Dale Quarterley Wins Busch North Race At Dover International Speedway; Approaches Second Place In Points (Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - Dale Quarterley recorded his second win of the 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series ...
Dale Quarterley Wins Busch North Race At Dover International Speedway; Approaches Second Place In Points
(Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - Dale Quarterley recorded his second win of the 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season when he passed Paul Wolfe with thirty laps to go and drove off to win the MBNA America 150 at the one-mile Dover International Speedway late Friday afternoon. Quarterley, who won in July at the other one-mile track the series races at, New Hampshire International Speedway, in July, continues to run third in series points, but now just 25 points out of second place with one more race to run.
The Westfield, Massachusetts driver never made it to the top of any of the practice charts during the three sessions on Thursday, and qualified just ninth fastest. But the 1/4 LEY Racing crew put its heads together and came up with some setup changes that were implemented the morning of the race.
"We're struggling," Quarterley said before the race. "The car's probably just as fast as it's been in the past, but everybody else has caught up to us. It's not as fast as it needs to be because it's not at the top of the charts. In qualifying, it's the first time we really got the thing going. It might have been better if I had been as good in practice and I dared to go that fast in qualifying. We're going to make about fifteen changes for the race because at this point it doesn't make any difference if you finish fourth or fourteenth, it's not winning. So we're in a mad thrash trying to change some stuff and run the race and see what happens."
It didn't take Quarterley long to realize he was going to be a contender, as he moved up from ninth to second in just seven laps, riding behind early leader Paul Wolfe's No. 19 car.
"We made the fifteen changes like we talked about, and it completely changed it into a race car," he said. "We made some huge changes this morning, and by the time I got halfway through the first lap, I knew that I had a shot at winning."
Riding second behind Wolfe, Quarterley later wound up giving up a spot to polesitter Tim Andrews, who was coming from the back of the field. This left him third when caution came out on lap 81, and under this caution he made two stops which gave him four fresh tires and a pair of chassis adjustments.
"Those two adjustments were what it took to win," he explained. "That just fine-tuned what we had done in the morning. My first lap after the restart was a 25.15, and I did a string of them, and then on that last restart fifty laps later I did a 25.28. The car was so good it didn't slow down any. The 19 slowed down while I didn't."
Quarterley restarted in sixth and got to second on lap 105 with a pass of Brad Leighton following a restart. Wolfe continued to lead, but couldn't shake Quarterley's Van Dyk Baler/Femrouse Chevrolet.
"Paul got away from me a little and I started thinking that maybe we wouldn't have another yellow at that point, and I couldn't let him go," he said. "I kept after him and I reeled him in, but then lost ground. This happened three times, but the third time I reeled him back in, I went by him. I loosened him enough that he went up the track and I went under him. He left me room, I went under him, and I never looked back."
All that separated Quarterley from victory was a trio of late cautions that extended the race distance to 160 laps. And while a similar extended race found Quarterley's dominant 2001 race fall short when he ran out of gas on a green-white-checker restart, this time he finished the job and drove to a margin of victory of 0.889 seconds.
"I still consider us a small team," he said after the race. "If you figure out what the big teams in this series are spending, and what we're spending, those guys would implode halfway through the season. For us, this is unbelievable. We basically won the Daytona 500 in July and today we won the Indy 500 of this series. For us, it's absolutely sensational. Even better, we don't have ties to Busch teams or Cup teams down south; we don't have ties to anybody. I don't pick up the phone Monday and call my buddies down south and have them give us advice on what we should have done. We go home and pop open the computer and try to figure this all out ourselves. We're winning these races. Today I shut up and let the other guys try something, because I couldn't make the car go any faster. I had to suck it up and have those guys go with what they thought would work. I couldn't drive it the way it was, but the guys on this team turned it into a winning car."
Quarterley has one more shot at moving into second in series points when the Busch North Series runs its final race of the 2004 season next Saturday night with a 150-lap event at Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey.