Career Best Busch East Finish For Jeff Anton At Lime Rock Park Lime Rock, Conn. (August 18, 2007) - Jeff Anton's previous best finish in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series competition was a sixth place scored last year. After the...
Career Best Busch East Finish For Jeff Anton At Lime Rock Park
Lime Rock, Conn. (August 18, 2007) - Jeff Anton's previous best finish in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series competition was a sixth place scored last year. After the tenth race of the 2007 season, though, Anton now has a third place finish to his credit as he finished on the podium for the first time at Lime Rock Park in northwest Connecticut.
Anton, driver of the No. 30 Baran Institute of Technology/Engineered Floors, Inc. Chevrolet, brought out a new road course car, complete with a custom paint job by Baran Institute students, for the Lime Rock race. It was Anton's first time on a road course this year, and it took time for him to get back in his left-right rhythm.
"We haven't gone testing at a road course so it took a lot of practice just to get myself comfortable with my braking points and shifting points," he said. "It takes longer than most think it does. You can go out there right off the bat and run a fast lap, but to get consistently good laps around here you need more than just a couple of laps under your belt."
After qualifying, he was fourteenth.
"It's really good on the long runs, and it's faster on older tires than it is on new tires. It doesn't make any sense but I like it," he said. "We messed up in qualifying so we're starting further back than I'd have liked, but the car is a hundred times better than the one I've run here before. We have to pick up a little bit more."
Lime Rock's Busch East race distance required a fuel stop, and Anton made his relatively early, just eighteen laps into the 82-lap contest. But when he came out of the pits, he wound up behind the race leader.
"I stayed on his bumper so I could stay the first car a lap down," the Russell, Massachusetts driver explained. "He was fast but I could stay right on his bumper. Lapped traffic came up and he got around them a lot better than I did, though, and then the caution came out and I knew we weren't the first lapped car. The leader pulled down and pitted under that yellow, and I knew we were in good shape after that."
Under that caution, confusion regarding the scoring forced officials to go back and forth determining if Anton was indeed on the lead lap or not, and where he should restart. It took a while, but they got it right and had him come around the pace car and restart the race at the tail end of the lead lap. Once that was taken care of, Anton could concentrate on driving a car that handled well only around half the track.
"This car's rear was really free on the long runs," he said. "From Big Bend to the uphill, we had one of the best cars. From the uphill to the frontstraight, it was scary loose. I could pull away from everyone going through that first part, but they would get me back on the back half and that wasn't so good because that's where you set up your passes. I was holding on for dear life going into that first turn."
He began the final lap of the race in seventh place. But another car oiled down the final turn of the track, catching many drivers by surprise.
"My spotter was yelling at me to keep digging because cars were going off the racetrack," he said. "So I came over the hill wide open and I saw a line of oil that was enormous. It wasn't just one patch, it was spread across as wide as these cars are long. There was grass all over, too. I got on the brakes and grabbed the steering wheel so I could straighten it out and go down the straightaway. I held it wide open, dirt-tracking it and made it to the finish. I didn't even know where I finished but the guys were telling me I got third.
"It worked out to be a really good day," Anton continued. "All the guys from Baran Institute were here and they had a hospitality tent. Jim from Engineered Floors was here as well. The whole crew worked extremely well all weekend and we got the kind of finish we've been working towards for three years now. We've got some great people behind us and they expect great things, and we're starting to delivery for them."