Nashville Bittersweet for Knupp
Monday, August 14, 2006
For Immediate Release
(8/13/06 - Lebanon, TN) - Brandon Knupp of Sidney, Ohio came to Nashville for the ARCA RE/MAX 200 knowing the competition was going to be stiff and that proved to be the situation as several "Cup" affiliated driver development teams were on hand for the Saturday event. Practice and Pork Pole Qualifying were both scheduled for Friday. However, the weather would rearrange that schedule to a short practice session with qualifying postponed to Saturday morning. Brandon wound up 18th on the practice sheet.
Saturday would see Knupp, the 41st car to take to the track for his 2-lap qualifying attempt, with the 2nd lap being a tick faster on the watch Brandon drove his #96 Ford Taurus solidly into the 4th place on the starting grid.
"I knew we had a good car, said Knupp, we didn't get a lot of practice laps and unloaded off the truck for practice and wound up 18th, we only made a few minor tweaks for qualifying and it held up there in 4th. With the Rhyne motor and the set up we had under the car it was a pretty good ride."
Once the green flag waved for the start, Brandon immediately began fighting a tight race car, but maintained his presence with the front runners, pitted with the lead pack and made the necessary adjustments, but still was battling a bad push from the center of the turn off. The next caution saw Brandon pit while the leaders were preparing to take the green flag for the restart, the crew got him off pit road and Brandon was at speed on the backstretch when the leaders took the green flag, he chased down the field in a hurry. Maneuvering his way back to the front, Knupp passed several cars and moved into the 12th spot, but heading into turn 1 on the 88th lap Knupp cut a tire down and headed straight for the wall with a hard hit. Knupp would walk away unscathed, but the MK Racing #96 was heavily damaged and forced behind the wall early. Brandon was credited with the 29th finishing position.
"We had a hot rod there for a while, said Knupp, we finally got it loosened up on that second pit stop and we were looking for the leaders, but I guess I just don't have any luck, it was a hard hit and the cars in pretty bad shape, but it is what it is, but we were gonna get a Top-5 out of it anyway, but that wasn't meant to be I guess."