FT. WORTH, Texas (June 6, 2008) – Bobby East earned his best career NASCAR finish at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night in the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150. After qualifying 13th, East drove a smart, patient race and was able to bring his truck home in eighth place for his first top-10 finish.
Battling hot, humid and extremely windy conditions, East took the green flag in 13th place after a great qualifying effort the previous day. He told crew chief Chad Norris the truck was tight, and he dropped back to 19th within the first 25 laps. A caution on lap 34 was just what East needed. He was able to pit for new tires and an air pressure adjustment, and quick work in the pits by the Zaxby’s crew helped him gain five positions on pit road.
East was 13th for the restart on lap 38 and worked his way up to eighth in less than 10 laps. Another caution on lap 62 brought him into the pits for right-side tires. This strategy helped him gain another six positions on pit road, which put him in second place for the lap 66 restart.
East held his own up front and eventually settled into fourth place by lap 71. A caution on lap 88 brought him to the pits for left-side tires, which helped him maintain his fourth-place position.
As the truck became a bit tight, East fell back to fifth place on lap 105. A caution on lap 114 when his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Colin Braun, spun brought him into the pits for his final stop of the night. A quick four-tire stop sent him back out in fourth place where he remained until he lost track position during a restart on lap 138. East fell back to sixth place and told Norris the truck was free in and tight off the corners. With so little time left in the race, East had to make the best of what he had since they could not give up track position to pit for any more adjustments.
With 10 laps to go, East was in sixth place but again lost track position on that restart. He fell back to eighth place which he was able to maintain until the end of the race, including a green, white, checkered-flag finish. East’s top-10 finish was the best finish of his NASCAR career. Ron Hornaday won after dominating most of the race.
“Yeah, we're happy,” East said. “The Zaxby's Ford F-150 was great. We unloaded good and Chad Norris and the crew did a great job. Our performance was because of him, Mike Beam (crew chief No. 6) and Matt Puccia (crew chief No. 99.) I want to thank everybody. I want to thank Jack Roush and Zaxby’s for this opportunity. It was a great night and I’m really looking forward to improving on it at Michigan next weekend.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, June 14. East will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 again next weekend.