World of Outlaws–Dollansky Aims for Third Consecutive Ironman Title at I-55

Dollansky Aims for Third Consecutive Ironman Title at I-55
Challenging World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car event Aug. 2-3 near St. Louis
PEVELY, Mo. – July 26, 2013 – It’s perhaps the most challenging race on the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series schedule. It’s a race that demands so much out of a driver that two years ago the winner couldn’t even lift the trophy in victory lane. It’s the fifth annual Federated Auto Parts Ironman 55.

The event returns to two days once again this year, Friday, Aug. 2, and Saturday, Aug. 3, in two complete events at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, just south of St. Louis. Night one is challenging in its own right on the high-banks of I-55, but the second night is a 55-lap display of all that is right about dirt track racing.

Competing all out for 55 laps against the toughest winged sprint car racers in the world on the high-banked 1/3-mile Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 is no small task — especially in the heat of summer in the St. Louis suburbs. Breathtaking speeds and wicked slide jobs. Wheel-to-wheel action on nearly every inch of the track. Fearless competitors taking their 900 horsepower cars to the edge.

In the end goes a check to the winner for $20,000 and a 55-pound dumbbell trophy. Good luck hoisting it in the air when your arms are like rubber.

“I couldn’t do it two years ago, I was drained,” said Craig Dollansky, winner of the past two Federated Auto Parts Ironman 55 titles. “It is a very, very physically demanding race, it’s demanding on your racecar, your equipment and your crew. You definitely have to have a great team, everybody has to be prepared, and I feel great about our Eyecon Trail Camera team going into the event.”

The high-banked track owned by NASCAR Mudsummer Classic pole-sitter Kenny Schrader and groomed by co-promoter Ray Marler is a perfect venue for the Outlaws to showcase their skills. Leaders slice and dice through traffic while clicking off laps in 11 seconds. Never is there a shortage of action.

The race requires 100 percent focus, physically and mentally. No other event presents the same challenge for as long as the Ironman.

“It’s a long race and it’s a demanding race,” said Dollansky, of Elk River, Minn., who has won four World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series events in his career at I-55, tied with Steve Kinser for most series victories in track history. “There are a lot of things you have to think about. Ray does a great job of prepping that track where it puts on a great race for the fans. It’s probably one of the raciest racetracks in the country. It has its challenges but it’s a race I can’t wait to get to.

“It just seems like it’s my style of racetrack. We’ve been pretty good there over the years. I can’t really explain it. I really enjoy racing there a lot. It’s unique.”

Joey Saldana is a three-time winner at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, including the inaugural Ironman event in 2009. Points-leader Daryn Pittman won at Pevely in 2002 while the series’ leader in victories, Donny Schatz, won there in 2006.

The Outlaws first raced at Pevely in 1987 with Brad Doty earning the victory, and have been back every year since 1996.

A two-day ticket package is $60 and can be ordered online at WorldofOutlaws.com or by calling 877-395-8606. Reserved seats purchased in advance for Friday’s event are $32 and advance general admission is $30. Reserved seats purchased in advance for Saturday’s event are $38 and adult general admission is $35. Children 12 and under are free in general admission both nights.

Chevy Racing–Jordan Taylor Puts No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype on the Pole

Jordan Taylor Puts No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype on the Pole for Brickyard Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Boris Said Grabs Number One Qualifying Spot in Grand Touring
 
INDIANAPOLIS (July 25, 2013) – Jordan Taylor put the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype on the pole for Friday’s three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the third consecutive number one starting position for Taylor, and his eighth career pole in Rolex competition.
 
In the Grand Touring Class, Boris Said and Robin Liddell made it an all-Chevrolet front row with Said taking the pole position in the No. 31 Marsh Racing GT Corvette. Liddell is the co-driver of the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R.
 
“It was a successful day for our Chevrolet teams in qualifying for both DP and GT,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. “Jordan Taylor winning his third consecutive pole in the No. 10 Corvette Daytona Prototype is a great achievement.  With Boris Said and Robin Liddell making it an all-Chevrolet front row for GT, the Chevrolet teams are well positioned for a strong race.  I think we are in for an exciting, fast race tomorrow, with battles throughout the field.”
 
Team Chevy drivers captured three of the top-five starting positions with Christian Fittapaldi, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP will start fourth and Stephane Sarrazin qualified the No. 3 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP in the fifth starting position.
 
Matt Bell, No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R, was the fastest for Team Chevy in the Grand Sport class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The 2 hour, 30 minute Brickyard Sports Car Challenge is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:00 p.m. ET on Friday, July 26 followed by the start of the Brickyard Grand Prix at 5:30 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage is available from MRN Radio on GRAND-AM.com live timing and scoring.
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 10 VELOCITY WORLDWIDE CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP – POLE SITTER
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN:
“It was obviously good.  We didn’t start off that strong I don’t think, kind of trying different things.  The Indy track there is a very long front straight obviously and then a very technical section so you can either go high downforce or low downforce and we tried a few things in practice to figure out what we wanted. I think a lot of guys were trying different things.  I think we were not even in the top 10 in a couple sessions.  We were, I think, a little worried, probably looked pretty bad, but we knew once we got in qualifying mode we would have a good car and obviously we did.  Happy to be on the pole.”
 
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN THE POLE AT INDIANAPOLIS?
“It’s not an Indy 500 pole, but it’s definitely cool obviously Indianapolis when you think of motorsports in any form you think of Indy and Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans, all these big names.  Taking a pole in the overall class in GRAND-AM is awesome.  I had pole at Detroit which is pretty cool on a street course and now Indy.  I qualified second at Daytona twice so I think I need to nail that one down next.”
 
BORIS SAID, NO. 31 WHELEN MARSH RACING CORVETTE – GRAND TOURING (GT) – POLE SITTER
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN:
“Indy is a special place.  I have raced all over the world and there is only a handful of tracks that, I came back here in 2006 and made the Brickyard 400.  When you sit on the front straightaway when the cars are gridded up or you are looking at the crowd, you are thinking of the history here, it’s just kind of a magical place.  It’s one of those few tracks that just makes the hair on your arms stand up straight when you start looking at all this and the history.  So, for the GRAND-AM, I will speak for all of these road racer that get to come here and run on these hollowed grounds it’s a special day.  Really just adds a cherry on top of the sundae to be able to get the pole in our Whelen Corvette.  We were fast when we unloaded and hopefully we will be fast in the race.”
 
YOU WILL BE MOVING UP TO THE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE (DP) RANKS NEXT YEAR, BUT THE TEAM OBVIOUSLY STILL PUTTING A LOT OF EMPHASIS ON THE GT PROGRAM:
“Yeah, we are not even really thinking about the DP car yet.  We are just trying to win races for the whole Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Whelen engineering.  Once they roll that DP car out whenever later in the year we will worry about that car.  Right now we just want to try to get this Corvette in the Winner’s Circle.”

Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400–Jeff Gordon

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SAMUEL DEEDS 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POWERED BY BIGMACHINERECORDS.COM
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE
JULY 26, 2013
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed returning to the track, growing up as a racer in the Indianapolis area and other topics. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
TALK ABOUT YOUR ANNUAL BOWLING TOURNAMENT:
“Very successful event, I know we raised over $300,000 Riley Hospital for Children here locally is one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. We are proud to have partnered with them many years ago and have been funding a research lab there for the last couple of years.  We are really proud.  I mean I think back over the 12 years we have been doing this bowling tournament and it’s hard to believe that you can turn an event into what this has turned into.  We had a lot of fun and raised a lot of money and awareness.  It was fantastic.”
 
YOU HAVE WON HERE FOUR TIMES; TALK ABOUT HOW YOU THINK THIS NEW GEN-6 CAR WILL DO HERE AT INDY:
“We had the opportunity to tire test here with Goodyear and get a chance to feel what this car is like.  It feels good.  It’s obviously going to be really fast.  I thought we had a good test.  We certainly gathered some good information and data to come back with.  We are back with the same tire we have had the last couple of years.  This surface is tough.  It’s abrasive and it’s really hard to find any different tire than what we’ve had here for our cars so durability is the key and most important thing. We certainly have that. I’m excited what we learned since that tire test. The last couple of years have been good for us here and we’ve been in contention to win races. I’m always excited to get to Indianapolis and certainly this weekend our team is ready to step it up to get us another win here. We understand how important the next seven races are for us to get ourselves into the Chase.”
 
IN TERMS OF PRESTIGE, WHERE DOES INDIANAPOLIS RANK FOR YOU AND THE GENERAL DRIVING GROUP?
“You have the Daytona 500 and then the Brickyard 400, in my opinion. Some people may rank it different than that, but that’s how I look at it. There was a time – maybe back in 1994 – where I would have ranked this No. 1. Looking at the history of our sport, the prestige and all the ingredients that go into making the most prestigious race, you have to rank Daytona first. But for someone who always dreamed about coming to Indianapolis as a kid and raced all around here, this one ranks very, very high. It’s definitely one of the biggest. I think it’s the history of the race track, everyone wants to win here and it’s about the trophy – who has won here, how hard it is to win here and the history of the track and race itself. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since we won here in 1994. That certainly says a lot about how fast things can go by. To me, that inaugural race really set the precedent for how impressive this facility is and how prestigious the race was the first year and always will be.”
 
GIVEN THE POINTS POSITION YOU’RE IN, HOW HARD IS IT TO DIAL BACK WHEN YOU HAVE TO BE THINKING FOR POINTS INSTEAD OF GOING FOR A RACE WIN?
“That’s the beauty of where I’m at in points. I don’t have to dial back anything. We are in full-on aggressive mode. Do we have to win? No. But do we have to put seven really good races together? Yes. In order to put good races together, I’m talking top-fives. You look at the guys we’re racing against and they can easily do that. We have to push and not pull back. I don’t know of a time where I went into a race – maybe I go back to the 1997 championship – where we were really the whole time thinking about points. Every time I’ve thought about points, it’s cost us more positions than we’ve gained. We go out there and race as hard as we can to put the best plan together, best race car together. I try to drive every restart and lap that I would if I were trying to win the race. That’s what we’re doing to do this weekend and that’s what we’re going to do every weekend.”
 
YOU SPOKE TO THE HISTORY OF THIS PLACE. THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF GREAT NAMES TO WIN HERE BUT NO ONE HAS WON FIVE TIMES ON FOUR WHEELS. WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO BE THE FIRST TO WIN FIVE TIMES AT INDIANAPOLIS?
“I’ll always be one of those purists that looks at the Indianapolis 500 differently than any other race that happens here. When we’re talking about the Brickyard 400 going on for 100 years, then I’ll stack up four-time winners against four-time Indy 500 winners. It doesn’t make it any easier. It’s a very challenging race track. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I’m blown away that we have four. When you look at the list of names who have multiple wins here, it’s impressive. I’d like to separate myself and be a five-time winner in our series. But I’ll never compare that to my biggest heroes – Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt and those guys. I guess my experience of coming here as a kid and seeing the Indy 500. It’s a different race and should always be held to a different standard as any other race – not just NASCAR but Moto GP, Formula One or anything else.”
 
WHERE WOULD YOU RANK THIS RACE BETWEEN THE DAYTONA 500, COCA-COLA 600 AND BRICKYARD 500?
“If you grew up with NASCAR, then the 600 or Southern 500 might have a little more prestige. But if you grew up watching IndyCar racing like I did and racing sprint cars and midgets, the Brickyard 400 leapfrogs those.”
 
SHOULD THE RACE BE MOVED TO THE START OF THE CHASE TO ADD SOME MORE PIZZAZZ?
“Let’s throw Eldora in there while we’re at it. Should have a road course in the Chase? The Brickyard? Should Bristol be in the Chase? There are so many tracks that deserve to be in it. I’ll say what I’ve always said. I think at the beginning of the year there should be a lottery or some type of event that picks the 10 races that are in the chase. Maybe there are some that are always part of it. Maybe it always ends in Homestead. I don’t know. But I’d like to see it change all the time so we don’t have the same 10 in every single year.”
 
