Mission Accomplished For Charles Evans Jr. At Berlin Raceway
Topics: Charles Evans Jr., Hantz Group 200
Knight Motorsports Management/Team BCR Racing
July 11, 2011
MARNE, Michigan (July 12, 2011) - Former INEX Legend Car Series driver Charles Evans Jr. took a major leap in his racing career Saturday night when he made his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway in the Hantz Group 200.
Making his stock car debut with Team BCR Racing led by Howard Bixman, Evans Jr. set his own personal goals heading into the 10th race of the season. By the time the checkered flag flew Saturday night, Evans Jr. took more away from the Hantz Group 200 than he could have possibly imagined.
A recent test at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway had the Concord, North Carolina-based team optimistic about their rookie’s performance at the extremely tricky and quirky .4-mile oval. Never seeing the Marne, Michigan race track before viewing it with his own eyes on Friday, Evans Jr. knew what would be crucial during practice on Saturday.
It was during practice the following day that Evans, a former KART champion in his No. 99 Elevator Transportation Services Ford Fusion earned the respect from his peers as during the hour and a half practice session, Evans Jr. mounted respectable and consistent lap times, good enough to find himself as a potential sleeper for his inaugural ARCA debut.
Adjustments by Bixman and his crew saw the lap times improve and speed increase before eventually capturing the 16th fastest lap overall during the lone practice session of the day.
“I wanted to get to know the track,” offered Evans Jr. following practice. “It’s a different track but the guys on the Team BCR Racing team brought me a good Ford Fusion and we made steps in the right direction.”
With Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying set for later in the afternoon in the extreme heat of the day, Bixman advised his protégé that the track would probably become slicker but would produce faster speeds. During his qualifications run, Evans Jr. produced a lap of seconds at miles per hour landing him 15th on the starting grid and ahead of some notable competitors including nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel.
A solid starting position would give the team some welcomed ammunition for the 10th race of the 2011 ARCA season.
Taking the green flag, shortly after 9:00 p.m., Evans Jr. quickly had to be on his toes as a wad of race cars made contact, immediately bringing out the caution flag with Evans Jr. holding steady in the 13th position.
When racing resumed, the avid late model competitor inhaled an extremely competitive ARCA race which saw the field go into a long span of green flag racing for over 100 laps. During those 100 laps, Evans Jr. hovered comfortably inside the top-20, floating between 15th and 17th place.
Priceless experience from some of the veteran drivers including Kimmel and 2010 ARCA champion Patrick Sheltra and Berlin (Mich.) Raceway aces Brian Campbell and Michael Simko saw the No. 99 Elevator Transportation Services Ford Fusion found an extreme comfort zone with lap times continuing to improve, the Friendswood, Texas native found himself now fighting hard for every position available on the track.
When the second caution flag of the night waived on lap 117, Bixman brought his driver to the attention of the team where four new tires, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment were on deck for the 21-year old. With new rubber and plenty of gas to make it to the end, Bixman reminded his driver to exercise patient but continue to learn and log laps.
That’s exactly what he did. Keeping his No. 99 Elevator Transportation Services Ford Fusion out of any potential harmful situation, Evans fought hard and took the checkered flag in the 16th position offering a solid debut in his first tango with the Automobile Racing Club of America.
“Where do I begin?” offered Evans Jr. after the race. “I learned a lot out there. I tried to earn the respect of the other drivers I was racing with driving them clean but doing what I had to do to deliver the best finish possible for Elevator Transportation Services and Team BCR Racing. ARCA is definitely a big learning curve from what I’m accustomed to, but the team made me feel comfortable and stood behind me, so overall I’m pretty content with our 16th place finish.”
Bixman, who heeded the role as both crew chief and car owner offered his thoughts on Evans Jr. night. “I’m proud of C.J.,” he said. “He did a nice job start to finish. For never seeing Berlin (Mich.) Raceway before, he was able to adapt to the track quickly and learn from some of the best in ARCA. He also stayed out of trouble, kept the car clean and took the checkered flag. I can’t ask for much more than that from him in his debut.”
Evans Jr. and Team BCR Racing will regroup and prepare for the rest of their limited 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season where the Texas is itching to gain more input about the cars and the tracks with just nine races remaining this year. Further race announcements are forthcoming.
Collectively, Evans Jr. and Team BCR Racing would like to thank Elevator Transportation Services (ETS), Roush Yates Performance Parts and Roush Yates Engines for their support of the team in the Hantz Group 200.
For more on Team BCR Racing and marketing partnership opportunities for the 2011 racing season, please visit teambcr.com.
For additional input on Charles Evans Jr., please connect to evans-racing.com.
Are you FORD tough? Connect with Roush Yates Performance Products and Roush Yates Engines through their official web site at roushyatesparts.com.
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