BNS: Thompson: Don Wagner race notes

Don Wagner Fourteenth in Second Thompson International Speedway Busch North Race (THOMPSON, CONN. - May 22, 2004) - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series driver Don Wagner made his second race at the 5/8-mile Thompson International...

Don Wagner Fourteenth in Second Thompson International Speedway Busch North Race

(THOMPSON, CONN. - May 22, 2004) - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series driver Don Wagner made his second race at the 5/8-mile Thompson International Speedway on Saturday night and came away from the Pepsi Racing 150 with a fourteenth place finish. This is an improvement over last year's race, where he finished seventeenth.

"As long as we're getting better every time we get on the track, we're on the right track," Wagner said.

After picking up two tenths of a second between the first and second practice sessions, preparations were made for Wagner's qualifying attempt. He placed the James Pritchard-owned, Mannings USA-sponsored Chevrolet solidly in the field in sixteenth place.

In the first nineteen laps of the race, Wagner was already working on plans for improving the car, and he had the Jim Matalenas-led crew implement those changes under caution when he pitted for adjustments on lap 23. Returning to the race in eighteenth place, Wagner took the lap 31 restart and embarked on the longest green-flag run of the night.

While the fifty-five lap run was great for fans, it took its toll on the No. 41 car's race as Wagner went a lap down to the leaders just before the race's halfway point. Once caution came out on lap 86 to end that long run, the race became one of short bursts of racing interrupted by many cautions. Wagner attempted to get his lap back on many tries, lining up on the inside row on each restart, but was unable to get back on the lead lap. He ran as high as eleventh, though, as only ten cars were on the lead lap, before falling to fourteenth at the finish.

"It's hard to race after you go a lap down," Wagner said after the race. "You don't really know who you're racing with, you're relying on your spotter to keep good notes on who's on your lap because you want to stay out of the way of the lead lap guys. Once I went a lap down I was just trying to stay ahead of the other cars that were a lap down. I pulled down on the restarts to get near the front and stay out of the way of the lead lap cars and race the lap-down cars.

"Overall, we're here, we're racing, we're getting competitive and we're running better than we did here last year," he continued. "Matalenas gave us a setup that was night-and-day better than last year. We'll look at the notes and see what we can do better next year. It's too bad we don't run here more than once a year, it's a great speedway."

For more information on the Mannings USA Busch North team, visit its website at www.jamespritchardmotorsports.com.

-ajc-

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