Peter Shepherd, No. 50 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150
Clermont, Ind. (July 27, 2007) - Peter Shepherd knew he would be going to school when he got to O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP). The young driver had never been to the challenging .686-mile oval but was well aware of the challenges he would face as he made his first laps around the legendary speedway.
Shepherd struggled to get comfortable with the racetrack in the first practice session, but got faster with each lap. By the end of the final session, Shepherd's No. 50 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford had shot up the charts to the fourth position, leaving Shepherd and crew feeling good about their chances. When rain began to fall at the end of the final practice session, it dampened more than just the racetrack. The spirits of the No. 50 crew were crushed when qualifying was canceled, setting the field by 2007 owners points.
Shepherd started in the 21st position, but began to drop positions in the early going. By the time the first caution flag flew at lap 31, Shepherd showed in the 25th position. He reported to the crew that he was fighting a tight condition and that the Northern Tool + Equipment Ford did not want to rotate through the corners. With some of the leaders electing to come to pit road for service, Shepherd restarted in the 20th position when the green flag was displayed at lap 43.
Shepherd continued to make the most of his handling problems, completing laps and staying out of trouble until he had a chance to come to pit road for adjustments. Shepherd got the break he needed at lap 77, when an incident between the No. 10 and 61 trucks brought out the caution flag. Shepherd came down pit road to the attention of the Northern Tool + Equipment crew for tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Shepherd restarted in the 21st position, and would continue to hold the position for the next several laps.
Shepherd seemed to be in position to bring the Northern Tool + Equipment Ford home with a solid finish and all four fenders in place when the No. 16 truck of Kenny Hendrick made contact with Shepherd in turn four, sending the No. 50 into the outside wall. Shepherd came to pit road for tires and damage repair, returning to the track one lap down to the leaders. Shepherd managed to make it to the checkered flag without further incident, but the dejected driver was obviously upset with the way his day ended.
"We had a little bit of a rough day," said Shepherd. "The rain kind of hurt us today. We were fourth fastest in practice but we didn't get a chance to qualify. Track position is very important here. It's nearly impossible to pass. We kept making adjustments to the Northern Tool + Equipment Ford F-150 but couldn't get it just right. We got hit and taken about by the 16 (Kenny Hendrick) there towards the end. That was pretty unfortunate. We came in and got some new tires and we were really good in the closing laps. We were trying to get everything we could back out of it. We fell back pretty far after that and fought to get back towards the front. I'm disappointed for all the guys. Everybody was working really hard. We did the best we could."
The Craftsman Truck Series next competes at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, August 11.
About Northern Tool + Equipment
Northern Tool + Equipment has been a supplier of high-quality tools and equipment for more than 25 years, selling products through direct mail, the Internet and at nearly 60 retail locations in 11 states. Along with a deep selection of hand, power and air tools, Northern Tool + Equipment carries a wide variety of products, including generators, pressure washers, air compressors, hydraulics, small engines, trailers, water pumps, tractors, welding equipment and much more. Northern Tool + Equipment also serves as the exclusive distributor of NorthStarTM brand equipment, which is fabricated and assembled at the company's 250,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. For more information, visit www.northerntool.com.
About Roush Fenway Racing
Roush Fenway Racing is NASCAR's largest team operating 14 motorsports teams, five in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with drivers Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and David Ragan; five in the Busch Series with Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, McMurray, Ragan, Todd Kluever, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Danny O'Quinn Jr.; and three in the Craftsman Truck Series with Edwards, Peter Shepherd, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell and T.J. Bell; and one in the ARCA/REMAX Series with Colin Braun and Darnell. For more information on any of the Roush Fenway Racing teams, log onto www.RoushFenway.com. For sponsorship inquiries please contact Robin Johnson at 704.720.4645.
From Rory Connellan, Roush Fenway Racing