Ickler Overcomes Early Flat To Finish Ninth at Gateway KBM Driver Scores Third Top-10 in Four Starts Brian Ickler battled back from a flat right-rear tire early in Saturday afternoon's CampingWorld.com 200 to finish ninth in the...
Ickler Overcomes Early Flat To Finish Ninth at Gateway
KBM Driver Scores Third Top-10 in Four Starts
Brian Ickler battled back from a flat right-rear tire early in Saturday afternoon's CampingWorld.com 200 to finish ninth in the rescheduled NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. The ninth-place effort was Ickler's third top-10 in just four starts with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
The race had been originally scheduled for Friday night, but a massive power outage forced NASCAR officials to move the start time to early this afternoon.
After qualifying his No. 18 Viasystems Toyota in the 10th spot Friday afternoon, Ickler appeared to have a strong Toyota racing machine once the event finally got started under the glaring sun and near 100-degree temperatures.
By the time the first caution of the afternoon waved at lap 13, Ickler had moved into the seventh spot. He told crew chief Eric Phillips that his truck was a little tight off of turn four and was a little free when he tried to get into the turns.
Shortly after the restart on lap 17, Ickler radioed to his crew that he had a flat right-rear tire. On the restart, Ickler and another racetruck had made contact, the other truck's splitter ripped the valve stem from Ickler's tire and flattened it. Despite the flat, Ickler was able to get his truck down on the racetrack, onto the pit access road and out of harm's way. He pitted for right-side tires and fuel and returned to the track in 31st, one lap down to the leaders.
"I got up into Todd (Bodine) again, probably my fault," Ickler said following the race. "I pinched him up in the wall and his splitter cut my right-rear tire down, so we went a lap down under green and had to pit under green. We just kind of fought back all day."
And fought back they did. Ickler and the No. 18 team kept their composure on the racetrack and in the pits despite being one lap down. On the track, Ickler remained unfazed and continued to click off the laps one-by-one with constant encouragement from his team on the radio.
The caution flag waved a second time on lap 50, when Ickler was scored in 30th place, still a lap down. He pitted for four tires and fuel. Following the stop, he restarted 22nd, the first truck one lap down, keeping himself in position to be the beneficiary of the lucky dog during the next caution period, which put him back on the lead lap at lap 70. Ickler pitted for four tires and fuel and returned to the track in 22nd.
Once back on the lead lap, Ickler showed just how strong his Viasystems Toyota was. Within 30 laps, he moved into the top-10. Even though his truck got tighter as he exited turn four, Ickler continued to battle for a spot in the top-10.
On the team's final pit stop of the day under caution at lap 123, the No. 18 crew changed four tires, added fuel and made an air pressure adjustment in hopes of helping Ickler's tight-handling racetruck. However, Ickler was forced to go around a stalled truck on pit road before pulling into his pit stall, which caused him to lose time on pit road. He restarted 12th at lap 129.
As the laps ticked off the board, Ickler fought to gain back those spots until he arrived in his final finishing position of ninth.
"I felt like we had a good truck," Ickler said. "Once I got up there in the top-10, my stuff was pretty burnt up. I think if we could have stayed up there, we might have been all right. I was having a little bit of a hard time restarting on the inside. Guys were getting big runs on the outside. It didn't really seem like the inside was going up off of two. I think we had a good communication day. We kept making the truck better, for sure. We just needed a little more time to finish up there."
Harvick won the CampingWorld.com 200 to score his ninth career Camping World Truck Series victory in 105 starts, his third of the season and his first at Gateway.
Brad Keselowski finished 5.241 seconds behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Johnny Sauter, Todd Bodine and Matt Crafton took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Timothy Peters, rookie Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Ickler and Mike Skinner.
The race featured five caution periods for 27 laps, with 10 drivers failing to finish the 160-lap race.
While Ickler is not running the full Camping World Truck Series schedule, the No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title and dropped one spot in the standings to third, just 32 points behind the first-place No. 30 truck of Germain Racing.
The next event on the Camping World Truck Series schedule is Friday night's AAA Insurance 200 presented by J.D. Byrider at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.