Spring 2000 5/2000 6/2000 7/2000 8/2000 9/2000 10/2000 Current News
Got some new pics of Ronnie and Jack, check out 2000 pictures. Things are just about settled in the new shop. We're really looking forward to working there, Jimmy, Greg and Ron did a great job getting the old place in shape. We've got 2 of the 8 new cars we ordered from Bobby, so we'll have plenty to keep us busy in January. Things are still up in the air as far as Florida goes, there are a few sponsor details that haven't been settled yet. Stay tuned, it should be interesting. :)
Not too much going on at the moment. I'll be taking my car to camp PMC for it's annual physical(turn your head and cough...). A few new Syracuse pics are posted on the pics page. Found out the motor problem at Syracuse was a broken rocker arm.
Tuesday: I thought last year was a big undertaking, this year it was 6 cars through the inspection line. And once again, we made it through relatively unscathed. Each car required only minimal modifications to pass inspection and then it was into the pits to get ready for a new-for-this-year practice. The track came in really quick and I felt that I picked up right where I left off last year. Not a bad way to spend your 1st day at the Moody Mile. The most eventful thing that happened is that Ronnie's brand new Enders motor developed a major skip towards the end of the day. Turns out that the rocker arm adjusters were breaking. We yanked the motor and made a late night run to Ender's shop where we took apart the top end of the motor to check for any damage to the lifters or cam. Everything looked okay, so we stuck some new adjusters in the rocker arms, replaced the pushrods, and buttoned it up before midnight. Thanks Kevin!. Ronnie's guys got it back in the car early the next morning.
Wednesday: Woke up to some of that traditional Syracuse weather. The temperature wasn't too bad but the rain really made a mess of everything. Bryan made a power move and got us a tent that stretched out behind all 3 trailers. Man did that make life a lot better. I quickly found out that I wasn't as brave as I thought I was the day before on a slick race track. I never really felt that I got aggressive enough getting into 1 or 3. Not terrible, but not as good as I would have liked. Time trials found me 68th out of 84 cars, not as bad as it would seem, since I was in my car with the Sportsman motor. That, and the fact that by the time Jack and I got on the race track, the sun had gone down and we were running under the lights, a major drawback. The big news of the day was Ronnie sticking the Coors Light 21 into the top 6. What a cool deal. Did a some work on the cars, then went to Kahunaville in the Carouselle Mall for a driver appearance with Ronnie. Good food and great company. Thanks Duke!
Thursday: See above for the weather report. :) More waiting around due to rain. And a last minute decision to have me time trial Jack's backup car. Pinch me, I'm dreaming. <g> Jack ends up being fastest second day after Billy and Steve Paine. In the mean time, I have to sit on a mud plug to be able to get even close enough to fit into the seat. :) I got about 5 laps of warm-ups in the car and then it was out to time trial. The first lap I nail turn one, and blow turn 3, the second lap I blow turn one and nail turn 3. That time has me 35th out of 82 cars. I'm tickled pink with that performance, and there are plenty of smiles to go around. We're having problems with an oil leak on Ronnie's small block, and he's also fighting a vibration problem. The big deal for today is that 358 time trials get rained out. Not good news for us. They decide to line up the twin 20's by points. There were 18 guaranteed starters in the first 18 spots, the rest of the heat was filled in the order that you pulled for time trials. I start 23rd. We follow that up with dinner at the Dinosaur, and some cocktails at the infield care center.
Friday: See above for the weather report. :) More waiting etc. They shuffle the schedule around and now what would have been easy is hard. I'm in the second Twin 20 and the first Triple 20, now running back to back. I go from 23rd to 16th in the 358 race, which makes me a very happy guy. I immediately jump out of my car and into Jack's, the last car left lined up on pit row. Fortunately the officials gave me an extra minute or two to get buckled up, fumble with my radio gear, but no time for tear-offs, of which I am out. :) They throw the green flag and I come tearing down the front stretch. I get to the end of the straight and the brakes aren't even close to working the way they were in my small block. I slam into Danny Johnson and slip under Dickie Larkin on my way out of 2. Waaayyyy in the deep end without my swimmies. The car is okay for a couple of laps 'till the tires get some heat in them, then the car just will not turn in. I start over driving it and slip up a couple of times, letting a few cars get past me each time. By the time the race is over I'm in 15th. The cool part of each heat was that I passed a guy off the 4th turn on the last lap for position. More work on the cars Friday night, then a way fun time at the infield care center. I think I might have gotten a little out of hand...
Saturday: The best day of the week, by far. The race track is awesome, unlike my starting position in the Sunoco 150. Once again we lack the confidence to use the same kind of strategy that the leaders might use because we are starting so far back. Once the race starts it isn't long before I know that we have a very good car. I keep picking my way through the field, but the leaders are coming. We get a caution before they threaten to lap me, and some of the guys start making their pitstops. We plan to stay out and go for the halfway money. And wouldn't you know, lap 73 and I'm in the lead as we go to green. For about 50 feet. Till Kenny drives right by me on the restart. Sucks to be me. <g> So I do the next best thing-follow Kenny. And would you believe, I think I was a little bit faster than him. It was probably the most fun I've ever had in a race car while it lasted. We end up pitting around lap 102 and rejoin the field in15th. I start passing cars again, and I'm up to Maynard when the motor starts going sour. Soon there's another caution which I definitely did not need. On the restart on lap 135 I stuck my nose in the hole that Maynard showed me, and he promptly came down on me, snapping my front axle and sending me towards the outside wall. Fortunately nobody, including myself, hopped the wheel when it came off the car. We were running 11th at the time.
Sunday: The bad news on Friday was being 1 spot out of qualifying in the Triple 20. The good news is that I'm on the pole for the non qualifiers race. The worst news is that the weather absolutely sucks again. And because we're on a live TV schedule, we get no warm-ups before we go out on the track for the race. I'm able to take the lead from the original start and I'm able to keep it after a few cautions. The car still isn't right, it won't turn in and the brakes are still not working the way I would like. Around lap 12 I come off of turn 4 and the motor starts sputtering. I run out of gas leading the non qualifiers race. Now it really sucks to be me. And now I'm really tired of typing so I'll keep the rest of this short. Ronnie and Jack do an excellent job in the 200. Running 2nd and 3rd when Jack runs out of gas on lap 191 and Ronnie runs out on lap 198. A very bitter pill to swallow for everyone, the results truly do not show what a great job the entire team did this week. Thanks to all who gave us their help this week, we couldn't have done it without you. And special thanks to Gail and Joann, taking care of the boys, cause we can barely take care of ourselves. :) Congratulations to Billy, Randy, and the whole New England Financial team, a perfect performance and their 2nd Syracuse win.