NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie driver Ross Chastain had high hopes for Friday evenings Windstar World Casino 400k at the Texas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas cutting short Thursday’s practice sessions and canceling qualifying. With the reduced amount of track time, the SS Green Light Racing team was unable to find the speed that the Florida teen was looking for on the fast mile and a half track.
Ross started the Melon 1/Watermelon.org Toyota Tundra in twenty-third place based on 2012 owner’s points since qualifying was rained out and spent his entire evening trying to work his way to the front of the field but his drive toward the top-ten was slowed by seven caution periods.
Through the 167-lap race Ross ran between the thirteenth and eighteenth positions as he struggled with the handling of his Toyota mount. Following each caution, Chastain would fall back several positions as he waited for the tire pressure to build and for the handling of the Melon 1/Watermelon.org No. 08 to improve.
"I tried everything on restarts; I tried the bottom, the top, the middle. I tried everything," Ross explained. "It was just so free, so loose going in I just couldn’t do anything. I would go into the corner and I had to lift more than I wanted to. But then after fifteen laps I could run almost wide-open."
Each restart was more of the same, losing a few spots on each restart and then slowly working his way back toward the top-fifteen left the rookie driver searching for answers. “I felt like we did everything we could at the track to try to make it better. As far as the long runs, we did the best we could with what we had. We’ll have to see what we can do better at the shop.”
“That last pit-stop our pit crew picked-up a couple spots and we got up there with guys I was just as fast before the caution and I was just as fast afterwards. But after the restart they would get their distance on me and then we would level out and I could start to make some spots.”
“I wish that last caution had not come out because we had passed some trucks that ended up finishing way in front of us. We would have been a lot better off without that caution though. I guess its just part of the truck series.
Chastain crossed the finish line on the lead lap in sixteenth as Johnny Sauter won his first race of 2012. "We really didn’t have the speed all weekend," Chastain said. “We were like sixteenth in practice and that’s right were we ended-up.”
“We’ve got a couple weeks before Kentucky, we’ll sit down on Monday and decide which truck we are going to take there. Then we’ll work on it hard because we are definitely looking for a better run.
Chastain picked-up five positions to eighteenth in the NCWTS point standings as the Truck Series takes a two-week break before a rare Thursday night race at the Kentucky Motor Speedway.
SS Green Light Racing PR