Bill Penfold overcomes engine troubles to post twelfth place finish at Dover. Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, made his third start at Dover International Speedway on Friday afternoon for the running of the MBNA All American Heroes 150....
Bill Penfold overcomes engine troubles to post twelfth place finish at Dover.
Bill Penfold, of Yarmouth, Maine, made his third start at Dover International Speedway on Friday afternoon for the running of the MBNA All American Heroes 150. Penfold, driving the Mandeville Chevrolet/VIP Charter Coach Chevrolet Monte Carlo, battled an engine problem that kept him from achieving top speed on the high-speed, high-banked concrete oval, but he used the car's handling to make it work in the corners and brought the car home in twelfth place.
Penfold, who was involved in a violent crash at Dover last year, came back with his rebuilt speedway Chevrolet and was just fifteenth in the first practice session. Qualifying didn't treat the NASCAR Busch North Series veteran much better, as he was just nineteenth after time trials. He did recover to run tenth fastest in the final practice.
"We're having a little bit of engine trouble, the engine's not pulling like it should," he said Friday morning. "We're hunting it down, just having a hard time. The car's handling great, I'm real impressed with that. I pretty much flat-footed it all the way around in time trials, the engine's not pulling so I was trying to make up for it. If we can find the problem we'll be a little faster, but if not, the car's still fast. We can still get the job done, but it would be easier if the motor was running right.
"I'm just driving the wheels off it trying to make up for it, and it seems to be working although it'll be hard on me all day long," Penfold continued. "But I'm not going to give up. We're checking everything we can. If we can't find it, they'll leave it up to the driver to make it up and I figure I'm good for another fifty horsepower."
Quickly moving to fifteenth after the start of the race, Penfold took advantage of a lap 64 yellow to pit for right-side tires and gas. He returned to the track in sixth place, thanks to other cars making second stops while he did not. Following a lap 76 yellow, he was riding fifth. With the engine still not fully up to speed, Penfold fell to eighth but stayed on the lead lap as the race entered its final third. He fell to eleventh as the laps wound down and the tires were starting to wear out. In the closing laps, Penfold was lapped and gave up one more position, finishing in twelfth.
"We had a decent car, but we got real loose there at the end and I just tried to hang on to what I had," he said after the race. "We needed some power. This motor was supposed to be a good one. It showed real good on the dyno but on the race track it just didn't have it. We did the best we could and ran hard all day. We ran in the top ten most of the day. We passed a lot of cars and kept it off the walls, which is better than I did last year. I'm happy, the car's in one piece.
"I love Dover," Penfold continued. "I love coming to this place and I wish we had some more tracks like this one. The faster, the better. We're getting the hang of the bigger tracks. We had a sixth or seventh place car but with the lack of horsepower, I had to drive it that much harder into the corners and that just wore the tires so bad that they went away. It was the best we could do. I can't thank Mandeville Chevrolet and VIP Charter Coaches enough. We tried to make up a little bit where we didn't do so good at Loudon. This is a televised race and hopefully Mandeville Chevrolet will get some TV coverage."
Penfold now will prepare for the final two Busch North races of the season. Next Sunday he will race at Stafford Motor Speedway, and then two weeks later he will close out the season at one of his favorite tracks, the 1.53-mile road course at Lime Rock Park.