Rookie Clauson Earns Career-First Victory at Gateway MADISON IL (8-31-07) -- Bryan Clauson, in Chip Ganassi's Memorex Dodge, drove away from Eddie Sharp Racing teammates' Josh Wise and Michael McDowell to earn his career first ARCA...
Rookie Clauson Earns Career-First Victory at Gateway
MADISON IL (8-31-07) -- Bryan Clauson, in Chip Ganassi's Memorex Dodge, drove away from Eddie Sharp Racing teammates' Josh Wise and Michael McDowell to earn his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory Friday night at Gateway Int'l Raceway.
"This is awesome," said Clauson. "We've ran five or six of these things and we've been so close so many times and we've fallen short, mostly due to driver error. It feels good to finally get these guys into victory lane. They've come in each week and given me great cars and good pit stops. It feels good to finally close the deal. I can't be prouder of the Memorex Dodge team. We weren't really sure how we were going to be there. We thought we had a good car but we made a few changes. The car drove great all night and we went far enough this week, last week we didn't really go."
Wise, who won the SIM Factory Pole Award, finished second in the ESR Development-NAPA Toyota, about 10 lengths behind the winner.
"It got rough there for awhile," said Wise. "We were fortunate to qualify on the pole there and we were smooth sailing for awhile and then we came in for a pit stop and it put us right in the mix of everything for awhile and it kind of got us caught up in an accident. It was tough but it was fun to try and hang it out and run with everyone. I had fun racing with Michael McDowell, my teammate, and my new crew chief, Wayne Carroll."
McDowell, who led the most laps (38), finished third in the Z Line-Make a Wish-Beck Dodge.
"We got a little bit off sequence with the strategy and that was a move for us just to stay out of trouble and to stay out front," said McDowell. "We had a really good car there at the end we just didn't have the track position and then we broke fourth gear there with about seven laps to go. The No. 2 guys did a great job again and this gives us the momentum we need for the last couple of races to try and catch Frank (Kimmel)."
Justin Allgaier finished fourth in the Schluckebier Farms-AG Tech Chevrolet ahead of Dominick Casola, who finished a career-best fifth in the A. Casola Farms Ford.
Polesitter Wise led the first 35 laps before Casola took the lead on lap 36. Casola led the next 11 laps before McDowell, after pitting early out of sequence with the leaders, took control of the top-spot on lap 47. McDowell showed the way up through lap 84 before giving up the lead to Clauson after McDowell made his final pit stop for fuel and tires. Clauson led the next six laps before Allgaier raced his way into the lead on lap 91. Allgaier held onto the lead for 12 laps before Clauson regained the top-spot on lap 103 of the 120-lap, 150-mile race. Wise and McDowell eventually cleared Allgaier and got within five lengths of the eventual winner before falling back in the closing laps.
Michael Annett came from a lap down to finish sixth in the TMC Trucking Dodge. Andy Lally finished a career-best seventh in the TRG-Johnson Realty Chevrolet. Justin Marks was eighth in the Crocs Dodge. Colin Braun, in his debut for Roush Fenway Racing, finished ninth. Carl Long, making his series return, finished 10th in the FreeFeds.org Dodge.
Six cautions slowed the race for 41 laps. The race was also red flagged on lap 62 for a frightening incident on the backstretch when Surrey, British Columbia driver Ryan Fischer tumbled several times. Fischer was not injured.
Clauson posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 113 and also earned Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions. McDowell was the highest finishing rookie.