John Graham Records Top-25 Finish In Pocono Debut LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 10, 2008) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series driver John Graham made his first start of the 2008 season last Saturday in the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. Graham, driving...
John Graham Records Top-25 Finish In Pocono Debut
LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 10, 2008) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series driver John Graham made his first start of the 2008 season last Saturday in the Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. Graham, driving the second team entry for Andy Belmont Racing posted a solid top-25 finish in his inaugural Pocono Raceway debut.
Graham's inaugural debut at the 2.5-mile facility didn't come without its headaches though. A successful practice session would be cut short with an engine failure. While the Andy Belmont Racing (ABR) team worked their tails off to put Graham back on the track, the former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver was forced to skip ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying. Based upon the team's 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series owner's points, Graham lined up 36th on the starting grid.
"We had a tough start to the weekend but we're ready to bounce back," said Graham before the start of the Pocono ARCA 200. "We wanted to make sure that our car was 100 percent to go, so I fully supported not qualifying. I'm confident in our motor and the changes we made from practice."
Graham continued, "Saturday's race is about completing laps and getting the best finish possible. It's my first race of the season and the return of Kickbutt Amped Energy Ballz in the ARCA RE/MAX Series; we want to make it a good one."
At the start of the event, Graham settled into his comfort zone. Keeping his eyes on the lead pack Graham found himself in the top-30 by the first caution on lap two.
With the big goal in check, Graham on the restart showed patience and maturity by keeping his No. 14 Kick Butt Amped Energy Ford competitive and on the lead circuit.
By lap 25, Graham had moved into the top-25 and was prepared to make his first trip down pit road for four tires and fuel. A solid effort by the ABR team put Graham back in the top-25 approaching lap 30.
On the restart, Graham was hovering solidly into the top-25 when he radioed to his team that he had a flat tire. Having to make the trip down pit road under green flag racing conditions would prove to be costly for the Canadian as he lost several laps to the leaders with his unscheduled pit stop.
Out of contention for a top-15 finish, Graham was poised to finish what he started. Continuing to kick off laps and give 150 percent, Graham crossed the line 23rd completing 82 of the 88 markers.
"Overall it was a solid day," sounded Graham. "We had a tough practice but we bounced back in the race. I felt confident we were going to finish in the top-20, but we had our first flat tire and that pretty much took us out of the hunt. I hate it for the Andy Belmont Racing team and our sponsor Kickbutt Amped Energy Ballz, everyone worked hard. I'm encouraged by our performance and I'm looking forward to Michigan International Speedway next Friday afternoon."
Andy Belmont stated, "John did a nice job in his Pocono debut. He continues to learn every time he heads onto the track. His never-give-up attitude is contagious and something that our ABR stands behind. I'm confident that he'll better his Pocono performance at Michigan."
Belmont added, "I want to thank all the folks that came to Pocono to support Andy Belmont Racing. This was a huge race for us. While we didn't finish as strong as I would have liked, I still want to thank everyone for coming. George Kerner, Dave Brooks and Magee Miller did a great job. We couldn't have done it without them."
Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a trip to the "Motor City". Action from Michigan International Speedway (MIS) begins Thursday, June 12 with practice and ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying on the agenda setting the field for Friday's Racing for Wildlife 200. The ninth race on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule falls on June 13th with coverage live on SPEED beginning at 5:00 p.m. EST.