CARMICHAEL: O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK RECAP Ricky Carmichael made his second career start at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis and secured another top-15 finish for his Monster Energy Chevrolet team. Carmichael fought changing conditions from...
CARMICHAEL: O'REILLY RACEWAY PARK RECAP
Ricky Carmichael made his second career start at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis and secured another top-15 finish for his Monster Energy Chevrolet team.
Carmichael fought changing conditions from "too loose" to "too tight" in both practice sessions at ORP. His truck was far too loose in his qualifying run, relegating him to a 21st-place start in the AAA Insurance 200. Though it wasn't the starting position the No. 4 team was hoping for, the group felt confident in their truck for long haul of the race.
Within the first five laps of the race, Carmichael had moved up five spots and was running in the 16th-position when the water temperature on his truck shot up. He was about to have to make a green flag pit stop to fix the problem when the first caution flag of the day flew at lap nine. Doug Randolph, competition consultant for the race, brought Carmichael down pit road as soon as the caution was displayed to pull tape off of the nose of the Monster Energy Chevrolet. In order not to lose a lap, he brought the truck back down for a second stop to top off on fuel and add water.
The team re-started the race on lap 17 in the 32nd-position, but gained seven spots on the competition in three short laps. Carmichael continued to make his way through the field and into the top top-20 by lap 47 and, while battling traffic, was running lap times consistent with the race leader.
Eventual race winner, Ron Hornaday, put Carmichael down one lap on lap 67 as he came up through the field in a very strong truck. Carmichael was running in the 18th-position when he became the first truck one lap down.
When the second caution flag flew on lap 84, Carmichael reported to Randolph that he needed to "rotate the center better and needed a little more bite." Randolph brought the truck to the attention of his Turner Motorsports crew for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Carmichael gained two spots on pit road and re-started the race in the 16th-position, but still one lap down.
Carmichael continued to battled the competition in the Indianapolis heat and stayed out during the third caution of the race on lap 95. By the time the fourth caution was displayed on lap 118, the young driver reported that his truck "gets better about 15 laps in." Randolph opted to pit, raise the track bar two rounds and top the Monster Energy Chevrolet off with Sunoco fuel. As the recipient of the "lucky dog" award, Carmichael re-gained his position on the lead lap and re-started the race in the 15th-position on lap 124.
The fifth and final caution of the race fell on lap 141 with Carmichael running in the 15th position. His Monster Energy crew gave him four Goodyear tires and topped his tank off once more with fuel to get him through the remainder of the race. The speedy pit stop helped Carmichael gain two positions to re-start the race in 13th.
After a battle lasting several laps with Mike Skinner, the driver who ended Carmichael's day early at Gateway, the 15-time AMA Champion made a clean pass on his competitor on lap 183. But Hornaday continued his charge through the field once more and placed Carmichael one lap down again while riding in the 14th-position. He finished the AAA Insurance 200 two laps later in 14th-place as the first truck one lap down. Carmichael currently sits 11th in the points standings, a mere 51 points out of 10th-place.
Ron Hornaday brought his 22-race winless streak to an end when he took the checkered flag at ORP. Kyle Busch, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Turner Motorsports teammate James Buescher rounded out the top-five.
The Monster Energy Chevrolet team will make its debut at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, July 31st for the Pocono Mountains 125.
RICKY CARMICHAEL: "Finishing in 14th really wasn't the end I wanted to the day but this crew worked hard for us to battle back through the field and, all-in-all, a top-15 isn't bad. I'm ready to look to next week and my first trip to Pocono to get some good momentum going and get back on our streak of top-10 finishes."
-source: turner motorsports