Karthikeyan finishes 11th at Texas

June 5th, 2010 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Dallas, June 5 (IANS) After a solid showing in Charlotte last month, Narain Karthikeyan carried the momentum with him to Texas with his best finish of the season, ending 11th in the WinStar World Casino 400 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Following a strong performance during Thursday’s practice sessions, Karthikeyan, in the SafeAuto/Starbeast Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado, hit the track later that afternoon and qualified 19th, just 0.6 seconds behind the pole sitter.

“We did a good job today considering it is basically our second race on a 1.5 mile oval. It is my best finish so far, but more than that, I gained confidence driving the truck and racing with the fast group of cars. I struggled a little bit with the restarts because I couldn’t get up to speed as fast as I wanted, but after a few green flag laps, I could get in a rhythm and was faster than a handful of trucks in front of me,” said Karthikeyan.

Karthikeyan kept the 19th position for the first segment of the race Friday, despite losing communication with his team because of a radio malfunction that was repaired after the first pit stop.

During the next stint in the race, he was faster than the trucks in front and steadily made his way through the field up to 16th position. With the race running caution-free for an extended period of time, the crew of the No. 60 truck decided to make a green flag pit stop.

Unluckily, as soon as Karthikeyan got out of pits, there was a caution flag which caused him to go a lap down. He continually ran fast times through the final laps, making his way up to 12th position.

On Lap 164, the No. 33 and No. 81 trucks got tangled down the backstretch and Karthikeyan eluded disaster as he narrowly missed the No. 81 truck when it slid down the track. In the final three laps of the race, Karthikeyan piloted into 11th place, logging his best ever NASCAR finish.

“We are being very careful and really pulling the reins on Narain… I know it sounds a bit conservative, but that approach will give us better results in the long run,” Starbeast Motorsports CEO Miguel Abaroa said after the race.

“I liked what I saw in the race tonight; we are building the foundation of a great future in NASCAR for him,” he added.

Karthikeyan will race in six more NASCAR truck races this season. His next outing is at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Indiana, July 23. All of his races will be shown in India live on NEO Sports.

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