FIKE'S DAYTONA BUSCH BID CUT SHORT IN CAY CLUBS DODGE WHEN HE GETS CAUGHT UP IN ANOTHER DRIVER'S MISFORTUNE DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006) -- Front-row-starting Aaron Fike and the ...
FIKE'S DAYTONA BUSCH BID CUT SHORT IN CAY CLUBS DODGE WHEN HE GETS CAUGHT UP IN ANOTHER DRIVER'S MISFORTUNE
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006) -- Front-row-starting Aaron Fike and the #43 Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas Dodge team of the Curb Agajanian Performance Group saw an early end to their NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway when Fike was unwittingly tagged by the car of Johnny Sauter, which blew a right-front tire and slid up the track into him.
Fike, the 23-year-old out of Galesburg, Ill., started from the second spot on the grid for today's Hershey's Kissables 300 after turning a fast qualifying lap Friday of 49.198 seconds (182.934 mph) for his first-ever front-row Busch series start.
With all cars impounded after qualifying and only minimal changes allowed prior to the start of the race, Fike's #43 Dodge took the green flag with a heavy qualifying setup as it was the fastest of 19 entries that had to make the race based on qualifying speed. Starting from the second spot on the 43-car grid, Fike opted to take it easy in the early going, settling into a mid-pack position during his first fuel-and-tire run, awaiting the chassis adjustments that would give him a more race-worthy setup during his first planned pit stop. He was running 22nd on Lap 30 of today's 120-lap event when Sauter's car tagged him from the left side and sent him into the outside retaining wall. Both drivers were unhurt, but the Cay Clubs Dodge sustained terminal damage and was parked for the day.
Next up for Fike and the CAPG team is next Saturday's Stater Bros. 300 at California Speedway in Fontana.
"I could tell Johnny (Sauter) was fading back into the pack and I was back there just biding my time until that first pit stop. Out of the corner of my eye there, I could see him come up the track and just drill me. There was nothing he or I could do. The Cay Clubs Dodge was good, although we were really, really tight. We had a qualifying setup on it and we were just wanting to take it easy until we got to that first pit stop and make some changes. I feel really bad for all of our sponsors, and all the guys who have been working their butts off. We just wish we could have had a better result."