Lester and Ballew Gaining with Good Day at Kansas Kansas City, KS (April 30, 2007)- Bill Lester and the Billy Ballew Motorsports team headed to the Kansas Speedway for the running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series...
Lester and Ballew Gaining with Good Day at Kansas
Kansas City, KS (April 30, 2007)- Bill Lester and the Billy Ballew Motorsports team headed to the Kansas Speedway for the running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event hoping to improve their recent spell of bad luck. Lester made some progress on accomplishing that goal, bringing the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Gorilla Rack Chevrolet Silverado home in 16th position.
Rain loomed at the 1.5 mile tri-oval speedway Friday, canceling the second and final practice sessions for the NCTS drivers forcing the teams to qualify with several unknowns within their trucks and the race track. Lester expressed concern that his truck was super loose during the qualifying run after posting a 32.887 second lap at a speed of 164.249 mph placing him a disappointing 31st on the starting grid.
"Missing that second practice really hurt us during qualifying," Lester said. "We threw a bunch of stuff at the truck before hand to get it where we thought it needed to be, but we were super loose during our run. We also knew that the truck was set up more for the race so we were pretty confident that we would see a big improvement in the handling of the truck during the race compared to how we ran in qualifying."
Lester quickly advanced through the field once the green flag waved on the 167 lap-event. A long green flag run forced teams to make green-flag pit stops for tires and fuel. Lester relinquished the 12th position on lap 63 to make his way to pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. A lengthy stop on pit road put Lester in the 25th position after the stop. Just ten laps later a caution flag came out trapping several drivers, who had already been to pit road for service, one lap down. Although Lester was able to maintain times as fast if not faster then the leaders, the 'Lucky Dog' never played in his favor and Lester remained a lap down for the remainder of the race. Lester crossed the finish line in the 16th position and captured the FeatherliteMostImprovedDriverAward for advancing 20 positions during the race.
"Of course we would have preferred to have left Kansas with a strong top-10 finish," Lester said. "But the team communication is growing, the truck was awesome and the power under the hood was incredible. If we hadn't been caught a lap down I think we had a truck capable of a top-five finish. We are going to do some testing during these off weeks which I know will put us right where we need to be for Charlotte. Our on-track performance is improving and our off-track communication is improving -- once everything gets to where it needs to be, I think we will prove to be a threat for race wins on a weekly basis."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is off this week but will be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for testing May 10th in preparation for the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 which is slated for May 18, 2007.