First, the positive: No. 84 driver Cole Whitt got a nice little test session out of Friday's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.
Now, the negative: A pinion problem in the rear gear robbed Whitt of contending in the New England 125 and left him with a 26th-place finish. He's now eighth in the championship - 151 points behind leader Ryan Truex with five races remaining.
"My personal goal hasn't changed. I still want the championship," Whitt said. "But I can't control how the rest of the guys are going to finish. All we can do is go out and try to win five races in a row. It's tough to do. It's going to be hard. If we can finish races, I don't see why we can't. We're in position to do it, but unfortunately we haven't been there at the end of the race."
Friday was one of those days.
Whitt peeled off onto pit road six laps in, and went behind the wall soon after. Repairs were made, but Whitt returned to the track and found himself multiple laps down with more than 100 laps to go. At that point, even driving laps as fast as the front-runners, Whitt was in ride-around mode. He logged laps and gained valuable information for when the series returns to New Hampshire in September.
"It's the worst feeling in the world," Whitt said. "You're out there racing guys, passing guys, your lap times show you're one of the fastest cars on the race track, and you can't do anything about it. It's heartbreaking. Really makes your heart sink. Luckily, we go back there again. We'll be that much better for that race."
Long before that, however, is the lone road-course race on the schedule - Saturday at Lime Rock Park. An open-wheeler by trade, Whitt will have to remember his shifter kart days for this one.