Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley, driving a new Land O Lakes Chevrolet at New Hampshire International Speedway, took his third straight top-five finish in the NASCAR Busch North Series with a fifth place finish in Saturday's New England...
Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley, driving a new Land O Lakes Chevrolet at New Hampshire International Speedway, took his third straight top-five finish in the NASCAR Busch North Series with a fifth place finish in Saturday's New England 125 held at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Despite turning in a solid seventh place finish in the first visit to NHIS, Quarterley turned to a new car purchased over the winter and prepared by Steve Hibbard in New York for this race. After a productive Thursday morning of practice gearing up for qualifying, Quarterley turned in a lap good enough for a fifth place starting spot. His next chore was finalizing his race setup in "Happy Hour" practice set for Thursday evening.
"We were really off at the beginning of practice," Quarterley said after qualifying, "but the crew chief just kept changing stuff and even at the end of practice we were off. We got a little closer for qualifying and that placed us fifth. We're just trying to figure out what to do for the race.
"Hopefully we'll be a top five car by the end of the day," Quarterley continued.
Quarterley started the race with a strong car and brought it to the front, leading eight laps in the early going before giving up the top spot to conserve his tires. An opportunity to pit arose on lap 31 and he took advantage of it, changing right side tires. The car was not the same after the tire change, tough, and the best Quarterley could run was second, holding that spot to the lap 100 mark.
Running third for the final 23 laps, Quarterley was set to finish there until the last lap when a bump from Dale Shaw sent Quarterley high and spinning in turn four. Quarterley recovered without hitting anything and was back under power quickly enough to cross the finish line in sixth. He was awarded fifth after Shaw was penalized for the contact.
"At the beginning of the race the thing was going great," Quarterley said afterwards. "I lead for a few laps just because, then I let those guys go trying to save the left-side tires for the long run. When we pitted we put the right side tires on, and it did not like the two rights at all. It was a completely different race car after that. I was just out there trying to keep a rhythm going, keep it up front which we were doing, but then at the end it just started going away.
"I had changed my driving style and was starting to get away from the car behind me [Shaw]," Quarterley continued. "We got into some lapped traffic on the last lap and he got back up to me, gave me a little bump just as I was getting back on the gas. It made the car spin out. Somehow I managed to 360 it, just barely touched the wall, and keep going, and ended up sixth. It basically was racing. He was faster in the center of the turns when I wasn't and I could get in and out better than he could. He happened to get me at my weak point. The biggest thing is that we lost fifteen points, that's our biggest concern, more than a racing incident."
Riding sixth in the championship standings, Quarterley now looks to head back to Stafford Motor Speedway for the second of three trips this year. In June, Quarterley finished 15th after running in the top five almost all race, and looks forward to avenging that finish on Friday night.