Fontaine Finishes 16th in First Career USAR Race Thursday, March 04, 2004 -- Lakeland,FL- Chris Fontaine finished his first career USAR race in 16th place last Saturday at Lakeland's USA Speedway, despite having power to only one rear wheel for...
Fontaine Finishes 16th in First Career USAR Race
Thursday, March 04, 2004 -- Lakeland,FL- Chris Fontaine finished his first career USAR race in 16th place last Saturday at Lakeland's USA Speedway, despite having power to only one rear wheel for the whole race.
"We broke a rear differential and then he had only one rear tire that caught," Crewchief Kevin Ingram said, adding," we tried to get the weight on that one tire to help him as much as possible, but we could only do what we could with one rear tire pulling."
Fontaine qualified 32nd in the 36-car field to start the race, and drove hard to keep from loosing ground with the gear problem. On lap 22 ,when the first caution came out, he pitted to work on the problem.
An accident in turn 4 brought out the caution on lap 48. Fontaine pitted again to make adjustments in an effort to improve the situation.
Fontaine narrowly avoided a five car wreck in turn one on lap 63 by getting on the binders, causing the right rear of the car to slide into the wall. The impact broke the right rear shock, and damaged the quarter panel and spoiler.
Fontaine pitted under caution so the team could make what repairs they could.
On the restart, Fontaine was lined up in the 29th spot at the back of the field.
On lap 93 the fourth caution came out for debris on the front straightaway. Fontaine took the opportunity to pit for tires and gas.
During the next 10 laps, Fontaine worked to maintain his position in the field, but the broke shock and crippled differential proved too much as five cars got by him, putting him at the rear of the field again.
Fontaine pitted again for adjustments when the caution came out on lap 183, and had to restart at the end of the field.
He quickly passed three cars on the first lap, but the #18 came back to overtake him on the next lap.
Caution flew again on lap 195 for a wreck coming out of turn four.
When the race restarted on lap 199, Fontaine was lined up in 21st spot.
Handicapped by an illhandling and damaged car, Fontaine manhandled the #47, but he continued to loose ground until the yellow came out again on lap 218.
When Bill Bigley was given a stop and go penalty before the restart on lap 225, it moved Fontaine up to 18th.
Caution came out again, and on the restart on lap 240, Fontaine was lined up 19th.
Fontaine continued to battle the crippled car through the next 10 laps to finish his first career USAR Pro Cup race in 16th overall out of a starting field of 36.
The race will be televised on the SPEED channel on Thursday, March 11.
The next race for Fontaine is the second Hoosier Cup AACS series 125 on March 20 at Desoto Superspeedway.