Bowyer Really Wants A Grandfather Clock This Week

Clint Bowyer & Aric Almirola

Throughout his career, Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), admits to having a love-hate relationship with , where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races on Sunday. The flat, concrete, half-mile track was far from one of the Emporia, Kansas driver’s favorites when he started his Cup career.

“When I first went there the first couple of seasons in the sport, that was the one racetrack that I couldn’t wait to leave – I was terrible, I hated it, every aspect of it,” Bowyer said. “Everything in your natural tendencies as a racecar driver doesn’t hold true there. Alright, I have to pass this guy in front of me. Well, I have to get in the corner deeper than him, I have to pick up the gas sooner than him, and both of those things took me about 27 times there before I ever figured it out.”

But he did.

“Believe it or not, Martinsville has become a place I look forward to,” Bowyer said. “We’ve focused hard on Martinsville, studied it, tested a lot of tracks in preparation for Martinsville, and worked on really getting a good setup underneath us. We’ve taken that and have been solid ever since.”

He’s even come close to bringing home a grandfather clock Martinsville presents the race winner, but he’s yet to add one to his trophy case. He led 154 laps during the fall 2012 race amid a string of five consecutive top-10s at Martinsville. He owns four top-five finishes and 13 top-10s and has led 356 laps at the southern Virginia track.

“I’ve run really well at Martinsville and there have been several times when I thought we were the fastest car, especially in 2012 and 2013,” Bowyer said. “I look forward to it every year and it’s one track I feel like I can win at, especially if the equipment is underneath me and we make good calls and I make good decisions and take care of the car on the racetrack. I want to bring one of those clocks home.”

Sunday’s race marks the second time Bowyer visits Martinsville driving a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. In April, Bowyer started eighth and climbed as high as fourth in the closing laps before finishing seventh. Martinsville is a historically good track for the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team. SHR owns three victories – Ryan Newman in April 2012, Tony Stewart in October 2011 and Kurt Busch in March 2014 – six top-five finishes and 18 top-10s in 50 starts at Martinsville, and SHR cars have led 504 laps there.

Bowyer could use a little luck after the last three weeks. Accidents by other drivers collected Bowyer at Charlotte, Talladega and Kansas, ruining his chances for a good finish. Last week in his return to his home state, Bowyer raced in the top-five late in the race before a multicar accident wounded the No. 14 and left him with a 19th-place finish.

It hasn’t been all bad luck in 2017 for Bowyer, who is in his first season with SHR after replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart in the No. 14, led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz. The team has posted three second-place finishes and two third-place finishes but narrowly missed earning one of 16 berths in NASCAR’s playoffs. Bowyer’s average finish of 15.4 is 10th best of the fulltime drivers this season.

Despite the success, Bowyer says the goal this year is a return trip to victory lane. With only four races remaining in the 2017 season, Bowyer is running out of chances to visit victory lane with his new team.

“We’re hungry and we’re trying,” Bowyer said. “That’s the frustrating thing about looking back on the year. We’re getting close to the end and it’s just been that way all season long. When you look back and I look back at my history, consistency has always been what got me and kept me in the running. And this year has been a really solid run. A second (place) or something followed up by two steps back. It seems like you get on a roll – I think the biggest roll we got on was like three or four races. Back in the day, we could click off maybe as many as 10 and really march up through the points and gain that confidence and everything that goes with it.”

Nothing would increase that confidence more than bringing home a grandfather clock from Martinsville after Sunday’s race.

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts on Martinsville?

“I love going to Martinsville. It’s a great racetrack with a lot of history. Martinsville has been hosting races for half a century and all the greats have raced there over the years. It really is a throwback in a lot of ways. It’s a flat short track like most of us grew up racing on. It’s tight, flat and fenders definitely get used. It always puts on an exciting show for the fans and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. As a fan of the sport, I don’t know how you can’t like Martinsville. And, in a lot of ways, it’s almost turned into the new go-to track for action and excitement. It doesn’t have the high banks like Bristol, but the racing, bumping, banging and all the fun stuff the fans look for has been every bit as good as anywhere we’ve gone the past few years.”

