Early Suspension Problem Ruins Kip Stockwell's Waterford Race (Waterford, Conn. - July 25, 2005) - Kip Stockwell was all smiles before the Town Fair Tire 150, the fifth NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the season. He...
Early Suspension Problem Ruins Kip Stockwell's Waterford Race
(Waterford, Conn. - July 25, 2005) - Kip Stockwell was all smiles before the Town Fair Tire 150, the fifth NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race of the season. He was at his favorite track on the tour, his No. 16 Sabil & Sons/Randolph National Bank Chevrolet had just posted the twelfth fastest time in qualifying, and he was looking forward to having a good race. But slight contact with another car broke his car's left front spindle, requiring extensive repairs before he could rejoin the race, and he finished a disappointing 25th.
Stockwell, who's been pumped up for Waterford for many weeks before the actual race there, posted an impressive qualifying time of 15.390 seconds (87.719 MPH), which was good enough for the twelfth starting position.
"That's the best qualifying effort we've had in three or four years," he said. "I'm grateful, but I think we've got a better car than what we showed. I figured we were going to wind up around ninth. I enjoy this racetrack a lot, more than most of a lot of tracks on the series. This is the kind of racing I grew up on. If everything happens the way I want to, we should have a good finish tonight. We're not changing anything on the car, I like it the way it is. We're plenty free in the center and good off, and as long as we can stay that way and not get any more free, we'll be good. If we just finish decent with a full car without a lot of damage we'll be happy. The closer to the top ten we get, the happier we'll be."
Unfortunately, the race was just one lap old when he ran into trouble trying to move up in the field.
"I was trying to be patient," he said. "I could see guys were cutting down into the bottom groove, and I had a chance to go for it on the outside, and I went. I gained two or three spots on the outside right at the start. I saw some guys jockeying around so I pulled up a little bit. We came into turn one and I hit Mike Stefanik's right rear wheel with my left front wheel and it was just the slightest hit, there's not even any body damage on the car, but the contact broke the spindle. I couldn't steer it."
With just one wheel steering the car, Stockwell had his hands full just getting onto pit road, and once he was on pit road the crew swarmed on the car to replace the spindle. It's not a quick job to change, though, and Stockwell did not return to the race until after the hundred-lap mark. He avoided a DNF, though, and ran to the race's conclusion to finish 25th.
"It's a sad day," the Braintree, Vermont driver said. "This is the only racetrack we go to in this series that I feel I can win at every time we come here. I like this track and I have a good feel for it, but more importantly it's driver against driver all the way down through the line. We can get good finishes at Adirondack and Stafford, and I like all these tracks, but we're a tenth-place car at those tracks while we can be a top-five car at Waterford. I'm disappointed, but we'll rally back."
Adirondack International Speedway hosts the next Busch North race, which will be this Saturday night in Beaver Falls, New York. That race will be broadcast live on HDNet television, with a later replay on SpeedTV.