Greg Schaefer and John Parks, who together won the 2002 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series "Most Improved" award as driver and team owner, returned as a team to the series for the first time this year in Saturday night's ...
Greg Schaefer and John Parks, who together won the 2002 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series "Most Improved" award as driver and team owner, returned as a team to the series for the first time this year in Saturday night's Sunoco/Burnham Boilers 150 at Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway. In this first race back, they took a newly configured car to an eleventh place finish.
The unsponsored Chevrolet that ParksSchaefer Motorsports brought to Holland was an NRP chassis from last year with a new Hess front snout installed. Teams were given just an hour of practice time to dial in their cars before qualifying, where Schaefer wound up nineteenth.
"We just can't get a handle on the stagger on these tires," Schaefer said before the race. "In the little testing and racing we've done, the stagger has grown, but now we've gone out for qualifying and we lost half an inch of stagger. We don't have it figured out yet. The car was handling decent in practice and I felt it would be good on longer runs, but now we have some work to do starting back there.
"We're going to make some stagger changes for the race, maybe a spring change, and see what happens," he continued. "Starting in the back like that, if we need to fix something we'll pit and fix it, but we don't plan on being in the back too long."
In the early laps of the race, Schaefer worked his way up to sixteenth, but as the race approached one-third distance, he was in danger of being lapped. A caution on lap 60 kept him from falling off the lead lap, and as other drivers made pit stops, he moved up to thirteenth. He was up to eleventh as the hundred-lap mark was put on the board, and there would only be one more yellow to slow the pace of the race.
In the final 25 laps of the race, Schaefer found himself battling hard with the likes of Eddie MacDonald, Mark Durgin, and Paul Wolfe, all knocking on the door of the top ten. But Schaefer's car wasn't handling well, and he had to settle for eleventh after some very hard, but very clean, racing.
"The race was good and bad," he said after the race. "We started off pretty good, we passed some cars and moved up a couple spots, the car was feeling good. We had a caution and on the restart, the thing got super tight again. I don't know what that's all about. The thing just wouldn't turn for the rest of the race, it didn't get any better. We just kind of hung on and clicked them off as we could, and took what the race would give us. That was about it.
"Everybody was running pretty clean, so it was a good race all in all," the Hatboro, Penn. driver continued. "That's what we try to do, to race people clean and they'll run me clean. Everybody had their heads on tonight, at least where I was racing."
Schaefer, who raced the week before for Glenn Rudolph's STI Motorsports, will be back in that car in two weeks when the Busch North Series goes to Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. He will return to the ParksSchaefer Motorsports No. 99 Chevrolet the following weekend at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway.