Chris Eggleston kept his string of NASCAR K&N Pro Series West top-five finishes going strong Saturday night at Tucson Speedway (AZ). Using a strategy that put a focus on conserving tires, the Erie, Colorado driver crossed the finish line in third at the end of the NAPA Auto Parts Wildcats 150. The finish was his second consecutive third-place finish and his third top-five finish in three races this season.
Eggleston qualified fifth for the NAPA Auto Parts Wildcat 150 and used a conservative strategy to maintain a position in the top five until the break at halfway.
“At the drop of the green, we immediately started to fall back to conserve tires and settled in around eighth or so,” said Eggleston. “Around lap 30 or so we began to slowly inch our way up to the front and by around lap 50 we were in third, and by lap 75 before the break, we were about 10 car lengths ahead of third. It was a hard strategy to execute as there were no yellows the first segment.”
Sitting in the second position at lap 75, Eggleston brought his No. 50 NAPA Filters Toyota into the pits at the scheduled break for a few minor changes, fuel and a fresh set of tires. As the race went back to green, the 27-year-old racer employed the same strategy as before, dropping back at the beginning of the run to save tires before pushing it at the end.
“At the start of the second segment, we fell to about fifth or sixth and continued to ride to conserve tires again. We started a slight charge a little earlier than the first segment and got back up to third not knowing when the caution would come out,” said Eggleston. “With about 30 laps to go, I began to move around the race track in search of more grip and quickly began to run the leaders down gaining on them about two tenths of a second a lap. However, at that time, we kind of stalled out and weren’t catching them as quickly as we had been. Then the yellow came out for a quick green-white-checkered. We restarted third and coming out of turn four for the white, I dove down and took the lead for a split second but couldn’t make it stick and fell back to third on the bottom.”
With three rounds of the 2016 K&N Pro Series West season completed, Eggleston now sits third in the point standings, just 12 points out of second and 16 points back from the lead.
“I would like to thank all the guys for working so hard and gaining speed all weekend long,” he said. “Would also like to thank all our partners; NAPA Filter, Toyota, H2O Fire Protection, NAPA Auto Parts, Globe Sprinkler for all their continued support.”
Eggleston will jump behind the wheel of his Super Late Model this weekend at Colorado National Speedway before the next K&N West event on Saturday, May 21 at Orange Show Speedway (CA).