Photos courtesy of Ken Springs
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (August 24, 2010) – While most drivers competing in Saturday’s American Fence Association 150 NASCAR K&N Series East race will be focused only on the fast half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park, championship-contender Darrell Wallace Jr. will be sitting in a classroom at Northwest Cabarrus High School in Concord, N.C. starting his senior year.
The 16-year-old Revolution Racing driver is only 33 points behind defending NASCAR K&N Series East champion Ryan Truex, but he won’t be able to fully focus on the task until Friday afternoon when school lets out.
“We start school Wednesday and maybe it will keep my mind off of the pressure of trying to run down Truex for the points lead,” Wallace said. “This has been a great season so far but to be honest it hasn’t been easy. We have had a few minor things go wrong that have caused us to start at the rear of the field three different times, but we’ve managed to get through traffic and end up with good results. I hope we can have a clean race at Gresham and then in the last two races at New Hampshire and Dover so that we can give Truex a good challenge. Even if he has trouble there are two Joe Gibbs Racing cars and the Red Bull car right behind us. Whoever wins the championship will be the team that makes the fewest mistakes.”
Wallace made history in the first race of the season when he became the NASCAR K&N Series youngest and first African American to win a race. That win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in March has propelled him to two wins, five top-fives and six top-10s in only seven starts. He leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year competition over Cole Whitt, Kevin Swindell and teammate Ryan Gifford.
Wallace will be joined at the Jefferson, Ga. speedway by teammates and fellow Drive for Diversity program members Gifford, Sergio Pena and Michael Cherry, who will be making his series debut.
Gifford, who has fallen to eighth in series standings, 221 points behind Truex, is looking at wins as the salvation of his season.
“We have been beaten around quite a bit in the last two races and have lost a lot of points,” Gifford said. “We’re all going to Gresham for the first time and I’ve had success at both New Hampshire and Dover, so we’ll be looking to score wins rather than race for points. We’ve been fast enough to win every week and haven’t been able to make it work yet. We’ll get one before the season is over.”
Gifford, 21, from Winchester, Tenn. became the first African American to win a pole in series history Martinsville Speedway June 6.
Sergio Pena, who like Wallace is also splitting time between his senior year in high school and the race track, will look to turn his season around and improve upon his 12th-place point’s position. Pena’s best finish of the season is 10th at Lime Rock Park, but his consistency has allowed him to maintain a shot at the top 10 in season-ending points. He is currently 86 points out of the top 10.
“We have to run better in our last three races and I’m confident we can get to the top 10,” said the 17-year-old Pena. “I have learned a lot this season and know that we’ll use that experience in the final three races. Our goal has gone from a championship to finishing the season strong and earning a spot on stage at the banquet.”
Michael Cherry, from Valrico, Fla. and a season-long member of Revolution Racing’s Whelen All-American Series program, has earned an opportunity in one of the team’s NASCAR K&N Series cars. He will be making his series debut many strong runs in the Whelen All-American Series, including becoming the first African American driver to win a race at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C.
The American Fence Association 150 NASCAR K&N Series East race at Gresham Motorsports Park starts at 8:30 p.m. Practice starts Saturday morning at 11 a.m. and qualifying is scheduled for 4 p.m. The race will be broadcast on Speed Channel September 2 at 6 p.m. EDT.
Darrell Wallace Jr. drove to his third consecutive third-place finish in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this weekend after taking on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the first time in his career. Wallace’s Revolution Racing teammate Ryan Gifford followed him across the line in fourth.
Sergio Pena and Mackena Bell finished 15th and 27th, respectively.
“We blew a motor in practice and lost a lot of practice time yesterday,” said Wallace, who started at the rear of the field due to an engine change. “We just had to wing it a little bit the first 50 laps of the race, but once I got the line down and the car came in, we were fast. My pit crew did an awesome job picking up spots on pit road; I think we picked up six or eight spots just on the pit stop. I couldn’t get by (Ryan) Truex and (Kevin) Swindell, but after the weekend we had I’ll settle for third any day.”
