The bad new is that we didn't win the $10k raffle. The good news is that we had a pretty good night. Once again the car was good in warmups. I started in the last row of the heat and just took my time, trying to stay out of trouble, as you might imagine didn't take long to happen. I had a nice run on the outside going into 1 when two cars in front of me got into each other and ran up the track right in front of me. Somehow I was able to miss it and from there things settled down a little. The track was already starting to slick up in the heat races so we needed to try and do something to make the car better. Jimmy and I made a couple of changes for hot laps but we really didn't get the car where we wanted it. So just before the feature we changed both rear bars, the right front coil and the sway bar. You know, just to tweak it a little. I started the feature 14th and right off the bat there was a wreck in front of me. I was able to miss that wreck and once we got going again I started to make my way to the front. There was some pretty dicey stuff going on but everyone seemed to be mostly in control. I think by halfway I was 5th or 6th and with about 5 to go I was 4th. There was some pretty good racing with the 39 and the 12. The 39 got by for the lead and it took me a bit longer to get the 12. By that time Ryan had about a half a straight on me and with 4 laps left I couldn't quite make it to him. I was pretty happy with 2nd until I found out Sunday morning that the 39 got DQ'd and we ended up winning.
We went back to the track this week with the same setup that we finished with last week. The car was good in warm-ups so we were ready for the heats. I started 7th and just hung back so I would be clear of all the chaos. The track was wicked slick in some spots, especially at the end of the backstretch going into turn 3 which was giving me grief under hard braking. I got myself into a handicapped position and Jimmy and I went to work on trying to find a solution to the track being slippery. We made a few adjustments for hot laps and didn't really improve the situation much, so after a little advice from some friends we tried some different stuff and got ready for the feature. I rolled off 13th and if anything, the track was even slipperier than before. The changes we made didn't seem to make much of a difference. Everyone was sliding around, especially on entry. I stuck to the bottom and was able to pass a few cars. It was pretty ugly out there so I was trying to be patient. We got to lap 14 and I thought I had a pretty good shot at a top 3 when some cars got together coming off of 4 on the front stretch and I zigged when I should have zagged and ran into a car spun out on the inside. I pulled away and there didn't seem to be much damage and fell into line at the rear. With only 6 laps to go, there wasn't much hope for getting back to the front, but I did manage to salvage a 11th place finish.
Well after last weeks let down I decided we needed to go back to square one. We've been tweaking the car each week and have gotten pretty far off of our normal setup. We went completely back to our base set up to try and get a handle on things. When we got to the track it looked like Lyle was a busy boy this week. I'm sure the high humidity and cloud cover helped, but the track was completely different than it's been lately. It had tons of bite. We immediately made a spring change before warm-ups. The car was okay but we still had the same problem being a little tight again. We made some tire adjustments to get some more stagger and lined up 6th for the heat. I got down into turn 1 and just couldn't get the car turned. I ended up losing a couple spots, but gathered it up and started passing some cars. Within a lap or two I was up to 4th, then 3rd and kind of hung out there, not forcing the issue with the 80 car. After the heat race Jimmy and I were at a loss what to do but we finally came up with a few ideas. We changed the springs again, the sway bar, and the spring bar and went out for hot laps. Just like last week, the car was very good, but based on what happened the week before, I didn't get my hopes up. I knew I had to wait till the feature to see if the changes would hold up. I was scheduled to start 12th, but caught a break when 2 of the guys that were supposed to start in front of me didn't show up and I moved up to 8th. I was liking this already. We took the green and it wasn't long before the trouble started. I was on top coming off of 2 on the first lap when the J-5 pushed up across the track and into the outside wall in front of us. He bounced off the wall and came back across in front of the field. I ducked low and missed him by inches. Unfortunately there were several cars behind me that weren't so fortunate. The race was red flagged for quite a while while they got things cleaned up. On the restart I was 6th and now it was my turn to get jammed up. I was in 3rd and had a run going through 3 and 4 behind the 32 when he checked up and I ran into him with my right front. That shot me up towards the wall and let the 18 and the 68 by me before I gathered it up. I don't know how I didn't get a flat. The next lap around there was another wreck right in front of me coming off of 4 and I just barely made it through by cutting the car to the bottom and jumping the inside berm. I think the next restart I was still 6th and in the next few laps got to 3rd behind the 18 and the 14. I ducked under the 18 coming off of 2 and finished him off coming off of 4. I ran down the 14 and a couple of laps later I passed him to take the lead. We ran green for a while, past halfway before the another caution came out. On the restart I pulled away until the next caution with 1 or 2 to go. There were no problems and we got our second win of the year with one of the best cars I've driven in a long time. Man that was sweet!
I was looking forward to this week, I thought we might have a little for them. We rolled off the trailer pretty quick, we just need to free the car up a little bit. Jimmy put a new right front on and started 6th in the heat. I got boxed in initially behind the 122 and the 5 until I made a move from the top to the bottom in turn 4. Shortly after that I made my way to the front. I wanted to free the car up some more so we decided to change a bar to see if that would help. I went out in hot laps and the car was perfect. I started the feature in 12th and by lap 2 the perfect car we had was no more. I was just way too tight and it took me a few laps to try and figure out what to do with it. I was on the high side for a while racing the 87 and just couldn't get the corner speed that I needed. When the 87 slid up in front of me I ducked under him and went to the bottom. The car was a bit better on the low side but we were still struggling. I got caught up in a jingle coming off of 4 and thought I damaged a tire or the rear end, but the car felt alright. I did manage to tear the right quarter panel about clear off. Didn't realize that till the end of the race. I managed to get myself up to 5th but that was all she wrote.