Yarmouth, Maine's Bill Penfold followed up his sixth-place finish in the 2001 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring, with an 11th place run in Saturday's CVS/Pharmacy 125 Presented by Bayer at New Hampshire International Speedway. The race was run in...
Yarmouth, Maine's Bill Penfold followed up his sixth-place finish in the 2001 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring, with an 11th place run in Saturday's CVS/Pharmacy 125 Presented by Bayer at New Hampshire International Speedway. The race was run in conjunction with the NASCAR Busch Series.
After a successful test at the speedway in the weeks leading up to the event, Bill Penfold and crew chief Bob Harrison thought they had a very competitive package for the race. They were a bit disappointed, though, to only muster 22nd best in qualifying.
When the race started, Penfold kept the VIP Charter Coach Chevrolet in line, and hung back in 20th position while the field sorted itself out. An opportunity to pit came about under caution on lap 33, and Penfold hit pit road with most of the rest of the field for refueling. He returned to the track in 18th position.
When the race went back to green, it would stay that way through the finish. While many cars were going a lap down due to the rapid pace being set by the leaders, Penfold stayed on the lead lap and worked his way up to 13th position by the time the leaders caught them. They were battling fiercely for the lead, so Bill went low to let them by without a fight, then resumed his own race.
Despite the fact that a car ahead had been leaking oil, making Penfold's windshield difficult to see through, and his tires were becoming blistered due to the pace being set, Penfold continued racing until he saw the checkers, crossing the finish line in 11th place.
"We didn't have a good handling car," he said after the race. "Ever since we got here we've been pushing or loose or something. We just wanted to come home with it in one piece. The car was consistent in the race, it did the same thing every lap. We blistered the tires but we knew that track position was going to be everything here. We knew we were just going to stop for fuel and get the fuel and go."
The tires being worn out was trouble enough, but Penfold's biggest concern was his oil-streaked windshield.
"For the last 35-40 laps, I couldn't even see the corners," he said. "I was just guessing where they were. I had to slow down a ton to just stay on the track. But the car's in one piece, and we got 11th out of it. I'm happy with it, since we're still in the point hunt. We're going to give them a battle this year."
The attention of the Penfold Motorsports team now is two-fold: preparing for the next series race at Massachusetts' Seekonk Speedway on May 26th, and tuning up the car from NHIS to make it handle better for the next visit to the track in July.
"We've got to figure out why we aren't handling as good with this car," he said. "It's a different car then we ran at Lee, so we've got some work to do. But we don't have to do any body work, we like that. Too bad we didn't have a sponsor's name on the car, it'd still look just as good as when we started."