THIS RACE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A TALE OF THE ENTIRE SEASON AND A MICROCOSM OF YOUR CAREER, AS WELL. FOR THE FIRST DECADE, THIS WAS YOUR RACE. NOW IT’S BECOME JIMMIE JOHNSON’S RACE. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU NOW TO BEAT JIMMY AT WHAT HAS BECOME HIS OWN GAME HERE?
“This is a tough race track. It’s also a track where everyone brings out their best whether it be pit crew, driver, race car or whole combination. They bring their best because this is such a prestigious race. That’s why I think you see champions or championship contenders compete so well at this race and win this race. Those are the teams that are able to step up when it matters most and not only win this race but go on to be a champion. And who has done that better in the last 10 years than the 48 team? They will be very tough this weekend. This race means a lot to them like it does to so many others. They certainly are in championship form and I’d have to put them at the top of the list of teams to beat. For the rest of us, we’re going to put all that aside and run our race to see if we can finish ahead of the 48. If you can do that, you’re probably going to win this race and be proud of that accomplishment. I hope there were teams that felt that way when we were winning here. But I think they might be taking it to another level.”
 
YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR THE INDY 500. IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WOULD NEVER GET A CHANCE TO RUN HERE, BUT WHAT WERE YOUR FEELINGS WHEN THE TIRE TESTS WERE GOING ON, THE FIRST RACE AND NOW LOOKING BACK?
“So many great memories of all that… a little bit of history, if I can. When you’re racing locally nearby here, it doesn’t matter your name or what kind of car you drive. Your goal
is to race here in May. Everybody that I raced with every weekend would talk about, ‘Oh, I have a chance at a ride with this team or that team.’ Whatever it was, it was always the buzz. Your goal that weekend was to win enough races to get the opportunity to go race in the Indianapolis 500. And what was pretty eye-opening was that none of those guys were very successful here. When I started pursuing that a little more and having some success, I realized very early and quickly that the chances of me doing it were very slim and getting a top ride was very slim. So it was pretty easy for me to look at other places and go down south after some people encouraged me to do it. Immediately I started getting opportunities – good opportunities – and that’s what changed it all for me. I did sort of move away from those dreams and thoughts in the late 80s and early 90s because of how that all went down.
 
“When I saw there were going to test here, I was excited because it was cool but I was disappointed because I wasn’t there. It looked like so much fun that day, the way they were swapping positions. It was an exhibition but looked like a fun exhibition that I wanted to be a part of. I was thrilled to be a part of it in 1994 when it actually happened. It was a dream come true to win that race.”
 
DO YOU FEEL THIS TRACK NEEDS LIGHTS? WOULD YOU LIKE TO RACE HERE UNDER LIGHTS?
“It doesn’t need lights. I think it would be awesome to race here at night. But this goes back again to the history of the Indy 500 and the racing here. Yes, there is tradition with the Brickyard 400 but it’s not the tradition the Indy 500. I would never want to see the Indy 500 run under the lights. But the Brickyard 400 breaks traditions. It always has – by being the first stock car race to happen here. Someone could tell me more about the history of the track but I always heard that was the only other race to happen here. I think they had a bicycle race here one time. So why not change it up? Why not have the race have some different scenarios in the days that it’s run? Let’s have a night race. I think that would be awesome.”
 
HOW DO YOU THINK A RACE WOULD DO FROM A FAN’S STANDPOINT?
“Saturday night would be key. From what I’ve seen from other night races we go to, fans seem to enjoy it. Sunday races can get a little tricky with travel and all those things. It seems like when it’s a Saturday night, it’s an exciting thing for fans and competitors. I’ve not seen a night race not be a win-win for everyone.”
 
INAUDIBLE:
“Just naïve, inexperienced and probably not understanding and appreciating the full scope of what’s going on – which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Sometimes you only get that over time, and then over time you may overthink it. The thing I’m most proud of today is having those experiences of winning – especially races like this – with my family. We went to Victory Lane at Homestead last year and it was one of my favorite victories that I’ve ever had. Yeah, it was cool to win at Homestead but the feeling of having them there as they get older is greater. I didn’t have that when I was younger. I just didn’t think about it… just went in to it and did what I was supposed to do and moved on from it very quickly. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I do today. Today I savor the moment, I appreciate it more than I ever have and soak it up to make it last as long as I possibly can. To share it with them is the ultimate.”
 
WOULD YOU REALLY LIKE TO SEE A CUP RACE AT ELDORA?
“I would love to see a Cup race at Eldora.  Yes, I think that would be awesome.  You know what I would love to see a Cup race at Eldora.  I don’t know you know you don’t know until you get out there and try.  Those guys look like they were having a lot of fun.  I think I would rather have Kyle Larson drive my car because I thought he was awesome.  He was unbelievable.  I love Eldora, love the dirt and I enjoyed racing the dirt late model there.  I would love to see what a Cup car could do.  I think Tony (Stewart) did a great job preparing.  At first I was a little disappointed the track was so hard and slick, but then when you see the race you understand that it actually makes for a much better race and that it’s necessary.  I think they had windshields in to so that might have been a little tricky with mud.  I thought it was way cool.  Everywhere I’ve gone this week I’ve had people that are huge NASCAR fans and people that aren’t big NASCAR fans at all that watched it and they were blown away they did not expect it to go the way that it did.  I thought why not have more races on a dirt track.  I don’t think you will ever see a Cup race there at least not while I’m driving, but I would certainly vote for it.  I think it would be very cool to do.”
 

Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400–Dale Earnhardt Jr

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SAMUEL DEEDS 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POWERED BY BIGMACHINERECORDS.COM
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE
JULY 26, 2013
 
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, sponsorship, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
TALK ABOUT TRAVELING TO NEW YORK CITY YESTERDAY AND COMING HERE TO THE BRICKYARD:
“Yeah, this place does have a lot of history.  It is a fun race track to drive on just because of the history and everything that has happened here and all the races that you’ve watched growing up.  We did go to New York yesterday for NASCAR did a little bit of media and that was pretty fun.  It’s always interesting going up there.  We had a weekend off and just ready to get back to work.  Everybody is recharged, I think Steve (Letarte, crew chief) went over to Europe with the family and had a good time.  Now we are back and ready to get back to work and focused on what we love to do.  We’ve got a practice coming up here in a few minutes and hopefully the car has got some pretty good speed in it.  Hopefully, everything works out.”
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO RACE HERE AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE THE FIRST TIME YOU CAME TO THIS RACE TRACK?
“The first time I came here I ran an IROC (International Race of Champions) and just got destroyed by everybody out there.  It was just such a different track and really big place.  The shape of the track is unique compared to anything else we race on.  It’s a real technical track and if you are just looking at the race track you would assume that all the corners look relatively similar.  The car must go through each corner pretty much the same and what you might be fighting in one corner you would probably assume you would fight in all of them.  But to be honest all the corners are really different and as odd as it is they are extremely different from each other.  Turn one is really tight and feels and appears as indication to how the car drives that it’s a much tighter and shorter radius corner and each corner after that appears to be less so.  With turn four being the larger corner without a better way to describe it, when you look at them they all look the same.  The car certainly doesn’t drive the same through them characteristically year after year.  It’s a technical track that makes it a technical track the fact that the car drives differently in each corner and you have to start adjusting on the car and trying to improve on something at one end of the track and not ruin something at the other end of the track and make problems for yourself at the other end.  That makes it a bit of a challenge, a good challenge, trying to get a car that goes fast and a car that doesn’t have trouble at one end of the track and make things difficult.”
 
IN TERMS OF PRESTIGE AND COVETED TROPHIES WHERE DOES THIS PLACE RANK?
“It’s in the top-five or three.  I would never place anything above the Daytona 500.  Being that is our biggest event, our marquee event.  It’s second or third.  I don’t know that you can place importance on races specifically so much so that you can put them in order.  I think that it’s an important race, anybody who wins here gets to put their name along a list of names of legends and not only in the stock car racing realm, but also in open wheel and all kinds of other different series.  It’s a pretty big deal and there is a good amount of envy to the guys that have won this race before, more so than I feel at other race tracks that I haven’t won at.  I would say it’s a pretty important race, it ranks right up there.”
 
FANS AND PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY SEEM VERY CONCERNED THAT YOU HAVEN’T ANNOUNCED ANY SORT OF SPONSORSHIP FOR THE RACES THAT ARE STILL OPEN.  ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL?  ALSO, IN THAT VEIN GREAT CLIPS ANNOUNCED THAT THEY ARE DOING 10 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACES WITH KASEY KAHNE.  DOES THAT IMPACT JR MOTORSPORTS AND HOW MANY RACES THEY WILL DO WITH YOU?
“Yeah, I think that we have had a lot of good conversations with a few potential partners about what we can do in 2014 and beyond.  Anybody who has got any sense about how the corporate world works knows that it’s too late into the season, too late in the year to expect to put together a package for the rest of the season that is going to turn into a multi-year deal.  It’s just all the dollars and cents are accounted for at this point in the year.  That doesn’t mean we can’t put some things together and do some creative stuff with some people and some partners that we already have or whatever.  I don’t think it should be a cause for concern.  We are in really good shape regardless with our partner National Guard and the races that Diet Mountain Dew has on the schedule.  We are in pretty good shape there.  It is important to try to fill out what we have this season and we will.  I don’t have any doubt at all that we will get that done.  I think we almost have to look forward beyond that to try to find out who is going to be the partner that we can put a long term deal together that matches up with what we want to do in the future.
 
“As far as JR Motorsports and Great Clips, the Great Clips people have been really, really good. It’s been a great relationship and its real new relationship with JR Motorsports. We hope to be able to continue that relationship. I think it’s awesome that they are getting more involved in Kasey’s (Kahne) program on the Cup side and that’s got to be exciting for them. I’m happy about that for Great Clips. I don’t know that it affects our program.
 
“We have a lot of good things at JR Motorsports, as well, that are in the works that aren’t ready to come out of the oven just yet. But we have some potential to have some really interesting things announced down the road with that. Due to how well we’ve run this year and how we’ve been able to turn that program around, we definitely caught the eyes of a few sponsors and potential partners. So, we’re looking a lot better on that front, too. I think everything is going to be fine. I don’t believe anybody needs to be too concerned at this point. When we can start announcing some things, we’ll definitely do that.”
 
DID YOU SEE ANY OF THE ELDORA COVERAGE? WOULD YOU EVER THINK ABOUT RACING THERE IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT SOME POINT ON DIRT?
“Well, it looked like that was a lot of fun. I had it recorded on my TV and it recorded an hour and a half of it, so I didn’t get to see the last segment. It was some kind of communication error. But, that was disappointing to say the last because I had pretty much cut off all contact with anyone who might ruin the outcome for me.”
 
YOU DON’T THINK IT WAS USER ERROR, DO YOU?
“No, of course not (laughter). I really thought that was extraordinary for the race track, the series, the sport; what a risky and gutsy call to go do that. I thought it was just extraordinary that NASCAR was willing to make the leap and then Tony (Stewart) was there at the right place and the right time with a perfect race track and an historic place to run it. It’s awesome that it all came together so well; and I thought the race was fun to watch. I really enjoyed what I saw. I think it would be fun to go run there if they ever did exhibition or something. I don’t know about a full-on event. But, yeah, maybe we’ll end up doing that one day.  What I saw was entertaining and exciting and something that was something that I hope I see more of, just from a viewer’s standpoint.”
 
YOUR DAD WAS ONE OF THE FEW GUYS WHO WERE INVITED HERE TO DO A TIRE TEST. DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY CONVERSATI
ONS WITH HIM ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE THAT FIRST TIME ON INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY?
“Yeah I remember I never really had any direct conversations with him, but I remember how excited he was and everybody else was about that specific tire test. And I remember the mental and literal race to be the first guy on the race track once they got here. My dad and Rusty (Wallace) sort of were elbow-to-elbow trying to be the first guy to be on the track. For my father, for some reason, that was historic in its own right.
 
“I remember as young as I was, thinking about how big a deal it was for the sport that we were going to have a race here. I guess the first thing that raced through my mind was what would the racing be like? What kind of race would we see? What kind of style of racing would we see when the cars went around such a big track with no banking and all the corners being 90 degrees, what would the cars do and how would the drivers be able to compete with each other? But it turned out to be quite a thrill and a lot of fun to watch the first race. But it was just really overwhelming because it was just a kid, so wasn’t an expert on the thing. But I felt like the door was always closed to stock cars racing here. I felt like that was just one thing that would never happen; that IndyCars and Open Wheel would be too protective or that the history and tradition of this place would never be broke. But it was awesome that we got the opportunity to come here.”
 
GIVEN THE TRADITIONAL WINNERS AT THIS PLACE, DO YOU THINK EVERYBODY IS GOING TO BE CHASING JIMMIE JOHNSON?
“I think he will be fast, as usual. I’ll be surprised if they’re not one of the more competitive teams. It always seems like there’s somebody else that ends up running well. Greg Biffle runs well here. You’ve got to expect Kyle (Busch) to be competitive. Kasey (Kahne) will probably be quick. The usual players, but definitely we’ll be watching Jimmie and what they’re doing technically with their car and trying to keep that information understood and see what all our teammates are doing, really; to try to help ourselves be as competitive as we can this weekend.”
 
