Sears Point: Brian Simo race report

Brian Simo - Cup top-10 Brian Simo combined his championship road-racing experience with smart pit strategy to charge to a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge/Save Mart 350 race at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Simo,...

Brian Simo - Cup top-10

Brian Simo combined his championship road-racing experience with smart pit strategy to charge to a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge/Save Mart 350 race at Infineon (Sears Point) Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Simo, of Carlsbad, Calif., drove his No. 33 Korbel California Champagnes Chevrolet Monte Carlo from 22nd to 10th place in his first Cup start since 2001.

Although Simo hadn't raced for two years and his crew was assembled for only the June 26 race, they benefited from veteran team management. Simo's car was prepared by Richard Childress Racing, guided by engine builder Danny Lawrence and crew chief Bobby Leslie.

"This was a different kind of race and we sensed that coming in. We ended up in front of a lot of guys who are good because it was a different kind of race. We had to play the game the way our cards were dealt. We just played our hand better; we knew our handicaps going in and we played them to our advantage," Simo explained.

"It was a fuel-strategy race. We had some good long runs and that's when the car worked the best. We were pitting out of sequence, on purpose. We had to play a bit of a mileage game and a bit of an old-tire game. The team figured I could do better on old tires, so that put the burden back on me.

"When we got to the end, I didn't know how it was going to play out. The guys weren't really catching me and we were running lap times as fast as the leaders. I thought, 'This is great! I can see something good happening here.' We weren't perfect; I think we probably missed everything by a tick. But it was great to put on a good show for the Korbel guys."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Brian Simo
Teams Richard Childress Racing