Broken Axle Costs Kip Stockwell Good Lime Rock Park Finish (Lakeville, Conn. - Oct. 1 2005) - After a long week in the shop making repairs to his No. 16 Sabil & Sons Chevrolet that races on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series,...
Broken Axle Costs Kip Stockwell Good Lime Rock Park Finish
(Lakeville, Conn. - Oct. 1 2005) - After a long week in the shop making repairs to his No. 16 Sabil & Sons Chevrolet that races on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, Kip Stockwell needed his weekend at Lime Rock Park to go smoothly. This was not to be, though, as a broken axle forced his early retirement from the event, leaving him 25th in the final finishing order.
Stockwell and his family team had bodywork to do all around the car after an accident under caution at Dover International Speedway last week, in addition to changing their only car over to go from a superspeedway to a road course setup.
"At one point I had five or six guys working on the car at one time," he said. "Everyone in the family business spent the week working on the race car. I didn't get a lot of sleep and nobody else did either. But we committed to do this at the beginning of the year and we're not going to stop just because we got torn up. It doesn't mean we liked that. What happened last week was really unnecessary, and I'm really bitter over it and I probably will be for some time. Money-wise, it didn't cost that much to fix the car. We didn't have to go out and buy a lot of parts. It was a lot of man-hours to fix it."
The result of all that hard work was a car that Stockwell was very comfortable driving on the 1.53-mile road course.
"I'm more comfortable today in this car than I've ever been here," he explained. "It's because of the way the interior and the seat are set up. The seat in this car is a lot lower than it is in my other car that I've been using on the road courses. We've turned the best times that we've ever turned here today, and we're starting sixteenth which is a good number. We've never been this good here."
And while Stockwell was running well on the track, having already made his pit stop for fuel, mechanical problems arose without warning and he had a broken rear axle. He had no choice but to bring the car back to the trailer after completing 23 of 82 laps and think about next week's race.
"A DNF at this time of year is really bad," he said. "We worked hard all summer to get up to 12th in points, and now we've probably dropped to fifteenth. We thought we'd do well today, but most importantly we wanted to finish. If you stay on the track here you'll usually wind up in the top fifteen pretty easily.
"We had a good qualifying effort, and I changed the brake pads this morning," Stockwell continued. "A couple laps before we broke I radioed in and said I couldn't turn the thing, it wasn't acting right. It felt like it was braking too much up front. So I dialed some brake into the rear and it ran as well as it did yesterday, I was happy with it again. But a couple laps after that we broke an axle exiting the left-hander. I haven't figured out why the axle broke, because I wasn't out there hopping the tires or anything, it just broke. We didn't need that. We needed to finish the end of the year the right way and not have a bunch of DNFs. Those take us out of the points chase. We're going to go home and have another long week getting the car fixed, and then we'll go to Thompson."
Stockwell also had a suggestion for NASCAR officials for when they set next year's schedule.
"I really hope that when they redo the schedule for next year, that they do it in such a way that we have some extra time between some of these races," he said. "We really need two weeks to get ready for this race. There's so much work for those of us who just have one car to switch it over so it turns right instead of left, and when you tear the car up the week before and have to work like my team did this week, they worked like a dog all week."
Stockwell dropped from twelfth to fifteenth in points with one race left, the Busch North half of a twin-100 lap show at Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut.