BNS: Dover: Don Wagner preview

Don Wagner's Dover Debut Ends Early (Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - Don Wagner's first appearance on the fastest oval that the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races on started out well, with his qualifying 23rd and welcoming...

Don Wagner's Dover Debut Ends Early

(Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - Don Wagner's first appearance on the fastest oval that the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races on started out well, with his qualifying 23rd and welcoming a new sponsor to his team, but the race itself turned into a disaster as he could not avoid a spinning car and made heavy contact, doing significant damage to the Mannings USA/Stacker2 Chevrolet and forcing its early retirement from the event.

James Pritchard Motorsports had only run this particular car one previous race, just five days earlier at New Hampshire International Speedway. After recording a seventeenth place finish there, it was off to Dover for the running of the MBNA America 150. Wagner was eighteenth in the first practice, and seventeenth in the second, but slipped to 23rd in qualifying after turning fast a lap of 25.572 seconds (140.779 MPH) in time trials.

"We're doing good, considering it's a new car that we're trying to figure out on a new track for us," he said before the race. "The car's good, but there's a lot of good cars here. We're looking for some speed, and I think we'll find it. We're changing some things around, and we've got 150 laps so there'll be plenty of opportunities to pit and fine-tune on the car. The track is just a big Wall Stadium. There's a lot of banking but it's relatively narrow when you're up to speed, and there's a wall on the inside, which is something we're not accustomed to."

In the final practice, held Thursday evening, Wagner was 23rd fastest.

Following NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying, the MBNA America 150 got the green flag. Wagner spent the early laps feeling out the changes made to the car after the final practice. But almost as quickly as the race got going, it ended for Wagner and another competitor.

"The 64 [Joey McCarthy] wasn't up to speed and came up across the track," Wagner said. "I went inside, but the 64 got a tap from the 06 [Ryan Seaman] and that turned the 64 down in front of me. I had nowhere to go. The 06 tried going around him on the outside and I tried for the inside. It's an unfortunate incident."

Initial assessment of the Mannings USA/Stacker2 Chevrolet's damage is a bent front clip and both front and rear sheet metal. Since this was the final race planned for James Pritchard Motorsports, this will not affect the rest of the year, but rather gets preparations for next year going a little ahead of schedule.

"We've got all winter to fix it," Wagner said with a grin.

James Pritchard Motorsports raced six times in the 2004 Busch North season, recording a best finish of eleventh at Lee USA Speedway in April. He's still eligible for a run for Rookie of the Year in a future season, which may give the team something to shoot for in 2005. To keep up with team news over the off-season, visit www.jamespritchardmotorsports.com.

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