CHINA GROVE, N.C. (October 10, 2010) – Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 Chevrolet of R3 Motorsports had an interesting path to their 26th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday.
Taking on the two-mile oval of ACS is tough enough on its own. However, throw in some long, green-flag runs and untimely cautions and it can take the matter from a molehill to a mountain.
Such was the case after Richardson rolled off the starting grid in 39th-place for the 150-lap event. In the early going, Richardson was battling a tight handling condition in the relatively flat turns with very little front grip, as well.
The first pit stop on lap 42 took place under green as no cautions had waved, yet, to slow the action and allow competitors to hit pit road for fuel, tire and adjustments. During this stop, Jeff Kirkendall, calling his second-consecutive race for the team, elected to make an air pressure adjustment and removed a spring rubber from a rear spring.
When the first caution waved four laps later, Richardson was already two laps down in 32nd place with only 23 cars on the lead lap. This time, the call was for fuel only as others on the same lap took advantage of the wave around.
Hoping to go a longer distance than some others, Richardson said the car was handling much better through the turns. In three laps, he picked up two more positions to 30th place. It was during this point of the race Richardson came to the conclusion his R3 Motorsports Chevrolet raced much better on the high side of the turns than the low line around the track.
With that comfort level, Richardson started to take on cars that were in the top-25 positions, despite being trapped down a lap lower than them. As the pace of the race continued, teams that took advantage of timely cautions that fell their way were able to remain a lap ahead of the No. 23 Chevrolet.
By the halfway point, the car dialed in better on the longer runs to Richardson’s liking. However, being trapped on his own lap at times, Kirkendall called for wave arounds to get back on the same lap as others.
This played to the team’s advantage late in the race when several cautions in the closing laps gave R3 Motorsports track position and a gain of five places for their 26th-place finish. This also allowed the team to remain in the top-30 in owner’s points guaranteeing them a starting position in this Friday’s night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Look for two big announcements from the team this week in regards to the CMS races this weekend, as well.
Robert Richardson, Jr. quotes: “Once we found the best way around this track, our No. 23 Chevrolet ran pretty darn good. Trouble was, we gave up too much track position there in the beginning of the race and it cost us in the end. We were passing and racing with cars in the top-20 and top-25, but couldn’t gain on them because they were on different laps than we were. The pit stops were awesome all day, again, and I’d like to thank the R3 pit guys for their hard work. The good news is, we can probably take some of these notes from this race and use them for when we come back here in the spring. I know it’s going to be a different race car, but the track is still the same.”
Sponsorship Inquiries: R3 Motorsports is still seeking primary partnerships to fill out their 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. For more information, please see contact via www.R3Motorsports.org to get involved.
For more information on Robert Richardson Jr., please visit our news archive.