Stafford's Outside Groove Not Kind To Jeff Anton Stafford Springs, Conn. (June 8, 2007) - Stafford Motor Speedway has a reputation for being a tricky half-mile oval. NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series driver Jeff Anton found out...
Stafford's Outside Groove Not Kind To Jeff Anton
Stafford Springs, Conn. (June 8, 2007) - Stafford Motor Speedway has a reputation for being a tricky half-mile oval. NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series driver Jeff Anton found out how fickle the track can be during the running of Friday night's TSI Harley-Davidson 150 as his No. 30 Baran Institute of Technology/Engineered Floors, Inc. Chevrolet ran well in the one lane where it was most happy. A little off that line, though, and Anton was struggling. He wound up finishing eighteenth.
Anton, off an encouraging short-track race just six days earlier in South Boston, Virginia, came to Stafford with a large contingent of supporters from Baran Institute on hand to cheer him on. They witnessed a driver who struggled through the two practice sessions, but progressed enough to time in eighteenth in qualifying.
"I thought we'd be better here since it's a track we've been to before and we know it fairly well," he said, "but it didn't seem to make that much of a difference. As far as how the car qualified, it's getting better every week and that car's getting faster.
"For the race, we'll be fine," Anton continued. "We're going to run a clean race. I learned a lot last week about some of the guys we're racing against, as far as where they're good, where I can get them, how they are on restarts, and where I can take advantage of them. I moved around a lot and found a new line to pass a lot of them."
Starting eighteenth, it was almost immediately after taking the green flag that Anton discovered his car did not like being on the outside.
"We started off on the outside and it took a while to get to the inside. We could not handle on the outside to save our lives," he said.
Even a pit stop for a chassis adjustment under caution on lap 121 didn't help that much as he went on to finish eighteenth.
"It wasn't our night," Anton said. "We got caught on the outside on a few of those restarts and when we went back green we just went straight backwards. Once I got back on the inside I could run with anyone but it took a while to pass each car. After I'd clear that car there'd be a ten- to fifteen-car gap up to the next one in my sights and I'd be able to run them down. It wasn't that the car was horrible, it just had one line where it was good and if I was just a little too low or a little too high, it wouldn't go. It knew where it wanted to be to be decent and it wasn't happy anywhere else."
With Stafford behind him, Anton is already looking forward to the next race on the schedule, which is at New Hampshire International Speedway. He'll be driving the newer car that he drove to an eighth place finish in the combination race at Iowa Speedway last month. Green flag at NHIS comes at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 29th.