September 1, 2012
The #20 ED CO Racing/Boschett Timepieces/Sopwith Motorsports Chevy S-10 race truck and driver Stephen Cox escaped with an almost unbelievable 7th place finish in the ARCA Trucks JEGS.com 100 at Kil-Kare Speedway Friday night in Xenia, Ohio.
A outrageously unorthodox day of racing began when a last-minute emergency prevented the team's crew chief and primary mechanic from making it to the race. The team began searching up and down pit road in desperation to find anyone who could hold a wrench or act as a spotter.
Series Operations Manager Robbin Slaughter finally ran across two old friends, former race driver Jerry Young and his former mechanic, John Buck. The retired racers were in the stands preparing to watch the afternoon practice sessions when they volunteered as crew chief, spotter and mechanic.
Cox, who was racing Kil-Kare Speedway for the first time ever, had no prior experience in this race vehicle and was starting only his third ARCA Truck race. Young's driving experience at Kil-Kare Speedway was invaluable; he coached Cox over the radio and got him up to speed quickly on the unique, 5-turn oval.
Young said, “We got faster all day. Every time we went out we were quicker than the time before. Stephen really did a fine job with the truck. I've seen drivers race here for years without finding the groove. This is a very difficult track but he found the line and got everything out of the truck.”
The team qualified 9th in the field but decided that the truck could still go faster with more tire stagger. Such a move would force them to start dead last in the field since mechanical changes are prohibited after qualifying, but the team decided to take the risk.
The makeshift pit crew continued to work on the truck in the impound area and the changes were effective. When the green flag fell, the truck was clearly faster and Cox began working his way through the field in the opening laps of the JEGS.com 100.
The team ran as high as 6th midway through the event before settling in for a hard-earned 7th place finish.
“I'd never met Jerry or John before today. I mean, we literally just picked them out of the grandstands but they were just amazing to work with,” Cox said. “The Ed Yoak chassis worked great and I really appreciate him putting me in the truck. This was just one of the weirdest racing experiences I've ever been part of and I can't believe it worked out so well.”
The Boschett Timepieces/Sopwith Motorsports truck's next race will be at Kentucky Motor Speedway on September 16th.