TALLADEGA, Ala. – While Win-Tron Racing driver Gus Dean (@gusdean) couldn’t repeat and score back-to-back victories in the General Tire 200, however, the driver of the No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota Camry drafted to a hard-fought sixth place finish in the postponed ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race.
With Mother Nature soaking the 2.66-mile superspeedway for most of the day on Friday, track and series officials opted to postpone the 76-lap race until Saturday afternoon following Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying.
Earlier in the day, teams were allotted a short 30-minute practice session, where crew chief Todd Myers top agenda was to make sure the car didn’t have any significant tire rubs and the Bluffton, S.C. native was comfortable behind the wheel.
General Tire pole group qualifying was canceled because of inclement weather putting the No. 32 GREE Cooling Products 22ndon the starting grid based on 2016 owner points for Win-Tron Racing.
From the drop of the green flag, Dean was methodically on the prowl, keeping his car tightly packed into the lead draft – at moments in the high lane and others in the low lane, Dean steadily used his drafting experience to maneuver through the field.
When a debris caution put the field under caution on Lap 25, Dean found himself comfortably inside the top-15. Electing to pit with the rest of the lead lap cars, Dean stopped for fuel only, which put the No. 32 GREE Toyota inside the top-10 for the restart.
Continuing to march forward with guidance from veteran Cup spotter Tyler Green above, Dean masterfully guided through the dreaded “Big One” on Lap 37 when several cars ahead made contact and triggered a red flag. After the clean-up, Dean sat fifth.
On the restart, the 22-year-old utilized momentum to pull forward and was third with another debris caution waived approaching Lap 50.
Tucked up behind close friend Shane Lee, the two drivers settled into their own pace, riding 1-2 for several laps, before a gaggle of cars hooked up and made the top lane work, shuffling Lee and Dean through the pack.
Running out of laps, Dean was shuffled to 12th, but with a relentless effort, Dean side-drafted his way back to eighth on the white flag lap when a caution waved for an accident on the backstretch.
With ARCA rules stating any race event must end under green flag conditions, the team would get at least one more shot to improve their position.
When the green and white flag waived together on Lap 81, Dean picked off one more spot to claim his second top-10 finish of the season.
“A good day for GREE and Win-Tron Racing,” said Dean. “We had a pretty good car and I thought for a while there we were in good position to battle it out for the win, but we just couldn’t get the right drafting partners together there at the end to make it back-to-back wins.
“Still, I’m really proud of my guys. We had to fight through the pack and once we got into the top-10, we stayed there. I appreciate their hard work and look forward to taking this momentum to Toledo Speedway in a few weeks.”
In 11 ARCA Racing Series starts, Dean captured his first career victory in his second ever start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after starting second in Apr. 2016. Overall, Dean has two top-five and five top-10 finishes and has led 21 laps in ARCA competition.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is a stop in ARCA’s hometown track, the half-mile oval of Toledo Speedway in Toledo, Oho for the Menards 200 on Sunday, May 21. Last year, Dean finished seventh after starting 12th.
Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.
In 1991, GREE set out to make the world a cooler place. To this end, we’ve become a global leader in air conditioners, developing some of the most advanced commercial and residential air conditioners in the world. Based in Zhuhai, China, GREE is now the world’s largest specialized air conditioner company integrating R&D, manufacturing, sales and service. It’s our mission to innovate and create new ways to help people live well and stay comfortable no matter where they live, work or play.
About Win-Tron Racing:
Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, Win-Tron Racing is a professional race team headquartered in “Race City USA.” Owned by former racer Kevin Cywinski, the team will compete for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship in 2017 with driver Gus Dean in the No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry. The team will also field a second entry in the No. 33 Toyota Camry with Justin Fontaine and others. Learn more at WinTronRacing.com or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.