Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

Keselowski and Logano Speak Out on Comments Made by Bubba Wallace

AVONDALE, Arizona — Throughout the weekend of the Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway, Bubba Wallace was hounded by the media after accusations of an apparent intentional spin that occurred in the AAA Texas 500 from Texas Motor Speedway.

In a video taken by NASCAR NBC Sports writer, Dustin Long, the driver of the No. 43 – visibly agitated – admitted to intentionally committing the act, but credited his actions to things he learned from Team Penske drivers, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

The drivers of the No.2 and No. 22 Ford Mustangs witnessed the the footage of Wallace’s comments, but we’re puzzled to what incidents he was referring to.

The only incident that came to mind for Logano occurred in the first race in the Round of 8 at Martinsville Speedway, just two weeks prior.

The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion was driven up the track by Denny Hamlin and sandwiched between the right side of the No. 11 and the outside wall down the front stretch. This led to a flat tire and an untimely spin from Logano, which ultimately resulted in the infamous altercation between the driver of the FedEx Camry and the driver of the Shell/Pennzoil Ford at the conclusion of the First Data 500.

“At Martinsville, I got a flat tire,” Logano told POPULAR SPEED. “I’m trying not to crash, trying not to hit anything or get the quarter panels torn up – trying to live to race another day, basically. That’s kind of the thought at that moment, ‘How do I continue my race?'”

The Connecticut-native didn’t have much to say about the comments made by Wallace, although he seemed to have inferred that he may have aided with the on-track spin to prevent further damage.

While Logano opted a more tight-lipped approach to the situation, Keselowski did not shy away from speaking his mind on the accusations and the state of NASCAR, in certain regards.

” I wish he [Wallace] had given more context, because I’m not exactly sure what he’s talking about.,” Keselowski shared with POPULAR SPEED. “I’m guessing he’s talking about Michigan (International Speedway) when I had a flat tire and somehow kept it off the wall – but, that one was savable, it wasn’t by me. I don’t really have a lot of thoughts on it without understanding what he meant.”

The driver of the Miller Lite Ford seemed to defend Wallace and went on to reference NASCAR’s early lineage in a sense that the sport was literally founded off of criminals – bootleggers running moonshine through the Appalachian foothills during the prohibition-era. Keselowski finds it ironic that the sport has transitioned from hard-nosed competitiveness to a  “squeaky-clean perfect” approach.

“It makes you wonder about the days of Dale [Earnhardt] and all the other guys and what they were able to get away with,” the Michigan-native pondered. “Everyone obviously misses Dale, but then I wonder sometimes – if a guy like Dale was around would he even be accepted today?”

Keselowski admitted that this is not all due in part to NASCAR wanting clean and fair racing. He is fully aware that a vast majority of the sport’s revenue is acquired through sponsorships and naturally, partners prefer more ethical and cleaner methods upon representation.

After Long’s video of Wallace went viral on Twitter, the sport’s sanctioning body swiftly took action and slapped the 25-year old driver with a $50,000 fine and a deduction of 50 points from the No. 43 team.

Although NASCAR’s intent was to send a message, don’t expect these penalties to prevent further incidents like this from occurring in the future. Teams are always fighting tooth and nail to get best finish they can attain and that all begins with preserving the car.

While attempts to save the car won’t be as blatant as Wallace’s actions at Texas (See the video below) – we can almost guarantee that drivers will think twice about admitting to guilt. Sometimes the truth does not set you free.

EMAIL COLE AT: colecusumano88@gmail.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

Old Guys Still Ruling in 2018

A few months ago, the conversation of the off-season as the excitement of the young stars rising into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018. Drivers like Alex Bowman, Darrell Wallace Jr., and William Byron were heading into the year with full-time rides, some even replacing icons.

We were preparing to witness a year with a great deal of young talent, and many believed it would be proven on the track.

As the season kicked off at Daytona, it fired off fairly strong for the young guns with 25-year-old Alex Bowman winning the pole for the Daytona 500. Additionally, rookie Darrell Wallace Jr. finished second in the 60th running of “Great American Race.”

Wallace entered the media center following the Daytona 500 with much excitement and even let loose his emotions after a runner-up finish. But since then, Wallace hasn’t placed any better than 20th and has an average finish of 22.8.

