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Chris Knight

Chris Knight

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Chris Knight has served as Assistant News Editor, Director of Driver Communications and Senior staff writer for Catchfence.com since 2001. In his 13 years with Catchfence.com, Knight has covered and posted daily news and press releases for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Racing Series and "Other" Series for Catchfence.com. In addition to his active duties at Catchfence.com and other racing endeavors, the 30-year old also served as the Manager of Operations and Communications for Sheltra Motorsports and driver Patrick Sheltra in the ARCA Racing Series for four years including their championship season in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @Knighter01

Oct 19
Sunday

Strong Runs For Landon Cassill; Travis Kvapil At Talladega Superspeedway

Filed under Featured, Sprint Cup Series

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 40 Carsforsale.com Chevrolet, and David Ragan, driver of the #34 Dockside Logistics Ford, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 40 Carsforsale.com Chevrolet, and David Ragan, driver of the #34 Dockside Logistics Ford, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski advanced his way into the Eliminator round of the Chase Sunday afternoon at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, but Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil may have felt like the real winners, after both scored top-10 finishes in the GEICO 500.

Cassill driving the No. 40 CarsforSale.com Chevrolet SS for Hillman Racing earned his career-best finish in 147 starts. Previously, Cassill hoisted a previous best run of 11th also at Talladega in May.

The restrictor plate races have been kind to the team owned by Mike Hillman Sr. in 2014. Other than a 31st place finish at Daytona International Speedway in July, after starting third, the team has earned top-12 finishes in the other three plate races this season.

Despite starting 29th, Cassill utilized the draft to maneuver his car inside the top-10 by Lap 20. Despite a brief backslide during the middle portion of the 500-mile race, Cassill methodically worked his way back towards the front and found himself in the top-five on Lap 110, before sliding back to 21st some sixty laps later.

His friends, however, united around him as the checkered flag neared. With help from behind, Cassill found his “underdog” team sitting second with 24 laps to go. After falling to 10th following the final caution, a couple shoves from Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne bolted the No. 40 back into the top-five on the white flag. Cassill, the full-time Nationwide Series driver for Johnny Davis then found himself battling Bowyer for a podium finish.

After a gallant effort, Cassill fell short, but finished fourth, thus proving that Talladega serves as the great equalizer that allows smaller teams to thrive.

We wanted to win this race. We came here to win it. My team deserves it,” offered Cassill post-race. “CarsforSale.com deserves it. We don’t have a lot to work with. But what we do work with, we set out to run good at these four superspeedway races, and we proved that this year. Fourth place is just amazing. ”

While he didn’t take home the checkered flag, the 25-year old Cassill feels that Sunday’s run will help propel his team in the remaining four races of the year.

Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 33 Little Joe's Auto Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw / Getty Images)
Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 33 Little Joe's Auto Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama.. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw / Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Circle Sport Racing’s Travis Kvapil finished sixth, posting his first top-10 since an eighth place finish, also at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2012.

Kvapil drove the sponsorless No. 33 Chevrolet SS for Joe Falk, who shares a shop with Hillman Racing, who finished fourth with Cassill at the helm. The two teams work together and often unite as one, so understandably, both teams considered the day one of the major success in the history of their organizations.

“Just really proud of everyone at Circle Sport Racing and Hillman Racing,” said Kvapil. “They have me a great race car and I was able to put the car in good spots to get us a good finish. Overall, (a) great effort by everyone and proud to be a part of it!”

Kvapil is still working to secure a ride for next weekend’s Sprint Cup Series event at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on October 26.

Follow Chris Knight on Twitter @Knighter01.

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