. He has five previous starts at the 3/8-mile, high-banked dirt oval with his best result coming in his first appearance. In 2011, Schatz stormed from 18th to second and almost caught eventual race-winner Craig Dollansky on the final lap. Last October, Schatz finished fifth in the 30-lap race.

Schatz and his TSR team have completed 78 WoO races to date this season and top the series with their 19 wins, as well as their 62 top-five and 70 top-10 finishes. They have earned 10,824 points and hold a 162-point advantage over Brad Sweet and his Kasey Kahne Racing team with three weekends of racing remaining.

RACE NOTES

For both Friday’s race at Lakeside and Saturday’s race at Salina, the pit gates will open at 2 p.m. CDTand the grandstands open at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. More details regarding the Lakeside race are available by calling at (913) 299-9206, or by visiting lakesidespeedway.net, and more information about the race at Salina is available by calling at 815-344-2023, or by visiting salinahighbanksspeedway.com.

Race fans unable to attend this weekend’s races can catch all of the action on DIRTVision.com. Live video is available on a pay-per-view basis for both Saturday night’s and Sunday night’s races and free audio coverage is available for all three nights as Johnny Gibson, “Voice of the Outlaws,” calls the action as he does at all WoO Craftsman Sprint Car Series races on the DIRTVision.com cybercast, as well as on the DIRT Radio Network.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Fans are encouraged to follow the progress of Schatz, TSR and the No. 15 Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance/Curb J&J throughout the campaign on the web and social media. More information can be found at www.TonyStewartRacing.comwww.textronoffroad.com,  www.arcticcat.com and www.donnyschatzmotorsports.com.

Tony Stewart Racing: Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TonyStewartRacing or on Twitter and Instagram @TonyStewart_Rcg.
Donny Schatz: Facebook at www.facebook.com/DonnySchatz or on Twitter and Instagram @DonnySchatz.

Textron Off Road: Facebook atwww.facebook.com/TextronOffRoad/ or on Twitter and Instagram @TextronOffRoad

Arctic Cat: Facebook at www.facebook.com/arcticcat.snow/ or on Twitter and Instagram @ArcticCat_atv @ArcticCat_Snow

Curb: Facebook at www.facebook.com/CurbRecords or on Twitter and Instagram @CurbRecords.

Ford Performance: Facebook at www.facebook.com/FordPerformance or on Twitter and Instagram @FordPerformance.

 

Donny Schatz, Driver of the No. 15 TSR Textron Off Road/Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J:
 

The weekend offers an opportunity to reach a pair of milestones. Do you feel like you are in a good position to race for victories at both Lakeside and Salina?

 

“Heading into this weekend, we’ve been really consistent and that momentum is really the key to competing with the World of Outlaws series. We’ve had a solid string of top-five, top-three finishes and a win in this last stretch. I said last week at Port Royal that getting wins late in the season was big. We just try to take it one night at a time and look at the next race as the most important one. We struggled at Lakeside for a long time before I got my first win there a couple of years ago. We use to race there in the summer, so running later in the year makes for a bit of a different approach. The weather this late in the season plays a factor. I’m looking forward to another opportunity and always think it’s a cool atmosphere when we share a market with NASCAR. I know a lot of their fans come out and support us, too. And, as far as Salina goes, I’ve never gotten a win there. It would be pretty cool to get my first win at Salina this weekend, not only for me but for our team and Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Curb and Ford Performance.”

 

With only six races remaining in the schedule, does the approach change at all for you or your team? And does the fact that you have a solid lead in the championship standings factor into that for these final races?

 

“We’ve attacked the championship the same way for the last 10 years and we’ve not changed our approach. The way we’ve done things has worked out pretty well the majority of the time. It helps to be running really well right now, to be making gains with the racecar. With only six races to go, we’re in a better spot of advantage rather than a disadvantage. With that being said, six races still offer a lot of time for mistakes to be made and for bad luck to occur. Hopefully, everything will come together and we’ll be able to celebrate a championship with Textron Off Road, Arctic Cat, Curb and Ford Performance.”

