BNS: Watkins Glen: Greg Schaefer race notes

Greg Schaefer gets third place finish at Watkins Glen International. Greg Schaefer, driver of the No. 99 Rite-Way Electric Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, drove to a third-place finish in Saturday afternoon's Little Trees 150 held at...

Greg Schaefer gets third place finish at Watkins Glen International.

Greg Schaefer, driver of the No. 99 Rite-Way Electric Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, drove to a third-place finish in Saturday afternoon's Little Trees 150 held at the historic Watkins Glen International road course. Schaefer's pit crew and strategy proved to be key in his second top-three finish of the season as he took on extra fuel late in the race, enabling him to finish ahead of other drivers who ran out of gas as the race was extended from 62 to 70 laps by late caution periods.

Friday afternoon's qualifying session saw Schaefer only able to run seventeenth fastest, with a best lap of 1:17.426 (113.915 MPH).

"We were pretty good in the first practice, but we just didn't qualify well," he said. "We didn't make hardly any changes for qualifying, very minor changes. It felt good, it just didn't put up the time. We went out in the final practice and we were pretty happy with how the car was on old tires, so I think we'll be pretty good for the race. We just want to run easy in the first couple laps, let everybody get strung out, and I think we'll be okay."

The race was a lengthy affair, being stopped twice for an hour each time due to a pair of major crashes that Schaefer was not involved in. Schaefer made his only pit stop on lap 30, just before the halfway point of the scheduled distance, taking on left-side tires and gas. Running outside the top fifteen, he didn't enter the top ten until just three laps before the expected end of the race, when a car ahead had to pit for gas.

Caution on lap 60 of 62 brought another front-running car onto pit road, lifting Schaefer to ninth with a green-white-checker finish expected to conclude the event. The second, third, and fourth place drivers tangled on the restart and Schaefer avoided them, and wound up sitting sixth when he took the caution. Two other cars ran out of gas while running under caution, with a third making a stop to prevent his suffering the same fate, and suddenly Schaefer was third with another two-lap dash to the finish. During those two laps, Schaefer held his ground and took the third place finish, moving up two spots in the series championship standings to ninth.

"I had a fifteenth place car, but my crew did an awesome job, I have to hand it to them," he said after the race. "We got bit here by fuel mileage last year and ran out of gas with four to go while we were sitting sixth. This year we didn't want it to happen again so we put extra fuel in to make sure we were going to go the distance, and we did. They made an awesome call."

Schaefer will now look forward to the Busch North Series' first visit to Adirondack Speedway in upstate New York next week, though he has some work to do before he gets there. He left Watkins Glen to go to New Hampshire to pick up the repaired car that was wrecked at Stafford last month.

"I hope we can get it together in time to get to Adirondack," he said.

-ajc-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Greg Schaefer