American Ethanol 200
Date: July 14, 2012
Cale Gale and the No. 33 Rheem team scored a 26th-place finish after a late-race accident sent Gale to the infield care center and his Rheem Chevrolet to the garage with just 17 laps to go at Iowa Speedway. Gale had a fast truck all weekend recording the seventh-fastest overall practice speed and the sixth-quickest qualifying lap. After falling to the 12th position at lap 140, Gale picked up five positions in just 40 laps and looked poised to continue moving forward. Tight racing following a restart resulted in Gale making contact with another competitor and ultimately getting turned into the outside wall on lap 182.
The Rheem Chevrolet seemed a bit tight off the initial start of the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night, but dialed itself in as the laps progressed and the tires built up pressure. As the field began to spread out, it became increasingly clear that track position would play a key role in the 200-lap race and the Rheem team began discussing their pit strategy for the night.
Gale visited pit road for the first time of the night during the lap 51 caution period. The team made a slight air pressure adjustment and sent Gale back out on the track. Very pleased with the handling of his truck during the next run, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was able to work through traffic and pick up positions on the 0.875-mile track. The caution flag was displayed again on lap 136 just as Gale began nearing the end of his fuel window. The driver of the Rheem Chevrolet visited pit road one last time for four sticker tires and restarted the race in the 12th position.
With the handling of his truck dialed in, Gale was able to pick up five positions in just 40 laps to race in the seventh position. Coming off a restart on lap 179, the entire field was bunched up and racing hard for positions. Gale was in the outside line racing side-by-side when a third truck took it three-wide in turn one on lap 182. Contact was made between Gale and the truck in the middle groove, but Gale was able to save it and drove the Rheem Chevrolet down the backstretch. By the time they made it to turn three, additional contact was made as Gale got hit in the left rear fender and was sent into the outside retaining wall in the middle of turns three and four. With hard contact, the Rheem Chevrolet came to a stop with the driver’s side wedged against the outside retaining wall and Gale carefully climbed out the “passenger’s side” window.
Gale was taken to the infield care center for the mandatory evaluation and was released just a few minutes later. With only 10 laps remaining the Rheem team couldn’t make repairs to get the Silverado back on the track. As a result, the No. 33 Rheem team was credited with a 26th-place finish in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway.
“We had a great Rheem Chevrolet at Iowa Speedway, it was definitely one of the best trucks, if not the very best truck, that we’ve had all season. Coming into the race, we were very confident that we’d be able to have a strong run in the Rheem Chevrolet. We were good all weekend in practice and qualifying, and were able to race inside the top 10. I definitely didn’t want to end the night with an ambulance ride, but sometimes that’s racing. Fortunately we’ll be in Chicago next weekend, so we’ll look to rebound with another strong run there.”