ARCA News - Strong Run For Sean Corr And Empire Racing Spoiled At Toledo
TOLEDO, May 16, 2011: ARCA Racing Series Rookie of the Year candidate Sean Corr appeared to be well on his way to a career-best finish Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway in his No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford but late race contact from a veteran driver diminished what would have been a season-best effort in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
Corr armed with a new No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford decked out in yellow and blue showed massive improvement from start to finish which included two practice sessions on Saturday where Corr and crew chief Howard Bixman focused on setting up their No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford for the second short track contest of the year.
While Mother Nature played havoc with the track conditions on Saturday, qualifying would be rained out which lined up the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team 28th based on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series rule book.
For the second consecutive weekend, rain would drench the race track on race day forcing ARCA Racing Series officials to spend a majority of the morning drying the Northern Ohio race track. The command to start engines was given shortly before 2:00 p.m. with the drivers circling the track under yellow and green flag conditions together to officially begin the fourth race of the season.
The all-clear would be given by lap 20 putting the field under true racing conditions. Corr quickly found his No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford moving through the running order and had marched into the top-20 by lap 26 when the second yellow flag waived for an incident in turn three.
When racing resumed, Corr methodically continued to inch his way forward finding himself closing in on the top-15 competitors.
A multi-car incident broke out on the backstretch on lap 37 which forced the Goshen, New York native to take abrasive maneuvers to miss a slew of mangled race cars.
Emerging unscathed, Corr found himself in his blue oval solidly in the top-12, but the team elected to bring their machine to pit road to try and cool their engine which was producing temperatures of 240 degrees.
Back to racing, Corr would patiently begin maneuvering his automobile back towards the lead pack. Turning lap times consistent with his competitors in the top-10, a long green flag run would see the No. 82 be passed by leader Grant Enfinger by lap 101.
Thankfully, less than 10 laps later the yellow flag waived allowing the Empire Racing team to become the beneficiary of the lucky dog. The benefit of returning to the lead lap meant that Corr would have to restart at the tail end of the longest line; but that was fine by the rookie team as they had given their driver a full tank of gas, two new right side Hoosier tires and a chassis adjustment to surge back towards the front.
Waiting for the prime opportunity to attack the fleet, Corr was on the move, setting up his prey before contact from a rookie on lap 138 saw the No. 82 go for a 360-degree spin in turn four. Corr did a magnificent job keeping his automobile off the wall and still maintained a position on the lead lap.
Under the yellow, Bixman brought his driver down for four tires and permission to pounce on the competition.
In the final stages of the event, Corr was a man on a mission finding his No. 82 Roush Yates Performance / Roush Yates Engines / Empire Racing Ford quickly and cleverly working traffic and moving into the top-10 inside 15 laps remaining.
The team’s day though would take a heartbreaking turn when on a restart inside 10 laps remaining, Corr was turned by another driver heading into turn one sending the No. 82 into the wall.
The 26-year old was able to leave the incident under his own power bringing the car to pit road where the team made what repairs they could before instructing their driver to return to the race track to take the checkered flag in the 20th position.
“It’s just frustrating,” said Corr. “We had a good, fast car. We were just biding our time and trying to stay out of trouble and unfortunately (again) trouble found us. It sure would have been nice to have left Toledo with a top-10 finish. I’m pretty discouraged, but I cannot let this diminish our goals and intentions. We were competitive this weekend at Toledo, so that’s a big positive we can build from here. We’ll pick up the pieces (again) and try again in New Jersey next weekend.”
Corr added, “I want to thank Roush Yates Performance, Roush Yates Engines, BoomText, TransGroup and all of our marketing partners who continue their faith in us and keep us on the race track every weekend. We’ll get them a good finish soon, I promise.”
Despite knocking out his fourth consecutive top-20 finish of the year, Corr slipped two positions in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings from eighth to 10th. Just 10 points though separate Corr from ninth held by Tom Hessert and 25 credits behind Tim George Jr. in eighth.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the lone stop at a road course. The ModSpace 150 is set for next Sunday, May 22 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) in Millville, New Jersey. Corr once again make another “first” in his stock car career by competing at a road course.