Martinsville, VA. (March 31, 2008) - The No. 21 Little Debbie Nutty Bars Ford Fusion banged its way through the Martinsville, Goody's Cool Orange 500 on Sunday during a race that seemed more like a county fair "smash-up derby" then a NASCAR Sprint...
Martinsville, VA. (March 31, 2008) - The No. 21 Little Debbie Nutty Bars Ford Fusion banged its way through the Martinsville, Goody's Cool Orange 500 on Sunday during a race that seemed more like a county fair "smash-up derby" then a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.The Bill Elliott driven race car took the green flag in 17th position on a cold, misty afternoon. Bill used the early laps of the race to ensure that tire pressures came up to effective levels. On lap 20, the first caution of the afternoon came out.
As the race leaders chattered on their radios about whether they would pit or not, the 21 Team made the decision that they would pit only if the leaders did. When none of the leaders pitted, Bill Elliott kept moving forward toward the start/finish line. Unfortunately, NASCAR radioed the team and advised them that the car's left side tires went over the pit road "commitment" line. It is a rules infraction if a race car fails to go down pit lane after having the tires touch the "commitment" line. The penalty is to go to the end of the longest line for the restart. This resulted in the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford restarting the race in 42nd position on lap 24.
Since the infraction occurred at such an early point of the race, Bill and the team felt that they could use pit strategy and patience to move back through the field. On lap 44, the caution flag flew once again. Bill radioed that the car was tight coming off the corners, so the team pitted the car to make adjustments. Bill restarted in 39th position on lap 48.
The team used the next few cautions as strategy and stayed out on the track to gain track position. On lap 69, several race cars spun in front of the no. 21. As Bill tried to stop, he ran into the back of another race car, which caused slight front end damage. Bill brought the car in to get fresh tires and repair the damage.J The crew had only enough time to put two tires on and partially fix the damage before the pace car was in turn four. The 21 was sent back out onto the track to avoid being lapped by the pace car, to immediately come back in the pit to fix more of the damage. As the Little Debbie Ford was leaving pit road on lap 72, the race restarted, which caused the race car to go down one lap. Bill returned to the race track 43rd. The team spent the remainder of the race trying to stay ahead of the leaders and repairing the damaged car.
By lap 411, Bill had moved the car up to the 34th position where it remained for the rest of the race. While the team was happy to be racing, it certainly wasn't happy with the finish. With another race under its belt the team prepares for next week's event at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 6th for the Samsung 500 where Bill Elliott will be driving the Motorcraft sponsored no.21 car.
-credit: Wood Brothers Racing