Chicagoland unkind to Compton and crew. Joliet, IL. (July 13, 2002) - A promising weekend turned sour quickly for the Kingsford/Johnsonville Chevrolet as the team laid to rest one of its favorite racecars. Compton qualified 17th for the race,...
Chicagoland unkind to Compton and crew.
Joliet, IL. (July 13, 2002) - A promising weekend turned sour quickly for the Kingsford/Johnsonville Chevrolet as the team laid to rest one of its favorite racecars.
Compton qualified 17th for the race, the result of an incorrect rear-end gear selection. The crew proved that the car was much faster than its qualifying position would indicate during the final "Happy Hour" practice session. The team posted the 8th fastest speed in race trim - posting that lap on old tires. When Compton and the team left the track on Friday evening they felt confident that the car was capable of finishing at least in the top five on race day.
Race day weather was perfect, in the low eighties without a cloud in the sky. However, from the beginning a storm cloud seemed to hover over the team. A faulty ignition coil kept the car from starting during pre-race inspection. The crew worked feverishly for over an hour, reviewing every inch of the car's electrical system in order to identify and repair the problem before the start of the race. Surely, with this crisis complete, the rest of the day would go smoothly.
As the race started, Compton started to get into his rhythm and was picking up speed with every lap. Suddenly on lap 25, the car spun out in turn 2. Compton did a tremendous job of avoiding a collision as he spun through the grass on the back straightaway. On the next several pit stops, the crew worked steadily to repair the front valence and left front fender that had been damaged during the foray through the grass. Then, on lap 102, Compton slowed to avoid an accident and was struck from behind by a car that didn't see the impending danger. The high-speed collision caused an incredible amount of damage to the car and marked the disappointing end to a promising day for the team.
Commented Compton after the race, "Our car was great in happy hour yesterday, but it was a little loose at the start of the race. That's usually a good sign since the track will get tighter as the race progresses. I got a bit behind on my steering on that one lap and spun it through the grass. I guess we the run through the infield threw off our aerodynamic balance. We were getting better with each pit stop as the guys had time to repair the damage. I still think that we were going to end up with a good finish. I have no idea why the 44 car didn't see that wreck. We had it missed and he came into the corner at full speed and really clobbered us. It's real frustrating to come home with a poor finish and a totaled racecar. We just need a little luck to get this season headed back in the right direction. We still have almost half of the season left and I'm sure will get back into the groove."