Yarmouth, Maine's Bill Penfold, driving the VIP Charter Coach/Wheeliefest 2001 Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, came to Watkins Glen with high hopes since he enjoys road racing and has turned in many top-ten performances at the two road...
Yarmouth, Maine's Bill Penfold, driving the VIP Charter Coach/Wheeliefest 2001 Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, came to Watkins Glen with high hopes since he enjoys road racing and has turned in many top-ten performances at the two road courses that the series visits. Penfold did not disappoint in the Little Trees 150 on Saturday, recording an eighth place finish despite suffering from exhaust fumes in the cockpit and burned feet after the exhaust broke off the car midway through the race.
Friday's practice and qualifying found Penfold chasing an engine that was down on power, a problem that was eventually traced to an ill-fitting cowl intake on the carburetor. That was fixed, but only after qualifying where Penfold turned in a lap fast enough to start eighteenth in the field of 40 cars.
Penfold's race started out on a smooth note, as the car was handling well and was no longer down on power. He pitted with many of the leaders under caution on lap 18 and added fuel, coming out deep in the field.
Just outside of the top ten after the halfway point of the race, the exhaust broke loose from the car, coming to rest on the track. Penfold continued in the race, despite the fact that the driver's compartment was now getting exhaust fumes in it and the floor was getting hot. A few laps later Penfold lost second gear in the transmission but he persevered, and even with the fumes becoming thick in the car and his feet getting burned, he finished the race and crossed the checkers eighth. After the race he was taken to the infield care center where he was treated for the fumes and released.
"They gave me an IV and gave me a bunch of water, so I'm all set," he said upon his release.
"We've been fast all weekend. We had carburetor trouble and we lost the transmission in the first practice, but we had a great handling race car all day today. I lost second gear with twenty laps to go, then I lost the exhaust with thirty laps to go so for the last three laps I was kind of in a daze. I couldn't spell my name. I knew my name was Bill, but I couldn't spell it."
Penfold's fifth top ten finish of the season moved him up another spot in points, and he now sits 15th overall as he comes back from a tough stretch of races in the middle of a 12-week run of races every weekend.
"The car's in great shape," he said with a smile. "We had a great finish and the crew did a hell of a job. The VIP Charter Coach/WheelieFest Chevrolet was right on top of it today. We got in the top ten, and we'll get them next time."
With a week off, the team now turns its attention to preparing for the August 26th race at Nazareth Speedway. This is a track where Penfold has run well in the past, and he's looking forward to returning to the track after it spent a year off the Busch North schedule.