LONDON, ON - MOPAR Performance Parts Dodge driver Ron Beauchamp Jr. opened his 2004 CASCAR Super Series season with an impressive fourth-place result in the MOPAR 250 at London's Delaware Speedway on Saturday evening. Beauchamp started seventh...
LONDON, ON - MOPAR Performance Parts Dodge driver Ron Beauchamp Jr. opened his 2004 CASCAR Super Series season with an impressive fourth-place result in the MOPAR 250 at London's Delaware Speedway on Saturday evening.
Beauchamp started seventh in the 36-car field and came out on the winning end of an intense late-race battle for fourth when he powered away from fellow Dodge driver Dave Whitlock on the exit from turn 4 on the final lap of the race.
"I was pleased to get a good run and result like that in a brand new car,"said Beauchamp, after the race. "This was a good performance for us and we're happy we could do it in the MOPAR 250 in front of so many people from DaimlerChrysler. It's an excellent start. We've had trouble in this race in years past, so this almost feels like a win to us. It's great to get off on the right foot like this."^]
The accomplishment was all the more impressive considering Beauchamp - who hails from Windsor, ON - had the shifter handle come off in his hand just prior to the final restart. Beauchamp continued, "The last caution, as I was taking the white flag just before the restart, I went to check that the car was in fourth [gear] and the shifter came off in my hand. I couldn't tell which gear it was in, so I took the shifter boot off and did everything I could to confirm I was in the right gear. But I couldn't be sure until the green flag dropped. Luckily, it was in fourth, so it worked out."^]
Beauchamp's late-race success can be attributed to the pair of superb pit stops his Team MOPAR executed prior to the halfway point of the race. "Before my first stop, the car was really loose because the right-front tire was wearing out. We came in for two tires [right side] during our first stop.
"We were hoping for another caution soon after, because we wanted to get a new left-rear on it, too. That strategy worked out perfectly because the gap between our stops was only four [green flag] laps. Having three good tires on it really paid off late, especially the new right-front, which really tightened the car up, making it great for the end."
According to Beauchamp, he could have had a chance at a podium finish, but he had his hands full with other matters. "I could have taken a shot at picking up another place at the end, but the car was just slightly twitchy off the turns, and I had my hands full holding onto fourth with Whitlock being so aggressive behind me."
MOPAR NOTES: The MOPAR 250 marked the 11th consecutive year that MOPAR put its name on the spring CASCAR Super Series event at Delaware Speedway... Five MOPAR-powered Dodges both started and finished in the top 10 at Delaware... Qualifying for the MOPAR 250 took place the previous Saturday, but severe weather forced the race back one weekend.
RACE SUMMARY: Peter Gibbons won the MOPAR 250 under the lights at Delaware Speedway. The two-time National champion had four prior CASCAR Super Series feature wins at Delaware, but all of them had come in the track's fall event. Jeff Lapcevich finished second as part of his spectacular run. Lapcevich started last in the race after another driver had qualified his car, last weekend, thereby sacrificing the team's starting position. Veteran racer Scott Steckly earned the final podium position in the MOPAR 250. The next Super Series race takes place this coming Sunday (June 6) at Cayuga Speedway.