Tuttle runs race of his career - finishes second at Salem. SALEM, Ind. (July 22, 2002) - Russ Tuttle drove the race of his life this past Saturday night taking home podium honors with a second-place finish in the Tecumseh 300 held at Salem...
Tuttle runs race of his career - finishes second at Salem.
SALEM, Ind. (July 22, 2002) - Russ Tuttle drove the race of his life this past Saturday night taking home podium honors with a second-place finish in the Tecumseh 300 held at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. After several weeks of unfortunate events, which included two demolished cars and a broken hand, Tuttle's luck seemed to turn on Saturday night. With just four laps left in the 300-lap event, Tuttle made a pass on ASA veteran Gary St. Amant to take over the runner-up position. Perhaps Tuttle's good fortune was aided by a little Hoosier luck. Tuttle, an Indiana native, finished a mere 1.5 seconds behind another Indiana alum, David Stremme.
Tuttle and his team made a gamble on Saturday choosing to prepare the No. 16 Chevy for the final time with a race set up rather than a qualifying set up. During a one-day weekend show, where practice, qualifying and the main event are scheduled for the same day, ASA officials impound the car following the qualifying session. Knowing they wouldn't be able to make any adjustments to the car, Tuttle and his crew chief, Glen Allen Jr., opted to put the No. 16 in race ready form prior to qualifying.
"We took a gamble, but we made the right decision," explained Tuttle. "Track position is critical, but we needed to make sure that the car was hooked up for the 300-race laps rather than just the two qualifying laps." Despite a car prepared for the night event, Tuttle put the Team Conseco Chevy in the 12th starting position.
Keeping the leaders in close proximity on the high-banked, half-mile oval, Tuttle waited patiently through the first third of the event. When the third caution of the event was called just past 100 laps, Tuttle and Allen Jr. made the decision to pit for fresh tires and fuel. An awesome pit stop by the green team put Tuttle back out onto the track ahead of several other pitting cars. Once the pit stops had cycled through and the field went back to green Tuttle found himself in the top five at lap 126.
Once in the top five, the Marion County Deputy Sheriff wasted no time bettering his position taking over the fourth spot from Joey Clanton on lap 134. Staying out of trouble and keeping to the front, Tuttle pitted again at the halfway point in the race taking on fresh rubber and making a track bar adjustment. Again the Team Conseco crew was unstoppable putting Tuttle back out onto the track in the third position. In the final 100 laps of the event Tuttle gained one final position, making a late race pass for the second position on lap 296. When the checkered flag flew, Russ Tuttle claimed the runner up position.
"The guys gave me a great car and great pit stops today," stated Tuttle. "These past few weeks have been a real challenge for me and the team, but we have managed to stay together and focused. I guess it was finally my turn for some good luck."
Tuttle hopes to repeat his podium performance at the upcoming ASA race at Madison (Wisc.) International Raceway. The event, which marks the 13th event on the 20-race schedule, will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, July 28. The BF Goodrich Tires 300 will be broadcast live on The National Network (TNN).