The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

ARCA - Finish Not Worthy Of Performance For Sean Corr And Empire Racing


TALLADEGA, April 18, 2011: Without a question, Sean Corr and his Empire Racing team showed their competitors in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards why they are championship caliber material in the postponed 3 Amigos 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway Saturday morning.

Tackling a superspeedway for the second time in two races this season, the Mooresville, North Carolina based team led by team manager John Bellesfield and newly appointed crew chief Howard Bixman desperately wanted to show that their mediocre performance at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February was something of the past.

In the three hour practice session on Thursday afternoon, the Goshen, New York native produced the 22nd fastest time overall giving the team a comfortable feeling heading into qualifying later in the day. After consulting with Bixman and Bellesfield, a few tweaks were made to the No. 82 Ford Fusion before time trials – hoping to give Corr that extra boost for a solid starting position.

During his two lap hustle around the 2.66-mile superspeedway in Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell, the Northerner was able to lay down the 19th fastest lap in the 39-car starting field.

With a solid starting position for the 250-mile event, the agenda was clear for Corr and his Empire Racing team, finish the race and stay in the lead draft. Unfortunately, after anxiously waiting for the start of the second of 19 races this season, Mother Nature invaded the area and drenched the track forcing officials to postpone the event to Saturday morning.

Crisp blue skies welcomed the ARCA teams to the track Saturday morning with Corr buckled in and ready to race shortly before 8:00 a.m. (Central). From the drop of the green flag – Corr quickly began maneuvering his No. 82 Empire Racing Ford Fusion through the field. With guidance from former Daytona 500 winning spotter Keith Barnwell, the two worked together; slicing and dicing their way through the field.

By lap six, Corr had drafted his way into the 13th position and just nine laps had cleverly maneuvered his blue oval into the top-five. The first yellow flag of the day waived a lap later for Terry Jones with Bixman electing to bring his driver to pit road for fuel only.

Restarting in the top-20, Corr would hover his silver bullet around the top-15 until another yellow flag waived on lap 27 for debris. It was during this caution that Bixman again elected to bring his pilot to pit road for two right side tires and more Sunoco fuel.

Quiet on the radio, Corr restarted the race in the 13th position but quietly began his march back towards the front. By lap 45, Corr had positioned himself back into the top-10 controlling the seventh position.

On the restart, Corr with assistance from Barnwell would find their comfort level which would see the No. 82 rocket into the top-five. He would maintain a position solidly in the top-five until the typical Talladega shuffle jockeyed the No. 82’s position nearly every lap.

Lap 81 brought a close call for the ARCA Racing Series championship contender when the two cars of Tim George Jr. (No. 31) and nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel (No. 44) locked horns and spun directly in front of the John Corr-owned machine.

Idling in the eighth position when the caution flag flew, Corr and Barnwell would begin to develop their final game plan to slice and dice their way back to the front. Inopportunely, the plan would be foiled as several cars “ganged” up on the No. 82 on the restart and left Corr in the wind on the outside line with no drafting help.

Finally tucking in behind the No. 58 of Chad Hackenbracht with five laps remaining, Corr tried to push his fellow competitor to the lead group but had to duck out of the draft and pass the No. 58 in order to catch the No. 6 Toyota as a final opportunity to lineup and blast to the front.

Ineffectively, the duo ran out of laps with Corr crossing the start finish line 16th, his best finish at Talladega in two starts.

“I’m frustrated and satisfied at the same time,” said Corr. “We had a good Empire Racing Ford Fusion. If we hooked up with the right car, we could pedal our way to the front. I thought we would have a shot at our first top-10 there in the final laps but we just didn’t have the help we needed.

I have to thank the guys on the Empire Racing team. They have really busted their tails over the past couple of weeks and I cannot thank them enough. Roush Yates gave us some incredible horsepower under the hood and we continue to be appreciative of everything that they do for us. We’ll take this finish in stride and head to Salem and hope for a top-10.”

With two solid top-20 finishes in the first two races of the season, Corr and the Empire Racing team lock eighth in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings heading into the next race at Salem (Ind.) Speedway for the running of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 on Sunday, May 1. Corr will make his inaugural debut at the intimidating .5-mile-paved oval.

On Friday, Empire Racing and BoomText officially announced the “Hard Corr Fans” program powered by BoomText, a mobile marketing campaign which allows fans to pledge towards becoming an official member of the Empire Racing team – not to mention helping three of Corr’s personal charities. To join the campaign, fans just simply have to text the word “CORR” to 411247 where they will receive an automated safe-secured link to join the “Hard Corr Fans” team.

“We’re real excited to work with Boomtext and I have great expectations for the “Hard Corr Fans” program,” added Corr. “We’re going to run it all season long and develop not only an incredible fan base but help out three great charities as well.