J.R. FITZPATRICK ON POLE, 1-2 FINISH FOR FITZPATRICK MOTORSPORTS AT RIVERSIDE September 21, 2008. The ...
J.R. FITZPATRICK ON POLE, 1-2 FINISH FOR FITZPATRICK MOTORSPORTS AT RIVERSIDE
September 21, 2008. The #84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports Chevrolet with John Ryan (J.R.) Fitzpatrick at the wheel has shown plenty of speed all season long on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. This past weekend at round number twelve at Riverside Speedway the 20 year old Fitzpatrick scored his first pole position of the season, and followed his teammate Don Thomson Jr. to the finish line in a one-two finish to the 300 lap race.
Right from the start of the afternoon practice session the #84 Chevrolet was fast. "This was a really fast race car right from the start of the day" said an enthusiastic Fitzpatrick. "We made a few adjustments to try and improve it but when we drew the first qualifying slot I didn't think we had much of a chance at the pole".
Fitzpatrick would claim the first pole position award for the #84 team with a time of 14.935 seconds and an average speed of 80.268 mph and begin the race on the inside of row number one.
J.R. would hold the lead of the race for the first twenty six laps before surrendering the spot to his teammate. The two drivers would alternate at the front of the field for the first 115 laps. "I was having a good battle with my teammate out there, it's great to race that way, both of us with good give and take, it's a lot of fun".
The fun would end however when following a caution period NASCAR officials ruled that Fitzpatrick "jumped the restart" and began racing before he was allowed. The penalty was a drive thru pitlane at the pit road speed limit and put the #84 Chevrolet down a lap. "I really don't know why it was called that way" said the driver afterwards. "I restarted in exactly the same spot as my teammate did and I did before, but they didn't see it that way, I guess I'll have to talk with them about it to find out their side".
Forced to fight back and move through the field Fitzpatrick displayed his keen driving skills staying out of trouble that's easy to find on the fast 1/3 mile oval. "There was a lot of racing left so we just went about our business to get back into the race" said Fitzpatrick. "The team made good pit stops. We found the car was getting a bit loose on long green flag runs so we made some adjustments and just kept going".
Perseverance pays off and it did for the #84 Fitzpatrick Motorsports team. As the laps ticked away J.R. continued to work his Chevrolet closer and closer to the front of the field and then into the top-five. As the race restarted after a late caution period for a dash to the finish Fitzpatrick got a little racing luck and two of the cars in front of him had contact. Pouncing on the opportunity Fitzpatrick pushed his car forward and would cross the finish line just .202 seconds behind his teammate for a one-two Fitzpatrick Motorsports finish.
While a satisfying result young J.R. was quick to point out that things could have even been better. "There's no doubt we had a fast car and it's great for the #4 team to get the win it helps them in points, we get a boost in the points. But if we didn't have that call go against us it might be our team that grabbed the win".
J.R. Fitzpatrick now sits seventh in the overall championship standings with two events remaining on the schedule.
J.R and the Fitzpatrick Motorsports team will conclude the 2008 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season with the final event this coming Saturday September 27th at Kawartha Speedway. Prior to the race J.R. Fitzpatrick will complete a two day test session with the TRG Motorsports NASCAR Truck Series team at Iowa Speedway on September 23rd & 24th. All NASCAR Canadian Tire Series races are broadcast on TSN. More information on the series can be obtained by visiting www.nascar.ca