The youngsters have become quiet since Daytona, and the veterans have become the spotlight of the season.

Six races in, the veterans have showcased their experience and proved they are still the ones to beat. In fact, 42-year-old Kevin Harvick went on to win the next three events following the Daytona 500 and even some in dominating fashion.

Harvick expressed his feelings on social media this past week after his teammate, 38-year-old Clint Bowyer, won the STP 500 at Martinsville.

That’s right, no driver under the age of 25 has won a race this season. Many thought that Hendrick Motorsports would be a factor going into the year as they added a few young stars and the new Camaro ZL1.

Quite frankly, it has been the complete opposite.

The fresh young faces at Hendrick Motorsports, Alex Bowman and William Byron, have had an uneasy start to the season. Both drivers combined have only scored one top-10 finish this year, and the new Camaro ZL1 has shown inconsistency throughout the first six races.

Meanwhile, a team with veteran drivers are building toward a having a historic season.

Stewart-Haas Racing has won four of the first six events and is going into the off weekend with a grandfather clock as Clint Bowyer snapped a 190-race winless streak.

Greg Zipadelli, Vice President of Competition for Stewart-Haas Racing, said after the win at Martinsville, “This year as a group they’ve been able to work together, and they’ve been able to work on a lot of little details, and I think it’s shown in the performance to start the year.”

Their impressive performance currently has all four of their drivers in the top-12 in points. But will this trend continue for the rest of the season?

The Cup Series schedule is lengthy, and it’s still early, but we shouldn’t rule out the young guns just yet. They’ve earned a spot in NASCAR’s premier series so they’re obviously talented and it will be thrilling to watch them try to break out and beat the “old guys.”

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
News

Weather Forecast Looking Better at Martinsville

The forecast is improving for this afternoon’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway, the oldest and shortest track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Although rain was falling this morning and could threaten the scheduled noon ET qualifying session, the good news is that the precipitation should move out by early afternoon, allowing the race to begin at or near its scheduled 3 p.m. start time.

According to Weather.com, the chance of rain at Martinsville is never higher than 25 percent between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m., when it drops to zero.

Two other factors to consider: Martinsville is just 0.526 miles long, so it shouldn’t take too long to dry, although cool temperatures might complicate matters, and the track is now equipped with lights so if the race does go beyond the 6:25 p.m. sunset, it’s not a problem.

As far as the favorites in today’s race, there are a handful of very familiar names to keep an eye out for: In Saturday’s second and final practice round, the four drivers who posted the best 10 consecutive-lap average speeds were Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., defending race-winner Jimmie Johnson and spring Martinsville winner Brad Keselowski.

Through Virginia native and five-time winner here Denny Hamlin into the mix and you have a solid group of five favorites one of whom most likely will emerge victorious when the checkered flag falls some time tonight.

Because of the rain, there will be a competition caution at Lap 45.

This afternoon’s First Data 500 is the first of three races in the Round of Eight for the Cup playoffs. Truex and Kyle Busch lead the points heading into the race. This round will determine which four drives will race for the Cup championship

Categories
Home Tracks News

Dillon Bassett Fighting for K&N East Success

Dillon Bassett, who may be one of the most underrated drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, is fighting for everything he can get.

The 20-year-old driver from Winston Salem, North Carolina is a former champion in the now-defunct UARA Late Model Series and has one career win to date on the K&N East tour. Now, Bassett is hoping for more success with hopes of moving up the ranks.

“We can only be focused on what we’re doing right now,” Bassett told POPULAR SPEED. “We have a lot on our plate right now with trying to run the East series. Always looking for sponsorship. That’s one of the main things to move up nowadays. Just trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got and, if an opportunity presents itself, then we would be more than willing to take it. Just trying to focus on what we’ve got now.”

Bassett scored his first and, to date, only K&N East Series win at Motordrome Speedway in Pennsylvania back in 2015. The following year, he had a strong start in the K&N East Series, but his family owned and operated team suffered a devastating setback in May 2016 when a fire ripped through their Winston Salem race shop.

“Yeah, it happened about halfway through the season last year, and we lost a lot of our stuff, but the good Lord was good to us, and we bounced back,” Bassett said. “We’re here now, and that’s all that matters.”

