Daytona: Pierre Bourque race report

Right Place, Wrong Time for Bourque at Daytona Contact Ends Day While Running in Top-5 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 9, 2008) -- Canadian-native Pierre Bourque was all smiles every time he climbed out of his No. 93 impreMedia Dodge. This veteran...

Right Place, Wrong Time for Bourque at Daytona
Contact Ends Day While Running in Top-5

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 9, 2008) -- Canadian-native Pierre Bourque was all smiles every time he climbed out of his No. 93 impreMedia Dodge. This veteran driver but Daytona rookie had an extremely strong car this weekend. Starting 14th in the ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway, Bourque was running in the top-5 when another car blew a tire and collected the No. 93 impreMedia Dodge Charger. Suffering suspension damage from the impact, Bourque retired the car to the garage after 58 laps, finishing 24th.

"The car was running really fantastic," said Bourque. "We were really coming on to everybody. I really thought we had a car to be there at the finish. All my guys did just an awesome job today. I had so much fun out there."

Pierre Bourque knew he had a fantastic car when he went out to qualify for the ARCA 200. He ran his first lap in just 50.258 seconds. On the second lap, the left front tire was damaged. Losing momentum, Bourque completed the lap and brought the car to the garage. The team confirmed there was indeed a hole in the tire. Despite losing the second lap, Bourque's first lap time was good enough to put him 14th on the time list. Disappointed because the team knew they had a much faster car, they were confident that the No. 93 Dodge would find its way to the front on Saturday.

Saturday afternoon as Bourque drove the pace laps before the ARCA 200 green flag waved, he radioed to his team that "this is quite a site out here. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your hard work. You are truly riding with me out here."

The first ten laps of the race quickly produced two cautions. Bourque continued to settle into the race, discussing the car handling with spotter/crew chief David Leiner. When the caution came out on lap 23, the No. 93 Dodge came down for its first pit stop. The team put on four fresh tires and added fuel, making no adjustments to the impreMedia Dodge. When the stop was complete, the No. 93 was blocked into its pit stall by the car in front of it. Frustrated, Bourque finally got off of pit road but was shuffled back to the 35th position for the restart on lap 27. However, starting in the back of the field was the position to be in for the next on-track excitement.

Lap 30 brought out the notorious "big one". Because Bourque was toward the back of the field, he escaped the melee with no damage to the No. 93 impreMedia Dodge. When the red flag was lifted and the race resumed, Bourque worked the draft with fellow competitors, climbing into the top-10 by lap 50.

With only 27 laps remaining in the 200 mile race, Bourque pulled into the 5th position. The powerful No. 93 Dodge was working to move forward when the No. 60 of Patrick Sheltra lost a tire. Running three-wide at the time, the No. 93 was hit hard in the right side. The caution came out and Bourque came back to pit road for his team's assessment. The impreMedia crew quickly changed tires and worked on the right fender, keeping the No. 93 on the lead lap and in the 18th position.

Bourque returned to the track but radioed in quickly with an update. "We got a big problem out here guys. It's not steering correctly. I think we have a rub on the right front. The car's filled with smoke and I can't hold it straight. I'm coming back in."

Bourque brought the impreMedia Dodge back to the pit stall. The team put another new tire on, worked the fender again, and put Bourque back on the track.

Bourque keyed the radio on the backstretch reporting, "I'm coming in again. Something's broken."

"Take it back to the garage," radioed Leiner, "and let's get it up on jacks."

When the team evaluated the damage from the impact with the No. 60 car, they discovered that the upper jack bolt was broken.

"We're done here," stated Leiner.

"It's one of those things where you sit and wonder what could have happened if we hadn't been hit," Bourque commented back at the team hauler. "But what I saw to me really opened up my eyes. A, I absolutely loved it. B, I felt great once we got going. And C, we were totally in contention right until the end and I knew we were going to be there. I couldn't avoid what happened. But had we not had that happen right in front of us, I'm sure we would have been there in the top-3, maybe even contending for the win."

Bourque added that "the car felt absolutely great, like it was an extension of me."

Bourque ended the day in the 24th position and completing 58 of the 80 laps.

-credit: esr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Pierre Bourque , Patrick Sheltra