NAVY RACING WEATHERS BRISTOL The Navy ...
NAVY RACING WEATHERS BRISTOL
The Navy #88 NASCAR Busch Series Chevrolet owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and driven by series rookie, Mark McFarland, unloaded as the class of the field when McFarland took to the track in practice at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday. The Navy Racing team posted the fastest time of the entire field which included thirteen full time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers.
McFarland unbuckled from the racecar with a large grin and commented, "This car is super fast, I can't wait to qualify and give the Navy a pole." However, that chance would be blown away by a heavy band of snow showers that swept over the race track and wiped out the Busch Series qualifying session and forced the field to be set by owners' points. The Navy Chevrolet would start nineteenth.
With qualifying canceled Crew Chief, Rich Hubbs said, "We try to be prepared for every situation and control what we can but unfortunately we can't control the weather." With the team slated for a mid-pack starting position there was another situation the team had little control over, traffic. "Bristol is a test in patience but the track forces a driver to fight and gouge for every position and some drivers get their feelings hurt", said Hubbs when asked to comment on a mid race incident with the #25 Marines racecar." We made contact with the 25 early in the race and from that point forward the guy went out of his way to make our day difficult each time we passed him I puckered up until finally he spun us," added Hubbs. The spin forced the Navy car to the 30th position for the final phase for the race.
Navy Racing posted fast lap times as McFarland fought his way towards the front until an incident in the front stretch forced the field to stack up in front of the 88. "I tried to get the car stopped in time but there was no way," said McFarland. The racecar suffered major damage to the nose and engine cooling system which triggered a lengthy pit stop for damage control. The team made repairs and limped to a 31st place finish in the event.
McFarland is 21st in NASCAR Busch Series Drivers Points.