Great Start Ends in Disappointment at The Milwaukee Mile: Mike Hampton dropped from 4th to 10th in the Sears Auto Center Northern Division points as a result of the three day visit to the famous Milwaukee Mile. The record books will show a 36th...
Great Start Ends in Disappointment at The Milwaukee Mile:
Mike Hampton dropped from 4th to 10th in the Sears Auto Center Northern Division points as a result of the three day visit to the famous Milwaukee Mile. The record books will show a 36th place finish due to a spin on lap 84 spin which damaged the radiator in the #31n Ford Fusion sponsored by Eaton Corporation. However, there was a lot to proud of during the weekend.
Rain delayed the scheduled May 29th practice session but USAR and the track crews did a great job in getting the track ready for the 47 teams that made the long haul to Wisconsin. Once the cars started lapping the big smooth mile track, the drivers began discussing the critical line of entry to the corners. At the end of the day, Mike Hampton's lap of 30.809 was 27th on the chart but the entire DLP team knew there was a lot more speed in the car and there was confidence heading into the May 30th practice and qualifying day. During the first session on Friday, Mike moved to 13th on the chart with a lap of 30.714. David "Buggy" Pletcher continued to make adjustment to the car and by the end of the final practice, Mike's lap of 30.643 was the 9th quickest among 48 cars taking laps. Next on the schedule was qualifying for the Sears Auto Center 150 and Mike was the tenth car to go out under sunny skies. Mike's first qualifying lap of 30.378 was then backed up with a faster second lap of 30.247 and it certainly looked great to see #31 on top of the impressive Milwaukee Mile scoring tower! Matt Carter was the 44th car to time and claimed the pole position but Mike was still the fastest among the North cars until Brandon Ward went out late in the session with a lap of 30.213 to beat Mike by .034 of a second. With qualifying over, there were a lot of smiles among the DLP Motorsports team as Mike had earned the 3rd starting spot for the big event.
After signing autographs for a long line of very interested spectators and spending some time with the Eaton VIP customers attending the event, Mike was ready to race. The green flag waved and Mike swapped positions several times with Jay Fogelman and by lap 25 Mike occupied the 6th position. When the yellow flag waved on lap 41, Crew Chief "Buggy" Pletcher brought the #31n Ford to the pits for fuel and adjustments and as the field went back to green on lap 45, Mike was sitting 15th in the field. The second caution flag waved on lap 57 and this time the DLP crew changed tires and sent the Eaton sponsored machine back into action on the big one mile track. Mike continued to race on but the car was loose. On lap 84 while attempting to pass another car on the inside of turn one and two, the black #31 spun out and tagged the inside wall that ended the day for Mike and resulted in a disappointing 36th place finish after running so strong in practice, qualifying and the early part of the race.
Mike Hampton and David "Buggy" Pletcher are focused on running fast and their next opportunity will be the Greased Lightning 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Park on June 14th. Mike Hampton said from the DLP race shop in Mooresville, NC, "We were fast at Milwaukee but did not finish the deal. I am ready for Mansfield and looking forward to that event".