Bill Penfold, driving the ...
Bill Penfold, driving the #0 VIP Charter Coaches Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, recorded his sixth top-ten finish of the 2001 season when he finished eighth in Stafford Motor Speedway's Carquest Fall Final. Penfold's result raised him up one position in the season points standings to fourteenth with just one race remaining.
Penfold's weekend started on Saturday with practice and qualifying. After putting up fast laps in practice, Penfold took his qualifying attempt and posted the twelfth fastest time, 20.137 seconds (89.388 MPH) on the Connecticut half-mile track.
"I'd probably have been a little faster but I goofed it up on the second lap myself," he said after qualifying. "The car was really good, there's nobody to blame by myself. I pinched it down too far in the middle of the corner, that made it loose. But we're starting twelfth, near the front, and it gives us a shot to win it. The car's been running great all day, and tomorrow's another day. We'll be here and we'll be fast."
Penfold was right about his being fast in the race, as he was quickly up to ninth place before ten laps of the 150-lap race were in the books, and he was never out of the top ten for the balance of the event. He ran as high as seventh, spending almost the entire distance racing with Bryon Chew. With the car running well, and not having to make a pit stop, Penfold only had to survive a late-race bump from the lapped car of Mike Rowe with a great save in the first turn before bringing the car home in eighth place.
"That was a good run," he said after the race. "It's a shame that the lapped cars gave everybody a real hard time today. I was running with the 09 [Chew], we ran pretty much together the 09, the 86 [Dennis Demers] and us. We probably could have gained a little bit but the lapped cars got into it, and one of them almost wrecked me.
"We're happy as hell with eighth place, that's a lot better than what happened to us at Dover," Penfold continued, referring to his late-race wreck at Dover Downs last weekend. "We saved the car, it's still running. It's got a little dent but we made some money finally. I'm real happy for VIP Charter Coaches being on the car, it's a shame but if we don't get a little help for next year we're not going to be able to run the whole tour. We can run the tour, we just need some financial backing and we can go from there."
The Busch North Series winds up in two weeks at Lime Rock Park's 1.53 mile road course. Penfold considers the annual visit to the Connecticut track one of his favorites.
"I can't wait to get to Lime Rock," he said. "The crowd is great, I think I look forward to that more than anything. Since I rolled that car over there a few years ago I've been having a blast at Lime Rock. They know I'll be there, just tickled to be around all those people again. And the race track's a beautiful place, I just look forward to it every year."