The 2.45-mile road course in New York's Finger Lakes region is unlike any other on the NASCAR circuit.
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - Travis Kvapil and the No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry finished 40th at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday afternoon. After being caught up in a multi-car accident that brought out the red flag for nearly 23 minutes, Kvapil attempted to return to the track before a blown left front tire brought him to the garage for a second time in the 90-lap race.
The 2.45-mile road course in New York's Finger Lakes region is unlike any other on the NASCAR circuit. The historic course challenges drivers with its high-speed left- and right-hand turns, shifting requirements and heavy braking zones. The 11-turn 2.45-mile configuration has characteristics specific to road course circuits, and drivers need to navigate areas known as the "esses," the "bus stop" and the "carousel."
Kvapil completed just 20 laps during the sessions to prepare for qualifying and Sunday's 90-lap race. On Saturday morning, Kvapil recorded a 71.338-second qualifying lap to secure the 38th starting position. When the green flag waved on Sunday afternoon, Kvapil began his race through the field picking up four positions within the opening 10 laps. Kvapil and the BK Racing team made two pit stops within the opening 40 laps of the race, and used each stop as an opportunity to fine-tune the handling of their car.
Working lap 40, Kvapil's No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry was handling well and the driver was battling hard for the 26th position. With high speeds and a series of quick right- and left-hand turns in an area known as "the esses," Kvapil and the No. 33 of Ron Fellows made contact coming through the narrow section. The contact sent Kvapil spinning backwards into the guardrail and ultimately back to the garage area.
After making repairs Kvapil returned to the track with around 15 laps of competition left in the Cheez-It 355. Kvapil completed a couple laps, but contact with the guardrail coming through the esses on lap 77 left Kvapil with a flat left front tire, which ultimately brought out the caution flag. With only a handful of laps left, and unable to pick up any additional positions, Kvapil returned to the garage where he was credited with a 40th-place finish in the Cheez-It 355.
"We had a challenging race today," commented Kvapil. "Our No. 93 Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry was handling really well and we were gaining ground when we got into that accident in the esses. The flat tire when we returned to the track was just adding insult to injury for our day.
Unfortunately both situations were just outside of our control, so we're going to try not to let them bring us down. We had a really good car the last time that we raced at Michigan International Speedway, so I'm looking forward to the race next week."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to Michigan International Speedway for the second time this season on Sunday, August 18. Fans can tune into SPEED on Friday, August 16 to see live coverage of practice (12 p.m. EDT) and qualifying (3:30 p.m. EDT).
On Saturday, August 17, SPEED officially becomes FOX Sports 1, and the network will air two additional Sprint Cup Series practice sessions live at 8:30 a.m. EDT and 11 a.m. EDT. Live coverage of the Pure Michigan 400 will air at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Sunday, August 18.