Michigan: Long/Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports race report

Carl Long, Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports Debut at Michigan International 2Speedway New Nationwide Series team 31st in CARFAX 250 Brooklyn, MI (August 14, 2010) ...Carl Long and the Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports team made their NASCAR Nationwide Series...

Carl Long, Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports Debut at Michigan International 2Speedway
New Nationwide Series team 31st in CARFAX 250

Brooklyn, MI (August 14, 2010) ...Carl Long and the Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports team made their NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the CARFAX 250 at the Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. It was the first race for the newly-formed team owned by Craig Partee. Long, also making his first Nationwide Series start at MIS, qualified and finished 31st in the #68 Chevrolet Impala.

Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports was started by Seneca Falls, New York construction company owner Craig Partee to compete in the 2010 Nationwide Series "New" car races. The team attempted to qualify for the July 2nd Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, but were pumped out of the starting field by the final qualifier. Determined to overcome the disappointment of Daytona, the Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports team, led by Crew Chief Morris Van Vleet, regrouped and traveled to the Irish Hills of Michigan for the CARFAX 250.

Since this was the second of four scheduled Nationwide Series races for the "new" car, NASCAR and MIS scheduled a "test day" on Thursday at the two-mile track. The garage area was filled with excitement as 44 teams spent six hours testing in preparation for the 125-lap event on Saturday. Plus, the test day gave Long and Van Vleet an opportunity to fine tune their Chevrolet Impala for qualifying on Friday. And, with 44 cars attempting to make the CARFAX 250, Long would have to out qualify one car to make the starting grid.

Qualifying on Saturday morning was as competitive as ever with Long being the 40th driver to make his race against the clock. Long posted a fast lap of 41.778 seconds / 172.340 mph to earn the 31st starting position for the 250-mile race. Long's qualifying lap was over one second faster than his best lap in practice.

Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports was formed only eleven weeks ago, and now, August 14, 2011, they were set to compete in their first-ever NASCAR Nationwide Series race. All of the hard work and long hours have finally been rewarded with the running of their first race. It was truly a proud moment when Long took the green flag with his #68 Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports Chevrolet Impala.

Long would drop back a few positions in the early going to establish a strong but steady race pace. He was running in the 36th position when he made his first pit stop of the day on lap 40. The crew serviced Long's Chevrolet with four new tires and fuel during this stop. The first caution of the race on lap 61 for debris on the track found Long in 35th. Long chose not to pit and received the "drive-around" to restart 34th on lap 67.

Long was running 33rd when he made his second pit stop on lap 83 for fuel only. The veteran racer would maintain his position on the track until he visited pit road on lap 103 for four tires and fuel. When the second and final caution of the race waved on lap 111, Long quickly dashed to pit road for a chassis adjustment. During the final nine laps, Long gained two positions to bring the Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports Chevrolet home in the 31st position.

"It wasn't a win, but we really learned a lot about these 'new' Nationwide Series cars today," Long stated after the race. "This team work very hard to make this race, and I thank Craig (Partee, team owner), Morris (Van Vleet, Crew Chief), and everybody associated with the team. I'm excited about the future for this team, and really look forward to Richmond (the next 'new' car race)."

"As with any new team, we had our issues," Van Vleet commented. "Carl gave us great feedback during practice, and really stepped-up in qualifying with a great lap. We've still got lots of work to do, but now that we've got our first race under our belt, we can go forward with everything we learned this week."

"I can't tell you how proud I am of everyone on the Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports team," Partee added. "This team was only a dream in late May, now we've made our first race and will continue to keep building for the future. Thanks to all of our sponsors for their support. Now, it's back to work preparing for the always-tough Nationwide race at Richmond."

The next challenge for the Fleur-De-Lis Motorsports team is the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 on Friday, September 10, 2010.

-source: long/fleur-de-lis motorsports

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Drivers Carl Long