Dale Quarterley qualifies second at Lee; finishes twelfth in race. Dale Quarterley's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season started out on a high note when he qualified second for the first race of the year at the third-mile...
Dale Quarterley qualifies second at Lee; finishes twelfth in race.
Dale Quarterley's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season started out on a high note when he qualified second for the first race of the year at the third-mile Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire. The race didn't treat the Industrial Transfer Chevrolet driver quite as well, though he ran up front early, as he finished twelfth.
The Westfield, Massachusetts driver picked up where he left off at the end of 2002 with his qualifying performance, recording the second-best time of the 27 cars entered in the event. In the last four races where qualifying was held (qualifying was rained out at Lime Rock Park last October), Quarterley has three second-place starts and a fourth. The total difference between his qualifying laps and the pole-winning laps in those four races is 0.214 seconds.
In the early laps of the race, Quarterley ran in the third position, holding that spot until a lap 61 caution gave the field the opportunity to pit for fresh tires and adjustments. Quarterley took advantage of this and the 1/4 LEY Racing crew put on a fresh tire, but he was trapped by pit road traffic and lost positions before he could return to the track. He restarted the race in ninth.
The balance of the race was filled with cautions and restarts, which robbed Quarterley of opportunities to move back up into the top five. Having lapped cars restart inside lead lap cars further impeded his progress, and in the closing laps he even lost positions in heavy race traffic, finishing twelfth.
"When we made out pit stop and came back out, we lost a spot or two just from being stuck in the pit," he said after the race. "And with this being the first week with the lapped guys restarting on the bottom, the leaders, or more specifically the guys running fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on, they wouldn't leave the lapped guys alone. They just kept beating on them and kept spinning them out and bringing out cautions. We'd go five laps at a time and get another caution.
"We didn't have time to work back up," Quarterley continued. "I was stuck trying to get by the lapped guys after they got up to speed, and that ended up burning the tires off the car. And I think all the guys around me were doing the same thing, we completely ran out of tires just trying to get by the lapped guys at the end. There's one and a half grooves that you can run in, to pass someone you have to kind of beat the guy up, and the guys who were passing at the end were doing that."
The second race of the Busch North Series season takes place on Friday, May 2nd, at the Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.