John Salemi Brings Ocean Glass Chevrolet Home In Twelfth Loudon, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2007) - John Salemi welcomed a new sponsor, Ocean Glass, to his No. 63 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series operation for Friday's 125-lap event at New...
John Salemi Brings Ocean Glass Chevrolet Home In Twelfth
Loudon, N.H. (Sept. 14, 2007) - John Salemi welcomed a new sponsor, Ocean Glass, to his No. 63 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series operation for Friday's 125-lap event at New Hampshire International Speedway and rewarded his new partner with a twelfth place finish in the Aubuchon Hardware 125, a race broadcast live on HDNet television and taped to air on Speed Channel at noon on October 3rd.
Salemi's weekend at NHIS was far from easy. After blowing a NASCAR spec engine at Lime Rock Park two races ago and having to race the following event with a backup engine, he had a new spec engine for this weekend. But when he first got it on the track, it wasn't running at full song.
"We got maybe three hot laps of practice but spent most of the time trying to diagnose the motor," he said. "We traced it to the carburetor, the secondary floats were stuck shut. It ran down the straightaway but it'd stall getting into the turns. We got some help from Fred Skaff of the 03 team and he found the problem and fixed it. I got on the track after that and found that I had no clutch, so I got out of the car after that and we got to work on that."
With all the necessary repairs, Salemi reported late to pre-qualifying tech inspection and lost one of this two qualifying laps as a result. But in that one lap, even without any practice to work on the car setup, he was 28th fastest out of 41 cars entered.
"I had no idea what the car was going to do in time trials because we never had a chance to work on setup stuff," the Nashua, New Hampshire driver said. "The car felt decent in qualifying, and I think it'll be a good car in the race, but it's hard to tell in just one lap. We ran 28th in one lap with a car we couldn't tune on all day, so we feel pretty good about it. We're confident that we can get up to the top ten, which will be good because we have all the people from Ocean Glass coming for the race."
As trying as Thursday was for the John Salemi Racing team was, Friday went a lot smoother. He stayed on the lead lap as the race began with a quick caution and then a thirty-lap long green flag run. At the second caution, on lap 40, he pitted with all the other competitors for gas and rejoined the race. He made a second stop, again under caution on lap 70, and then a final stop for adjustments with just 17 laps to go. He went from a low point of 29th to running tenth just after the final restart. But that last adjustment made the car loose, and he lost a pair of positions late to finish twelfth.
"It was a tough day for the Ocean Glass Chevrolet," he said after the race. "We were too tight to make any passes, and at the end we loosened it up too much so I couldn't get a good drive off the corners. It was loose in and loose off so it was a handful. We had cooked the brakes early on so I didn't have much left when I needed it. I kept putting rear brake into it until my crew told me that my rear rotors were glowing red, so that's all I could do with that."
While it was a tough day, it was also a successful day as twelfth was Salemi's best performance yet at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway.
"Twelfth place is not bad for not getting any practice and qualifying 28th, plus we have a car we can bring to Dover," he said, alluding to next Friday's season finale at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. "We had a good day for our sponsors Ocean Glass and Express Signs. We have a lot of changes to make to the car before going to Dover, but it's all setup stuff and not fixing stuff that's broken. That's good."