The 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Whitt, is once again behind the wheel of his # 60 Fuel Doctor/ Red Bull Chevy this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 15th Annual Smith’s 350.
Cole rolled onto the 1.5 mile track for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing career this morning and immediately experienced some troubles leaking oil that cause him to miss most of the 1st practice while his Fuel Doctor/Red Bull Team worked feverishly to figure out the issues with the # 60 Fuel Doctor Truck and get him back on the track.
Whitt finished the 1st practice ninth quick out of the 27 trucks that took to the track. There are a total of 34 trucks entered in the race. Whitt only completed 10 laps the entire practice.
As the heat of the desert began effecting the conditions of the track during this afternoon’s mock up qualifying run at the end of final practice, you could definitely hear the frustration in the Rookie’s voice as he spoke to his crew trying to decipher what was wrong with the handling of the truck. “I don’t know what to tell you anymore about what’s wrong and what happens first,” said a discouraged Whitt. “I don’t know why the truck is doing this; “tight in, loose off, then it just switches to loose in, tight off where I can’t even turn the thing.” Whitt finished the final practice after completing 31 laps in the 15th position.
As crew chief Marcus Richmond listened to Whitt describe the ill handling truck as final practice came to a close, Richmond quickly turned to the Fuel Doctor Racing crew with instructions on what changes to make on the truck as the # 60 Chevy prepared for qualifying which took place later in the afternoon at 4:00pm PST, in the prime heat of the Las Vegas desert.
Richmond stated “it is going to be a task keeping grip in the truck as that track heats up tomorrow during the race. Track position is everything and keeping the momentum up during the race, which is typical to any 1.5-mile track. Pit strategy will definitely be key as well. When we fired the truck off for the first practice, we had the truck set up pretty good and ended up after final practice tightening the truck back up where the Fuel Doctor/ Red Bull Chevy unloaded earlier in the day”. When Richmond was asked what he felt was the handling issue with the truck he stated, ”After we had a chance to sit down after practice and discuss the handling of the truck throughout the day, we learned that the truck was just way too free and needed to change it back for qualifying and the race.”
Although Whitt was discouraged when he climbed out of his # 60 Fuel Doctor/Red Bull Chevy, he is confident that his Fuel Doctor/Red Bull Team will figure all the handling issues out prior to the completion of the 219mile/146 lap race and had this to say:” I am pretty excited to see how the track plays out since we are racing in the heat of the day tomorrow. The truck seems to free up a lot as the track heats up and it will probably be a big track position race. The track is pretty fun to drive, It reminds me a lot of Charlotte Motor Speedway running wide open pretty much every lap”.
Cole completed the afternoon qualifying run in the 12th position and will take to the track once again tomorrow, October 15, 2011 here in Las Vegas for the 15th Annual Smith’s 350 LIVE on SPEED TV beginning with the Set-Up show at 12:00pm PST with the green flag dropping at 12:30pm PST.
Fuel Doctor PR