Martinsville seems to be the most difficult track for drivers to figure out. Why is that?

“It’s a short track, but it’s not like any other short track you’ve ever been to. It goes against everything your tendencies tell you to do. You have to back the corner up and let the car roll way around the corner before you get back on the gas. Your tendencies are to get in the corner as deep as you can and get back on the throttle as fast as possible. Those are two things that are catastrophic there, so you’ve got to discipline yourself and stay disciplined throughout the race.”

No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 33 of 36 – First Data 500 – Martinsville

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: Daniel Coffey

Hometown: Granite Falls, N.C.

 

Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell

Hometown: Windham, Maine

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, S.C.

 

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 430th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th Cup Series start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where he has four top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. Bowyer’s average finish of 15.4 is 10th best of the fulltime drivers this season.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 179 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 429 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)
  • SHR has a pole and three points-paying victories at Martinsville plus six top-five finishes, 18 top-10s and two poles in 50 starts.
  • 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.
  • 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 Championship:
    • 2008
  • 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!

Team Penske Cars Had Many Issues To Deal With At Kansas

Brad Keselowski
Track:                  Kansas Speedway

Race:                   Hollywood Casino 400

Date:                   October 22, 2017

 

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 10th

Finish: 13th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 267/267

Laps Led: 18

Point Standings (behind leader): 3rd (-49)

 

Recap:  After having qualified for the Round of 8 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team battled to a 13th-place finish in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Keselowski began the 400-miler in the 11th position and when the green flag fell he radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he needed stability on corner entry. When NASCAR displayed a competition caution at lap 30, Keselowski had fallen back to the 14th position due to the handling. After adjustments to the wedge and air pressure on the Miller Lite machine, Keselowski was able to rally to finish 11th in the first, 80-lap stage. Following more wedge and air pressure adjustments, Keselowski began the second, 80-lap stage from the 11th position and the No. 2 Ford responded well to the adjustments. He was able to race his way to the seventh spot before coming down pit road for another stop at lap 144. Wolfe decided on a long-run strategy before the end of the stage and, as a result, Keselowski was able to finish the stage in the third position to score eight bonus points. Unfortunately, while coming into his pit stall during the stage break, Keselowski was caught for speeding and had to start the final, 107-lap stage from the rear of the field. He was able to work his way back inside the top 10 when the caution flew at lap 198 for a multicar incident that placed the field under a brief red-flag condition. Running in the seventh position, Keselowski made his final pit stop of the day on lap 239 where he was caught for speeding in the same section of pit road. He would restart the race in the 22nd position before rallying to finish 13th. Keselowski and the No. 2 Ford Fusion team will begin the Round of 8 ranked third in the standings.

Quote: “The Miller Lite Ford Fusion was good enough and better than our finish. All in all, my guys put a good effort in it and I think we were better than we finished. I don’t understand the pit road speeding penalties and will have to see that with my own eyes. We put ourselves in position to capitalize on strategy and execution multiple times today and we just didn’t catch any breaks. You’ll have that. Now it’s on to Martinsville.”

 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 18th

Finish: 21st

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 267/267

Laps Led:  0

 

Recap:  Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion started 18th and finished 21st in Sunday afternoon’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. At the start of the event, Logano reported that the handling of the car was loose on corner entry and tight in the center, which resulted in the temporary loss of several positons. The handling would improve and the team would regain the positons and move to the 15th position before the competition caution at lap 30. On the first pit stop, crew chief Todd Gordon elected to go with an air pressure adjustment, working to combat the tight condition in the center of the corner. On the restart, Logano would continue to struggle with short run speed, battling low grip and a tight handling Ford Fusion. On lap 46, the team would return to pit road, this time making a wedge adjustment to attempt to improve the short-run speed while not hindering the long run performance. Logano continued to battle the inability to turn on the short run dropping back to the 22nd position before pitting for a major air pressure adjustment and four tires at lap 82. By the midsection of the race, the handling of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion had improved enough that the team attempted to run long on a green flag pit cycle. Later in the race, Logano would be caught up in a multi-car incident on the backstretch, receiving minor damage to the right side of his Ford Fusion. The team utilized the red flag period to formulate a game plan for repairs, before ultimately returning Logano to the track, still on the lead lap. The team would complete all the laps, before ultimately finishing 21st.

