BNS: USA-Lee: Bill Penfold race report

Bill Penfold comes back from crash to finish sixteenth at Lee. Bill Penfold's VIP Charter Coach-sponsored Penfold Motorsports team showed up at New Hampshire's Lee USA Speedway with new bodies, new colors and new optimism for the dawning NASCAR...

Bill Penfold comes back from crash to finish sixteenth at Lee.

Bill Penfold's VIP Charter Coach-sponsored Penfold Motorsports team showed up at New Hampshire's Lee USA Speedway with new bodies, new colors and new optimism for the dawning NASCAR Busch North Series season. The No. 0 car was fast in practice, fifteenth best in qualifying, and a top ten car during the race. A run-in with a lapped car, though, left Penfold's car crashed in the first turn, relegating it to a sixteenth-place finish.

Following a pair of practice sessions, qualifying set the 30-car field for the 150 lap race. Penfold turned a lap of 15.596 seconds (86.561 MPH) around the third-mile oval, good enough for sixteenth.

Penfold reached the top ten on lap 38 of the race when he was riding tenth under caution. He slipped out of the top ten when racing resumed, but was never far from returning.

Caution came out on lap 86 and Penfold hit pit road for a right-side tire change, but pitted a lap before the pits were actually opened and was penalized from third to restarting last on the field. Despite this handicap, Penfold put on a charge that got him to twelfth place, but in danger of being lapped by the leader, Andy Santerre. Trying to stay on the lead lap, Penfold was racing side-by-side with rookie Gary Shackford when Santerre ducked low to make it three wide going into turn one. Penfold tried to avoid contact with Santerre but Shackford gave Penfold no room, and contact was made, leaving Penfold spinning and striking the first turn wall with his car's left rear corner.

Penfold refired the car and went to the pits for repairs, and soldiered on to finish the race in sixteenth place, three laps down.

We were going real decent, just biding out time, but there were rookies who think they could bowl their way through," he said after the race. "The 66 [Shackford] had no reason to do what he did, he just turned left down on me when Andy was inside me and just turned me around. These guys come into the series and they're going to make a big splash, but if they start banging on people like me they're going to have a big awakening coming. I try to give them a break.

"We'll just have to go get them at Loudon," Penfold continued, "that's been a good track for us, we'll be all right there."

The May 11th 125-lapper at New Hampshire International Speedway is next on the schedule, with Penfold Motorsports expecting to participate in test days next week in anticipation of the event.

- www.penfoldmotorsports.com.

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