We were very much looking forward to the trip to Ontario to race at my long time home track and finish the year off in Peterborough at ACC.
Things were different for us this year with better shocks, and better weight package. We presented tech with our rules from the East Coast International Pro Stock Tour. It was a home track rule race. We had some disadvantages comparted to the Ontario Pro Late Models. Our shocks, though better than last year, were not near as good as the Bilstein’s used by the APC cars. Not sure what Flamboro regulars used, some I guess used those as well. I’m 76 with no one even close to my age racing. I’m guessing most would see that as a disadvantage. But we didn’t care about that as much as getting the car set up on this track.
My crew for this race included Shannon Riley, who came with me from Nova Scotia. David Elliott, Jim Hulzinga, Gehrig Halliday, Troy Stere, Peter Snook and Ed Askin. As far as help was concerned, I had as good a crew as any team.
We got through tech with no issues and got in 2 sets of hot laps. In the first set of hot laps before we got going JR Fitzpatrick slammed and climbed the wall in turn 3 just as the green came out on the back chute going into turn 3. The car was badly damaged. Not sure of the extent but hitting cement wide open will destroy most frames on a race car, especially head on. JR was sore but not hurt which speaks well of Chris Howse car, a very well built and fast Pro Late Model.
Our lap times were poor, we qualified 10th of 21 cars. I don’t qualify well anywhere, but this was terrible and disappointing with poor times in practice as well….not what I expected.
First 50 Lap
In the first 50 lap feature our car was steady and we ran with a pack of cars near the back. Eventually we got by a few cars and caught a group mid pack. All was going well until a huge check up coming off turn 4 got me into the rear of Burbridge #2. We kept going. A yellow came out and David asked me to drive slow past Jim on the back chute to see how bad the damage was. I was given an all okay word back. On the restart I drove hard but didn’t know we were in trouble. My radios were terrible, I could not hear David at all, nothing but static. He was trying his best to get me off the track because the car was overheating. I couldn’t see the temp gauge, blocked by the steering wheel location, and I didn’t see the water coming out of the passenger vent. Finally I pulled off and got to our pits, only to see the damage to our car…. unbelievable. The front bumper, support brackets, air duct and other under the hood parts were all bent very bad, ridiculous really considering the impact didn’t move the car. The hood brackets were bent and broken but other than that I could drive the car. The fear from our crew, David especially, was damaging the engine from overheating.
Our crew worked hard on the car to get the air duct open enough to allow air to the radiator. The rad was drained and lifted up to access the duct work, but grill was removed to get to the duct to hammer it straight. There was no suspension damage although many bars were bent, and would require a days work to fix it….4-6 hours at least. The crew got it fixed and we were ready for the second feature.
Second 50 Lap
The worry in the second 50 lap race was possible overheating, we weren’t sure the duct was open enough to get sufficient air to the rad. However, after the first 15 laps the car was running well. Then under a caution we lost the clutch operation. The pedal went right to the floor. I had to stay in second all the time and hope I didn’t have to stop. The car ran good until about lap 20 when I heard a loud banging under the car and instant loss of power. At first I though it was engine, then transmission. I coasted to the infield and the engine started, so I thought….transmission. We were pushed to the pits and we found the driveshaft broken off the the yoke attached to the quick change. We didn’t have a spare. I started asking through the pits but no one had a spare until I got to Scott Steckly who did have a spare. I had our measurements and though his was slightly shorter…1/2″…I felt it would work. Our transmission is a Jerico and the Steckly transmission is a Raptor, different front yokes. He told me to take it and if it fit I could buy it. That was a huge relief for us.
David and Gehrig removed the front yoke off the broken driveshaft with the one on the Steckly driveshaft. That fix though stressful for time and not having a spare, was fixed, installed and ready to go before the third feature. David worked on the clutch but could not fix the issue, we would have to push start the car in second gear. All year we never had any issues like this in one night. Two accidents yes, and break masters not working, but not stuff breaking. Anyway we were ready. We waited until the cars went on the track to push start the car. I couldn’t stop on my way to the track or would need another push. As I headed to the track Ken Stenhouse was flag man in turn 4 and motioned me to stop but I couldn’t and kept going. He knows I’m not like that and let me go not knowing why I disobeyed the stop sign. He found out later.
Third 50 Lap
We started 12th in the final feature. It had been a stressful day for all of us but we made the final race. The driveshaft looked good with most of the yoke in the transmission, so I wasn’t worried about it coming out. The only issue was not slowing down too much or stalling the car.
This race was not good for a few teams. Ron Gibbons got wrecked on lap one. He was body checked into the turn one wall. He wasn’t happy and as the cars went around he stopped the the #22 Pinset and was shaking his fist at him. All the cars stopped behind but I had to go around and keep moving so I wouldn’t stall the car.
The rest of the race was uneventful until near the end. Prior to that we were keeping up with a group of 4 cars. I didn’t feel like racing hard and taking a chance to wreck again. With about 10 laps to go the #94 got turned into the front straight wall. He was fast and trying to move up when he made contact with another car that sent him spinning backwards just past the starters stand into the wall hard.
That was all UI needed to see to make the decision to stay away from the pack I was running with. We would finish 7th and no overheating.
At the end of the night we finished 16th overall.
Congrats to Kyle Steckly for winning the Grisdale Triple Crown.
Thanks to David and Jeannie for their awesome hospitality, having Shannon and I their for over a week. To all my crew for their awesome help, to Jim Sweers for helping us during the week get the car ready for Flamboro. Also to John Casale for buying us 2 tires.
Preparing for Peterborough’s Autumn Colors Classic
Even though this race was over, I was concerned with the damage and clutch repair that awaited Shannon and I. We couldn’t work on the car at Jim Sweers, he was busy with his own work. We went to Grisdale’s and picked up a clutch master cylinder, then headed to visit Marvin Freiburger, one of our sponsors. We arrived around 1:pm and Ben offered us the use of one of their bays to fix the clutch and change the oil. The clutch master was a nightmare to change, no room to get arms and hands into the pedal. I finally got it but it was a stressful repair. Shannon and I bled the clutch and it was fixed. I changed the oil as well and thought we were done. We were heading to Shirley and Derricks to stay there a few days before ACC. I was happy the clutch was fixed and reasoned if the car ran well in the final feature at Flamboro, I wasn’t going to fix the front end for Peterborough. Just as we were ready to take the car off the jack stands, Shannon noticed the exhaust was broken at the Y pipe. “Are you kidding” I thought. Sure enough it was broken off. Ben who had worked all day, came over to see how we were making out. I told him all was good but the exhaust. He’s such a positive man and said “well lets get it off and I will weld it”. An hour later it was fixed and installed. So thankful to their family including his son Del who helped us as well.
We left their about 6pm heading to Shirley and Derricks, but the trip would be over 2 hours, so going out for dinner with them. On the way we had another flat on the trailer….the 3rd one. Oh what a trip.
Next up will be the trials from ACC. I do love racing. Thank you for visiting our site. Thanks to Derek Smith for this photo. Gods bless and keep you all.