A Learning Experience for John King
Homestead, FL -- November 19, 2010. John King had a successful journey to the Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday evening for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season ending Ford 200. King had never been to a track longer than one mile prior to this weekends visit to Homestead and brought the Fairway Ford F-150 home without a scratch in twenty-seventh.
King qualified the No. 07 Fairway Ford F-150 twenty-ninth quick on Friday afternoon with a competitive lap of 32.85 seconds at over 164.3 mph. John picked-up nearly eight tenths of a second from his earlier practice times.
John was patient at the start of the 200-mile race adapting to the racetrack and adjusting to the high speeds on the high-banked oval just south of Miami settling into the thirtieth position.
King radioed to Crew Chief Butch Miller on lap fifteen that he was, "Tight, tight, tight." Miller kept his understudy composed advising him they would make adjustments on the first stop. The first caution came on lap thirty and John brought the Fairway Ford to pit road for Sunoco fuel and Goodyear tires while the SS Green Light team made adjustments to cool off his truck which was running a little hot and he would restart in thirty-third.
With the truck handling better, John did a nice job passing several trucks over the next twenty laps working his way back to the thirtieth spot when the caution flew again on lap seventy-four. Miller called the No. 07 to the pit again for tires and fuel again. and then had John come back in to top-off the tank as King was just outside the window of being able to run to the end of the race.
King narrowly avoided disaster on lap 113 when the race was halted by a nineteen minute red flag while track crews repaired the safety barriers when John Jackson spun in turn four directly in front of him and slammed into the sand barrels protecting the end of the pit wall. Jackson was not injured.
"Man that was close, real close," King said. "There wasn't anything I could have done, it happened so fast. He came right across the nose. I was actually back on the gas and turning right to miss it all. We got through it and picked up a couple more positions. It as unfortunate for him, I'm glad he didn't get hurt."
John continued to improve over the last quarter of the race, running more competitive lap times and racing with several lead lap trucks. When the checkers flew, King was twenty-seventh, two laps down to Kyle Busch.
Miller was pleased following the race, "I think John did a real nice job. From the first practice to the second he improved a lot and he picked up a good bit in qualifying. He was careful at the start and he came on real good as the race went on. He looked like a new driver the second half of the race; you could see his confidence behind the wheel. I'm proud of him."
"The race was good, you know we came into this real green," commented King. "We had zero experience on a mile and a half track; the biggest one we had been on was Rockingham in a late model and Loudon in the truck, a pretty limited experience on the radial tires."
He continued, "Our only expectation was to finish the race, get good laps, hopefully finish on the lead lap, but it didn't happen that way. It took me a while in the race to get up to speed. We made leaps and gains from where we started in practice, we stayed out of trouble, we had good pit stops and we made good adjustments to the truck."
"We did nothing but move forward throughout the race, we lost track position early, but we maintained and did not loose anymore. We were real racy at the end, racing with the lead lap trucks and passed some lead lap trucks. It was another all around good experience, I couldn't ask for anything better."
King's SS Green Light Racing teammates David Starr finished eleventh in the Zachry Toyota, while Jason White finished twenty-third in the GunBroker.com Ford.