Ricky Carmichael, No. 4 Monster Energy Chevy Silverado, Darlington Preview

Ricky Carmichael No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado Event Preview Fact Sheet   Event/Date:  Too Tough To Tame 200 – March 12, 2011 Venue:                  

Darlington Raceway – Darlington, S.C.   * This Week’s Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado … Ricky Carmichael will pilot chassis TMS-009 from the Turner Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) stable in Saturday’s Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway. This is the same Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado he raced last August at Darlington where a late-race accident left him with a 24th-place finish.  Built new last season, the same truck also saw action at Pocono Raceway where Carmichael started 17th and finished 19th.

* Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner …Turner Motorsports notched its first win in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Mark Martin’s Trent Owens-led Dollar General team came out on the winning end of a calculated fuel mileage gamble. It was the first NASCAR win for Texas businessman Steve Turner. Meanwhile, all three of Turner Motorsports full-time Nationwide Series drivers reside in the top five in points. Reed Sorenson leads the points while teammates Jason Leffler and Justin Allgaier are third and fifth, respectively.

American Muscle

* Darlington Details … Carmichael’s lone NCWTS start at Darlington came last August where he started 16th and was headed for a prospective top-10 finish when he was collected in a late-race incident and left with a 24th-place result.

* Phoenix Facts … Two weeks ago, at Phoenix International Raceway, Carmichael started 28th and finished 31st. The Monster Energy team lost a lap early, clawed their way back onto the lead lap and positioned themselves for a potential top-10 finish, only to be collected in a late-race incident of another driver’s doing. As a result, Carmichael slipped from being tied for third points to 13th in the standings. Still, the 31-year-old driver is just 21 markers behind point-leader Matt Crafton and a slim seven points outside the top 10.

* In a Nutshell … The 2011 season marks Carmichael’s second year competing on a full-time basis in the NCWTS. Since making his series debut 45 races ago, the father of two has gone on to earn three top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. Over those same 45 races, Carmichael has logged a 14th-place average start, a 16.8 average finish, completed 91.97 percent of the laps run and earned just over $600,000 in purse money.

* Welcome Aboard… Turner Motorsports and Monster Energy are pleased to welcome BI-LO and Markette to the lower-rear quarter panels of the No. 4 Monster Energy Silverado. BI-LO and Super BI-LO grocery stores serve customers throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia with fresh, high-quality products and excellent service at the very best value. There are currently 23 Markette Convenience Stores located throughout the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina.  Markette has proudly served its customers for over 40 years, providing state-of-the-art facilities, outstanding customer service and a variety of fuel types to meet every need. 

* Meet the Driver … Carmichael, along with Turner Motorsports teammate James Buescher and several other NCWTS drivers will participate in an autograph session on Sat., March 12 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. The event will take place on Darlington’s pit road and will be open to fans with pre-race pit passes. For more information on the NCWTS driver autograph session, please visit www.darlingtonraceway.com or call (866) 459-Race to purchase tickets and pre-race pit passes for the Too Tough To Tame 200.

* See the Monster Energy Silverado … The Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado show truck will make three stops in the Darlington area this week. On Thursday, from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., the truck will visit BI-LO store No. 32 located at 819 West Carolina Ave. in Hartsville. The following day, the No. 4 machine will be back in Hartsville at the Markette Convenience Store at 104 West Bobo Newsom Hwy from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Hartsville is approximately 14 miles northwest of Darlington Raceway. On Saturday, Carmichael’s race truck will be in Darlington from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at BI-LO store No. 587 located at 508 Lamar Hwy.

·         Up to Speed … Live coverage of the Too Tough to Tame 200 from Darlington Raceway will be televised on SPEED Sat., March 12 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 128. Qualifying for the Round 3 of the 2011 NCWTS championship will be televised live on SPEED on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST.

RICKY CARMICHAEL QUOTES   Last year was the first time you’d raced at Darlington. What were your first impressions of the race track not only when you first saw it but when you actually got out on the track?

