Land O Lakes Chevrolet driver Dale Quarterley had high hopes entering the Carquest Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday. After several strong runs in recent weeks, including a win at Beech Ridge and a close call at Dover, he was hoping...
Land O Lakes Chevrolet driver Dale Quarterley had high hopes entering the Carquest Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday. After several strong runs in recent weeks, including a win at Beech Ridge and a close call at Dover, he was hoping to improve on fourteenth, his best finish in two previous Stafford races this year. A mid-race accident not of his making cost Quarterley a shot at continuing his hot streak, though, forcing him to retire in 26th position after completing 101 of 150 laps.
Quarterley's weekend started off on a strong note, with his qualifying in tenth position. The race did not get off to a good start as the car started overheating just fifteen laps into the race, forcing Quarterley to make a green flag pit stop.
"At the beginning we were biding our time and all of a sudden I look down and the thing's running 230 degrees, it should be 210-220," he said. "A couple laps later I see it's at 240, and the next time it's 245 so I said to the guys that I'd have to pit in the next couple laps. Then I saw the flagman was pointing to me too, so I pitted that lap. What happened was that somebody's cellophane bag from the stands covered the whole bottom of the grille. We pulled that off and pulled a little bit of tape off, and when I went out the temperature went down but by then we were already a lap down."
Returning to the track, Quarterley tried to run through the field so he could race to get back on the lead lap. Caution came out on lap 79 and Quarterley pitted again, putting on two tires. Shortly after the race resumed, Quarterley was racing to get by Ted Christopher when Christopher lost it in turn four, and Quarterley took evasive action to avoid him. The two headed to the infield grass where Quarterley tried to slow the car. He wound up returning to the track spun in turn two where he was hit in the left front by Kip Stockwell. Despite the heavy damage, Quarterley drove to the pits for repairs, but the car began overheating again and he was forced to retire from the event, making this the first race he failed to finish this year.
"Ted Christopher lost it coming off the turn, and it was either T-bone him in the driver's door or take a major left to avoid him," Quarterley said after the race. "I chose the major left and we got going in the grass. I tried to slow it down on the little race track on the inside and got most of the speed off, but couldn't quite get it slowed down enough. I got up on the race track and it stopped and I thought I got out of that OK, but Kip Stockwell was thinking I was going to keep going up, but I didn't go up, I stayed down, he turned down and creamed the left front tire right off the thing.
"The body's pretty bad," Quarterley continued. "It didn't seem to tear up too much suspension stuff, but the whole nose is gone on it. It must have poked a hole in the radiator because when we went back out it would not cool off."
The final Busch North race of the season comes up in two weeks at Lime Rock Park. Quarterley, who started and finished second at Lime Rock last year, finished sixth at Watkins Glen's road course in August after a flat tire robbed him of a chance to win right after he took the lead.