Dale Quarterley, driving the Recycle America Chevrolet at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday afternoon in the New England 125 for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, had to overcome handling problems as...
Dale Quarterley, driving the Recycle America Chevrolet at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday afternoon in the New England 125 for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, had to overcome handling problems as well as a flat tire during the running of the race to post a seventh place finish. With his fifth top ten finish in eight races held this year, Quarterley continued his improvement in the series points standings, moving up from sixth to fourth.
The car used at New Hampshire, named "Maria", was making its season debut. Its first hurdle was getting through tech inspection, where it needed some massaging of its bodywork to fit the templates. After Quarterley got it on the track, he found it to be quite loose and practice time dwindling, forcing the 1/4 LEY Racing crew to make many changes in a short time to get it ready for qualifying. The hard work paid off with a sixth place starting position.
"We rolled out for the second round of practice and the car was so loose I couldn't turn the steering wheel," Quarterley said after qualifying. "We were going out for two laps and then coming in to make changes, so two laps was the longest run I made in the whole second practice. The second we came in we'd make a major change, go out, make two laps, and back in to make another major change. By the end we were 18th fastest on the time sheet, but we had some idea of where to go.
"We did the 'Quarterley Shuffle' before qualifying and changed two springs, four shocks, the Panhard bar, and tire stagger," he continued. "We went out and qualified sixth, eight tenths of a second faster than our practice time, and we're ecstatic. The problem is that we're still on the loose side, so we're shooting darts at where to go next. We've gone as far as we can go with other adjustments so I have to think of new things to try and fix the car."
At the start of the race, Quarterley was quickly up to fourth place, then took third place from Andy Santerre before twenty laps were in the books, though he could tell the car needed to be adjusted at some point.
"All through practice it was so loose that I couldn't turn the steering wheel," he said. "We finally decided that the problem was in the rear end, so we changed the rear end, and now the car was so tight that it won't turn. I had to pit and do something or I would have blown the right front off of it. So I pitted, put two tires on it and went back out."
Most of the field made its expected one pit stop under a lap 23 caution, and Quarterley's team replaced right side tires as well as added fuel. This put him behind those who only put fuel in, and he had to work his way up through traffic. Not helping was the fact that one of the tires put on in that pit stop was going flat.
"When the next yellow came out I pulled in and put the old right front back on," he said. "I drove out of the pits, into turn one, and almost spun out, and realized that it was the right rear that was flat. I came back in and put the old right rear back on, so now I had the same tires I started the race back on the car, and if I was going to do that, I wouldn't have stopped in the first place. We made a couple of more adjustments and went back out, and at that point we were flying again."
Returning to the race in eighteenth, and with half the race still to run, Quarterley put on a charge that saw him back in the top ten in twelve laps. He moved up to seventh by the lap 100 mark, but could improve his position no further and crossed the checkered in seventh place.
"I came through the field and was running the leaders down, but got to the point where I used up so much car getting by guys, I had used up the right front, while at the same time I was catching better and better cars, and I was getting aero-tight. I could get to them, but I struggled to get by them. I had to wait for the right situation to get up beside them; once I did that, I could clear them in a heartbeat and start working on the next guy. All in all it was a good day. WE should have been 40th if I left the car along, to come back and finish seventh is great."
Quarterley and the Busch North Series return to the short track wars next Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl, a third-mile track in Waterford, Connecticut.