“Obviously, the track has been there a long time and there’s a lot of history there.  Once I got out on the track, I was surprised about how much grip there was. You feel like you’re going so fast because you’re right next to the wall so, from that perspective, it’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of tough to try and make passes but it’s really fun when you’re by yourself logging laps. I really enjoyed it. It’s crazy because we’re pretty much wide open through Turns 1 and 2. It’s wild because Darlington feels and races like a short track but we’re wide open through the corners like we do at the bigger mile-and-half tracks. That’s a testament to how well these trucks are prepared and how much grip they make.”

Are there any motocross tracks that you could compare Darlington to? Not just from a historical standpoint but from a challenge perspective?  

“I’d have to compare Darlington to a really rough, sand track like Southwick National in Massachusetts. In the motocross world, that’s the type of track that’s really hard to get it right and master. You have to be mentally tough and hit your marks to be on top of your game. It’s also very challenging like racing on a hard-packed, dry, slick track like the Las Vegas Supercross where you have to be very precise with your line.” 

The common theme to approaching Darlington has always been ‘race the racetrack.’ But with 147 laps clicking off at 30 seconds a piece, there isn’t a whole lot of time to get it done. With that short of a race, do you need to worry about racing guys and passing guys or if you ‘race the race track’ and don’t have any problems, does everything else take care of itself?

“Hopefully, we’ll have a great Monster Energy Chevy Silverado and we’ll qualify well and have good track position from the outset of race. That being said, there’s obviously going to be times where you have to pass a guy and that’s tough at Darlington. What I have to focus on is racing the track if I’m not racing side-by-side or nose-to-tail with someone else. You have to make your moves fast at Darlington because there’s not a lot of real estate to deal with. You have to make your passes very quickly and make it stick.”

At Darlington, you’re on the edge the whole time and the fast guys are right up against the wall on the top of the race track. Do you enjoy that style of racing?

“The guys who have been doing this a long time and can be aggressive really quickly are going to have an advantage.  It’s a big challenge for me because I don’t have a lot of experience getting after it right now. It’s tougher but I enjoy that challenge.”

Turner Motorsports won its first Nationwide Series race last weekend in Las Vegas. How excited were you, not for only Mr. Turner but for the entire organization to get that first win?

“I was ecstatic for the entire organization. It shows a lot about what we’ve got going on. I was really excited for Steve and his whole family. He deserves to win races. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people deserve wins be he’s definitely committed to being a top player and having one of the best organizations in this business. We’ve got great personnel and great equipment.  Mark (Martin) really helped me a lot when I started racing late models down in Florida so as much as I wanted to be the guy to get the Turners that first win, I’m really glad that Mark was the guy who made it happen. It’s a big confidence builder for the whole company and proves that we have a winning organization.”

Follow Ricky Carmichael at: Rickycarmichael.com Twitter.com/RickyCarmichael Facebook.com/RickyCarmichael http://www.facebook.com/TurnerMotorsports http://twitter.com/TurnerMotorspts   About Turner Motorsports: Turner Motorsports, LLC, established in 1999, is in the midst of its sophomore season of NASCAR competition. Owned by Texas-native, Steve Turner, the organization has expanded in 2011 from a two-truck operation in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) to become the largest stand-alone multi-series team in NASCAR’s top-tier touring series.  Turner Motorsports operates out of an 110,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility in Mooresville, N.C., and will house three entries in the Camping World Truck Series and four entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.  The team boasts an all-star driver line-up that includes Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jason Leffler, Reed Sorenson, Justin Allgaier, Ricky Carmichael, James Buescher and Brad Sweet.  The Chevrolet-backed team has created alliances with General Motors’ powerhouse teams Hendrick Motorsports, which will provide engine support for both its NNS and NCWTS programs, Kevin Harvick Inc. for body and aero support, and Earnhardt Technology Group for drive train and suspension technology assistance. Turner Motorsports’ marketing partners include Dollar General, Great Clips, Monster Energy, BRANDT, Rexall, Exide, AccuDoc Solutions, Wolfpack Rentals, Fraternal Order of Eagles and ABF Freight. For more information on Turner Motorsports, visit www.turnermotorsportsllc.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.


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