WHITLOCK 8TH AT CAYUGA IN COKE ZERO 200 Hamilton, ON, Monday Sept. 1, 2008: Dave Whitlock drove his No. 39 Dickies/NMT/PCRFC/POINTTS Dodge Avenger from the back of the twenty two-car field twice on Saturday night in the Coke Zero 200 to ...
WHITLOCK 8TH AT CAYUGA IN COKE ZERO 200
Hamilton, ON, Monday Sept. 1, 2008: Dave Whitlock drove his No. 39 Dickies/NMT/PCRFC/POINTTS Dodge Avenger from the back of the twenty two-car field twice on Saturday night in the Coke Zero 200 to finish 8th. The event was lengthened by over an hour as the lighting on the race track went out forcing a red flag situation.
During practice the team struggled to get the No. 39 Dodge up to speed and after much discussion, made several changes prior to the qualifying session. When Whitlock came off the track from his time trail, another team discussion ensued as the car had developed a major vibration. The team made the decision to pull the car out of the race line up and take it back to their pit stall. NASCAR mandates that in an impound race such as this, after qualifying you cannot work on your cars prior to the race and if you do it is under heavy supervision and you are relegated to start at the rear of the field. "We decided to change everything that we could think of that could cause that vibration," stated Whitlock before the race. "We weren't exactly sure what it was so we made the decision to change as much as we could."
When the green dropped for the start of the 200 lap Coke Zero 200, Whitlock almost immediately radioed to his crew that the vibration was gone. The car was a little lose though, so on lap fifty-two during a caution period he brought the car down pit road for an adjustment and enough fuel to go the distance. Whitlock immediately started to move up through the field and after an hour delay in the race due to the lighting failure he was being scored in tenth and still on the move. On a restart around the half way mark, Whitlock was accessed a drive through penalty for a much undeserved rough driving call. When Whitlock brought his No. 39 Dickies Dodge back onto the racing surface he was five car lengths ahead of then leader and teammate Mark Dilley. Whitlock would stay in this position for the next sixty laps until the caution flew again. He then brought the No. 39 Dodge down pit road to the attention of his crew for tires. With a little over thirty laps to go, Whitlock would have his work cut out for him to get to the front of the pack. With two more caution periods eating up valuable laps they were able to get back to eighth at the drop of the checkered flag. "We had such a good car for the last half of that race and the 8th place finish is not indicative of how good this car was tonight" said Whitlock after the race. "We ran in front of the leaders for a good chunk of this race and they couldn't catch us. My team just made all the right calls early to get me in for adjustments before we put new tires on later in the race. We just needed a caution after we got the penalty and we could have been in a position to be on the podium with Mark tonight."
Whitlock teammate Mark Dilley won the Coke Zero 200 with Andrew Ranger in second, last years winner of this event Derek Lynch in third, Jason Hathaway crossed the line fourth with Ron Beauchamp Jr. finishing fifth.
Whitlock now finds himself just a few points out of the top ten in Championship points in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series with three events remaining in the thirteen race schedule.