Diary Of A Season 2008

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:06 pm

June 28th................Flamboro Speedway

Race #10

Hi Lights
* 14 cars
* David wins 3rd Feature
* Fan Appreciation Night...$35 for non members
* Crowds down
* Drop nights not working for the track




Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy, Jessica and Kyle

To say we were tired after Delaware was an understatement. I was tired after the race, everyone was tired because we didn't get home until after 3:30am. So I actually got tired twice. The good news for our team, we didn't have anything to do on the car, the boys did it all at Delaware.
We had a new set of tires for Flamboro and decided to run them all night even though it was a small field with a small purse.
Our warm ups weren't the best although we had times in the 15:5's and 6's. After practice there was a drivers meeting for Late Models.
I asked during the meeting if the track would reconsider giving the racers nights off in 09' instead of drop nights. I told them for the past 3 seasons there were 10 or more cars with perfect attendance. Now, not even half way through 08', there were only 9 cars who had not missed a night. Donny Cox was concerned about car count as well as the gate price of $35 to get in for non members. Flamboro is the most expensive track to get in for any race. Delaware charged $30 for their pit fees for non members, but they were hosting a 141 lap race for Late Models. Sauble does not adjust the pit price for specials.
The crazy cost for Flamboro was because OSCAAR Super Late Models were racing. The Super Lates are a good class but didn't bring anywhere near a full field or even 20 cars. The feature was cut to 32 laps because of the long delays to clean the track.
Regardless of how many cars show up or how good or bad their show was, no one should have had to pay more to watch a travelling show, or for that matter pay more for in house specials. The track needs to get these events sponsored, if possible even with multiple sponsors.
Promoters have from now until spring of 09' to get the race program done for the coming season. Racers don't start their race programs in the middle of March, not serious racers. They start long before the season ends, setting plans and getting proposals to potential sponsors. Tracks have to do the same, only on a bigger scale. It's easy to tell the ones that do.
Some things tracks/teams need to do for planning their race programs:

Race Track...............................................................Race Team
1. Review all problems from past year...................1. Evaluate all DNF's
2. Make a budget..................................................2. Make a budget
3. Send out proposals...........................................3. Contact potential sponsors
4. Repair or refresh facility.....................................4. Rebuild race car
5. Work with media...............................................5. Put car in shows
6. Have schedules ready.......................................6. Hero Cards
7. Reduce gate prices............................................7. Commit to a track
8. Make facility friendly each week.........................8. Work with track
9. Create a carnival atmosphere...........................9. Beautiful Car

Tracks have so many incredible ways to attract sponsors. When they get lazy and don't improve their program, their performance, just like a race team is poor. Making your regular faithful fans, racers and their crews pay higher costs to get in every week is taking the easy way out, but it is the road to failure. How does a race team who has a terrible looking car, never puts it on display, won't send out race reports to their sponsors expect to keep or ever get sponsors. Tracks are in the same boat. It takes a lot of work to run a good race team. It takes a lot of work to run a good race track. The rewards for the track promoter can be much higher if they apply themselves. Everyone knows a race team will at best be lucky to break even. That's an even more important reason for tracks to treat their racers with respect and care, knowing the huge expense it is to field a competitive car.
I have been racing for many years with good sponsors. We have almost tapped into all the areas of how we can get and keep our valued partners. I would give anything to run a track like Flamboro knowing that I have many many more areas in which to gain revenue than any race team ever could imagine. That's why this whole deal of charging so much to come to race is maddening. This issue is long from over and something needs to be done soon before more cars leave and no fans come out....I didn't even get into advertising. Like Friday night, I'm tired.
Back to the show.
Meanwhile the boy did good, winning his 3rd feature of the season. We were running 3rd, being patient with rookie #75 TJ Marshall. He deserves to race without getting knocked out of the way. He wasn't blocking and I needed more time to get by. Unfortunately I got hit and knocked into the upper groove allowing the Go-Train to get under. By the time the last car passed me we were 8th and had run out of time to catch anyone. Plus, the narrow straights make it almost, no it is impossible, to pass outside in the Late Models. Hobbies, Thunder Cars and Mini Stox can pass high but when Late Models or Super Late Models get in a line there's no moving unless it's inside.
We ended up 8th and 2nd in our heat, not a bad week end but somewhat discouraging.
I must give credit to Paul Howse for running hard and staying out of trouble in the first two months of 08'. He has improved his program and his driving. He seems to be having more fun. Most of the racers this year have improved their racing.
We gave away a bike as per our regular commitment in 08' for our 40th Anniversary. Saturday's bike was sponsored by Jim Granger, a good friend and huge OSCAAR fan. My crew handed out tickets to kids 12 to 5 years old. A young boy won the bike. I also had a small bike to give away to an even smaller child. This bike had trainer wheels and was for kids 3 or 4. I had decided that during the "Fan Appreciation" autograph session I would pick a youngster who was 3 or 4 when they came to me. One small boy caught my heart and was the one I would choose. His name was Tanner. I asked for his last name because I was going to get the announcer to call out his name. I wrote his name down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget it, but it was easy because his last name was Burr. There was a racer name Bill Burr who ran Late Models #8 at the CNE, so I knew I wouldn't forget. About half an hour later, the announcer called for all kids to come off the track. Then Gerry or Josh said "we have two bikes to give away tonight, so get your tickets ready kids"!...oh, oh...I ran to the starters stand to tell my crew that only one bike was to be given away (we bring two so we always have a girl and boy bike). They said "we know, the other draw is for the toddler, who will win the bike with trainer wheels". "wait"! I said, "I have already picked the little one". They said "too late, we drew the ticket". I asked "how did you separate the older kids"? They replied "It was easy, we asked the children how old they were and put the tickets for the 3 and 4 year olds in a different container...Perry's pocket".
At first I was disappointed because I had gone to such lengths to remember Tanner Burr, plus..."did he even get a ticket"?..."oh well" I thought, "he won't be sad because he didn't know about the deal I had planned". Then, as I walked back to my race car, I noticed a dad and his son taking the bike with trainer wheels, and I ran back to Perry who was helping Jessica and Troy give the bikes away. I asked him to ask the man what his sons name was. Perry came back a few minutes later and told me "Tanner Burr"......"are you kidding" I said...I was as excited about that as I was about not passing out Friday night at Delaware. "How good was that, and I had nothing to do with it" ....but someone did! The night really wasn't so bad, in fact it was okay....no , perfect.
One more thing on bikes. I was in my trailer after the race and Mark Burbridge #27, came up to me and said his Mom wanted to know about sponsoring the bikes. Before he left he said they would be sponsoring two bikes for our 40th Anniversary. That was awesome to. Special thanks to the Burbridge family.
This week we will try to get our car even faster for next week end. We need to find a way into the winners circle...hold on...no we need to find a way to finish when we're running in the top 3....ya, that's it....hey, I wonder if I could win a bike?

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:06 pm

July 5th.....................Flamboro Speedway

Race #11

High Lites
* 15 cars (5 were not there the week before)
* Paul Howse survives wreck, gets a fair call
* Paul Howse wins
* We have strong run...finish 5th




Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy, Jessica, Kyle

At the beginning of the year, January, I suggested strongly that allowing teams 6 drop nights was a bad idea. I even asked "what if they all took the same week end off"? The answer was one that couldn't be answered, maybe because the potential scenarios were not thought out.
The worst happened this week end, or maybe it was the luckiest. There were 15 Late Models and the scarry thing is that 5 of them were not at the track the week before. If they didn't show up, we'd been left with a lowly field of 10 cars and that is absolutely not acceptable.
I'm not sure who's responsibility it is to get cars out, but I have suggested that someone at management level call all the teams to find out what it will take to get them out. I hate running a feature with 15 cars, any feature under 20 is not giving the fans what they deserve. If I was responsible for the entertainment at a race track l would be doing everything I could to get 20 plus cars every night. What worry's me is the potential of a field of 10, that would break my heart and spirit. Hopefully we can overcome this.
One thing about this past week end, something very positive was the turn out of fans. It was probably the best crowd size all season. Also, worth mentioning, the full field of Mini Stock, Thunder Car and CVM were very good, only Late Models were low car count, but one more car than June 28th.
We missed warm ups, but it wasn't a big deal. I have 47 millions laps on the track and don't need the practice to get pumped up. However, it is important to get the car on the track to see if all systems are working well and make sure your in the ball park time wise. The reason we missed warm ups was because I decided to install 2 new front springs in the car to get through the corners better. We have not run as good as I wanted all season and we needed to try something. The plan was softer front springs. The car has been loose all year. Installing the springs was not so tough, and we thought we had all basis covered by making sure we checked ground clearance before removing the original springs. Of course I was by myself Friday night (for the first spring) and I did everything right with measuring the ground clearance, making sure the tires were set proper and the stagger put in. I goofed when it came time to remove the spirng. The shock was off and the upper ball joint as well as the load bolt backed off completely. The spring still wouldn't come out. I thought for a minute on whether to remove the lower ball joint, but I could see clearly that the sway bar was stopping it from going down. So I thought, I'll just back off the sway bar. Backing off the sway bar with no one in the car is a huge mistake. The right side of the car was tipped way over and the spring still wouldn't come out. I jacked up the passenger side and got the spring out easy. Then it hit me, I needed one person to be with me, and the bar should have been backed off with me in the car to get it neutral.
Jim showed up to help with the other side and we got them both installed and agreed to set the car up at the track. Once at Flamboro we headed for pre Tech and Donny Cox said.."do you guys run 61% wedge"? Oh, oh we thought. So for the next hour we were turning load bolts and scaling the car until the ride heights were good and the scale numbers looked normal...but we missed warm ups.
In the heat we started 4th. An overly agressive Shane Gowan made everyone stand up and take notice as he looked like David in his final years in the CVM. I never saw Shane drive like that. He was diving in, making it 3 wide, getting in the middle of some dangerous company and did it all without hitting anyone or getting in trouble. His agressiveness paid off as he finished 3rd in his heat. We qualified by finishing 5th and the car was not bad, considering all the changes we made.
We did a quick check over and then headed to the front chute to give away a bike. A young girl won and she was very excited. While on the track, Josh Paxton asked me about the events happening on July 26th giving me a chance to do some promotions for that event. I explained we would be giving away 5 or maybe even 6 bikes, as well as a 40th Anniversary program for every family that came to the races that night. For the drivers we will be giving $40 to each and the track has made the feature 40 laps. It was great to see the smile on the little girl, she was very happy. Once the bike presentation was over I returned to the pits to get ready for the feature.
There were 15 Late Models ready to start the feature. When we got on the track, they gave us a few hot laps, then the track announced the featrue would be 20 laps not 25, meaning we would be racing for $600 to win not $800. That's another issue that bothers me. Reducing the purse because less cars start the feature is totally not fair. Fifteen cars showed up and because one couldn't start should not have affected the purse. If 24 cars show up and only 14 start the feature, it's the same deal. The purse should be $1000 to win every week and if only 14 cars show up, the track owners don't have to pay from 15th to 24th. It still cost us the same and we're taking just as much risk to race with 14 or 17 or 20 cars. Another issue, that hurts the drivers on a low car count night, is that points are still the same, there not reduced or compenasted for a smaller field. Everyone will make more points when there are less cars, making their average higher, thus penalizing the cars that show up.
I've argued about this issue and many others, with the owners, and basically waste my time because the rest of the racers stay silent.
Back to the race.....We got hot laps, and that was weird because the track was still quite warm from the hot day. We started 4th on the outside behind Richard Holmes #42. Pole was Chris Bladek #29 and beside me was Shane Gowan #10. Before the race started I warned my spotter to watch Shi-Hang Shane who would be making his move early in the race, like 3 thousands of a second after the green dropped. Winning the feature last week was a boost of energy, confidence and attitude for Shane. That conclusion was derived after watching his Pack Man performance in the heat. The other scenario for me, would be to get by Chris and follow Richard and hope to put pressure on him and maybe pass Mr. Holmes and take our first feature win of the year. Okay, not so fast, we've not got the green yet.
Going into one Richard got outside of Chris. Chris couldn't hold his car down and came up the track hitting Richard, but Holmes burried the throttle to get away. I was right behind him and knew Chris got so high that Shane could and most likely would get under him and put us 3 wide going into turn 3. Sure enough, 40 years, 1200 nights, 2500 races and 47 million laps later we were right. Going into 3 Chris went high, crowded me and Shane got under. Coming off four I knew the situation wasn't going in our favour and had to get ahead of Chris, but more than that, Chris had to keep Gowan back. Neither happened. Going into one, Packman got into the back of Chris pushing him up even harder and naturally forcing me to go high so I don't get wrecked and before you can say "I knew it", Chris was right in front of me with cars lined up to Clappison's Cornres waiting to freight train the two of us. Shane was pushing him because he was slower, and didn't want to get boxed behind Bladek. Seems logical, but what ever happened to sucking it up, wait until everyone gets by and then go around him....right...I seen it coming but didn't have enough time to get by the #29. Coming off two I decided I wasn't going to get freight trained and so I moved down under Chris. I was right, there would be no freight-train, instead I cut too close to those passing under and got spun into the infield. So here we were, thinking we may have a shot at winning the feature but instead restarting at the back of a 20 lap race with all the fast cars ahead of us. My crew said "get mad, get on top of the wheel, go get them, you can do it". So I decided to race hard and agressive, but not to hit anyone. In a few laps we got by three cars and caught Jason Shaw. He was behind Scott Lyons who was right on Jamie Ramsay. Our car was excellent, very strong in the corners. What we did with the chassis had worked and I let the team know the car was awesome. One way we can tell when the car is close is when we hit the "rev limiter", and we were hitting every lap. We stayed on Jason but knew unless he got under someone we weren't going anywhere.
Jr. Farley #72 was a car length back of us and we were about four lengths back of the front 5 who were together. Going down the back chute I planned to go high into the turn and then dive low hoping to get under Jason. Just past the old pit gate, and just before letting off the throttle my spotter started yelling "go low, go low, go low, go low". I was high entering the turn, but because he started yelling "go low" non stop, I was able to get off the gas instead of going that extra car length. Had I done so I would have had the same fate as #48 Jamie Ramsay who went sliding into the pack of cars ahead of us who all got caught in the wreck. Jamie couldn't get stopped, he was high going in and there was no room. Richard, Paul Howse, Jeff Stewart and Kenny Forth were already in that mess when Jamie came barrelling in. Scott, Jason and I got just low enough to get by, barely. Meanwhile it was like an air raid situation with cars everywhere, Gowan making his way off of the infield in turn four and my spotter still saying "go low".
When we slowed down we realized how lucky we were to get through that wreck. After a few minutes of driving around the starter gave Gowan the black flag. Scott was shown as the leader with Jason 2nd and me 3rd. Two laps later the score board had #10 back in front and #8 Paul Howse in 2nd. Something seemed wrong, but we had to trust the people in charge made the right call. I guessed at first that Richard spun on his own causing the wreck. That's not what happened but we didn't know at the time. The annoucer came over the head sets to our spotters and told them Paul was not involved and had to stop to avoid the wreck. Man, that is a can of worms that these guys need to write down in their book of knowledge so they don't screw the call next time when it's differnt players. I didn't care who got their spots back, as long as it was the right call, and as long as they do it for everyone, everytime.
Anyway we restarted the race. Shane lasted a lap or two before Paul Howse got by. Then Scott got on him but it was clear Scott wasn't taking any chances of hitting Shane knowing he may not get the call he'd want if Shane got turned. Jason was all over Scott, up and down and at times up to his rear quarter. Our car was so good that we had a birds eye view but could only wait again to see if Jason could get Scott up a little and get under. Time was used up and when the white came out I remembered we were in 5th and thought "don't lose this one". At the line we finished 5th and though it was somewhat disappointing it was still a good run, the high-light being how well the car handled.
Paul Howse won and Shane was 2nd.
The week is the Grisdale race and it should be crazy like almost every other one. We can't seem to get a break in these races but we love to try.
David was not out, took the night off. If I told him some of the things that happened, he would say "I know, that's why I don't run every week". David will run a limited schedule for the rest of 08'.
I had some discussion with track management this week and asked a few questions like "why is the purse altered, and how is that fair"? "Why did the starter throw the black then it was changed"? "Who calls the race on the track"? "How does the leader get spun out and there's no penalty"?
Anyway, the best news for us was the completion of our 40th Anniversary book. We are very happy with the work done by the graphic artist and designer. The book is awesome.
We are giving most away on July 26th. It was a lot of hard work, but it was well worth it.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:06 pm

July 12th........................Flamboro Speedway Grisdale Triple Crown #2

Race #12

Former CVM Champs Finish 1st 2nd

High Lites
* 25 cars
* Jason Shaw wins
* Hobby Champs in top 5
* David and I finish this one
* David gets 2nd
* We get 5th
* Both Paul Howse & Shane Gowan admit they were lucky on July 5th



