returning to Seekonk Speedway for Saturday night's running of the Coca-Cola 150. Even when rain showed up Saturday and forced the race to be rescheduled to Sunday afternoon, he was eagerly awaiting getting back on the third-mile track. Penfold ...
returning to Seekonk Speedway for Saturday night's running of the Coca-Cola 150. Even when rain showed up Saturday and forced the race to be rescheduled to Sunday afternoon, he was eagerly awaiting getting back on the third-mile track. Penfold finished tenth at Seekonk back in May, and after top-ten runs in each of his last two races, Penfold had past results and momentum on his side.
An afternoon of practice went smoothly for the short-track Monte Carlo sponsored by VIP Charter Coaches. After gearing up for qualifying, Penfold made his time trial run but could only muster a lap good enough for the 21st starting spot in the 30-car field.
"I just got loose, the track's hot and we didn't get the car tight enough," he said after qualifying. "It just made myself have to work a little harder in the race. Bob [Harrison, crew chief] had the car handling real good in practice. We just screwed up a little bit in time trials, we'll just have to show them what we can do on the racetrack in the race."
Penfold did just that. Despite starting deep in a field of drivers who were bumping each other in every corner, Penfold stayed his course and stayed on the lead lap. The car was still loose, though, and Penfold brought the car to pit road three times for adjustments, but never lost that lead lap position. A run-in with rookie Matt Dewey on lap 92 resulted in body damage to Penfold's car, but he never got out of the gas and kept the car straight.
As the laps wound down Penfold started putting on a charge towards the front, coming from 21st on lap 75 after his last pit stop to twelfth just 35 laps later. Unfortunately, Penfold could not improve his position further and crossed the checkers in that spot.
"We did all right," he said after the race. "The car just wasn't hooked up. We fought it all day. We pitted and pitted and we just couldn't get the car to go into the corner. I'd go in and the car would push up, then I'd try to get on the throttle and the car would get out from underneath me. We did the best we could. We pitted three times and finished on the lead lap. We got twelfth and I think we moved up a little bit in points. The car's still running so we're happy.
"It was a rough race," Penfold continued. "The lapped cars were beating and banging. If you take a look at the cars I don't think there's any here with a straight panel on them. But it was the track, it was slippery and greasy out there. You did the best you could. We made it, I'm happy for VIP Charter Coaches, we're still close to the top ten again so we'll take it."
Penfold now turns his attention to making final preparations to the team's road course car, affectionately named "Twisted Sister", for duty in next Saturday's Little Trees 150 at Watkins Glen. Run in conjunction with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, the race will be televised live on NBC-TV at 2PM.