ES: Thompson: Dion Ciccarelli race notes

Dion Ciccarelli Trapped A Lap Down At Thompson Thompson, Conn. (July 14, 2007) - A minor spin was all that was needed to get Severn, Maryland's Dion Ciccarelli passed by the leaders of the Pepsi 100 and put a lap down on Saturday night. The ...

Dion Ciccarelli Trapped A Lap Down At Thompson

Thompson, Conn. (July 14, 2007) - A minor spin was all that was needed to get Severn, Maryland's Dion Ciccarelli passed by the leaders of the Pepsi 100 and put a lap down on Saturday night. The balance of the race was spent trying to get the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series driver in position to get that lap back, but time ran out before that opportunity came and he finished the race nineteenth.

The race to get to Thompson was a long one for the Jamerson Motorsports team. Residue from an underhood fire and crash damage from the previous race at New Hampshire International Speedway meant there was plenty of work to do in the two weeks between races.

"When we came home from Loudon we basically had to take the whole car apart: the body came off, and the engine and transmission came out," Ciccarelli said. "The chemical they used to put the fire out got everywhere so we had to strip the whole car to clean everything up. We had to return all the motor parts we borrowed from Andy Santerre, then buy all new motor parts of our own, put new gaskets on the motor, repaint the whole front clip, and fix the body damage from that late wreck. The rear end was bent so we put our spare rear end in the car while we try to fix the one that came out of the car. The only thing we didn't touch was the interior, seat, and the wiring. We finally got everything right, painted, and put everything back together."

After qualifying eighteenth and getting into the race, the opening laps of the Pepsi 100 already spelled trouble for the driver of the No. 84 Star Sales/Operation Gratitude Chevrolet.

"The race started and I had no radio," he said. "I tried to run clean and get to the first caution where I could pit and I got a working radio. Then I could start racing, but the car wasn't handling all that well. We rode it out knowing that it would come to us before the end."

After surviving one incident where he was hit and spun from behind while slowing for an accident ahead of him, Ciccarelli continued in the race waiting for the chassis and the track to come to an agreement. But while racing, he was involved in a racing incident that changed the rest of his race.

"I was trying to pass the 11 car," Ciccarelli explained. "He and I were racing real hard and I was having a real hard time getting by him. The 66 came and the three of us were all racing hard. The 66 got into me and we both went for a spin. That didn't do much damage to the car, but the leaders passed by before we got going again and that knocked us off the lead lap. By the end, the car came to me and I could race, but we realized that it was pointless to risk tearing up the car when we couldn't improve that much. And even though I was still being real careful, I was still getting knocked around like crazy. I'm glad to get out of here with minor damage."

Ciccarelli will try to bounce back when the Busch East Series makes its first-ever appearance in Nashville, Tennessee for a 150-lap event at the Music City Motorplex, a historic .625-mile track. That race will be broadcast live on HDNet television starting at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 22.

-credit: dc/ajc

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Series NASCAR