 

Quote  “We had a tough day with our Shell-Pennzoil Ford. We struggled on short run speed and once the field got spread out it was tough to make up spots. Then we got caught up in the wreck later in the race and that damage certainly didn’t help us. We’ll regroup and head to Martinsville next week.”

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

Michael McDowell Earns 14th Top Twenty Finish This Year

Michael McDowell
Leavine Family Racing (LFR) and Michael McDowell earned their 14th Top-20 finish of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) season at Kansas Speedway.

 The team earned their best finish at the 1.5-mile track earlier this year with a 13th place finish and went into this weekend expecting nothing less.

 With a solid practice on Friday, the team breezed through the first round of qualifying and earned their best qualifying effort to start the Hollywood Casino 400 from the 16th position.

 The No. 95 Tommy Williams Drywall (TWD) Chevrolet SS started out extremely tight, but McDowell was able to free it up after 15 laps. He dropped back to 19th before the competition caution came out on lap 30.

 When the field returned to green, McDowell dropped back a few more positions, as the No. 95 still felt too tight. He was able to pit under caution on lap 47 to free the car up and restarted 22nd on lap 52.

 With three laps remaining in the stage, a caution came out and McDowell was hit hard from behind. Fortunately, no major damage was acquired and he went on to finish the stage in 21st.

 After starting the second stage in 22nd, McDowell still complained of a tight-handling car, and made his first green flag pit stop on lap 143. The next caution flag fell with four laps remaining in the stage. McDowell pitted for four tires in order to stay out at the end of the stage and hopefully gain positions.

 McDowell started the final stage in 28th and one lap down before a caution came out on lap 174 giving him the free pass and allowing him to restart in 24th.

 Another caution flag fell on lap 198 for a wreck, and McDowell acquired damage to the left front of the No. 95 TWD Chevy. Fortunately, the team was able to fix a large hole in the nose. McDowell restarted 13th after the wreck and made it as far as 11th.

 The team was able to make one last pit stop on lap 239 in order to put on the last set of tires and went on to finish the race in 18th, earning their 14th Top-20 finish of the 2017 MENCS season.

 ”That was a hard fought race,” said McDowell. “I felt like we didn’t have a ton of speed, but we were still able to stay in the Top-20 for the majority of the race. We got a good amount of damage during the big wreck at the end there, but our guys were able to get it patched up and we were able to salvage a Top-20.”

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

Kurt Busch Navigated Through Trouble And Finished Second At Kansas

Kurt Busch & Kasey Kahne
Date: Oct. 22, 2017

Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 32 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 15th/2nd (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 13th with 2,124 points

 

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

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

●   Kurt Busch started 15th and finished 19th.

● On lap 18, Busch made slight contact with the outside wall and had to make an unschedueled pit stop for two tires and fuel. He returned to the race in the 38th position, one lap down.

● Busch pitted under caution on lap 33 for four tires and fuel. The team also made a tire pressure adjustment while he was in 34th place, one lap down.

● On lap 51, Busch was 31st when the caution came out. That gave Busch the “Lucky Dog” to get his lap back. Busch also pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Buschstarted 19th and finished 15th.

● On lap 83, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● Busch pitted on lap 139 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

● On lap 157, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel as he ran in 19th.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Busch started 15th and finished second.

● On lap 175, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel.

● On lap 199, Busch pitted for four tires and fuel while in the ninth position.

● The final pit stop for Busch was for four tires and fuel, and the crew got him out in second place.

● Busch finished just 2.284 seconds behind winner Martin Truex Jr.

 

Notes:

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 49 laps.

● Twenty-two of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Busch now has six top-five finishes in 2017 and 131 in his career. It was his third top-five at Kansas Speedway.

