We've been struggling the past couple of weeks trying to find a decent setup for the way the track has been. More brake changes, which showed some improvement during warm-ups. Started last in the heat and 4 laps in was only able to pass 2 or 3 cars. Coming off of 2 the 83 and the 68 were banging on each other and I ducked to the inside to get buy. Looked like the 83 turned left to get away from Artie and took my nose out. I spun down the backstretch and thought I was okay, but the 91 wasn't able to miss me and slammed into the left side of my car. I was surprised to find that I could get the car rolling and made it to the pits where the guys replaced a bent left rear. I restarted with 3 laps to go and made it up to 6th. After checking the car over I decided to replace the rear rotors to see if that would help the brake problem and we made some changes to the chassis for hot laps. I still wasn't happy so we decided to put a new set of bars in for the feature. I started 17th and made a little progress in the first 2 laps until coming off of 4 the 25 started rolling down the front stretch. I tried to get the car stopped and ended up just barely sliding into the 14. I restarted again at the end of the field and the car was pretty good for 10 laps or so. After that I just couldn't get a hold of the track at all. I managed to pick off the 39 a few laps from the end and finished 5th. Sunday I found out that they DQ'd the 2nd place finisher and I moved up to 4th. Jimmy and I plan on stripping the car this week to make sure everything is up to snuff.
I really need to start writing this stuff earlier in the week, I'm forgetting half of it. We had 358's this week. I warmed that car up and it was pretty good. I had Jimmy make a couple of small adjustments and promptly dialed myself out of being competitive in the heat race. I ended up running around the back and didn't get handicapped. We undid all the changes and tried something different for the feature. I think I started in the 8th row and the car was pretty good. I passed a few cars and missed a few wrecks to the point where I was up to 6th or so. We had a double file restart and the 14 car who was on the inside of me totally ran me over and stuck me in the wall. I restarted at the rear and then got tangled in a wreck on the front stretch. I ended up finishing 8th. I have to thank Wayne for taking the PMC car out in hot laps for me, he was a big help. The sportsman car was good in warm-ups. I started at the rear of the heat and made my way up to a qualifying position. We made some changes for hot laps and decided to bail on them and do something completely different. The track was throwing us another curveball, it wasn't changing like it did the last couple of weeks. I started the feature 15th and it was just ugly in front of me. Artie looked like he was on a mission (maybe because it was his last race as a single guy ;) ) and I was just hanging back so I didn't get caught in the wreckage. Unfortunately the guys behind me wanted to be a little more aggressive than I did and kept running all over me. I'm really not sure how I didn't get spun out. Around halfway things finally settled down and I was in 5th or so. I was able to move to 4th and had 8 or 9 laps to try and get by Frankie, but just couldn't pull it off. The changes we made to the car were right on target, we just didn't go far enough. Still, a good run from deep in the field.
We got to the bottom of the 358 problem, it was a bad set of torsion bars. We brought the car out Saturday to test it and it went well. We'll see how next Saturday goes. It was topless night and all the mods ran without roofs or sail panels. When I got to the track I found out that they got 3 inches of rain Thursday and the infield was underwater. Our pit spot was a mess and actually got worse as the night went on. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the track, we were good in warm-ups, but it looked like the track was going to slick up like the past few weeks. I had Jimmy tighten up the car a little bit and started last in the heat. I was surprised to find the track was a little tighter than in warm-ups, and had my work cut out for me. There were 4 heat races this week and they were only handicapping the top 4. It took a while but I finally was able to move from 5th to 3rd with an outside pass in turn 3 around the 00 and the 14. I was having some minor brake problems but didn't really know what to do about it. We watched the track some more and decided to completely change the setup in the car. I started 16th in the feature and the first couple of laps I was able to grab a few spots. The brakes were still acting up so I was busy trying to keep up with that. There was some good racing going on and we ran for a little while till the first caution came out. On one of the restarts Artie got turned around right in front of me and I was just able to miss him. We had a couple more restarts and with about 8 laps down, I was in 4th. I followed the 22 for a couple of laps until he got loose coming off of 2 and snuck under him to take the lead. We had a few more restarts but we were able to pull away and pick up our second feature win in a row.
It was definitely a long week as we worked late every night to complete the new 358 car. It was a night of features at the Valley which meant that there were no Sportsman heats. That made life a little easier. Jimmy and I decided to run the new car in 358 warm-ups and in the Sportsman warm-ups to get some extra laps. The car felt pretty decent and we made what I thought were a couple of small changes for the heat race. They had us draw for starting position as we came in the track and I rolled off 4th. The car was pretty quick for a couple of laps but then got real tight. Looks like I adjusted myself right out of the park. I ended up staying in 4th at the finish. The original order for hot laps would have allowed me to get both cars on the track, but for some reason the track changed it and put 358 and Sportsman back to back. We ended up getting only half a lap in the Sportsman car. So now I had a 358 car that needed some chassis love and a Sportsman car that would start the feature without being on the track all night. Jimmy made a couple of small changes to the Sportsman car after looking at the track and we crossed our fingers. We made some changes to the 358 car and rolled off 12th. The original start was a mess with cars everywhere, and I got jammed up big time coming off of turn 2 losing a ton of spots. We had a few more restarts and I ended up getting shuffled to the rear. The car just wasn't working at all. I spent the rest of the race just hanging on, trying to figure out what we could do to make the car better. Of course the Sportsman feature was right after the 358 feature so I changed helmets and jumped into the car and got myself to my 11th starting position. We got to the end of the 1st lap and I jumped up to the top behind Artie and we passed a clump of cars just before the caution came out. I restarted 8th and grabbed 4 more cars before the next caution. The restart on lap 3 had me 4th and I shot to the bottom underneath the 16 to take the lead coming out of 2. And from there on I just cruised and tried not to make any mistakes. There were a bunch of cautions, but my car was awesome and we picked up our 3rd win for the year.