Jeff Fultz & JCR3 Racing Team Picking Right Up Where They Left Off Three-Time Southeast Series Championship Team Picks Up Sixth at Peach State CHARLOTTE, NC (April 10, 2006) -- Coming into a new series is something that any racer struggles ...
Jeff Fultz & JCR3 Racing Team Picking Right Up Where They Left Off
Three-Time Southeast Series Championship Team Picks Up Sixth at Peach State
CHARLOTTE, NC (April 10, 2006) -- Coming into a new series is something that any racer struggles with. There is always a time of transition, where the team has to learn new cars and setups, the driver has to learn new opponents and everyone has to learn new rules and regulations. Jeff Fultz and his JCR3 Racing team have gone through this to start out their new life in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series.
On Saturday night, they showed that their learning curve has been relatively short, picking up a sixth-place finish and the Miller Rookie of the Race Award in the Naturally Fresh 250 at Peach State Speedway in Jefferson, GA. The top-10 finish came in just the team's third Pro Cup Series event.
"This is a great run for the team," said Fultz, a three-time NASCAR Southeast Series champion. "We're really starting to get a handle on these racecars and this finish is a big step in the right direction."
Fultz started 14th behind the wheel of his #54 C & C Boiler Sales & Service / JCR3 Racing Pontiac, his best starting spot in the three races thus far. Fultz had to fight from the back right from the start of the race. But after some early problems, Fultz and the team wasted little time in getting to the front at the high-banked, half-mile track, known for being overly tough on tires.
"Overall, the beginning of the race was terrible. We didn't have a great starting spot, but the car was fine. We got booted up in the loose stuff earlier on and just had to keep gaining from there. We fought as hard as we could but we kept getting slowed up by lapped cars. The problem is that the lapped cars that were on the bottom groove would run you up in the loose stuff, or if you shot to the bottom to pass them then everyone would check up."
Peach State is known for acting like a "cheese grader" on tires. After just five laps, tires lose a lot of grip and cars start to slow. After 15 or more laps, the cars become a handful to drive and the real drivers normally start to show their hand.
"Everyone had a real handful with their cars," added Fultz. "I was getting really frustrated because I had a good car, but I just couldn't get the runs to get single-file.
"We planned everything just right. We put tires on just when the car got super loose after it was tight all run long before that last stop. Then I just got run into the loose stuff and slammed in the left front (with an unidentified lapped car). He acted like I wasn't even there. I don't race that way and I know that the guys on the track don't race that way on purpose. It's just this track is so tough and you're sliding around the whole lap."
Eventually, Fultz found himself racing toward the top 10. A fantastic stop by the JCR3 Racing team during the final round of stops with less that 50 to go got Fultz out eighth and in a position to contend for the top five. However, Fultz ran out of laps, but still finished an impressive sixth, his second top-10 finish in three starts in 2006.
"With a couple of more laps, we would have had our first top-five. We were really hoping for that, but we just ran out of laps and all of the cautions at the end hurt us. Either way, it was a great run for this entire JCR3 Racing team. We're gaining on it each week, learning new things and getting better. I think we'll be a threat to start winning races very soon."
Fultz will now have a couple of weeks off before getting back on the track when the series returns to Concord Motorsport Park in Concord, NC. The Greased Lightening 250 is set to go off Saturday night, April 29th. The race will be televised on SPEED Channel at 5pm on Wednesday, May 3rd.