Saturday, Mar 25

Challenging Day Results in 30th for Whitt

Cole Whitt, competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, finished 30th at Texas Motor Speedway. Qualifying the RTIC Coolers No. 72 in 28th position for the 334 lap event, Whitt battled handling issues the majority of the race on the newly repaved surface.
Debris on the track resulted in the first caution on Lap 4 of Stage 1. Whitt relayed to the team that he was "sideways getting in, free drifting into the corners." With that feedback, Crew Chief Frank Kerr called Whitt to pit road for a wedge adjustment. He returned to the field 35th for the restart. Soon thereafter, on Lap 11, the yellow flag was displayed for the second time for an on-track incident involving three competitors. Whitt stayed out and until the NASCAR mandated Competition Caution on Lap 30, when he and the No. 72 utilized the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. He returned to the track in the 28th position. As the green flag laps progressed, he fell a few positions back, running 34th and one lap down from the leader. He relayed the RTIC Coolers No. 72 was "tight late center and tight on exit."  During the Stage 1 completion caution on Lap 85, Whitt pitted for four tires, fuel, wedge in the left rear and rubber in the right rear" sending him back out to restart 32nd for Stage 2.
Stage 2 resulted in much of the same for the California native. The handling became really tight and caused the loss of more positions. The fifth caution of the day, Lap 123, Crew Chief Frank Kerr made the call to keep Whitt out on track to take the wave around; posting him 31st on the leaderboard and one lap down from the leader. Whitt maintained that position until he made a green flag pit stop for fuel only on Lap 150 which sent him back to the field 33rd and 3 laps down. Experiencing lack of front end stability, a much needed caution on Lap 165 allowed for a pit stop for four tires, fuel and more wedge adjustment. Having just pitted 5 laps earlier, Whitt stayed out on track during the Stage 2 completion caution.
With Stage 3 well underway, running 30th and 4 laps down, Whitt radioed the RTIC Coolers No. 72 was "stupid tight in the center and lacked front end stability".  With that feedback and the field undergoing green flag pit stops, the team opted to bring Whitt to pit for four tires, fuel and more adjustments to the No. 72 sending him back out 31st and 5 laps down. As he resumed speed, Whitt relayed the "car was all over the place, way tighter and experiencing a bad vibration". As the laps progressed, the tires settled in assisting some with the ill handling. Through another round of green flag pit stops, Whitt came down pit road on Lap 269 for four tires and fuel cycling back at 33rd, 6 laps down. The fresh tires resulted in the previous experience affecting handling and lack of stability until they came up to pressure and wore in. At Lap 301, a caution for debris, running 29th, the call was made to keep Whitt out on track to take the wave around. Soon thereafter, Lap 315, Whitt had advanced to the 28th position, when he radioed he was out of fuel. He came to pit road for a quick splash of fuel and returned to the field. He ultimately took the checkers 30th in the RTIC Coolers No. 72 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Tristar PR

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