Joyce Holds Tight for 12th Place Finish at Hickory
Banjo Matthews Memorial 150 Race Recap
UARA-STARS | Race 7 of 15 | Saturday, June 23, 2012
Hickory, NC. (June 25, 2012)- Returning to the most familiar track for UARA-STARS competitor Cory Joyce, the team carried high hopes into the UARA-STARS Banjo Matthews Memorial 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway. After a long week of preparations in the shop to repair the No. 20 Ultimate Turf Chevy, the Cory Joyce Racing team rolled into Hickory on Saturday night with high hopes for the track their 20-year-old driver holds the most experience. Practice and qualifying gave the team a good read on the handling of their machine, but a wicked loose condition surfaced just past halfway. After a long, hot night of side by side battles, Joyce was able to hang on and clear the night in 12th.
Working through the heat to get a solid setup under the No. 20 Ultimate Turf machine on Saturday afternoon, Joyce and crew chief Andy Loden decided they had a good setup for the long run after the final practice session and hoped that the track would come to them as it cooled. The sun tucked in behind some clouds for the first half of qualifying, but reappeared just before Joyce made his qualifying lap, making the track hot and slick once again. Joyce wrestled his loose Ultimate Turf Impala around the historic track to a 20th place qualifying effort.
With his work cut out for him to get to the front, Joyce carefully picked of competitors through the beginning stages of the 150 lap feature. Steering clear of all major accidents with patience, he found himself well within the top-15 just 50 laps in. Knowing that saving his tires for the end would be very important, the rookie contender chose to wait until the last 20 laps to push his Ultimate Turf Chevy to the limits. Just past halfway however, Joyce radioed to his crew that the Ultimate Turf Impala was really loose, and he was just trying to hang on. A rash of yellow flags and restarts near the end of the race also produced tough traffic and tight situations for Joyce to pick through, but he was still able to maneuver his way to a 12th place finish.
"I'm pretty happy with our finish and it turned out to be a great points night for us," Joyce commented. "There were a lot of accidents and close calls to dodge and our car was really loose at the end, so I was just hanging on.
"Our guys worked so hard this week to get this car back in race shape for tonight and if it wasn't for them and the support of Ultimate Turf, Kabang Energy Candy and LandAirSea, we wouldn't be here. I'm glad we can go home with no damage tonight so we can just focus on getting a better setup for Newport in two weeks."
Cory Joyce made his second trip his season to Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday night for the UARA-STARS Banjo Matthews Memorial 150.
Intense heat dealt the teams a tough card to play throughout the day and made for a slick racing surface that the Ultimate Turf team had to adjust to during practice.
Joyce was able to hang on to his loose Ultimate Turf Chevy and kept his nose clean en route to a 12th place finish. Dillon Bassett claimed the victory, with Ben Rhodes and Travis Swaim rounding out the top three.
Next up on the schedule, the UARA-STARS tour will make its second trip in four weeks to Newport Speedway on Saturday, July 14th
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