Leftovers: NASCAR Busch East Series at NHIS by Penny Aicardi
Cars On Fire... Drivers On Fire... Teams Getting Better And Much More
Joey Logano has been learning a lot this year.. and its showing by winning races. (Ken Spring photo)
Logano Puts Emphasis On Learning
We all know that Joey Logano has a lot of talent, but where does he get it from? What separates him from most drivers? A good team? Good equipment? Patience? Saavy? Maybe a little bit of all of those.
The 17-year-old driver won at New Hampshire International Speedway last week after never driving on the track before. He couldn’t even win on a video game version of the ‘Magic Mile’. So again, how does he do it?
Logano says learning is the key.
“On every racetrack you go to you learn something, and you take that and use it to your advantage. I learned a lot at Iowa with Harvick about restarts, and it helped me out a lot getting into the first corner here (at NHIS). There are little things every time. I think when you stop learning those things that’s when you come to the end so I’m going to keep running as many races as I can, winning as many races as I can, and learning as many things as I can,” he said.
NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to three NASCAR Busch East Series teams as a result of infractions that occurred June 29 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Barney McRae, crew member for the No. 5 team of Jonathan Smith, was fined $250 and suspended from the next NASCAR Busch East Series event, suspended from NASCAR until July 18, 2007, and placed on NASCAR probation until December 31, 2007 for violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing. Involved in an altercation in another competitor’s pit area).
Lance McGrew, crew chief for the No. 42 team of Landon Cassill, was fined $250, and placed on NASCAR probation until August 22, 2007 for violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); Section 12-4-Q (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules); Section 20C-14-1C (Master cylinders must be the push piston type).
Tony Mitchell, crew chief for the No. 43 team of Tim Schendel, was fined $300, and placed on probation until August 22, 2007 for violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules; Section 20C-12.1A(1) & (3) (front springs did not meet the specifications).
Nothing To Write Home About
The New England 125 broke several records last week, but it’s nothing the series should be proud of. The 125-lap affair had more cautions than any other race, went the longest on the clock, and provided the slowest average speed in the 47-race history of the track.
The previous record for the longest race was 1 hour, 54 minutes and 32 seconds set back on September 20, 2004, but last weekends event went 2 hours and 55 seconds. The length of the race could be attributed to the 10 caution flags that flew for a total of 64 laps beating out the 2006 edition of the New England 125, which had nine cautions for 44 laps. The average speed of this year’s race was 65.881 mph as compared to the previous record of 68.757 mph set also on September 20, 2004.
Things That Don’t Go Bump In The Night
When bad luck and NHIS are mentioned in the same sentence, Matt Kobyluck surely comes to mind. Since 2003, the Mohegan Sun Casino driver has been barely able to muster up a top-20 finish let alone completing all the laps of a race. More often than not, Kobyluck has left NHIS with a badly damaged racecar. This week that all changed. There was no wreck, no controversy, no dark cloud hanging over him.
Kobyluck quietly made an appearance in the top-10 for the first time since September 14, 2002 with a sixth place finish in the New England 125. He completed every lap (a first since ’02 as well) and even jumped two spots in the point standings to fourth.
“We had a top-10 car today. I don’t know if I would have been able to get by Joey (Logano), but hey, the car is in one piece. I drove it over to the trailer after the race was over with a sixth place finish. I’m happy with that,” he said. “It was a relaxing day. It didn’t matter what happened on the track. I just drove the car for what we had, and took what we got.”
Chase Austin was one of many drivers to be invovled in mixups on Friday at NHIS.
No Defense Here
Last year, Mike Olsen won the New England 125 with a last lap pass of Sean Caisse coming out of turn four. This year neither driver was found even near the top-five.
Olsen finished 11th for only his second appearance outside of the top-10 all season. The 2006 Busch East Series Champion ran the entire distance without power steering. He made it up as far as sixth, but lost some major ground in the last 20 laps of the race.
“It was a tough day,” said Olsen. “But we had a better car than where we were running. For me, the lack of power steering only hurt us when I had to correct. It takes a lot of muscle to get the car collected up. What really hurt us were all the cautions. You couldn’t race. That was my biggest complaint. We had restart after restart after restart and you just couldn’t go racing.”
Mike Olsen (#61) raced hard, but couldn't repeat his performance of 2006. (Jim DuPont photo)
Things got rough for Caisse right from the get-go when, battling for the lead on the first lap, got pushed up into the high groove by eventual race-winner Joey Logano. That was the least of his problems, however, and things went downhill from there. Caisse was involved in an accident that didn’t take him out of contention, but he finished 24th as the last car on the lead lap.
“We pitted early on lap 20. We were running through the field. We had come up from 32nd and got up to 17th. I was working the outside of (Mike) Johnson and trying to work him. He gave me the lane coming off of turn four, but all of a sudden he just turned right and put me in the fence. I don’t know if he knew I was there and it was mistake or what, but he went right up into me. We had a top-three car today, but I don’t know if we had anything for Joey. Congratulations to him. They are on a roll right now, and we have to figure out how to get the monkey off our back.”
This is Caisse’s fourth consecutive finish outside of the top-10. He is currently 12th in the points.
“Yeah, it could be any day now,” he said with a grin during a press conference following the race. But the driver was quick to get back to talking about the race.
Schendel, who just last year won the 2006 NASCAR Elite Division Midwest Championship, has been trying to get back in familiar territory. His finish in the New England 125 was a good starting point.
“This is my first time and I grew up racing on a flat 5/8th’s mile out in Wisconsin and I think that helped me. This place seems to fit my driving style,” he said. “We started 28th and that made a long, long day for me. If we had started up in the top-10 maybe we would have had a little bit of a better day, but we’ll take third. The season has been going pretty rough for us and it’s good to get back to where we belong.”
Despite being in the top-10 at almost every race this year, Schendel has only finished in the top-10 twice now. This was his first top-five of the season.
Tim Schendel (#43) has found a home with the Busch East Series... and its starting to show. (DuPont photo)
Rogelio Lopez, who entered the New England 125 second in points, took a big hit when he had to park his TELMEX Chevrolet after only 14 laps. Coming off turn four of lap 14, he reported to his crew that there was smoke in the cockpit. By the time he reached the end of the front straightaway, a fire had developed under the hood. Lopez pulled off the track at the entrance to turn two where he got out of the burning car safely and saw the fire put out quickly by rescue workers. The car was towed to the garage area where the damage was deemed to be too much to repair.
“I think the fuel line broke and it caught on fire. We had a strong car at the beginning. We were saving tires, but sometimes things like this happen. It doesn’t help with the points, but we have a lot of information for the second race here, and we’ve got a strong car,” he said.
Quote Of The Week
Brian Hoar made his first return to the series at NHIS after announcing he would not return on a full-time basis for this year, and posted a fifth place finish. When asked if the series had a different feel with all the influx of development drivers, Hoar responded by
saying, “It feels like we’re racing the Cup Lite division here. I’ve obviously been following the series very close, but when I pull in here and see Ginn Racing, RCR, Ken Schrader, DEI, Gibbs Racing – I was saying ‘Wow!’ When I look around and see all that, yeah, it feels like I’ve been gone for five years. It really changed overnight. As far as the officials go and being on the track racing, it seemed like I never left. I fell asleep in the drivers meeting as always.”
Getting Back To Familiar Territory
Third-place finisher Tim Schendel was anxious to get back home to Wisconsin after the New England 125. The driver, who placed his Busch East Series career-best finish last weekend, is on daddy-watch.
Rogelio Lopez found himself on fire in front of a few observers at NHIS. (DuPont) photo)