Diary Of A Season...2009

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:06 pm

August 15th.....Flamboro Speedway

Race #17 (9th Flamboro)

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Memorial Night
* Jason Shaw Wins
* We get 5th...but 4th after questionable DQ of #99
* Need to get car better for final Grisdale race
* Jamie Watson runs awesome in his debut of #9




Routine on both cars...

Jim, Jason, Perry, Marty, Dave .....Dave Watson, Brandon

There were a few things that happened on Saturday that were positive and some not so much. I was tired and wore out from the past few weeks. The marathon of commitments I created slowly caught up to me. I wasn’t myself, the Energizer Bunny needed a recharge. Two things could have given me a boost, some rest or a feature win. Neither were on the plate for this night. I was quite stressed after the race, somewhat filled with disappointment on the night, but after I was okay, being drained would be an understatement.
Meanwhile I was alert enough to want to fight a few battles. Someone asked me after the race where I finished and I said 5th. Jim said “no, you finished 4th, they penalized Bentley”. “For what”? I asked. “Apparently he did a brake check at the end of the feature just crossing the line”. “No he didn’t, he slowed up for sure, but he didn’t brake check us”.
I thought about the penalty as I got out of my fire suit, and the more I did, the more I got upset. The kid drove an awesome feature race, he was loose off a few times, not from getting hit by Paul who was right on his tail, just from racing hard. Mike was doing everything he could to pass 6 time track Champ Scott Lyons. Scott was steady and left enough room for Mike to take a run off each corner. Mike would hammer the gas and his car would get loose. The phrase “all over him” fit the Bentley-Lyons battle but was just as true with Paul Howse and Mike. I was right there doing the 11o’clock news with the on board camera courtesy of Jeremy. The birds eye view for me was a proximity that was close enough. I had lots left in our car, but backing off early and letting the guys in front sort things out, seemed the right thing to do. I knew if they got into each other I could take advantage if I was back a bit giving time to react, if not I’d be 5th and though I wanted to do much better, it wasn’t so bad.
Watching the race from my vantage point was fun for me. Many times I thought Mike was going to get under Scott, and likewise Paul under Mike. I was ready to follow if the opportunity came but it never did. It was a good clean hard fought race. I never once thought the cars in front were banging each other. On the final lap the cars stayed close together until we crossed the finish line. Mike let off the gas immediately, didn’t hit the brakes, but by failing to drive right into turn one he almost got driven into by Paul. The #8 had to brake so hard his car went right then veered left then back right and spinning right in front of me. I was able to brake and slow the car down, but had to hit the grass to make sure I didn’t get into Paul. No one else was close enough to be in danger of hitting Paul so there was no damage done, although some of us got excited for a split second.
I went over to Paul after the race and asked him if he hit Bentley and he said he didn’t. “Why would Mike brake check you if you never hit him, he would have no reason to”. Paul said “I don’t think he did brake check me, but he sure slowed up way to soon, your suppose to keep going, not slow down at the finish line”. I agreed, I just thought there was no need for a penalty.
I went to the tower to ask the starter and scorer why Bentley was penalized and the answer I got was “because he brake checked you guys”. “No he didn’t, he let off the gas too soon. The kid drove an awesome race and was probably just excited”. They agreed with me but they had to teach him a lesson.
“No you don’t, if cars got wrecked yes, throw the book at him, but that didn’t happen, lets talk to him, none of us want him penalized”.
Obviously I couldn’t make the change or I would have. I called John Casale during the week and asked why Bentley got disqualified. John said “he didn’t, he finished 13th, last running car”. “No he didn’t John, he finished 3rd and that’s the position he should get”. John explained how the track came to that decision and I asked him to consider overturning the call and give Mike 3rd place. We had 16 cars on Saturday, probably the minimum to put on a decent race, we can’t afford to lose anymore cars. Anyway all that and maybe for nothing. The only thing in it for me was justice. If Mike gets his spot back we will end up 5th and I’m okay with that. Maybe John sees it strange that a competitor would help get a another competitor their spot back. John has this image that we only care about our selves. If that was true I wouldn't say a word, just collect the extra money and points and move on. But the right thing to do is reverse the penalty....We’ll see if that happens.
Meanwhile, during our four car battle for second my mind wonders…where is Jason Shaw? Did he check out or what? Some of us were thinking he got the Maginnis car and repainted it. Maybe not, but he was so far ahead, we could barely make out the wording on the rear bumper of his car, instead of Spira, it looked like See-Ya.
If this was the Grisdale race Paul would have won it and we would have finished 3rd, that is unless the track got Jason for not taking the cool down lap in the heat. A caution on the last lap of our heat came out when Jeff Stewart and I tangled. We went around slow under yellow and the checker came out. All of us but Jason went around again for the cool down lap. I can see how Jason would mistakenly go off the track. Once the white is displayed the race is basically over if a caution comes out. The cars went around while we were sitting on the track and got the checker. The cars were all going slow as it was. The idea of the cool down is so cars don't try to exit too fast. If that was the case. we were already slowed down and one could assume that caution lap could count for the cool down. The track needs to examine the things they do and find out why they do them. A dogmatic rule does not have to be enforced if common sense prevailed. Mike lets off the gas too soon and gets a penalty. The track calls it a brake check but it wasn't so they make an example but taking the law to the fullest because he did slow down at the wrong place. Could they have warned him...yes. In Jason's case, he was running 2nd and pulled off first. Paul was third and stayed out. He must have thought he could get a penalty if he went off. The rest followed. To be honest, I almost followed Jason but at the last second headed down the back chute with the pack not wanting any trouble.
After the heat I told Jim I have to apologize to Jeff Stewart for not giving him enough room. When our car spun I immediately said over the radio "that was my fault Jim". He called car inside and I moved up but I felt I didn't move up enough. In the pits after we talked some strategy and I let the team know Jim and I were heading to Bruce's pit to say we were sorry. I barely turned around and there was Jeff extending his hand and apologizing. "No it's my fault Jeff". He said "you gave me room. I just went in too hard". Anyway, it was good a respectful to do that. Later in the night after the feature, both Jeff and Kenny Forth were shaking hands and making amends. We all need to race hard, but owning up to a mistake or stupidity, is a good thing.
This week we run Friday at Delaware. Twin 25’s again and we rest on Sunday. I think it would be good to come home safe on Friday night and have an easy day Saturday…no kidding.
The #36 is almost done, and if we can have a safe night on Friday, the boy will get a break and be in good health for one of the biggest races in our 41 years. Steve Lyons is driving the #9 for the final Grisdale race on Sunday and he’s looking forward to it. Steve Laking’s car is still in sick bay but may be out before the end of the season. Once it comes back, the young lion, Lyons will likely drive it for Octoberfest.
Meanwhile he waits to see how we fair on Friday, hoping we come away unscathed.

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Post by Gary » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:06 pm

August 21st.......Delaware Speedway

Race #18....(8th Delaware)

High Lites
* 24 Cars
* Jonathan Urlin wins first
* Dion Verhoven wins second
* We show signs of getting a little better
* We also escape with no damage

