We had a really good car tonight and never had a chance to use it. Quick in warmups and the heat race, we made a few subtle changes for the feature. Took the green and just barely touched Bobby Knipe coming off of turn two and broke a u-joint and spit out the drive shaft. Done on lap one. On the brighter side, The car looks great in the Sprint colors. We'll give them a better show next week.
Well, that has got to be about the most pitiful 12th place finish I've ever seen. We started off the night in Christine, the car Tony won the ILNY race in. That was a change from what was planned due to Bryan lending Ronnie the motor in the car that I was supposed to run. Right off the bat we had some serious brake issues. After warm-ups we fixed a few things hoping to correct the problem. I started 6th in the heat, took the green and promptly got spun out going into turn one. I backed pretty hard into the wall but was able to pull away. On the restart I tucked in close behind Hector Stratton going into one, and halfway though he checked up and I ran all over him and took out my front end. Not to much to be proud of in the first two laps. The guys got busy and fixed me up enough to get back out and finish the heat in a qualified position. Hot laps prior to the feature made it painfully obvious that we had done nothing to correct the brake problem. We threw some more stuff at the car trying to get it better for the feature and crossed our fingers. I took the green 26th and just tried to hold my line and stay out of trouble. The track had dried out some and the dust coming off of two made it so you couldn't see the bumper of the car 2 feet in front of you. I was actually doing pretty well the first few laps, moving up in the field a little. On a restart from one of the numerous cautions, Ron Blake absolutely bonsai'd me in turn one, putting his right front wheel just about into my cockpit. A quick trip to the pits and the boys got things in shape enough for me to continue. In the meantime, the car that was pretty decent in the first few laps just plain turned evil. As soon as the rear tires got some heat in them the car picked up a wicked push. And on top of that, the brakes were acting up again with the brake pedal occasionally going to the floor. So with the help of Jimmy, Wayne and Bryan on the radio, I twisted some knobs and changed my line and struggled to the checkers in 12th. Believe it or not.
Finished warm-ups Friday with a big 'ole smile. My car was pretty awesome. The motor was good, the chassis was great. Four sets of warm-ups, 4 changes, faster each time. Got to try some stuff that we be a little reluctant to try on a Saturday night with great results. Really looking forward to opening night for the Sportsman. The big block ride was another story. Took me a little longer to get the feel with Tony's car, and I think a lot of the issue was me overdriving it. We'll make a few changes this week and try again Wednesday. And the track? The track was the nicest I've ever seen. Hope it holds up during the year. It should be interesting.
Not much to write about, and even less time to write. If all goes well we'll have the Sportsman engine in time for warm-ups next Saturday. The car is all together, but is looking a little plain at the moment. We're still waiting to see if any of the proposals we have out there will bear fruit. Looks like I'll have a big block ride for opening night. :)
So I've had a week to collect myself after the big Florida trip. Still can't believe I was gone for 12 days. I met everyone Monday and we headed to the track for practice. We ran both cars, and both were pretty fast. Volusia was nothing like last year, the track got hard and took rubber. We worked our butts off trying to get both cars out for each set of warm-ups. The evening concluded without any incidents and we packed things up till the next day. Tuesday we decided that we would run the Syracuse car, the same one we ran last year. We were decent in warm-ups, and we qualified through the heats. Tony started mid pack, and by feature time, the track was pretty much one groove, black with rubber on the inside. The going got pretty heavy, there was a lot of beating and banging, and we were having the same problems as most of the field - we were wicked tight. We ran about 15 or so laps till Tony pulled the plug. The car looked like the winner in a roll over contest. Dave had a much better run in the 74 car finishing second. We had Wednesday off from racing, but not from work. Spent most of the day until 3 PM fixing the Syracuse car and getting the other car ready for Thursday and Friday night. The track threw us another curve Thursday. We watched the track surface all night long to determine what compound tires to run. Soft's were obviously the pick for the heat, Tony quickly made his way to the point and won. We ultimately went with soft's for the feature and it looked like we might have had the thing licked. Tony started 4th and went to the point in just a few laps. Then we got the push from hell. It started pushing so bad that he pulled off. We cranked a bunch of wedge into the car and sent him back out. I think we were as fast as anybody at that point, but we were laps down. Friday was the last night we were running. Spent most of the day working hard on the car, switching master cylinders, changing the battery, and preparing the car. Tony started deep in the heat, but qualified. Started 12th or so in the feature, and for a little while I thought we had missed the setup. But after 7-10 laps Tony started picking off cars till we were in 5th, behind Brett. And that's how the race played out Another hard, hard, one groove track. It was nice to end on a positive note. Finished out the week in the stands for the Busch race at the big track and came home Sunday.
Well, the race is on to get 2 cars ready for a Florida trip. We've got a lot of work to do to finish those, and get the big trailer ready. My car is coming along pretty well. So what does a race car driver do for fun during Winter? How about this? Speaking of R/C stuff, check out Todd's brand spankin' new site.
BTW, looks like Tony Stewart and Mopar power are a pretty decent combination. Smoke finished 2nd Friday nite and won on Saturday in a Mopar powered midget at the Chili bowl.