BES: Thompson: Dion Ciccarelli race notes

Dion Ciccarelli Struggles With Brake Problems To Finish Thompson Sixteenth Thompson, Conn. (June 29, 2006) - Thompson International Speedway's long straightaways and tight turns ask a lot of the brakes on a 3,300-pound NASCAR Grand National ...

Dion Ciccarelli Struggles With Brake Problems To Finish Thompson Sixteenth

Thompson, Conn. (June 29, 2006) - Thompson International Speedway's long straightaways and tight turns ask a lot of the brakes on a 3,300-pound NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race car. For Dion Ciccarelli and the Jamerson Motorsports No. 84 Ford Taurus, those brakes were not up to the challenge and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year challenger finished sixteenth.

Brakes were the issue for Ciccarelli from the start of practice. Also having to address a broken sway bar mount, the Severn, Maryland driver suited up for qualifying and, with a little help from another team owner, got the sixteenth qualifying spot.

"We put new brake pads in the car but the car wouldn't stop for anything," Ciccarelli said. "So we've been working through mechanical issues and learning the racetrack, trying to get the setup working. We've had to give up on setup work just to concentrate on getting the car to stop. Fortunately, Andy Santerre gave us a different set of pads just before qualifying and with those I got a good qualifying run in.

"I think we have a pretty decent car," he continued. "I qualified sixteenth even while driving a little cautiously. I'm not sure what I have for a car because we had so many problems in practice, but we made the best with the time we had."

While qualifying was encouraging, the race was a tough one for the rookie. Brake problems returned and Ciccarelli had his hands full on a track that requires the best of brakes. He approached the top ten through the middle stages of the Pepsi 100, but instead of aggressively slowing for the turns he had to coast the car in and that made running in traffic difficult. Through the late stages he was battling hard with fellow rookies Richard Gould and Jeremy Clark, and at the checkers finished sixteenth.

"I was right back to where I was in practice with no brakes," he said after the race. "I was struggling holding on. The rears were working, they'd slow it down some, but not enough to where I could make it turn. We couldn't do anything but try to ride it out, make the best of what we had and try and make it to the end. I knew I couldn't get it slowed down in the corners and make it turn so I had to do the best I could with what I had to work with.

"We got some experience at this track, and we have a good baseline for our setup," Ciccarelli said, looking at the big picture. "I just have to figure out why the brake pedal doesn't work. We'll get it back to the shop and take it apart and see what went wrong and have it fixed up for Lake Erie."

Lake Erie Speedway is the next stop for the Busch East Series, with the western Pennsylvania track holding a 150-lap race on Saturday, July 8th.

-ajc-

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