TIM GEORGE JR. FIGHTS BACK TO FINISH 12TH AT SALEM SPEEDWAY George Returned to Salem Speedway for the ARCA Fall Classic MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 21, 2010)- Tim George Jr. fought back from adversity to finish 12th in Saturday night's ARCA...
TIM GEORGE JR. FIGHTS BACK TO FINISH 12TH AT SALEM SPEEDWAY
George Returned to Salem Speedway for the ARCA Fall Classic
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 21, 2010)- Tim George Jr. fought back from adversity to finish 12th in Saturday night's ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards Series race at Salem Speedway, one of the series' most historic tracks. George, who started 13th after qualifying the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Development Chevrolet on Saturday afternoon at the half-mile track, ran in the top-15 for approximately the first 85 laps. A quick pit stop from the No. 31 team helped to post a 12th-place finish; his best finish in four career starts at Salem Speedway.
The tradition and excitement of Salem Speedway is like no other race track, especially as the ground pounding No.31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Development Chevrolet hit the historic pavement for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic.
"Salem Speedway is a great track with a lot of character," said George of the historic track. "We had a great car out of the box earlier this season. This go around (at Salem Speedway), we had to work a lot harder on the car for it to be competitive. After major changes on all corners before qualifying, the car finally felt comfortable. We raced well for the most part of the race. My No.31 crew and spotter, P.J. Bryant, did a great job putting me in the position to run in the top-5."
In Menards Pole Qualifying Presented by Ansell, George turned a lap of 17.722 seconds at 112.7412 mph to score his 13th top-15 qualifying effort of the 2010 season. Prior to the qualifying, George was 16th fastest among 33 drivers who participated in the lone practice session earlier in the day. George took 65 laps during the session posting a fastest time of 18.146 seconds, a top speed at 10.107 mph.
After the green flag dropped, George remained in the top-15 for the first 50-lap green-flag run. During the run George's spotter, P.J. Bryant, radioed that he was gaining of the field coming out of the corner of Turn 2.
Plagued in traffic, George went one lap down on lap 31. Fortunately, a fast car kept the 29-year-old driver in the Lucky Dog position, so when the first caution flag of the night came out on lap 50 George was able to earn his lap back. During the caution period crew chief Gere Kennon called his driver down pit road for a routine stop. The RCR Crew went to work changing four tires, adding fuel and pulling a windshield tear-off. George returned to the track in 11th position at the tail end of the 30-car field.
Following that first caution, the race stayed under the green flag for 55 laps. George held his position inside the top-11 the entire time. For New York, N.Y. native the biggest hurdle to overcome throughout the run was battling for position while often posting faster laps then the leader. George was able to maneuver through traffic, moving into the top-10 by lap 85.
A key moment for George and his white and black team came during a pit stop on Lap 105 after the second caution flag waved. The leaders came down pit road for service and the No. 31 was serviced with a right side set of Hoosier tires, fuel and removal of all tape. The strategy paid off in the end as George gained a number of positions moving up to third in the running order. George was quick to praise crew chief Gere Kennon and the rest of his team, citing decisions made on pit road as a key factor to the driver's success for the restart.
"Great stop guys, great stop," said George, restarting third.
He was steadily gaining on the leaders when the caution flag waved at lap 124. George was driving to the low groove of the racetrack as he narrowly avoided another car. With his quick reaction time, George was able to avoid any major damage as he went for a spin on the backstretch. George came to pit road under the caution flag, and the pit crew went to work changing four tires and fixing the fender damage. He restarted the race at lap 129 in 12th.
With just 42 laps remaining, George felt a vibration and was forced to bring his No. 31 RCR Chevrolet to the attention of his pit crew under green-flag conditions. The team made a quick stop, changing four tires and returning their driver to the track in 12th-place. George maintained the 12th position until the checkered flag flew on lap 200.
George's 12th-place finish in Saturday night's 111-mile, 200-lap event was his career-best result at Salem Speedway. The RCR development driver entered Saturday's race 9th in the driver point standings and retained position. With round 18 of 20 complete, George has 3750 points in the ARCA Racing Series driver championship standings.
"Another competitor got into me off of Turn 2 and that was the end of that," said George of the incident with the No.17 on lap 124. "However, our team managed to salvage a 12th-place finish, and as a result of the finish we are still okay in the driver point's standings."
George revs up the No. 31 next for the 100-lap ARCA Racing Series event Thursday, September 30, for the Kansas Lottery 150. The race starts at 4:00 p.m. CDT with live coverage provided by the SPEED Channel and ARCARacing.com.