Mechanical Failure Spoils McGilton's Talladega Bid
TALLADEGA, Ala (Tuesday, October 10, 2006) -- Hopes were high for ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Phillip McGilton as the ARCA RE/MAX Series invaded the superspeedway of Talladega Superspeedway anticipating one of the best races on records thanks to a major repaving project on the 2.666-mile speedway.
Running a limited schedule in the ARCA RE/MAX Series this year, McGilton had plans on getting the ultimate restrictor plate racing experience at Talladega in preparation for his first season opener at Daytona International Speedway next year. The team joined several other colleagues in the open test session a week prior to the Food World 250, shaking down a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The team tested exceptionally well, interpreting a potential strong run in the final superspeedway event of the '06 season.
In the first and only practice session, McGilton once again nailed solid results. During the hour and thirty five minute session, the SI Performance team eclipsed the 15th fastest effort with a strong lap time of 50.816 seconds or 188.445 mph.
"Our car is really good," said McGilton. "My crew chief (Eric Jones) and the rest of the SI Performance team have really put a fast car together for me to drive. We didn't flirt with the draft, because we know that we have to make the race on time. We utilized the practice session to see what our car did all alone and it was strong. Had we went mixing it up with the drafters, I really think we have a car that was capable of running in the top five."
With 49 cars expected to take time trials effort, McGilton knew he had to be one of the top-32 qualifiers in order to make an appearance in the Food World 250. As McGilton streamed off pit road, he mastered through his gearbox and came towards the green flag for the first of his two lap qualifying effort when the motor under the hood went flat and quit.
The driver brought the machine to the attention of his crew. The problem was ruled internal. With no provisionals to fall back on, the mechanical failure meant the team would be sent packing up and heading home putting them out of the Food World 250 starting grid.
"I'm really disappointed," said the dejected driver. "We had a great car, no doubt about it. I'm not really sure what happened under the hood, but it wasn't good. We have a great motor builder and I'm sure it was a rare failure, but it's disappointing, because we had the opportunity to do something really big in the race."
McGilton continued, "I want to thank our sponsors SI Performance and Gould's Electric for their continuing efforts of our race team. We'll bounce back from this disappointment. If there's a positive to this misfortune, we'll be able to put a blanket underneath this car and roll out this hotrod for Daytona."
Despite the Talladega hiccup, the team will quickly rebound and head to the brand new Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa this week for the running of Sunday's Prairie Meadows 250.
Once again, the SI Performance team took advantage of another open test session getting a limited advantage over some of his RE/MAX Series competitors heading into the season finale. The team left the track controlling the 12th fastest effort with a time of 24.270 seconds at 129.790 mph. "We had a good test," added McGilton, who looks to make his short track debut this weekend. "I think we'll be a lot stronger this weekend and we hope to close out our 2006 racing on a high note."
The SI Performance team has been utilizing the 2006 season to get their feet wet in ARCA competition before pulling together a more intense racing schedule next year.