Robert Pressley Makes Good Improvement at Rockingham

Pressley Rocks from 40th to 14th ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 22, 1999) It was the comeback run of the ages for the Jasper Motorsports team in Sunday's Dura Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway. Robert Pressley began the day in 40th starting...

Pressley Rocks from 40th to 14th

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 22, 1999) It was the comeback run of the ages for the Jasper Motorsports team in Sunday's Dura Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway. Robert Pressley began the day in 40th starting spot, only to gun his way to a 14th-place final position.

When the green flag was waved Sunday, the No. 77 Ford seemed a tick off the pace as Pressley fought the handling of the car for the first 65 laps. After a dazzling pit stop, the Jasper Taurus took off in search of the potential it lost at the start of the race. It didn't take long. Pressley slung the car high and wide often and passed many cars around the outside as he steadily moved up the leader board until he was flirting with the top-10. Pitting on the backstretch cost the team position on the track several times, and those same several times, Pressley fought and regained them.

The car crept its way past competitors and raced very hard to put itself into a competitive position. There were several late cautions in the race due to debris on the track, a spin by Elliot Sadler in the Wood Brothers car and a slide and slam by MB2 Motorsports driver, Ernie Irvan.

As the laps ticked down slowly, the car kept on the move under the guidance of crew chief Newt Moore and spotter Mark Wallace. The combination hit paydirt as the car seemed to perform better and better on long green flag runs. When it was all over, the Jasper Motorsports team raced its way to a very respectable 14th position.

"This Jasper Engine Ford got off to a good start," Pressley said. "We had a good race car today. I think we had as good a race car as anybody here. In the long run, pitting on the back straightaway was an absolute disaster. We'd pass every one of them cars and then the caution would come out. We just messed up. You've got to earn that front pit and it cost us today.

"I think had we not at that caution at one time, I can't remember which one, but I had the fifth place car in sight and we were running faster than the leaders all day. We'd let the leaders go by and then we'd get about 20 laps on our tires and go right by them, but when you start 40th and you start on the back straightaway, you're asking for what you got."

The Jasper crew is picking up some serious momentum as the 1999 season gets underway. The team is now solidly in 13th place in the points race after two events. The crew is performing flawless pit stops time after time, Moore is coaching Pressley to the front, and spotter Wallace has kept his driver completely out of trouble.

The team gets a much deserved week off to contemplate its quick start to the season and to prepare for the next event on the schedule -- the Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Robert Pressley