Lakeland: Phillip McGilton race report

McGilton Rockets To Third In Points After Lakeland Finish "Rookie Soldiers To 13th In Lakeland" LAKELAND, Fla (March 27, 2007) - - What started as a bumpy weekend for ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Phillip McGilton turned into a solid finish ...

McGilton Rockets To Third In Points After Lakeland Finish
"Rookie Soldiers To 13th In Lakeland"

LAKELAND, Fla (March 27, 2007) - - What started as a bumpy weekend for ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Phillip McGilton turned into a solid finish in Saturday's inaugural debut in the Construct Corps-Palm Beach Grading (PBG) 250 at USA International Speedway.

McGilton participated in both practice sessions on Friday and Saturday turning in respectable times but the sessions didn't come without incident. On Friday, the No. 47 SIPerformance Ford Fusion got loose in turn one, causing light damage to the rear of his machine. On Saturday, McGilton once again was battling a loose condition and looped his machine causing additional damage to the rear of his Brewco Motorsports machine. Fortunately, the damage in both incidents was ruled cosmetic and the necessary repairs were made to prepare McGilton for qualifying.

"The car was wicked loose in both practice sessions," explained the rookie. "I think we would have been able to overcome the early handling issues of the car if we tested here, but that's just part of the game. We're making changes to the car, I think we'll be good to go for qualifying and the race."

In time trials, McGilton maneuvered a lap of 23.006 seconds at 117.361 MPH good enough for 27th on the starting grid. "We qualified on time and the car is better," he said. "The goal is to run a clean and steady race while protecting our points position."

Forty cars took the green flag shortly after 7:30pm Eastern Time with McGilton making his march. The first quarter of the race was calm, which saw McGilton continued to inch his way forward moving into the top-20 approaching lap 40.

McGilton never had to look back towards the rear of the field as he continued to move up the leader board despite loosing a lap to the dominate Bobby Santos III under green flag conditions. The Brewco Motorsports developmental driver made several attempts to retain the lost lap, but was unsuccessful.

Still, McGilton logged valuable laps and drove exceptionally clean in his second ever short track event crossing the line 13th, completing 252 of the extended 253 laps.

"All in all it was a good night," said McGilton "I learned an awful lot out there tonight. There is no giving up on these short tracks. Every lap you have to be on top of your game. There is no room for error. I know the more experience I can get under my belt the better I'll improve. There is a bunch of short tracks on the ARCA schedule this season, we've definitely started off in the right direction."

With his positive finish in the second event of the 2007 season, McGilton leaped to third place in the standings just a mere 55 points off leaders Frank Kimmel and Justin Allgaier who are tied for the top spot. Unofficially, McGilton also continues to lead the ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

"It's good to be this high early on but the goal is not to fade back and continue our momentum," explained the Marion, Illinois native. "My Brewco Motorsports team is working hard to make sure we are near the top each and every week. That's a huge confidence booster in itself. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season."

Next up for the ARS (ARCA RE/MAX Series) is the first of two trips to Nashville Superspeedway this season. The Nashville ARCA 150 is set for Saturday, April 7, serving the first of a double-header event with the NASCAR Busch Series at the Lebanon, Tennessee based track.

McGilton and the Brewco Motorsports team recently participated in the open test at the 1.333-mile track and soared to the third fastest time of the day with a quick lap 30.030 seconds at 159.441 MPH, behind fellow drivers Josh Wise and Erin Crocker.

"Obviously, we're very excited about Nashville," added McGilton. "We had a very good test there and I ran well there last year. I think we have a great chance of taking our SIPerformance-Brewco Motorsports prepared machine to victory lane."

-credit: bm

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Erin Crocker , Josh Wise , Bobby Santos III , Justin Allgaier , Phillip McGilton