BURNEY LAMAR FINISHES 22ND IN RAIN-SHORTENED RACE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY CONCORD, NC (May 24, 2009) -- Burney Lamar returned to the seat of the Dollar General Toyota Camry this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway but not in the familiar No. 32...
BURNEY LAMAR FINISHES 22ND IN RAIN-SHORTENED RACE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY
CONCORD, NC (May 24, 2009) -- Burney Lamar returned to the seat of the Dollar General Toyota Camry this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway but not in the familiar No. 32 ride to which he is accustomed. For the first time this season, Lamar would compete against Brian Vickers, with whom he shares driving duties of the No. 32 Camry this season, on the race track. With Vickers in the No. 32, Lamar took over Braun Racing's No. 10 entry, led by veteran crew chief, Stewart Cooper.
Lamar's weekend got off to a good start after posting impressive times in both of Thursday's practice sessions. Unfortunately, as the team returned on Saturday afternoon for time trials, their weekend quickly turned sour. As Lamar circled the track during his qualifying run, he got extremely loose and spun, hitting the outside wall. The damage was deemed irreparable by his crew and they were forced to bring out a back-up car. Despite the disappointing turn of events, Cooper and the entire Dollar General crew were confident that Lamar would be able to turn the weekend back around once the evening's 200-lap race under the lights got underway.
The start of the Carquest Auto Parts 300 was delayed by almost two hours due to rain showers in the area. Finally, with threats of rain still in the area, the drivers were called to their cars. As he prepared to take the green flag, Lamar, starting from the rear of the field, knew he had his work cut out for him. Cooper reminded him that it was a long race and there was plenty of time to get to the front.
Lamar spent the first several laps of the race, getting a feel for his race car and its handling. During the first run, Lamar reported that the No. 10 Dollar General Camry was a little tight in the center. Cooper took note and told Lamar that they would make the necessary adjustments during their first pit stop. Lamar climbed his way up to the 28th position before the first caution of the night was displayed on lap 22 for a spin on the race track. Cooper called Lamar to pit road for four sticker tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. "Let's see how it adjusts on these sticker tires," said Cooper.
Lamar restarted from the 27th position and very quickly realized that his car's handling had become extremely loose. Unfortunately, the race would remain under green-flag conditions for the next 60 laps, leaving Lamar on his own to battle against the loose handling condition. His struggle was evident as he circled the track, eventually falling one lap down to the leaders. The field began making their next round of pit stops on lap 78 and Lamar gratefully followed suit on lap 80. The Dollar General crew changed four tires, filled it with fuel and made air pressure and track bar adjustments to tighten up the car, before sending the No. 10 back out onto the track.
Lamar settled into a rhythm and after several laps reported that the adjustments made during the pit stop had greatly improved the handling of the Dollar General Camry. "This is the best the car has been all night," he reported to Cooper. The improvement was reflected in Lamar's lap times and he began running his fastest lap times of the night. Over the course of the long green flag run, Lamar maneuvered his way through the heavy traffic and by lap 100, was knocking on the door to the top-20.
The next round of pit stops were also made under green-flag conditions and Lamar took his turn on lap 150. As he pulled into his pit stall, Cooper called for four tires, fuel and a small track bar adjustment to keep up with the changing track conditions. With 50 laps left, Lamar hoped to be able to race his way back onto the lead lap and bring home a solid top-20 finish for the No. 10 Dollar General team. Unfortunately, "Mother Nature" did not allow Lamar the opportunity to accomplish that goal. As showers moved into the area and rain fell on the track, NASCAR was forced to cut the event 30 laps short. The No. 10 Dollar General team came away with a 22nd place finish.
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Dover International Speedway for the Heluva Good! 200 next weekend.