“This place is wild, man,” said Monster Energy-backed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wheelman Ricky Carmichael during opening ceremonies at Texas Motor Speedway for the WinStar World Casino 400.
“It’s all about high speed racing here at Texas Motor Speedway,” chimed in SPEED TV announcer and former driver Phil Parson, pointing out that the trucks would be racing side-by-side at nearly 180 miles per hour all evening.
Ricky Carmichael was about to make his sixth career start in the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Prior to the race, the 15-time AMA motocross and supercross champion had two top-five starts and a career-best finish of eighth so far this season. The Texas race was one of 11 remaining races on the truck series schedule for Carmichael in 2009.
“The track looks awesome,” said Ricky of the blisteringly-fast 1.5-mile, 24-degree banked Quad-Oval. “It seems like forever since the Kansas race and I feel like I have some things to prove. I’m looking forward to working with a new crew chief and racing six times in the next couple of months to get some momentum going for the Monster Energy team.”
After qualifying eighth at 30.457 at 177.299 miles per hour, Carmichael and 32 other raced down the 2,250-foor frontstretch to begin the 167-lap, 250-mile race. From the onset, Carmichael drove smoothly and calmly, letting things simmer down in the opening laps while running in 17th and -3.375 seconds behind the leaders. Carmichael would run the majority of the at midpack, methodically moving his way forward and moving up and down the scoring pylon. With 60 laps remaining in the contest, he began motoring forward and found him and his Monster Chevrolet Silverado in 15th place. With 10 laps left in the race, RC was up to 13th, and at the checkered flag he streaked across the finish line stripe in eleventh place overall.
“I’m happy to finish strong,” said Carmichael after all was said and done. “We got better each run out there. I dropped back early in the race because it’s really difficult to figure out the air (aerodynamics) on these 1 1/2-mile tracks. I was being cautious and careful early on and that cost us a few spots. As the night went on, I got more comfortable and confident in the truck so I was able to race harder. We’re building on it- and once I get the aero thing figured out we’ll be cookin’ with gas!”