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Rain Hampers GMAC Racing at Michigan

  • Aug 17, 2003

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 17, 2003) - Mother Nature dampened the spirits of the GMAC Racing team Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) as rain forced NASCAR officials to halt the Cabela’s 250 with just 15 laps remaining in the event.

For the seventh consecutive week, the GMAC Racing team earned a top-10 starting position by qualifying ninth for Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series race.

Vickers ran the opening laps of the race patiently, trying to feel out his No. 5 Chevrolet before making his move toward the front, despite the car being a little too loose for his liking. With Vickers in sixth, the first caution flag of the event waved on Lap 46, allowing the front-running teams to pit for service.

On Lap 47, Vickers rolled onto pit road for four tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and track-bar change to help tighten the No. 5 GMAC Chevrolet. Good work on pit road gained the team one position as Vickers restarted the race on Lap 50 in fifth-place.

Three laps later, Vickers moved into fourth before the yellow flag on Lap 64 slowed the race again. Some of the cars running in the top 10 elected to pit during the caution period, but the GMAC team decided to stay on the race track knowing there was inclement weather on its way.

The race began under hot and sunny conditions, but as the afternoon wore on the sun disappeared and the temperature dropped, causing track conditions to change. Racing resumed on Lap 68 with Vickers in third, but he immediately began to fade and by Lap 100 had fallen to seventh.

The GMAC team could not wait on the rain any longer, coming to pit road for the final time on Lap 101 when the team changed just right-side tires and added fuel. After the stop, Vickers re-entered the race in 20th, but most of the cars running ahead still had to pit one more time for fuel. If everything were to have cycled through completely, Vickers would have been solidly in the top 10.

Unfortunately, the caution flag waved on Lap 107 for rain with Vickers in 19th, and the race was red-flagged on Lap 110. Shortly after the cars were pulled onto pit road the rain stopped and track officials immediately began drying the surface with hopes of getting the race restarted.

Twenty minutes later, rain started to fall again, forcing the event to be called just 15 laps shy of the finish with Vickers 19th.

“It’s too bad the race ended the way it did, because we had a much better car,” Vickers said. “The worst part about it is we lost some ground in the points chase. If everything would have cycled through, we would have been right up front.

“It’s disappointing, but we’re not out of it by any means and we all know anything can happen at Bristol. This team hasn’t given up all season and we’re not going to start now. We’ll bounce right back at Bristol.”

GMAC Racing returns to action Friday, Aug. 22 under the lights at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for the running of the Food City 250. Live coverage of the event will begin at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and PRN Radio.

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