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Aug 19, 2014 - 02:29 PM
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Gifford Scores Top-10 at VIR
Posted by: newsla on Aug 19, 2014 - 02:26 PM
Sports Cars
Gifford Scores Top-10 at VIR


Patience, patience, patience. Mark Green, crew chief of the No. 2 NTI/UTI Toyota, repeatedly stressed the sentiment to Ryan Gifford over the course of the 55-lap race at Virginia International Raceway this past weekend. Gifford, who struggled a bit in qualifying, took the green flag in 18th. However, keeping a steady pace and not overdriving the car allowed Gifford to take the checkered in ninth.

 

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“Be patient and stick to your lines”, Green continually repeated to Gifford over the radio. The incessant reminder to Gifford that he would be in for a long race kept the Winchester, Tennessee driver at bay from trying to force his way through the pack.

Unlike Watkins Glen, the track at Virginia International Speedway has sharper turns and much more variation. Consequently, those who overdrove their vehicles paid the price. In a race where 24 cars took the green flag, only 13 were able to take the checkered. There were seven caution flags (two of which were red) that kept the race under caution for 16 laps.

As the field began to diminish lap after lap, Gifford slowly but surely began to improve his position until he found himself in 12th with three laps to go. It was then that Gifford made a push, and as the beneficiary of an accident by teammate Sergio Peña, Gifford was able to crack the top-10. After retaining position through the subsequent green-white-checkered restart, Gifford was able to coast to a 9th place finish and his fourth top-10 of the 2014 season.

Peña, Ortiz, Bell, and Beasley were unfortunately unable to take the checkered and finish 13th, 19th 21st and 23rd respectively.

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