Late Race Engine Issues Spoil Mike Mclaughlin's Hopes of a Top Five Finish in His Return To Charlotte CHARLOTTE, NC -- The Team Marines Racing Team didn't have to travel very far this weekend for a Friday night battle under the lights at ...
Late Race Engine Issues Spoil Mike Mclaughlin's Hopes of a Top Five Finish in His Return To Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NC -- The Team Marines Racing Team didn't have to travel very far this weekend for a Friday night battle under the lights at Lowes Motor Speedway. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 featured 17 Nextel Cup drivers and 26 Busch drivers aiming for the winner's circle. Team Marines NASCAR Busch Series driver Mike McLaughlin began the weekend by qualifying his Team Marines Ford in the 21st position on Thursday night. Nextel Cup drivers posted 14 of the top 15 times in qualifying. NASCAR then impounded the cars instead of following the normal Happy Hour schedule.
From the drop of the green flag, McLaughlin began to move forward, systematically moving inside the top- fifteen. Following several cautions and routine pit stops, McLaughlin pitted for the last time on lap 124 and got a huge boost of momentum coming in 14th and going back out 10th. When the green flag fell McLaughlin steadily moved up in the top-ten. On the next caution, Crew Chief Harold Holly made a great call by staying out to get better track position and the Team Marines Ford restarted 2nd. As the night wore on, the # 25 got stronger and the team hoped for a long green flag run. Several more cautions came out and with each one McLaughlin experienced trouble getting the car up to speed. On the final caution McLaughlin restarted 4th and when the green flag fell, ten cars blew by the Team Marines Ford as McLaughlin tried to get the car going. When the dust had settled, the Team Marines Ford finished 12th.
"We struggled to get our car up to speed all night, McLaughlin said. The car ran as fast as the leaders when we had long green flag runs. It just went flat on the restarts and the final one hurt us the worst. We definitely had a top five car tonight. I really appreciate the job my crew did to get us into the top ten on our final stop."
Mike Bliss drove by Matt Kenseth and Jimmy Johnson with a few laps to go and held on to win his first Busch Series race. The Busch Series heads west to Memphis Motorsports Park this week for the Sam's Town 250.