JOILET, Ill. — Ricky Carmichael and the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado KHI All-Stars team felt like they were on level playing field this weekend with the other competitors as they rolled into Chicagoland Speedway for the Truck Series’ inaugural event.
“My biggest frustration this season has been the fact that I have never seen most of these places,” Carmichael said before the 150-lap event. “Going into Chicago, I felt like I was on the same page as all the other guys. I tested a truck there and did have some laps on the track.”
Carmichael and the No. 4 Monster Energy truck took the green flag from the 13th position and quickly began to search for a good line around the track. With constant coaching from Kevin Harvick Inc. co-owner, Kevin Harvick and spotter Andy Houston, advising him to “roll the top” of the track, to keep the truck’s momentum constant, Carmichael began to experiment with the high line maintaining good lap times.
“I need to work on timing my passes,” Carmichael radioed. “The truck is fine; I just can’t run the inside.”
The second caution of the night waved on lap 19 with Carmichael running in the 16th position. Crew chief John Monsam made the call to come down pit road for fuel only. Varying pit strategies among the leaders, who opted to take fuel and tires, would set the tone for the remainder of the race.
An uncharacteristic long green-flag run gave Carmichael, Harvick and Houston the opportunity to continue to analyze the No. 4’s line around the 1.5-mile track. Carmichael ran inside the top 15 for much of the night until he brought out a late-race caution on lap 95 spinning the Monster Energy truck off turn four. The caution caught the majority of the field a lap or more down to the leaders as green-flag pit stops were cycling through the field.
The No. 4 team came down pit road and gave Carmichael four fresh tires restarting the race in the 20th position with 50 laps to go.
Narrowly avoiding an accident with less than 25 laps to go, Carmichael was able to gain two positions to finish the race 18th.
The trucks return to the track next week at Iowa Speedway, another inaugural event on the Truck Series schedule, with Carmichael behind the wheel of KHI’s No. 4 Monster Energy truck.
August 28, 2009
Race: 16 of 25
Driver: Ricky Carmichael
Race length: 150 Laps/ 225 Miles
Track layout: 1.5-mile
Shape: D-shaped oval
Next on the Truck Series Schedule:
Date: September 5, 2009
Track: Iowa Speedway
Event Name: Lucas Oil 200
Driver: Ricky Carmichael
Sponsor: Monster Energy
Broadcast Time: SPEED 9:30 p.m., EST MRN 9:15 p.m., EST