(TOLEDO, Ohio - May 21, 2012) - Charles "C.J." Evans Jr. made his third ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start of the season Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway and his strong showing in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care produced his best finish of the year.
After practice on Saturday, the team led by veteran crew chief Howard Bixman adjusted their No. 09 Elevator Transportation Services / Bay Area Meat Market / RoushYatesParts.com Ford Fusion accordingly for Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell. During time trials, Evans Jr., laid down the 19th quickest lap in one of the tightest short track fields in recent years at the half-mile oval.
The green flag waived shortly after 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon with the 22-year old hovering in the top-20 through the race’s first fifty circuits. As the fifth race of the year pressed on, Evans Jr. automobile continued to inch up the leaderboard and found himself 16th by lap 60.
A caution three laps later offered the opportunity for Bixman to debrief with his driver but also advise him to bring his No. 09 Elevator Transportation Services / Bay Area Meat Market / RoushYatesParts.com Ford Fusion for service. Lining up 16th for the impending restart, the Team BCR Racing team was anxious to see their young driver prowl to the front.
Flirting with entering the top-15, another yellow flag just 20 laps later allowed Bixman to use some strategy to bring the blue oval to pit lane for additional service. Quick work by the team found their driver exit pit road and restart the race 20th for the lap 85 restart.
By the halfway mark, Evans Jr. continued to mount strong lap times while fight for respect and space in the tough short track field. Inching forward, when the caution flag waived shortly after the cross-flags, the time for the team to shine would fall right into their lap.
With much of the leaders electing to pit, Evans Jr. and his posse had already made the same stop just a few laps prior which propelled the No. 09 Elevator Transportation Services / Bay Area Meat Market / RoushYatesParts.com Ford Fusion to fifth in the running order for the lap 117 restart.
Rightfully fighting to stay inside the top-five, Evans Jr. did a masterful job with throttle and car control and for a while holding off a majority of the leaders with fresher rubber. While racing to maintain a spot inside the top-10, contact was made with another competitor which dented the fender of the team’s Ford Fusion.
Maintaining a strong presence in the top-10 by lap 119, Evans Jr. however would slide back in the running order to 14th by lap 128. An opportune caution a lap later offered a chance for Bixman to bring his driver to pit lane once again to inspect their automobile to make sure that the fender was not rubbing the tire. Racing resumed with Evans Jr. eager to regain the ground he lost in the field, by lap 150, he had muscled his way to 17th and impressively up to 11th a few laps later.
With the heat on the driver from the surrounding competition, a great save on lap 159 from Evans Jr. showed incredible maneuverability and car control. While the driver lost several positions on the racetrack, he did keep his machine out of the wall.
Secured in the 17th position by lap 167, the Friendswood, Texas native was fiercely trying to regain the spots he previously lost. By lap 172, he found himself 15th on the grid but over the course of the final 27 laps of the race, he would find himself in a torrid battle with the cars of Mason Mingus, Nelson Canache Jr. and Brandon Kidd. Hard but clean racing would sandwich No. 09 Elevator Transportation Services / Bay Area Meat Market / RoushYatesParts.com Ford Fusion between Canache Jr. and Kidd and take the checkered flag in the 17th position.
“We showed that we had a strong car throughout the entire race,” said Evans Jr. “I really want to thank all of our sponsors and especially RoushYates for all the support they give this team. Our finishing position surely wasn’t an indicator of our performance, but we’ll make up for it at the next one.”
“C.J. did an incredible job,” said Team BCR Racing team manager and crew chief Howard Bixman. “We were hopeful for a top-10 finish but we had a strong car all day long and the RoushYates motors were incredibly quick. We just needed some more laps to get back to the front after that fender damage, but we’re still happy with the way the car responded and C.J. drive to never give up.”
Next up on the tour is the sixth stop of the season at Elko (Minn.) Speedway, a new track for the series’ 60th anniversary tour. The Akona 200 presented by Federated Car Care is set for Saturday, June 2. The green flag is set to fly shortly after 8:00 p.m. in the one-day show with live timing and scoring plus radio coverage available through the ARCA Racing Network online at ARCARacing.com.
For more information on Team BCR Racing including team information, sponsorship opportunities, race schedule and more please log on to teambcr.com.
Additional input on Charles “CJ” Evans Jr. is available by clicking on to charlesevansjr.com.
Connect with RoushYates Performance Products and RoushYates Engines through their official web site at roushyatesparts.com.
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