Ricky Carmichael Scores Career-Best Finish of Fourth at The Monster Mile Despite enduring a weekend filled with bad luck, Carmichael battled his way from the rear of the field to score his career-best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck ...
Ricky Carmichael Scores Career-Best Finish of Fourth at The Monster Mile
Despite enduring a weekend filled with bad luck, Carmichael battled his way from the rear of the field to score his career-best finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover International Speedway.
A short time into the first practice session of the weekend, a lead weight bounced off of the track and through the grill of Carmichael's No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet, breaking through the radiator, cutting the oil lines and causing a major fire to erupt. The Turner Motorsports crew worked feverishly to repair the truck and get Carmichael back onto the track.
Limited track time during practice proved to be an enemy for Carmichael as he lost control of his truck during his first qualifying run, hit the wall and was forced to go to a back up truck for the race and begin from the 35th position.
The first caution flag flew only four laps into the Dover 200, but in that short time, Carmichael was able to gain 10 positions on the competition. Despite Carmichael feeling loose on entry, the crew opted to stay out.
Carmichael came down pit road to the attention of the Monster Energy Chevrolet pit crew on lap 21 during the race's second caution with complaints of tight handling conditions on his truck. "It's like my tires have 800-pounds of air pressure right now," Carmichael said. The crew gave him four fresh Goodyear tires, made an air pressure adjustment and went down two rounds on the track bar. At the restart of the race, Carmichael was ready to make his move from the 19th position.
By the third caution, Carmichael was the first truck one lap down to a powerful Kyle Busch, but received the "lucky dog" and regained his spot on the lead lap. By this point, he needed more grip in the truck and was battling rising water temperatures. The crew gave him four tires, made an air pressure adjustment and removed tape from the nose to bring the water temperature down.
When the fourth caution flag flew on lap 84, Carmichael was pleased with the adjustments that had been made on his Monster Energy Chevrolet. "It's still a little tight in the center, but the adjustments you made on the last stop are definitely working. It's a little slow to get going, but was really strong about 10 laps in," Carmichael said. He restarted the race in the 16th position.
The No. 4 returned to pit road on lap 122, under the sixth caution of the race for a full load of fuel and four fresh tires. From this point, the Monster Energy Chevrolet would be good on fuel until the end of the race.
By the next caution, Carmichael was running in 18th place, but his lap times were faster than the four trucks ahead of him. He continued to pick off his competitors one by one before returning to pit road on lap 192 when the ninth caution flag of the race flew.
Carmichael restarted in 13th place, when skillful moves and great communication from his spotter helped him slice through a wreck on the restart and gain six positions -- moving him into seventh place in preparation for the first attempt at a Green-White-Checkered finish.
The Dover 200 closed only two laps later on lap 204 and saw Carmichael take the checkered flag in fourth place -- a career-best finish for the AMA champion.
Aric Almirola won the Dover 200. Carmichael's Turner Motorsports teammate James Buescher took the second-place finish as Justin Lofton and Todd Bodine joined him in the top-five.
On the emotion of his highest career finish in NASCAR: "I'm almost in shock. I'm happy for myself, but most of all I'm happy for this team. This is why you never give up. Honestly, it was a horrible weekend from the first incident in the first practice when we hit that lead. This team never gave up -- they never do -- we got a little luck and came out with a career best."
"This finish makes all of the hard work worth it and it helps me a lot as a driver. I've always been pretty mentally strong, and that helped me a lot in motorcycles. We battled a lot of adversity this weekend, but this just shows that you have to stay positive and never give up."