Pruett Races Fastenal Dodge to 3rd Place Finish
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (April 20, 2008) – Scott Pruett made his first NASCAR start of the 2008 season this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) Corona Mexico 200, bringing home an outside pole position and third-place finish for the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge team and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) organization. The No. 41 CGRFS Polaroid team put forth a strong effort in Sunday’s competition, as well, racing up as high as seventh before getting turned around in the latter part of the 80-lap competition. Kyle Krisiloff, driver of the No. 41 CGRFS car, managed to stay on track to finish 29th.
Pruett and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge team spent the majority of their weekend as a front runner in practice, qualifying and throughout Sunday’s race. They were fastest in Friday’s final practice and then scored the outside pole position during the Saturday morning group qualifying session, putting down an 88.307-second lap at 102.651 mph on the 2.518-mile road course.
Sunday just as the field was working on lap two of 80, Pruett passed the No. 16 car for the first-place spot and proceeded to lead the field until making a scheduled four-tire pit stop on lap 17. The green-flag stop dropped the No. 40 CGRFS Dodge back to 18th place but less than five laps later Pruett was back inside the top 10. Although his car was really loose, he proceeded to maintain the top-10 run the remaining first half of the race.
Crew Chief Brad Parrott called his driver to pit road for another scheduled stop on lap 41 for four tires and fuel, along with air pressure and spring rubber adjustments to try to improve the overall handling of the Fastenal Doge. Pruett then rejoined the field in 18th place, but quickly maneuvered his way into second place as the field came around to complete the 48th tour of the 80-lap event. Just four laps later, he retook the lead and maintained the top spot for almost 20 laps.
Parrott knew his driver was going to be close on fuel, but luckily enough yellow flags waved to help Pruett conserve the fuel needed to make it to the end. Unfortunately, more yellow flags followed which gave second-place runner Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 20 car who had six-lap fresher tires, the break he needed to catch up to Pruett and eventually pass him for the lead on lap 71.
Still battling a loose-handling car and rear-end body damage on the No. 40 Dodge, Pruett tried to regain the lead but eventually fell to third and ran out of time to make up the lost track position.
Pruett and team led the most laps, 36 total on Sunday, and took a huge leap forward in the NNS owner standings. The team advanced six positions total after the strong weekend run. The No. 40 car is now 11th overall. With a current tally of 1,072, the team is just four points outside the top 10 and 267 out of first.
Up next for the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge is the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26th with Dario Franchitti back behind the wheel. (3 PM EST on ABC)