David Starr had a very fast racetruck on Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series Kroger 200 at the Martinsville Speedway; unfortunately running fast and finishing up front don’t always go hand in hand when racing in one of NASCAR’s top series.
The .536-mile paper clip shaped racetrack is known for it’s rough and rugged racing, contact and beating & banging. Saturday afternoon was another prime example with nine cautions slowing the race for 50 of the 200 laps.
From his 22nd starting position, David picked up a few spots before the races first caution on lap 39 and several crew chiefs chose different strategies for fuel and tires right away. SS Green Light Racing’s Jason Miller brought Starr to the pit under the first caution for tires, fuel and adjustments to help Starr navigate through the heavy traffic ahead of him. David was nearly collected when Nelson Piquet and Cole Whitt got together on lap 50.
Several of the leaders began coming to pit road during the second and third cautions allowing Starr to gain back valuable track position all the way up to the seventh spot which he gave up when he brought the Build Your Future Campaign/Zachry Toyota to the attention of the SS Green Light crew for service under the fourth caution on lap 105. David restarted 19th with plans to run all the way to the end of the 200-lap event.
Once again David narrowly avoided disaster by missing a spinning Max Gresham as the caution flew for the fifth time. He stayed on the track under the sixth caution following a spin by Max Papis on lap 132 and as more leaders came to pit road, Starr was able to move into the top-ten.
Things were heating up on the track as the race was progressing and David was able to maneuver the Build Your Future Campaign/Zachry Toyota to seventh place and then up to fifth at the races three quarter mark. The No. 81 Toyota looked strong especially following the restart on lap 147 where he used the inside line to move to fourth and then muscled his way to third around Cale Gale on lap 155.
“I tell you, our Zachry Toyota Tundra was pretty awesome today,” Starr said after the race. “Jason Miller and Matt Faulkner my engineer gave me a great truck and we made some good changes throughout the day.”
With fresher tires, Johnny Sauter and Ron Hornaday caught David with 30 laps to go and rooted Starr back to fifth and eventual race winner Denny Hamlin slid by a few laps later dropping David to sixth which was a key position as the caution would come out a few laps later. With the side-by-side restarts in the NCWTS this would put Starr in the outside line for the restart following the eighth caution on lap 178.
David had a rough restart in the outside lane and lost two more positions to trucks in the preferred inside grove but it still looked like David could bring his Tundra home in the top-ten. The races last caution on lap 181 proved to be a nightmare for the SS Green Light team as David once again had to start in the outside lane and once again he had trouble holding position in the outside line and then several trucks made contact with David and moving him all the way up into the marbles near the outside wall while being freight-trained by trucks on the inside loosing nearly ten positions on the track.
“If you’re an even number you have to start on the outside and every time I would start on the outside I would go into turn one and my Toyota would just not turn and I would slide all the way up to the third grove. You just can’t open the door like that.”
“I think we were running sixth and I was cleaning the tires off; left, right, cleaning them really hard and I would go down into turn one and it would just not turn,” he continued. “I told my guys I thought I had a flat because for it not to turn that bad. I thought we had a flat. We didn’t end up having a flat but I just could not make that outside work especially on the restarts. Man, I did everything I could to clean the tires up.”
“To have such a great truck and to bring it home 22nd is really disappointing but you can‘t open the door down there on the last restart. I mean I slid up three lanes and I think we were three or four wide and somebody got into the side of me and we were really in the marbles.”
With four laps to go, running in heavy traffic, David spun dropping the No. 81 all the way back to 22nd where he would finish as the last truck on the lead-lap.
“To have such a great truck and not get the finish I think our team deserved is disappointing.”
Starr remained thirteenth in the NCWTS driver’s standings behind leader Austin Dillon. With just two races remaining in 2011, David is now 33 points behind Parker Klingerman for the tenth spot.
SS Green Light Racing PR