Time Trial
First Feature
Second Feature



Troy, Ron, Dave....Nonie spotter

So we didn’t run all that good this week end as far as the score sheet would reveal, but did improve a little. It seems running at this track would require me a 5 year program to get competitive and I’m not so sure I have the time left, never mind the money or crew to sustain running Delaware every Friday night. Flamboro is a different deal, close to home, can get help and maybe the 10” tires allow us to be competitive, more forgiving than 8”. I’m sure that’s true, but most of the boys at the big half are fairly strong, and unfortunately, I have yet to show I belong there.
There were some improvements. Our fastest time trial was a 19:591, about 7 tenths off the leaders. In the first feature we were a little faster with a difference of .676 seconds slower. However in the second feature our best lap was only .430 seconds slower than the fastest. Delaware uses a transponder system to recorder each lap. Our second best lap in the second feature was only .307 slower than the fastest second lap recorded. What does that mean? We’re slowly getting better but have a long way to go to run in the top 10 when everyone is healthy. The top 8 cars are running nose to tail with a tenth of a second separating them. At least with the track keeping all the stats we can see how we fair against the other cars.
We started last in the first feature. It seems the best thing for me to do. It’s nuts when I’m trying to keep out of the way of the slowest cars on the track. I have to, so I don’t get wrecked. The lightest impact seems to create at least four hours of work at home, not a lot of money, but a lot of work. I am absolutely exhausted from racing two series, spending every night on my cars and doing much of it alone. There is no way my crew can help me. I’ve been fortunate to have people come over when the load is too much, but everyone knows that can’t last. I need to recruit a bunch of people from a seniors home who aren’t working or kids from a day care who don’t have an ipod or computer to be on all day. Any kid over the age of nine is too busy to help, and most people under 75 are fairly active. That means my full time help demographic is kids under 7 and adults over 75…perfect.
The financial cost is getting a little too high. If I get a tire a week my cost per night is about $325, and finishing last or close to it pays $150. That isn’t our biggest issue, it’s the work load. I concede, two cars requires 10 crew members and way more disposable income, …we have neither. When I’m on the track I’ve got a calculator in my head going steady adding up my expenses, and an “hour glass egg timer gizmo”, to see how much time I will be thrashing on the car to get it ready for the next race. How does anyone race like that? It’s easy, they don’t, they show up and help fill the field so they can reduce their hours in the shop, and stop pestering others to help. Inside the car I’m not myself. I want to race hard. The racer part of me says “go for it, let’s see how good we can do”. The concerned conservative part says “are you an idiot, let’s just see if we can finish without getting wrecked, then go home and get some sleep”. It’s quite frustrating for me.
That doesn’t happen at Flamboro. It seems we are more competitive and have less trouble. We’re not the fastest by a long shot, but we’re a long way from being in the way. I can handle that and it seems so can my crew…back to the race.
Our first feature had old tires on the car. At tech we were told the front nose cone was too low. Why I spent half and hour getting the nose up is beyond me. They only tech the top five cars and we have as much hope of a top five at Delaware as a Canada Goose has of buying a house. So why did I fix it, because we wanted to make sure we were legal to start the race. Maybe a Canada Goose can’t buy a house, but I can start the feature legal, and we did. There were a few cautions and we stayed away from all wrecks, in fact only once we came close to getting involved but made it through okay. We made a lot of adjustments on the chassis to get the ride heights where they had to be then had to guess where the bar should be set. I told the boys we did okay because the car wasn’t loose, maybe a little tight off. I was determined to figure out what I had to do to make it better for the second feature. We ended up 19th in the first twenty five lapper.
Between races we put on new rubber and made one chassis adjustment. The track was using the invert again and I wanted to take my position in the second race. Nonie was spotting and said “are you sure you want to start up there”? She was right. Steve Lyons was going to drive the #9 for the Grisdale Triple Crown race on Sunday and we wanted to make sure the car was okay for him to race. The conservative side of me agreed with her, the racer part of me said “then I might as well put the car in the trailer”. “Well be careful” she said. The green dropped and we ran hard for 200 yards and the yellow came out. We hadn’t gone one lap but the track restarted us as if we did. I knew I could get by the outside pole car but now he was in front as we lined up single file for the first three and the rest doubled up. We restarted 3rd and it was clear to me that we could go in much deeper. The second place car was fast but very loose off and in the middle. I tried going under him but couldn’t make the pass. We ran like that for five laps then another yellow came out when Jesse Kennedy got wrecked. He was very upset, that deal caused mayhem in the pits later on. Cruising around I knew I should have been ahead of the car in front of me, but couldn’t pull it off. The fast cars were coming and like wolves approaching young deer, were licking their chops seeing easy prey just ahead. On that restart I tried to get the second place car but couldn’t do it again. My two fastest laps were faster than both the cars up front, but I needed to pass them and get out of town to have a chance at seeing how we could run in clean air…okay…but it sounded good.
Soon the top cars were coming. In my case that would be about 20 cars. Nonie began the “writing on the wall rant” “car high”, then a second later, “car high” then “car high”. Soon I was in 8th and the line up to pass me looked like Monday morning at Tim Horton’s. I decided to pull right off the track in turn one and let them all go. “Nonie, let me know when they’re all gone”. Soon she said “okay, only the pace car is behind you now”. So I charged hard knowing I should be safe and could go home and sleep-in Saturday morning. The car ran okay, and we were only 3/10ths slower in this race, but I wasn’t about to get mixed up. The attrition helped us a little and we crossed the line in 17th. Nonie said “don’t get down, there isn’t a mark on the car, you finished in one piece”. One part of me was happy about that, but the racer in me was dejected. “why are you sad, you ran good and no damage”….“I know, but I didn’t go fast enough to even get wind burn”. Anyway, I was happy because my reward would be an easy day Saturday. Troy, Ron and Dave were a big help to Nonie and I, and even though we were out to lunch, we saved enough money to buy lunch.
The APC 300 is coming up and it will be the last race of 2009 at Delaware. I plan on driving the #36 for that race and perhaps Steve Lyons will drive the #9. It will be interesting to see how the #36 does. We’ll have a two week span to get the cars ready for the next Flamboro race, so maybe I can race hard on that day. I hope so. This is no way to race, but unfortunately it’s what we had to do get by, and knowing that, it’s not so bad.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:06 pm

August 29th.......Flamboro Speedway

Final Round Grisdale Triple Crown

Race #19 (10th Flamboro)

High Lites
* 17 Cars
* Jeff Stewart wins
* Howse car #8 wins Grisdale Triple Crown....he didn't need to spin us
* Howse had GTC if finish didn't change...we had to win the race
* Jason Shaw 2nd in series
* We get 3rd best finish yet in Grisdale Triple Crown
* Our car was maybe the strongest ever...right from the start
* Jamie hits back straight wall very hard...he was okay but sad

1st Heat #36.....2nd...#9.....7th
2nd Heat#36.....5th....#9.....7th
Feature #36.......8th
Feature #9........ 15th


#36....power steering

Jim, Jason, Troy, Perry, Marty, Mike, Dave and Allen..Dave Watson

When it’s all on the line you need to be ready. We were ready for everything but the turning point of the race. That moment not only shocked most of us, but took the spirit out of our fans, team and me. It also made some furious. With only five to go, there’s no way we could have come back unless insanity took over in the final laps, or we borrowed Shane Maginnis “Concept Late Model”. It was so close, and yes it shouldn’t have happened, and yes we’re disappointed. More than likely we weren’t going to get by Jeff Stewart without some rough stuff, and that option never entered my mind. Had we stayed in second, the best we would have accomplished was tied for first…a great feat for our team….but would have been scored second in the Grisdale Triple Crown with the rule that a tie goes to the car with a win in the series, and Paul had a win in race number two. Congratulations to Jeff Stewart and his team for cleaning up in the race. They won the bonuses of $400 for leading lap 25 and 50 as well as a set of tires for winning the race….oh ya, and $2000 in prize money…nice pay day. Here’s how our journey to disappointment went down.
The car was ready by August 20th and sat panting for another week as we rained out on August 23rd for the 3rd time. Even this week end called for rain both Saturday and Sunday but after a deluge Friday night (I know we left the windows down in my truck), the weather changed for Saturday.
Our grand kids set the stage for Saturday with both of them finishing 4th in their features. Gehrig won his first heat ever and it was encouraging for them to run good.
We got to the track early. It’s good thing I’m not superstitious. I was the 13th driver signed in and drew #26, two times 13. I don’t read horoscopes anymore, or have any rituals like special clothes or lucky charms. I do pray with my crew, that the way we race and act will glorify God. We never ask for a win, we ask for safety for all the racers, their teams and the fans travelling to and from the races. We’re told to let our light shine, that means trying to be loving, kind, compassionate and of course the big one..forgiving. None of us are perfect, most Christians know that, but we strive to follow the values we’ve been taught and apply them in every aspect of our lives, home, work, play and racing. It’s not easy for some Christian athletes to play that way, but many do a great job at it. They give it everything they have but within a frame work that shows their God is more important than their sport.
Tech was quick enough to get warm ups, first on old tires and then a set on our new tires. The first set was quite good considering no one was turning our normal fast times. Top cars were running in the high 6’s and 7’s with a few getting into the 5’s by the second set. We did as well. I wasn’t happy with the car it seemed sluggish but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
At the drivers meeting we went over the race events. Bill Grisdale spear headed an effort to get us more contingency prizes for the race. The prizes were very generous. Every team that started the race got a free tire with the purchase of three. The winner would get 4 new tires and a $200 bonus for leading laps 25 and 50. As mentioned earlier Jeff Stewart grabbed the extra stuff. One of our sponsors, Freedom Village also gave a gift bag to every Late Model race team entered in the race.
Drawing 26 wasn’t so bad it put us outside pole. All those in contention to win the series knew how important heat races would be. The track gave us a few hot laps to get our tires warmed up. During that run I noticed with terror that my brake pedal suddenly became hard as a rock. There was no play in the pedal at all. When the white came out I tried letting my crew know what was going on, and Jim said “the white is out, double up”. Going down the front chute I was frantically playing with the bias trying to back it off but it wouldn’t move. We went through turns one an two and I was still trying to relieve the brake adjustment. I could feel the car slow down on its own when I let off the throttle. This hadn’t been going on for a while and I never noticed it. Last week I complained the car seemed sluggish and again today in warm ups...well, guess what, now you’ve found it and we’re about ten seconds from green.

