Bill Penfold Carries In-Car Camera To Fifteenth Place At Lake Erie Speedway (North East, Penn. - July 10, 2004) - Bill Penfold got to show racing fans across the country what it's like to compete in a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North...
Bill Penfold Carries In-Car Camera To Fifteenth Place At Lake Erie Speedway
(North East, Penn. - July 10, 2004) - Bill Penfold got to show racing fans across the country what it's like to compete in a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race from an up-close perspective as he carried a pair of SpeedTV in-car cameras on his No. 0 VIP Charter Coaches Chevrolet for the running of Saturday night's Local Dodge Dealers 150 at Lake Erie Speedway. Those cameras showed Penfold racing hard throughout the event on his way to a fifteenth-place finish.
Penfold, who was seeing the three-year old facility for the first time, was impressed by the ultra-modern track and its progressive banking. He spent most of practice learning the track, and put that information gained in practice to use in qualifying, where he time trialed fifteenth best.
"It's a beautiful facility. It's worth the travel, that's a fact," he said. "I was just getting used to the track in practice, so I'm a little behind the other guys who have a setup from last year to start working from. We haven't been bad right off the truck, and we've picked up four tenths of a second during the day so we're running pretty strong, and we'll probably be able to run better in the race since I'll be able to follow some guys and learn their lines. I couldn't do that in practice because I was just trying to concentrate on what I was doing. Every change we've made has been an improvement, and we're going to make make a couple more changes to the car and try to pick up another tenth or two, and we'll be right there in the hunt."
With a dashboard decal sending a greeting to Penfold's backstretch fans at Watkins Glen in view of the in-car camera as well as a Wheeliefest decal, Penfold embarked on the 150-lap race distance. A shoving match with another competitor left Penfold spun in turn two just seven laps into the event, though, putting him at the tail of the field. A quick pit stop to take a spring rubber out of the right rear spring set Penfold up for the rest of the race, and off he went.
Penfold was up to fourteenth a third of the way through the race, but the car's handling still wasn't up to par. He struggled to stay on the lead lap, but lost that battle when he suffered a quick spin with just eleven laps to go. No yellow came out for that spin, so Penfold put in the last few laps of the race and brought his car home fifteenth.
"We were tight in time trials and practice so we made a change to the car and it was the wrong thing to do, we should have left it alone," he said after the race. "We over-engineered ourselves, but it's no big deal. It's our first time here and we learned something and got a top-fifteen finish out of it. We're just doing the best we can and we'll just go down to Waterford and try to get a top-ten out of there.
"Guys got rough at the end for pretty much no reason, and NASCAR has to step it up to make some calls," he continued. "I know they've made some bad calls on me, and they've made some bad calls on some other guys, so they have to get more consistent with their calls. We have faith in our officials that they'll get it straightened out, and we know that the right call is going to get made, but this has been going on since the beginning of the season, so they have to start getting it together. I know Lee Roy and Dave Baker will get it straightened out."
The Lake Erie race, with Penfold's in-car camera footage, will be shown on SpeedTV on Saturday, July 17th at noon. That same evening, the Busch North Series will race at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl, where Penfold finished thirteenth.