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

Danica Hopes To Rebound From Two Bad Weeks

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) return to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race ready to rebound after back-to-back DNFs at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Two weeks ago, Patrick’s race was cut short with less than 75 laps to go as her No. 10 Ford was collected by another car as it spun down the track. Her car sustained significant damage and she was relegated to a 38th-place finish when the team was unable to make repairs. Last week at Talladega, Patrick ran inside the top-10 and was scored just outside the top-20 when a multicar accident on lap 172 caused significant damage to both the right front and the right rear of the No. 10 Ford. The team pitted multiple times for repairs but was unable to properly address the issues within the five-minute time limit imposed by NASCAR officials, thus ending Patrick’s day and relegating the team to a 21st-place finish.

After two weeks of disappointment, returning to Kansas couldn’t have come at a better time for Patrick and the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford team. Kansas Speedway is the site of Patrick’s first NASCAR Cup Series top-10 finish on a 1.5-mile track. She earned that result in May 2014, when she took the checkered flag seventh. It was one of seven top-10 finishes Patrick has scored thus far in her NASCAR Cup Series career.

All told, Patrick has competed in 10 NASCAR Cup Series races at Kansas. In that time, she has scored one top-10 and four top-20 finishes. In addition, in two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the track, she finished a career-best 10th in October 2012 and took home a 15th-place result in October 2011.

Patrick has also made six IndyCar Series starts at Kansas. In 2005, she qualified on the pole for the IndyCar race at the track. Her best finish was a fifth-place effort in 2009 and she scored a total of three top-10 finishes at the track in that series. Aside from a 19th-place finish due to a mechanical failure in 2008, Patrick didn’t finish outside the top-11 in IndyCar Series competition at Kansas.

After the races at Charlotte and Talladega, the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford team hopes a return to Kansas Speedway, where Patrick has run well in three major professional racing series, will result in on-track success in the form of a solid run in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

DANICA PATRICK, Driver of the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 
What is the most difficult part of the track to figure out at Kansas?

“It’s a fast track. I think it’s the same problem we face at most tracks we go to – you have to get through the center well enough to be comfortable enough to be very aggressive with the throttle at the same time. I think, for sheer speed, you can’t be too loose but, in the race, you can’t be too tight or you’ll fall back. These cars are finicky. It’s about focusing on the small things and getting the most out of the car itself instead of trying to throw the kitchen sink at it if you’re a little off. It’s all in the little details. I think that’s the most important thing.”

On Saturday, you’re going to speak to a large contingent of Girl Scouts from the Kansas City area. What would be your advice to them?

“I would say: ‘Stay true to yourself and what you believe in.’ I think that’s how I’ve gotten to this point in my career and my life in general. I decided when I was 10 years old that I wanted to be a racecar driver. I dreamed big, believed in myself, worked really hard, took chances and made the most of every opportunity I was given.”

Code 3 Associates Racing Team Report

Round 32 of 36 – Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas

Car No.: 10 – Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion

 

At-Track PR Contact: Annette Randall, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 805, Annette.Randall@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Danica Patrick

Hometown: Roscoe, Illinois

 

Crew Chief: Billy Scott

Hometown: Land O’ Lakes, Florida

 

Car Chief: Tony Cardamone

Hometown: Bristol, Virginia

 

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines

Headquarters: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Engine Specialist: Evan Cupples

Hometown: Hudson, Illinois

 

Spotter: Brandon Benesch

Hometown: Cumberland, Wisconsin

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Justin Wilson

Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

 

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Second Gas Man: Nate Spoor

Hometown: Penn Yan, New York

 

Front Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

 

Windshield: Kyle Anderson (also serves as interior mechanic)

Hometown: Jewell, Iowa

 

Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman

Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana

 

Jackman: Nate House

Hometown: Gastonia, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Jeremy Howard

Hometown: Dalhart, Texas

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Wayne Anderson and Larry Lush

Hometown: West Covina, California and Waynesville, North Carolina, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Nathan McGuire

Hometown: Palmyra, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Aaron Kuehn

Hometown: Kensington, Connecticut

 

Engineers: Scott Bingham and William Lee

Hometowns: Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, respectively

 

