HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 28, 2003) - The hard luck continued this weekend at Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for John Andretti and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team. A shredded left front tire that wrapped itself around parts of the front suspension ...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 28, 2003) - The hard luck continued this weekend at Pocono (Penn.) Raceway for John Andretti and the NetZero HiSpeed Racing team. A shredded left front tire that wrapped itself around parts of the front suspension dashed hopes for a Top-10 finish and relegated the team to 33rd place in the Pennsylvania 500 Sunday. Andretti posted one of the best qualifying efforts of the season for the Haas CNC Racing team Friday afternoon. After making a lap around the 2.5-mile tri-oval at an average speed of 168.925 miles per hour, the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac was set to start the event in fifth place.
Andretti took the green flag on the inside of the third row and remained in the Top 10 for the first 20 laps of the 200-lap event. The team had the opportunity to make changes to the car, which was loose coming off the corners, during the first pit stop of the day on lap 34. Crew chief Tony Furr and the pit crew continued to make changes to the car to better the handling during subsequent pit stops throughout the first 50 laps of the event.
On Lap 68, Andretti radioed to the crew that he had cut a left front tire after running over debris from the car driven by Jeremy Mayfield, which had just made contact with the wall. Andretti pulled into the pits to the attention of the team, who found that the tire had become entangled in the front suspension. Andretti went one lap down to the leaders while the crew worked feverishly to repair the damage and then headed back onto the track. Unfortunately, there was more repair work to be done and Andretti was forced to drive back down pit road for further work to fix parts of the front sway bar. Andretti returned to the track, and after continued repair work throughout the remainder of the event, took the checkered flag in 33rd place.
"I think we missed the setup a bit there at the start and were pretty loose off the corners right from the drop of the green flag," said Andretti following the event. "Tony made some changes to the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac that helped, but our biggest problem was getting caught up in Mayfield's problem. I thought we had made it through with just a flat tire, but when I finally got to the pits it was pretty obvious we had bigger problems and had to spend a lot of time repairing the front suspension. The guys did a good job trying to fix it as quickly as they could, but there wasn't too much we could do to salvage the day after that. I'm proud of the way we qualified, but we were hoping for a lot more, so this is pretty disappointing for everybody."
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series next travels to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the running of the Brickyard 400. 27 year-old former USAC Midget Champion and current Craftsman Truck Series competitor Jason Leffler will take the wheel of the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac for the event. Qualifying will take place Saturday, August 2 at 11:05 EDT with the drop of the green flag scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The event will be telecast live on NBC and will be broadcast worldwide by IMS Radio.