Penfold would love to get the chance to drive into one of the more exotic machines that race at Liem Rock.

"I love this,"  Penfold said.  "I'm not a road racer per se but I enjoy doing it and we're always up front.  If anyone wanted to give me a ride in a road race car, I'd jump at it in a heartbeat."

HOAR HAS PLENTY OF SETBACKS OVER WEEKEND

Lime Rock was a tough weekend for Brian Hoar.  Everything that could go wrong for the Vermont driver seemed to do so.

"We got in a little trouble all around, all day long," said Hoar.  "We had a brake problem and I overdrove turn one.  That was just the start of our issues. I flat spotted the tires, we had a wheel come lose and
had to pit for that and I had a radio problem from the start of the race.  I could hear the spotters OK, but couldn't talk to them so I couldn't even tell the team what was wrong.  When I came in to pit, we
had to do some yelling back and forth.  Finally, they gave me a radio so I had two in the car.  One I had to keep in my driver's seat for about five laps before we got another caution and I could switch them out.  It was interesting."

Hoar stayed on the lead lap until a late race incident put him one lap behind.
BUSCH NORTH LEFTOVERS: LIME ROCK by Mike Twist
Leighton Not Running For Title... Road Warriors & More
LEIGHTON WON'T PURSUE CHAMPIONSHIP

Brad Leighton's racing plans for 2004 called for eight NASCAR Busch North races including the first three events on the schedule.  Speed 51 asked Leighton if winning two of those three events and holding the series point lead would change his team's plans for the year.
"I was passing Ryan Moore for tenth place and the #31 (the lapped George Whelen) decided that he was going to use us to brake with.  He must have decided that sixteen tires were better than his four," Hoar said.  "That
actually took all three of us out and resulted in two flat tires.  We changed one and found out about the other one too late on the last lap.  We ended the race with a flat tire and a wrecked racecar. It was a rough way to end the day."

Hoar also had a rough time before the race even started. He visited a nearby hospital the night before the race after developing flu-like symptoms.
"I might get to Loudon (his next scheduled race) a little bit earlier,
but that's it," said Leighton.  "If I chose to run all of the races, I'd
still be driving the #55 car.  We plan on running eight races and that's the deal.  The team might run a race or two with someone else in the car, but we're not changing things one bit for me.  The guys on this crew have made plans for their summers based on our schedule and I respect that."

PENFOLD SHINES ON ROAD COURSE

After two races of trouble, Bill Penfold showed up at Lime Rock with one of the fastest cars all day and recorded a fourth-place finish.

"In road racing, you don't have to be the fastest to be good at it.  You can hustle the car around and make up time,"  said Penfold.  "The crew gave me a hell of a car, nothing went wrong and we only went off the track one time.  We needed the boost.  We're a struggling team doing this out of our pockets and to put out a top four against some of the better financed teams in real good."
After winning two of the first three races, Brad Leighton won't pursue the points championship.  (Gallo Photo).
"I was actually at the hospital from eight last night until midnight getting IVs,"  Hoar said.  'They took good care of me and today I feel pretty good pyschially, but it's hard to feel good mentally after the race we had."

ROAD WARRIORS OUT IN FORCE AT LIME ROCK

Several drivers with road racing backgrounds made starts at Lime Rock.  The best of the bunch was Jeremy Treadway, who finished tenth in his Busch North debut driving a former Dale Shaw car.

Other drivers in the field included Jack Lewis (who finished 11th), George Whelen (19th), John Murphy (23rd), Anthony Demonte (26th) and Rick Bell (32nd).

ANDREW RETURNS TO BUSCH NORTH

Tim Andrews, son of NASCAR crew chief Paul Andrews, returned to the Busch North Series in his family-owned #9 car.  Andrews ran eight races in 2003 with two top fives finishes.  His weekend wasn't so good at Lime Rock though.  A lap 49 accident dropped him from the race and he was credited with the 30th finishing position.

DION USES LR TO PREPARE FOR NHIS???

Dave Dion isn't known as a road racer.  In fact, he managed to avoid going to such events for the past few seasons, but this year Dion might run the entire Busch North schedule, so stops at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen are necessary.

That doesn't mean that Dion didn't put his weekend to good use at Lime Rock.  His #29 Dion Brothers Racing team rolled out their car for the one-mile track at New Hampshire International Speedway and used Lime Rock as a sort of test session.

"We shook down our Loudon (NH) car this weekend," said Dion with a laugh.  "We found a problem with a brake caliper and the master cylinder and fixed those.  We wold have been busy boys at Loudon if we didn't find that out.  So it was a good weekend - plus we got more points than by staying home."

Dion finished 22nd at Lime Rock and is now tenth in series points.


Brian Hoar (#45) gets nailed from behind by the #31 of George Whelen.  (Norm Marx Photo)