Bill Penfold's second place finish at Seekonk is career best. Yarmouth, Maine's Bill Penfold, a seven-year veteran of the NASCAR Busch North Series driving for his family-owned, VIP Charter Coaches-sponsored Penfold Motorsports team, recorded...
Bill Penfold's second place finish at Seekonk is career best.
Yarmouth, Maine's Bill Penfold, a seven-year veteran of the NASCAR Busch North Series driving for his family-owned, VIP Charter Coaches-sponsored Penfold Motorsports team, recorded his best finish ever in the series when he finished a close second behind Matt Kobyluck in Saturday night's Budweiser 150 held at the one-third mile Seekonk Speedway, located just outside Providence, Rhode Island. Penfold now stands fourth in the championship standings.
Just one week after duplicating what had been his best finish, fourth, at the one-mile Nazareth Speedway, Penfold was eager to return to the short tracks. His crew, led by Bob Harrison, set up the team's short-track car well and the car was fast in practice. When time trials rolled around, Penfold found the car to be loose and he could only muster seventeenth place.
"Actually the car wasn't real bad, the driver blew it," he said. "I just tried to get on the throttle real hard and broke the tires loose coming out of turn four. I couldn't let off because it would have snapped back to the wall, so I ended up smoking them all the way around the track. We ran a 13.30 [seconds] the first lap and a little bit quicker the second, but we probably would have run a 12.8 if I didn't spin the tires. The guys did their job, the driver just messed up on that one. Now I've got to work. It's fun at the short tracks when you've got to work and come from the rear."
Penfold did indeed race from the back of the pack, and forty laps into the 150-lap event he was in the top ten. He had worked his way into fifth by lap eighty and caught some fortunate breaks. The first and second place cars touched and the leader spun, while those in third and fourth had to take evasive action. Penfold took advantage of the situation to move into second, and when the new leader was penalized for spinning the former leader, Penfold's No. 0 Chevrolet assumed the point.
Taking the lap 111 restart on the point, Penfold had his hands full holding off second place Matt Kobyluck. With just seven laps to go, Kobyluck worked his way underneath Penfold and after three laps of the two running side-by-side, Kobyluck assumed the lead on the frontstretch. Penfold dove low to retake the lead going into turn one but caution came out on the track and he was declared to be in second place when it did. The race ended with a green-white-checker finish where Penfold did everything he could to get alongside Kobyluck, but ran out of laps and had to settle for second place. After the race, the entire Penfold Motorsports team was beaming with pride.
"It was a good clean race, Matt ran me super clean," Bill said afterwards. "It was just a fun race, we got out front and led a bunch of laps. We really didn't think we were going to run that well tonight, but Bob Harrison got that car handling. I've got to thank the guys, Bryan Thompson, my kids, my wife, and my family because this is basically a family team. We aren't giving up. VIP Charter Coaches and us are in it for the fight. We've been up front the last three races and we are going to get one, they can't hold us back forever."
Penfold was asked about his coming back to try and retake the lead after Kobyluck completed his pass with just four laps to go in the race's scheduled distance.
"I had him on the inside, but a lapped car brought the caution out and you don't race to the caution," he said. "If the caution wouldn't have come out, I had him beat and I would have won. I got second and he won it, congratulations to him. Next time I won't be so easy. He's won two now, I want my first one so somebody we'll get rubber on the door."
Crew Chief Bob Harrison was especially proud of the team's effort.
"We've worked damn hard for this," he said. "We were just trying different things and experimenting and I think we've finally hit on something the last couple of races. We've also been working with Bill, trying to actually slow him down to make him go faster. After seven years, I think I've finally figured Bill out. We're just working and trying to smooth him out. I've been telling him that, his father has been telling him that. I think we're finally getting the car going good enough and geared down right. I've finally found the answer, and I think we've got a real good chance at Beech Ridge."
Penfold Motorsports will be trying to better this finish by one more position when the Busch North Series returns to action in two weeks at the team's home track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway located outside Portland, Maine.
For more information on the team, visit its website at www.penfoldmotorsports.com.