AS A NATIONWIDE SERIES TEAM OWNER, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NATIONWIDE CARS GOING TO ELDORA?
“I think it would be fun. I think it would be good for them and for the series as well. The Trucks are such a neat choice because of the side force that they create with the way the bodies are on the Trucks. I’m not sure how the Nationwide cars or even the Cup cars would run there. But I think it would be fun for the series to have a couple of dirt races, to be honest. Eldora is the perfect place to have this all tested out and obviously it seems to be really awesome for the fans and something they really enjoyed, so I expect that it’s something we could see more of. We’ll just have to see what NASCAR wants to do.”
 

Wood Brothers Racing– Wingo, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Crew Putting Their Best Ford Forward At The Brickyard


This weekend’s Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard, as one of NASCAR’s marquee events, historically brings out the best in Sprint Cup Series race teams and drivers.

For this year’s 400-miler at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Wood Brothers and their Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared a Gen-6 2013 Ford Fusion that has been extensively tested, including a session at Indy, and another at Michigan International Speedway in May, but never raced.

Crew chief Donnie Wingo said he’s been pleased by what he’s seen in the test sessions.

“We were at the test primarily to help Goodyear develop a tire and there really weren’t enough cars there to put down enough rubber to simulate race conditions, but we were able to learn some things about our car,” he said. “We have a good direction heading into this weekend.”

As is the case most weekends on the Sprint Cup circuit, qualifying is importa
nt because a good starting spot allows a driver and team to start the race with good track position, which is important because passing is difficult, especially at a place like Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Good qualifying runs also assure more advantageous pit stalls, as crew chiefs pick their stall based on the qualifying results, with the pole-sitter’s team first in line followed by those behind him in the starting order.

“To be successful at Indy, you almost have to run the race backwards from a pit strategy standpoint,” Wingo said. “You need to be in position to do the least you can on the final pit stop so you can get back on the track ahead of as many cars as you can be.”

The veteran crew chief says that will lead to lots of two-tire stops in the 400, except in cases where a pit stop sets up a full-fuel-tank run.

“You’re always trying to keep your track position,” Wingo said. “That’s why qualifying is so important.”

One thing that will be different for Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew is the color of their No. 21 Ford Fusion. Instead of the usual Motorcraft red and white colors, it’ll be decked out in black and white to honor the 150th birthday of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, who had the overwhelming majority of his first mass-produced car, the Model T, painted black.

“It really looks good,” Wingo said of the special paint scheme. “It doesn’t look like a Model T, but it’s a cool design.

“I think everybody will like it.”

Richard Childress Racing–Mudsummer Classic

Mudsummer Classic   
Eldora Speedway  
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Mudsummer Classic
Eldora Speedway
July 25, 2013
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished first (Austin Dillon), sixth (Brendan Gaughan) and 16th (Ty Dillon).
T. Dillon is fourth in the Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Matt Crafton by 56 markers, while Brendan Gaughan is seventh in the standings, 74 points behind the leader.
The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks fifth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 62 team eighth in the standings.
According to NASCAR’s Post Race Loop Data Statistics, A. Dillon was Fastest on Restarts (72.021 mph), earned the second-highest Driver Rating (127.3), was the second-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (86.278 mph),
Gaughan made 22 Quality Passes, ranking him fifth.
T. Dillon ranked second in Green Flag Passes with 42 and had the sixth-best Speed in Traffic.
Combined, the RCR entries posted the Fastest Laps for 36 circuits with A. Dillon (26), Gaughan (five) and T. Dillon (five).
A Dillon earned his first victory of the 2013 Camping World Truck Series season and was followed to the finish line by Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Joey Coulter and Gaughan.
The next Camping World Truck Series race is the Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, August 3rd. The 11th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on SPEED beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 90.

    
Ty Dillon Finishes 16th in the Inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Eldora Speedway
 
Ty Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team were collected in a late-race incident costing them valuable track position and resulting in a 16th-place finish in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway. After finishing fourth in his qualifying heat race, Dillon started the 150-lap event from the 15th position. The Richard Childress Racing driver reported neutral handling conditions to the Marcus Richmond-led team throughout the first 60-lap segment. Dillon was scored in the 10th position when the first caution flag was displayed signaling the end of the first leg of the event. Armed with four new dancing shoes and fuel, Dillon continued his trek to the front of the field. As Dillon was rounding the half-mile dirt oval on lap 116, he was collected by another competitor spinning in turn two, sending the black and orange Chevrolet into the wall. Sustaining minimal damage, Richmond called for Dillon to remain on the racing surface forcing the team to restart in the 19th position on the ensuing green flag. With less than 30 laps remaining in the event, Dillon was able to advance three positions, to 16th, before crossing the finish line.
 
                Start – 15               Finish – 16                    Laps Led – 0             Points Position – 4th
 
TY DILLON QUOTE:
“This was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. It was awesome being able to race the trucks on dirt. My two worlds collided tonight, and it was a lot of fun. I’m so glad NASCAR was able to put this show on for all the fans here at Eldora (Speedway). I wish we could have taken home the trophy tonight, but we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team worked really hard to put together a fast truck. We were turning faster times than the leader before we got caught up in that wreck. I’m really happy for my brother Austin (Dillon) on earning the inaugural win. I’m glad we could experience this together.”
 
 

Austin Dillon Wins in No. 39 American Ethanol Chevrolet at Eldora Speedway
 
Making his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start since earning the 2011 driving championship, Austin Dillon earned a memorable and historic race win in the No. 39 American Ethanol Chevrolet on Wednesday evening at Eldora Speedway. The eldest grandson of Richard Childress drove from the 19th starting spot to Victory Lane, winning the first NASCAR national series race on dirt since 1970. Dillon advanced to sixth by lap 31 on the initial start, posting some of the fastest lap times in the 30-truck field. He was scored in the fourth position by the time the caution flag waved on lap 54, signaling the end of the first of three pre-designated segments. During the segment break, the Danny Stockman-led crew pitted for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Restarting from the fourth position for the second segment, Dillon took the race lead on lap 89 just as the caution flag was displayed to the field for an incident. He led the field to the restart on lap 96 and remained the race leader through the remainder of the second and third segments, surviving a green-white-checkered restart that extended the race three laps past its advertised distance to secure the win.
   
Start – 19          Finish – 1         Laps Led – 64               Points – N/A         
 
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
“It’s amazing, I love this dirt racing. It’s so much fun. This is real racing right here. We started 19th and had to come from a long way. My American Ethanol truck could turn a little earlier in the middle and had drive, so that’s where I could pass.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gaughan Picks Up Fifth-Place Result at Eldora Speedway
 
Brendan Gaughan and the No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet picked up their sixth top-five finish of the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season in the Inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday night. The Las Vegas native started the scheduled 150-lap event from the eighth position, after finishing second in his respective qualifying heat race earlier in the evening. Gaughan maintained a position within the top-10 of the running order during the first 60-lap segment of the event, and brought the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Silverado to pit road during the competition caution between segments for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to tighten up the truck. The Richard Childress Racing driver returned to the track in the eighth position for the second 50-lap segment. As green-flag racing resumed, Gaughan continued to hold onto a spot within the top-10, breaking into the top five just prior to the conclusion of the second segment on lap 110. The pit crew serviced the black and gold machine during the second scheduled competition caution with four tires, fuel and a round a chassis adjustments to free up the handling for the final 40-lap segment. Gaughan lined up fifth for the start of the final segment, but was shuffled back to the 10th position on lap 126. The veteran driver patiently worked his way toward the front of the pack moving into the sixth spot when the final caution of the evening waved on lap 149. Gaughan lined up fifth for the green-white-checkered finish, where he remained until the conclusion of the event. Following his top-five finish, Gaughan gained two positions in the Camping World Truck Series driver championship point standings moving into the seventh spot.
 
Start – 8         Finish – 5         Laps Led – 0         Points – 7th
 
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE:
“What mattered most about this event was that the fans h
ad fun tonight. I can only hope they had as much fun tonight in the stands as I had in the truck. Our South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet was fast all night, and I just want to make it known that I passed Dave Blaney at Eldora Speedway. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) did a great job and we had the privilege of having Chad Haney and Stevie Reeves working with us tonight, two guys who have a lot of dirt track experience. Chad and Stevie really did a great job helping our team stay ahead of the track all night, and I can’t thank this team enough for all of their hard work. This race was a lot of fun. I hope that we can do it again soon.”
 

Chevy Racing–Tuesday

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF FOR JIMMIE JOHNSON AND THE NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS, WAS THE GUEST ON THIS WEEK’S NASCAR WEEKLY TELECONFERENCE.
 
 
BELOW IS THE TRANSCRIPT FROM TODAY’S INTERVIEW: 
 
 
THE MODERATOR:  Good morning, everyone, and welcome to today’s NASCAR teleconference.  We are joined by Chad Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  With four Brickyard Yard 400 wins, Knaus is the winningest the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, site of Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400 At The Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.
 
Sunday’s race marks the 20th premiere series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Chad, of the four victories at the Brickyard, does one of them stand out more than the others?
 
CHAD KNAUS:  Oh, boy.  I think quite honestly, all of those victories were so special.  I think last year’s was a lot of fun, from the standpoint of really having a super‑dominant race car, so that was definitely one that stood out.
 
I think one that was always kind of fun and different was probably not the one that the sport is most likely the happiest about, is when we did have the tire issues up there and we were running out of tires and we were throwing a lot of cautions and we were actually able to maintain and win that race. That was a lot of fun.  I think that was our second one.  They are all just so special.  It’s such an amazing racetrack, so much history.
Q.  Jimmie mentioned that you two clicked right from the very beginning when you were drinking beer and tossing horseshoes.  After all these years and all these wins, can you describe what you two have to communicate, what you must communicate, and what you don’t have to communicate at all?
CHAD KNAUS:  Well, it’s like any other relationship.  It grows and there’s an ebb and flow of good times and bad.  Jimmie and I have been very fortunate over the years to have gotten a good appreciation and mutual respect for one another.
 
We expanded on that relationship again this weekend, so we’ve had a few of those opportunities where we’ve been able to have a few beers and play some reindeer games.
 
Now we are to the point where I can understand where it is and how off we are with the race car based on his body language and what he says and his feedback.  And he can definitely see with my feedback and my body language and the tone of my voice, he knows what’s happening from my perspective and that’s always good.  One, you can kind of be short and concise and everybody understands where you’re at; and two, if there’s something going on that you don’t feel like talking about, the other person may have a way to play out of the funk if that’s something like that.  If a lot of different levels, it’s pretty good for us.
Q.  Being surrounded by success, what advice would you give any young person about being successful in life, in anything in life?
CHAD KNAUS:  Wow.  You know, just don’t settle.  It’s kind of funny; I always am in just a semi‑state of a little bit of fear.  I’m not going to lie.  I don’t want ‑‑ I fear the fact that one day, we’ll never win a race again.  I fear the fact that one day I won’t work with Jimmie again.  I fear the fact that one day, I won’t have this amazing facility at Hendrick Motorsports to work in.  And I try to work as hard as I can every single day to go out there and win races, because I know at some point in time, it’s going to go away.  And you just can’t take anything for granted.
Q.  A couple of questions.  One, I wanted to know if you allowed yourself to have a little downtime this off‑week and what you did; and the second one is, also something you kind of spoke to and this is kind of living with a teeny bit of fear all the time.  You guys have such a comfortable lead.  You won the Daytona 500 and you have won all these races and you’re going to a mace you’ve won four times and you dominated last year.  How are you keeping everyone’s feet on the ground, because I’m sure that you are, and that’s not such a bad possible to have, I would guess.
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, definitely took some time off.  Was able to go hang out with Jimmie and Chanie and Genevieve and some of our other close family friends and just relaxed and enjoyed some sunshine and a little bit of beach time.  So that was a lot of fun; a lot of great stories, memories, that we’ll be referring back to quite a while from that respect.
 
As far as keeping our feet on the ground, it’s really rather simple with the group of guys that we’ve got.  We all know that in seven weeks, this is all going away:  This point lead, the momentum, the victories, all that is going to mean nothing as soon as we get to Chicagoland Raceway, and when we get there, we have to be on top of ours.
 
