Dale Quarterley dominates Watkins Glen until late cautions spoil his race. Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley again had the car to beat at the Watkins Glen International road course, leading on three separate occasions for a total of 45...
Dale Quarterley dominates Watkins Glen until late cautions spoil his race.
Westfield, Massachusetts' Dale Quarterley again had the car to beat at the Watkins Glen International road course, leading on three separate occasions for a total of 45 of what turned out to be 70 laps, leading by as much as six seconds during the course of the race. But when the race, originally scheduled to be 62 laps, was extended because of late caution periods and the NASCAR Busch North Series' rule that races will not end under yellow, but with green-white-checker finishes, Quarterley ran out of gas while leading under the last caution. He recovered to finish eleventh.
Quarterley showed his Land O Lakes/Edart Chevrolet was the car to beat starting with the first practice on Friday, and his speed continued through to qualifying, where he won his first Bud Pole Award of the season by setting a new track record of 73.363 seconds (118.607 MPH).
"This is a car that we built just for here," he said, "and, not that we planned on coming here and sitting on the pole, but if it's a 62 lap race, our plan was to lead 62 laps. That's our goal and we're part of the way there. Now we just have to keep it running for 62 laps.
"The car should actually go faster than it's going right now," he continued. "I think we only made fifteen laps in practice. We got here late and we spent so much time putting the car together, and we had a couple little problems when we got here. So we've had a couple little things this morning, but all in all it's been pretty smooth. Now we're just going to find the balance we're looking for. I think the car is capable of going faster than it's going right now. We're going to try and see if we can make it do that."
Quarterley briefly gave up the lead in the opening laps to Brad Leighton, but following a lap 7 restart he took the lead back and held it until he made a green flag pit stop for left-side tires and gas on lap 24. He entered the race right behind Leighton, and passed him for position a lap later. As other drivers made their stops, Quarterley worked his way closer to the front, moving to third at the halfway point and taking second after a lap 36 restart. He ran down Mike Olsen's leading car on lap 38 and passed it in turn eleven, and built a lead that approached six seconds with just four laps left in the scheduled distance.
Caution came out on lap 60 of 62 and that set up a green-white-checker finish, with the restart coming on lap 63. On that restart, another tangle left a car stranded in a sand trap and caution came out again, extending the race further. While riding around under caution, Quarterley's car stopped running as it ran out of gas, and had to be pushed back to the pits. It was fueled, restarted, and joined the race as the last car on the lead lap. On the final restart, Quarterley tried to make up positions but tangled with another car and spun, and he had to settle for a twelfth place finish after dominating the race earlier.
"The car ran great, Mike Sibley and I worked on it for two weeks straight," he said after the race. "It was a brand new race car, we built it from the ground up. We showed up here and unloaded it, and after three laps of practice it was second on the time sheet. It was fast all day and ran good all day, but at the end of the race, cautions kept coming out and the car ran out of gas.
"On that last restart, it was a 'hero or zero' move," Quarterley continued. "I had it in there and I could see him coming down, I tried to get out of the hole but I couldn't get back out of it before he came down. I kicked him in the rear quarter and then somebody hit me and it was a melee from there on. I was just trying to get back to the front. It was a good race all in all, it just too many cautions. You can't go that fast and have that many cautions."
Quarterley will try to bounce back from the Watkins Glen disappointment with the next series race, which will take place next Saturday at the new Adirondack International Speedway in upstate New York.