ES: Dover: James Pritchard Jr race notes

Accident Ruins James Pritchard Jr.'s Dover Race Dover, Del. (Sept. 19, 2008) - As good as New Hampshire Motor Speedway was to James Pritchard Jr. and the entire Mannings USA-sponsored James Pritchard Motorsports team, the next week's race at...

Accident Ruins James Pritchard Jr.'s Dover Race

Dover, Del. (Sept. 19, 2008) - As good as New Hampshire Motor Speedway was to James Pritchard Jr. and the entire Mannings USA-sponsored James Pritchard Motorsports team, the next week's race at Dover International Speedway was a disappointment. After overcoming a broken fuel pump in qualifying at Dover, Pritchard made it into the starting field for Friday afternoon's Sunoco 150 only to be pushed into an accident just before the race's halfway point. He was forced to retire from the race with a 27th place finish.

At New Hampshire, Pritchard picked up fifteen positions from start to finish, winding up 21st in the first outing with a new car. That same car went to Dover, a completely different kind of racetrack but the team was up to the challenge. Progress through the two practice session was evident as the Wharton, New Jersey driver improved by over half a second from the first session to the second. But in qualifying, the engine stumbled and Pritchard could only complete one lap, one that was not up to speed.

"The motor decided to blow a diaphragm inside the fuel pump," Pritchard said. "This is a problem that other people have been having at the tracks where we have to run unleaded fuel so it's bit us now. We fixed it so we'll be fine to start the race, we just need to get some laps in and see how it all sorts out. We have to stay out of trouble and we'll be good."

Starting the race from the back of the field, Pritchard started making progress while evaluating the car's handling.

"The car wasn't great," he said. "It was really tight, and we were dealing with a flat motor because a plug wire got burned off. I was down on speed down the straightaways but I could make it up in the turns."

The first turn turned into a disaster scene on the 67th lap. A car spun high with a flat tire and came down the banking in front of race traffic. Pritchard thought he had the wreck missed, but couldn't control those behind him.

"I just sailed it off into turn one and there was a wreck in front of me," he said. "I backed it down, but the 80 car didn't see it and he must not have been told about it by his spotter because he hit me in the back and sent me right into the 95. My rear tires were lifted completely off the ground and that doesn't do you any good when you're trying to stop.

"With more luck we probably could have come out of here with a top ten, but it wasn't meant to be," Pritchard continued. "I have to thank all my guys for all their hard work. They got us here and got me a car that we got into the race and got some laps under our belt. I have to thank Mannings USA, we can't go racing without them. The car's not hurt that bad, it broke the radiator and tore up all the sheet metal, but it's all straight underneath so we should get it back together and go racing again."

Pritchard has a short week ahead of him before he can make it to the last NASCAR Camping World East Series race of the year, which takes place this coming weekend at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Practice and qualifying will be held on Saturday with the 150-lap feature event going green in the early afternoon hours of Sunday at the Nutmeg State half-mile oval.

-credit: ajc

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