As we headed down the back chute I was contemplating going scratch, but that would be certain doom to win this series. The next race we’d be starting at the back and we needed to have a good finish in this heat. Going into three the bias finally broke loose and I pounded the pedal quick and was glad to find some free play. As we came off four my thoughts turned to trying to beat Dave Baker #50 into turn one. Dave told me before the race “I know you’re in a battle for this series, but I also have never won a race here and I would like to try to win”. I could see his point and asked “just give me a lane”. Getting on the gas heading to green began a series of thought processes. I had to finish well in this race, that was a given. Normally it would have been a routine deal, but the sudden malfunction of the brakes threw a huge twist to the unfolding story and set off a million neutrons in my brain. Once the neutrons went from my brain to my heart, feet, hands, eyes and back to the brain, they must have travelled six thousand miles in three seconds, I was left with two concerns and a multitude of potential gloom, chaos and mayhem. If Dave’s crew wanted the win real bad they would be getting him to drive in hard, so I knew I’d have to give him room or go in deeper…GO IN DEEPER???....What are you nuts! I started talking to myself, this was not included in the six thousand mile marathon. The biggest and quickest computers in the world would have overloaded if they tried to deal with the data going through my mind as we accelerated hard off turn four. What if the brakes didn’t work, what if the pedal went rock hard again and locked up and the car took 3 car lengths to slow down, what if I got rear ended because I backed off a little sooner to compensate for possibly no brakes. While this was going through my mind both my feet and hands weren’t paying any attention to the rest of me. Next thing I know, Dave and I are side by side in one and stayed together out of two. Coming off four my spotter calls “clear high”. Wow, after all that stress we got through those two turns okay. The pedal was still on the hard side but not like a rock. We stayed in front about 3 car lengths ahead of Scott Lyons. The scoreboard wasn’t showing anything, I wasn’t sure what lap we were on. Next thing I see two flags straight up and down, meaning two to go. After two laps I slowed down in one. Lyons went flying by and I looked and the green was still out. Jim yells “what happened”? I wanted to say “the car quit”, but I just got on the gas and chased after a long gone Scott. A lap later the cross flags came out. “What”? I thought, we’re only half way. The next lap the white came out and finally the race was over and lucky for me we finished 2nd. I explained to my crew "this race was haunted". I’m sure he put up the two laps to go flags. But, if he did, I was the only one who seen it. We did find out later that he ran 12 laps in that heat, so I wasn't totally nuts.
Our team just had to concentrate on what we were doing and make no mental errors. Everyone was perfect in that category, that is all but the driver. I must have malfunctioned somewhere to get that messed up. With only two wins this season, missing a chance to win is not good, and it’s definitely not like me to give them away.
We prepared for the second heat knowing we’d be at the back. My full concentration was on the brakes. I found the brake bias broke. I guess I twisted it until it broke the cable. We cleaned the pivot area and lubed it. It’s not easy getting down in where the pedals are but eventually I had them moving freely and set the pedal with about 68% front brakes. It had to be right because there was no way to adjust it once the race was on.
We knew the track was next to impossible to run outside, so passing could be an issue. It was for Paul and Jason in their heat. Paul finished 2nd and Jason 4th. In the second set of heats we started at the back with Dave Baker. We got boxed a little early and tried to make a move to get by Dave but he got the lane first. We raced hard and tried several times to get under but he was good in the middle and fast on the straights. Finally we got a good run off four but he got loose and I tagged him getting him sideways. I let off the gas and then got by going into one. However 5th was the best I would do and Scott ended up 3rd. His first and 3rd were enough to give him top qualifier. Jason had a first and 5th and Paul and I were the same.
The points tightened after qualifying.
We would have to beat Paul by two positions to win. A tall task considering. We were up to the challenge.
Our crew went over the car thoroughly. Jim and I thought about changes and I said the car was sluggish still, didn’t have the response we needed. We talked about it and Mike Lewis who is a carb expert asked me what I thought and I suggested going to smaller jets. He immediately started working on the car with his son Dave, both regular crew members of David’s #37 team.
After that we filled the fuel. The car was loose off so Jason made an adjustment to the track bar. We talked about it and agreed to make that change and a slight stagger adjustment. Then we went to the tech garage for the final set up and get our car where we felt it would run the best. We knew our numbers from last year and how we got to the various percentages. Finally after a few scaling attempts Jim and the boys were confident the car was ready. We had done everything we could to give us a fighting chance, but wouldn’t really know how good the car was until we got racing. Perhaps the miscue in the heat would come back to bite us, but that was part of the day and whatever happened we were ready to accept.
We qualified outside row two beside #49 Todd Horsfall. Jeff Stewart was on the point with the much improved Craig Zurbrig outside pole. Paul Howse was inside row three and Jason was close behind. The track was wet from some rain just before the Mini Stock feature. I was surprised to see the apron on both chutes wet. The track staff drove around on the inside trying to dry the track even more. My mind was clear and I was relaxed, after all, we had to beat one of the fastest cars on the track by two positions, not to mention Jason, who could be a dominating force anytime. He had 75 laps to get to the front and we all remember how he walked away with the feature two weeks ago.
Perhaps one of the memories of this night was having Junior Hanley drive the pace car to start the race. It was truly an amazing site to see him drive the race car that belonged to his most famous competitor and foe, #43 Don Beiderman. Junior is such a gracious person willing to help anyone at anytime, and now seeing him get in the car that belonged to a person who he battled on the track, in the pits and sometimes in the their cars…all to the joy of the fans. I couldn’t hear what the announcers were saying but I’m guessing the fans were as proud of that moment as all of us drivers.
After hot laps that were much needed with the cold damp track we were set to go. On the green Jeff pulled away and Craig followed. Going down the back chute Craig tried squeezing low to get behind Jeff and pulled it off by turn three. We were outside now beside Todd and knew the freight train could be coming. The writing would be on the wall as we entered turn three, because we were the front car outside. Would the car stick? It did, and we were able to pull Todd off turn four and get into third place. After five or six laps I knew the car was very good. A caution came out and I let Jim and Jason, (who also has a head set), know that our car was great. I was very happy with the handling and response with the throttle. On that restart Jim told me that Paul was starting 5th outside of Todd. “I’m focusing on the two in front, none behind”. Jim responded “go get em!” I stayed with Craig on the restart trying a few times to set him up but he was running very well. We were a little faster but couldn’t get by, he was very fast off the corners. After three or four more laps he began to smoke. It was slightly at first and then it started getting worse. Stewart was fading as he pulled the orange Kubota car well away from the pack. As the #4 trailed more smoke I was trying to remember if he had a Crate or built engine, it made a difference to me because I was hoping he wasn’t blowing up. He was slowing slightly and the starter gave him the black flag with the red dot representing a technical black flag. I was looking for a quick exit to get off the track in case he did explode but with the wet grass and mud, staying on the track might be safer…but wait, maybe he wasn’t blowing up. Craig must have been heart broken because he was running very good and now was getting the black. I think he tried to slow down hoping for the smoke to lessen. The only problem with that plan was the car behind, and that would be us. I tried going under him off four and he got loose and I hit him sending him sideways a bunch. I thought Paul would be taking advantage of that after I backed out but he may have let up as well or was far enough back not to capitalize. On the next straight I was under his bumper and the smoking grew worse each lap. The starter gave him the black again just as we were lapping a car and Craig pulled down coming off turn four. By this time Jeff was well into turn one. Our car was strong and we went after Jeff chipping away at his lead until we were within a car length. My crew was getting excited. Our car was fast. “I think you can get him, just be patient” Jim proudly announced. For the next forty laps I was patient and stayed close. Some laps we got a good run off the corners when Jeff would get loose but really couldn’t get a good bite off and the vet wasn't making any mistakes or getting rattled with the big “Q” in his mirror.
A caution on lap 45 brought an end to Jamie Watson' ride in our #9 car. Something happened coming off turn two that sent him in the wall. The car was beat up enough, they had to use the flatbed to get him off. The red flag was brought out to stop the cars and get the car to the pits. No doubt Jamie was upset because the last thing he wanted to do was wreck our car. He would be hoping for me to have a good finish so I would be in a good mood when I saw the car after. Actually, he may not have realized it at the time, but Jamie was in a win win situation as we'll soon see. He was okay and got a taste of hitting the wall at very high speed. Jamie has done amazing making the jump from Mini Stock to Late Models.
From lap 35 until lap 65 Jim would say “the same distance you are from Jeff is what Paul is to you”. Sometimes we’d gain a little and be more than a car length ahead. As the race was winding down it was apparent that Jeff wasn’t failing anywhere, other than being loose on exit at times, but not enough for me to do anything about it except wait for a chance. On lap 66, with nine to go we talked strategy. Maybe I could put more pressure on Jeff in the dying laps and see if he would push up. I didn’t want to do it to soon because if I did Paul would follow me and it had to be with one or two to go. On that restart we got a good run and Jeff got real loose off two, but so did we. Two laps later (we found out after the race) Dave Baker spun off the front chute sending water on the track in turn one and two. Jeff got loose again and so did I. Somehow Paul was able to get under the water or we soaked it all up. Anyway he was now on the inside at the rear of our quarter panel heading down the back chute on lap 70. Jim let me know he was looking inside but not enough and I dove in hard. I didn’t try to protect the lane just drove in. A second after we went in I felt the contact and it was right at the point of no return. Cars can’t be saved at certain points in the turn. Coming off you can get hit real hard and not spin, the same with going in. But at the point of turning, just before getting on the gas, is the most vulnerable for any car and if your hit, you're going to need a lot of track to save the car. Once hit at that point you have two choices. Slowly try to bring the car out of the spin using up all the track lanes, or brake hard bringing the car around and hopefully staying out of the way. You’re day is done either way, especially with only 5 laps left, there’s no sense in the whole week being done because you have to fix and spend tons on a bashed in race car. If I was way ahead of the pack I could have tried saving it, but the speed entering the corner, a tight pack and the point of impact made it impossible to save. I only had one choice and that was to stay away from going down to the inside lane.
My spotter was speechless. I was to. How and why did that happen. I asked who did it, not to blame Jason, but I ran with Paul all race and he never hit me, so why now, and even if I was a little loose or slower, he could have backed out. I did it at least four times in the feature and twice in our heat. The questions kept coming. “Looks like Jason’s going to win the Triple Crown” I said. I knew Paul would be coming back with me, at least that’s what I thought. He didn’t and the race ended with us finishing 8th in the feature and 3rd in the series. Paul would win it and Jason take 2nd. Scott was very close to taking 3rd.
A lot of drivers came over after, mostly to say “tough break”. Jason stopped and shook hands saying it was a bad deal. Jason came over before the race as well and said “good luck old man”. We’ve been in a lot of races together since 1987 when he ran Hobby’s for 9 years before heading to ALSTAR.
I was dejected, but not as much as my crew. I think I was happy because we had such a great car. David watched from the stands and told me we ran a great race and that we may have had the fastest car.
As for the spin, I know it wasn’t intentional, but I feel it was preventable, I’m sure Paul could have backed out, I would have.
My issue isn’t with him so much as the track telling me it was a racing accident. I’m under the conclusion they have no idea what an accident is or how to call it. Paul should have been sent to the back, and I bet he thinks he should have as well. I’m sure his crew were yelling for him not to worry “it wasn’t your fault, he lost it on his own” or something like that. Then when the track doesn’t do anything it makes it right. If I dumped a car late in a race, I’m sure I’d be heading to the rear, in fact I might go on my own. No team, Howse included would enjoy being caught up in a late race controversy like that with a real chance of losing the title, or winning it under so much negativity, that’s why it wasn’t deliberate. For me, I got to hope it’s not another 62 years to get a shot at this, but regardless I’m not mad nor have any intentions of pay back or getting even. There are people who do that and they can have it, retaliation doesn’t prove anything, and it sometimes involves innocent people like the deal with Scott, Shane and Mark. Scott dumps Shane, the track doesn’t do anything, Shane takes the law in his own hands and ends up taking out an innocent racer Mark Burbridge, (which he didn’t mean to do) just because he’s upset that nothing was done about Scott. Meanwhile Scott felt bad and expected to be sent to the rear.
And Jamie?...the main thing is that he was okay. Things happen and we'll fix the car, and for sure Dave and Jamie will come over and help us, they already did even before getting in the car.
Our focus will be on trying to finish in the top three in Flamboro points and get a feature win in 09’. We love this sport and the next race is the one were looking forward to.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:06 pm

