WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: SATURDAY NOTES by Jeremy Troiano
Guess Who's On The Pole, Drivers Talk About Car Count, Long Haul
Query was a late go in qualifying and bested the time put up by Preston Peltier by just over a tenth of a second to grab the pole. It was a good lap following a first lap by Query that wouldn't' have even put him in the top-15.
“I ran the car way too hard,” said Query of his first lap. “We bottomed out and the framerail got against the ground and just slide up the race track (in turn one). The second lap, we took it easy and it was pretty good.”
"It's important to start up front for a couple of reasons. First, I like to get the lead and set the pace for the race, I know how fast I want to run and if I'm leading I can do that. Also, it's important to stay out of the heavy traffic early in the race because anything can happen back there."
If “easy” gave Query the pole, it could be a long day tomorrow for most the other competitors.
“It was a decent lap, but we were really tight,” said Peltier.
“That was the first time ever that we've been tight while qualifying here.”
Chris Dunn qualified third, with Eddie Massengill fourth and Ted Musgrave Jr., who won the last Big-10 Series race of the year a few weeks ago, fifth.
Ted Christopher was the top of the three Northern guys in attendance. He qualified sixth.
DRIVERS REACT TO LOW CAR COUNT
Polesitter Freddie Query (left) and the man he knocked off the pole, Preston Peltier (right), talk after qualifying. (51 Photos)
No surprise to anyone, Concord Motorsport Park's all-time wins leader and the 2004 Big-10 Series champion Freddie Query captured the pole for Sunday's Asphalt World Championships at the tricky half-mile.
There were only 22 cars (23 will start) that took qualifying times on Saturday for Sunday's Asphalt World Championships at Concord. The starting field was set to be 36, but instead will just be 23.
It's a far cry from last year's field of 32 cars that also sent home several other good drivers.
“I kinda am surprised (by the low car count), then again, I'm kinda not,” said Query. “I got a lot of contacts around and a lot of guys just said they wasn't coming.”
Massengill, who was the 2003 Big-10 Series champion and
Dennis Schoenfeld is one of the regulars out at Concord in the Big-10 Series.
finished runner-up to Query this season, was just baffled by the low car count, especially compared to Nashville's turnout for the All American just two weeks ago.
“I don't know. I'm surprised to tell you the truth,” said Massengill. “There were 64 cars at Nashville a couple of weekends ago and now there are just 23 here. And there is $5,000 more to win this weekend than at Nashville. I'm surprised. I thought there would be more cars here.
“I don't think it is the track. I don't know. I don't understand why they didn't come. Even though there are only 23 cars here, there re 23 good cars. It is still going to be an interesting race.”
Peltier has his own ideas.
“I think there are a couple of reasons,” said Peltier. “One is
a lot of the people that run Super Late Models have heard of Concord and a lot of them have probably been out here before and they know this is a tough place to get around and some of the guys that run here all the time have a pretty big advantage.
“I think the biggest thing with the track is that there is no promotion. I ran the All American 400. The purse wasn't as much, but they had an impressive car count. They sent some good cars home. The difference with that race is that every magazine you seemed to open, they (the All American officials) had advertising in. This place just doesn't seem to do that. It is unfortunate.
Eddie Massengill (#10), here passing Bobby Gill (#5), is miffed by the lack of cars at Concord.
The forecast for the Concord area on Sunday is for rain as well. That could be a problem with the low car count as well. The race, if rained out on Sunday, will likely run on Monday night. The same problem happened to the Southern All Star race at Myrtle Beach (SC) earlier this year when the threat of a major hurricane kept the car count very low for the annual Labor Day event at the track.
“I think the low car count is because there aren't a lot of cars here every week anyway,” said Ted Musgrave Jr. “No one wants to tow all the way down here, especially looking at the weather forecast. It isn't looking very good
Ted Musgrave Jr. thinks rain might have something to do with the low car count.
for tomorrow (Sunday). I think more people would have shown up if the forecast was going to be better.
“The race doesn't seem quite as big this year though. But if you look around ,there isn't any junk here. There are a lot of good cars here. The quantity may be down, but the quality isn't down.”
MAKING THE LONG TOW
PASS Champion Johnny Clark is leading the Northern contingent of Super Late Model drivers into Concord already with one year of experience in the race under his belt. In last year's event, Clark was running in the top-10 when he engine let go and relegated him to a 26th-place finish.
This year, he's hoping for more. He'll start from the 11th spot on Sunday.
“This is the heartbeat of racing, being here in Concord,” said Clark on the team's reasoning to coming to Concord for another year. “We had a lot of fun last year before we blew up 100 laps in the race. We were running fifth when we blew up. I think we got just as good of a car as we did last year. We just need to redeem ourselves compared to last year.”
Clark is really taken aback by the Concord track, which has a very unique “dogleg” in the backstretch.
“We don't have anything like this back in New England. This is a unique place. We run on 5/8-mile track at Thompson (CT). The speeds are similar, but we don't have that dogleg. That is quite interesting.
“The most important part of the track is turn one and how you enter the dogleg. That is what I messed up on in time trails.”
The low car count at Concord this year does disappoint Clark though.
“It is disappointing because that is why we come down here and that is to race with the best of the best. They call it he Super Late Model World Championships. We are down here because we wanna race the best.
“It is kinda disappointing this year. But we want to come and support the deal and we'll just try and get them.”
MAKING EVEN A LONGER TOW
Johnny Clark, the PASS Champion, has been searching for some speed since he got to Concord.
While the Northeast PASS Series guys have a little more name recognition, Pete “Petey” Shepherd made probably the long two to compete in the Asphalt World Championships at Concord (NC).
Shepherd is from Brampton, Ontario and is coming off a season that saw him win the CASCAR Rookie of the Year title
“We hear a lot about this race so we really wanted to come down here and compete,” said Shepherd.
“The caliber of drivers here is still pretty good, just not as
"Petey" Shepherd was the 2004 CASCAR Rookie of the Year.
many, which his pretty good for me, because I don't have a lot of time in these type of cars. They are a whole new ball game for me. The last time we raced them was at New Smyrna (FL) during Speedweeks. We are just here to get experience. With a little less traffic, it will be easier to get experience.”
Shepherd reflected on another positive note to a successful season in CASCAR.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do just by winning the Rookie title. Sure, my wildest dreams had us winning a race, and we had a great shot at winning the Calgary events, but we still finished in the top-ten in points, recorded a number of top-ten finishes, plus won a pole and finished in the top-five at Cayuga in the ATTO Shootout. Those were some tremendous accomplishments.”
Shepherd hopes to compete again this year at Speedweeks in New Smyrna.
ASPHALT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS STARTING LINEUP
1. Freddie Query, Mooresville, A-1 Fire Protection Chevy
2. Preston Peltier, Concord, CRD Engine Development Chevy
3. Chris Dunn, Raleigh, The Heritage Bank Ford
4. Eddie Massengill, Goldsboro, C&C Construction Ford
5. Ted Musgrave Jr, Mooresville, Eagles Nest Racing Products Chevy