CHINA GROVE, N.C. (May 23, 2011) –Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge of R3 Motorsports had 43 competitors to deal with at Iowa Speedway this past weekend for their NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
There were the usual 42 other cars on the track, but Mother Nature decided to jump into the event and become a factor, as well. Enough rain fell over the .875-mile oval on Friday to cancel both practice sessions on the schedule.
So, the teams came out again on Saturday for practice and qualifying. They were able to accomplish half their goal as qualifying was rained out, but the practice session took place where Richardson posted the 28th-fastest time, and was ninth fastest for a 10-lap average.
With the owner’s points determining the starting field, the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge lined up 28th for the 250-lap race on Sunday afternoon.
In the early going, Walter Giles’ set-up was working out great as Richardson moved up four positions to 24th place. A pre-determined competition caution on lap 50 allowed for the first adjustments on the car, fuel and four tires.
The crew did their usual good job returning to the track right where they were running in 24th place for the restart. From there, Richardson would slide up and down in the mid 20s running positions as the laps counted to down to the checkered flag.
The fate of the race almost changed for the R3 Motorsports team at the midway point on a lap 123 restart.
As the field came up to full speed, some cars in mid-pack didn’t get an ideal restart. This caused others behind them to check up and make contact with each other. Such was the case with Richardson as he went forward on the restart, and the car in front of him didn’t causing slight damage to nose of their No. 23 Dodge.
In turn, this caused the motor to run hotter than desired as the water temp began to climb. Luckily, another caution waved on lap 130 allowing Richardson to make a trip down pit road.
Giles called for tape to be taken off the front of the car to allow more air in and help cool the engine down. It worked out to a tee as the water temperature came down enough so Richardson could maintain ideal speed and keep his pace in the race.
Through the next 100 laps, the team would make one pit stop for fuel, tire and adjustments while running in the top-25 positions. Towards the end, Richardson was able to race his way to a 22nd place finish when the checkered flag waved over the Midwestern track.
In addition to the commendable finish, despite the lack of practice, the No. 23 Dodge of R3 Motorsports solidified their 28th position in the Owner’s Points where they trail 27th by four markers, 26th by six and 25th by 10 points.
It’s a homecoming weekend for the NASCAR Nationwide Series as they take to the 1.5-mile oval of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes: “We had a pretty solid weekend in Iowa, and that’s a good feeling knowing we did the best we could with how things went for us. It didn’t help those practices were rained out on Friday, but we made the best out the one we got in on Saturday to gets us ready for the race. We were able to maintain a good pace in the race where we were competitive enough to keep our position and move up, too. I hated the nose got a little crinkled up on that mid-race restart. I can’t control what the other drivers do out there, just hope it doesn’t happen again. We were able to get that taken care of and have a good run for the rest of the day to finish 22nd and move up some in the Owner’s Points. It was a solid weekend for this team. We’ll head to Charlotte (Motor Speedway) this weekend and look for even better things. We’re headed in the right direction, and that’s a good feeling for all of us.”
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Communications Director/ R3 Motorsports
No. 23 Wildlife Conservation Dodge
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