DAVID STARR SCORES BIG WIN AT HISTORIC SHORT TRACK "Veteran Driver Claims First Career Short Track Win" Martinsville, Virginia (April 2, 2006) - David Starr and his No.11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra led the final 121 laps of the Kroger...
DAVID STARR SCORES BIG WIN AT HISTORIC SHORT TRACK
"Veteran Driver Claims First Career Short Track Win"
Martinsville, Virginia (April 2, 2006) - David Starr and his No.11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra led the final 121 laps of the Kroger 250 on Saturday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway to collect his first victory of the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
"Anytime you can win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is a big deal. It is just so competitive these days," Starr said after the win. "This is a dream come true for me because there is so much history at Martinsville. I remember watching races here as a kid, and I love Martinsville."
Starr's drive to victory lane was a combination of a fast race truck, a talented driver behind the wheel at a difficult track and a daring call in the pits by a calm crew chief. The Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra started the weekend at the top of the speed charts. In first practice, Starr had put the No. 11 Toyota second on the board. Despite posting quick times, Starr told crew chief Jamie Jones that he was overdriving his truck into the corners, causing the truck to break loose. Starr had the same problem in qualifying and posted only the 15th fastest time. Starr, who felt the No. 11 truck was strong enough to start in the top-five, was disappointed with his starting spot. But both driver and crew chief were confident the team was poised for a top-10 run.
Although the Red Horse Racing Toyota and Starr took the green flag for the Kroger 250 in 15th place, it didn't take long for Starr to show just how strong his No. 11 Toyota Tundra was. By lap 10, Starr had picked up three spots. During the first caution at Lap 12, Starr reported to the crew that his truck was just a little tight past center but that it wasn't bad. Starr said his main focus was trying to take care of his brakes at a track that is notoriously tough on equipment. Starr held his 12th place position over the course of the next 50 laps not saying much about the No. 11 Toyota over the radio.
When the caution flag waved for the third time at Lap 63, Starr and crew chief Jamie Jones decided to pit to help free up the truck. Starr had told Jones his Red Horse Racing machine was tight center-off. The team pitted at Lap 65 for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The first six trucks chose not to pit under the caution, so Starr and the Red Horse Racing crew restarted in 13th spot at Lap 72. Following the restart, Starr took his time and picked up one position just 10 laps later at Lap 82. Starr told his crew that the truck was good, and he was simply biding his time. As Starr told the crew, he didn't "want to do anything stupid." Starr moved into the 11th spot at Lap 99. Again, Starr told his crew that he was trying to take care of his brakes. Starr also reported that his Toyota was still just a little tight past center.
Under the sixth caution at Lap 101, the lead trucks decided to pit. Having pitted just 40 laps earlier Starr stayed on the track, which moved the No. 11 Red Horse Racing team into sixth-place. Steady and smooth, Starr made his way through the top five over the course of the next few green flag laps and a number of caution laps. At the Lap 119 caution, Starr was fourth. When the caution waved at Lap 130, Starr was sitting in second place. When leader Dennis Setzer pitted under the yellow flag, Starr took over the lead. Starr led the field to the green flag at Lap 132. He would not relinquish the lead again. The No. 11 Red Horse Racing Team scored the victory thanks in part to crew chief Jamie Jones' one pit stop strategy.
"When crew chief Jamie Jones told me we were going to go all the way to the end (after the Lap 65 stop), I said, 'I am glad I'm not the one who has to make those decisions.' But it paid off."
Through numerous caution flags (a record setting 16 cautions) and restarts, Starr proved his No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra was the dominant truck at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.
"It's just great short track racing. There's a lot of beating and paint trading and sometimes there are a lot of cautions," Starr said. "Today, those cautions worked out to the benefit of my team, my truck and my situation. Because of those cautions, we only pitted one time for tires (lap 65). I was just focused on keeping my truck out front and trying to keep everything behind me. I look forward to the rest of the year with Red Horse Racing."
Saturday's victory was Starr's fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series -- his first since Phoenix in 2004 (others include Las Vegas in 2002 and St. Louis in 2004). It was also Red Horse Racing's second win.
For Starr, the Martinsville victory is especially sweet.
"To win this race today is extra special for me because we had a new baby born into my family today. My little sister, Melissa, had a baby boy this morning and gave my parents their first grandchild. To win a race on the same day that he was born will always hold a special place in my heart. The new baby's name is Matthew."
The win also was a big boost to Starr in the overall driver's standings as he moved up eight spot to fifth place.