Body, chassis, rear end, routine

Jason, Perry and Troy....we missed Big Jim

What a great night for us, in so many ways. We've been learning how to set up our car without the direct help of Thatcher, but of course seeking his advice every chance we get. It seems we are learning more every week end.
We made warm ups and ran the old tires to test the set up before putting on new rubber. These tires had 6 cycles and about 70 laps, but still turned times in the low 15:6's. For the next set, while sitting in line Jason told me #72 MacDonnell turned a 15:49. I replied " he is in the ball park of fast times". When we got to test on new rubber we were amazed at how much better the car was. David's crew came over after that session excited that we had 4 consecutive laps below 15:45, but not in the 3's...not yet.
So naturally we did not touch the car and relaxed while waiting for our heat race. After warm ups we had a drivers meeting. Same ole' stuff, but this time they decided to let us know the rule on accident cars. We already knew what it was. The fact the officials would not let us make comments on the controversy of July 5th, gave us the impression they knew they made 2 bad calls in that feature. Paul Howse admitted at the meeting (good for him) that he probably shouldn't have got his spot back. He started his protest on the track when he saw that Shane got his spot back, and everyone including Shane knew he too should have been sent to the rear. No one blamed either driver for taking their spots, we all would have done the same, it's just that now the track has to be careful when they call an accident car because this example will fly in their face. In other words, a car will have to be almost back wards to be sent to the back, and if you dump someone and keep your car going, even if you're all over the place, you should get your spot back...and if you're black flagged, more than likely it's a synch you'll be back on the pole.
Tracks need to let the starter run the race and support him when he makes the call. To be honest, none of us would have wanted either Paul or Shane to be moved back because of the protests. The protests were legit, but the drivers only did what they were told. If they had moved either of them back during the week, all of us would have backed those two and fought against that decision...good news is they left it.
There were 25 cars and 24 qualified, but they said if the track owner decided in favor, he could add the 25th car at the back. (not sure what exactly that means...let us know right away that everyone will race as long as they make the effort to get it).
Qualifying was done through heat races. The winner of the first would be considered pole, and would throw dice to determine the invert. The best place to qualify would be somewhere in the top 6. The most common numbers to show up on the dice are 6-7-8, then its 4-5-9-10. In the first Grisdale Triple Crown race, Jason Shaw qualified on the pole. He threw the ivory and the dice added up to 5, so the top 5 got the invert putting Jason 5th. This event saw Scott Lyons win the first heat and giving him a new tire and a guarantee that he would not be on the pole for this race...he could be on the outside pole, but the odds of throwing "snake eyes" were very high. The second heat was won by #106 Simon Wild, and we were closing in fast but could not get by, though we made a race of it. Mark Burbridge took the third heat race, just ahead of David.
After qualifying we were in the 5th spot, David in 6th. Scott threw the dice and landed a 9, putting him 9th and us 5th, David would start 4th.
We went over the car fairly good to make sure there was no concerns. At intermission they asked me to bring my car on the track to give the bike away. When I got out on the track, Gerry Paxton asked me if I had any hero cards....what? I thought, I didn't even think of it because I thought this was just a quick picture with the winner of the bike. So, just what old people do, I ran all the way back to my pit to get pictures and a sharpie. I ran because of time, then ran back, and thought for a minute...this is a conspiracy to wear me out before the race...but there has to be a dozen other racers that needed to be wore out before me. Anyway I got to rest and give the kids some pictures as well as give the bike away to a young boy.
#97 Jeff Cassidy was on the pole with Shane Gowan outside. Jeff battled with Shane but was unable to keep the lead. Rob MacDonnell was in front of me and got under Jeff but I was not able to follow. David got in front of me on the front chute as Cassidy and Gowan were getting passed on the inside. Jason Shaw was outside and also got in front of me on the back chute. We dropped back to 6th and caught Jeff and got by. Shane was struggling and we caught him by lap 4. Meanwhile up front Rob was leading with David right on his tail. As they raced Jason made a move on the outside to get by David. We tried to get under Shane coming off turn two and did get a run but we touched and our cars came together causing us to drop to the apron, allowing 3 cars to get by, #27, #52 and #97.
Going into 3 Shane spun from a cut tire, almost for sure from our contact. The yellow came out with Rob leading Jason, David, Mark, Scott Jeff and us. We were able to get by Jeff putting us 6th and we're a long way behind Scott who was 5th. To my surprise a few laps later we were passing MacDonnell who lost power from a defective rotor in the distributor. He pulled off and came out later many laps down. Too bad for Rob, he likely had a top 3 car, his bad luck was good for the rest of the field, with everyone moving up.
I chased Scott for a long run that saw 20 laps run caution free. We were gaining fast and on lap 25 was on the #52's rear and got him sideways once. I heard the crowd scream [i:109uf5c3][b:109uf5c3]"look at that Christian boy, whacking on Scott" [/b:109uf5c3][/i:109uf5c3]....actually they didn't scream that, but my crew were telling me to "go, you got him". I thought for a minute and realized that I should back off for a minute and let Scott calm down, plus we were 10 car lengths ahead of the nearest car. Then on lap 29 the caution came out. We restarted on the outside, 5th, beside Scott. My crew were telling me how good our car was, and now we could get by. Aren't they cute, they mean well, as if Scott was going to be easy. I warned them this could be a not so good position for us. Many scenarios went through my mind. Getting walled was the first, getting freight trained was next, getting freight trained and walled was the last of my thoughts...but I could still hear Nonie and Jason telling me that our car was awesome and to go for it. Okay, I said, I already knew I had a little better car, and I was in a position to do something I had never done before, pass Scott on the outside, so I was ready. Just a note...if you've watched Scott race, he is as keen as a wild fox when it comes to getting by you or making his car wide, he can do it so professionally subtle. If you've driven against him, you know what I mean. He is territorial and will not give up a spot without a fight, and I was making my mind up, while we were driving around under caution that I would indeed fight.
On the green we went into one side by side. Coming off two we were still side by side but my first scenario suddenly came to life. We were quickly running out of track. Scott never hit me, and in my efforts not to hit him I nailed the wall...hard. My car jumped, the back end hit and with dust and sparks in the air I had no idea as we headed into 3 whether or not our car had a broken suspension part or was towed out a foot. I didn't care because I was in the fighting mood and my first battle was with the cement. To my surprise the car was sticking...probably to Scott's surprise as well. I was diving into each corner hard as Scott was relentless in not giving up the spot. Why did he not let me go? Because if he did, he would be 5th and on the outside for the next caution. My spotters were like cheer leaders at a football game .."go,go go, you got him". Sure enough the words all racers like to hear in that situation came over my radio.."Clear, clear". The next three laps were very hard as the car was pushing terrible. Something was bent, or the toe was out. I dialed in some rear brake to compensate and it worked. Another caution on lap 33 came and this time Scott was outside. No worry for me I was seventeen feet from the cement, plus I was going to give him lots of room so he wouldn't get into our car. On that restart we got him again and pulled away. On lap 37 the yellow came out only this time it was Paul on the outside. Once again we pulled away and held on to 4th. Things were changing up front. David was now all over Jason and I was gaining quickly on a struggling Mark Burbridge. We got away from the hard charging Howse until lap 44. Then yet another yellow came out. This time he changed his tactic and took advantage of Mark. Going into 3 Paul got a good run off four and got in front of us and pinched me down onto the apron. I had two choice get on the gas and into his door or be gentle and not mess up with my delicate front end. Coming off two his momentum let him get away from me so I tucked in behind. My spotters said don't worry, 5th is awesome. I replied, "I will follow Paul past Mark". I thought for sure Mark was a sitting duck. With 3 laps to go Paul got into Mark as he tried to pass and mark tried to block. Paul let off the throttle, so did I and Mark got straight. The final yellow came out and this time I was outside of Paul. I'm sure Scott was thinking he could get me on the restart but with 3 laps left I was looking for a top 5 and we had the car to do it. The final laps went safe and no one changed position. With two laps to go we headed down the back chute and at the place and time David and I wrecked on the first Grisdale race, I called to my spotters to watch David as he was making a good run on Jake. The last lap was finish time for me, I wanted so bad to get this top 5 and we did.
The crew were awesome and it was a great night for us. Scott talked to me after. He was surprised we didn't wreck or that I didn't get into him.
David and I are 4th and 5th in the Grisdale race and both of us have a chance to win it being only 8 points from Paul Howse and less that 5 from the top 2 spots. How big does that wreck we had on June 12th loom now. We'd be first and second...but being in the top 5 with one to go is very good.
Here's an interesting stat, three of the top five cars in this 50 lap race were past CVM club champions. Jason in 1990', David in 1996, 2000, 01, and 02 and we won titles in 89' and 99.
Our crew have been most amazing to me. We have learned a lot on the car and the changes we have made have worked. I'm learning to read the car better and they are feeling much more comfortable with all aspects of the chassis and tires.
Next week is regular racing....6:30 at Flamboro

On July 21st I will be a guest on Huntley Street to promote our race on July 26th at Flamboro Speedway. That night is the night we say thanks to everyone who has helped make racing fun. Families, fans, sponsors and competitors. We have something for everyone that night.

Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:06 pm

July 26th...............Flamboro Speedway

40th Year Racing Celebration Night

Race #13...not unlucky

High Lites
* 18 cars
* We win feature.....unbelievable
* Elliott's One...Two
* Crew makes right change for feature
* Drivers donate $40 bonus to Cross World
* 6 bikes given away...sponsored by
Jason Shaw, David Elliott, Flamboro Machine Shop, CTC Stoney Creek
ABIS Dental Group
* John & Frank get 35th Year award


CVM Results


Are you kidding...up front is good!!...routine check over, fluids

Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy, Roger, David, Glen Ruelens

[u:1vpd4a0i]Honorary Crew[/u:1vpd4a0i]
[b:1vpd4a0i][u:1vpd4a0i]Steffon Zoskey....Rich Ritchie[/u:1vpd4a0i][/b:1vpd4a0i]

