by Ben Schneider
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor
In Saturday’s Dawn 150 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Dale Quarterley posted his second top-ten finish of the season across ARCA competition, bringing his car home in the 10th spot. It was a solid run for one of a handful of veteran independents still competing at the ARCA level.
While the 61-year-old has been racing stock cars for nearly three decades, Quarterley had only made one start in ARCA-sanctioned competition prior to NASCAR’s recent acquisition of ARCA. Before that, he made a name for himself competing in the AMA Superbike Championship and in NASCAR’s Busch North Series, which has since become the ARCA Menards Series East.
|Quarterley on track at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2018.|
PHOTO: Ben Schneider
After 2004, Quarterley scaled back to part-time and primarily became known as a road course specialist. He attempted to make his Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen in 2006, though he failed to qualify. He also ran a handful of Xfinity Series races, most recently running the road courses at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Watkins Glen for Mike Harmon’s team in 2008.
Through it all, his primary focus remained the East Series, where he's continued to run at least one race a year from 2008 to 2015. After a two-year hiatus, he returned to the series in 2018 at New Jersey Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen, finishing 13th both times.
After placing seventh at Watkins Glen in 2019, Quarterley took some more time off during the early stages of the pandemic. With the East and West Series now under ARCA branding, the Watkins Glen race became a part of the national ARCA Menards Series schedule in 2021. It was at this race that Quarterley got back behind the wheel in a partnership with Willie Mullins’ team, running 15 laps in their #3 car before contact with Drew Dollar took him out of the race. Nevertheless, the race gave Quarterley an opportunity to prepare for another comeback in 2022.
|Quarterley on track at Sonoma earlier this season.|
PHOTO: TaurusEmerald, Wikimedia Commons
Now, at 61, "1/4-Ley" (as he puts it) is competing against some drivers roughly one-quarter his age, but the veteran driver has hardly forgotten how to go fast. In February, Quarterley competed on the Daytona oval for the first time, having only run the Paul Revere 250 Rolex Sports Car Series race on Daytona’s road course in 2004. On the high-banks, he finished 12th in the ARCA race for Bobby Gerhart’s team. Last month, Quarterley was forced to start-and-park at Portland, but he stepped up the following weekend at Sonoma to score an impressive third-place finish. It was his best West Series result since his runner-up finish at Irwindale in 2004, as well as his best finish in any stock car race since a second-place run at Dover in the East Series in 2011.
In a post-race interview with The Podium Finish’s Luis Torres, Quarterley also revealed that the strong Sonoma run would allow his team to make the trip out to the main ARCA Menards Series’ first road course race of the season. “In our case, it’s huge. We’re just running a limited schedule at this point, so we don’t have ten guys at the shop like we used to. It’ll be really easy to go back and turn it around to get ready for Mid-Ohio.” Then, on Saturday, Quarterley made that trip worth it by adding another top-ten finish to his résumé.
While ARCA is used by many teams as a stepping stone for young prospects to prove themselves before moving up the NASCAR ladder, it is also a place for independent veterans to be able to continue to live out their racing dreams. Unfortunately, in an era where technology and funding have proven more important than ever, the number of drivers like Quarterley continues to shrink. But if Quarterley’s recent performance is any indication, those drivers can still get the job done when given the opportunity.