Kvapil and the No. 28 K&N Filters Ford Fusion were scheduled for the second of two Duel events as the historic No. 28 returned to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the first race in over five years. Kvapil began the race in fourth and was joined by Yates Racing teammate, David Gilliland, who started at 13th.
Michael Waltrip led the field to the green flag at 4:03 pm Thursday as Kvapil maneuvered his way up to third on the second lap of the race. By lap seven, Kvapil battled his way into second as he and Dave Blaney continued to fight back and forth for track position. On lap eight, Kvapil gained the lead position and was scored as the leader for one lap before Waltrip regained the front spot.
Kvapil and the No. 28 K&N Filters team made a pit stop on lap 20 where they made a minor adjustment to the car and took four fresh tires and fuel. Kvapil restarted the race on lap 23 from 19th with Gilliland directly ahead of him in 18th. Dave Blaney and his engine blew coming of turn four causing the yellow caution to fly only three laps after the restart. The field was allowed to come to pit road on lap 27, and the K&N Filters Ford Fusion took four new tires and fuel before the field halted under NASCAR’s red flag for almost five minutes. Safety workers cleaned up the track surface.
The restart came on lap 30 as the Yates Racing teammates were lined up together will Gilliland in 19th and Kvapil in 20th. By lap 33, Kvapil had moved up to 15th but was soon battling changing track conditions as the sun began to drop down behind the grandstands along the front half of the speedway.
The shade on the track surface caused a change in the handling of the cars on the track. On lap 47, Kvapil called in over the team radio to crew chief Todd Parrot. He said his car was getting loose when he tried to throttle up and battle for positions. Two laps later, Kvapil told Parrot it felt as if his right rear tire was coming apart. Parrot and the K&N Filters pit crew continued to monitor the car as Kvapil fought to hold onto his track position.
Fortunately a caution came on lap 58 and Kvapil made a pit stop on lap 59. The team made minor adjustments to the trackbar and tire pressure settings with four new tires and fuel.
“We just need to look at our set-ups a little more before Sunday,” said Kvapil. “The biggest factor for the Daytona 500 with these cars is going to be handling. We’ve experienced it this afternoon and the difficulty teams are having with long runs. I know that we have a very powerful car here with our No. 28 K&N Filters Ford Fusion, but I think that we need to use the rest of our practice time to figure out what handling package will let us get the most amount of grip in the long runs.”
The afternoon ended under a green-white-checkered finish as Denny Hamlin throttled past his teammate, Tony Stewart to win the second race of the Gatorade Duel. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the first of the Gatorade Duel races after he held off Reed Sorenson for his second win in the past week.
Kvapil and the No. 28 K&N Filters Ford Fusion finished 16th, while Yates teammate Gilliland finished one position behind him in 17th. Kvapil will start the Daytona 500 from 30th on the outside row.
K&N is the official air filter of Rousch Fenway Racing and now Yates Motorsports.
On Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins the 2008 regular season at Daytona International Speedway for the 59th running of the Daytona 500. Pre-race television coverage begins on Sunday, February 17th at 2:00 pm EST on FOX.
Follow the progress of Travis Kvapil and the K&N Filters No. 28 at the K&N news site. Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.