Clauson and Fastenal Team Close Out 2008 Season at HMS
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2008) – The No.40 Fastenal Dodge Team earned its 12th top-10 start of the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) season early Saturday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) and then carried the top-10 mindset into its Saturday evening run. Handy work in the pits and on the track helped Bryan Clauson and team maintain a strong stance the majority of their season-finale effort, but an unfortunate mechanical issue on lap 158 sent them parking in the garage 42 laps shy of the checkered flag.
The Fastenal Team had top 10 on the brain all weekend at HMS, as their first practice effort right off the truck landed them seventh fastest on the speed charts Friday afternoon. Then, come qualifying early Saturday afternoon, the team laid down the ninth-fastest lap time with a 32.387-second lap at 166.734 mph.
Less than 60 laps after the green flag waved, Clauson and the Fastenal team used a combination of race strategy, fancy footwork in the pits and some key on-track maneuvering to drive up to the lead just before pitting under green on lap 60. From there, the team proceeded to run right outside of the top 15.
At one point in the race, the Fastenal Dodge seemed to take a turn for the worse with its handling but Crew Chief Brad Parrott had the over-the-wall pit crew return the car closer to its original setup on lap 103 to try to improve its behavior. With just a little more than 50 laps remaining a key pit stop call by Parrott, electing to take only two tires on lap 147, propelled the team from a 22nd-place running position to a seventh-place restart. Unfortunately, less than 10 laps later a mechanical issue under the hood of the No.40 Dodge forced the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) NNS team to bow out of the 2008 NNS season-finale race just 42 circuits away from the finish line in 34th place.
The Fastenal Team finished 21st overall in the 2008 NNS owner standings. Clauson finished second behind 2008 NNS Rookie of the Year Landon Cassill. Carl Edwards won the race, but Clint Bowyer won the 2008 NNS Driver Championship with Joe Gibbs Racing claiming the owner championship with the No.20 car.
Bryan Clauson: “We had a pretty good car early in the race and just kept going the wrong direction there on pit stops and lost track position and got ourselves back there and it’s tough to drive up through the field. Took two tires there and tried to salvage something out of it and give ourselves a shot at the Raybestos Rookie deal. We wouldn’t have run far enough up to get it but we felt we could salvage a top 15 out of it. I went off into one and she sputtered a little bit and got in the fence and blew up. I switched all the boxes and everything trying to run through it, everything you can to make sure that you’re getting a false alarm but it blew up. Our motor guys do a great job and don’t have too many failures. It was a tough way to end the season for us but we ran up front there for a while so that was good. I just want to thank Fastenal for all the support this year. It has been an honor and pleasure representing such a great company and special group of people. I also want to thank everyone back at the shop in Concord, N.C. This year has had its ups and downs, but I’ve learned a lot and none of it would have been possible if not for Fastenal and everyone back at the shop.”