Russ Tuttle Memphis race summary

Mechanical failures end Tuttle's day at Memphis. MILLINGTON, Tenn. (August 26, 2002) - After finishing in the top 10 at the .75-mile oval Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park in the previous three years, Russ Tuttle hoped to improve on his already...

Mechanical failures end Tuttle's day at Memphis.

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (August 26, 2002) - After finishing in the top 10 at the .75-mile oval Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park in the previous three years, Russ Tuttle hoped to improve on his already strong track record. Unfortunately, the mechanics of the No. 16 Conseco Chevrolet Monte Carlo did not cooperate with Tuttle's plan. After suffering a broken driveshaft, transmission and rear end gear, the No. 16 headed to the garage too injured to complete the 200-lap event.

Team Conseco's weekend started off strong with Tuttle clocking a lap of 23.547 seconds, which gave him the 15th-fastest time in the third practice session. Unfortunately during qualifying, the No. 16 Chevy didn't measure up to its practice times landing Tuttle in the 22nd starting position. After inspecting the car following qualifying, crew chief Glen Allen Jr. and his crew noticed the right rear shock had blown its seal which had caused the car's loose handling condition and slow qualifying run. After fixing the shock, the crew prepared the Conseco Chevy for the race with hopes that their past experience and strong performances at the Tennessee oval would prevail.

While the car wasn't running up to speed during the weekend, neither was the driver. Russ Tuttle, who spends his days protecting the citizens of Marion (Ind.) County as Deputy Sheriff, was suffering from bronchitis. While many drivers would have been sidelined by sickness, Tuttle, who has been competing for most of the year with back and hand injuries suffered in an early season race accident, insisted on driving. Just in case, the team suited up crew chief Glen Allen Jr. who has competed and won on the ASA circuit in past years.

Unfortunately, once the green flag dropped the weekend went from bad to worse. After completing only 112 laps of the 200-lap event, the entire drivetrain system on the Chevy failed forcing Tuttle to call it quits. The team's early retirement from the race is the first time in two years in which the team did not finish due to a mechanical failure. Upon completion of the event, the team was listed in the 32nd finishing position.

"It was a tough day for Team Conseco," explained driver Russ Tuttle. "We thought the car would kick in for the race, but unfortunately, I think we may have made the wrong gear decision. While we are disappointed, we really haven't suffered too many mechanical problems this year. Hopefully next weekend will be better."

Team Conseco heads north to the Minnesota State Fair Speedway in St. Paul for Monday's Labor Day event. The race weekend, an annual highlight of the fair's activities, will be shortened to one day with only one hour of practice and no qualifying. The field will line up for the race on points.

The race will begin at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday, September 2 and will be broadcast tape delayed on The National Network (TNN).

-rtr-

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