JOHN ANDRETTI RACES STRONG IN RICHMOND BEFORE ACCIDENT ENDS NIGHT EARLY Andretti climbs from 43rd to 18th place; Finishes Chevy Rock & Roll 400 in 37th position RICHMOND, Va. (September 8, 2007) -- John Andretti and the BAM Racing team were...
JOHN ANDRETTI RACES STRONG IN RICHMOND BEFORE ACCIDENT ENDS NIGHT EARLY
Andretti climbs from 43rd to 18th place; Finishes Chevy Rock & Roll 400 in 37th position
RICHMOND, Va. (September 8, 2007) -- John Andretti and the BAM Racing team were focused on maintaining the momentum of previous weeks at Richmond International Raceway. It was all about points as the final race before the Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup began but not just for possible contenders. The LifeLock team was poised to gain position in the owner points standings with a strong run in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. After qualifying for the race on time, Andretti raced his way into the top-20 before being collected in multi-car accident. Although he returned to racing action, the team was forced to retire from the race after blowing on engine. Andretti finished the race in 37th place.
Excitement filled the air as the field approached the green flag before a sell-out crowd of 112,029 fans. Starting in the 43rd position, Andretti and team were focused on fine-tuning the LifeLock Dodge in order to gain position on track and finish strong.
It only took 10 laps before the first of 12 cautions came out. Andretti came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted the race in 40th place. It took two more cautions before Andretti could get an accurate feel for the car.
On lap 64, Andretti reported the LifeLock Dodge was tight in the center of the turns and loose on exit. He came to pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He restarted the race in the 35th position. By lap 92, Andretti was posting top-20 lap times and began working his way through the field.
Over the next 100 laps, the BAM Racing team continued to make adjustments to the LifeLock Dodge. By the mid-point of the race, Andretti was in a heated battle with Brian Vickers to be the first car one lap down in order to receive the "free pass" and return to the lead lap. When a caution came out on lap 202, Andretti was in front of Vickers and returned to the lead lap restarting the race in the 31st position.
The LifeLock Dodge was consistently fast shortly after restarts. Andretti continued his march to the front climbing into the top-20 by lap 263.
"You've got a good car after you get a few laps on it," radioed crew chief Dean Johnson. "Stay out of trouble and we'll get a good finish here."
Then, just 30 laps later, Andretti was involved in a multi-car accident on the backstretch. The radiator was extensively damaged and Andretti brought the LifeLock Dodge to the garage for repairs. The team was not allowed to begin repairs, however, due to red flag conditions while the track was cleaned.
After a 20 minute red flag period, the caution was displayed and the team feverishly began replacing the radiator. Repair work was finished in an impressive 20 minutes costing the team just 36 laps.
Andretti returned to the race on lap 337 which also marked the 11th caution of the night. When the race restarted on lap 341, Andretti was prepared to gain as much position on track as he could in the remaining laps. Unfortunately, the engine on the No. 49 Dodge blew that very same lap and the LifeLock team retired from the race finishing in the 37th position.
"We had a strong car and raced hard all night long," commented team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. "Unfortunately, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were collected in an accident. The team worked feverishly to change the radiator and make repairs but the engine must have been damaged in the incident. There are some things you just can't control."