Late-Race Flat Tire Takes Bill Penfold From Third to Twelfth at Adirondack (Beaver Falls, N.Y. - July 31, 2004) - Bill Penfold came within thirteen laps of posting his best finish of the 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series ...
Late-Race Flat Tire Takes Bill Penfold From Third to Twelfth at Adirondack
(Beaver Falls, N.Y. - July 31, 2004) - Bill Penfold came within thirteen laps of posting his best finish of the 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season. He was running third when the red flag was thrown over the Kinney Drugs 150 at Adirondack International Speedway, and that's when one of his tires started going flat. Over the final two restarts of the race, Penfold fell from third to finish twelfth.
The day started with rain and that was the prevailing theme all the way up to and even once during the actual race. Two practice sessions were held, while qualifying was not. Penfold was assigned the fifteenth starting position for the race, since that's where he was standing in the points, despite being twelfth and tenth fastest in the two practice rounds.
Penfold ran in the twelfth position through most of the race's first third, then pitted under caution on lap 58, restarting outside of the top fifteen. The changes made on the pit stop were working, though, and Penfold was quickly up to tenth before the lap 75 mark, and he wasn't done moving up then. Eighth on lap 80, sixth a few laps later, he entered the top five following a lap 102 restart. He took fourth from Mike Johnson on lap 108, but gave that spot back a few laps later, though that was temporary and Penfold was fifth with just twenty-five laps to go.
With under fifteen to go, Penfold passed Andy Santerre while one of the leaders spun, and he was quickly up to third place. But the track needed cleaning up, and the red flag was displayed on lap 137 of 150. While under that caution, one of his right-side tires developed a leak.
When the race restarted, Penfold's car's handling had gone away and he fell to fifth. Not helping was a final caution that set up a two-lap dash to the checkers, and he could only hold on as he fell to twelfth, the last car on the lead lap.
"They red flagged it and I had a leaking right tire," he explained after the race. "I could have pitted, and I still would have been last, so I just kind of rode it out. The VIP Charter Coach Chevrolet was really going. We started fifteenth, got up to third and all we needed was a little luck. We can't seem to buy any. It's real disheartening. The crew worked real hard to come back here after we had a bad run at Loudon. We got a little setup help from Andy Santerre, so we're getting a handle on the car. Bob and the whole crew worked their tails off. It's just a shame.
"There was no question that we had a top-five car, we showed that all night," Penfold continued. "I can't thank the guys enough. They traveled all this way just to lose this in the last couple of laps, that's a real heartbreaker. Tonight just tore my heart out."
Penfold has reasons to be optimistic, though, as he gets a weekend off and then goes to Watkins Glen International for the running of its annual Busch North race on Saturday, August 14th. Penfold put himself in position to win that race last year with his pit strategy, but rain forced the race to end early and he finished fifth behind four cars that would have had to pit if the race continued much longer.
For more information, visit www.penfoldmotorsports.com.