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6/29/02

Man what a week.  We got an early start switching over to the 358 motor after getting rained out last week.  What I thought would take a few hours, ended up taking 3 days.  We got the car buttoned up in time to go to the track Tuesday for testing along with the 74 and the 20 car.  I ran both my car and the 74 car and we were pretty fast, both cars within a 10th of each other.  It was pretty neat driving Steve Hastings's high rack car, it felt way different than my car did.  We showed up Thursday with the best 358 stuff that I've ever had, and promptly stepped on myself.  We just couldn't get the car going.  Howie obviously saw the rain coming, so the track didn't get the full treatment and we never found a good setup for it.  We threw everything at it but the kitchen sink.  I ended up 28th for time trials and started 5th in the heat.  I got a pretty good run going into 1 but didn't have enough steam to make it stick.  Later on I got under the TEN car coming off of 4 and he took a hard left into me going down the straight.  I think we ended up finishing 5th, and that had us 4th in the consi.  And then the rains came.  So I'm not sure if we'll be doing the big switch over for the rain date on the 9th, we'll have to wait and see.  Saturday on the other hand was absolutely awesome.  It was a beautiful day and the car was dialed in again.  I started the heat in 10th and it was chaos in front of me.  It took nearly the whole heat race for me to get to 5th.  We had a good car though so I was looking forward to the feature.  Of course, being brain dead like I am, I ended up confusing my 45 with Mike Malloy's and started the feature about 5 spots back from where I should have in 20th.  The first half of the race was a caution fest, but we were doing a heck of a job missing wrecks and moving forward.  I was running 10th before halfway, but nearly got caught in a big jingle coming off of 2.  I lost several spots, and spent the rest of the night chasing Bobby Knipe and Artie.  The car was just not as good as it was in the first half and I had no idea why.  We ended up finishing 10th.  This morning I found out why the car slowed later in the race.  The bolts that attached the brake caliper brackets on each side of the car had bent from the brake torque.  Never saw anything like it before.  So we have a little fabricating to do before next week. 

6/15/02

Hmmm, talk about the unexpected.  Never would have thought we were going to race this Saturday.  Started the day at Crossgate Mall doing an appearance at the Sprint store.  We had a great time, signed a ton of autographs, and sold a bunch of phones.  Couldnít believe the track didnít call things off, it was pouring all the way into Troy when I picked up the car.  We got to the track and it actually wasnít bad.  Jimmy and I didnít even get a chance to roll the car out of the trailer before we started changing it around.  I started deep in the heat and quickly moved to the front and was able to win it.  We couldnít decide what to do for the feature, so we left the car the same for hot laps.  We were good, but not good enough.  So once again we changed about 5 things and crossed our fingers.  I rolled off 8th in the feature and headed for the top.  I got by 3 cars quickly, but from there it was like a yo-yo.  Gain 2, lose 2.  For about 5 laps and as many yellows, it was back and forth.  We had a good car but we couldnít get more than 2 laps in a row to show it.  Somewhere around lap 7 we went single file, and by halfway, I had move to the point.  The track was pretty challenging, and I started to learn how to run on a cushion if you can believe it.  I got a little conservative towards the end, but never really saw anyone make a move on me and we ended up with our second win of the season.  It was a great night to win with all the Sprint folks in attendance.

6/8/02

Someone give the jukebox a shove, it' skipping.  Another beautiful day and another slick racetrack.  We were good in warmups, I used them pretty much to bed in a new set of brake pads.  We caught our first break in the heat race when Ryan Larkin couldn't get going, allowing me to start in 6th.  The car was very good and before too long I was chasing the 61s for 1st with 1 lap to go.  I managed to pull off the pass to win the heat.  So I was pretty happy with the car till we got hot laps.  The track had gotten slicker, and we had a wicked push.  Jimmy and I decided to make several changes for the feature that would loosen the car up.  I started in 15th and thought we caught a break coming through 1 until some cars in front of me got together and let the outside row take off.  There was a ton of 2 wide racing and it was making it very hard to move up.  And then I got caught in a wreck in 1 and 2 and once again we had to come from the rear.  There was only one more caution I think the rest of the race, with 2 laps to go.  That worked for me, giving me an opportunity to grab 2 more spots and finish in 2nd.  Found out after the race that the wreck I was in bent the front axle, tie rod, and radius rods.  So I think I'll be happy with a top 10 finish.   

6/1/02

It was another nice day for racing, very warm.  Doesn't look like the track was any improved over last week, it was slick right off the bat again in warmups.  We started making adjustments immediately for the heat race.  I started last and caught a break right away passing 3 cars as the caution came out coming off of turn 2.  We quickly made our way into the top 5 and ended up finishing 4th.  The track was very hard to pass on.  Jimmy and I decided to try some pretty big changes for hot laps to see if we could make the car any better through the slick stuff.  We decided to roll the dice and go with the changes for the feature.  I started 14th and began moving up slowly.  It took me a couple of laps to figure out how to drive the car with the changes that we made, but once I got a few laps, we were real good.  I was doing a stroke of business on the high side, it's the best I've ever felt up there.  It was all good till I got a run off of 4 and made it 3 wide inside the 61s going into 1.  I had a wheel on him at the end of the straight, but there wasn't enough room to pull it off.  I ended up getting pinched by the 61s and looped the car in front of the whole field.  I did a 360 and ended up near the top of the track, still running.  I fell into line and only lost about 5 or 6 positions, putting me back in 14th with 5 laps down.  We got one more double file restart where I picked off a couple more positions, then the next caution we went to single file restarts.  The car was just getting better, and we were wicked good down in 1 and 2.  I kept picking up spots one at a time and with 5 laps left I think I was in 5th.  I managed to grab 2 more spots to get to 3rd before the checkers, pulling a potential crummy night out of the bag. 

 

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