ES: Elko/Iowa: Dion Ciccarelli race notes

Dion Ciccarelli Back On Track At Iowa Speedway Newton, Iowa (May 20, 2007) - After a wreck in the opening NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at Greenville-Pickens ( S.C.) Speedway, Dion Ciccarelli and the rest of the Jamerson...

Dion Ciccarelli Back On Track At Iowa Speedway

Newton, Iowa (May 20, 2007) - After a wreck in the opening NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at Greenville-Pickens ( S.C.) Speedway, Dion Ciccarelli and the rest of the Jamerson Motorsports team had quite a bit of work ahead of them before tackling the rest of the season. The No. 84 Operation Gratitude Chevrolet needed a rear clip and bodywork repairs, and everything got done in time to race twice in one weekend: Friday night at Elko Speedway in Minnesota and Sunday afternoon at the new Iowa Speedway.

The first part of that weekend saw the team struggle in practice at Elko and those struggles continued into qualifying. Not fast enough to earn one of the 24 spots through time trials, Ciccarelli wound up missing the race as the provisional starting positions were all spoken for. All the Severn, Maryland driver could do was look towards improving on the car for the second race of the weekend.

"We were disappointed on Friday when we didn't qualify at Elko," he said. "That was kind of a blessing, though, had we tore the car up we wouldn't have been able to run Iowa."

At Iowa, things weren't looking much better. He was still down on the speed charts and not happy with how the car was handling. Qualifying again found him outside the top 36 that automatically transferred into the main event, but this time he could take a provisional to start 40th.

"Through practice and qualifying, we were just struggling. We were fortunate enough to get in on a provisional," he said.

Once in the race, things began to turn around. Dale Quarterley came to the team to help with adjustments to the car and that got things going in the right direction. Pit stops to make those adjustments came early and often, starting just a handful of laps into the race and continuing through the event. As the race went on, the changes were having the desired effect as the car got better and better.

"Dale Quarterley came over and helped us out quite a bit. He had us do a bunch of stuff on the car and by the end of the race I had gone from really struggling to being able to race a little bit. Once we got in the race, we actually ran pretty decently. We came in a lot just making a lot of changes and making improvements. We wound up having some fun, we were racing cars and passing cars and having a good time. I just really enjoyed myself. It makes a frustrating weekend end up pretty good."

Ciccarelli has a weekend away from the track before the next Busch East Series race, which takes place on June 2nd at South Boston Speedway in Virginia.

"The whole Let Freedom Roar/Operation Gratitude effort certainly didn't want to miss any races," he said. "We've got to figure out what our situation is here, figure out how to get the car turning better, and look forward to going to South Boston. We didn't put any scratches or dings in the car today so we can concentrate on working on the chassis and show up at South Boston ready to race."

-credit: jm

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Quarterley