JENNERSTOWN, PA (Sept. 27, 2004) – It was a nail biter for the Logan Dernoshek Racing team at Jennerstown on Saturday as they watched their driver hover on the bubble for most of qualifying. An hour later, they had made the show for the Charlie Campbell Memorial BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Hess Racing Products, the last car to qualify on time. Dernoshek made the most of a berth into his first Championship Series event and came home with an 18th place finish.
Saturday was a trying afternoon for the unsponsored No. 10 Pontiac team. After running in the top fifteen during much of the event in May, they had made some minor changes to their setup and were ready for a good run. Once practice started, however, it was evident that the team was in danger of not qualifying. Practicing on old tires, Dernoshek was unable to crack the top 36 on the speed chart. With only 36 cars making the race on time, and no provisionals available, the No. 10 team had to find some speed before qualifying. With a qualifying lap of 19.57 seconds, they ended up 36th in the 37 car field, the final car qualified on speed.
“We started the practice session on tires that had 180 laps on them, so by the time practice was over they had well over 250,” said Dernoshek. “I was more concerned with getting the car to handle properly than I was with how fast we were going. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy with our lack of speed, but I knew that the tires would be good for half of a second or better. We changed some things to make the car even better before qualifying and it helped. The tires helped too, of course, but making the race was a small victory for this team.”
Dernoshek started the event with two goals in mind. The first was to finish the race with an intact racecar, and the second was to attempt to claim the Hard Charger Award worth $500. On the very first lap, Joel Kauffman had problems exiting turn four, causing a bottleneck through the field. Dernoshek was on the rear of that chain reaction and spun to the inside of the front straightaway, causing the event’s first caution. Barely making it back out in front of the leaders, he stayed on the lead lap and proceeded to work his way through the field in the ensuing laps.
“I couldn't see what happened at the start,” said the driver from Canonsburg, Penn. “The guys in front of me started checking up and I was in a bad position when I got off the gas and on the brakes and it came around. No harm, no foul. It just put us in a bad spot with the single file restart. Once we got going the car was really good. We were just getting beat in the motor department.”
After a quick pit stop near halfway for tires and fuel, Dernoshek continued his slow and tedious task of working his way into the top twenty. Assisted by mechanical problems of other competitors, the rookie driver was knocking on the door of the top fifteen when he radioed the crew that he was unable to see in front of him. With less than ten laps to go, Dernoshek gave up positions to come to pit road and clean the windshield. Finishing the remaining laps near the rear of the field, he crossed the line in 18th place, four laps down.
“Attrition helped us as did staying out of trouble and just hanging in there. The crew had a great pit stop as well,” Dernoshek said after the event. “The 28 lost a rear end or something near the end and coated the windshield with grease. I couldn't see with the glare off the windshield. I hated to give up the spots and go to the back, but I just didn't feel like I could safely finish the race with the windshield as bad as it was. The race wasn't bad for us, but it wasn't good either. We learned more about setups and making the car handle better and we learned that we need to step up our motor program. We aren't sure if we are going to Mansfield yet since our budget is really tight, but making this race and finishing helped a lot.”
Logan Dernoshek Racing, Inc. is actively seeking sponsors and marketing partners for their efforts in the USAR Hooters ProCup Four Champions Championship Series and beyond. Interested parties can contact the team through USAR or through team marketing rep Tony Stevens at (412) 225-0348 for more information. More information about Logan Dernoshek and the team can be found online at www.logandernoshek.com.
The Charlie Campbell Memorial BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Hess Racing Products will be broadcast on Speed Channel at 8pm ET on September 30 and at noon on October 1 in conjunction with the "Lunch at Hooters" promotion.