DOVER, Del. (May 30, 2008) – Travis Kvapil fought a tight truck all day, but managed to bring the Zaxby’s Ford F-150 home in the fourth position. After starting 20th, Kvapil used pit strategy and a strong truck to work his way towards the front of the field and contend for the win in the late stages of the race.
From the onset of Friday afternoon’s 200-lap race, Kvapil struggled in the corners. At lap 13 he reported to crew chief Chad Norris that the Zaxby’s Ford was good, but he could not get through the corners as well as he would have liked. Despite his handling problems, Kvapil worked his way to the 11th position at lap 42. When the caution flag flew at lap 50 for an incident involving the No. 16 truck, Kvapil came to pit road with the ret of the lead lap trucks to take on four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. The No. 09 crew had a solid stop, allowing Kvapil to line up in the seventh position for the lap 56 restart.
Kvapil was passed by the No. 59 of Ted Musgrave in the early going of the next green-flag run, dropping him to the eighth position. Kvapil held the spot until the caution flag was displayed again at lap 94. He remained silent on the radio until the caution period when he let Norris know that he continued to fight a tight condition. When pit road opened, Kvapil came to the attention of the Zaxby’s crew for another four-tire stop. Norris decided to make another air pressure adjustment to help loosen up the F-150 on the next run. The crew performed another great stop, sending Kvapil back on track in the sixth position for the restart.
Kvapil remained silent on the radio, focused on hitting his marks and adjusting his line to help the handling of the No. 09 Ford. He held on to the sixth position until the No. 08 truck’s engine expired at lap 130 to bring out the caution flag. Kvapil and Norris agreed to come to pit road under the caution period to take on four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. Varying pit strategies were employed up and down pit road, with some teams taking on just two tires. With spending additional time on pit road, the Zaxby’s Ford lined up in the seventh position for the restart.
Over the course of the ensuing green-flag run, Kvapil advanced to the sixth position. When the caution flag was displayed again at lap 169, he stayed on the racetrack and advanced to the fourth position for the lap 177 restart. Kvapil tried to gain a few more positions in the closing laps, but was unable to catch the leaders. He settled for a fourth-place finish, recording his first top five of the 2008 season. Scott Speed claimed his first career Craftsman Truck Series victory.
“It was a lot of hard work,” said Kvapil of his run. “It felt like we had an okay truck yesterday. We didn’t qualify very well. I’ve been really struggling with the Zaxby’s Ford F-150 the last couple of times I drove it. We know we’re better than this, so it was good to have a good, solid day. The truck was really pretty good all day. We hardly made any adjustments. We made some air pressure adjustments and that was it. It didn’t qualify well, but it raced good and it stayed the same speed all day long. Track position was really, really a big deal. I was faster than Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague, I felt like at the end there. Just being behind them made my truck tight. And you saw what Scott Speed did there out there in clean air was pretty good for him.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, June 6. Bobby East will return to driving the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 in the Sam’s Town 400.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing operates 13 full-time motorsports teams, five in NASCAR Sprint Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; four in the Nationwide Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Erik Darnell and Colin Braun; three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Darnell, Braun, Travis Kvapil and John Wes Townley; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.