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Hard Luck for GMAC Racing at California

  • Apr 29, 2003

FONTANA, Calif. (April 29, 2003) – Just once the GMAC Racing team would like the ball to bounce in their favor. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen during Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race at California Speedway.

After qualifying sixth, Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 5 GMAC / CarQuest Chevrolet, slowly drifted backward during the opening laps thanks to a loose-handling race car. By Lap 35, Vickers had slid all the way back to 16th. The second caution flag of the race waved on Lap 40 and crew chief Lance McGrew elected to pit.

During the stop, the team changed four tires, made a track-bar adjustment, a wedge adjustment, an air pressure adjustment and added fuel. Great pit work by the crew allowed the team to gain five positions as Vickers restarted the race on Lap 47 in 11th.

Just 10 laps later, the yellow flag waved again. The No. 5 GMAC / CarQuest Chevrolet was still too loose, so Vickers pitted once again on Lap 59 for a wedge adjustment and fuel only. The changes helped Vickers begin his march through the field and, by Lap 86, he moved into fifth-place.

With green-flag pit stops beginning to cycle through, Vickers was able to move all the way up to second before pitting on Lap 110 for four fresh Goodyear Eagle tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. After Vickers pitted, there were two cars that did not pit, meaning everyone but those two cars (No. 48 and No. 57) were one lap down. However, they both needed to pit once more before the race ended which, if it happened under the green flag, would allow the large majority of the field to make up their lap.

Unfortunately, the yellow flag waved on Lap 117, and in order to get back on the lead lap Vickers needed to beat the No. 48 entry back to the start/finish line. He missed beating the leader back to the line by just a few feet; therefore he was still one lap down in 18th.

On the restart, Vickers raced away from the leader and desperately needed another caution flag right away. Four laps later when the caution flag did not wave, the leaders caught up with the No. 5 GMAC/CarQuest Chevrolet, making it nearly impossible for Vickers to make up his lap. Vickers ended the day in 19th and dropped one position to 11th in the point standings.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series regular Matt Kenseth captured the win in Saturday’s CaliforniaSpeedway.com 300. The Busch Series returns to action on Friday night under the lights at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway with the running of the Hardee’s 250. Live television coverage of the race can be seen on FX beginning at 7 p.m. EST.

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