this is a long one...yes, you knew it would be
There is no way we could have planned this event any better. Every aspect of the night, our Giving Back Tour event, went as planned with everyone covered. The fans were given souvenir programs as they entered the building. Every race team got a program at the pit gate entrance. All the staff members got a program.
The kids got a chance to win bikes, and six got lucky, 3 girls and 3 boys won beautiful donated bikes. The bikes were given out at intermission. Every bike was sponsored. Shaw Motorsports presented 2 bikes, David Elliott, Flamboro Machine Shop, ABIS Dental Group and the Stoney Creek Canadian Tire store gave one each.
Our sponsors got the best seat in the house, catered by Nina Ruelens. They were entertained and informed by our PR team member Perry, who kept them updated on all the divisions and answering any questions they had. There were over 100 guests in the Pavilion at various times throughout the night. I’m sure, during the Late Model feature, some almost fell over the edge.
Every driver was given $40 as a token of our appreciation to our competitors over the years. We’ve met and raced with hundreds of racers the past 40 seasons, and this group represented all of the past racers we have had the honour to compete against.
At the drivers meeting Richard Holmes, speaking on behalf of all the drivers suggested the money be given back to us to donate to a charity of our choice. The drivers agreed. Then an incredible thing happened when John Casale let everyone know he would be giving the racers the big pay off (21 cars) because of this special night. We applauded John, and I got to admit, I was somewhat shocked with joy when he made that generous offer. Good for John.
At intermission, all the drivers came on the track to give the money to Cross World, a much appreciated donation towards their support of families in need.
The final appreciation was to John and Frank Casale. Ken Jorgenson gave me a poster of Flamboro Speedway in the winter of this year. It was a 20 X 24 piece, promoting the opening day in 1973, the year the Casale Brothers bought the track. We mounted a copy of that poster beside a 20 X 24 poster of our 40th Anniversary program and presented it to John and Frank on the front chute, just before the feature started.
Up until this point the night was a tremendous success in every way.
What happened in the feature was something Hollywood makes, only this episode was directed by God. More on that later.
Nonie and I had many friends and crew members help put this eight month vision in motion. Ben Robinson, the senior editor for The Evangelical Christian magazine was incredible with his efforts in spear heading the bulk of advertising. He provided a full page ad and story in their magazine in the late spring. He was instrumental in setting up the TV commercials, the on line web site to buy tickets, the interview on Huntley Street and the printing of the 40th Anniversary program.
Alan Lipski did countless hours of work on the magazine. His final production of the 40th Anniversary book was an incredible beautiful piece of art work.
JD Smith, of JDS Insurance, one of our sponsors, did a lot of work behind the scenes to make this event a tremendous success.
All of our crew and their families helped during the day with many tasks. They helped decorate the Pavilion, sell tickers, hand out books and organize the bikes. There’s no way Nonie and I could have done it our selves, and to the many who helped, Maria, Jodi, Steffany, Karen, Charlene, Jessica, Perry, our crew, Jim, Jason, Troy, Roger, David and Glen, we are truly grateful.
Ye of Little Faith
During the week I was reminded a number of times by friends and crew, that the weather for the week end was not good. We prayed for a good week end, and so did many others. People came to Flamboro in spite of the rain all around. Commercials on FM, WDCX 99.5 and AM 1250 Joy, advertised the event throughout the week. Nonie and I kept focused on all the things that had to be done, but I couldn’t help but have one eye on the weather channel.
During the later parts of the week it became more and more clear that rain was heading our way on Saturday. To make it even more painful, Friday and Sunday were suppose to be beautiful. I talked to Nonie about a rain date and she said “you look after that, I’m carrying on as if we’re running on Saturday”. No one blamed me for considering a rain date because we had personally invited over 300 people, and if they asked when and if there was a rain date, I should have an answer.
The negative to all of this was the potential loss to Nonie and I if the race was cancelled, not to mention the work involved to take all of the decorations down, move all the props from the Pavilion and then try to convince everyone to come back another day…plus…be pumped up again. The caterer was paid already, some refunds would have to be given…..yikes....”I don’t need this”. We were feeling the life of a promoter on a bad day.
In all of my concerns I was reminded that we prayed to God for good weather, and that He is in control of all things. I already knew that, I just had to trust Him and He would deliver, and He did. A little soooner, like 24 hours would have been nice, but all things are and should be in His time. So my lesson was patience and trust... a few more classes and I'll get it. I'm glad He's merciful.
Saturday we went over to finish the Pavilion in the rain and lightning. We came home at 2:pm to one of the worst wind storms in Waterdown in years. David took video of the trees dancing and being tossed around by the high winds. It poured. It was "Hurricane 40th Anniversary". Meanwhile I tried to laugh. I asked those in our garage at 2:20pm “how many sandwiches can you guys eat”?
Then my crew, led by our newest member Troy, gave me a plaque for our 40th year. It was beautifully done. Right after that the sun came out, and the rain stopped.
When we got to the track we could see clouds moving in around dinner time but they were heading south as if an Angel was directing “cloud traffic” away from our event. Adam Lockwood, from Grisdale Enterprises lives less than 4 miles from the track and it rained very hard at his house about 5:30pm. It rained almost everywhere around us.
God answered our prayers by not allowing it to rain this day at Flamboro. So, my biggest thanks is to our God, for allowing us to have this celebration and provide a good night to do it. I should have had more faith that things would have been alright.
In the hustle to get all the promotional things done, our race car was not ignored. We knew for certain, people wanted to see us run competitively...who would have even imagined what would happen...not me! Our crew made sure the car was ready for the competition, they were amazing in covering me in this busy special time.
We started the day off on the right foot by drawing #1. I had to ask the fellow 2 or 3 times if I really drew #1, the first time in Late Models. That gave us pole in the heat. We always set the pan hard bar before the race, especially if tires have been altered or fuel added. I wasn’t around to set the bar, one of my crew members, Roger, got in the car to simulate my weight. Jason must have miscalculated the turns. I knew right away something was wrong. The car was terribly loose on acceleration right from the start. Jason Shaw pulled me and for the first 3 laps I was holding on. After the tires and engine got warmed up the car settled down. We finished 2nd sending us to tech where we got the numbers and immediately confirmed why the car was so loose. Jason, Jim and the boys got it right.
In the feature we started 2nd row outside behind Richard Holmes who was outside #75 TJ Marshall. David was beside me with Kenny Forth, Paul Howse, Jason Shaw and Scott Lyons all close behind.
TJ got the lead and David moved beside Richard going down the back chute. I tried hard to get in behind David but Richard was able to get down in front of us on the front chute. A few laps later I got a run on the inside of Richard, who was a little loose coming off, allowing me to pass him going into turn one. Moving into 3rd we set our sites on the front two. David was all over TJ, but waiting patiently to make the move under. I was hoping he could wait long enough for me to catch up and hopefully follow him through. I wasn’t alone. My spotter Jim, let me know that Kenny Forth was right behind me with Paul Howse right on him. By lap 5 we were a train. David made a gentle move to the inside of TJ down the back straight. I dove hard in behind the Pennzoil car knowing I had to glue myself to his rear bumper and not let the rookie pinch me down. The problem we would face was getting loose coming off four, and getting bogged down in power as the engine loaded up. TJ meanwhile had no choice but to squeeze me in hopes that I would cut further to the infield, making our car even looser. I held my lane and then just as we were exiting turn four we made contact. Our car jumped and sparks flew as the two front wheels made contact. It was scary at first because I thought we were going to at the worst lock together and crash , or at least we would end up with a flat tire, and maybe still crash. Fortunately neither happened. I pulled slightly ahead and it wasn’t until we were coming off turn two that I heard the call “clear high”. We were now it second, but it only lasted a few seconds as a caution came out. I was discouraged a little because now the task of getting by TJ would be under different circumstances. Some fast cars were right on my tail, and even though the car was excellent, racing against the youngster would be a matter of patience for me, but not necessarily for those behind. In fact, a few weeks ago, in this same scenario, Kenny Forth went in so hard as I was battling TJ that he hit me, unintentionally, and drove me up into the upper lane resulting in us getting freight-trained. All those thoughts were soon wiped away when the starter sent the #75 to the rear for being involved in the caution.
Now it was David and I. Wow, it suddenly dawned on me that we were first and second. That was awesome considering the Pavilion was full of Quaker State and Pennzoil employees. How great was that for them to see both of their cars up front. Then thoughts of the first Grisdale race came creeping in. Oh no, don’t even go there.
On the restart David took off and we were right on his tail. I was enjoying the fact that we were able to run as fast as him and put on a great race for the fans, as well as tons of pressure on the boy. Going down the front chute I noticed, or I thought I noticed that David was about half a car length from the wall. So naturally I turned slightly right to get closer to the cement hoping to get a better run into the turn. I barely turned the wheel and “BANG” I slammed the wall just before the starter stand. “How stupid” I thought. Now I was worried again about beating up the car. I know Flamboro has to be wider, but I shouldn’t be the one doing, but if I was, it shouldn’t be with my perfect running car. Man, the toe had to be messed up, or maybe something bent, but it wasn’t. The car was still good. We ran in a pack for ten or so laps until another caution on lap 14. Under the yellow, Jim said “don’t do that anymore”! My reply was “I had to do that because the toe was out from hitting TJ ten laps ago”. We laughed and then discussed the race and some strategy. David was strong entering the turn, but loose coming off, because of a push. The push was so subtle, even being on his tail I could hardly tell. Jim reminded me to stay close and be ready to pounce if anything happened because “we have the faster car”.
I agreed and told him I would be concentrating on getting by David (how weird is that) if possible.
We stayed close on the next restart and was somewhat glad to hear, that after three more laps we were pulling away from the #86 of Forth. Then Nonie reported that Paul Howse was now in 3rd. Usually that would be like hearing..”the enemy is on the outside of town, everyone head for the hills, run for cover, we're doomed”. But tonight was different, our car was tough and I wasn’t too concerned because David wasn’t holding me up, we were turning good times. On about lap 20 we had four or five lengths on Paul. Suddenly going into turn 3 David’s car took off. Not from a push, but a wild spin sideways. I thought for sure something broke on his car or a tire was going down. I hesitated for a second wondering should I go or wait until he straightens out. That reasoning wasn’t because I didn’t want to pass him, it was because I thought for sure he was coming down into my passenger side. My spotters yelled go, the Angels helped David get straight, but moved him sligtly out of my way, and by the time he got in line we were ahead. It was a moment of incredible excitement. The whole thought process would a have taken a milli-second. Paul Howse was too far behind to take advantage allowing David to get behind us. Usually when someone got real loose, I was not close enough to take advantage, but today was a different story.
A caution came out on lap 24. Sixteen laps to go. The fans in the Pavilion were going nuts, I was trying to stay cool but couldn’t believe what happened. I wasn't even sure what to do because we haven't led a feature for so long I almost forgot what it was like. Sixteen laps is a long time, a very long time when you want to win as bad as we did. The good news was the final laps went non stop and we pulled away by 7 to 8 car lengths. I kept watching the score board to see if Paul would get by David. They had a fierce battle going and that allowed me to get out of town.
When the white came out I slowed down enough to make sure I didn’t spin or make any mistakes. Coming off four my fist was waving and my heart pounding as the checkered flag waved on this dream win...and to make it even sweeter was the fact my son finished 2nd. That was our 3rd feature in Late Models where we finished 1st and 2nd. I have two wins. In the Hobby's we did it 6 times and he won 5.
The last time our team won the feature was June of 06’. As I came off turn four I planned to grab the checker flag and take off to do a victory cruise lap before they stopped me. Then I found out they allow the winner of the feature to take the flag around, something I fought for back in 06 when we were not allowed to do that.
Josh Paxton came down to interview me and I was too excited to talk. “Did I win the Daytona 500”!!! I was so messed up with joy I didn't even want to run the CVM.
The boys took the car to tech and I ran from the tech building to turn four to get in the Hobby car. That was harder than the 40 laps.
[u:1vpd4a0i][i:1vpd4a0i][b:1vpd4a0i]Hobby Race Anti- Climatic [/b:1vpd4a0i][/i:1vpd4a0i][/u:1vpd4a0i]
I was so exhausted from running to the car from tech, trying to get my seat belts on do it while the cars were on the track, that I thought for sure I wouldn’t make it out for the CVM feature. Don Shaw was there to make sure I buckled in properly and some of my crew helped get me because I was shaking like a leaf. Sharon and Gail were motioning me to hurry. Finally we got on the track and the white came out right away. I’m not going to give the play by play of this race because our car was terrible. It is not the same car I ran last summer when we won the feature. There is something terribly wrong with the power and it’s not because of Leanne, who has been running the car. It is flat as if the cam or head has been changed or altered, or the timing moved a ton…but David made sure the timing and carb were set up before the feature.
Starting 16th was okay and with attrition as our help mate, we finished 6th, not pretty but let the stats say what they must. The race was under protest when we left. The CVM web site had not been updated as of Tuesday night, so I’m guessing we ended up 6th. A Crate engine would be awesome in these cars. It will cost me more to find out whats wrong, plus fix this six, then to put in a 350/325 HP V8.
Meanwhile as soon as I pulled into our pits the celebration from the Late Model win began. My crew member from 1978 to 82, Rich Ritchie and his family were all there. Steffon Zoskey, my longest running crew member, 1981 until 1999 and Glen Schurr’s family were there, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Even two hours after the win, I was unable to stop shaking my head in bewilderment. “This is unbelievable” was all I could say. (two days later and I still can't believe it). So many people felt our joy, even my crew were overwhelmed with all that was going on, and winning this race. Many people made tonight possible and Nonie and I were truly blessed beyond belief.
The weather held off, we were able to complete all of our plans for this Giving Back night. In spite of me worrying about the weather, our gracious God was kind enough to not only give us the driest place in the township, but also allow us to win the most meaningful race victory in forty years.
Thank you Lord

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:06 pm

August 3rd [Sauble Speedway

Race #14

High Lites
* 25 cars
* Jonathan Urlin wins
* We get 2nd (our best finish in a 100 lap or more event)
* Heat win, first checker at Sauble in a Late Model
* David struggles but gets 9th
* Mini Stock come back..... ain't gonna happen......but thanks Dave and Jamie

