Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol: Chassis Selections

Keselowski to pay tribute to Rusty Wallace this week at Bristol (Getty)
#1-Jamie McMurray: Crew Chief Kevin "Bono" Manion and the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Allstate team will bring Chassis #1104 to Bristol. This chassis was raced in 2011 at Charlotte for the All-Star race, finishing 17th; the Coca-Cola 600 finishing 37th; both Michigan races last year, finishing 19th and 23rd; Dover, finishing 15th. Earlier this season Chassis #1104 has seen action at Texas, finishing 14th; and Dover, finishing 19th.

#2-Brad Keselowski: and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-816 during Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Brad Keselowski last raced this chassis to a 12th-place finish at Dover in May. It has been updated to the current Penske Racing specification. The winner of the last two NSCS races at BMS, Keselowski will attempt a hat trick in Saturday night's event. Only four other drivers have accomplished three wins in a row at Bristol: Fred Lorenzen, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Kurt Busch. The featured tag line on the rear bumper of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge this weekend will read "Inductee Rusty Wallace." This is a tribute to Wallace's 2013 induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. During his time in the #2 Miller-sponsored car, the former Penske Racing driver accumulated 37 wins, 145 top-five finishes, 252 top-10 results, while leading a total of 15,012 laps.

#5-Kasey Kahne: crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-713. Kahne recorded an average finish of 9.7 when racing this car earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway, Texas and Darlington. He also qualified inside the top five at each event. In 17 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol, Kahne has three top-five finishes and six top-10s. Kahne earned his best finish at the short track in August 2007 when he started from the pole position and finished second. He crossed the line 11th in this Bristol race one year ago.

#9-Marcos Ambrose: the #9 Richard Petty Motorsports team has prepared chassis No. 743 for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. This DEWALT Ford was run previously this season at Bristol and Darlington.

#14-Tony Stewart: and crew chief Steve Addington are bringing Chassis No. 14-708, which debuted in May in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway where Stewart rallied Chassis No. 14-708 from its 17th-place starting spot to finish third. Its second and most recent start came in June at Dover. It endured a much different outing, qualifying 29th and finishing 25th, 69 laps down after getting caught up in a 12-car accident on lap 10 of the 400-lap race around the 1-mile concrete oval. With new sheet metal all around, Chassis No. 14-708 returns to the concrete for its third career start in the night race at Bristol.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Primary chassis No. 724 has raced twice in 2012. It started 16th and finished fourth at the spring Bristol race and started fourth and finished fifth at Dover. Backup chassis No. 712 finished 30th at Phoenix after multiple cut tires put the car several laps down. It served as the backup at New Hampshire. Bowyer will make his 14th career NSCS start at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. In 13 previous starts, he has four top-five and six top-10 finishes. He finished a career-best third twice first in fall 2007 and again in spring 2008 where he led 81 laps. On average he starts 20th and finishes 18th.

#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M Bondo Ford Fusion will bring primary chassis RK-807 which last ran at Dover in June and finished 11th. The backup chassis, RK-803, last ran at Pocono and finished 15th.

#17-Matt Kenseth: will run primary chassis RK-802 which last raced at New Hampshire in July. This weekend at Bristol, Kenseth will pilot the #17 Valvoline NextGen Ford Fusion. In 25 Cup starts at Bristol, Kenseth has completed 12,225 of 12,513 laps (97.7 percent) and led for 897 laps. Kenseth has an average starting position of 17.0 and an average finishing position of 11.6 at BMS. Kenseth has achieved two wins, 10 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes at Bristol in the Cup series.

#22-Sam Hornish Jr. and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing #22 Team will be utilizing their "PRS-817" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Bristol. This is the same car that AJ Allmendinger raced in the March 25 race at Auto Club Speedway (started 25th and finished 15th) and again in the June 3 race at Dover (started 23rd and finished 16th). The "PRS-807" chassis will serve as the backup Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for this weekend. It was in the #22 team transporter serving as the backup at Phoenix, Bristol and Martinsville, but has never seen any track time to date. In six career Sprint Cup starts at Bristol entering this weekend, Sam Hornish Jr. is still looking for his first top-10 finish there. He has a 25.3 average start and 31.5 average finish. He has completed 91.2 percent (2,743 of 3,009) of possible laps and is hoping to lead his first lap at BMS in Saturday night's battle under the lights. Hornish started 23rd and finished 13th in the March Nationwide Series race at Bristol. He started 20th and finished 14th in his other NNS Bristol start in the August 2008 race. In NNS competition at BMS, he has a 21.5 average start and 13.5 average finish. He has completed every possible lap (550 of 550).

