Dale Quarterley To Make Nextel Cup Debut At Watkins Glen Westfield, Mass. (Aug. 10, 2006) - Dale Quarterley, who holds the track record at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East...
Dale Quarterley To Make Nextel Cup Debut At Watkins Glen
Westfield, Mass. (Aug. 10, 2006) - Dale Quarterley, who holds the track record at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series competition, will make his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series debut at the same track this weekend. He will be driving for CJM Motorsports in the No. 72 Dodge Charger.
Quarterley, who owns a pair of Busch East Series wins at the road course at Lime Rock Park, comes to the team with a recommendation from Boris Said.
"That sold them," said the Westfield, Massachusetts driver.
Quarterley met crew chief Doug George and the rest of the team at a test session at Virginia International Raceway, a popular road course testing site for Nextel Cup teams.
"The course at VIR makes Lime Rock look like a superspeedway, it's wicked tight," he said. "We struggled through the first part of practice, so Doug changed some suspension stuff around on the car and the next time we went out the thing went pretty good. Kyle Busch and Max Papis were there, and at that point we were just as fast as those guys and we were running comparable times to the other Cup guys who were there the day before. We worked most of the afternoon on not making it go faster and making it easy to drive. At the end we had accomplished that.
The test was vital for the driver and crew chief to get to know each other and figure out what each other wants.
"The first couple times I went out I came back in and told the crew chief that the car wouldn't turn," Quarterley said. "He kept wanting to change little things but I said 'you're not listening to me, it doesn't turn. It will not turn'. I went out the third time and it still would not turn. At this point you could sense in his voice a little that he's getting a little nervous, did he pick the right guy to drive. He changed a pair of shocks on the car and I go out for my fourth time on the track, so I'd gone maybe ten or twenty laps total at this point. With that one shock change I go a full two seconds faster and then I was faster than both Busch and Papis. He was happy, but I said 'it still doesn't turn, but it's obviously a lot better'.
"We had a good laugh and we made a lot of progress learning each other as a new driver and a new crew chief," he continued. "It takes time to figure each other out and figure out what the other needs, but then he made the right change and I was able to produce on my end too. Hopefully we'll be able to do that when we get to the Glen now that we're over the hump of him trusting me and me trusting him. He knows if I say it's better or worse he'll know that it's really better or really worse because every time I told him it was better or worse the stopwatch reflected that. There won't be any second-guessing between driver and crew chief."
Quarterley's goals for the weekend are realistic considering CJM Motorsports is a new team with just a handful of races under its belt.
"The goal is to make it into the show, and anything after that is Christmas," he said. "Looking at the entry list, there's fifty cars showing up and they're going to start 43. There's seven spots open to guys not in the top 35 in points or a past champion, so I could qualify halfway decent and still not make the show. Just getting in the show is going to be the whole deal. Anything after that is Christmas."