Late spin foils Compton finish in Richmond. Richmond, VA (Sept 6, 2002) - Stacy Compton and the Kingsford/Johnsonville Chevrolet left the racetrack scratching their heads on Friday night. All indications from Thursday practice sessions were...
Late spin foils Compton finish in Richmond.
Richmond, VA (Sept 6, 2002) - Stacy Compton and the Kingsford/Johnsonville Chevrolet left the racetrack scratching their heads on Friday night. All indications from Thursday practice sessions were that the team would be a top 5 contender at Friday's Funai 250 Richmond Busch Series race, but the weekend turned "weird" right from the start.
Qualifying practice ended with the car within two-tenths of the pole, and Compton knew that he had a shot at starting up front. However, three cars before Compton's qualifying lap, Shane Hmeil's car lost an oil line, greasing down the racing groove. The two cars that qualified between Compton and Hmeil each got sideways during their lap, and NASCAR halted qualifying after each to try and re-gain control of the racing surface.
After the incident, Compton and Jeff Green were the only two cars that posted a respectable qualifying speed -- Compton posting an 8th place time and Green a 6th place speed.
The disappointment of missing the pole behind them, the team buckled down for the final race practice. Compton ran the most laps of everyone during the happy hour session and was pleased with his lap times and the way the car was handling. Everyone left the track on Thursday with high hopes for a top finish in Friday's race.
During the first 70 laps of the event, Compton ran well and worked his way into 7th place. But, after the first round of pit stops, the car did not perform as it had throughout the rest of the weekend. The team stopped again around lap 90 in an attempt to fix the chassis, and a round of pit stops by the leaders on lap 130 left the team in 4th place. Unfortunately, the car never returned to its earlier form and Compton was left to battle between 10th and 12th place.
With only 20 laps remaining, and the team fighting hard to gain a spot in the top 10, Compton was hit from behind in the front stretch causing him to spin through the infield grass. The lost track position mired him in 18th place as the checkered flag fell.
Reflected Compton, "We expected a top 5 tonight but the car just was too tight by the end of the race. I drove my butt off to get back into the top 10 and was really angry when we got punted down the front stretch. Rest assured, I'll remember that one."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the class of the field and easily won the race, leading 190 of the event's 250 laps. Compton and the team get a week off before heading to Dover, DE for their next event.