BNS: Thompson: Fred Skaff race notes

Fred Skaff, Woodworks Racing Team Eighteenth at Thompson (THOMPSON, CONN. - May 22, 2004) - Fred Skaff and his Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus team embarked on the second NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of...

Fred Skaff, Woodworks Racing Team Eighteenth at Thompson

(THOMPSON, CONN. - May 22, 2004) - Fred Skaff and his Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus team embarked on the second NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the season Saturday night for the running of the Pepsi Racing 150 at Thompson International Speedway. He was twentieth in this race last year, but improved to finish eighteenth Saturday night.

Skaff's No. 33 team was second from the bottom in first practice times, but picked up a half a second in the second practice to be ranked 16th. A slick track during qualifying cost most drivers time in time trials, and Skaff was no exception, while taking the nineteenth starting position.

"Everybody slowed up if you look at the results," he said. "The car was tight, which I think had something to do with the weather cooling down, and we might not have had as much stagger as we did in the practice set of tires. We took a round of bite out of it for the feature and put some more wedge into it. The last three trips here have not gone well for us, so I just want to have a nice solid top-fifteen run."

Skaff got to fifteenth early in the race, and showed his strength as a long green flag run saw him stay ahead of the leader as many other cars were put laps down. Skaff held on to his lead lap status until shortly after the halfway point, over forty laps into the run, and was locked into being that lap-down when caution flew just after he was passed by the leader. Despite suffering a turn two spin late in the race, Skaff continued and went on to finish eighteenth.

"It's a shame that the caution came out two laps after [race leader Brad] Leighton got by me, I did all I could do to keep him behind me," he said after the race. "I had a five-car lead on him, and I was trying to be smooth, but I ended up using the brakes a little too much and got them hot. Once he got by me, I was pretty upset that I went a lap down to the leader. But I still had a decent car. We pitted for tires and it was running pretty well. But somebody was leaking oil and it made it really hard to see out my windshield. They added some lights here and there are some coming out of four that, with the windshield being as bad as it was, it made it real hard to figure out where you are. I'm used to it being darker here and you can see the wall coming out of the turn. But I'm happy with the run."

Skaff's next race will be at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, June 18th. After that, preparations will begin to run two races at New Hampshire International Speedway and Dover International Speedway with new driver Tracy Gordon, whose first on-track laps in the Woodworks car will be at a NHIS test session on June 28th.

-ajc-

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