Kentucky: Burney Lamar race report

LAMAR AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM GRAB TOP-10 FINISH AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY SPARTA, Ky. (June 15, 2009) -- Burney Lamar lined up in the 18th position for Saturday night's Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway as the sun was setting in the Kentucky...


SPARTA, Ky. (June 15, 2009) -- Burney Lamar lined up in the 18th position for Saturday night's Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway as the sun was setting in the Kentucky sky. With great pit strategy and strong driving, Lamar snagged his first top-10 finish of the season in the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota.

The Dollar General team was among those logging the most laps on track as they worked hard during Friday's practice sessions to find the right balance in Lamar's Toyota Camry. The result was a solid race set-up. Lamar laid down a 31.464 second lap around the 1.5-mile speedway early Saturday evening to put him in the 18th spot to start the 200-lap race. Following fireworks and pre-race ceremonies, 43 cars took to the track as the bright red sun disappeared behind the grandstands.

On lap 4, a spinning car brought out the night's first caution flag. Lamar, who had already climbed into the top-15, reported that the car felt very good but he was concerned it would tighten up later in the run. Crew chief, Trent Owens, made the call to stay out on the track during the caution and that they would see where the car's handling went from there.

The race restarted on lap 7 and Lamar went to work at gaining positions. He reported on the radio that the car felt pretty loose, but only in traffic. By lap 17, the No. 32 Dollar Genera Toyota had taken over the 12th spot and was running there when the night's next caution flag came on lap 22 for debris on the race track. Owens made the call for Lamar to come to pit road for service. In an effort to gain valuable track position, the Dollar General crew only changed two tires and packed the Camry full of fuel, sending Lamar back out in sixth position.

Lamar continued to hold strong in the sixth spot. When reports of debris brought out the caution flag again, Lamar took the opportunity to discuss the car with Owens. On lap 71, Lamar came to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to combat the tight-handling that was starting to surface with the Dollar General Toyota. Back on the track in the sixth position, Lamar benefited from three cars ahead being assessed penalties from NASCAR for exiting pit road too fast. This moved Lamar into the third position for the restart on lap 74.

True to form, cautions do breed cautions, and only one lap later, two cars making contact would bring out the next yellow flag. The No. 32 Dollar General Camry remained on the race track. Lamar retained his third-place position as the race restarted on lap 81. With the leaders on fresh tires, the scramble to the front was evident, and Lamar slipped back to the eighth spot.

The caution came out again on lap 84, this time for a multi-car accident. Following the restart of the race, Lamar went to work to regain the lost positions. Owens read times to his driver over the radio, encouraging him each lap. "You're catching these guys. Don't waste your time once you get there. You are faster," said Owens.

Through the long green-flag run, Lamar came on the radio to report that the car's handling was becoming increasingly tight, first only behind traffic, and then through the corners. At lap 139, the leaders began to make green-flag pit stops. The No. 32 Dollar General Toyota came to pit road on lap 140 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. This time, Lamar was victim to NASCAR's pit road speed, and was required to serve a pass-through penalty down pit road. The result put the No. 32 in the 18th position and one lap down to the leaders.

Lamar went to work and gained two additional spots by the time the caution flag came out on lap 163. Owens knew that the Dollar General Toyota had enough fuel to complete the race so he made the call to stay out. When the race restarted on lap 168, Lamar was in the tenth position and in the "Lucky Dog" position, the first car one lap down to the leaders. As the caution flag flew on lap 171, the Dollar General pit erupted with cheers as the No. 32 narrowly escaped the spinning No. 62 car and was placed back on the lead lap.

"Wow," said Lamar on the radio. "That was about a half inch off of the nose of our car. That was close! This car is stout!"

When the race restarted, Lamar was sitting in the eight position. With only 18 laps remaining, the No. 1 snapped into the wall as it was racing the No. 38 hard for position. NASCAR officials displayed the red flag, halting cars on the track for ten minutes as fluid and debris were cleaned from the front stretch. When the race resumed, Lamar and the No. 16 battled for the eighth position. On lap 192, Lamar moved into eighth and distanced the No. 32 Camry from the No. 16. The No. 32 Dollar General Toyota took the checkered flag in the eighth spot as Lamar claimed his first top-10 finish of the 2009 season.

Lamar came over the radio and thanked his team. "Trent, great call on staying out for position," said Lamar. "Guys this was a great car, thank you!"

"The Dollar General Toyota felt really good tonight," said Lamar. "It was really solid. A lot has changed in the two years that I've been gone from racing. Trent and the team have never stopped working on the set-up with me. We make more changes than anyone in practice. It felt really good to get this finish tonight and we're all really happy. I feel like we are heading in the right direction and I'm really looking forward to heading to Milwaukee next weekend with this momentum."

Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to The Milwaukee Mile next weekend for the 250.

-credit: br

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Drivers Trent Owens , Burney Lamar