Driver Of The No. 81s Pete Knight Racing Entry Sees Chance For Victory Cut Short By Rain Mooresville, NC (April 28, 2008) -- While Mark McFarland was disappointed that rain short-circuited a potential winning run in the Racing Electronics 250 at...
Driver Of The No. 81s Pete Knight Racing Entry Sees Chance For Victory Cut Short By Rain
Mooresville, NC (April 28, 2008) -- While Mark McFarland was disappointed that rain short-circuited a potential winning run in the Racing Electronics 250 at Concord Motorsports Park, the driver of the No. 81s Sears Auto Center/Knight's Companies Chevrolet Monte Carlo was still pleased with a fourth-place finish in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division event.
"It's great to come home and not have to put a front or rear clip on the car for a change," said McFarland. "Everybody has the same goal and that's to win races and get back up in the points. Some of the guys up front had trouble and we were able to gain on them a little at Concord. Everybody is looking forward to the next race in Milwaukee."
As in the first two races of the 2008 USAR Southern Division season, McFarland was a threat for the pole position in qualifying. Unfortunately, a low draw for time trials prevented the Winchester, VA driver from winning his third-straight topqualifying effort.
"We went out first in qualifying and that's probably the biggest reason we didn't win the pole again," said McFarland, who wound up eighth on the starting grid with a time of 16.298 seconds on the Concord half-mile oval. "It cooled off and the sun went behind the clouds for about the last 20 qualifiers. That allowed some guys who went late had a big advantage. We really weren't too worried about it because we knew we had a good car. It felt great in qualifying."
With threatening weather all around the racetrack, McFarland took the green flag and immediately pointed his red, white and blue Chevy toward the front. That proved to be slow going, however, as intermittent rain showers and a slew of cautions due to accidents made it difficult to sustain a solid race pace.
"It was tough to pass," said McFarland, noting there were 10 cautions for 78 laps in the event. "The tires were wearing out and everyone was sliding around. It was really slick. There were guys knocking the heck out of each other. It was a rough race. Fortunately, we had a car that could get up underneath guys and pass them on the inside."
Despite the weather and tire woes, McFarland was able to put himself in position for the win thanks to solid strategy by crew chief Wes Ward and the Pete Knight Racing team.
"Our strategy was to save our tires and I don't think we pitted until about Lap 150," McFarland stated. "That gave us 50-lap fresher tires than most of the other cars in the race."
Thetire strategyworked to perfection as McFarland returned to the event back and the pack and immediately rocketed his way toward the front. In the end, however, Mother Nature proved to be the big winner as persistent rain eventually cut the race short at Lap 205 of the scheduled 250-circuit distance.
"We came out around 11th after our pit stop and tire change and we raced right up to the Top-5," said McFarland. "We got up to fourth and were passing for third when the rain came. We had a car good enough to win the race. It was just unfortunate that the rain came and we couldn't finish it out."
Next up for McFarland and his No. 81s Sears Tire Center Chevy will be the Sears Auto Center 150 at The Milwaukee Mile on Saturday, May 31. The event on the famed Wisconsin State Fair Park oval will be a USAR North-South Division combination race and will be part of a full day of racing that will also include Pole Day qualifying for the IndyCar and Indy Lights Series.
All tickets are just $15 for the general admission program which will see the Pro Cup cars take the green flag after the Pole Day events.
"This is going to be a big event for us," said McFarland. "Milwaukee is close to Sears Auto Center corporate headquarters in Chicago and there are going to be a lot of people there. It would be a dream come true to win that event for them."