Robb Brent Superb In Palm Beach JUPITER, Florida (March 2, 2010) - - ARCA Racing Series driver Robb Brent had a career-best day Saturday at Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) but the Shelby Township, Michigan native came up one position...
Robb Brent Superb In Palm Beach
JUPITER, Florida (March 2, 2010) - - ARCA Racing Series driver Robb Brent had a career-best day Saturday at Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR) but the Shelby Township, Michigan native came up one position short of his first win -- leaving him pondering the question -- what could have been?
Brent, an experienced road course competitor before making the transition to stock cars a few years ago, had been anxiously waiting for the second race of the season since the series schedule was announced late last year.
"I am really excited about competing at Palm Beach," said Brent before practice on Friday. "This place brings back a lot of memories to my earlier days of road racing and I'm just hoping we can come out of here with a good finish."
The weekend started off strong for the Allgaier Motorsports team. In practice, driving the No. 36 Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Dodge Charger, Brent was able to produce the third fastest time around the 11-turn road course. "Overall, we're pretty satisfied with the handling of our car," said Brent. "We really have worked hard on our road course program not only because it is important to me but it's not a race you can throw away."
With qualifying being assigned in groups of five, Brent's Dodge Charger would be the first car to roll out to qualify on Friday afternoon with Brent managing a time of 79.025 seconds at 92.158 miles per hour. The effort guaranteed the team the sixth place starting position for Saturday's Tire Kingdom 150 presented by ModSpace.
"Disappointing, that's the word I am feeling right now," Brent explained. "I really thought we would be up a little higher, but the qualifying run is what it is and we'll try to move forward in the race. I have a feeling we can make a dent on the field rain or shine."
The field took the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon with Brent quickly making moves on his competitors. The 23-year old hot shoe avoided near disaster on the first lap as brakes locked up and several cars began bouncing off each other. Brent took evasive maneuvers to escape the chaos and found himself back in 12th position.
Brent knew what he needed to do and began climbing the running order as the laps ticked away and soon found himself in second. Hot on the bumper of Casey Roderick, the race leader, he patiently waited to make the move for the lead.
Approaching lap 20, Brent was able to make the pass in turn six for the lead, as the raindrops began to fall. The caution flag would wave a few laps later allowing Brent and the rest of the field to make history by changing their Hoosier slicks to Hoosier wets and compete in the first ever ARCA event held in the rain.
Unfortunately, the team had a miscue in the pits. A tire rolled out of the pit box, forcing a penalty of starting at the tail end of the lead lap, which put the team's chances of winning at risk.
Restarting 24th, Brent had to use patience, experience and luck to climb his way back through the field to find himself sitting second position some thirty laps later behind the No. 32 of Justin Marks. While Marks held a healthy gap over Brent, one mistake by Marks would open up the door for Brent to reassume the top spot.
Marks made his final pit stop of the race on lap 56 with the recent College graduate inheriting the lead, but Brent would subsequently be forced to give up the number one spot when he made the trip down pit road for his final stop of the day.
During the crucial stop, the team performed flawlessly sending their driver back into contention. Never giving up and with Marks on his radar, Brent turned some of his fastest laps during the event's final circuits before pouring-rain forced ARCA officials to throw the checkered flag five laps ahead of the scheduled distance. Brent crossed the line a career-best second.
"We had a good day," said Brent. "It was a lot of fun out there especially getting to race on Hoosier Rain Tires. My team worked hard, my car handled great, my spotters were awesome and I have to thank all the fans that came to watch in the rain. We did have a mix-up on the first pit stop and had to play catch-up from there. It's just one of those things that happens. We tried everything we could to catch Justin (Marks) but if we can't win, I'll take a second place on the Podium today."
With the run, Brent propelled himself to second in the championship standings just 30 markers behind Marks.
Washington Township, Michigan based Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeepcontinued its long-time association with Brent and served as the primary sponsor on Brent's No. 36 Dodge Charger this past weekend. Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep has backed Brent since his entrance into racing at the age of 16.
Prior to joining Allgaier Motorsports, Brent participated in the ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving for NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski and Brad Keselowski Racing. In his 39 ARCA starts, Brent has acquired four top-five finishes and 12 top-10 efforts. Brent notched his career best qualifying effort of second at Kentucky Speedway in 2008. He has led the ARCA pack three times for 33 laps. His best finish in the NCWTS occurred at Nashville Superspeedway in his inaugural truck debut where he finished 21st after qualifying 26th.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is a stop at Salem (Ind.) Speedway for the running of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 on Sunday, April 11 for round three on the 2010 schedule.
-source: robb brent racing