Tops Dodge cuts tire at Lake Erie; Wolfe finishes 17th. NORTHEAST, PA - Paul Wolfe's first ever race at Lake Erie Speedway here Sunday, May 18 looked a lot like the Tops Friendly Markets Racing Team's first ever appearance at Phoenix...
Tops Dodge cuts tire at Lake Erie; Wolfe finishes 17th.
NORTHEAST, PA - Paul Wolfe's first ever race at Lake Erie Speedway here Sunday, May 18 looked a lot like the Tops Friendly Markets Racing Team's first ever appearance at Phoenix International Raceway this past February. Just like at Phoenix, the Tops Dodge cut a tire in the final laps of the Local Dodge Dealers 150 that caused it to be knocked from the top ten to the back of the field.
Wolfe was running ninth when the tire went down on lap 141 coming in to turn four. The team had to settle for a 17th place finish in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series' third event of the season. Wolfe slipped from sixth to 11th in Busch North points.
"The end result was obviously not what we were hoping for, but I am confident we will be able to figure these short tracks out," Wolfe said. "To have a tire go down that late in the race was a disappointing moment for the Tops Racing team and our fans."
Despite having problems turning in the center of the corner for most of the first half of the race, Wolfe kept the team in position for another top ten. Since it was the Busch North Series' first visit to Lake Erie, NASCAR scheduled a "time out" halfway through the race to allow teams to work on their cars for five minutes. Crew chief Dick Glines and the Pure Power crew used the session to loosen up the Tops Dodge to help it turn better.
"The changes we made really helped in the second half of the race, and the car was handling much better," Wolfe said.
The Tops Dodge was the second fastest car in final practice on Sunday morning, and Wolfe qualified 13th with a time of 15.462 (87.311 miles per hour). Kelly Moore took the Bud Pole with at time of 15.234 (88.618 miles per hour). Andy Santerre took the checkered flag for the second time in three starts. Michael Johnson, Mike Stefanik, Matt Kobyluck and Dale Quarterly rounded out the top five finishers.
The Local Dodge Dealers 150 was taped to air on television by SPEED Channel (Adelphia Digital Cable Channel 122, Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 103) on Saturday, May 24 at 10 a.m.
Tops Markets, LLC is one of six retail operating companies under Ahold USA, one of the leading supermarket operations in the U.S. Tops currently operates 159 Tops Friendly Markets and 204 convenience stores in New York, Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio. The Tops Racing Team's associate sponsors for the Lake Erie race were Hefty, Lysol, SCOTT® Products and Colton RV.
The No. 9 Tops Dodge is operated by Tommy Baldwin Racing North (TBRN), a subsidiary of Tommy Baldwin Racing. TBRN is co-owned by NASCAR veterans Tommy Baldwin and Eddie D'Hondt.
For updated information about Wolfe and the Tops Racing Team, visit www.paulwolfe.net.