Bill Penfold Overcomes Unearned Penalty To Post Eleventh At Holland (Holland, N.Y. - June 26, 2004) - Bill Penfold had a fast car at Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway on Saturday night, but his run in the Sunoco 150, the sixth NASCAR Grand...
Bill Penfold Overcomes Unearned Penalty To Post Eleventh At Holland
(Holland, N.Y. - June 26, 2004) - Bill Penfold had a fast car at Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway on Saturday night, but his run in the Sunoco 150, the sixth NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the 2004 season, was stalled by an unwarranted penalty that sent Penfold to the back of the field early in the race. He never fully recovered from that, and was eleventh at the checkers.
"NASCAR made a mistake and put me to the rear again," he said after the race.
After skipping Holland last year, the Yarmouth, Maine driver returned to the western New York track for Saturday's race. While he wasn't the fastest in practice, the Penfold Motorsports crew was working to make the VIP Charter Coach Chevrolet a better car for the race. He picked up some time in qualifying, but so did a lot of other teams and he was back in the seventeenth starting position.
"We picked up time, we did just what we wanted to do, but we didn't gain any spots," he said before the race. "But the car was great, and we're starting to get a handle on qualifying setups. Everyone else, though, is gaining just as fast as I am so it's tough to play catch-up. We've had a great car through practice, the car was handling great and fast all day. Track position is a lot, but you can drive up here too, you can run side-by-side. We just have to be patient and take our time working our way to the front. I think we can do it all right."
Up to fifteenth twenty-five laps into the race, Penfold had designs on moving up further but that plan got sidetracked through no fault of his own on lap 36. Brian Hoar had just escaped a battle with Jamie Aube and was in front of Penfold when he lost control and spun off turn two. NASCAR officials deemed Penfold to be involved in the incident and brought him to pit road for a stop-and-go penalty, placing him at the rear of the field on the next restart.
"The 45 [Hoar] came over to me after the race and said that he just lost it coming out of the corner, but NASCAR gave me a penalty anyway," Penfold said.
Restarting back in 22nd position, Penfold had to make up ground as the Holland race is quickly run, with lap times around fifteen seconds. By lap 60 he was eighteenth and battling to move up further, running fourteenth with forty laps to go. He had climbed to twelfth with fifteen laps to go, but he wasn't done yet, and continued battling all the way to the end of the race. On the last lap, he made his last pass to be placed eleventh at the finish, but the penalty was the biggest item on his mind.
"NASCAR cost us at least a top ten, if not a top five," he said. "We had that good a car. They have to start giving me the benefit of the doubt. I don't mind racing hard, but I give guys breaks, and NASCAR doesn't give me any breaks. This is the second penalty that they've given me that they've made a mistake on, and it's costing me money and it's costing me points. All I want to do is be treated like Andy Santerre and Kelly Moore and those guys. I'm running strong, hard, and I'm not banging people.
"We didn't qualify that well but we knew we were going to be fast for the race," Penfold continued. "We were actually a little quicker than the leaders and we were running them down. When you run the lead pack down from a half a track behind, you've got a fast race car. We've got something to work on for Erie, the car's going good, so we're looking forward to it."
Lake Erie Speedway will host the Busch North Series next, with its 150-lap contest scheduled for July 10th. For more information on Bill Penfold, www.penfoldmotorsports.com.