Gas mileage plays to Compton'S favor in Atlanta. Hampton, GA -- October 26,2002 -- Atlanta has been a nemesis for the Kingsford/Johnsonville team and for driver Stacy Compton throughout their time in NASCAR. As a result, the team didn't have...
Gas mileage plays to Compton'S favor in Atlanta.
Hampton, GA -- October 26,2002 -- Atlanta has been a nemesis for the Kingsford/Johnsonville team and for driver Stacy Compton throughout their time in NASCAR. As a result, the team didn't have many notes to draw from when rain shortened the practice schedule from two and one half hours to a mere forty minutes on Friday.
Starting on points in the 13th position, Compton fought a loose racecar until he entered his first pit window in 16th position. The changes made during the first two pit stops didn't help the car much, and Compton had faded to 24th place when the team pitted on lap 124. It was decision time for crew chief Steve Plattenberger, "We had a good pit stop and got back onto the track in 16th place, but we missed the setup pretty badly this weekend due to a lack of practice time. I knew it was a risky, but I felt we may be able to avoid another pit stop by during the final 67 laps if we came back in, gave up our track position, and took a final splash of gas before the race went back to green. We are really trying to get back into the top 10 in points, and that was our best shot at getting a finish that would help us toward that yearend goal."
Compton was conservative on the throttle during the race's final stanza and the strategy paid off as, one-by-one, the cars running ahead of the team ran out of fuel or were forced to make a final pit stop during the closing laps of the race. When the smoke cleared, Compton had finished in 11th position and regained his spot in the top 10 in the championship points standings for the first time since early July. Reflected Compton after the race, "It wasn 't pretty to watch and it was a handful to drive, but we did what we had to do to make the most out of a potentially disastrous weekend. The rain really hurt us on Friday and we weren't going to run in the top 15 without stretching the fuel mileage. Atlanta will definitely be on our 'must test next season' list."
Jamie McMurray also stretched his fuel to win the race over a dominant Michael Waltrip. The team's next stop is the North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham.