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Apr 29, 2014 - 03:57 PM
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Brennan Newberry Weathers the Storm at Richmond International Raceway
Posted by: newsla on Apr 29, 2014 - 03:57 PM
Brennan Newberry Weathers the Storm at Richmond International Raceway

Brennan Newberry and the No.24 Qore-24 Hand Purifier Chevrolet Impala team was presented with multiple challenges upon their arrival to Richmond International Raceway for the initial Blue Ox 100 practice on Thursday, April 24th. After overcoming and conquering every obstacle presented to them leading up to the start of the event, a very fast and competitive Chevrolet, and a chance at a great finish, was turned around after an intense restart under green.


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The first on track 80 minute practice session, was the only chance for the crew to test the setup of a car that had racked up an impressive 2014 record. The first run resonated a reoccurring theme throughout the weekend; searching for grip on a notoriously slick race track. Crew Chief John Monsam began a round of changes trying to determine what to change and what to chance, considering the race conditions were to be almost the exact opposite of the ones during the late afternoon session. After logging multiple short runs and one extended run, the Qore-24 team sat 28th on the speed chart with a fast lap of 23.28. With only 90 minutes until the NKNPSE garage would close, the team flew into action with a checklist of adjustments searching for maximum grip in the center of the turns on Virginia's famed short track.

Early Friday morning crews and drivers looked to their notes and away from the weather forecasts as an impending storm loomed, either from the skies or from the competition. With the sun making its first and only appearance throughout the sessions, Newberry strapped in anxiously awaiting to see if he and his team had found the right combination to get around Richmond. As the track opened for the final 50 minutes of practice, the changes had been positive to the Qore-24 Chevrolet. Newberry jumped to the top 5 early in the session and Monsam decided to focus on race setup knowing that he had the driver who could his way to the front if he could give him a car that could pass. Chasing a car that was still a little tight, and after no attempts at a mock qualifying run, Newberry had a fastest lap of 22.849 and was running the most consistent lap times of anyone in the field. Both crew chief and driver knew they had a great car going into the start of the event.

To set the field for the Blue Ox 100, Newberry drew an early start to his qualifying run and would roll off of pit road seventh of 37 cars. After two laps on the clock, Newberry held on to a lap time of 22.607 and starting position of 23rd. The crew knew their work would be cut out for them to gain track position early, but in order to execute their plan to be fast once the green flag was shown, this was a challenge the team was willing to accept. The only thing standing in their way leading up to putting their plan into effect, was a few hours until the scheduled start of the race; and then Mother Nature showed everyone that she had a different idea for Friday's events. Harsh winds and severe storms rocked the Northern Virginia area and as things were delayed further and further into the night and the event was postponed and rescheduled for 9:00AM Saturday.

With a much needed but short rest, Brennan Newberry, John Monsam, and the entire Qore-24 team rolled back in to Richmond International Raceway confident that their plan would pay off. After the green was finally shown Newberry was silent on the radio but the scoring monitor did the talking for him. After 23 laps under green the NTS Motorsports driver utilized every lane on the race track, through heavy traffic, picking up 10 spots and breaking into thirteenth position before the first caution was displayed and the driver was able to relay back to his team. Still a little free on entry and tight in the center, Newberry said his issues with the car were minor and Monsam relayed a few in car adjustments and let his driver know he was running times faster than the leaders and to keep up the fast pace. After a few caution flag laps the green would be displayed for the day's first restart and Newberry went three-wide through the first set of turns on lap 35.

Immediately following the restart yellow would befall the track once again for an accident requiring an extended cleanup and the red flag was displayed halting all competitors on the backstretch. After a 13 minute halt all teams were given the order to fire the engines once again and the action resumed. With 40 laps completed Brennan Newberry was set to restart 15th and after taking the green, cars touched and turned in front of the field halting progression at a rapid pace. Newberry, reacting to the incident slowed his Chevrolet Impala to avoid an impact in front of him, but had no way of avoiding the impending contact from a trailing competitor. Spinning into the wall, the blistering fast Qore-24 hotrod was stopped against the wall with heavy damage.

Under his own power, Newberry navigated his way to the assistance of his team who hurdled the wall, tools in hand, and went to work on the beaten and battered race car. After multiple trips to the service of his team, Newberry rejoined the filed in 31st position. After two more visits to pit road under caution, the checkered flag was displayed after 100 laps and 75 tough miles on Virginia's premiere short track. Brennan Newberry's first ever start at Richmond International Raceway was not without its challenges but the determination and resolution of both he and his NTS Motorsports crew persevered. After weathering the storm, the Qore-24 team held their head high heading back to Kernersville to prepare another fast chassis for Iowa Speedway in May.

Brennan Newberry's Post-Race Thoughts:
"Our Richmond International Raceway trip definitely had its ups and downs. Fortunately for us, the weather stopped us from racing on Friday night. On Saturday morning, under the same track conditions as final practice, my car really responded well to racing under the Virginia sun. My Qore-24 Chevrolet Impala took off from the green flag and I was able to make my way towards the front. The downside of the day was, after a restart, the field got together and stopped our chances of making another charge toward the lead. I felt like we had a great shot at getting another top 5 finish, which is some extra motivation, as we look towards Iowa Speedway."

John Monsam's Post-Race Thoughts:
"Richmond was true to its reputation as a challenge for everyone who competes at the famed short track. We were met with a series of obstacles throughout practice, qualifying, and the race itself that I feel my driver and my team both met head on and never faltered. After getting caught up in a wreck early in the race, we didn't get the finish that reflected how competitive we were when the event first started. I couldn't be more proud of my NTS Motorsports Qore-24 team and I know we showed everyone that we never give up and we never start digging. Now it is time to focus on the next event, at Iowa Speedway, and I look forward to getting our first win of 2014."

Start: 23rd/Finish: 26th
Drivers' Points Standing: 13th (-60)
Owners Points Standing: 13th (-60)

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