Sharpie Mini 300
Sharpie Mini 300
Rain Rain Go Away!!!
For the 3rd time in five weeks, weather became the biggest factor for the race weekend. Due to rain, Thursday's practice and Qualifying were once again rained out, giving Team ABF Racing only one practice before taking the green flag on Saturday, and setting the starting field by the NASCAR rulebook. This meant that even though Kyle Busch in the #32 car was fourth fastest in practice, and Jason Leffler struggled in the #38 to a 20th place speed, based on last years owner points, Jason would start the race in 8th and Kyle in 14th.
Let's Go Racing!
On Saturday, Team ABF Racing was more than ready to attack the "World's Fastest Half-Mile," but they would have to wait just a little longer, as rain managed to postpone the race by two hours. When the cars finally did take to the racetrack, Bristol's signature concrete racing surface had been washed clean, removing all of the rubber that typically builds up during on-track activities, and helps to protect the tires from excessive wear. This led to NASCAR notifying teams that they would have a "Safety Caution" on lap 45 so that the teams could change tires and monitor tread-wear.
KYLE 1st!... To leave track.
Unfortunately, NASCAR's planned caution would not be the first, as on lap four the yellow flag came out for a single car spin, and then on lap 14, Martin Truex Jr. spun out in the #5 car, and collected Kyle Busch in the #32 in the process! The damage was heavy to the Braun Racing Toyota, and while the crew inspected the car, Kyle left the racetrack. He was credited with a 42nd place finish.
While Kyle and the #32 car had their troubles early, Jason Leffler in the #38 was having quite a race. He kept his Team ABF Racing Camry near the front all day, never falling out of the top 12. As more inclement weather neared, the competitors realized that the race may not last the 300 scheduled laps. On lap 163, the caution fell. Raindrops were hitting the track, but NASCAR hoped to be able to restart the race in just a couple of laps. Crew chief Stewart Cooper and the rest of the field had a tough decision. They needed tires if the race were to restart; but would it restart? While several cars, including the leader and the #38 stayed out on the track, many others headed to pit-road, banking on the race being able to resume. It didn't. On lap 171 NASCAR brought all the cars to a stop on pit-road, and after waiting out the rain for several minutes, they called the race. Thanks to a head's up move by his Crew Chief, Jason was able to cash in on a solid 6th place finish on a weird and wet weekend.
The Nationwide series heads to another concrete track and hopefully better weather next week at the Nashville Superspeedway for the Pepsi 300. Brian will make his next appearance in the ABF U-Pack Racing entry on April 5th for the O'Reilly 300 and the lightning-fast Texas Motor Speedway.
(Photos courtesy of TheHotLap.com)