Nashville II: Wayman Wittman race report

Wittman's Solid Run Thwarted By Mechanical Failure In Nashville LEBANON, Tennessee (Tuesday August 14, 2007) - - Wayman Wittman made his second ARCA RE/MAX Series start of the season on Saturday and while the Wisconsin driver was inching his way...

Wittman's Solid Run Thwarted By Mechanical Failure In Nashville

LEBANON, Tennessee (Tuesday August 14, 2007) - - Wayman Wittman made his second ARCA RE/MAX Series start of the season on Saturday and while the Wisconsin driver was inching his way through the running order, a slipping clutch eventually took the team from competition in Saturday's TOYOTA ARCA 150.

[IMAGE]Wittman and his Stan Hover Motorsports team headed into the Music City looking to replenish themselves from a rough outing at Pocono Raceway when an oil leak took the team from the hunt early.

With the problem fixed, Wittman heading into the festivities looking to gain experience, knowledge and more importantly qualify for the event.

During the two-hour practice provided to the teams on Friday, Wittman maneuvered his No. 80 Ford Fusion around the 1.333-mile track to a quickest lap of 32.045 seconds at 140.752 MPH putting them 29th overall.

"We did not make a sticker run, but our times are pretty solid. I spent the first laps really learning this place and then feel into a position where I followed some of the stronger cars and really found a good line. Stan Hover and the team have prepared a good piece for this race and I know we would like to have a good run tomorrow to bounce back from our disappointment from Pocono."

Heading into ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Wittman knew he had to hold nothing back. Not guaranteed a starting position in the race, Wittman knew if he was not in the 32 fastest qualifiers, his weekend would come to an early end.

Drawing the 24th position for time trials, Wittman posted a lap of 31.781 seconds or 150.996 MPH finding two and a half tenths from practice and locking the team into the 30th position.

"I gave it everything I had," Wittman stated after his run. "I think it's a time that will stand inside the top-32. Our car will run a lot better in race conditions rather than in qualifying. Stan and the team made some good adjustments after practice and it showed. We just want to have a good showing during the race."

Sizzling temperatures once again greeted the ARCA teams on race day. With most teams fighting for shade and cover, Wittman remained focused not on the heat, but his goals for the race.

At the start of the 150-mile event, Wittman quickly hustled his machine around the track hoping to pick off one position at a time and cautiously move his way through the field.

When the first caution flag waived on lap 11, Wittman had positioned himself inside the top-25. On the restart, Wittman continued to accelerate forward. The caution flag would fly eight laps later with the No. 80 sitting 23rd in the rundown.

Wittman reported the car was neutral, he was just being patient.

On the restart, Wittman would try and continue his march running as high as 16th, before a nasty tight condition would settle in on his Ford Fusion.Trying to stay on the lead lap, Wittman would give no mercy, but with the field setting a blistering and record-setting pace, Wittman would fall off the lead circuit just after halfway.

"The car won't turn, it's very, very tight," Wittman informed his crew after the leader went by. In the meantime, if dealing with a tight problem wasn't bad enough, the clutch began to give way on the Stan Hover Motorsports machine.

"I am starting to lose the brakes as well," Wittman told his crew.

When the Caution flag flew again Wittman brought his ill-handing machine to the attention of his crew on pit road. Hover made an air pressure and a wedge adjustment to try and fix the tight condition in the car. Upon leaving pit road Wittman told the crew that the clutch was gone. He didn't want to exit the event early, but staying on the track with a car that was not up to speed would be dangerous to the other competitors.

By lap 72, Wittman's machine was parked in the garage and suffering a disappointing 31st place finish.

"The race was really good," said Wittman. "It was an exceptionally clean race out there. The car started off very good, but it just got too tight about twenty laps into the race. We were hoping for another caution during the long green flag run to make an adjustment, but the clutch problem came into play and we weren't able to bounce back from that."

Wittman continued, "This isn't a fault of anyone on the team, it's just part of the racing game. We're trying to put a deal together for another race before Talladega, but if we can't then we'll be back with a vengeance in October at Talladega."

Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the 16th event on the 2007 schedule with the first of two showings on the dirt. The Allen Crowe 100 from the Illinois State Fairgrounds is set for Sunday, August 19 set to roll off at 1:00pm Eastern Time.

-credit: shm

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Series ARCA