The engine change for the No. 6 Castle Chevrolet, which took place during Thursday’s practice session, negated Wallace’s 12th-place qualifying effort. He started at the tail-end of the field for the 125-lap race and, for the second race in a row, drove all the way through the field to a third-place finish.
Wallace is currently second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standing, just 33 points behind leader Ryan Truex.
Gifford, driving the No. 2 Revolution Racing Chevrolet, finished fourth after qualifying fourth for the New England 125. Gifford jumped two spots, to third, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings. He trails leader Ryan Truex by just 89 points.
Pena held on for a 15th-place finish at New Hampshire after a blown tire and multiple on-track incidents threatened to end his day early. Pena, driving the No. 4 Revolution Racing Chevrolet finished the race just one lap down. He is currently 14th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
Bell’s string of bad luck continued in New Hampshire, when a wreck in front of her left her with nowhere to go. Damage to the No. 8 Revolution Racing Chevrolet sent her to the garage, ending her day early. She was credited with a 27th-place finish. Bell is currently 18th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
The New England 125 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be broadcast on SPEED Thursday, July 1 at 6 p.m. ET.
Bell, Gifford, Pena and Wallace head to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., this Saturday, July 3 for their only road-course race of the season.
It was another historic weekend for Revolution Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, with Ryan Gifford earning his first career Coors Light Pole Award for the UNOH Performance 200 at Martinsville Speedway. Gifford went on to lead 99 laps of the race before a battery failure dropped him to the tail-end of the field on a restart. He rebounded to a 12th-place finish in the rain shortened event.
It is the first East series pole for Revolution Racing and the fifth pole for the team in its five months of operation. It is also the most laps lead by a Revolution Racing driver this season. Gifford is the first African American pole winner in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East history.
“I really wasn’t expecting the pole, I was expecting a top five, but to come out here and get it done on the second lap when everyone else was running their fast-time on their first lap is awesome,” said Gifford, driver of the No. 2 Revolution Racing Chevrolet. “It says what kind of cars we have over there at Revolution. I wish I could say somebody’s name and thank them for coming on board, but we really don’t have a big name on the side of the car this week so hopefully that will come about for the next few races.”
Darrell Wallace, Jr., who became the youngest driver and first African American to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race earlier this season, scored his second consecutive third-place finish in the No. 6 Revolution Racing Chevrolet, leading 15 laps along the way. Wallace is currently second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings, just 8 points behind leader Ryan Truex.
“It was a great points day for us, it moved us up to second which is awesome but I hate we had to start at the back,” said Wallace, who qualified fifth but started at the rear of the 32 car field due to an unapproved adjustment. “It was a fun race, I had to use a lot of patience and work my way through the field to the third-place finish.”
Sergio Pena, driver of the No. 4 Revolution Racing Chevrolet, qualified third for the UNOH Performance 200 and ran in the top 10 for most of the day. Pena was forced to pit for damage to the left front fender after an accident late in the race and slipped to 14th before rain moved into the area, shortening the race to 175 laps. Pena is 14th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
Mackena Bell’s string of bad luck continued this weekend, with motor problems plaguing the No. 8 Revolution Racing Chevrolet all weekend. Bell also suffered a flat tire and had to pit under green, putting her three laps down to the leaders spoiling what could have been a top-10 run for the No. 8 car. She finished 18th in the race after qualifying 23rd, but continues to show improvement every week.
“I was really impressed with Mackena this weekend,” said Jerry Babb, crew chief for the No. 8. “She fought two issues that were out of her control between the engine trouble and the flat tire, but used it as motivation to keep digging instead of letting it get her rattled. We see improvement with her every week. Race four was better than race three and race three was better than race two. Her stamina and physical fitness level is right where they need to be, and now she has some experience in these East cars. We’re confident that race five will be even better than race four.”
The UNOH Performance 200 from Martinsville Speedway will air Thursday, June 10 at 6 p.m. ET on SPEED.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to action Friday, June 25 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
For more information about Revolution Racing, or for sponsorship opportunities with the team, please visit www.revolutionracing.net.
