BES: Lake Erie: Dion Ciccarelli race notes

Dion Ciccarelli, Jamerson Motorsports Battle Mechanical Issues At Lake Erie Speedway, Finish Seventeenth North East, Penn. (July 8, 2006) - The Jamerson Motorsports team, with NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series driver Dion ...

Dion Ciccarelli, Jamerson Motorsports Battle Mechanical Issues At Lake Erie Speedway, Finish Seventeenth

North East, Penn. (July 8, 2006) - The Jamerson Motorsports team, with NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series driver Dion Ciccarelli, had a tough afternoon leading up to the running of the Local Dodge Dealers 150 at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania. After a set of mechanical problems sent the crew scrambling to change the transmission and then the rear end, Ciccarelli made the start of the race where he overcame several cautions and a late spin to finish seventeenth.

The team, which had never seen the .375-mile track before, spent the ninety-minute practice session working on its handling package. Late in the session, though, Ciccarelli had to be pushed back to the garage area with a drivetrain failure. Initially diagnosed as a transmission problem, the team borrowed another team's spare transmission and changed that.

"The guys killed themselves to put a transmission in and it looked like we were just going to make it out in time for qualifying," Ciccarelli said. "I got in, fired it up, tried to leave the pits and the car wouldn't go. It was a rear end problem. Andy Santerre came over, looked at the car, and confirmed what the problem really was."

The team skipped qualifying to continue working on the car. A new rear end was purchased from another team and the crew dove once again under the car to get the job done. They finished just in time to get the car to the starting grid.

While the setup for the No. 84 Jamerson Motorsports/Star Sales Ford wasn't fully sorted, Ciccarelli gave it a good ride.

"They threw the green and I just started racing," the Severn, Maryland driver said. "We got in there and mixed it up with the other guys, got jacked up a little bit, and I had fun racing."

Running on the lead lap late in the going despite making three pit stops during the event to fine-tune the chassis, Ciccarelli found himself the victim of a spin just twenty laps from the end. No caution came out for the spin, and despite his getting going again quickly, he was put a lap down by the leaders. He finished the race seventeenth, but felt his crew deserved a win.

"We got to race with all the mechanical issues we had. It was a brand new car with a brand new rear and it broke. What can you do? The guys killed themselves, they worked so hard just to get us to the point where we could race. Just getting to the starting grid was an achievement.

"In the race we struggled with the setup. We came in a few times making changes, and I found if I could run the high line the car was working better, so I kept it up there and had some fun racing. The beating and banging is all part of the deal. We had a good night for a bad night."

Ciccarelli now looks forward to New Hampshire International Speedway's New England 125 next Friday. Unlike most of the tracks he's been to during his rookie campaign, he has experience at NHIS from previous years. His biggest decision is whether to bring his composite-bodied car he's run in every race this year, or the steel-bodied car he's raced at NHIS in the past.

"I want to take the composite-bodied car," he said, "but by the time we get home we're only going to have three days to get it ready, so we're really going to have to thrash to get that car ready. If we can't do that we have the car we ran at Loudon last year, but I think the newer car is a better car. We're starting to figure it out to get it to turn better, and I'd hate not to use it just when we're making progress with it."

Friday's NHIS race will be shown live on HDNet television with the broadcast beginning at 5:00 p.m.

-ajc-

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