Phillip McGilton Chicagoland race report

Solid Run Spoiled By Accident In Chicagoland For McGilton JOLIET, Ill (Monday, September 11, 2006) - - With a new car and rejuvenated enthusiasm, Phillip McGilton (pronounced McJilton) and the SI Performance Team were looking forward to a strong...

Solid Run Spoiled By Accident In Chicagoland For McGilton

JOLIET, Ill (Monday, September 11, 2006) - - With a new car and rejuvenated enthusiasm, Phillip McGilton (pronounced McJilton) and the SI Performance Team were looking forward to a strong run at Chicagoland. Unfortunately, a late-race accident forced a disappointing 32nd place finish.

Despite the unsatisfying finish, the SI Performance team didn't consider the SK Hand Tool 200 a complete wash as rookie driver Phillip McGilton acquired the seat time he deserved throughout the weekend.

Arriving with a car purchased from Bob Schacht Motorsports, crew chief Eric Jones and the SI Performance team was confident in their Ford Taurus for their first bid at Chicagoland Speedway.

In practice, McGilton produced the 17th fastest effort with a lap of 32.004 seconds at 168.518 mph. "The car is good," said McGilton. "We had the opportunity to come and test at Chicagoland last month and it paid off. This is a brand new car for us and I really like it.

With solid practice efforts under their belts, the team was looking forward to qualifying.

McGilton picked up the pace in qualifying maneuvering a lap of 31.742 second or 170.122 mph, placing him 21st on the starting grid. "We're solidly in the field and that's the main thing. I'm really confident in the team and the car and I think we'll be okay for the race."

The SK Hand Tool was full of excitement for McGilton. From the moment the green flag was thrown, the action was tight. A first-lap accident occurred right in front of the No. 42 sending McGilton to take abrasive action, missing the wreck.

On the restart, McGilton had a plan, get to the front. Another close-call for McGilton saw Ryan Howard in the No. 59 Chevrolet spin directly in front of the SI Performance machine. He didn't panic, and mustard through the wreck unscathed.

After two early cautions, McGilton set in with the remainder of the field for the first long-green flag run of the day. McGilton under the guidance of Jones and spotter Fred Cory hovered safely inside the top-20 before making their first pit stop.

When Bobby Gerhart lost a tire and spun on lap 63, it allowed the perfect opportunity for McGilton to come down pit road and prepare for the rest of the event. The SI Performance team bolted on four new Hoosier tires, added Sunoco racing fuel and a minor chassis adjustment and sent their driver back into competition.

On the restart, McGilton, running inside the top-ten was behind a huge pack of cars when contact with leader AJ Henriksen and Bryan Silas occurred once again in front of the No. 42 forcing the rookie driver to slice his car to the right and miss the spinning No. 50 entry.

Regaining his thoughts, McGilton was preparing to make his dash to the front; little did he know what lied ahead. Preparing to return to racing, several cars ahead of McGilton checked up sending the No. 42 into the rear of the No. 39 driven by Peter Shepherd. McGilton was nailed from behind Ryan Howard sending the SI Performance Ford into the wall. The accident also collected AJ Henriksen, Brandon Whitt and Todd Hansen.

McGilton was able to drive away from the incident and bring his machine to pit road, but the team was unable to fix the extensive damage forcing the team to head to the garage and call it a day.

His 32nd place finish, doesn't show how well McGilton and the SI Performance team ran."It's a disappointing finish to our Chicagoland debut," said McGilton following the race. "The accident was just one of them racing deals. Someone ahead of me checked up and I got hit from behind, it wasn't Ryan's fault, just one of those deals. I really hate it though because I think we would have easily ended up with a top-ten finish."

He continued, "On the flip side, I added 77 more laps to my racing resume with stock car experience and that's important. I want to thank Eric Jones and my crew for all their hard work this weekend and we'll look for an awesome short track run at Salem."

After Chicagoland, the team will have less than a week to prepare for their short track debut at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana for the Indiana Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic by Advance Auto Parts.

"I think everyone is looking forward to Salem," McGilton added. "It's going to be a "new kind" of racing for us next Saturday and I can't wait. I've heard a lot about Salem Speedway and I can''t wait to experience it first hand. We're taking a good car, so we should be competitive and in contention."

Following Chicagoland, the SI Performance Team is scheduled to run in three more ARCA RE/MAX Series events at Salem Speedway (September), Talladega Superspeedway (October) and the new Iowa Speedway (October). The team is utilizing the 2006 season to get their feet wet in ARCA competition before pulling together a more intense racing schedule next year.

-credit: www.si-performance.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Bobby Gerhart , Eric Jones , Brandon Whitt , Ryan Howard , Phillip McGilton , Bryan Silas , Peter Shepherd , Bob Schacht