So to motivate these guys right now isn’t really ‑‑ the issue is making them realize that in seven weeks, they have to take their games to the next level and that’s really hard to do.  Because if you sit back now and think that you can coast until Chicago, you’re sadly mistaken, because most important thing to do going into Chicago is to make sure you have momentum on your side, and that’s what our focus is.
Q.  Can you remember feel like this at this point of the season still, feeling like things are really clicking as they have been?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, we’ve had seasons that are very similar to this.  But I’ll be quite honest with you, I don’t feel our team is at ten‑tenths yet.  We have got a long ways to go.   Dave Ellins (ph) and Peter Michel and Mike Ellershaw and the guys that do a lot of the car stuff, the engineering aspect of what it is we do, we are still in the infancy of our relationship.  There’s a lot for us to improve upon and we are trying to get better weekly.
 
I think we are getting better but we have a long ways to go before we are where I was with Greg last year and Cody.  So Ron Malec, he’s got a couple of new guys on his team that maintain the race car, and they are not operating 100 percent yet.  We have had some small mistakes and we’ve had some small mistakes and we’ve had some small problems, one of which as recently as New Hampshire.  We have got to get better there.
 
So we have got, over the course of the next seven weeks, for us to be operating where I feel like we need to be operating, we have a long road to hoe.
Q.  Speaking of fear, we have seen some engine failure issues this year, Toyota of course has had some, I think Dale blew an engine at Michigan, etc.  Just curious, is that something that enters or weighs on crew chiefs and drivers at all, or is that something that you have to put out of your mind, because really, in this day and age, is still somewhat rare.
CHAD KNAUS:  I think that they are not ‑‑ there’s not as many now as what there once were, because we know how to control our destiny just a little bit better.  A lot of the engine cycles that we’ve got at some of these tracks with a lot of RPM, a lot of on‑throttle time, especially with the GEN‑6 car and with the increased downforce and the lighter weight, the car goes through the corner faster, so there’s less off‑throttle times to let the engine recover.
 
We know or have ways that we can make the engines live a little bit longer.  In years past, you just push, push, push, push, and ever what happened, happened.  We are a little more cognizant of what’s going on now.  Are we concerned about engine problems?  Absolutely.  Just like Indianapolis, where it’s one of the longest straightaways we’ve got; so you are always on top of that.
 
But where it really starts to come into
play is on tracks where you just don’t have a lot of off‑throttle time.  Kentucky for instance; Michigan; Chicago is probably going to be another track where that’s similar; Kansas, once again.  Those tracks are always a little testing and Texas is coming up; I believe the Texas race is still 500 miles, and that’s a long race.
Q.  And of course, whenever an engine blows, there’s always ‑‑ I’m wondering if there’s the idea that ‑‑ also an example of where the teams are pushing an engine as far as possible in terms of performance and it just happens that the reliability happens to go.  Isn’t it fair to say that you really push the engines to the limit?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, man.  We have got standard push rod V8s that are turning almost 10,000 RPM for a full race.  You’re pushing it to its outer limits.  In all reality, these engines with the restrictions that we have on how we go forward, they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing.  I think it’s phenomenal.
 
I think Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports have got a great engine package and the other manufacturers are working just as hard as what we are, but man, when you start making upwards of 840 horsepower, with just the throttle body V8 engine, that’s pretty impressive.
 
So, yeah, we are definitely on the outer limits of what these things be should be able to do, but I think that’s part of the draw and I think that’s very important.  It wasn’t so long ago that if you had 30 cars finishing a Cup race, that was a big deal.  It’s like, man, everybody made it, nobody had anything break, nobody had anything fall apart.
 
When these manufacturers and teams get so good, you have very few mechanical issues and you have very few engine issues.  When you used to race 600 miles, it wasn’t about just who was going to be racing at 600 miles.  It was like, who could make it 600 miles.  So it’s pretty amazing what we do.
Q.  You mentioned just a few minutes ago the importance of momentum.  But really, why does it matter?  The car doesn’t know what happened the week before, and I would argue that if it worked for you, it wouldn’t matter if you won or not the last week, you would be pushing hard either way, or I would probably have an internal drive that would be similar to yours.  So why does momentum matter?
CHAD KNAUS:  And that’s a great question.  I said that time and time again; that momentum doesn’t really affect how the 48 works.  But it damn sure doesn’t hurt, right.
 
So there’s a level of confidence that everybody needs to be able to work within, and when we go to a racetrack and we make great calls on pit road, we make the right calls with the chassis and we go out there and we have a successful race finishing in the Top‑10, Top‑8, Top‑5, and Jimmie has done a good job and he has made good moves and he has made solid decisions and the pit crew has done solid pit stops.
 
It just gives you a level of comfort to be able to go out there and attack.  A lot of the decisions that we make, we want to say that we are so educated and we are so prepared; a lot what have we do is just off the hip.
 
When you have to make decisions like that, when you feel like you’ve done a good job over a period of time and you’re comfortable making those decisions, if you got burned on pit road a lot, say you’re taking two tires and everybody else took four; you stayed out, everybody stayed in; you pitted, everybody else stayed out.  You go through three or four weeks of that, when it’s time to make that decision, you’ve got all those scenarios passing through your head.  You have this menu of options that are just flittering through and you’re thinking, which one do I need to do or I could burn here. Having good, solid races is really, really important.
Q.  As you talk about that, obviously going back to New Hampshire, I guess the way the weekend starts, you’re fast and you have qualifying issues, somebody could say maybe that disrupts momentum.  How does that affect things and then coming back and getting the finish that you did, how do you live like you guys responded to that and what do you want from that in terms of the momentum and how it shifted so much just even in the one weekend.
CHAD KNAUS:  It’s a damn roller coaster.  It was great.  Look, I hated what happened, happened, but it happened, right.  Saturday night I went to bed perfectly comfortable.  I was excited to see what we were going to be capable of doing Sunday.
 
And I think the way that our team performed on Sunday was fantastic.  We went out there, we had a bad pit box obviously, we were trapped in between the 16 and 17; so every time we were leaving our pit box, we had the 16 around us and we always got choked up by that ‑‑ by no fault of anybody’s; it’s just the tightness of the road.
 
So we never really gained spots and showed what our pit crew was capable of doing.  Our car was solid but we had to do some unique strategy to make sure we were able to stay up there and Jimmie did a fantastic job all day long.  I think that was as big as a momentum builder for us as winning Daytona was because we were able to overcome so many things.  There were so many teams out there that started up front that we finished ahead, and that was nice.
 
I think if we could have started up front in New Hampshire where we had qualified, we would have potentially have run in the top two, three, all day long.
Q.  I know you’ve talked about how Jimmie is able to let things not bother him, but I’m curious, could you have gone on vacation with him ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ if Jeff Gordon had some points?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, that’s funny, the first thing my buddy said when I walked up to him on the beach this weekend, ‘I wonder if Dave Rogers is on vacation.’  I almost turned around immediately and went back to Charlotte.
You have to ‑‑ you have to be able to eject a little bit.  I have a really good friend of mine that said, if you don’t reward your successes, you’ll never want to be successful, and Jimmie has helped teach me that over the years.
 
And again, I only took ‑‑ look, I took three days off, so it wasn’t like I completely ejected, you know.  But I took three days off.  I was able to relax, have a good time, hang out with one of my best friends and many of my other best friends and just chill.  It was really good and I probably would have done it either way.
Q.  You’ve talked about the engines and you’ve talked about the difference in the new cars.  How in the heck do you keep up with all this modern technology?  Do you lay awake at night saying, boy, how am I going to solve this problem?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, it’s tough.  Especially for me.  I’m not as educated as some of these new crew chiefs are.  These guys are so smart that are coming into our industry.  It’s a challenge for me to stay abreast as to what’s going on, just because things are changing so quickly.  I didn’t go to college; I still can’t type.  I one‑finger peck.  It’s tough to keep up with what’s going on and you have to; you have to want to do it.
 
I love my job.  I’ve never once not wanted to get up and go to work.  Now, I’ve sometimes not wanted to get up because I was tired, but I’ve always wanted to go to work and I’m very, very fortunate for that.
 

Follow A Dream– New England Dragway Wrapup

Marstons Mills, MA -July 24, 2013-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team reached the semifinals at the East Regional at the team’s home track, New England Dragway in Epping, N.H. The final-four finish keeps driver Todd Veney in contention for another regional championship and bolstered the team’s lead in the East Region Allstar standings.
Veney ran back-to-back 5.73s Friday in near hundred-degree heat to qualify in the fast half of the field and another 5.73 in the first round of eliminations Saturday night to take out veteran John Headley. In the semifinals against reigning world champ Frank Manzo, who was undefeated at this track, the car smoked the tires off the line for a 5.91 that fell short of Manzo’s 5.62, which was low e.t. to that point.
“Not a bad weekend,” Veney said. “We’re there to win, but any time you make it to the semifinals, you’re doing pretty well. We ran three 5.73s in a row in some pretty tough conditions. It just wasn’t enough to get around Manzo.”
“It was great to have top students and faculty from Porter and Chester Institute at the track with us – people like them are a perfect fit for our program,” Blake said. “We also had the honor of having Chris Vangelder and his family as our guests for the weekend. Chris was blinded in a motorcycle accident a year ago, and it was extra special to be able to show him and his family what’s possible for people who don’t have their sight.”
Next up for the Follow A Dream team is an East Regional next month at Cecil County Dragway in the Baltimore area, where last year the team won to take over first place in the region.

Summit Racing–Line Looks to Capitalize on Sonoma History

Line Looks to Capitalize on Sonoma History
 
MOORESVILLE, N.C., July 24, 2013 – Pro Stock pilot Jason Line appreciates every opportunity to power his brilliant blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro down the quarter-mile dragstrip at speeds in excess of 200 mph, and this weekend he will do just that as he competes for the title at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals at scenic Sonoma Raceway – the second of three races in a row commonly referred to as the strenuous Western Swing – in NHRA’s 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

“Traditionally, Sonoma Raceway has been a good place for the KB Racing team, so the fact that it’s in the middle of the Western Swing is a good thing for us,” said Line, a two-time winner in Sonoma. “Leaving Denver, where you need to have a very different tune-up, to come to sea-level Sonoma is a welcome journey. Our Summit Racing Chevy Camaros have a good chance of running well there, and it’s just such a great racetrack. Bruton Smith is known for his phenomenal tracks, and Sonoma Raceway is no exception.”

Line’s two Sonoma wins, recorded in 2006 and then again in 2009, pair nicely with Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson’s class-best four Napa Valley victories. The KB Racing duo together have won six of the last nine races held at the facility, with team owners Ken and Judy Black regularly traveling from Las Vegas to cheer the team as they picked up round wins on the way to the winner’s circle.

For Line, who celebrates a birthday just a couple of days before the event, a victory at Sonoma Raceway in front of his supportive team owners and family would result in his second trophy of the season and a nice collection of points to add to the pile. With the Countdown to the Championship inching ever closer – the six-race run for the season title will begin in Charlotte in September – every race is of magnified importance. At the Mile-High Nationals last weekend, Line qualified in the top half and scored a round win. He left the event as the No. 5 man in the Mello Yello Series Pro Stock standings.

“We didn’t go as many rounds as we would have liked in Denver last week,” said Line. “But we hit on a couple of things there that certainly showed us a glimmer of hope to start off this three-race swing. Hopefully, those things will parlay into some success in Sonoma. Everyone on the Summit Racing team enjoys going there, and for me, personally, Sonoma Raceway is one of my favorite places to go on the tour. I look forward to it every year, and hopefully everything will come together this weekend for the KB Racing team. We would love to leave there with another win for Summit Racing and Ken and Judy Black.”

Summit Racing–Anderson Looking to Revive Sonoma Success

Anderson Looking to Revive Sonoma Success
 
MOORESVILLE, N.C., July 23, 2013 – Every driver competing in NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has a racetrack or two that he holds in particularly high regard, and for Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson, Napa Valley’s Sonoma Raceway is certainly a facility to which he enjoys returning.

Anderson, a four-time series champion, has a record at the scenic venue that outshines every other driver in the category. This year, he returns for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals looking to strengthen his stranglehold on the title as most decorated Pro Stock driver at the facility.

Mooresville, N.C.-based Anderson has won a record four times in Sonoma, most recently in 2011, and last year he came up just a bit short in the final round, narrowly missing win No. 5. This time around, the 74-time national event victor is coming to Sonoma with his first win of the season at the top of the to-do list.

“Sonoma Raceway is one of the favorite racetracks for this Summit Racing team, that’s for sure,” said Anderson, who has qualified on the pole there six times. “We love going there, and it seems like we’re always able to run well in Sonoma. It’s a place that we know we’ve had good success in the past, so we have good notes to refer to. We can easily see what’s worked well for the KB Racing team there, and hopefully, we’ll come up with a good formula again and have a chance at another win.”

