Engine problem forces early end for GNC Live Well Racing at Chicagoland. JOLIET, Ill. (July 13) - Saturday's Tropicana Twister 300 was over almost as soon as it began for Hank Parker Jr. and his No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing Dodge...
Engine problem forces early end for GNC Live Well Racing at Chicagoland.
JOLIET, Ill. (July 13) - Saturday's Tropicana Twister 300 was over almost as soon as it began for Hank Parker Jr. and his No. 36 GNC Live Well Racing Dodge Intrepid.
Parker made just 23 circuits around the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway before a broken engine part sent him behind the wall.
The mechanical problem gave Parker and his team a 40th-place finish in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) event.
"The engine started acting up almost as soon as the race started," Parker said. "I knew right away that we were going to have problems with it. It felt like it just seized up and I heard the belts come off, and that was it for us. It's unfortunate, but Gasoline Alley Engines usually gives us great motors. Sometimes, engines break. It was just our turn today."
The engine problem put the finishing touches on a disappointing weekend in Illinois for the GNC Live Well team. The weekend started out promising enough, with Parker turning the 16th-fastest time of the entries on hand during the first practice on Friday.
The team's hopes for a strong finish were dampened somewhat when Parker's qualifying effort was more than a half-second slower than his best practice time. Parker's qualifying lap was only good enough for the 31st starting spot in the field.
"We're not really sure why we slowed down there," crew chief Gary Cogswell said. "We didn't change much except for the gear. It shouldn't have made that much of a difference. I think our qualifying tires just didn't respond like our practice tires did. Hank said it felt like a good lap to him, but the stopwatch didn't reflect that."
During the final practice on Friday, the team used the allotted time to scuff the tires they planned to use in the race. Scuffing seasons new tires by putting a few laps of wear on them. After the practice ended, Parker felt good about his chances on Saturday.
"The car handled really well during qualifying and happy hour," Parker said. "I figured a top-10 finish was definitely an achievable goal. Chicagoland Speedway hasn't been too kind to me, though. I hope I can get the best of it next year, because it's definitely gotten the best of me both times I've been here."
In 2001, a cut tire in the NBS race at the facility caused Parker to hit the wall and ended his day with a 35th-place finish.
Saturday's finish caused Parker to take quite a hit in the points. Parker dropped four spots in the NBS Drivers' Points Standings from 14th to 18th.
Parker and his team will regroup and head to Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis for the July 20 Charter Pipeline 250. That race will air live at 8 p.m. on TNT (Turner Network Television) and MRN.