Sparta, KY. (June 12, 2010) – Out of the top-30 in owner points, Brian Ickler and the No. 6 team had to qualify on time at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night. In his first race with the team, the young driver put the CitiFinancial Ford Fusion solidly in the field with a fast lap of 31.24; good for the 21st starting position in the Meijer 300. Ickler battled adversity after two separate on-track incidents, but drove home with a hard-fought 14th-place finish, his best effort since joining Roush Fenway Racing.
From the drop of the green flag, Ickler was on the gas and making his way to the front. The second caution of the night on lap 21 allowed Ickler to pit and gave the team a chance to work on the car. Despite almost missing the pit stall, Ickler’s crew adjusted the car to help the handling and sent him on his way in the 22nd position. While the car had good balance, Ickler radioed in to crew chief Mike Kelley and said, “the car is good, it just takes a few laps to come to me.” Fast pit stops by the crew and patience by the young wheelman paid off and he was knocking on the door of the top-15 at the half way point of the race.
Running times consistent with the leaders, Ickler continued to move forward. When the fourth caution of the race was displayed on lap 111, Kelley and the crew had another chance to massage the car to help improve the handling for Ickler. As the laps clicked off, Ickler and the No. 6 car were moving up on the scoring pylon. After a fuel only stop under caution on lap 133, Ickler was up to seventh. On the lap 137 restart, the No. 12 car (Justin Allgaier) had trouble getting up to speed and as Ickler tried to maneuver out of the way, he was tapped from behind by the No. 18 (Brad Coleman) and was sent spinning through the infield grass. On lap 139, Ickler was forced to bring his Ford in for tires dropping him back to 22nd in the running order.
Ickler’s second incident occurred four laps later when he got out of the groove in turn two and backed his machine into the wall. After two trips to pit road and quick work by the CitiFinancial crew, Ickler was back on track in the 25th position. Despite the damage to the rear of the car, Ickler methodically passed cars en route to a 14th-place finish in just his third race for Roush Fenway Racing.
“I am disappointed,” said Ickler who finished on the lead lap. “The CitiFinancial car was fast all night but we just didn’t get the finish we deserved. That first incident on the restart was unfortunate but we didn’t panic because we had a top-10 car. In the other incident, I was racing hard and the car just got around on me and I hit the wall. The guys patched up the car and it was still fast even with the damage. We ran all the laps and gained some points which is important for this team.”
Joey Logano, who started on the pole, led the most laps en route to the checkered flag in the Meijer 300 on Saturday night. It’s Logano’s third straight win at Kentucky Speedway. The NASCAR Nationwide Series visits Road America next Saturday, June 19, 2010 for the first road course race of the season. The Bucyrus 200 can be seen on ESPN2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. returns to the seat of the No. 6 CitiFinancial Ford at Road America next weekend.
Top Five Race Finishers:
1. Joey Logano
2. Carl Edwards
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Brendan Gaughan
5. Reed Sorenson
Brian Ickler Position 53rd (After 14 of 35 races)
Race Total: 121 Points
Season Total: 315 Points (-1991)
Starts Wins Top Fives Top 10s Poles
3 0 0 0 0
Elkhart Lake, WI
Saturday, June 19, 2010