Craig Goess Finishes 14th at Toledo Speedway Despite Mid-Race Accident Craig Goess and the No. 81 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota of Greenville N.C. team posted a 14th-place finish, despite being involved in a multi-car accident in the Menards 200 ...
Craig Goess Finishes 14th at Toledo Speedway Despite Mid-Race Accident
Craig Goess and the No. 81 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota of Greenville N.C. team posted a 14th-place finish, despite being involved in a multi-car accident in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway Sunday.
The weekend got off to a solid start as Goess posted the 14thquickest time in practice Saturday afternoon, circling the half-mile track in a time of 16.795 seconds (107.175 mph).
"We made constant progress throughout practice, although we did not have the chance to try out everything we wanted to," said Goess. "We didn't even make a mock qualifying run. As far as the boards go, we didn't really look that great in practice, but I don't think it reflects what kind of car we have."
Goess showed his speed later Saturday afternoon during qualifying, where he laid down a lap of 16.148 seconds (111.469 mph). His quick lap placed him sixth on the starting grid.
When the green flag dropped Sunday afternoon, the ESR Greenville Toyota of N.C. was poised to contend for the victory, after posting top-five finishes in his last three races.
Starting on the outside of row three, Goess stuck to the front of the pack around the .5-mile short-track. Happy with his car, Goess battled the leaders for the first half of the race. The short-track excitement began early, with 10 cautions over the course of the 200 laps, slowing the field for 58 laps.
On lap 82, Goess radioed to the crew about possible problems with the tires. "I think I heard something pop in the left front, explained Goess. "It just doesn't feel right. It definitely does not feel like I have two new tires on right now."
Although concerned with possible problems in the left front, Goess stayed in the 12th position until lap 98. Coming around turns one and two, the No. 81 got caught up in an accident with Patrick Sheltra, Tim George Jr., Robb Brent and A.J. Frank. The accident brought out the red flag, and the No. 81 had significant cosmetic damage.
"We just got caught up in the wreck, and I had no where to go," explained Goess. "We struggled from that point forward."
While the ARCA officials cleaned up the debris on the track during the red-flag, the No. 81 team talked strategy about how to best attack the next pit stop to fix the damage. The car did not appear to have major structural damage.
The yellow flag waved on lap 101, and the No. 81 came down pit road for the team to begin work on the car. With strategic plans from crew chief Johnny Allen, Goess went back out on lap 103 to catch up to the field and not lose any more laps. After passing the start-finish line, Goess came down pit road again to get right-side tires. He exited two laps down in 17th position.
"We lost laps because the pit stops took some time," said Goess. "We had to take time to make the car drivable. From there, we were just making the most out of what we had and made laps to gain points."
Despite problems caused by the accident, Goess continued to race the field with determination. "I'm going to do the best I can with what I have now," Goess radioed to the crew.
Goess remained two laps down for the duration of the race but refused to give up, as he raced up front with the leaders. Goess preserved to post a 14th-place finish, moving him to seventh position in the ARCA Racing Series driver points standings. He is 10 points behind Frank Kimmel in the sixth position.
Next on the schedule for Goess is the ARCA Racing Series Open Test at Michigan International Speedway Tuesday. He will test alongside ESR teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. and other ARCA drivers.
Goess and the ARCA Racing Series will head to Pocono Raceway for the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 on Saturday, June 5, 2010.