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Late-Race Crash Ends Top-10 Run For McFarland And Navy Team
Jun 26, 2006 - updated Jun 26th, 2006 12:59pm
Web posted by Annette Randall

West Allis, Wis. --

(June 25, 2006) – NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark McFarland and the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life team were well on their way to a top-10 finish in Saturday’s AT&T 250 at The Milwaukee Mile until a late-race accident abruptly ended the team’s night, just three laps from the finish.

McFarland qualified the Navy Chevrolet in 12th position for the race with a lap of 29.765 seconds, 120.947 mph.

Despite a tight handling condition he was running in the 10th position when the caution flag waved for the first time on Lap 61. Crew Chief Wes Ward called McFarland to pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure and track bar adjustments and they restarted the race in 10th position.

The team pitted on several more occasions for tires, fuel and additional adjustments, and McFarland worked his way back inside the top 10 by Lap 127. He maintained his position for most of the next 100 laps.

McFarland brought the Navy Chevrolet back to pit road for the final time on Lap 207. The team changed four tires and added fuel, making only an air pressure adjustment. He restarted in ninth position and picked his way up to sixth by Lap 234.

The caution flag waved on Lap 243, setting up what seemed to be a dash to the finish when the race restarted on Lap 247. The field bunched up as the leaders made contact, setting off a chain reaction that collected the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet.

The car was severely damaged and McFarland was transported to the infield care center. He was assessed with having strained muscles in his right shoulder and was released to travel home with the team.

“There was no where to go,” McFarland said. “I thought I almost had it cleared but a car came up and hit me and then I got tagged by a couple more.

“It’s a tough deal for us. We were having such a good run out there tonight. The car had been awesome all weekend and we were on our way to a top-10 finish. Our team needed a good run after the past few weeks and to have it slip away right at the end is disappointing.

“My shoulder’s sore after that wreck, but they checked me out and said nothing’s broken, so I’ll just try to take it easy for the next few days.”

“The car was competitive right off the trailer,” Ward said. “Mark and all the guys on the team did an awesome job all weekend. We qualified 12th, which wasn’t too bad considering we went out second and it had been spitting rain just before qualifying. We were in line to have a solid top-10 finish until that accident with three laps to go. Our finish doesn’t show how well we ran all weekend, but I’m proud of the work my guys did here.”

McFarland’s 33rd-place finish dropped him one spot to 21st in the driver points standings.



Navy Racing in the Media

On Wednesday, McFarland was interviewed by a reporter from The Daytona Beach News Journal about the upcoming race at Daytona International Speedway. On Friday, he was a guest on the Peter Brown Show, broadcast live from the track on Sports Radio 1250. After practice on Saturday he was interviewed by a reporter from BGNRacing.com. During the race, Crew Chief Wes Ward was interviewed live by MRN Radio.



No. 88 Navy AT&T 250 Unofficial Race Stats

Started: 12th

Finished: 33rd

Laps: 247/258

Status: Accident

Points: 64

Total Points: 1,530

Driver’s Points Position: 21st

Owner’s Points Position: 27th



Next on Deck

The JR Motorsports’ No. 88 Navy Chevrolet team will travel to Daytona International Speedway next Friday for the Winn-Dixie 250. The race will air live at 7:30 p.m. EDT on FX and MRN.


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