Best Finish In Five Years For Kip Stockwell Waterford, Conn. (Aug. 19, 2006) - Kip Stockwell has been looking forward to the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at the third-mile Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl for months. The...
Best Finish In Five Years For Kip Stockwell
Waterford, Conn. (Aug. 19, 2006) - Kip Stockwell has been looking forward to the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at the third-mile Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl for months. The most similar track to the one he grew up at, Waterford rewarded Stockwell with a seventh-place finish Saturday night. It was Stockwell's best series finish since he was fifth at the end of Waterford's race in June 2001.
"We had a great night," the Braintree, Vermont driver said after the race. "We got seventh place with the EastSeries.com car, and we had a great night. This is the race I really wanted to do well at and we did that. I'm really happy."
The first car to take time in qualifying, Stockwell's No. 16 Chevrolet got to clean off the track for the rest of the field's attempts and was still good enough for eleventh on the starting grid.
"I felt like a street sweeper out there," he said.
"I don't think we're a top five car yet, but I think realistically we're good for a top ten. I think we're going to have a good car if we stay out of trouble. We're starting eleventh and that's a little further back than I really wanted to be, but it's a pretty tight field. We have to settle in for the first fifty or seventy-five laps, not tear it up, and see what we've got at the end."
Stockwell did not move forward at the start of the race, and knew the car needed an adjustment to be more competitive. A lap 49 caution allowed him that opportunity to pit and have the crew make a slight adjustment to the car.
"At the beginning of the race we were junk. I didn't have any forward bite. We needed to make a pit stop to get that forward bite so I could get up off the turns. We came in and made a small chassis change and I knew it right after we came back out, I could feel it in the car that it was there," he said.
He returned to the race in sixteenth but with the changes he was quickly into the top ten. The second half of his race saw him fall back to eleventh before rebounding to run eighth with thirty to go. Stockwell ran strong on the outside. Following a lap 121 restart he was up to sixth, but gave in to pressure and fell to seventh.
"I was running sixth and I was better than some of the guys in front of me, but Mike Johnson wanted to get by me and he was going to wreck me to do it," he said. "He had me sideways all the way down the backstretch, and finally I just waved him by. It's just one spot, and while I wanted a sixth or a fifth, it's better than getting spun out and finishing eighteenth. And he would have done that, he was all over me and banging me for a few laps. I just knew he was going to wreck me, so it was better to let him go."
Finishing seventh allowed him to hang onto eleventh in the series points standings, making up points on the four drivers ahead of him, heading into the final three races of the season. The Busch East Series resumes in September with races at New Hampshire and Dover International Speedways and concludes at the end of September at Lime Rock Park.
Waterford's race was broadcast live on HDNet television and will be rebroadcast on SpeedTV on Friday, Sept. 1 at 4:00 p.m.