Any way your slice it, this was a night to forget. Steve and Joe asked me to run the 74 car to try some new setups, so I had some running around to do. They were parked down in turn 2 and we were up in turn 4. Our car was good in warm ups, even with the track being very slick. The big block was quite a bit looser. Joe made some changes for the mod heat while I rolled off 8th in my heat. Spent the first couple of laps sorting things out, then started moving to the front. Got to second before it was all over, and was pretty happy with the car. I gave Jimmy some feedback for some minor changes and went out for the mod heat. I started last and was just trying to stay out of trouble but that didn't work so well. The car was still a bit loose and the only guy behind me managed to take out the left quarter panel on lap 2. Finished the heat with only a little more drama. Joe and Steve made some more changes and the car was way better in fast warmups. My car was pretty good too, we made some very minor changes for the feature. I dropped to the back of the mod feature at the start and tried to stay out of trouble. Visibility was terrible, the track had a ton of calcium in it and it was sticking everywhere. I had planned on running 10-12 laps then pull in. Then on lap 11 coming off of 4 the track was completely block with wrecked cars. It looked like it started at about halfway through the pack and everyone from that point back piled in at high speed. It was a wicked bad wreck and a ton of cars were destroyed including the 74. I got pretty beat up, smacking my arms and legs, stretching some neck muscles and getting some serious seatbelt rash. Not to mention getting sick to my stomach wrecking someone else's brand new race car. I was hoping to redeem myself in the Sportsman feature but we ran into some trouble there too. The first couple of laps were okay, then on lap 3 I was making a run under Roy and he got loose. When he corrected he took a hard left towards me. I tried to avoid him and ended up getting sideways and spun in front of the rest of the field. Unfortunately it had the same look at the mod wreck on a smaller scale. Destroyed the left side of the car and ripped once shock tower off and bent the other. The guys worked their butts off and bandaged up the front end, but not before I lost 3 or 4 laps. I went back out to finish the feature and ended up picking up a couple of spots.
Man, it's been a long time. Last week we took a little trip to Williams Grove for the Blaney/Stewart shootout. I had my fingers crossed that Smoke would run late so I would get a chance to warm the car up, but no such luck. It was a 20 lap race that included Billy Pauch, Frank Cozze, Fred Rahmer, Lance DeWease, and Greg Hodnet. Special thanks to Matt Quinn and Jeff Tombley for letting us borrow their cars for the Sprint drivers to use. It was fun trying to get those guys comfortable in a modified. Of course they picked it up pretty fast. The feature went off and Dave and Tony started to pick their way to the front. Cozze and Pauch checked out, and Dave and Tony started hunting them down. The sprint guys were having a little battle for themselves. Cozze ended up getting a flat, and Tony passed Pauch with 3 or 4 laps to go. Dave passed Billy for second at the checkers. It was a pretty cool show.
And finally, after 3 rainouts, we got to race at the Valley. The track was wicked rough in warmups, but the car was good right off the trailer for a change. Our big problem was track was very slick right through the center, and looked to be that way for just about everyone. Lyle worked his butt off all night to get the racing surface into shape, and did an awesome job. I started the heat in 9th and kinda hung back a little bit. I found a line that worked decent for me and ended up finishing 3rd. Hot laps were a bust for us, I got a left rear flat right off the bat and we never really got a chance to feel what the changes we had made to the car were going to do. So we made a couple of last minute decisions and let it fly. I started the feature in 11th and got bogged down in the inside row for 3 laps. The caution came out and on the restart things started opening up a little bit. The next 4 laps I started moving up till I was 5th or 6th I think. Coming down the frontstretch I passed the 69 car low and started moving up the track, thinking I had him cleared. I ended up catching his left front tire and got turned into the wall, in front of the whole field. I did what I could to keep the car stuck to the wall as I slid towards turn 1 backwards and fortunately no one got into me. Even better, I was able to pull away and, after a quick trip to the pits, there was no damage. Restarted last on lap 7 and started to work my way back up to the front. The car was awesome, and I was driving my nuts off. With 2 to go I was in 3rd behind Joe Bennett and Lorne, and manage to get Lorne coming off of 2 on the last lap. Man that was fun.