BNS: Stafford: Don Wagner race notes

Don Wagner in top twenty at first BNS race run this year Don Wagner, of Wharton, N.J., made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, appearance of the year driving James Pritchard's Mannings USA Chevrolet at Stafford Motor...

Don Wagner in top twenty at first BNS race run this year

Don Wagner, of Wharton, N.J., made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series, appearance of the year driving James Pritchard's Mannings USA Chevrolet at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Wagner, making his third career start in the series, recorded his best finish yet, nineteenth. The race will be telecast on Speed TV on Monday night at 8:00 PM.

Wagner, who made his series debut at this track last July, had a productive practice session, where he was twentieth fastest, in a new car before going about the business of qualifying. In time trials, he was twenty-fourth, turning in a fast lap of 20.90 seconds (86.124 MPH) around the half-mile oval.

"It's a new car and crew chief Jim [Matalenas] is working on the setup," he said after qualifying. "I'm trying to figure out the brake bias adjuster and getting comfortable in the seat. We didn't really change anything for qualifying because we were good in practice. There was only one car that went home so we weren't too worried about qualifying, we just wanted to get into the show. I'd rather start in the back and have a good race setup than to spend a lot of time on qualifying just to start near the front and then go backwards."

Wagner's race was cleanly run, and the team never quit working on the car. He came to pit road under a lap 41 caution for chassis and air pressure adjustments. He fell off the lead lap, giving room for the leaders when they approached, on lap 64. Another trip to pit road followed under a lap 91 yellow, and the crew changed right-side tires. Through the final laps, he continued one lap down and finished nineteenth, the second car not on the lead lap.

"It was a whole new experience because we have a different car," he said after the race. "I learned a lot more about the track than I knew from the last time. We're very close with our speed, we just have got to nip off a couple tenths so we can get up into the hunt. We will, we're going to come back two more times, and we're going to do some more things to the car since it's brand new to us and we're still figuring it out. I'm still green as far as these Busch cars. We'll make the best of every time we go, and every time we'll get better."

Wagner will return to Busch North in two weeks at the third-mile Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Masschusetts. The team tested there last weekend.

"I think we towed it there faster than we ran on the track," he joked. "But it's a beautiful facility. It's a small track and I'm sure the fans love to see these Busch cars on that track. There's got to be a lot of side-by-side, sparks-flying, beating and banging racing."

-ajc-

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