Pocono II: Ken Butler III race report

Butler Shines with Top 10 at Pocono Long Pond, Penn. (August 2, 2008) -- Ken Butler, III and his Aaron's Lucky Dog team unloaded at Pocono Raceway, confident they had a strong car and needing a good finish to gain momentum for the second half...

Butler Shines with Top 10 at Pocono

Long Pond, Penn. (August 2, 2008) -- Ken Butler, III and his Aaron's Lucky Dog team unloaded at Pocono Raceway, confident they had a strong car and needing a good finish to gain momentum for the second half of the season. Despite a disappointing qualifying effort, KBIII and his team ran a solid race to bring the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota home in the seventh position and move back into the Top 10 in ARCA RE/MAX Series championship points.

"I'm really proud of our finish at Pocono," said KBIII. "We've been running well but have had some bad luck the past couple of races. This solid finish was much needed for all of us. We knew we were much better than the 19th-place qualifying spot. But my Crew Chief Jonathan [Davis] worked hard to get my car where it was comfortable and we knew that we would definitely be competitive in the race. My guys did a great job this weekend and I really appreciate it!"

The Aaron's Lucky Dog team was not happy with their qualifying lap of 55.754 seconds. This run put the No. 22 in the 19th starting position for the Pennsylvania 200.

When teams returned to the track on Saturday morning to set up for the afternoon race, they found themselves seeking shelter in haulers and the garage as heavy winds and rain swept through the area. The storms delayed the race events by one hour. At approximately 2:00 p.m. ET the green flag waved for the 80-lap race.

In the opening laps, Butler reported that the Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota was a little tight, but very good. KBIII told his team that car was "fast as heck but gets tighter and tighter as the run goes on." When Davis offered to make adjustments, Butler's only concern was that he didn't want to be too free at the beginning of the run. Over the course of the team's two pit stops, minor trackbar adjustments were made along with fuel and fresh tires.

On lap 68 a multi-car wreck, occurring just behind the No. 22 Camry brought out the day's sixth caution.

"All I saw was smoke behind me and then a car flying through the air," said KBIII. "It was unbelievable!"

The race was red-flagged for almost 15 minutes as safety crews worked to remove the debris from the track. When the race restarted, KBIII was in the eighth position. The seventh and final caution of the day came at lap 73, immediately following the restart. The final laps of the race were run in a green-white-checkered format. KBIII advanced to the seventh position where he would finish the race. Seven appears to be the No. 22 team's lucky number. Of the five top 10 finishes, four are seventh-place finishes.

"We had a really fast race car that was great on long runs," stated KBIII. "Unfortunately we didn't have those [long green-flag runs] at the end. I'm very happy with our solid finish and this Aaron's Lucky Dog Dream Machine Toyota. Hats off to my guys! We're looking forward to another great run in Nashville!"

With his weekend at Pocono, KBIII jumped back into the Top 10 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series point standings. Butler is currently in the 10th position with 2405 points, and only ten points out of ninth place.

Next Stop: KBIII and the Aaron's Lucky Dog Team head Nashville Superspeedway this weekend for the Toyota 150 continuing the streak of superspeedway action. SIM Factory Pole Qualifying takes place on Saturday, August 9 at 11:30 a.m. Driver introductions will start at 4:00 p.m. and the green flag for the 150-mile race drops Saturday at 4:30 p.m. All times listed are EASTERN. The race will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED.

-credit: esr

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