BAM RACING TEAM EXPERIENCES ELECTRICAL WOES AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY John Andretti qualifies an impressive 28th for Sharpie 500; Event viewed as learning experience BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 26, 2007) -- BAM Racing returned to Bristol ...
BAM RACING TEAM EXPERIENCES ELECTRICAL WOES AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
John Andretti qualifies an impressive 28th for Sharpie 500; Event viewed as learning experience
BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 26, 2007) -- BAM Racing returned to Bristol Motor Speedway, the track where the team earned its best finish ever in 2004, with driver John Andretti and the momentum needed to qualify the No. 49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge on time for a second consecutive race. Andretti captured a solid 28th place starting position for the Sharpie 500 but electrical problems plagued the team from the start of the race. Both driver and team persevered and used the experience to gain a better understanding of the new surface at the famed short track.
As the sun began to set, excitement filled the air at Bristol Motor Speedway as 160,000 fans sat on the edge of their seats during patriotic pre-race ceremonies. Forty-three engines fired up for one of the most anticipated races of the NASCAR season. However, the No. 49 Dodge encountered a problem during pace laps.
As the field approached the green flag, the start was waved off as the Paralyzed Veterans Dodge lost power and coasted to pit road. The team moved to the garage area to address the issue and the race began with the team off track. To compound matters, Andretti's radio would only allow for incoming communication; if he were to have a problem he could not tell the team except through hand signals. Repairs were quickly made to the car and Andretti joined the race 15 laps down.
By lap 23, the No. 49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge was breezing the track at speeds equal to the leaders. However, on lap 75, Andretti was forced to make an unexpected pit stop costing the team an additional 10 laps. The car, still experiencing electrical problems, needed a new battery.
On lap 100, Andretti was racing in the 43rd position running 25 laps down to the leaders. A caution came out on lap 127 for an accident in turn two. Andretti brought the No. 49 Dodge to pit road for four tires and fuel.
Andretti made another unexpected pit stop on lap 161 and the crew once again replaced the battery on the car. The team took the opportunity to change radios in the car in hopes of restoring communications between driver and team.
"Just stay out of the way," crew chief Dean Johnson radioed his driver. "Let's try to finish the race without tearing up the racecar. I trust you."
A few laps later under caution, the team kept its sense of humor after Andretti was able to avoid an accident in turn three.
"Well, we've got good brakes!" Andretti radioed jokingly.
"We're glad to hear that," replied Johnson.
The second half of the race saw six caution periods. The BAM Racing team replaced the battery in the Paralyzed Veterans Dodge four more times before retiring from the race due to electrical issues. The team finished the race without damage in the 40th position. With this being Andretti's second race with BAM Racing, the group found cohesion this weekend in dealing with the electrical woes.
"I'm glad we were able to continue the race," Andretti said. "Now that I've gotten a better look at the surface, you can really feel the difference in the bumps on the track and each corner is different."