BNS: Bill Penfold Beech Ridge Report
The Penfold Motorsports Team made their second visit of the season to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Busch North Series, touring division. The Scarborough, Maine racetrack is a familiar track to both driver Bill Penfold as well as crew ...
The Penfold Motorsports Team made their second visit of the season to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Busch North Series, touring division. The Scarborough, Maine racetrack is a familiar track to both driver Bill Penfold as well as crew chief Bob Harrison. Bill is from Yarmouth, Maine, just a short drive from the 1/3 mile track. He has raced many times there and had much success. Harrison is a former track champion at the track he considers his home track. It was just a matter of time before everything came together for the two giving them a great finish there.
The Penfold Team arrived at the track early and worked hard trying to make the car fast for qualifying. Thirty-six cars were going to fight for the thirty starting positions in the two rounds of qualifying. Bob made several changes, but nothing seemed to work. Bill was unable to make the field in the first round.
After some other minor adjustments by Harrison, Penfold went back out for second round qualifying. Bill has been the fastest second round qualifier for the past two events. This week he would be the second fastest in the second round, earning him the 23rd starting position.
When the green flag waved, Bill quickly found a line that the #0 VIP Charters/neracing.com Chevrolet worked well in. He slowly started picking off cars, passing one or two every few laps. There were four caution flags during the event, which helped Bill, as he had been saving his tires while others had to pit for fresh ones.
Bill steadily worked his way through the top ten, getting all the way up to second place behind fellow Maine native Tracy Gordon when the final caution flag came out on lap 135, setting up a ten lap shootout when the green flag waved on lap 140. Bill took the green flag in second place, but was over taken by series points leader Brad Leighton, who had pitted for new tires. Bill was running in third with five laps to go when Dave Dion, who also had new tires, was able to work around Bill, bumping him to fourth place when the checkered flag waved. Gordon won the race.
Bill finished fourth, earning his first career top five finish. The VIP Charters/ neracing.com Chevy had hardly any marks on it after the race, an indication of what a clean race Bill had run. Several drivers came by to congratulate Bill on his accomplishment. Dion even praised Penfold for racing him clean in the final laps.
"After that last caution, I knew Leighton had fresh tires and I'd have a hard time holding him off," Bill said. "But I was hoping he would get up there with Gordon and they would start beating and banging and take each other out, leaving it to Dave and me to fight it out for the win. I'm real happy with fourth place, especially with that car. It was a dog all day, but we were able to hang in there and get a top five."
"I am super happy for this whole team right now," Bill went on with a big smile. "This team has had a horrible season, one bad break after another. Everyone was getting pretty down, you could see it. But this is a great shot in the arm for everyone here. Hopefully this will carry over into Loudon this week. We nearly had a second place finish there last month, maybe our luck is finally changing."
Bill also won the Flowmaster Star of the Race award as the driver that gained the most positions from the start of the race to the finish. Bill gained 19 positions after starting 23rd and finishing 4th. He won $1,950 for his finish.
"This is what this team is capable of doing every week," team manager Ray Penfold remarked after the race. "Bill is a very talented driver and he it showed tonight."
The team will leave for New Hampshire International Speedway on Thursday morning and qualify the VIP Charters/ neracing.com Chevy that afternoon. Last time there, Bill qualified seventh. The team will be carrying the Make a Wish logo on the car for the race as part of their donation program they are participating in with the charity organization. A large portion of all the sponsorship money they raise will be donated to the Make a Wish organization before the race.
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