Lally Finishes a Season's Best 19th in Interstate Moving Services Ford at Talladega
Talladega, AL, (April 17, 2011) - Andy Lally finished 19th in the TRG Motorsports No. 71 Interstate Moving Services Ford Fusion in 38th in this afternoon's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Lally, being a rookie, knew going into Talladega that it would be a challenge to negotiate with his fellow competitors to be drafting partners around the superspeedway. That fact appeared early when he could not arrange for a dance partner and went down a lap. The persistence of the team, led by crew chief Doug Richert, was able to keep Lally in a position to get his lap back and earn the respect from some of his competitors. With 37 laps to go Lally was able to hook-up with Terry Labonte and ran up into the top 10. A late race caution and the constant shuffling of the field put the Northport, New York native in 19th at the wave of the checker. The finish is the best NASCAR Sprint Cup series result for Lally this season date.
"Every restart that I faced I felt like the kid in elementary school that gets picked last for the kickball game," Lally said. "I am the only rookie in the series this year, no teammates and not a lot of these guys know me at all. It is inevitable that when the green flag drops the guys who know each other for years and have raced together for years end up working together. That leaves me the odd guy out. We fought and clawed our way through the deal and tried to stay with anyone that we could. It kept working out. Things went alright. We were able to get the Lucky Dog and got back on the lead lap. Doug did a good job working the strategy with the wave around in the middle race. I was working well with my spotter today. He helped keep me informed and clean all race. The team worked together really well this weekend.
The team worked together really well this weekend.
I got hooked up with Terry and we were fast together. I did my fastest lap of the race with about 25 to go. I was running off the rev-limiter. Unfortunately Terry overheated and blew-up and that left me without a drafting partner. When Montoya had his problem that left Jamie McMurray without a partner, he was nice enough to stay with a rookie and push me across the finish line. I thought that was cool."
Kevin Buckler, team owner, was proud of his team today.
"What a great day for the team," Buckler said. "It is our second race with Ford equipment and the first with Doug on the box and Andy did a great job. It is tough for a rookie to get the help in drafting from the veterans. You have to earn their respect and I think Andy did some of that today. We got down a lap early, but were able to manage the strategy and get him back on the lead lap. He got a taste of running at both ends of the field in a restrictor plate race and he kept his cool. There is not a scratch on the car. I think our partners at Interstate Moving Services were on the edge of their chair. On top of everything we learned it was a big and important points day for us. We really need this next week off so we can catch up on building up our Ford fleet."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take next weekend and then travel to Richmond International Raceway for the Crown Royal 400 to be run April 30.