Mid-Race Accident Slows Kip Stockwell At Lake Erie To Finish Eighteenth (North East, Penn. - July 10, 2004) - Kip Stockwell was having a decent run for the first forty laps of the Local Dodge Dealers, the seventh NASCAR Grand National Division,...
Mid-Race Accident Slows Kip Stockwell At Lake Erie To Finish Eighteenth
(North East, Penn. - July 10, 2004) - Kip Stockwell was having a decent run for the first forty laps of the Local Dodge Dealers, the seventh NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the 2004 season. Racing at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania, Stockwell was fifteenth in the early going but became the victim of an accident and was forced to finish eighteenth on the night.
"It was a racing deal. It's one of those things that we can't control," he said after the race.
The Sabil & Sons Service and Towing Chevrolet was working well in practice, making gains, but those didn't show up in qualifying where Stockwell was nineteenth.
"We're off just a little, we're off three and a half tenths," he said. "Last year we were off eight and a half tenths, so we've made a major gain, though we're still not there yet. We're struggling with our left front suspension, we're dragging the left front wheel. It's not really working with us and the steering wheel is chattering. I think we've gained better than a half a second since we got here, so I think it's going well. We're going to start nineteenth and do the best that we can."
While starting deep in the field, Stockwell was fifteenth by lap twenty and content to ride there for the race's early laps. But things went badly just forty-one laps in.
"All I wanted to do was just ride for a while," he explained. "I wanted to wait until the sun was out of the sky, and just click some laps off and stay out of trouble. But Jamie [Aube] blew up in front of us. I had left a little space between me and him, since I wasn't racing very hard at that point, and because of that I could save the car when I got into Jamie's oil. I didn't hit him, we ran up to the fence but didn't hit anything. When I got the steering back, I was just getting back in the throttle and get around him and Troy [Williams] whacked me a good one. Then I got into Jamie a little bit when the car spun."
Stockwell drove away from the accident scene and visited pit road to have the Stockwell Racing Team assess the damage. The left door was heavily damaged, as was the right rear sheet metal, but the initial diagnosis was that the car was mechanically fine. The left rear tire was flat, so a practice tire was put on so Stockwell could continue in the race.
"The tire we put on was one of our practice tires and they were wore out," he said. "We were two laps down at that point, so we were basically riding after that. There was one point during the race where the car was getting really bad, where it just wouldn't turn. It might be because we ran forty or fifty laps under green, and the stagger went away, and I just couldn't turn it. On the last couple restarts it was good, I was pretty happy with it.
"We're happy because we made some gains," he continued. "We gained a lot between the time we unloaded and the time that we were done. So I'm pretty happy with the gains that we made. It just didn't work out."
Stockwell will have the car repaired in time for the next Busch North Series race, which will be held at the Waterford Speedbowl near New London, Connecticut.
"I like Waterford," he said. "A couple-three years ago we probably should have won there. We started 23rd and led at lap 85, and it was an awesome run for us. I was really happy with our car. A lot of other guys were blistering their tires and we hadn't, and we were just cruising. We ended up fourth when we were all done because some guys put on tires and got us late in the race. It's my kind of racetrack. It's like Thunder Road where it's kind of rough, but it's not like Seekonk because it's got more bite and the corners are more banked. It's a better racetrack as far as we are concerned as a team. I'm looking forward to going there."