LAMAR SCORES ANOTHER TOP-15 FINISH UNDER THE LIGHTS OF PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 20, 2009) -- Burney Lamar returned to familiar territory this weekend for the Bashas' Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
LAMAR SCORES ANOTHER TOP-15 FINISH UNDER THE LIGHTS OF PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 20, 2009) -- Burney Lamar returned to familiar territory this weekend for the Bashas' Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. The West Sacramento-native has logged many laps in his career at the one-mile track. This weekend, the 2005 Copper Classic winner returned in the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota with hopes of visiting victory lane once again. Restarting fifth in a green-white-checker finish, the young driver was shuffled backwards in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 13th position.
Lamar started the evening from the 16th spot and reported on lap 17 that the Camry was tight on exit in both corners. The first caution of the night came on lap 22 when the No. 52 car spun in turn one. When pit road opened, Lamar drove the No. 32 down to his pit stall. The Dollar General crew quickly put on four fresh tires, added fuel and made track bar and air pressure adjustments to assist with the tight handling of the car. Lamar restarted the race in the 16th position.
The second caution of the night occurred only two laps later on lap 29. Running in the 14th spot, the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota remained on the track. The race remained under green-flag conditions for the next 62 laps. During the long green-flag run, crew chief, Trent Owens, coached his driver to "take care of your brakes, they are starting to glow." Lamar climbed to 12th and was passing the No. 62 car for the 11th position when the caution flag was displayed on lap 95 for debris on the track.
While under caution, Lamar reported to the team that the car was still a little tight on exit. On lap 98, he brought the Camry down pit road. In addition to four tires and fuel, the crew took one half of a round of wedge out of the left rear to loosen the Dollar General Toyota's handling on the oval shaped short track. Lamar restarted the race on lap 101 in the 12th spot. Another caution came quickly for debris on lap 108. Owens called for Lamar to come to the pits on lap 110 for adjustments and fuel. The Dollar General crew made wedge adjustments to combat the continued tight-handling condition of the race car.
On lap 122, Lamar reported to his crew chief that the car is "way too free in" with the last adjustments. Owens suggested that he "grab some front brake in" until the team could come to pit road again. When oil in turn four caused the next caution on lap 149, the No. 32 Dollar General came to the pits for four tires, fuel and adjustments to fix the loose handling into the corners and the tight handling out of the corners. Lamar restarted in the 15th spot and came on the radio immediately to report that it felt like a right-side tire had gone flat. With luck, at the same moment, the No. 09 spun into the outside wall and brought out a caution. Lamar came down pit road and the Dollar General crew quickly put the final set of tires onto the No. 32 Toyota.
The race restarted on lap 160 with the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota in the 17th position. Lamar worked his way to the 15th spot when the caution came out once again, on lap 180. With no remaining tires, Owens made the call to stay on the track and gain valuable track position for the final laps.
"We are the last car without fresh tires, so go hard. Don't forget to get the tires good and clean before the restart," said Owens on the radio. Lamar restarted the race in the third position on lap 185. Within the first lap, the caution flag was displayed when a number of cars wrecked coming out of turn four. Having lost a couple of positions to cars with new tires, the No. 32 Dollar General Camry was in the fifth position when the caution occurred. The race restarted on lap 195. While going into the first turn, the No. 32 got a nudge from behind and shot towards the wall. No contact was made, but Lamar lost valuable track position. The caution flag flew for the final time with the No. 09 spun and made hard contact with the outside wall of turn four.
The race completed on lap 203 with a green-white-checker finish. Lamar took the checkered flag in the 13th position and captured his second consecutive top-15 finish, his third of the 2009 season.
"We had a strong Dollar General Toyota here at Phoenix," said Lamar. "The team worked hard on the tight condition all night. I'm not sure what happened with that second to last set of tires. It felt like one of the tires on the right-side went flat when I was in turn three because the car shot straight towards the wall on the exit. Having to use the last set of tires on the lap 155 pit stop definitely hurt us in those final restarts. I was really hoping to hold on for a top-10 finish and am looking forward to coming back out here in November. I want to thank the team for all of their hard work and am looking forward to being back behind the wheel of the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota in Richmond."
Brian Vickers returns to drive the Dollar General Camry in next weekend's Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's 312.