Sean Caisse Claims First-Career ARCA Victory At Rockingham ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (April 19, 2009) -- Sean Caisse shot by Ken Schrader's fuel-starved Chevrolet and into the lead with three laps remaining in Sunday's Carolina 200 to collect his ...
Sean Caisse Claims First-Career ARCA Victory At Rockingham
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (April 19, 2009) -- Sean Caisse shot by Ken Schrader's fuel-starved Chevrolet and into the lead with three laps remaining in Sunday's Carolina 200 to collect his career-first ARCA/REMAX Series victory.
Caisse, 23, trailed Schrader by 4.5 seconds in the closing laps, placing him in position to capitalize on the Missouri native's misfortune when he had to duck onto pit road for fuel. Caisse, who led once for three laps, finished 7.535 seconds ahead of points leader Patrick Sheltra in a Dodge.
"Venturini Motorsports is such a great deal for development drivers and, hopefully, this is a good step for my future," said Caisse, who had slightly more than $80 in his checking account when he lost his previous ride. "I hope to be back in this Venturini Motorsports car soon. My crew chief is shaking his head yes that I will be."
Caisse, who averaged 104.834 mph in the race slowed by five caution flags for 39 laps, said crew chief Billy Venturini told him with about 25 laps remaining that he needed to save fuel.
"The way you do it is you are just easier on and off the gas," Caisse explained. "Start rolling off the gas about three-fourths of the way down the straightaway instead of charging the corners real hard. It slowed us down enough, but we had a big enough gap over third place that just in case something happened to the leader, we could slow down and still maintain our position. It's a fine balance, but it worked out for us today."
Caisse said the most difficult part of the weekend for him was adjusting his car's handling to the changing weather conditions.
"We practiced yesterday [Saturday] all day long and we were the quickest car in practice and we figured we needed to be on the free side," Caisse continued. "I thought the car would tighten up with the weather conditions being overcast (on Sunday). It did and we were still real free in the race. We were good for three or four laps and started getting loose from the center up off the corner. The Hoosiers really held up great and the tire wear was awesome."
Schrader dominated the 200-lap event on the 1-mile track, leading three times for 185 laps, but he didn't anticipate a 90-lap, green-flag run in the race's second half.
"I just needed to know a little bit earlier (that we were short on fuel)," said Schrader, who finished seventh, one lap down. "I didn't think it would go that long without a yellow. If I would have known a little bit earlier ... I think I started saving with about 40 laps to go. You think I could have saved a couple laps more."
Even though Schrader was disappointed, he said he'd had worse days.
"We had a good car," he continued. "We didn't come and test. We came on our own nickel trying to get a sponsor, so we're just working it; going to run some more of these Speed TV races."
Schrader said the Rockingham track hadn't changed since the days he raced on it in NASCAR events.
"Run around the bottom, around the top and any place in between," Schrader commented.
Matt Merrell, who raced at Rockingham Speedway last October in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, took third in a Dodge.
"We were fighting through some lap traffic there at the end and got pushed up a little," Merrell said. "Ain't nothing like a good Rockingham stripe on the side of the car there. These tires wear off so much more than the Pro Cup cars do, so I just put it to the high side the whole race and came out pretty good at the end."
Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Bryan Silas, Chevrolet, and Parker Kligerman, Dodge.
Rockingham Speedway's next major race weekend is the Fourth of July when the ASA Late Model Series will make its debut at the track and Frank Kimmel's Street Stock Nationals return for its second outing.
For more information about the Cherry Bomb 200 or to order tickets, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our website at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.