Lester and Ballew Post Best Finish of ‘07
Topics: Bill Lester, Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers
For Immediate Release
Sparta, KY (July 16, 2007) - Bill Lester and the Billy Ballew Motorsports Team posted their first top-10 finish of the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Season Saturday night at the Kentucky Speedway after placing eighth on the 1.5 mile speedway in Sparta, KY.
Lester, piloting the No. 15 Bowen Family Homes Silverado, missed the pole position in the qualifying session by mere fractions of a second Saturday afternoon when posting a time of 31.223 seconds at a speed of 172.949 mph. Lester still holds the track record in the Craftsman Truck Series at the Kentucky Speedway from 2005 when he posted a time of 30.313 seconds at a speed of 178.141 mph.
Lester unloaded fast off the hauler and made only small adjustments in both practice sessions before taking his qualifying run Saturday afternoon.
"We felt confident from the time we unloaded and hardly had to change a spring on the truck,” Lester said. “We made a couple of shock adjustments and we changed one sway bar. The guys did their homework at the shop to give me a great truck and everyone with Billy Ballew Motorsports just did an outstanding job. It hurts to get out-qualified by one-one-thousandth of a second, but isn’t the first time that has happened to me. In 2002 at Phoenix I also was out-qualified by the same amount by Rick Crawford.”
Race runs were what the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports crew chief Doug George focused on during practice and it paid off. By the time the trucks took the green flag and were headed to turn-one, Lester had taken the point position away from the pole sitter leading the first two laps of the 150-lap race. Lester knew that the truck was having trouble getting into the center of the corner straight out of the box and was racing cautiously aggressive until he could come down pit road for adjustments to loosen up the truck. Lester brought the truck down pit road on lap 53 during the second of six cautions periods in the race while in the 11th place position on the track. Lester restarted in the same position when another caution quickly followed in turn-three where oil dry still had remained on the track. Lester restarted in the tenth position but was unable to tell how the changes worked on the race truck due to another two cautions coming out almost simultaneously after the green flag waved. The race finally settled out allowing for Lester to report that the truck was still tight into turns three and four causing him to be unable to be on the preferred line on the bottom of the track.
When the last caution flag flew on lap 96, Lester once again brought the Atlanta based sponsored truck down pit road to make track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments to further free up the truck. Soon after the restart Lester advanced five spots on the track within eight laps and reported that the truck was “rear steering” and that the adjustments had done what they had hoped and loosened up the Chevrolet Silverado.
Lester never fell out of the top-15 the entire 150 lap, 225 mile race and posted three of the fastest laps on the racetrack before crossing the checkered flag in the eighth place position. This marks the best finish for Lester and Billy Ballew Motorsports at the Kentucky Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Lester also posted his first top-10 finish since Homestead 2005.
“We knew we had a good Chevy Silverado here and we just kept on trying to free it up during the race,” Lester said. “And we never did get it quite freed-up enough but we finished eighth and obviously weren't too bad. I really owe it to this Billy Ballew Motorsports team. We unloaded great and only made a few minor adjustments all weekend. I can’t say enough for these guys. It’s hard to single them all out because this whole organization works together as one team and with Doug (George) and me working so well together we are really starting to show our true abilities. We just need to stumble onto some funding so we can continue to make the gains on and off the track.”
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has the week off but will be back on track for the Power Stroke Diesel 200 presented by Ford and International Friday, July 27, 2007 at the O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis , IN.
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