Some nights you’re the bug and some nights you’re the windshield.
During Thursday night’s SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway, Gus Dean (@GusDean) and his Win-Tron Racing team felt like both.
Unloading with a strong and fast No. 32 GREE Cooling Products | Baker Distributing Chevrolet, Dean and crew chief Jamie Jones fought hard to recover from a series of obstacles during the 11th ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race of the season.
After practicing sixth and qualifying seventh, Dean fought with a loose race car in the opening laps of his second start at the 1.5-mile oval.
Despite turning competitive laps, Dean and his Win-Tron Racing team opted to take advantage of an early race caution for pit strategy on Lap 14. Pitting for fuel only and adjustments to combat the looseness.
A strong stop for Dean, however, was thwarted after the young gun was busted with a speeding penalty putting the Bluffton, S.C.-native at the rear for the restart.
Methodically working his way back to the front, the 23-year-old sensation had inched back closer to the top-10 when the caution waved again on Lap 33.
Still wrestling a loose race car, Dean pitted for four tires, fuel and another series of adjustments. The team took a second trip to pit road to repair some front-end damage to their No. 32 GREE Cooling Products | Baker Distributing Chevrolet stemming from the prior restart.
While maneuvering his way back through the field on the Lap 38 restart, Dean radioed to Jones that his car had developed a serious vibration.
Despite trying to keep his car on the track, the vibration worsened with Jones instructing his driver to bring his Chevrolet to pit road if he felt he needed too.
Two laps later, under green conditions, Dean brought his blue and white race car to pit road for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the South Carolinian was tagged again for speeding once again and had to serve a pass-thru penalty which cost the team three laps when Dean returned to competition.
Over the final 40 laps, Dean kept his car out of trouble and was able to pick off two spots – finishing 16th when the checkered flag fell.
With the finish, Dean posted his eighth top-17 and 10th top-20 finish of the 2018 ARCA season with nine races remaining in his sophomore season of competition.