Toledo: Craig Goess race report

Rough Weekend for Goess at Iowa Mechanical frustration renders ESR team with 34th-place finish NEWTON, Iowa (May 19, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Craig Goess demonstrated the determination and perseverance of a seasoned veteran in this ...

Rough Weekend for Goess at Iowa
Mechanical frustration renders ESR team with 34th-place finish

NEWTON, Iowa (May 19, 2008) -- Eddie Sharp Racing's Craig Goess demonstrated the determination and perseverance of a seasoned veteran in this weekend's U.S. Cellular 200 at Iowa Speedway. Despite mechanical complications during the race, Goess remained positive while driving a very ill-handling No. 02 Greenville-Toyota Toyota until the issue could be fixed. The disappointing 34th-place finish is not indicative of the capabilities of this talented driver and team.

"We tested very well here earlier in the season, so to come and struggle this weekend was a little frustrating." said Goess. "The team worked really hard make adjustments to the car's handling. At this point, we'll look forward to South Boston in a couple of weeks and do the best we can."

The team struggled in Saturday's practice session. Goess and his ESR team tested at Iowa Speedway earlier in the season. Template changes resulted in the team being required to bring a completely different Greenville-Toyota Camry to this weekend's event.

"The team worked really hard improve the balance of the car during the practice," said Goess. "Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn't get it where we wanted it and just weren't able to qualify as well as we would have liked."

Sunday afternoon, the No. 02 team qualified in the 24th position with a 24.189 second lap. Following qualifying, cars were impounded and the team turned its attention to their race strategy. The green flag fell on schedule at 4:15 p.m. CT.

Goess reported that the Greenville-Toyota Toyota was a little tight as he drove off the corners. On lap 60, Goess came to pit road for fuel. Around lap 75 the car's handling fell way off. Not knowing what was causing the issue, Goess continued to wrestle the troublesome Camry, losing only one lap in the process.

"Craig drove a very impressive race with no sway bar," stated Crew Chief David Leiner, Jr. "It was a good piece of driving. He held on and brought a very stubborn car home in one piece, and that's something a lot of drivers couldn't do."

When the caution came out around lap 110, Goess returned to pit road for a new set of tires. The No. 02 Toyota pitted first for right-side tires, and second for left-side tires. Hoping for a long caution, the team finally relented and brought Goess in at lap 115 to fix this issue, a broken sway bar chain. The team worked quickly and returned Goess to the track 18 laps later at lap 134.

Goess settled into the field and continued to drive hard but respectful to the lead-lap cars. Goess focus remained steadfast and he ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 179. Goess took the checkered flag in the 34th position and brought the car home without a scratch on it.

"The car was a 100% different from our test car," commented Goess. "My guys worked hard to make changes, but we just didn't have enough time. It was a frustrating weekend for all of us. But no one gave up, and that is the key."

Goess added that "the track was awesome to run on. The facility here is just great! Despite our performance, it was cool to experience a race where the stands are packed and the backstretch was full of motor homes. Next time the Greenville-Toyota Toyota will put on a better show!"

Next Stop: Craig Goess and the Greenville Toyota team will return to competition on May 31, 2008 at South Boston Speedway. The one-day event features practice sessions at 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., qualifying at 4:45 p.m., and the green flag at 7:30 p.m.

-credit: esr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Craig Goess