Terrible luck plagues Tuttle in Odessa. ODESSA, Mo. (June 25, 2002) - Russ Tuttle's luck has seemed to turn from bad to worse. After an accident destroyed his racecar two weekends ago at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, Tuttle and his No. 16 Team Conseco...
Terrible luck plagues Tuttle in Odessa.
ODESSA, Mo. (June 25, 2002) - Russ Tuttle's luck has seemed to turn from bad to worse. After an accident destroyed his racecar two weekends ago at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, Tuttle and his No. 16 Team Conseco team headed to I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri with a borrowed car and hopes for a strong finish in the American Speed Association (ASA) Missouri 300.
Unfortunately, luck was just not on the side of the green machine team as they struggled the entire weekend. With his primary car in the garage for major repairs, and his hand still hurting from an injury sustained two weeks ago, it looked as if Tuttle wouldn't be able to compete in this past Saturday evening's event. Not willing to give up that easily, Tuttle turned to his Team Conseco crew chief and friend, Glen Allen Jr., for help. Tuttle borrowed a car used by Allen Jr. earlier in the season when the crew chief took a week off from the No. 16 team to compete in the ASA event held at Hawkeye Downs (Iowa) Speedway.
With a car intact, and a team ready to go, Team Conseco rolled the No. 16 off the transporter only to face more problems. Prior to the start of the first practice of the day, the team realized that the steering column on the car was too long and would need to be shortened. The repairs made to the steering system forced Tuttle to sit out the first practice and wait for the next session to see how his car would perform. Unfortunately, in the second practice the rod that connects the rear end to the chassis broke, which forced Tuttle to bring his car into the garage for additional repairs.
Hoping to finally cut a lap in the third session, Tuttle headed out onto the track for the final practice session. A gear issue would again call for Tuttle to bring the No. 16 Team Conseco car to the attention of his crew. When the practice sessions finally came to an end, Tuttle had only put 20 laps on the car.
Despite the lack of track time, Tuttle secured the 23rd starting position for the 300-lap night event. Not even 20 laps into the race, Tuttle was forced to the low side of the track when the spinning car of JC Beattie drifted into the path of the No. 16. To insure the safety of the two drivers, Tuttle managed to swerve to the infield of the track avoiding contact with Beattie's car. Tuttle returned to the track only to be scored a lap down by ASA officials.
With a lap to make up and his hand aching, Tuttle refocused on the laps ahead. Once again, Tuttle became a victim of events when the No. 60 car of Ed Brown hit the No. 16 and sent him sailing into the inside wall. When Tuttle's car hit, the impact was so severe that it spun the car 180 degrees and hit the wall again. Both the front and rear of the car were destroyed ending Tuttle's chances of getting back into the race.
A frustrated Tuttle summed up his thoughts on the weekend. "This weekend has just been bad from the beginning. With a car brand new to me, we had to make adjustments on it to fit my driving style. Once the changes were made, I thought we would be in good shape. We had a good car, but just suffered from my competitor's reckless driving."
The team hopes things will get better when they head to LaCrosse Fairground Speedway in Salem, Wisconsin. The race will be broadcast live this Sunday on The National Network (TNN) beginning at 2:00 p.m. EDT.