Texas II: JR Norris race report

Fort Worth, Texas, (November 3, 2007) -JR Norris scores a top-20 finish in his debut at the Texas Motor Speedway piloting the No. 15 McKinney Pipe & Steel Billy Ballew Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck. Norris posted an impressive time of 29.584...

Fort Worth, Texas, (November 3, 2007) -JR Norris scores a top-20 finish in his debut at the Texas Motor Speedway piloting the No. 15 McKinney Pipe & Steel Billy Ballew Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck. Norris posted an impressive time of 29.584 seconds at a speed of 182.531 mph in qualifying placing the Silverado in the 12th place starting grid for the running of the Silverado 350k Friday, November 2.

Norris got off to a good start in the scheduled 147 lap event on the 1.5-mile race track in Fort Worth, Texas until an accident ahead of him forced him through the grass on lap ten taking off a part of the front valance of the truck. Norris came into the pits under the caution to evaluate the minimal damage going back out for the restart in the 34th place position but quickly began moving up through the field finding confidence with each lap he took.

By lap 44, Norris had advanced to the 23rd place position and had received the lucky dog award after being lapped by the leader and teammate Kyle Busch shortly before the caution. Norris noted his truck was tight into the center of the corner and came down pit road for tires and fuel then dashing back into the pits before the green flag again waved on lap 45 to top off with fuel.

Again the young Billy Ballew Motorsports Developmental driver moved through the pack calling into crew chief, Doug George that the truck was still tight on lap 58. Norris got into the grove of the race and advanced to his highest position of the day in 9th at the halfway mark of the race.

Norris, in the 14th place position, started to feel a vibration in the truck. Not taking any chances, crew chief, Doug George called him into the pits. The No. 15 McKinney Pipe & Steel truck came down for four Goodyear tires and fuel on lap 123 but was called back in due to all the lug nuts not being tight on the left front tire losing ten positions for the restart on lap 128.

With only ten trucks on the lead lap, Norris felt the downforce from the early run through the grass had hurt the aerodynamics in the truck but had moved to the 21st place position on the restart on lap 143 when the leaders had crashed ahead of him. Norris almost missed the entire event but was tagged by another truck causing some damage to the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports entry. The field was stopped under a red flag and prepared for a green/white/checkered finish. Again on the restart, the two leaders got together ending the race under the yellow flag with Norris posting a 20th place finish in his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.

"I was a little disappointed with going through the grass on that early caution," Norris said. "I had to go somewhere to avoid Johnny (Benson) so I went low and caused some front splitter damage to the truck. I really hated it for those guys because we had an awesome truck all day. We had moved back up and I thought we could grab a top-10 finish but we had a lugnut get hung up on the stop that sent us backwards. It's disappointing but I know that with each lap I take in these trucks, I gain more valuable experience. We had a lot of close calls out there and my spotter Tom Busch was excellent getting me through all of the incidents. I have to thank Billy Ballew for the opportunity to drive this equipment and especially to the Richardson family for sponsoring the truck with McKinney Pipe & Steel."

Norris also notched some stout statistics during the Silverado 350k improving his position on the track 19 times with 32 green flag passes, fourth amongst the 36 drivers in the field. Norris's highest position in the race was ninth with his lowest position in 34th. Norris spent 50 laps in the top-15 averaging a 19th place position in the 23rd race of the 25 race 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.

-credit: bbm

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kyle Busch