FREDDIE GETS IT ALL WITH SEASON SWEEP AT CONCORD by J. Troiano
Veteran Uses A Little Luck To Outduel Northern Drivers
It was the ultimate high, because finally, he scored the hat-trick at his home track.
Query won nine Big-10 Super Late Model Series races at Concord last season (more than anyone), but the way the point system was structured kept him from winning the title. Then, he fell short in the first running of the World Championships, finishing second.
This season, a new points system and six more wins (again, a high among competitors) allowed Query to be crowned the Big-10 Series champion. On Sunday, he completed the hat-trick by winning the $15,000 prize in the World Championships.
But, it wasn't all that easy for Query.
Starting from the pole, Query jumped out to the lead and led until pit stops on lap 120. That is when it all looked like it was falling behind.
Off the green, where he restarted third, Query quickly lost position after position and continued to just go backward.
“We didn't know what was wrong,” said Query. “The guys in the pits figured it out, we got in there got it fixed and got back in the race.”
Freddie Query (#8) takes the checkers in Sunday's Asphalt World Championships at Concord (NC). (Bob Milner Photos)
“It was the ultimate high to the ultimate low to the ultimate high again.”
That was how Freddie Query summed up his day at the second running of the Asphalt World Championships on Sunday afternoon at Concord Motorsport Park (NC).
“They got the tired missed up (on the pit stop). They had the wrong ones in the wrong place.
“I thought I had a flat tire to start with. We run these bleeders and anything can go wrong. I took off and I thought I had a flat tire. It didn't get no worse and my guys kept telling me where the leader was. I was doing all I could do.”
Query got a caution that was much needed on lap 159 when Ted Musgrave Jr. spun coming off of turn three. The crew got the car fixed, and the race to get back to the front was one.
Query's first stop is what almost cost him the race.
Finally, on lap 197, Query made a door-banging move past Ted Christopher through the dogleg and retook the lead, a lead he wouldn't give up.
“We came from behind. We had a good race car at the end,” said Query, a man of few words. “We got back to the front. That was the story.
“You gotta have luck to win I always say. I don't care how good you are, how good your team is or how much money you got, you gotta have luck or you aren't going to win We had some luck today.”
It was the capper to a great season.
“This has been one of the best years I've ever had. It was a great year.”
The other story of the race was the tenacity of two of the “Northern Invaders” at the World Championships. In a race that was full of attrition (only 11 of the 24 cars that started were running at the end of the event), PASS Series Champion Johnny Clark and the Northeast's “Mr. All-Everything” Christopher stuck with it all day long and were right there at the end of the night, coming home second and third respectively.
Clark slowly worked his way through the field from his 11th-place starting spot into the top-five and eventually into the mix for the win.
Clark then gambled with just 25 laps to go and just four cars on the lead lap by pitting for fresh tires. It was a move that almost paid off.
“That was our only shot,” said Clark. “We came in and threw some rubber on the car. Unfortunately, we were just a little too loose on that last set of tires. We started gaining on him (Query) and then the car got really loose. I said, 'you know what, we've come this far I don't think I'll be able to do anything with him even if I was able to catch him.' So we just sat back and took a second.”
For Clark, it was sweet redemption to a disappointing showing at last year's World Championships, where he was running in the top-five when his engine blew.
Johnny Clark (#54) never led, but was a factor on Sunday at Concord.
Christopher looked to be the man to beat when Query fell off the pace with problems. However, Christopher had problems of his own. He lost the power steering a handful of laps into the race and then lost a valve about 50 laps from the end. He came back from a lazy spin through the dogleg and a run in with Query to finish third in just his fourth Super Late Model race of his season and in less than 10 in his career.
“We lost he power steering early and the belt came off the back,” said Christopher, who won a SMART Modified Series race at Concord just a couple of months ago.
Ted Christopher (#34) led a bunch of laps, but a late spin kept him from challenging for the win.
“About 50 to go, the motor started sputtering and I think we lost a valve spring or something.
“Man, it sucks racing here without power steering. You can't overcorrect, even if you want to. That is why we spun it out. It was easier to spin it out than to try and overcorrect and get back into the wall with the front end.
“Who knows if we could have won. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. We led, we were fast, we passed Freddie. Hell, it's just my first time here with the Super Late Models. Hell, I don't drive these cars at all. This is only my fourth race of the year with this car. I think that is pretty good I guess.”
Christopher left with another classic “TC” quote.
“I'd come down here 10 times a year if I could just get someone to let me drive their car in these Big-10 races. I'll give that Query guy a run like he's never seen.”
Musgrave Jr. finished fourth, the final car on the lead lap. Bobby Gill, driving Richie Wauters' high-powered #5 (although it was #15 on Sunday) finished fifth after getting a lap down early and never being able to get it back.