Fike Makes Most of His First Visit To Snowy Bristol, Finishes 18th in Smith Transport/CAPG Dodge BRISTOL, Tenn. (Saturday, March 25, 2006) -- On a bizarre Saturday in Thunder Valley, where snow wiped out qualifying, and even...
Fike Makes Most of His First Visit To Snowy Bristol, Finishes 18th in Smith Transport/CAPG Dodge
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Saturday, March 25, 2006) -- On a bizarre Saturday in Thunder Valley, where snow wiped out qualifying, and even interrupted today's Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Aaron Fike and the #43 Smith Transport/RFMS Inc. Dodge of Curb Agajanian Performance Group turned in perhaps their most encouraging effort of the still-young NASCAR Busch Series season.
The 23-year-old driver from Galesburg, Ill., started 38th on a grid determined by a combination of 2006 owners points and qualifying attempts, and like a crafty veteran -- not the first-time visitor to the legendary high-banked half-mile concrete oval here that he is -- Fike ever-so-steadily made his way toward the front over the course of today's 300-lap event and brought home a satisfying 18th-place finish.
From his 38th starting position, Fike took advantage of a Smith Transport Dodge that was working well and was up to 32nd by Lap 40, than 29th by Lap 160, and down to 22nd with just 60 laps to go. He cracked the top 20 with 20 laps to go, and worked his way to his final finishing position of 18th by the checkered flag.
The finish lifted Fike three positions in the drivers standings -- to 34th -- and moved the #43 car up to 35th in the owners points.
After taking next weekend off for the first time this season, the NBS competitors take to the track next at Texas Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly 300 on April 8.
"I really didn't know what to expect coming here for the first time, but I'll have to say this place just might already be one of my favorite tracks. I've got to give credit to the whole CAPG team and (crew chief) Joe Shear's short-track program. Historically, this has been one of the team's better tracks, and I was just glad to be able to help continue that trend. What a weird weekend with all the winter weather and everything. It all seems so surreal. I'll have to say 18th may not look so glamorous to the casual observer, but it definitely helps us get closer to the top 30 in the owners points, which really has everything to do with how you conduct your business at the track in the coming weekends. We'll take a week to catch our breath, beef up our arsenal, and come back strong at Texas. That, too, was one of our better tracks in recent years."