Bowyer Finishes 16th after Fighting a Loose Racecar in California Fontana, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2006) California Speedway seemed to be the place of unpredictable finishes this weekend for the NASCAR Busch Series during the Stater Bros. 300. Upon ...
Bowyer Finishes 16th after Fighting a Loose Racecar in California
Fontana, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2006) California Speedway seemed to be the place of unpredictable finishes this weekend for the NASCAR Busch Series during the Stater Bros. 300. Upon completion of qualifying, the Real Car Guys started the race in 14th and after fighting a loose racecar all day, ACDelco driver Clint Bowyer brought the "blue deuce" home in the 16th position.
At the drop of the green flag, teams instantly felt a slight case of deja vous from last weekend in Daytona as the first lap saw a caution for the No. 4 car of Mark Green spinning after coming down on the apron and shooting back up the track. Immediately, Bowyer radioed to the crew that the car was loose in the center. Crew chief, Dan Deeringhoff reassured him that the track would soon cool off and the car would come around as it tightened up on its own.
Just as Deeringhoff had predicted, by lap 12 the ACDelco machine started to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, lap 19 brought out the second caution for a wreck in Turn 4. The ACDelco pilot radioed to the crew, "We're free on entry and loose in the center. We're just free all around." Due to Bowyer's concerns, the team decided to bring him down pit road in order to increase the air pressures, take four tires and fuel.
The call seemed to help as Bowyer quickly gained position in the field. Lap 29 brought Bowyer his first look inside the top 10 as he passed the No. 41 of Reed Sorenson. Just as quick as it came, it seemed to slip away and by lap 42 Bowyer had dropped to 12th. He continued to radio in that the car was still too loose and that the Real Car Guys needed to take the track bar down on the next stop.
The team came to pit road in the midst of a fuel mileage race with other competitors for a green flag pit stop on lap 69 for air pressure and track bar adjustments, four tires and fuel. The ACDelco Chevrolet bounced in and out of the top-10 for the next 54 laps.
The second set of Green flag pit stops started on lap 118 with the leaders coming down pit road. Bowyer pulled into the pits for a lightning fast pit stop by the Real Car Guys on lap 123 with the team in 10th place. In an effort to tighten the car up, Deeringhoff made the call for another air pressure adjustment, right-side tires and fuel.
Ten laps later, the fourth caution of the day came out due to debris in Turn 4. The ACDelco Chevy was in the 10th position, so the team made the call to stay out because their tires were only ten laps old. They thought it would be a perfect opportunity to gain some ground on the leaders. As the green flag dropped for the restart on lap 139, Bowyer was in 7th place because three lap leaders decided to pit and take on fresh tires.
Spirits were high in the ACDelco pit in hopes of a top-10 finish due to their risky call to stay out. The team's hopes were quickly subsided when Bowyer started to shuffle back through the pack. At the completion of the race the Real Car Guys had fallen from their restarting position of 7th back to their finishing position of 16th.
ACDelco driver Clint Bowyer had this to say at the end of the race, "We should have taken tires at the end, but that's what racing is all about. If you don't take chances, then you'll never know what you can do." Bowyer continued, "I'm just glad we came home in one piece. We were really loose all day and kept sliding around the track. We'll get them in Mexico."