Late-Race Incident Ends Promising Debut for Ryan Truex and Tommy Baldwin Racing
The No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet finished 31st at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (February 26, 2012) – Ryan Truex started 18th in his superspeedway debut at Daytona International Speedway. As a rookie, he struggled finding a partner in the DRIVE4COPD 300 and prepared to make a final run at a top-10 finish when a 19-car incident ended Tommy Baldwin Racing’s (TBR) NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut early. The No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet finished in the 31st position.
Having to qualify on time, the No. 36 Grime Boss team focused solely on qualifying runs in both practice sessions on Thursday. The team worked on the car and significantly improved the lap times throughout the sessions.
During qualifying on Friday, Truex was the 14th car to post a lap and went straight to the top of the leaderboard. His quick lap qualified the TBR team into the NNS event and gave the No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet the 18th starting spot for the Saturday’s 120-lap event.
Truex started 18th and quickly began to learn the draft. By lap 18, he was in the 20th position and radioed that it was hard to run fast on the low line and seemed that the middle line was faster. The yellow flag flew for fluid on the track on lap 31 with the No. 36 in the 24th position. Truex radioed that he was not getting any drafting help.
Crew Chief Brad Parrott called for a four-tire pit stop during the caution period. On lap 35, Truex restarted 23rd. Stuck in the inside lane, the No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet fell back to the 32nd position the next lap. The 19-year-old racer found a drafting partner and worked his way up to the 19th position by lap 46. He drove into the ninth position by lap 48 when a caution was called on lap 50 for a two-car incident in turn three.
The TBR team made a fuel-only pit stop on lap 49. Green flag racing resumed on lap 53 with Truex in the 17th position. He worked his way back to ninth place while partnered with Joe Nemechek but lost his partner and fell back to 25th when the next yellow flag waved on lap 61. The team made another gas-only pit stop during the caution period.
The No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet restarted in the 15th position on lap 64. Restarting on the bottom once again, Truex fell to 32nd by lap 67 and continued to look for allies on the track. He worked his way back up to the 11th position when the yellow flag flew for a three-car incident on the frontstretch on lap 75.
Parrott called for a two-tire pit stop, and Truex returned to the track in the seventh position. Still struggling with drafting help, the No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet fell back to the 24th spot by lap 81. The Mayetta, N.J., native continued to work to find a drafting partner and get back to the front of the field. A lap 95 caution for fluid on the track allowed Truex to pit for four tires and fuel. The No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet restarted 27th on lap 99 and drove into the 20th position by lap 100.
Primed for a late-race charge, Truex strategized with spotter Tommy Baldwin on how to get to the front in the final laps. A melee near the front of the field left Truex with nowhere to go. He made contact with a car on the outside, leaving the No. 36 Grime Boss Chevrolet with significant damage on the right front of the car. The TBR team tried to fix the damage but after going two laps down decided to pull the car into the garage since the team is not competing for points. The incident relegated the team to a 31st-place finish.
“I had a lot of fun out there in the draft,” said Truex. “It was hard to stay up front without help, but I feel like we were good enough to be up there. Drafting is definitely more difficult than it looks on TV, but I really enjoyed it.”