Late run-in steals top 10 from George Jr. at DuQuoin All signs pointed to a solid finish for Tim George Jr. and the No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota team on the one-mile dirt track at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Monday. Following a quick turnaround...
Late run-in steals top 10 from George Jr. at DuQuoin
All signs pointed to a solid finish for Tim George Jr. and the No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota team on the one-mile dirt track at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Monday. Following a quick turnaround from Friday's run at Toledo, George Jr. laid down a solid qualifying effort and an impressive drive in the Southern Illinois 100. George Jr. was within the top 10 for the majority of the race but a run-in just six laps from the finish left the team with a 23rd place showing.
The trip to DuQuoin marked only the second dirt track appearance for George Jr. since transitioning from road racing to the ARCA RE/MAX Series. He showed well on Sunday, proving that he's a quick study. He finessed his way around the slick one-mile track with skill as track conditions were unpredictable, after heavy rain soaked the track and compacted the racing surface into a slick, gripless challenge.
Following qualifying, George Jr. showed the way for all of Eddie Sharp Racing, qualifying 11th in front of teammates Craig Goess, and Justin Lofton, who currently leads the point standings. He also impressively outran NASCAR star and dirt expert Ken Schrader.
"I was really happy with the qualifying effort. We were not as strong in qualifying at Springfield, so I was glad to put a good lap down for the guys. Everyone worked really hard, and it was a quick turnaround from the short track race on Friday to the dirt race on Labor Day," George Jr. said.
Though George Jr. started ahead of Schrader, it didn't stop the veteran from pouncing quickly for position. However, an overzealous drive from Schrader got the best of him at the start and left George Jr. the victim as his No. 2 Toyota was sent spinning in turn 2.
"The race started with a surprise. Veteran Schrader got into my left rear and spun me around on the first lap. The whole field drove by me. I was able to regain all of the positions I lost, and moved into the top 10," George Jr. explained.
George Jr. maneuvered his No. 2 Ruby Tuesday Toyota through the field to make up the lost track position through the first half of the race. Following the mandatory pitstop at the halfway mark on lap 50, he was knocking on the door of the top 10 yet again, running 12th.
It didn't take long from that point forward for George Jr. to continue his climb. By lap 68, he was back within the top 10 and gunning for more. In the closing laps, George Jr. turned up the wick, battling the competition for every inch on the slick track.
With just six laps remaining, circumstance won out, with George Jr. falling victim to tight racing while battling with Eddie Pearson.
"With less than 10 laps to go, I wanted to advance a bit further in the field. I pulled some aggressive passes off, and then wasn't so lucky when the 17 (Pearson) and I got together. He admitted that his spotter didn't let him know I was there. It was tough racing. I was aggressive on the brakes and he didn't leave me room," George Jr. said. "I hit a ton, and am going to get checked out when I get back to Charlotte."
The next event on Sunday, September 13th is a welcome one for the graduate of the Grand Am Series as ARCA hits the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park.