Hampton & Pletcher Team Up for Fourth at South Boston Some may have been surprised by the strong and consistent performance of the ...
Hampton & Pletcher Team Up for Fourth at South Boston
Some may have been surprised by the strong and consistent performance of the #31n Ford Fusion sponsored by Eaton Corporation at the first event of the 2008 USAR Pro Cup Northern Division opener. Mike Hampton and David "Buggy" Pletcher, were pleased with their results! Good performance on the race track is the product of hard work in the race shop. For the past five months, this pair worked hard to prepare for the 2008 season and the effort was rewarded with a USAR career best qualifying position of 6th place backed up with a 4th place finish in the rain shortened Miller Lite 250 at South Boston Speedway.
When the race track opened for practice on April 18th, the first car on the speedway was the black #31n with Mike ready to follow the direction of his new crew chief. Off the trailer with old tires, the stopwatch indicated the car and driver were performing well prompting Mike to key the radio and say, "Bugman, this is best race car I have ever driven!" After making adjustments for 60 laps, it was time to push the racecar in the trailer and get ready for race day!
After the first round of practice on April 19th, Mike was fourth quick with a lap of 15.848. At the end of round two, the time sheet indicated Mike in 10th as teams stickered up to make mock qualifying runs. When the third round of practice ended with track temperature rising, ten cars had run quicker laps but all was calm in the DLP pit area. During the fourth and final practice round, Mike improved his time to 15.730 to move up to 6th quick at the conclusion of practice. Crew members, Teddy Musgrave, Jeremy Browser, Jason Cosma, Scott Lail, and Brian Murphy went to work to prepare for qualifying. Spotter, John "Digger" Gunther joined Mike and Buggy for the Driver's meeting.
With a qualifying lap time of 15.647, Mike started the Miller Lite 250 in 6th place and at the drop of the green flag settled into pace with the leaders. At the first caution flag, pit road opened up at lap 17 and the DLP crew changed right side tires and sent Mike back out after a great pit stop. Since many cars stayed on the track, it was time for the driver to get on the wheel and work his way back to the front. During the green flag laps, the #31n was passing cars high and low. Mike worked his way back to fourth position and was running laps times among the fastest cars on the track, when the race was red flagged on lap 101 for rain. The USAR crew did everything possible to return the track to race conditions. When the track was almost dry, the skies opened up again on lap 161 with Mother Nature winning the race!
The DLP Motorsports team is looking forward to the next event on May 31st at the Milwaukee Mile and the opportunity to build on the momentum established during the first race of the 2008 season.