After a disappointing maiden appearance at Martinsville last month, the Number 38 FCC DIGITAL TV TRANSITION Ford Fusion came up short again in its sophomore run at the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway on November 9. But at least it went out in style, finally burning the DIGITAL TV TRANSITION logo (actually, it’s not so much a logo as a, er, um, uh, a name spelled out on the hood) into the consciousness of the average NASCAR viewer who was still watching in Lap 275 (out of a possible 313). The Number 38 got mixed up in a chain reaction collision, went air-borne, and landed on the hood of another car. (For those of you keeping track, that’s the third DNF in the four races since the FCC signed on to sponsor the Number 38.) Click on the "continue reading" link below to check out the You Tube-posted video below, from which the screen grab above was taken.
As you may recall, on October 19, when David Gilliland piloted the Number 38 DIGITAL TV TRANSITION Ford Fusion in his first of three races under those colors, he DNF’d. The following week (not racing for the FCC), he managed to finish in the 27 position, but then ran into problems on November 2 in the Dickies 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway (again, not under the FCC’s colors). There he expressed his pique at rival Juan Pablo Montoya’s driving style somewhat aggressively – by smashing into the Montoya’s car in Lap 262, knocking him out of the race. Race officials then took Gilliland out of the race as a penalty for his petulance. Expounding on the contretemps after the race, Gilliland elaborated, “I kind of slid up in front of him and he jacked my rear wheels off the ground going down the back straightaway and then got into me again going into Turn 1 and 2 and jacked me up way up the track. I was trying to let him go and got a good run off the corner and just kind of mis-judged it coming down across him. I was going to let him go, so I feel real bad for those guys."
The final competitive appearance of the Number 38 DIGITAL TV TRANSITION Ford Fusion is set for November 16 in the Ford 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The digital TV transition is still scheduled to occur on February 17, 2009.
(By the way, so far the most we’ve been able to glean is that Commissioners Copps and Adelstein were apparently not involved in the decision to sponsor the Number 38 car. Still no word one way or the other from Commissioners Tate and McDowell – both of whom hail from states with NASCAR tracks.)