Concord, NC - The NASCAR XFINITY Series went in to the weekend with some uncertainty on how the newly transformed Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL would be. However, the Go Green Racing team was confident they would have a solid run after some goods runs at the series' previous road courses. With the XFINITY Series never running on the brand new course, NASCAR allowed the teams two extra practice sessions that began on Thursday. That way the drivers could get acclimated to the track before official practice sessions began on Friday.
Thursday was a successful day for Gase as he got familiar with the course. When the testing sessions had concluded he felt more confident in the braking zones and shift points for Friday’s official practices. Thursday’s testing session also allowed the Agri Supply / Sparks Energy team to make adjustments to get the car better yet; and after Gase’s first run in official practice he already noticed a positive difference. Just in his first run he had picked up his lap time by over a second. When practice was all said and done Gase would end the day in 23rd with his fastest lap coming on old tires.
Fans had started to flow into the grand stands at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The green flag had waved and the highly anticipated Drive for the Cure 200 on the ROVAL had begun. The field had only completed one full lap before the first caution had come out for debris on the front stretch. It wasn’t before long they would go back to green with 12 laps remaining in the 15 lap stage. They would remain under the green for the remainder of the stage. After the first run Gase reported that he needs to turn a bit better and he needed better forward drive. With that in mind, CC Donahue would call for some packer out of both fronts and an air pressure adjustment for the Agri Supply / Sparks Energy No. 35.
They would get the green to start the second stage that would end up being about 13 laps. Despite there being a handful of spin-outs during the stage (spin-outs that happened right in front of Gase), the stage was caution free. Gase and the spotters did a great job navigating through the carnage unscathed throughout the stage and kept the car clean to bring it to the end of the stage in 20th. Under the stage caution, Gase told Donahue that everything that run was better but now he felt like he was hitting the splitter a little bit through the backstretch chicane. Therefore Donahue would put packer back in the left front to go with fresh tires and fuel.
The final stage was under way and the field hadn’t made it through the first turn before stacking them up. Again, this all happened right in front of Gase but he and the spotters did a great job getting through it all without a scratch. They would only see one more caution for some debris on the backstretch before the checkered flag would fly. Gase would fight his way through the twists and turns of the ROVAL and bring it to the checkered flag in 23rd.
Despite there being a fair share of wrecks throughout the 55 laps; there wasn’t much for attrition throughout the field. The ROVAL kept throwing curveball after curveball at Gase with multiple wrecks happening in front of his purple and black machine. But he did a great job keeping the car clean and brought it home in one piece.
Last weekend at the ROVAL was the last of four road courses the series travels to. This weekend the team will head back up to Dover, Delaware to take on the Monster Mile for the final time of the 2018 campaign. Gase finished 20th in the Sparks Energy Inc Chevy at Dover back in May.
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More photos from the roval at charlotte motor speedway:
*Photos by HMedia*