Toledo: Ken Butler III race report

Late-Race Contact Costs Butler, III a Solid Finish at Toledo Speedway TOLEDO, Ohio (May 18, 2008) -- Ken Butler, III and the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota were solid all day at Toledo Speedway. KBIII ran in the top-10 nearly the entire race...

Late-Race Contact Costs Butler, III a Solid Finish at Toledo Speedway

TOLEDO, Ohio (May 18, 2008) -- Ken Butler, III and the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota were solid all day at Toledo Speedway. KBIII ran in the top-10 nearly the entire race until contact and a cut tire cost the No. 22 team two laps and a good finish. Despite the struggles, Butler, III remained tenth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship points following the Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care.

"This was another one of those frustrating days at the track," said Butler, III. "It's the downside of short track racing, but the lapped traffic definitely tries the patience, and in our case, costs us a good finish. We had a great car here today. We knew it was fast. We were set up for a solid finish when we had contact trying to get through the lapped traffic. We cut a tire and that was it. There wasn't enough time to recover and get our laps back.

Butler, III qualified the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota in the seventh position with a 16.231 second lap on Saturday afternoon. With falling temperatures on Sunday, the drivers stood on the starting grid signing autographs for fans. Hanging with KBIII was the Lucky Dog himself! Despite scattered showers, fans remained and were excited to meet Eddie Sharp Racing's Ken Butler, III. The race started on schedule at 2:00 p.m. ET.

KBIII started the race strong and in the top-10. During the second caution of the day on lap 25, Butler, III radioed his team that the car was feeling a "little snug in the center." He then asked if it looked like the high side of the track was starting to work for anyone. His spotter, Tim, replied "not yet, but it's still early and a lot of this race still has to shake out."

Tim added to "keep driving smart like you've been doing. The 20 team has thanked you several teams for being careful behind them. They know you're faster."

Running in the top-5, Butler brought the No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota down pit road for four tires and a track bar adjustment. Crew Chief Wayne Carroll radioed his driver to "hold on, hold on. The wheel's hung up. Sorry about that KB." Butler, III replied "It's alright guys, we'll get it back."

Eight laps later, the next caution came out. KBIII reported that "it's crazy out here with all these lapped cars." Then he added "the rain's coming, I can see it!"

In the distance the clouds were dark and threatening and while the cars were running around under caution on lap 100, the rain began to fall. The race resumed but was quickly halted by the yellow flag for the inclement weather on lap 105. Two laps later the red flag was displayed and the cars brought to a stop on the track. Teams scrambled to cover the cars and find shelter from the downpour.

When the rain stopped, drivers returned to their cars and brought them down pit road to park while track officials worked to dry the track. After nearly two hours and another round of showers, crews removed the car covers and the drivers restarted their engines. The cars drove around for 25 additional laps until the green flag flew at lap 132 to resume the Hantz Group 200.

Butler, III ran a solid race and remained in the top-10 until contact was made while passing on lap 176. The spotter confirmed there was right front damage on Butler's Aaron's Lucky Dog. Tim had KBIII rotate the tires back and forth while driving down the front stretch under caution and reported to the team that the fenders were clear of the tire. However, on lap 183 Butler, III reported that he felt that his right front tire was flat.

KBIII brought the car down pit road while under the green flag to have the tires changed and the fender pulled out. Fortunately the caution came out at lap 184 and the No. 22 Toyota only lost two laps while working on the damaged Camry. When the race restarted on lap 190, Butler, III was in the 26th position and two laps behind the lead car.

Without enough time remaining in the race to gain the laps back or get a Lucky Dog pass, Butler, III ended the day at Toledo Speedway two laps down and in the 25th position.

"This was definitely a very disappointing finish for us here," said Butler, III. "We had a fast car and I know we could have won this race. I feel terrible for my guys. They work so hard on this team, and I want to give them the trip to victory lane that they deserve. Today I struggled with the lapped traffic. I was trying to get us up front when we made contact with another car and damaged the tire. I want to thank Aaron's for their continued support. We'll get this No. 22 Aaron's Lucky Dog Toyota a win here very soon. Now we'll look to Pocono where I know our Toyota motors will be very fast."

Despite the not-so-lucky run at Toledo Speedway, Butler, III remains in the Top-10 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship point standings, in the tenth position and 290 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Next Stop: The ARCA RE/MAX Series teams have the next two weekends off from racing and return to competition at Pocono Raceway. The Pocono 200 takes place on Saturday, June 7, 2008. The event will air same day time-delayed on SPEED at 10:00 p.m.

-credit: esr

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