Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford Fusion Endured The Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix
Avondale, AZ (April 14, 2008)- The no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion battled through a series of indiscriminate issues Saturday night on the one mile, desert landscaped race track, that concluded with a 32nd place finish.
Bill Elliott took the green flag in 43rd position and quickly moved up three positions within the first few laps, but by lap 24, the no. 21 Wood Brothers Ford was running hot as water temperatures climbed over 250 degrees. Elliott took the opportunity to move to the end of the line to allow fresh air cool the motor down until he could make a pit stop.
On lap 35, the caution flag came out which allowed the no. 21 to pit. The Wood Brothers Racing pit crew removed some tape from the nose of the car that may have been the cause of the rise in water temperature. They also made some adjustments to help out with the handling of the race car.
By lap 50, Crew Chief Mike "Andretti" Smith radioed into Bill to assess the water temperatures and if they had returned to normal. After there was no response or communication from Bill for several continuous laps, the team discovered that his radio was not working properly. Elliott could not hear the team. After much adjustment to the radio in his helmet, his radio communication returned on lap 88.
On lap 100, Bill radioed to the crew that the car was bouncing abnormally, which was diagnosed as a shock issue. The team decided to schedule a pit stop under the green flag on lap 112. As the no.21 was about to pit, which would have caused the team to go down two laps from the leader, the caution flag flew. There was enough time for Bill to stay out on the track and not make the necessary pit stop and save a lap. Under caution, the "21 Team" brought the race car down pit road and quickly made the appropriate fixes. Elliott restarted the race on lap 121 in 33rd position and one lap down from the leader.
On lap 130, the caution flag flew again when the no.12 car blew a motor. NASCAR made the decision to bring out the red flag as the clean-up crews cleared the oil laden track. When the race resumed under caution, the team took the opportunity to pit and make more adjustments. The race resumed on lap 140 and the no. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion moved up to 30th position. The team seemed to make progress as lap times improved over the course of the evening.
Caution flags continued to fly throughout the remainder of the race and the team took every opportunity to make more adjustments to make the car better. With the laps winding down, the team determined that they would be approximately 10 laps short on fuel and would have to make one more stop. On lap 304, the team quickly pitted for fuel and tires then sent the race car back to the track where Bill took the checkered flag in 31st position.
The Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 will return after a week off to the race track at Talladega Superspeedway in the Little Debbie Ford Fusion for the Aaron's 499 on Sunday, April 27th.
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