LOUDON, N.H. (September 13, 2008) – Travis Kvapil had not raced the Zaxby’s Ford F-150 since May, but it did not take him long to get the hang of it again. Despite starting 19th since qualifying was rained out, he quickly worked his way up front, led 24 laps and contended for the win before finishing third.
The Zaxby’s truck was strong in practice on Friday morning, but rain showers canceled most of the afternoon practice. Qualifying was also canceled so teams were forced to line up by owners’ points to start the 200-lap race. Kvapil started 19th and quickly told the team his truck was pretty good. He was up to 12th within nine laps and moved into 10th place on lap 10.
As the race progressed the truck became tight in the center of the corners. When a caution came on lap 50, crew chief Chad Norris brought Kvapil to pit road for four tires and minor adjustments. The Zaxby’s team had a fast stop which maintained their seventh-place position for the restart on lap 60.
Kvapil continued his march forward and was up to third place by the halfway point of the race. He was running lap times faster than the leader and took the lead during a cycle of green-flag pit stops on lap 127. He pitted on lap 131 for fresh tires and fuel to finish the race. The team had a quick 15.1-second stop, and when everyone had cycled through the pits Kvapil was once again the leader on lap 138.
It looked as though he had a shot at returning to victory lane until a restart on lap 158. A lapped truck got loose inside Kvapil. He avoided the lapped truck which spun, but it allowed Ron Hornaday to get by him.
With 38 laps to go, Kvapil did everything he could to regain the lead. His truck was strong on long runs, but with four cautions in the final 30 laps he was never able to get the green-flag racing he needed. He finished third, the best finish this season for the No. 09 Zaxby’s team. Hornaday won the race, his fifth of the season.
“Our truck was really good on the long haul, but it just took us way too long to get going,” Kvapil said. “About 10-15 laps into the run our truck would take off, but we were just way too free to go fast and go hard, and then after 10-15 laps we’d take off. I’m really proud of my team. Everybody on the Zaxby’s Ford did a great job and we just had a long green-flag truck and had a bunch of yellows there at the end that really hurt us.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 20. Bobby East will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 at Las Vegas.
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, John Wes Townley and Bobby East; and one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.