Olsen Wrecks On Last Lap; Finishes 9th At LRP


Lakeville, CT (August 19, 2007): Mike Olsen led 17 laps of the Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park, and was headed for a runner-up finish Saturday afternoon before bad luck struck the driver of the #61 “Little Trees” Chevrolet for the third straight week. Olsen hit a patch of oil in the final turn of the final lap and went off course – ending all chances for a top-three finish. The team took the checkers in a disappointing ninth place.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed. I’m a little disappointed in NASCAR. They should have had an official down there to make the call that there was oil down, and they shouldn’t let cars out on the track that have been putting oil down the whole race,” he said.

Olsen started the race in third after posting a qualifying effort of 101.272 mph (54.388 seconds), and immediately made himself known as a force to be reckoned with. Olsen pitted at lap 18, which began a cycle of pit stops by other competitors in the 29-car field. A caution waved on lap 23 for oil on the track, and after the cycles were complete, Olsen was lined up third to go back to green.

Maxime Dumarey, who drives the #16 car fielded by Olsen and Fadden Racing, was leading the event during the caution period but lost power on the frontstretch. His exit from the field at that time moved Olsen up to second for the drop of the green at lap 37.

The caution-marred race was slowed down again at lap 53. During the caution period, Olsen’s crew asked Matt Kobyluck, the race leader, to pick up the pace.

“I had been seeing what Sean (Caisse) was doing on the restarts so I had my spotter talk to his guys about picking up the pace on the restarts, because if Sean was going to divebomb me I would have to do what I have to do to try and protect myself,” he said.

Olsen’s intuitions were right, and Caisse gunned it. Kobyluck, Caisse, and Olsen headed into turn one three-wide with Caisse emerging the leader, but Olsen had more momentum, and at lap 61, claimed the lead.

Olsen pulled out to a commanding advantage – two seconds over Matt Kobyluck, who moved into second shortly after Olsen took the lead. But caution at lap 69 would tighten the field up once again.

The race went back to green at lap 75 with Olsen keeping Kobyluck at bay, but on lap 77, Olsen was shuffled back to second.

“Matt outbraked me. I thought if I beat him into turn one I would have a good shot, and it didn’t work out that. When he pulled out I knew there was no way I was going to outbrake him.”

Olsen pressured Kobyluck for the rest of the race and was headed for a solid runner-up finish. On the downhill corner heading to the frontstretch – and the checkers – Olsen hit a patch of oil and went off course.

“At some point on the backside of the track, Harry (Norcross) said there was a car off but the track was clear. I was trying to make a run on Matt and we came down the hill. I was going really hard and so was he,” Olsen explained. “I saw him wiggle and locking brakes up and then when he did that I saw the track was all oil. There was nothing I could do. I slid off track and into the dirt. I tried to drive it out and I could see I wasn’t going to make it. I popped the wall with the back of the car.”

Olsen did make it out to finish ninth, a finish nowhere near indicative of his performance that day.

“It was our 200th start today with ‘Little Trees’ and we all wanted to add to that with a win. It wasn’t our day so we’ll move on and hope for better luck at Ohio.”