GEORGE POSTS CAREER-BEST SHORT-TRACK FINISH AT MANSFIELD Mooresville, N.C. (July 19, 2010) - Tim George Jr. may not believe in luck, but with a four-leaf clover affixed to the dashboard of his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) ...
GEORGE POSTS CAREER-BEST SHORT-TRACK FINISH AT MANSFIELD
Mooresville, N.C. (July 19, 2010) - Tim George Jr. may not believe in luck, but with a four-leaf clover affixed to the dashboard of his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Development Chevrolet, the full-time ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards competitor finished fourth in this weekend's Tim Richmond Memorial 200 at Mansfield Motorsports Park.
George drove like a veteran in only his second-career appearance at Mansfield, earning his second top-five finish of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series season and his career-best finish on a short-track, impressing nine-time ARCA Racing Series Champion Frank Kimmel.
"How about Tim George Jr.," as Kimmel, driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion, mentioned in a post-race interview. "He put together a really great race."
The New York, N.Y. native, George, knew there were a lot of reasons for his fourth-place finish in Saturday's race at Mansfield Motorsports Park's 0.5-mile asphalt speedway. It could have been the fast Richard Childress Racing car that qualified fifth, the team's exceptional pit stops gaining positions on pit road, his short-track driving ability or it might have even been the small four-leaf clover that George carried across the finish line in his No. 31 Chevrolet Impala.
Whatever the reason, it is the result that counts most to George.
"I think it all started with the first lap of practice, and we had a perfect qualifying situation," said George. "We were able to run with strong guys throughout the race, and I kind of learned some things from them. I learned what line on the racetrack other cars were running and was able to take advantage of that."
There was no doubt that George's No. 31 Chevrolet was strong. George qualified the RCR Development Chevrolet in the fifth starting position with a lap time of 16.706 seconds and a speed of 107.746 mph. He lined up on the inside of row three to compete in the 10th ARCA Racing Series race of the 2010 season.
After starting fifth, George never moved outside the top-10 and passed Dakoda Armstrong on the last lap to claim the fourth position, the 29-year-old held his own throughout the night.
The RCR development driver began charging through the field immediately after the drop of the green flag, quickly moving to third in the running order by lap 7.
On lap 24, George was involved in an incident that sent the No. 31 for a spin on the backstretch while jockeying for position. While the No. 31 machine stayed on the track, the caution relegated George to 10th in the running order.
Despite the setback, George was able to make his way into the seventh position before the second caution on Lap 62.
During the ensuing yellow, the leaders came down pit road for service and the No. 31 was serviced with a full set of Hoosier tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. George gained valuable positions on pit road, and returned to the track in sixth position, as one of only 10 teams on the lead lap.
After returning to action sixth after a 17-lap yellow flag, a long green-flag run ensued, with a caution on lap 144. During that time, George ran inside the top-10, running as high as fourth, gaining positions as he exited the corners.
The RCR Development team and crew chief, Gere Kennon made the choice to bring the No. 31 Chevrolet to pit road to replace all four tires on the RCR machine, fuel and another track bar adjustment, resulting in a fifth-place restart position for George.
The final caution flag of the night waved on lap 190, tightening the field for a final sprint to the finish. Creating some of the best short-track racing fans have seen; reminiscent of yester years of NASCAR Cup short-track racing as the cautions promoted the excitement of the competition. George took the green flag fifth on lap 194 for the restart and passed Armstrong on in the final corner on the last lap to finish fourth.
"One of the hardest things for me was the lapped traffic," said George. "It was difficult to hold onto the leader with the hurdles of potentially getting caught up in packs of cars that were several laps down."
George's fourth-place finish in Saturday night's 100-mile, 200-lap event was his career-best result at Mansfield Motorsports Park. It also marked his career-best short-track finish in ARCA Racing Series competition.
A fast car and fast pit stops weren't the only ammunition in George's arsenal on Saturday.
George carried a four-leaf clover in his No. 31 RCR Development Chevrolet, given to him by his RCR teammate, Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. George placed the clover next to the ignition switch before the race.
"I think it did help," said George. "I am not really a superstitious guy. I think it is more of the team's synergy coming through, rather than the four-leaf clover, but I'm going to keep it in the car."
George will make his second visit of 2010 to the "Tricky Triangle" and the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway on Saturday, July 31 for the Weis Markets 125.