Rookie Plagued By Tire Problems September 13, 2004 (Richmond, Virginia) - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Chase Montgomery has undoubtedly had an eventful 2004 rookie season, but nothing like his bizarre night on Thursday in Richmond.
Rookie Plagued By Tire Problems
September 13, 2004 (Richmond, Virginia) - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Chase Montgomery has undoubtedly had an eventful 2004 rookie season, but nothing like his bizarre night on Thursday in Richmond. Montgomery battled numerous tire problems as he steered his #8 Herbalife DODGE to a 27th place finish in the running of the Kroger 200 under the lights at the Richmond International Raceway.
"What an eventful evening," said Chase. "We had everything happen to us it seemed like. We actually received the Lucky Dog free pass three times, got penalized one lap, broke the center out of a wheel and cut down a tire which put us into the wall. All of this in a 200 lap race. This is definitely a race that we want to forget about and chalk up as a learning experience for me as a rookie driver and this team as a whole. Loudon (NH) cannot come quick enough for us."
The 20-year-old rookie had his green #8 Herbalife DODGE running strong right off the truck and posted the 15th fastest time in the days only practice session. With the trucks being impounded after qualifying, the team made the decision to make sure that the truck would be set up for the race under the lights which hurt a little with their qualifying effort. Chase circled the .75-mile track in 21.900 seconds for a speed of 123.288 mph which was good enough for the 25th starting position on the grid.
After the IROC cars thrilled the crowd with their debut at Richmond, the start of the 200 lap event for Montgomery held much optimism for the Mt. Juliet, Tennessee native and his BHR2 team. The drop of the green flag saw Chase move forward in the field although his Herbalife machine was fighting a little "tight" condition. A pit stop on lap 25 allowed for four fresh tires and an air pressure adjustment to help the handling.
Once back to green the tire problems began to surface for Montgomery and the team. Chase quickly radioed in to the crew that he had a vibration somewhere in the front of the truck. Another caution on lap 36 allowed the team to come back down pit road and repair the apparent loose lug nut. Back under green, Chase battled hard but a long green flag run resulted in the loss of a lap to the leaders. At the halfway point of the race a timely caution resulted in Montgomery receiving the coveted "Lucky Dog" free pass - the first of what would be three in the second half of the race. However, a NASCAR imposed one lap penalty negated the lap before going back to racing on lap 106.
The tire problems surfaced again late in the race with the center of the wheel finally coming apart on one occasion and the right front blowing on another which sent the #8 DODGE into the outside wall. A few additional trips down pit road lost valuable positions on the track and ultimately lead to the disappointing 27th place finish.
"That was very frustrating out there tonight," stated Montgomery. "We will have to get this truck back and see if there was something wrong on the right front because we had an awful time with tire and wheel failures there. My crew also had their hands full in the pits and they did a great job with what they had to work with. As a team, we will put this behind us and set our focus on New Hampshire next week."
As a result of the disappointing finish, Montgomery fell two spots to 24th in the overall driver's standings as well as losing one spot in the rookie battle as he fell to the sixth position.