Renee's top-ten run ends in this multi-car accident. Accident courtesy of James Civali; Photo courtesy of Howie Hodge.
On Thursday, September 3 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returned to Thompson International Speedway for the running of the Budweiser 150.
The 33 teams assembled in the pit area began the afternoon with an hour long practice session. The No. 90 team concluded the session posting mid-pack times – but were confident they had a better than mid-pack car.
Despite an early draw (the car went out 9th for qualifying) Renee topped the leader board – maintaining the pole for some time. When it was all said and done, she posted the 8th fastest time of the day.
Following time trials, Renee – along with the rest of the starting lineup – participated in an autograph session on the track’s midway.
When the green flag dropped, the No. 90 team started the race from the 6th spot (the top-ten cars redraw for starting position). Renee ran inside the top-ten for the first 72 laps – and was running in the 7th position when the caution flew on lap 72. Pitting along with the rest of the leaders, the car came to pit road for tires and no adjustments.
“The guys did an excellent job in the pits – getting us back out onto the track in 7th,” recalls Renee. “They did a great job all day long – the pit stop was just something else that went right for us today.”
When the track went green again, the No. 90 car continued to race in the top-ten. On a lap-91 restart Renee was in the 8th position – behind the No. 1 (Rob Summers) car and outside the No. 17 car (Glen Reen). Coming off of turn two, James Civali (car 79) pulled the pin and attempted a three-wide move on the bottom that ended up putting Summers in the wall. With absolutely nowhere to go, Renee became airborne over the 1 car – riding the top of the wall and narrowly missing the catch fence. When the cars came to rest – Renee’s left front was literally sitting on Summer’s carburetor. With the racing surface almost completely blocked, an extended red flag period ensued.
“I’m actually sick. We had a great run going and we flat out got wrecked by Civali’s stupidity. He wasn’t faster than us…he had been running behind us prior to the restart…he just threw it in there and wrecked a lot of good cars in the process. We ran strong all day long, we were running a smart, competitive race and we have zero to show for it. Actually, it’s less than zero because we’ll have to shell out the money to put the car back together.”
“On the bright side, we’ve been running really strong. Ed has been giving us great set-ups in the cars, the fresh Billy the Kid engine we have in there has some serious power, our tire guy (Don Clifford) is hitting the stagger just perfect and our crew guys have had excellent stops. Things have really come together in those areas and I’m thankful to everyone involved for all their efforts.”
Next up, the team will compete in the September 19th event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup weekend.