As the old blues song goes... “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” David Starr and the SS Green Light team can feel the pain of renowned blues great Albert King as the bad luck bug bit the team once again in 2011. This time it was debris from another accident that damaged the radiator of the Zachry Toyota, ending Starr’s day just ten laps from the end of the 146-lap NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Friday evening qualifying session, David qualified the No. 81 sixteenth on the mile and one half tri-oval track posting a lap of 30.06 seconds at 173.83 mph, putting the Zachry Toyota on the outside of the eighth row at the start of the 350 kilometer race.
Goodyear brought a very durable tire to this years Las Vegas race and with tire wear a non-factor the crew chiefs atop the pit boxes had many different strategies to get their drivers to the end of the race. Added to that, the race was run in unseasonably warm near 90 degree heat in the desert sun which made the surface very slick and helped attribute to the ten cautions and one red flag that slowed the event.
When the third caution flew caution flew on lap 23 all of the leaders came to pit road except for Starr, who held the point for six circuits. When the green flew, David was quickly shuffled to fourth and then he fought back on the outside to challenge Ricky Carmichael for third when contact from another truck sent Carmichael spinning in front of the full field causing a multi-truck wreck that ended in a red flag to clean the track.
David would pit for tires and Sunoco Racing gas following the stoppage and restarted from 20th place on lap 35. By lap 42 the races fifth caution would fly and with the varied strategies, the Zachry Toyota moved back up to third on the restart. David would keep pace with the leaders and stay in the top-five until the seventh caution on lap 61.
Through all the caution stops, the leaders were all on different fuel strategies. Crew chief Jason Miller brought Starr to the attention of the SS Green Light crew to top-off dropping him back to eleventh. A long green flag run finally came and several of the leaders were forced to the pits starting at lap 95. David was able to hold out for ten additional laps and moved well up into the top-ten during the stops, but dropped back to fourteenth a lap off the pace when he finally came in for his green flag service.
David did get some good luck by getting back on the lead lap earning the “lucky dog” on the races ninth caution on lap 124. The No. 81 was one of only nine trucks on the lead lap.
As the race was nearing the checkered flags, it looked as though the team would get their second straight top-ten finish when just ten laps from the end, white smoke erupted from the No. 81 Toyota forcing Starr to the garage area where it was discovered that debris from one of the races earlier incidents had punctured the radiator causing the Zachry Tundra to overheat. The bad luck bug had once again stricken the SS Green Light Racing team.
Due to the large amount of attrition from the earlier incidents, David was credited with sixteenth place in the final rundown ten laps behind leader Ron Hornaday.
Starr remains twelfth in the NCWTS driver’s standings behind leader Austin Dillon. With four races remaining in 2011, David is 31 points behind Parker Klingerman for the tenth spot.
SS Green Light Racing PR