This season, luck has not been on Bassett’s side with only two top-five finishes in the K&N East Series. Most recently, Bassett led the most laps at Langley Speedway in Virginia, but faded late in the race before being involved in an accident.

Bassett won’t let bad luck keep him down. He’s still determined to show that he has the talent to win races and possibly compete in NASCAR’s upper echelons one day.

“All I can do is I can place 110 percent of my trust in the guys that work in my car in the shop,” Bassett remarked. “Be there when I can. I’m in school full-time as well. Just put my trust in them and when we show up to the racetrack, be as much prepared as we can and give our best effort week in and week out and never give up. That’s where we’ve been at this year. We’ve had a lot of bad luck but we still just been fighting away at it trying to get the best finishes that we can even though things haven’t gone our way a lot.

“All we can do is keep fighting and hope that somebody sees and is willing to give me a shot.”

Bassett credits some of his success in the K&N East Series to what he learned racing Late Model Stock Cars in the Carolinas and Virginia. However, the younger of the two Bassett brothers also sees a difference – primarily in the advantage gained through technology and resources by the well-funded teams.

“We learned a lot,” Bassett explained. “A lot of stuff transfers. It seems to me like Late Model racing is a lot different than these things. It seems to me that even the guys with a lot of money in late models don’t always run as good but, if you have a lot of money in this series or so on, it seems to benefit them more. I don’t really understand (why), but all we can do is keep fighting for what we’ve got and just try to compete with these guys on a weekly basis and try to win races.”

While Bassett is looking ahead in his career, there is still one thing he would like in Late Model Stock Car racing – redemption in one of the biggest races, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

In 2013, Bassett was involved in a thrilling duel for the win with Lee Pulliam, Deac McCaskill, Matt Waltz and Tommy Lemons, Jr., but a series of late cautions changed the complexion of the race. Bassett had the lead coming to a green-white-checkered restart, but Lemons ended up taking the top spot in the most controversial restart in the event’s history and scoring the victory, while Bassett came away with a heartbreaking runner-up finish.

Feeling like he is owed one, Bassett would love to compete in this year’s race, which will be held on September 23rd – the first event under Martinsville Speedway’s new permanent LED lighting system.

“I don’t know if Martinsville owes me one but NASCAR sure as hell owes me one,” Bassett stated. “I’d love to man. I’ve been talking about it all year. Under the lights, that’s just something that any driver would want to experience. Especially since it’s new and the Late Model race is going to be the first one to do it. Don’t really have a car or ride set for that race but with it being this close, it probably won’t happen, but I would love to do it.”

This weekend, Bassett will turn his attention to the twists and turns of the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Saturday’s JustDrive.com 125.  It will be Bassett’s first start at the New Jersey track.

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andymarquis@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series Power Rankings

POWER RANKINGS: STP 500

Power_Rankings_logo1

1. Brad Keselowski (+1)

Keselowski became the first multiple-race winner of 2017 with Sunday’s victory at Martinsville giving him a coveted grandfather clock.

2. Chase Elliott (+2)

The paperclip is notorious for being tough on young drivers, but Elliott led 20 laps and finished third.

3. Kyle Larson (-2)

Larson’s four-race second-or-better streak ended as he finished 17th. He also failed to receive Stage points for the first time in the second segment.

4. Kyle Busch (+2)

Busch led 274 laps but ended up second to Keselowski, who made the winning pass with 43 to go. The 2015 champion’s runner-up result is his best of the season, thus far.

5. Joey Logano (—)

Logano finished fourth, giving him his third top-five of the season. The No. 22 driver is fifth in the standings after six races.

6. Martin Truex Jr. (-3)

Truex’s three-position drop isn’t because he did bad on Sunday; the drivers he was ahead of last week (Busch, Elliott, Logano) finished better than him. The No. 78 driver got his first finish outside the top-15 of the year after spinning with 69 laps to go.

7. Clint Bowyer (+3)

Bowyer’s transition to Stewart-Haas Racing is going seamlessly as he posted his third top-10 of the season by finishing seventh.

8. Erik Jones (+3)

The Furniture Row Racing rookie was 12th on Sunday and earned three points in Stage 2. Not too shabby for his first career Martinsville start.

9. Kevin Harvick (-1)

“Happy” wasn’t feeling it after finishing 20th. He’s been outside the top-10 in three of the last four races.