Underneath Mechanic: Nick McIntosh

Hometown: Havre, Montana

 

Front End Mechanic: Joe Zanolini

Hometown: Sybertsville, Pennsylvania

Hollywood Casino 400 Notes of Interest: 
  • The Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City will mark Danica Patrick’s 186th career start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In 10 previous starts at the 1.5-mile oval, Patrick’s best NASCAR Cup Series finish is a seventh-place effort she earned in May 2014. In two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the track, she finished a career-best 10th in October 2012.
  • Patrick has also made six IndyCar Series starts at Kansas. In 2005, she qualified on the pole, and she earned one top-five finish and three top-10s at the track in that series.
  • Code 3 Associates is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing professional animal disaster response and resources to communities, as well as administering professional training to individuals and agencies involved in animal-related law enforcement and emergency response. Its mission is accomplished through hands-on animal rescue and care operations during disaster events in the United States and Canada, and through certified animal welfare training seminars, which include animal cruelty training for investigators. More information is available at code3associates.org.
  • Dallas Dogs Available: A plush version of Dallas Stenhouse, the 3-year-old miniature Siberian Husky that belongs to Patrick and her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., is now available for sale. Race fans can purchase their own Dallas plush dog at the SHR team store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the SHR online store and at Shop.DanicaPatrick.com. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit animal charities.
  • For the History Books: Since Patrick began competing in NASCAR on a part-time basis in 2010, she has made plenty of history. Here is a recap of how she has altered the record books through the years:
    • Became the first woman to win a NASCAR Cup Series pole when she set the fastest time in qualifying for the 2013 Daytona 500.
    • Led laps 90 to 91 of the 2013 Daytona 500, becoming the first female to lead NASCAR’s most prestigious race. She also led laps 127 to 129.
    • Became the first woman to lead a NASCAR race under green (Daytona 2013). Janet Guthrie led five laps under yellow in 1977 at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway.
    • Finished 2013 Daytona 500 in eighth place, the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
    • Finished 10th in 2012 Xfinity Series points, the highest points finish by a woman in the history of NASCAR’s top three series (Cup, Xfinity, Truck).
    • Competed in every NASCAR Cup Series race in 2013, becoming the first female driver to complete an entire season in the series.
    • Became the first female to compete in the non-points NASCAR All-Star race (2013) and Sprint Unlimited (2014).
    • Have the most starts of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
    • With seven top-10 finishes, holds the record for the most top-10 finishes of any female in NASCAR Cup Series competition.
  • History Maker in IndyCar: Patrick became the first woman to win a major-league open-wheel race in a North American series in April 2008 by winning the IndyCar Series Japan Indy 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi oval in Japan.
  • Big Stage: In seven Indianapolis 500 starts, Patrick finished in the top-10 six times, including a third-place result in 2009, the best finish ever for a woman in the historic race.

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

Myatt Snider Brings It Home In Third Place At Talladega

Myatt Snider

Date:                            Oct. 14, 2017

Event:                           Fred’s 250 (Race 19 of 23)

Series:                          NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Location:                     Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile, tri-oval)

Format:                       Three Stages; 20 laps/20 laps/54 laps

Start/Finish:                Ninth/Third (Running, completed 95 of 95 laps)

Winner:                       Parker Klingerman of Henderson Motorsports (Toyota)

Following an exciting 95-lap race, Myatt Snider brought his No. 51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Toyota Tundra home third in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Snider, who was making the seventh start of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career and fifth of 2017, earned his career-best finish and helped the No. 51 Tundra team advance to the Round of 6 of the Truck Series Owner’s Playoffs.

Stage One Recap:

  • As the green flag waved, Snider started the race ninth in the inside lane of the track. By lap two the rookie was up to seventh, running single file while hugging the bottom of the track.

  • While being patient and attentive, Snider protected his line and was up to fifth on lap seven after the truck in front of him pulled off after being black flagged. As the pack of trucks he was racing in started to break up because of lapped traffic, Snider maintained his position in the top five while being nice and smooth around the bottom of the track.

  • As the 20-lap stage wound down, the caution flag flew because of a wreck on track. At the end of Stage 1, Snider was scored in the fifth position.

