John Freeman Earns BES Career-Best Seventh At New Hampshire Youngster Learns From Lap One To Lap 125 In Speedway Debut COLCHESTER, VT (July 12, 2006) -- When you are a rookie in any form of racing, every lap is a learning experience. John...
John Freeman Earns BES Career-Best Seventh At New Hampshire
Youngster Learns From Lap One To Lap 125 In Speedway Debut
COLCHESTER, VT (July 12, 2006) -- When you are a rookie in any form of racing, every lap is a learning experience. John Freeman has found that out during his maiden voyage in the NASCAR Busch East Series. Freeman took that theory to the extreme when he competed in the New England 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Friday afternoon in front of all the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series owners and drivers.
The race was only Freeman's sixth start in a BES machine and it was his first time ever on a track one-mile or longer. Not only did Freeman move up from a starting position of 23rd to a finish of seventh in the race, he also left the track at the end of the day as a much better driver than when a buckled into his #5 car.
"I was learning from lap one," said Freeman. "I didn't get a whole lot of practice here, so I was learning the track and the competitors from the start of the race. I learned what works and what doesn't at these kinds of tracks."
Some of the 19-year-old Freeman's education was technical: "I learned what kid of gears work here and how aerodynamics work in where you place the car.
Some of Freeman's education was about driving: "I learned what lines people took and about starts and restarts. That was a big part of things on this track. We picked off six cars on one of the restarts. The car was good and I had to figure out what lane made the car loose and in what lane the car pushed. I had to choose the correct lane and usually on the restarts, I got to start on the inside. The car was fast down low and we even took it three-wide a couple of times. It was all in watching these guys and learning."
From the drop of the green, Freeman was on the move to the front. With the highest starting field of the season thus far (40), Freeman had a way to go from 23rd. Through some strategy and just hard racing, Freeman was able to find himself in the top-15 quickly, then the top-10 and eventually in his finishing position of seventh.
In addition to earning his career-best finish, Freeman also earned the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for the race.
"We had a really fast car and put ourselves in a good position. We had a few bobbles in the pits, but we rebounded back up to seventh. We made two pits stops during the race, so that meant driving through the field twice.
"Towards the end of the race, we were really fast. I think if this was a 150-lap race, we would have done even better."
Now, Freeman can't wait to get back on a big track like NHIS for his next race. The series will return to the track on September 16th.
"I had a lot of fun and I'm real happy with our finish," said Freeman. "I love the big tracks. You can ride down the straightaway and scratch an itch on your face it is so long."
The NASCAR Busch East Series returns to action on July 29th at Adirondack International Speedway in Beaver Falls, NY.