Craig Goess Finishes Eighth at Iowa Speedway Six Top-10s in Nine Races this Season Newton, Iowa (July 11, 2010) - Under the lights at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night, Craig Goess felt right at home racing around the lit track. "It reminds me...
Craig Goess Finishes Eighth at Iowa Speedway Six Top-10s in Nine Races this Season
Newton, Iowa (July 11, 2010) - Under the lights at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night, Craig Goess felt right at home racing around the lit track.
"It reminds me of growing up, racing on the weekend nights," said Goess. "I love this atmosphere."
Goess and the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Eddie Sharp Racing team looked to channel the excitement from the environment at Iowa Speedway into excitement on the track for the Prairie Meadows 200.
On-track activities were condensed into one day, beginning with the track opening for ARCA Racing Series teams at 8 a.m. The Prairie Meadows 200 was scheduled for 12 hours later, setting the No. 81 ESR team for a marathon day.
Action got started early, as Goess participated in two practice sessions. He logged 40 laps in the morning session with the eighth quickest time of 24.432 seconds (128.929 mph). He finished the final practice, which proved to be the hottest part of the day, ninth after 19 laps with a time of 24.268 seconds (129.801 mph).
Qualifying followed after a short three-hour break, and Goess was prepared to wheel his Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota to the front of the pack. He qualified with the sixth-fastest time of 40 cars at a time of 23.957 seconds (131.486 mph).
At the drop of the green flag, Goess looked for his second win of the season and a push to the top of the ARCA Racing Series points battle. Even early, Goess battled to keep his car in the top-10, dropping to the 13th position by lap 14. Crew Chief Johnny Allen began strategizing ways to help Goess with the ill-handling car. "Cut off the right rear fan, and we will work on the car in the first pit stop. Just keep doing what you are doing," said Allen.
The first caution flew on lap 38 for a two-car incident, providing Goess with the chance to make his first trip down pit road for four tires and fuel. Restarting 12th on lap 45, Goess didn't waste time on his new tires as he passed the No. 22 of Dakoda Armstrong for the 11th position.
Goess radioed to the crew on lap 49 that the car "still feels loose off turn four." The team received their opening to make the car better as a caution flew just three laps later when Steve Arpin's No. 55 brushed the wall after blowing a tire. When pit road opened on lap 54, the No. 81 came down pit road, and the ESR crew went to work making adjustments to the right-side track bar and left-side wedge, and topped the Toyota off with fuel.
The yellow flag flew for the third time on lap 88, and Allen and the crew strategized for this stop and how to best utilize the remaining laps. The No. 81 took on fuel and four tires, the same tires that started on the car.
Battling a car that felt like a "snowplow," the No. 81 remained in the 13th position until the fourth and final caution of the race fell on lap 152. "Brake vibrations are bad right now, but I know we can't fix that," said Goess. "I am getting a great foot massage though."
The No. 81 came down pit road for the last pit stop of the night, making adjustments to get the car to the front of the pack.
On lap 171, Goess went low to pass the No. 32 of Justin Marks. Going into turns one and two, Goess finally got past Marks, but the No. 32 was able to muscle back around the No. 81. Goess continued to dig for the next five laps, finally passing Marks on lap 176 for the eighth position.
Even posting his fastest times of the night in the last 24 laps, Goess had a considerable distance to catch the seventh place car of Casey Roderick. With only 10 cars finishing on the lead lap, Goess crossed the finish line eighth.
"The group in front of us had such a lead that by the time we got past the 32, there wasn't enough time to catch up to them. It was a good points night for us. Some of the top contenders for the championship had some bad luck, and we picked up some good points at the end of the night. It should have moved us up the boards a bit. That's the positive of the night."
In six out of the nine ARCA Racing Series races this season, the driver of the No. 81 finished in the top-10. Goess' consistent finishes this season helped him move up in the championship standings to third. He is only 30 points out of second and 140 behind Justin Marks at the top of the point standings.
Goess returns to the track next week as the ARCA Racing Series heads to Mansfield Motorsports Park for the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA 200 in Mansfield, Ohio on Saturday.