The 2013 season has been unusual in that it has yet to yield a victory for Anderson, who had four checks in the win column by this point last season, but after debuting a brand new Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro mid-year, the Minnesota-bred drag racing veteran has been on an upswing. A final-round finish in Chicago rekindled enthusiasm, and the Summit Racing crew is on the verge of a positive move in the right direction.

“Last week in Denver, we learned a few things,” said Anderson, currently seventh in the Mello Yello Series Pro Stock standings. “I like this three-race Western Swing [the tour heads straight to Seattle next week] because I think we need to go down the track as much as we can right now. The more laps we get, the better chance we have of figuring everything out. We gained knowledge last week in Denver, and that’s certainly going to help us going forward.”

Chevy Racing–Tuesday

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF FOR JIMMIE JOHNSON AND THE NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS, WAS THE GUEST ON THIS WEEK’S NASCAR WEEKLY TELECONFERENCE.
 
 
BELOW IS THE TRANSCRIPT FROM TODAY’S INTERVIEW: 
 
 
THE MODERATOR:  Good morning, everyone, and welcome to today’s NASCAR teleconference.  We are joined by Chad Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  With four Brickyard Yard 400 wins, Knaus is the winningest the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speedway, site of Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents The Curtiss Shaver 400 At The Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.
 
Sunday’s race marks the 20th premiere series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Chad, of the four victories at the Brickyard, does one of them stand out more than the others?
 
CHAD KNAUS:  Oh, boy.  I think quite honestly, all of those victories were so special.  I think last year’s was a lot of fun, from the standpoint of really having a super‑dominant race car, so that was definitely one that stood out.
 
I think one that was always kind of fun and different was probably not the one that the sport is most likely the happiest about, is when we did have the tire issues up there and we were running out of tires and we were throwing a lot of cautions and we were actually able to maintain and win that race. That was a lot of fun.  I think that was our second one.  They are all just so special.  It’s such an amazing racetrack, so much history.
Q.  Jimmie mentioned that you two clicked right from the very beginning when you were drinking beer and tossing horseshoes.  After all these years and all these wins, can you describe what you two have to communicate, what you must communicate, and what you don’t have to communicate at all?
CHAD KNAUS:  Well, it’s like any other relationship.  It grows and there’s an ebb and flow of good times and bad.  Jimmie and I have been very fortunate over the years to have gotten a good appreciation and mutual respect for one another.
 
We expanded on that relationship again this weekend, so we’ve had a few of those opportunities where we’ve been able to have a few beers and play some reindeer games.
 
Now we are to the point where I can understand where it is and how off we are with the race car based on his body language and what he says and his feedback.  And he can definitely see with my feedback and my body language and the tone of my voice, he knows what’s happening from my perspective and that’s always good.  One, you can kind of be short and concise and everybody understands where you’re at; and two, if there’s something going on that you don’t feel like talking about, the other person may have a way to play out of the funk if that’s something like that.  If a lot of different levels, it’s pretty good for us.
Q.  Being surrounded by success, what advice would you give any young person about being successful in life, in anything in life?
CHAD KNAUS:  Wow.  You know, just don’t settle.  It’s kind of funny; I always am in just a semi‑state of a little bit of fear.  I’m not going to lie.  I don’t want ‑‑ I fear the fact that one day, we’ll never win a race again.  I fear the fact that one day I won’t work with Jimmie again.  I fear the fact that one day, I won’t have this amazing facility at Hendrick Motorsports to work in.  And I try to work as hard as I can every single day to go out there and win races, because I know at some point in time, it’s going to go away.  And you just can’t take anything for granted.
Q.  A couple of questions.  One, I wanted to know if you allowed yourself to have a little downtime this off‑week and what you did; and the second one is, also something you kind of spoke to and this is kind of living with a teeny bit of fear all the time.  You guys have such a comfortable lead.  You won the Daytona 500 and you have won all these races and you’re going to a mace you’ve won four times and you dominated last year.  How are you keeping everyone’s feet on the ground, because I’m sure that you are, and that’s not such a bad possible to have, I would guess.
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, definitely took some time off.  Was able to go hang out with Jimmie and Chanie and Genevieve and some of our other close family friends and just relaxed and enjoyed some sunshine and a little bit of beach time.  So that was a lot of fun; a lot of great stories, memories, that we’ll be referring back to quite a while from that respect.
 
As far as keeping our feet on the ground, it’s really rather simple with the group of guys that we’ve got.  We all know that in seven weeks, this is all going away:  This point lead, the momentum, the victories, all that is going to mean nothing as soon as we get to Chicagoland Raceway, and when we get there, we have to be on top of ours.
 
So to motivate these guys right now isn’t really ‑‑ the issue is making them realize that in seven weeks, they have to take their games to the next level and that’s really hard to do.  Because if you sit back now and think that you can coast until Chicago, you’re sadly mistaken, because most important thing to do going into Chicago is to make sure you have momentum on your side, and that’s what our focus is.
Q.  Can you remember feel like this at this point of the season still, feeling like things are really clicking as they have been?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, we’ve had seasons that are very similar to this.  But I’ll be quite honest with you, I don’t feel our team is at ten‑tenths yet.  We have got a long ways to go.   Dave Ellins (ph) and Peter Michel and Mike Ellershaw and the guys that do a lot of the car stuff, the engineering aspect of what it is we do, we are still in the infancy of our relationship.  There’s a lot for us to improve upon and we are trying to get better weekly.
 
I think we are getting better but we have a long ways to go before we are where I was with Greg last year and Cody.  So Ron Malec, he’s got a couple of new guys on his team that maintain the race car, and they are not operating 100 percent yet.  We have had some small mistakes and we’ve had some small mistakes and we’ve had some small problems, one of which as recently as New Hampshire.  We have got to get better there.
 
So we have got, over the course of the next seven weeks, for us to be operating where I feel like we need to be operating, we have a long road to hoe.
Q.  Speaking of fear, we have seen some engine failure issues this year, Toyota of course has had some, I think Dale blew an engine at Michigan, etc.  Just curious, is that something that enters or weighs on crew chiefs and drivers at all, or is that something that you have to put out of your mind, because really, in this day and age, is still somewhat rare.
CHAD KNAUS:  I think that they are not ‑‑ there’s not as many now as what there once were, because we know how to control our destiny just a little bit better.  A lot of the engine cycles that we’ve got at some of these tracks with a lot of RPM, a lot of on‑throttle time, especially with the GEN‑6 car and with the increased downforce and the lighter weight, the car goes through the corner faster, so there’s less off‑throttle times to let the engine recover.
 
We know or have ways that we can make the engines live a little bit longer.  In years past, you just push, push, push, push, and ever what happened, happened.  We are a little more cognizant of what’s going on now.  Are we concerned about engine problems?  Absolutely.  Just like Indianapolis, where it’s one of the longest straightaways we’ve got; so you are always on top of that.
 
But where it really starts to come into
play is on tracks where you just don’t have a lot of off‑throttle time.  Kentucky for instance; Michigan; Chicago is probably going to be another track where that’s similar; Kansas, once again.  Those tracks are always a little testing and Texas is coming up; I believe the Texas race is still 500 miles, and that’s a long race.
Q.  And of course, whenever an engine blows, there’s always ‑‑ I’m wondering if there’s the idea that ‑‑ also an example of where the teams are pushing an engine as far as possible in terms of performance and it just happens that the reliability happens to go.  Isn’t it fair to say that you really push the engines to the limit?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, man.  We have got standard push rod V8s that are turning almost 10,000 RPM for a full race.  You’re pushing it to its outer limits.  In all reality, these engines with the restrictions that we have on how we go forward, they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing.  I think it’s phenomenal.
 
I think Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports have got a great engine package and the other manufacturers are working just as hard as what we are, but man, when you start making upwards of 840 horsepower, with just the throttle body V8 engine, that’s pretty impressive.
 
So, yeah, we are definitely on the outer limits of what these things be should be able to do, but I think that’s part of the draw and I think that’s very important.  It wasn’t so long ago that if you had 30 cars finishing a Cup race, that was a big deal.  It’s like, man, everybody made it, nobody had anything break, nobody had anything fall apart.
 
When these manufacturers and teams get so good, you have very few mechanical issues and you have very few engine issues.  When you used to race 600 miles, it wasn’t about just who was going to be racing at 600 miles.  It was like, who could make it 600 miles.  So it’s pretty amazing what we do.
Q.  You mentioned just a few minutes ago the importance of momentum.  But really, why does it matter?  The car doesn’t know what happened the week before, and I would argue that if it worked for you, it wouldn’t matter if you won or not the last week, you would be pushing hard either way, or I would probably have an internal drive that would be similar to yours.  So why does momentum matter?
CHAD KNAUS:  And that’s a great question.  I said that time and time again; that momentum doesn’t really affect how the 48 works.  But it damn sure doesn’t hurt, right.
 
So there’s a level of confidence that everybody needs to be able to work within, and when we go to a racetrack and we make great calls on pit road, we make the right calls with the chassis and we go out there and we have a successful race finishing in the Top‑10, Top‑8, Top‑5, and Jimmie has done a good job and he has made good moves and he has made solid decisions and the pit crew has done solid pit stops.
 
It just gives you a level of comfort to be able to go out there and attack.  A lot of the decisions that we make, we want to say that we are so educated and we are so prepared; a lot what have we do is just off the hip.
 
When you have to make decisions like that, when you feel like you’ve done a good job over a period of time and you’re comfortable making those decisions, if you got burned on pit road a lot, say you’re taking two tires and everybody else took four; you stayed out, everybody stayed in; you pitted, everybody else stayed out.  You go through three or four weeks of that, when it’s time to make that decision, you’ve got all those scenarios passing through your head.  You have this menu of options that are just flittering through and you’re thinking, which one do I need to do or I could burn here. Having good, solid races is really, really important.
Q.  As you talk about that, obviously going back to New Hampshire, I guess the way the weekend starts, you’re fast and you have qualifying issues, somebody could say maybe that disrupts momentum.  How does that affect things and then coming back and getting the finish that you did, how do you live like you guys responded to that and what do you want from that in terms of the momentum and how it shifted so much just even in the one weekend.
CHAD KNAUS:  It’s a damn roller coaster.  It was great.  Look, I hated what happened, happened, but it happened, right.  Saturday night I went to bed perfectly comfortable.  I was excited to see what we were going to be capable of doing Sunday.
 
And I think the way that our team performed on Sunday was fantastic.  We went out there, we had a bad pit box obviously, we were trapped in between the 16 and 17; so every time we were leaving our pit box, we had the 16 around us and we always got choked up by that ‑‑ by no fault of anybody’s; it’s just the tightness of the road.
 
So we never really gained spots and showed what our pit crew was capable of doing.  Our car was solid but we had to do some unique strategy to make sure we were able to stay up there and Jimmie did a fantastic job all day long.  I think that was as big as a momentum builder for us as winning Daytona was because we were able to overcome so many things.  There were so many teams out there that started up front that we finished ahead, and that was nice.
 
I think if we could have started up front in New Hampshire where we had qualified, we would have potentially have run in the top two, three, all day long.
Q.  I know you’ve talked about how Jimmie is able to let things not bother him, but I’m curious, could you have gone on vacation with him ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ if Jeff Gordon had some points?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, that’s funny, the first thing my buddy said when I walked up to him on the beach this weekend, ‘I wonder if Dave Rogers is on vacation.’  I almost turned around immediately and went back to Charlotte.
You have to ‑‑ you have to be able to eject a little bit.  I have a really good friend of mine that said, if you don’t reward your successes, you’ll never want to be successful, and Jimmie has helped teach me that over the years.
 
And again, I only took ‑‑ look, I took three days off, so it wasn’t like I completely ejected, you know.  But I took three days off.  I was able to relax, have a good time, hang out with one of my best friends and many of my other best friends and just chill.  It was really good and I probably would have done it either way.
Q.  You’ve talked about the engines and you’ve talked about the difference in the new cars.  How in the heck do you keep up with all this modern technology?  Do you lay awake at night saying, boy, how am I going to solve this problem?
CHAD KNAUS:  Yeah, it’s tough.  Especially for me.  I’m not as educated as some of these new crew chiefs are.  These guys are so smart that are coming into our industry.  It’s a challenge for me to stay abreast as to what’s going on, just because things are changing so quickly.  I didn’t go to college; I still can’t type.  I one‑finger peck.  It’s tough to keep up with what’s going on and you have to; you have to want to do it.
 
