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Carmichael Climbs Steep Learning Curve at Gateway

MADISON, Ill. — Ricky Carmichael and the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet Silverado KHI All-Stars team’s day was cut short as the No. 4 took a hard hit  to the backstretch wall with 57 laps remaining in the Copart 200.  Carmichael had worked his way up to the 11th position when the No. 25 and No. 29 trucks made a three wide move sending the No. 4 Monster Energy truck hard into the outside wall.  Sustaining too much damage the team was unable to return to the track finishing the race in the 22nd position.

“It’s just unfortunate for the No. 4 team, said Carmichael following the accident.  “My crew chief John (Monsam) was doing a great job with pit stratgey and adjusting on the truck.  We just kept getting better and better the longer the race ran.  I’m not really sure who got into us, but you cannot make it three wide on this track.  It’s really just such a shame there is a lot of racing left to do. ”

Carmichael and the No. 4 Monster Energy team had an agenda going into Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway: learn and grow.  Carmichael had never seen the 1.25-mile facility before Friday’s practice sessions and spent the majority of the day figuring out what it took to successfully make laps around the track.  The team tweaked on the truck and by qualifying Carmichael felt the team had a good combination for the race.

“Guy’s I know I wasn’t very fast, but I’m going to be better in the race, I promise,” said Carmichael following his qualifying lap.

Starting from the 20th position, Monsam took advantage of two early caution periods to bring the No. 4 truck down pit road for adjustments and to top off for fuel.  By lap 45, Carmichael had made his way into the 15th position.  While Carmichael battled to move toward the front, his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) teammate Ron Hornaday paced the field warding off the advances of Todd Bodine, Colin Braun and Matt Crafton.

As the race went under a long green-flag run, Carmichael held his own against advancing trucks making the outside line work.  The No. 4 truck was able to get back on pit sequence with the leaders under the caution at lap 76 and brought the truck down for four tires and the following lap for fuel. On the restart on lap 80, James Buescher, Todd Kluever, Brian Ickler and TJ Bell stacked up deep in the field all scattering across the race track.  Carmichael emerged from the smoke unscathed, but with four flat-spotted tires.  The team brought him down pit road on lap 82, to assess any damage and give him four fresh tires.  The team continued to pit under the lengthy caution to top off the truck with fuel and make adjustments.

By lap 96, Carmichael had moved into the 11th position and was battling for 10th when the No. 25 and No. 29 trucks made a three wide move to the inside of the Monster Energy Chevrolet off turn two.  The three wide racing sent Carmichael hard into the outside wall. The team brought the truck to pit road to assess the damage, but Carmichael slide through the stall with no brakes.  It was quickly concluded that the damage sustained was too great to get back on track with only 57 laps remaining.  Carmichael ended the Copart 200 in the 22nd position.  Mike Skinner went on to win the race following two late race crashes involving Crafton, Bodine and Hornaday. 

STATS RECAP

September 12, 2009

Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway

Race: 18 of 25

Driver: Ricky Carmichael

Started: 20th

Finished: 22nd

Race length: 160 Laps/ 200 Miles

Track layout: 1.25-mile
Shape: Oval

Next on the Truck Series Schedule:

Date: September 19, 2009

Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Event Name: Heluva Good! 200

Driver: J.R. Fitzpatrick

Sponsor: Equipment Express

Broadcast Time: SPEED 2:30 p.m., EST MRN 2:30 p.m., EST

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