MCFARLAND'S SHOT AT SECOND TOP-10 FINISH DASHED BY LATE-RACE CRASH RICHMOND, Va. (May 6, 2006) -- NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark McFarland and the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life team narrowly missed bringing home their second top-10 finish...
MCFARLAND'S SHOT AT SECOND TOP-10 FINISH DASHED BY LATE-RACE CRASH
RICHMOND, Va. (May 6, 2006) -- NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark McFarland and the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life team narrowly missed bringing home their second top-10 finish in two weeks on Friday night at Richmond International Raceway.
McFarland was running in eighth position when contact with the No. 38 car ended his hopes for a top-10 finish on Lap 224.
The No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life team started the race in 22nd position after McFarland ran a lap of 21.758 seconds, 124.092 mph. Officials attempted to start the race on time, but steady rain showers delayed the start of the race and caused the race to be red-flagged twice for more than one hour.
Once the race was underway McFarland quickly started picking off positions and had made his way up to 18th by Lap 40. Then he and the No. 59 car made contact, which resulted in the No. 59 car spinning out.
"Mark made contact with the No. 59 car, but it was nothing intentional," said Crew Chief Rich Hubbs. "I know (Stacy) Compton wasn't very happy with us after that, so we'll probably talk with their team this week."
McFarland radioed to the team that his car was good, but just a little tight in the center of the corner. He pitted on Lap 76 and the pit crew changed four tires, added fuel and made a wedge adjustment. He restarted the race in 23rd position and had picked up several spots before he spun on Lap 87 after he was hit from behind by the No. 90 car.
The team pitted for tires and fuel and McFarland restarted the race on Lap 90 in 32nd position. By Lap 98 he was up to 26th position and was running in 19th by Lap 122 when the caution flag waved for the seventh time in the race. Hubbs called McFarland to pit road for four tires and fuel and the team made a track bar adjustment and removed a spring rubber.
The lengthy stop for adjustments cost McFarland several positions on pit road as he restarted the race from 28th position, but he quickly moved up through the field after the race went back to green on Lap 133. By Lap 140 he was running 23rd and he moved into 17th position on Lap 150.
The team then employed pit strategy to move the No. 88 Chevrolet up to second place on Lap 163 when they elected not to pit with a majority of the lead-lap cars. Despite running against drivers with fresher tires, McFarland stayed in the top five for more than 40 laps before getting shuffled back to eighth.
Then on Lap 224, just 21 laps from the end of the race, McFarland was wrecked by the No. 38 car, ending the team's hopes of back-to-back top-10 finishes.
McFarland brought the car down pit road four times to repair the damaged car so he could finish the race. He ended the race in 34th-place, six laps down.
"I'm not sure what happened with the No. 38 car, but we were well on our way to finishing in the top 10," Hubbs said. "I'm really proud of the way Mark stayed up there against guys with much fresher tires. He showed a lot of patience and determination tonight."
"I'm disappointed with our finish tonight, but the car was running great before I was taken out," McFarland said. "The team did a great job of getting the car together for me. Each week I can see our team developing and getting better and better."
"It was impressive watching Mark race with the more experienced Cup drivers," said Admiral Jeff Fowler, Commander Navy Recruiting Command. "Mark and the team have made tremendous progress since Daytona and it was unfortunate when the No. 38 wrecked him. I could tell they had a car ready to finish in the top 10 again. I am sure they will rebound next week in Darlington."
Navy Racing in the Media
After his first top-10 finish at Talladega, McFarland spent the week handling a myriad of media requests. On Sunday, he was a guest on Bill Dennison's show on 700 WLW in Cincinnati, and on PRN's Sunday Drive show. On Monday, he started the day off by calling in to WTRI in Brunswick, Md., a station located near his hometown of Winchester, Va. Over the course of the day he was also a guest on DC 101's morning show, WFMX, the Texas Motor Speedway's radio show, The Driver's Zone on WGFX out of Nashville, Westwood One's "Focus on Racing," Sirius Speedway on MRN, Claire B. Lang's show on XM Satellite Radio, 93.1 The Wolf in Richmond, Sports Radio 910 AM in Richmond, ABC Sports Radio Network, Sports Open Line on KMOX in St. Louis, and on Fast Talk with Benny Parsons.
On Tuesday, McFarland was a guest on Norfolk, Va., station WNOR FM 99's Tommy and Rumble show. That night he also called in for NASCAR Live with Eli Gold on MRN.
During Nextel Cup Series testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Wednesday, McFarland was interviewed by NASCAR.com's Leilani Munter as he watched team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. test.
On Thursday, he was interviewed by the Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate. The TV crew also interviewed JR Motorsports' Director of Motorsports Steve Crisp and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s stepfather Willie Jackson. McFarland also called in to WGRX 104.5's (Fredericksburg, Va.) afternoon show, Richmond's ESPN Radio station and The Press Box with Drake Anderson from Roanoke, Va. That evening he was a guest on a special Armed Forces edition of NASCAR Live with Eli Gold on MRN.
On Friday, McFarland was interviewed by reporters from USA Today and the Northern Virginia Daily. He was also featured on FX's broadcast of the race during the rain delay.