Cleary Motorsports Salem II race report

Salem Yields Another Top-Ten For Cleary Motorsports SALEM, Indiana (September 19, 2006) - - Cleary Motorsports and driver Gary Sherman added another top-ten to their already impressive but limited ARCA RE/MAX Series resume by bolting to a strong...

Salem Yields Another Top-Ten For Cleary Motorsports

SALEM, Indiana (September 19, 2006) - - Cleary Motorsports and driver Gary Sherman added another top-ten to their already impressive but limited ARCA RE/MAX Series resume by bolting to a strong seventh place finish in last Saturday's Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic presented by Advance Auto Parts at Salem Speedway.

Cleary Motorsports, based in Michigan headed to Salem on the heels of a solid finish at Toledo Speedway but also shining earlier this season at Berlin Raceway where he maneuvered to a career best fourth place finish. The team headed to the track optimistic but focusing on the same results, finishing upfront.

The team was looking to make an impression in their 2006 Salem debut. Knowing they had one practice session leading up to qualifying, the team spent a majority of the session dialing in his sponsorless No. 1 Chevrolet. Sherman ended up 17th in the running order with a time of 18.579 seconds or 107.541 mph. "Our car is really tight, we are battling a handling issue, and it's frustrating. We have a good car, I know we do. The team is going to make some adjustments and we're going to see if we can put our car upfront."

In qualifying, Sherman nailed a lap of 18.362 seconds at an average speed of 108.812 mph good enough for 20th on the starting grid. "We're in the middle of the pack," he said. "I wish we would have had a better lap but we picked up from practice and the car is better. We have our work cut out for us, but we'll do the best we can."

During the course of the 200-lap event, Sherman played it smart. The first half of the race was clean but Sherman was battling a severe handling issue, one that was plaguing him from making gains in the running order. He spent much of the early stages of the event hovering just outside the top ten.

Despite an ill-handling machine, Sherman continued to fight hard and kept his Cleary Motorsports Chevrolet on the lead lap. Several adjustments made a difference on the grip and handling of the car, but Sherman reported that the car was still battling tight. The tightness got the best of the Lansing, Michigan native as the No. 1 slid into the wall a couple times, knocking out the exhaust forcing several laps with no muffler causing extremely hot and loud conditions for the driver.

Still, the avid late model driver was determined to overcome the hurdles. Throughout the remaining fifty laps of the event he battled back from the back of the field twice before settling in for seventh, his second top ten finish of the season."

"We came down pit road for a total of seven times, taking out 15 rounds of wedge throughout the night, we raised the track bar a total of nine rounds with the intent to free up the car because it was so tight," explained Sherman following the race. "Even though the car was so tight, we maintained a strong position on the track. The car was a lot better in the second half, but then we lost the exhaust and it had an effect on me, but I wasn't going to give up. The last 40-50 laps were the best the car was the entire night, but there were several cautions which hurt us from making additional gains and we had to settle for seventh."

Sherman continued, "I just want to thank Cleary Motorsports for the opportunity and my volunteer crew for putting together a good racecar. We had a good race, all things considered."

Ironically, Sherman drove his No. 76 Chevrolet to a seventh place finish in the fall Salem race last year. "Two sevenths, I would give both of those up for a top five. The finish helps our partner for the weekend, Andy Belmont in the car owner standings, but we're hoping it had an influence in the sponsorship department. This whole team wants to run a bigger schedule, but we need the funding to do so. I think we've proven over and over again that we can get the job done, hopefully our break is coming soon."

Leaving Salem, Sherman a former American Speed Association driver has eight ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his resume with a career best finish of fourth at Berlin Raceway (July 2006) while holding four additional top ten finishes at Berlin Raceway (July 2005), Lake Erie Speedway (August 2005) and Salem Speedway (September 2005 and September 2006). He also has a career best short qualifying effort of fifth at Berlin Raceway (July 2006) followed by a career best superspeedway time trials effort of 25th at Gateway International Raceway (July 2005).

-credit: Cleary Motorsports

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Series ARCA
Drivers Andy Belmont