Engine Problems Continue To Plague John Salemi Dover, Del. (Sept. 21, 2007) - John Salemi has had it tough in the closing races of the 2007 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series season. While the crashes that plagued the middle of...
Engine Problems Continue To Plague John Salemi
Dover, Del. (Sept. 21, 2007) - John Salemi has had it tough in the closing races of the 2007 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series season. While the crashes that plagued the middle of the year were behind him, engine trouble struck at two of the last four races, including losing a pair of NASCAR spec engines in the season finale at Dover International Speedway on Friday.
Engine problems began four races ago at Lime Rock Park when his engine blew during the running of that race. He put in a backup engine and raced with that at Mansfield Motorsports Park, and had a new spec engine for the next-to-last race at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. But that engine blew during practice for the season's final event, Friday's Sunoco 150 at Dover.
"We worked hard on this car after Loudon to get ready for this race," Salemi said. "We showed up here and ran maybe ten laps of practice and water came out of the exhaust. That was the end of our practice."
Enter Larry Jamerson, who owns an East Series team with Dion Ciccarelli as its driver. Jamerson provided Salemi with another spec engine and it was installed in the car with the team working past eleven at night the day before the race. With that engine, Salemi got onto the track for the qualifying session and recorded the 23rd best time.
"We were so tight in practice that we knew we had to do something to fix it, but we didn't have any practice to try anything out before qualifying," he said. "Whatever we did definitely worked, though. My first lap of qualifying wasn't bad, but on the second lap it got sideways on entry and stayed sideways all the way through the corner. A loose car isn't that bad, we could work on that. We made a couple of the adjustments that they allow us to make before the race, and we knew we were going to have a fast car."
How fast a car he was going to have, he never got to find out. Just after the race started, trouble struck again under the hood of the No. 63 Ocean Glass/Milwaukee Tools/Express Signs Chevrolet.
"A couple laps in I was going down the straightaway, looked in the mirror and saw smoke," he said. "I shut it down and that was that. I don't know what the issue is. I saw a lot of smoke but there weren't any vibrations or raps."
It was not the way Salemi wanted to finish the East Series season.
"This is our third motor failure this season," he said. "I don't know where to go with this since I've never blown the old-style motor before. These spec motors are good, but we don't know why they're breaking. We're running the right oil, we're doing the right maintenance, we're not over-revving it, and we don't run tape on the grille.We're a low-budget race team so we're not going to push the limits. We need a motor to last a season. I'm hoping the engine builders can find what the issue is so we can avoid it in the future. The motors run great, but there's something about them that we need to know. It's tough to blow two of them up in one weekend when we've done a total of maybe twelve laps. It's rough for everybody."