CHINA GROVE, N.C. (March 27, 2011) – With 13 cars finishing on the lead and long-green flag runs, that means there wasn’t a lot of time for other teams to capitalize if they got behind early.
And, for the No. 23 Wildlife Conservation Society Dodge and Robert Richardson, Jr. of R3 Motorsports, that was the case during Saturday’s 150 lap/300-mile race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Matter of fact, their problems started in qualifying Saturday morning.
Richardson went out for his first lap and when the engine reached, what should have been, full power - that wasn’t the case. Rather than harm the engine, he completed his first lap and went to the garage area. It was quickly deemed to be a faulty plug and the team made quick repairs, re-fired the engine and all was well.
For Alex Kennedy in the No. 03 St. Baldrick’s Foundation Dodge, he made use of his laps to qualify 28th putting two R3 Motorsports cars in the race.
An early-race caution on lap six sent some leaders to pit road for fuel and/or tires. This put Kennedy and Richardson 13th and 15th, respectively, for the restart because they stayed out. However, just one circuit back into the action on lap 10, Kennedy was tapped from behind off of Turn 2 sending him spinning to the inside.
Thankfully, he was able to save it and not get any damage to his Dodge as the race continued caution free. Trouble was, Richardson was right behind him and was one of several cars that had to check up to avoid making contact with anyone else. This dropped him into the 30’s as the race action continued.
A few laps later, Kennedy’s Dodge was checked over and there was some internal damage to the rear end ending his day early. Richardson, meanwhile, was left to deal with the long green-flag runs and a car that wasn’t handling well enough in the turns to capitalize on gaining some positions.
Walter Giles called for air pressure, track bar and chassis adjustments throughout the race to get the car better for the long runs. By the halfway point, because of some untimely cautions, Richardson was trapped on his own lap with four other drivers leaving little room for improvement in the lower 20’s running order.
The last pit stop under green on lap 138 was to make it to the checkered flag on lap 150. Richardson crossed over the start/finish line in 29th place. This puts the No. 23 R3 Motorsports team 32nd in Owner’s Standings, just four markers out of the top-30 and five out of 28th place. Richardson, however, is 23rd in the Driver’s Standings.
The Nationwide Series teams are off this coming weekend, but return to action at Richardson’s home track of Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 8 under the lights.
Robert Richardson, Jr. quotes: “It is so tough once you get behind on these big tracks like California. We were good to go there in the beginning with that early caution, but got slowed down there when everyone else checked up. Alex (Kennedy) did a great job of qualifying and saving the car, and we look forward to doing some more races with him.
“It’s too bad we had that plug problem for qualifying, but the good news is we caught in time and didn’t have to change the motor. The car just wouldn’t keep up with the changing track conditions and so few cautions kept us from making the best of pit stops to make more changes. Walter (Giles, crew chief) and the guys did a great job on the stops, which is always a good thing to know when you hit pit road.
“We’re just going to make sure everything is buttoned up real tight for practice, qualifying and the race when we go to Texas. We have to qualify on time, but I’m pretty confident we’re going to be able to do that with this team we have here at R3 Motorsports.”
Founded in 1895, the Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. They do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to its platform, because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth
For further information and to join WCS’s mission, please logon to their website at WCS.org.
Communications Director/ R3 Motorsports
No. 23 Wildlife Conservation Dodge
firstname.lastname@example.org / 704-507-1838
For more information on Robert Richardson Jr., please visit our news archive.