Rockingham II: Justin Lloyd race report

Justin Lloyd Spins, Salvages Tough Day at The Rock Mooresville, NC (Oct. 12, 2009) - Justin Lloyd wrestled his racecar around the tricky, historic Rockingham Speedway on Sunday afternoon, avoiding major woes to come home with a stout top-20 ...

Justin Lloyd Spins, Salvages Tough Day at The Rock

Mooresville, NC (Oct. 12, 2009) - Justin Lloyd wrestled his racecar around the tricky, historic Rockingham Speedway on Sunday afternoon, avoiding major woes to come home with a stout top-20 finish. Lloyd arrived at the ARCA RE/MAX Series season-ending American 200 this weekend hoping to record some laps and experience in his Belmont Abbey College- LNCS Chevrolet.

[incarrockingham.jpg] The No. 09 team entered practice on Saturday afternoon looking to hit on a setup that would work well for their car and driver, neither of which had seen the track before the session. No major issues were found in the first shake down of the car, but crew chief Jeff McClure and his team searched to find the right combination to fit the driver and his driving style. The car washed up the track in the turns, and before the team could find the exact combination they were looking for, rain ended the practice session early.

Justin headed out for qualifying a few hours later after the track was dried, but found that the car was still pushing into the turns. He made a lap good enough for the 25th starting position and hoped 200 laps would allow enough time to work on the car and move through the pack.

McClure reassured his driver Sunday afternoon before the engines fired. "Let's take it one step at a time. We'll work at it all day if we have to," McClure told his driver.

Taking the green flag from mid-pack, Lloyd maneuvered his car around the gritty track and searched for a line that would alleviate the handling issues. A caution after 70 laps gave the team its first opportunity to make changes to an ill-handling machine. Reports from the driver and crew chief both claimed the car would get better after running 30 laps, but was losing too much ground at the beginning of the run.

Lloyd would ride most of the race within the top 25, but received a tap from behind with 60 laps to go that sent him spinning in turn two. Fortunately, he came out of the incident virtually unscathed, and the crew was given the opportunity to bring the car down pit road to take a swing at the setup.

After some major adjustments, the car handled a lot better for Justin, and he was able to make up some spots he had lost during the incident. However, it may have been a little too late, as Lloyd had too much ground to make up and not enough laps remaining. Justin would finish the day in 19th, and though he wasn't able to make up as many positions as he would have liked, he was pleased with the handling of the car by the end of the day.

"Running a bigger track like Rockingham is a lot of fun for me, and I definitely learned a lot today," stated the driver, exhausted after the event. "It was a really long race, but it was great experience. I just wish we had found the speed and handling we had in the last 30 laps a lot earlier in the day. I still had a lot of fun though."

-credit: esr

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Series ARCA