ES: Martinsville: Spraker Racing race report

Bad Luck Stalls Promising Run for Spraker Racing in Martinsville MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 8, 2010) - Spraker Racing came into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East first stand-alone weekend at Martinsville Speedway optimistic of their veteran/rookie ...

Bad Luck Stalls Promising Run for Spraker Racing in Martinsville

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 8, 2010) - Spraker Racing came into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East first stand-alone weekend at Martinsville Speedway optimistic of their veteran/rookie lineup. Unfortunately, bad luck struck both drivers in the UNOH Performance 200, relegating rookie Andrew Smith to a 26th-place finish and NASCAR veteran Steve Park to a 30th-place finish.

The weekend started off with Andrew Smith pacing practice with a fast time of 20.553 seconds (92.133 mph). Park wasn't far behind him with a 12th-fastest time of 20.810 seconds (90.995 mph).

In qualifying, Smith drove his No. 37 Smith Associates - Spraker Racing Enterprises Race Cars and Parts Chevrolet to the eighth starting spot, with a lap time of 20.672 seconds (91.602 mph). Park improved his quick practice time by wheeling his No. 08 Spraker Racing Hot Rods and Parts Chevrolet for a 20.785 second (91.104 mph) qualifying lap, enough for a 15th-place starting spot.

When the green flag dropped for the UNOH Performance 200, Pooler, Ga., native Smith raced his way into the top-five by lap two. Unfortunately, the rookie driver lost control of his No. 37 Spraker machine, spinning in turn two on lap 31. The spin dropped Smith down one lap from the leaders, and on the subsequent yellow flag, he came down pit road for repairs.

Another caution flew on lap 63, resulting in a free pass for Smith. Once again on the lead lap, Smith drove his way back into the top-10 in just 40 laps. The rookie then worked his way back into the top-five by lap 118, sitting in the fourth spot. A caution for debris on lap 131 allowed Smith to pit for adjustments, however, bad luck struck again as something broke when he left pit road. The incident forced Smith to pull into the garage on lap 139 to decipher the problem. The crew took a good look at the car and determined that it had a broken axel, relegating Smith to a 26th-place finish.

"We tried a new axel and combination for Martinsville," explained team owner Jeff Spraker. "Andrew showed it was fast, but it didn't last the whole race. We'll go back to the shop and work on that combination for next time."

NASCAR veteran Steve Park started the UNOH Performance 200 in the 15th position, but bad luck struck hard and often. Just 21 laps into the 200-lap race, Park's No. 08 Spraker Racing Hot Rods and Parts Chevrolet had a right front tire go down, forcing him to limp his Chevy to pit road. After changing the tire, Park went out on the track but experienced more problems and headed down pit road once again on lap 55. The issue compelled Park to pull his No. 08 Spraker machine into the garage on lap 63, forcing him to a 30th-place finish. After examining the car, the team discovered a broken sway bar mount caused by the flat tire on lap 21.

"It was frustrating to go there with two really good race cars and finish like we did," said Spraker. "We went into Sunday thinking we had two cars able to finish in the top-10; to end with two DNFs, we're disappointed. It's been a while since Spraker Racing has had a DNF."

The 200-lap race was rain-shortened to 175 laps, with Brett Moffitt holding off Ryan Truex for the win. The 26th-place finish for Smith moved him to 19th in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship point standings, 119 points out of the top-10.

Smith will continue his rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the New England 125.

-source: spraker racing

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Steve Park , Andrew Smith , Jeff Spraker , Brett Moffitt , Ryan Truex