More carburetor tuning and a completely different chassis setup had everyone asking questions this Saturday. We were wicked fast in warm-ups, and backed it up with a stout heat race performance that took us from last to first in just a few laps. Jimmy and I decided to try something a little different this week, and by the looks of things, we may be on to something. Just in time for the last race of the season of course. <g> Last week's win had us starting 14th in the feature, and we caught a break when Frankie couldn't get his car started for the feature, moving us up to 12th. I was right behind Artie, and the two of us began a serious march to the front. Just a few laps into it we cracked the top 5. Restarts were the problem for me this night, getting stuck on the inside allowed Sparky to slip by me dropping me from 3rd to 4th. The next caution had Hawley wreck his car, moving me up to 3rd behind Artie and Sparky. And that's the way it went for about 13 laps. I was able to make a run at Sparky a few times, but once he knew I was there he moved down to take my line away. It was great racing, and it looks like the points race is going to come right down to the wire.
I think this week we may have found some of our performance problem. After speaking to several people this week I made some changes to the carburetor trying to clear up an obvious fuel curve problem. In warm-ups it seemed like the changes made a slight difference, but not as noticeable as I was hoping. Of course part of the reason it was hard to tell was that the car was junk in warm-ups. Jimmy made some quick changes that made the car a little better, but we were still pretty tight. I started 6th in the heat and by half way I had taken the lead. We decided to try a different carburetor for the feature, and also made some significant changes to the chassis, trying to make the car better through the middle of the turns. In fast warm-ups it was like night and day, the car was awesome. That definitely had me feeling a little better about our chances in the feature. A 10th place starting spot had me a little closer to the front than usual, and I quickly capitalized on it. On the initial green we went about 3/4 of a lap before the caution came out. I took what I learned on that first start and used it to my advantage when the green fell again. I grabbed about 4 cars coming off of 2 and in the next couple of laps was able to pass a couple more before the caution flew again on lap 4. I was liking the 4th place starting spot, up until the 19 car that was in second started running me into the frontstretch wall. Fortunately I had enough momentum to get next to him and force my way by, and the speed I had I put to good use diving under little Watson in turn 1 to grab the lead coming off of 2. After that it was just trying to be consistent and not make any mistakes. The feature was loaded with cautions and even one red flag for 10 or 15 minutes, but we were able to take the checkers ahead of Artie and Sparky, and clawed our way back into the top 5 in points.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Kenny and Kathi and the whole Tremont family with the passing of Olivia. Godspeed.
Well the end of the season is rapidly approaching. I'm running out of time to get back in the points chase and our motor is getting a little tired. Dan never really had time to freshen up the little guy midseason like we had planned, so we'll just have to tough it out till the end of the year. It's been a tough season for motors for the whole team this year. We found out the reason the left rear went flat a couple of weeks ago. Turns out the tire was defective, leaking through the sidewall. I started the heat in 7th, and was pretty fortunate to miss the mêlée at the end of the first lap. On the restart I picked off a few more cars and made a pretty silly move on the outside of Mike Keeler going into turn one for the lead that probably looked pretty exciting from the outside. That put us 11th for the feature. We had made a bunch of changes to the car to tighten it up and it seemed like they made a difference. Everyone was fast tonight on a track that was very hard to pass on. I got stuck for a while following a couple of guys that went side by side for several laps. I moved up a couple of spots, but gave a couple away when I got crossed up in 1 and 2. I'm probably lucky I didn't spin. Unfortunately Bobby and Sparky got by me and pretty much checked out. The lap counter wasn't working, so we had no idea where we were in the feature. Pretty soon I figured out that I was running out of time, and with about 5 laps left I was able to pick a few more cars off and get myself to 5th. Man I just need to find a way to convince these guys to add a few more laps to the feature. <g>
Rain. Sucks. The perfect ending to a perfect week. 4 Races left in the regular season, then it's time to evaluate whether we'll be able to run any of the big stuff after that. Looks kind of iffy at the moment.