BGN Series Kenwood Home & Car Audio 300 Race Report: #88 Kevin Schwantz
20 October 1997
#88 Kevin Schwantz, Ryder Driver Recruiting Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Kenwood Home & Car Audio 300 Race Report California Speedway October 19, 1997 WHEEL BEARING FIRE ENDS SCHWANTZ'S DAY AT NEW CA TRUCK FONTANA, CA - Kevin Schwantz, driving the #88 Ryder Driver Recruiting Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was hoping for a top-10 finish in only his second NASCAR Busch Grand National race. Schwantz posted a fast lap time of 41.765 seconds (172.393 mph) around CAlifornia Speedway's 2-mile oval to start 22nd in Sunday's Kenwood Home & Car Audio 300. Pole sitter Steve Park posted a fast lap time of 41.106 seconds (175.157 mph). The first caution of the day came out early, on lap 9 of the 150-lap event, when Jeff Krogh spun in Turn 4. Schwantz was right behind Krogh and brushed the wall as he went high to avoid the spinning #56 Chevrolet. The Ridling Motorsports crew decided to bring Schwantz in on lap 13 to look at the right side and check for a possible tire rub. "We didn't find anything," commented crew chief C.R. Miller. "We just wanted to make sure everything was OK for Kevin and to add fuel. We thought we would have long stretches of green flag racing once everyone settled down on the track and hoped we could gain track positions with the extra fuel." Schwantz had piloted the #88 Ryder Driver Recruiting Chevrolet Monte Carlo from 36th into the lead on lap 70 since most of the teams had to come in for fuel and tires under green starting around lap 55. Just as crew chief C.R. Miller called for a green flag pit stop, Scott Lagasse spun in turn 4 bringing out the third caution of the day on lap 74. Schwantz was running in eighth when the crew decided to make a gas and go pit stop on lap 135. After returning to the field in 13th place, Schwantz noticed smoke coming into the car on lap 139. He radioed to the crew that the oil pressure and water temperature looked fine, but there was a problem of some kind. On lap 141, NASCAR black flagged Schwantz so the crew could determine the cause of all the smoke. On close inspection on pit row, the team discovered the wheel bearing had caught on fire. With only nine laps left in the race, there was no time to make repairs. Schwantz ended the day in 31st place, nine laps down to winner Todd Bodine. "I'm disappointed we didn't get to finish the race," said Schwantz after the race. "We had a great run going. The crew really hustled on our pit stops. We were on our way to a top-10 finish today. But that's racin' as they say." Several Team Ryder partners displayed decals on the #88 Ryder Driver Recruiting Chevrolet Monte CArlo Sunday. Representatives from Ryder RTS clients Pepsi and Klaussner Furniture of CA, Inc., joined Ryder ATE-MLS client Foothill Transit at the track for an exciting day at the races to watch Kevin Schwantz and the Ryder Race Team.