Clauson Drives to Career-Best Finish and Rookie of the Race Honors at Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky. (June 14, 2008) – On the eve of his 19th birthday, Bryan Clauson drove his No. 40 Fastenal Dodge inside the top 15 the entire night Saturday at Kentucky Speedway, and then utilized pit strategy and a timely yellow flag in the closing laps to grab a career-best, fifth-place finish. The top five not only marked Clauson’s career-best finish to date in his young NASCAR career, but it also helped him earn Raybestos® Rookie of the Race honors.
Clauson and team lined up sixth to take the green flag Saturday to run the 16th NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race of the 2008 season. They embarked on their effort free in and tight off the corners of the 1.5-mile oval, so crew chief Brad Parrott called for track bar and air pressure adjustments throughout their run to try to wrangle the Fastenal car’s handling.
It was in the closing 30 laps when a prior pit stop call by Parrott definitely paid off. The team made its last four-tire, fuel stop on lap 137. Mathematically, the team knew they should make it to the end on fuel but also knew it was going to be tight. Fortunately, they received more reassurance on lap 164 when the fifth and final yellow flag of the race waved. This gave Clauson the break he needed to conserve fuel and make it to the end without pitting. Running 13th when the yellow waved, as racing resumed on lap 170 he was sixth. Then, as the field came around to complete the 171st circuit of the 200-lap competition Clauson advanced to fifth. There is where he maintained his run to call it a night with a career-best, fifth-place finish and Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors.
The No. 40 Fastenal team advanced one position in the overall NNS standings, where the team is now listed 17th overall. With a current tally of 1,761, the CGRFS NASCAR Nationwide team is 19 points outside of 15th and 183 out of 10th.
The NNS teams will head to The Milwaukee Mile next weekend to run another Saturday night race (June 21). The 250-lap event is scheduled to go green at 8:30 p.m. ET with live coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.