I love my job.  I’ve never once not wanted to get up and go to work.  Now, I’ve sometimes not wanted to get up because I was tired, but I’ve always wanted to go to work and I’m very, very fortunate for that.
 

Chevy Racing–Monday Teleconference–Richard Childress

RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, WAS THE GUEST ON THIS WEEK’S NASCAR WEEKLY TELECONFERENCE.
BELOW IS THE TRANSCRIPT FROM TODAY’S INTERVIEW: 
THE MODERATOR:  Good morning.  Welcome to today’s NASCAR teleconference.  We are joined by Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, and a three‑time Brickyard 400 winning owner.  Childress is the only owner to win three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with three different drivers, which include Dale Earnhardt in 1995, Kevin Harvick in 2003, and Paul Menard in 2011.
 
On Sunday, July 28th, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will celebrate a special milestone with the 20th running of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard 400.
 
Richard, obviously Indianapolis means so much to you as an owner.  Talk a little bit about those three wins and the memories you have from them.
 
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  You know, when you said 20 years, it kind of reminds me of that old song Bob Seger sings, 20 Years Ago, Where Does It Go?  It doesn’t seem 20 years ago when Dale Earnhardt pulled up there to run our first test.  I guess that was a year or so before we went up there and raced, just to see how the Cup cars would do.
 
To be able to see that car go around the racetrack in such a historical place as Indy with all the history there, to have Dale go around there, it was pretty amazing.  That was one of the first memories I have of being at Indy, other than going up there and jumping the fence one time, John Cooper let me go.
 
I think the win with Dale that day, I remember just like it was yesterday.  We were getting ready to leave and to go to Ruth’s Chris to have dinner because we thought the race was going to be rained out.  But the skies opened up.  We beat Rusty out of the pits.  I don’t remember if we took two, why we done it, but we beat Rusty out of the pits on final pit stop.  Track position was everything.  Dale held him off for the last 20 or so laps.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Before we get to the media questions, obviously Sunday’s race may add a little bit of personal interest to you with your grandson Austin running his first Brickyard 400.  Any thoughts on his debut this weekend?
 
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  It’s going to be really special to see him in a Cup car up there.  Both of the grandsons ran the inaugural Nationwide race there.
 
But seeing him in a Cup car, we have special things going on that weekend, we have a lot going on with some sponsors and some folks there. I’m really, really proud to be there with him and to be able to watch him run that race.
 
We’re going to have an announcement coming soon on the sponsorship and it’s going to be a really special weekend.
 
Then coming back in 2003, we won with Kevin Harvick up there.  That was a special win, as well, because we did start from the pole that day. We’ve been right there to win other Brickyards, but unfortunately we didn’t pull them off.
 
One that ranks really high, maybe above the other two, was when Paul Menard won in 2011.  What made that so special was knowing that Paul’s family was there.  Knowing what John Menard had put into that, I think he had entered like 30 some car over 20 years at Indy, in the Indy 500.  To be part of watching his son win that race was such a special day.
 
Riding around the track, that’s the neatest part of Indy, is getting to ride around the track, seeing all the fans hollering.  That’s really a cool thing right there.
 
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll go ahead with questions for Richard Childress.
Q.  Richard, you talked about Dale’s win up there.  Is there anything specific that you remember about the first race itself?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  The first race Jeff Gordon won, I think, if my memory serves me right.  It was just the amount of people that were in the grandstands, the enthusiasm, walking out on pit road, thinking about all the history of the people that had walked out there on the starting grid before the race and stand out there, you take pictures and see everything.
 
Dale set on the pole for one of those races, and Rick Mast sat on the pole, I don’t think that was the first one.  But that first race, just the crowd was what kind of blew me away.
 
I don’t even remember now where we did end up finishing in that race, but I knew we ran good.
Q.  It was a big deal at that time for that.  Is it still a marquee event to teams, owners and sponsors today?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Yes, it is.  If you want to win a race, you want to win the Daytona 500, you want to win the Coke 600, and Indy, the Brickyard 400.  Those are the three, in my opinion, of the biggest crowns you can win.
Q.  Richard, you’ve been a driver.  Talk about the difficulties that this track presents in terms of just producing good side‑by‑side racing.  It’s so fast on the straightaways, so tight in the corners.  It has been a challenge to put on good shows, though they’ve been memorable.
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Yes, it is.  It’s the same even prior to this new IndyCar.  I think the new IndyCar works well with the draft.  Hopefully our new Gen‑6 will do the same thing.  You’ll be able to draft a little better with it.
 
I think it’s such an aero‑dependent racetrack that you can be 3/10ths faster than another car, and can’t be able to do it.  With our new Gen‑6 car, I’m hoping we can do a lot more drafting with it.
Q.  Can you speak to the decline in the crowds.  I know that isn’t your area of concern or expertise, but it has been a glaring thing we’ve seen.
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I know the crowds are down at football games, basketball games.  A lot of other sports, they’re seeing some of the same things we’re going through.  I think the economy has a lot to do with it, some to do with it.
 
I think you can see so much at home on your TV.  A lot of people are throwing big parties.  You have so much more access today than you had in the ’90s. You can pull it up on the Internet.  There’s so many other ways to watch racing and be involved and not be there.
 
I think some of that, with just the technology today that’s out there, I think a lot of that’s part of the decline in several sports, not only NASCAR.
Q.  I wanted to make sure I heard you right. Did you say you were going to announce sponsorship for Austin next year this weekend at the Brickyard?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  No, no.  He’s got a new sponsor that he’s going to be carrying on the car that is really a neat sponsor.  I don’t think it’s been announced yet.  I don’t even know when they’re going to announce it.  But it will be the sponsor that’s at Indy, really a cool one.
Q.  As far as his schedule for the rest of this year, are you adding any more Cup races for him?  What are you doing to get him ready?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I think we’re running him at Atlanta and we’re running him at Texas, two more races that we’re going to race him on.  This week he’s running Eldora.  He’s running another dirt track race somewhere.  He’s getting a full schedule of racing.  He loves racing.  So he’s going to be running the dirt tracks between now and then.  Then the Nationwide and the Cup.
Q.  Richard, recently we’ve seen a couple drivers break long winless streaks with Truex and Vickers.  Menard hasn’t won since he won the Brickyard.  Burton has a long streak of his own.  Can you talk about the difficulty of trying to keep everyone motivated going forward when you have these long winless droughts?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Yeah, it is a challenge.  You never give up.  You never give up.  Every time you pull in that racetrack, you feel th
at Paul or Jeff, we feel we’ve got what it takes to win.
 
There’s a lot can go on in our sport.  Jimmie Johnson’s had such an amazing career with his wins.  We’ve been challenging for the championship three or four times.  It’s been a long time since we won a championship, but we have been challenging for the championship.
 
I think Paul this year, he was in a position to win a couple races so far.  Jeff ran his best race last week at New Hampshire.  Hopefully things are starting to click with him and Luke.  He’s had some really good runs.  We’re going to try to get him in the Chase.
Q.  Can you talk a little bit about why you think Chevrolet has been so successful at the Brickyard over the last 19 seasons.
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I guess they have won a lot of races.  I don’t know how many of those they’ve won.  But I think the caliber of the teams, the effort that every team puts in to go win at Indy, because we know it’s a big deal for Chevrolet to go up there and win.  I think it’s just that extra motivation for all of us.
 
The other guys have it, too.  But I think we know how important that win is for Chevy.
Q.  I want to ask you about that inaugural Brickyard race.  I know the story about when you went testing, how Dale wanted to lead that first lap of testing, Rusty beat him to the line.  Inaugural race Dale starts second to Rick on the pole.  How much was Earnhardt trying to lead that first lap at Indy?  He bounced off the wall on turn four.  How much does that matter, trying to lead that first lap of competition in the inaugural Brickyard 400?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  That was his goal.  He had his head set he was going to lead that first lap.  I couldn’t remember that race, I thought it was the earlier one when I was speaking about it.  They ran that thing side‑by‑side.  He come off of turn four on the outside and brushed the wall.  We had to work on the car.  Now I do remember it was the inaugural.

His whole goal from the time we set on the outside pole was that he was going to lead that race.  I think if he would have set on the pole, we would have led the race.  But we didn’t.
 
I remember now it did hurt us some in the field that day.  We had a very fast racecar prior to that in practice.
Q.  Was it surprising Rick Mast was able to hold on and lead that lap with how determined Dale was that day?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  For sure.  I think him and Rick kept going back and forth gouging each other on who was going to lead that first lap.  I think Rick was about as determined as Dale was that he was going to lead that first lap.
Q.  At New Hampshire when we talked to you about the lineup and sponsorship, you said definitely Menard and Burton, question mark, possibly a fourth driver.  A couple weeks down the road, after the Budweiser announcement, do you have an idea when you would like to nail things down and have an announcement ready for 2014 on the driver and sponsorship lineup?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  That’s a good question.  Right now we’re finalizing some final things.  We have sponsorship on a third and we actually have some sponsorship on a fourth.  But having it all finalized and put together, it could be a couple of months down the road before we have everything ready to do some announcing on any of that.
Q.  What you said earlier about how Paul Menard’s victory ranks high, maybe above the other two.  I know the Dale Earnhardt win was a big deal for you.  Was it the fact also that it was Paul Menard’s first victory in Cup; did that make it more of a momentous win for you?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Yeah.  Not taking anything away from Dale or Kevin’s first win there, but that one was so special I think because of being able to win a race with Paul, being able to win at Indy where that whole family had put so much into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
 
John Menard played a huge role for many years.  To be able to win that race with him, have his whole family there that day, it was almost like a storybook ending to a great venture in Indy for John Menard.
Q.  Richard, I once asked Mario Andretti about racing go‑karts, if he could see something in kids that would make them potentially be a great racecar driver. He said, Not all kids are created equal.  Here you have two grandsons coming up, working their way up the line.  Did you see that early in them?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I think the biggest thing I’ve seen in them was how competitive they were.  It didn’t matter if it was fishing or hunting, whatever we did together as a family, they were always competitive.  Playing ball, anything they did, they were so competitive.  They have a drive to win.
 
But what makes me as proud of Austin and Ty both is they’re good young men. They understand the value of this sport.  They understand how important the fans are.  They understand how important the whole sponsorship is, how important NASCAR is.
 
They’ve seen all different types of drivers come through the sport.  The respect that they have for the sport and for what it has created for them and our family, they have a great appreciation for it.
 
Both of them are talented young men, and I hope they go far in the sport.
Q.  I was wondering how it feels on being the only car owner to win at this racetrack with three separate drivers.
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I didn’t realize that until today.  It’s really a neat deal.  Hopefully we can add the fourth driver to that list this weekend.  Not taking anything away from Kevin or Paul, but it would be neat to go win it with either one of the four.
 
But, yeah, that’s pretty neat.  I didn’t even realize that until I was told that earlier today.
Q.  How does it feel to say good‑bye to long‑time driver Kevin Harvick at the end of the season?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  It’s going to be one of them deals.  Kevin, we did a lot together over the years.  It was a business decision on his behalf to want to move on.  Hopefully we’ll all look back at the career we had together and say it was all a lot of great times.  We had some tough times, but we also have had some great times. Hopefully that’s the way life carries on.
Q.  Do you believe that RCR can compete for a championship?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  We have for quite a few years.  I don’t see why it would stop now.
 
THE MODERATOR:  Richard, thank you for joining us today.  We wish RCR the best of luck this weekend at Eldora and Indy.
           
RICHARD CHILDRESS:  It’s going to be an exciting time at Eldora, I can assure you.  And Indy, it’s going to be a fun weekend up there.  I always look forward to going to Indy, having dinner at a couple favorite restaurants.  It will be fun.
 
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll definitely see you there. Thank you to the media for joining us, as well.

Honda Racing–HPD Teams Dominate in Canada

Honda Performance Development chassis and Honda engines swept the top five finishing positions Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, as Muscle Milk Pickett Racing continued to reign supreme in the 2013 American Le Mans Series; while Level 5 Motorsports edged fellow HPD-equipped team Extreme Speed Motorsports for LMP2 honors in the two-hour, 45-minute Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix. 

The overall win for Muscle Milk Pickett was the fourth consecutive LMP1 victory for the team in five races this year, a streak that began at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.  It also was the fourth consecutive win at the track formerly known as Mosport for the HPD ARX-03c Honda team, at an event which once again fell on the respective birthdays of winning drivers Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr.