● Truex won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 14th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his seventh of the season and his second at Kansas.

● Truex leads the championship standings with 4,069 points and holds a 27-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I just feel like I’m on razorblades here. I really wanted that one bad. At the end, I had the sticker tires. As I’m warming them up, they weren’t grabbing in the back. I knew that I wasn’t going to get the jump that I needed. I tried to play middle of the ground. Early in the race with scuffs from qualifying I brushed the fence. Kansas – I don’t know what it is about this place. Kyle (Busch) struggles here, too. I feel like I’m on pins and needles most of the day. (Crew chief Tony) Gibson always throws nice adjustments at it, and the race comes to us, and we’re right there. We had a shot at winning. I just feel like I’m pushing too hard early on. I saw (Jimmie) Johnson spin. We saw the 77 spin. All the drivers asked for less downforce and yet never got the softer tire that we hoped for. But we’re right there. When we get it right, we’re right there. It just feels like I have to overdrive. When you’re overdriving you’re not going to make it work.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 29 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

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

A Violently Hard Crash Prematurely Ended Erik Jones’ Day At Kansas

Erik Jones
Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota were in position late in the Hollywood Casino 400 to put the previous weeks’ bad luck behind them before yet another multicar crash forced an early exit at Kansas Speedway.

The 14-car wreck coming off Turn 2 on Lap 197 of 267 left Jones with a 35th-place finish. Despite the second consecutive DNF (36th at Talladega), Jones remains 19th in the championship point standings, 53 behind Joey Logano in 17th and 48 ahead of Daniel Suarez in 20th.

“I just got loose – I started getting free off of (Turn) two when the 24 (Chase Elliott) starting coming around us and I just lost it,” said Jones. “We had a good run going up there in third place and thought we were going to have a top-five day. Wish we could have ran it out, but it’s just an unfortunate ending. All of us were thinking about Jim Watson and his family and we were hoping to bring home a strong finish for them.”

The No. 77 started the race with a tight handling condition but adjustments called for by crew chief Chris Gayle and determined driving by Jones resulted in a 10th-place finish in the first 80-lap stage. Jones dropped as low as 17th in the second stage but rebounded to finish sixth in Stage 2.

Solid work in the final 107-lap stage allowed Jones to move into the top five early on and up to third for a restart on Lap 193. Close pack racing immediately after the green flag waved caused the turbulent air that created the loose handling on the No. 77 that then caused the multicar crash on Lap 198. Despite the hard hits and getting partially airborne, Jones was uninjured in the incident. The car, however, was too damaged to continue.

“I made the same mistakes here in the spring and this place has just been tough on me,” said Jones. “Fortunately we had a fast 5-hour ENERGY Camry and it was up front, we had worked our way back up to that point after having mishaps at the start of the day. Nonetheless, not the ending that we wanted, but hopefully we can come back a little stronger for Martinsville.”

Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. won his series-leading seventh race of the season. The balance of the top-10 finishers were: Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Kyle Busch.

There were 10 cautions for 49 laps, one red flag for 10 minutes and 14 lead changes among seven drivers.

The next race on the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is Oct. 29 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

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

Harvick Grabs An Eighth Place Finish At Kansas

Kevin Harvick & Trevor Bayne
Date: Oct. 22, 2017

Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 32 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 2nd/8th (Running, completed 267 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 4th with 4,017 points, 52 out of first; Advances to Round of 8

 

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

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Kevin Harvick started second, finished second and earned nine bonus points.

● The Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion ran in the second position for the majority of Stage 1.

 The No. 4 Ford pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments during a lap-46 caution to correct tight-handling conditions.

● Harvick restarted from eighth and quickly piloted the “freaky fast” Ford back to second, where he ran for the remainder of the stage.

● The No. 4 team pitted at the end of the stage for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started second, finished second and earned nine more bonus points.

 Harvick continued his run in the second position for the majority of the stage.

 The Jimmy John’s Ford took four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments on lap 127 under green-flag conditions.

