Determination Nets 19th for Burton, Kleene Racing in CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 Team gains 21 positions during competitive race Concord, N.C. (May 26, 2007) ... The final race report will show that Ward Burton and the ...
Determination Nets 19th for Burton, Kleene Racing in CARQUEST Auto
Team gains 21 positions during competitive race
Concord, N.C. (May 26, 2007) ... The final race report will show that Ward Burton and the #27 Kleenex Racing team finished 19th in the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. However, the story of the weekend for the Brewco Motorsports Team is the driver and team determination and effort that went into their top-twenty finish.
Practice for the NASCAR Busch Series teams was held on Thursday, with two sessions during the afternoon and early evening to prepare for qualifying on Saturday. With no action at the track on Friday, it was almost 48 hours since the Busch cars had been on the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway when qualifying started at 4 PM Saturday.
Ward Burton was the 46th of 48 drivers to make his qualifying attempt and posted a lap of 31.410 seconds / 171.920 mph in the #27 Kleene / Cottonelle Ford Fusion. Burton would start the 200-lap, 300-mile race from the 40th position.
Crew Chief Stewart Cooper and the Kleene Racing Team made "wholesale" changes to their Ford prior to qualifying since the cars would be impounded before the race. The car was set up for the long, grueling race and not necessarily for qualifying. During the early stages of the race, Burton reported that his Kleenex Ford was a little "tight". When caution waved on lap 10, Burton made his first pit stop of the race for fuel only and a track bar adjustment.
During the next 16 laps, Burton reported that his Ford was still tight in the nose with the rear a little loose. When caution waved on lap 28, Burton pitted for four tires, fuel, wedge, and air pressure adjustments. With the Kleenex crew having an excellent pit stop, Burton would restart 25th on lap 30.
The race would run caution-free for the next 84 laps; therefore, everyone would be forced to make a green-flag pit stop. Burton pitted on lap 91 for tires, fuel, and wedge adjustment in the 23rd position. Reentering the race in 32nd, Burton kept battling the competitive field for every position. At the halfway point of the race, lap 100, Burton was running 22nd, one lap down to the leader. However, an unexpected issue developed during this long green-flag stretch for Burton.
The driver "air conditioning unit" inside the car experienced a problem, and Burton had no cooling on a hot, muggy night in Charlotte. Therefore, when caution waved on lap 114, Burton made a pit stop for a supply of water in addition to the normal service of tires and fuel. He would restart 25th on lap 117.
During the next fifty laps, Burton would work his way through traffic and post very competitive lap times. With several accidents during the late stages of the race, Burton moved into the top twenty on lap 155. With drivers in positions 16 through 30 all one lap down, every car passed meant a position gained in the running order. In a spirited battle among the lap down cars, Burton would work his way to 19th when the checkered flag waved on lap 200. The finish represented a gain of 21 positions over their starting position, a remarkable feat in the competitive NASCAR Busch Series.
"My hat's off to Stewart (Crew Chief Cooper) and all the guys on the Kleene Team for all their hard work this week," Burton commented. "We struggled during practice, but these guys kept working and making changes to the car. In the race, we were fortunate to miss several close calls when cars spun near us. Stewart made great calls in the pits, the guys had great pit stops, and we battled our way to a top twenty finish. We've still got a ways to go to reach some of those guys up front, but the car was the best it's been this week."