Following practice, came qualifying. Adding some drama, Dupuis spun coming to the green during time trials – then put up a time that landed her on the top of the qualifying charts. While her time didn’t hold up on the pole, it did end up being the 4th fastest time of the day – her best qualifying effort of the season.
After an autograph session on Tri-County’s front stretch, the green flag waved for the 150-lap feature at approximately 8 PM. NASCAR’s lap-by-lap recap of the race can be found here. Starting from the outside of the second row, Dupuis wasted no time in moving forward and was running in second place by the second lap.
“We felt like Tri-County was going to be similar in pace to Hickory,” explained Dupuis. “So, right away, we gave a bunch of spots away – looking strictly to just ride somewhere in the top-10 for the first 100 laps. Like Hickory, we thought the pace they were setting out front would never work.”
The strategy was playing out as Renee lost a couple of spots in the melee that caused the caution on lap 38 – but recovered and was running solidly in the top-10 at the 100-lap mark.
“With about 50 to go, I started to go. At first I could see we were catching the pack in front of us – but with like 25 to go all we could do was pretty much maintain.”
When the yellow flag waved with just 5 laps remaining, Renee was in the 7th position. The team opted to bring the car to pit road for adjustments – with the goal of grabbing a few positions on the green-white-checkered finish.
“We made a real bad call there at the end and didn’t get out of the pits fast enough to get back in position for the restart. It cost us two spots in the finish.”
In the end, the No. 59 car was credited with a 9th place finish. The Tri-County race likely marked the end of the season for Renee.
“In looking back over the season, I think we learned a lot. We ran at a bunch of places I’ve never been to. And we ran races