Renshaw Earns Career-Best NCTS Finish of 15th at Temper-Filled Martinsville Speedway Deborah Renshaw earned her career-best NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finish on Saturday when she took the green flag in the 15th position in the Kroger 200...
Renshaw Earns Career-Best NCTS Finish of 15th at Temper-Filled Martinsville Speedway
Deborah Renshaw earned her career-best NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finish on Saturday when she took the green flag in the 15th position in the Kroger 200 at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Renshaw, who started the race from the 28th position when the field was lined-up based on current owner points due to rain throughout the day, knew that she was going to have to show more aggression in the course of the event if she was going to improve upon her existing career-best finish in the series of 22nd position.
The 36-truck field took the green flag under a cloudy sky and very cold temperatures causing the drivers to find patience on the tight, half-mile as they waited for their tire pressures to come up to the proper temperature. Renshaw experienced this frustration for the first 20 laps as she struggled to make her No. 29 Motion Dealers / K Automotive Ford turn in the center of the corners. But as the tire pressures increased, the drivability of the race truck got better for Renshaw and she began to slowly work her way through the field as other trucks pitted for tires and fuel. By lap 54 Renshaw had made her way to the 12th position and crew chief, Bob Keselowski was looking at a lap 75 pit stop window in order to make it to the end of the race on one pit stop. As Renshaw made her way into the ninth position on lap 63, another caution flew on lap 69 and the team made the decision to come to pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to loosen the truck up in the corners. A solid pit stop by the K Automotive team put Renshaw back on the track and ready for a restart from the 26th position as several of the trucks in front of her had already been to pit road earlier in the event.
As the field restarted on lap 78 she began working her way up once again, but while going for the 25th position on the inside of the No. 14 truck driven by Rick Crawford, the two trucks made contact sending Crawford into the outside wall. Renshaw would dodge yet another bullet on lap 118 as several trucks crashed on the frontstretch just behind Renshaw, but contact was made between her and the No. 02 truck driven by Kelly Sutton. Renshaw's truck sustained damage to the front air dam of the truck and was forced to pit road numerous times during the caution period as the team made repairs to the truck. Renshaw restarted the race as the last truck on the lead lap in the 19th position, but as the green flag period lasted nearly 50 laps, the brakes on her No. 29 Ford began to heat up causing them to get very spongy in the corners. Renshaw had to adjust her braking into the corners in order to maintain control of the truck, but this adjustment lost her lap time and ultimately caused her to lose a lap on the race track to the leaders.
When the caution flag flew on lap 173, Renshaw pitted to allow her team to check the levels of brake fluid and attempt to cool off her brakes for a run to the finish. She would restart in the 14th position and hold onto the 15th position for the checkered flag.
"This was exactly the type of day we needed," said Renshaw. "To earn my career-best Craftsman Truck Series finish here at the short track in Martinsville is really an accomplishment. This is the first time that I have raced at this track and I had to learn my way around in the practice sessions. Overall I think Martinsville is a fun place to race on, but it is also a race track where you have to be willing to be aggressive otherwise you will get pushed around by everyone else during the race. There were some instances on the race track where we made contact with another truck, there was nothing intentional, I think it is simply a situation where this is a one-groove race track and two trucks are going after the same piece of track into the corners."
"I hope this is a turning point for the remaining three races of the season," said Renshaw. "I have learned so much to this point in the series from some of the other competitors and just from seat time at all these race tracks. But now it's time to start earning some finishes that I know we are all capable of in these final three races. The K Automotive team gave me a great truck, Bob (Keselowski) made awesome calls on pit road and the team was really strong on their pit stops. I'm just really pleased with this 15th place finish and I think you will see this finish add a lot of momentum to our entire team heading into the final three races."
The next race for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is Friday, November 5 at the Phoenix International Raceway where the trucks will take the green flag at 3:30pm MT. The race can be seen Live on Speed Channel.