HAMPTON, Ga. (October 25, 2008) – Travis Kvapil returned to the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Despite limited practice due to rain, he and the team worked hard all day to improve the handling of the truck which resulted in an 11th-place finish.
For the second consecutive week rain canceled Friday’s practice sessions, which gave the teams one brief practice the morning of the race. Since qualifying was canceled as well, Kvapil started the E-Z-Go 200 in 18th place based on point standings. Within a few laps he told the team his truck was very loose.
A caution on lap 17 brought most teams down pit road for much-needed adjustments. Kvapil pitted for wedge and track bar adjustments, as well as to pull rubbers from the right-rear spring. He returned to the track in 25th place for the restart on lap 20.
NASCAR threw a “competition caution” on lap 26 which allowed teams to check tire wear and make adjustments due to the limited practice. Kvapil said the truck needed more rear grip, so he returned to the pits for new tires, air pressure and another track bar adjustment.
Kvapil was 25th when the race resumed on lap 30, but he did not stay there for long. The Zaxby’s Ford F-150 was handling better and within 20 laps he was up to 14th place. When the next caution came on lap 59, Kvapil said the truck was still free so he pitted for fresh tires and another wedge adjustment. Quick work in the pits helped him gain two positions and return to the race in 12th place.
Only a few laps after the restart Kvapil moved into the top 10. By lap 75 he was up to ninth, and took over eighth place on lap 84. The truck was better and his lap times were proof of it. When the final caution of the race came on lap 91 for debris, the team decided to follow the leaders to pit road for one final shot to make the truck even better. Another fast stop helped Kvapil gain two more positions on pit road and return to the race in sixth place.
The race resumed with 35 laps to go. On the restart Kvapil tried to follow the fifth-place truck on the inside, but got trapped on the low side by lapped trucks. He fell back to 12th as the lead-lap trucks freight-trained him on the outside. Kvapil never gave up and was able to get one spot back in the final 10 laps to finish in 11th place. Ryan Newman won the race in his first Craftsman Truck Series start.
“The guys in the pits did a great job,” Kvapil said. “They got me out in sixth-place one time, but the truck was just okay. We were like a sixth to 10th-place truck. The last restart I got behind some lappers and lost track position. I lost my momentum and had to check up, so a couple of guys got around me, so I’m kind of disappointed because we should have been in the top 10. I feel like I gave up a couple spots on the restart, but the truck was really, really loose to start off the race and we made some huge adjustments and still battled back up through there, so it wasn’t too bad.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to action at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, October 31. Kvapil will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 at Texas.
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.