51 Leftovers: World Series at Thompson by Denise DuPont
Putting The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Season to Bed
Eddie Flemke (#10) races with Doug Coby (#88). Later on, both drivers would be a victim of the same wreck. (Jim DuPont Photo)
FLEMKE GETS CAUGHT IN LAST LAP MESS
On the last lap of the World Series’ 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race Ed Flemke, Doug Coby and Billy Pauch, Jr, who were all running somewhere in the top ten, at the time, were involved in an accident as James Civali hit Flemke from behind and sent his car flying into the infield. Coby and Pauch’s cars got caught up merging together in the infield with Pauch’s car on top of Coby’s.
Flemke summarized the incident and its ramifications;
“James (Civali) is a tremendous race car driver. He really is. I would be the first to go to bat for him. I have gone to bat for him all year long. I will still go to bat for him. [But] I don’t understand what happened there. I don’t understand what started the whole thing.”
Flemke and Civali were driving hard against one another during a lot of the race.
“I got to go by him just to pass him for a spot, no big deal, I never touched him, I never banged him. I try to go underneath him and he drives me into the infield which is OK. We still did not touch at that point. He brought me so far down into the infield that the #88 (Coby) went by both of us. So now he lost two spots. Then I drive by him because we are in back with the junk. He beats on me for two laps. Then the last lap coming past turn three I was pointing out to let him go by and he drives into the back of the car and turns me around. I don‘t know why he did that.”
The controversy that was at the end of the race was an outcome of a bad move by Civali trying to pass Flemke on the last lap of the race,
“They (Civali’s crew) say that they assumed that I was going to get out of his way to let him go because he is point racing. I understand that. But I was already on the bottom of the race track. I waved my hand for him to drive around. My guys are all upset about it because he has done this to us three or four times.”
Flemke has seen, and raced against, talented drivers from several different generations and even though he might have had every right in the world to think otherwise right after the World Series, Flemke still was sure to give him credit for being a talented driver.
“I understand James and he is a super talented race car driver,” said Flemke. “And I will say that still right now. I know my car owner is going to be mad at me to say it. But he is a super talented guy. I would put him in my race car right now.”
But, Civali might possibly need to learn some driving dos and don’ts.
“He has to understand that there are consequences for all our actions,” said Flemke. “He is going to have to explain to me why he messed his own day up by blocking me. And then getting mad at me because I did just drive your line maybe I would have pass him but he would have only lost one spot. Because he did what he did, he lost two spots. Immediately then he had to retaliate with anger.”
“I am not mad at James. I am disappointed in him. Because he is way better then that. He is way too talented. I think that we are looking at him way too harshly. Right now my team is very upset with him and they are not going to take this very lightly, because this is the fourth time now.”
“ I have heard people say a few times: ‘Hey he is one of your customers [Civali drives a Raceworks-built car fielded by his car owner Don King] and you are just letting him push you around.” I am not just letting him push me around. I am just trying to drive him the way that I think that he should be driven. That is all. He will be all right.”
PAUCH HAS PROMSING SEASON-ENDING RACE
Billy Pauch, Jr. had the fourth fastest car during time trials and maintained a presence in the top ten during the majority of the race. At the last lap the accident put a damper on his very successful looking rookie year.
When the fireworks ended, Pauch was credited with a finish of 21st.
Civali's #28 (Jim DuPont Photo)
“I got wrecked coming out of fourth (turn),” said Pauch. “We were going for seventh and got wrecked. I just saw Civali take out Flemke. I don’t know what happened before that but it was not right to do on the track.”
Pauch was not happy at all with the way the race ended.
“The damage is not as bad as it could have been but it is just disgusting. You just cannot finish a race like that.”
The Pauch team thought they missed the correct pit strategy but in the end it looked like they were going to pull off a solid top ten spot.
“We pitted a little later then I would have liked to but we would have ended up with a good finish there. I was disappointed but I cannot complain.”
“It was not Billy’s fault at all we were really both just kind of a victim of circumstances and a little mis-communication between the #10 [Flemke] and #28 [Civali]. They had worked something out for the #28 to go by the #10 and then it ended up not happening. The #28 was racing for somewhere between third and fifth in points. I think if he had finished in front of the #10 car he would have gotten a few more spots [in the standings].”
The wreck was a sticky situation for everyone involved. Coby was civali’s teammate for the race and Flemke built all three cars at his Raceworks shop [which he co-owns with Reggie Ruggiero].
“I am sure there will be a few conversions. They are real good friends. We were just a victim of circumstances. I am real thankful for Don putting me in the car. Again we got into another car this week ran out front and ran real good.”
Coby had a strong car all night and he was going to be a player in the final plays of the race.
This was Pauch’s first full year driving with the NWMT.
“We have done 100% better then how we started this year. I have no complaints that way.”
COBY MAKES MOST OF A ONE-RACE GIG
Doug Coby was having an excellent run in a one-race deal driving for former car owner and long-time friend Don King as the race came to an end and Flemke spun.
Pauch (#06) sits wrecked with the #88 of Doug Coby. (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Since Doug Coby was driving a team car to James Civali at Thompson, he wanted to make sure that nobody mistook the two. (Jim DuPont Photo)
“We had between and fourth and seventh place run out there. I think that we would have come home in one piece but we just got tangled up at the end there. I can’t complain.”
In the end Coby summarized his thoughts as the accident unfolded:
“I really did not hit anything; I just got hit by things.”
Coby has not finished racing yet this year.
“I will be at the North-South Shoot-out in my own SK car. So I will be there in my #10.”
We were unable to speak with James Civali as he was in the NASCAR trailer after the conclusion of the race.
CHAMPION EXITS EARLY FROM WORLD SERIES
On lap 85 of the Thompson 150 lap race 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia slowed down and rapidly lost spots from the lead position that he had been running in. One lap he was running first way ahead of the pack of cars and then the next minute he was behind the wall.
Lia keeps his #4 in front of a pair of Hirschmans at Thompson. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Don’t expect any further retalitation from the incident either.
“You can’t [take] eye for an eye even if the other guy did something wrong. Now they (NASCAR) may put him last, if that is what they are doing to him. Do I think that that is justified? I am going to say no, but I know that my car owner think that it is. And that is the guy that pays my bills thinks that it is.”
Because the NWMT races have had a lot of incidents this year NASCAR and drivers are looking for some stable, clean driving.
“Nobody understands why he spun me out. I ran all day long with that piece of rubber on the front bumper on purpose to show everybody that I can run all day long without knocking it off. And it is still there. His (Civali) piece of rubber is not.”
“We just broke a motor,” said Lia. “We had a great race car at the end. We had a car I got the lead with. We had bad rear tire right from the get go. It actually blistered qualifying and the guys thought that it would clean itself up during the first few laps of the race. They were evidently wrong about that, actually it got worst the whole way around and then it got loose. So We pitted kind of early.”
On lap 42 Lia pulled his car down pit road and was one of the first cars to pit.
“While we pitted we made quite a few changes. And I mean the thing just came alive. It just drove right through the field. We were able to get the lead on a restart and once we got out front we were just riding, just cruising. Then we broke something in the motor. So that was the end of that.”
Coming back out on the track, Lia moved quickly horough the pack to the front.
“It is a shame. We had a great race car. Another win that could have been but the thing is that motors break. Believe it or not that was the first motor that Bob Garbarino ever lost since 1981 from Hutter. That says a lot about the job that Ron [Hutter] does for him.”
“The bottom line is that we had a great season, a great car today and we were going to close the season out strong and that did not happen . We will just take our championship and enjoy the next few months.”