Dale Quarterley Starts Busch North Season On Positive Note With Sixth Place At Stafford (Stafford Springs, Conn. - June 17, 2005) - Dale Quarterley's 2005 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season start is his best in many years...
Dale Quarterley Starts Busch North Season On Positive Note With Sixth Place At Stafford
(Stafford Springs, Conn. - June 17, 2005) - Dale Quarterley's 2005 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season start is his best in many years as he finished sixth in the first race of the season, a 150-lap contest held at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway. Quarterley was the best finisher of those who elected to pit during the race, coming back from deep in the field to work his way into the top ten.
Quarterley's Femrouse Chevrolet was only eighteenth fastest at the conclusion of practice. Many changes were made throughout and after that session, and the only hint the Westfield, Mass. driver would have as to how it would drive was in qualifying, as the cars were impounded after time trials. Qualifying saw Quarterley sixteenth-fastest.
"That's on par with what we did all last year, when we seemed to be fourteenth in practice and qualifying almost everywhere we went," he said. "We absolutely could not find the balance that we had here last year, and we know it's the new tire. We were throwing major stuff at the car today, and making big changes instead of little changes, and by the time we got it to where we were running competitive times, we ran out of practice time. But we're on the right track, and if the car does what it did last year, I should be good, because last year the car never seemed to slow down as the race went on. Hopefully that'll happen again."
Quarterley didn't make much progress towards the front during the race's opening laps, running thirteenth up to the second caution of the race, then moving to eleventh when the third caution came out on lap 65. Under that yellow, Quarterley gave up his track position to pit for right-side tires and some critical chassis adjustments.
"The early part of this race was a freight train," he said. "Everybody was trying to figure out the new tire, and basically there was one groove on the racetrack. If you went high you were tight, and if you tried to go low you were loose. It was near-impossible to pass. We were thinking that we can't do what we've been doing the last few seasons where we start the year 19th in points, we had to stop and do something about the car. I was twelfth but came down pit road and made a couple quick changes - put a spring rubber in and raise the Panhard bar - to free it up a little more and took on two new tires."
Returning to the race outside the top ten, Quarterley was on the march following the lap 71 restart. By lap 85, he was already up to seventh, and sixth by lap 97. Three laps later, Quarterley had joined what was a four-car battle for second place. But he had used up his tires getting to that point and could not make any further progress on a track that was still hard to pass on, and finished sixth.
"We came back out from the pit stop and the thing was flying," he said. "If I could just get back to where I needed to be before the tires went away, I'd be in good shape. I got back to eighth pretty quickly, and picked off a couple more before the end of the race, but I'd used the tires up and that was it for the rest of the night.
"But in past years we've left the first race of the year eighteenth in points with a smashed-up race car, so we're really happy with where we are in the big picture right now," he concluded.
Quarterley returns to the track next Saturday night at the Holland International Speedway in western New York. That 150-lap race will be broadcast live on HDNet television as well as taped for broadcast on SpeedTV on July 15th at 5:30 PM.