COMING OFF HIS BEST SEASON IN 2004, DALE QUARTERLEY SEEKS FINAL PIECES TO BUSCH NORTH SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP PUZZLE FOR 2005 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 10, 2005) -- Listening to NASCAR race broadcasts, and especially to in-car audio, makes it clear...
COMING OFF HIS BEST SEASON IN 2004, DALE QUARTERLEY SEEKS FINAL PIECES TO BUSCH NORTH SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP PUZZLE FOR 2005
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 10, 2005) -- Listening to NASCAR race broadcasts, and especially to in-car audio, makes it clear how complex the quest for a winning edge has become in stock car racing today. Seemingly tiny chassis changes or tire pressure adjustments can be the difference between winning and losing races and ultimately winning or losing championships.
NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series driver Dale Quarterley enjoyed his best season in 2004, scoring his first two superspeedway victories and finishing a close third in the final standings. Aiming to contend for the title in 2005, he has taken the expected steps, including building a new shop and acquiring new equipment. He's also identified unnecessary complexity as one of the obstacles to a title run, and he's moved to simplify his work load off the track in the expectation that it will improve his performance on the speedway.
"The problem in the past has been I had three different brands of race cars," Quarterley said while signing autographs for race fans at the recent Racearama trade show in West Springfield, Mass. "By the time I got them together, got the season started, and got them sorted out, it would be July. From that moment on we would be competitive everywhere," he continued.
"This year there's all the same race cars with the same snouts, so hopefully we'll be able to roll out for the first race, maybe not to win it, but to be able to stay in the top five. That's what it takes to win the championship," he declared. Both his new cars and the updated front ends for his existing cars come from the Hess Racing shop in North Carolina.
Along with the new rolling stock is a new shop in Westfield, Mass., replacing the former quarters which were literally in his back yard. "The shop's up and running. Like everything else you try to critique it a little but it's 90 percent done," Quarterley noted. Joining him in the new shop will be fellow Westfield resident Jeff Anton, who ran two races last year and hopes to compete more regularly in 2005.
"We actually have two brand new cars on my side, plus two others- the Loudon car and the road race car. On Anton's side we have the car he ran last year plus one new short track car to run some races with. So we're pretty busy over there putting three new cars together," Dale continued. Quarterley and Anton share a background in motorcycle racing, although Dale was a road racing specialist and Jeff concentrated on motocross.
With the new shop and expanded schedule come expanded personnel needs, a project Quarterley is just starting to tackle. "We've got a B-team we've put together with some new guys for the second car. My team lost its lead mechanic, Mike Sibley, when he was hired by Joe Gibbs to run Bobby Labonte's Busch deal so he'll have to be replaced," he said. "At the moment I'm just doing it myself, but we'll put somebody in that place come race season," he added, reflecting the hands-on style he shares with three-time defending Busch North Series champion Andy Santerre.
Quarterley already has a head start on the 2005 racing season, as he traveled to Phoenix International Raceway in January for the Copper World Classic, the first NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race of the year. He came home with an eighth place finish and an appetite for more. "We're going back out there for the April race," he said, referring to the West Series event under the lights at PIR on April 21 which supports the inaugural spring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race in Phoenix. "I'm going to try to go back out there during the season and run another race or so. I'd like to run Fontana (Calif.) because I like the speed. We'll see what happens," he added.
While his westbound excursions are a welcome change of pace, the 2005 Busch North Series championship is Dale Quarterley's main goal and the object of his winter-long preparation. When asked the question point-blank, "Can you win the 2005 title?", he paused, grinned, and answered, "I sure hope so."