● After green-flag pit stops cycled through, Harvick reported a loose wheel, but he continued to run in second place.

● The No. 4 team pitted for four tires and fuel during a lap-156 caution. Harvick restarted the one-lap shootout in the sixth position and powered his way to second place before the conclusion of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Started first, finished eighth.

● Harvick led the field for the first 35 laps of the stage.

 On lap 197, a multicar accident brought out red-flag conditions. Harvick opted not to pit and restarted from second.

● The No. 4 Ford’s handling became too tight on lap 209, and Harvick fell back to sixth.

● The team pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments to run a lap down. After a lap-236 caution, the Jimmy John’s Ford stayed out of the pits to rejoin the lead lap.

● Harvick battled back into the top-10 on the final restart from the 21st position.

 

Notes:

● Harvick scored his 19th top-10 finish of 2017.

● This was Harvick’s 13th top-10 in 24 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas.

● Harvick finished second in Stage 1 to collect nine bonus points and second in Stage 2 for an additional nine points.

● Harvick led three times for 37 laps to bring his laps-led total at Kansas to 596.

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 49 laps.

● Twenty-two of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood Casino 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“As you look at the result of the day, you want to have a chance to win. We had a car capable of winning. Just got stuck in a box, and the box kept on getting smaller and smaller. The caution came out with 47 laps to go, and that put us in a bad spot.”

 

Playoff Standings (at the conclusion of the Round of 12):

1.  Martin Truex Jr. (4,069 points)

2.  Kyle Busch (4,042 points, -27)

3.  Brad Keselowski (4,026 points, -43)

4.  Kevin Harvick (4,017 points, -52)

5.  Jimmie Johnson (4,017 points, -52)

6.  Denny Hamlin (4,014 points, -55)

7.  Ryan Blaney (4,009 points, -60)

8.  Chase Elliott (4,006 points, -63)

 

Failed to Advance to Round of 8:

Kyle Larson (2,236 points)

Matt Kenseth (2,184 points)

Jamie McMurray (2,138 points)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2,119 points)

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

Truex: “Let’s Go Win This One For Jim”

Martin Truex, Jr.
“Let’s go win this one for Jim, and we did it,” said Martin Truex Jr., referring to the loss of Furniture Row Racing crew member Jim Watson, who passed away Saturday night of a heart attack. “We got together in the morning and said the best way we could honor Jim and his family would be a victory.”

Truex did what he set out to do in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, scoring his seventh win of the season that was by no means an easy task for the No. 78 team. After starting on the pole Truex led the first 34 laps but then was assessed a restart violation which sent him back to 31st place.

He made a strong comeback in his No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota by finishing eighth in the first stage, which ended on Lap 80 of 267. But 11 laps later Truex was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a loose wheel, and when he returned to action, he found himself in 32nd place and one lap down.

“Just couldn’t believe some of the things that were happening and thought there was no way that we were going to win,” said Truex, who led 91 laps. “I can’t believe how this day went and that’s why you never give up because you never know what could happen.

“This was a team effort by all accounts. Everybody at the shop for building the cars and all the road crew guys. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) who made some great adjustment calls as the race went on. Also have to thank TRD (Toyota Racing Development) for the great motors all season and our alliance with JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). It was also great to win for Bass Pro and share in the celebration with my good friend Johnny Morris.”

Truex put himself back in contention with some powerful driving on two late restarts, gaining seven positions on one and six on the other. Those restarts brought him within striking distance of the leader. He eventually passed Kyle Busch for the lead on Lap 211 and kept the lead for the final 57 laps.

Truex left Kansas with two NASCAR records and a membership into an exclusive NASCAR club.

The two NASCAR records he set were winning six times in a season on a 1.5-mile track and winning four straight 1.5-mile races.

Truex became the 12th driver in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present) to lead 2,000 or more laps in a single season. The other 11 drivers who accomplished this feat are: Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. Truex’s has led 2,068 laps with four races remaining in the season.

Truex also became the first driver to sweep Kansas Speedway, where he also won in the spring.

