WRECK RUINS EDDIE’S RUN AT IRWINDALE
By Dick Casey---Triple Crown Racing
Eddie MacDonald’s 23rd place finish in the third Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway pitting the Busch North Series against the West Series in the Grand National Division does not reflect the success the team felt it accomplished in Saturday’s 150-lap main event.
“We were really happy after yesterday’s 50-lap qualifier when the car wasn’t that great to come back and run the first 100-laps real good,” said MacDonald after the race. “We made all the right changes. We all talked it over last night and Rollie came up with a good set-up we thought we would be competitive with and we were.”
Starting thirteenth on the grid, the Rowley, Mass. driver quickly discovered the changes made were nearly perfect saying, “In last night’s race the car kept washing up in the turns but tonight we were able to get in and off the corners much better and the motor pulled good down the straights. We knew we had something for them at the end but unfortunately we never got the chance to do it,” referring to the bumbling restart on lap133 that cost him a top ten finish.
During the first segment the One Shop Toy Shop Chevy moved into the ninth spot by lap five and was gaining momentum. By lap-30 MacDonald ran with Mike Johnson for many laps swapping the sixth and seventh positions while keeping a close eye on the leaders. After a restart on the 96th circuit, MacDonald jumped to fifth just before the ten -minute break on lap-100.
During the intermission the Triple Crown Racing Team made a few small changes and bolted on some new Goodyear’s. When the green flag waved to begin the final 50-lap shootout, MacDonald passed two cars to take over third place but lost four positions when West series drive Steve Portenga slammed into the side of the car forcing MacDonald up the track, a move that irked the fifth year BNS driver. “He didn’t hit me hard enough to do any damage to the car but it was enough to cause me to loose positions. I was just sick of him running me up into the wall two or three times before and then he comes up on the inside of me and just drives into me.”
With seventeen laps to go MacDonald started tenth on a restart with hopes of getting back a few spots but then disaster struck. West driver David Gilliland jumped another restart after being warned by the NASCAR officials and caused a massive pile up behind him. MacDonald said, “I guess the #88 jumped the start, then jumped on the brakes. Everyone went, then stopped, and then went again, and then stopped. By that time we were into the back of someone and killed our radiator.”
“It’s too bad because I was waiting for the final laps to get back the spots we lost when the #16 hit us. We weren’t going to get into the top five but we definitely could have finished strong at the end. I feel bad for Jerry to come out here the third year in a row and not have a good finish. I am just glad the North guys won it and congratulations to Mike Olsen for an outstanding run,” summed up MacDonald.
Team owner Jerry Morello was fuming after the race, a sentiment felt by many in the Busch North pit, but was still able to praise his team for a job well done saying, “We ran third, fourth, and were in the top ten right away. Based on the way cars were racing, we should have finished in the top five tonight. It’s frustrating to wreck the racecar and it is frustrating to be out of it but by no means am I down or disappointed. We had a good racecar but we got beat by unfortunate circumstances that were beyond our control.”
Crew chief Rollie LaChance quipped, “The car was pretty good, we just need to do 100-lap racing.” On a more serious note he added, “We just didn’t free it up enough during the break. We were good in the first segment so we didn’t dare to do too much to it because it was so good. With the new tires, it was going to tighten the car so we freed it up a little bit but not enough. Who knows if we hadn’t got caught in anything, we easily had a top ten car.” On Olsen’s win he said, “Mike’s a nice guy and a great competitor and I’m glad to see him get the win. He drove his heart out at the end and that was cool.”
While loading up the hauler for the long ride back MacDonald stopped to say, “I do want to thank Jerry, Rollie, the crew, and everyone who supported us this season. It is incredible how hard these people have worked. We got one win this season and I promise we will be working real hard over the winter so we can add to that win next season.”
NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
NASCAR Grand National Division
Irwindale Speedway November 12, 2005
(showing finishing position, starting position in parentheses, driver name, hometown, manufacturer, laps completed, reason out-if any and money won)
1. (1) Mike Olsen, North Haverhill N.H., Chevrolet, 150, $31,500
2. (8) David Gilliland, Chino Hills Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $17,300
3. (10) Matt Kobyluck, Uncasville Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $16,000
4. (6) Ryan Moore, Scarborough Maine, Chevrolet, 150, $15,000
5. (2) Sean Caisse, Pelham N.H., Chevrolet, 150, $14,750
6. (31) Scott Gaylord, Lakewood Colo., Chevrolet, 150, $10,500
7. (12) Andy Santerre, Cherryfield Maine, Chevrolet, 150, $13,000
8. (5) Steve Portenga, Sparks Nev., Chevrolet, 150, $8,800
9. (3) Joey McCarthy, Randolph N.J., Chevrolet, 150, $12,000
10. (16) Brett Thompson, Jerome Idaho, Chevrolet, 150, $7,500
11. (23) Johnny Borneman, Ramona Calif., Ford, 150, $7,250
12. (28) Sarah Fisher, Indianapolis Ind., Ford, 150, $7,250
13. (29) Andrew Myers, Newport Beach Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $6,500
14. (26) Rick Ruzbarsky, Tracy Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $6,250
15. (11) Mike David, Modesto Calif., Ford, 150, $6,000
16. (27) Jack Sellers, Sacramento Calif., Pontiac, 150, $5,500
17. (25) Jeff Anton, Russell Mass., Chevrolet, 150, $9,500
18. (15) Daryl Harr, St. Albert Alberta, Chevrolet, 149, $5,500
19. (30) Kip Stockwell, Braintree Vt., Chevrolet, 148, $9,500
20. (19) Tim Smith, Roseville Calif., Ford, 144, $5,500
21. (21) Mike Stefanik, Coventry R.I., Chevrolet, 138, $9,000
22. (14) Tim Woods, III, Chino Hills Calif., Ford, 138, Overheating, $5,000
23. (13) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley Mass., Chevrolet, 133, Accident, $9,000
24. (9) Mike Duncan, Lamont Calif., Chevrolet, 128, $5,000
25. (18) John Salemi, Nashua N.H., Pontiac, 128, $9,000
26. (22) Joe Masessa, Franklin Lakes N.J., Chevrolet, 127, Accident, $9,000
27. (20) Andrew Lewis, Corona Calif., Chevrolet, 126, Accident, $5,000
28. (4) Mike Johnson, Salisbury Mass., Ford, 107, Axle, $9,000
29. (24) Takuma Koga, Nagoya Japan, Chevrolet, 103, $5,000
30. (7) Dale Shaw, Center Conway N.H., Chevrolet, 91, Engine, $9,000
31. (17) Bryon Chew, Mattituck N.Y., Chevrolet, 89, Radiator, $9,000
Caution Flags: Laps 26-29; 33-36; 63-66; 90-96; 100; 105; 114; 127; 129; 133; 134; 138; 145.
13 cautions for 28 laps.
Lap Leaders: Mike Olsen grid, Sean Caisse 1, Mike Olsen 2, Sean Caisse 3-35, Ryan Moore 36-66, David Gilliland 67-103, Ryan Moore 104, David Gilliland 105-106, Ryan Moore 107-134, David Gilliland 135, Mike Stefanik 136, David Gilliland 137, Mike Olsen 138, David Gilliland 139, Mike Olsen 140-150.
Total Laps Led: Ryan Moore 60, David Gilliland 42, Sean Caisse 34, Mike Olsen 13, Mike Stefanik 1. 14 lead changes involving 5 drivers.
Media Contact: Jennifer MacDonald - firstname.lastname@example.org