Mast takes detour on way to top-10 by Kyle McDoniel NASCAR Online SONOMA, Calif. (June 28, 1998) Rick Mast ran to a top-ten finish in Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350 despite taking a spin in Turn 11 and a detour up the dragstrip. In an...
Mast takes detour on way to top-10 by Kyle McDoniel NASCAR Online
SONOMA, Calif. (June 28, 1998) Rick Mast ran to a top-ten finish in Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350 despite taking a spin in Turn 11 and a detour up the dragstrip.
In an up-and-down day for the driver of the No. 75 Remington Arms Ford, Mast took advantage of a new road course car and a few days of testing at Sears Point Raceway earlier in the year to qualify seventh fastest and take home an eighth-place finish.
Even though it rained for most of the three days Mast tested, the limited number of laps he did get in with instructor Bill Cooper proved beneficial in battling from the back of the pack and keeping his car in the hunt.
"I spent my time in the car with Cooper working on shift points, brake points, acceleration points." Mast said. "I just went out there and made laps without worrying about the time."
What Mast did have to worry about was getting around the hairpin Turn 11.
On lap 18 of the 122-lap race, Mast spun as he went into the tight turn with several other cars racing for the same spot, dropping him well back into the field.
"I don't know what happened," Mast said. "It was just one of those jumbled up racing deals."
Only 12 laps later, Mast would make his second detour of the day when Ernie Irvan blew a tire and forced Mast off the track and down the dragstrip that bisects the start-finish line. Mast turned the car back around, but the time he was back on the circuit, he was battling to keep his car on the lead lap.
But the smooth lines Mast had learned in his earlier testing session enabled him to keep the leaders at bay until Irvan had more trouble on lap 50, losing an engine and spinning into the gravel pit adjacent to Turn 7.
Mast spent the second half of the race working his way through the field one car at a time - taking advantage of the turn that he spun in earlier to make the passes to get his car back to the front.
"The only place you can do it is Turn 11," Mast said. "It's the only place I passed anybody and it's the only place anybody passed me."
Now with a solid road course performance under his belt and a road course car he's happy with, Mast is hoping to improve on Sunday's finish later this year at the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' only other road course event -- The Bud at the Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway on Aug. 9.
Source: NASCAR Online