Track Conditions Thwart a Winning Run for Josh Williamsby Kyle Pokrefky September 11, 2015 0 comments
DUQUOIN, Ill. — Josh Williams greatly enjoyed the weather forecast entering Monday’s Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds; with it being dry and with blazing hot temperatures in the mid-90s in the forecast, Williams hoped the conditions kept the track in the same condition it was in following the day’s practice.
Unfortunately for Williams, his plan for the track fell through as the weather conditions were so rough on the clay surface that the groove in Turn 1 began to fall apart, creating the dirt equivalent of a pothole.
Credited with a fourth-place finish in his family-owned No. 6 Musselman’s/Team Anya Cale/#BeatLeukemia Chevrolet, Williams had a shot at the lead on several late restarts from his front row restart positions, but couldn’t get any traction on the outside line.
“It’s real tough when you get hung up on the top here, it’s real dusty,” Williams noted. “You get hung up on the top and you just can’t go anywhere. On that late caution right there, we got hung up on the top and we couldn’t make up any ground.”
As the track condition continued to deteriorate as the day went on, the Port Charlotte, Fla. native felt as if you had to race both the competition and the track itself.
“A little bit of both,” Williams said. “You kind of had to gauge yourself, I’d give up a little bit at this end [Turns 3 and 4] to be faster down here. I told somebody earlier it’s kind of like a coin toss, you’re either good down here or good down there. We focused on getting in really good over here and this whole corner over here to get down the frontstretch as fast as we [could.]”
ARCA and track officials provided drivers some relief during a caution on Lap 52 as track crews took to the mile-long clay oval to spray water on the groove to get more grip in the corners.
In all, the yellow flag was displayed for 14 laps while cleanup and track crews tended to the race track.
While he was grateful for the efforts made by officials to make the track more raceable, he only wishes that the process would have been a bit more expedient.
“Yes and no,” said Williams on if he agreed with the decision to water down the track. “No because we had to ride around so long and waste a bunch of laps, but it helped out a bunch.
“It was getting really bad, real bad. You couldn’t get into Turn 1 without getting sideways. That’s not good on restarts because you don’t want to tear up the whole field.”
Leaving DuQuoin and heading into the third-to-last race on the ARCA schedule, Williams presently sits second in the drivers standings, 180 points behind leader Grant Enfinger.
Of the three races remaining on the schedule – Salem, Kentucky and Kansas – Williams is feeling most confident about next week’s race at Salem as he’ll be bringing a car that has performed well at other short tracks this season.
“I think we’re going to have a really good car at Salem,” said Williams. “It’s a car that we’ve never brought there before but we’ve had really good success with it this year.
“Hopefully, we’ll pull something off at Salem, gain points on the No. 23 and just hope for misfortune for him somehow so we can make up some points.”
Photo Credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn