(March 17, 2001 - Bakersfield, CA.) - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie, David Donohue finished 21st at the conclusion of the OSH 250 in Bakersfield, CA. this past Saturday. It was Donohue's first visit to Mesa Marin Speedway and despite his...
(March 17, 2001 - Bakersfield, CA.) - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie, David Donohue finished 21st at the conclusion of the OSH 250 in Bakersfield, CA. this past Saturday. It was Donohue's first visit to Mesa Marin Speedway and despite his finish, he made a pretty impressive showing nonetheless.
"It was a lackluster day to say the least. Team Rensi did everything they could to keep me out front and on the track. We were running really well in the beginning, despite moving to the back of the pack early on. As soon as the leaders came up behind me, the truck started handling really good. I started passing lap trucks on the outside groove and everything seemed to really be working for us. Unfortunately, I got hit from behind, which put us a lap down and as the race went on the No. 86 truck got into us a couple of times, causing a lot of damage to the nose." Donohue stated after the race.
"It's been a couple of years since I've been able to spot at one of these short tracks and for someone who's never done this before, the professionalism that he had and being able to race every lap is unbelievable. It's like nothing I've ever seen." Stated Troy Selberg, Team Manager for Rensi Motorsports.
Donohue had never been to Mesa Marin, but the rookie driver was 14th fastest after only 10 laps on the track during practice. That is incredible considering the time that is needed to get the feel of a track one has never even seen before. Donohue is not only a driver, but has the intellect to determine what needs to be done and works with the team to achieve that goal.
When it was time to qualify, Donohue didn't have the speed he'd had during practice and qualified 24th for the start of the race, but the team was not discouraged and began preparations for happy hour.
"Qualifying wasn't all that good for us. I had a lot of wheel spin and was real loose coming off of Turn 4 at the beginning of the last lap, which was the lap on time. Judging from the interval times that one of my guys was taking, I lost so much time down in Turns 3 and 4 it wasn't even funny."
During happy hour Donohue was running in the high groove along side Rick Carelli. Having a little bit too much rear break caused him to lose it and hit the wall. The hit left the No. 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck with superficial damage. The crew worked on the damage and quickly got Donohue back on the track for the end of the final practice session.
Donohue smirked, "The truck was pretty ugly after hitting the wall. The guys did a good job getting me back out and it actually felt better after hitting the wall than it did earlier in the day."
The race included 17 rookies and had a record number of cautions. This made it extremely difficult to run competitively with those at the front of the field. The inexperience of the other rookies hindered Donohue to gain any track position and ultimately caused him to get involved in some on-track incidents.
"Truthfully, the other competitors is what took us out of contention. It's unfortunate because the guys did a great job all weekend. Towards the end it was really tough due to a lot of exhaust coming into the truck making it tough to breathe, but we finished and that's what's important." said Donohue.
The No. 16 Team Rensi Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team has a weekend off. Their next appearance will be the Advanced Auto Parts 250 at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, West Virginia on April 1, 2001. The race will be aired on ESPN at 1:00 pm.