Dale Quarterley entered Saturday's New Hampshire 125, a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race held at New Hampshire International Speedway, running third in series points. While he would have liked to have brought home a win,...
Dale Quarterley entered Saturday's New Hampshire 125, a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race held at New Hampshire International Speedway, running third in series points. While he would have liked to have brought home a win, that was not to be as a pair of mechanical problems forced him to retire his Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet after 71 laps, finishing in the 32nd position.
"The downfall is the major hit in the points," he said after the race. "We need the guys ahead of us to have bad days so we can get back up there. We're not going to beat our way by those guys during the race; they need to have a bad day to get them."
Tenth fastest in the first practice session and twelfth fastest in the second, Quarterley's setup for qualifying went for naught when the track was coated with oil shortly before Quarterley's time trial attempt. The track conditions caused Quarterley to slow by nearly two seconds from his best practice efforts, and take the twentieth starting position.
"We struggled like the last time we were here, and we're not sure what it is," he said before the race. "We changed a bunch of different springs and sway bars and shocks and stuff that has helped us the last few weeks, and it's not helping us here, so we're thinking it's something we have wrong in the car. We don't know exactly what it is, so it's hard to fix, but I'm working on it anyways. Qualifying didn't go well for us, but we're really not that bad in the long run. The car doesn't like short runs at all. It's really loose in the short runs, but in the long runs it's not bad."
Quarterley had every intention of coming to the front of the pack, and started on that goal before ten laps were in the books as he moved from twentieth to fourteenth. He was still moving up, but that progress came to a halt just 27 laps into the race when his car slowed.
"The thing was going good but all of a sudden, coming down the back straightaway, it skipped a couple of times," he said. "I got down into the turn and it just quit. The coil wire caught on fire. I made it to the pits and the guys put the fire out, but by that time it had burned through itself, and the only way to replace it is to take the air filter housing off, and that's bolted on and taped on and all that. By the time everything got back together I was eight laps down."
Quarterley returned to the race despite being down those laps and tried to salvage the best finish he could. But his problems weren't over, and the next problem that arose forced the car to be parked for the event.
"I was running with the leaders for the next twenty or thirty laps, but then it broke a brake rotor hat in the back," he said. "Luckily, I noticed it right at the end of braking for turns one and two. It stopped fine, I made the turn all right, but going down the back straightaway I started thinking that the brake felt a little weird at the end of braking. I reached down to step on the pedal and there was no pedal. I'm lucky that I noticed it at the beginning of the straightaway and not the other end of the straightaway."
Hitting pit road for the second time, the 1/4 Ley Racing crew set about making repairs to the car, but the damage was deemed too severe to fix, and the car was retired from the event.
"The car was awesome," Quarterley said after the race. "The changes we made from yesterday to today completely fixed it. We needed a little more time this morning to fine-tune it, and we only got twenty minutes to do it. We started twentieth but I got up to eighth or tenth before we started having problems."
Quarterley will now turn his attention to Dover International Speedway, the site of Friday's MBNA America 150. He's been fast at the track for both of the previous years the series has raced at the one-mile concrete speedway, and hopes to have his first Dover win late Friday afternoon.