Talladega: A crash in the fag end prevented Narain Karthikeyan from finishing the race but the Indian still managed a 15th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, at famous Talladega Superspeedway here.
Karthikeyan, India’s first Formula One driver, did not go the full distance because of the crash with four laps to go but was classified in 15th position.
Karthikeyan, who drives for Starbeast Motorsports, began the race at 14th on the grid and quickly jumped four spots within five laps.
On lap 23, the first caution came out for a wreck between drivers Justin Lofton and Jeffery Earnhardt. Under caution,the trucks came in for pit stops.
Karthikeyan took four tyres and fuel. On lap sixty, Max Papis, driver of the truck number nine, spun on the front stretch. This caution enabled Karthikeyan to make another pit stop, changing two tyres and adding fuel.
With twenty-three laps left in the race, there was another caution due to contact between drivers Chris Fontaine and Timothy Peters.
While several of the trucks came into the pits for a third round on pit stops, Karthikeyan stayed out on the race track to gain track position.
With four laps to go, the fifth caution flag was dropped when Ron Hornaday’s truck flipped over on the race track. Karthikeyan and several other trucks were unable to avoid the wreck, including Todd Bodine, the championship points leader.
“It felt great running 6th during the race. The speed and the bump drafting is incredible, because all of the trucks are racing so close to each other.
“We averaged roughly a speed of 300 kph every lap. We were running so well until those last few laps when there was a wreck in front of me and we got caught in it. This weekend overall was great. My crew was so helpful in teaching me the tricks of racing at a superspeedway. It was definitely very different than anything I’ve ever raced at. The banking is unbelievable,” Karthikeyan said after the race.
“Narain was running in the top ten for a majority of the race and was progressing quickly. He certainly has learned how to navigate himself around this 2.66 mile superspeedway,” team owner Miguel Abaroa said.