Buster Graham; Mark Gibson Racing Battered In Pocono
Buster Graham; Mark Gibson Racing Battered In Pocono
LONG POND, Pennsylvania (August 8, 2011)
Knight Motorsports Management
Mark Gibson Racing
August 8, 2011
- - Mark Gibson Racing (MGR) with ARCA Racing Series rookie driver Buster Graham returned to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway this week looking to capture exposure for their racing efforts. The team did receive exposure, but it necessarily wasn’t the way that wanted it to develop in the Pennsylvania ARCA 125.
Two months ago, Graham, a former boat racer made his ARCA Racing Series debut at the track known as the “Tricky Triangle” and claimed a respectable top-20 finish. The team had all the intentions of doing improving on that performance in the 13th race of the season.
In the lone practice session on Friday, Graham in the No. 59 Batter’s Dream Dodge Charger circled the 27th quickest lap overall. Somewhat satisfied with the handling of his racecar, Graham conferred with Gibson where the two agreed to make some changes before qualifying that would hopefully improve the team’s lap times.
Time trials took place a couple hours after practice allowing Graham to gather his thoughts. During the down-time, Graham climbed on top of his race hauler and observed the NASCAR action on-track, hoping by seeing the cars on the track; he would learn something that would help him for the remainder of the weekend.
In time trials, Graham hustled his No. 59 Batter’s Dream Dodge Charger around the 2.5-mile oval in 56.027 seconds or 160.637 miles per hour, picking up nearly two seconds from his fastest lap in practice. At the conclusion of qualifications, the MGR team would land 18th overall.
“We made some changes and the car felt extremely good,” said Graham with a smile. “I have to thank Mark (Gibson) and his team for giving a good car here at Pocono.” Leaving the track smiling, it was clear that Graham felt like he had a chance of hitting a homerun on race day.
Just two hours before the Pennsylvania ARCA 125 was set to take the green flag on Saturday, Mother Nature stormed her way into eastern Pennsylvania where she completely drenched the 2.5-mile oval leaving the race in jeopardy for the day. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., officials from ARCA and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway elected to postpone the race until after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dash, which was also delayed until Sunday morning.
With a quick turn-around following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dash, Graham climbed aboard his Dodge Charger ready for battle.
Taking the green flag shortly after 10:00 a.m., Graham began shifting through the gearbox while also figuring out the best way to pass his competitors. Locked in the 17th position at the conclusion of the first lap, Graham’s day would take a dramatic turn.
As the cars of Kyle Martel and Tom Berte made contact, Graham tried to escape the chaos but would be clipped by Brandon Kidd which sent the No. 59 Batter’s Dream Dodge Charger skidding toward a retaining guardrail on the infield. Just before he would have contacted the wall, Graham's car struck a paved path and launched over the three-tier rail. The car then spun and came to a rest inside the guardrail after sliding through the grass, with the car's rear end resting on the top of the barrier. Shortly after coming to a stop, Graham dropped the window net and climbed from his automobile when cheers abruptly were heard from the race fans in the stands. Waiving to them, he climbed into an ambulance for the mandatory ride to the infield care center.
Nearly a half-hour after the incident, the Lafayette, Louisiana native exited the infield care center where he was greeted with members of the media to offer his take on his wild ride.
Shortly after, Graham returned to the garage area where he spoke with members of his MGR team.
“It happened so fast,” he said. “I had no idea that I had gone over the rail until I was told. I know it was an incredible wreck, but its sheer disappointment for Batter’s Dream and Mark Gibson Racing. We really had such a good racecar and I thought we would have been able for a strong finish, but now we’ll never know. I’m just glad that everyone is okay, but I hate that we have a tore up racecar.”
Gibson, a four-time winner in the ARCA Racing Series and car owner said, “first, I am glad that Buster is okay. It was an interesting accident that’s for sure. I thought for a second we were going to be okay and then all heck broke loose. It’s frustrating, but the main thing is Buster is okay. We’ll be back soon.”
In all, five cars were entangled in the mess. Including Berte, Graham and Martel, MGR teammate Brent Brevak also was involved along with the No. 7 of Brandon Kidd.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the first of two dirt races of the season. The 14th race of the year steers the teams to Illinois before landing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield) for the running of the Allen Crowe 100 set for Sunday, August 21.
For more on Batter’s Dream, please visit Battersdream.com.
About Batter’s Dream:
Batter's Dream is an automated ball feeding system (pitching machine) that allows baseball hitters and softball hitters to maximize time in the batting cage by getting more quality cuts without fixing a tee. One of the key benefits of the Batter's Dream batting machines is that it allows batters the freedom to focus on rhythm, stance, timing and swing speed without the need for a second person. Simply put, Batter's Dream is the most effective, simple and easy-to-use soft toss system ever invented to help improve a hitter's mechanics and increase their batting average.
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
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