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Veteran Dale Quarterley Found a Home Racing Stock Cars at Lime Rock

NASCAR wrote nearly two decades of history at Lime Rock Park.

Photo via Greg Clark

 

LAKEVILLE, CT (28 October 2022)- With the NASCAR Playoffs entering the home stretch, Lime Rock Park fans fondly remember the years when stock cars thundered through the Berkshire Hills.

 

NASCAR paid annual visits to Lime Rock from 1993 through 2011, competing with the Busch North Series (now K&N East) and Featherlite Modified Tour.

 

Popular Winston Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader won the inaugural race to open an 18-year-run of NASCAR at the Park. Accomplished sports car driver Butch Leitzinger won the next three races, before the series’ regulars dominated the remainder of the races.

 

Dale Quarterley, a native of Westfield, Massachusetts, was among the drivers who made himself at home here, winning two Busch North races in addition to a Modified Tour event.

 

Quarterley had two very different reasons for looking forward to coming to Lime Rock.

 

“I used to call Lime Rock a golf course with no holes,” Quarterley said. “That’s my number one reason for liking Lime Rock. Because of that, you could bring the wife and the kids. They could all play on the hill and enjoy what’s going on. When the sponsors showed up, they could do the same thing – come down into the pits, and then walk back up the hill and enjoy the race, feeling like they’re part of the crowd, because everybody’s intertwined, not sitting in seats. That just made it more of a nice experience for everybody.

 

“Number two, and I tell the other drivers this all the time, the track is designed to mess you up,” Quarterley continued. “It’s not a steady flow. The objective is to make you do something you don’t want to do, and it you can accomplish that, you will be fast. Lime Rock, without a question, is one of those race tracks. When you come down the hill to the front straightaway, if you don’t set it at the right time, in the right place, at the right speed with the right amount of four-wheel drift, you’ll just go wiggle, wiggle and the next thing you know, you’re in the grass. The next thing you know, you’re in the tire barrier.”

 

Quarterley put his name in the Lime Rock record books with NASCAR Busch North Series victories in 2001 and 2003, in addition to a NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour triumph in 2010. Three of his seven NASCAR career wins were at Lime Rock. During a five-year stretch from 200 to 2004, Quarterley finished first or second on four occasions.

 

“I also had the track record there that lasted a long time, and I’d bet we led more laps than everyone else combined,” he said. In two races where we either won or finished second, we started last, and drove it through the field and still won. That’s what the team is most proud of.”

 

In his second visit to Lime Rock, Quarterley was involved in a torrid three-way scrap with Andy Santerre and Butch Leitzinger.

 

“Butch and I were all over Santerre, and on the last lap, he stuffed it in under the bridge and put it on its roof,” Quarterley recalled. “Butch and I could see it coming, because we were road racers, and we knew there was no way he was saving it. But then I got beat by Leitzinger – which was good and bad. I was great even to be able to race him – he didn’t just walk away – but I didn’t beat him, either.”

 

Quarterley won the pole in 2003. However, on the morning of the race he stopped to talk to his mother, and wound up missing the drivers’ meeting. Starting last, he still made his way through the field to win.

 

His last race at Lime Rock was the modified event in 2010. At the start of the race, he found the clutch was slipping, so he pitted so the crew could cut the clutch line. Starting at the back, he charged through the field to lead the final four laps.

 

“I did the whole race without a clutch,” he recalled. “On my pit stop, the crew had to push-start it so I could get it in gear and take off. Fortunately, not many of the guys had road race experience, and when he stopped for new tires, they didn’t have a chance. The neat thing was that I won the race with the crew chief that I started car racing with.”

 

Prior to racing stock cars, Quarterley spent 13 years racing on two wheels, winning four AMA championships. He won an AMA Superbike National race at Mid-Ohio in 1993, one of the few privateers ever to win at that level.

 

While he hasn’t visited Lime Rock since that modified victory,  Quarterley has been busy racing stock cars on a number of levels, including NASCAR K&N and ARCA. He would like to return to Lime Rock – although not as a spectator on the hillside.

 

“I’d live to come back to Lime Rock to do a Trans Am TA2 race,” he said. “Lime Rock would be the perfect place to do that, but I haven’t been able to line it up yet.”

 

Trans Am presented by Pirelli returns to Lime Rock Park for the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic May 26-29. For more information about Lime Rock Park visit, limerock.com