BUSCH: Sparta: Hank Parker Jr race report

A short night for GNC Live Well Racing in the Bluegrass State. -No. 36 Dodge finishes 41st at Kentucky Speedway- SPARTA, Ky. (June 16) - The GNC Live Well Racing team saw its night come to an early end in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS)...

A short night for GNC Live Well Racing in the Bluegrass State.
-No. 36 Dodge finishes 41st at Kentucky Speedway-

SPARTA, Ky. (June 16) - The GNC Live Well Racing team saw its night come to an early end in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) event at the Kentucky Speedway.

Contact with the No. 2 car of Johnny Sauter sent Hank Parker Jr.'s No. 36 GNC Live Well Dodge into the outside retaining wall on lap 32 of the 200-lap Kroger 300, presented by Oreo. With its racecar too damaged to continue after the incident, the GNC team was credited with a 41st-place finish.

"The car was just really tight, "driver Hank Parker Jr. said. "We planned to make some adjustments to free it up, but didn't get the chance. I hate it for the guys on the crew. They work hard to get these cars ready. This is their 11th weekend in a row, and I'd like to let them to enjoy some time off. I didn't want to add to their workload."

After starting 23rd, Parker quickly moved into the top-20 on lap five of the event. As soon as the tires heated up on his Dodge Intrepid, the tight handling condition appeared and pushed the No. 36 GNC Live Well entry back to 25th position by lap 29. Two laps later, the contact between Parker and Sauter brought out the second caution flag of the race.

Shortly afterward, a sudden rainstorm drenched the 70,000-plus fans on hand and brought out the red flag for those competitors still on the track. NASCAR postponed the race until Sunday afternoon, with Todd Bodine edging out Greg Biffle for the win in a photo finish.

While the GNC Live Well Racing team's showing in Kentucky is disappointing, it's not unforeseen. Hank Parker Jr. and crew chief Gary Cogswell knew they would encounter a learning curve in their first season with the new Dodge Intrepid. While the team has readily acclimated itself to certain tracks, others have been more difficult to get a handle on.

In the case of the Kentucky Speedway, not only was the team working with a different body style than last year, but the track has also been repaved since the Busch Series' last visit.

After the first setup the team tried didn't give it the needed performance, Cogswell, Parker, shock specialist Brian Bass and team engineer Ronnie Denton elected to go in another direction on the car's race setup.

"Sometimes you have to throw something different at the car to get it to perform," Cogswell said. "So we went back and put our Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) setup in after happy hour. We ran strong there, in the top-five all day, and the tracks are similar enough for us to try it here."

"I've seen it happen to everyone in the garage," Parker said of his race weekend. "You're sure the setup you're bringing is going to work great, only to get here and find out that's not the case. So you try something different. I felt like the Vegas setup would have worked out fine. We just needed a pit stop or two to adjust on the car. "

With no NBS race scheduled for the weekend of June 22-23, the GNC Live Well team can enjoy its first weekend off in more than two-and-a-half months. Parker heads into the break 13th in the NBS Drivers' Points Standings.

The next event will mark the midpoint of the 2002 season for NBS competitors. The GNC Live Well 250 NBS race will air live from the historic Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin on Sunday, June 30, at 1:30 p.m. EDT on the FX Network and MRN.

-wjm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Todd Bodine , Greg Biffle , Hank Parker Jr. , Johnny Sauter