McGilton Takes First Laps on Dirt; Walks Away With Top-10 Finish Springfield, Ill. (August 22, 2007) -- Phillip McGilton finished 10th in his first start on a dirt surface in Sunday's Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
McGilton Takes First Laps on Dirt; Walks Away With Top-10 Finish
Springfield, Ill. (August 22, 2007) -- Phillip McGilton finished 10th in his first start on a dirt surface in Sunday's Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Qualifying was rained out and the field was set by owner's points, putting the No. 47 SI Performance Ford Fusion in the 6th position as the field took the green flag on the "world's fastest one-mile dirt track."
"We'll take that for a first dirt finish," radioed McGilton, taking the checkered flag in the 10th spot. McGilton added "that was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. That is definitely a different feel out there on this dirt and a lot more work than driving it on asphalt."
Starting in the 6th position, McGilton reported that the car was "a little tight off." As traffic settled and McGilton was able to get himself to the bottom of the track, he slipped a few positions backwards to the 11th spot.
On lap11 a crash in turn three brought out the yellow flag. McGilton and a group of the lead cars brought their cars into the pits. The Brewco Motorsports team fueled the No. 47 and quickly sent McGilton back to the track.
"It's like we're tightening up on exit," McGilton reported to the team under caution. "We're just a little snug off. I'm having a hard time getting off the corner."
McGilton restarted the race in the 17th spot, behind those cars that chose not to pit on that cycle. The restart found cars nose to tail and hugging the rail through the turns. The race stayed green for 14 laps when a collision occurred just in front of the No. 47.
"Wow! That was close!" McGilton exclaimed. Spotter Ken Christerson echoed his agreement, "Good job, Phillip!"
During the day's second caution, the group of cars that had previously elected to stay on track took their turn coming down pit road. This rotation moved McGilton from the 15th to the 6th position.
McGilton reported that "we're pretty good by ourselves but with traffic I'm having just a little trouble passing."
Crew chief Shawn Parker reminded his driver to "have patience," sighting the mess that had occurred just off McGilton's front bumper was a result of someone who was not being patient.
At the race's halfway point at lap 50, McGilton was running solidly in the 10th position.
"We're getting a little better," McGilton radioed during the day's fourth caution at lap 61. "It's still snug and I am really having to work to get it off the corner if I don't nail the center perfectly."
When the race returned green and as the laps ran out for the Allen Crowe 100, McGilton found himself moving through lapped traffic, sometimes three-wide. The day's final caution came out at lap 73 with only 27 laps remaining in the event.
"Man this is rough," McGilton exclaimed with frustration in his voice. "Every time I get a rhythm they throw a caution. We need a long green run to finish this thing out."
The race restarted with McGilton in the 9th position and the driver of the No. 47 got his wish. For the remaining 24 laps of the race, McGilton maneuvered through traffic. Getting stuck behind a lapped car, McGilton slipped as far back as 12th, but with concentration and patience, he picked off his competition and finished 10th in the Allen Crowe 100.
"I really learned a lot out there today," commented McGilton after the event. "We had really good speed in the car. It definitely feels different out there and it was something to learn how to pass on the dirt. We gained a lot of experience to carry to DuQuoin. I think we'll be really competitive there now with this under our belt."
McGilton remains in the 5th position in the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points with 3000 points, 105 points behind 4th place Justin Allgaier.