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We spent Thursday night at the track for the open practice session.  Got myself a nice little lesson from the school of stagger.  We put our sportsman tires on for the first time and quickly revisited the problem that plagued us all last year - the car being tight on entry.  Several changes during the night help to a degree, but still didn't put us where I thought we needed to be.  The track was dry/slick for most of the night, so we waited to see what Saturday would bring.

Saturday I started 8th in the heat race and made some pretty good progress.   Gettin' ready to pass for second place when I threw it all away going into turn one.  Just a little too anxious I guess.  For a few seconds it looks like everyone will get by me clean, but then I get piled into.  Bent the radius rods, tie rod, axle, wheel and tire.  Plus, I somehow got the clutch in the transmission stuck engaged.  Some serious effort on the part of my crew got the car ready for the consi.   Because I had to be push started, I rolled off shotgun on the field.  This time I kept my wits about me and finished 3rd.  We start the feature in 22nd.   For the first 5 or 6 laps I thought I was bump drafting at Talledega!  Cars 4 wide, everyone looking for a hole.  Everyone did a nice job, racing clean.   Finally the track opens up a little bit and I start moving forward.   By the end of the race I was 9th, and pretty happy about it, considering all the effort that we put into it.  We're getting pretty close with the car, so I'm looking forward to Saturday.


After skipping opening night, we finally got a chance to get on the track this Saturday.  Bolt on the aluminum wheels, throw a little gear to her and see what happens.  I start last in my heat and the biggest problem I have right away is the sun in turn three.  Can't see a thing.  I think  I end up 6th or 7th.   That puts me in the 5th row of the consi, but for some reason they line me up in the 6th row.  We get a decent start, and I move to the top.  A little too far as it would turn out.  I slip up into the marbles in turn 4 and end up smacking the wall a ton.  When it lands on all four wheels again I take off after the rest of the field.  I pass a bunch of cars and end up 5th or 6th.  Probably shouldn't have finished at all after surveying the damage to the car.  Two bent wheels, ripped the torque arm off the rear, broke the panhard mount, bent the torsion bar arm, broke the front rotor hat, and moved the radiator over about 2 inches.  Not exactly the way I planned it.  I guess the good news is that its all bolt on stuff.  Hopefully we'll have it together for Thursday's warm-ups.


From the penthouse to the outhouse in one week.  After last week's performance, we were really eager to get on the high banks for the first time this year..  But engine problems reared their ugly head again.  We just got out for the first warm-up session when the oil pump seized.  Fortunately I was able to get the car out of gear quickly, so hopefully the damage is minimized.  We know what the problem is, so we should have everything back in order for this coming weekend.


So much for the dyno plans.  The dyno didn't have a built in starter, and the oil pan prevented us from putting one on the engine.  This weekend was Brett's class.   The seminar portion was pretty basic stuff.  The most interesting thing was the set-up plates that he uses to scale the car.  They bolt on all four hubs and have stagger built in.  This way you can be totally consistent setting up the car.   As an added bonus, they give you some great hard points for measuring toe and lead.   Saturday was way cool.  It was the first time for me on the track at Middletown.  I have to admit that that place was never my favorite.  But from a driver's standpoint,  it was a pretty neat track.  We got up to speed pretty quickly and ended up being one of the fastest cars there.  The car is just flat out awesome.  What a difference from last year.  I'm really looking forward to getting some laps in at the 'Valley.  I also have some pics of the new paint job on the helmet.  Kenny Grimm at Number One Autobody did an awesome job.  If you're interested in having him do yours, give him a call at 274-0447.


The end is in sight for the car shows.  We're itchin' to get on the track!   And for those who don't already know, Ronnie Johnson will be racing a Modified at the 'Valley this Summer.  It's a super opportunity for us, and for him.  We're really looking forward to the coming year...


Finally, something to talk about!  The new car will be at the car show in Springfield this weekend.  Mark Brown will have some pictures shortly for me to post.   The motor is done and will be on the dyno in a couple of weeks.  And if everything goes without problems, I should be on the track at Middletown April 3rd at Brett's school.  And of course the big news, I have a new teammate who will be running with the modifieds at the 'Valley this year.  Stay tuned for more details....


I was honored last weekend to be awarded the "Newcomer of the Year" award from the New York State Stock Car Association.  It was quite an honor to be selected from a great group of rookies at the 'Valley.  Now we just have to concentrate on avoiding the "Sophomore Slump"!


Well we're making some progress :) .  The car is starting to go back together, it's about half done.  The short-block is just about done as well.  We also cancelled the trip to Florida, I think we were biting off more than we could chew with that one.  First track time this year will probably be at Brett's school in Middletown early April.  Oh yeah, we had one more addition to the equipment list, a Feil big block Syracuse motor....


Still slow going...   The car is out of PMC, better than new with a short track body.  As usual, Pete did an awesome job.  We start putting the car together as soon as Rick is done painting the frame.  Major motor massaging is also taking place.  Looks like Dan's got a few tricks up his sleeve :)  .  I also uncovered some older pictures of my better known brother in his auspicious debut as a driver.  Y'all can see them on the picture page  :).


Not too much new right now.  Trying to organize things for next year.  The few things locked down so far is that I'm fortunate enough to have the use of the new Goldrush trailer for the coming year.  From the low rent district to the high rent district, just like that.  The other sure thing is that the 4 car will live again.   PMC Fabrications is almost done with the TEO, so that will be our ride for next year.  Wonder how it'll go with a small block instead of a Pontiac....

Got a couple of new Blaney Syracuse pics on the picture page.