Despite rubbing the wall in practice and qualifying 30th for the American Racing Wheels 200 in Fontana, Calif., J.R. Patton and his #67 Fiddle Back Racing team were looking for their second consecutive top-15 finish. Unfortunately, a run-in with Tracy Hines on lap 70 took Patton off the lead lap and relegated the New Mexico-native to a 26th-place finish.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Patton. “I don’t know if we were going to finish as well as we did in Vegas (15th), but we were hoping for better than this. My guys worked hard all weekend, fixing the damage from me scraping the wall in practice and finding the right setup for the truck.”
“It usually takes a few races for a crew chief and a driver to get on the same page,” said crew chief Gary Showalter. “J.R. and I have worked well together and continue to understand each other more and more each week. JR is progressing well and will make a good race car driver. I think we are both looking forward to the test next week so we can have the opportunity to work together without the stress of a race situation on us.”
On lap 70, Travis Kvapil forced Patton three wide in turn one with Hines. Patton spun after contact was made with Kvapil. Patton was able to save his Ford F-150, but Hines got into him as he rolled down the track. While the accident took Hines out of the race, Patton suffered only minor rear-end damage, but went a lap down and eventually finished two laps off the lead.
“I think we would have had a top-20 if it hadn’t been for the wreck and we were in front of some pretty good trucks, but we can’t dwell on it,” Patton said. “I’m testing with Fiddle Back Racing in Atlanta on Oct. 12 and 13 for the Ford test session. Then we are off to Texas for the Silverado 350 on Oct. 16th.”
“J.R. continues to impress the folks at Fiddle Back. He is great with the fans and will represent a sponsor well. I believe the future is bright for both J.R. and Fiddle Back Racing,” said Fiddle Back Public Relations Manager Brian Jones.