BUSCH: Darlington II: Hank Parker Jr race summary

GNC Live Well Racing finds 15th in Darlington. DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 3) - For the second week in a row, the GNC Live Well Racing team claimed a 15th-place finish in a NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) event. The top-15 result came in the ...

GNC Live Well Racing finds 15th in Darlington.

DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 3) - For the second week in a row, the GNC Live Well Racing team claimed a 15th-place finish in a NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) event.

The top-15 result came in the rain-shortened South Carolina 200 NBS race at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. What made the finish more impressive was the fact that the No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge Intrepid Hank Parker Jr. drove in the event had never been on the track before Saturday.

The GNC team had hoped to "shake down" the new car, known simply as "chassis No. 21," during practice sessions on Friday. Unfortunately, a steady downpour prevented the NBS competitors from making even a single lap on track before the start of the race on Saturday.

"This was a new chassis we built to replace one that got wrecked a couple of months back," Parker said. "We had a good idea of what the car would do, but nothing can replace making some practice laps and seeing how the car reacts. Cars are like fingerprints. No two are exactly alike.

"When we didn't get any practice, we had to make an educated guess on the setup," Parker said. "I give Gary Cogswell and the guys on this team a lot of credit. They did a great job of getting the car ready for me. I would have liked to have seen how good we could have been by the end of the full 200-mile race. I'm really happy that the car performed as well as it did. To finish 15th in a car with no practice laps on it is pretty good."

After the start of the race was delayed by rain for nearly two hours, the competitors were shown the green and yellow flags around 3 p.m. EDT. The 43 drivers made nine laps under caution before the rains increased, bringing out a red-flag stoppage.

When the cars were re-fired and the race finally got underway, Parker immediately found himself shuffled back from his 19th-place starting position.

"The line of cars we were in just didn't move like the other one did," Parker said. "It wasn't that we were bad, we just got caught in the line that wasn't moving."

After falling as far back as 25th position by lap 30, Parker began to work his No. 36 entry back through the field.

Parker told his crew that the car had a tight handling condition, but one that he felt the team could fix as the race continued.

The final caution of the event fell on lap 68 when the car of Jamie McMurray caught on fire during an accident that began in turn two of the 1.333-mile oval. During the cleanup period that followed, rain again began pelting the race surface, bringing out another red flag on lap 73.

When it became apparent that it would take too long to dry the track before nightfall came, NASCAR elected to bring the field back to the start/finish line under the yellow flag. When Jeff Burton's car crossed the line, signaling the start of lap 74 and the halfway point of the event, NASCAR called the race and awarded the victory to Burton.

The 15th-place finish moved Parker up one spot to 14th in the NBS Drivers' Points Standings, while team owner Wayne Jesel moves up to 18th in the NBS owners' standings.

The GNC team now heads to Richmond International Raceway for the Funai 250 NBS event. That race will air live on Friday night, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m. EDT on TNT and MRN (Motor Racing Network).

-jm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Burton , Hank Parker Jr. , Jamie McMurray