Paul Wolfe spins out while running fourth at rain-shortened Watkins Glen. WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 9, 2003) - Paul Wolfe qualified the Tops Friendly Markets Dodge third Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen International and kept his Tommy Baldwin ...
Paul Wolfe spins out while running fourth at rain-shortened Watkins Glen.
WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 9, 2003) - Paul Wolfe qualified the Tops Friendly Markets Dodge third Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen International and kept his Tommy Baldwin Racing-owned racecar in the top five for the first 24 laps of the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series Mohegan Sun 150 Saturday afternoon. That is the extent of the good news for the Tops Racing Team.
While running fourth on lap 24, Wolfe lost control after hitting the brakes hard and veering to the outside to avoid the No. 4 car of Brad Bennett and the No. 40 of Matt Kobyluck near the entrance to the inner loop. Wolfe spun backwards into the gravel and remained stuck there while the entire field drove by. After emerging from the gravel and pitting, Wolfe resumed the race one lap down in 32nd. Rain halted the race on lap 30 and then again for good on lap 41 of the scheduled 62-lap event. With limited time to make a comeback, Wolfe had to settle for a 26th place finish.
"Our team gave me a great car, and the cars directly in front of me were holding me up at times," Wolfe said. "Unfortunately, I was forced to hit the brakes hard when I saw the 40 and the 4 make contact in the inner loop. I guess I hit them too hard because I caught the gravel on the outside of the loop and the back end went around. To have success here, you have to stay on the course, and I did not accomplish that today."
This was Wolfe's third appearance at Watkins Glen. He led the race in both 2001 and 2002. He finished third in 2001 in a race that was nationally televised on NBC. In 2002 Wolfe wound up 14th, but he was running third until he was spun out in the last few laps of the race. SPEED Channel will broadcast the Mohegan Sun 150 on Saturday, August 23 at 10 a.m.
Wolfe was not the only driver affected by the rain. Ted Christopher, who did not pit during the race, was given the victory when the race was called at lap 41 before the leaders who pitted had the chance to cycle around. Dale Quarterley, who won the Bud Pole and led the race for the first 32 laps, wound up 15th after he pitted and the rains came. Many of the leaders also pitted and were stuck in the middle or back of the field.
"If I had not spun out, we probably would have stayed out," Wolfe said. "I very well could have been the leader when they called the race. Pit strategy and mother nature determined the outcome of this one."
Tops Markets, LLC is one of six retail operating companies under Ahold USA, one of the leading supermarket operations in the U.S. Tops currently operates 160 Tops Friendly Markets and 204 convenience stores in New York, Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio. The Tops Racing Team's associate sponsors for Watkins Glen were Unilever Bestfoods and Colton RV.
Tommy Baldwin Racing North (TBRN), a subsidiary of Tommy Baldwin Racing, operates the No. 9 Tops Dodge. TBRN is co-owned by Tommy Baldwin and Eddie D'Hondt.