Top 10 Finish for KBIII Thwarted by Last Lap Accident SPARTA, Ky. (July 18, 2008) -- Ken Butler, III started under the Friday night lights of Kentucky Speedway in the 12th position. Just as KBIII was coming to the checkered flag with a top 10 ...
Top 10 Finish for KBIII Thwarted by Last Lap Accident
SPARTA, Ky. (July 18, 2008) -- Ken Butler, III started under the Friday night lights of Kentucky Speedway in the 12th position. Just as KBIII was coming to the checkered flag with a top 10 finish in sight on the final lap, contact sent the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota into the wall. Butler finished the Kentucky ARCA 150 in the 28th position.
"We worked so hard to be there at the end," said KBIII. "It is just so unfortunate. We had it. We had a top 10 right there. I want to thank my guys who worked really hard all day in the heat. I want to thank all of the Aaron's Regional Managers for a great weekend and for coming out to cheer us on."
In the hot July afternoon, KBIII qualified the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota in the 12th position with a 31.429 second qualifying lap. "The track is really slick out there right now," said Butler after his qualifying lap. "We're hoping it will tighten up for the night race. But right now it's pretty bad out there. We're happy with our starting position. A lot of good teams are back in the garage right now pulling out back up cars. I'm just glad we're not one of them!"
Drivers climbed right into their cars and were introduced on the starting grid. The cars rolled onto the track and the green flagged dropped at 8:00 p.m. as the sun was setting.
Following the first of ten cautions, KBIII called out to his team, "man, I hope this track tightens up a bit. We're pretty loose!" The team opted to remain on the track with the leaders during the first few cautions.
Restarting in traffic proved to be problematic. During the restart on lap 20, KBIII had to dive low to avoid contact with a car that had possibly missed a shift. KBIII held his position even with the car so as not to be penalized for passing illegally. When this occurred, other competitors flew by on the inside and were not penalized, causing multiple lost positions by the No. 22 car.
When the fourth caution of the day came at lap 23, the team decided to come in for four tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment. "It feels really twitchy," KBIII reported before he came to pit on lap 27. "It just feels like we can't carry speed because it is so twitchy and loose."
KBIII returned to the track and worked his way back up into the top 20, despite a penalty for passing to the inside on a restart, just as he had been passed before. With the car still a little loose, Crew Chief Jonathan Davis told KBIII to bring the Toyota back to pit road under caution on lap 48. The crew quickly put on four fresh tires, added fuel, and made track bar and wedge adjustments in hopes of tightening the car's handling up some more.
These adjustments helped and KBIII was able to drive into the top 10 for the closing laps of the 100-lap event. With another top 10 finish in sight, KBIII had just completed the pass for the ninth position and was coming to the checkered flag when contact turned the No. 22 into the wall. This ended the day for the No. 22 on what would have been the final lap. Because the caution came before the leader took the checkered flag, the cars remaining on the track would have a one-lap dash when the race returned green. The Kentucky ARCA 150 was extended to 104 laps with teammate Scott Speed earning the win.
"Today we worked to stay out of trouble and drive smart," said Butler, III. "With that and good pits stops from my guys, we were in the top 10 at the end and it just wasn't meant to be. We've had some bad luck recently and haven't been able to get the finishes that we know we can get. We'll head to Berlin next weekend and look to get ourselves back on track. I want to thank Aaron's for their support. We had some a lot of Aaron's regional managers here this weekend and had a lot of fun spending the weekend with them."