Brandon Whitt and the Werner Ladder/Cure Autism Now team enjoy a career day at Martinsville Speedway finishing 12th, the best finish of the rookie’s young career.
The Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway quickly became another wild Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. At the end of the day, there were 10 cautions, several among the leaders, and a new series points leader.
Doing a masterful job of dodging trouble however, was Brandon Whitt, who miraculously left Martinsville with hardly a scratch on the #38 Werner Ladder/CAN Ford. In the process Whitt managed to pick up the best finish (12th) of his young promising career.
Since qualifying on Friday was rained out, the starting order was set by owner points, placing Whitt in the 21st starting position. Things didn’t start out so well for the Werner Ladder/CAN team. An ill-handling truck in the early on tested the young driver’s patience, but the team made the necessary adjustments early on, enabling Whitt to start clawing his way to the front.
There were very few lengthy green flag runs as 10 cautions slowed the 200-lap race for much of the day. The ninth caution occurred on lap 173 and was perhaps the most controversial one of the event. Two former Craftsman Truck Series Champions, Travis Kvapil and Jack Spraque were racing for the lead in turns one and two, when their trucks touched and sent both spinning into the turn two wall. Nextel Cup regular, Jamie McMurray assumed the lead and never looked back recording his first career victory in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
By finishing a career best 12th, Whitt climbed another spot in the series standing to 19th. Whitt is now third in the 2004 Craftsman Truck Rookie Standings, but for the second straight race finished in front of the two rookie drivers he is chasing. In Whitt’s young career at Martinsville (two races), he now has finishes of 14th and 12th.
“The guys did a great job staying behind me and pumping me up throughout the day,” Whitt smiled. “We didn’t necessarily have a great truck today, but we kept working on it all day long. The Werner Ladder/Cure Autism Now crew did an awesome job adjusting the truck; we hung tough, and were able to come away from Martinsville with a 12th-place finish. Not bad. We’ve picked up some momentum over the past month and this finish definitely adds to that. We can feel good going into this up coming off week and get ready for the last three races of the season.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next heads to the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 5 for Friday’s Phoenix 150.
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