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Broken suspension relagates David Starr to 20TH

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As they loaded their Ford F-150s into the hauler for the Chevy Silverado HD 250, David Starr, Dennis Connor and their MaxxForce International Diesel Power team had done the impossible. In less than 5 weeks they formed a new race team, tested twice and prepared 2 Fords for the high banks of Daytona. The MaxxForce Diesel Engines motto is “always performing,” in the first month of their existence, Starr and his team has proven they embody that credo.


While the MaxxForce team put the finishing touches on their Ford F-150, Starr and his new Circle Bar Racing teammate, Rick Crawford left for Daytona. Circle Bar’s multi team announcement, with sponsorship from International Truck and Engine, had the NASCAR media in a feeding frenzy. The new teammates arrived in Daytona eight days ahead of the race to start fulfilling over 50 media request before the drop of the green flag on Friday night. MRN, Sirius, Truckseries.com, NASCAR.com, Track Pass, Speed, TV shoots, Photo ops and print media filled Starr’s schedule as the days clicked off until the Chevy Silverado HD 250. On Wednesday Starr and Crawford unveiled their newly designed Ford F-150s in the Fan Zone at Daytona International Speedway. The unveiling would mark the beginning of the end of the media events and the start of the what Starr loves to do most, drive in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.


The plan for the first practice session was for Starr to shake down a truck that he had never been in before and for his newly formed team to adjust to working with each other. Add a 30-mile per hour cross wind across the famed oval and the team had a full plate. The first practice went as planned with the new team getting familiar with each other and their truck. Connor’s wisdom in planning for the team’s first outing paid dividends and the team was ready to loosen the reigns on Starr and his MaxxForce F-150. With the gloves off in the final practice, the MaxxForce team posted a time just outside of the top 10. With a solid run in final practice the team was disappointed with a 19th place qualifying effort.


With the drop of the green flag Starr put the spurs to his MaxxForce machine and the horses didn’t git up and gallop like they should have. The normally nimble Ford F-150 was bogging down off the corner instead off powering off as it had in the final practice. With an early caution flag in the air Connor, working a pit strategy to put his team out front at the end of the race, called his driver to pit road for a fuel only pit stop. The stop cost the team track position but gave them an opportunity to come back down pit road to take some tape off the nose, to let a little air into those horses. A little air that would help bring those horses back to life. With the green flag in the air, Starr took to the high side to help keep his horses wound up to move back to the front. With a few short laps under green the next caution happened in front of the MaxxForce Ford and the F-150 took a hunk of shrapnel in the nose and another piece across the windshield. Starr brought his wounded machine to pit road and the over the wall gang removed the twisted sheet metal from the nose, fixed the tear offs on the windshield, put on 4 fresh Goodyears and a full load of Sonoco fuel. Back under green, Starr worked the draft but his truck still wouldn’t run off the corner. Under caution, on lap 50, Starr would come to pit road for another tape adjustment on the nose of his F-150 and when the field went green again he swapped to the other ignition box to try and help his truck off the corner. With just 10 laps on fresh tires the caution flag would fly again, this time just in front of Starr and he flat spotted all 4 tires avoiding the wreck. Connor called Starr to pit road again for 4 fresh Goodyears and now that they were in their window for a full load of Sunoco fuel. Back under green Starr was on the move going form 21st to 14th in less than 10 laps. On lap 80 the caution flag would fly again, Starr stepped on the brakes to slow down to caution speed and the left front suspension broke. It would take the team 4 laps to repair the damage relegating the team to a 20th place finish.


Crew chief Dennis Connor: “I’m really disappointed on a lot of levels with our effort but I have to remind myself we didn’t even have a race team 5 weeks ago. Keeping that in mind, our effort in Daytona did not rise to my expectation level of how good this team can be. We’ll keep working and we will be better in California.”


David Starr: “When I got out of my truck I was really mad. I knew we had a good truck and we just didn’t get a chance to show it. I got back to the hauler and the guys started bringing all of our gear back from pit road. I watched these guys and remembered what each one of them had done to get us here, the long hours, the personal sacrifice, the impossible demands we put on them and they never let up. I’m sorry we didn’t have a better finish but I couldn’t be prouder of our effort.”


The MaxxForce International Diesel Power Team will be in action when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series holds round 2 of the 2007 season in the San Bernadino County 200 at California Speedway on Friday, February 23rd at 9:00 PM EST. For live trackside reports of practice and qualifying go to truckseries.com. Live coverage of the race provided by Speed Channel, MRN and Sirius Radio.


Picture courtesy of Getty Images.


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