Happy 21st Birthday for Chris Eggleston Martinsville, VA -- March 27, 2010. Chris Eggleston wasn't quite sure what his 21st birthday would bring as the Colorado native was preparing to make his very first start in the NASCAR Camping World ...
Happy 21st Birthday for Chris Eggleston
Martinsville, VA -- March 27, 2010. Chris Eggleston wasn't quite sure what his 21st birthday would bring as the Colorado native was preparing to make his very first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the Kroger 250 at the Martinsville Speedway.
As it turns out, birthday number the 21 was perfect as Eggleston drove the No. 21 SS Green Light Chevy to an 11th place finish at the tough half-mile track in Virginia. Rain on Friday afternoon cut short practice and canceled qualifying so the field was set by last years owner points giving Chris the 22nd starting position.
The excitement on the track started early, on the races second lap Mario Gosselin got in the back of Eggleston's H20 Fire Protection Chevy and spun him in the fourth turn. Chris kept his cool, righted the truck and continued on, loosing a lap in the process. The incident left him stranded in the 33rd position and it looked to be a long day for the rookie driver.
Running at the back of the field is always tough at Martinsville as the lead trucks catch the tail of the pack very quickly. Kevin Harvick put Chris a second lap down by the races 60th lap, but Crew Chief Butch Miller kept Eggleston on the track during the fourth caution at lap 93 to gain one of the two laps back using NASCAR's waive around rule.
Staying on the track put Eggleston into the "Lucky Dog" position as the first truck one lap down and Miller hoped for a quick caution that would move his young driver back onto the lead lap. Miller's birthday wish for Chris came true as the caution flew on lap 114 and Chris was back on the lead lap for the first time since lap one of the 250-lap race.
Chris showed patience and poise well beyond his years, as he stayed clean over the middle of the race moving into the top-twenty on lap 135.
On lap 146 Chris was running behind SS Green Light teammate Jason White when Austin Dillon got into the side of Ricky Carmichael who spun directly in front of White. Carmichael's Chevy slid down the banking in turn four, right into the path of the GunBroker.com No. 23. White making heavy contact with the right front of his truck. Eggleston cut hard to the very bottom of the track narrowly avoiding the wreck.
Following the accident, several trucks pitted and Chris found himself up into the top fifteen, but Miller brought him back down to pit lane for on the races ninth caution on lap 179 for four tires and to top off the H2O Fire Protection Chevy with Sunoco gas dropping him back to 18th place.
Chris put his foot to the floor and avoided several incidents over the last third of the race steadily moving up in the running order, just missing the top-ten at the finish taking the checkers in an impressive eleventh place. "I want to thank everybody that helped give me this opportunity," Eggleston said. "The team did a great job and this is much more than I expected for my first NASCAR race. This was a great birthday present."
Miller was smiles ear to ear after the race. "Chris kept a level head after getting spun at the start of the race."
"He got up on the wheel when we needed him to and he was cautious when he needed to be, he is a very smart driver." Miller added. "I can't wait for Nashville next week."
The next NCWTS race for Chris Eggleston and the SS Green Light team is next Friday night April 2nd at the Nashville SuperSpeedway.