Later Model
1st Heat.........3rd
2nd Heat.........1st

Mini Stock
Feature..........2nd last


Nonie was head spotter....Perry, Troy, Jessica, Andrew

After the strong run at Flamboro, and no problems with the car, we got some good rest for our trek to Sauble. We left at 8:30am and got to the track just before noon. Gates opened at 1:pm so we had plenty of time to get through tech and make warm ups.
It’s hard to believe Sauble’s race was as exciting as our 40th night, but in many ways it was a night to remember, but it took a while to get there. Recently we have enjoyed a very close car in warm ups, set up wise, with the heat race as an opportunity to fine tune for the feature. After warm ups at the Beach we knew we had our work cut out for us. Our times were way off last year when we hit the high 14’s a number of times, in fact we weren’t even hitting our best qualifying times after several warm laps. A pan hard adjustment, a little more weight and playing with the front bar were a few changes but all minor. After every change we headed to the scales to see our numbers wanting to get them as close as possible to the Flamboro set up. So why wasn’t the car at the right set up when we arrived, since the night before we had a great run at Flamboro? Because different crew members were setting the bar, and that touch, the right know-how, to set the bar to neutral before pre loading is crucial with a big bar set up. A half a turn the wrong way is huge and can cause lots of trouble, and it did, but nothing we couldn’t work through, and nothing that put us in jeopardy..
We borrowed weight from Jason Shaw, 12 pounds. That addition meant resetting the bar and double checking the numbers on the scale. One frustrating issue was the scales themselves, they were at least 25 to 30 pounds off the Flamboro numbers, so we adjusted accordingly.
In the time trials we turned a 15:55 and then a 15:36. That was a long way from our 15:20 in 07’ that gave us 4th fastest time. We would sit 9th in qualifying, putting us 3rd in the 3rd heat. The feature grid would be lined up by the best heat average with a tie going to the car with the fastest time.
Tim Ellis was the fastest on the stop watch with a 15:11, faster than the top car last year. However, Kevin Benish was 2nd with a 15:21 and that time would have put him 5th last year.
In our first heat race we finished 3rd behind Jonathan Urlin #4 and Brandon Watson #19. Our car was not good, very lose coming off the corner, but I remembered what Thatcher told us to do. Just to verify our thoughts, we went to tech, top three had to go, and the scale numbers proved we didn’t have enough wedge. Back to the pits for an adjustment and then back on the scales for a final check and I gave the boys the thumbs up because those reading seemed right…and they were.
In the 2nd heat we started 6th. An accident early in the heat restarted us 5th. The car was so good it could go anywhere on the track. The first three cars were passed on the outside and we caught the leader with three to go and got by on the inside to take our first Late Model checker at Sauble. Even though Jim, our crew chief, couldn’t be there, he was calling quite often to see how we were making out. He tipped the boys on what to do and what not to forget to do. They did awesome, taking on the responsibility of getting the car ready for this special event.
We were pumped after that win because we knew the car was set up properly. Then came another surprise when we found out we were starting outside pole beside Jonathan Urlin. Just two hours earlier, we were struggling to get the car close and it was amazing that we had such a good starting spot.
There were a few racers from Flamboro. David, Steve Laking, Jason Shaw, Jamie Ramsay, Steve Ecker, Jason Tremble and Tyler Brown.
I had a long talk with Jonathan while we were waiting for the driver introduction to start. No strategy, just both of us happy to be on the front row…mostly me. After driver intro we got buckled in for a long battle with some tough runners. Behind Jonathan was Kevin Benish and Ron Sheridan, and behind me was Jason Shaw and Tim Ellis. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to think about that very long. My goal was to run as hard as I could on the start and hope that our car was the same one that won the heat. Nonie was spotting for me and I knew she would do a good job, just as she has many times before. Jim and Nonie usually shared the spotter’s role, but tonight she would do it on her own.
On the green, we got a good run off turn four, not wanting to get lose in front of Jason, or fall back on the start. We ran beside Jonathan for a lap and a half and then coming off turn two for the second time Nonie called “clear all around”. Man, what a good thing to hear.
There were many cautions in the early going, the first on lap four. Each time Jonathan got a good start and I tried to make sure I stayed right on his tail. Every time we would go into turn one, Jonathan slowed up making sure I couldn’t or didn’t get under him, but he was so fast off the corner the opportunity never came up.
Our car was good in the early going but it was a little nerving as cautions flew quite often in the first 20 laps. The scoreboard in turn two, although not easy to check out while you’re racing in a tight battle showed the top 5 with Kevin Benish, followed by Jason and Ron Sheridan. On lap 22, another yellow reveled the scoreboard change, this time Ron Sheridan was in 3rd followed by Kevin and Jake.
Nonie said, “don’t worry, he can’t get by you, your pulling him off the corner”. Her words entered my mind….“Don’t worry”? …let me get my calculator out…we’ve gone 22 laps, there are 78 left, Ron Sheridan, the track champ from Delaware who shows little mercy to all competitors, is on my tail. He'd be like a Lion in a petting zoo. He’s 20 years younger than me, an awesome ace in the car and use to winning big races. So the psyche was in and if I wasn’t careful I could mess up by worrying about him instead of concentrating on the battle in front.
There was one thing in our favour, we’d been gaining confidence the past four races. Confidence may be the one factor in a drivers mental make up that allows him to race without concern about who is chasing him. Confidence without validity is “pride”, maybe even a little arrogant, and that can be as bad as having no confidence. Running strong one night helps a lot, but running strong for a few nights gives you the trust in your crew, car and mostly in your self.
Yes, all of that was going through my mind, and when the green dropped I focused on Jonathan and forgot about Ron….do you believe that?
Nonie was very good, massaging me every lap with how well the car was running. She kept reporting that we were pulling Ron off the corner. Then on about lap 35 she said “car low”. I dove in anyhow hoping not to get hit and I didn’t, then another yellow came out. During that little rest I talked to Nonie…“You gotta let me know sooner when Ron tries to go under me”. She reasoned...“He did it so fast, but you pulled him again..so don’t worry your faster”.
Talk about an oxy-moron, comparing me to Ron Sheridan and saying “you’re faster”. But that feed back was good because it made me feel better knowing that our car was as good as it felt. It reduce the intimidation.
The next run was a long one, 18 to 20 laps and in that stretch Nonie was telling me we were 5 or 6 car lengths ahead of 3rd. I kept pace with Jonathan, though I was about 3 behind him. The car was very good in the corners and never showed any signs of power or handling issues.
During a run between laps 40 and 50 our car was getting a little loose so I added more front brake to compensate. Nonie said the car looked good, she couldn’t see any handling concerns. On a caution I showed her where the car was loose and what I was doing to get it through the ends. Once the race got going again she seen what I meant, but said that other cars were no better in the turns. It’s important to note that a handling problem like loose or tight, even though slight, is very evident to the driver, and may not be to those watching. When others see it, there are serious issues.
The good news was the laps were ticking down to the final 25. Now we had just a normal feature left and nothing was changing up front. The Urlin boy was running smooth, not making any mistakes or using up his race car. I noticed Tim Ellis was now 5th with Jason 4th. Those two switched places a few times over the final twenty laps with Tim getting the spot. Then on a restart on about lap 77 we glued to the rear of Jonathan and stayed there for a few laps keeping right on his rear bumper. I sensed maybe we were getting better as the race went on and maybe had a shot a getting by.
On lap 86 another restart showed a different car. We went from good to loose. On that restart I think I was sideways until close to the start finish line, and I thought for sure Ron was going under me but he too was having problems, a bad push coming off. I dialed in more front brake while going down the straights hoping to get the car better through the turns. I also followed Urlin who made some lane changes to help his car.
On lap 91 yet another yellow came out. We were very loose now. I added more front brake but was out of adjustment. It was time to dig deep and get aggressive. Up until this point I was driving hard but not desperate, even though I was tired I had to call on my reserve energy to keep 2nd place.
It’s amazing what we go through in the car, it’s extremely hot, our arms and wrists take a beating with the constant pulling force in the corners. I realized how hard it is on the crew and especially spotters who can see much more of the race than the driver. Spotters know the driver can bring the car home just by watching the performance of the car compared to the competitors. The spotter also knows the driver can be getting tired or weary. There is so much tension and stress on race teams, they all want to do well, but especially the spotter who is in the car with the driver. It was so hard on Nonie that she started crying on this long caution. “You’ve ran a great race, just keep going, only 9 laps to go, God has saved 2nd for you, you can do it”. Then she apologized for crying.
As we were cruising around for a long time, Thane Woodside had to be pushed off because he was out of gas. I thought about Nonie and what she was going through and I came back on the radio “I love you, you’ve done an awesome job, thank you sweet heart”.
On the green I bore down hard, I was determined not to lose 2nd and to take a run at the leader if possible. Hands clenched tightly to the wheel I wanted this for my wife, crew, sponsors, me...."Ron who"? In spite of the looseness I was able to enter the turn on a slightly different angle to get a run off the turn that kept the car more stable. I could see Jonathan doing the same, making use of the track to his benefit. Nonie kept reporting 5 laps to go..”you can do it”, then 3 laps to go and finally “white flag, you’re pulling him, you got it”…and when we went across the finish line I was as excited as if we won. It was our best ever finish in a race over 50 laps.
After the race the announcer talked to Ron Sheridan and he said he could get up to us and get his bumper under our rear quarter but could not make the pass and on the long runs he said we pulled away. When the announcer came to me I couldn’t stop praising everyone. God for a great night, our team for giving me a good car, our sponsors who were there for 35 years support, my wife who called an awesome race and to Ron Sheridan, the great racer, who did not once touch me. That's two races in a row where Ron and I have been in close quarters and he raced me clean and with respect. I can't say enough good about him and his team...just kidding about the "Ron who"? comment.
Congratulations to Jonathan and his team, he was very excited with the win. When we talked before the race he said he hoped he could enjoy this sport for as long as we have. After his initial joy of the win and getting on top of his car to wave the flag in victory I shook hands with him and he gave me a hug returning the congrats to our team.
Getting a picture with Jonathan and Ron was quite a humbling experience. "Gary who"?
David ended up 9th, he got into trouble a few times, and probably passed more cars than anyone else.
Once we passed tech we headed home but it was no problem driving 3 hours after having such a great night.

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Post by Gary » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:06 pm

August 3rd.

