Blown motor ends Nationwide race day early for Richardson at Bristol
CHINA GROVE, N.C. (March 20, 2011) – When you have 34 races in a season, chances are good there will be one of them a team just wants to forget and move on to the next one.
On Saturday, Bristol Motor Speedway became that one for R3 Motorsports.
The No. 23 Wildlife Conservation Society Dodge was entered with its usual driver of Robert Richardson, Jr. behind the wheel. The team also entered their No. 03 North Texas Pipe Dodge with driver Chris Lawson.
Four practice sessions on Friday allowed enough time to get both cars dialed in for qualifying on Saturday. Richardson made his laps and would line up 38th for the race. Lawson was well on his way to making the field on his second qualifying lap until he exited Turn 4 too fast, tagged the outside wall and then tried to straighten it out before the No. 03 Dodge broke loose and ended up on the inside wall giving him a DNQ.
Once the race started, Richardson moved up to 35th and was holding his own when a competition caution waved on lap 25. This was known ahead of time to put on the new right-side tires deemed better by NASCAR and Goodyear after Friday’s practice sessions yielded very little rubber being put down on the track.
With the new right-side tires on his Dodge, Richardson radioed into his crew that it “was a whole different car with new tires” on there. Walter Giles and crew planned their race strategy to make it through the rest of the race via two and four-tire stops.
However, that all went up in smoke – literally – on lap 66 when the spotter said something was coming out of the back of the car. As Richardson made his way into Turn 3, fluids and smoke started to come out of the exhaust pipes as the No. 23 Dodge broke loose and slid up the banking backwards.
After the rear bumper tagged the wall, it slid to the apron as fluids poured out of the engine compartment on to the track. Richardson was okay, but after the No. 23 Dodge was towed to the pit area, it was quickly deemed the engine beyond any repairs to return to action.
This left R3 Motorsports with an undeserved 37th place finish, and the team looking forward to this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
Robert Richardson, Jr. quotes: “This wasn’t one of the weekends where you leave the track with a good feeling. We tried everything we could to get better and better in those practice sessions. Just before the motor let loose during the race, I was about to get on the radio and say something didn’t sound right under the hood.
“Then all of a sudden I had my hands full and you can see what the results were for us on the track. The guys did a great job getting my car and the No. 03 ready for this race and it’s good to see everyone working so hard for a common goal. We’ll just head to California and get our lost points back from Bristol.”
-source: r3 motorsports