Event: N.C. Education Lottery 200
Date: Friday, May 20, 2011
Venue: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Result: Start 29/ Finish 22
Point Standings: 18th
Charlotte, N.C. (May 21, 2011)– Loose track conditions and a significant amount of caution flags contributed to a long night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team and driver Craig Goess chased the handling of the No. 46 Greenville Toyota of NC Toyota Tundra all evening while avoiding trouble on the track, concluding the night in the 22nd position.
Rolling off 29th at the drop of the green, Goess and his team would quickly learn the handling of their Tundra did not match up well with the track conditions everyone was fighting. The first of 10 caution flags that would slow the field for 47 laps came just eight laps into the event, and Craig immediately radioed to his crew the truck was pretty loose and he couldn’t plant the nose of the truck the way he wanted to in the entrance of the corners. Fuel and a track bar adjustment on the first stop under the Lap 8 yellow worked to tighten up the truck for Craig, but didn’t quite help enough.
Another caution came shortly after on Lap 24, allowing the crew to put four fresh tires with air pressure adjustments on the Greenville Toyota of N.C. Tundra. Restarting 24th on Lap 31, Craig maintained his position but continued to wrestle the truck around the 1.5-mile asphalt track.
“The truck is just loose. Just plain loose no matter what I do. There’s no security when I drive off into the corner,” Craig explained to crew chief Trip Bruce on lap 43.
The ESR pit crew would get a chance to take a big swing at the handling of the Greenville Toyota Tundra ten laps later under the fourth caution of the night on lap 53. After four fresh Goodyear tires and major air pressure and chassis adjustments, Goess headed back into competition only to ride through four more cautions over the next 30 laps.
Avoiding the final two accidents of the night, Craig kept the No. 46 steady and fought through the loose handling conditions he had suffered since the start of the night. Though all of the changes the team made seemed to help point the truck in the right direction, the loose, insecure feeling never really went away for Goess.
“We struggled to get the truck to get into the track and get grip through the turns. It was really hard to get a good feel for what the adjustments did after the pit stops because we didn’t have many green flag laps or get to burn off some fuel,” Goess said. “At the end of the day we survived a very long night of chaos and our truck is in one piece.”
Crew chief Trip Bruce claimed the loose track conditions contributed to some of the woes with the handling.
“It seemed like everyone was having the same issue with the track and the handling with the right side tires. It was really hard to get any grip at all tonight and everyone was loose,” crew chief Bruce commented following the 134-lap marathon. “Most importantly we logged all the laps we could and stayed out of trouble. We have to maintain that mentality, stay patient and the finishes will come.”
Next Event: An open week before racing at Kansas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 4th will give the team time to prepare the No. 46 Toyota Tundra for battle at the 1.5-mile oval. Craig will enter the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 18th in driver points.
For more information on Eddie Sharp Racing, Craig Goess and the No. 46 Greenville Toyota of NC Tundra, visit TeamESR.com and CraigGoess.com. Follow us on Twitter (@TeamESR) and find Eddie Sharp Racing on Facebook.