Early Season Struggles Continue for Dion Ciccarelli Stafford Springs, Conn. (June 8, 2007) - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series racing is not easy. Just ask sophomore driver Dion Ciccarelli and the Jamerson Motorsports team.
Early Season Struggles Continue for Dion Ciccarelli
Stafford Springs, Conn. (June 8, 2007) - NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series racing is not easy. Just ask sophomore driver Dion Ciccarelli and the Jamerson Motorsports team. Handling gremlins again appeared at the fifth series race of the year, held Friday night at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway, leaving the team scratching their heads over a twentieth-place finish and a Star Sales/Operation Gratitude Chevrolet that hasn't responded to the Severn, Maryland driver's liking.
While the No. 84 car was good in practice, the search for more speed lead the team in a direction that did not work. That situation was not fixed for qualifying, where Ciccarelli timed in 24th fastest. Not helping his cause was the car that was to take time next entered the track while Ciccarelli was on his second timed lap and did not immediately get up to speed, causing Ciccarelli to catch him coming out of turn four. This messed up his run to the checkers.
"We tried some things in practice and it definitely hurt us," he said. "We tried to put it back for qualifying and on my first lap of time trials I knew the car was a little bit off. I tried changing my line to compensate for that and I thought I was having a decent run but the 21 car didn't take off. I'm trying to get a good run out of the fourth turn and finish my lap but he was right in front of me. We don't have a real fast car but I think I could have qualified better without that car being in front of me. We can't dwell on that, though, because we have a race to run."
The race went along the lines of qualifying, which was bad news for the Ciccarelli effort. Although he got a lap down to the leaders early, the beneficiary rule restored him to lead lap status shortly afterwards. This didn't fix the car's tight characteristics and two pit stops were made in an effort to fix the problem. With the eventual understanding that the problem was bigger than what could be done quickly on pit road, Ciccarelli drove to the race's finish as best as he could, being scored 20th in the final rundown.
"The car started out on the tight side and the more I ran, the tighter it got," he said after the race. "I was begging for help and we came in to make some changes on the first caution. On restarts it would start out good but after a couple of laps it would tighten up again. We made a few more changes and while they helped, it needed more than we could do on a regular pit stop so I just had to go points racing, trying to get a finish while keeping the car in one piece. Fortunately, we didn't do anything worse than a couple of cosmetic issues so there's nothing major to fix and we can work on next time out.
"We have to see what we can do for next time out," Ciccarelli continued. "We've had a long day at the track so we need to sleep on what happened today and tackle it all over again during the week."
Jamerson Motorsports has a couple weeks to prepare for one of the biggest races of the Busch East season. Friday, June 29th finds the series at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway where it'll share the track with the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch, and Whelen Modified Series.