CONCORD, NC (Aug 6, 2012) Taking the term road warriors to heart, Rev Racing ran in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West Pork Be Inspired 150, in Newton, IA, on Friday night and then traveled to Hickory, NC for a Saturday race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. All this hard work leading to a top five finish in both races.
Friday night’s Pork 150, at Iowa Speedway, started with Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 6 L&M Ethanol Maintenance Contracting Toyota Camry, rolling off in fifth with his teammate, Bryan Ortiz, close behind in his No. 4 Toyota/Toyota Racing Development Camry, in eighth. Rounding out the 36 car field were Rev Racing drivers Ryan Gifford in 16th and Jorge Arteaga in 24th.
On lap 15, smoke began to appear from the rear of Gifford’s No. 2 Universal Technical Institute/NASCAR Technical Institute Toyota Camry. By lap 17, Gifford would have to take his car to the garage for engine repairs and would not return until lap 70.
At the halfway break, on lap 75, Larson would lead the Rev Racing team of drivers in the fourth position overall, followed by Ortiz in 12th, Arteaga in 20th and Gifford in 35th.
“The first half of the race I kind of just rode around searching for different lines that might help me in the second half,” said Larson.
Larson found that his car ran best on the high groove and moved his L&M Ethanol Maintenance Contracting Camry into the lead on lap 132. On lap 135, a multi-car wreck in turn two would bring out a red flag situation and set the stage for an exciting finish. Before the restart, knowing there were only 15 cars on the lead lap and that he was running 14th, Ortiz brought his Camry in for a quick adjustment.
“We had a great car in practice but I just couldn’t get it to handle during the race,” said Ortiz. “We tried everything but nothing seemed to work. It was a tough night but we’ll be ready for Greenville.”
Teammate, Arteaga would be the only Rev Racing driver to benefit from the red flag by being the recipient of the “lucky dog” and finding himself on the lead lap, in 15th position, during the restart.
“It was a very complicated first half of this race,” said Arteaga. “The team did a great job of making adjustments at the break and we were really good in the second half. I am happy with the results.”
When the race restarted, Larson was hoping everyone fighting for position might bring out another caution.
“My car would start to fall off after five or six laps, so I knew it was going to be tough to remain in front for so many laps,” added Larson. “ I was hoping there might be another caution but it didn’t go that way.”
Corey LaJoie would pull ahead of Larson on lap 141 and take the win. Larson would come home in second and moved up to second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East point’s race, just 20 points out of first, with four races remaining.
“While I would have liked to claim the win in the Pork Be Inspired 150, second isn’t bad at all when you consider all the bad luck we had at Columbus,” said Larson.
Arteaga would claim the second best finish of the Rev Racing drivers in 11th position. Ortiz would finish the night in 14th position but only finds himself one point out of the top five in series standings. After a tough night, Gifford would bring home a 33rd place finish.
It was well after midnight before the team finished the NASCAR post-race technical inspection at Iowa. After which the Rev Racing team would quickly load up their equipment and head to the airport for early morning flights back to North Carolina. There they would link up with their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series equipment, which was ready and waiting at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Running on caffeine and adrenaline, the team arrived just in time for the first practice session. Drivers, Trey Gibson and Mackena Bell quickly showed that they were more than ready to race with both posting fast times and looking forward to qualifying. However, rain showers canceled the late model qualifying efforts and track points standings would determine the starting positions.
After missing several races at this track, while supporting their teammates at previous K&N events, Gibson would line up fifth with Bell in ninth.
On lap 6, Gibson and his No. 2 Lithium Pros Toyota Camry, would be involved in an incident going into turn two. While he was able to avoid any damage, NASCAR Officials would rule that Gibson intentionally turned the car in front of him sending Gibson to the rear of the 12 car field.
“We haven’t been able to race for several weeks, so we were a little rusty at first,” said Gibson. “Fortunately, I had a great car, and it didn’t take us long to get back into the groove. I didn’t try to turn the 11, he just slowed in front of me and it was all I could do to keep from running over him and ruining both of our cars. Luckily, neither one of us had any damage. It was simply a racing incident.”
Gibson would drive his car back through the field and would quickly be back in the fifth position. While gaining on the third and fourth place cars, Gibson remained in the fifth position when the checkered flag flew on lap 50.
“It’s not the finish we wanted or expected but it was good to be back racing,” said Gibson. “I’m so proud of everything this entire organization did to get me and Mackena back here to race. This took a lot of effort on the part of everyone and shows how committed they are to seeing us succeed.”
Bell, who started the night in ninth in her No.4 Toyota Racing Development Camry, would move up as high as seventh but would end the race in the same position she started.
“We practiced and had everything set up to run the high groove,” said Bell. “ The rain cooled the track and meant that line just wasn’t there. So, even though the No. 4 Toyota Racing Development Camry car was fast, the handling just wasn’t what I needed to move up. It was fun to be back in the seat after so many weeks off though.”
Rev Racing’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers will be back in action at Hickory Motor Speedway for the Twin-50’s on Saturday, August 11, with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers making their return to the track at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, in Greenville, SC, on Monday, September 3.