This was a duplicate post

Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:06 pm

August 15th Delaware Speedway

Race #15

High Lites
* 20 Cars
* Pete Vanderwyst wins
* We finish 15th....David 17th



Body, cosmetic, brakes, routine

Perry, Troy, Jessica


Nonie and I went to Nova Scotia last Sunday after the races were called off. We headed to Parrsboro to move my Mom back to Ontario. We took our RV and race trailer. She has a 2003 Sun Fire and some furniture, and 63000 boxes. My niece Tammy had gone down the Thursday prior to the week end to get everything packed. That saved us a lot of time. There was just the 3 of us loading the trailer, Tammy, Nonie and I. A middle aged fellow was watching us. He said “man, you must be tired driving all the way down from Ontario and now packing that trailer”. I said, we were tired but that we had a good trip down. After we made about 70 trips to the trailer he said “let me know if you need help”.
We were loaded up Tuesday at 1:pm. It was a hectic but uneventful trip, if you call driving straight through and climbing those long high mountains in New Brunswick and Quebec uneventful. We’d get a good run down the long hills, but not too fast because we were loaded probably heavier than we would be with our race car and gear. The idea was to get up enough speed to make it up to the top of the other side and hopefully prevent the transmission from dropping into low gear. A few times we made it, especially if we got to 70 mph on the way down. Once near Edmonson on a very steep hill the trans geared down twice on this particular climb sending the engine into scream mode as the Ford was pulling the load for what seemed forever until it got to the top. Anyway we got Mom to Cambridge, where she will be staying with her grand son, and unloaded by 6:30pm Wednesday night.
I told our crew to be ready to go to Delaware on Friday. I felt great on Thursday, but by Friday I was dragging my tired bones around most of the day at work.
We decided to go to Delaware for a couple of reasons. The first was because I wanted to race, the other was to see how our Flamboro set up would work at Delaware, knowing that the car had been good the past few outings. I was gaining more confidence at this bigger track plus we had a set of used 10” American Racers saving us from buying new tires or using up a set for Flamboro tires.
Leaving home at 5:15 meant we weren’t getting any hot laps, and we didn’t. Perry and I got to the track at 7:30. Nonie would come later with Shirley and our grand kids and Troy was already there waiting to get the gears changed.
We struggled to get ready and were suppose to start in the first heat. We needed another 10 minutes, so the track moved us to the second heat to give us more time. How good is that, to know a track will work with you no matter what your issue is. They welcomed us when we arrived, thanked us for coming and made the concession for me to run the 2nd heat.
In the heat we took it easy for the first lap or so because we had no warm ups and everything was somewhat cold. We would end up 7th of 10 cars just ahead of David who got sideways trying to go deep on the outside in turn three. From the leader back we ran in a tight pack. I was a little reluctant to run real hard knowing these racers are battling for points, but we still wanted to race hard to see how competitive we would be. We turned times in the low 19:4’s fairly consistent with both heats. Twenty cars were on hand and all started the 35 lap feature.
We started 14th and David 16th. On the first lap going into one cars were scattering everywhere. We had made a few positions entering turn one but lost them all after checking up for the cars sliding sideways and climbing the turn. Coming off two Roblee got sideways and we backed off again. Heading down the back chute Jesse Pontello got into #14 when everyone bunched up sending Rick Emery around. The caution came out the lap counted so we were at the back. On the next restart the cars got into each other again, only this time Jesse went around. Finally after a third yellow we got a run of about 17 laps with no caution. I told my spotters I would try to follow David through the field because our car felt very good. At one point while flying down the back chute on this long fast incredibly bumpy surface, David climbed the wall but never slowed down going into three. He would soon make a nice pass to get by #33 Sid MacDonald and Scott Lindsay #20 but I missed the chance when the car got loose coming off four. During that run we passed quite a few cars including Kirk Hooker and Duke Sawchuk both on the outside. The car was very stable. Our tires were two nights old, had about 7 cycles and 90 laps on them, The reason they worked okay at Delaware was because we could get heat in them due to the high speeds entering the turns. The only downside was the right rear, it was a little on the wore side.
On the next caution we were outside of #33 MacDonald. He had been running in the top 6 earlier but was having a few concerns and got shuffled back a little.
On this restart we were on the outside and the car was very good in the upper lane. For the next five or six laps we ran side by side with the #33. Suddenly the car got loose coming off turn two. That allowed MacDonald to pull ahead and Duke Sawchuk #5 and Kirk Hooker #38 to get under us. On lap 30 going into three a pile up happened when #52 Ron Sheridan, who was leading, got a flat tire and was hit and spun. Roblee also got spun on that deal. We were coming in hard on the outside and made contact with the lapped car #14 when he came high to avoid the wreck and hit our left front wheel. I locked up the brakes and spun hitting the wall hard enough to give us some cosmetic work after the race and a welding job for Eddie Askin on the rear bumper. We restarted at the back but with only five laps to go knew we wouldn’t get back to where we were. We did have a good run and showed some potential to run with the faster cars.
During the final five laps I saw David in 5th but soon after the restart he was falling back. He bounced off the wall on the front chute, his second wall slam of the night, and including Sauble, his fourth in 135 laps. His right rear tire went flat and he couldn’t hold the car. He was able to finish but came across the line in 17th spot, we ended up 15th.
It wasn’t a good finish for us, but it was a good run. The track manager Jeff Wilcox came over to ask if we were okay and encouraged us for our decent run as well as thanking us for being there.
Our crew, along with David’s boys removed the rear bumper cover, welded the rear bumper, re riveted the bumper back on and welded the front hood pin.
Today we will go over the car completely to get it ready for the race tonight at Flamboro. I hope there will be more than 10 cars but I feel we could be in trouble again. I asked the Delaware boys to come but they want to save there cars for the APC 300. Jamie Ramsay, Jesse Pontello, Simon Wild will all be at the Grisdale race but not at the next two regular nights. As well David won’t be there until the next Triple 50 race, and who knows how many other regulars will be away.
The fact Flamboro has added another show next Sunday will help us quite a bit. We need to run about 20 nights so we can drop 2 of our lowest. If we can, we might be able to finish in the top 5 in points, of course we also need to get some more top 3 feature finishes to help our point standings.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:06 pm

August 16th........................ Flamboro Speedway

Race #16

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Kenny Forth wins
* We wreck hard
* All classes had serious wrecks



Front end ahead rad, spindle, fuel cell, body damage, rear cross member

Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy, Andrew

After the globe trotting Nonie and I did this past week, driving to Nova Scotia and back in three days, the last thing I needed was a head on into the cement, I already was exhausted, my energy was derived from race day adrenalin.
Our wreck, the worst since I’ve raced in the Late Model class, was like the commercials you see when Toyota or Honda drive a car into a cement or steel reinforced wall with a ‘crash dummy’ behind the wheel. In our case, all the testing was similar except the dummy was me.
The dumb part was me being too patient while trying to get under TJ Marshall. I don’t like hitting a car to pass, it’s not a fair way to race, and certainly not sportsman like. I have never enjoyed watching anyone get by another car by the bump and run method. That style of racing is used more times because the driver trying to pass is either impatient or doesn’t know how to get by, so they whack the back of the car in front and say “oh look, an opening”! On the other side, it’s appropriate when the car in front is changing lanes to block on the chutes, or chopping severely in the corners, something most will forgive on the last lap or with two to go. A few warnings or small taps to the back of the car are justified at times, especially if the blocking continues. If it does, go for it, give him a bump and get by, for sure if the starter gives him the sign to pick a lane and he ignores the starter. Most times, in the past, that’s not been the case, racers just hit and run. Incidentally, there was no blocking or drivers being warned to pick a lane this time.
On Saturday night I waited as patiently as I could, knowing that Jason Shaw was quickly on the scene and that the egg timer was already sitting on the dash of his car…“Come on Gary, git’er done” He was using up three lanes behind us, jumping back and forth like a baby Labrador Retriever playing with a cat. Jason was trying to figure out what I was going to do, and he could do what he was doing, using up all the track he wanted, because he had 5 car lengths on fifth.
Here’s what happened that led to our worst wreck since joining Late Models in 05’.
A beautiful day greeted us all (for a change) giving a thumbs up that we would indeed be racing. One of God’s other creations, the moon, was also in full gear, making the superstitious, Wear Wolves, and those who read horoscopes a little nervous. I’m not sure what the big deal is. A full moon gives more light to find stuff in the dark, it helps fend off the darkness, and it makes you think it's not so late after all. However if there was any truth that chaos reigns when the moon is in full bloom, it sure had merit this night.
In the first set of warm ups our goal was to scrub in new tires, and break in the new brake pads on the car, our first replacement set this season. The pads were free, we won them at Sauble so we decided to use them, plus the set on the car were about 65% wore.
I didn’t go half a lap on the track, when the power steering failed. We were warming up the tires and cars were still coming out when suddenly I could not turn the car. Heading to the pits for inspection, the crew jacked the car up and immediately found the servo rod bracket that bolts to the rack came off. We missed the first set of hot laps, and considered that event a blessing. We got a second set after the drivers meeting and the car was race ready.
In the first heat we started 4th in the outside lane behind Scott Lyons who was outside pole beside Thane Woodside #5. I was glad Thane came out, helping get the car count up, and that he took his position. He needs to gain confidence and by taking his position it helps him learn to run with the top cars.
Scott got the lead and I followed him with Jason Shaw right behind. Scott needed a few more laps than me to get settled and though I tried him a few times low he was good enough off that I had to get in behind him. Meanwhile Jason was dancing all over me, not hitting me but just waiting to see if I was tired yet from our East Coast trip and the run at Delaware on Friday.
With three laps to go our spotters, Nonie and Jim mentioned how good the race looked from a fan perspective. We were bumper to bumper. I could have ran faster lap times but only if I hammered Scott. When the 2 laps to go flags were displayed, I dove hard into turn one trying to get under Scott, but instead got a little loose coming off killing the momentum, something me and the crate motor need. Jason got a good run down the back chute and when I heard car low as we headed into turn 3 I stayed high and Shaw got by easy. I backed off at that point because the race was over and I had 8 laps to get by Scott and did not do it, plus third was still a qualifying spot.
We decided to leave the new tires on…okay I decided. The car was not perfect but was a top 3 for the night and we still had time to make it even better.
We were to start 6th in the feature. The outside lane had TJ on the pole, followed by Kenny Forth, us and Jason. TJ got the jump on Thane and Kenny was quick to follow. I took about a lap and a half to get into 3rd place. Jason was right on my tail. By lap 4 Kenny got by TJ going into turn three, but it wasn’t pretty. They came together hard as TJ squeezed Forth fairly tight. They bounced a little, enough to cause cut tires but that didn’t happen. By the time I reacted to the deal it was too late allowing TJ to get into 2nd. I wanted to follow him close and hopefully get a good run on him in the corners if he went high. I already said I wasn’t going to hit him to move him, although in hind site I maybe should have.
We ran two laps bumper to bumper and I could hear the wild man behind me saying “come on young fellow, let’s go”. Young fellow? That’s what Jason calls me now. Jake knows how I race and that I would wait for an opportunity to make a clean pass. But in fairness to him, Forth was slowly disappearing. Going into three on about lap seven or eight, TJ got a little high and I dove under. The mind is amazing and can produce tons of info in a split second. I knew it would be a tight pass, and my thoughts were on getting a good bite off the corner without getting loose. So, not too hard on the throttle, but fast enough to get beside him and complete the move by turn one. While I was negotiating with myself, the unexpected happened, well to me it was. I run everyone clean, so when a car is inside and my spotter tells me so, I stay where I am. I may still beat him off the corner but I don’t chop down. I don’t but TJ does and he did it just as I was on the throttle. We made fairly hard contact because he came down quick and I was on the gas. The next two to three seconds were almost a blur to me now, because I backed off, got back on the gas, tried going outside, hit the brakes and back on the gas again but during this mayhem TJ came up hitting the left front tire and cutting it. Just at that time Jake piled into the back of me, we were going quite fast without his help, sending us at a high rate of speed head-on into the turn four wall about 15 feet from where Ding DeLeeuw stands.
My crew and most fans all said the same thing. The expression they would have used was the same used in a commercial for Dodge cars when two red necks were trying to get a peak at the new cars on a car carrier. The one guy driving the 70’s Dodge muscle car pulls up beside the tractor trailer loaded with 10 new cars on it and the other guy climbs on the trailer and lifts the cover off one of the new Chargers. While he’s admiring this Mopar beauty the wind catches the cover, yanking it out of his hand sending it right onto the windshield of buddies car behind. About a second later the guy in the Cuda, or Swinger goes flying through the guard rail and over a bank, buddy on top of the trailer says “that can’t be good”! As we slammed the wall with an exploding tire and dust flying up, I'm guessing a few people said that.
First of all Jason had no place to go because it happened so fast, plus if I cut him off as the wreck was developing, that was a natural effort to get out of this mess. That may have been the most radical I’d driven in four years. He hit me so hard, our rear cross member was jammed into the back of the fuel cell, buckling it quite badly.
While I was sitting there I could only hope the impact did no serious damage. What’s serious? Not being able to keep racing. The ambulance driver asked me if I was okay. I looked at him and knew that if I said anything about being hurt he would go nuts and I would not be able to continue. Then the tow truck showed up. I knew they would look at the damage and make a quick conclusion that the car was too badly beat up. So I didn’t look his way at all. Badly beat up is an opinion, not finishing a race is a fact and a stat.
Before he got to me I started the car up and began backing up, my goal was to get in the pits as quick as possible and get back out. Ding called my crew Chief Jim and told him to tell me my car was too badly damaged. Jim asked me if I was okay, I said yes. It was a loud whack for sure. My right thumb was sore and most of my body was woke up.
I knew we’d been in a bad accident but I wasn’t going to examine the damage at this point, I just wanted to get off the track, fix the car, keep racing and finish as high as possible. As I backed up everyone started yelling Stop! Stop! The tow truck driver motioned to me that my wheels were damaged, and that I had a flat tire, “you can’t steer the car”! “Oh yes I can”…read our book, I drove to Cayuga on a flat tire, let me in the pits, was my thoughts. I got out of the car and once I saw the damage (especially the broken spindle) I reluctantly conceded they were right, we would not finish this race, and at that point my heart was broken.
As they towed me off I waved to the fans and they waved back. That was somewhat of a comfort. Then when we got to the pits my crew got busy checking the car over.
Kenny Forth went on to win the race and TJ got 5th. After the race he came over. I was calm on the track, never got mad. By the time he came to our pits I was feeling stiffer from the impact but nothing else…other than depression. As he came to me I had to admire his courage. Not many racers would do that. He came to the side door of the trailer and, though not looking right at me said something a little weird, but appropriate “so what happened out there Gary”?
You got to love someone who has the moxy to take the walk to another pit area, not knowing whether they would get decked, yelled at or worse. I’m sure he was coaxed to go, but even if he was, he didn’t have to, many racers don’t. I was glad he came down. I looked at him and calmly said “I had you low and you came down into me and we wrecked". Then he nodded and it was almost funny but he said “that’s what dad said”. He never apologized and I didn’t yell at him, but I will talk to him again and encourage him to keep running hard but don’t pinch cars down when they’re inside like that. He’s a rookie and he needs to learn. Hopefully for us, it’s our last time being the example of someones lesson.
The boys came back to the garage and helped get the car out of the trailer and we will get busy Monday after work so we get the car ready for the double header this coming week end.
I want to express a true gratefulness to my crew. Jim, Jason, Perry and Troy have worked hard this season and though it must be hard to pit for me at times, I get too emotional too often (passion), they know how much I love this sport, but I also love them just as much….and TJ and Jason, Paul, Jeff, Scott and oh, everybody.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:06 pm

