Memphis 200 Saturday notebook MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 8, 1999) Notes and quotes following Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park: Rick Carelli hit the wall hard in Turn 4 11 laps into the race. The ...
Memphis 200 Saturday notebook
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 8, 1999) Notes and quotes following Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park:
Rick Carelli hit the wall hard in Turn 4 11 laps into the race. The latest report from The Med hospital in Memphis at about 7 p.m. ET was that he was awake and stable, but that he had suffered a concussion. He was being held for observation overnight and was to undergo further tests.
It's easy to figure out who the two most nervous drivers were entering the Memphis 200 Saturday, but not so easy to figure out which one topped the other. Ron Hornaday Jr. has won two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships and was the defending champion of Saturday's race, but this was the first time he was racing in the series against his son Ronnie. Ronnie, meanwhile, had the added pressure of it making his first career series start. The elder Hornaday finished 6th, and the first-timer a respectable 24th.
"We learned a lot today," said the younger Hornaday. "We went out there and we spun the first couple of laps and I guess I was trying too hard. It was a rookie mistake, what can I say? I'm still a rookie. This is my first truck race. I'll just go out there next time and not try so hard in the early laps. I was just trying too hard to impress myself and everybody else and I learned that you just don't do that around these trucks. They're not like Late Models - you just can't drive 'em until they die."
Lonnie Rush was having a very strong run, and even led at one point. But he spun out attempting to pass another truck, and ended up with a disappointing 33rd-place finish. "We were out of sequence with everybody today on our pit stops and I felt like that was a good thing 'cause everybody was pitting early," Rush said. "With all the early yellows, we didn't have 50 green laps on our right-side tires and we went 100 in practice. So, I felt like we had something for them today, but unfortunately coming back through one of the guys that got into us earlier decided it was time to take us out."
Mike Stefanik is the USG Sheetrock Brand Rookie of the Year candidate who continues to run like a veteran. He brought the No. 66 Carlin Burners & Controls Ford home 11th.
"We made a ton of changes to the truck coming into this weekend,:" he said. "We had the same basic Ford F-Series truck but we put in a whole new front clip. That might not sound like a lot, but believe me that is changing everything from the firewall forward to the front that is under the hood geometry-wise. We improved 14 spots in the race but we could have been better than that. We chose a different pit strategy and we were coming."
While Greg Biffle was winning the Memphis 200, teammate Mike Bliss was finishing a respectable -- but not thrilling -- 12th. He said without problems with another truck in the pits, he may have had a better view of his Roush Racing stablemate's victory.
"We had a real good truck all day long," Bliss said. "I was just riding along and the No. 86 (Stacy Compton) kept putting their right rear tire out there. I hit it once so we went over and told them to pull their right rear tire in. Then it happened again and I caved the nose of the truck in and that just killed the handling of the truck. It was very tight at the end of the race. The fender actually punched the tire. We should have been higher today, but knocking that front end in just killed us. We had to run 60 laps after that happened.
"It is good for Greg and good for Roush Racing. Jack was here so it puts a star in Greg's notebook. Both teams ran well this weekend, so going to Pikes Peak we're looking good. Pikes Peak is like this track and we've learned so much from this track that we feel good about going there."
Source: NASCAR Online