Early Spin Relegates Dale Quarterley To Eleventh In Showdown
(Irwindale, Calif. - Nov. 13, 2004) - Dale Quarterley had high hopes of repeating, or even bettering, his second-place result from the NASCAR West Series race he ran at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway two weeks ago when he returned to the track to take part in the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown this weekend. After posting fast laps in every practice session leading up to Friday night's qualifying races, Quarterley finished third in his qualifying race. The feature event didn't treat him as well, though, as an early spin got him behind and he never recovered, eventually finishing eleventh.
And while Quarterley wasn't completely happy with finishing eleventh, his Bully Hill Vineyards-sponsored Chevrolet won the battle of the wineries, as his competition, Mike David who is sponsored by a Napa Valley winery, finished fifteenth.
Quarterley was eighth-fastest in the opening practice session, but improved to fourth-fastest in subsequent sessions. The improvement continued through his qualifying race, where he battled his way from starting thirteenth to finish third.
"We definitely were better than we were last year, so coming out here early helped," he said. "Last year I was struggling to finish fifteenth in my qualifying race, and there were only fifteen cars in the race. In the battle of the wineries, we beat the other winery car so we're ahead in that department too. We're not that far from running up front. I think we can get a handle on it come tomorrow and be OK."
Finishing third in the second qualifying race gave Quarterley the sixth starting spot in Saturday's 150-lap feature event. But he had to give up that spot when he changed engines in his car Saturday morning, after discovering contamination in the oil filter that raised suspicions over the condition of the engine. Since the rules of the event said that a team that changed engines has to start at the rear of the field, Quarterley took the green flag dead last.
On just the second lap of the race, Quarterley was hit from behind and spun in the fourth turn. "We were moving up and got down to three and four and someone just clobbered me in the rear and spun me out. I had to jump on the brakes to keep it off the wall and then I had to get the engine started again. By the time I got the thing started and going again the leader was right there, and a few laps later he got me and put me a lap down," he said.
The car wasn't handling well after the spin, and Quarterley and his 1/4LEY Racing crew took nearly every opportunity to pit and adjust on it in hopes of getting the car handling well enough to take a shot at getting his lap back on a restart. He had five opportunities to line up on the inside row of restarts during the race's first hundred laps, but couldn't get in front of the leader when it counted. Following the lap 100 ten-minute break, restarts would be single-file and Quarterley would have to line up for restarts after the last lead-lap car.
The final fifty laps of the race were filled with wrecks and caution periods, with Quarterley able to miss the wrecks and pick up positions as other driver fell out of the event. When all was said and done, he was eleventh, good enough for a $11,250 payday.
"Somewhere in that spin we must have hit the right front tire or something and messed the alignment up, because it would never turn after that," Quarterley said after the race. "We spent all the rest of the night trying to make it turn. It was good not to give up the race, keeping plugging away. If we got a caution when we spun right at the start we could have stayed on the lead lap and finished third.
"It was just one of those nights," he continued. "Whatever happened when I spun out, I couldn't recover from it well enough to warrant putting tires on it and using them up thinking it would give us a shot at getting our lap back. On the positive side, I was probably better off where I was, restarting up front in the lap-down line because all the wrecks would have been right in front of me if I was on the lead lap. I survived a race that not too many guys survived and only put one little dent in the car."