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Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock, CT -1.53 Road Course

Camping World East Series
NASCAR Mohegan Sun 200
at Lime Rock Park
August 15th, 2009

IMPROBABLE SECOND PLACE FINISH
FOR MACDONALD AT LIME ROCK
Eddie MacDonald’s fortunes appeared to take a turn for the worse halfway through the NASCAR Camping World Series East’s Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park. While cruising along in the sixth position, the transmission locked in fourth gear for the remainder of the race. MacDonald piloted the Grimm Construction Chevy forward and into a second place run for the green/white checkered finish on the 86th lap.

MacDonald joked about the stuck shifter saying, “I was hoping to have an automatic because I hate shifting and this was the closest thing to an automatic,” before continuing, “It was really lugging down on the restarts and the left and right handers in turns three and four but those were the only spots that really hurt us. Everywhere else we were able to gain or maintain.”

Two late race cautions forced the green/white checkered finish with MacDonald starting behind race winner Ryan Truex. On both restarts the #81, #61, and the #44 ran inside and outside but MacDonald was able to hold onto the second spot saying, “I was hoping we didn’t have restarts at the end but the car picked up speed even though it bogged down a bit at the green flag and I was able to stay behind the #00 into turn one. The last one was really hairy with cars flying all over the place and it is great to finish second.”

Crew chief Rollie LaChance planned to bring the #71 into the pits to fix the stuck gear after attempts to work it loose inside the cockpit failed but the team never got the chance when no caution flags flew until lap 71. It was decided that it was too late in the race to pit, so MacDonald muscled the car for the remaining 15 laps.

“It would have been interesting if we were able to get it fixed. With the car I had, I think we could have won the race. The car was great during the race. Rollie and the crew did a great job making adjustments after our practices. I just didn’t like the way it was going so Rollie made the right moves. I can’t say enough about our team. They are all volunteers and do an outstanding job every race. When you have people that dedicated and just love racing, it really makes me try that much harder.”

MacDonald was seventh fastest in the first practice then falling to thirteenth in the second and final one. He qualified ninth (54.873sec/100.377mph) then started eighth on the 1.53mile road course when the #7 car went to the rear. MacDonald moved to fifth by the second caution flag on lap 12 and was content to run there. “The #18 was flying so we were just riding out there maintaining our position. We wanted to stop sometime after lap 20 for fuel and then we were good to go but just before the halfway mark the tranny got stuck in fourth gear and then the fun began,” laughed MacDonald.

Despite the mechanical problem, MacDonald was able to run in the sixth position and into third by lap 67. The #18 was forced to the pits after tangling with two lapped cars on the backside of the track. When the green flag waved on the lap 77 restart, MacDonald was in the second spot and had to hold off road course specialist Jason Holehouse. Another caution two laps later forced the overtime.

After the race MacDonald was quick to add, “None of this would be possible without Rob Grimm and Ron and Becky Bennett from NEMO New England Mechanical Overlay and all the other people who have helped so much. We have two races left at Loudon and Dover and those are tracks we have run well at so hopefully we can end the season contending for the championship. We are in second place by 50 points and we’ve learned that anything can happen. Just look at today.”

FULL RACE RESULTS HERE

FULL POINTS STANDINGS HERE

COCA-COLA MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD: 
Eddie MacDonald, 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet


DiBenedetto on Pole, Koby(no)luck 21st

The luck of three-time Lime Rock winner Matt Kobyluck ran out during qualifying as a fuel-contamination problem ended his run before it started. Just as Kobyluck took the green to start his first hot lap as part of the final group qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World East Mohegan Sun 200, we heard a pop from his #40 Mohegan Sun Chevy on the front straight. By the time he exited Big Bend, the car was stopped – and so were his chances of qualifying toward the front.

But that isn’t to say that Matt DiBenedetto wasn’t going to take pole anyway. The part-time yet two-time winner (Tri-County and NHIS) turned a :53.727 lap in his Joe Gibbs Driven Toyota – after he saw Kobyluck’s down Chevy – to nip points leader Ryan Truex by 2/10s of a second. It was DiBenedetto’s second pole of the year; his first was also on a road course, Watkins Glen in June.
 
Third was Jason Holehouse, test driver and chief instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School. Starting alongside Holehouse is Brett Moffitt, sixth in points and winner of the South Boston race in May.
 
“I was on the start of a good lap when I had to slow for Matt’s stopped car!” DiBenedetto said, “But I put another one together, then parked it. I would have headed back out if I had to.”
 
Lime Rock is the ninth of 11 races in this year’s NASCAR CWES championship, and the top six drivers in points –
Truex, Jody Lavender, Eddie MacDonald, Kobyluck, Steve Park and Moffitt – are within 100 points of each other with three races to go. It is the closest points battle in the series’ 23-year history. The Mohegan Sun 200 will play a large part in determining the 2009 champion.
 
Lavender qualified 14th, MacDonald ninth and Park 10th for tomorrow’s 1:00 p.m. start.

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