Byrne 11th Out Of 46 At Prestigious “Night Before”
Shullsburg, WI – With 46 of the nations best midget drivers on hand for the 61st running of the “Coca Cola Night Before The 500” Saturday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park, just making the 50-lap main event would be a tall task on this night. But Shullsburg, Wisconsin driver David Byrne and the Byrne Racing family were up to the task.
They even brought in friends and family from throughout the Midwest on this night to take in the spectacle and to help in any way they could to get Byrne into the show.
After the first practice session Byrne was 26 fastest. With only 26 of the 46 cars making the show, they weren’t going to be satisfied with that. They changed tires and stagger on the car before going out for the second practice session and picked up a half a second!
Next up was qualifying. Byrne said “The track is pretty greasy right now, so I hope the sun goes down a little bit before I have to go out (to qualify)”.
Lucky for Byrne, he was the 35th car out. His first lap around the .686 mile oval was a 21.861 second lap; his next lap was a 21.671 second lap, almost two tenths of a second quicker. Good enough for 17th fastest out of 46 cars.
Byrne’s qualifying time put him into the first of two qualifying races. Nine cars would transfer from each qualifying race to the feature event. He would start and finish in the sixth spot. After the qualifying race Byrne said “I had a little trouble getting off of the corners, so were going to make a slight change in stagger and we should be good for the feature.”
For the feature Byrne lined-up 17th, on the inside of the ninth row. After a first lap restart, the field sorted itself out with Byrne patiently working his way up to the 15th position by lap 25 when the caution came out for the slowed car of Kevin Swindell. On the restart Byrne tucked in behind David Gough where the two would work there way up to the 11th and 12th spots until lap 31 when Gough’s engine let go entering turn one. Byrne would take the 10th spot, but lost it to Bryan Clausen on a late race restart and would settle for 11th at the finish.
“We’re all smiles tonight” said car owner Steve Byrne.
“We made minor changes throughout the night and got the car to handle better each time out tonight. David did a great job, being patient, not taking any unnecessary chances and got us a good finish tonight in our Truck Country Freightliner, Tricor Insurance, Bytec Inc. Stealth/Fontana powered midget.”
Next up for the Byrne Racing team is the 50-lap “Salute to 7-Time USAC Champion Mel Kenyon” next Saturday, June 3rd, at the Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Illinois.