Sterling Recovers After Being Hit on Lap 38October 31, 2015
HICKORY, North Carolina – October 31, 2015 - Roddey Sterling, Jr. qualified 24th in the final 150 Lap CARS Pro Tour Series race. As the green flag dropped, Sterling, Jr. didn't waste any time picking up 5 positions with momentum, that suggested he was going to carry the #59 MoonPie Ford in the field of 27 cars well beyond his starting position before the night was over.
Being Sterling's first full year of stock car racing, not to mention in a professional touring series as the elite CARS Pro Tour Series, the Rookie's progress this year has been evident, but so has been his bad luck. As the green flag dropped on the 3rd restart of the evening at lap 38, Sterling, Jr. again wasted no time advancing his MoonPie Ford to the inside of the #42 car of Craig Stallard. As both entered the back straight between turn two and three…. Stallard braised the wall and bounced off the wall down on to Sterling, forcing the MoonPie Ford into pit road for a right rear tire change.
After the rapid pit stop, Sterling re-entered the track in the back of the pack just as the green flag dropped on the 4th restart of the night. Just like before, showing his grit once again, Sterling, Jr. passed cars in wholesale fashion before finishing the 150-lap race in 15th place.
"We've been qualifying much better on the back half of the season than were the first half. …but we sure didn't today. When your 24th in a field of 27 there's only one way to see it… it's called being in the hole…It's a place nobody wants to be… Racing back there is… well less predictable than running up towards the front. It's by no means easier… just more predictable and it should be… these guys are good… more experienced… if you don't race them clean… you won't be up there long…" as Sterling Laughs.
"Short of me not qualifying very well… Grissom Motorsports fielded a great car tonight… I just needed to do my job…bringing us up from the rear. I felt really confident we could do that and we'd deliver MoonPie and the team (Grissom Motorsports) a finish we were all looking for. We made solid progress gaining positions as we needed to…….all was good until the back straight around lap 38 where the #42 car and I ended up together."
"I didn't get a chance to talk to Craig (#42 car)… I wanted to get his perspective on what happened out there. The In- car camera's showed him catching the wall and bounced over on to me.. a lot happens quick on these short tracks… especially here at Hickory… Craig's got a lot of experience…so I just wanted to make sure it was nothing I did that contributed to him hitting the wall and if so I want to know as it will ultimately make me a better driver."
"There's a finite difference especially for someone of my experience level in racing hard and managing your position so you don't collect others while learning to be more aggressive ….nobody wants a guy like me with zero stock car experience to show up and try to be a hero…. That shouldn't be interpreted as a weakness…. in my opinion it's a strength. I guess am rambling…. but just saying…… even still with all that happened out there tonight , we still could have had another top 10 ……we just needed one more caution … that would have given us what we needed …the caution we needed we didn't get … that's racing!"
"As far as the CARS Series goes…being it was our final race tonight… I just wanted to add that for their first year they really did a good job and I suspect it's only going to get better… it's a pro series and being able to run with the quality of the drivers and teams they have assembled …along with moving around to the different tracks will only serve to help me advance in my career as a professional driver… they made a bad call on me tonight as the In-Camera's shows but that's okay … some of racing is a science of sorts… some of it's not … it's racing
As the curtain falls on the CARS Tour 2015 season, the next event for Sterling, Jr. and the Grissom Motorsports team will be the "UNOH Myrtle Beach 400 presented by Crown Reef" on Saturday, November 14th, followed by the 23rd "UNOH Battle at the Beach, NASCAR 400 Presented by Crown Reef" NASCAR Whelen All American Series Pro Late Model invitational event at Myrtle Beach on Saturday, November 21st. Last year at the Myrtle Beach 400, Sterling, Jr. qualified under a contingency slot, and as a result was potentially the first race car driver ever with only 15 stock car races under his belt (with no other circle track experience) to have qualified and then finished on the lead lap 10 positions ahead of where he started. Sterling Jr. started in the 32nd position and crossed the checked flag in the 22nd position. The 400 is a coveted Pro Late model race that brings drivers and teams from all over the country. Last year was the 22nd year for the event, and more than 40 teams arrived to try and qualify for the race. The race saw 8 teams on the outside looking in as they didn't make the cut, some from as far away as the west coast, that had to load up and go only to return and try again this year.