GMAC Racing Earns Top-Five Finish at Chicagoland
- Jul 13, 2003
JOLIET, Ill. (July 13, 2003) – The GMAC Racing team continued their climb up the ladder in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings Saturday, thanks in part to a third-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.
For the third consecutive week, the team secured a top-10 qualifying effort, earning the eighth-place starting position in Friday’s time trials.
After an impressive final practice session Friday night, Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet, was optimistic about the team’s chances for Saturday’s event—and he had a good reason.
Just four laps into the race the caution flag waved with Vickers running in 10th after having slid back two positions on the initial race start. The next third of the race ran under green-flag conditions allowing Vickers to show how strong his No. 5 Chevrolet was as he made his way into the top five on Lap 61.
With race leader Bobby Hamilton Jr. leaving the rest of the field in his dust, it appeared the real race would be for second place. Hamilton set a torrid pace during the opening laps and was lapping cars running in the top 15 until a caution flag on Lap 64 slowed the pace and prevented further damage for those teams who were close to being placed one lap down.
With Vickers in sixth on Lap 65, most of the cars running on the lead lap pitted, including the GMAC Racing team. During the pit stop the team changed four tires, made a wedge adjustment, added fuel and made an air-pressure adjustment to try and help the No. 5 Chevrolet to turn better in the center of the corners. A fast pit stop allowed Vickers to gain two spots on pit road.
With Vickers in fourth, racing resumed on Lap 68 before another caution flag on Lap 76. During the break in the action, Vickers radioed the crew and told them the car was a bit loose—just the way he likes it.
On the restart it took several laps for Vickers to pass all of the lapped cars and unfortunately allowed the lead trio to pull away until Lap 110 when he started to reel in the third-place car of Casey Mears. With pit stops beginning to cycle through on Lap 130, Vickers stayed out to take the lead and gain five bonus points on Lap 136 before immediately pitting on Lap 137 for four tires and fuel.
The fifth caution flag of the event waved on Lap 153 with Vickers in fourth until the third-place car elected to pit, moving Vickers into third for the Lap 157 restart.
Only four laps were run until the next caution flag waved on Lap 161 for an engine failure on the No. 21 Chevrolet of Johnny Sauter.
On the Lap 157 restart, a lapped car was able to move in front of Vickers and remained there until the end of the race, dashing any hopes of making the pass for second place. The checkered flag waved on Lap 200 with Vickers in third and Hamilton earning his second win of the season.
Saturday’s finish was the team’s sixth consecutive top-10 result, vaulting them into fourth place in the Busch Series point standings, just 69 markers behind leader Scott Riggs.
The GMAC team will look to continue their hot streak on Saturday, July 19 when they visit New Hampshire International Speedway. Live coverage of the event will begin on TNT and MRN Radio beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
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- Jul 10, 2004