BES: Thompson: Kip Stockwell race notes

Kip Stockwell Eleventh At Thompson After Fourth Straight Race Running In The Top Ten (Thompson, Conn. - June 29, 2006) - Kip Stockwell, like he has in the previous three NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series races run in 2006, ran in...

Kip Stockwell Eleventh At Thompson After Fourth Straight Race Running In The Top Ten

(Thompson, Conn. - June 29, 2006) - Kip Stockwell, like he has in the previous three NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series races run in 2006, ran in the top ten late in the going of Thursday night's Pepsi 100 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. But a tight car did not work to his advantage on a late restart and he gave up some positions on his way to finishing eleventh.

Stockwell, with this eleventh matching his worst finish of the season, maintains seventh position in the points standings with seven races yet to run.

The day started out with good news before the car even got out of the trailer. A scoring recheck following last week's race at Holland International Speedway revealed that Stockwell actually finished ninth in that race rather than tenth as the original results showed. This resulted in five additional points being added to Stockwell's 2006 tally.

Practicing on tires that had already run 150 laps at Holland, Stockwell was not near the top of the speed charts through the two 45-minute afternoon sessions. But after putting new tires on for qualifying, Stockwell picked up significant time and qualified thirteenth.

"We didn't practice a lot because we had some problems when we got here," he said. "It was a short week and we had to change the radiator as soon as we got here, and we had brakes to change. We had a lot of work to do so we missed the first half of the first practice.

"I went out for qualifying and I was real timid on those two laps because I didn't know what it was going to do on new tires. It stuck, and I was really impressed since we turned a lap seven tenths faster than we were in practice. And I think there's a little left in there. We have another top ten car this week," the Braintree, Vermont native continued.

Just twenty laps into the Pepsi 100, Stockwell was in the top ten. He climbed to ninth and then the cautions came regularly. With the longest stretch of green-flag racing being just thirteen laps, he got plenty of practice on restarts. His car was tightening up but a pit stop was not an option with the short race distance. If Stockwell restarted on the outside, he was in good shape and could pick off a couple positions. On the inside, though, he couldn't get off turn two and gave those spots back. It all came down to the final restart of the race on lap 87. He lined up on the inside.

"Right at the end our car was just so tight off turn two on the bottom, and they've got that bump out there, and between those two things I couldn't drive it up off," he said. "I just lost two or three spots at the end and I shouldn't have. We should have been in the top ten and we ended up eleventh. I'm upset about that. We had a better car than that. We worked too hard to give up those spots. We just have to free it up a little bit off the turn. It turns good in the center, and I was killing everyone going into the turns up until the center. As soon as I got back in the throttle it was gone, and I had to get back out of the gas.

"We need another inch of improvement. We gained six inches over the winter and we just need another inch," Stockwell said.

While he wanted to finish better than eleventh, staying seventh in points means Stockwell's strong start to the 2006 season rolls on into the fifth race of the season, a 150-lap event at Lake Erie Speedway in Pennsylvania.

"We're enjoying this," he said. "Our goal is to finish in the top ten in points for the year and we've got a hell of a start on it. It's amazing at how different our year is compared to the last three or four. The confidence in the team, myself, and driving the car is so much different. You get in the car and it's fun to drive again. It goes in the turn and it wants to go fast. The last few years it wasn't like that, we struggled every week to try and make it better. All of a sudden it's fun to drive. I'm looking forward to going to Lake Erie, that's my kind of race track. I'm just so excited because we've got something going."

-www.kipstockwell.com.

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