ES: Loudon II: Dion Ciccarelli race notes

New Car Blues Strike Dion Ciccarelli, Jamerson Motorsports at NHIS Loudon, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2007) - When a racer rolls out new racing hardware, the hope is that it works well right out of the box and it's instantly up to speed. This doesn't...

New Car Blues Strike Dion Ciccarelli, Jamerson Motorsports at NHIS

Loudon, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2007) - When a racer rolls out new racing hardware, the hope is that it works well right out of the box and it's instantly up to speed. This doesn't always happen, and this was painfully evident to the Jamerson Motorsports team. Trying to debut a totally new racing package - not a used part from chassis to engine to suspension to body - proved troubling for driver Dion Ciccarelli as that new engine blew after just seven laps of practice, leaving the team to guess at a setup for Friday's Aubuchon Hardware 125 and winding up with a 37th place finish.

Ciccarelli had plenty to look forward to coming to New Hampshire International Speedway's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race. He had the first Predator chassis making its first racing appearance with a new spec engine under the hood. Everything in the car was brand new and the best parts available. But it only went seven laps in practice, never even getting up to full speed, before problems developed under the hood. The engine had failed, and the team, not predicting that a brand new engine would need a back-up, hadn't brought a spare. Team owner Larry Jamerson made a call to a valuable employee who made a midnight run.

"I have to thank Bobby Horner," Ciccarelli said. "He works for Larry and got the call late Thursday to go to our shop in Maryland, pick up our spare engine, and drive all night to get to the track at six in the morning so we could put it in the car."

The Jamerson Motorsports crew went to work installing the engine and getting the car through tech inspection in time to make the race at the back of the field. They accomplished this, and Ciccarelli's No. 84 Star Sales Chevrolet, featuring new sponsorship from the Bad Boys of the Bering Sea and The Crab Broker, took the green as the 41st car in a 41-car field.

Once into the race, the team faced the reality of not getting any practice on the new chassis. The car was tight, and with no notes, the team had to take educated guesses at what the car might want as far as adjustments. With few yellows, there weren't many opportunities to work on the car, and Ciccarelli tried to work with what he had. A blown tire with 28 laps remaining spelled the end of Ciccarelli's race as he drove the car off the track and to the hauler with a 37th place finish.

"Coming out of Mansfield, where we blew out a tire and hurt the other car, we had a lot of work to do to get this new Predator car ready for this race," he said after the race. "But we got here and we were in good spirits, at least before practice. This was a brand new motor that only went seven laps and it blew up. We couldn't practice, couldn't qualify, and that put us way behind because we had no idea what this new car wanted as far as a setup.

"We started the race and the car was just a handful. We were struggling because we didn't know what we had. We had to stay out of trouble and work on it whenever we could. I cut down the right front tire - we found some debris inside it afterwards - and just brushed the wall, doing cosmetic damage, and we were done," he continued.

Ciccarelli's focus now turns to Dover International Speedway's Busch East Series finale next Friday. The Jamerson Motorsports team has a lot to look forward to at its home track, including a visit by the fishermen from Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" reality TV show.

"The car wasn't turning well at all before we blew that tire, so we've got a bunch of changes to make before we go to Dover," he said. "We've got some exciting things going on there, so we'll be busy this week."

Catch Ciccarelli racing at Dover on Friday, September 21 at 4:30 p.m. when the Sunoco 150 at the Monster Mile goes green.

-credit: dc/ajc

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Series NASCAR