Clanton finishes 13th at Salem. SALEM, Ind. (July 22, 2002) -- Saturday just wasn't Joey Clanton's day. After brushing the wall in practice twice and suffering a problem with the braking system, the team, which continues to lead the ASA driver...
Clanton finishes 13th at Salem.
SALEM, Ind. (July 22, 2002) -- Saturday just wasn't Joey Clanton's day. After brushing the wall in practice twice and suffering a problem with the braking system, the team, which continues to lead the ASA driver point standings with a 59-point margin, finished 13th in the event due to a broken radiator hose suffered during the 300-lap race.
Saturday started out rough for the No. 83 Steve Dale Motorsports team and didn't improve as the day wore on. During both the first and second practice sessions, the No. 83 brushed the track wall forcing the team each time to bring the car into the garage to inspect for damages. With repairs needed following each incident, the team did not get the track time needed to test both the car's and BF Goodrich tires' capabilities. After three practice sessions, the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council had run fewer than 30 laps.
Heading into qualifying, the team hoped its luck would turn around in time for Clanton to cut a lap which would put him close to the front on the starting grid. Unfortunately, just minutes prior to the qualifying session, the Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team determined there was a problem with the brakes of the No. 83 Chevrolet. With no time to make changes following qualifying (because ASA officials impound the cars during a one-day event), the team decided to forfeit its qualifying run in order to completely overhaul the braking system. Taking a provisional starting position, the team's first in 2002, the No. 83 was relegated to start the race in 21st.
In the rare instances in which Joey Clanton and the team are forced to move their way to the front of the field, they due so in their characteristic manner: quickly. Unfortunately, the high banking and tight grooves of Salem Speedway slowed down Clanton's effort to improve on his position. Despite the challenging track and tough competition, Clanton broke into the top-10 at lap 88.
When the caution flag flew just following lap 100, crew chief Bond Suss radioed Clanton to come down pit road for fresh right side tires and fuel. Clanton entered the pits in 10th and left in second due to the quick work by his pit crew. Following the restart at lap 118, Clanton's new right side tires didn't adjust quickly enough causing the No. 83 to become extremely loose. The No 83 gained a few Salem stripes as it brushed up against the outside wall several times.
Despite the loose handling conditions, Clanton managed to keep the No. 83 in the top 10. After the field went 100 laps without a caution, ASA officials threw a "competition yellow" allowing teams to come in for new tires and fuel under the caution at lap 218.
With just 25 laps left in the event, Clanton's hope for his eighth win of the 2002 season came to an abrupt end when the radiator hose on the No. 83 came apart forcing Clanton to the pits for repairs. Clanton returned to the track in time to finish 13th, 12 laps down.
"We have had three weeks of disappointing finishes," stated crew chief Bond Suss. "These guys worked so hard to get the car right, but for the first time this year, we didn't roll off the truck fast. We kept digging and managed to finish 13th- a finishing position that really matches our unlucky weekend."
Joey Clanton and the No. 83 Camp Fire USA Georgia Council team will head north through the Midwest making their next stop in Oregon, Wisconsin, home of Madison International Speedway. The Sunday event, schedule for July 28, will be broadcast live on The National Network (TNN) beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.