Dale Quarterley's Return To Phoenix Race Sees Big Improvement With Eight Place Finish (Phoenix, Ariz. - Jan. 30, 2005) - When Dale Quarterley left Phoenix International Raceway last year, he brought a crashed race car and a 26th place finish...
Dale Quarterley's Return To Phoenix Race Sees Big Improvement With Eight Place Finish
(Phoenix, Ariz. - Jan. 30, 2005) - When Dale Quarterley left Phoenix International Raceway last year, he brought a crashed race car and a 26th place finish back to Westfield, Massachusetts. He returned to the Arizona track this past weekend for the opening race of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series and found drastically better results, completing every lap of the United Rentals 100 and finishing eighth.
Driving the EDART/Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet that won at New Hampshire International Speedway in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series competition last July, Quarterley immediately found himself with an uphill battle as rain washed away most of the scheduled practice time before qualifying.
"We came to Phoenix treating it as a test session, and we had a pretty off-the-wall setup in the car," he explained. "We only went fifteen minutes in practice before it started raining, and that was the end of practice, so then we had to figure out what we were going to do since we hadn't really gotten the car going yet. So we went back to the notes from last year and reset the car up and qualified it fourteenth."
Quarterley found the early going of the hundred-lap race to his liking, as he moved up to seventh place in the opening laps. But a quarter of the way through the race, he found trouble.
"I moved up to sixth and I wasn't even trying, I was just cruising around but the car was really fast. Around lap 30 I was passing a lapped guy and I went to go under him coming up off the turn, but as we came up off the turn he went down like he wanted to give us room on the outside to go around him. I was already under him, though, and we drifted up together. The second he turned back down, he ran into my right front fender with his left rear corner and he just drove around the front of my car and spun out."
"That put a dent in my right front fender, and under caution I came down pit road so the guys could pull the fender off the tire," Quarterley continued. "We put two tires on and pulled the fender off the tire and went back out, but they didn't pull the dent out of the fender, they just pulled it off the tire. So after that I had a little nose push for the rest of the day."
Only four cars pitted under that yellow, so Quarterley restarted near the tail of the field. Despite the push he had due to the damaged fender, he got back to the top fifteen quickly. The race went caution-free to its conclusion so there were no opportunities to have the field closed up, and while Quarterley was turning some of the fastest laps of the entire field throughout the final twenty laps, it took time to catch the next car in line and pass it. He picked up some positions in the closing laps, though, as some leaders who had run low on gas had to come on pit road. In the final ten laps, he picked up three positions to finish eighth.
"Near the end of the race, I was one of the fastest guys on the track as we were coming back up through," he said. "I just ran out of time before I could move up further. If we had one more yellow near the end, that would have put some excitement into the race as I definitely had a car that could turn and get down under everybody, and I could have moved my way to the front. I just needed a chance to do it."