The last Dow Racing Chevrolet rolls off the truck, 2 more ready for Texas sit waiting. A weekend that started out with times that held the 3 car in the bottom of the field after practice a qualifying, turned out pretty nice. With some help from teammates Austin salvaged a 4th place finish.
By now we have all heard the audio of Austin berating his teammates, that’s not how it really is. Freddy & the boys in the 3 & 27 shop built cars so close they raced and battled each other all day. Truth be known, if it weren’t for Paul the 3 car would’ve been laps down. After miserable practice and qualifying Slugger and the team put the 27 setup in the 3. That’s what made the day.
Pit road continues to be tricky for the team, but through no fault of any of the crew members. Early in the race Austin was asking what he could do during stops to make life easier for the jack man, Sam Abney. The next stop, while pitting the left side of the car, the car came down off the jack. Slugger determined that the clutch had bled out causing the car to roll forward. This tilted the jack, bent both the jack and the jack post. They had to grab a back up jack which would take an extra pump or two all day. Slugger explained this to Austin, explained there was nothing that Sam had done wrong and that the rest of the day they would likely lose one or two spots all day. The bent jack post made it hard to see and hard to center on. The remaining pit stops they lost 2 spots, then one spot, then they gained one back. The entire team, Austin included, continues to get better with each race. I wouldn’t have it an other way. A team that grows together, loses together, learns together, eventually wins together.
Near the end of the race Austin charged hard, after being stuck in 12th the majority of the race, the 3 car cut and pushed and battled forward up to 5th on the final restart. Following alliance member, A.J. Allmendinger, through the hole on the inside lane up to 3rd. With a mere 3 laps left Austin was passed by Kyle Larson who had two fresh tires.
After the race the entire team was happy and excited on the radio. A career day in the books, a top 5, seems to heal all wounds. Let’s face it, this is Martinsville. You can leave your feelings in the hauler and they’ll still get hurt. On the way out of the track, you can pick them up, shake them off and walk away with your head high. Cause we all know, in the end… The hero still gets the girl.