Mark Lambert Post-LOR Race ReportCRA_admin
Noblesville, Indiana (Monday, July 27, 2015): While the boys from the NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series are hitting the bricks…racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there is a plethora of racing happening at the short tracks. Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis, just up the road in Brownsburg, hosted an ARCA race along with the Circle City 100 presented by Hubler Chevrolet for the ARCA/CRA Super Series. With names from top NASCAR circuits both currently active and sons of iconic drivers jumping into the mix, the field was full and very competitive at 29 cars.
Mark and the Van Alst crew had some repairs to make coming off of the Anderson event the week before. What was believed to be the engine thankfully was not – instead it was an ignition box gone bad. The thing about electronics – when they fail, there is no warning. With a new box in place, the Global Pain Initiative / Indiana Health Industry Forum Chevrolet was ready for action. Mark has won at Lucas Oil Raceway, winning his first CRA race there at the tender age of 15 (the youngest to ever do so at the time) and has consistently run well there for many races. Team spirits were high for a solid finish knowing that the competition was well funded and big.
With the heat beginning to steam clean everything, the boys did their best to practice in the swelter of day, even though the race would be held at 7pm when temperatures would be at least some cooler. Keep in mind that a change in temp – on track and in the air, can radically change the set up on a car – which means for the driver, the car will handle differently from the heat of the day to the cooler sunset of the night. And just to make it fun, you get to qualifying at 4:40, still plenty hot, and once qualified the cars are impounded until the start of the race. So whatever set up you choose for qualifying, you’ll race on.
Mark and the boys went for a more conservative qualifying set up and put the hot rod in the show at 15th. Like always, the field was tight. The first four cars certainly showed a lot muscle, but a single tenth of a second would have placed Mark in the Top 10. So think bumper-to-bumper racing at over 100mph. Yea, we know – sounds like an awesome time! The #18 was clearly performing better on the longer runs, meaning that at about 15 green laps the car was faster and Mark was actually more comfortable on the bottom of the track – while most everybody was running the highline. Mark hoped that this would be an advantage. Sure enough it was. At lap 15 Mark started to move through the field, picking up spots using the bottom of the race track in the corners. 13th, 11th, he continued to move up working his way through traffic. At the toss of a yellow in combination with a few cars retiring, Mark found himself in 5th place at the halfway point.
Now the four cars up front were clearly the class of the field and were building a lead of a few seconds. Mark had a strong car, but was running tight with the remaining Top 15. The battles got intense and there were a few more yellows. During one such caution, little bunny Foo-Foo decided to make a dash across the race track. Mark did swerve but ultimately this story has a tragic end. Mark ran over the rabbit which kicked it under the car and out the back to the infield of the track. Whether it was the ill-timed rabbit crossing or just a bit of bad luck, the transmission lost a fill plug and the oil within – which gave Mark his own white tail of smoke coming from the car. He would retire from the 8th position with 25 laps to go.
Mark still retains his 6th position in the Championship point’s chase. Mark commented, “I know we had a Top 10 car today. It took a few laps to come in, but when it did, it was fast. So we just need a bit of luck here for the balance of the season. I’m hopeful that all the gremlins are behind us…and of course my condolences to the rabbit. I really did try to miss it!! My thanks again to this great crew who continues to work hard through the heat to get us here and to the Indiana Health Industry Forum for their support along with the Global Pain Initiatives. We are hearing a lot from the fans about pain. They agree that it sucks. So I’m honored to represent.”