Cleary Motorsports Boasts Fourth Place Finish At Berlin MARNE, Mich (July 19, 2006) - - Cleary Motorsports and driver Gary Sherman had a lot to be looking forward to as they approached their "home track" of Berlin Raceway. After notching their ...
Cleary Motorsports Boasts Fourth Place Finish At Berlin
MARNE, Mich (July 19, 2006) - - Cleary Motorsports and driver Gary Sherman had a lot to be looking forward to as they approached their "home track" of Berlin Raceway. After notching their first top five finish of their career a year earlier expectations were high for this year's event and they didn't fail. After overcoming some minor hiccups during the course of the event, Sherman scored a career best fourth place finish in The Sara Lee-GFS Marketplace 200. The "underdog" finish boasted a career best for the duo.
Heading into Berlin, Cleary Motorsports only had one race under their belt occurring in May at another short track, Toledo Speedway where the team overcame several obstacles to claim a 20th place finish. The team spent a lot of time working on their No. 62 Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the "off time". It paid off.
The team didn't show their full strength during practice at Berlin. In the only practice session of the day, Sherman posted the 23rd quickest lap with a lap of 18.727 seconds at 84.199 mph. "We're not getting the car to handle the way we like," said Sherman.
In qualifying, the team raised the bar. Sherman paced himself around the Marne, Michigan based track in 17.840 seconds amounting to a speed of 88.386 mph good enough for a stout sixth place effort on the starting grid. The team picked nearly a second from their practice to their time trials effort. The qualifying effort marked a career best for the second year team. Previously, the team had recorded a tenth place effort at Lake Erie Speedway last year.
"We're ecstatic about our qualifying run," explained a jubilant Sherman. "I'm so proud of this Cleary Motorsports team. They worked hard after practice and changed a bunch of stuff to try and make our car better. It worked. We have something for them all tonight."
35 other competitors joined Sherman for the 11th race of the season just after 8:30pm with Sherman quickly becoming a force. The caution flag waived early on lap four when several cars made contact and crashed. Sherman reported to his crew he was fighting a tight condition early.
Back to racing, Sherman continued to hover inside the top ten before the first round of pit stops. Sherman brought his sponsorless No. 62 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the attention of his Cleary Motorsports crew where they added four Hooiser tires and some slight chassis adjustments.
Back on his march towards the front, Sherman radioed his crew, "The car is perfect guys." In his fight back to the lead pack, Sherman developed an overheating problem which would force two unscheduled pit stops during the course of the night.
On his final pit stop, the team bolted four more new tires with no adjustments. During his last hurrah to get back to the front, Sherman battled an extremely loose Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Under the speculation of mismatched tires, the Lansing, Michigan native drove every lap like the last lap garnishing several positions before settling with a well earned fourth place finish, the second top five finish of his ARCA career. The race was won by Brian Keselowski, another Michigan native.
"We're thrilled with the finish, absolutely thrilled," explained Sherman after the race. "The car didn't react to well to the last set of tires, I'm not sure what happened there, but I wasn't going to give up. We had a great racecar and we needed a run like this to boast our confidence, I'm so happy for everyone on this team."
For Cleary Motorsports owner Rob Cleary, he was speechless. "We were just hoping to be competitive, but we were a factor tonight," he said. "Gary drove a flawless race. The car is in great shape and I'm so proud of the performance of my crew, they did great. We needed this run because we're looking for sponsorship to run more races this season. I only wish this race would have been televised. It would have been a great story. Hopefully many will see what the team is really capable of and we can look to brighter things in our future."
After his brilliant performance at Berlin Raceway, Gary Sherman will return to his grass roots of racing Wednesday evening. Sherman will drive the No. 29 Northside Service in a super late model event for Finley Motorsports. Sherman reunites with Finley Motorsports after running several events with the team last year. Finley Motorsports looks to bring home the $25,000 victory check.
"I'm looking forward to running the late model event especially with a boost of confidence after Berlin," he said. "I won with Finley Motorsports last season at Springport Speedway in the racers rumble event and we are definitely capable of doing the same on Wednesday night."
After Berlin, Sherman a former American Speed Association driver has six ARCA RE/MAX Series starts to his resume with a career best finish of fourth at Berlin Raceway (July 2006) while holding three additional top ten finishes at Berlin Raceway (July 2006), Lake Erie Speedway (August 2005) and Salem Speedway (September 2005). He also has a career best short qualifying effort of fifth at Berlin Raceway (July 2006) followed by a career best superspeedway time trials effort of 25th at Gateway International Raceway (July 2005).
Cleary Motorsports will announce their remaining 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule at a later date.