Chicagoland: Phillip McGilton race report

Disappointing Day as McGilton Spins to a 26th Place Finish at Chicagoland Contact Costly but remains within 5 points of Allgaier Joliet, Ill. (September 11, 2007) - Phillip McGilton was poised for a strong finish in Saturday's Chicagoland...

Disappointing Day as McGilton Spins to a 26th Place Finish at Chicagoland
Contact Costly but remains within 5 points of Allgaier

Joliet, Ill. (September 11, 2007) - Phillip McGilton was poised for a strong finish in Saturday's Chicagoland ARCA 200 when contact with another competitor sent the No. 47 SI Performance Ford Fusion spinning on the track. With a damaged transmission, the No. 47 was rolled behind the wall where the Brewco Motorsports team worked feverishly to return the car to the track. McGilton did return and crossed the finish line in the 26th position, allowing him to retain his fifth place position and losing no ground to Justin Allgaier in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points.

"It was just another disappointing day," McGilton said following the race. "We ran solidly in the top-10 until that spin. We were set for a good, strong finish and a really good points day. It's just frustrating when there's nothing you can do about that one. The guys never gave up and got me back out there so we could get as many laps as possible."

The race weekend began with clouds and torrential rains on Friday morning. It was questionable if the ARCA RE/MAX Series teams would have the opportunity to practice on the 1.5 mile oval track or qualify for their starting positions. By mid-afternoon however, the clouds dispersed and the track was dry. McGilton and his teammates went to work during practice to tune the car in for that evening's qualifying and Saturday's race.

The No. 47 SI Performance Ford Fusion was a little tight when it unloaded off the truck. McGilton and his team made adjustments to free up the car throughout the two hour practice session. McGilton completed practice in the 13th position on the speed charts with a lap time of 31.504 seconds. Later that same evening, McGilton turned in a 173.941 mph lap in 31.045 seconds to earn him the tenth starting spot for the Chicagoland ARCA 200.

Saturday morning McGilton and his teammates were welcomed with blue skies and sunshine with no rain in sight or in the forecast. McGilton took the green flag and moved from the tenth position to the ninth when the first caution of the day came at lap 10.

McGilton reported to his team that the car "started a little on the free side, but it's coming in now."

The race restarted after the short caution and remained green until the caution on lap 25 when Darrell Basham cut a tire and collected rookies' Josh Wise and Alex Yontz. Despite the tremendous amount of damage, there were no injuries. The race was red flagged for 30 minutes as debris was removed and the safer barrier inspected.

During the red flag, McGilton and his team communicated about how the car had been handling. McGilton reported that "we feel tight, but I might be overdriving it a little into [turn] three. I think I just need to back my entry up into [turn] three. But it feels pretty good in [turns] one and two."

Crew Chief Shawn Parker asked his driver how the car felt over some of the track's familiar bumps. McGilton replied "it's pretty happy."

When the red flag was lifted and pit road opened, McGilton brought his No. 47 down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. The team made some minor chassis adjustments to give the car a little less bite and help reduce the tight condition.

McGilton restarted the race in the 8th position on lap 31 and remained in the top-10 throughout the first half of the race.

The sixth caution of the day came out on lap 72. McGilton reported that the car's handling had gone a "little to the loose side on entry and exit" and that he felt just a little "too loose to be aggressive."

McGilton pitted during the caution for four tires, fuel, and some adjustments to tighten the car. Returning to the track, the No. 47 restarted the race in the seventh position. The car's handling was much improved, turning laps that Crew Chief Shawn Parker reported to his driver were "two tenths quicker than those guys in front of you."

McGilton was working to climb through the field moving to the sixth position on lap 91. On lap 99 McGilton carried momentum through turns three and four and began the pass on the inside of the No. 99 of Colin Braun. The two cars made contact which sent McGilton spinning down the track, coming to rest near the opening of pit road. Attempting to get the car in gear, McGilton was finally able to get the No. 47 moving down the track.

Circling until pit road opened, McGilton brought the car down to his team where they quickly jacked it up to ascertain the situation. Confirming transmission damage, the team took the car behind pit wall and quickly worked to replace the transmission.

Only 25 laps later, McGilton returned to the track on lap 128 and drove to finish the race in the 26th position, completing 109 out of the 134 laps.

"I just really want to thank the guys for working so hard to get us back on track after that spin," McGilton commented after the race. "We had a great opportunity today to make a jump in the points. I just wish that we could have capitalized on that. But they really worked to get me back out there so we didn't lose much ground in the points."

When asked about the contact with the No. 99 McGilton replied, "we had a great run going when I was making the pass on the 99. We were carrying more speed than he was and I went to his inside to pass him. We were already well inside of him when he pinched us down just enough to put his tire in my door. And around we went! That's pretty much it. We're all just racing hard out there."

Despite efforts by the team to get the No. 47 back on track in time to remain ahead of the No. 16 in the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points, McGilton however lost no ground and remains only 5 points behind 4th place Justin Allgaier.

Next Stop: McGilton travels to Salem, Indiana this weekend to race Saturday, September 15th in the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA 200 by Advance Auto Parts. The race goes green at 7:15 p.m. Eastern. Tickets are available by calling (888) 246-7223

-credit: PhillipMcGilton.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Darrell Basham , Shawn Parker , Josh Wise , Justin Allgaier , Phillip McGilton