Hideo Fukuyama finishes 34th in Nashville's PFG Lester 150. Lebanon, Tenn. (April 12, 2003) -- After running in the top five for 82 laps of the 113-lap race, Hideo Fukuyama and the No. 9 Kikkoman Ford Taurus tangled with a lapped car and slid...
Hideo Fukuyama finishes 34th in Nashville's PFG Lester 150.
Lebanon, Tenn. (April 12, 2003) -- After running in the top five for 82 laps of the 113-lap race, Hideo Fukuyama and the No. 9 Kikkoman Ford Taurus tangled with a lapped car and slid into the wall. This resulted in a precautionary trip to an off-site hospital and a disappointing 34th-place finish.
"After the restart (following a caution on lap 67), I knew I needed to stick with the (No.)46 and (No.) 87 if possible," Fukuyama said. "I was trying to position myself to move up with Kyle Busch, and saw an opening for one second on the inside of one of the lapped cars. Unfortunately, that opening closed quickly and we ended up sliding into the wall."
Fukuyama took the green flag in the sixth slot in the 40-car field. While racing in the 3rd position, the first yellow flag came out on lap 25, allowing the lead cars to come into the pit for adjustments. The 47-year-old ARCA rookie took the opportunity to pit on lap 27 where the Kikkoman crew made an air pressure adjustment and changed to four new tires. Fukuyama gained a position during the stop and charged to second place. Cautions reappeared on laps 41, 57, and 67. The extended caution that began on lap 67 and lasted until lap 81 allowed Crew Chief Gary Cogswell to discuss a win strategy with his team. Tires were a precious commodity on the hardwearing concrete track. The No. 9 crew decided to take a chance and finish the race without a tire change. Unfortunately, the crew didn't have a chance to see how the strategy would play out.
"I am disappointed, of course, especially because I had such a good car. I know we would have finished in the top if the accident didn't happen. I hope the next race will produce a better finish for us," said Fukuyama after being released from the University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tenn.
"We had a really good car and Hideo was driving really well. He had a couple of solid passes during the race. We're all real proud of him," stated Gary Cogswell, the No. 9 crew chief. "We'll be ready to get back on the race track in California."
Fukuyama will return to Winston Cup racing on April 27 when he will attempt to qualify for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. It will be televised on FOX at 2:30 p.m.