Jason White Survives Another Engine Issue
Homestead, FL -- November 19, 2010. Jason White came into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway with a slim twenty-three point lead on James Buescher for the tenth spot in the 2010 driver standings. White knew the margin for error was slim in order to hold onto the coveted position and the team would have to avoid the motor issues that have plagued the team this season.
On Friday afternoon, White qualified the GunBroker.com Ford sixteenth in the thirty-six truck field with a lap of 32.24 seconds at 167.4 mph putting the No. 23 on the outside of the eighth row at the start of the 200-mile race.
White fell back to twentieth place after the drop of the green flag waiting for the tire pressures in the GunBroker.com Ford to come up and he began to get a feel for the track. By lap twenty, Jason was up to eighteenth and as the run went on the handling of his truck improved. Jason moved up to sixteenth when the first caution flew for a spin by Brad Sweet on lap thirty-one.
The SS Green Light crew had a great stop picking up two spots on pit road during a four-tire change. After the drop of the green, Jason charged forward to the twelfth spot and then moved up to eleventh on lap forty-seven.
On lap sixty of the 134-lap race, White could feel his season slipping away. The powerplant in his GunBroker.com Ford had developed a miss. In four previous races in the 2010 season, White had suffered engine failures causing all four of his DNF's and holding the Virginia driver back in the NCWTS standings.
"I lost a thousand RPM, I didn't know how long it was going to hold on." White said following the race. "Our GunBroker.com Ford was fast. I was passing trucks in the corners, but I gave it back up down the straights."
As Whites lap times began to slow fingers were crossed in the SS Green Light pit area hoping the Roush-Yates engine would hold out until the end of the race. The first break fell on lap seventy-four when the caution few for debris. Crew Chief Doug Howe had Jason stay on the track when the leaders came to the pit area, earning five valuable bonus points.
As the race continued, Howe would use the cautions to try to pick-up positions knowing that every single spot would matter in the season standings. White stayed on the track when the caution flew on lap 105, which moved him up to sixth place. After the green, Jason's underpowered truck would loose positions each lap dropping towards the tail of the field. In all five cautions flew over the last seventy laps helping to keep White's wounded truck on the lead lap.
The race was halted by a nineteen minute red flag while track crews repaired the safety barriers with twenty-three laps left when John Jackson spun in turn four and slammed into the sand barrels protecting the end of the pit wall. Jackson was not injured in the scary wreck.
White crossed the checkers in twenty-third place, only four spots behind Buescher, combined with the bonus points gave Jason a sixteen point advantage for the tenth spot in the season standings.
"We got lucky; we lost a cylinder, we blew up five motors this year. I don't know, but the fact is we got lucky to get the top ten. We felt it could have been a top five finish," White said following the race. "It's a top ten, we'll take it. It's pretty cool. It's my first time ever finishing in the top ten, so we're definitely excited about it!"
White finished the 2010 season with three top-five and seven top-ten finishes along with his first ever NCWTS pole. He had seventeen lead lap finishes, his average finish of 15.4 is over three positions higher than 2009, all personal bests.
"It's a pretty good way to end the year even though we weren't running as good as we wanted tonight with the engine like it was. We'll take it and go enjoy the winter."
Next up for Jason White is the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards Banquet on Monday, Nov. 22 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.