STARR CAUGHT IN LAST LAP MESS AT TALLADEGA "Tough Finish Costs Driver One Spot In Points" TALLADEGA, ALABAMA (October 10, 2006)- David Starr and the Red Horse Racing Toyota team were caught up in a last lap accident in the inaugural NASCAR ...
STARR CAUGHT IN LAST LAP MESS AT TALLADEGA
"Tough Finish Costs Driver One Spot In Points"
TALLADEGA, ALABAMA (October 10, 2006)- David Starr and the Red Horse Racing Toyota team were caught up in a last lap accident in the inaugural NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday afternoon. The wreck caused severe damage to the right side of the No. 11 Toyota and resulted in a 24th-place finish for Starr and the team.
"We got shuffled back in the draft in the closing laps of the race, and we just couldn't get back up to the front," Starr said. "It was hard to go anywhere in traffic -- especially when we got behind some trucks that weren't moving as fast as we were.
"And then we got caught in the aftermath of the wreck up front. I just hate that our day ended like it did."
Starr qualified his No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota in ninth-place for the John Deere 250. After two practices where Starr felt confident in his truck's drafting ability, the Red Horse Racing team was prepared for a big day.
Within one lap on the track, Starr had moved up to fourth place. But at the 2.66-mile Alabama track where the draft is crucial, track position can change in the blink of an eye.
On lap six, Starr got shuffled out of the draft as he tried to make a move, falling from fourth to 19th. His position continued to change lap after lap as Starr tried to get his No. 11 Toyota back near the front of the pack of trucks.
Starr fell back as low as 20th and got as high as 10th before the caution waved at lap 22 for debris on the track. At Lap 22, Starr was in 10th-place, and the team elected to pit under the caution flag.
A quick stop for fuel and four fresh tires helped Starr to gain two spots in the pits and returned to the track in eighth-place for the green flag. Starr fell back to 10th by Lap 33.
Over the course of the next 10 laps, Starr moved around the top 10, changing positions on every lap. Under the caution at Lap 43, Starr brought his truck to the attention of his crew again. The team changed four tires and added fuel while many other teams on pit road elected to take just two tires. A good pit stop helped Starr get back on track in 15th-place.
Back under the green flag, Starr tried to get his No. 11 truck back to the front of the draft. In the close quarters racing, Starr changed his position lap after lap -- sometimes gaining and sometimes losing a spot on the track.
When the caution waved again at Lap 56, the Red Horse Racing crew elected to pit for fuel only. Starr returned to the track in eighth spot and was ready to make a run for the front.
But as quickly as he had picked up spots in the pits, Starr lost them on the track. As he attempted to make a move to gain spots at Lap 64, Starr was shuffled back in the draft and fell to 22nd place.
Mired in traffic behind some slower trucks, Starr found it difficult to gain spots on the track even though he had a good truck in the draft. He was able to move as high as 15th on the board at Lap 83, but the constant moving of trucks on the track kept the No. 11 truck shifting lanes and positions on the track.
On the final lap of the race, two trucks going for the win got together in the front of the field. As he tried to get through the smoke, Starr was collected by the spinning trucks and sustained heavy right side damage. Starr limped back to the finish line in 24th place.
With the 24th-place finish, Starr slid one spot in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship points standings to seventh-place. He is 432 points behind leader Todd Bodine and 64 points outside of the Top Five.
"It was a heck of a race," Starr said afterwards. "The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series put on another great show for the fans, and I think the drivers did an excellent job on the race track today.
"I got shuffled back and I couldn't get back up to the front, which happens sometimes in the draft. We're going back to Martinsville, the site of our first win as a team next week. Hopefully, we can get out front there and bring home another victory."
After one week off, Starr and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will return to action in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.