John Salemi Racing Has Tough 2009 Debut; 23rd At Greenville Greenville, S.C. (April 11, 2009) - Nashua, New Hampshire driver John Salemi made his 2009 NASCAR Camping World East Series debut at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday night and it...
John Salemi Racing Has Tough 2009 Debut; 23rd At Greenville
Greenville, S.C. (April 11, 2009) - Nashua, New Hampshire driver John Salemi made his 2009 NASCAR Camping World East Series debut at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday night and it turned out to be a frustrating night for the veteran driver. Having had to start the race from the back of the pack after a mechanical problem in qualifying, Salemi rebounded from an opening-lap accident to run in the top fifteen before another accident forced his retirement from the event.
Salemi, eleventh in this race last year, returned with his family-owned team carrying sponsorship from Jameson Inns and Kustom Vinyl. Eighteenth-fastest out of 29 cars entered at the end of practice, Salemi's car would not come up to speed when he entered the track for his time trial run. The problem was quickly diagnosed and corrected before the start of the race, but he would be starting last in the field.
The pole-winning car didn't come up to speed on the race's initial green flag, and by the time the field came into turn one, the track was blocked. Salemi avoided major contact, but still had to pit to have sheet metal damage taken care of. Once again at the tail of the field, Salemi took advantage of a pair of long green-flag runs to improve his position to fifteenth as the race crossed its two-thirds distance. But when two cars tangled in front of Salemi on lap 105, he was unable to avoid them and was caught up again. This resulted in a pinched oil line, and he was unable to finish.
"We didn't have the night we wanted with the Jamerson Inns/Kustom Vinyl Chevrolet," Salemi said. "It was tough. We had a problem in qualifying with a mechanical issue so we had to start in the back. We had to start in 29th and got into the lap zero incident. We got out of that missing a left front fender but we managed to get back through the field and got up to fifteenth. On one of the restarts a couple of guys wrecked in front of us and we were right behind it. We ended up hitting something and that pinched an oil line. We didn't get the radiator, and we could have kept going, but we pinched an oil line. It was tough because I think we could have finished in the top ten tonight.
"Everyone on the team, the whole crew, we really worked hard," Salemi continued. "Everybody busted their butts in the off-season to get this car done. We got here and I don't think we ever got the car where I was that comfortable with it, but I don't think anybody here was comfortable except maybe for the winner. We got wrecked three times tonight. Not one of those was because I lost control of the car. I don't know what it is, but we're just tearing stuff up. There were a lot of incidents that I know were preventable, but since I wasn't in the initial incidents I don't know how to stop them. I was just riding along and all of a sudden the track's blocked in front of me. We'll get the car back together and see if we can go on to the next race. We'll truck back to New Hampshire, put a new nose on the car, and try not to have a better run next time out."