BNS: Lee: Fred Skaff race notes

Fred Skaff Shakes Off Mid-Race Accident to Finish Lee Race In Twenty-Third (Lee, N.H. - April 25, 2004) - Fred Skaff and the Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus team, racing in the first race of the 2004 NASCAR Grand National...

Fred Skaff Shakes Off Mid-Race Accident to Finish Lee Race In Twenty-Third

(Lee, N.H. - April 25, 2004) - Fred Skaff and the Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus team, racing in the first race of the 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, was setting himself up for a strong lead lap finish in Sunday's Lee 150 at the Lee USA Speedway. But a lap 69 wreck left the car disabled in turn two, needing to be pushed into the pits. Skaff got the car refired and rejoined the race, but had fallen off the lead lap and had to settle for a 23rd place finish.

After posting the 17th fastest lap in the first practice, Skaff and the Woodworks team made their preparations for time trials and took the nineteenth starting position after turning a fast lap of 15.967 seconds (84.549 MPH) in qualifying.

"We picked up speed," he said before the race. "We were struggling at first, fighting with some springs and stuff. It's the typical Lee, there's not a lot of forward bite. We ended up changing shocks right at the last minute in the second practice, and that made a huge difference. In qualifying we ran our fastest time all weekend. I think we've got a good race car for the long run, because the track's going to definitely tighten up, and we're going to be okay. We've got a good piece with a good motor. The deal here is to survive the first thirty or forty laps, and stay out of trouble. If we can get away with that we'll be all right."

Skaff stuck to his plan once the race got going, riding in the top twenty and approaching the top fifteen after the fifty-lap mark. But his race took a turn for the worse when a lapped car tried to pass and got two wheels off the track.

"We were going real good, and I knew I just needed to bide my time and ride around, and I knew eventually that the pack would wind up slowing up anyway," Skaff explained. "I didn't have anything to prove early, just ride around and keep my nose clean. But another car got a couple tires down on the grass there trying to jam down under me, and he drove right down the side of me. I must have banged the ignition kill switch when we hit so the car wouldn't start after I stopped. By the time I figured that out, the field came by and put us a lap down."

Despite the damage to the car's body, it was still mechanically sound and Skaff returned to the race to finish it. He picked up three places that he would have lost if he retired, to finish 23rd.

"At the end of the race I still had a good car," he said. "It's a shame. But we'll send the car up to Bodies By Bo and he'll put it all back together and we'll get it ready for Thompson, which is one of my favorite tracks. I'm just disappointed, really. I just wanted to run good. We probably could have even gotten away without pitting, the tires were that good."

Skaff will return to the track at Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut, the site of the second Busch North race of the year, on Saturday, May 22. In the meantime, those who did not catch the Lee USA race live on HDNet television can catch it when it's reaired Saturday, May 1, on SpeedTV.

For more information on Skaff's team, visit its website at www.woodworksracing.com.

-ajc-

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