ES: South Boston: James Pritchard Jr race notes

James Pritchard Jr. Makes 2008 Debut At South Boston South Boston, Va. (May 31, 2008) - James Pritchard Jr. made his first 2008 start in the NASCAR Camping World East Series on Saturday night in South Boston, Virginia. The Wharton, N.J. driver...

James Pritchard Jr. Makes 2008 Debut At South Boston

South Boston, Va. (May 31, 2008) - James Pritchard Jr. made his first 2008 start in the NASCAR Camping World East Series on Saturday night in South Boston, Virginia. The Wharton, N.J. driver was making steady progress through the field during the 150-lap feature event in his No. 41 Mannings USA Chevrolet before engine failure ended his night with less than thirty laps to go at the .4-mile oval.

Working with a car that was completely rebuilt over the winter, Pritchard spent practice learning the car and getting up to speed. While practice was a fairly smooth process, trouble struck just before time trials in the form of a flat tire.

"We had a rivet go through a tire just before qualifying, which forced us to change a tire just before and that messed up our stagger," he said. "We went out first and that didn't help at all."

Pritchard was in the race, though, and in the caution-filled event he did an excellent job keeping his car out of trouble and on the lead lap. As he continued in the race, though, the handling was starting to go away and that may have been a sign of more trouble coming before the 150-lap event was over.

"The car was good in the race," he said. "We had a great car, we were gaining spots up into the top twenty, but we might have sprung an oil leak, and maybe oil was getting on the right rear tire because the car started to get loose. She eventually dropped oil pressure so I brought it in before blowing the engine."

After completing 122 laps, Pritchard was out of the race with a 29th place finish.

"I've got to thank all my guys," he said afterwards. "John Bellesfield was helping us here and everyone worked their tails off all day. We got here and got it in the show. My guys did a great job, I couldn't do this without them, and of course we couldn't go racing without the support of Mannings USA."

While the primary engine will have to be repaired, the team has a backup that can be used in the next series race, which will be Sunday at Watkins Glen International's 2.45-mile road course.

"We might drop our old motor in the car and give Watkins Glen a try. We've got a day to think it over before we start thrashing again," he said with a smile.

-credit: ajc

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