Dale Quarterley's worst-to-first race at Lime Rock Park on Saturday afternoon provided a fitting finale to his best season yet in the NASCAR Busch North Series. Being forced to start from the rear of the field did not daunt the Westfield, ...
Dale Quarterley's worst-to-first race at Lime Rock Park on Saturday afternoon provided a fitting finale to his best season yet in the NASCAR Busch North Series. Being forced to start from the rear of the field did not daunt the Westfield, Massachusetts driver who proceeded to run through the field to bring his Land O Lakes Chevrolet to its second victory of the season.
Quarterley entered Lime Rock as one of the favorites to win after a close call at the other road course race held this year at Watkins Glen. After being one of the most-watched cars in practice held Friday afternoon, Quarterley took to qualifying where he could only muster the sixth fastest time.
"We seem to be decent in the long runs, that I can pretty well maintain what we're doing, but I can't seem to get terminal velocity out of it," he said after his qualifying attempt. "We'll just have to wait till tomorrow to see what happens in the long run."
Quarterley praised his car's consistency.
"In practice it would go four or five laps and do the same lap times for all four or five laps," he said. "It seems like it's a decent long run car, it just won't do the terminal velocity."
Saturday morning found Quarterley reporting to the mandatory drivers meeting just a few minutes late, and the penalty for doing so was to give up his starting spot and start the race from the rear of the field. Instead of starting sixth, he would start 36th.
Quarterley started his charge at the drop of the green flag, picking up nine positions in just the first four laps. He was up to fourth after some leaders pitted under a lap 16 caution, and moved to third on the next restart. He pitted himself under caution on lap 23, returning to the track outside of the top 15. Moving through the field was tougher the second time around, and he did not return to contention until after he halfway point.
With less than 30 laps to go, Quarterley took over the third spot. Following the final caution he passed Mike Johnson for second. He ran down the leader, Boris Said, and under braking heading into the first turn, Quarterley made the winning pass. He went on to win by 1.3 seconds.
"I just had a little better run coming onto the front straightaway," he said of his winning pass. "I think I had a little better balance front to rear than the other guys had and coming onto the front straightaway I could gain on everybody. I just got a little better run and drafted him down the straightaway and dropped to the inside. Boris was pinching me off a little but luckily he gave me enough room, and it's all I needed.
"I didn't have the terminal speed, we got spanked in qualifying by Bryan Wall. But the car was as fast as I could make it go," Quarterley continued. "No matter what I tried I gave up somewhere to get somewhere else. That was the best neutral I could get and it showed at the end of the race, where we had them covered bar none. And it was no different at the end than it was at the beginning, so it was a good deal."
Quarterley completes his best Busch North season with two wins, six top-five finishes and twelve top-tens. He finishes the year fifth in series championship points.