10. Ryan Blaney (-3)

The Wood Brothers Racing sophomore earned points in both stages but was relegated to 25th when the checkered flag waved. Blaney is seventh in the standings.

11. Ryan Newman (+2)

Newman had a top-10 car most of the race and finished eighth. He’s 11th in the standings with one win.

12. Jamie McMurray (-3)

Had McMurray not suffered a flat left rear tire on Lap 106, his No. 1 Chevrolet might have finished in the top-five. Chip Ganassi Racing’s hot streak came to an abrupt halt as McMurray finished 38th.

13. Matt Kenseth (Not ranked last week)

In 35 career Martinsville starts, Kenseth has no wins and 14 top-10s. But he had a much-needed rebound with a ninth-place finish.

14. Denny Hamlin (-2)

Thirtieth is not what the five-time Martinsville winner had in mind. Hamlin was caught up in a multi-car accident on Lap 417 and finished seven laps down.

15. Jimmie Johnson (—)

The No. 48 finished 15th, so that’s where Johnson is ranked this week. The defending series champion’s slow start to 2017 continues as he has only one top-10.

16. Austin Dillon (Not ranked last week)

Dillon earned his second career top-five at the half-mile track and first top-10 of the year. The Richard Childress Racing driver finished fifth and sits 18th in the standings.

Dropping out of the top-16 rankings this week: Daniel Suarez (was 15th) and Kurt Busch (was 16th).

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

Confidence Growing for Rookie Erik Jones

With his fourth straight top-15 finish, rookie Erik Jones feels Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway was a confidence boost.

Jones had an up-and-down day at Martinsville, involved in a wreck with 82 laps to go, but rebounded to finish 12th.

“Martinsville has never been my friend,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED. “You know, we did a good job all week.  We got better in practice.  We had a good car, I thought, in practice.  Started off the race and just kind of exaggerated the struggles we had all weekend and caught that a lot of the day.  Thought we were making gains on it at one point and then kind of went backwards.

“By the end of the race, we were the best we had been all day all tore up, so I don’t know what that means but the Five Hour Energy Camry, I thought, was probably a 10th place car maybe at the end.  I don’t know.  We ran up there, sixth, seventh for a little bit.  After that, we kind of struggled to stay up there.”

In the big picture, Jones is set to continually improve each week.  After surprising himself at Martinsville, Jones feels the team is accomplishing their goals for the season and knocking on the door of contending.

“Our goal was to get subtly better,” Jones explained.  “At least that was my goal for the team.  I feel like we’ve done that.  I knew this was going to be our biggest challenge of all the racetracks we’ve gone to this year and it was.  I feel like we struggled the most with handling for sure this weekend but we did a good job of improving on it.  We’ll go to Texas next week and that’s a little bit more of our forte so hopefully we can get up and run inside the top-five like we did at Auto Club and seal one out.”

While Jones feels confident about next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and fellow intermediates, the next short track on the schedule – Bristol Motor Speedway on April 23 – is on his radar. The half-mile is similar to what Jones cut his teeth on when he was racing in Super Late Models, such as the high banked, half-mile Winchester Speedway in Indiana.

“I like Bristol a lot,” Jones said.  “That reminds me a lot of the tracks I grew up racing Late Models on.  It’s always fun to go back there.  I struggled the first couple times I went there but the last few times I’ve been there in the XFINITY car, we’ve had really good speed and felt like we had winning cars each time.  We’ll keep working at it and I know Bristol will be a fun one for us.”

Erik Jones will ride the wave of momentum into Texas as he prepares for double duty, competing in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race and Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andymarquis@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
NASCAR Cup Series

AJ Allmendinger Records Another Strong Martinsville Finish

AJ Allmendinger picked up his second top-10 finish of 2017 in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his third consecutive at the half-mile.

The driver of the No. 47 started 30th and methodically raced his way into contention, recording a sixth-place finish. After the event, Allmendinger attributed his success to his road course background.