Stage Two Recap:

  • Snider started Stage Two by making a trip to pit road for two right-side tires and fuel, while having no complaints about the handling of his No. 51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Toyota Tundra.

  • The 22-year-old driver took the restart on lap 26 from sixth on the outside lane. After an aggressive restart, he made a move to the bottom of the track to steal away the third position with 10 laps to go in the stage.

  • Snider continued to run single file on the bottom of the track, holding on to his third-place position as the caution flag waved to end Stage Two.

Stage Three Recap:

  • Stage Three began as Snider brought his No. 51 Tundra down pit road for two left-side tires and fuel. When the race restarted on lap 46, he was lined up second next to KBM teammate Christopher Bell, who led the field to the green flag.

  • As Snider accelerated on the outside lane, he got a push from behind and was battling side-by-side for the lead with Bell. On lap 47 he made the move to the bottom to pass for the lead, but the outside line got a run and started passing him from the top.

  • When the caution flag flew after a wreck in Turn 4 on lap 53, the No. 51 team decided to make a pit stop to top Snider off with fuel. After the race returned to green, a few trucks in front of Snider decided to pit, allowing him to gain positions on the race track.

  • On lap 62 the three-truck KBM fleet was drafting together in a line, with Snider running fifth. On lap 70 as the racing began to intensify, Snider followed his teammates as they moved from the bottom of the track to the middle lane in an effort to move towards the front of the field, but the opening closed up and he came into contact with another truck as part of a five-truck accident. The Louisiana Hot Sauce Tundra sustained moderate damage to the right front and would need attention from the over-the-wall crew.

  • When the red flag was lifted, Snider made a total of three stops for the team to assess and fix the damage on his truck – as well as give him four fresh tires. Snider restarted in the 14th position on lap 76 and tried to find a comfortable position on the track in the midst of three-wide racing.

  • With 10 to go he was 16th, but made a strong run on the outside lane and passed several trucks before moving back down to the inside lane. Two laps later he had catapulted all the way up to seventh.

  • With only five laps left the caution flag flew once again, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Snider restarted on the bottom in the seventh position and held his spot in the bottom lane as others drivers got aggressive trying to make a move for the win. The strategy paid off as he advanced four spots in the final two laps and ended the day with a career-best third-place finish.

Myatt Snider, driver of the No. 51 Louisiana Hot Sauce Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:

 What was the racing like today?

“Well if you’ve ever gone to an amusement park and been on a rollercoaster that’s pretty much what Talladega is like. We had a crazy day. My KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) Louisiana Hot Sauce Toyota Tundra was really fast all day. We had good speed and were able to draft really well. It was just a wild race. We had a little bit of an incident there with the 13 (Cody Coughlin) – I don’t know exactly what happened, but it looks like he got up into me or I got down on him. It happened so fast. I’m just proud of these guys for giving me great pit stops and a great truck and a great sponsor. Just a great result and happy for this whole team.”

 

Fred’s 250 Recap:

  • Parker Kligerman won the race followed by KBM’s Christopher Bell and Snider. Grant Enfinger and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five finishers.

  • The race featured six cautions for a total of 27 laps. There were 17 lead changes among 11 drivers. KBM’s Christopher Bell led four times for nine laps.

How Snider’s KBM Teammates Fared:

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished 14th

Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished second

NCWTS Owner Championship Standings:

The No. 51 Toyota Racing team finished the Round of 8 fifth in the Truck Series Owner Championship Standings with 2,109 points and advances to the Round of 6.

Next Race:

The Truck Series returns to action in two weeks at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 28.  Live coverage of the race begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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

Parker Kligerman Steals One At Talladega

Parker Kligerman
The massive wreck in Turn 1 that gobbled up a pack of trucks in overtime at Talladega Superspeedway spared a part-time driver with one win on his career resume and a lower-budget team fighting for the final spot in the Round of 6 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Playoff.

The part-timer, Parker Kligerman, charged to the front past pole winner, series leader and race runner-up Christopher Bell after the final restart and had the lead in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 when trucks started bouncing off each other in Turn 1 on the final lap. That wreck caused a caution that froze the running order and gave Kligerman his first victory since he won at Talladega in 2012.

