Clanton and crew score top-10 finish at Illiana. SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (September 23, 2002) -- Joey Clanton and the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team scored its 14th top-10 finish of 2002 this past Sunday in the Citgo MDA 300 held at...
Clanton and crew score top-10 finish at Illiana.
SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (September 23, 2002) -- Joey Clanton and the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team scored its 14th top-10 finish of 2002 this past Sunday in the Citgo MDA 300 held at Illiana (Ind.) Motor Speedway. After leading 50 laps of the event, tire wear and a tight racecar slowed Clanton's bid for his 10th victory of the 2002 season. Clanton finished the event in sixth.
The No. 83 Chevy lined up for the race in the second position after Clanton cut a lap of 19.894 seconds in qualifying. Once the green flag dropped, Clanton drove around pole-sitter Robbie Pyle to take over the lead on lap one. The lead changed five times within the first 52 laps of the race with Clanton changing places with both Robbie Pyle and Gary St. Amant.
Despite holding down the lead for 50 of the first 55 circuits, Clanton's Chevrolet was making it tough for him on the track. The No. 83 Chevy was tight in the middle of the turns, which made it difficult for Clanton to keep his speed through the corners. By lap 115, the No. 83 Chevy had fallen to the seventh position.
A quick pit stop for right side tires and fuel at lap 119 allowed Clanton to make up lost ground. The No. 83 Chevy entered the pits in seventh and due to the speed and precision of his pit crew, Clanton regained four positions. Despite the fresh BF Goodrich tires, Clanton continued to struggle through the middle of the race.
While the eventual outcome of the race was a disappointment for the team, the finish may have been worse. On lap 258, crew chief Bond Suss made a risky call to bring Clanton down pit road to change left-side tires and make a chassis adjustment that would hopefully loosen up the car. Clanton entered the pits running in the fourth position and had dropped to 11th with just 40 laps remaining. Despite two cautions that slowed his attempt to move back into the top-five, Clanton managed to retake five positions, crossing the finish line in sixth.
"The car just didn't handle like we had hoped," explained Suss. "The car was tight in the middle of the turns making it really hard for Joey to keep the rear from kicking out. Our car wasn't where it should have been but Joey made the most of it." Suss was equally pleased with the performance of the No. 83 pit crew. "We made a lot of stops right in the middle of the race, and each time we gained positions. Just keeping organized is tough, but the crew sailed right through each one."
The Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team makes another stop in the Hoosier state, this time at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana. This year's race will mark the 23rd year the ASA has visited the .686-mile oval. While Joey and the No. 83 don't have 23 year's worth of experience at the track, they do have two prior years of strong finishes to give them an extra boost of confidence. In last year's event, Clanton finished third and in 2000, the team's rookie season, the No. 83 crossed the finish line in the eighth.
The track will pack a full weekend of activities into one day. The cars will roll off the starting grid this Saturday, September 28 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. The National Network (TNN) will broadcast the event tape delayed beginning at 12:00 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, September 29.