May 8, 2016

Go Bowling 400 Race Report

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Kansas Speedway

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Go Bowling 400 Results:\r\n1: Kyle Busch

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18: Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford\r\n22: Brian Scott, No. 44 Go Bowling Ford

\r\nWith glimpses of speed in the Richard Petty Motorsports Fords throughout the weekend, both teams ended the day with disappointing finishes. Both teams battled handling problems but also posted fast lap times during the race. Aric Almirola raced as high as 14th but an ill-handling No. 43 Smithfield Ford at the end of the race relegated the team to a 18th-place finish. Brian Scott found better handling when the sun went down Saturday night but was marred two laps down and finished 22nd.\r\n

Aric Almirola, No. 43 Smithfield Ford

\r\nThe No. 43 Smithfield Ford unloaded as one of the fastest cars in the garage. In the Top 10 in both practice session, Aric Almirola rolled off in the 19th position for Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400. Almirola raced as high as 14th place during the first run of the night and was in the 15th position when the first caution flag flew on Lap 24. With Almirola reporting that the car was building tight and losing side bite, Crew Chief Trent Owens brought the Ford Fusion down pit road for four new tires with air pressure adjustments. Restarting in 15th place, the car only got tighter with the air pressure adjustments, and Almirola began to fall back in the pack.\r\n\r\nThe team continued to work with air pressure adjustments to try to get the car’s handle under control. Once they were able to loosen the car up, it was almost too loose, and Almirola reported the car was sideways in the corners. From the cockpit, Almirola moved the trackbar down two inches, but the car did not react to the change. Almirola eventually fell two laps down to the leader.\r\n\r\nAlmirola was battling to get his laps back and hoping for opportunities to take the Wavearound, but the leaders continued to stay out to keep their track position. When the final restart came on Lap 248, Almirola found himself in the 19th position and the first car two laps down without any cars one lap down. The team hoped for a couple of quick cautions to get back on the lead lap to try and race with the leaders. Almirola gained a position after a competitor fell back in the closing laps, but no cautions ever came. He took the checkered flag in the 18th position. Moving up two positions, Almirola is 22nd in the Championship Point Standings going to Dover.\r\n\r\n”I thought we had a really strong No. 43 Smithfield Ford going into tonight’s Go Bowling 400,” said Almirola. “We started out the race going forward, but then, we just couldn’t a good handle on our Ford Fusion as we got further into it. We were too tight, so my team worked hard on adjustments, but those eventually got me wicked loose. It was just a strange night for our car. At the end of the day, we got a Top-20 finish which is good considering the night that we had, but we still have a lot of work to do. We’ve got a big fight ahead of us to improve our season and hopefully make it into ‘The Chase’ come September. We’ll keep working hard and move on to Dover, one of my favorite tracks, next week.”\r\n

Brian Scott, No. 44 Go Bowling Ford

\r\nBrian Scott and the No. 44 Go Bowling team headed to Kansas Speedway in need of a strong finish, after a wreck in Talladega threatened to end their day early. In the second night race of the season, the team had a busy Friday at the 1.5-mile track, consisting of two practice sessions and qualifying. After coming off the truck with a Ford Fusion that needed work, the team went into qualifying searching for a starting position at the front. Adjustments made from practice took the No. 44 Go Bowling Ford Fusion a step back and gave them a 28th-position to start Saturday night’s 400-mile race.\r\n\r\nScott struggled with the handling through the first 100 laps, needing grip and giving him a loose car as he ran in the mid-20s. After a caution came out on Lap 102, Crew Chief Chris Heroy called for aggressive adjustments to help with the handling. As the sun was setting, the car was starting to come to Scott, as he moved his way through the field and cracked the Top-20. Scott fell a lap down with less than 100 laps to go but was still running in the Top-25 and fighting for the Lucky Dog position. The team made a green-flag pit stop on Lap 217 and began fighting for position when Scott was called for speeding in Section 1 of pit road. The No. 44 team fell two laps back and continued to fight for position to get a lap back. Scott continued his battle and brought his Go Bowling Ford back up to 22nd to finish the race, two laps back. He is 29th in the Championship Point Standings.\r\n\r\n”The finish didn’t tell the story, but I’m really proud of our guys and how hard they worked tonight and this weekend to get our Go Bowling Ford handling well,” Scott said. “We definitely had a Top-15 car by the end, but I had a speeding penalty that put us a couple of laps back. Regardless, we had a strong car at the end, and we run our race as a team, so we’ll head back to the shop this week and work on getting a fast car off the truck next weekend in Dover.”