LAS VEGAS, Nev. (September 20, 2008) – Lady luck was not with Bobby East Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After starting 26th and working his way up as high as 11th, his night ended early when he was involved in an accident with 41 laps to go.
East fought a loose truck throughout qualifying and the race. He started the 146-lap race in 26th place after a loose qualifying run earlier in the day. As soon as the race began he radioed to crew chief Chad Norris that the truck was way too free. He was able to pit on lap 25 under caution for right-side tires, track bar and wedge adjustments. A quick stop by the Zaxby’s team put him back on the track in 12th place for the restart on lap 29.
East was forced to pit again during the next caution on lap 40 since he did not get enough fuel during the previous stop. Rather than gamble with less fuel than the other competitors if there was a long green-flag run, East and Norris agreed to pit for fuel and left-side tires. They made the stop without losing too much track position and were 17th when the race resumed on lap 43.
During the next run East was still not pleased with the handling of the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150. He was in 18th place when the next caution came on lap 66 so he came to pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment. The team had another quick stop which gained three positions. East was 15th for the restart on lap 71.
Now the truck was extremely loose, especially in the center of the corners. A caution on lap 98 was just what the Zaxby’s team needed to make some wholesale changes for the end of the race. East came to pit road for right-side tires and a major track bar adjustment. Fast work in the pits sent him out in 11th place when the green flag flew on lap 102.
East had fallen back to 15th place when he got caught in an accident with rookie Brian Scott on lap 106. He came to pit road to fix the front-end damage, and he lost three laps in the pits while the team tried to repair the right-front fender. He returned to the track in 23rd place but told the team he had a bad vibration. Norris instructed him to take it to the garage with 30 laps to go, and their night was over with a 25th-place finish.
“I am very disappointed,” East said. “The truck was pretty loose the whole race, but the guys kept working on it every stop to try to make it better. We had some decent track position toward the end there, but then got caught up in another wreck coming off turn four. I didn’t think it was that bad at first, but then when I started racing again I knew there was more damage than we could fix on pit road. I hate that it ended this way, but what’s done is done and we just have to move on to the next race.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Talladega SuperSpeedway on Saturday, October 4. John Wes Townley will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 at Talladega.