St. Louis: Kevin Wood race report

Keven Wood Gets Career Best Finish At Gateway Madison,IL (September 6, 2008)-Keven Wood drove the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 to a 15th place finish at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday, September 6th. After two ...

Keven Wood Gets Career Best Finish At Gateway

Madison,IL (September 6, 2008)-Keven Wood drove the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 to a 15th place finish at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday, September 6th.

After two practice sessions on Friday evening, the 21 team found that the truck was not running the way they had hoped, finishing the first practice 24thand 22nd fastestin the second practice. Keeping in mind that the team had the potential to improve on those positions, Crew Chief John Monsam made the decision to change the entire set up for qualifying and it paid off. During qualifying Saturday morning, Keven ran a lap time of 34. 382 seconds that putthe no. 21 U.S.Air Force F-150on the starting grid in 16th.

Keven took the green flag in the 16th position in the Camping World 200 and reported that the no. 21 was a little on the tight side . The first caution of the day occurred on lap 6, but the team chose not to pit. By lap 10, Wood fell to 23rd where he tried to find a line to run. Once he found a groove, he moved to 21st when the caution flag flew on lap 20. Monsam called for the no. 21 to make a pit stop. The team decided to put on four tires, fuel and make an adjustment to assist the tight condition. The adjustments seemed to help as he reported that the truck was better.

At the half-way point, Keven had gone one lap down to the leaders, despite racing on a track that's difficult to pass, he had moved to the 22nd spot. Caution on lap 100 allowed the no. 21 to regain its lap as Wood received the "Lucky Dog" award for being the first truck one lap down. On lap 101, the no. 21 pit for four tires and fuel. He restarted in the 22nd position on lap 107. The adjustments to the truck and Keven's confidence were evident as he moved up to 17th place.

With 39 laps to go, a multi-truck wreck occurred directly in front of the no.21. The incident caused a chain reaction that included several race trucks and with the help of his spotter, Jon Wood, Keven maneuvered through and came out unmarked. He restarted the race in the 17th position.

On the last lap heading for the checkered flag, the no. 21 battled with the no. 81 for the 15th position and won it. Keven would take the checkered flag and bring home his best career finish in 15th.

Keven commented on the weekend, "After practice we were really skeptical. We actually changed it for qualifying, a whole new set-up and it paid off. We just had to do some tuning on it and once we got in the race it was okay. We had a lot of luck today. A lot of the action was right in front of me. I've just got to thank my team for all the hard work they put into my Ford this weekend." He added, "We had a lot better finish than what we expected. We kept working on the Air Force Ford F-150 and it kept getting better and better. In that very last run we got a little tight and we held on to a top-15 finish. That's my best finish so far. We'll go to Loudon now with a little bit more enthusiasm."

"Finishing in the top-15 is a great day for this 21 U.S. Air Force team. We made the truck better and once Keven found his brake and throttle points, he got better at passing," Monsam said commentingon the performance. "Jon [Wood] did a good job spotting; he helped Keven get through some tough spots. We're going to New Hampshire and we're going to improve on what we learned in Gateway."

Keven Wood and the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 U.S. Air Force F-150 will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to race the Camping World RV Rental 200 on Saturday, September 13th.

-credit: wbr

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Series NASCAR-TRUCK