This was kinda of a weird day. Everything was in slow motion. We stayed with the changes we made last week and I think we're heading in the right direction. We also tried some new brake stuff in warmups and it seemed to work okay as well. I started the heat 9th and we didn't even get to turn 3 on the pace lap when things got screwed up. Some cars got out of line, some dropped back and the starter just let the whole thing go. We came down for the green and made it half a lap when the caution came out. They put a couple of cars in front of me and we tried it again. We had the car working well on the bottom and I was moving to the front pretty nicely, finishing 2nd. We did a lot of standing around for the rest of the night since our feature was last this week and there just wasn't much we could do to the car to make it better. I started the feature in 11th and it was slow going. I managed to stay out of a couple of wrecks and was picking off a car every few laps. Got up into the top 6 around halfway and was trading spots with the 22 and the 68. On the last double file restart I was able to go from 6th to 3rd, but that's about as far as I could go. I made a couple of runs at the 22 and could pull even, but just couldn't make it stick. It was another solid run and we have a few ideas we want to try for next week.
My man Jimmy talked me into running the Thunder in the Valley show this week. I'm glad he did. It took a couple of hard days work to switch the car over to a 358. We used my second motor, the one that we ran at Syracuse when my other one broke. Of course that's been sitting on the garage floor since then, so it could have used a little love. We weren't that good in warmups, looks like Lyle didn't have much time to work on the track this week, it was way slicker than I expected. We made a few adjustments for time trials and let it fly. I ended up being 7th fastest, so I was happy with that. I had an inside front row start for the 1st heat and promptly got my butt handed to me. Kenny did a patented LV crowd job on me going into 1 and there I was 3rd already. We missed the setup a little and I had my hands full. Frank Cozze ended up slipping by me, and we finished 4th. I started the feature in 15th and just tried to run consistent laps and stay out of trouble. The car was actually pretty close, but towards the end the motor was giving up a little bit. I think I actually may have passed 3 cars in the 100 laps. The 358 class is pretty much like IROC racing at the Valley. So between that and attrition, we ended up 9th.
Man, what a beautiful day for a motorcar race. We're still struggling trying to find a setup for the way the track is lately. We made a few small adjustments to go to the track with this week. We were pretty good in warmups, but I knew we still weren't close enough. I started 8th in the heat next to Artie and just took my time till things settled down a little bit. The car was good and I started working my way to the front, which is where I finished. Jimmy and I discussed what to try and do to make the car better and we ended up choosing to change a bar just before the feature. I started the feature in 11th and jumped to the high side making some pretty good progress. I ended up following the 18 for a few laps till some cars in front of me spun and I had no where to go. I ended up getting wrecked pretty good on both sides, and the one car got into the header bad enough to rip it open. The guys did what they could in the pits and I dropped in at the end of the field. Of course we immediately went to a single file restart. I passed a bunch of cars, but a couple of laps later I got turned around. Back to the rear again with abut 13 laps left. I got to work and by the end of the feature I had made it up to 6th. When we got back to the shop we found that the right header was about crushed completely off in all 4 tubes and that the impact had broken a spark plug. Unbelievable, 6th doesn't look so bad. Jimmy and I spent Sunday and Monday preparing the car for Thursday's Tony Stewart 358 race.
Well. the prop-meister saved my bacon again. I knew something was wrong with the motor last week. We were just going to pull the heads, but it turns out we hurt it pretty bad. So Dan did some overtime this week and I picked up the freshened engine 9 AM Saturday morning. Jimmy and I made quick work finishing up the car and we were all set for topless night at the Valley. The cars were pretty cool without roofs, kinda like Supermods. Much to my surprise, there was no difference at all as far as handling. Warmups were decent, but I felt we were a little bit off. Double checked the timing and found that it had retarded itself several degrees. Got that corrected in time to start 9th in the heat. Got to 4th by missing a jingle in the first lap, and quickly made my way to the front. The car was just about perfect. Hot laps were not as good, we were still struggling to find a good feature setup. We kept twisting bolts right up till the feature. I started 11th and in the first 5 laps we managed to 4th. The car was pretty good at this point. We had a restart and I jumped into 2nd behind the 39 car. So I had 14 laps to figure out how to get around him, but I just didn't have enough car to make it happen. We were still too tight on the top, and the bottom of 1 and 2 had no grip at all for me. 3 and 4 weren't much better, there was a pretty good size hole in the entry of 3 that kept messing up my low line there. I managed to show him my nose a few times, but that was all she wrote. At least we had another top 5.
Things improved a little bit this week. We were good in warmups, and were good in the heat, starting 7th and getting to the point in 5 laps or so. We made a couple minor changes for the feature and got ready to roll off 11th. I kept getting stuck on the inside for most of the restarts and that was definitely not the quick way to the front. The track was wicked fast, so everyone was fast. By half-way I had made it up to 6th or 7th and was in some pretty fast company. About the 3/4 mark I was working Artie for 3rd but just didn't have enough to make the pass stick. There was water spraying up out of the hood a little bit and the temperature was starting to rise. Not what you need with a car that's tight to begin with. In the meantime the 55 took a run at me and I dropped to 5th. I was able to hang on to that till the end, but it looks like we hurt the motor a little bit.