If you got confused as to where we were actually running, you weren't the only one. Although we qualified 13th, we were fourth quick in the final practice session. Everyone on the team came to the track this morning with highly controlled ...
If you got confused as to where we were actually running, you weren't the only one.
Although we qualified 13th, we were fourth quick in the final practice session. Everyone on the team came to the track this morning with highly controlled anticipation. And as expected, in the first few laps, Jaques had moved from 13th to 6th. Again, it's so much fun watching your driver and your car move through the field! We heard the engineer, Tim, keep calling off the times as he closed in on Cheever, 3.2, 2.9...you could feel the energy.
On the first pit stop, the exit of the pit was slightly blocked and the bobble caused a stall. By the time we got out, 48 seconds had expired and we were running in 17th position. Again, Jaques came through the field with flying colors - literally, passing seven cars on the start to move into 10th position then working his way back to sixth. On round two pit stops, a vent probe got stuck. Okay, how many times has that happened since 1996? Jaques returned to the field at the rear again, and again moved through the field to return to the top six. By now, although we really have fun watching our guy move through the field, we're starting to wonder what could go wrong next. Pit stop, round three; Jaques comes in, the stop looks good, he pulls away, the car stalls again. Groan. This time he returns in the 13th position.
Jaques again is working his way back through the field, when the fuel pressure becomes a problem. Although there is plenty of fuel in the tank, he has to bring it in under green. We loose three laps in the pits, only to have a yellow fly upon our return to the track. The race digressed from there. With thirty laps remaining, we lost power and our mile per hour average fell from a consistent 210 to under 208. Jaques and the #99 would finish all the laps this time, the car completely in tacked, but two laps down in the 13th position. As the stalls may be related to the engine as well - we'll have to do some investigating back at the shop.
Sam has now pledged to never relax on race weekends until the checker flag has flown and the car is parked in the pit area. It seems that when we have trouble it's always in the last third of the race.
As for Jaques, "I'm happy and disappointed. I'm happy that the car is in one piece. The first part of the race was great. The passing was great. The guys always give me the greatest car ever. I could drive it anywhere, anytime I wanted. It felt great. It's just really disappointing to have lost the power.
It seems like we still have some bad luck to shake, but I don't feel like we've lost any momentum. I think we've proved that we had a strong car today. We had a great test in St. Louis and I still believe that we have what it takes to bring home a win this season.