NATIONWIDE Napa Auto Parts 200Final
Fellows wins rain-shortened NAPA Auto Parts 200Aug 3, 2008 - 12:57 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Ron Fellows took the lead at the right time, winning the rain-shortened NAPA Auto Parts 200 on Saturday.
A road-course specialist, Fellows picked up his fourth career win in the Nationwide Series when the race was called after just 48 of the scheduled 74 laps at the 14-turn road course.
The race made history after just eight laps when heavy rain and lightning at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve forced a red-flag delay and the cars returned to the track with grooved rain tires.
"Racing in the rain was a lot of fun," Carl Edwards said. "I'm glad we didn't wreck. I'm proud of my guys. They did a good job having the car ready for the rain. I just wished it wouldn't have started raining so hard and we could have raced a little longer."
It was the first time NASCAR had used the rain tires in a major points race. The only other times the rain tires were used was at a practice at Watkins Glen for the Craftsman Truck Series in 1997 and during qualifying for an exhibition race in Japan two years later.
Fellows led seven laps total in a Chevrolet and held off fellow Canadian Patrick Carpentier until the race was dealt its second red flag.
"There's so much water that you can't see," Fellows said just before the race was called. "With the heavy rain, it's very dangerous."
A rookie, Carpentier placed second in a Dodge and Marcos Ambrose's Ford finished third. Ambrose led the most laps and appeared to have the dominant car, but suffered a setback when he was penalized for speeding down pit road on lap 40.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," Ambrose said. "I feel like we really dominated today's race. I made an error down pit lane, I just couldn't see the pit exit and we sped."
"We obviously had the best car for these track conditions," Ambrose's crew chief Gary Cosgwell said. "That was really pleasing. This was my first experience in the rain, ever. The car was pretty good everything was going really well. Then we pitted and got that penalty."
Jacques Villeneuve took the lead after Ambrose's blunder and pitted two laps later, relinquishing the top spot to Fellows.
The pace car came out on lap 45 because of the heavy rain and, while under caution, Villeneuve collided with the back of Ron Hornaday Jr.'s Chevrolet, knocking him out of the race, and Joey Logano slammed into a wall, forcing the race-ending red flag.
Hornaday collected a fourth-place finish and road-course specialist Boris Said rounded out the top five.
"It's my kind of racing, but you really need to be set up right and the tires, as old as they are, they're a little hard, so was zero grip out there," Said said. "All in all, I'm surprised how well everyone did and how few accidents there were. In the end, people were wrecking under caution because you just couldn't see."
Series point leader Clint Bowyer finished in ninth place and his lead over the top spot in the standings was reduced to 168 points over Edwards, who finished sixth.
- NAPA Auto Parts 200 Preview Jul 29