Tia Rosa Tortilla/Tikas Fuego Chevrolet wire gets burnt during race to slow motor
FORT WORTH, Texas (November 5, 2011) – Robert Richardson, Jr, and the No. 23 Tia Rosa Tortilla/Takis Chevrolet team of R3 Motorsports was having a pretty decent race just past the halfway point of Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. However, when the caution waved on lap 114 and restarted five laps later, the blue, purple black Chevrolet wasn’t running the same.
Prior to that, the team was feeling pretty good watching Richardson course around the 1.5-mile track running top-20 speeds. After qualifying 29th, crew chief Greg Conner and crew were encouraged by the early run when he moved up to the top-20 within the first few laps.
Under the first caution, Conner called Richardson in for a fuel only stop hoping it would work to the team’s advantage later in the race. On lap 54, Richardson was forced to pit under green for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. With the driver saying the car was free in the turns, an air pressure adjustment was also done.
By lap 68, the No. 23 was up to 28th place and running top-20 lap times. When the caution waved on lap 90, it brought Richardson to pit road for tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments.
For the restart on lap 95, he and R3 Motorsports teammate Scott Riggs in the No. 03 McKinney Pipe and Steel Chevrolet were running 27th and 29th, respectively, in the 200-lap event. By lap 130 was when Richardson said the motor wasn’t sounding too good when he came off the corners.
After this continued for a few more laps, the team wasn’t able to properly check under the hood until a caution on lap 182. A quick check by the crew showed no visible damage to the plugs or plug wires to the motor.
With only 16 laps left until the checkered flag, Richardson did his best to hang on and keep the car - and motor – in one piece. When the checkered flag flew, he was credited with a 25th-place finish and Riggs was 27th. Afterwards, a more thorough inspection showed a section of one wire – not visible to the naked eye – had burned and thus had the car running on seven cylinders.
Next weekend, the NASCAR series travels to Phoenix International Speedway where Richardson will drive the No. 23 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series race while Riggs will attempt the Sprint Cup Series race in the No. 23 Toyota of R3 Motorsports.
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes: “We had a great car for this race. It was fast in the corners and the only problem we had was being a little free in the turns. The guys did a good job on pit road and it’s too bad we had that problem with the plug wire burning.
“But, the good news is we kept everything in one piece and are taking this car to Homestead, which is good to hear. I was pleased with how this car handled. We’re getting better and better, just too bad it’s at the end of our season and not the beginning.
“It was great to meet all the people from Bimbo Bakeries USA and Barcel with their Tia Rosa Tortilla and Takis brands on the car. We had a lot of people say they didn’t even recognize the car with that paint scheme, which is good to know they noticed.”
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