Bill Penfold Gets First Top-Five of 2004 With Fourth Place Lime Rock Race (Lime Rock, Conn. - May 29, 2004) - Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, rebounded from a pair of tough races to open the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series...
Bill Penfold Gets First Top-Five of 2004 With Fourth Place Lime Rock Race
(Lime Rock, Conn. - May 29, 2004) - Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, rebounded from a pair of tough races to open the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season to post his first top-five finish of the year in Saturday's Busch North 200K at the 1.53 mile Lime Rock Park in northwest Connecticut. Penfold now stands ninth in Busch North Series points after the third of fifteen races.
The Busch North drivers did not get onto the track until late Friday afternoon, after rain washed away both early practice sessions and the qualifying round. The 33-car field was lined up by last year's points, giving Penfold the eighteenth starting spot. But he was encouraged by his being tenth fastest in that one and only practice session.
Saturday dawned dry, sunny, but cool. Penfold and crew chief Bob Harrison formulated a pit strategy and, once the race was under way, they played that strategy to a big advantage. Penfold was the first car to hit pit road to make a scheduled stop, many laps before the majority of the field started making their stops. When the pit stops cycled around, he was sitting in third place.
After a lap 57 (of 82 laps total) restart, Penfold was passed and sent back to fourth, but he spent the balance of the race defending that position. Mike Johnson, two-time defending series champion Andy Santerre, and Brad Bennett were all on his tail, but he held his ground and ran to the checkers with a solid fourth place finish, much to the delight of Jonathan Quinby, Penfold's biggest fan who gets to hang out with the team every year at Lime Rock.
"We had a really good car," he said after the race. "I started eighteenth and kept it on the track. The VIP Charter Coach Chevrolet was running really good, and I had my good luck charm riding with me today. We kept it on the track, drove smooth, and only worried about racing the racetrack instead of worrying about racing other cars. It worked for us, we pitted early, passed some real good cars out there. By the end of it the car was pushing pretty bad and I had all I could do to keep Mike Johnson behind me."
Penfold detailed his pit strategy.
"We had planned on pitting early," he explained. "We knew what our mileage was, so as soon as our pit window opened up, we'd get in as early as we could, give up that track position, and get it back later. We had some guys that out-pitted us, but we can live with that. We just do what it takes, keep going and look forward to going to Seekonk next week. We're looking forward to it. We needed a good run to boost the morale of the team and make us a little money too. We'll try to get some momentum started with this and move up some in the points."
Race fans can watch the rebroadcast of the race, which was aired live on HDNet television, on SpeedTV on Saturday, June 19th. Race fans can also watch Penfold race live in two weeks when he takes on Seekonk Speedway outside Providence, R.I. on Saturday, June 12th.