SEEKONK, Mass. (July 31, 2001) - A look at the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring point standings shows it's been a good year for multiple winners. No less than five two-time winners are found among the top six drivers on the chart. Right behind...
SEEKONK, Mass. (July 31, 2001) - A look at the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring point standings shows it's been a good year for multiple winners. No less than five two-time winners are found among the top six drivers on the chart. Right behind them is Dale Quarterley, the Land O Lakes Chevrolet driver who is the highest-ranking non-winner on the list. He'd love to join the club, and this Saturday's Coca Cola 150 at Seekonk Speedway could provide his moment of opportunity.
Quarterley and the rest of the Busch North Series drivers will be making their second appearance of the year at the one-third mile oval nicknamed "The Cement Palace" for the concrete grandstands which ring the track. Those stands will be full Saturday night with fans anticipating another showdown between the BNS veterans and the rising stars like Quarterley. So far the scales have been tilted in favor of the veterans, as Kelly Moore broke a two-year winless streak in the Budweiser 150 on Memorial Day weekend, just as Dave Dion did when the series returned to Seekonk in 2000 after a 13-year hiatus.
The Coca-Cola 150 is scheduled as a one-day event, with practice starting at 1 p.m., Bud Pole Qualifying t 4 p.m., and the feature event at approximately 7:30 p.m. Seekonk Speedway's regulr NASCAR Weekly Racing Series classes will also be in action.
Although Dale Quarterley is a relative newcomer to the Busch North Series, he has the same level of Seekonk experience as most of his rivals- just two races. That's enough for him to form some definite opinions on how to get around the extra-wide, nearly-circular layout. "They call it the Action Track of the East for a reason," he said. "There's enough room to get yourself in trouble, but because of the width, there's enough room to get out of trouble if the person you're racing will let you. There's room to do a lot, but the other guy has to let you do it," he advised
As an example, Quarterley pointed to turn three. "You can get under a guy in turn three if he's making a late entry, but you can only get up to the middle of his door, so he has to let you have the spot. If he tries to maintain the spot, you're going to tag him in the door and spin him out," he noted, adding, "Even though the track is small, it's fast. Drivers have a tendency to show more respect because of that." The statistics bear out Quarterley's theory. The spring races at Seekonk in 2000 and 2001 have produced low caution lap totals (31 and 24, respectively) and a high percentage of cars running at the finish.
Dale Quarterley's own season has shown a strong upswing on the short tracks, which had been the weak link in the former motorcycle road racer's game during previous campaigns. "I think that finishing third at Beech Ridge a few weeks ago showed we're starting to gather up our short track program," he declared. "We used to run 20th;, but now we run in the top ten. I'm still basically a rookie, even though this is my third full year. Most of these guys raced pro stocks or their fathers raced on this tour," noted the driver who was a household name to motorcycle fans at tracks from Georgia to Wisconsin and beyond before he began racing on four wheels much closer to his Westfield, Mass. home.
Quarterley gives chassis expert Steve Hibbard much of the credit for his team's emergence as a threat for victory on all types of tracks. "He's been a great addition to the team. He's the guy who's got us running up front on the short tracks and he's going to push us over the hump," Dale added.