BUSCH: Michigan: Ward Burton race report

Wheel Weight Costly for Burton, Kleenex Racing Team in CARFAX 250 Top ten qualifying effort offset by tire, gas issues Brooklyn, MI (August 18, 2007) ... The cost of a wheel weight is approximately twenty-five cents depending on size. However,...

Wheel Weight Costly for Burton, Kleenex Racing Team in CARFAX 250
Top ten qualifying effort offset by tire, gas issues

Brooklyn, MI (August 18, 2007) ... The cost of a wheel weight is approximately twenty-five cents depending on size. However, Saturday afternoon in the CARFAX 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at the Michigan International Speedway, a single wheel weight on the right front tire of the #27 Kleenex0x00ae Ford Fusion proved to cost Ward Burton and Brewco Motorsports much more.

On lap 60 of the 125-lap race, Burton radioed to Crew Chief Newt Moore that he felt a vibration in the right front of his Ford Fusion. Moore brought Burton to pit road under green on lap 65 for four tires and fuel. After the stop, it was discovered that a wheel weight had fallen off the right front tire causing an unbalanced tire and vibration. Wheel weights are used by the Goodyear tire handlers to balance each tire as they are mounted on the wheels (rims) at the track. Losing one of these weights would cause a vibration and could potentially be a dangerous situation at high speeds. Fortunately, the Kleenex0x00ae Racing Team was able to change tires before the vibration cr4eated a more serious condition. However, Burton lost valuable time and positions on the track as a result of this wheel weight issue.

After two practice sessions on Friday, Burton was the 19th driver to make his qualifying run on Saturday morning. Posting a fast lap of 39.080 seconds / 184.237 mph, Burton earned the 10th-starting position for the 250-mile race.

During the early stages of the race, Burton mentioned to Crew Chief Newt Moore that his car was "a little loose, but pretty good". When caution waved on lap 24, Burton made his initial pit stop of the afternoon for tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment. Since the earlier loose condition, Burton stated that his Kleenex0x00ae Ford Fusion now became tight entering the turns. Burton would restart 16th on lap 27, but quickly move to 12th in three laps. The Virginia competitor told Moore "I really like the adjustment made on our stop, the car is must better". After a brief caution on lap 32, Burton would restart 11th on lap 36.

Within five laps, Burton reported that his car suddenly became "way too tight and wouldn't turn anywhere". By lap 50, Burton was running 23rd. Ten laps later, he reported the vibration issue. After his green-flag stop on lap 65 for tires, Burton reentered the race in 39th position. However, he had fresh tires and a full fuel load; therefore, he would gain positions as the leaders made their pit stops. On lap 75, the leaders began making their green-flag stops, and Burton kept moving up in the running order.

On lap 88, Burton moved back into the top twenty and was running the same lap times as the leaders. Shortly after the 100-lap mark, Moore told Burton on the radio "try to save as much fuel as you can, draft off others any chance you have". Burton remained in 20th until Bobby Labonte passed on lap 113. Moore once again reminded Burton "save all you can, we're a couple laps short".

Entering turn one on lap 121, Burton radioed to Moore "we're out of fuel". Burton would have to coast all the way back to pit road around the 2-mile track. The Kleenex0x00ae crew gave him a splash of gas and Burton rejoined the race in time to take the checkered flag. However, the fuel issue in the final laps dropped him to a 35th-place finish, three laps down.

"I really hate the way things turned out," Burton stated. "Our car started loose, then got tight. After the adjustments on our first stop, the car was pretty good. The vibration issue was unfortunate, but sometimes you have no control over those things. We still had a shot at a decent finish, but just ran a couple laps short on fuel. Newt (Crew Chief Moore) and the guys did a good job preparing this car and making adjustments during the race. They deserved a much better result."

-credit: brewco

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ward Burton