“It’s for sure a little bit like road course racing,” Allmendiner told POPULAR SPEED. “I just think driver can make a bit more of a difference here.  You know, get to the mile-and-a-half, two mile racetracks, aero is a lot of it.  That’s something we’re continuously working on.  We worked hard on the west coast swing.  We learned a lot.  Finishes didn’t show it but felt like we learned a lot aero-wise for those bigger racetracks.  Coming here, it’s just about, got to have a good car.  This car was freaking hooked up.  Once we got it right, long runs, it was just an awesome racecar.”

Allmendinger added this was the first race back for crew chief Randall Burnett, who got suspended for three races due to a lug nut violation at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“Can’t thank everyone at Kroger, Click List, all of our associates, everybody at the shop, Randall Burnett, have him back after the suspension,” he added.  “I wish we would have stayed green for about 120 laps because I think I could have ate these guys alive.  All in all, solid day.”

While he leaves Martinsville pleased, Allmendinger feels there is still work to be done before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway.

“Texas is so different, brand new racetrack now,” Allmendinger stated.  “More aero-dependent.  We’ve got to work on it.  These Cup races, they’re hard to have great runs in.  So, any time you can have a great run, especially after the west coast swing, the penalty, all that, any time you get a good run, it’s important.”

Allmendinger unofficially sits 26th in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points after Sunday’s STP 500.

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andymarquis@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
Trucks

Chase Briscoe Survives Eventful Martinsville Race

Chase Briscoe‘s first Martinsville start was eventful, to say the least.

The rookie started Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 in the eighth and was involved in a handful of incidents.  He got loose under Noah Gragson on Lap 101, resulting in the Toyota driver going around.  Then on Lap 160, he was the victim of a three-wide battle, looping around off Kaz Grala’s front bumper.

“Personally, I wasn’t upset,” Briscoe told POPULAR SPEED. “I was pretty calm on that whole deal. It’s part of racing here. Like I said, I did it to a couple guys and it happened to me so it’s part of racing here. Nothing to get mad about, got to know going into it.”

Briscoe says the multiple incidents are a byproduct of the tight racing at Martinsville.

“I didn’t mean to do it, just an aspect of this kind of racing,” he added. “It’s unfortunate, we tear up really good trucks.  It’s definitely an up and down day for our Cooper Standard Ford F-150.  Move onto Kansas.  I feel like we have a really good mile-and-a-half program.  We felt like we made gains all weekend here.  Be ready for the next one.”

Throughout the race, Briscoe felt his worst enemy was track position.

“We just couldn’t have track position,” Briscoe explained.  “We were running third there for a little bit and got into Crafton and knocked the tow out and a couple other things.  It seemed like every restart we were up front, we just had to start at the top and battle for that bottom line.  Got shuffled back there at the end.  Overall, like I said, feel like we had really good speed, felt like it’s an improvement and keep going on.”

Briscoe’s wild race concluded when Cody Coughlin spun off his front bumper coming to the checkered flag.  The Brad Keselowski Racing driver, who finished 11th, stated it was not intentional.

“I just got in there and we were obviously both going for the bottom,” Briscoe said.  “Just got in there really hot, he was trying to pinch me down, I was trying to run him up at the same time.  Just part of racing.”

The 2016 ARCA Racing Series Champion had a top-five finish at Daytona back in February and a fast truck in Atlanta.  However, a flat tire relegated him to a 25th place finish in Atlanta.  Despite some hard luck, Briscoe feels they are competitive and stronger finishes are coming.

“I really feel like we’ve been fastest everywhere we went,” Briscoe commented.  “We’ve led practice everywhere this year.  Had a really good truck at Atlanta, just had a flat tire and it cost us a good finish.  We really felt like, honestly, we were going to struggle here.  To run top-three most of the day is something to be happy about.”

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andy.marquis@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.       

Categories
Trucks

Sauter Suffers a Block for the Clock

When you think Martinsville Speedway, you think Johnny Sauter. It’s a track the defending series champion circles twice on the schedule every season.

The Wisconsin veteran was prepared and poised to defend his 2016 victory, but part-time teammate Chase Elliott had a different idea.

With 12 laps remaining after a caution in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250, race leader Elliott chose the outside lane as part of the teammate strategy the GMS Racing drivers employed all day. Elliott cleared Sauter on the backstretch, and turned to his mirror for help.

Sauter tried to argue his point with swift nudge to Elliott’s bumper heading unto Turn 3, but the 21-year-old was able to withstand the contact and go on to the checkers.