The real suspense, however, involved John Hunter Nemechek, who steered his already-wrecked truck through two major crashes in the final 25 laps to finish sixth. Nemechek grabbed the final spot in the Round of 6 over Chase Briscoe, who finished 22nd, nine laps down after his team dealt with a valve cover issue early in the race.

“We had a long team meeting last night in the lobby of our hotel, and we sat down and said a prayer that we would make it to the next round,” Nemechek said.

Shortly after the restart of the final stage, it appeared the prayer would not be answered. Nemechek’s No. 8 Chevrolet was damaged heavily in a crash that started when Ben Rhodes turned Clay Greenfield’s Chevrolet in Turn 4 on Lap 54.

Nemechek’s team worked feverishly to repair the damage to the extent possible and kept the No. 8 on the lead lap. With Briscoe locked into a 22nd-place finish, Nemechek had to finish 13th or better after Austin Wayne Self’s spin in Turn 4 caused the sixth caution on Lap 90 and sent the event to overtime. When trucks in the lead pack started wrecking in front of Nemechek after the field took the white flag, spotter Jason Jarrett guided his driver through the melee and gained enough spots to advance comfortably.

For Kligerman, it was a case of right choices at the right time.

“It’s all a blur,” he said. “Each corner you’re making six decisions, and they happened to work. It was just crazy. Every move worked. It’s just sometimes they click. Those last 10 laps, if I went high and separated the back, or if I tried to get the bump and the run, every move just worked. Sometimes they go your way.”

For the first 40 laps, Talladega looked like Johnny Sauter’s personal playground. The defending series champion powered into the lead after the start, pulling GMS Racing teammate Justin Haley with him. Sauter and Haley dropped to the inside lane in front of Bell and ran in lock-step for 20 laps, with Sauter winning the first stage wire-to-wire.

Sauter may have sailed through Stage 1, but calamity struck two other championship contenders. On Lap 8, Briscoe took his No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford to the garage to repair a fluid leak and lost 10 laps in the process. Briscoe’s issues, however, couldn’t compare with those of Kaz Grala, who started the race from the rear because of a last-minute engine change. After working his way Grala was the victim of a chain-reaction wreck of Turn 4 on Lap 19, also involving the trucks of Cody Coughlin, Chris Fontaine, Rhodes and Ryan Truex.

Grala’s No. 33 Chevy nosed into the outside wall and spun into the infield grass, where the heavily damaged Silverado sat until a wrecker towed it to the garage. Grala retired in 29th place, his Playoff over.

“I’m not quite sure what happened,” Grala said after a mandatory visit to the infield care center. “Everything checked up in front of me. I slowed down. I think I was going to miss it, but the truck behind me (Truex’s Toyota) didn’t get slowed down fast enough and turned us up into the wall and ended our day.

“I think that’s the end of our championship hopes, unfortunately. It’s tough to take, because I think we really came alive this latter part of the season. I think we could have been a contender.”

Playoff Notes: Myatt Snider sustained damage in a Lap 70 wreck but rallied to finish a career-best third… Austin Cindric ran fifth behind Grant Enfinger and secured a spot in the Round of 6, joining Bell, Sauter, Nemechek, Rhodes and Matt Crafton.

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

Clint Bowyer Is Going Home To Kansas

Clint Bowyer
Ask Clint Bowyer about the impact his hometown of Emporia, Kansas has had on his racing career and you’ll get a rare moment of silence from the 38-year-old Monster Energy NASCAR Cup driver.

Then he’ll look you in the eye and respond with a short and powerful answer.

“People are what make you,” said Bowyer who, returns to race in Kansas Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. “As you grow up in a community, it’s the people within that community who you learn from and everything else.”

The lessons taught by the 25,000 citizens of Emporia haven’t faded.

“When I first started car racing, it was in a ’78 Camaro, it was junkyard parts so you had to go to Junkyard John and, if you blew something up or needed a brake caliper or an A-frame or just anything – a spindle – you had to go to see Junkyard John,” said Bowyer.

