Jeff Anton Fourteenth At Mansfield Mansfield, Ohio (August 23, 2008) - Russell, Massachusetts' Jeff Anton hinted before Saturday's Mansfield 150, a NASCAR Camping World Series race held at the half-mile Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park, that ...
Jeff Anton Fourteenth At Mansfield
Mansfield, Ohio (August 23, 2008) - Russell, Massachusetts' Jeff Anton hinted before Saturday's Mansfield 150, a NASCAR Camping World Series race held at the half-mile Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park, that this race might be as good for him as the one at Music City Motorplex was earlier this season. That race saw Anton race into the top-five before a flat tire cut that charge short. Anton thought his No. 30 Engineered Floors/Fast Track Medical Systems Chevrolet would be just as good at Mansfield, but a race filled with cautions and uncooperative race traffic kept him from finishing up front. He was fourteenth at the end.
A problem that has confounded the Anton Racing team has been its qualifying, where the car actually ran slower in time trials on fresh tires than it did in practice on old tires. This held true at Mansfield, where Anton timed in nineteenth fastest.
"I didn't do as well in qualifying as I wanted to do," he said. "But I'm real happy with the car. It's really good off the corners and I can keep it low, which will be good for passing. In qualifying, the front of the car didn't seem to grip that well. It's not how we wanted it to work, but overall the car is good. We should be good on long runs today."
Long runs were not in the cards for the Mansfield 150, as a dozen caution flags flew and ate up a third of the race distance. With the race being made up of a series of short runs, Anton couldn't get to take advantage of his car's ability to perform well on long green-flag stretches. It started when Matt Kobyluck slowed with a tire going flat and Anton was trapped behind him, falling through the field. It got worse on lap 61 when Anton was spun out by another competitor. He drove away from the incident but had to visit pit road for adjustments and to make sure there was no damage.
From restarting outside the top twenty, Anton made it back to fourteenth in the remaining racing laps.
"We couldn't catch a break tonight, and that's all there was to it," he said. "We got stuck behind the 40 car when he had his flat tire and couldn't get around him. A couple of times we got stuck on the outside when the inside lane was the one that was moving. Near the end of the race we really got the outside to work well on the restarts, and I could get by a lot of cars on restarts. Once it got single-file I could catch up to the guys in front of me but I needed more time to get around them."
What upset Anton the most was the quality, a term he used loosely, of racing demonstrated by the younger drivers in the series.
"At the end there everyone was jumping the restarts and NASCAR wouldn't do anything about it," he said. "There were guys out there who would just hack you off in the corners when you were beside them, and one time I had to send one of them around. He was asking for it. Other than that, we couldn't get a break. The series has gotten pretty bad with all the kids that come in thinking they can rule the track. They're quick, but they don't know how to race. They're still learning the stuff that you should already know before you come here."
In three weeks, Anton returns to action at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the running of the Heluva Good Fall 125. That race is held on Friday evening, September 12, after NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying.
"We need to get our luck turned around," he said. "We haven't had any luck yet this year so hopefully it'll come to us at Loudon. We were sixth there last time but then we had a right-front tire go flat on us. We don't qualify that well, but we race well unless something stupid happens to us."