Kip Stockwell Races To Fourteenth Place Finish At Stafford Speedway's Fall Final Randolph, Vermont's Kip Stockwell had to wait over a week between qualifying day and race day for the second-to-last race of the NASCAR Grand National Division,...
Kip Stockwell Races To Fourteenth Place Finish At Stafford Speedway's Fall Final
Randolph, Vermont's Kip Stockwell had to wait over a week between qualifying day and race day for the second-to-last race of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season, as rain interfered with the running of the Carquest Fall Final 150 at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. But after the rain clouds disappeared and the twice-postponed race was run, Stockwell enjoyed a solid run in his Stockwell Racing Team Pontiac Grand Prix, finishing fourteenth on the lead lap.
Practice and qualifying were held on Saturday, September 28th. He was 22nd fastest in the 90-minute practice session, but picked up some time and took the twentieth starting position for the race after posting a fast lap of 20.792 seconds (86.572 MPH) in time trials.
"I wasn't as good in practice as I was hoping for, but in qualifying we picked up a couple of spots," he said. "We were a little bit better in qualifying because the sun came out. We have some changes we're going to do for the race, and I'm looking forward to the race. I think a lot of these guys who are running well are going to slow down as the laps go on, and we should stay pretty consistent."
Stockwell ran inside the top twenty through the early laps, and used a no-pit strategy to pick up positions when other cars pitted under cautions. Forty laps into the race, he was thirteenth and he held that spot for a number of laps until cars with fresher tires worked their way back to the front. He fought his tight car to keep it in the top twenty, then moved back to fourteenth shortly after the halfway point. He continued running steadily to finish in fourteenth.
"We had a good strong car all day during the race," he said. "I struggled from the center of the turn out, I was tight, and having some trouble just getting the car to arc in the center of the turn. If we put tires on with fifty laps to go, we probably could have had a top ten finish. We wore the right front tire out so hard just trying to stay on the lead lap, though we were never really in danger of going down a lap. In all three races here we've finished on the lead lap."
Stockwell is seeking sponsorship for his team for 2004's Busch North season.
"The team has what it takes, and I think I have what it takes as a driver," he said. "I think we could have a good year if we have the sponsorship to get a good car and newer equipment like better hubs, better brakes, better stuff. We really race well here, and with newer equipment I know we can run in the top ten."
Stockwell now turns his attention to finishing the Busch North season next Saturday afternoon at Lime Rock Park, and, three weeks after that, participating in the first annual Toyota All-Star Shootout at California's Irwindale Speedway.