BIG 10 SERIES LEFTOVERS by Matt Kentfield
Peltier Has Tough Night, Musgrave Not Happy & More
MUSGRAVE NOT HAPPY WITH FIFTH

A recent hot streak for Ted Musgrave, Jr. came to an end Saturday night.  Anything short of his two straight runner-up finishes would be a disappointment for the Mooresville, NC driver, but the fifth-place run he had Saturday left him scratching his head.
Query, who started third, led the early stages of the event before giving up the lead to Love on lap 50.  Love stretched his lead to nearly five seconds under a long green flag run.  The yellow flag finally flew on lap 125 after Preston Peltier, who was running third, spun by himself at the exit of the third turn. 

At this point, most of the leaders pitted for four tires and fuel, with the exception of second-place points man, Jimmy Simpson, who elected to take fuel only.  Simpson led the field back to green, but it took just two laps for Query to take the lead with his fresh tires.   Love followed Query by Simpson, who was quickly eaten up by the cars with fresh rubber.  

Query continued to lead until just 25 to go, when Love made the winning move.

SIMPSON'S STRATEGY KEEPS HIM IN THE HUNT

Freddie Query just keeps on chugging towards his third Big 10 Series championship, but Jimmy Simpson isn’t allowing him to run away and hide.  The Concord, NC native did not take tires when the rest of the leaders pitted past halfway in Saturday’s 200-lap event, but Simpson was still able to post a strong fourth-place finish.  Another top-five keeps him within shouting distance of Query going into next week’s final points race.

This car has been junk lately.  Luckily we’ve gotten it back to where it’s running good again,” Simpson said.  “I was just happy to drive it like it was tonight because the last few races it’s just been awful.

“We came out in practice on Friday and the car was just so bad that we almost didn’t come back tonight.  So I decided not to waste my money and buy tires because there’s no sense in buying them and putting them on a junky car.  We came out tonight to just see what happens.  After putting new tires on the other guys were a lot faster than us for about 20 laps or so, but after that we were running pretty much the same times, so I was pleased to run as good as we did.”

It will take a Query slipup for Simpson to claim the title on October 29th, but Simpson isn’t giving up.  At 16 points back of Query, Simpson has his sights set on just one thing in the series’ final race.

“All I’m thinking about is how much I need to win a race.  Second in points pays good, so I’d like to get that money, but I haven’t won a race in a long time and that’s all I want to do.”

LESSON LEARNED FOR CLAY JONES
Ted Musgrave talks over setups with one of his teammembers.  (51 Photos)
The last time the Big 10 Series hit the Concord half-mile, Clay Jones was the class of the field.  He had victory lane in his sights, but his “no-pit” strategy came back to bite him.  With a commanding lead, Jones’s fuel tank ran dry just three laps short of the finish.  Jones was not about to let that happen again Saturday night.  Although he didn’t have the car to win, Jones took fuel early to prevent a replay of last week’s misfortunes and it resulted in a strong third-place run.

“At least we finished this time,” joked Jones after the race.  “We’re tickled to death to finish third.  We definitely learned the hard way last week, so we decided to just take fuel on our first stop since we didn’t want to run out again.
Clay Jones' #15 has gotten better and better as the year has gone on.
“We had three consecutive second-place finishes, two here and one at Montgomery, and we’ve run in the top-five in seven of the last eight races, so we can’t complain too much, but fifth-place just sucked tonight,” said Musgrave, Jr.

“The car was pretty bad at the beginning.  We tried something different with the air pressures tonight; something that we tried at Montgomery and gave us some success down there.  But it just didn’t work tonight at the beginning.  We slid around a bunch and just about got lapped.  It was just terrible.  We came in and put sticker tires on it and the car was just as bad as it was before.  We have to come out here and test and get some more laps to get better at the setups.”
“I wish we could’ve had the kind of car we had last time.  The longer we ran, the tighter the car got, so we decided to come in again and change the right front tire just past halfway, but it wasn’t enough.  We chased down Query towards the end there, but third is a good run for us.  We’ll take it and come back and try it again next week.”

MORE BAD LUCK
“The car was free getting in, and I drove it in real hard one lap then we’d get a little squirrelly, then I’d back off.  One time I just went a little too hard.  I felt if I tried to save it I would’ve driven straight into the fence so I just let it go around.  I almost did it again maybe 30 laps later but I was able to catch it and keep it off the fence.”





Preston Peltier
Another driver looking to bounce back from disappointment in the first round of the 2005 Big 10 Series playoffs was Preston Peltier.  Peltier had a fast car last time out, but his sharp looking #5 Chevrolet caught fire on the frontstretch while leading early in the event.  Saturday’s round two wasn’t much better for Peltier, as he fought an ill-handling car all night to an eighth-place finish.

“I’m pretty disappointed and really frustrated,” said Peltier.  “Our car wasn’t as fast as it should’ve been.  I made a few changes tonight that I probably shouldn’t have made.  The car was really free getting in and tight getting off.  It just wasn’t a good night.”

A poor pit stop and a solo spin compounded the Frazier Park, CA native’s frustrations.

“I had some buddies come to the track and pit the car for us the last race and they did a super job, but they weren’t able to come to the track tonight and it cost me.  I was frustrated with that and how bad the car was, then I spun all by myself.  That’s just how our night was.