James Pritchard Jr. 24th at NHIS in Mannings USA Dodge Loudon, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2007) - When the Mannings USA car was loaded up after its last race, it was a pretty banged up Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Three weeks later, it was unloaded at New ...
James Pritchard Jr. 24th at NHIS in Mannings USA Dodge
Loudon, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2007) - When the Mannings USA car was loaded up after its last race, it was a pretty banged up Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Three weeks later, it was unloaded at New Hampshire International Speedway as a smooth and shiny Dodge Charger. With the new body, NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series rookie James Pritchard Jr. brought home a 24th-place finish in the Aubuchon Hardware 125 at the Magic Mile.
Several long days in the shop produced the new Dodge, which looked to have a promising debut as Pritchard posted the twentieth fastest lap of 41 cars entered in Thursday afternoon's practice. But qualifying wasn't as good as the James Pritchard Motorsports team had hoped, timing in 33rd with a fast lap of 31.628 seconds (120.425 MPH).
"We had some brake issues that we had to sort out in the beginning of practice," he said. "After that, the car was good and I was happy with it. We did some mock qualifying runs and we were real optimistic. We made a couple changes for qualifying and I don't know what went wrong. They were minor changes, real little stuff. We can't do anything about it now, and it's going to be good for the race since it's nice and free. As long as we don't burn up the tires we'll be in good shape."
The handling problems continued into Friday's 125-lap race. Pritchard pitted twice under the race's second caution for gas and adjustments, and again under the next caution for more chassis changes. He had gone two laps down, but got one of those back just under halfway, and maintained that position to the finish, where he was scored 24th.
"The car was way too loose in the beginning, so we came in and adjusted on it," he said after the race. "It felt good for the first five or ten laps after that, but then it just went away on me. We had the left front control arm bushing go on us, then we picked up a vibration in the right front late, and the brakes were pretty much gone, so I just rode it out to the end."
While NHIS didn't return the result that Pritchard was looking for, he only has a week before finding redemption as the Busch East Series wraps up its 2007 season at the high banks of Dover International Speedway. Practice and qualifying will be held on Thursday with the race starting at 4:30 p.m. live on HDNet television.
"The car's in one piece, which is a good thing, because we can go to Dover next week," he said. "We have a lot of changes to make, but we'll get them done and get ready to go fast."