The pole qualifying Muscle Milk HPD dominated the 32-car field, with starting driver Graf quickly establishing his superiority and building an advantage before handing off to co-driver Luhr at the second and final pit stop.  By then, Muscle Milk had a three-lap lead over the field, and a massive five-lap lead over its nearest LMP1 challenger.  Luhr continued to extend that advantage to score his record-extending 45th career American Le Mans Series victory, and the 18th for co-driver Graf.

In the companion LMP2 category, it was another close-fought battle between the two-car teams of Level 5 Motorsports and Extreme Speed Motorsports, both utilizing turbocharged V6-powered HPD ARX-03b Hondas.  A strategic decision by the Level 5 team, bringing in third-running Marino Franchitti for a fresh set of Michelin tires during a final-hour caution period, proved to be the difference.

The additional stop cost Franchitti track position, but equipped with the newer tires, he was turning the fastest LMP2 lap times of the race, and quickly closed on Scott Sharp’s Extreme Speed HPD for second place, making an outside pass in the fast right-hand Turn 8 to take the position with just over 20 minutes remaining in the contest.  Almost immediately afterward, Franchitti passed teammate Scott Tucker for the lead coming on to the start/finish straight.

Sharp also was soon past Tucker, and battled with Franchitti throughout the closing laps, as both worked their way through GT traffic.  With just one lap remaining, the pair ran nose-to-tail in search of the class victory, but Franchitti sliced through lapped traffic while also staying just ahead of overall leader Luhr to take his third LMP2 victory of the season and extend his lead in the drivers’ championship.

Dyson Racing–Points Taken

BOWMANVILLE, ONT July 21, 2013 – Unlike Lime Rock, it was not the Humidex 400.  It was a nice day in the neighborhood for racing today at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry finished second in P1 and sixth overall in the fifth race of the American Le Mans Series, the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, the half-way point of the 2013 ALMS season.

Tony Burgess qualified and started the car. He pitted the #16 Dyson Racing Lola Mazda on lap 43, fifty minutes into the race for fuel, tires and a driver change over to Chris McMurry.  Pit stop confusion a lap earlier necessitated the car driving through the pits and taking another lap around the track. This put them down the running order, with McMurry tasked with moving the car up the timing charts.  He made up eight spots, and brought the car in on lap 89, an hour and fifty minutes into the race with Tony getting back into the car.  Tony set the car’s fastest race lap during his second stint and brought the car home second in P1.  It was the second consecutive second place ALMS points finish for the #16 Dyson Racing entry with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith finishing second two weeks ago at Lime Rock Park.   

“There was one problem which was a combination of things in the pits but we were good on track,” said Burgess. “I was very conservative. I was not going to do some of the other things the other drivers were doing as I wanted to make sure we finished   the race.  This was a good finish on my favorite track.  I have been coming here for 43 years in total, and this will be a good add to the memories.”

Chris McMurry added, “A lot of credit goes to the team. The car was really good and quite easy to drive. I could have gotten a little bit more out of it, but we wanted to be wise on how we ran the race. Muscle Milk was very quick so congratulations to them on their win. I really enjoyed the drive and Tony did a great job.  This is the first time we have been in the #16 car together, so overall, a good weekend for us.”

“Chris and Tony did a terrific job on the race track,” stated Rob Dyson.  “They will be back with us for our next race at Road America, which we won last year in the closest ever overall finish in ALMS history. Here’s to history repeating itself.”

Dyson Racing–Unification North of the Border

BOWMANVILLE, ONT, July 20, 2013 – Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry kicked off their four race stint with Dyson Racing with a second row qualifying effort for tomorrow’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.  Tony Burgess qualified the #16 Mazda Lola second fastest in P1 with an average speed of 127.235 MPH  around the 10 turn, 2.5 mile Canadian Tire Motorsport Park track. One of racing’s more challenging tracks, Canada’s oldest track has long been a drivers’ favorite.

No stranger to Mosport, the Toronto native has raced here twelve times including a 24 hour race for motorcycles early in his career. Tony raced with Dyson Racing three times last year, with the first here at the Canadian Tire track.  He has over one hundred sports car races to his credit and has raced in more than ten countries with seventeen 24 hour sports car races to his credit including this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Given where Chris and I are at in our cycle of development with the car, we got a good amount out of it in qualifying,” Tony said.  “This is my first time driving a car with the wide front tires and you can feel the difference.  You pay a price in terms of feel from initial turn in to the apex, but overall, you are not worried about the front end giving up, and under braking it is much better.”

Chris McMurry returns to Dyson Racing after placing third in ALMS points at last year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans with the Dyson squad. He has raced sixty-five times in the ALMS since his first Petit Le Mans in 2001, with twenty-seven podiums to his credit. Chris will be pairing with Tony this year here and Road America, Circuit of the Americas and Petit Le Mans.  He tested at Road Atlanta a couple weeks ago, and said “I was surprised how quickly it comes back.  I think a large part of it is this car is a very confidence inspiring car, so it is easy to come back to it. Your brain is not playing games with you about whether you can do it or not.  The car is so good you can hop right in and you can get right back to your driving.  It actually motivates you to attack and pushes you to go faster.”

On a non-racing note, there was a Dyson first here today in 39 years of racing.  There was a marriage proposal in the race car at lunch time.  Ian Browning made arrangements with the team to have his girlfriend Sarah Bunting sit in the car, followed by Ian proposing to her and slipping the ring on her finger while she was in the car.  She was totally surprised, and yes, she said yes. They have known each other since second grade.  The word is she did not originally like him, but that eventually changed over the years.  Dyson Racing wishes them all the happiness in their future life together.

Richard Childress Racing–Chicagoland Speedway

STP 300
Chicagoland Speedway  
NASCAR Nationwide Series
STP 300
Chicagoland Speedway
July 21, 2013
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Austin Dillon), 10th (Matt Crafton), 11th (Brian Scott) and 15th (Dakoda Armstrong).
Dillon is third in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Sam Hornish by eight markers, while Scott is eighth in the standings, 65 points behind the leader.
The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks fifth in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 2 team 10th in the standings and the No. 33 team 14th.
According to NASCAR’s Post Race Loop Data Statistics, Dillon was Fastest on Restarts (166.151 mph), ranked second in Average Running Position with an Average Running Place of 2.925, and had the fourth-best Driver Rating (122.6).
Crafton ranked second in the Closers category, advancing two positions in the final 10 percent of the race.
Scott completed 33 passes while running in the top 15, positioning him seventh in Quality Passes.
Armstrong ranked fifth in the Closers category, advancing one position in the final 10 percent of the race.
Joey Logano earned his second victory of the 2013 Nationwide Series season and was followed to the finish line by Sam Hornish Jr., Dillon, Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers.
The next Nationwide Series race is the Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 27. The 19th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Indy Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 90.

    
Brian Scott Finishes 11th at Chicagoland Speedway
 
Brian Scott headed into the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Chicagoland Speedway as one of four four competitors vying to take home a $100,000 bonus as part of the Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash program. Scott and the No. 2 Fast Fixin’ team started from the ninth position, but fought a loose handling condition throughout the STP 300 and ultimately earned an 11th-place finish. Upon taking the green flag Scott battled inside the top-10 for the opening portion of the event. On lap 18 he reported that he was loose on exit of the corner. The caution flag was displayed on lap 48, prompting Scott to bring his Fast Fixin’ Camaro to the attention of his crew for four tires, a full tank of fuel and a chassis adjustment. After restarting seventh, the Boise, Idaho-native once again reported he was loose in traffic as he was scored in the 10th spot. As the race remained green, Scott made a green-flag pit stop on lap 102 for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to fix the loose condition. Once all green-flag stops cycled through, Scott was scored eighth. The caution flag waved on lap 128 and Scott brought his No. 2 machine to the attention of his crew for another round if four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 133 with Scott in the 12th spot. The set of changes proved to help the handling of his machine as he climbed as high as seventh. As the laps wound down, Scott battled to stay inside the top-10. He was tapped from behind by a competitor in the closing laps, relegating him to an 11th-place finish.
 
Start – 9                       Finish – 11                   Laps Led – 0                   Points – 8th
 
BRIAN SCOTT QUOTE:
“We started off the weekend really well by leading the final practice. When it came race time we were so loose in traffic and had to battle back on restarts. In clean air we were able to track down the competition, but just couldn’t do anything in dirty air. We’ll look at everything and head to Indy. I can’t thank Fast Fixn’ enough for coming on board this weekend; it was great to have them at the track.”
 

Austin Dillon Earns Second-Consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash $100,000 Bonus with Third-Place Finish at Chicagoland Speedway
 
Austin Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a third-place finish in the STP 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday afternoon, besting the performances of fellow Dash 4 Cash competitors Brian Scott, Brian Vickers and Michael Annett to earn a $100,000 bonus for the second-consecutive week. Dillon is now eligible for Nationwide Insurance’s fourth and final leg of the Dash 4 Cash program next weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and is the only series competitor who has qualified for every leg of the program. The Welcome, N.C. driver started Sunday’s race from the third position and never fell below eighth in the running order. He made his first pit stop of the event during a caution period on lap 48 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to improve a loose-handling condition. Dillon restarted from the fifth position when green-flag racing resumed on lap 53 and led laps 108 through 130 before pitting during a caution for tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted from the fourth position on lap 133 and advanced to the third spot for the race’s finish to secure his second-consecutive third-place finish and the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash Bonus. Dillon remains third in the Nationwide Series driver point standings, eight points shy of the lead.
 
Start – 3           Finish – 3         Laps Led – 24            Points – 3rd                          
 
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE:
“Wow, another $100,000. Thanks to Nationwide Insurance for putting this program together, and first and foremost, thanks to the Lord above. We had a great AdvoCare Chevrolet today. We started off a little free. We made a big adjustment during the first pit stop and it turned out to really help us. The AdvoCare team did a good job today. It was about track position at the end there. I think the fans should have enjoyed it because it was four-wide racing at the end on that one restart.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dakoda Armstrong Brings Home Top-15 Finish at Chicagoland
 
Returning to the NASCAR Nationwide Series for this third appearance of the 2013 season with Richard Childress Racing, Dakoda Armstrong collected his second top-15 finish Sunday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway. After qualifying 17th earlier in the day, the 22-year-old driver maintained a top-20 running position for the entire 200-lap event while battling handling issues on his No. 21 WinField Chevrolet Camaro. Armstrong visited pit road on lap 102 for a scheduled four-tire pit stop and chassis adjustment under green-flag conditions in an effort to alleviate handling issues the RCR driver was battling. Before green-flag pit stops cycled through the field, the caution flag was displayed, placing Armstrong one lap down to the leader and positioning him 16th for the ensuing restart. As green-flag racing resumed, the Indiana native continued to hold onto a position near the top 15 and was the recipient of the “Lucky Dog” award when the fifth caution of the day came out on lap 172. Armstrong remained in the top 20 during the final laps, crossing the finish 15th.
 
Start – 17          Finish – 15          Laps Led – 0          Points – N/A
 
DAKODA ARMSTRONG QUOTE:
“The biggest thing that helped us today was that this Richard Childress Racing crew never gave up. Every chan
ge they made to the WinField Camaro seemed to help. We had great speed at the end of the final two runs that really gave us a chance to fight at the end. I’m happy to get another top-15 Nationwide Series finish, and am looking for more good things to come from this team in our final two races of the year.”
 

Matt Crafton Scores Top-10 Finish in Second Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Start
 
In his second career NASCAR Nationwide Series start, Matt Crafton finished 10th in the STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Crafton started the event from the fourth position and remained in the top five until lap 28 when he reported the No. 33 Rheem/Menards car was loose on exit.   The caution flag was displayed on lap 49, prompting crew chief Ernie Cope to call Crafton to pit road for four Goodyear Eagle tires, Sunoco Green E15 fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The Tulare, Calif., native restarted the race on lap 53 from the sixth position. Shortly after pitting for routine service under green-flag conditions on lap 100, Crafton reported a bad vibration in the rear of the car, forcing the team to make an unscheduled stop on lap 112. The crew changed four tires and topped off with fuel as Crafton returned to the track on lap 114 in the 18th position, one lap down to the leader. Crafton raced his way into the “Lucky Dog” position and rejoined the lead lap cars when the caution flag was displayed on lap 130. Crafton restarted in the 15th position and quickly worked his way to the 12th position by lap 149. The caution flag was displayed again on lap 172 for an accident, and Crafton relayed to the team he was still too loose off. Receiving four tires and a splash of fuel on pit road, he returned to the track in the 12th spot. During the closing laps, Crafton battled his way to the 10th position, where he finished the race. The finish marked his second top-10 in his second career Nationwide Series start.
 
