BNS: Thompson: Don Wagner preview

Overheating, Accident Plague Don Wagner's Thompson Race (Thompson, Conn. - Oct. 30, 2005) - Don Wagner finished the 2005 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season with a 23rd place finish after suffering a pair of problems in ...

Overheating, Accident Plague Don Wagner's Thompson Race

(Thompson, Conn. - Oct. 30, 2005) - Don Wagner finished the 2005 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season with a 23rd place finish after suffering a pair of problems in Thompson International Speedway's Dodge Dealers 100 race. The driver of the No. 41 Mannings USA/Snacketizers Chevrolet had to pit early under green to alleviate an overheating problem, then was involved in a late accident.

Wagner, racing for James Pritchard Motorsports, took advantage of what little practice time was available to get the car up to 22nd on the speed chart, and picked up another spot in qualifying to start the race 21st. More work was done to the car on the morning of the race, and the team was optimistic about their chances by the time the Busch North race took to the track late Sunday afternoon.

At the start of the race, things looked good and Wagner raced into the top twenty. But, despite the cold weather conditions, the car was starting to run hot and Wagner had to back off to get out of traffic and get some fresh air to the radiator. He went a lap down to the leader twenty laps in, and pitted immediately afterwards to have the crew remove tape from the grille. He pitted twice more for more attention, all under green, before the car's operating temperature was back to the safe range.

While a top finish was no longer a possibility due to being a handful of laps down, Wagner and the team wanted to spend the balance of the race working on the car to build up notes for future races. This kept Wagner running competitive lap speeds and mixing it up with traffic as the end of the race approached. But it also kept him too close to a late-race accident that he could not avoid, and that did damage to the front end of the Mannings USA/Snacketizers Chevrolet. He wound up 23rd in the final rundown.

"It was a tough day," Wagner said after the race. "We started out overheating so we had to come in and pull tape off the grille, and by the time we got that straightened out we were down a bunch of laps. After that, you can either ride around or start thinking about the next time we come here, and we still want to get this car working well. So we got up to the pack and started racing with those guys, trying to see what we could do to help the car and what it's looking for.

"Turns out we got caught up in an accident, and that's the way our whole year has gone," Wagner continued. "We've had a tough year, we definitely didn't get the results we were looking for, but it's not because of a lack of effort on anyone's part here. Jim Pritchard gives us great equipment to go racing with, and Mark Durgin knows his stuff. Everyone on this team busts his hump to get us on the track and compete when we're here, but the luck isn't there. We'll go to work over the winter going over everything, and I don't think it'll be long before we turn this around and we start getting the finishes we're capable of."

-www.jamespritchardmotorsports.com.

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