Chad McCumbee endured many obstacles over three days to record SS Green Light Racing's third top-ten of the young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, finishing eighth in TheGPSstore.com/Garmin Chevy in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 behind Mike...
Chad McCumbee endured many obstacles over three days to record SS Green Light Racing's third top-ten of the young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, finishing eighth in TheGPSstore.com/Garmin Chevy in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 behind Mike Skinner. It was the SS Green Light Racing team's third finish of eighth or better in the last four races and came in the team's 201st consecutive start in the NCWTS.
McCumbee was fast from the minute Bobby Dotter and the team unloaded the #07; sponsored again this week by TheGPSstore.com and Garmin. In the Friday practice sessions, Chad was fifth quick in the opening practice and seventh fastest in the final session of the 36 trucks in attendance. In Saturday's qualifying, McCumbee was the first truck on the track and set the mark of 30.303 seconds around the mile and a half speedway, which ended up the fourth fastest of the session behind Ron Hornaday. The fast lap gave Chad his best starting spot of the year.
The field took the green flag under threatening skies on Saturday afternoon and Chad quickly proved his Chevy was up to the task of running up front, moving into third place before the trucks finished the first lap. McCumbee and Ricky Carmichael waged a side-by-side battle for several laps that ended with the former motorcycle racer spinning to Chad's inside causing the races first caution. Upon the return to green flag racing, McCumbee quickly disposed of the races eventual winner and moved into second place where he ran until Terry Cook dropped the #07 to third on the 26th lap.
McCumbee brought TheGPSstore.com/Garmin Chevy to pit road under caution on lap 37, but a miscue dropped the #07 back to ninth position. When the trucks returned to pit road for fuel, several trucks took only one can of Sunoco racing gas and that dropped Chad, who had filled the 18-gallon tank full, back to 19th place. Chad quickly passed several trucks and was up to 17th when the rains came on lap 50. The race was red flagged on lap 52 and the trucks were brought to pit road with severe weather moving in. Lighting struck all around the track and soon tornado sirens sounded, forcing evacuation of the grandstands while NASCAR officials moved all the NCWTS crews into concrete buildings on the infield, postponing the race until Monday.
NASCAR officials allowed all the trucks to top-off their tanks with gas prior to the Monday restart. This decision cost the SS Green Light team multiple positions on the track as they had taken a full fuel load just five laps earlier while many other teams did not. When the race finally resumed nearly 48 hours after it had started, McCumbee quickly worked to erase the decision, moving up four positions in only four laps of racing. Another caution came on lap 73 and while seven trucks stayed on the track, Bobby Dotter called Chad to the pits for four tires, hoping the strategy would help gain back some track position on the next caution. Chad again showed the strength of his Chevy moving from 14th to 11th in the next ten laps before caution fell again on lap 85.
Dotter's strategy worked perfectly while getting only fuel under the caution, the #07 restarted from seventh. Chad had several side-by-side races for the sixth and seventh positions with Skinner and Stacy Compton before settling in seventh when another caution flew on lap 113. Dotter strategically took only right side tires and Chad restarted in twelfth with fifty laps remaining. Knowing rain was again in the area, Chad pressed hard racing three-wide, maneuvering his TheGPSstore.com/Garmin #07 into eighth place when the rains came for the final time causing the race to be halted after 132 of the 167 scheduled laps.
McCumbee was positive following the soggy three-day ordeal. "Given the circumstances, I'll take it. We unfortunately had a bad stop on Saturday and that got us a little behind. We have been able to rebound and get back into the top-5, top-10. These guys on TheGPSstore.com/Garmin Chevrolet crew have done a good job, they rebounded and gave us some good pitstops here today." McCumbee said after the race was halted, "We took a gamble and took two tires to be sure we had some track position and that seems to have hurt the truck a little bit, but we got the track position and that's real important here the end of the race."
McCumbee remains eighth in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings, 154 points behind Mike Skinner. The NCWTS has the next two weeks off before heading to Lowes Motor Speedway on Friday, May 15th.