Goess Battles to the Front for a Second-Place Finish at Salem Speedway Salem, Ind. (April 12, 2010)-- Craig Goess and the No. 81 Eddie Sharp Racing Greenville Toyota posted a second-place finish at the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented...
Goess Battles to the Front for a Second-Place Finish at Salem Speedway
Salem, Ind. (April 12, 2010)-- Craig Goess and the No. 81 Eddie Sharp Racing Greenville Toyota posted a second-place finish at the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by ApplianceZone.com
The weekend began with a successful practice as Goess had the fourth quickest car on the Southern Indiana track Saturday afternoon with a lap of 17.528 seconds and speed of 113.989 mph. The No. 81 team drew to go out first in qualifying late Saturday afternoon, which proved to be unlucky as the track built up dirt and dust from the in-field construction. The No. 81 Toyota lined up 19th out of 33 cars for the 200-lap, 111-mile race.
The green-flag waved at 2:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and Goess was optimistic about the day. "We have a really great car," Goess radioed to his crew. "I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate their hard work."
Goess worked in the first laps to move up the leader board. By lap 7, the No. 81 made a strong push to the 12th position. Goess maintained the 12th position until lap 50, when the yellow flag dropped. The No. 81 came down pit road when the pits opened on lap 51, and the ESR crew went to work, giving the car two right-side tires and fuel. [SalemRace321.jpg]
The green flag dropped on lap 55, and Goess continued to pick up positions. With a fast car and his hard-working crew, Goess moved into the top-10, looking to continue to pick off cars.
On lap 79, the No. 81 got pinched into the wall, and the right front of the car sustained damage. Even with the unfortunate luck, Goess continued to move forward. By lap 84, he was up to fifth place and held close to the front of the pack for most of the race. The race was not short of competitive driving, with 11 cautions on the .555 high-banked track.
Going down to the final laps, Steve Arpin, Patrick Sheltra and Goess battled to the finish. After a wreck on lap 187, Goess got a jump on the final restart on lap 192, as he and Justin Marks worked to pass Sheltra's No. 60. On the last lap, both Goess and Marks made their moves on Sheltra, going under the No. 60 on the backstretch. Sheltra grazed the turn 4 wall as Goess crossed the finish line in second place behind Arpin.
"I think the race went well considering everything that happened," said Goess. "I wish we didn't get caught up, with those two cars fighting in front of us, and knock our right front in a little bit because we could have won the race. All things considered, I think it was a good day for us." [esr.jpg] Goess was named the CGS Imaging Hard Charger of the race, adding to the excitement of his career-best ARCA Racing Series finish. The award goes to a driver who has attempted to compete in every event on the 2010 schedule and has advanced the most spots over his or her official starting position at each ARCA Racing Series event throughout the year.
Eddie Sharp, team owner, is excited about the momentum of Goess' finish going into next week's race at Texas Motor Speedway. "Craig needed this," said Sharp. "We had a rough start to the season, but now we have a little momentum going into Texas. Our Texas test went exceptional, so to come out here, finish second and gain points, it has been a good day. Going into next weekend, we need to keep rolling with the momentum. We are still way ahead of where we were last year."
The ESR team and the ARCA Racing Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 16 for its first race in more than a decade.