Start – 4                Finish – 10              Laps Led – 0        Owner Points – 14th                                
 
MATT CRAFTON QUOTE:
“We battled a loose car most of the race, but I’m proud of the way this team fought back to get a top-10 finish. I am grateful to Menards and the entire Richard Childress Racing organization for the opportunity to be behind the wheel in the Nationwide Series. We’ll take this top-10 and hope to improve on it in my next run at Kentucky Speedway.”

Summit Racing–Line Takes Notes in Denver, First of Three in a Row

Line Takes Notes in Denver, First of Three in a Row
 
Denver, Colo., July 21, 2013 – Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line was pleasantly surprised by the performance of his Chevrolet Camaro on the first day of qualifying at the Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, but the rest of the weekend didn’t pan out quite as expected. The Mooresville, N.C.-based driver picked up a round win on Sunday but was halted in round two.

The positive for Line, one half of the KB Racing duo that also includes teammate Greg Anderson, is planning to take everything learned on The Mountain and turn it into success as the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour departs for the second of three consecutive events on the notoriously grueling Western Swing.

Line qualified his blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the No. 7 spot based on a best time of 6.986-second at 196.70 mph in Denver. In the first round, he was first off the starting line next to opponent Rodger Brogdon and turned the advantage into victory at the top end. Line’s reaction time was a very respectable .029-second to Brogdon’s .047, and the 30-time national event victor scored the round win with a 7.022 at 195.76 mph to his challenger’s quicker yet losing 7.016. The holeshot win came with a second round meeting with V. Gaines, and this time it was his opponent who got the jump at the starting line. Gaines kept ahead for a 7.001 to 7.019 win.

“Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I did a very good job as a driver today,” said a humble Line, who is currently ranked fifth in NHRA’s Mello Yello Series Pro Stock standings. “We did win a round, and that’s always a good thing, but we want to go a lot farther than that with our Summit Racing Camaros no matter where we are. To tell you the truth, I’m glad we’re going to Sonoma next week to race because it gives the KB Racing team the opportunity to continue working on our program. We like Sonoma, and hopefully we’ll be able to rise to the occasion there.

“I do think that we hit on a couple of things here that showed us a glimmer of hope. Hopefully, those things will parlay into some success next week and we can get one of the Summit Racing Chevy Camaros to the winner’s circle.”
 

Mopar Racing–Long Live the King: Johnson Seizes Fifth Victory in Seven Years at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals

Long Live the King: Johnson Seizes Fifth Victory in Seven Years at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals

Allen Johnson drives his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger to a seventh consecutive final-round appearance at Bandimere Speedway
Johnson earns his second consecutive win and fifth of his career at Thunder Mountain, and 20th overall
Hometown favorite and Lakewood, Colo. native V. Gaines takes the runner-up spot for the second straight year at his home track
Team Mopar Pro Stock teammates Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. clinch spots in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs
Mopar-powered NHRA Funny Car drivers exit early at Thunder Mountain
Morrison, Colo. (Sunday, July 21, 2013) –  Allen Johnson further cemented his reputation as the “King of Thunder Mountain,” defeating Lakewood, Colo. native V. Gaines in an all-Mopar final round at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on the 25th anniversary of the Mopar brand’s title sponsorship of the event. In a repeat of the 2012 Mopar Mile-High final round, Johnson, the defending Pro Stock Series champion, claimed his second consecutive win at Bandimere Speedway, fifth in seven years, his fourth win of the season and 20th of his career. Johnson is also now tied for second all-time in Pro Stock wins at Denver with Warren Johnson.

No. 1 qualifier at Bandimere Speedway for the fourth consecutive year, Johnson’s day started out easy — with a bye run — but it didn’t stay that way for long. After a 6.981-second elapsed time (ET) at 197.10 mph in his single run, Johnson faced current points leader Mike Edwards without lane choice in a quarterfinals matchup of the top two drivers in the point standings. Johnson handled the pressure skillfully, leaving the starting line first with a .010 reaction time to Edwards’ .031 and never trailing, clocking in with a victorious 6.982/196.90 in his Mopar Express Lane/J&J Racing Dodge to Edwards’ 6.989/196.67.

In the semifinals, the Greeneville, Tenn. native faced off with young gun Rickie Jones. Johnson, an 18-year veteran, was first off the line with a .020 reaction time and quickest on the track with a 6.993/196.96 at the timing lights to advance to his seventh-consecutive final round appearance at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, as well as his seventh final of the year and 43rd of his career. In the money round at Mopar’s main event, Johnson used a 6.989/196.87 run to defeat fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger driver Gaines, who posted a 7.015/196.67 effort.

“You know, the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger crew is the reason for this,” said Johnson, who also clinched a berth this weekend in the NHRA Countdown to the Championships playoffs, scheduled for the last six events of the season. “All the guys at the engine shop, all the guys at the chassis shop, all the things that they put into this event. They’re determined to win every year, and I have to give all the glory to them.

“We’re really thrilled to come out here with a win for Mopar on their 25th anniversary. For them and the Bandimere family, having that marriage for 25 years, we really wanted to win it for that marriage. We pulled it off, and we’re very happy.”

“Congratulations to Allen (Johnson) and the Mopar Express Lane Team for an incredible fifth career win at Bandimere Speedway,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “What a great way to celebrate Mopar’s 25th anniversary as title sponsor of this wonderful event. Four wins and seven final elimination appearances this season to date show how much work and determination Allen and his team have put in to battle in a tough Pro Stock class in defense of the Championship.”

Johnson will now try to sweep the last two events of the NHRA’s famed Western Swing, an accomplishment he came one win short of achieving last season.

“It would be an elite honor, to be in that group of (drivers),” said Johnson. “We go to every race trying to win every round and the race, and that’s what we’ll do heading to Sonoma (the next event).”

Last year’s Pro Stock runner-up Gaines was the crowd favorite. Starting out of the No. 2 spot, Gaines had a solo run to open the day after Steve Kalkowski had problems in the pits and was unable to make the call. In the second round, Gaines knocked out Jason Line with a 7.001/196.26 mark, and in the semis stunned Shane Gray with a .002 reaction time coupled with a 7.011/196.53 to score the holeshot win.

Jeg Coughlin Jr., who competes with Mopar HEMI-powered engines supplied by Allen Johnson’s J&J Racing team, qualified No. 9 and went against Edwards in the opening round. His 7.012/196.47 in his Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger couldn’t defeat Edwards, but the four-time Pro Stock champ did secure his berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Vincent Nobile, part of the J&J Racing squad, drove his Mountain View Dodge Avenger past former Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson and met Shane Gray in the quarterfinals. Always fast off the line, Nobile left first with a .014 reaction time to Gray’s .043, but was unable to hold the lead with a pass of 7.020/196.44 to Gray’s 6.981/196.96. Mopar-powered Colorado native and No. 5 qualifier Derik Kramer exited in the first round, as did Matt Hartford, who was able to walk away after crossing the center line and then hitting the left wall hard in a wild run in his Dodge.

Mopar-powered NHRA Funny Car teams experienced a more difficult outing during Sunday eliminations. Defending event winner Jack Beckman qualified No. 2 in his Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car and bested Terry Haddock in the opening stanza with a 4.245/295.46 run. “Fast Jack’s” bid for back-to-back Mopar Mile-High wins ended in the quarterfinals, where his 4.276/295.40 effort wasn’t enough to defeat Robert Hight, who also defeated Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge driver Johnny Gray in the opening round.

Two of Beckman’s DSR compatriots, Matt Hagan and Ron Capps, were forced to wage a round-one Mopar vs. Mopar duel. Capps was able to capture the win with a 3.922/299.60 pass to the slower 4.258/296.31 recorded by Hagan in his Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dodge Charger R/T. Capps was unable to reach the semis, losing to Cruz Pedregon in quarterfinals. Jeff Arend fell to Tim Wilkerson in the opening round.

Chevy Racing–Corvette Racing–Canada Post Race

CORVETTE RACING IN CANADA: Pressure-Packed Win for Gavin, Milner
Second win of 2013 for No. 4 Compuware Corvette; Garcia/Magnussen place fourth
 
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario (July 21, 2013) – Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner scored their second victory in the American Le Mans Series on Sunday with a hard-earned effort in the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Milner took the checkered flag in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R for the fifth round of the ALMS as the duo became the first in the GT class to win multiple races in 2013.
 
The victory played out in thrilling style before a live audience on ESPN2. Milner drove a pressure-packed final stint to win by 0.267 seconds. It moved Gavin and Milner into second place in the GT championship lead as they seek to win back-to-back titles. Corvette Racing retained its lead in the team standings, as did Chevrolet in the manufacturers’ race.
 
Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen placed fourth in class after a stellar effort. The No. 3 Corvette started from the rear of the grid after a massive crash by Magnussen in Saturday’s qualifying. They stand third in the unofficial driver standings.
 
“What a fantastic weekend for everyone at Corvette Racing,” said Mark Kent, Director of Racing – Chevrolet. “Congratulations to Oliver, Tommy and everyone on the No. 4 crew for a flawless performance. Likewise, I cannot minimize the effort by the No. 3 team to rebound from Saturday’s massive crash in qualifying. Once again, Corvette Racing never gave up.”
 
Gavin won for the 40th time in the series – third-most in its history. He made the most of an overnight adjustment to the No. 4 car and picked up two spots on the opening lap to move into third place. He settled in for the duration of his stint and pitted from the lead as cars in front of him pitted earlier. The No. 4 crew gave Gavin a precious two-second advantage during the first stop, which saw Milner move to the front shortly after the driver change.
 
The young American drove a strong double-stint to the end and got added help from the pit crew on a final stop that gave him another second over his nearest competition.
 
Garcia made up four positions in class in the opening 24 laps despite losing time attempting to overtake a slower GT car for the better part of 15 laps. Once around, he ran as high as third during his stint before handing off to Magnussen. The No. 3 crew short-filled on fuel during its first stop in an attempt to gain position while hoping for a caution period at the same time.
 
The No. 3 car did come away with the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge trophy for the GT class. The award goes to the car that exhibits clean, fast and efficient performance levels in the ALMS.

Summit Racing–Anderson Predicts Even Trickier Racing on Sunday in Denver

Anderson Predicts Even Trickier Racing on Sunday in Denver 
 
Denver, Colo., July 20, 2013 – Qualifying has concluded at scenic Bandimere Speedway, and Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson is geared up to run for a third Mile-High NHRA Nationals title at one of the most challenging, and therefore exciting racetracks on NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour. After a qualifying performance that exceeded expectations, Anderson, starting from the No. 6 position, will take on young Vincent Nobile in the first round of eliminations.

The Summit Racing team came out in the first session of qualifying with a set-up that they correctly presumed would reproduce what they had seen in testing the week before the event. A 7.009 at 196.36 mph for the white Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the opening act was a good foundation to build on, and with a slightly more aggressive approach, Anderson reeled off a 6.983, 196.19 in Friday’s second session. Although a pair of back-to-back 7.02-second runs on Saturday didn’t result in an improvement in his qualifying position, Anderson and his KB Racing team were able to gather more data for Sunday’s elimination rounds.

“We did something smart and sent Jason out here to test last week,” said Anderson. “We tried a whole bunch of things, and then we took what we thought were the best things, threw out what we thought were the worst, put everything together, and it gave us a good point to start from. It takes a tremendous amount of change to come here, but we used all the data that he gathered last week and I think we’re running a little bit better than we were a couple of races ago. We still have work to do, but our Summit Racing Camaros are getting better.”

On Friday evening after a marked improvement in the second session, Anderson and the majority of the factory hot rod class competitors believed that the racing surface was on track to only get better and better, but Mother Nature had her say and blazed hot sun on the track nearly all day long – and raceday is slated to bring more of the same.

“Based on past history, we thought the track was going to continue to get better as the weekend wore on, and I think everybody thought that because this morning everybody came out and smoked the tires,” said Anderson. “Everybody thought the same thing, but the sun on the racetrack made the track go right away. We were all way over center in the first run so we had to de-tune again tonight. The sun certainly plays a big part in it, sunshine hurt the track today a lot, and we’re going to have a lot of sunshine again tomorrow.

“It’s going to be tricky. It’s going to come down to which crew chief is making the right decisions on the starting line and low gear. You’re not going to be able to be that aggressive tomorrow, but you can’t get too lazy either or you’ll run slow. It’s going to be a really tricky race and it will probably be a hot son of a gun. It’s going to be a tuner’s race.”
 

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