Gateway Sour Day for Biffle, Ruttman

Day turns sour for Biffle, Ruttman By Shawn A. Akers MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 19, 1998) It was a riches to rags story for the Roush Racing contingent Saturday afternoon. What promised to be a successful and fulfilling afternoon for ...

Day turns sour for Biffle, Ruttman By Shawn A. Akers

MADISON, Ill. (Sept. 19, 1998) It was a riches to rags story for the Roush Racing contingent Saturday afternoon. What promised to be a successful and fulfilling afternoon for Roush drivers Joe Ruttman and Greg Biffle turned sour nearly midway through the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ram Tough 200 presented by Pepsi at Gateway International Raceway. Both drivers lost a lap on green-flag pit stops and could never make it back up. Biffle went on to finish 19th, while Ruttman came home 18th. Ruttman's finish was particularly frustrating, as it dealt a severe blow to his title hopes. Ruttman trailed leader Jack Sprague by 88 points coming into Saturday's race, but now finds himself 139 points behind with just five races left in the season. "We had a right front go down, and that got us behind," said Ruttman, who started on the outside of the first row next to his teammate Biffle, the Bud Pole winner. "Probably what hurt truly more than anything else was not being able to get that lap back. I thought we made up the lap legitimately, and then to have it taken back. With a tire going down, Ruttman was forced to pit on lap 75 under the green flag. Later, while running with Sprague, Ruttman allowed Sprague to pass while trying to get the lap back, but his good nature turned against him. "I'd run 20 laps against those guys, and given Sprague a free pass when he asked for it," Ruttman said. "That's probably what hurt the most. I could have stayed in there and blocked, and then I would have been in a position to get my lap back. Sprague was running for the win, and I didn't want to interfere with the race. Being a good sport kept me a lap down." Biffle a tire problem at the same time and pitted on the same lap as Ruttman. He went a lap down as well, and was never able to get the lap back. Biffle led the first 24 laps before Ron Hornaday snagged the point from him. "We were running okay, and the guys were doing a good job," Biffle said. "We had a good pit stop. We got a flat tire, got a lap down, and the truck started loosening up a bit. We made some changes to the wing and did some track bar adjustments and just couldn't get it to come around the way I wanted it. "I couldn't get back on the lead lap. Carelli got me sideways back there, and I hit the wall, and that screwed up the aero package. It just started going downhill from there. The Grainger Ford was awesome when I was out front, and the guys did a great job on pit stops. We'll pick up the pieces and go to Martinsville." Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Joe Ruttman