August 23rd.......................Flamboro Speedway

Race #17

High Lites
* Jeff Stewart wins
* 12 cars...yes 12
* We get car close after bad wreck last week
* Jason Tremble takes 3rd with wild pack on his tail




Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy, Andrew

After all we went through this past week, working on the car every night, we were happy with the results. Our crew has done an amazing job this year, learning how to get out Late Model into race mode and doing it quickly. We’d had a few good runs, especially our 40th Anniversary and Sauble’s Quaker State 100. The real test for us came this week after wrecking the car bad last Saturday. Could we get it back to where it was? Could we race with the best again, or would we be plagued with handling problems for a long time? The answer came by feature time Saturday but it’s shiining moment was on Sunday. Starting with Saturday.
I was still exhausted from our Maritime trip, the double header at Delaware and Flamboro, and working on the Saturday after Delaware. The wreck at Flamboro could not have come at a worst time, because what we all needed on this team was rest. Instead we shared the duties of rebuilding our car. Someone worked on the car every night, including Saturday when all of our team met at the garage for the final set up.
During the week we replaced the front bumper assembly and brackets, the right front lower control arm, left lower ball joint and rack assembly. The right front spindle was repaired and reusable, thanks to John from Flamboro Machine Shop who welded the spindle making it like new. By Saturday noon, the car was ready to scale. We had recorded all the measurements from our July 26th feature win, and reset the car to those numbers. Our biggest concern was ground clearance. For some reason we’ve been constantly adjusting to get the 4 plus inches needed to get through tech. We started turning load bolts adding turns to the left front, taking them out of the right front, adding and subtracting from the two rear adjusters until we got to 4 and 3/8ths on the inside. Then, with me in the car, the boy’s pre loaded the bar to the magic number we’ve been running. Checking the scale we were surprised to see the numbers were very close to July 26th, and we were over 4” on the inside.
Now the real test, get to the track and see how it runs. Would the spindle stay together, or was it to brittle after being heated and straightened by us, then cut and welded by John? Did we have the knowledge and skill to put our car back together and make it competitive? Could we do it without Thatcher there to oversee us? Some teams figured we were done when TJ went NASCAR. It’s true we miss him, but he warned us last season that he was going to be leaving so we made sure we paid attention to his magic, and listened to his advice. He has incredible knowledge.
Our best news was in pre tech. We had plenty of ground clearance. The numbers on the Flamboro scales were very close to ours, and all of our crew agreed it was “thumbs up”, let’s try it.
The warm ups went well, no fast times, but no one was able to get in the 15:5’s, some were in the high 6’s but most, like us, were turning times in the 7’s. In our heat we ran fair, but had nothing for Jason Shaw who won it. I guess on a good night we may have nothing for the #82, but our car ran okay considering.
We started 6th in the feature. It was somewhat of a downer for me with only 11 cars starting. No matter how you look at it, 11 cars in a feature is terrible for the fans, and the racers. Most of us want to put on a good show for the fans, and I’m sure all want to win. As for me, I want to be competitive and finish in the hunt. If we finish 5th but we’re competitive, that’s a good run. If we get a podium we’re goofy, a win and we’re nuts for hours.
The key to a low car count is to put on a good race with the cars you have. On August 2nd, there were only 10 cars, but when Richard Holmes won his first feature in seven years with cars beside and on his bumper at the finish line, that allowed fans to forget about the count because of the great race they just witnessed.
Fortunately this race was good, not great but certainly a good run. Jeff Stewart was back and got to start near the front. He got the lead and was chased by Kenny Forth. They disappeared after half a dozen laps. Meanwhile Jason Tremble was running third and was being hounded by Scott Lyons. Scott could get up beside him in the turns but Jason would pull him off the corner. Jason Shaw and I battled for a short stint then he got ahead putting us 6th. A lap later Paul Howse was beside me and I knew with him and Jason battling for the points chase, the last thing I wanted was to get into Paul causing us or him any damage. I was stuck on the low lane and couldn’t get out. I eased up, letting Paul go and then got in behind him. From third to 7th we ran bumper to bumper. I had to slow up a lot going into the turn or I would have nailed Howse. Near the end of the race he was trying to set up Jason Shaw and would go high in the turn and dive down low to get a run. Every time he did that he would leave this big hole for me to dive into, and I think it would have been okay to do that. So why didn’t I dive in? Would he have dove into a hole if I went high in the turn trying to set up the car in front? No doubt. The hole Paul was leaving was bigger than the one I thought was okay last week with TJ. So why not go for it? Well, there’s a few reasons. One, it’s late in the race and 7th is better than wrecking, the results of last weeks feature event with TJ. There is another race, the Grisdale Triple Crown, coming tomorrow and the last thing we need is to be working all night to fix the car, in fact I need sleep and lots of it. But, temptation was there, and when I tested the waters a few times, he came down hard going after Jake. I wondered, “Paul, be careful, you’re leaving too much room, I’m right here, don’t hit me”. So we’d go into the turn, he’d go up, I’d go low, he’d come down, and I would ease up. I’ll bet he doesn’t even know that, and maybe would think I couldn’t have pulled it off. The truth is, I could have gone faster, I let him by to get in the fast lane and run my car where it works the best. I could have driven much harder in the turn. I was the 5th car of a tight pack from 3rd to 7th and by the time we entered each turn I was braking way sooner than the rest, so I could have got on it very soon. There’s a saying in life “pick your battles”, this wasn’t the battle I was looking for, or needed. Paul was strong enough to glue to the back of Shaw who was stuck to Lyons who was hounding Tremble. The 7th was good and we were happy that we ran with that pack and were ready for the bigger money race on Sunday, so we settled in and came home in one piece in a race that the fans probably enjoyed.
Jeff won the race and made it through tech, Kenny finished 2nd and Tremble held on to a strong third.
Our crew were amazing this week. They worked hard and their efforts paid off. The spindle repair also held….thanks John. We took the car home, put the battery on charge and went to sleep with the car in the trailer in the same condition it was when we unloaded it at the track. Yes, I had a good nights sleep.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:06 pm

August 24th........................Flamboro Speedway

Race #18

Grisdale Triple Crown...50 Lapper

High Lites
* 22 cars
* Kenny Forth wins
* We get 3rd
* David gets fourth
* Wild finish



More sleep

Awesome Crew
Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy


Incredible words spoken by men of high position:

Former President of the United States…“ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.

Former captain of a Stanley Cup winning hockey team “tonight I will lead my team to victory and I’m gonna score 3 goals”....and he did.

One of the top Late Model runners at Flamboro Speedway after Sunday’s race “the next time he hits me I’m going to slit his throat”

The top two meant what they said and followed through, the third is an idiot for making such a stupid comment after finishing quite well in the final Grisdale race, and we hope he doesn’t follow through with his dumb threat. Hopefully it was in the heat of the moment (no kidding), hopefully someone who knows him would ask him why he would say such an evil stupid thing, especially when he may have deserved to get hit. He wasn’t wrecked, just whacked and warned to stay in his own lane. Anyway, here’s the good news from Sundays race.

