St. Louis II: Drew Herring race report

HERRING DRIVES WOUNDED enMOTION FORD FUSION TO 17TH-PLACE FINISH MADISON, Ill. (October 24, 2010) -- Drew Herring was running in the 12th position on lap 105 of the 5-Hour Energy 250 at Gateway International Raceway when he appeared to escape a...

HERRING DRIVES WOUNDED enMOTION FORD FUSION TO 17TH-PLACE FINISH

MADISON, Ill. (October 24, 2010) -- Drew Herring was running in the 12th position on lap 105 of the 5-Hour Energy 250 at Gateway International Raceway when he appeared to escape a red-flag caution with minimal damage to the door of his No. 27 enMotion Ford Fusion. After safety workers cleared the track and it was time to re-fire the engines, Herring radioed to crew chief John Reese that his No. 27 enMotion Ford Fusion would not restart. With the help of a push from a service vehicle, the engine re-fired but his No. 27 ran at less than full power for the final 95 laps. Despite being slowed by the mechanical issues, the up-and-coming driver managed to cross the stripe in the 17th position. In just four starts this season, Herring has registered two top-20 finishes.

"The guys worked hard all weekend to make the enMotion Ford Fusion one of the fastest cars on the track and we were in a position for a top-10 finish before the damage," said Herring. "We weren't quite where we wanted to be at the start of the race, but we made a few adjustments and were moving our way back through the field until the incident slowed us down. After that, I just tried to keep running as hard as I could in order to salvage a decent finish."

Making just his fourth career NASCAR Nationwide Series start, Herring used the two practice sessions on Friday to prove that his No. 27 enMotion Ford Fusion would be one of the cars to beat on Saturday. He finished opening practice 10th fastest with a speed of 132.349 mph. In final practice, the 23-year old was fourth fastest with a speed of 134.823 mph.

During Saturday morning's qualifying, Herring turned in the 13th-fastest time, touring the 1.25-mile oval at a speed of 133.821 mph. The 13th starting spot was a Nationwide Series career-best for the North Carolina native.

In the early stages of the race, Herring communicated to the crew that his enMotion Ford Fusion was too free in both corners. When the first caution of the race occurred for debris on lap 48, he had slipped back to the 19th spot. When pit road opened, Herring brought his No. 27 in for four fresh tires, a trackbar adjustment and a full tank of fuel.

The next caution of the race occurred on lap 75. Herring, who was scored in 21st position, communicated to Reese that his car was too tight off the exit of both corners. He brought the No. 27 enMotion Ford Fusion down pit road for four fresh tires, a round of wedge in the left rear and a full tank of fuel.

When the race restarted on lap 80, Herring was scored in the 17th position. At the halfway point of the race, the rookie driver had made his way up to the 12th spot. He escaped an 11-car accident on the frontstretch with what appeared to be minimal damage to the driver-side door of his No. 27.

Mangled cars were scattered along the frontstretch and the race had to be red flagged. Although the damage to the outside of the No. 27 car was minimal, a mechanical problem kept Herring from getting back to full speed as the race continued, ending the young driver's chances for his first career top-10 finish.

The team prepared to look under the hood of the No. 27 as they awaited a caution. Herring slowly fell outside of the top 15 and surrendered two laps two the leader as the race progressed under green flag conditions. When the leaders began making their final pit stops on lap 146, the No. 27 enMotion Ford Fusion remained on the track hoping a caution would occur before they had to pit for fuel. Herring was running in the 10th spot one lap down when he was summoned to pit road on lap 156. The team put on four fresh tires, filled it with fuel and returned their driver to the track scored in the 20th position.

A caution finally occurred on lap 191, but Herring was once again scored two laps down. He brought the No. 27 down pit road where the Baker Curb Racing crew opened the hood and searched for the problem. After checking all the plug wires and listening to the engine, the team could not pinpoint the mechanical problem. The enMotion Ford Fusion returned to the track scored in the 16th position.

Herring surrendered one position over the final four laps and went on to finish the race in 17th. The rookie's top-20 finish helped Baker Curb Racing's No. 27, which ranks 13th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner point standings, closing the gap on Rusty Wallace Racing's 12th-place No. 62 to 10 points with three races remaining.

"Running these four races for Baker Curb Racing was an amazing opportunity and I'm hopeful that something will work out for me to continue to be a part of this team in the future," said Herring. "The team builds fast cars and we've got great chemistry; lady luck just hasn't been on our side. I really believe that with some more seat time and a little change in our luck, we can do some special things!"

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will enjoy a weekend off before heading to Texas Motor Speedway Saturday, November 6th, for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.

-source: baker curb racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Drew Herring