Federico Runs Well, but Runs Out of Luck - Ponders Retirement
Wilmette, IL (September 10, 2009) - Always one of the fan favorites at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway, Steven Federico and his #24 Invisible Glass Lost Dunes P.F. Changs Toyota Tacoma was looking to put a string of podium finishes to finish the Midwest portion of the TORC season on a high note. Before the TORC racing could begin, the Friday evening high stakes "Decision at Sundown" Pro-Light event was first on the program.
Friday - Decision at Sundown Steven had just freshened up his Goodwin Performance engine just for this weekend. The added power showed up on the land rush start on Friday evening. The hole shot was won Chad Hord with Goodwin Performance powered Toyota drivers, Jeff Kincaid and Steven Federico in hot pursuit.
The next eight laps saw an epic battle between Steven and #2 Currie. The two racers went to door and traded positions several times for the final podium spot. The on the lap before the mandatory yellow, as Steven and Currie headed into the Gravel Pit corner, Currie made contact with right rear quarter panel of the #24 Toyota, sending the Toyota rolling and spinning through the air. When the Invisible Glass P.F. Changs Toyota finally came to rest on its roof, all the body panels had been thrown off, and a slightly dazed Steven Federico waited for track workers to turn the truck over, with the hopes of refiring the truck to continue on. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, as the #24 Toyota was credited with a tenth place finish.
During the mandatory caution lap, USAC officials reviewed the video and immediately disqualified Casey Currie and was asked to leave the track for the night.
A USAC official commented directly to this writer that the DQ wasn't from the contact, but lack of caution once the initial contact was made. He kept his foot on the gas pedal and never lifted during the entire incident. The video tape showed his rear tires continued to throw large amounts of gravel before, during, and after the contact.
When the car chief for the #24 Toyota, Chris Hanson, approached the Currie pit, heated words exchanged between Hanson, and most of the Currie crew.
"Sure Casey and I were rubbing and tapping each other as we were going back and forth," commented Steven Federico. "But I knew better not to make contact where we were going from the fastest part of the track into a very tricky corner. You can lean on someone coming out of that corner, but not when entering. I had passed Casey twice, and he got me once. He knew I was faster tonight... The contact seemed intentional... Hey, the truck handled the crash really well. The damage isn't as bad as it looks. Chris, AJ, and Kyle know this truck inside and out and we will be ready for tomorrow."
Saturday - TORC Round 11
A great start by Steven put the white Toyota Tacoma right in the running for a podium finish. The restart after the mandatory caution lap saw Steven in fourth place with Marty Hart right on his bumper. As the two racers came over the Barn Jump, Hart made contact with Steven, the result was a flat tire for the Invisible Glass #24. Now Steven limped his way for almost a full lap before he could reach the Hot Pits for a tire change. After a very quick stop for a new Hankook tire, Steven went a lap down, before he could regain the fray. This gave Federico Racing a ninth place finish.
Sunday - ABC Sport Broadcast/Round 12
Once again Steven got off one of patented great starts, but midway through the first lap the transmission wouldn't shift. This immediately put the Invisible Glass Lost Dunes Toyota way behind the rest of the field. Somehow Steven got to the Hot Pits and the crew quickly fixed the problem, keeping the #24 on the lead lap. A couple of laps later the mandatory caution appeared, and this would allow Steven to catch up with the rest of the field enabling a opportunity for a strong finish.
But for some reason, the pace truck was lapping the track at an exceptionally high rate of speed. This made it impossible for the #24 Toyota to catch up with the tail end of the field. Steven was able to complete all the required laps, but never had the chance to challenge anyone during the race. His eighth place finish capped off a very tough weekend for Federico Racing.
"We came out and competed with the best PRO-Light drivers in the world," commented Steve Federico. "I'd like to think I'm a member of that group. We ran fast competitive lap times, but luck just wasn't on our side. I have to thank my crew, especially AJ, Chris, Kyle, Matt and everyone else that put long hours at the track and at the shop. Not only this weekend, but all season long. But after looking at my finances, this will be my last race at Crandon. It will be my last race this year and probably ever. Over the past twelve years we have won races, and even won a Single Buggy Championship... Met all kinds of great people everywhere we've gone and made many friends along the way. Special thanks to my sponsors P.F Changs, Ingles Markets, Invisible Glass, Racing Optics, TRD, Goodyear and Hankook, Phil's Inc. and especially my family, as well as everyone else that has helped us along the way. I think it's time to go fishing. Seriously!"