Late-Race Accident Leaves Dale Quarterley 17th at Lee USA Speedway (Lee, N.H. - April 25, 2004) - Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley, racing the No. 32 EDART Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Sunday's season-opening NASCAR Grand National Division,...
Late-Race Accident Leaves Dale Quarterley 17th at Lee USA Speedway
(Lee, N.H. - April 25, 2004) - Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley, racing the No. 32 EDART Chevrolet Monte Carlo in Sunday's season-opening NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway, looked to be in position to start the year with a top-ten finish, something he has yet to score at the third-mile track in eight tries. But an accident with just two laps to go put an end to that effort, leaving the former motorcycle champion seventeenth in the final results.
Following a successful practice day at the track eight days before the race, Quarterley and team returned with high hopes. Things did not get off to a good start, though, as issues with the car's bodywork left the team with a fifty-pound penalty added to the right side. But Quarterley worked to overcome that obstacle to post the eleventh best qualifying speed, 15.725 seconds (85.851) for an inside row starting position.
"So far things have gone all right," he said before the race. "Some of the stuff that we've done this winter have definitely helped. What's killing us is that we have a penalty assessed and we're dealing with it, but it's slowing us down a little. If you take that into consideration and see where we qualified, we're doing pretty good in spite of it."
For the first half of the race, Quarterley got in line and lurked just outside the top ten. As he learned more about the car he formulated a plan for improving it, and got the opportunity to have the crew make those improvements when caution on lap 69 set up pit stops for most of the field. Quarterley came down pit road one lap before it was opened, though, and while he had fresh right-side tires, he had to restart at the tail of the field.
Restarting seventeenth, Quarterley had an uphill battle in front of him. He was back to eleventh with forty laps to go, and tenth with twenty to go. But while he was up to ninth with ten laps left to run, his tires were pretty much used up. He pressed on, though, and got inside Mike Johnson for eighth with just a few laps left but the two were behind lapped cars racing side-by-side.
"I was trying to go by Mike Johnson and we were both about as loose as can be," he explained. "I got up under him and we did a lap and we were fine, but the next time, coming off of two, he just slipped a little and he came down and touched me, and that's all it took. I was so loose anyway, the second he touched me, I couldn't save it. It was definitely just a racing accident."
The race ended with that accident, and Quarterley was credited with the seventeenth finishing position.
"The thing was going decent early, and we were tenth or twelfth at the beginning and we were just kind of riding around," he said. "When we pitted, we decided to put some tires on since we were starting to get a little loose. We stopped, put some tires on, and came all the way back up through. When we got into the accident we were ninth. Car-wise, we're going to be fine. Most of the stuff that's bent didn't pass tech inspection so I had to do it over anyway. It's no big deal."
Quarterley's next race will be at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Saturday, May 22. The Lee race, which was broadcast live on HDNet television, will be repeated on SpeedTV at noon on Saturday, May 1.