Drew Herring: Iowa Speedway is a ‘Track of Dreams’Press Release
While getting a feel for the differences between a Nationwide Series Camry and Camping World Truck Series Tundra will pose a challenge for Herring when practice begins Friday night, finding his way around the Rusty Wallace-designed short track shouldn’t be an issue. The North Carolina native has finished in the top 15 in each of his three Nationwide Series starts at Iowa Speedway. In two USARacing Pro Cup Series starts there, he collected two top-10 finishes, including capturing the pole and leading 128 laps en route to a runner-up finish in the 2009 race.
Herring, whose resume includes Late Model championships at two different short tracks, has been able to showcase his driving talent over his three Nationwide Series starts at Iowa. He qualified 15th, made his way as high as fourth for several laps and finished 15th in an impressive series debut in 2010. When qualifying was washed out for last May’s Nationwide Series race, Herring inherited the pole and went on to lead the first 37 laps of the race. He surrendered several positions when he stalled the car on pit road during the first round of pits stops, but was able to battle back to the front and regained the lead on lap 209. The youngster fell back in the late stages of the race and was forced to settle for a 12th-place finish. Last August, he produced his Nationwide Series career-best qualifying effort of fifth and went on to finish 11th.
Although the 25-year-old hasn’t made any starts in 2012, he practiced Kurt Busch’s No. 54 Monster Energy Camry for KBM during last month’s Nationwide Series race at Iowa and qualified the same machine for the May Iowa race. Additionally, he has participated in testing for Joe Gibbs Racing, so he should be able to shake off the rust fairly quickly.
Working with veteran crew chief Eric Phillips, who called the shots for Mike Skinner’s dominant win in the inaugural Iowa truck race, and an experienced KBM crew, should help ease the transition to the seat of a truck for Herring. After a slow start to the season, the 2010 Truck Series Owner’s champs have registered top-10 finishes in eight of the last nine races and the No. 18 Tundra has led the most laps in two of the last three stops on the circuit.
Iowa Speedway has been the site of many firsts during the early stages of Herring’s NASCAR career. When the checkered flag waves at the conclusion of Saturday’s 200-lap race, the youngster is hoping to achieve another milestone at the ‘Track of Dreams’ – his first NASCAR win.
Drew Herring, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS Toyota/Dollar General Tundra:
Can you think of a better place to make your Truck Series debut than Iowa?
“I couldn’t think of a better match for me than going to Iowa with the No. 18 team. Iowa is a track I already know, so I can just focus on getting used to the feel of the truck and not have to worry about figuring out the track. Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all the guys on this No. 18 Tundra are superb — they are the best in the series — and they will be able to help ease my transition to the truck.”
What is it about Iowa that seems to fit your driving style?
“Every driver seems to have a track or two that they just kind of get from the first time they go there — they know how to get around it and are always fast there. Iowa has been that track for me — I’ve been able to go there and have solid runs. I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that again this weekend. As long I do my job in practice and lead Eric in the right direction — to be able to get the truck comfortable for me — and we stay out of trouble in the race, I don’t see any reason why we can’t compete for the win.”
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS Toyota/Dollar General Tundra:
What will be the biggest challenge for Drew translating success in the Nationwide Series cars at Iowa into success in the trucks?
“How much harder you have to drive the trucks — you have to drive into the corner harder, get on the gas earlier and carry more corner speed. When we were there this summer, we were almost three-quarters of a second faster than what they were running in the two Nationwide Series races.”
What did you learn in the first Iowa race that you can apply this time around?
“That track position is very important and because of that we need to place more of an emphasis on having a good qualifying run this time around. I think we had a really good truck the first race, but we didn’t qualify like we needed to and then we had a bad pit stop, and we ended up spinning out. I think the biggest thing will be making sure that our Tundra is pretty comfortable, so that Drew can be aggressive in qualifying and we can have a good spot to start the race.”
Drew Herring’s No. 18 Toyota/Dollar General Tundra:
Chassis KBM-7: Chassis KBM-7 has collected three wins, a runner-up and six top-10 finishes over seven career starts. The Toyota has seen the track twice in 2012, an eighth-place finish in the March race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and a sixth-place finish in the July race at Iowa Speedway, both with Jason Leffler behind the wheel.
Drew Herring 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
- Finished 12th or better in all four of his NNS starts for Joe Gibbs Racing, collecting two top-10 finishes while leading 39 laps and completing all 929 laps available
Drew Herring Career:
2010 – Finished 15th in his Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway; posted two top-20 finishes in four series starts
2009 – Finished third in the USARacing Pro Cup Series Championship standings and fifth in the regular season point standings; earned first series win at South Georgia Motorsports Park and registered seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 14 starts
2008 – Earned USARacing Pro Cup Series Rookie of the Year Honors collecting two top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts
2007 – Captured Late Model championship at Southern National Raceway Park with seven wins and 21 top-five finishes in 29 races
2006 – Captured Late Model championship at South Boston Speedway with nine wins in 17 starts
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Toyota Tundra:
- Has led the most laps in two of the last three races (Kurt Busch 57 of 100 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on 8/18/12 and Kyle Busch 75 of 130 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. on 8/31/12)
- Jason Leffler qualified ninth and finished sixth in the July race at Iowa Speedway
- Brian Ickler qualified seventh and finished 14th in last year’s Truck Series race at Iowa
- Registered a season-best second-place finish with Kyle Busch at Atlanta Motor Speedway (8/31/12) and earned a season-best second-place qualifying effort with Jason Leffler at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (4/21/12)
- After 14 races, resides ninth in the 2012 NCWTS Owner’s point standings
- In 2011, ranked first in Truck Series wins (8) and second in Owner’s points (920), Laps Led (878), Fastest Laps Run (448) and Top-Five Finishes (16)
Three different drivers won a race in the No. 18 Tundra in 2011 – Kyle Busch (series-leading 6), Kasey Kahne (1) and Denny Hamlin (1)
- Since debuting in the Truck Series in 2010, the team has compiled 16 wins and 34 top-five finishes over 63 starts
- In 2010, became first team since the NCWTS originated in 1995 to win the Owner’s Championship in its inaugural season
KBM Truck Chief Made his “Way” from Iowa:
- Mitch Way, truck chief and front tire carrier for KBM’s No. 18 Tundra, is a native of Davenport, Iowa. A successful dirt track racer, with over 200 feature wins to his name, Way moved to Charlotte in 2006 to pursue a career in NASCAR. The 31-year-old has been with KBM since its inaugural season in 2010, contributing to 16 Truck Series wins and an Owner’s Championship. Way is joined on the No. 18 over-the-wall crew by Sibley, Iowa’s Mike Janssen, who serves as the rear tire changer.
The Phillips File:
Crew chief Eric Phillips called the shots for Mike Skinner’s dominating win in the inaugural Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway in 2010. Skinner captured the pole and led 180 of 200 laps en route to victory. Since joining KBM, Phillips drivers have top-15 finishes in all three starts, including a sixth-place finish from Jason Leffler in July.
Source: Kyle Busch Motorsports Press Release
Article Tags: American Ethanol 200, Eric Phillips, Iowa Speedway, Jason Leffler, JGR, Joe Gibbs Racing, KBM, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Mike Skinner, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NCWTS, No. 18 Dollar General Toyoa Tundra, USARacing Pro Cup Series