CHINA GROVE, N.C. – Nashville Superspeedway is a race weekend the No. 23 Wildlife Conservation Society Dodge team of R3 Motorsports would like forget about and move on to the next race on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule.
After working to get better during the two practice sessions, Robert Richardson, Jr. started 42nd for the 225-lap race at the 1.333-mile concrete oval. Just 10 laps in, he motored his way to 36th place with his sights set on higher positions.
Not helping the situation was the fact only 26, of 43, cars were on the lead lap by the 35th circuit because there hadn’t been a caution to allow adjustments on pit stops. By lap 45, there were only 18 cars on the lead lap forcing teams to conduct green-flag stops in the early going.
The first caution waved on lap 50 for debris with Richardson in 33rd place, ready for a pit stop. During this round, the call was for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments to the car.
Crew chief Walter Giles was ready to utilize wave arounds, if more cautions came up, to get back toward the lead-lap status. Because of pit cycles and cautions, the No. 23 Dodge was stuck on the same lap as only one other car by lap 75; while running in 32nd place.
Continuing to work on the car on more-frequent pit stops, Giles and team were hoping to salvage a decent finish when the checkered flag waved.
However, a belt on the oil pump started to come loose causing the engine to overheat over a course of 20 laps. Finally, when it was deemed the car couldn’t continue any farther without causing more catastrophic damage to the motor, the car was brought into the garage to end the team’s day early on lap 143.
Richardson is now 22nd in Driver’s Points after eight races.
Robert Richardson, Jr. quotes: “This is not the type of weekend we needed right now. We really needed a top-20, or even top-25 finish to help us out in the Owner’s Points. We were so strong two weeks ago in Talladega, and then just struggled here at Nashville all weekend. What happened there with the oil pump belt leading to us having to stop early isn’t what this team is capable of doing on the race track.
“We’re too good and work too hard to have to endure this type of luck and misfortune. We’ll load up and head to Richmond for Friday night racing under the lights this weekend.”
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes
Talk about racing at Nashville: “I like the track, the layout and the concrete surface. With the Trucks being there with us, that gives more opportunity for rubber to be laid around there. Once that’s done, you can get real good grip in all three grooves. Some guys like to run low and others like the middle and high-side racing, like myself.
“You can really get some good speed coming off the high sides when you have good grip. The low line can be the fast way around, too, if you can get your car to handle down there. I know one thing, this team is heading in a good direction with the cars we’re building and how we’re operating right now. We just need to put an entire race together without a spin or getting tagged from behind to mess up our day. And, a track like Nashville seems like the perfect place to get things going.”
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
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