82. SCOTT SPEED LONG RUNS, LONG NIGHT: Speed earned his best finish Saturday night in four starts at Richmond's .75-mile oval. He ended up 24th, and it wasn't easy. After starting 31st, Speed was 26th at the halfway mark, then 22nd with 150 laps...
82. SCOTT SPEED
LONG RUNS, LONG NIGHT: Speed earned his best finish Saturday night in four starts at Richmond's .75-mile oval. He ended up 24th, and it wasn't easy. After starting 31st, Speed was 26th at the halfway mark, then 22nd with 150 laps to go. But long green-flag runs separated by only three caution flags - highly uncharacteristic for a short-track race - never allowed Speed's No. 82 Red Bull Toyota to gain any track position.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Driver No. 82 has made three starts at New Hampshire, improving with each visit. His best start (15th) and finish (27th) came in June. "We were good on the first 10 laps of each run, then it got worse the second 10 and unmanageable the last," Speed said. "During the weekend, we worked on the car to get it to where we needed to be solid. One more practice would have been great." He'll have two practice sessions Friday and one Saturday.
VITAL SIGNS: Ranks 27th in the driver standings - 166 points behind 26th-place Brad Keselowski.
83. REED SORENSON
PATIENCE PAYS OFF: Saturday night at Richmond marked Mattias Ekstrom's second Sprint Cup start, but first on an oval. He logged 297 trouble-free miles en route to a 31st-place finish - ahead of series stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle. "I decided that I didn't want to go out and wreck a car by doing something stupid and taking risks," said the Swede, "so I went at my pace and built up gradually because I know that always pays off in the end. Being patient is often the key to success. I had one touch on the wall, and except for that I got into a rhythm and tried to get some experience."
LOVE FOR LOUDON: Reed Sorenson, in July 2006, led 31 laps in his first race at New Hampshire. No wonder it's his favorite track. "From the first time I first raced there I have loved it," he said. "I don't know if it is my background growing up racing (legends cars) on a lot of flat tracks, or if it is just that particular track. We race on a few flat tracks a year, but Loudon is definitely my favorite." Sorenson's first race in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota came in June, when he finished 24th. His best finish in nine starts at the 1.058-mile track is sixth (June 2008).
VITAL SIGNS: The No. 83 ranks 27th in the owner standings - 47 points behind Penske Racing's No. 12.