Win-Tron Racing; Matt Merrell Strong In Motor Mile; But Endure Another Tough Finish "Matt Merrell Qualifies Outside Pole In Motor Mile Debut" RADFORD, Virginia (July 15, 2008) - - Ready for a top-10 finish in their freshman season of USAR...
Win-Tron Racing; Matt Merrell Strong In Motor Mile; But Endure Another Tough Finish
"Matt Merrell Qualifies Outside Pole In Motor Mile Debut"
RADFORD, Virginia (July 15, 2008) - - Ready for a top-10 finish in their freshman season of USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Series competition, Win-Tron Racing appeared to be well on their way to sealing the deal in last Saturday's Kmart 250 but a mechanical failure while running in the top-five seized the team's run and instead issued a disappointing 22nd place finish.
The weekend started off on a great note for the rookie team when Merrell stepped up to the plate in qualifying and logged a second place run, the best time trials effort for the Minnesota USAR team since South Boston Speedway in April and third top-five start of the season.
"We had a great qualifying run," Merrell stated. "This is a new track to me but as a team we've seemed to adapt to it very well. I cannot thank my guys enough all their hard for giving me a great racecar."
At the start of the 250 lap event, Merrell tried settling comfortably into the top-five before finding himself going through a spin after getting a tap from behind. With no damage, Merrell would have to regain his composure and focus on getting back to the front.
Knowing that he had a good car, Merrell patiently but steadily began moving back towards the front of the field. Turning competitive and impressive lap times, the Win-Tron Racing team would elect to stay out on a caution and use pit strategy, allowing the development driver to get back in the hunt.
Unfortunately, while running fourth Merrell diagnosed and radioed to his team that he felt a gear broke. Crew Chief Mike Resop instructed his driver to bring the No. 32N Chevrolet Monte Carlo behind the wall where the team would change the gear and send Merrell back into battle.
Out of contention for a top-10 finish, the team raced hard for points and soldiered on to a 22nd place finish, completing 167 of the scheduled 250 laps.
"We just can't get a break," said Merrell following the race. "As a team I think we've done our job but we've suffered in the finishing department because of crappy racing luck. We qualified strong and that put our team in the spotlight. One of these races, the whole weekend is going to play out and we're going to be in contention for a strong finish."
Merrell added, "My team never gave up on me and they did an awesome job changing the gear. They deserve a lot of credit for the performance of the car this weekend. To come to a track where we didn't have any prior experience and unload the way we did says a lot. I keep telling the guys to hang in there, our time is coming."
Merrell won't have any time to fret on the finish from the Motor Mile as he's preparing to make his return to the ARCA RE/MAX Series for Friday's Kentucky ARCA RE/MAX 150 at Kentucky Speedway. Merrell will make his speedway debut behind the wheel of the No. 32 Red Line Oil Dodge Charger.
"I'm looking forward to Kentucky," offered Merrell. I'm extremely grateful to have the opportunity to compete at Kentucky Speedway, it's a demanding track but I'm looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully we can play our cards right and walk away with a finish we can all be satisfied with."
Win-Tron Racing's Nate Thiesse offered his two-cents on the past weekend; "Once again Matt continues to improve. He did a great job last weekend. He does not control mechanical failures but he handled it well and persevered with a respectable finish. I know he's excited about Kentucky Speedway this weekend and we are too. We'll look to bounce back on the USAR side next weekend at Jennerstown."
Tejas Exotics, Merrell Lease Service and Win-Tron Driver Development held the sponsorship roles on the No. 32 entry at the Motor Mile. Next up for the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup is a stop in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania on Saturday July 26.