This weekend will mark the first stand-alone NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, and will also mark the first start at the historic speedway for all four Revolution Racing drivers.
Coming off of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West Challenge at Iowa Speedway two weeks ago, the Revolution Racing team is ready to get back to short track racing.
UNOH Performance 200
Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville, Va.)
Sunday, June 6 at 3 p.m. ET (TV: SPEED, June 10, 6 p.m. ET)
Martinsville Speedway is a 0.526-mile, paperclip-shaped oval with flat straightaways and 12 degree banking in the turns.
Team: No. 8 Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Jerry Babb
Bell on turning her luck around at Martinsville Speedway:
“Hopefully we left the bad luck out in Iowa and we can turn things around with a successful run at Martinsville Speedway. We’ve had good cars every week, but we just haven’t been able to put together the finishes we need. A solid run this weekend would go a long way for this No. 8 team.”
- This is a season of new tracks for Bell, who raced primarily on the West coast before relocating to North Carolina earlier this year. This will mark her first career start at Martinsville Speedway.
- Bell qualified 15th of 49 cars at Iowa Speedway. She blew a right front tire with 20 laps to go, hitting the turn four wall before the car caught on fire and came to rest in the tri-oval grass.
- Bell is the only female driver on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series entry list for this weekend’s UNOH Performance 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
Team: No 2 Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Lee McCall
Gifford on Martinsville Speedway:
“Martinsville has so much history, it’s just crazy. I’ve always wanted to race at places like Martinsville; it’s the Mecca of short track racing. I’m big on short-track racing and the go-kart track I learned on was shaped a lot like Martinsville, but just a smaller version. It had long straights and tight turns.”
- Gifford’s string of top five finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East came to an end last weekend at Iowa Speedway after pitting under green for a flat tire took him out of contention.
- Gifford has five top-five finishes in seven NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts.
- After three races, Gifford is fifth in the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points standings.
Team: No. 4 Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Mark McFarland
Pena on short track racing:
“I love short track racing. To me, short track racing is real racing for a driver. It’s hard to pass and you have to work for every position. I’ve never raced at Martinsville, but I’ve been told that I’m going to love it. I’m looking forward to racing on Sunday.”
- Pena is currently 15th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings after three races.
- Pena made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at the Toyota Showdown at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in January. He qualified on the pole and finished second to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano.
- On his off weekends from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Pena has been racing late models at Shenandoah Speedway where he has won three consecutive races and leads the points standings.
Darrell Wallace Jr.
Team: No. 6 Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Robert Huffman
Wallace on Martinsville Speedway:
“We turned some laps at Martinsville Speedway last fall in the late model, but unfortunately we didn’t make the big show up there. I’m looking forward to getting up there in these East cars against the competition in this series and seeing what we can do. We’ve had a great start to the season and we’re ready to keep it rolling.”
- Wallace finished third at Iowa Speedway two weeks ago, earning his second top-three finish in three races.
- Wallace made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut one for the record books, becoming the youngest driver (16 years, 5 months and 19 days) and first African American to win in series history. He led three times for 22 laps.
- After three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races, Wallace is third in the overall standings and second in rookie points.
Three of Revolution Racing’s late model drivers will also compete this weekend on the short tracks of North Carolina. The trio of Jessica Brunelli, Michael Cherry and Becca Kasten will have a double-header weekend, racing at Tri-County Motor Speedway (Hudson, N.C.) on Friday night and Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday night.
Late Model Stock 50 laps
Tri-County Motor Speedway
Friday, June 4 at 8 p.m.
Late Model Stock 100 laps
Hickory Motor Speedway
Saturday, June 5 at 7 p.m.
Team: No. 1 Late Model
Crew Chief: David Flynn
Brunelli on getting her first start at Tri-County:
“I think I’m the only Revolution Racing late model driver who hasn’t had the opportunity to race at Tri-County yet. We’ve had a series of circumstances that has kept us from getting in that first start, but I know we’ll be good when we get to racing. We’ve tested and qualified well out there, and my teammates have all had good runs there. Hopefully the weather will hold off this week and I’ll get to see what I can do in a 50 lap race.”
