Daytona: JR Fitzpatrick race report

J.R. Fitzpatrick Fourth In TRG Camping World Truck at Daytona Led most laps and top rookie Daytona Beach, Florida (February 13, 2009) - Friday the 13th proved to be a very rewarding day for John Ryan (J.R.) Fitzpatrick and his No. 7 Mammoet ...

J.R. Fitzpatrick Fourth In TRG Camping World Truck at Daytona Led most laps and top rookie

Daytona Beach, Florida (February 13, 2009) - Friday the 13th proved to be a very rewarding day for John Ryan (J.R.) Fitzpatrick and his No. 7 Mammoet Chevrolet Silverado. J.R. finished fourth in today's season opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

-  Led most laps with 17

- Top finishing rookie
- Top finishing Chevrolet Silverado
- Won Wix Filters Lap Leader Award
- Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award

Fitzpatrick started the 250-mile race from his fourteenth qualifying position. It didn't take the Cambridge, Ontario, Canada resident long to make his way into the top 10 and then into the top five and eventually the lead. Avoiding a close call on lap 19 when a truck in front got loose and then narrowly missing a big wreck in front of him on lap 47. Following those nervous moments, Fitzpatrick was able to drive his way into the lead on lap 71.

The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate used the first 71 laps to methodically run in top 10. When the chance to lead presented itself the 20 year old Canadian was up to the task. He took the lead on lap 71 with NASCAR sensation Kyle Busch in his mirror. Unfazed Fitzpatrick led until the lap 88before being shuffled back.

The team saved four sticker tires for the run to the finish which proved to be a good call. Fitzpatrick was able to find his way through the last laps of mayhem to bring the No. 71 Mammoet Chevy home in fourth.

"The truck was really hooked up on the bottom," Fitzpatrick said. "We had really good strategy going at the end, we just ran out of time. I had a heck of time leading. That was a lot of fun. It was my first time here and first time racing with all of these guys. It is pretty sweet; I was getting pushed around by Kyle Busch, which is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me."

"We were working all through practice to get the thing to stay on the bottom. We had it set in our minds that if they were going to pass they were going to pass on the outside. This thing just stuck right at the bottom. For Butch Hylton and the whole crew and Mammoet this is awesome."

"When the six truck got loose I hit my brake and got into him a little. I tried not to turn him and he gathered it back up. It was hard when you are going that fast. Then into turn one - that was crazy, I am not sure how I missed that, it was unbelievable."

"My spotter David (Keith) did a great job.  We were working great
together.  I pulled out a couple of times when I should have stayed at
the bottom.  I was getting anxious I wanted to get to the front.  It was
great.  The whole group did a fantastic job.  The last run on new tires
was great.  We were a little tight, but we knew we were going to be early
and it was going to come to me later.  We passed a lot of trucks at the
end and it was working great.  If we had a little more time we probably
could have got them.  I was working great underneath."

For Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team owner, this is nice way to leave Daytona.

"We had a tough ARCA race and didn't make the 500, but J.R. really picked up this whole team tonight," Buckler said. "He took great direction all race from David the spotter and Butch in the pits. As the race went on his pit stops got better as he learned from the guys. He went to school on drafting and running with some real veterans and even led the most laps. What a night!"

Round two of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be run next weekend on Saturday, February 2st at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

-credit: www.trgmotorsports.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Buckler , J.R. Fitzpatrick , Kyle Busch
Teams TRG Motorsports