|The Racing for Wildlife 200 was a virtual roller coaster for the No. 15 ElectrifyingCareers.com race team. |
After starting 27th, Owens blistered through the field into the top-15. Thanks to a perfectly timed pit stop, Owens moved into the sixth position for the closing green flag run, only to have a controversial penalty nullify the team’s gains. Despite the setback, Owens and the team rallied and closed out the day in 13th-place.
The moment the race went green, Owens set a mean pace towards the front. She picked up 10 positions on the first lap and cracked into the top-15 on Lap 13. She held her position until the first caution flag waved, Lap 27, and she entered the pits for service. Her car was “tight off” when exiting the turns, so crew chief Jeff McClure called for air pressure and track bar adjustments, in addition to four tires and fuel for the No. 15 Chevy. Owens returned to the track in 15th-place.
Green flag action returned on Lap 36. Owens picked up two additional positions, but was still battling a tight-handling race car. She made the most of the situation, while waiting for an opportunity to bring her car down pit lane for another round of adjustments.
Several of the leaders began making their stops on Lap 70; however, McClure kept Owens on the track in hopes of a caution flag. On Lap 76, McClure radioed for Owens to bring the ElectrifyingCareers.comChevy into the pits. Just as Owens was entering pit road, a fortuitous yellow flag waved. Owens inherited sixth-place. During the caution period, Owens pitted for fuel, along with a round of wedge and air pressure adjustments to loosen up the car. She left her stall in sixth position. As she was exiting pit road, a car below Owens forced her up the track above the blend line, which is a racing infraction. Despite being pushed up the track, ARCA determined that she violated the rule and served her a penalty. Owens had to move to the tail-end of the longest line for the ensuing restart.
The race went back to green on Lap 82 with Owens in 15th-place. Only 18 laps remained in the event. Owens picked up three positions, but ran out of time to pick up any additional spots. She finished the day in 13th-place.
“We had a pretty good car today,” Owens said after the event. “We were a little tight on exit when the race started. We made adjustments on each of our pit stops to loosen it up. It was a little bit tight for the remainder of the race. The car just didn’t respond to the adjustments like we hoped it would.
“Jeff (McClure) had us stay on the track long enough to catch a lucky caution that put us in contention for a top-five. Unfortunately ARCA thought I illegally moved above the blend line when I exited pit road. I definitely moved up a groove, but the car below me forced me up there. I didn’t have much of a choice. That killed our track position and we didn’t have a chance to make it up.
“I’m really proud of my guys. They worked really hard to get this car ready and gave me awesome pit stops all race long. We deserved a better finish today, but sometimes the breaks just don’t go your way.” Girlracer magazine
Author Chelsea Woods, Girlracer Magazine