Russ Tuttle Illiana race notes

Tuttle takes home 17th at Illiana. SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (September 23, 2002) - Back in his home state of Indiana, Russ Tuttle was hoping for a strong finish in the American Speed Association (ASA) Citgo MDA 300 for the No. 16 Conseco Chevrolet. ...

Tuttle takes home 17th at Illiana.

SCHERERVILLE, Ind. (September 23, 2002) - Back in his home state of Indiana, Russ Tuttle was hoping for a strong finish in the American Speed Association (ASA) Citgo MDA 300 for the No. 16 Conseco Chevrolet. The team definitely had the skills, the pit stops and the determination to get to the front of the field, unfortunately the tires on the Conseco Chevy didn't cooperate. The team finished the event in the 17th position and continues to hold down the 11th spot in the driver point standings.

Crew chief Glen Allen Jr. and Russ Tuttle decided to start the first practice session with a new and more aggressive chassis set-up. Unfortunately, newer wasn't better and the team completed the first practice with a best lap time of 21.076 seconds. The team returned to what it calls its "baseline" set-up and immediately picked up six-tenths of a second in the second practice. The team bolted on new tires for round three of practice and clocked its best lap of the day at 20.393 seconds. Heading into qualifying, Tuttle felt he had a car that could qualify in the top 10.

"Our car was great in turns three and four and we made a lot of adjustments so it would be good in turns one and two as well," explained Tuttle. "I drove the car deep into turn four on the second qualifying lap and my left front wheel just barely hit the apron of the track. But I guess it was enough to pull the whole wheel off."

With the unfortunate incident in qualifying, Tuttle and his team took a provisional starting position lining up for the event in the 22nd position. Once the green flag dropped it took a pit stop and a fresh set of tires to get Tuttle going. On lap 41, the team pitted to take on right side tires. The new rubber immediately improved the handling of Tuttle's car and the team had moved into the 13th position when Allen Jr. called for a second pit stop.

Tuttle entered the pits and his crew went to work changing left side tires and making a chassis adjustment to tighten up the car. The change proved to be too much and immediately Tuttle began to fall back. Nearly 75 laps passed before Tuttle was able to pit again. New right side tires improved the handling but didn't give Tuttle enough to finish in the top-10.

"Our car was really tight and the tire wear was worse than we expected," Tuttle said. "I am confident we can end the season with two strong finishes. We go to Indianapolis Raceway Park next where I finished eighth last year and Winchester. You can't beat the tracks in Indiana. All three of my favorite tracks, Salem Speedway, Winchester Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) just happen to be in my home state. I guess I might be a little biased."

Biased or not, Tuttle's record on Hoosier tracks is strong. Look for him to be a front-runner in the event this Saturday at IRP. The event will take place at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast tape-delayed on The National Network (TNN) beginning at 12:00 a.m. Sunday, September 29.

-eh-

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