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Weekend doesn't diminish McCumbee's hopes

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

MANSFIELD, Ohio—The Ohio 250 was less than ideal for Chad McCumbee and Team MRD. The team battled through a series of brake, tire and shock issues that has it looking forward to a new page in the championship race this weekend in Dover, Del.

The team began the weekend with two decent practice sessions that had it about mid-pack for this week’s short-track battle at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Chad and Team MRD focused on race setups during practice that left them optimistic heading into Friday’s qualifying session and Saturday’s race.

“Practice was OK,” McCumbee said. “We were experimenting with a couple of new setups. That’s what we have to do to catch up on the short-track stuff. We’ve been strong on the 1.5–mile tracks, but we’ve had to try some new things to get to the same level with the short-track program. We had some issues with the brakes locking up during qualifying, but the guys should help me out with the pit work on Saturday to get a good finish.”

However, brake issues would not be the last battle that McCumbee and Team MRD would face over the weekend. From the drop of the green, the team struggled with what was later found to be a bad set of tires. After trying to tune the Malcolmson Construction Chevy to those tires and having a few unexpected shock issue, Chad found himself behind all day. The team battled hard throughout the event, even battling back after being caught a lap down. After regaining their lap, Chad and company was only able to hang onto a top-25 finish.

“Man this was a tough weekend,” he said. “We decided to try a few new things to bring our short-track program to the same level as our superspeedway program. I felt like we made some good changes, but we faced a couple of mechanical gremlins this weekend that we couldn’t quite figure out. This team worked their butts off this weekend. It’s not a great finish but overall it was an improvement. I’m sure we’ll get everything worked out before next weekend.”

As a result of this finish, Chad still managed to hang on to a top 10 in the 2008 driver’s championship race. He and the rest of the Craftsman Truck Series head to Dover for the AAA Insurance 200. The race is scheduled for May 30 and will be televised live on Speed starting at 7:30 p.m.