Joe Masessa Makes 2008 Debut At NHMS; Finishes Twentieth Loudon, N.H. (June 27, 2008) - Joe Masessa, running the first of two scheduled NASCAR Camping World East Series races on his 2008 schedule, successfully completed Friday's Heluva Good! ...
Joe Masessa Makes 2008 Debut At NHMS; Finishes Twentieth
Loudon, N.H. (June 27, 2008) - Joe Masessa, running the first of two scheduled NASCAR Camping World East Series races on his 2008 schedule, successfully completed Friday's Heluva Good! Summer 125 by running all the race's laps and finishing twentieth. Masessa, driving his No. 14 North Jersey Dermatology Chevrolet, had to come back from being a lap down to score his top-twenty finish.
Masessa, who prepared for this race by participating in a test day back in May, returned with two goals: finish on the lead lap and with a car that could be raced again. Mother Nature wasn't making things easy on him, or the rest of the Camping World Series teams, as rain eliminated any chance of practice time on Thursday. Another victim of the rain was the scheduled qualifying session, so Masessa was slotted into the starting lineup near the rear of the field as he hadn't accumulated any points yet in the 2008 season.
At the start of the race, Masessa quickly worked on getting up to speed, since the last time he was on a track in actual competition was last September. He had no early cautions to help him stay on the lead lap, though. His lap-down situation, though, was temporary as he was given a free pass when caution flew on lap 22.
"The long green flag run to start wasn't exactly what I wanted," he said. "I needed time to get acclimated to the mile. I needed about sixty laps to get used to looking far into the turns rather than looking at the braking markers. I went down a lap early, which I didn't mind. I needed to stay in the back until I got my mojo."
Back on the lead lap, Masessa made separate pit stops for fuel and tires, and he was set to run to the race's conclusion.
"The guys pulled off a great two-tire stop to keep me in contention," he said.
Things were looking good for the Franklin Lakes, New Jersey driver as he was riding in the top fifteen with just a handful of laps to go. Had there been single-file restarts inside ten laps to go, as was the case when Masessa was a regular on the tour, he felt he would have had a better chance at holding onto that spot.
"We lost some spots on that last restart," he stated. "We tried to hold them off but somehow one or two of them got under me going into the turn and we had to let them go."
At the finish, Masessa was twentieth, and he was happy with that result.
"We accomplished both of our goals, even though it was rough out there," he said. "We're real happy. It was real nice seeing some of the guys we used to race with in the past as well as the new talent. We had a good time, and we can't wait to come back in September."