After what I thought was a poor performance on Saturday night, maybe, because I was passed by Jason and Paul in the feature, I really was very happy. All we had to do was charge the batteries on the car and trailer. Our crew were very excited that we could get a good nights sleep and be ready for the final leg of the Grisdale Triple Crown. We were 8 points behind Howse, 6 behind Burbridge and 5 behind Lyons. David was 4th two points ahead of us. It was mathematically possible for either David or I to win the series, something I wanted very much. Go back to the first Grisdale race where we’re running 2nd and 3rd in the feature with one to go, and the mix up that cost us a podium finish. Give us both ten points we lost and we are first and second. That’s why a mini series is so tough, there are no excuses, it demands consistency every race.
We got to the track early and Eddie Askin, David’s crew chief, asked me if I would take David’s car out to scuff in new tires. David called saying he would be late, he was coming from Barrie and needed his dad to get his chariot warmed up. I made the first set in the Pennzoil Monte Carlo and almost immediately noticed how awesome his brake pedal was. Our pedal is very good, but his is more very good. There’s nothing better than to go deep into a turn knowing that your brake pedal won’t travel very far. I was able to get in all the laps in that first set and get to a 15:8 about 2 tenths off what the boys were turning. “Let me in my own machine”, I thought to myself, and I’ll get into the Twilight Zone. Okay I was pumped but driving another racers car teaches quite a bit. Take all the good from that ride and apply to your own. David has a steering box, we have a rack, making the turning tough, especially when I tried to drive it with my hands at 10 and 2. Going through the corners I had my left hand on my crotch and that wasn’t good, for many reasons.
When David got to the track I told David his car had a push and how hard it was to steer, but “David you got awesome brakes”. He explained that I needed to have my hands at 11 and 4, and I said “no, you need a rack”.
Now it was our turn, with brand new stickers. After the traditional 3 to 4 laps to heat them up slowly, I got going good enough to hit some mid 15:5’s but no 4’s. Oh well, we were very close and the car felt great, we were ready for qualifying.
Paul Howse won the first heat giving him pole for 20 seconds. At the finish line he threw the dice to decide the invert. He was fortunate to throw a 4 and a 1, making the inversion only the top 5 cars. The track announced what the inversion was. Some race teams in my heat heard it and knew how to figure out where they would need to finish to get a good starting spot. My crew, if they did hear it, and I don’t think they did, were not aware of the huge advantage of knowing that finishing 3rd in my heat meant starting 8th in the feature, but finishing 2nd would give that person pole. Both Jeff Stewart and Jason Shaw knew what Paul threw. Maybe that’s why they drove out of character in the race. If I could have beaten Stewart I had a better chance but he was too tough, even with me keeping close to him on the start. Jason was 2nd row inside and he followed right on Jeff’s tail. I settled in behind and really never thought anything of the race until near the end. I wished I knew what they knew. They were playing a bit, Jeff a few times went high but Jason wouldn’t go for the hole that Jim Sweers could have put his race hauler in. I wondered why Jake didn’t go for it. Then Jeff slid up again, and again Jason bocked on the opportunity to pass the Kubota legend. Jeff won, with Jason second, us and then Mark. We had no idea what had happened other than we were in a race to qualify. The good news for me was that I gained a point on Mark. David did not start the heat because of a fuel pick up problem, eliminating him from any chance of winning the series.
Later on after all qualifying was done we found out the inversion was five and that Jason was on the pole. That’s also when we heard that other teams knew what the inversion would be before they went on the track. We didn’t know, but in fairness to those teams, we had the same opportunity to get that info. I don’t blame them, they didn’t do anything wrong to get that knowledge and to be honest, Jason for sure would have been just as happy not to know the throw of the dice. I’m sure Jeff would have felt the same way.
I went to the tower to let them know that in the future the roll of the dice shouldn’t be done until after all the races are finished. Here’s why. What if David won the first heat and threw 12, but only he and the announcer knew. He has to start 12th now, but he could make a deal with me. “Hey dad want to know the invert”? “It will cost you a tire, but you have a shot at pole”. “Yes please my son”. Then David tells me the invert is 12, and all I got to do is fall back or finish 5th or 6th in my heat. “Thanks David, no problem, I’ll fake a bad handling car or something”. I’m not saying anyone would do that, okay I am saying people may be tempted to do that. So take the temptation away. Have the heat winner go up in the tower after all races are run and then throw the ivories.....okay!!! that's enough, that was exhausting, going over that deal like it was Watergate? Anyway, no one is to blame, it was a learning experience.
Anyway we were destined to start 8th. The late Model race was last out. A Sunday night show with the air getting cooler was just the kind of night to make people want to go home early, but the fans stayed, and surprisingly there were quite a few, more than expected. After driver introduction we were getting buckled up and Steve Lyons was walking by, he helped get Scott ready before the race. I called him over to order a number for the passenger side of our car. Then we talked about laminating it and next thing you know we’re in this deep conversation on graphics. Suddenly Steve says “hey, shouldn’t you be concentrating on this big race Gary”. Yes, you’re right, and we got ready as quick as possible and I was the last driver to start my car.
Twenty three cars started the race. We were in a lane that had potential either way. The inside lane looked the best with Jason, Kenny, Paul and then Richard Bosscharet beside me. In our row was Richard Holmes on the pole, then Jeff, Scott and us. We got hot laps and then got ready to begin this final Triple Crown race.
The first lap did not get in the books when the yellow came out for Dave Baker #50. I got a good start on that one, but we all were tight going into one. I asked my spotters to let me know when I could get down because I felt the inside lane would go. On the next restart I got a good run and I could see out of the corner of my eye the #90 struggling off the corner. Just past the start finish line I dove to the low lane, knowing I had lots of room to spare. To my surprise Scott dove in front of me and I had to check up or hit him, I didn't and we were able to continue without any incident. Another caution came out moving us one spot to 7th. We restarted outside. Over the next few laps we seemed to be able to only run only a lap or two and then someone at the back would get messed up bringing a stoppage in play. Finally we got a good run and got by Jeff Stewart putting us 6th. Jake was up front, followed by Kenny Forth, Paul Howse, Richard Holmes, Scott and us. On the next restart I was able to get by Scott and put my sights on Richard. A few laps later we got by the #42 putting us fourth. That gave us a little breathing room but now we would be battling from the inside lane on every re start. I got away from Richard concentrating on the 3 cars in front of us. Another caution came out and this time Scott was outside. He to was not a factor for us and on that restart we were able to get in front and put the chase on Paul. We ran until lap 30 and another caution put David beside me. Believe me, David treats me just like any other competitor, and he should, and I know he is very competitive, but our car was awesome. During this caution I praised my crew for all the work they did the past week getting our car ready and not only that, but making it so competitive. We cruised around and David pulled up beside me maybe to let me know he was there, maybe to try and intimidate me. If my car is no good I don’t drive it so hard, if it’s good, and it was, my thoughts were…”David who”?
On that restart he showed me “David who” by staying with me off four into one and through those turns. I tried to give him room and in doing so, the front three pulled away. Soon we pulled ahead of David. The next ten laps went the same only we were catching the leaders. Another caution came on about lap 40. Scott was outside this time. Going into three I had my eyes glued on Jason to see when he would go and as soon as he did I got on the gas, we all did. What happened next was unexpected. Paul got totally sideways, I mean he was drifting off four almost to the start finish line. That huge loss of traction for him was what we needed to get under him and we went for it making the pass going into one. The next seven laps would see more cautions, none from cars in the top 10. With four laps to go Jason was slowing down a little. Kenny was very aggressive but our car was just as strong as his. On that restart he got on the back of Shaw and was all over the Champ. Going into three he got under, they bounced off each other a few times. I was right there, with this pack of hungry youngsters behind me…that would be everybody. Going into one Kenny made the pass and I got right on his tail. He passed Jason coming off turn two and we got Jason just opposite the back grandstands. Heading into turn three we couldn`t believe what happened, we were now in second…BUT…another yellow came out. Are you kidding!!!…that put Jason back in the lead. We couldn`t figure out what was wrong with Jason but I knew the final two laps would be very exciting. On the restart we were all ready for Forth to go for first, and he did. I jumped in behind following Kenny to the inside of Jason. They fought down the back chute and I was wondering why Jake didn’t stay low to keep Forth back. The white flag flew as we came off turn four. They were side by side but Jason wasn't giving up. We headed into one and they hit again, and Jason got crazy sideways. I thought for sure he was coming down into me so I slowed up. I got hit once, then again as I got back on the gas. My car was hit again but I jammed the throttle as hard as I could. Kenny was gone, Jason was just in front and now David was beside me. Going into three I had to go in a little deep so I wouldn`t get hit from behind. I knew for sure there was no room for error. David was beside me and I got on the gas as we drag raced down the front chute. I tried hard not to drift up because he was right there (the little pest) yet I didn`t want to back off because we ran so good for so long. Kenny took the checker, Jason bounced off the wall between four and the finish line, I was thinking `what`s wrong with that boy. Sparks flew, David was right there and I just held on as we screamed to the finish, and we beat him by inches finishing 3rd in an incredibly exciting race.
After it was over our crew danced and laughed like kids for the next hour and a half. It was near the end that we heard what was said in tech to one of our crew about the slitting of the throat. It was too bad, because all of us ran hard and as clean as possible, there was no need for that kind of language.
Anyway, we lost out on the top three of the Grisdale points by just a single point behind Mark Burbridge. Paul Howse won the mini series, I`m sure he was very happy about being the overall winner. He did complain that I brake checked him. Imagine with one lap to go and all that chaos happening in the first two spots that our team would be accused of brake checking anyone. We just restarted the race, all the cars were very close, no one is going to brake check anyone, we wanted to win or get second. The fact is we did not brake check, I let off the gas as Jason got sideways. I was lucky I didn`t get spun out, I accept that, but no one can take away our joy for that race or that series. We ended up 4th , out of the money, but producing our best Grisdale Triple Crown finish in four years. Jason came over after to congratulate us and told us he had a tire going flat. That made sense, and how good is he to bring that car home in 2nd place....although he did give most of us excessivce anxiety syndrome.
David had the best run of all starting last and finishing 4th. He will get the RainX Hard Charger award for this race.
Next week is the marathon week end. We will run Flamboro on Saturday and then head to Delaware for the APC 300. That race will be a 50 lap qualifier and then a historic event for us, our first ever 200 lap race.
Only Jason and I will run both nights. All the top cars that run on Saturday at Flamboro will not be going to Delaware, and none of the Delaware cars will be coming to Flamboro. Just me and Jason. David wanted me to take the night off and be well rested for Delaware...good advice?...I thought about it, but I can`t take a night off racing so I can go racing.
There may be some wacky stuff going on this Saturday at Flamboro. Paul and Jason are very close for the points lead, and that dumb deal pays $2000 for whoever is leading the points at the end of the night. I just hope it’s not our team that gets in either one of those two drivers way. I guess the best place to be would be out front…..now that`s a good idea.
Special thanks to my wife Nonie, and all our crew, Jim, Jason, Perry, Troy and Jessica. They did an awesome job last week getting us ready and producing a great car. Thank you.

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