The opening round of the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season took place this past Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Robin Buck in the #66 Quaker State Dodge battled all weekend and while they came away with a hard fought top ten finish, it still left the thinking they could have done even better.
Several difficulties hampered the #66 Quaker State Dodge team during the weekend including a broken shock mount during the first practice session on Saturday. “That set us back a little bit” said Buck. “We were forced to almost use the qualifying session to complete our set up for the race which is why we could only manage the eleventh quickest time” he added.
When the race began Sunday Buck quickly began moving the #66 Quaker State Dodge toward the front of the field, while taking care not to over work the tires as the teams strategy would have them run the entire race on the same set of tires. “We used this strategy last year” explained Buck. “If you don’t abuse the tires then it is possible to have this work out really well for you in the race” he added.
Buck did make a scheduled pit stop for fuel early in the race and while giving up track position early, he knew the #66 Quaker State Dodge would be back near the front in short order. “When we knew that we could stop for fuel and go the rest of the distance we made the move” said Buck. “All appeared to be going to plan when Buck took over the lead of the race on lap 21.
Now back with the front runners there was still more than half the race to go and Buck needed to be cautious with the #66 Quaker State Dodge. “I couldn’t push too hard that soon so I ended up losing the lead but we were still in good shape” said the driver.
A late race caution period would work against the #66 Quaker State Dodge team however. “That really hurt us” said Buck. “With only a few laps remaining it bunched the field up and meant everyone would be charging hard to the end. If the race stayed green until the end, it would have been better for us”.
In addition to the unwanted caution period, an aggressive late race move by another driver caused contact with the #66 Quaker State Dodge. “I got hit by the #47 car and it knocked the toe out on the car so at that point I was really hanging on for every spot. Unfortunately we lost a few in the closing laps” said Buck.
Buck would nurse the #66 Quaker State Dodge to the finish line and claim a 9th place finish. “It was a decent finish but I know the car was capable of more” said Buck. “We made the call not to take tires and maybe because it was a warm day we could have used another strategy, but it was how the race played out late that hurt us the most. I’ve got to thank everyone on the team who worked really hard this weekend and I’m excited about getting back to Circuit ICAR where we won last year” he added.
Robin Buck will compete in all five road course races on the 2012 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Schedule. The next road course race is Sunday June 3rd at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, QC. Buck is the defending champion at Circuit ICAR & Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres. Race fans will be able to watch all of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series events in High Definition on TSN. Check local listings for times.
Prepared by TL Sports & Entertainment