Disappointing End to a Nearly Perfect Weekend for Craig Goess at Michigan The No. 81 Finishes Sixth After Topping Practice, Qualifying and Leading 74 Laps Brooklyn, Mich. (June 11, 2010) -- Riding momentum from his first career ARCA Racing ...
Disappointing End to a Nearly Perfect Weekend for Craig Goess at Michigan
The No. 81 Finishes Sixth After Topping Practice, Qualifying and Leading 74 Laps
Brooklyn, Mich. (June 11, 2010) -- Riding momentum from his first career ARCA Racing Series victory last Saturday at Pocono Raceway, Craig Goess was looking to complete a perfect weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The No. 81 Toyota of Greenville N.C. swept practice and qualifying Thursday, and led 74 of 100 laps before finishing sixth in the Racing For Wildlife 200.
First, Goess dominated practice. He came into the Thursday morning session with a desire to continue his success, hitting the top of the boards right away. He finished practice quickest of 42 cars, with a speed of 184.568 mph (39.010 seconds).
Next, Goess continued his week of firsts and earned his first pole award. He impressed the field, laying down a lap of 38.490 seconds (187.062 mph).
When the green flag waved with Goess on the pole, there was no looking back for the No. 81. Within the first two laps, Goess had a commanding lead, developing a one-second advantage on the second place car. Even with his comfortable lead, Goess radioed to his crew strategizing how he could extend his lead. "Let me know if there is anything I'm doing entering or exiting the turns that I can do better or need to continue doing," said Goess.
By the time the first caution came out on lap 27, Goess' lead was up to more than five seconds. Pit road opened, and the No. 81 came down to the first pit stall for four tires, fuel and a half-turn on the track bar. After the successful stop, the green flag dropped on lap 35, and Goess once again got off to a great restart, getting out front and creating distance from the field around the two-mile track.
Johnny Allen, crew chief of the No. 81, was impressed with Goess' speed. "It is really incredible how fast you are," radioed Allen. "Keep doing what you are doing."
Deciding the best strategy to keep the lead, the No. 81 came down pit road for a green-flag pit stop on lap 75. The ESR crew worked hard to get the first-place No. 81 back on the track as quick as possible. With a stroke of bad luck, Chase Mattioli spun off Turn 4, and the caution came out with Goess still in the pit box. After leading the first 74 laps, the unfortunate caution put the dominating No. 81 a lap down.
Disheartened, but determined to make up for the bad luck, Goess lined up for the restart one lap down, but on the front row. The green flag dropped again on lap 81, and Goess got out in front and hoped for a caution. "Hit your marks," said Lorin Rainer, spotter for Goess. "That's all you can do."
Even a lap down, Goess continued to lead the field in speed. As he pushed around the track trying to stay ahead of the leaders, the laps ticked by without a caution.
The No. 81 crossed the finish line sixth, the last car on the lead lap. Mikey Kile, who finished second behind Goess last week at Pocono, won the race.
"We ran away from everybody all day," said Goess. "You can't come back from being a lap down. What will help me sleep tonight is that we were the dominant car all day. It was a solid weekend for us."
Goess and the No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. team will head to Iowa Speedway on July 10 for the next ARCA Racing Series event.