Behind the Wheel Again At Phoenix
by Larry Foyt foytracing.com
6 November 2003
I don’t think I could accurately describe how good it felt to get behind the wheel of the Harrah’s Dodge again.
The last race I competed in was the last Sunday in September at Talladega. I only competed in nine laps of that race because we were swept up in an accident that left me a broken left wrist and a bruised kidney. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to Sunday at Phoenix.
We qualified 32nd on Friday, which was great because we really struggled during practice. Even more impressive was that most of the teams were losing time from their practice speed to their qualifying lap, but we were able to pick up.
The start of the race on Sunday didn’t quite go like we envisioned. The car really struggled in the middle of the turns, which really effected how we exited the corners. We pitted during the first caution and made some adjustments that helped a little bit, but not quite enough.
There was a long green flag run after the first caution and the car really seemed to come into its own. Our lap times were just as fast as the cars in the top 15 and we were able to pick up a few spots. Unfortunately, after about lap 120 the remainder of the race was filled with cautions because of accidents and blown engines, so we didn’t get the long runs we needed.
The good news was that we were able to avoid all the accidents and mechanical problems and we found ourselves in the 24th position with just nine laps left and a good shot at cracking the top 20. But, the last set of tires we had weren’t very good and it was all I could do to just hold the other cars off.
We finished 28th, which equaled our best finish of the year but we finished on the lead lap for the first time this season.
I’m really proud of how hard the Harrah’s crew worked all weekend. We’ve had some personnel changes recently, and I think that it’s brought us closer as a team. There are just two races remaining in 2003 and we’re going to do our best to finish the season on a high note.
I’d also like to thank everyone at Harrah’s Ak-Chin casino. I had a great time visiting them last weekend and they made me feel right at home.