ohn King and the #20 GunBroker.com Chevrolet Silverado team led by veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley looked to be a contender until being collected in a multi-car wreck on lap 75 that took John out of contention in the 15th annual NextERA Energy Resources 250.
When the green flag dropped Wednesday afternoon for the first official practice of 2014, John King was as eager as anyone to get settled in on track. After making two single truck runs, Hensley and spotter Rick Carelli worked to get King in a pack they could draft and work well with. "When you pack draft, it's hard to pick an alliance"said King, "but we planned on working with other Chevrolet teams and that's what we did."King turned 19 laps and posted the 18th quickest time of a 48.115.
"Second practice was the one session that really didn't mean a whole lot"said Hensley. "We didn't want to get in a situation where we tore up our truck, and we still have a latter session this evening."King still made 15 laps posting the 10th quickest time of 47.746.
The plan for final practice was to final tune, make sure the truck sucks up in the draft and to figure out who you could and could not work with. "We made a few changes that really woke this truck up"said King "the speed chart may not show it, but we have us a good piece."At the end of the 80 minute final practice, King posted the 17th quickest time of a 48.213.
Qualifying was canceled due to weather, forcing the field to be set per the rule book with combined practice speeds putting King rolling off 19th. "I wish we could have qualified"said King. "I was really looking forward to the new style qualifying."
When the green flag dropped for the 100 lap Next ERA Energy Resources 250, King began positioning himself for both short term runs and long term runs, knowing there would be a competition caution at lap 20.
When the competition caution flag flew at lap 20, John King found himself in 20th. the call by crew chief Jeff Hensley, was for fuel only. King had a clean pit stop that helped find himself 17th on the race off pit road.
The green flag flew once again on lap 23, King working the bottom line started working his way towards the front. At lap 32, King was knocking on the door of cracking into the top-10, and helping raise money for Project Child Safe. At lap 34, King got split three wide and started sliding backwards to 19th.
The second caution flag of the evening came out at lap 50. Hensley and King talked about how the truck was driving under the caution period. When pit road opened, Hensley called King in for four tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment.
The green flag was displayed with just over 40 laps remaining, King found himself in a safe place waiting to see how the race would play out. King was just biding his time, until lap 75, when there was a spin off turn two. King went low to miss the spinning trucks when one collected the No.20 Silverado sending him bouncing alongside other trucks.
King brought his GunBroker.com Chevy down pit road and behind the wall. Crew chief Jeff Hensley immediately began instructing crew members to make minimal repairs to get King back onto the race track. King was able to resume competition at lap 88 in 32nd position. By completing the final 12 laps, King was able to move into 23rd where he crossed the checkered flag.
John King's Post-Race Thoughts:
I cannot say enough about this NTS Motorsports team. The preparation they put into this GunBroker.com Chevrolet Silverado was incredible. They continued working hard throughout the week to find speed and it showed in the race. I thought we had the wreck missed than got collected up. We got back out there and picked up eight positions to get maximum points.
Jeff Hensley's Post-Race Thoughts:
I can not say enough about this entire NTS Motorsports #20 team. Both the guys on the road and the guys in the shop put in countless hours of preparation into the trucks. I felt like were in a good situation and set up for the end, unfortunately got caught being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We will use this time off to continue growing our program and get ready for Martinsville.