Second-Place Finish The Hard Way At Motor Mile Pete Knight Racing Driver Starts Last, Outlasts Brake Problems Mooresville, NC (July 13, 2008) -- Missing the driver's meeting, starting shotgun on the field, and losing your brakes halfway through...
Second-Place Finish The Hard Way At Motor Mile
Pete Knight Racing Driver Starts Last, Outlasts Brake Problems
Mooresville, NC (July 13, 2008) -- Missing the driver's meeting, starting shotgun on the field, and losing your brakes halfway through the race isn't usually a good plan for a top finish in a USAR Hooters Pro Cup race.
But that's exactly what Mark McFarland and his No. 81s Sears Auto Centers/Knight's Companies Chevy Monte Carlo did Saturday rolling to a second-place finish in the K-Mart 250 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA.
"Considering we started dead last and had the kind of problems we had, second was a great finish," said McFarland. "We've been coming home with a lot great finishes lately. We have a very strong team. Nothing seems to get them down. Everybody is doing everything 100 percent, no matter what it is from changing a engine in the shop to loading the trailer at the track. That's what it takes. Everyone is working together. It's all about the team working together and getting it done."
McFarland's Pete Knight Racing team entered Saturday's USAR Northern Division race on a hot streak finishing no worse than second intheir last three Pro Cup events - including wins at Myrtle Beach (SC) and Milwaukee (WI). The Winchester, VA driver again established that he would be hard to beat at Motor Mile turning in the second-fastest practice effort before qualifying fourth with a time of 16.435 seconds.
"We worked on the car most of the practice to get it turning good and we finally got it there with about half an hour left in the final session," said McFarland. "We had to go out early in qualifying and that hurt us because they had a late model division there with us that put down a lot of rubber on the track in a practice after ours. Honestly, that hurt everybody and we all slowed down. It was pretty much whoever could get around without spinning the tires was going to have a decent qualifying lap because the track was so slick."
Despite the solid qualifying effort, McFarland had to start the 250-lap event at the rear of the field because he missed the driver's meeting earlier in the day.
"It was a big mistake on our part," said McFarland (left). "They changed the times around a little and we didn't notice it, so we messed up big time. We still wanted to get a good qualifying lap because we wanted a good pit stall. Where you pit at Motor Mile is really critical, so a good lap would still gave us a good pit selection."
McFarland wasted little time making his way to the front in the early going and used a two-tire pit stop during the first caution period on Lap 35 get a leg up on the other 31 competitors in the starting field.
b^0x001cAs soon as the green flag dropped, we started picking up positions," said McFarland. "We used pit strategy to gain a bunch of positions early in the race. Our pit crew is really good and thanks to them, we were able to get all the way up to 10th or so."
McFarland's Sears Auto Center Chevy then stayed in the top 10 through the middle stages of the race only to have brake problems nearly derail the solid effort.
"We made it all the way up to fifth and then I started to have some brake problems," McFarland stated. "They'd really start to fade after 30 laps. We decided to pit again, get four new tires, and check the brakes to see what was going on with them. There were only 13 cars on the lead lap at the time, so it wasn't really a gamble and getting the new tires proved to be the ticket."
Back on track, the fresh rubber rocketed McFarland back into contention rolling into the runner-up spot behind eventual winner Benny Gordon.
"The brakes were still fading a lot, but the new tires were the difference," said McFarland. "I could still drive by guys and we got all the way up to second despite sometimes I'd go into the corner and the brake pedal would go right to the floorboard. We were just riding, but we were still picking up positions.
"I could never get to Benny with the brakes being the way they were," McFarland continued. "I just couldn't get into the corner the way I wanted to. It wasn't bad when you were running by yourself, but when you get behind somebody, you could lose the brakes and easily wipe the guy out in front of you. I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to tear up my car or anybody else's"
At the finish, it was Gordon by .305 seconds over McFarland, Jay Fogleman, Brandon Ward and Jeff Agnew.
"It's hard to be disappointed with second place," said McFarland. "We've had an incredible string of good finishes lately and this was another one. We're racing good and everything at the shop is running smoothly. We go to every race to win and we have three Southern Division races and two Northern Division events coming up that we expect to run well at. Things are going pretty good right now."
McFarland and his No. 81s Sears Auto Center/Knight's Companies Chevy will next take the green flag in a USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division event at Southern National Speedway this Saturday, July 19. The Crane Cams 250 at the Kenly, NC half-mile oval will push off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.