It was a rookie weekend for NASCAR driver Ricky Carmichael took on the famed "Beast of the Southeast" Charlotte Motor Speedway in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and came out with a top15 finish in his first time...
It was a rookie weekend for NASCAR driver Ricky Carmichael took on the famed "Beast of the Southeast" Charlotte Motor Speedway in Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and came out with a top15 finish in his first time visiting the Speedway on four wheels.
After continuing to progress during the first and second practice sessions of the day, Carmichael's qualifying effort landed him in 19th position for the start of the 134lap race, which was delayed nearly three hours due to heavy rains that plagued the Speedway.
Carmichael had climbed three positions when the first caution flag flew on lap 10 and continued to make his way around the very green race track.
The second caution came out on lap 23, and Carmichael brought his No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet down pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment.
Eleven laps into his run, Carmichael reported a "bad vibration" in his Silverado, but fought hard for next 29 laps before he went one lap down to eventual race winner Kyle Busch on lap 70.
After reporting to his crew that he was "struggling to find grip" on the track, Carmichael found luck on his side as the third caution flag flew just before he brought his truck down pit road. The Monster Energy crew gave him four tires, fuel and made an air pressure adjustment in the hope of helping Carmichael find the feel in the truck he was looking for.
Good fortune was once again with Carmichael only one lap after the restart when the fourth caution was displayed and the No. 4 was the recipient of the "Lucky Dog," putting him back on the lead lap in 17thplace. He quickly came down pit road for a wedge adjustment and one final splash of fuel before taking the green flag to restart the race on lap 94.
The crew discovered a slight tire rub on the left rear of his truck after Carmichael detected the smell of rubber in the cockpit of the No. 4. The rub went away and, by lap 109, he felt the truck was the "best it had been all day."
As the race came to a close, the field was hit with two more caution periods, giving Carmichael time to gain two more spots to 11thplace. His position behind a slow truck on the final restart of the race caused him to drop three places and take the checkered flag in the 14th position.
Kyle Busch was the winner of the rain delayed North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday, Turner Motorsports teammate James Buescher and Elliott Sadler rounded out the topfive.
After enjoying a week off, Carmichael will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday June 4 at Texas Motor Speedway for the WinStar World Casino 400k.
RICKY CARMICHAEL: On his first race at Charlotte Motor Speedway: "We ended up better than I thought we would have. The crew worked hard to make it better all night and they did make a lot of positive changes."
"The track changed a lot more than I expected. Other drivers tell you to expect it to tighten up during the race, but I never felt that."
"All in all, things weren't that bad in my first time here. I just wish we could have come out a little better in the end."