Tag Archives: Trevor Bayne

Kevin Harvick uses Strategy to Win the Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland

Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway by better pit strategy than Kyle Busch.

Brian Scott won the Coors Light Pole Award and led the field to the green flag in Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Powered by Coca-Cola. He only led the first five laps then it became the Kyle Busch show.

From the fifth lap until lap 154 of 200 Kyle Busch controlled the race only giving up the lead during pit stops. Each and every restart he held off the challengers including Kevin Harvick from taking the lead.

On lap 153 the number 51 of Jeremy Clements lost an engine and put oil down on the track. Everyone pitted for tires and fuel. Busch’s team opted for four tires while some cars stayed out and other took two tires. Busch found himself sixteenth at the restart on lap 159.

The rest of the field battled on the restart with Kevin Harvick driver of the No. 5 Jimmy John’s car prevailed two laps later and never lost the lead.

On lap 166 Kyle Busch’s teammate, Denny Hamlin lost an engine and put down lots of oil on the track. Busch had already driver up to eighth and appeared to be on his way to taking back the race that would most surely be his to win. It didn’t happen. Busch lead 141 laps of 200.

The race restarted on lap 173 with Kevin Harvick staying out. Kyle Busch drove his No. 54 car hard up to third place but could not pass Kyle Larson in the No. 42 when he finally got to him.

Harvick said, “This Guy (Ernie Cope No. 5 Crew Chief) is the one who won the race today. He made a great call with two tires and the 54 got buried in the field and it felt like at that particular point it was our race to lose and our car ran faster on two tires than it did on four. Just really excited and I feel like I learned a lot today just looking forward to tomorrow as well.

Kyle Larson was second followed by Kyle Bush, Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne.

The highest finishing rookie was Ty Dillon. Chase Elliott finished tenth and retains the series points lead over Regan Smith by 18 points.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit:  301538 Nick Laham/Getty Images

Chase Elliott and the NAPA Team Get Their Jobs Done at Chicagoland

The NASCAR Nationwide Series and Chicagoland Speedway had the spotlight this week since the Sprint Cup and Truck Series were off. The series regulars did not disappoint. Chase Elliott had never raced at Chicagoland Speedway but he sure did learn quickly.

Brian Scott won the Coors Light Pole Award and led the field to the green flag in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300. He proceeded to lead the first 20 laps until he and his team started being too aggressive in their changes to the car.

Chase Elliott started the race third and drove to the front leading the race from lap 21 to 50. He gave up the lead to pit. The rest of the race Elliott was only outside the top three during pit stops. The team was the second best team on pit road and pitted only three times.

Just a really solid effort you know, we talked about it as a team this afternoon. We all need to just do our job.  We all have a job on a race team and I feel like if we all completed our task to the best of our ability. I feel like we can have a good night.” Elliott added, “Fortunately everyone did that. So very proud of our effort this evening and I hopefully we can do this again in the future.

Part of everyone doing their job was Elliott’s Crew Chief Greg Ives setting about a plan prior to the race and sticking to it.

Greg Ives said, “It’s one of those things where you break down the race into using your fuel, your fuel window. It kind of breaks down on the first green flag run you’ll be 10 to 15 laps into your window already. Tires are a big deal so you kind of just break it down. It gets a green flag feel to it and we decided that we have not been getting the best fuel millage lately. I decided that we would go after fast pit stops and put tires on and make enough time up that way. That’s more or less the strategy to try to be the aggressor this week.   There’s times when you’re going to have to stretch it a little bit but this week to win the race and do what we wanted to do I felt like that was our best strategy.

Chase Elliott, Greg Ives and the whole NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet team did their jobs just like they planned and won the race. They led on four occasions for 85 of 200 laps, the most of any team.

Chase Elliott now leads the Nationwide Series standings by seven points over Regan Smith. Elliott was also the highest finishing rookie.

Brian Scott finished sixth and as the highest finishing Nationwide Series Regular won $100,000.00 Dash4Cash. The drivers in addition to Brian Scott eligible for next week’s Dash4Cash at Indianapolis are Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne, and Ty Dillon.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 300022 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

What is All This Talk About Reducing NASCAR Engine Horsepower?

