Robert Richardson, Jr. races to 23rd place in HelpTruckers.com Chevrolet at Charlotte; Earns 19 places from starting position CHINA GROVE, N.C. (May 30, 2010) -- Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 HelpTruckers.com Chevrolet overcame practice...
Robert Richardson, Jr. races to 23rd place in HelpTruckers.com Chevrolet at Charlotte; Earns 19 places from starting position
CHINA GROVE, N.C. (May 30, 2010) -- Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 HelpTruckers.com Chevrolet overcame practice and qualifying struggles to finish a respectable 23rd in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Before starting the 200-lap race, the R3 Motorsports team endured a not-so-favorable result in both practice sessions on Thursday. When pole qualifying ended on Saturday morning, the team was left with the 42nd-starting position.
When the race started, Richardson knew he had a lot of cars to pass to bring home a good finish. And, the team was looking to maintain their 24th position in the Owner's Point standings, or improve. With that in mind, Richardson and the HelpTruckers.com team knew the task at hand, and crew chief Steve Plattenberger was ready to lead the way.
Several cautions slowed the early pace of the race after the initial green flag. But, once several long green-flag run took place, Richardson was able to tell Plattenberger the car was good into the turns, tight through the center and tight coming out.
From there, air pressure and track bar adjustments were made to help rectify the handling issues. Under a lap-10 caution, Plattenberger was already looking ahead when he called Richardson in for a fuel-only stop.
While giving up track position at the time, it would play in their hands later when green-flag pit cycles began on lap 55. As others pitted, Richardson had enough fuel to remain out enabling him to crack the top-10 on lap 60 then top-five on lap 61. At one point, he was running fourth while others were on pit road.
When he finally hit pit road on lap 67, it was for fuel, tires and track bar adjustment. From there, he would return to action in 28th place. By the halfway point of lap 100, Richardson moved to 25th place.
Through several caution stops, the team was able to make more adjustments while running up to 21st and then down to 27th. With 14 laps remaining, another caution waved which allowed Richardson to bring in the HelpTruckers.com Chevrolet one last time.
The team executed their best stop of the race with four tires, a track bar adjustment and some fuel. Richardson returned to action in 22nd place, fell to 24th and was lined up there for a green/white/checkers finish.
The green waved and Richardson went three-wide racing mode with two other cars to finish 23rd at the checkered flag. It was a gain of 19 positions from their 42nd-starting position.
Better news for the team was they maintained their 24th place in the Owner's Standings and gained on 23rd and 22nd position. Heading to Nashville Superspeedway next Saturday, R3 Motorsports sits 13 points behind the No. 40 car in 23rd and 37 behind the No. 28 in 22nd.
Robert Richardson, Jr. quotes: "We didn't have the practice sessions and qualifying effort we wanted. But, once we got to racing, I was able to pick up some positions and move through the field. Steve (Plattenberger, crew chief) made some good calls there to get the car better.
"My biggest struggle was getting through the turns better, but we were able to pick up positions through the race. Those cautions at the end made for some interesting racing for the checkered flag, that's for sure.
"I'm just glad we rolled the HelpTruckers.com Chevrolet on the hauler in one piece, maintained our Owner's Points position and were able to gain on those in front of us. We'll head to a Nashville, a track I really like racing, this weekend and improve on our points deal."
-source: r3 motorsports