Dale Quarterley Backs Up July NHIS Win With Fourth Place September Race (Loudon, N.H. - Sept. 20, 2004) - Dale Quarterley's bid for a season sweep of NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races at New Hampshire International...
Dale Quarterley Backs Up July NHIS Win With Fourth Place September Race
(Loudon, N.H. - Sept. 20, 2004) - Dale Quarterley's bid for a season sweep of NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races at New Hampshire International Speedway ended up three positions short, as he wound up fourth in the Sylvania 125 which was postponed from Saturday to Monday afternoon at the Magic Mile.
Quarterley, driving the No. 32 Femrouse Chevrolet, had the same car and setup from his winning effort at the same track in July, and showed he still had the speed as he was fourth fastest in the only practice session held Thursday. But he couldn't back that speed up in qualifying as he was only thirteenth out of 39 cars entered.
"We were in the top three all during practice, but we hadn't put tires on or taped up or done anything like that, which might have been a mistake," he said. "We focused on race setup like we did last time, and not worry about qualifying. When we taped it up for qualifying, it was way looser than I thought it was going to be. But a lot of other good teams didn't wind up in the top five either, so that took a little bit of the sting out of it. I think, like last time, it'll be a good car in the long run. It's not wicked fast, but it doesn't seem to slow down."
The Westfield, Massachusetts driver's early laps saw him improve to ninth place by the time the field reached lap 35, at which time the officials slowed the race to allow teams to pit for fresh tires, fuel, and adjustments. Quarterley continued moving through the field, but then encountered trouble.
"When Matt Kobyluck spun in the first turn, I had to stop to not get involved in it and lost a bunch of spots. After everything we had gained, I had to start all over again," he explained. He wound up going back to twelfth place with over half the race still to run.
Back in the top ten by lap 55, Quarterley continued to make progress towards the front of the field. He took eighth from Brian Hoar on lap 74, then got seventh from Mike Johnson a lap later. He was sixth when the field took a lap 105 restart, but lapped traffic was costing him further progress.
"Lapped guys restarting in the bottom lane were taking away the first couple of laps after a restart where I'm usually pretty good at passing guys," he explained. "You had to go single-file to get past the lapped guys and stay out of trouble, and by the time you cleared them, you're five or six laps into a run and at that point you couldn't do anything with them."
Still sixth with the final restart of the race coming on lap 19, Quarterley slipped past Brad Leighton to take fifth, and, with just two laps to go, got past Mike Gallo for fourth. But he ran out of laps before he could make further progress, and had his sixth top-five finish of the season. With his fourth place finish, he moved past Kelly Moore to take over third place in the season points standings, just 67 points out of second place with two races to go.
"At the end, I was moving myself up as fast as I could, and I had to play a little bit with some of the guys to get up there," he said. "At the beginning, we were moving up, things were going fine. But I didn't get back to the top five or six until there were twenty laps to go. By the time I got myself to fourth, there were just a couple of laps left."
Quarterley will now quickly prepare the same car for the series' annual visit to Dover International Speedway, a track where he's shown considerable speed both in qualifying and in race trim, but has had Watkins Glen-like luck preventing him from finishing on top in the past.