Bryan Silas Solid In Toledo Despite Finishing Position TOLEDO, Ohio (October 16, 2007) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Bryan Silas was heading into last Sunday's season finale at Toledo Speedway looking to take a slew...
Bryan Silas Solid In Toledo Despite Finishing Position
TOLEDO, Ohio (October 16, 2007) - - ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Bryan Silas was heading into last Sunday's season finale at Toledo Speedway looking to take a slew of tough finishes and produce a finish that his Fast Track Racing team could build on heading into the 2008 season.
Returning to the track that Silas made his presence known in 2006, Silas was banking on his past performances to pay off in his first full season of ARCA competition.
"I always like coming to Toledo," said Silas heading into the weekend. "The track has been pretty kind to me in the past and I'm really hoping it will be again this weekend."
Carrying the "Inside The ARCA RE/MAX Series on RaceTalkRadio.com" logo on board the team's hood, Silas was looking to give the show and the fans something positive to talk about.
Heading into the first practice, Silas knew the fastest way around the half-mile oval but was leaning on finding a positive and fast setup that would pay off. During the hour and a half session, Silas produced the 34th fastest time with a time of 17.641 seconds at 102.035 MPH.
"We're not all that happy with the way that we are running right now," Silas offered after practice. "We're struggling with the setup of the car and we'll make some massive adjustments and hope they pay off for us."
Even with optimism, Silas kept a happy game face on and headed into ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying looking to give nothing less than 150 percent and produce a positive qualifying lap. During his two lap hustle around Toledo Speedway, Silas posted a time of 17.343 seconds at 103.788, 29th fastest just one off from the guaranteed starting positions. Silas would have to rely on a provisional for entry into Sunday's season finale.
"We hate to take a provisional, but the good news is we found some speed and I think I can motor myself to the front in the race. Next year I think you will see an incredible improvement in our qualifying efforts. It's something that we've already talked about and will be one of our primary focuses next year."
Thinking ahead to the season finale, Silas was focused and revving to go for 200 laps of excitement.
At the start of the Hantz Group 200, Silas immediately began nailing the throttle and picking up positions. Starting from the 32nd position, Silas began thundering his familiar No. 11 Chevrolet Monte Carlo through the field and controlled the 25th position when the first caution flag waived on lap 12.
During the breather, Silas reported to his team that the car was very comfortable and he felt like if he got to the front he could stay there. Back to racing, Silas would join the field for a long span of green flag racing and during the run Silas would continue to click off competitors one at a time with the thought of moving into the top-20 before halfway.
When the caution flag returned on lap 56, Silas had already accomplished his goal and moved himself solidly into the top-20.
Over the course of the next forty laps, Silas would continue to turn very respectable lap times but because of being caught up in a heavy amount of traffic leader Michael McDowell was able to quickly reel in the pack and take Silas from the lead lap just after halfway.
Despite falling off the lead circuit, Silas kept himself in control and thinking about the big picture, finishing the race. Luck is something that has not been on Silas's side for much of the 2007 season and it continued at Toledo as the yellow flag waived just two laps later after Silas had been lapped.
The Fast Track Racing team utilized the yellow flag to bring Silas down on pit road for a series of adjustments, four tires and fuel. The team sent their driver back into competition but reminded their rookie driver to remain in control and concentrate.
Back to racing, Silas was again turning very respectable lap times. Throughout the second half of the race Silas remained in a huge cluster of race cars. On lap 123, Silas joined the group in turn three when a large number of cars made contact sending Silas into the rear of another competitor forcing some right side damage to his No. 11 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
With the damage minimal, the team elected to keep Silas on the track and in the top-15. Back to racing conditions, Silas informed the team that the car was overheating and the water temperature had climbed up to 270 degrees.
On lap 149, two carsaheadof Silas made contact with him. Even though Silas pumped his brakes to avoid plowing into the car directly in front of him, he did make contact with the car. The hit caused the No. 11 to bust the oil line forcing smoke and oil to pour out from underneath Silas's machine. Sliding in his own oil caused the rookie to lose control and head into the wall in turn one.
Climbing from his racecar, Silas waived to the crowd smiling but frustrated. The Fast Track Racing team inspected the car and deemed it was damaged beyond repair forcing the team to exit from competition. The 20 year-old rookie would be credited with a disappointing 28th place finish.
"Our typical luck," said Silas. "We had a good car; I am telling you it was fast. We went to the front in a hurry and we were going to be able to stay there. It's a shame. Everyone on the Fast Track Racing team did a good job, I'm proud of them. Just one of those circumstances where lady luck has not been on our side and this weekend was another statement to that."
He added, "It's a shame that the season has come to an end, but I've learned an awful lot and it will only help me as we plan to return to full time competition in 2008. I want to thank my team, sponsors and supporters for everything, it's been a blast!"
Silas finished the season ninth in the championship standings with three top-10 finishes. The effort will reward Silas an on-stage appearance at the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky on Saturday, December 8.
Exiting the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series season, Silas has 29 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his credit with a career best finish of eighth at Salem Speedway (April 2007) and Kentucky Speedway (July 2007) while holding an additional top-10 performance at USA International Speedway (March 2007). He holds a career best short track time trials effort of seventh at Berlin Raceway (July 2007). A fourth place qualifying effort at Pocono Raceway (June 2007) is Silas's best speedway run to date. He has controlled the ARCA field for 23 laps in two races.