Stafford race report 2002-08-24

Ralph Solhem and crew saves the night at the ASB 150. STAFFORD, CT: The ...

Ralph Solhem and crew saves the night at the ASB 150.

STAFFORD, CT: The #0 Bruce George Paving and Excavating Chevrolet driven by Nevin George would finish 8th after starting 22nd on the grid in the American Sleeve Bearing 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

NASCAR again attempted to equalize qualifying for all competitors with a different time trial format. Each car ran one warm-up lap then one lap of qualifying. After the whole field completed this process, they sent the cars out in the same order to take a second timed lap. The theory was to have all the entries qualify on rubber laid down by the Hoosier tires. In reality it didn't seem to change things very much as Jerry Marquis, who had the fast time on his first run, would see that time hold. Only 6 cars improved their times on their second lap.

The split qualifying may have been fortuitous for the #0 team as George could smell gear oil and saw smoke when he came back on pit road from his second run. It sent the team into crisis mode as they pulled the rear gear and seal. Without a spare at the track, they would place an emergency call to the Ralph Solhem Racing shop for a replacement to be brought to Stafford.

While they were waiting for the new gear to arrive, Ralph Solhem and Bruce George tore down the other gear and seal, and borrowed some needed parts from late model driver, Chuck Zentarski of West Haven, CT. The rest of crew worked feverishly to install the gear and attach the driveshaft, completing the repair just as the replacement arrived at the rear gate. They managed to complete the repairs and get through tech and make it out to the track in time for driver introductions.

George skillfully guided the #0 through lap 16 crash that saw 5 cars end up behind the wall. He was up to 17th at that point, having gained five spots in the first 16 laps. He would pit three times for adjustments under the yellow.

Lap 100 found George in 10th place in the field. He would make one more stop at lap 106 and would challenge Rick Fuller for the 7th place spot for the balance of the 150 lap event.

George gave credit to Solhem and his crew for their hard work, and he also wants to thank Chuck Zentarski for his racing camaraderie. George stated, "The crew gave me the top-ten finish. If I had qualified a little better we may have had a top five finish."

This is George's sixth top-ten finish of the season to add to his one win and four top-5s. He has an average starting spot of 13th and an average finish of 11th and is currently eighth in the championship point standings, just 24 points out of 5th place, and 180 markers behind first place Jerry Marquis.

Next up for the Featherlite Modified Series is the Big Y 150 at the Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, Connecticut, on August 31st. Bugsy Stevens will also be in attendance signing autographs on his new book, "Bugsy: The Life and Times of Bugs Stevens" authored with Bones Bourcier.


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Drivers Nevin George