Brake Problems Strike Woodworks Racing Ford; Fred Skaff Forced to Retire from Stafford Race (Stafford Springs, Conn. - June 18, 2004) - Fred Skaff took his Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus to a NASCAR Grand National...
Brake Problems Strike Woodworks Racing Ford; Fred Skaff Forced to Retire from Stafford Race
(Stafford Springs, Conn. - June 18, 2004) - Fred Skaff took his Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus to a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race for the third time this season after recording finishes of twenty-third and eighteenth in the previous two races. Looking to improve on those finishes at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway, Skaff instead retired the car from the event after fifty laps, finishing in the twenty-fourth place.
"It's disappointing, but we'll do some homework on how we should fix it and we'll come back that much better," Skaff said after the race.
Skaff and crew showed up at Stafford with a completely different setup under the car, and that took some practice time to get used to it and learn how to adjust it for the day's track conditions. Following ninety minutes of practice, qualifying preparations began but the results from time trials left the team in a hole, having to start twenty-fifth.
"We put the wrong gear in the car, and these Ernie Elliott motors don't like a lot of RPMs. They don't like to turn more than 7,800 RPM and we were turning it up around 8,300. Some of these other guys can turn that much gear and do all right. We'll change the gears for the race and we'll see how it does. It might take a little longer for us to get going, but once I get going it should be all right and we'll see how far we can go. The big thing is to stay on the lead lap and stay out of trouble. It's a good car, I just had to get used to the new setup."
The race began and Skaff almost immediately discovered that the brakes were not up to par. He tried to race with those as well as he could, even though he went a lap down to the leaders just before the first caution of the night flew with 27 laps completed. He pitted to have the problem examined and returned to the race, lining up on the inside of the front row to try and get his lap back. Unsuccessful in doing so, Skaff fell back to put in laps but the brakes were getting worse, so he chose to park the car before things got worse and was recorded as the twenty-fourth finisher.
"The brakes went on the car right away," he said after the race. "We changed the gear and it wasn't bad, and in the race I was racing with other guys and I figured we'd be okay, but lap after lap the brake pedal was getting more and more spongy. My spotter Robin was telling me that I should be using a little less brake, and I turned the brake bias so it was more in the rear, but they just wouldn't cool down. Once I went a lap down, I tried to get my lap back by restarting on the inside, but with the brakes going, it wasn't safe so I tried to run in the back. On one restart it was decent, but that only lasted maybe seven or eight laps and the brakes went away again so we decided to park it.
"Jason Janvrin told me that we have to get a lot of air to the brakes," Skaff continued. "We got cooling fans that blow air onto the brakes, but we didn't have the actual part that mounts on the caliper and I think that's what we need to have to avoid these problems. This track is so tough on brakes, and you need to keep them cool."
The Woodworks team will now turn its attention to preparing the car for Tracy Gordon to take over. The team will test with Gordon at New Hampshire International Speedway on Monday, June 29th, in preparation for the Busch North Series race there on July 24th.
For more information on the team, visit its website at www.woodworksracing.com.