Dale Quarterley Scores Second Consecutive Top Five Finish at Thompson Land O Lakes Chevrolet driver Dale Quarterley, of Westfield, Massachusetts, took his second straight top-five finish Saturday night at Thompson Speedway. His fifth place...
Dale Quarterley Scores Second Consecutive Top Five Finish at Thompson
Land O Lakes Chevrolet driver Dale Quarterley, of Westfield, Massachusetts, took his second straight top-five finish Saturday night at Thompson Speedway. His fifth place finish backs up his third place run the previous week at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, moving him up to sixth place in the championship standings of the NASCAR Busch North Series.
The newly paved track proved to be fast and Quarterley took advantage of extended practice sessions in the morning to set his Chevrolet up for the race. Once he settled on a good race setup, he taped the grille up for qualifying and set a speed that was good enough for 12th place.
"We were decent in practice," he said, "and found a decent long-term setup so we rolled out to qualify with just more tape on to make it more aerodynamic. The tape made it too loose. I got down in the turn and got my foot off the brake and the tail tried to come around. It did it on the green flag lap coming out of three and four so it ruined both that and the next lap. It still went an eight (20.824 seconds), so it's still competitive. I think we'll be all right come race time."
From that 12th starting spot, it was just 41 laps before Quarterley was into the top five. He stayed there until lap 86, when the leaders came to pit road under caution and Quarterley followed them down pit road to change two tires. Coming out of the pits outside the top ten, he was back into it just before the race's two-thirds distance mark. He made it to fifth with 25 laps to go and set his sights on fourth-place Bryan Wall, but brushed the wall twice trying to make up ground and decided to hold onto fifth, where he was scored at the finish.
"We're getting a little better every week," he said after the race. "We're missing that one last little piece of the setup, but every week the piece gets smaller. We started 12th, which was my fault because I messed up in qualifying. We got up to fifth and were challenging, but I hung back for a little while to let those guys race and I'd save my tires.
"When I saw those guys pit," he continued, "I decided that the tires were going away and I pitted with them, put some tires on and then come back through. We did that since I got up to fifth, but for some reason the tires didn't come in like the first set, and it was just a little bit tight. It just didn't want to finish the last little piece of the turn. Then there was one lap coming out of turn two where I was really trying to catch the 77 [Bryan Wall] and I was really on the gas and suddenly the thing just took off and I wailed the wall a ton. Sparks were flying and I was in there thrashing with the wheel trying to get it under control, but I never lifted. But I thought for sure that I'd have a flat when I got to the next turn but somehow it kept going. Since it kept going, about three laps later I wailed the wall coming out of turn four and I decided that fifth was good enough."
Quarterley is still happy with the finish, and how well his crew's coming together both in preparing the car and during race pit stops.
"The team did a good job, we had a good pit stop and beat a lot of guys out. We even beat Leighton's team out, which for us is sensational," he said.
Quarterley now turns his attention to New Hampshire International Speedway, where the Busch North Series will be sharing a weekend with two of NASCAR's national series. Coming off a top ten finish there back in May, Quarterley is looking forward to continuing his string of top ten runs.
-Alan J. Claffie