Late-race accident stops Bill Penfold's top five Stafford run. Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, was on the verge of scoring a solid top-five finish at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, but couldn't avoid a car spun in front of him on a...
Late-race accident stops Bill Penfold's top five Stafford run.
Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, was on the verge of scoring a solid top-five finish at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, but couldn't avoid a car spun in front of him on a lap 137 restart and was forced to retire from the NASCAR 150, a NASCAR Busch North Series race, with a 26th place finish.
The Penfold Motorsports' speedway car was called upon to run at Stafford, since the setup for the half-mile track is similar to that used the week before at New Hampshire International Speedway. Fresh off a top-twenty finish at NHIS, the VIP Charter Coaches Team was ready for a good Friday at Stafford.
Penfold knew he had a good race car under him, but could only muster the nineteenth best time trial result. He was not worried about how the car would perform in the race, though.
"I'm just not a good two-lap time trialer, but give me four or five laps and then I get going," he grinned after qualifying. "Between the driver and the car being a little too tight, we picked up very little time from where we were practicing at. But our practice times were as good as anybody's. I'm looking forward to the race, I've got a shot at winning the Flowmaster Star of the Race award, all I have to do is pass eighteen cars and I'll be there. The car's running great for the race so I'm not worried."
Penfold quickly moved into the top fifteen once the race was under way, and following a scramble on the part of some of the leaders, he had moved up to seventh. Lap 48 saw the start of a long stretch of green flag racing, and Penfold demonstrated how well his car was working by passing for fifth place and holding it until caution came out on lap 130.
Penfold, one of only nine drivers on the lead lap at the time, pitted under this caution and the crew replaced the right side tires for the run to the finish. He returned to the race in seventh. On the restart, Greg Schaefer's car was spun and the field scrambled to avoid it. Penfold caught the car with his right front fender, and the damage was heavy enough that he had to stop the car on the backstretch and have it towed to the pit area where it was retired for the night. Penfold's potential top-five finish was reduced to twenty-sixth.
"We had a real good car," he said after the race. "We got up to fifth and we drove our way there, we didn't have a scratch on the race car, and to have that happen was just heartbreaking. It took us out of the top ten in points. We don't know what you have to do to get ahead. It's just a shame to have that good of a race car and move up that good, race good clean hard racing, and have a wreck like that in the last fifteen laps is just ridiculous. We ended up finishing last, and it doesn't show the effort we put in and how good we really ran."
Penfold will have a weekend off before the next Busch North race, which will be held at the road course of Watkins Glen. Penfold's eyes light up at the thought of road racing.
"I love the Glen, I love the people there, I look forward to going there and Lime Rock," he said. "I love the road courses. The people are always so much fun at both road courses. I can't wait to go out there. We have a lot of fun at the Glen, it's really a good time at Watkins Glen. We have probably the best bunch of fans that we've got going. I can't wait to get there, if we had to go tomorrow it won't break my heart. I wish we could go there twice."