John Salemi Gets Second Straight Top Ten In Camping World East Series Beaver Falls, N.Y. (July 26, 2008) - Testing paid off for John Salemi at Adirondack International Speedway, the site of Saturday night's NASCAR Camping World East Series race.
John Salemi Gets Second Straight Top Ten In Camping World East Series
Beaver Falls, N.Y. (July 26, 2008) - Testing paid off for John Salemi at Adirondack International Speedway, the site of Saturday night's NASCAR Camping World East Series race. After spending a day at the half-mile track in Beaver Falls, N.Y. last week, Salemi looked for a result that would equal or better the last series race he competed in, a seventh-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After an adventurous race at Adirondack on Saturday night, Salemi came close to that NHMS result, winding up ninth.
The last time Salemi tested at a track in advance of its race date, the result was a fourth-place qualifying effort at South Boston Speedway with his running as high as second place in that race's early going. Hoping to duplicate that progress, Salemi returned to Adirondack's track and showed the extra track time paid off with an eighth-place qualifying effort.
In the race, Salemi's No. 63 Kustom Vinyl Chevrolet quickly took off and got into the top five in less than fifteen laps. After a rain delay, the race restarted with Salemi on the outside of the second row. He quickly found out that the outside lane is not the place to be.
"This is a great racetrack but the problem with it is that you can't run up high at all," he explained. "It's so hard to run up high because it's so flat. Everybody wants the bottom. It forces the car on the outside to pinch the guy on the inside down constantly. What happens after that is the guy on the inside gets on the rumble strips on the inside and that shoots him up into the car on the outside. This gets guys mad at each other and they bump you back."
After the restart, Salemi fell to sixth place but was applying pressure to eventual winner Matt Kobyluck. He was sixth at the next caution, and the problem with restarting on the outside surfaced again. This dropped him to ninth place before he could get into line. It got worse on the next yellow as he had passed Brian Ickler for seventh shortly before the yellow, but since that lap hadn't been completed, he was put back to eighth for the restart.
When Salemi finally got to restart on the inside, in ninth place at lap 96, he quickly picked up spots to run seventh. But contact with another competitor soured the race for him.
"I hate it for Rogelio Lopez, I really do," he said. "It was one of those deals where I was inside of him and he kept coming down. I can only check up so much while I'm getting pushed from behind. I was already on the rumble strips and we bumped doors, which is OK. But he kept running me down and there wasn't much I could do. I was already turning down as far as I could and I was on the brakes. If I had checked up, I would have been hit from behind and I would have hit him anyway. I got into him, but it wasn't intentional. I know that doesn't make it any better."
Just thirty laps from the end, Salemi got mixed up in another driver's incident. Slowing to avoid a car that had spun at the start/finish line, Salemi was hit from behind and pushed into the spun car. He escaped with sheet metal damage, requiring a handful of pit stops under caution, but he returned to resume the race still on the lead lap.
"The wreck on the frontstretch killed us," he said. "We were pretty good as far as damage was concerned up to that point, but I checked up for a wrecked car and the guy behind me couldn't check up. I got pushed into that wreck."
Four more cautions punctuated the balance of the event, including one at the race's finish, but in the few green-flag laps, the Nashua, New Hampshire driver moved from sixteenth to ninth.
"It got rough tonight," he said after the race. "I'm here to race, I'm here to race well, and we're here to get good finishes. Believe me, I'm not here to tear my stuff up. You have to realize that when you come to these short tracks, you're going to tear stuff up. Nobody wants to do it. These are important races, though. There's a lot of money involved and people are very passionate about it.
"I'm not happy about a lot of things that happened tonight," Salemi continued. "We came here to run well and we proved that we could do that. We went from eighth to fourth right away and at the end we went from sixteenth to ninth. It would be nice if we could just stay up front, but it's impossible here. There's no second groove. I'm not bad-mouthing the track at all, but it's hard if you get hung out there. Nobody wants the outside and they'll do anything to get on the bottom. I hung on the outside as long as I could."