Dale Quarterley Comes From Last To Finish Second at Lime Rock Park (Lime Rock, Conn. - May 29, 2004) - Dale Quarterley, driver of the No. 32 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet, came within two laps of winning his second consecutive - and third out...
Dale Quarterley Comes From Last To Finish Second at Lime Rock Park
(Lime Rock, Conn. - May 29, 2004) - Dale Quarterley, driver of the No. 32 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet, came within two laps of winning his second consecutive - and third out of the last four - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races at Lime Rock Park, but he had to settle for second after being passed for the lead with just two laps left in Saturday afternoon's Busch North 200 at Lime Rock Park.
Making Quarterley's run up front even more remarkable was that he was forced to start from the back of the 33-car field after his team had to change engines before the race.
"We were adjusting the valves last night, turning the engine over with a wrench and noticed that it was turning over way too stiff, and we decided that there was something wrong inside that engine," he explained. "So we took it out and took the engine out of the spare car and stuck that in it."
Rain during Friday forced the Busch North schedule to be jumbled and qualifying cancelled. The field was lined up by 2003 final owner points, giving Quarterley the sixth starting position. He had to give that up, though, because of the engine change.
Quarterley quickly ran to the top three at the start of the 82-lap race, and through the series of pit stops that gave the field fuel to make it to the finish. After pit stops were complete, Quarterley ran second behind Mike Olsen up to a lap 57 restart, and took the lead from Olsen under braking for the first turn after that restart. Through four more cautions, Quarterley held onto the lead, though Brad Leighton was making up ground on him in the final stretch of green flag racing that led up to the lap 74 yellow. Now with Leighton on the Bully Hill Chevrolet's back bumper, the race's final restart took place with three laps to run.
"The car was fast, but it needed a lap to two to really get up to speed," he said. "On that restart, I got a little bit loose going up the hill and Brad was right there, and he just barely got a nose up under me. We turned into the next turn and he got up under the rear bumper and just picked me up. He didn't run into me, he just got up under me. It got me all wierded out and I scrambled to save it. That's when he got under me and beat me down the hill."
Quarterley gave chase, but had to settle for second after leading 21 of the race's 23 final laps.
"We certainly came here to win just like we go to every track to win," he said. "But Brad's not point racing, and he didn't come here to finish second. Him getting into me and his maybe getting taken out because of it would be no big deal, it was worth doing because it was the only shot he had at winning. In our case, it's the opposite. I could have got to him again coming down the hill and returned the favor, but we're point racing and if I got penalized for it, it would hurt me more in the long run. It's a game you're playing the same time you're racing."
Quarterley can take some consolation that his runner-up finish moved him from eleventh in Busch North points to fifth after the third of fifteen events. He now has a weekend off to prepare the short-track car for its return to action at the third-mile Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway on Saturday, June 12th.
The Lime Rock race was broadcast live on HDNet television, and will be replayed on SpeedTV on Saturday, June 19th at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.