Dale Quarterley fourth at Stafford Motor Speedway on seven cylinders. Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley, driver of the No. 32 Land O Lakes/Edart Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, recorded his fourth top-five finish of the 2002...
Dale Quarterley fourth at Stafford Motor Speedway on seven cylinders.
Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley, driver of the No. 32 Land O Lakes/Edart Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, recorded his fourth top-five finish of the 2002 season when he finished fourth in the third and final visit to the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Quarterley holds eighth place in the series championship standings, just one point out of seventh and sixty-two points out of fifth place with one race remaining.
Calling on the 1/4 LEY Racing's speedway car for the third week in a row, the team began Saturday morning's practice session struggling but by the end of the session had the car in much better shape. Qualifying followed and in time trials, Quarterley showed how well the team worked by taking the fourth best time. The top four qualifiers redrew their starting positions and Quarterley would start third in Sunday's feature event.
"Little by little in practice we got it turned around, we got it going halfway decent," he said before the race. "We made a bunch of changes, made a few phone calls, and made a few more changes. We had the car too stiff since it's the car we ran at Dover and Loudon, it was too stiff for here. We got most of that taken care of, and right at the end of practice we started getting a mini-handle on it, but then practice was over. Right when I was starting to be competitive, practice was over.
"We qualified fourth, we missed the pole by six hundredths of a second, so if you add up how much we missed the pole over the last three weeks, I've missed the pole by a total of a tenth and a half," Quarterley continued. "We were ecstatic about that because we didn't think we'd even be in the top ten. But because we were just starting to get a handle on it at the end of practice, we're not sure what to do for the race. The other problem is that with all the different divisions running here and all the different tires that are out there, the track is really weird. If you get in one place it does one thing, but if you go someplace else it does something completely different. If you move around the racetrack, it changes the car more than it should. I'm struggling thinking about what to change for the main event, I'm not really sure. We've changed a couple things and I hope we went the right way."
Quarterley fell to sixth inside the race's first ten laps, but returned to fifth before the first caution flew on lap 35. Under the second caution, which came out on lap 56, he joined eleven other drivers on pit road for fresh right-side tires and adjustments. He returned to the race in sixteenth, behind many drivers who had not elected to pit. Following another caution where more cars pitted, Quarterley was up to thirteenth. After the next round of pit stops, he was up to seventh.
Entering the final forty laps of the race, Quarterley was running sixth but had a new problem to contend with. His car had lost a cylinder and was not up to speed on the straightaways. Despite that, he maintained his position and even improved to fifth, then moved up to fourth when Mike Olsen crashed out of that position with twenty laps to go. Over the race's final stretch, Quarterley maintained his position, withstanding charges from Matt Kobyluck in the final five laps to claim fourth at the checkers.
"Lady luck is still with us," he said after the race. "We got to the end trying to save the car all day knowing that those guys up front didn't pit, and they'd be weak at the end. So I took my time coming back up through after our pit stop. We got down to the last couple of restarts and I thought I had it, the thing was handling great, and the car lost a cylinder. I finished the whole last thirty or forty laps on seven cylinders. We'd get them coming off the turn but they'd make it back up and more going down the straightaways. Little by little they made their way towards us but we managed to hold on to fourth. That was good. We only got one little dent in the rear quarter, just right at the end it happened. It was an uneventful day but a good point day."
Quarterley will finish off his 2002 season in two weeks at Lime Rock Park. Last year, Quarterley qualified on the pole for the race there but had to start in the back after being late for the mandatory drivers meeting. He came from 36th all the way through the field to win the race, passing road course ringer Boris Said for the lead in the final laps.