September 5th......Flamboro Speedway

Race #20 (11th Flamboro)

High Lites
* 14 Cars
* Jason Shaw wins
* We get 2nd (almost had our first feature win of 09')
* Tervor Monaghan debuts in #9 gets a 7th



none....get ready for APC 300

Jim, Jason, Marty, Mike Monaghan, Mike Miller and Mike the Mechanic

It was somewhat of a hectic week with the #9. The 36 was okay, made it through the final Grisdale Triple Crown race with out any damage so we only had to do a routine check of the car, but did find a power steering line leaking and changed it.
The big hurt was the Freedom Village car. It had a lot of damage to the front and rear. Upper and lower control arms, shock, rotor, hub, rear track bar mount and some body work for the hood. Dave Watson was amazing in not only getting the car back together for this past week end, but getting it fixed so it was driveable. Jamie Watson also was gracious in his efforts to not only help fix the car, but kicked in a lot to get parts replaced. Jamie was doing very good in the Late Model, a huge jump from Mini Stock, when he had his first taste of crashing hard at higher speeds. The good news is he was okay.
All the hard work put in by the Watson family was to pave the way for Trevor Monaghan to drive the car at Flamboro and then at Delaware for the APC 300. Trevor is well known in the Late Model circuits running a CASCAR, Super Late Model and winning the Challenger points Championship at Flamboro a few years ago. Trevor has done something I have yet to do, run at Speed Week in Florida in February. He ran there in 2006 in a Super Late Model and had never been in a car since. When Trevor came to our house with his wife Brooke and their 3 boys, he was excited, just like Jamie Watson. I wished had a stable of cars and enough money to support all the young drivers that want so bad to race.
Many good racers either don't have the funds or place to work on their race cars. The answer would be to go into a property in the country, build a 10 car building and run it like a business, getting sponsors and having all those involved split the costs and work load. Maybe make it big enough to have a place to build race cars and have Junior Hanley train builders to learn that trade. There's not enough people making or repairing cars.
Once the Watson family had the #9 ready, Trevor and I spent Friday and much of Saturday finishing off both cars.
We got to the track in plenty of time. Things went easy for #36, all but the draw for starting position. We drew 26 putting us at the back of our heat. I told Donnie Cox two heats are the only fair way to count points in the heats unless cars line up according to their handicap. If we keep all the high point cars in their own heat with the biggest point percentage cars at the back, that's fair. Having only one set of heats, and the top car starting on the pole many times (by luck of the draw) means the points could be won by heat point accumulation directly as a result of luck. It should be set up so heat points are fair. Two heats with a reverse start of the second is fair, or starting high points percentage cars at the back is fair. They don't do that, although up until last year we ran double heats. It's surprising how the track dosen't see how that affects the run for the points title and how unfair it is. Don't make the points chase based on luck.
Trevor had some issues getting the #9 on the track for warm ups. He finally got three or four laps, hardly enough to remember the directions around the track. He pulled #3 for starting the race, putting him outside pole, but I suggested he go scratch until he got more laps on the car. He agreed and had a decent first race finishing 5th. In our heat we started 5th and knew it would be a battle with the kids in this one. Coming off four to complete lap one I got a good run on Mike Bentley #99. Mike got high in turn four and that allowed me to get under. About half way between four and the start finish line Mike decided to head to the low lane. I thought for sure he was trying bluff me to back off but he wasn't bluffing and I couldn't back off. He hit my right front wheel sending our car spinning to the infield. Usually the car that cuts down is the one that goes for the slide. The reason I was the one flying was because I was hit with most of the #99, like a body check, meaning Mike wasn't should not even considered coming down. Had he been further ahead and tried it he would have spun because I would have caught his rear quarter and sent him around. Anyway he got the black flag and sent to the back.
On the restart I was able to get back up and challenge for 4th with #97 Jeff Cassidy. Jeff was trying to pick a lane and I tried going low but he came down and I got him loose, he got it straight when I backed out. The starter gave him the warning to pick a lane. Finally I got by and caught Richard Holmes. Jason was long gone and we got by #42 to move into 2nd. AS surprise for us that we would get up that far. Jason started on the pole, he's 2nd in points. Paul Howse started pole in the 2nd race, he's first in points and also won the 2nd heat.
It was fan appreciation night and we took both cars on the track. Trevor signed our cards because they have both #9 and #36 on them. The fans love this event and we had a chance to meet them.
We started 5th in this race. Junior Farley #72 was pole beside Richard Holmes #42. Ted Horsfall was in third with Mike Bentley #99 fourth. Kenny Forth started beside me and Scott Lyons #52 right behind. Trevor went scratch which is the rule for your first night.
Junior got the lead and Ted followed. I tried to stick on the #49 but left enough room for Mike to squeeze in front of me. I told my spotter Jim our car needs at least 3 laps to get up to speed and we are so weak at the start of a race. Anyway that put us 4th and we chased the three ahead of us. We were all over Bentley by lap four and he was pushing hard trying to get under #49 but couldn't do it. On lap 6 Mike's car got real loose going into three and he spun on his own. Something must have broke because he was towed off.
On the restart we set our sites on #49 and he ran strong for the first few laps. I was able to get our nose in on him a few times and finally got a good run off four making the pass between turns one and two. We chased and caught Junior and began a battle with him. Meanwhile Jason, Kenny and Paul were all right there.
We tried several times to set up the #72 but he was fast off and didn't make any mistakes. Our car was perfect again and on about lap 15 made a try going into turn three. Junior got a little high but just as I got beside him he came down hard into our body and right front wheel, we were slightly ahead when he hit me knocking us to the infield. I stayed off the gas so I wouldn't spin out and managed to get back out on the track half way to the starters stand. The cars behind us all checked up making it hard for them to take advantage. Just before we reached the starters stand Jason got by and we were still trying to pick up speed. I ran the middle and Jim called out "car low". it was Kenny who dove under me going into one, but at the same time Jim said "car high". I was surrounded as we went into turn one three wide. I tried backing out but Paul having no choice tried to cut in front of me and we touched sending him around and unfortunately putting him out of the race. We went to the last completed lap and Jason had got by so it put us third. On the restart Jason chased Junior for three more laps and made the move under him and we followed Jason putting us 2nd. There were only 5 laps left. Meanwhile Trevor was keeping his nose clean and managed to work his way to 7th. In the final laps we could pace Jason but no more. We ended up 2nd, a good finish but we thought we had the car to win this one.
Trevor brought the car home in 7th, the best that car has finished this year.
We worked hard on the cars after the feature getting ready for the APC 300. Removing led, changing gears and charging the batteries.
Jason would take our car to the race and Nonie, Shirley and our grand kids left for Delaware at 1:30am to be there early.
Congrats to Trevor for a good finish, and bringing all the Mikes with him. Every one of his crew members in named Mike. The good news? When you call Mike!!, three guys show up to help. They all enjoyed the racing. Perhaps it was Trevor, Brooke and Trevor's MOM who were the happiest.
So this was a good night.....soon you'll read how Delaware ate us up but this night was good.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:06 pm