Truex now has 14 career wins. Twelve of those victories have been with Furniture Row Racing.

Truex enters the Round of 8 playoffs first in points. The victory earned him five playoff bonus points bringing his total to 69. The three races in the Round of 8 are at Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 29), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 5) and Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 12). The top four drivers advance to final playoff race Nov. 19 at Homestead Miami Speedway. (see current playoff points below).

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

Clint Bowyer Couldn’t Miss The Carnage At Kansas

Clint Bowyer
Date: Oct. 22, 2017

Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 32 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 9th/19th (completed 267 of 267 laps)

Point Standing: 18th with 793 points

 

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

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Clint Bowyer started ninth and finished 14th.

● Raced as high as fifth by lap 44.

● Dropped to 14th after pit stop when his team elected to take four tires instead of two tires.

● Bowyer reported his rear grip seemed to go away in the later part of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started 12th and finished 11th.

● Bowyer moved to ninth at the lap-100 mark.

● Crew told Bowyer his lap times were one of the four best on the track.

● Made routine, green-flag pit stop on lap 123.

● Late caution created a one-lap shootout, and Bowyer missed a top-10 stage finish by inches.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Started 18th and finished 19th.

● Bowyer pitted before the start of the stage and dropped to 18th.

● Stayed on the track during the caution at lap 177 and moved to fifth.

● Despite running at the front of the field, Bowyer’s chances for victory ended on lap 197 in a multicar crash coming off turn two.

● The No. 14 suffered significant damage, but the crew made repairs, after NASCAR lifted the red flag, to return Bowyer to the track.

● Bowyer’s wounded car maintained a respectable speed and finished the race.

● Sunday marked the third consecutive week Bowyer’s race has been ruined by another car’s accident.

 

Notes:

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 49 laps.

● Twenty-two of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Martin Truex Jr. won the Hollywood 400 to score his 14th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his seventh of the season and his second at Kansas.

● Truex leads the championship standings with 4,069 points and holds a 27-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

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

“We had a pretty good Ford today and deserved a top-fve finish, but there just wasn’t anywhere to go in the wreck. My guys did a good job fixing us up so we could finish the race. I really wanted a good finish here in Kansas. We haven’t had a thing go right in three weeks, but there is a lot of racing left in the season. We’ve shown speed.”

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

Danica Gets Collected Up In A Multicar Crash At Kansas

Danica Patrick
Date: Oct. 22, 2017

Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Round 32 of 36)

Series: Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series

Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile oval)

Format: 267 laps, broken into three segments (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)

Start/Finish: 22nd/38th (Accident, completed 197 of 267 laps)

Point Standings: 28th (458 points)

 

Race Winner: Martin Truex of Furniture Row Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Danica Patrick started 22nd and finished 25th.

● The No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion team pitted during the competition yellow on lap 30 while running 28th. Crew chief Billy Scott called for four tires and fuel. A slight air pressure change in the right rear was the only adjustment. Patrick reported the car was working better during the next stretch between laps 30 and 46, when the caution waved for the second time. Following another stop on lap 46, Patrick exchanged 25th position with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

● Patrick continued working her way up to the top of the track and reported the car was a little tight coming off at full throttle. Late in the stage she reported the back of the car was also out of the track and was running a little bit on the warm side.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Started 25th and finished 26th.

● Patrick was running 25th on lap 125 when green-flag pit stops began. She remained out and made a 58-lap run, climbing as high as third. She pitted on lap 140, and Scott increased air pressure in the right-front tire.

● A late caution in the stage on lap 155 provided a number of teams the chance to pit and altered the No. 10 team’s strategy. Patrick remained out and finished the stage 26th, the first car one lap down.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Started 26th and finished 38th.

● Patrick earned a free pass and restarted the race as the final car on the lead lap. She pitted for tires and fuel, and the team made a wedge adjustment to begin the final stage.

● Patrick was running 20th when the No. 10 Code 3 Associates was collected in a multicar accident on lap 198. The team was unable to make repairs, thus ending Patrick’s day at Kansas.

