Aaron Fike's Busch East Series Debut Cut Short By Accident Loudon, N.H. (July 14, 2006) - Aaron Fike did a fine job filling in for Don Wagner in the James Pritchard Motorsports No. 41 Mannings USA/Snacketizers Chevrolet in Friday's NASCAR Grand...
Aaron Fike's Busch East Series Debut Cut Short By Accident
Loudon, N.H. (July 14, 2006) - Aaron Fike did a fine job filling in for Don Wagner in the James Pritchard Motorsports No. 41 Mannings USA/Snacketizers Chevrolet in Friday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. After losing a lap in the pits earlier in the race, Fike had returned to the lead lap and was set to race to the finish, but an accident in front of him proved to be unavoidable and he got caught up in it, ending his race after 95 laps.
Wagner was unable to join the team for this race, so Fike, who drives for Kevin Harvick, Inc. in the NASCAR Busch Series, was invited to fill the seat. He was 20th fastest in practice and 22nd in qualifying.
"I'm trying to get some laps before the Busch race and these guys were nice enough to let me run their car," he said. "I think we could have done a little bit better in qualifying, but I think we'll be all right in the race. It's a little slower than the Busch car, and I got comfortable in it pretty quickly in practice."
Fike put the No. 41 car on the leaderboard just twenty laps into the race when the team chose to stay on the track while most of the field came onto pit road. He restarted in the fourth position.
Lap 37 saw Fike bring the Mannings USA car to pit road for two tires and gas. A problem with the jack meant the stop was slow and by the time he got off pit road, he was a lap down to the leaders. He was given the NASCAR beneficiary and returned to lead lap status under a lap 80 caution, and with that done he made one more pit stop to make sure he could get to the finish.
Lap 95 saw two cars ahead of Fike get into each other and spin. Fike went high to avoid the incident but one of the cars spun right in front of him and the resulting damage included a broken radiator. The car was towed to the garage area and retired from the event in 29th position.
"After we got the 'lucky dog' to get back on the lead lap, we came back in for another slight adjustment and we were set to run to the end of the race. But coming back through from the back, a couple of cars got together ahead of us and there was nowhere to go. That was the end of the race for us."