- Brunelli will be making her first start at Tri-County Motor Speedway this weekend after rain washed out her first attempt on May 14 after a fourth-place qualifying effort.
- After just four starts this season, Brunelli has one top five and is looking to add to that tally this weekend.
- At just 17 years old, Brunelli is the youngest of Revolution Racing’s late model drivers. She is her junior year of high school via online college prep independent study.
Team: No. 2 Late Model
Crew Chief: Brandon Butler
Cherry on rebounding after a wreck:
“Man we had a tough day at Hickory last weekend. We had a good car and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught up in someone else’s mess. The guys worked hard this week to get the car put back together and we’ll go out there this week and race like nothing happened. Last week is history and we’ve got to go out there and race as hard as we can.”
- Cherry qualified fifth at Hickory Motor Speedway last weekend, but was involved in an on-track incident that sent him to the garage early.
- Cherry has finished second in both of his starts at Tri-County Motor Speedway this season.
- After eight races this season, Cherry has three top fives and seven top 10s. He’s competed at Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.), Hickory Motor Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway.
Team: No. 5 AirTight Late Model
Crew Chief: Danny Johnson
Kasten on last weekend’s top 10 at Hickory:
“We battled with a loose race car all day at Hickory, and it showed in the race. Fortunately we were able to avoid the big wrecks and come away with a solid sixth-place finish. We learned what worked, what didn’t work and what we need to do to make the car better for this weekend. I think we’ll be able to run strong at both tracks this weekend with the No. 5 AirTight machine.”
- Kasten scored her best finish of the season last weekend at Hickory Motor Speedway, finishing sixth.
- Kasten has four top 10s in seven starts this season. She has competed at Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.), Hickory Motor Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway.
- 2010 is Kasten’s first season competing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models. She previously competed in an ASA touring series.
Darrell Wallace, Jr., rebounded from a disappointing run at South Boston Speedway last month to finish third in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West Goodyear Dealers of Iowa 200 at Iowa Speedway Sunday afternoon. It was Wallace’s debut race at the 0.875-mile speedway.
“It was pretty crazy; I’ll tell you that,” Wallace said. “I told myself not to give up too much in three coming to the checkered flag. I held them down there, and was able to pick off (David) Mayhew and (Corey) LaJoie and get a third-place finish.”
Wallace, one of the youngest competitors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, raced in the top 10 for most of the day after qualifying fifth in the No. 76 Duck Creek Tire Chevrolet. Wallace was fourth on the final restart, and was able hold off Mayhew who restarted fifth. He pulled past LaJoie before the checkered flag and into his second top-three finish of the season.
Wallace jumped three spots to third in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
His Revolution Racing teammates Sergio Pena, Ryan Gifford and Mackena Bell finished 20th, 24th and 36th, respectively.
Mackena Bell qualified 15th for the Goodyear Dealers of Iowa 200, but battled a tight racecar for most of the race. On lap 180, she cut a right front tire and hit hard into the wall in turn four. The hit broke an oil line which sent flames from the No. 8 Freedom Tire Chevrolet. Bell brought the car to a stop in the tri-oval grass and climbed from the car unharmed. Bell is currently 18th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
Sergio Pena finished 20th after struggling with handling problems all day with the No. 4 McAtee Tire Chevrolet. Pena started the race 10th and ran in the top 15 for much of the day, running as high as seventh just past half-way. Pena moved to 14th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
Ryan Gifford’s streak of top-five finishes came to an end this weekend after a pitting for a flat tire trapped him laps down at Iowa. Gifford qualified seventh and was running in the top five before going a lap down. Gifford’s 24th-place finish caused him to slip from second to fifth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings.
The Goodyear Dealers of Iowa 200 can be seen on SPEED Thursday, May 27 at 1 p.m. ET.
