GMAC Racing Finishes Second at Milwaukee
- Jun 30, 2003
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 30, 2003)—For the second time this season the GMAC team had to settle for a second-place finish after dominating much of the middle portion of the GNC 250 at The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday.
Rain washed out qualifying on Friday for NASCAR Busch Series teams and, despite limited practice time, driver Brian Vickers and GMAC Racing proved once again why they are a team that’s going to contend for this year’s championship.
After starting eighth it didn’t take long for Vickers to march his No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet through the field and grab the lead on Lap 74 of the 250-lap event.
With Vickers leading and green-flag pit stops beginning to cycle through on Lap 80, the GMAC team elected to pit on Lap 87 for four fresh tires, fuel and a left-side air-pressure adjustment to help the No. 5 Chevy turn just a little bit better in the middle of the corners. Once all of the pit stops cycled through, Vickers was able to re-assume the lead on Lap 95 and began to drive away from the field—leading by nearly three seconds over the second-place car of Scott Riggs.
On Lap 155 the second caution flag of the race waved and erased the lead the GMAC team had built. On Lap 156 all of the front-running cars chose to pit, including the No. 5 Chevy. The team once again changed for tires, added fuel and made an air-pressure adjustment, but when Vickers went to exit his pit stall, the No. 92 team, who was pitted directly in front of the GMAC team, had boxed him in, requiring him to use extreme caution exiting which allowed several cars to get by on pit road.
Racing resumed on Lap 160 with Vickers in fifth and with plenty of time to move back into the lead. On Lap 165 the caution flag waved again for a spin by the No. 2 and No. 48 cars in Turn 4. Under the caution flag, crew chief Lance McGrew told Vickers to conserve as much fuel as possible for the remaining laps of the race.
On Lap 168 the race restarted with Vickers in third, trying to save gas and not let the first and second-place cars of Scott Riggs and Jason Keller get away. Oddly enough, both of those cars were also trying to conserve fuel and the deficit between the leader and Vickers remained constant for the next 50 laps until Keller passed Riggs on Lap 230 for the lead.
On Lap 232 the caution flag waved with Vickers in third and still trying to conserve enough fuel to get him to the finish of the race. On Lap 236 the race restarted, and on Lap 244 Vickers passed Riggs for second and appeared to be chasing down leader Keller until an accident in Turn 2 on Lap 249 forced the race to end under caution with Vickers finishing second.
“I hate it for the guys on the GMAC team,” Vickers said. “They work so hard to give me what I need to run up front. They deserve to win.
“Unfortunately for us, it came down to a situation of having to conserve fuel instead of being able to attack like I would have preferred to do, but we also needed to keep the big picture of the points chase in mind, too. We’ll win one—I just hope it’s sooner than later.”
The GMAC team will return to action Friday, July 4 night under the lights at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Live coverage of the event will begin at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and MRN.