ELKO, Minn. – Wrestling his No. 32 GREE Cooling Products Toyota Camry, Gus Dean (@gusdean) managed to vault from his 11th place starting position to finish fifth in Saturday night’s Shore Lunch 250 at Elko (Minn.) Speedway.
The finish was Dean’s second top-five and fourth consecutive top-10 finish aboard the Win-Tron Racing prepared Toyota. Since Salem Speedway in April, the Bluffton, S.C. native has finished no worse than seventh.
During Saturday’s one-day show at Elko Speedway, Dean struggled to find the balance of his No. 32 GREE Toyota under the sweltering sun causing his automobile to be tight center and loose off producing the 10th quickest time in practice.
In qualifying, the problem continued forcing Dean to qualify 11th for the sixth race of the season.
Conversing amongst team owner Kevin Cywinski and crew chief Todd Myers and Dean, the trio believed that as the sun began to set over the 3/8-mile short track, the handling on their No. 32 GREE Toyota would improve putting them in contention for a strong finish.
They were right.
Steadily maneuvering from his 11th place starting spot, Dean would waste little time knocking inside the top-10 by Lap 15.
As the race progressed, Dean moved forward.
By Lap 60, he found himself eighth.
By Lap 75, Dean was on pit road for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to combat a tight center and loose off.
On the restart, Dean propelled himself from eighth to sixth and was contending Cole Anderson for fifth when a caution waved a few laps later.
Just past the halfway mark, Dean was lurking in sixth – but quickly found himself in the top-five by Lap 140 and then a race-high fourth two laps later when the caution waved for a spin on the racetrack.
Still hovering inside the top half dozen with 75 laps left, Dean utilized a caution on Lap 193 for some more General Tire rubber, fuel and another chassis for the finish.
Restarting eighth, Dean muscled his way through the field and found himself back to sixth when the caution waved with eight laps to go.
A Lap 246 restart saw Dean put up a gallant fight for a top-five and despite getting knocked out of the way by another competitor with two laps to go, Dean sifted through a last lap crash to finish fifth for his best finish since a runner-up at Salem Speedway on Apr 23.
“I’m really proud my Win-Tron Racing team,” said Dean. “We struggled to get the car rotating through the corner, but we never gave up. A couple changes and a little short track luck and we came away with a top-five finish for GREE.
“We keep riding this momentum train and we’re going to take these strong finishes and it won’t be long before we’re up there battling it out for the win. We made some huge gains over the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks.”
In 13 ARCA Racing Series starts, Dean captured his first career victory in his second ever start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after starting second in Apr. 2016. Overall, Dean has three top-five and seven top-10 finishes and has led 21 laps in ARCA competition.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is a open test at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway test on Wed., June 7 in preparation for the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 from the 2.5-mile triangle on June 9. Dean has one prior start at the “Tricky Triangle” last August.
For more on Gus Dean, please visit his all new website at GusDean.com or like him on Facebook.
Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.
To learn more about GREE Racing and their expansion into Motorsports, please hop on GREERacing.com or follow them on Twitter @GREE_Racing.
Follow Win-Tron Racing on Twitter @WinTronRacing, like on Facebook (WinTron Racing) or click on WinTronRacing.com.
In 1991, GREE set out to make the world a cooler place. To this end, we’ve become a global leader in air conditioners, developing some of the most advanced commercial and residential air conditioners in the world. Based in Zhuhai, China, GREE is now the world’s largest specialized air conditioner company integrating R&D, manufacturing, sales and service. It’s our mission to innovate and create new ways to help people live well and stay comfortable no matter where they live, work or play.
About Win-Tron Racing:
Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, Win-Tron Racing is a professional race team headquartered in “Race City USA.” Owned by former racer Kevin Cywinski, the team will compete for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship in 2017 with driver Gus Dean in the No. 32 GREE Toyota Camry. The team will also field a second entry in the No. 33 Toyota Camry with Justin Fontaine and others. Learn more at WinTronRacing.com or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.