Craig Goess Regains ARCA Racing Series Points Lead; Finishes Fifth at Chicagoland Speedway Grabs Second Pole Award and Seventh Top-Five Finish of the Season JOLIET, Ill. (August 30, 2010)- Craig Goess brought home a fifth-place finish at ...
Craig Goess Regains ARCA Racing Series Points Lead; Finishes Fifth at
Grabs Second Pole Award and Seventh Top-Five Finish of the Season
JOLIET, Ill. (August 30, 2010)- Craig Goess brought home a fifth-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway Friday night in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards Ansell Protective Gloves 150. Despite two early unscheduled pit stops due to leaking oil, Goess fought back to claim his seventh top-five finish of the season.
Goess and the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Eddie Sharp Racing team anticipated a quick racecar at the 1.5-mile track after an impressive test session at the track a week prior. Goess, who led the test with the quickest speed of 30.807 seconds (175.285 mph), looked forward to the main event in Joliet, Ill.
The weekend kicked off with practice on Thursday evening, and the No. 81 Toyota showed speed right off the bat. Goess topped the leaderboard early with a time of 30.842 seconds (175.086 mph). In Friday morning's final practice, the No. 81 turned the third quickest lap with a speed of 30.638 seconds (176.252 mph).
Goess rolled off the qualifying grid 15th and laid down a lap of 30.380 seconds (177.749 mph). Goess watched the remainder of the 38-car field and finished the session as the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell winner. He claimed his second pole award of the year, after his first in June at Michigan International Speedway.
When the green flag waved Friday night, Goess pulled away and looked to showcase the fast No. 81 Toyota. Patrick Sheltra challenged the No. 81 early, passing him on the outside on lap five.
The first caution of the day fell on lap seven when Casey Roderick's No. 51 hit the wall and caused Mikey Kile's No. 25 to turn Chad McCumbee's No. 1. As the field came around for the caution laps, the No. 81 received word from other teams that the car was leaking oil. As Goess passed the start-finish line under caution, the ESR crew stood on the pit road wall and began looking for oil on the spoiler.
Taking precaution, the No. 81 came down pit road on lap night for the first unscheduled stop of the night. The crew jacked the left side to see if oil was coming out but did not see anything suspect and sent Goess back out. Still under caution on lap 12, crew chief Johnny Allen called Goess back down pit road to double-check the oil situation and top the car off with fuel.
The green flag waved on lap 15, and Goess lined up 24th. "Nothing like a little adversity to start the day," Goess radioed to the team.
Determined to overcome the early struggles, Goess made the most of the 100-lap race and began to climb through the field one car at a time. By lap 18, the No. 81 was already up to the 17th position and continued to move to the front of the pack.
Team owner and spotter for the race, Eddie Sharp, offered encouragement to the 29-year-old driver. "Atta boy. Hit your marks, and we will move onto the next pack," he radioed.
By lap 29, Goess ran lap times faster than race leader Patrick Sheltra, while he was in the 12th position.
The caution waved on lap 33 for an incident involving Chad Hackenbracht's No. 58, and the No. 81 came in for the third stop of the day. Coming down pit road in the 11th position, the ESR crew worked together to complete a timely stop, and Goess exited in the seventh position.
By lap 49, Goess worked his way into the fourth position and showed his tenacity to catch the leader. Alli Owens spun on lap 60, slowing the field for another caution. The field went back to green until lap 72, when Robb Brent hit the wall and brought out the fourth caution of the day.
The No. 81 came down pit road again, preparing the car for the final laps of the race. Goess fell back to the seventh position by lap 80 but received constant guidance from crew chief Johnny Allen. "Give it all you have," said Allen. "Keep hitting your marks, and bring it home."
The yellow flag flew for the final time Friday night, setting up a 10-lap shootout for the field. Goess pushed through the field and crossed the finish line fifth.
"We had a really fast car," said Goess. "We had to come in a few times early on in the race which set us back, but I'm proud of the hard work from the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. team. We gave it all we could after overcoming the obstacles at the beginning of the race. With only five races left in the season, I'm optimistic that we will continue to work hard and hopefully be at the top at the end."
Goess' fifth-place finish helped him regain the ARCA Racing Series points lead. He now leads Frank Kimmel by five points, race-winner Sheltra by 10 and Tom Hessert by 25 points. With five races left in the 2010 season, Goess looks to add to his one win, seven top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes.
Goess and the No. 81 ESR team head to the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds for the next ARCA Racing Series event on Monday, September 6.