#27-Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 347 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the IRWIN Tools Night Race. This #27 Schrock/Menards Chevy was recently utilized at Darlington Raceway in May, where Menard started from the 14th position and finished 13th. The chassis was also used in 2012 competition at Bristol Motor Speedway in March where Menard started from the 11th position and finished 10th.

#29-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 383 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's IRWIN Tools Night Race. Built new for competition during the 2012 season, Harvick raced this chassis at Phoenix International Raceway in March and Dover International Speedway in June, collecting second-place finishes in both races.

#31-Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 385 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the IRWIN Tools Night Race. Burton has driven this #31 CAT Global Mining Chevy four times this season including Pocono Raceway in August (started-23rd, finished-22nd), the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May (started-22nd, finished-19th), Texas Motor Speedway in April (started-24th, finished 29th) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March (started-22nd, finished 14th).

#39-Ryan Newman Chassis No. 39-655 has three starts to its credit, including one already this season at Bristol. Chassis No. 39-655 took the track for the first time in last season's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Newman made a run for the top-10 before getting tangled up in a multi-car melee on lap 303. The accident forced Newman to take his #39 to the garage for extensive repairs. He returned to the track more than 40 laps down and finished the race 31st. This season, chassis No. 39-655 has become the team's concrete specialty car. Earlier this season at Bristol, Newman qualified third but finished a disappointing 12th after a tight-handling racecar hampered his efforts. He had another third-place qualifying run at Dover in June, but he had to battle back from a pit-road penalty and from being two laps down to finish 15th. Last week, the crew took Chassis No. 39-655 to test at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn.

#42-Juan Pablo Montoya: crew chief Chris "Shine" Heroy and the #42 Target Chevy team will race with Chassis #1111 to Bristol this weekend. This Chassis made its debut in last season's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leading two laps and finishing 31st after an accident put the #42 four laps down. This season, this chassis has seen track time at Bristol finishing eighth, Darlington Raceway, finishing 27th and Dover, finishing 28th. 

#43-Aric Almirola:: The #43 team has prepared chassis No. 710 for Bristol. This car ran earlier this season at the March Bristol race and also at Dover International Speedway where Almirola earned his season-best sixth-place finish.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: Chassis No. 650 serves as the primary for Johnson at Bristol where it last ran in March, finishing 9th, the chassis ran five races in 2011 with a 2nd place finishes at Atlanta and Auto Club Speedway. Chassis No. 669 serves as the backup and last ran at Las Vegas in March to a 2nd place finish.

#55-Brian Vickers: will drive MWR chassis No. 722 which has raced three times in 2012. It started 25th and finished fifth at Bristol in March with Vickers behind the wheel, started 16th and finished 21st in the All-Star race with Mark Martin and started 39th and finished 30th at Kentucky Speedway with Michael Waltrip behind the wheel. Backup chassis No. 708 has severed backup duties at multiple races, but has not raced. It served as the backup at Las Vegas, Fontanta, Texas, Kansas, Darlington, All-Star, Charlotte, both races at Pocono, Dover and Kentucky. Vickers owns 15 starts at Bristol Motor Speedway He has a career-best finish of fifth which came in March of 2012. He has led 126 laps and has five top-15 finishes.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-745. This is a brand new chassis that has not been raced. In 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored one win, seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. The 37-year-old driver has an average finishing position of 11.8 and has completed 98.8 percent of all laps he's attempted (12,365 of 12,513 total) at the short track. He has led 745 laps at the .533-mile oval.

#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Fastenal Team will be bringing RK-811 for the weekend. This car first raced at Texas in April (finished eighth), Charlotte in May (finished ninth) and Kentucky in June (finished 20th). In 16 starts at the 0.533-mile bullring, Edwards has two wins, four top-five, seven top-10 finishes and two poles. His average start is 17.8, and his average finish is 13.9. Edwards has completed 7588 of 8013 (94.7%) laps attempted at Bristol.

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