BUSCH: Fontana: Ward Burton race notes

Burton Strong Despite Early Problem in Stater Bros 300 27 Cottonelle / Stater Bros Ford rebounds and gains valuable points Fontana, CA ... In racing, sometimes the little things can be the most frustrating. That was the case Saturday...

Burton Strong Despite Early Problem in Stater Bros 300
27 Cottonelle / Stater Bros Ford rebounds and gains valuable points

Fontana, CA ... In racing, sometimes the little things can be the most frustrating. That was the case Saturday afternoon at the California Speedway for Ward Burton and the #27 Cottonelle / Stater Bros. Ford Racing Team.

While driving around the 2-mile California Speedway under caution on lap 60, something appeared to be dragging from the right rear of the #27 Cottonelle / Stater Bros Ford Fusion. Crew Chief Stewart Cooper called Burton back to pit road in order for the crew to check for a potential problem. The inspection found a broken right rear shock absorber mount that sent the team to the garage for repairs. After a brief stay in the garage for repairs, Burton reentered the Stater Bros. 300 in the 39th position, thirteen laps down to the leaders. The South Boston, Virginia competitor was able to complete the 300-mile race and gain five positions to post a 34th-place finish.

Burton and the #27 Brewco Motorsports Team struggled during practice on Friday, but the Stewart Cooper-led team made major adjustments to their Cottonelle / Stater Bros. Ford prior to qualifying early Saturday afternoon. Burton responded with a fast lap of 40.727 seconds / 176.787 mph to earn the 21st starting position in the 41-car field. With the Stater Bros. 300 an "impound race" for the Busch Series cars, no major adjustments were allowed by NASCAR for any of the qualified cars between qualifying and the start of the event. Therefore, each driver must start the race with the car setup used for qualifying.

During the early laps of the 150-lap race, Burton reported to the team that his car was starting to get "tight" throughout the corners. When he made his first pit stop of the race on lap 27 under caution, the Cottonelle / Stater Bros. crew serviced the car with four tires, fuel, and made air pressure and track bar adjustments. A quick pit stop enabled Burton to restart 18th on lap 31.

Burton was able to maintain his top twenty position during the next green flag run and reported that his Ford was "better than before and felt good in turns three and four, but tight off turn two". Cooper and the crew began their plans for further adjustments during their next pit stop.

When caution waved on lap 58 for debris, Burton came to pit road for service. Four tires, fuel, and a wedge adjustment later, Burton returned to the track. It was then that the broken mount was discovered and the promising race for the Cottonelle / Stater Bros Team took a turn south.

When Burton returned to the race after repairs, he turned some remarkable lap times. Even though he was thirteen laps down, Burton was posting lap speeds that ranked in the top ten to twelve cars in the race. However, the laps lost were too many to overcome. The Brewco Motorsports Team did manage to gain five positions in the finishing order by making repairs and finishing the event.

"The team really did a great job making changes to our car between final practice and qualifying," Burton commented. "We were able to pick up considerably in qualifying from where we were in practice, and that gave everyone on this team hope for the race. Unfortunately, we had an issue that sent us to the garage, but this team continued to make adjustments on our car that enabled me to run some pretty competitive laps. Our pit stops were good, and once we overcome a few little issues, we're going to have some fun and good races in this car."

"Ward's attitude is a blessing to hear," Crew Chief Stewart Cooper stated. "His feedback on the car is great, and the guys on this Cottonelle / Stater Bros team worked really hard to make the necessary changes to our car. We had an unfortunate problem during the race, but Ward's positive attitude and determination to make this team better is 'music to my ears'. We've got some good days in our future."

The next race for the NASCAR Busch Series will be TELCEL-MOTOROLA 200 presented by Banamex at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico on Sunday, March 4th. Qualifying is set for Saturday, March 3rd, with the race set for a 2:00 PM ET start on Sunday. ESPN2 will begin their telecast at 1:30 PM ET. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will provide live radio coverage of the event.

Jorge Goeters will drive the #27 Brewco Motorsports Ford in Mexico City with Ward Burton back behind the wheel for the Sam's Town 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 10th. Goeters won the Bud Pole Award for the inaugural Busch Series event at Mexico in 2005 driving for Brewco Motorsports and holds the track qualifying record at 103.366 mph. The 80-lap race on the 2.518-mile course will be the first of three road course events (Montreal, Watkins Glen) on the Busch Series schedule in 2007.

-credit: bm

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Drivers Ward Burton , Jorge Goeters