SCOTT POSTS TOP TEN AT ATLANTA; ALBERTSONS TOYOTA SURVIVES CLOSE CALL IN LATE RACE SHUFFLE Brian Scott utilized smart pit strategy and a great late race save to claim his first top ten finish of the 2009 season in Saturday afternoon's American...
SCOTT POSTS TOP TEN AT ATLANTA; ALBERTSONS TOYOTA SURVIVES CLOSE CALL IN LATE RACE SHUFFLE
Brian Scott utilized smart pit strategy and a great late race save to claim his first top ten finish of the 2009 season in Saturday afternoon's American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Scott put himself in position to win the event with a great restart, storming into the lead on lap 122 of the 130 lap event. Unfortunately for Scott, Todd Bodine and Kevin Harvick made it three wide with Scott in the middle on the next lap causing Scott to lose traction and nearly spin. Scott made a great save to salvage a 10th place finish.
"As soon as we got the lead I thought we were going to win it." Scott said in the garage area after the event. "I realized after a corner or two that we were a little too tight. Todd Bodine got to the inside of me and Harvick had a really good run on the outside and it just sucked me around. I went from second or third to 10th place just like that. We had a pretty good truck and we were there at the end. We had a shot at it and that is all you can ask for. I20will learn from what happened today and hopefully be able to capitalize on that in the future."
Scott and his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra started the event in the 24th position and he steadily moved his way through the field. By the time the race's first caution came out on lap 29 Scott had moved up to the 16th spot. He brought his Toyota to pit lane for four tires on lap 30 and came down pit road again for fuel and and a track bar adjustment one lap later. On the next green flag run Scott continued his march forward moving into 13th on lap 52 with a nice pass on Rick Crawford's Ford. Scott brought his truck down pit road under caution on lap 68 and was back in for fuel on lap 69. Crew Chief Jeff Hensley also called for an air pressure adjustment and another track bar adjustment designed to give Scott's Toyota more forward bite. When the yellow flag fell again just a few laps later for a crash involving Ricky Carmichael, Colin Braun and Dennis Setzer, Hensley ordered his driver down pit road on two occasions to top off the fuel tank. That pit strategy worked to perfection when the majority of competitors were forced to make separate pit stops for both fuel and tires with 15 laps to go. Scott only made one pit stop for tires and was well positioned for the end of the race in the 4th spot. On the ensuing restart Terry Cook slowed dramatically in front of the field causing Colin Braun to check up, and in a chain reaction Mike Skinner hit Scott forcing him into Braun and sending Braun hard into the safety barrier on the backstretch. On the next restart Scott made a mad dash to the outside passing Kyle Busch and Cook to take the lead. Bodine and Harvick tag teamed Scott as they entered turn three on the next lap and Scott made a truly amazing save to hold on for the top ten finish.
"That was a really good call on the pit strategy by Jeff Hensley," Scott said. "I wish that the race had gone green from the point we came and topped off because hardly anybody would have made it on fuel and we definitely could have. All the guys on this team did a great job putting us in position to win and I am really thankful for that. We will just take this top 10 and head to Martinsville."
"Brian made one hell of a save there at the end to get us a top ten," Hensley said after the event. "That was a lot better finish than we got at California. I think we have something to build on. Brian did a great job all day long. We had great pit strategy and we had a shot to win with 8 laps to go. I was hoping it would go green there over the last run. If it had we might have just snookered them and got us a win."