Clauson Earns Rookie of the Race Honors at Auto Club Speedway
FONTANA, Calif. (August 30, 2008) – Bryan Clauson drove the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge to an 18th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race Saturday night and earned rookie of the race honors for the fifth time this season. The Fastenal Team currently sits 19th in the NNS Series standings with eight races remaining on the 2008 schedule.
Clauson started from the 22nd position after his qualifying effort on Saturday afternoon. He told crew chief Brad Parrott the car was loose at the start of the 150-lap race and would get looser as the run went on. Clauson was passed by the leader on the lap 29 and the team pitted under green-flag conditions on lap 41. The crew made a chassis adjustment while fitting the car with four fresh tires and packing it full of fuel. The first caution flag waved on lap 54 with Clauson in 26th.
The crew tightened up the car again on lap 57 with a wedge and track bar adjustment. The crew picked up four spots on pit road before racing resumed on lap 60. Clauson dropped back to 26th and told Parrott the car was tight for the first few laps then got really loose. He brought the car into pit road to the attention of the Fastenal crew for tires, fuel and a shock adjustment. The green flag waved on lap 81 with the Fastenal Dodge in 24th, and only 14 cars remaining on the lead lap.
Clauson was passed by the leader again on lap 113, so Parrott called him down pit road on lap 114 for tires, fuel and to remove a left-rear spring rubber. The caution flag eventually waved again on lap 131. The team put on scuffed tires and sent him back on the track in the 23rd position. The final adjustments made the car more stable for the 19-year-old and he was able to gain five positions in the closing laps to finish 18th.
The No.40 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) team is 19th in the overall NNS owner standings. The team is 138 outside the top 15. Clauson is third in the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race standings, just two points behind NNS rookie class leader Landon Cassill.
Next up for the Fastenal Team is racing under the lights at Richmond International Raceway this Friday, September 5. The green flag drops at 8 p.m. ET. The race will broadcast live on ESPN2.
Bryan Clauson: “Tonight was tough on us. We had to work hard all night just to run where we did. I think we ran 18th there and we were really bad at the start, just not really drivable. We kept working on it and kept working on it and there at the end I feel like for 10 or 15 laps there we could run fairly well and then we’d start falling off again. We got to racing with the No.5 and the No.7 there and couldn’t quite hold ‘em off. They were running pretty hard and Jimmie got up under my wing there off of four and got us a little loose and we had to give back a couple of positions back there. I’m proud of how we battled all night. We didn’t have a top-20 race car and we ran 18th with it. Overall, it was okay and we got the best with what we had.”