Fellows Earns Top Five
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2009) – The NASCAR Nationwide Series made a rare right-hand turn with Saturday's Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International Speedway – the first of two road-course races in 2009. In his first of two starts for JRM this season, road-course racing veteran Ron Fellows endured an eventful day in the No. 5 Fastenal Chevrolet, overcoming cosmetic damage and a pit-road penalty to gain 25 positions in the last 35 laps. He finished fifth and earned Fastenal its best finish of the season. Brad Keselowski and the No. 88 GoDaddy.com team added another top 10 to its impressive season streak. Keselowski finished ninth, marking the team's fourth consecutive top-10 finish and 16th overall . Marcos Ambrose took the checkered flag for his second win in as many races at Watkins Glen. Kyle Busch finished second, with Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, and Fellows rounding out the top five.
Fellows started his ninth-career Nationwide Series race at the Glen in 10th position. The Ontario native showcased his road-racing skills early in the 82-lap race by moving the Fastenal Chevrolet into fourth place by lap 17.
Crew chief Brian Campe called Fellows to pit road for his first stop of the day on lap 18. The Fastenal crew changed four tires, added fuel, and made air pressure adjustments. Fellows went back on the track, but with other cars electing to pit earlier under the first caution on lap nine, he cycled back to 22nd place.
By lap 23, Fellows was running hard on the bumper of the No. 29 of Jeff Burton and the No. 09 of Boris Said for 19th place. As the trio entered the chicane on the back side of the racetrack, Said abruptly checked up, and the chain reaction caused Fellows to make contact with the rear of the No. 29. The contact was minimal, but the damage to the front of the No. 5 caused the water temperature to briefly spike. It was a cause for concern when Fellows radioed the crew regarding the contact, but the crew breathed a sigh of relief when temperatures returned to normal shortly after.
During the third caution of the race, Fellows brought the Fastenal Chevy to pit road for a routine stop. The crew changed four tires and added fuel, but in the process, NASCAR assessed a tire violation to the team. It was NASCAR's judgment the crew didn't control one of the tires during the stop. The No. 5 was forced to the tail end of the longest line to serve the penalty. The infraction relegated Fellows to 30th place, but it did allow the team to top off with fuel. The Fastenal Chevrolet could now finish without another pit stop.
Over the course of the next 35 laps and through three more cautions, Fellows put on a road-course clinic and sliced his way through the field to gain 25 positions. When the checkered flag waved, the Fastenal team had finished fifth.
“It was quite a race for this Fastenal team today," Fellows said after earning the No. 5 its third top-five finish of the year. "We started off strong in the early part of the race, but after we ran into the back of the 29 the water temperature jumped up. It was a little concerning, but after we cranked the fans on it dropped down again.
"This Fastenal team had a never-say-die attitude and we needed to be positive, especially following the pit road penalty. The crew did a great job all weekend and we weren't going to let a penalty like that ruin our day. We just buckled down and focused on one position at a time. By the end of the day we made it back inside the top five. This Fastenal team is great to work with and I'm really looking ahead to being back with them at Montreal in three weeks."
Fellows' statistics at Watkins Glen continue to impress. Saturday's fifth-place finish in the Fastenal Chevrolet marked his fifth-career top five and sixth top 10. In nine-career starts at the Glen he has three wins and led 189 laps. His 10th-place qualifying effort also marked his seventh top-10 start at the 2.45-mile road course. Fellows has two career-starts for JRM, which have resulted in a win (Montreal) and two top-five finishes.