CHAFFIN STRONG WITH TOP FIVE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE "Old Tires Deny Shot At Victory" MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 11, 2005) -- Chad Chaffin knew he was with a strong team and manufacturer this season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and...
CHAFFIN STRONG WITH TOP FIVE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE
"Old Tires Deny Shot At Victory"
MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 11, 2005) -- Chad Chaffin knew he was with a strong team and manufacturer this season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and together they are showing just how strong they can be. Once again Chaffin and his No. 30 Toyota Tundra put on an impressive performance on their way to a fifth place finish in the running of the Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway.
"This Germain / Arnold Racing team has been strong every race so far this season and we are starting to get the finishes to show for it," said Chaffin. "We really struggled early on in the race with a tight truck and we pitted early to make some necessary changes. That stuck us in the back of the field and at a place that is hard to pass like Martinsville that made it tough. We ultimately stayed out when others pitted and gained valuable track position on everyone. The truck was awesome after those early stops and I think we had the best truck out there. We just got stuck there on old tires and we were afraid to give up that track position so we hung on for the best we could get. Those last few cautions hurt us otherwise I think we would have finished third -- but either way it was a solid top five finish for me and this team."
Once again, Chaffin was presented with the daunted task of battling a group of strong trucks for the last few spots in the starting field of the 250 lap event. And again the veteran driver rose to the occasion and qualified 12th for the event -- with another solid group of drivers failing to make the field.
On a sunny and beautiful day, the green flag would fly for the running of Kroger 250 with Chaffin settling in the 13th position for the first 40 laps of the race. With the truck being tight off the corners, the team decided to come down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment with the hopes that would help the handling for Chad. Back under green, the No. 30 Toyota restarted in the 30th position and Chad found it difficult to work through the traffic. With the truck still tight and knowing that they still needed more adjustments, the team brought Chad down pit road once again under caution on lap 61 for a wedge adjustment. Chad would settle into the 21st spot on the restart and would stay there until pitting again under caution on lap 94 for four tires and fuel.
The early adjustments to the No. 30 Toyota proved to be in the right direction and at the halfway point of the race Chad radioed to his crew that "the truck was the best it had been all day". At that point, Chad started to move up through the field and with the rest of the leaders finally pitting Chad found himself running second. He would hold that position until lap 210 when the leader pitted and handed the point over to the No. 30 Toyota Tundra.
"Even though we were on old tires out there, we felt it was a dangerous move to pit with less than 40 laps left on a track that is hard to pass on like this," stated Chad. We had played our hand and we just had to stay out there and get the best finish out of this that we could."
Chaffin would lead the race for nine laps before being overtaken by a few trucks with fresher tires and thus settled for the fifth place finish. The finish was the second straight top ten finish for Chad and it rocketed him up into the 11th position in the point's standings -- only 138 points out of the lead.
"This is going to be a really fun season with this Germain / Arnold Racing team," said Chaffin. "I really like working with the Hillman's and this entire organization -- it is just awesome. My team has given me fast trucks these first four races but we just had some bad luck for the first two. I feel that we will win a few of these races and make a solid run for the championship with this team and the support of Toyota."
Chad and his team will have a few weeks off before heading to the Gateway International Raceway for the April 30th running of the Ram Tough 200.