GNC Live Well Racing gets bitten by "The Monster Mile" -early accident gives no. 36 team a 38th-place finish- DOVER, Del. (Sept. 23) - Dover International Speedway (DIS), aka "The Monster Mile," took a bite out of the GNC Live Well Racing team...
GNC Live Well Racing gets bitten by "The Monster Mile" -early accident gives no. 36 team a 38th-place finish-
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 23) - Dover International Speedway (DIS), aka "The Monster Mile," took a bite out of the GNC Live Well Racing team in Saturday's MBNA All American Heroes 200 NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) race.
On lap 75 of the 200-lap event, contact between the No. 36 GNC Dodge Intrepid of Hank Parker Jr. and the No. 12 of Kerry Earnhardt heavily damaged the rear of Parker's machine. After his crew spent the middle part of the race trying to repair the damage, Parker returned to the track to try to gain a few positions. Parker made a few laps around the one-mile facility before telling his crew it felt like something was loose in the rear of the car.
Knowing NASCAR would not allow Parker to rejoin the race if he returned to the garage for more repairs, crew chief Gary Cogswell elected to park the car. The GNC Live Well team was credited with a 38th-place finish.
"You only get one chance to come back out on the track and get up to a certain speed," Cogswell explained. "That's a rule that NASCAR has had for a couple of years now. We didn't want to take a chance on getting Hank hurt by leaving him out there with a car that wasn't right, so we decided to call it a day."
The finish brought a disappointing end to the weekend for the members of the GNC team. Based on last year's top-10 finish at DIS and on their showing in both practice and qualifying, the crewmen felt that another top-10 result was in the cards. In both practice sessions, the team ended up 13th on the speed charts, while Parker's qualifying run gave the team a 17th-place starting spot.
"Based on past experience, we felt like the track would tighten up, but that didn't happen," Cogswell said. "We were just trying to get to a pit stop so we could adjust on the car, and we would have been fine. We had made some changes after happy hour that didn't work out for us, but we would have been able to adjust those out if we'd have made it to our first pit stop. We just needed a caution to come out so we could pit. Unfortunately, we ended up being that caution."
Battling a loose handling condition from the start of the event, Parker had dropped back to 22nd just before the lap-75 incident that ended his day. With race leader Jeff Green just a few seconds behind him, Parker was battling to stay on the lead lap when he and Earnhardt made contact.
"I was doing everything I could to hang on to the car and stay ahead of the leaders," Parker said. "Kerry (Earnhardt) was trying to put another car between him and the leaders, and I think he might have gotten a little impatient with me. I know it wasn't intentional, but it ended up putting us both out of the race. I think he could have been more patient, but it's a moot point now. I hate it for the guys on the crew. We had a really good car, but we just didn't get to adjust on it."
The finish drops Parker one spot to 14th in the NBS drivers' points standings.
While frustrated by the poor showing at DIS, Parker and his team are excited about their prospects at the upcoming Mr Goodcents 300 NBS event at Kansas Speedway. The team finished second in last year's inaugural event at the facility.
"We're taking the same chassis we did last year, and we've got a lot of good notes from other tracks that are similar to Kansas," Parker said. "Casey (Mears, Parker's teammate at Team Jesel Motorsports) tested there a few weeks back, so we've also got that information to work off of. We don't see any reason why we can't improve one spot over last year's finish and score a second win this year."
The Mr. Goodcents 300 will air live from Kansas Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 28, on TNT and MRN at 1:30 p.m. EDT.