Trouble Strikes John Salemi Again On Adirondack Speedway's Last Lap Beaver Falls, N.Y. (July 28, 2007) - It's a pattern nobody associated with John Salemi Racing wanted to see continue, but the frustrating season of the Nashua, New Hampshire ...
Trouble Strikes John Salemi Again On Adirondack Speedway's Last Lap
Beaver Falls, N.Y. (July 28, 2007) - It's a pattern nobody associated with John Salemi Racing wanted to see continue, but the frustrating season of the Nashua, New Hampshire driver continued in Saturday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series 150-lap event at Adirondack International Speedway. Salemi, driving the No. 63 Milwaukee Tools/Express Signs Chevrolet, made a late charge that saw him go from a lap down to seventh place within sight of the checkers. But he was spun out, again, late in the race and robbed of another potential top-ten finish. He wound up thirteenth.
While there was still sore feelings over the previous week's development, where Salemi was taken out of a sixth-place finish by a rookie in the late going at Music City Motorplex, the attitude heading into the Adirondack race was upbeat. Crew chief Dale Quarterley owns a win at the northern New York half-mile track as a driver so there was that extra expertise in the team's corner. Salemi was confident he could improve on his twelfth place finish from 2006 after practice.
"We started out a little bit unsure, but on our last run we got the car pretty good, although I would have liked one more run," he said. "We got very close to a couple of the faster cars in the session. I think it seems to be similar to Nashville where the times don't fall off. I think it's going to be a really close race and we're where we need to be to run with the top five. We're going to run it hard, we're going to run it fast, and let's see what we have to bring home."
Starting fifteenth after qualifying was rained out, Salemi could not make forward progress through the race's early laps. The handling was off, and he pitted in hopes of fixing the problem. The issue, though, wasn't with the chassis, it was due to a tire going down.
"We started making all kinds of changes when we pitted, then we realized we had a tire going down the whole time," he said. "We were going to put some spring rubbers in and at the last minute, Dale said we should check the pressure in the right front tire. It was lower than the left-side tires, so we knew we didn't have to make any more adjustments, we just had to put a tire on it. We had lost a lap because of the tire issue, but we got our lap back and we were able to come all the way from a lap down to sixth or seventh."
Salemi raced hard but smart to get to seventh place with two laps to go. But, just like in far too many races this season, trouble struck Salemi in the back bumper with the race's end in sight.
"I don't know what happened," he started. "I was spinning sideways through the grass after getting a shove from behind. We just got cleaned out."
The third-year Busch East driver was at a loss for words after being roughed up in the closing laps for the fourth time in his last six races.
"I don't know what to do anymore," he said. "This is supposed to be a professional series. If I come all the way from a lap down to sixth, how am I holding up the guy behind me enough for him to wreck me? Two laps prior to the wreck, I passed the guy: it's not like he caught me and was trying to get around me.
"We run this series on our own, from our family," Salemi continued. "We are a very good race team with a very fast car, and every week our race is ended coming to take the white or coming to take the checkers. I give everybody respect out here, and I get nothing back in return. Every week, it's a rookie that does it to us. I don't know why this keeps happening, but it's not fair to Dale Quarterley and the rest of the team who put a heck of a good car under me. We run great, but it's not showing up on the results sheet. The prevailing mentality in this series seems to be 'when in doubt, spin him out'. I'm very angry."
Salemi will look for redemption in the form of a top-five finish at the next race, which will be held August 18th at Lime Rock Park. The 1.53-mile road course, he said, should be right up his alley.
"With Dale and my backgrounds being in road racing, the rookies will be playing on our track this time," he said.
ES: Adirondack: Race results
ES: Adirondack: Andy Santerre Motorsports race notes