September 6th......Delaware Speedway

Race #21 (9th Delaware)

High Lites
* 37cars
* Jesse Kennedy wins $10,000
* Some big multi car and single car wrecks
* All our cars get beat up, two very bad
* We finish 22nd but have best run at the big half
* David finishes 34th
* David finishes in top 10 in points
* Trevor brings it home in 19th with half a body
* The leaders wreck with 10 to go
* This was a good race for fans and race car builders

Time Trials
#36......19:240, 19:340 (our best in 09')
#37......19:597, 19:630
#9........21:192 (only one lap on the track in total)

1st 25 Lap

2nd 25 Lap

Invader Feature (Drivers who haven't ran yet this year)


#37...done for the year
#9.....most of the body
#36...everything else

Jason, Troy, Ron, Dave, CJ,...Kenny Forth spotter


The biggest concern about making the Delaware race is surviving Flamboro the night before, and we did that. In the past we’ve wrecked on the eve of this special and worked long hours trying to make the APC 300 which is a very exciting show. This race usually attracts some of Ontario’s top runners. Only two of the regular drivers from Flamboro made it, Jason Shaw and I. There were quite a few watching, and it was a beautiful day for drivers and fans.
We stayed at Flamboro and changed gears, removed led, put on the Hoosier tires and charged the batteries on both the #36 and #9. I really didn’t want to go to the track and work on the car for two hours if we didn’t have to and our crew agreed getting the car ready while we were pumped after Flamboro was a good idea.
Jason Chapman, our car chief, offered to take the race car out with his Dodge 2500 Diesel. I was going to pull it with our Motor Home but it seemed real low on the back, maybe because I had so many parts and all the equipment. Jason would leave early Sunday morning in hopes of getting to Delaware by 9:am, and my last words to him were “don’t forget”. I never go to a track without the race car with me, it doesn’t seem normal. I think once in the past 41 years I was at the track ahead of the car, it’s too stressful waiting for it to show up. I was told by Jim and Jason not to worry, the car will be there on time. “What if you sleep in”? “What if you go to the wrong track”? Jason said “Don’t worry I’ll be there”!!!...and he was right on time, actually a little early, making it by 8:30am.
Nonie, Shirley, our grand children and I left for Delaware at about 1:30 am. We got to the track at 3:00am and were asleep by 3:01.
Getting to this race early was huge for us. We moved all our equipment from the trailer to pit row. A pit cart with a generator would be so good, we’d been able to cut down the trips back and forth.
There was really nothing to do on the car at this point. The Monaghan boys were looking after the #9. Trevor and Mike were very excited. This was Trevor’s first race ever at Delaware and he was looking forward to it. He emailed me two weeks ago about driving #9. I was glad we could work it out for him, his family is very supportive of his racing and show that support by coming out to the races in droves. There’s nothing better for any racer than to have his wife and family behind him.
We lined up for Tech and I realized we would have to run under the Delaware rules for ground clearance and left side weight. While sitting in the long line of cars waiting to be checked we made some serious chassis adjustments by putting in 3 turns on the front load bolts and 6 on the rear to get our ride height. It was a guess and to our surprise we were right on.
We made 2 sets of warm ups getting the car in the high 19:2’s. I was satisfied after the two sets plus it gave us a chance to scrub in 8 tires. Meanwhile Trevor and the boys were having trouble getting the #9 started. We never had a problem with the car all year and after the race at Flamboro there was no sign of any trouble. Trevor missed all the warm ups. We tried an MSD box and coil but still it wouldn’t start. They were going to put on wires but wires would make it run rough, but it would still start. We replaced the battery because the one in it was weak. Finally Mike Miller, a crew member with Trevor, discovered a faulty ignition switch. No kidding, we’d go nuts in the Hobby club chasing a miss that ended up being a switch. They got it fixed but the boy had to make his debut on the track under time trial conditions and was only allowed one lap, because he wasn’t in line for his designated time on the track.
The fastest we had gone at Delaware in 09’ with the #9 was 19:449. I wanted to get into the 3’s but just couldn’t get it done. The #36 car is like a ball glove, and I feel very comfortable driving it. I like the #9 but the seat was a little too far back for me and there were a few other discomforts. Being content in the seat is very important. Trevor found the comfort at non issue and he liked the car as soon as he got in it. Our first lap was the best we ever turned at Delaware in 09, a 19:240. The car had a little push for the second lap giving us a 19:340. I may have went in too far.
That time was fast to us but a long way from the top runners. The fastest time of the day was 18:741 by Steven Mathews and an 18:757 from Mark Watson. Mathews is 18 years old, has a new McColl Late Model, a Barrie Speedway Limited Late and a Canadian Tire car. As far as I know he doesn’t have a Vintage Modified. We would get to know Steven a little better in the first Twin 25.
Jim wasn’t able to make today’s race and Nonie didn’t want to spot for us. Last year she did and got heat stroke and had to drive home by herself. She was worried the same might happen again although she wouldn’t be going home alone. At Flamboro Kenny forth asked if I needed a spotter and knowing our circumstances it was a blessing. Kenny spotted many races this year for DJ Kennington and had lots of experience. He was a welcome addition to our team for this race, and was very good with me all day.
After time trials we were set. The first race of the day was a points race with all the Delaware points runners. Twenty one cars started the first feature. We started 12th based on our times. The car ran very well. We got by David mid way and were running in the top 7. Our best feature finish of the year was a 10th so we wanted to improve that. With five to go I could see Mathews struggling ahead. Sparks were flying from his car as he entered turn one. I thought he lost a tire. He came off turn two and headed down the back chute and as he went into turn three his car dove low again sending sparks everywhere, as well as pushing up very high. I dove under him between 3 and 4 but a split second later, with his car still out of control, he came down into our right front wheel smashing us hard and sending us into the infield. We got back out but lost several spots and finished the race in 12th. We also had severe damage to the wheel and in the dirt cut the left front tire. I asked him after if he knew or cared that I was there. “I didn’t do it intentionally” he said, “did your spotter tell you I was there”? He said “I was doing everything I could to hold on to my car, I was lucky to finish”. After that I said “I wasn’t so lucky, you cost me a wheel and a 6th place finish, and you should have slowed down, your car was out of control”.
In the second race we started at the back and didn’t fair much better ending up 15th though the car was good.
Trevor ran with the Invaders and finished his race in 14th of 19 cars. There were 40 cars in total, and 39 started the big race.
We had issues in the pits getting our car ready for the big race and had to start scratch. We went to the back but Kyle Delisle #5 wanted to go to the rear and waved me on.
