Robbie Harrison wins Rookie of the Race Award at Waterford despite engine troubles. Robbie Harrison scored his third Raybestos Rookie of the Race award after placing nineteenth in Saturday night's Waterford 150 held at the Waterford Speedbowl...
Robbie Harrison wins Rookie of the Race Award at Waterford despite engine troubles.
Robbie Harrison scored his third Raybestos Rookie of the Race award after placing nineteenth in Saturday night's Waterford 150 held at the Waterford Speedbowl near New London, Connecticut. Harrison's race, however, was shortened by just two laps due to engine problems.
The Scarborough, Maine resident also encountered some difficulty in time trials used to set the race's staring grid. Having the wrong set of gears in the Lux Enterprises Chevrolet's rear axle, the engine was hitting the rev limiter well before the end of the straightaways. Harrison would have to start the race from the rear of the field, in 25th, but he was not fazed.
"I like starting in the back, we did the same thing at Beech Ridge," he said. "We just had the wrong set of gears in the car. We have it straightened out now, and we'll go for the Flowmaster Star of the Race award now. There's nowhere to go but forward now, there's just one car behind us. We'll be all right."
The Flowmaster Star of the Race award goes to the driver who makes up the most positions from start to finish of a NASCAR Busch North Series race.
Harrison made the most of the first 50 laps of the race, and when they were done he had moved up all the way to 13th position. But engine problems were looming and Harrison pitted under a lap 68 caution, returning to the race in 23rd place. Quickly moving back into the top 20, Harrison continued making progress through difficult traffic until he was back in 13th on lap 130.
Another pitting opportunity arrived when caution came back out on lap 135, and Harrison was once again looking at having to come through traffic with not many laps left. He got back to 13th when caution came out for the final time, setting up a green/white/checker finish, but the smoke coming from his exhaust while under caution got heavy enough for NASCAR officials to have him bring the car in and park it for the night. Harrison did this with just two laps to go, falling to nineteenth in the final standings.
"It's more of the same luck that we've been having," he said after the race. "I'm not sure what happened to the motor, it might have been a head gasket, I don't know. But this is the worst luck I've ever had, that's all I know.
"It was going good, and I like this track a lot," Harrison continued. "But I'm really frustrated right now. I was giving it all I could, I was driving as hard as I could drive. It was loose, but I could still drive it. We got down to just two or three laps left and they black-flagged us, that's really discouraging. They could have let us go I guess, but, whatever. I'm really hoping we'll get some luck soon."