Russ Tuttle Wisconsin International Raceway race report

Tuttle takes home top-15 finish at Wisconsin International. KAUKAUNA, Wis. (June 10, 2002) - Russ Tuttle and Team Conseco posted a 14th-place finish in Sunday's American Speed Association (ASA) event at Wisconsin International Raceway. Tuttle...

Tuttle takes home top-15 finish at Wisconsin International.

KAUKAUNA, Wis. (June 10, 2002) - Russ Tuttle and Team Conseco posted a 14th-place finish in Sunday's American Speed Association (ASA) event at Wisconsin International Raceway. Tuttle claimed a position in the top 15 despite a mid-race accident that severely diminished the aerodynamics of the No. 16 Conseco Pontiac.

Seeing the track for the first time, Tuttle got a feel for the abrasive half-mile track in Saturday's practice sessions. Consistently in the top-20 in speed, Team Conseco felt that the No. 16 would cut a strong lap in qualifying. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate with the team's plans. Just as Tuttle was heading into his second qualifying lap it began to rain. Soon after, qualifying was discontinued for 30 minutes while the shower passed through the area. Once the track was dry, qualifying resumed for the remainder of the field. Because Tuttle's lap (along with another ASA competitor's) was compromised by the rain, ASA officials allowed the No. 16 to re-qualify with the stipulation that the team use their original qualifying tires.

With six laps already cut on the rough track prior to the green flag for the second run of qualifying, Tuttle knew that his tires weren't going to allow him to run his best lap. In the end, the Team Conseco Pontiac lined up on the starting grid in the 22nd position. When the green flag dropped, Tuttle focused on the race in front of him breaking into to the top 15 and moving up seven positions by lap three. While Tuttle continued to improve his position on the track, the team helped in the pits making adjustments to the car at every opportunity. The quick time in the pits paid off and Tuttle split his time between the top-10 and top-15 cars.

Unfortunately, during the latter-third of the race, the No. 16 Team Conseco Pontiac fell victim to the spinning No. 53 Chevy of Scott Hansen. The contact between the two cars caused enough damage to force Tuttle to bring his entry down pit road to the attention of his crew. The team worked quickly to repair the damage with tape while monitoring the pace car in order to stay on the lead lap. The temporary fix was just that, as the right front fender eventually blew off the car entirely.

When the checkered flag flew at lap 300, Tuttle crossed the line in a hard-earned 14th position. Despite the disappointment, Tuttle was pleased with the performance of his team. "We had a good car and just ran into some bad luck," explained Tuttle. "But my crew kept me going and we came home with a respectable finish."

Team Conseco makes another trip up North - this time to Elko (Minn.) Speedway. The Governor's Cup 300 marks the eighth event on the 2002 ASA schedule. The race will be broadcast live on The National Network (TNN) beginning at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

-tc-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Scott Hansen