John Salemi Disappointed In Late Music City Wreck Nashville, Tenn. (July 22, 2007) - John Salemi was well on his way to a top-five finish at the Music City Motorplex, racing his No. 63 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East series car in the...
John Salemi Disappointed In Late Music City Wreck
Nashville, Tenn. (July 22, 2007) - John Salemi was well on his way to a top-five finish at the Music City Motorplex, racing his No. 63 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East series car in the Music City 150, when he was dumped out of that position by a rookie driver and left to scramble to make up ground with just a few laps remaining, winding up nineteenth in the final rundown.
Salemi came to the Music City Motorplex's .625-mile oval after a short week of hard work from the previous race, an eleventh-place run at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. Early results at the Nashville, Tennessee track were encouraging and the Nashua, New Hampshire driver qualified sixteenth with a car that he knew would race even better.
"We're sixteenth on the grid, which is better than we've done since Iowa," he said. "We're starting to go in the right direction. Sixteenth doesn't mean much here because everyone is so close time-wise. We're excited because, in practice, my car seemed to maintain speed a lot, where it didn't fall off as much. We're as fast as a lot of the cars we want to run with. Dale Quarterley and everybody on the team worked real hard to get this car as close to the front as we could get it in qualifying to give me the opportunity to get to the front quicker."
Salemi played it safe through the first two-thirds of the Music City 150, preserving the tires on his Milwaukee Tools/Express Signs Chevrolet. But after a lap 109 restart, he went racing. After taking that restart in thirteenth place, he quickly moved into the top ten to run eighth with 25 laps to go. Seven laps later, he was sixth and battling cleanly with veterans Bryon Chew and Jerry Marquis to get to the top five. But a rookie driver in a Nextel Cup team's development program turned Salemi on the back straightaway, sending him into a spin with the end result being light contact with the inside wall. Salemi rejoined the race, but could finish no better than nineteenth. After another race where he was the victim of other drivers' mistakes, he was angry.
"It doesn't matter whether you run fifth or fifteenth, you get the same result," he said. "Getting bumped in the corners is racing, but when you get wrecked halfway down the straightaway, that can be avoided. If somebody has that good of a run, they can either go around me or they can back off.
"All I know is that I got a shove from behind on the straightaway and wrecked," Salemi continued. "That's what's disappointing the most. If it's gotten to the point where driving like that is what you have to do, it's not good for this series. You shouldn't have to come this far to a track as fast as this and put this much work into an effort to get taken out on a straightaway. It was a completely avoidable wreck but someone chose not to avoid it. Some of these new drivers don't seem to care who they have to move or who they have to wreck to get one more spot. They don't wait to figure a way around you so they just move you, and that's bad racing."
Salemi's race car was not significantly damaged, and he's looking forward to Saturday's race at Adirondack International Speedway where he finished twelfth last year but expects a far better result this time around.
"We had an awesome race car at Nashville," he said. "We were probably as good as the car that won the race. Everybody worked real hard and we didn't deserve this result. We've had a top-five car on more than one occasion this year and sooner or later we're going to get a top-five finish. We're going to make sure that's going to happen."