Pocono II: Wood Brothers Racing race report

Wood Brothers Racing Secures Top 20 Finish at Pocono Long Pond, PA (August 3, 2008)-The team's hard work finally paid off this past weekend in the Sunoco Red Cross 500 at Pocono Speedway as the no. 21 Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies Ford Fusion...

Wood Brothers Racing Secures Top 20 Finish at Pocono

Long Pond, PA (August 3, 2008)-The team's hard work finally paid off this past weekend in the Sunoco Red Cross 500 at Pocono Speedway as the no. 21 Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies Ford Fusion finished 20th .

After Bill qualified in 37th on Friday afternoon, the team changed the car's set-up from qualifying to racing. However, they were unable to test the changes since all of Saturday's scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup practice sessions were cancelled due to rain.

On Sunday, Bill took the green flag with an unpracticed race setup in the 500 mile event. On lap one, the first caution of the day transpired with a two car incident. Because it was too early to determine if any changes needed to be made, the team did not pit. On lap 4, the race resumed. On lap seven, the caution flag flew again and Bill reported that the no. 21 was turning well through turns two (the tunnel turn) and three, but was tight in turn one. The team decided not to pit in hopes that the condition would change. Crew Chief David Hyder noted that they would make their first pit stop under NASCAR's prescheduled competition yellow set for lap 20. The no. 21 resumed racing on lap 11 in 38th position.

On lap 20 NASCAR waived the "competition yellow." As planned, Bill brought the 21 car to the pits. Hyder called for a left front shock adjustment, four tires and fuel. The no. 21 restarted in 37th position on lap 24. On lap 36, Bill noted some improvement in handling, yet stated he needed more help with turn one as it was still tight.

On lap 53, Elliott moved to the 30th position and the 21 crew chose to make its first green flag pit stop of the 500 mile event. The team put on four tires, fuel and another shock adjustment in 16.1 seconds -- a quick time considering the shock adjustment. Elliott went back to the race track in 37th position.

After two debris cautions during which the team made more improvements to the no. 21, Bill moved up to the 28th position by the half-way point of the 200 lap race. On lap 120, the team needed to make another green flag stop. The 21 crew had its best pit stop of the day with a time of 13.9 seconds. Bill went back to the race track in the 29th position. Several teams took only two tires in hopes that the nearing threat of rain would end the race.

As the darkening skies set in on lap 126, NASCAR waived the yellow caution flag for the light rain. Several teams, who had only put on two tires in the previous stop, pit at this time. As the rain continued, NASCAR brought out the red flag on lap 131 and brought the field down pit road to wait for the showers to end. Bill was scored in 13th position.

The race resumed after a 40 minute delay on lap 134. Bill held on to the 15th spot when Crew Chief Hyder decided to pit for fuel mileage purposes. He radioed to the crew stating, "We're going to need to pit for fuel, if we do that now, we'll be able to make it with only one more stop when a lot of the other teams who just pit will need two more." With rain entering the area once again, the team made the decision to pit on lap 138 when an incident involving two race cars brought out the yellow flag. The 21 team pit and put on four tires and fuel. Bill restarted the race on lap 145 in 32nd position.

The rain clouds passed over with only a brief shower. The race was not stopped and just as Hyder predicted, other teams began to make stops on lap 156. As teams made green flag pit stops, Bill continued to move to the front and eventually led lap 170 before pitting on lap 171 for four tires and fuel. Elliott returned to the track in 30th.J The team calculated that pitting on lap 171 meant Bill would not have to pit again and that other teams would run into fuel mileage issues. With twenty five laps to go, the no. 21 started reaping the benefits from its pit strategy. As teams began to make pit stops and run out of fuel, Bill climbed to the 20th position where he took the checkered flag on lap 200.

After securing its best finish of the year, The Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 team is looking forward to this week's race at Watkins Glen for another round of road course racing. Marcos Ambrose will once again be behind the wheel of the Little Debbie Snack Cakes Ford Fusion for the Centurion Boats at The Glen on Sunday, August 10th.

-credit: wbr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Marcos Ambrose
Teams Wood Brothers Racing