 

Notes:              

● This was Patrick’s 11th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and her 186th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● Patrick earned one point in Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, which puts her at 458 total points for the season thus far. She is ranked 28th in the driver point standings.

●  There were 10 caution periods for a total of 49 laps.

●  Twenty-two of the 40 drivers in the Hollywood 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Martin Truex Jr. won the Hollywood Casino 400 to score his 14th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his series-leading seventh of the season and his second at Kansas. His margin of victory over second-place Kurt Busch was 2.284 seconds.

● Truex leads the championship standings with 4,069 points and holds a 27-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Busch.

 

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That is some bad luck. The Code 3 Associates Ford Fusion was just starting to get better, just starting to get hooked up, actually. I felt like I was catching the right lanes and right movements on the track and having good restarts. It would have been nice to finish one off. We haven’t done that in a while. You never know which way (the cars) are going to bounce. It was mayhem. From the cockpit, I was just trying to slow down and miss the 77, but you can’t see every car around you. I want to thank (crew chief) Billy (Scott) and all the guys for their hard work today. The plan was coming together, and unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it through.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the First Data 500 on Sunday, Oct. 29 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. 

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

Ryan Blaney Performs In A David Person-like Manner At Kansas

Image result for wood brothers racing kansas speedway

With their playoff hopes seemingly on the ropes due to a penalty after qualifying, Ryan Blaney and the No. 21 Omnicraft Auto Parts team turned in a near-perfect performance in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Blaney started 40th, drove his way to fourth place by the end of the first 80-lap Stage, finished eighth in the second then third in the race to secure a berth in the Round of Eight in the Monster Energy Cup playoffs.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood had great praise for the entire Omnicraft Auto Parts team and was especially impressed by Blaney’s poise under the pressure that comes with a cut-off race in the playoffs.

Wood said Blaney made smart decisions driving his way to the front, something only the greatest of drivers seem to know how to do.

“That was a David Pearson run right there,” Wood said. “Ryan knew what he had to do. He raced hard, but he was mindful of what was going on around him. He missed the wrecks. It was just a tremendous effort.”

Wood also complimented crew chief Jeremy Bullins on his race strategy throughout the day, including one call to leave Blaney on the track near the end of Stage Two, a call that led to three important bonus points.

“Jeremy did a great job calling the race, and the pit crew did a great job, getting Ryan back on the track in good shape despite operating from the least-desirable pit box,” Wood said, adding that none of it would have been possible without the Woods’ alliance with Team Penske. “Their help is second to none.”

Due to the penalty after qualifying, Bullins got the 40th pick of pit stalls for Sunday’srace.

Still, when the points were totaled, Blaney, with his third-place finish and 10 stage points, was in seventh place, 23 points about the cut-off.

He will open the Round of Eight in seventh place with nine playoff points from his win at Pocono and four stage wins.

Blaney, who now has four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes on the season, said Sunday’s comeback was a total team performance.

“Having a pretty fast car there at the end, really all race, shows some pretty great resilience from the Wood Brothers team,” he said. “It definitely feels good to be moving on, for sure.”

Blaney said good fortune was on his side when he dodged the Lap 199 multi-car crash that collected several of his fellow playoff drivers.

“Some of that is luck, for sure, being on the bottom, being able to get clear of that,” he said. “I think we’ve done a great job this year.”

Blaney went on to say that despite the seriousness of Monster Energy Cup racing, he’s enjoyed his time with the Wood Brothers and the Omnicraft team.

“I would say this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had racing with anybody, no matter what car,” he said. “They just make it a really fun year. Just to be competitive, still be in this [playoff] thing, that’s just a bonus, to be honest with you.”

And so far, he’s exceeded whatever hopes he might have had prior to the season.

“I didn’t really have any goals, expectations,” he said. “I just wanted us to do well, see where it ended up.

“It’s going pretty decent for us right now. Hopefully we can keep that going.”

Blaney will return to his familiar Motorcraft/Quick Lane colors for next Sunday’s race at the Wood Brothers’ home track, Martinsville Speedway.

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