The plan was to take it easy, 200 laps is a long time, attrition would certainly play a big part in the race and we knew it. The first major wreck (there were lots) came at lap 5. Shane Maginnis was one of three cars caught in the mix up that eliminated two of the cars including Maginnis. He turned a 19:126 putting him 17th best, we were 23rd fastest. I don’t know what they did to their car, it wasn’t that much faster than us. There were 12 Late Models in the high 18:’s. That wreck put Maginnis out of the race.
There were other wrecks most not so serious. We were running in the top 15 most of the day. I noticed on about lap 55 that our car was loose on entry. I didn’t have a brake bias to adjust the car so I stuck it out. Then Kenny, who had been doing an awesome job spotting, told me my right rear was going down. I came into the pits and sure enough the tire only had 10 pounds in it. The boys changed the tire and I got back out.
Another caution involved Trevor as he got hit coming off turn four and then got slammed by #72 Shawn Thompson. The car was towed to the pits with the entire left quarter panel, door and fender ready to fall off. They got in the pits and went nuts getting the broken stuff off and returned to the track a few laps down looking like the Terminator.
The next run was a long one. We were running around 14th. Jason was in front of me and we were catching him. There was a competition yellow to be shown at the half way mark. In this long run we were making good ground. Kenny reported that the leaders were about 5 car lengths behind but were not gaining on us. We ran ahead of them for another five laps and then DJ was on our tail. I moved over and let them go by. Jason was very close by now and as the two front runners got by I followed them and caught Jason. Just as we came off turn four the competition yellow came out and I was sure we got by Jason, giving us the lucky dog, but they gave it to Jake.
We had 5 minutes to check the car over and change two tires. We changed the right front and left rear. No changes were made to the car. We were running about 14th but would start right behind the leaders. On the restart we ran very well moving ahead of the cars in front eventually getting to the 8th place car Matt Box. We passed him and were pulling away gaining on the next car. The yellow came out and we got the lucky dog sending us to the rear in 15th.
On that restart we were at the back. Shortly after the green, maybe a lap in, Kenny called out “back down”! “back down”!. I didn’t know why at first until I saw the carnage on the back chute. The track was blocked with at least 6 cars including David. A few of the cars were destroyed. Mark Watson was one, Jamie Ramsay, Doug Stewart and David were a few that were done. David was hit very hard by Stewart as he sit stopped on the track. His rear suspension was beyond repair. The #02 car of Watson had to be flat bedded to the pits.
On the restart I was able to go to my regular spot 15th. We gained a few more spots on the restart putting us 12th before the next yellow came out. There were just under 10 laps to go, we had an awesome car all day and looked like we could finish in the top 10 for sure, maybe the top 8. On this restart something happened coming off turn two. We were in the middle lane getting a good run on the 11th place car when suddenly the car broke loose and began to slide off turn two down into the cement retaining wall on the back chute. I couldn’t believe it was going to end this way. I was going way to fast to get slowed up, there was no where to go to turn out of it. I jammed the brakes as hard as I could but still hit the wall so hard the car jumped quite high in the air, then whipped around nailing the back end of the car as well. I knew I was done. My body must have been freaking out. I can hear it now “here we go again…what ‘s wrong with this idiot, doesn’t he know we can’t take this kind of punishment anymore, it’s 150 degrees in this car, were exhausted and now he wants us to go through the crash dummy testing again”. My brain said “shut up, what do want to do, sit around watching golf, gardening or join lawn bowling”?
If my wrists, arms, joints and neck were a pit crew, they’d either be quitting and heading out of the race track going home, or saying “how did we do boss”? The response might be “Good boys, you’re all in tact. We must talk to the Lord and thank Him for the safety part of our ordeal”.
A track steward came over and asked if I was okay and I told him yes. The tow truck was on it’s way but I was too upset to wait and headed from the back chute entrance all the way around to our pit stall about 6 from the front well past the start finish line. “Are you okay”? Jason asked. Yes and no, was the thought. The car was beat terrible with severe frame damage, broken shocks, rad, ball joints and much more. The rear end was pointing towards home and we were done (whining starts now)….what a shame…we had a very good run.
I was somewhat stiff but other than that okay. I think I would have been stiff anyway after racing 240 laps at the speeds we were running in a sauna. We learned a lot and had many positives. We made enough money to buy a rad, and have maybe $20 left over to put towards the $2000 left to fix. Yikes, it wasn’t good, nor would it be when I unloaded at home on Sunday, but like many of the wrecks in the past the fun of racing is much greater than the discouragement of wrecking a great race car. It can be fixed and we know God will bless us in that effort.
There were less than 10 laps left. The wrecking wasn’t done. We watched as Steve Robblee made a move to get under race leader Kennington. The two ran down the back chute with Robblee at his back quarter. It may not have been enough, but if I was DJ’s spotter I’d be letting him know “car low”. I guess if I was “Steve Robblee” I’d be backing out just in case. I’m guessing Steve was too far in to back out, and DJ was hoping to force Steve to back off by squeezing down. The difference between 1st and 2nd was $7500. Anyway they made contact and both cars spun wrecking so bad they were both done. They finished 20th and 21st.
Meanwhile the Terminator was cruising around staying out of trouble. Trevor was keeping the car as clean as he could in spite of a bad push off the corners. He ended up 19th, not bad for his debut at this track.
We have a mess at home now. The Quaker State car is by far the worst. Junior Hanley will give me an evaluation on it and let me know if it should go to McColls. The Freedom Village car needs body panels but not near as much cost wise. If I have to take #36 to Mikes I would sooner do that and get the car back to where it was. We still have a shot at a top 3 in the points at Flamboro, in fact were only 23 points out of first, the closest we’ve been since we started racing Late Models.
Special thanks to our crew for a great day on Sunday. They worked hard and did their best. Jason had to fill in everywhere and was great. To Kenny Forth for his encouraging play by play and David and his crew for chipping in after they were out. David helped my team get me back out when we cut the left front tire and of course my wife Nonie and Shirley for their comforting words and awesome dedication.

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

Post by Gary » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:06 pm

September 19th.........Flamboro Speedway

Race #22 (12th Flamboro)

* 13 cars
* Jeff Stewart wins
* We finish 3rd move a little closer to 3rd in points
* Matt Dean debuts in #9, first time in a Late Model
* Every division but Lat Models has a red flag
* Thunder Cars take 45 minutes to run 4 laps, race cancelled