Revolution Racing will return to the track June 6 when NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Four Iowa-area independent Goodyear tire dealers are sponsoring the Revolution Racing entries of Mackena Bell, Ryan Gifford, Sergio Pena and Darrell Wallace, Jr., in the Goodyear Tire Dealers of Iowa 200 on May 23.
Duck Creek Tire (Bettendorf, Iowa), Freedom Tire (Altoona, Iowa), Graham Tire (Des Moines, Iowa) and McAtee Tire (Marshalltown, Iowa) will sponsor the four Revolution Racing NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entries this weekend.
The Goodyear Tire Dealers of Iowa 200 brings together competitors from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West for an annual combination event at Iowa Speedway (Newton, Iowa).
Representing Revolution Racing and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Bell will drive the No. 8 Freedom Tire Chevrolet, Gifford will pilot the No. 2 Graham Tire Chevrolet, Pena will drive the No. 4 McAtee Tire Chevrolet and Wallace will drive the No. 76 Duck Creek Tire Chevrolet.
The Goodyear Tire Dealers of Iowa 200 can be seen on SPEED Thursday, May 27 at 6 p.m. ET.
Revolution Racing’s four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams headed to South Boston (Va.) Speedway this weekend for another round of short-track racing in the South Boston 150. Ryan Gifford was the highest finishing Revolution driver, piloting his No. 2 Distribution One Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish.
Gifford’s teammates Sergio Pena, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Mackena Bell finished 14th, 20th and 23rd, respectively.
“We had a fast car all day in practice and (Crew Chief) Lee McCall made some good calls to get this car dialed in for the race,” said Gifford. “We fought hard all day and I’m glad we were able to get Distribution One another top-five finish.”
Gifford, who finished second in last year’s event at South Boston Speedway, paced the field in final practice before qualifying seventh in the No. 2 Distribution One Chevrolet. Once the race got underway, Gifford was able to keep his car up front for the long haul, settling into fifth for most of the race. With 50 to go, Gifford found himself battling for third and hung on for his second consecutive fourth-place finish.
Pena rebounded after last weekend’s early race wreck at Greenville Pickens Speedway to finish 14th at South Boston. He qualified 10th in the No. 4 Chevrolet and ran solidly in the top 10 for most of the race.
“I’m proud of all the hard work everyone at Revolution Racing put into getting this car ready to race this weekend,” said Pena. “The car felt really good all day and was capable of running up front. We just weren’t able to capitalize on it today.”
Wallace qualified third in the No. 6 Chevrolet, but started 25th after a post-qualifying repair was made to the car. He worked his way through the field and into the top 15 by the half-way mark. By lap 109, Wallace found himself inside the top-10 with a car that could contend for the lead. Wallace’s charge to the front ended abruptly when he cut a tire battling for fifth with just six laps to go. He was forced to pit to repair the car and finished 20th, four laps down to the leaders.
“It was a tough way to end a great run,” said Wallace. “The No. 6 Chevrolet was hooked up. I thought we were going to have something for them there at the end and at least come away with a top five. Unfortunately it didn’t end up that way.”
Bell struggled to find speed on fresh rubber in practice but picked up nearly a half-second in qualifying to start the race inside the top 10. She ran solidly in the top 10 for most of the race before slipping to mid-pack two-thirds of the way through the race. Still faster than several of the cars in front of her, Bell was poised to break back into the top 15 when contact from the No. 39 of Dustin Delaney sent her No. 8 Chevrolet spinning hard into the inside frontstretch wall, ending her night with 30 laps to go in the race. She was credited with a 23rd-place finish.
“It was a hard hit, probably one of the hardest I’ve ever had, and it’s a shame we had to tear up a good race car battling for a spot in the top 20,” said Bell. “I was learning a lot out there and I think we could have picked up some spots and come away with a solid finish. Now we’ll go back to the shop, regroup and get ready for Iowa.”
The race broadcast from South Boston Speedway will air Thursday, April 15 at 6 p.m. ET on SPEED.
Revolution Racing will return to the track May 23 when NASCAR K&N Pro Series East meets West at Iowa Speedway (Newton, Iowa).