“My dad owned his own towing service in Emporia, so they always did business together and stuff. Impounded cars always went to the junkyard, and he always let me go over and rummage through the stuff and work on my stuff.”

If it wasn’t Junkyard John, then it was Muffler Don, who welded the roll cage with muffler tubing for Bowyer’s pony stock he rolled  over about 12 times. Those two, along with a host of others, were responsible for helping Bowyer go from the Kansas dirt tracks to race in places like Daytona, Darlington and Indianapolis and build a NASCAR career that includes a 2008 Xfinity Series title, and eight Cup Series victories among his 429 starts in the sport’s highest division.

“Life’s all about timing, it’s all about chances that you get in life, and opportunities, and then you’ve got to be able to, I guess, have enough experience to prepare yourself for that opportunity and be able to capitalize on that opportunity,” Bowyer said.

“It seems like my career within a five- or six-year span went very fast, but we always kept moving. We never stayed in one class or anything, always kept moving up and forward progression, and that always enabled me to get in the next ride, the next opportunity, and capitalize on it really well.”

Bowyer hasn’t turned his back on Kansas, especially Emporia. He returns often to deer hunt, visit friends or just be part of the community. In March 2013, he bought the Clint Bowyer Autoplex car dealership on U.S. Highway 50, where he once worked as a lot attendant, dent specialist and detailer.

Across the street sits the Clint Bowyer Community Building, constructed in 2012 thanks to a $1.5 million donation from his foundation. Inside are 25 new computers at the public library. There is a scoreboard at the aquatic center, a video camera at the auditorium, shoes for the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program, backpacks for kids, Christmas trees for needy families. And, in nearby towns, playground equipment and the reconstruction of a tornado-ravaged community center – all of it and more paid for by Bowyer’s foundation, or out of the driver’s own pocket.

Emporia appreciates its native son, having renamed the street on which the family towing business resides as “Hon. Clint Bowyer Boulevard.”

The days of Junkyard John and Muffler Don are long gone and replaced by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Ford Performance and Roush-Yates Racing who have combined to field Bowyer’s No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion this season. But the desire that began in Emporia will be the same Sunday in Kansas City.

Bowyer’s list of racing accomplishments includes a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Kansas in 2011, but it’s a Cup Series trophy from the track that he hopes will take center stage in his trophy case. Over the years, Bowyer has enjoyed some success at Kansas Speedway, posting two top-five finishes and six top-10s with 48 laps led in 18 starts, including a ninth-place finish in May.

“Kansas is obviously at the top of the list, right up there with a Daytona 500, of places I’d really like to get a victory,” he said. “I won’t complain no matter where we win our next race, but winning at Kansas would be extra special for a lot of people in the Bowyer family.”

Bowyer enters the weekend after an accident left him with a 35th-place finish Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The incident ruined a race that saw Bowyer finish sixth in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2.

While he’s racing for 17th in the driver point standings after falling just short of making NASCAR’s 16-driver playoffs, Bowyer’s first year replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart in the No. 14 has been a success. The Mike Bugarewicz-led team has posted three second- and two third-place finishes.

The No. 14 team’s average finish of 15.3 is the 12th best of the full-time teams in 2017.

After Talladega’s disappointment, Bowyer could use some good luck, and there’s no better place than Kansas.

Just ask him.

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

What is it like to go back and race in Kansas?

 

“It’s difficult to go home because of getting pulled in all the different directions – all the while trying to focus on getting a good run, because that’s really what’s important to you the most there. It’s important to me to run well in front of all my fans, friends and family.”

No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 32 of 36 – Hollywood Casino 400– Kansas

Car No. 14: Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing

At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (Drew.Brown@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:
  • Sunday’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 429th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 19th Cup Series start at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, where he has two top-five finishes and six top-10s. His average finish of 15.3 is 12th best of the full-time drivers in 2017.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 179 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 428 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories.
    • 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).
  • Tony Stewart and Gene Haas co-own Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), which has recorded 38 victories and 34 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 Harvick won June 25 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
  • SHR has two points-paying victories at Kansas plus nine top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and two poles in 46 starts.
  • 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.
  • 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!