August 18, 2012. Montreal, Que. – Jarrad Whissell toughed out the NAPA Autopro 100 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday after minor contact set him back a few laps early on in the race.
Whissell and his team had a few issues with the #44 SMS Equipment/Komatsu Chevrolet early in practice. They worked quickly to overcome problems with handling, back shock and an oil leak before the qualifying laps. Despite repairs hindering practice laps, Whissell was still the fastest in his qualifying group, earning him the 19th starting position.
Once the race kicked off Whissell felt the car was strong and was settling in to working his way through the field. He had a good battle with the 42, swapping positions a couple of times. Then he made a move to pass the 21 into corner 7, the two cars bumped and Whissell ended up with a bent tierod that required a trip to pit lane to repair. “We didn’t hit very hard, but ended up bending the tie rod and the car was tough to handle. I just couldn’t drive it like that,” Whissell explained. “It is too bad, I thought the car was handling well and if we picked our way through the field we had a top 10 car.”
The pit stop cost #44 and his team three laps.
After shaking off the trouble in lap 4, Whissell soldiered on and showed good pace. Towards the end of the race a couple of cautions were called, giving #44 a free pass which he hoped would get him back on track with the lead lap. Those efforts should garner Whissell the Vtech Free pass contingency award for the event.
Despite showing good speed after recovering, Whissell fell short of regaining the lost ground and concluded the NAPA Autopro 100 in 27th place.
“The car wasn’t great at the end but it was driveable,” Whissell said after the race. “I thought we’d be able to compete for a decent finish if we were able to get that lap back.”
Whissell is hoping to compete again this year in final event at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ontario.
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