Gresham Rolls To Fifth-Place Finish In NASCAR Camping World East Series Debut South Boston, VA (May 30, 2009) -- Max Gresham made his first career NASCAR start a memorable one rolling to a fifth-place finish in the South Boston 150 NASCAR...
Gresham Rolls To Fifth-Place Finish In NASCAR Camping World East Series Debut
South Boston, VA (May 30, 2009) -- Max Gresham made his first career NASCAR start a memorable one rolling to a fifth-place finish in the South Boston 150 NASCAR Camping World East Series event at South Boston Speedway Saturday.
"To come here and finish fifth in my first NASCAR race against all these good drivers and cars is great," said Gresham (right). "It really shows what kind of group this Joe Gibbs Racing Team is. It's really a bonus for me to be able to have them behind me. I can't believe how fortunate I am."
Gresham's debut in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry got off to a good start as the 16-year-old Griffin, GA driver rolled to second on the speed charts with a 16.125-second lap in the first practice session of the day. He then followed it up with a 16.312-second effort, good enough to grid his Gresham and Associates-sponsored Camry sixth for the 150-lap main event.
"The car was good right off the trailer," said Gresham. "We posted our best practice time the second lap we were on the track. It was a little hotter when we qualified, so we weren't quite as fast, but I was still happy with the lap and to start at the front of the field."
Gresham played a waiting game in the first half of the 150-lap race, preferring to be patient and stay out of trouble. Despite the strategy, Gresham still found himself in a number of dicey situations on the tight 4/10-mile South Boston paved oval.
"We had a couple of close calls," said Gresham. "This is a pretty small place and there were some guys that wanted to dive underneath you to try to get a position. My car got a little dinged up from the contact, but it was no big deal, It was just good, old-fashioned short-track racing. I had a blast."
Gresham's strategy worked to perfection as he never ran worse than seventh and was as high as fourth during the event. Over the final 40 laps, the rising 11th-grade student at Woodward Academy in College Park, GA staged a spirited battle with Alex Kennedy before pulling away to score a fifth-place finish in his first-ever NASCAR event.
"My goal was to finish in the Top-10, maybe the Top-5 if I could," said Gresham, who will compete in three more NASCAR events this season as part of the JGR Driver Development Program. "Honestly, all I really wanted to do was bring the car back intact. We accomplished all of that. Man, I couldn't be happier."
Gresham will now return to the American Speed Association ranks for an ASA Southeast Tour event at Watermelon Capital Speedway at Cordele, GA on Saturday, June 6. A winner of two of the first four ASA Southeast Tour events this season, Gresham is currently second in the division's season championship point standings.
"We've had a great start to the season," said Gresham. "Our Gresham Motorsports ASA program is doing well and we had an awesome beginning to our association with Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Camping World East Series. I can't wait to get back in the car and race again."
Gresham and his No. 7-11 Gresham Motorsports ASA team will take the green flag in Watermelon 100 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, GA Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.