Robb Brent Posts Top-15 Effort At Berlin Raceway MARNE, Michigan (July 27, 2009) - - Shelby Township, Michigan native Robb Brent made his inaugural Michigan ARCA RE/MAX Series short track start at Berlin Raceway on Saturday night in the...
Robb Brent Posts Top-15 Effort At Berlin Raceway
MARNE, Michigan (July 27, 2009) - - Shelby Township, Michigan native Robb Brent made his inaugural Michigan ARCA RE/MAX Series short track start at Berlin Raceway on Saturday night in the Wolverine Power Systems 200 presented by Generac. The debut resulted in a solid 15th place finish.
Entering Berlin on the heels of a top-12 effort the weekend before at Kentucky Speedway, Brent inched into the Marne, Michigan based short track looking for a run that would help boost the team's morale while make the move into the top-10 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship race.
Optimism was the best word to describe Brent's thought invading the track on Saturday morning. "It looks like a pretty neat track, but I'll let you know for sure once practice is over," joked Brent.
With a relatively short practice session on tap for the ARCA RE/MAX Series teams, Brent knew that he quickly needed to familiarize himself with the .4-mile oval. In practice, Brent was able to net the 18th fastest time. Brent, driving the No. 36 Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Dodge Charger posted a lap of 17.926 seconds transferring to a speed of 87.962 miles per hour.
Despite the unfamiliar territory, Brent was less than seven-tenths-of a second off the leader fastest lap.
"It's a close field, real close," said Brent, who is negotiating a full-time ARCA schedule in addition to pursuing a college degree. "The car is pretty stable. We're not 100 percent satisfied with it's handling around the track but Bob (Blount, crew chief) and I are going to talk and we'll see where we stand after qualifying. The track is pretty neat, not a bad place for an ARCA race."
In qualifying, the former road racing ace was prepared to drive hard and post a solid qualifying run. With much of the field picking up from their fastest practice lap, the Justin Allgaier Motorsports (JAM) was hoping to add themselves into the same category. By the completion of lap two, Brent had clicked off a lap time of 17.482 seconds at 90.196 miles per hour netting the team 16th on the starting grid. The ARCA driver picked over four-tenths of a second from practice to Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying.
"We're not going to complain about that lap," offered Brent. "It's not a top-10 starting spot but it's one of our best starts on a short track this year so we're moving forward and that's a positive sign. We're going for a top-10 finish but a night with the car intact would be a respectable outcome for my Berlin debut."
During the course of the Wolverine Power Systems 200 presented by Generac, Brent remained competitive in the race's second pack hovering between the 14th and 18th positions.
A solid round of yellow flags would keep the No. 36 team at the tail end of the lead lap with Brent continuing to log laps around the Western Michigan oval.
Unfortunately, Brent during the course of a solid-green flag run would lose his lead lap status as the leaders dived underneath the blue and black machine with Brent setting his eyes back on the lucky dog award.
The opportunity presented itself approaching lap 90 when two cars collided in turn four with Brent hammering through the middle of the spinning cars. The yellow flag would be a bonus for the Mike Allgaier owned team as the Springfield, Illinois based operation was the beneficiary of the free pass which repositioned them back on the lead lap.
When the leaders tackled pit road, Brent joined the crowd down pit road which is extremely tight and dark. Blount called for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to deal with a machine that was suffering a tight condition.
On the restart, Brent resumed in the 12th position and had positioned himself in the top-10 just after halfway among a fierce battle of lead lap cars which were side-by-side nearly four rows deep. Despite strong pressure from behind, Brent held off the pack but eventually better handling cars would overtake the 22-year old slicing him back into the top-15.
With another trip to pit road approaching lap 125, Brent was set for fuel but was hoping for a mad dash march back towards the top-10.
As the night carried on and the track began to cool, the handling on Brent's automobile became increasing worse which kept the team at bay. Despite not having anything for the top-10 competitors, Brent was able to maintain a solid position in the top-15.
A battle with the No. 60 of Patrick Sheltra and the No. 21 of Michel Disdier would Brent's biggest fights of the second half with Sheltra making the move by but the No. 36 was able to overtake the Frenchman of Disdier.
Despite losing a lap in the final 30 laps of the event, Brent was able to hunker down and cross the start finish line 15th. The effort was the team's eighth top-15 finish in 11 races.
"We didn't have a good enough car to finish in the top-10 but we soldiered on to a respectable top-15 run," said Brent after the race. "I really learned a lot out there tonight. Traffic was pretty hectic at times but it was a pretty competitive race. We kept working on the car but its handling kept changing throughout the event. We made due though -- we'll take this and move on to Pocono next weekend."
The finish inched Brent closer towards moving into the top-10 as Tim George Jr had his struggles in the 12th race of the year. The two are expected to be neck-and-neck for the 10th position come the end of the next ARCA RE/MAX Series event, the Pennsylvania 200 set for Saturday, August 1st. The event will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.