routine, cosmetic, easy week...nice

Jim, Jason, Marty, Steve Dean, Jason and Allen

This was one of our toughest weeks in a long time. The year has been tough anyway, running two cars, trying to keep them both race ready. However, the wreck at Delaware managed to come at a bad time financially, and did a number on both the front and rear of our car. I wanted to send it to Mike McColl for repair worried that the clip or frame might be bent. Allen McLean sent me an email offering to help. I couldn’t ask Dave or Jamie Watson, they spent the week before the APC 300 working on the #9 car getting it ready for Trevor Monaghan. Allen MacLean happened to be out of work and came over to look at the #36. He felt we could do the repairs ourselves. If we could I knew it would save me at least $1500, maybe more…for sure more. He even brought his another racer Fred, who races as well as does Allen. Both could be out in 2010.
It seemed forever t fix because there was damage everywhere. We stripped the car right down, pulled out the quick change and began fixing the car. Junior Hanley came over and did a masterful job on the bent quick change. Allen dedicated his time to the front frame ahead of the control arms. There was a ton of damage to the right front bending everything in that corner. We worked steady and by Friday the 18th we were ready to scale the car. Meanwhile Matt Dean and his dad Steve did the maintenance on the #9. Trevor installed the quarter panel that was beat up on it, and Marty finished everything off cosmetic wise. By Saturday at noon both cars were ready to go.
Matt had yet to get any warm ups and would have to wait to get his first ride in the Late Model with other drivers on the track. I called John Casale earlier in the week to ask for warm ups and he agreed. At about 3:45, when everyone was asked to leave the pits we went on the track for 6 laps only, at half speed. We wanted to shake the car down, making sure the throttle was okay, and there were no serious vibrations. I did notice near the end, when I got a few faster laps the car was all over the place, hard to steer and almost out of control entering the turn. After those hot laps my crew and I left the pits to pay. Jim and I discussed some strategy. We came back in and did a thorough nut and bolt, looking for something that might be loose. I described to my crew the back end felt unstable. Within 5 minutes Jim, our crew chief, found both trailing arms were loose. Jason and Marty did the rest of the car and by regular warm ups we were ready, that is until the engine started making a knocking noise. I was worried that I did damage to the car at Delaware. I was so upset with myself for spinning out and slamming the inside retaining wall that I drove the car all the way around to pit lane. The car was twisted and should have been towed, but I was too stubborn and drove around with the tires and chassis dragging, smoking and screaming. Looking for the noise we zeroed in on the fan, it was a little loose, but after tightening it up the noise was still there. Using a long steel extension I listened to the engine, then the power steering pump and the water pump. The noise was at the water pump. I had a spare water pump but decided to call on our local GM expert, Doctor William Lyons. Bill came over, had us remove the belts and start the car. There was no noise. We then reinstalled one at a time and then replace the faulty water pump belt. Once we did that and started the car the noise was gone. Bill is so good at what he does and helped us make one set of warm ups other wise we would have missed both.
We had a drivers meeting, but it was quite depressing trying to convince the track staff they should be pro-active in getting cars out. They don’t see it that way and feel that we don’t get it when we make suggestions to improve things. It was frustrating to say the least, but the things that would happen on this night in all the classes but Late Model, would far out way any controversy we had in the tech garage.
We drew #19 for the heat, but it putting us outside pole beside Todd Campbell. The track decided not to give us hot laps, and it was cold. The heat before us didn’t get any and they survived so we knew it could be done. On the green we got the jump on Todd and my spotter called clear going into one. I should have dove hard low but stayed up to give Todd room on the inside. What hurt us was pushing entering the turn. That allowed Todd to get a huge jump on us and eventually take over first. We got into 2nd and stayed with the #07 but now had Jason hounding us. He tried all he could to pass on the outside but couldn’t pull it off. We ended up 2nd and were thrilled with how well the car handled, and on old tires.
Matt Dean had a good run in his heat. He had one goal, don’t get lapped. His wish was granted because he not only didn’t get passed, he was no where close to going down a lap. Steve, Matt’s dad, was very excited that his son was driving the car, and though he didn’t show it, we knew Matt was pumped up.
We started 6th in the feature. On the green something happened up front. The #49 of Ted Horsfal got sideways coming off four and he nearly ended up wrecking. The yellow was thrown and the track sent Mike Bentley #99 scratch. No idea why he went to the back, we heard for jumping the green. I thought he was okay, plus Ted got real loose on the start so it may have looked like Mike jumped but I didn’t agree with that call. On the restart we were 5th, a good lane. Early in the race the jockeying was madness. Jeff Stewart started outside pole, so we knew where he was going. Ted got into 2nd and Paul Howse was able to get outside of us to put the chase on #49. Coming off four Ted got sideways a ton. Paul went outside and I was about to follow when Horsfal turned back toward the outside hitting Howse who then hit the wall and Horsfal fairly hard. They were bouncing and out of control down the front chute. Going into one I hit Ted sending him around. He was almost gone, I sort of finished him off. Luckily I got around the outside in turn one and got behind Paul. This was a very close hard fought feature. There was dicing all the way through, so though we didn’t have many cars, the show was very competitive and fast. Matt’s feature run would end too short when he got into a spinning Todd Campbell on about lap 10. The car left the track on it’s own power but quit in the pits. Later we found the wire to the MSD came off. It was still sad to see him not finish his first feature.
On the restart things got intense with Jason and Scott running very strong. There were seven cars fighting hard. Jason finally got by me, although I was kind to him, and would pass Howse with two laps to go. I followed Jason and was able to get by Paul on the last lap finishing 3rd at the line. Our crew and I were very excited. We had a great run, will have an easy work week and we gained a little on Scott Lyons for 3rd in points.

A Story Within The Race
“I owe you big time”
This scenario happens in all racing, but with radio’s it can occur more often. The situation develops when drivers cut off, squeeze or chop a competitor. Sometimes they do it intentionally not caring about the outcome. I think most do it trying to take advantage of another driver, knowing he will back out. Competitors of various skill and experience may let drivers get away with it because they feel they can’t run with them anyways. I’ve been cut off lots of times, and certainly have done it to other racers, although I never want to do it knowing the consequences can be very severe.
Why bring this common occurrence up? Because it happened on Saturday, but this time was different. Most times when it happens the driver doing the squeeze either forgets he did it or didn’t realize it. On Saturday Jason and I were in a fierce battle at the mid way mark of the feature. He was fast on the outside, but we were very strong and handling great on the inside. We ran side by side for a few laps, like we did in the heat, where he eventually fell back, and I was giving him all the room I could without moving over for him or running into him. The first time through 3 and 4 I had to go in hard enough to not give Jason the lower groove allowing him to get a good run off the corner. It worked for a few laps. I also didn’t want to run into him, for many reasons, and raced hard to keep our car down. I was thinking “why doesn’t he push up”? I’m sure he was thinking “doesn’t this old war horse get tired”? Well neither of us was willing to give. Jason tried to squeeze me down on the front chute and I’m certain Randy was telling him to stay where he was because “he’s right there”. Jason wanted to hear “clear low”, but it wasn’t going to happen. All those watching must have felt the intensity of this duel, although lots of action was going on in front and right behind us. On the back chute I was at Jason’s door. Just past the old pit gate he started down again. Now I had a choice, go in deep and probably run into him, stay where I was and maybe he would move up or back out, let him go and hope to follow him if he passed anymore cars. I stayed in as long as I could but time was running out so I chose the latter option and as it worked out, we ended up following Jason past the 2nd place car.
We were pumped because our car ran very well considering how bad it was wrecked from the APC 300, and on older tires. After the race we were talking and I said to Jim, “did you see Jason come down”? “I had to back out or hit him”? I wasn’t upset, I know Jake is aggressive and maybe he felt he had enough room. Soon some fans were in our pit and Jason headed over. As he approached me, he had his head down and this innocent sheepish smile. I yelled to him half smiling myself, “hey man you’re lucky I…” but before I could finish, he said “I owe you big time”. We laughed about it.
I wrote about this because I was impressed by Jason coming to me. Drivers have apologized in the past for hitting or dumping us, but never for crowding or squeezing me. Maybe Randy sent him, maybe he thought about it on his own, maybe it was out of respect for our team. Whatever the reason, I appreciated it very much, a classy gesture from one of the best racers in Ontario.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:06 pm

September 27th……..Flamboro Speedway

Race #23 (12th Flamboro)

High Lites
* 13 cars
* 15 fans
* Mike Bentley wins feature
* Bad luck takes Championship from Shaw team
* Paul Howse wins points
* We finish 2nd in feature
* Trevor gets 6th best finish for #9 in 09’
* We finish 4th in standings

