ES: Thompson: Eric Lux race notes

Lux Finishes 23rd in Oval Debut at Thompson Speedway Thompson, Conn. (July 12, 2008) -- The NASCAR Camping World Series East returned to its local track roots this weekend for the Full Fender Frenzy 100 at Thompson International Speedway....

Lux Finishes 23rd in Oval Debut at Thompson Speedway

Thompson, Conn. (July 12, 2008) -- The NASCAR Camping World Series East returned to its local track roots this weekend for the Full Fender Frenzy 100 at Thompson International Speedway. Eric Lux, road racing phenom, qualified the No. 22 Eddie Sharp Racing Development Toyota in the 20th position. Running hard and in the Top 20 all night, Lux had a front tire go down in the final laps. Lux stayed on track to finish on the lead lap, but slid back to the 23rd position while working to keep the No. 22 off of the outside wall until the checkers flew.

[IMAGE] "That was wild!" said Lux following his first oval track race. "That race was the craziest thing I have ever experienced! But, also the most fun I have ever had! It was totally different than what I am used to. When the green flag drops you race and you race hard, white knuckles and all. The entire time you are on the circuit you are trying to pass people ahead of you while avoiding cars wrecking in front of you. Trying not to bounce of the cars and walls next to you and just bring the car back pointing in the same direction as it was when you climbed in!"

Qualifying was delayed an hour as the track required clean-up from an accident during the PASS Super Late Model Touring Series heats. Lux was the 16th car to qualify. His second lap was his fastest at 20.934 seconds, putting him in the 20th position to start the 100-lap event. Trevor Bayne earned the pole position with his lap around the 5/8-mile track in 20.357 seconds.

As the sun set and the night temperatures dropped, teams rushed to set up pit stalls as soon as the Late Model event was completed. Drivers had already climbed into their cars that were staged in the garage area for the post-qualifying impound, and quickly pulled them onto the track and to the front stretch where they remained for driver introductions. Engines fired and the race went green under an impressive display of fireworks off the back stretch of the speedway.

The No. 22 Eddie Sharp Racing Toyota was very loose early in the race, sliding sideways coming out of turn 4. By lap 25 Lux was running strong in the 21st position, running nose to tail with his ESR teammate, Craig Goess.

When the first caution of the evening came at lap 33, Lux reported on the handling of his Camry.

"We're pretty loose," commented Lux over the radio. "It's slick out here and feels like the tires wouldn't catch. I'm trying different lines to see if there's a change."

The race restarted at lap 38 with Lux running in the 19th position. The caution immediately when the 35 spun coming out of turn 2. Everyone scrambled to avoid a pile-up and all escaped with only some minor dings and scrapes.

Lux keyed his mic and told his team while laughing, "Oh my god, wow! Now I see why you guys use spotters in this series!"

Lux remained solidly in the top 20 and was working to move forward when he brushed the outside wall in the final laps. When the caution came at lap 91 for another massive scramble of the cars, Lux reported on the radio "that he brushed the wall" and "on the restart I had no turnability whatsoever. I picked up a huge push."

When the race restarted, Lux came on the radio and said "I definitely have a tire going down. I have no grip out here." Lux held on for the final laps, keeping the No. 22 Eddie Sharp Racing Development Toyota off the wall despite the failing tire, and finishing in the 23rd position and on the lead lap.

"When I came out of turn 2 there were about 5 of us all racing hard and then one of the leading cars spun and everyone checked up," commented Lux about the events in the closing laps. "I brushed the outside wall softly and we had small leak in the right front tire. With ten laps to go we opted to stay out and hope the tire would last. It did, however the car could not hold the bottom line and I would slide up the track into the corners. We ended up finishing 23rd. We had a top 15 car and should have been there but tonight was not our race. I have to keep reminding myself that this race was meant to be a learning experience and that next time we can focus on making a run to the front. I just need to get as much seat time as I can. I know the crew and ESR will give me the best equipment to do it."

Lux added. "I want to thank Eddie Sharp for the opportunity and Patrick Donahue, Wayne Carroll, and all the guys who put the car together and came out to work this weekend. They did a great job and I really appreciate it."

Lux returns to action this weekend in the Rolex Grand-Am Series GT class at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

-credit: esr

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Drivers Trevor Bayne , Eric Lux