BIG 10 LEFTOVERS: ASPHALT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS by Matt Kentfield
Both Rowes Disappointed, Peltier Happy With Second & More
SECOND A NICE CHANGE FOR PELTIER
It’s hard to find an unluckier driver around the pit area at Concord Motorsport Park than Preston Peltier.
“I thought I’d maybe have a shot when they had that last restart and the guy dropped all that oil on the track. I took it easy on the restart because there was a lot of speedy dry down. I kind of had to wait for things to settle out after that restart, but by the time I did that, Freddie had a pretty good lead. The guys said I was catching him, but I was driving that car sideways from turn one, through the dogleg, and into turn three. I gave it all I had. Second place is pretty good and we’ll take it and see where we take this for next year.”
BOTH ROWES DISAPPOINTED WITH AWC PERFORMANCES
Ben and Mike Rowe came to Concord Motorsport Park for the AWC all the way from Turner, Maine. Their eventful 200-lap feature on Saturday certainly give them enough fodder for a few interesting stories when they return to their hometown.
After a tough season, Preston Peltier was able to come home second in the final 200-lapper. (51 Photos)
Ben Rowe, the 2005 PASS Pro Stock (Super Late Model) champion, was the only car that came close to knocking Freddie Query from his Concord domination. Query dominated the middle stages of the feature, but Rowe used a long green flag run late in the race to close to Query’s bumper. As soon as Rowe’s #00 looked to have Query lined up for a pass for the lead the caution flag flew and the field spent more than 10 laps under caution working in speedy dry that was dropped on the track. The caution foiled the younger Rowe’s shot at the win and he was none too pleased about it.
“It’s just frustrating because we were reeling Freddie in real quick and his car started going away,” said Ben.
The driver that spends Monday through Friday hanging bodies for Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 NEXTEL Cup team has had anything and everything go wrong for him in 2005 behind the wheel of his own #5 Super Late Model. From being involved in other drivers’ incidents to the car erupting in flames while leading, Peltier has gone through it all this year.
Peltier saved his best performance for last, however, as he hunted down winner Freddie Query over the final 20 laps, but had to settle for second in Saturday night’s season-ending Asphalt World Championships.
"This is a pretty good run considering all the bad luck I’ve had this year,” said Peltier. “I gave it my all there those last 30 laps to catch Freddie.
“We got right up to him and we were set up for long runs. As soon as we caught up to him they threw the yellow. I don’t know, it was still a fun night and for only 11 cars, we put on a good show, but we had a good car and we should’ve won. It’s just frustrating to reel a guy in like that and then there’s no reason for a caution. Nobody spun, nobody did anything, but what can you do?”
Ben’s father Mike had a little less controversial but an equally frustrating Asphalt World Championships race. Mike started from the sixth position but ran inside the top-five much of the night before an ill-handling car caught the best of him and thwarted his efforts for racing with his son and Query for the win.
“We had a push all night,” said Mike. “The car just wouldn’t turn for me. We kept making adjustments and we made it up to the front once, but I just couldn’t get the car to turn so I had to back off a little bit.”
With just 11 Super Late Models taking the green flag, Mike was impressed with the quality of racing despite the low car turnout.
“I think the racing was great tonight. Freddie checked out on us but the rest of the field was racing pretty good. The track is fast and it’s fun to race here, we just have to get our setups better. We tried running a soft setup here but I think we were a little too soft and it really cost us. But it was fun and we’ll have to try again next time to get them.”
JONES CAN'T BACK UP POLE RUN WITH WIN
Goldsboro, North Carolina’s Clay Jones has been the most impressive newcomer to the Super Late Model division at Concord Motorsport Park. The rookie took a win earlier this year and parlayed his consistent finishes into the Concord Big 10 Series’ Rookie of the Year title.
Jones looked to be one of the favorites for Saturday’s 200-lap feature after setting fast time in qualifying on Friday. Jones took the green flag from the third spot after the top six qualifiers re-drew for their starting positions. Jones moved up to second early on and raced solidly among the top-5 throughout the race before a tire issue forced his car to be extremely tight through the corners.
“We started the day off good,” said Jones. “We had a good practice and good qualifying run yesterday. We started racing pretty good early on there but the left rear tire kind of went crazy on us and went up to 28 pounds. Needless to say it was pushing pretty bad. By the time we could change the left rear, we realized that we burned the right front tire up because we had been pushing so bad.”
