Montgomery Slowed By Handling Issues in Finale
Rookie Limps Home 21st
November 22, 2004 (Homestead, Florida) -- A long and adventurous year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series came to an end on Friday for Chase Montgomery and his BHR2 team. In the 25th and final race of the season, Montgomery battled handling problems on his #8 DODGE and come home with a 21st place finish in the running of the Ford 200 at the Homestead Miami Speedway.
"We just could not get our truck to turn very well this week for some reason as we fought a tight condition," said Montgomery. "It was a frustrating way to end the season and I really wanted to finish up with a strong run. We tried so many things on our truck and nothing seemed to really work out there for us. We are not sure if we have something wrong or not but the guys will look the truck over real well when they get back to the shop. This year has been a very good learning experience for me and I have had a lot of fun racing here in the Craftsman Truck Series -- and I look forward to doing so again next year."
Montgomery started the 134 lap event from the 27th position as a result of his qualifying effort on Thursday. Once the green flag flew under sunny skies on Friday afternoon, the 21-year- old rookie slowly moved up a few spots and was running 23rd by the fifth lap. As Montgomery battled with the tight condition on his #8 DODGE, some early pit strategy had the Mt. Juliet, Tennessee native riding in the fourth spot on a lap 28 restart. Many trucks on fresher tires slowly worked their way past the rookie, but he maintained his spot in the top 15 before pitting under caution on lap 39.
Back to green flag racing, Montgomery battled his way through the field after restarting toward the rear of the field. While working diligently with a truck that was not handling well, Montgomery also kept tabs on his teammate and owner -- Bobby Hamilton -- as he made a run for his first NASCAR championship.
The #8 DODGE hung around the 25th position before coming down pit road for the final time on lap 92 for four fresh Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and some extra tape on the windshield due to a glare from the setting sun. Back to green flag racing, the #8 DODGE improved with its handling slightly that allowed Chase to get back inside the top 20.
Unfortunately, the truck slid back a little as the tight condition worsened and Montgomery battled until the end for the 21st place finish.
"I wish we could have finished off the season with a better run but I think the struggles this year will really help us as we progress in this series and head into the 2005 season," stated Chase. "I want to thank Miccosukee Gaming and Resorts for joining us for this season finale. Also, I want to congratulate my team owner, Bobby Hamilton, in winning the championship and bringing it home for our manufacturer - DODGE."
The 21st place finish did move Montgomery one spot up in the overall point standings to the 21st spot. He also finished fifth in the highly contested battle for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award.
To learn more about Chase and his BHR2 team, visit them at www.chasemontgomery.com