In The Beginning 5/1998 6/1998 7/1998 8/1998 9/1998 10/1998 Current News
Well, those that were saw it and those who weren't missed it. Started the night out by trying a few new things, one of them being running without a sway bar. Felt good in warmups so we ran it in the heat. Started 6th finished 4th and hooked the sway bar back up. I like the way the car felt, but we had no forward bite. Started 6th in the feature, tried to bide my time a little bit, but the guys behind weren't having any of that. Lap 5 had me in 9th, but the car felt good. Lap 6 restart found me in the middle of a big group of cars in the 3rd and 4th turn. Tried to keep up with George Marcus, but it was like jumping in the deep end without my swimmies. Car got real loose coming out of 4 and I just barely caught it. Just in time to get slammed by another car that had a good run going inside of me. Bent the spindle, axle tube and wheel. Got back going and then the axle shaft snapped. Thankfully on the straight, and not in the turn. That was the end of the night for us. Big rush to get the car done so we can display it at the grand opening of Hoffman's newest car was and Jiffy Lube this weekend. Got some Mark Brown pics to post as soon as I have time to scan them.
As with everything that will happen to me this year, I had a couple of firsts...On a brighter note, I was able to qualify through my heat race for the first time. Started 10th and made it to 5th. Not too much to get excited about, but still cool, none the less. It's still amazing to me how great the track is in the early part of the evening. Tons of bite, makes you feel like a real hero. Then as soon as it gets any laps on it, it totally changes. Started the feature 15th. The Sportsman class did some real racing for 4 or 5 straight laps, for the first time. Pretty cool, maybe everyone's starting to settle down. Then the cautions start to fly. As a result, I end up losing more than a few spots to cars that are, let's say, a little more aggressive at pursuing positions during the cautions than I am. It seems like I passed a bunch of cars, but I'm only ninth on the last lap. Well, at least on the first half of the last lap I'm 9th. It looks like I have another top 10 finish ahead of me, when I mistake the white flag for the checkered flag. See below for more Rookie stupidity<g>. I was really looking for a way out of the track after that. At least I only lost 3 spots, and finished 12th. I'm actually pretty happy though, I think it's the best I've felt in the car to date. Despite losing those positions, I'm still 7th in points.
Well, it all started out pretty well....
Went to Albany-Saratoga this morning to run some practice laps with Ronnie Johnson and Dave Peek. A chance to double my laps ;). We were going pretty good and were going to try some changes and then Ronnie and I were going to switch cars to check each other's stuff out, when we got shut down by the neighbors. Actually it didn't really matter anyway since we popped a head gasket. Ronnie offers me his car to race with if I can't get mine fixed. Pretty generous would be an understatement! Mad rush to get parts, then back to the shop to tear the motor down. Thanks to Rick Beckman and Dan Bedell, we had the motor buttoned up with new gaskets in time to get to the track. The car felt good in warmups, so I promptly went out in the heat race, spun, and hit the wall on the first lap. Got a flat but couldn't get it changed in time to make the restart. Started last in the 7 lap consi (17) they take 9 to qualify. Hmmm. Missed a couple of wrecks on the first lap. More on the second, and then I start my march to the front. End up 3rd. This puts us 18th in the feature. The feature once again is a wreck fest. I get jammed up in a 3rd turn wreck and got to the rear. I get caught in a 2nd turn wreck and go to the rear. We pass some cars and end up 8th. The car is still in one piece, with some sheetmetal damage and the bumper ripped off. The good news is that our cooling problem is solved.
Rain wins tonight's feature. See ya next Saturday!
The board of directors review the situation at the track regarding the inboard starter. The decision is that the win will stand, and Artie must revert to the proper starter. They decide to add 25 lbs. to my car to compensate for any performance advantage the inboard starter in my car may provide. It looks like the rules might be revised to allow this setup next year. So that's 50 extra lbs. for the Bert Trans. and 25 extra for the starter. We get the green light to race on Saturday.
The saga continues... Rain all day Friday and into the afternoon Saturday. The track's not in bad shape, considering all the rain we've had. Of course, it's nothing like I've ever seen before (me and all my experience!). This would be the first time on the track with other cars. And as if all this wasn't enough, the steering wheel comes off in my hand in warmups! Rookies, sheesh! I managed to not embarrass myself in the heat race, starting 8th and finishing 6th. Just don't have enough laps to be able to tell the crew to do anything to the car. We leave everything the same for the feature. Start 18th in the main and manage to avoid 3 wrecks. I'm trying to stay out of everyone's way. Before I know it, There's two laps to go. We end up 9th. We have some cooling problems we need to look at this week. Controversy in the pits, the winner, Artie Collins, has an inboard starter, which is not allowed by the rules. This means trouble for us as well, we also have one because we have no choice. No one makes a flex plate for a Chrysler.
Phew! You'd think for a guy who's been racing for 12 years, I'd have a better handle on all this stuff! Been going non-stop for the last three weeks. I went to the Tremont/Troyer class to get my first laps. Had to use Kenny's modified 'cause our motor wasn't finished yet. Got 30 laps that Friday in Ken's car. The Tremont crew was awesome, making me feel right at home. Fortunately I didn't wad up the car, or do anything incredibly stupid. Finished getting our motor in by Sunday night. Sponsor commitments require me to be in Albany Weds. to shoot the DARE commercial at Hoffman's Car Wash. Don't look now, I'm on TV! We were able to take the car out to the track later on Weds. to shake it down. Returned on Thursday for warmups. So far the car looks good, with only minor teething pains.
Check out KW's excellent adventure!