RICHMOND, VA- (September 5, 2003) -Jimmy Spencer's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was shaping up as a very promising event on Thursday evening at Richmond International Raceway. Unfortunately that promise was swept away in a grinding...
RICHMOND, VA- (September 5, 2003) -Jimmy Spencer's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was shaping up as a very promising event on Thursday evening at Richmond International Raceway. Unfortunately that promise was swept away in a grinding crash as the lapped trucks of Matt Crafton and Terry Cook attempted to run three wide into turn 1 on a restart on lap 154 of the Virginia is for Lovers 200. The end result was a steaming hunk of twisted metal and a disappointing 29th place finish for the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge.
"I'm very upset you know," Spencer said moments after the incident. "This was the 200th start for one of our sponsors, Team ASE, and I really think we could have won this race, but not when a guy gets into you. I guess we got three-wide there, and somebody bumped somebody - you know lapped trucks, or whatever. Man, it really hurts. You can't run three-wide around here. You just can't do it. We're upset about it, but there's always New Hampshire next week."
Spencer started the race in the eighth position after inclement weather forced NASCAR to start the race based upon NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner's points. Adversity struck the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge before the green flag fell as Spencer brought his Dodge down pit road prior to the start of the green flag. His Ultra Motorsports crew was unable to fix his faulty radio and Spencer was left without the ability to talk his crew, but he could hear them. Spencer ran in the top ten for the first half of the event, and when caution fell on lap 94 he brought his Dodge down pit road in the 7th position for his only stop of the evening. His crew executed a flawless four tire and fuel stop and Spencer exited the pits in the third spot. Shortly after the ensuing restart he moved into the second position and on lap 149 he passed Bobby Hamilton for the lead on lap 149. On the next lap the caution flag fell and Hamilton beat Spencer back to the line. That set up the restart that led to Spencer's demise on lap 154.
"It's really frustrating," Spencer said. "We had a great Dodge Ram tonight. I didn't push the issue, because I knew this truck was good. We had a good practice today. I was just trying to get oriented to the truck. What a great truck, though. Crew Chief Dennis Connor and the guys did an awesome job. To run the 200th race for Team ASE was pretty neat. I really feel like I could've won the race, simply because our truck was so good on 40, 50, 60-lap tires."
As a result of the crash, Spencer was one of the first drivers to test the newly installed soft-walls at Richmond. The early reviews from the Berwick, PA native are nothing but positive.
"I didn't realize it until afterwards but that's a big step," Spencer claimed. "I never even got dazed. It was a hard hit, too. The worst side you can hit with is the left side. I didn't even get anything. It never even knocked the wind out of me. There's no question that the soft walls/safer walls are working."
The next event for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday, September 13th. The race will be broadcast live nationally by The Speed Channel and MRN Radio starting at 1:00 ET.