(Seekonk, Mass.) - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series rookie Don Wagner, of Wharton, N.J., made his debut performance at the third-mile Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway in Saturday night's Budweiser 150. Wagner and his Mannings...
(Seekonk, Mass.) - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series rookie Don Wagner, of Wharton, N.J., made his debut performance at the third-mile Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway in Saturday night's Budweiser 150. Wagner and his Mannings USA-sponsored James Pritchard Motorsports team struggled at the tricky, circular track to finish in the twentieth position.
The race, originally scheduled for May 24th but rained out to the following weekend, and then rained out a second time, went off under sunny and hot skies. Afternoon practice found Wagner and team working hard to find the right combination for the 58-year old track. The troubles continued through the qualifying session, where Wagner took the 22nd starting position.
"We're trying all kinds of stuff and haven't found the setup yet," Wagner said before the race. "We're not there yet, so we're going to make some more changes for the race. Jim [Matalenas, crew chief] has got some good ideas and he's going to throw them in the car. We're all on the same page. I've never raced on this track before, and it's a tough little circle. Your car's got to be perfect. There's no straightaways for the horsepower to make up anything. It's all in the chassis and in the driver here."
Wagner put in a solid effort during the running of the 150 lap race, which was punctuated by eight cautions. Under each one of those yellows aside from the last, Wagner pitted and the crew took advantage of those yellows to make changes to the car's setup in search of speed. Progress was made during the course of the race, but not in time to elevate him past the 20th finishing position.
"I couldn't get into the gas because we had too much horsepower, and maybe too much gear," he said after the race. "It was loose coming off and tight in the middle, and every opportunity we had we pitted to try and make it better. I could feel the changes but we just weren't there. But we're not running for points, we're racing for decent finishes and we didn't have one tonight. We'll get them next time and we'll be back. This was my first time ever at this track and it's a tough little speedway."
Wagner detailed the changes made to the car during the course of the event.
"Every adjustment that they could possibly make, without going a lap down, they did," he said. "Air pressure, track bar, cross weight, even a front end alignment. We pitted seven times, so we certainly got plenty of chances at getting it right. We got close, and we'll be better for the next time we come here, so today was a good learning day."
The team will now take some time off to gear up for its next race, which will take place on a very different track from Seekonk Speedway. September's Busch North race at the one-mile, high-speed Dover (Del.) International Speedway will be the next on-track appearance for the Mannings USA Chevrolet.
For more information on the team, visit its website at www.jamespritchardmotorsports.com.