STARR HANGS TOUGH FOR SECOND PLACE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE "Driver And Team Come Close To Repeat Win At Short Track" MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 23, 2006) - David Starr and the No. 11 Red Horse Racing team came up just shy of repeating as champions...
STARR HANGS TOUGH FOR SECOND PLACE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE
"Driver And Team Come Close To Repeat Win At Short Track"
MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 23, 2006) - David Starr and the No. 11 Red Horse Racing team came up just shy of repeating as champions at Martinsville Speedway in Saturday's Kroger 200.
Starr's impressive run at the Virginia short track wasn't without its share of difficulty. Starr hit the wall in the final practice on Friday, which cut his time on the track. Despite the brush with the wall, Starr was confident that the No. 11 truck would be solid. After all, Red Horse Racing had excelled on short tracks this season scoring a win and four top-five finishes on short tracks this season prior to Saturday's race.
Starr started 11th and made a hard charge for the victory, but he could not catch eventual winner Jack Sprague and brought his No. 11 Toyota home in second place.
"Just because you won a race here in the spring doesn't mean you're going to do it again. But, I'm confident because I have Jamie Jones (crew chief) on my side," Starr said. "Every time we unload at a short track, we are always a contender. I knew if I could do my job, we would be one to contend with here.
"But to come here and repeat I knew we had our work cut out for us. After we hit the wall in the second practice session, I had a lot of question marks coming into the race. We qualified 11th -- which was four spots higher than we qualified in the spring, and as the race went on, I said to myself: 'I have a pretty good piece here.'"
When the green flag waved, Starr wasted no time trying to move his No. 11 truck through the field. But on a track where passing his difficult, Starr had moved up only two positions to ninth place by Lap 31 when the second caution flag of the day waved.
The Red Horse Racing crew elected to pit for fuel only. After coming in to the pits in ninth place, Starr returned to the track in seventh.
The third caution of the day waved at Lap 44. Starr told his crew that he needed more forward bite. Starr said he was working with the truck as best he could in traffic and that he was being careful off the corners.
With a flurry of cautions and several short periods of green flag racing, Starr did all he could to move his No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota through the field. By Lap 71, Starr had moved into the Top Five.
Starr reported to his crew that the tight handling condition was still hampering him, but he was continuing to work with the truck. By Lap 131, Starr was able to pick up another spot and move into fourth.
Just laps later, NASCAR black-flagged race leader Ted Musgrave for an improper restart. The penalty moved Starr into the third spot behind Jack Sprague and rookie Erik Darnell. When the green flag waved at Lap 145, Starr went to work in an attempt to get to the front of the field.
Lap after lap, Starr worked side-by-side with the No. 99 truck of Darnell. On several occasions, Starr was close to passing the rookie, but an ill-timed caution would keep him in third place.
Finally at Lap183, Starr was able to complete the pass and move into the runner-up spot.
"My truck would get through the center better than (Darnell's) did," Starr said. "He was able to stop his truck, get it to rotate and then get back on the gas. That killed my momentum because I couldn't really get off the corner.
"On the restart he left a lane there and I shot in there and closed the lane up. I don't think his spotter realized I was there. He cut down on me and got himself loose. I was able to take advantage of it."
Once Starr disposed of Darnell, he was geared for a run at the leader. However, there was too little time left. Starr finished in second place.
"It's never easy to win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and I knew we wouldn't be an automatic shoe-in for the repeat victory at Martinsville," Starr said. "It's fun to race here, but it's also tough to pass with the competition so close. I just ran out of time to get to Sprague. We could have put on a good show."
With his second place finish, Starr moved to sixth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point's standings. Starr is 383 points behind leader Todd Bodine and just 32 points out of fifth place.
Starr and the No. 11 Red Horse Racing Team will return to action Saturday, Oct. 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The green flag drops on the Easy Care Vehicle Services 200 at 5:15 p.m. ET.