Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rain Delay

It was an interesting trip up to Varney. I have only been there once before 10 + years ago. Since then a new paving job and a track design change. Add in a days worth of rain and us waiting until 6 pm before we could practice, nobody knew what to expect. Dave and I tried a new set up on the car and we were shocked at how uncomfortable the car was to drive. All the changes were supposed to make it comfortable, so we learned something after the heat race. Go back to what we know works. After that we started our 50 lap feature in 17th position. Soon after the start the race officials called it a 30 lap race. Once we found this out I had to start hustling. We made it up to 4th and then I got pushed up high on the track and spun out the car. We did not hit anything, very lucky. To the back of the pack again, all the ground I made up before had to start again. With 11 laps remaining I started again in 17th. At the checkered flag we made it back up to 4th. A good finish for us, if only we had another 20 laps. Overall a pretty good night for us. We passed 26 cars in 30 laps even with the rain, shortage of practice and race laps. Over we go to Flamboro our home track, Aug 7. See you there.

From the wrecker to the checkers

Sunset proved to be a turning point for our team. The last time we visited the facility we left the track on the tow truck. The first time in my car racing career we could not finish a race. This was a very tough time for us. After Mosport and the flat tire our team was somewhat flat as well. A quick test at the local track and some new brakes seemed to be what we were missing. We won the heat race and lined up deep in the field for the feature. We pushed the car as hard as possible and we were at the front by half way. We had many restarts and cautions to deal with. All the while we kept a fast pace and a steady lead to the checkered flag. this is what the team needed and it really turned our spirits around. Next up is Varney.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mosport Fan Appreciation Night

Finally some really nice racing weather. Down the 401 we go and up to Mosport. I really like this track, the asphalt is old, rough and really bumpy. This place separates the drivers unlike some other tracks we race at. To go fast here, you need to drive the car smooth but aggressive. I have the aggressive part figured out, I just wasn't so smooth. Thomson and I are the only winners here in our series history. So you you know how bad I wanted to win again. It has been a while and this was our place to make it happen. The heat went great, a small adjustment to the front end after practice proved to be the right call. We started 8Th and only had 8 laps top get to the front. The apprenticesearch car picked off drivers pretty easy and at the half way mark we were in second place. Once we passed the leader, it was all over as I stretched the lead to about 8 seconds. The fans all came down during the intermission and it was great to see all the people who follow my team and cheer for us. It's funny that some of my fans get really mad when I don't do well. Lots of fans watched us struggle with the wall at Sunset and were pleased to see the car at the front again. In the feature we started from the pole and got off to a great start. We were up front until the halfway mark of the race when the track was red flagged for a big wreck on the front straight. Once we got rolling again the pace car made us drive down pit road while they cleaned up the track. On the restart my car felt a little bit off, for the next 15 laps it became a struggle to keep the pace of the leaders. One at a time they started to pick me off, the 02 was first, then 66 and on the last corner the 99 got by me with a pretty rough pass. I was really mad at how the car changed, I thought it was my driving, I wasn't sure what really happened. Once I was out of the car, I could hear what was wrong. The right front tire had a small hole in it and was leaking air. It was down 16 pounds compared to normal. So I felt a little better about giving up spots late in the race. Good news though, 4 new tires for Sunset on July 17. See you there.

At the beach

The Sauble Beach race started out very wet and soggy. We drove into the rain the entire way there. About 5 minutes away the sun came out and dried everything up nicely. The races were very exciting. We had a battle the whole race, with the leaders. Side by side action for almost the whole race, with the top four drivers gunning for the win. First it was Forbes, then my turn, then Nicholson's turn, and then along came Thomson. With a hand full of laps to go, I put a sweet pass on the 99 car for second, or so I thought. He had different plans and came down the track and we had contact. My right front rolled up onto his left rear exiting turn two. The contact knocked my hands off the steering wheel and sent me spinning into the infield at full speed. I slid in the wet grass for almost the whole back straightaway before regaining control of the car. As I pulled it back onto the track, I was passed by the 04 car. Not too bad, we only lost one spot. it was neat to see how fast the emergency crew can run when a car is aimed at them at 65 MPH, glad we missed everyone. A late caution came out and we took advantage of the restart. We passed up to 3rd and almost got second, half a car back. It was a fun night for everyone. One of the closest battles up front in recent history. Off to Mosport.