Don Wagner's road racing debut yields 27th place finish,. Don Wagner, in his second race driving Jim Pritchard's No. 41 Mannings USA Chevrolet in NASCAR Busch North Series competition, raced at a road course for the first time in his career.
Don Wagner's road racing debut yields 27th place finish,.
Don Wagner, in his second race driving Jim Pritchard's No. 41 Mannings USA Chevrolet in NASCAR Busch North Series competition, raced at a road course for the first time in his career. Wagner, who faced a steep learning curve, ran a clean race and brought the car home without a scratch in the 27th position.
The team participated in a test session at the 1.53-mile road course two weeks before the event. Wagner, calling the day spent at the track "indispensable", was now familiar with the track and had a baseline setup for when the series visited on the race's originally scheduled weekend, October 11th and 12th. Rain on that weekend prevented any on-track activities, setting up an abbreviated schedule for the next Saturday, October 19th.
Wagner, a Modified standout making just his second start in a Busch car, got an hour of practice in on the 19th and even got to make a qualifying attempt, but rain again showed up and caused the rest of the day to be scrubbed. Qualifying results were thrown out and the field was set by owner points, leaving Wagner in the 28th starting position.
In the race, Wagner kept his car on the track despite tough, wet conditions. He pitted under the race's first caution, on lap 11, and again after a rain shower caused the race to be stopped for over an hour. After the red flag, only eight green flag laps were run and Wagner continued to finish the race in 27th place.
"I told these guys up front that I've never been to, or been on, a road course before," he said after the race. "The hardest thing to figure out is you have to forget about racing the other cars, and race the race track. And shifting is new, too. In the Modified, I'm used to shifting on the start and then forgetting about it. Here, you're pulling gears and it's hard to get used to. There's a lot of stuff going on inside that car. At road courses, you have to have track time. You have to know the course and know when to lift and when to brake, and where to shift. It was fun, but I'm looking forward to doing some ovals now with the taxicab.
"These guys are the best," he said of the Pritchard Motorsports team. "They were great. Crew chief Jim Matalenas knows his stuff, and we communicated well. I could tell him the car was loose, and he'd make some adjustments, and I'd go out and feel the difference. That's great. I can't wait to do more races with these guys."