Another Top-Twenty Finish For Bourque At Holland "Diversity Driver Continuing To Learn The Ropes" HOLLAND, New York (Tuesday, June 27, 2006) - - If anyone attended last weekend's NASCAR Busch East Series event from Holland International...
Another Top-Twenty Finish For Bourque At Holland "Diversity Driver Continuing To Learn The Ropes"
HOLLAND, New York (Tuesday, June 27, 2006) - - If anyone attended last weekend's NASCAR Busch East Series event from Holland International Speedway, they saw first hand that rookie Pierre Bourque was impressive.
With Bourque being a new driver to the NASCAR Busch East Series (NBES), many of the tracks he will visit this season will be new and for any rookie that can be intimidating. Thankfully for Bourque, former ARCA champion Andy Hillenburg is at his side and guiding the Ottawa, Ontario native throughout his transition.
"We're happy with our performances but there is room for improvement and we are going to get there," said Bourque, the only full-time Canadian running in NASCAR "The team has done a good job preparing the cars every week. I'm continuing to get more comfortable in the car with each race," he said prior to climbing in his No. 10 Chevrolet before practice.
During the practice session, Bourque drove like a veteran gathering seat time and amassing laps around the short track. "We have a lot left in our car," he said following the session. "We're going to make some adjustments before qualifying and I think it will help us immensely. We're getting better and quicker every time we unload at a race track and that's what we need to do."
In qualifying, Bourque posted a lap of 15.415 seconds equaling a speed of 87.577 mph. Despite only turning the 23rd fastest effort, it was a very tight field leaving Bourque confident for the main attraction. "Qualifying was good," said Bourque, who also competes in the ARCA RE/MAX Series as a rookie. "We picked up from our first lap to our second lap and that's important. We're starting mid-pack, so I'll have to watch myself at the start of the event, but I have a good feeling about the race."
At the start of the Fuccillo Auto Park HUGE 150, Bourque made a mad dash towards the front. Early on, the No. 10 Full Metals Minerals-Pollara Strategic Public Opinion Chevrolet appeared one of the quickest on the track throwing the rookie driver quickly into veteran status.
Despite a massive amount of cautions, Bourque remained on the lead lap and a mid-pack competitor before problems with the kill switch on the steering wheel put the rookie driver out of contention.
Bourque brought his machine to the attention of his FTR crew. The crew worked fiercely and was able to fix the problem but not without the penalty of losing seven laps. With no chance at a top-ten finish, the team's goal was to finish the race. Bourque performed brilliantly keeping his nose clean, crossing the line 20th for his third consecutive top-20 finish of the 2006 season.
"If we didn't have the problem with the kill switch, a top-ten finish was definitely in our cards," explained Bourque, following the event. "We had a great car, probably the best one yet this season. I owe it all to Andy Hillenburg and his crew, they are an awesome bunch to work with, I'm just the lucky guy that gets to drive the car."
With his 20th place finish, Bourque picked up a spot to 17th in the NASCAR Busch East Series point standings, just a mere three points out of the top-15 and 54 markers outside the top-ten. Bourque will look to climb in the finish order and the points as the NBE Series heads to Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut this week.
Bourque holds the fourth place position in the 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series Rookie-of-the-Year standings just two points from the top spot. "We're digging in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings. This is our main goal this season. We know we may not have a chance at the championship, but there is no reason why we can't finish in the top-ten (driver point standings) and take the Rookie-of-the-Year honors. We've still have a long way to go, but I really think we're in the best position and I have a good feeling about the rest of the season."
"Obviously, I think we are starting to come into our own niche and we're showing the rest of the teams we are capable of running competitively. We'll look to finish what we started this Thursday night."
The Fast Track Racing team spent all day Monday, June 26th testing at New Hampshire International Raceway in Loudon, New Hampshire preparing for the upcoming event on July 14th.