MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Entering Memphis Motorsports Park (MMP) optimistic about his chances, Ricky Carmichael and the No. 4 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Monster Energy truck team started the MemphisTravel.com 200 from the 16th position. Carmichael was able to move up through the field, racing and learning from veteran drivers to take the checkers in the 14th position as temperatures soared into the upper 90s.
“I want to thank the guys for all they do and they’re hard work,” said Carmichael. “It was really hot this weekend and the guys really made this truck good. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the qualifying effort that we wanted and that got us pushed back in the field. This truck was probably the best we’ve had all year. I’m still learning and getting used to these trucks, but I really love Memphis, it’s my kind of track. I’m glad I get to race for the next few weeks. I feel like I’m gaining a lot of experience. Hopefully, we just continue improving.”
As the race began, Carmichael took the green flag from the 16th position. During the first round of scheduled pit stops at lap 53 the No. 4 team took on four tires and made a track-bar adjustment to alleviate the truck’s loose-handling condition. The following lap the team came back in for fuel. Success on pit road moved the No. 4 into the 12th position for the restart on lap 57. Carmichael reported to his team that he felt like the truck was very good. Working his way through traffic, Carmichael became pinned in the outside groove and lost several spots trying to get down to the preferred bottom line.
On lap 73, the No. 51 of Brian Ickler spun directly in front of the No. 4, narrowly missing Carmichael. Spotter Andy Houston reported no damage to the truck. By the half-way mark the No. 4 rode in the 16th position. Carmichael complained to the crew that he just could not pass. The truck continued to lose grip as the race took on a long green stint. Carmichael was able to hold off the leaders and remain on the lead lap. A caution at lap 112 brought the leaders to pit road for the final scheduled pit stop of day. The No. 4 team changed four tires and made another track-bar adjustment trying to help the handling of the truck. The following lap the team came back in to top off for fuel to make it to the end of the 200-lap event. As the laps wound down, Carmichael became frustrated with his positioning on the track and getting caught in the wrong lane on restarts. However, the No. 4 surged forward at the end and was able to take the checkers in the 14th position. Carmichael’s KHI teammate Ron Hornaday won the MemphisTravel.com 200, Brian Scott, David Starr, Aric Almirola and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five.
The finish marks Carmichael’s third top-20 finish of the season. The No. 4 moves up one spot in the Owner’s Point standings to 17th. The Trucks will return to the track in two weeks at Kentucky Speedway with Carmichael behind the wheel of KHI’s No. 4 Monster Energy truck.
June 27, 2009
Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park
Race: 11 of 25
Driver: Ricky Carmichael
Owner’s Point Standings: 17th (+ 1 spot)
Race length: 200 Laps/ 150 Miles
Track layout: 0.75-mile
Number of Race Cautions: 6 for 25 Laps
First Practice: 16th (23.727 seconds; 113.794 mph)
Final Practice: 4th (23.374 seconds; 115.513 mph)
Next on the Truck Series Schedule:
Date: July 18, 2009
Track: Kentucky Speedway
Event Name: Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers
Driver: Ricky Carmichael
Sponsor: Monster Energy
Broadcast Time: 6:30 p.m., ET on SPEED and MRN Radio