Jones held on to finish a strong third. With his first season of Super Late Model racing at Concord under his belt, Jones is excited to go into the off-season with some momentum.
Clay Jones put him #15 on the pole Friday night, but has to settle for third on Saturday night.
“Last race of the year, I’m happy to have it in one piece and finish third. We got a win in this year. That was the main thing we look at from this year. Next year if we get a big sponsor we’re looking to run the ASA Late Model Series and go travel around with them. That’s if we get a sponsor to come up, but if we don’t we’ll probably be back here. No matter what we had a pretty good season I think.”
MOTOR PROBLEMS SIDELINE EARLY LEADER LOVE
When Kevin Love won the final Big 10 Series event at Concord last month, many in the pit area were looking at Love as the next driver to give Freddie Query a run for his money at the half-mile. Love looked to be a contender again Saturday before motor problems forced him out of the race just a few laps short of the finish.
“I believe a rocker arm broke,” said Love. “We were real loose on the first set of tires and the motor was doing a good amount of popping even then. I believe the rocker arm let go at the very start of the race. I thought the motor wasn’t really a problem, but then it started smoking too much and oil was pouring out so we were done.”
Love spun by himself early in the race and changed his tires before the leaders did. When the lead pack hit pit road on lap 90, Love’s service was already accomplished and he took over the lead. Love maintained his lead for a short while, as Query used his fresh tires to get by Love on lap 112. Love hung around the top-five late in the race before the motor gremlins caught up to him.
Kevin Love had his eyes on winning Saturday night's race, but it wasn't meant to be.
“We spun out and came down to pit and took two new tires to tighten it up,” said Love. “It worked out for us because it got us back to the lead when those other guys pitted later on, but the car started to get too tight getting in. I believe we had a car that could’ve finished second or third, but the rocker arm broke and here we are.”
BROOKS TAKES LATE MODEL STOCK CHECKERS
Yellow was the color of choice for the 22 Late Model Stock drivers at Concord Saturday night. Numerous caution flags slowed the field in the 150-lap feature, but nothing could slow the determination of Terry Brooks, Jr. and his solid yellow #23 machine. Brooks outlasted the Late Model Stock field to take his first win of 2005.
“It’s mainly a case of everybody being anxious,” said Brooks of the caution-marred event. “Everybody wants to get that last win to get the momentum going into next year. It was basically a case of everybody losing their head.”
Brooks was one of the few drivers who did not lose their head on Saturday night. His car was one of the few that did not have body panels missing or taped on when the checkers fell, which was likely the winning factor for Brooks.
“I wanted to go to the front right away,” said Brooks. “It ended up being a blessing in disguise to do that, too. We got penalized for jumping a start about 50 laps in.
Clay Jones put him #15 on the pole Friday night, but has to settle for third on Saturday night.
We thought it was a bogus call but they sent us to the rear and that put us behind the eight ball. But by being in the back there we avoided all the wrecks up front and it really helped get us to the front.”
Brooks was running in the fifth position on late in the race when the first and second place cars of Roger Lee Newton and Ross Furr made contact going into the first corner. The incident destroyed both of their race cars and caused damage to several other leaders’ machines, but both Newton and Furr consider the contact a racing incident.
“The 25 car (Furr) just got a little loose off the corner and got into my driver’s door and turned me around,” said Newton. That’s racing, you can’t win them all. I was in cruise control and waiting for the checkered flag to fall until that happened.”
“I got a run on the 33 (Newton) on the front stretch on the restart and I got beside him,” said Furr. “I got my nose past him a little bit and then got down in the center of the corner. I got choked down and he was on the outside. He got a run off the corner and I slid up the race track when I jumped back on the gas. I used up all the race track that there was. It was just a racing deal and it really wasn’t anyone fault. I feel bad for it; I should’ve just been a little more patient.
Bo Foust (#22) was one of the early race leaders, but was also won of the leaders to get caught up in a number of wrecks.
Brooks escaped from the incident unscathed and took the lead with only a handful of laps to go to earn the win.
“We struggled really bad this weekend,” said Brooks. “We flipped a car a few weeks back and we’ve run it two times since we got it back and we’ve just been chasing all the bugs. The car was getting to the point tonight where minor adjustments were all that we needed to dial the car in and the car came alive tonight.”