Robert Richardson, Jr. takes tough route to 23rd-place finish at Nashville

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (April 5, 2010) – Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 Chevrolet team of R3 Motorsports had a daunting task ahead of them before they even took to the track at Nashville Superspeedway this past weekend.

Just two laps into the first practice on Friday, they put even more on their plates.

Coming into the race 31st in Owner’s Points, 15 markers out of the lock-in position of 30th, the team’s strategy was to have two good practices on Friday, qualify solid on Saturday and then earn a finish to lock them into the top-30 of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Standings.

However, while getting back to the gas on lap two of the first practice on Friday, the Chevrolet leapt out from under Richardson. He spun into the outside wall hitting driver’s side rear, then driver’s side front of the car. Damaged beyond cosmetic repair, the team pulled out the back-up car.

After getting it ready with 30 minutes remaining in the first practice, the team made 10 laps. All seemed well until they went to re-fire the engine to go back out. It wouldn’t come to life. So, the Steve Plattenberger-led team started to diagnose the problem.

It was discovered the engine in the back up had developed problem making it useless. So, the team took that one out and put a second engine in the car. They were then able to make enough laps in the second session to deem all was well with the car.

Richardson took it easy in qualifying as he didn’t want to push his luck with an untested car. The team lined up 41st for the race with the one part of the original plan still in place – get a solid finish.

Utilizing timely cautions, fuel-only pit stops and hard driving; the team continually moved up the scoring pylon through the early stages. Remaining on the lead lap in 35th place for a caution restart just a few circuits shy of the 50-lap mark, Richardson continued the climb upwards and was 19th when the caution waved on lap 104.

Fluctuating between there and 25th for the remainder of the race, cautions fell in ways allowing Richardson to continue his quest for that much-needed solid finish.

Surviving multiple wrecks, aggressive drivers and using a steady hand allowed him to cross the stripe in 23rd place when the checkered flag waved on lap 225. This finish also allowed the team to move into a tie for 29th in the Owner’s Points, just two markers ahead of 31st, and six behind 28th as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway this Friday night.

In other words, after all the team endured to get to that point – mission accomplished.

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