Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pit Stall 13 Not So Unlucky

Moses and the #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota Camery
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Driver, Moses Smith really enjoys racing at Infineon Raceway. However, since switching over to NASCAR from the Open Wheel circuit in 2006, the twist and turns of the Sonoma Road Course has proven to be plagued with bad luck and unfortunate incidences. In the three K&N Pro Series West events he raced at Infineon, Smith recorded two 28th and one 29th place finishes.

The team arrived at the track determined to change that trend. Conversely, Friday’s practice was inundated with problems. While the team warmed up the engine of the #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota Camry, it blew. This sent them into action. Although they missed the first practice; the race car was in pit stall 13 for the start of the second practice. Unfortunately, a malfunction in the machine’s “kill switch” delayed the start of practice two for them.

With only four laps of practice, Moses qualified a respectable twentieth in the field of thirty-seven. Due to the engine change however, the #16 Hasa Pool Products Toyota Camry was drop to the back of the field for unapproved adjustments.

“This team had a lot of issues to overcome,” Crew Chief Mario Isola reported. “I know that we will do well tomorrow.”

On Saturday at 12:28 p.m., the race engines fired up. With sixty-four laps of racing, Moses knew he had no time to waste in the back of the field. By lap thirteen, Smith had passed twenty-one competitors and was running in sixteenth position. Moses then pitted for fuel on lap twenty.

Moses continued to smoothly and patiently make his way through the pack and up to the front. With just two thirds of the race completed, he had worked himself into the top-ten. By lap 54 Moses was in sixth position fighting for fifth.

Unfortunately, a few laps later, the team noticed that the car was billowing smoke. They feared that the Infineon curse had struck again with just three laps remaining. Moses broke the stunned silence by reporting that his power steering pump went out and the race car was almost impossible to maneuver. “Man up!” Mario instructed.

Moses did what he could to remain competitive, but a couple of cars managed to pass him in the turns of Infineon. Moses took the white flag in eighth position. As he entered the last turn before the start/finish line, the #16 Hasa Pool Product’s Toyota Camry ran out of gas. As another car passed him, Moses just manage to coast across the finish line in ninth place before coming to a complete stop.

“I am real proud of the team and the hustle they put into the weekend. The cards were stacked against us, but none of us gave up and it showed.” Moses expressed.

Moses’ finish moved the team up one position in the championship points to the fifth place. The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule is the King Taco 200 at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on July 3.

“Two good races in a row really helps boost my confidence for our race at Irwindale in two weeks . . . . looking forward to it.” Moses stated.

photo by Getty Images

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