Russ Tuttle Toledo report

Tuttle scores top 10 finish in Toledo. TOLEDO, Ohio. (August 13, 2002) - The half-mile Toledo (Ohio) Speedway opened up its gates to a full house of American Speed Association (ASA) teams and fans this past weekend for the running of the Metro...

Tuttle scores top 10 finish in Toledo.

TOLEDO, Ohio. (August 13, 2002) - The half-mile Toledo (Ohio) Speedway opened up its gates to a full house of American Speed Association (ASA) teams and fans this past weekend for the running of the Metro Toledo - Northwest Ohio Ford Dealers 300. The short track series didn't disappoint anyone in attendance providing plenty of racing action and plenty of bumping and banging. Fortunately, the No. 16 Team Conseco Chevy, led by driver Russ Tuttle, dodged all but one minor accident before crossing the finish line in ninth.

The three practice sessions on Saturday left the crew scratching their heads as they headed into qualifying. With a car that started out fast (ninth fastest in the first practice), got faster and then drastically slowed due to a loose handling condition, the crew sent Tuttle out for his qualifying run with hopes their slow practice times were a fluke. The team made adjustments to tighten the car before sending Tuttle out. The new and tighter set-up made for a difficult qualifying run with the team eventually landing in the 21st starting position.

Despite taking the green flag far back in the field, the crew felt that if they were able to stay out of trouble, they could run with the leaders. Once the race started Tuttle put the No. 16 Chevy into high gear quickly passing his competition. By lap 150, the midpoint in the race, Tuttle had driven his way into the top 10.

Progress to the front was slowed but didn't stop. Running in the seventh position at lap 200, Tuttle looked like he was on his way to another podium finish. Unfortunately, with just 25 laps remaining in the 300-lap race, the No. 21 car sent the No. 16 into the track's rumble strips. The tires of the No. 16 Conseco Chevy picked up a considerable amount of debris on the unexpected trip slowing the speed of the car.

Tuttle kept his composure following the incident and piloted the No. 16 to the finish. When the checkered flag dropped at lap 300, Tuttle drove the No. 16 across the line in the ninth position. Despite the scuffle at the end of the race, the team was happy with its performance. "We have had good cars consistently these past few races," explained Tuttle. "We just need to keep up our momentum in these last six races. We want to finish the year in the top 10 in points and I think we can do it. We're only about 100 points out of 10th."

With the last six events scheduled for tracks where Tuttle has consistently run well, the team's goal to end the year in the top 10 is easily achievable. Races scheduled for Winchester (Ind.) Raceway, Hawkeye (Iowa) Downs Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park are just a few of upcoming venues.

The team will turn its attention in two weeks to the 3/4 mile oval of Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park. The event, which will be broadcast The National Network (TNN), will take place on Sunday, August 25. The race will be telecast live beginning at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

-rtr-

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