Cale Gale and the No. 33 team brought the Ruud Chevrolet home in the 15th position on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender spent half of the WinStar World Casino 350 inside the top 15 and led three laps en route to his 11th top-15 finish this season.
With a fast Silverado as soon as they unloaded, Gale worked closely with crew chief Jerry Baxter throughout Thursday's two practice sessions to ensure that his Ruud Chevrolet had the best setup as possible for Friday's 147-lap race. With qualifying planned during the heat of the afternoon and the race scheduled to begin as the sun set, the Ruud crew knew that they needed a setup that would allow for adjustments as the race progressed. With a neutral truck, Gale was able to hold his Ruud Chevrolet wide open during his qualifying lap to secure the 12th starting position.
During the opening laps of the race, Gale's silver and red machine was a little bit snug, but knowing the track would lose grip as the evening progressed the driver was happy with his truck. Just outside the top 10, Gale came down pit road for a four-tire stop during the lap 32 caution period. With the fresh tires, Gale was able to race into the top 10 throughout the next fuel run.
Knowing the importance of track position on the 1.5-mile track, the Ruud team opted to take just two tires during the second and final caution of the day on lap 66. The strategy enabled Gale to be the first competitor off pit road and overtake the lead in the WinStar World Casino 350. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender maintained the lead for three laps before moving back through the field.
As the track loosened up, so did Gale's Ruud Chevrolet. The young driver slid back as far as the 21st position, but a round of green-flag pit stops provided the Ruud team an opportunity to tighten their Chevrolet. With his truck handling better, Gale was able to catch his competition and pick up several positions during the closing laps. By the time the checkered flag waved, Gale was scored in the 15th position.
"Our Ruud Chevrolet was great all weekend," commented Gale following the WinStar World Casino 350. "This chassis has been fast every time we've raced it, and this weekend was no exception. We got a little behind when our Silverado got really loose just past the midpoint in the race, but the Ruud team worked on the truck during a green-flag pit stop and got us back on track. I've had so much fun this season and I've really enjoyed working with this group of guys; I'm looking forward to getting to Phoenix International Raceway next week."