ACCIDENT ENDS DAY EARLY FOR BARRETT AND TEAM AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY Disappointing finish is not indicative of 2007 season performance for top part-time team FORT WORTH, Texas -- Stanton Barrett and SKI Motorsports teamed up for the fifth...
ACCIDENT ENDS DAY EARLY FOR BARRETT AND TEAM AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Disappointing finish is not indicative of 2007 season performance for top part-time team
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Stanton Barrett and SKI Motorsports teamed up for the fifth and final time this season for the O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. Once again, Barrett successfully qualified the Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS on time and was on track to capturing another solid finish for the team. Unfortunately, an accident on lap 131 forced Barrett to retire from the race finishing in the 38th position. Although disappointed, the team has captured two top-20 and three top-25 finishes in just five starts this season and looks to 2008 with high expectations.
With 46 competitors on the entry list, the Smith & Wesson team was faced with the task of qualifying on time. Barrett was the 20th competitor to take the track and posted a fast lap time of 29.031 seconds at a speed of 186.008 miles per hour. The effort secured Barrett a 30th place starting position for the O'Reilly Challenge. However, he advanced to a 28th place start after two drivers dropped to the rear of the field for unapproved impound adjustments.
As the field approached the green flag before an estimated crowd of 94,000 fans, Barrett and the SKI Motorsports team prepared themselves to race their way to another solid NASCAR Busch Series finish.
It took only five laps for the first caution of the day to occur. Barrett reported that the Smith & Wesson machine was tight coming off the corners. He came to pit road on lap six for fuel and a series of adjustments. He restarted the race on lap nine in the 38th position.
Just over ten laps later, another caution came out for a spin in turn-four. Barrett reported that the racecar was tight in the center of the turns. The Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports team decided to pit on lap 24 for four tires and fuel, as well as air pressure and a wedge adjustment. Barrett restarted the race in 37th place.
A long green flag run ensued, which allowed Barrett to get a feel for the racecar. He radioed that the tight condition persisted on lap 42. By lap 50, he was running in the 31st position. On lap 53, Barrett fell one lap down to leader Tony Stewart.
"Try to free me up in the middle so I can roll through the corner and get on the gas better," Barrett radioed his team as green flag pit stops approached.
Barrett came to pit road on lap 91 for four tires and fuel. The Smith & Wesson crew came through with a solid pit stop and Barrett was posted in the 26th position at the end of green flag pit stops.
At the mid-point of the race, Barrett was running in 26th place and posting lap times within two-tenths of a second of leader Tony Stewart. By lap 110, he was posting lap times equal to those in the top-10 of the running order.
When a caution came out on lap 129 for debris, Barrett came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a shock adjustment. He restarted the race on lap 132 in the 27th position with only 14 cars on the lead lap.
Then, without warning, Barrett spun in turn-four hitting the wall on lap 131. The Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet was damaged beyond repair and the team was forced to retire from the race. Barrett finished the O'Reilly Challenge in the 38th position.
"One finish is not indicative of the caliber of this team," said team owner Chris Lencheski. "We have demonstrated in a limited schedule that we have built a top-notch program that can contend with the leaders each week. Accidents will happen but the true strength of a team is not measured by one incident. Even the best experience setbacks from time to time. We have a strong record this season and are already preparing for both the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series."
"It was definitely disappointing to fall out of the race," said Barrett. "This team works so hard and we have achieved a great deal running a part-time schedule this year. We were hopeful to continue our successful streak this weekend in Texas. Even though things did not turn out the way we intended, we will move forward and continue preparing for the 2008 season."