Greg Schaefer's second at Waterford is his career best finish. Rite-Way Electric Chevrolet driver Greg Schaefer bettered his previous best finish in the NASCAR Busch North Series when he finished second to Kelly Moore in Saturday night's...
Greg Schaefer's second at Waterford is his career best finish.
Rite-Way Electric Chevrolet driver Greg Schaefer bettered his previous best finish in the NASCAR Busch North Series when he finished second to Kelly Moore in Saturday night's Waterford 150 at the Waterford Speedbowl. Schaefer, a third-year driver on the series, moves up three places in the championship standings to seventh with his second career top-five finish.
Schaefer and his Parks-Schaefer Motorsports team tested at Waterford two weeks ago and came back to the track for race day fully prepared. Following afternoon practice was qualifying, where he recorded the tenth fastest time.
"I was actually expecting a little bit more," he said afterwards. "We gained more than a half an inch in stagger and that made the car super loose. It seemed like the track was loose too, but it's the same for everybody. We'll make a few adjustments and see what happens during the race."
Schaefer spent the first half of the race between eighth and tenth position. It wasn't until the race neared the hundred-lap mark that he made serious progress into the top ten, when he moved to sixth. His big break came on lap 119 when Mike Johnson, who was leading, wiggled and forced those behind him to scramble. Schaefer took advantage to move up to fourth.
"I just kind of hung in there, and guys got together up front, I'm not sure what happened," he said. "I just saw that cars were everywhere. I snuck down to the bottom and probably passed about four of them in one shot, that certainly helped get us to the front."
Johnson pitted under the next caution, moving Schaefer to third with just 18 laps left to run. He tried to pass Dale Shaw low for second after the restart but his challenge was put on hold when caution came out again. Following that restart, with ten to go, Schaefer went around Shaw on the outside and tried to run down Moore, who was leading. A final caution forced a green-white-checker finish and Schaefer got close enough to Moore to pull alongside, but he was forced to settle for second place and a $5,055 payday.
"We're just thrilled with it," he said after the race. "It started off and I knew we had a decent car, but it seemed like we would move ahead a couple positions and then get shuffled back, depending on where you were. It seemed like at the beginning of the race the bottom groove was the place to be, and as the race wore on, the top groove was the place to be. Constantly we were racing with someone the whole race, and you'd get alongside somebody and just ride, nobody really had an advantage. I'm sure it was great for the fans, which is what it's all about.
"When we got into the top five, the car really came on," Schaefer continued. "It was really good and other guys seemed like they were falling off a little bit. I was racing with Martin Truex, Jr. for a while and Dale Shaw. Martin kind of forced me to the top, which was okay, the car went right around him, then I got second from Shaw. I had a shot at Kelly at the end, he moved up going into turn two and I stuck it in there and got alongside him, and he started moving down on the backstretch. I got sideways and thought I was going to wreck the two of us so I backed out of it, and decided to take the second place. It's better than a wrecked race car."
With a second-place finish under his belt, Schaefer doesn't think his first Busch North win is that far away.
"I think we're going to win one this year, somewhere, and it'll probably surprise us when it comes," he said. "We've run decent at Waterford in the past and we did a lot of testing here, and that helped. Things are looking up, this is a big boost for the team. Everybody's been working hard and we've been fortunate that we haven't torn up much equipment, that makes it easier on the guys during the week."
That first win could come at the series' next race, which will be held next Saturday night at Connecticut's Thompson International Speedway.