So it was with more than a little trepidation that I approached this week. Double features and no crew chief. We started off with warm-ups and we were very good. That was the first sign. I started the feature in 16th and for a couple of laps I thought we were going to be okay. Right about then the car got wicked tight and I had my hands full. I'd like to tell you all more about it but I think I either forgot it or blocked it out of my mind. We were making some progress when about the halfway mark I was going down the back stretch ready to go on the outside of the 3. Just as I got along her right quarter panel she swung right before she got to the corner. That got my left front wheel jammed up into the side of her car and we took a pretty hard shot into the wall. I was able to drive away and the boys went to work replacing the tie rod. We went back out and made it to 16th. Because of the stellar performance the Sportsman put on the 1st feature, the track cancelled the heat races and just ran a B-main. We loosened up the car a bunch and it was better in hot laps. We made a few more changes and I crossed my fingers that we went far enough. Unfortunately it was like deja vu. The car was good for a few laps, but then got real tight again. I made the best of it and made my way past a few cars up to 7th. I actually thought we did pretty good all things considered, and in reality it could have been much worse.
Heat races, then rain. Double features next week...
I thought for sure that the track would be different this week, we had nothing but beautiful weather, very little rain. And in the beginning it was. We were good in warm-ups so I left the car alone. I started 7th in the heat and had to get on the brakes hard in 1 and 2 to miss some less than stellar driving in front of me. About a lap later I knew we were in trouble, the track had absolutely no grip at all. I passed two cars to get to 5th and had nothing for the guys in front of me. So that left us qualified, but not handicapped for the feature giving us a 18th place starting position. Jimmy and I starting making some changes keeping in mind what the track did last week. When I got done with hot laps, it was apparent that the track wasn't going to be nearly as good as was and we needed to make some major changes. We started to throw some serious stuff at the car to tighten it up. After all the changes we were just kind of looking the car over and Jimmy felt that the left rear torsion bar was bad, so we threw a new bar in. So now I had no idea what the car would be like, but it would definitely be different. They threw the green and a smile spread across my face, the car was very good. The caution came out almost right away and I had picked up 2 spots. We took off again and I got a few more cars and moved up to 11th before the caution came out again on lap 8. Unfortunately the track decided to start us single file, so things got a little tougher. After that restart we actually got in some pretty intense racing. I was still picking off cars as the laps wound down and at the end I made it up to 6th. Definitely a strong run from deep in the field.
Well...what can you say, it was an interesting night. I kinda figured that the track would be a bit slick, rain during the week and a beautiful sunny Saturday would take it's toll. I thought we were really good in warm-ups, so we didn't change a thing for the heat race. I started 6th and never got the jump I needed to make a move on the start. The track slicked up more than I thought and we were just a little too loose. I was able to make my way to 4th and was still gaining when the checkers flew. At that point Jimmy and I decided to throw the kitchen sink at the car. We made so many changes that I forgot half of what we did. We made the car a little bit better, but still not as good as I would have liked. After watching the 358 race we decided to back off a couple of the changes since the track looked like it was coming back. I started the feature in 15th and we made it till lap 2 before the caution flew. And the red flag flew. The was another big wreck on the restart and I think there was actually one more after that. It was during one of these red flags that I got the short end from the track when they put the 00 in front of me for the restart. That was the first time I saw him all night. You win some, you lose some. I restarted 8th, single file of course, and spent a couple of laps after the restart trying to get by Chris when something in his car broke and he shot up into the wall. We actually got a few laps of racing in after that and I made my way up to 5th when I saw the 68 and the 80 spin in turn 2 and brought out another yellow. I figured I was all set to restart 3rd when the track put the 80 in front of me after he had spun. I'm not sure when they started doing that, I know every time I was caught in a spin I had to restart at the rear. So now I'm a little agitated because this is the second time I got the short end. On the restart I got a wicked run around the 80 and was halfway past the 25 going for 2nd when the caution flew again. So I figure at least I got the spot I should have had in the first place. Wrong. The track puts the 80 BACK in front of me again. So now there's 5 laps to go. I get past the 80 and I get past Frankie and now I have 2 laps to try and get the 3 when the caution comes out again. We took the green but I couldn't get enough of a run to seal the deal and we ended up 2nd. Congratulations to Kim Lavoy on her first win.