BUSCH: Las Vegas: Ward Burton race notes

Burton Pilots Scott Extra Soft Ford to 15th in Sam's Town 300 Redesigned track, new tire, handling issues make for exciting weekend Las Vegas, NV (March 10, 2007) . To say that the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at the Las Vegas Motor...

Burton Pilots Scott Extra Soft Ford to 15th in Sam's Town 300
Redesigned track, new tire, handling issues make for exciting weekend

Las Vegas, NV (March 10, 2007) . To say that the Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was "just another race" would be like saying Tiger Woods is "just another golfer". The newly- revamped 1.5-mile speedway created a weekend of racing that left many competitors and their crew chiefs scratching their heads.

With the banking at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway changed from 12 to 20 degrees in the turns, and raised six degrees to nine on the backstretch, many Busch Series teams struggled to find the proper setup for their cars. In addition to the track changes, Goodyear brought a different tire from the one tested earlier this season. The recipe for an exciting weekend was complete.

Ward Burton, sporting the special paint scheme of Scott Extra Soft on his #27 Ford Fusion, was one of six drivers who experienced a problem during practice prior to qualifying. Mid-way through the final practice, Burton spun in turn two and collected the safer barrier. The resulting damage forced the Brewco crew to unload the backup car and begin preparations for qualifying.

Burton was the 37th of 45 cars to make his qualifying run on Friday. The South Boston, Virginia competitor responded with a fast lap of 30.628 seconds / 176.309 mph. It was the first laps on the track for the backup car, and Burton, as well as the Scott Extra Soft Team, did an outstanding job in spite of their earlier adversity.

Starting 29th, Burton wanted to avoid the almost certain rash of early cautions during the 200-lap event and maintain a competitive pace. When a multi-car accident brought out the caution on lap 13, Burton has moved up to 21st position. Crew Chief Stewart Cooper brought Burton to pit road during this caution for fuel only and the Scott Extra Soft Fusion would restart 26th on lap 20.

Handling issues became the major problem of the day for Burton as grip in the corners made it difficult to "hold on". The Brewco crew made adjustment after adjustment during their numerous pit stops with only temporary positive results. However, Burton managed to "dodge" all the on-track incidents and race in the 22nd position at the halfway point of the event.

Even though he went one lap down to the leaders just past halfway, Burton continued to find a groove that worked for his car and moved up in the running order. By lap 150, Burton was running in the top twenty. Battling an ill-handling car as well as numerous incidents on the track, Burton was in position to receive the "lucky dog award" and move back on the lead lap with eleven laps to go. In the final ten laps, Burton gained four positions to take the checkered flag in the 15th position.

"This was a tough race, but the Brewco team kept making adjustments to our car," Burton commented. "I hate that we lost our primary car in practice, but this car was tested here at Vegas and raced at California. Once we got to making adjustments, the car would be better for a brief period. Then, it would get so loose, it was hard to control. The grip issue in the turns made it a long, hard day of racing. I'm convinced that once we get a few things sorted out on our cars, we're going to have some great races. This team keeps working to get better, and that's what we're going to do."

The next race for the #27 Scott Extra Soft Ford Fusion will be the Nicorette 300 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 17th. The fifth race on the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series schedule is set for a 3 PM ET start on Saturday.

-credit: bm

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ward Burton