Michigan: Ken Butler race report

Butler Grabs Top 10 in Racing for Wildlife 200 Brooklyn, Mich. (June 14, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Ken Butler, III and his Aaron's Lucky Dog team travelled to Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Butler, III qualified in the 14th ...

Butler Grabs Top 10 in Racing for Wildlife 200

Brooklyn, Mich. (June 14, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Ken Butler, III and his Aaron's Lucky Dog team travelled to Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Butler, III qualified in the 14th position on Thursday afternoon with a 39.831 second lap. The Racing for Wildlife 200 was postponed until Saturday morning due to rain Friday afternoon. In the closing laps of the race, Butler charged hard into the top 10, finishing the day in the seventh position.

[IMAGE] "We had a good run today," said Butler following the race. "We really needed this top 10. The Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota was in decent shape today. We've struggled a lot with this car at Pocono and here at MIS. We were 30th in practice, which was very disappointing and only qualified 14th. I do want to thank my guys for working on the car to improve it."

Friday afternoon ARCA RE/MAX Series teams waited patiently with all eyes on the Michigan sky. The rain made its appearance, first interrupting NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying, resulting in its cancellation. Next ARCA RE/MAX Series officials announced the postponement of the Racing for Wildlife 200 until Saturday morning. Teams returned to the track Saturday, with the garage opening at 7:00 a.m. Drivers climbed into their cars and the green flag dropped to start the 100-lap event at 8:30 a.m.

Butler was on the gas immediately, climbing to tenth by lap 10. The first caution of the day emerged on lap 21. Butler reported to his team that the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota was "pretty tight". Coming to the pits, the over the wall crew quickly put four fresh tires on the Camry, added fuel, and made a wedge adjustment to try to free the car up just a little. Because the 22 team was short a man over the wall, Butler restarted the race in the 17th position.

Again, Butler made up track position on the next run, climbing to the 13th position by lap 55. The next caution came at lap 59. Butler radioed to the team that the car was still tight. Coming to pit road for the final stop, the team changed four tires, topped off with fuel, and made a track bar adjustment to free the car up some more. Butler was caught speeding down pit road as he left and restarted the race in the 19th position, at the tail end of the lead lap.

The final caution of the day came at lap 64, one lap after the restart. The Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota was still in the 19th position. The race restarted at lap 66. Butler was the fastest he had been all day, reporting that the car was now "really free!" On lap 79 Butler took over the tenth position and in the remaining 20 laps, climbed three more to take the checkered flag in the 7th position.

"We were better than a seventh-place care today," said Butler. "We should have been a top 5 car, but the pit stops just killed us. We drove past the same cars after each stop to regain our track position. The guys did the best they could but we were short a carrier. I know the one that was supposed to come didn't show up, but it is unacceptable to start a race like that. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but it was very frustrating to drive forward and lose all that track position in the pits. The team worked on the car's handling all day and we finally got it free on the last run. So, we'll take the seventh place finish and move on to Canada."

Butler, III remains in the Top-10 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship point standings, in the tenth position and 375 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Next Stop: Ken Butler, III and the Aaron's Lucky Dog team will enjoy an off-weekend before traveling across the border to Nelles Corners, Ontario (Canada) for the Cayuga ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Cayuga Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 29th.

-credit: esr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Butler