Drew Herring / No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota Preview – Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway

Drew Herring / No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota Preview Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway   No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota News & Notes:

·     HERRING & STEVENS READY TO HELP NO. 18 TO OWNER’S TITLE:  Drew Herring will return to the seat of a Joe Gibbs Racing machine this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway.  But this time, it won’t be in the No. 20, where he made his debut back in May.  Instead, it will be in the No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota.  However, one thing that will remain the same for Herring, as it was in May, is the team he will have around him.  This weekend, the No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota will be lead by Crew Chief Adam Stevens and a majority of the regular crew from the No. 20 JGR Nationwide Series team.  Jason Ratcliff, the regular Crew Chief of the No. 18, will also be in at Nashville to help guide the team toward a strong finish and a chance to extend their lead in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship.  Following last weekend’s win by Kyle Busch, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team holds a 27-point advantage over the No. 32 of Tuner Motorsports in the Owner’s point standings.

·     HERRING GETS ANOTHER SHOT… AFTER GETTING SHOT:  Drew Herring knows he’s fortunate to be able to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in great equipment like that of Joe Gibbs Racing.  However, Herring also knows that there is more to life than just getting to race; like getting to live it.  Herring is still pursuing his racing dreams despite nearly losing his life in a hunting accident when he was just 17 years old.  Herring and a number of friends were out raccoon hunting when a wild raccoon, scared by another hunter’s shot at it, came out of a tree right on top of Herring and several of his friends.  As everyone tried to scrabble out of the way of the wild animal, Herring and a friend ran into each other and lost their balance, falling to the ground.  When they hit the ground, his friend’s .22-calibur discharged, shooting Herring through the side.  The bullet hit Herring’s stomach, colon and pancreas.  Fortunately, after spending nine days in the hospital, Herring made a full recovery.  Now, he’s back on track to go after his passion, racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, all while celebrating life each and every day.

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·     SPORT CLIPS CONTINUES WONDERFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH JOE GIBBS RACING:  Sport Clips, a national sport-themed hair-care franchise for men and boys that can be found in 38 states,will continue its strong relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway.  Sport Clips and Joe Gibbs Racing have built a strong relationship which has seen tremendous success this year, earning two victories in the Nationwide Series (with Denny Hamlin in Richmond and Joey Logano at Daytona).  Founded in 1995, Sport Clips has over 780 stores nationwide.  Sport Clips will also be the primary sponsor on the No. 20 Toyota next weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway (with Herring), Chicagoland Speedway in September ( with Logano) and at Dover International Speedway in October (Logano).

·     SECOND START OF THE YEAR FOR HERRING/SPORT CLIPS COMBO:  Drew Herring made his debut with Joe Gibbs Racing and Sport Clips earlier this season at Iowa Speedway in impressive fashion.  After qualifying for the event was rained out, Herring started on the pole in the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota and led the first 39 laps of the event, Herring’s first laps led in Nationwide Series competition.  A couple of pit road mistakes put the team behind, but Herring was able to battle back and finish 12th in the final rundown.

·     CHASSIS:  The JGR team will take chassis #120-18 to Nashville Superspeedway this weekend.  The car has run in three other events this year; California (finished first with Busch driving), Darlington (first with Busch) and Chicago (eighth with Kelly Bires).

·     STAT OF THE WEEK:  7.9.  The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has competed in all 19 races in 2011 with three different drivers (Busch, Bires and Michael McDowell) and has an average finish of 7.9.

·     THE RACE:  Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway (Lebanon, TN; 1.33-mile concrete oval) is set for Saturday night, July 23, 2011.  The race will be broadcast on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. EST, with radio coverage on MRN starting at 7:30 p.m. EST.     Herring’s Season-To-Date NASCAR Nationwide Series Stats: Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Laps Led Earnings Avg. Start Avg. Finish 1 0 0 0 0 39 $23,168 1.0 12.0   Herring’s Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Stats: Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Laps Led Earnings Avg. Start Avg. Finish 5 0 0 0 0 39 $119,015 15.6 20.8   Herring’s Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Stats at Nashville Superspeedway: Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Laps Led Earnings Avg. Start Avg. Finish – – – – – – – – –     Drew Herring Quotes: “I’ve never had a chance to run at Nashville in race conditions, but I have driven a car around the track before.  I ran in the GM (General Motors) Combine there a few years ago with a bunch of other drivers and we were turning laps in an old-style Nationwide Series car.  So this will be a new experience for me, but not totally new.  I at least can say I’ve got some laps around the track.  But getting out there the first time in practice, I’m sure it will take me a few laps to get back into the swing of things.  But when you are in as good of equipment as I will be this weekend with this Joe Gibbs Racing stuff, it won’t take long to feel comfortable and be right back into the groove of it all.  Then, we will just get down to business and get the Sport Clips Toyota running comfortably.   “I’m really fortunate to get another couple shots at running for Joe Gibbs Racing and Sport Clips.  The Iowa event was just awesome.  I know we didn’t earn the pole because of the rain, but to start up front and to lead laps right away was a pretty awesome experience.  We had a much better car than our finish showed that day because I screwed up in the pits.  I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen this weekend.  I can’t let the guys down, and let myself down, like I did there.  So I’m determined to come out here and race up front and be in contention this weekend.  It’s important to run up front and get a good finish and keep this No. 18 in the Owner’s Championship lead when we leave this weekend.”   Adam Stevens Quotes: “Nashville is a track that can be hard on tires, especially in practice. We get on the track after the Trucks complete all their practices, so it shouldn’t be a problem for us this weekend.  We will also get an extra set of tires this weekend, called the rookie set, with Drew in the car, so that will be nice in helping us fine tune the car during practice.  This is a track where being free is crucial and having track position is critical.   “I’m pretty excited to see if the second groove will come in during the weekend.  It started to come in there during our last race, so if it does, that should put on some better racing.  There should be some more passing and two-wide racing this time around. There will also be quite a few less Cup drivers here this weekend and quite a few more drivers that have never seen this place, so the race will be as much about staying out of trouble and not making mistakes as it will be about having a fast car.”    

No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota / Joe Gibbs Racing Team

Driver – Drew Herring                                           

Crew Chief – Adam Stevens                                  

Car Chief – Mike Sibley

Race Engineer – Curtis Ratzlaff                            

Shock Specialist – Joel Weidman                        

Front-end – Nick Fuller

Rear-end – Dave Rudy                                          

Tire Specialist – Chris “Yoshi” Jones                     

Engine Tuner – Roger Purcell

Truck Driver – Tim Clancy

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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