Promising Run Ends Early for RCR's Tim George Jr in NNS Debut ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 19, 2010) -- Richard Childress Racing development driver Tim George Jr. was well on his way to a top-10 finish in his career-first NASCAR Nationwide Series...
Promising Run Ends Early for RCR's Tim George Jr in NNS Debut
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 19, 2010) -- Richard Childress Racing development driver Tim George Jr. was well on his way to a top-10 finish in his career-first NASCAR Nationwide Series start, but a turn-three incident with less than 15 laps remaining in Saturday's Bucyrus 200 presented by Menards at Road America relegated the driver of the No. 21 Sargento Chevrolet to a disappointing 32nd-place finish.
Car owner Richard Childress dropped one spot in the NNS Owners' Point Standings, to 14th.
Beautiful weather welcomed NASCAR competitors to Road America for the sanctioning body's first appearance to the four-mile, 14-turn road course since the 1950s. RCR joined the other NNS teams in a full day test session on Thursday designed to help familiarize drivers and teams to the course and George posted solid lap times in the No. 21 Sargento Chevrolet.
On Friday, the Gere Kennon-led No. 21 Sargento Team tweaked the setup of the black Chevrolet and George was able to post the 25th-fastest time during the first of two practice sessions before the team made chassis adjustments geared towards preparing the car for race trim. George was 22nd at the conclusion of Friday's second and final practice session.
The NNS utilized road course qualifying rules in which six groups of seven cars had seven minutes on-track, with each driver's best lap time in their group serving as the lap of record. George earned a 29th-place starting spot for the 50-lap race with a 139.007-second lap around the four-mile road course for a speed of 104.835 mph in the No. 21 Sargento Chevrolet.
With a starting position deep in the 43-car field, George knew that he would have to use patience and his road racing background to make up positions on the racetrack. He was scored 26th by lap two and setting a steady pace around the 4-mile course. However, on lap six, the New York, N.Y., native missed his mark heading into turn three and ended up spinning. He was able to recover quickly and with only slight right-front fender damage to the No. 21 Sargento Chevrolet.
Following the spin, George stayed on track and continued to post competitive lap times until taking advantage of a full course caution on lap 12 so that his RCR pit crew could service the Sargento Chevrolet with four Goodyear tires and fuel. During this stop, the team also made repairs to the right-front fender, which was crumbled from George's lap six spin.
Restarting the race 28th on lap 14, George was scored in the 25th position on lap 16, 24th on lap 20 and 18th position by lap 24. When NASCAR officials indicated that the track was under a full course caution on lap 27, George pitted again for four tires and fuel.
Under each caution, crew chief Gere Kennon stressed the importance of conserving fuel as, according to team estimates, the lap 27 pit stop placed the team just shy of the fuel needed to make it to the end of the 50-lap race. When NASCAR officials indicated that the track would be under caution conditions for an extra lap as they cleaned debris from the racetrack, the Sargento Chevrolet was brought back down pit road so that the team could top off fuel.
George was scored in 18th position when green-flag racing resumed on lap 29, but green flag conditions would not last long as a massive pile-up in turn six resulted in a full course yellow and a 31-minute red flag. Luckily, a group of talented spotters were able to guide George away from the incident and he avoided any damage to the No. 21 Sargento Chevrolet.
The RCR team took advantage of the red flag to discuss race strategy. With George scored in 18th position, the team determined that if the leaders pitted when pit road was open, George would stay out in order to gain position on the racetrack.
Sure enough, when the debris was cleared from the track and cars began rolling, a majority of teams made the decision to pit as soon as pit road was open. George stayed out and was rewarded with a seventh-place starting spot for the lap-34 restart.
On the lap-34 restart, George was able to maintain position for several laps before dropping to ninth as cars with fresh tires began to gain momentum on the course. He was running ninth with just 14 laps remaining in the race when he tangled with another competitor heading into turn three, resulting in heavy front end damage to the No. 21 Sargento Chevrolet and ending the team's day early.
George finished 32nd in the final running order.
Carl Edwards earned his first NNS victory of 2010, while Ron Fellows finished second. Brendan Gaughan, Brad Keselowski and Owen Kelly rounded out the top five.
The next NASCAR Nationwide Series race is the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 26.
"I really enjoyed my debut in the NNS driving the No. 21 Sargento RCR Impala. The Sargento family was very kind, and I wish we could have got them and the RCR team a better finish. We were running very strong towards the end. It took the first third of the race to get used to how loose the car had to be to go fast. Then in the second third we really made up some track position, running times equal to the leaders. My crew chief (Gere Kennon) had a great strategy and he put us in the perfect position to garner a top 10. I got into the 33 coming off turn 3. I'm not sure if he was trying to block me off the corner or stack me up, but the end result was both of us turned around and my car had too much damage to continue. All in all I feel like with a little more patience I can race at this level, and I look forward to doing more."