BUSCH: Fontana: Mark McFarland race notes

Fontana, Cal. (February 25, 2006) -- During Saturday's running of the Stater Bros. 300 at the California Speedway, Navy driver Mark McFarland's radio chatter could have easily been mistaken for a broken record. "Tight, really tight, unbelievably...

Fontana, Cal. (February 25, 2006) -- During Saturday's running of the Stater Bros. 300 at the California Speedway, Navy driver Mark McFarland's radio chatter could have easily been mistaken for a broken record. "Tight, really tight, unbelievably tight," were the words of the day in describing the handling condition of the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet.

While loading into the hauler after their 30th place finish the culprit was discovered. The right-side, moveable track bar mount had loosened and bottomed out, a problem that would definitely cause a tight condition.

"We were making pretty big changes to loosen the car up," said crew chief Rich Hubbs. "Several rounds of wedge, spring rubbers in and out of the rears, nothing helped. We don't know exactly when it happened, but we know why he was so tight."

The tight condition began during the qualifying session as McFarland would take the green flag from the 39th starting spot and the poor handling would have him back there for most of the race. Early cautions on laps three and 18 allowed McFarland to bring the car down pit road for adjustments, but none could turn around the tight condition.

"The only way I could get the car to turn was to hook the apron in the corners," said McFarland.

On a lap 79 caution the crew again made wholesale chassis changes, but McFarland radioed that it was tighter than before.

"At one point during the race we made fairly significant changes to loosen the car up and Mark radioed that it had made it worse," said Derek Jones, team engineer. "We knew then that something was not right."

However, as the race moved toward the latter stages it was obvious that McFarland was learning and searching for lines that would help his pushing Monte Carlo. Even with a broken track bar mount McFarland was turning laps comparable to the leaders.

As several cars came in for green flag pit stops around lap 125, McFarland was moving up near the top-25. On lap 132, McFarland brought his Navy Chevy in for green flag service only to have the caution come out on the next lap. The unlucky caution forced

McFarland down one lap, which made him two laps down for the race. Today was one of those days where you feel 'if it can go wrong it will," sounded McFarland. "We are a better team than we showed today and we will get to the bottom of how the track bar came loose."

The next race for the NASCAR Busch Series will be the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 presented by Banamex on Sunday, March 5th in Mexico City, Mexico.

Mark's Quotes

"Today was one of those days where you feel 'if it can go wrong it will. We are a better team than we showed today and we will get to the bottom of how the track bar came loose. If it wasn't an impound race we might have caught it, but all of our races are going to be that way this year so we are going to have to make sure everything is squared away before qualifying."

"Dale Jr. (team owner) was on top of our pit box during the race and he and my spotter, TJ Majors, really helped me out during the race. Dale Jr. could watch from the pits and tell me what I needed to do to make the car a little better and my times began to pick up because of it."

Rich Hubbs' Quotes

"We were making pretty big changes to loosen up the car." Several rounds of wedge, spring rubbers in and out of the rears, nothing helped. We don't know exactly when it happened, but we know why he was so tight."

"He did a good job with the condition he had because I know it must have been extremely tight. The way he was describing what the car was doing was right on with what a bottomed-out track bar would cause."

-jr motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Mark McFarland , Derek Jones