PIT STRATEGY PROPELS STARR TO SOLID SEVENTH PLACE FINISH "Driver And Team Earn Fourth Place Points Finish" HOMESTEAD,FLORIDA (November 20, 2006) - Heading into the final race of the 2006 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, David Starr and the...
PIT STRATEGY PROPELS STARR TO SOLID SEVENTH PLACE FINISH
"Driver And Team Earn Fourth Place Points Finish"
HOMESTEAD,FLORIDA (November 20, 2006) - Heading into the final race of the 2006 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, David Starr and the Red Horse Racing team were sitting fifth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship points standings.
With just 134 laps remaining until the end of the season, Starr and his team hoped to score a good enough finish to maintain or even improve on their points position.
"Our goal all along has been to finish in the top five in the points standings," Starr said. "This has been my first year with Red Horse Racing and manufacturer Toyota, so if you would have told me that we would have the kind of season that we have -- I don't know if I would have believed you.
"We have one win. We've been amazing on the short tracks, and we have a good number of top fives and top 10s. I'm really thrilled with what this team has done this season."
When the green flag waved for the final race of the 2006 season, Starr found himself in the 28th place. With a lot of trucks in front of him, Starr knew he had his work cut out for himself if he wanted to hold on to his top-five points position.
So, Starr didn't waste any time. By Lap five, Starr had already picked up five spots and he was sitting in the 23rd position. Starr told his crew chief Jamie Jones that his truck was free in the center, but Starr also said the truck may come to him the longer they run under the green flag.
By the caution at Lap 13, Starr was still complaining that his No. 11 Toyota was free in the center and off the corner. Starr brought his truck to the attention of his pit crew for four tires and fuel and a track bar adjustment. Starr returned to the track in 29th place.
Back in traffic, Starr had a lot of ground to make up on the rest of the field. Steadily, Starr began passing trucks one-by-one. At Lap 30, Starr had picked up four spots and had moved into 25th place.
When the caution waved at Lap 43, Starr found himself in 24th place. Starr told his crew that he still needed to be tight in the center. He brought the truck back down pit road for another track bar adjustment. The team also changed right side tires and added fuel. The pit call for only two tires helped Starr pick up valuable spots in the pits and return to the track around 20th place.
At Lap 50, Starr reported to his crew that something was vibrating in the right front. The vibration continued over the course of the next 13 laps.
The caution flag came out at Lap 63. Starr, who was in 14th place, still complained that the truck had a vibration.
Crew chief Jamie Jones didn't want to take any chances with the truck's vibration, so at Lap 65, Starr brought his No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota down pit road for four new tires and fuel. Starr returned to the track in 13th place.
After the pit stop, Starr began losing spots on the race track. By Lap 80, Starr had slid back into 20th spot. Starr told his crew that the No. 11 truck was very loose.
When the caution waved at Lap 94, Starr was still in 20th place, but he told the crew that the truck was slowly coming to him. With only a handful of laps left, Starr didn't have time for the truck to come to him.
Starr brought the truck down pit road for a track bar adjustment and fuel. The pit call for no tires helped Starr pick up numerous spots on pit road. He returned to the track in fourth place for the restart at Lap 99.
Over the course of the final 34 laps, Starr battled to keep his No. 11 Toyota in the top 10 despite still having some handling issues. Starr ended up crossing the finish line in seventh place. His 12th top-10 of the 2006 season moved Starr and the Red Horse Racing team up to fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point's standings.
"Jamie Jones made some great calls in the pits today that helped us pick up track position and the get the finish that we did," Starr said. "It was just an awesome job and a team effort today. I'm really proud of what this team was able to get done this season, and I am looking forward to bigger and better things in 2007."