The number 13 proved lucky for Max Gresham during Sunday afternoon's Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway.
The 20-year-old driver from Milner, Ga., benefited from a pair of "lucky dog" free passes that returned him to the lead lap, which he then took advantage of to grab a lucky 13th-place finish in the No. 8 Made in USA Brand (MIUSA) Chevrolet.
"All in all, we made a good recovery," Gresham said. "We kept digging and we wound up with a decent finish."
Gresham's Sharp-Gallaher Racing (SGR) Silverado started 14th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race with a lap of 135.461 mph at the 7/8-mile short track designed by NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace. Gresham fell off the lead lap twice and at one time was down two laps to the leader. He managed to race in contention for a top-10 finish by the end of the race with two lucky dog passes as well as through adjustments by crew chief Chris Showalter.
"The race presented a lot of challenges because we were chasing the setup all day," Showalter said.
In the opening laps of the race Gresham radioed that the Made in USA Brand truck was loose in the center and the frontend was gripping. The 20-year-old driver had his hands full during the race while running steadily in the top 20, yet was losing laps to the leaders due to long green-flag runs. Gresham had to wrestle his Chevrolet Silverado around the .875 mile paved oval until the first caution was displayed at Lap 38. This gave the Sharp-Gallaher Racing pit-crew their first opportunity to make adjustments to the truck, which included making changes to the track bar and tire pressure adjustments.
Long green-flag racing in the first half of the race kept Gresham from getting all of the changes that he needed on pit road.
The race was extended by 12 laps by late-race cautions and two green-white-checkered flag attempts.
"Once we got back in the mix, it was a real challenge to avoid all the beating and banging and all the wrecks," Gresham said. "To battle back twice and avoid all of the crashes at the end made it a successful day for our Sharp-Gallaher Racing team.
"We stayed in it and put ourselves in a good position."
Gresham remains 16th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings with seven races to go. The next stop for Gresham and the Made in USA Brand Chevrolet will be the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 on Friday, Sept. 13, at Chicagoland Speedway.
Max Gresham PR