Ponoco II: Bryan Silas race report

Late Race Contact Spoils Good Run For Silas At Pocono POCONO, Pennsylvania (Wednesday, August 8, 2007) -- - Bryan Silas once again proved he can compete with the best-of-the-best in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as the rookie driver soared into the ...

Late Race Contact Spoils Good Run For Silas At Pocono

POCONO, Pennsylvania (Wednesday, August 8, 2007) -- - Bryan Silas once again proved he can compete with the best-of-the-best in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as the rookie driver soared into the top-10 for much of the 80 lap event, but an unplanned meeting with the wall forced Silas to exit the event early and get an early start on the trip to Nashville.

Returning to the track that saw Silas net a career best fourth place qualifying effort before skyrocketing into the lead for 15 circuits only to have a career run erased by a blown tire, Silas returned to Pennsylvania hoping to gain redemption.

The Fast Track Racing team headed by two time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Andy Hillenburg brought the same Ford Fusion the team excelled with in the spring. The team had hoped the minor tweaks they made would give Silas a better car.

In practice, Silas maneuvered the 18th quickest lap after mounting a time of 56.624 seconds or 158.943 MPH. "The car is fine, we're in better shape than our times show," said Silas, a native of Stuart, Florida. "We're going to tweak just a little bit and see if we can get the car to turn a little better, but overall, we're in good shape."

Looking to match or better his qualifying effort from the spring, Silas took his chance at ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying and maneuvered a lap of 56.023 seconds equaling a speed of 160.648 MPH putting him 17th in the starting grid.

"I overdrove the corners," remarked Silas after his run. "I was trying to lay down a good lap and if you make mistakes at this track, it usually hurts you the whole lap. The bright side is our car is going to be competitive for the race and we're going to see if we can bring home another top-10 finish."

At the start of the Pennsylvania 200, Silas tried to make his early mark by grabbing spots by the end of the first lap. Driving the No. 11 Nortrax-Holland Pump-Palm Beach Grading Ford Fusion, Silas had moved up one spot into the 16th position when the first caution flag waived on lap five.

Settling into race mode, Silas began picking off his competition one-by-one. Silas would be halted again from making his charge on lap 11 when Justin Marks made contact with the wall.

Reporting a neutral car to the Fast Track Racing team, Silas would move into the top-10 on lap 25 where he would stay for much of the event.

Pit stops proved to be fast and solid, keeping Silas in the mix.

Luckily for the team, they were ahead of the "big one" at Pocono on lap 56, when several cars tangled in the tunnel turn.

When racing resumed, Silas remained in the top-10 on the restart and would appear to be heading towards his fourth top-10 finish of the year and second straight top-10. Then while racing Michael McDowell, the two fought hard giving each other no mercy heading into the corner.

As the two raced side-by-side, Silas's wheels made contact with the loose marbles sending an uncontrollable No. 11 into the wall abruptly ending Silas's day.

The late race incident spoiled Silas's day and delivered a 27th place run.

"I hate to end the race the way we did," said Silas. "We had a good car, just fought a little too hard I guess. It's late in the race and no one was going to give an inch and the wheels got into the marbles and away she went."

Silas continued, "I hate it for the guys, they worked hard. The light at the end of the tunnel is that we're running consistently in the top-10 every week. If we can get the finishes we deserve, we can make our way up in the championship standings."

Despite the sour finish, Silas moved to ninth in the point's race, sitting 45 points ahead of 10th place Jason Hedlesky and 175 markers behind eighth place competitor Patrick Sheltra.

-credit: BryanSilasRacing.com

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Andy Hillenburg , Jason Hedlesky , Michael McDowell , Justin Marks , Bryan Silas , Patrick Sheltra