BNS: Stafford: Kip Stockwell race notes

On-Track Incident Slows Kip Stockwell's Strong Stafford Speedway Start (Stafford Springs, Conn. - June 18, 2004) - Kip Stockwell got off to a great start in Friday night's Aubuchon Hardware 150, the fifth NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch ...

On-Track Incident Slows Kip Stockwell's Strong Stafford Speedway Start

(Stafford Springs, Conn. - June 18, 2004) - Kip Stockwell got off to a great start in Friday night's Aubuchon Hardware 150, the fifth NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the 2004 season. After starting 23rd, Stockwell put on a charge that saw him knocking on the door of the top ten just forty laps into the race's distance. But a bump from another competitor on a restart bent Stockwell's Sabil & Sons Service and Towing Chevrolet's right front suspension enough to lose that momentum and abandon his early race pace, leaving him twenty-third at the finish.

"It's a shame, because I think we had a car that I could have got a real good finish with," he said after the race. "The team really needed a good run, they're kind of beat up because we had a lot of high expectations but nothing's gone out way. Hopefully next week at Holland we'll have something."

Sixteenth fastest in the practice session, Stockwell expected to run about the same in qualifying. But that would not be the case as he wound up twenty-third fastest.

"We actually lost a little in qualifying, so instead of being fifteenth in time, where I think we should have been, we're twenty-third," he said. "But the car felt good, I may not have drove it hard enough. I'm looking forward to the race, I think I've got a good car if I can stay out of trouble. That's our main goal at this point: stay out of trouble, go as far forward as we can and go on from there."

At the start of the race, Stockwell showed he did not belong in the back of the pack. He was in the top fifteen before the first caution of the event came out on lap 27. On the lap 33 restart, he was sitting thirteenth but still had designs on moving up further. But just after that restart, his race unraveled.

"On that restart, I was a little aggressive and I drove underneath Ryan Seaman going into turn one on the restart," he explained. "He was a little slow on the restart and I waited until we crossed the start/finish line before pulling underneath him. I was all the way underneath him going into turn one, though he was a little ahead of me right in the center. He just dropped really low really fast, coming down into me and bending up everything in the right front suspension. He hit me, and I turned right to correct it since it just about spun me out, and I turned back up into him. I hit wheel-to-wheel with him and it bent everything in the right front."

Under the next caution, Stockwell pitted and his crew went under the hood to assess the damage. The report was not encouraging, and the Braintree, Vermont driver had a choice to make: take the car behind the wall for extensive repairs, or stay on the track and run at a reduced speed. Stockwell elected to stay on the track and was rewarded with a twenty-third place finish.

"I thought the car was pretty awesome," he said. "We had a good start, my father kept counting down the position I was in until I got to thirteenth and I was really happy with the way things were going until that restart. I had a lot of forward bite and the car turned really good in the center. I was just trying to be careful not to get into anybody too bad, but I got myself in trouble."

Stockwell will spend some time this week repairing the car's suspension before leaving for western New York state for the next Busch North Series race, which will be run at Holland International Speedway.

"I'm really looking forward to next week because we run at a racetrack that's more my kind of track," he said. "Holland is cool. A lot of people don't like Holland but I do. We've been good there every time we've gone."

-ajc-

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