Nashville: Phillip McGilton race report

McGilton Continues To Lead Rookie Battle Following Nashville "Illinois Native Fourth In Points Heading To Salem" LEBANON, Tennessee (Monday, April 9, 2007) - - A 17th place finish wasn't what ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate ...

McGilton Continues To Lead Rookie Battle Following Nashville
"Illinois Native Fourth In Points Heading To Salem"

LEBANON, Tennessee (Monday, April 9, 2007) - - A 17th place finish wasn't what ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Phillip McGilton was looking for IN Saturday's Nashville ARCA 150, but sometimes in racing that's the cards you are handed.

McGilton and his Brewco Motorsports team had high hopes for the third race of the season after posting a very impressive time in the open test at Nashville Superspeedway several weeks prior.

What the team didn't expect this past week was winter-like temperatures instead of a spring atmosphere. With overcast and 35 degrees Fahrenheit conditions, the Brewco Motorsports team prepared for the lone practice session of the weekend.

During the two and half-hour session, McGilton and the team worked on race setup while taking a stab at their qualifying setup during the final minutes of practice. While the team popped out the 11th fastest lap overall, with a quick time of 29.810 seconds at 160.9890 MPH. Unfortunately, the team discovered a major problem with the Ford engine at the conclusion of the session. A belt had come loose from its compartment during the mock qualifying run which forced the team to make an engine change prior to time trials.

"It's a shame we had to change the motor," said McGilton. "However, our No. 47 SIPerformance Ford Fusion is very consistent in race trim; I think that will play out to our benefit."

In the qualifying session, heavy flurries surrounded Nashville Superspeedway. The team drew an early number, but changing the engine played havoc with the team's schedule, forcing a later draw and only one lap of qualifying instead of the normal two.

McGilton held his Ford Fusion wide open during his trip around the 1.333-mile Superspeedway putting together a lap of 30.050 seconds or 159.694 MPH lining him up 21st on the starting grid. "I know we had another couple tenths if we would have gotten a second lap," McGilton said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get that opportunity and we'll have to settle with what we put down."

Saturday morning once again brought bitter cold temperatures for race day. Forty cars took the field shortly after 12:15 Central Time with McGilton trying to maneuver through the pack. Two early cautions tried to stop his momentum, but the driver returned to work with a plan.

Despite a tight-handling No. 47 SIPerformance Ford Fusion, McGilton was picking off his competitors one at a time, hovering in the mid teens for much of the event.

When the caution flew on lap 54 for an incident on the track, McGilton opted to bring his machine down to the attention of the crew to bolt four new Hoosier tires, add Sunoco Racing fuel, while making a major chassis adjustment hoping to make the competitor's car turn better.

On the restart, McGilton's No. 47 didn't adapt well to the changes, reporting to crew chief Shawn Parker that his car still would not turn. The team would continue to battle a handful ARCA car for the remainder of the event, crossing the line 17th, one lap down to race winner Chad McCumbee.

"We just couldn't get the car to handle quite the way we had hoped," said McGilton, who locks fourth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series driver standings. "My guys did everything they could to try and make our car better. We were probably one pit stop away from having the car where we wanted it to be, but we ran out of laps. I think the weather may have had something to do with it. Nonetheless, the car is in one piece and we have another shot at the Gibson guitar when we come back in August."

He added, "On a more positive night, our points position is intact and we're still leading the Rookie-of-the-Year battle. The points are so close, so every position helps, and our plan is to put our Brewco Motorsports machine back into the top-10 at Salem Speedway."

Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the first of two trips to Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 by Federated Auto Parts on Sunday, April 22. Before turning their focus to Salem, the Brewco Motorsports team will head to Winchester Speedway and Kentucky Speedway for two days of private testing for the upcoming ARCA events later in May.

-credit: PhillipMcGilton.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Shawn Parker , Chad McCumbee , Phillip McGilton