Milwaukee: Phillip McGilton race report

McGilton Grabs Career-Best Finish of 3rd at the Milwaukee Mile Milwaukee, Wisc. (August 28, 2007) -- Phillip McGilton led a strong charge on Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile to walk away with his career-best finish of 3rd place in the Governor's...

McGilton Grabs Career-Best Finish of 3rd at the Milwaukee Mile

Milwaukee, Wisc. (August 28, 2007) -- Phillip McGilton led a strong charge on Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile to walk away with his career-best finish of 3rd place in the Governor's Cup 200. McGilton was also awarded the Hoosier Fast Charger Award for advancing the most positions during the 200 laps and the Highest Finishing Rookie honors.

"What a rewarding finish," McGilton commented following the race. "With our struggles with the tight condition and the, let's just call it, 'unfortunate' incident during qualifying, I am just so proud of the team for this top-5. Everyone here has worked real hard and today it really showed."

McGilton's weekend did not start off on the high note that it ended on Sunday. When the team unloaded the No. 47 SI Performance Ford on Saturday for practice, the car was immediately tight in the center. McGilton fought the car through the turns and his Brewco Motorsports teammates made adjustment after adjustment. Although the No. 47 found a lap fast enough to put them 5th for practice times, the team continued to work on the car between the afternoon's practice and the evening qualifying session, hoping to find the right correction.

The 38th car to qualify, dusk was starting to settle in as the No. 47 took the track for the time trials. In an effort to expedite the qualifying procedures, ARCA officials were releasing a car onto the track while the preceding car was completing his qualifying lap. As McGilton took the green flag and came barreling into Turn 3 on his first qualifying lap, the No. 62 car was meandering through the final turns at a very slow speed on his cool-down lap. Because spotters are not used during qualifying, McGilton did not know that the No. 62 car was still on the track until he overtook him in the turn.

McGilton lifted off the gas and moved up the track to avoid contact with the slow-moving vehicle. A startled McGilton accelerated through turn four, getting the car a little sideways and having to correct his line. Having already lost his full momentum, McGilton continued into his final lap not carrying near the speed he would have had the track been clear.

This interruption caused the No. 47 to turn in a lap time of only 31.106 seconds, burying him 19th in the field for the start of the Governor's Cup 200. The good news that was reported by McGilton from the unfortunate qualifying laps was "well, at least we weren't tight! It went through the turns great, until I had to pass that car!"

Frustrated with the qualifying incident, McGilton and the Brewco Motorsports team entered Sunday's race with the determination to drive to the front. And they did just that.

Within 20 laps, McGilton had sliced his way through traffic and had the No. 47 SI Performance Ford Fusion running solidly in the top-10, where it remained for the entire race. By lap 28, McGilton was running in the 8th position and clicking off laps that were putting him the second fastest car on the track.

During the second caution of the day on lap 32, Crew Chief Shawn Parker asked his driver how the car felt.

"Good, really good," reported McGilton. "It's just a little on the free side, but that's what we need. I can get under people really good."

As the race was about to go green, spotter Jacqueline Briscoe asked the driver if he could see the leaders. McGilton keyed his mic, laughed and replied slyly, "oh yeah." There was no doubt he was planning to go after those leaders.

On lap 89 the fourth caution of the day came out. Parker asked his driver if he was having fun out there.

McGilton radioed, "Yeah, I'm having fun. After yesterday I thought it was going to be a long day out here. Thanks for getting all those changes in. We're a lot better than we were yesterday."

McGilton ran as high as second on lap 121. Pitting for tires and fuel under caution on lap 134, the No. 47 cycled back to the 6th position as some cars were off pit sequence.

A lap-down car caused a poor restart and lengthened the distance between McGilton and the lead cars. In the final 50 laps, Briscoe and Parker continued to remind McGilton to hit his marks and not overdrive the car. McGilton narrowed the distance lap by lap passing into the 5th position on lap 155.

On lap 183, the final caution came out for the day. The No. 2 car dropped out of the top-5 pack and came down pit road for fresh tires in hopes of making a charge for the win. McGilton restarted in the 4th position. Only eight laps later, the No. 8 car, which was taking a gamble with fuel strategy, sputtered and retired to pit road for a splash and go. The No. 47 advanced to the third spot. With McDowell trying to catch him with each lap, McGilton continued to hit his marks and maintain the distance between them, despite the No. 2 car's newer tires.

As the checkered flag fell, McGilton crossed the finish line in the third position, his best career finish. McGilton keyed the mic one last time, thanking his teammates for all the hard work and adjustments on the car.

"This car was a completely different car from yesterday, guys," McGilton praised them. "Thanks for all your work. You guys did a great job on this thing!"

During post-race interviews, McGilton once-again reiterated the car's performance. "It was like night and day from yesterday. Those guys threw everything in the toolbox at it and really gave me a great car. 3rd place is a really rewarding finish, especially for my first trip to the Milwaukee Mile."

With Sunday's finish, McGilton narrowed the gap to only 5 points in the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points between him and 4th place Justin Allgaire. McGilton now sits in the 5th position with 3415 points to Allgaire's 3420.

-credit: brewco

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Shawn Parker , Phillip McGilton