SCOTT POSTS CRAZY 8TH PLACE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE; ALBERTSONS TOYOTA SURVIVES TYPICAL ROUGH AND TUMBLE SHORT TRACK MADNESS MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 30, 2009) -- Brian Scott and his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra team utilized a smart pit...
SCOTT POSTS CRAZY 8TH PLACE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE; ALBERTSONS TOYOTA SURVIVES TYPICAL ROUGH AND TUMBLE SHORT TRACK MADNESS
MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 30, 2009) -- Brian Scott and his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra team utilized a smart pit strategy and played the game of survival to post a solid 8th place finish in Monday afternoon's rain delayed Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Scott made two pit stops in the first third of the event and then saved fuel and utilized strong track position to garner his second straight top ten finish and his 8th top ten finish in his last 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts.
"There was a lot of beating and banging going on all race long," Scott said after the event. "It was exciting. I was just happy we were able to beat and bang and still be around for the finish. The chassis on our truck was a little too tight .We couldn't drive in as hard as some trucks because we had to check up to be able to rotate the center without sliding out. Then we were too tight to get on the throttle as early as a lot of them. It made it pretty difficult to pass. We made some good calls and played the track position game and pit strategy, and we were able to salvage an 8th place finish. I'm pretty happy with it."
Inclement weather postponed the event on Saturday and track officials rescheduled the event, creating a rare Monday afternoon showdown. Scott qualified 12th and quickly showed the strength of his No. 16 Albertsons Toyota Tundra by moving up three positions in the first three laps of the event. He maintained his spot in the top ten until his crew chief Jeff Hensley called him down pit road under caution on lap 64. His Xpress Motorsports crew changed four tires. Scott came down pit road again one lap later to add fuel and make a track bar adjustment designed to aid the tight condition. Scott restarted the event in the 24th position and once again began to climb his way back through the pack. At this point Hensley began reminding his driver to save fuel. When the caution came out on lap 94 Hensley briefly considered bringing Scott down pit road to top off on fuel but decided against it, going for track position instead. The gambled paid off when a host of other competitors made their way to pit road, placing Scott fifth in the running order. Scott maintained a top ten position over the next 120 laps throughout a plethora of caution flags. When the caution flag fell on lap 158 Hensley radioed his driver, "We can make it on fuel, we need 30 more laps of caution to do it. Just shut off the engine under caution and save me as much fuel as you can.8 0 Scott was running 8th on a restart on lap 212 when Todd Bodine and T.J. Bell came together in turn one adding some much needed caution laps to the tally. Scott continued to do a masterful job of saving fuel as the laps wound down. He was running 10th on the last restart of the day on lap 249 and was caught in a wild tangle with Terry Cook, Todd Bodine and Matt Crafton on the last lap and managed to come out with a solid 8th place finish.
"I saved everything I could," Scott said."I don't think I ever ran over 3,000 RPMs under caution. I think that for every two cautions we ran, one was completely shut off. It will be interesting to see how much we have left -- I think I did an OK job, but I'm also glad we didn't go into overtime.It was definitely a good points day for us. You just have to keep checking them off -- top-10, top-10, top-10. Hopefully now we're going to a couple of tracks where I think we're pretty good. Kansas I'm looking forward to because our mile-and-a-half program is really good. You're typically not a victim of somebody else's circumstances at those types of racetracks. There's a lot of room and you don't typically beat and bang. A lot can still happen but if you have a good truck you'll have a good finish. I know how good the trucks are that we've been putting together and taking to the racetrack. So I'm really excited."
For crew chief Hensley the end of the race was a big relief. The stress of cutting it so close on fuel mileage took its toll on the Horsepasture, VA native.
"Holy cow, I'm not doing that anymore," Hensley said in the garage area after the race. "Track position is so important here, and when we felt like we got into our window, we came in and got four tires and topped it off with gas. I guess that worked out pretty good but the bad thing is that you only get one shot to make your truck better. We were a little too tight to start with. We didn't go far enough with our adjustments and it ended up being too tight there at the end when we really needed to be the best we could be. Brian did a heck of a job all day long saving the tires, saving the fuel. I guess any time you go to Martinsville and get a top-10 you've earned your keep. I'm a little disappointed -- I feel like we should be in the top-5 every week and we've had a truck that's been capable of doing that every week, we just can't seem to get the breaks that we need sometimes. Man they were beatin' and bangin' on Brian -- he held his own, stood up to them. He drove a whale of a race." Scott jumped up two spots to 12th in the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points chase. He is only 7 points out of the top 10 and just 72 points out of the top five in driver's points.