Chicagoland: Blake Feese race report

Blake Feese; Sadler Racing Post Another Top-10 In Chicagoland JOLIET, Illinois (September 10, 2007) - - In their final scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) event of the 2007 season, Blake Feese and Tennessee's Sadler Racing headed into the ...

Blake Feese; Sadler Racing Post Another Top-10 In Chicagoland

JOLIET, Illinois (September 10, 2007) - - In their final scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) event of the 2007 season, Blake Feese and Tennessee's Sadler Racing headed into the Chicagoland 200 with a strong car and the capabilities of posting their fourth consecutive top-10 finish of the season.

They didn't disappoint.

Switching numbers this past weekend thanks to a fair chance of rain over Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, the organization was ready for any obstacles that stood in their way.

Leading into the two-hour practice session, the Sadler Racing team was looking to give local hero Blake Feese an opportunity to get comfortable with the Joliet based speed plant. Despite competing on many of ARCA's diverse tracks, the Chicagoland ARCA 200 marked the first time that Feese would compete at the 1.5-mile facility.

During practice, the No. 8 Scottish Rite-FPC Dodge Charger moved through the charts. When the cross-flags were waived, Feese had claimed the 10th fastest time after notching a time of 31.472 seconds at 171.581 MPH

"The car is pretty neutral. We're going to make some changes and see if we can lay down a good qualifying lap. The guys on the Sadler Racing team have worked hard to give me a great racecar and I don't want to let them or our sponsors down. I'm looking forward to racing here at Chicagoland, I've been waiting a long time to do this," said Feese, a two-time winner in ARCA competition.

Heading into qualifying, the Sadler Racing team was hoping to back up their practice effort and put them in prime position for the final intermediate track of the season.

Feese conquered the track in 31.523 seconds at 171.303 MPH, putting the team 26th on the starting grid. Climbing from his car, Feese was disappointed with the run but not worried.

"We just can't get our car to run in qualifying trim," said Feese, who securely locked himself into his ninth career ARCA start.J"Our Scottish Rite-FPC will race awesome, but we just can't get a grip with our qualifying setups, it just doesn't want to run. We'll be fine for the race and we should put on a good show for everyone."

Feese wasted no time getting down to business at the start of the Chicagoland ARCA 200. At the completion of the first 10 circuits, the No. 8 Dodge had gained ten positions and held the 16th spot when the first caution flag waived on lap 11.

On the restart, Feese continued to gain spots in the running order and when the next caution flag waived for a multi-car incident on lap 27, Feese had climbed to 11th setting up for the first pit stop of the race.

The team knew heading into the weekend that Feese's time on pit road would be a hinder, as members of the Sadler Racing team would go over the wall for the first time this weekend as another group originally scheduled to pit for the Sadler Racing team backed out two days before the race.

Giving it their all, the group delivered a solid stop, sending their driver back into the hunt occupying the 22nd position.

Feese radioed his team offering them praises for their hard work and stated that the car was strong enough to head back to the front.

On the restart, Feese kept his word. Turning in lap times comparable to the leaders, Feese sliced and diced his No. 8 Dodge back into the top-20 by the completion of lap 32.

Feese would maintain running in the top-20 until another caution on lap 73 offered the teams to make a final round of pit stops. The team stepped up to the plate once again dishing out a clean stop, sending their driver back into battle.

Back to racing, the car was fast. Feese quickly worked through traffic and set himself into the top-10 despite a massive wreck on lap 101.

The cautions worked against Feese as his machine worked better after three laps of clean racing. Returning to race conditions only put Feese back on the prowl again quickly moving towards the front.

Lap 111 would however change the day for Feese as the car attracted an "aero" push as the No. 8 was chasing the No. 98 of Erin Crocker for the third spot. As Feese caught her, his car caught the push sliding his machine into the wall, causing some damage to the right side of the team's machine.

The damage would dramatically change the handling of the car over the next 23 laps sending Feese backsliding through the field.

Even with the damage, Feese would put on a great battle with Dexter Bean and Brett Hudson as the duo battled for seventh for the final seven circuits. With a fading car, Feese would lose the two positions but settle comfortably behind Hudson and claim the ninth spot awarding the team their forth top-10 in four starts this season.

"I hate it," said Feese after the race. "We probably had a second place car, but the aero push into the wall really hurt the car in the end. I tried to stay in the top-five, but the damage really changed the car's handling dramatically. We did the best we could, we hung in there and netted another top-10 finish, I can't really complain."

He continued, "I'm really proud of the guys on pit road. Circumstances forced the guys from the shop to go over the wall today and they did a good job. We overcame many of the obstacles we faced this weekend and this team once again showed we can conquer almost anything. I'm happy for our association with Scottish Rite and Fuel Performance Catalyst. We wanted to give them another good run and I know we accomplished that."

Chicagoland marked the final ARCA RE/MAX Series event of the 2007 season for Feese, but the team is hoping to invade the NASCAR Busch Series for other events later this season.

-credit: sr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Blake Feese , Erin Crocker , Dexter Bean , Brett Hudson