While Sauter, who finished runner-up, accepted the maneuver, he didn’t exactly concede to it.

“Chase did what he needed to do there with the block,” Sauter told Fox Sports. “When the shoe is on the other foot, I’ll do what I need to do.”

Chase Elliott becomes the first in his family to win the coveted Martinsville clock. His 16-time Most Popular dad, Bill, had a three career best third-place finishes in 45 tries.

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Categories
Trucks

Brandon Brown Hoping for Strong Martinsville Run

Martinsville Speedway is a home race for Brandon Brown in a sense and he’s hoping for a strong showing in Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250.

The Woodbridge, Virginia native will be making his third Martinsville appearance and 22nd NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start on Saturday. He had a fast truck in Friday’s lone practice session, posting a lap of 20.721 seconds on scuff tires.

“I feel really good about this weekend,” Brown told Popular Speed.  “We brought the backup truck that I always call Wise.  It’s got a lot of experience.  It’s a little older truck but it still holds its own.  That was shown yesterday in practice.  The first run out of the gate, the first 28 cars, we were sitting seventh for quite some time.  Fighting there in the top-10.  Our timesheet didn’t show what the truck had because we never mocked up for a sticker run like a lot of the other drivers did so, I think we ended up 24th overall on the timesheet.

“We were consistently running where a lot of people were setting their fast laps and I think that’s going to be crucial today, especially with the really long final segment, trying to squeeze out everything you can, staying out as late as you can fuel wise and tire wise to try to get a chance to take home some checkers.”

Along with a quick truck, Brown has a lot of support after a social media campaign kicked off during the week.  The Twitter handles for 680 fans are represented on the bed of his No. 44 Brandonbilt Motorsports truck.

“We did a huge push this week on social media,” Brown explained.  “Honestly, we started the tweets and all our social media really because we were doing a fundraiser for Relay for Life.  We were trying to build a little bit of a following on the page so we decided that it was time to give back to the fans and really show some love since they’re showing love for us.  So, we decided that we would draw a lucky handful of names out of people who retweeted and favorited and followed our page and a lucky 680 names were picked and are laid across the bed of the truck this weekend.

“It really blew up huge.  We had a couple big names who supported it.  Dale Earnhardt, Jr. retweeted it, Michael Waltrip, Bristol Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.  A couple big Twitter accounts helped on that push.  I’d like to thank them.  Other than that, it was great to get a lot of great feedback and responses on that.”

Brown has run periodically in the Truck Series for the past three seasons, with a career best finish to-date of fourth last February at Daytona.  He is also running some NASCAR XFINITY Series events, with a best finish of 23rd in four starts.

“We’re definitely looking to start running XFINITY now,” Brown said.  “The truck efforts have been really good and it’s been really fun but the goal is to eventually move out so we’re just starting out part-time with one car.  We’re partnered up with King Autosport and Mario Gosselin this year to try and make some starts, get some seat time, race against the drivers, feel it out, feel out the series and what it would take.  I think we’ve been really successful with that so far with Atlanta this season but we’re getting ready and preparing for Richmond International Raceway which is another home Virginia track for us.

The XFINITY effort won’t take Brown away from trucks, though, with plans for more races.

“I know our next actual race we’re going to run is Charlotte in the trucks,” Brown remarked.  “We do have a test session coming up at Charlotte which I’m excited about because it will be our first time getting to go out and just test, feel things out and study.  Really looking forward to that and building into a program that could possibly turn into full time.”

Beyond NASCAR, Brown hopes to return to Martinsville for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, an event he has attempted four times previously. As of now, he has not found an open seat, despite past success at Old Dominion Speedway and Southern National Motorsports Park, but is still hoping to compete in the $25,000-to-win race.

“I was really trying to,” Brown commented.  “I was reaching out to a lot of people to see if anybody had an open seat.  It’s hard, everyone wants to be out here because now it’s going to be run under the lights which is huge, it’s historic for this track, so I think everybody’s that’s anybody is going to be here.  I’m still holding out hope that there’s a possibility that we can get into it.  I guess we’ll really see who has an open seat.”

The Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway will go green at 3pm EST and can be seen live on Fox and Fox Sports Go.

E-MAIL ANDY AT  andy.marquis@popularspeed.com

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