HARRAH'S TEAM EQUALS BEST FINISH OF THE YEAR AT PHOENIX
4 November 2003
AVONDALE, Ariz. - In his first race back after sustaining injuries in an accident at Talladega, Larry Foyt piloted the No. 14 Harrah's Dodge to a 28th place finish in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Not only did the Harrah's team equal their best finish of the year, but they finished on the lead lap for the first time in 2003.
Foyt qualified 32nd on Friday and dodged having to use a provisional to make Sunday's race.
"Just making the race on speed is a small victory for us," said Foyt. "We've been struggling the last few weeks, so this was a big boost. A couple of crew members from other teams came over to congratulate us because they know how much of a struggle this year has been."
Foyt immediately battled a pushing condition in the Harrah's Dodge once the green flag fell on Sunday to start the race. The team made several adjustments to the car during their first pit stop and it slowly paid off.
"The car just didn't want to turn in the middle of the corner," said Foyt. "But it really seemed to pick up during the long runs. Our lap times were as good as some of the guys in the top 15 and we were pretty consistent."
Unfortunately, the long runs the team needed were no where to be seen after lap 119 when a string of accidents and blown engines plagued the remainder of the race.
However, the team kept battling and found themselves in 24th position with just nine laps remaining.
"We had a chance in the end to possibly break into the top 20," said Foyt. "Unfortunate the last set of tires we were on weren't very good and the only thing I could do was try to hold some of the other cars off.
"It felt great to be back in the Harrah's Dodge again and I think we really learned a lot as a team. We've made some personnel changes recently, which I think has brought us closer together. We're just going to try our best to finish the season on a positive note and perhaps build some momentum for next year."
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series visits North Carolina Speedway next Sunday for the next-to-last event of the season. The event marks the final fall race for the historic track.