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Starr Keeps Shining after long night in Atlanta

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After two disappointing finishes in the first 2 races of the 2007 season, David Starr and his MaxxForce by International Diesel Team used the off weeks to test for the American Commercial Lines 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Two days of ringing out their Ford F-150 at Rockingham had the team confident going to Atlanta. In addition to the test the team was taking CB-11, a chassis that crew chief Dennis Connor had developed at PPC Racing last year and had finished 2nd in Atlanta in 2006.


Rain washed out the morning practice and relegated the MaxxForce team to one practice session. Out of the hauler the Ford F-150 was solid but tight off the corners. The team worked on getting their truck up to speed but could only produce a speed that put them in the 20+ range on the speed chart, not up to their standards. After practice, the team decided to take a big swing at bringing their Ford F-150 up to speed. Changing almost everything underneath the MaxxForce machine in preparation for qualifying. The problem with taking big swings is, you either hit it out of the park or you strike out. For Starr and his team the big swing would strike out in qualifying, starting them 32nd for the American Commercial Lines 200.


From the drop of the green flag Starr was wrestling an ill handling Ford F-150. Fortunately for the MaxxForce team NASCAR had mandated a competition caution on lap 25 to give the teams an opportunity to check tire wear. With the caution flag in the air Starr brought his Ford F-150 to the attention of Connor and the over the wall gang. Three rounds up on the trac bar, an air pressure adjustment and 4 Goodyears with a load of Sunoco fuel in 17.42 seconds had the MaxxForce F-150 back on track and up to the 25th position. The changes helped cure some of the issues with Starr’s truck but not all of them. As the laps moved on so did the handling on Starr’s truck. By the time the caution would come out again, the MaxxForce team was a lap down and in desperate need of more changes. Under caution the team would add a spring rubber to the left front, adjust the left front shock, put on 4 more Goodyears and reload with another tank full of Sunoco fuel. The caution came at an opportune time and the team took advantage of the free pass and regained their spot on the lead lap. After the stop, the team checked the tires and found the left rear had been going flat making the handling issues appear worse than what they were. With the latest round of changes the F-150 was better but Starr now had a better truck that was over adjusted after taking on a new left rear tire. Just a few laps into the run the 08 truck would spin in front of Starr and effectively end any chance for a decent finish for the MaxxForce team in Atlanta. While the incident was minor, it was enough to damage the right side and the nose of the Ford F-150. The damage to the nose was not major but at Atlanta, any change to the nose changes the handling drastically. The team would make 2 stops during the caution trying to repair the damage and improve the handling. Back under green an ill handling truck that had been wrecked now became a double handful for Starr. With each caution the team kept trying to improve their battered machine. The never say die attitude of the MaxxForce team earned the team the free pass on lap 100 and would earn them a lead lap finish in the 22nd position.


Crew chief Dennis Connor: “The guys worked hard this weekend and we are all just really frustrated with our performance. I was proud of the fact that none of our guys gave up during the race and everyone kept digging. We’ll keep working and we will put all the pieces of the puzzle together and get our MaxxForce Diesel F-150 up front.”


David Starr: “My guys were Always Performing tonight but we had too many hurdles to overcome. We took a pretty aggressive approach to the truck after practice and we missed it. I’d rather go down swinging like we did than just roll over and take what we have. I have faith in Dennis and the guys and we’ll get it figured out. If anything we are all trying too hard but I’ll take that any day over a group that didn’t care about what they were doing.”


The MaxxForce International Diesel Power Team will be in action when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series holds round 4 of the 2007 season in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, March 31st at 3:00 PM EST. For live trackside reports of practice and qualifying go to truckseries.com. Live coverage of the race provided by Fox, Speed Channel, MRN and Sirius Radio.


www.circlebarracing.com or www.davidstarr.com


Photo compliments of Ronda Greer


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