Some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams were testing at Michigan International Speedway for Goodyear April 8th and 9th 2014. The teams of Trevor Bayne, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman were laying down some wicked fast laps.

Clint Bowyer said he went 217 mph in the morning session. Bowyer said, “That’s white-of-your-eyes-fast.

Those wicked fast speeds were not limited to Bowyer. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he was hitting speeds between 212 to 215 mph in the straightaways and about 180 in the turns.

There have been ongoing meetings between NASCAR and racing executives from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota regarding reducing the horsepower in the engines. The current engines are 25 to 30 years old. NASCAR is looking to increase the longevity and therefore reduce the costs.

Though not specifically mentioned, it has got to be on NASCAR’s minds that these cars have been attaining speeds on the non-restrictor plate tracks that are over the 205 mph mark. That speed is about when the cars, if upset by contact or bumps on the track, can get airborne like an airplane. This is the very same reason they use restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega. At the current rate they are improving the cars they will be getting there soon.

I am not saying that when they get back to Michigan International Speedway they will be running at 217 mph. This tire test was a perfect storm; the track did not have rubber in it and very cool temperatures. These conditions will not exist when NASCAR gets back there in June and August.

We should applaud NASCAR for considering this now before the teams consistently race at a speed beyond which is safe. It will take more than a year for each manufacture to develop their motors for the reduced horsepower.

Roger Curtis said it best, “The drivers are posting 200 mph. That’s awesome. The fans get very, very excited about that. But at the end of the day, on Sunday when the green flag drops, the numbers ‘two zero zero’ they’re not anywhere in the fans’ minds. It’s lead changes, it’s the competition.

Competition and lead changes is what we want and that is exactly why NASCAR is looking into the engine aspect of the sport. We don’t know what changes will be made but something will happen. Either way I am looking forward to the races at Michigan International Speedway this year.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit NASCAR media/ISC Motorsports

NASCAR Sprint Cup – Win You’re In, Don’t Race until the Chase?

On Friday the Charlotte Observer reported that NASCAR is considering changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Sweeping changes that would make winning a race more important than it already is. They have been floating this idea around those who have influence on the sport.

The proposal floating around is they would have the first 16 drivers who have won a race make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. If for some reason 16 different drivers don’t win a race, then those highest in points who have not won a race will be in. There would also be eliminations during the Chase.

I waited until Sunday to write about this simply because I can’t get excited for it or against it and here is why.

First of all, since they added the two Wild Card spots—reserved for winners who are not already in the top ten—we already have a “Win” component to the Chase.

Just looking at last season, one can see the opportunities that this would bring. David Ragan and Brian Vickers would have made the Chase. There would have been 13 winners making the Chase. Tony Stewart would have also made the Chase, but he was injured, leaving four spots for those higher in points. Essentially the Chase for the Sprint Cup would include the same drivers except Ragan and Vickers.

There would have been just about no reason for Michael Waltrip Racing to manipulate the points in the last regular season race as all their teams would have been in.

Some people have been saying that once you win and are in you don’t need to race until the Chase. This couldn’t be more inaccurate. Again looking just at last year those teams who entered the Chase at the bottom didn’t suddenly get better. They essentially raced more of the same. Only Tony Stewart who won the Chase in 2011 got incredibly better once the Chase was underway.

What could this change actually do? Imagine this. You are deep in a race and you are five points from twelfth place. You are in the front of the field, one lap to the good on fuel to the end of the race. The driver you are racing for twelfth place is at the end of the lead lap but good on fuel. Ordinarily you just can’t give up that many points so you save fuel finishing five spots ahead of the twelfth place driver. In this new format you had already won a race. You are in. There is no need to care about points so you go for it and win. That is what this proposed change is all about.

Think about the past when Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500. He would have put the famed #21 Wood Brothers Ford into the Chase. He probably wouldn’t have won the Chase but perhaps this new opportunity would help them get funding to run a whole season.

It also is an opportunity for a driver who won to make the Chase even though he or she had to sit out a race or two due to injury.

To use the worn out phrase “The Devil is in the Details” I can see where this potential change to the Chase essentially doesn’t change the Chase itself but does change the racing in the regular season on the way to the Chase.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.