Feature…#36…2nd …#9….6th


Routine check, fix right front bumper area

Jim, Jason, Allen, Marty, Mike, Steve and Mike

I’m a little discouraged, but by the time I finish this intro paragraph, I may have cheered myself up. I’m not sure if it was global warming, bad luck, wanting to race too much or a combination of everything that lead to us having a somewhat disappointing season. Global warming? There were 7 rain outs, 8 actually including this past Saturday. There were another 4 or 5 at Delaware. Those rain outs washed away nights to catch up in the standings. Bad luck? Getting spun running 2nd in the final Grisdale race was double bad luck. We lost the $1000 for running 2nd and another $1000 because had we finished where we were running we would have finished 2nd in the series and picked extra points money. Paul would have been declared the winner with his feature win, but it would still show us tied for first. The Delaware crashes cost $4000 between them. The wreck with #36 was less costly (we did it ourselves), although there was more damage. Also in the APC 300 we were in 9th, a position that paid $1000 and had we not wrecked would have saved the $1500 in repair costs, plus picked up another $700. Wanting to race too much? If I was like 90% of my peers, I’d be happy with 10 to 12 races at Flamboro, and no more. That’s clearly not near enough to satisfy my desire to race. Getting a second car allowed me to compete at two tracks and run 23 nights, originally we would have had 30 plus races if the rain wasn’t the star this season. I must admit, that deal was exhausting to me and anyone who read our race reports, not to mention those who tried to come out every week. My regular crew, and they were awesome, couldn’t make many of the Delaware races. There were nights at the big half mile when I had people in my crew that heard me say to them “who are you”?
Though a little disappointing, there were many high lites and reasons to be happy. Here’s some of the good. Our worst race finish at Flamboro was 10th. We were the only car to finish in the top 10 for every Late Model race at Flamboro. We ended up 3rd in the Grisdale Triple Crown, our best since joining Late Models. We finished 4th in Flamboro points. It was the 4th year in a row we finished 4th, but this time was the best with only one point separating us from third and 20 points out of first, the closest yet. We were also the only Late Model race team in Ontario to make 100% at two race tracks in 2009, maybe that hasn’t been done in a while.
Here is the final point that our team can smile about. After wrecking the #36 at Delaware at the APC 300, we did the work ourselves. We had some very good help, getting Junior, Allen, and our regular crew making sure the car went back together properly and then scaling it before taking it to the track. Since then we’ve had 2 seconds in the heats, a third and second in the features. So to my crew and all those who helped get our car back together, great job, I would never have known the car was wrecked it was just as good as it was before the Kamakazi move off turn two at Delaware, in fact it may even be better.
Now to the final points race…..see, I feel better already.
Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win the points. As season came to a close we found ourselves much closer to first than any other year but still too far away to catch the top two, that is unless they didn’t start the feature. We did close the gap huge on Scott Lyons and were within striking distance of claiming a top 3 in the chase.
It was a cold day, but at least there was no rain in sight. It rained a lot on Saturday and was calling for rain the next day, but the day was quite nice. I can’t believe the Flamboro people pulled this off, they had enough foresight to announced last week that Sunday was the rain date and on this occasion they made the right call. Not to say they don’t always make the right call, but….oh never mind.
Our biggest concern was tires. We had to use a set that were run once before and had 4 heat cycles on them. There wasn’t really any other choice because most of our budget for the next three seasons was gone after extracting cement from our frame rails after the Disasters at Delaware. We knew the top cars would be sporting new rubber and in case anyone doesn’t already know, new tires usually work better in the cold. We got through tech okay and drew 19 for our starting spot in the heat. Last time we drew 19 it put out outside pole.
We ran the first set of warm ups with the tires we ran in the feature last week. Every one of them were well below 5 on the depth gauge. They were good enough for testing but not for competing, well not for competing seriously. For the second set we put on our better tires, the ones we ran the night before the APC 300. Those tires brought us a second that night. Lucky they weren’t on the car the next day or they’d be in tire heaven.
Trevor Monaghan was driving the Freedom Village car. He didn’t
have new tires either, but decent tires for his second start in the #9.
His first woe of the day was with the radios not working. Nonie
put them on charge the night before. I knew they were charged, but the first thought was they were dead. It turned out they were okay, one of the radio connections needed replacing. Trevor and his crew got it figured out. Trevor got out twice for hot laps and looked smooth. His times were improving each session, getting him to the high 15’s. His crew found a few things they wanted to change. The left front camber was too much and the right front caster was too far ahead. There was no way I could put the needed work on the #9 car during the week, to get it ready for him. I am still fairly burnt out from running two cars most of the season, not to mention the body abuse after some serious Crash Dummy testing at the big half, so any extra energy had to be saved for #36. I gave them the go ahead to make any changes they wanted. I appreciated the fact they came to me and asked about changing the car. Trevor got some good laps under his belt and the boys, Mike Steve and the other Mike, seemed to be tuned in on what they were doing. I won’t be running the #9 again in 09’ unless I go to Pennsylvania...(isn’t that the stupidest thing I’ve contemplated in the last few minutes?). Wow, I must be getting old because just thinking of going on that long drive is making me shake my head at myself. It’s times like this that a man wants to take hostage of himself….so probably no trip south to P.A. It seems after that comment, “probably no trip south”, you may get the notion the idea is still alive, maybe a long shot, a possibility…don’t tell Nonie, my crew or my banker. If we don’t go we could save some money energy and insanity and try Speed Weeks in February. I always wanted to be part of that……I must finish this story, the mind is wondering too much.
In our heat we started outside pole, so #19 wasn’t so bad. The only
bad thing was starting next to Jason “the King of Speed” Shaw. He sure was the King of Speed in this race. It didn’t take him long to take off and by lap six he was easy a half a straight ahead. We had a strong second, and I’m sure his new rubber had some advantage, well only on the lengths he beat us by, I’m guessing he beats us anyway, but not so much if we’re both on new tires. Scott Lyons was also in our heat grabbing third right at the end of the race. We gained one on the multi track champ putting us three points apart going into the feature. Trevor finished 6th and said the car felt very good.
Prior to the feature we did our normal routine. I was concerned how bad Jason smoked us in the heat, that we may not be a factor in the feature, especially with all the top guns on new rubber. However my crew reminded me that on the stop watch he was in the very low 15:5’s and we were in the high 15:5’s, so if we were a half a tenth apart it would add up over 10 laps. We talked before the feature on how our set up would be. It was cloudy and cool so Jim compensated for a tight situation. I had my sun glasses on when we lined up. Jason came over and tucked me in and then said “you won’t need the sun glasses”. He was right, I didn’t need them right then. I looked in the sky and the sun was behind some clouds and I have no idea why I didn’t give him the glasses but instead wedged them into the driver radio holder just in case.
This race was a big deal for us, but even bigger for Jason and Paul who were the same distance apart as Scott and I, only they were in a battle for the track Championship. There is nothing better than being the track Champion. Jason was going after his third in a row and Paul was trying for his first. I was as excited for them as us, but I really thought Jason had the best chance because for Paul to beat him by 3 positions in a 13 car field would be next to impossible, but for sure they would be in a fierce battle.
The track gave us hot laps. We were starting outside row two beside #42 Richard Holmes. Junior Farley was pole and Mike Bentley outside pole. Taking everything into consideration, it was possible we could get freight-trained. Jim was cool on the radio as we headed down the back chute on the white. He said “we’ve done everything we could to give you a good car, the rest is up to you”. Coming off four Bentley stayed even with Farley and I glued myself to him. Richard also got a good run and the four of entered turn one in a pack but no one out of control. Mike was ahead of Junior in the middle of the turn and we got a good run off of turn two to stay with #99 and pull along side the #72. Going into three Bentley was ahead and we were side by side with Farley. Another good run off put us in 2nd and Jim called out “clear low”. I was surprised how well the car stayed on the outside. It was very good, no push or loose concerns, it was perfect. The first 8 laps ran non stop and we caught Mike. He was running a fast high lane leaving a lot open on the bottom. The yellow came out when #42 and #72 got together. Jim then told me that Jason was heading to the pits because he got into the #72 as the car sat there. Randy Shaw said the front spindle broke on the #82 as he entered the turn at about the same time Richard and Junior made contact. Jason couldn’t get slowed up and hit Junior. Changing a spindle was doable after a heat or warm ups but not in the short time under caution. It was a tough brake for Jason and his team who were looking for their third title in a row. Jim said “looks like Jason is done, he’s out of the car”.
Now I thought, Paul is in 3rd and hopefully he knows that all he has to do is finish the race where he is to be crowned the track Champion. I said to Jim “go tell Chris Howse they will win the title if they be cool”. It wasn’t that I was worried about Paul. I knew passing Mike would require some patience and perfect timing because he was fast, young and likely half wild with his first feature on the line. “No need for everyone to get nuts, the kid is either going to make a mistake or not, and if he don’t he should win this race”.
On the restart going into turn one Mike got real high. It was the opportunity I was looking for. I got a run on him off turn two but was so low that our car got loose. I tried not giving it too much gas but as I slid Mike got back up to speed and was half a car ahead going into three. On the next lap he was a little stable coming off and we were right on him. Another lap went by and now we were so close to Mike that I had to run the middle lane so I wouldn’t hit him going in. On about lap 11 he got a little high in three and I went for the hole. If he had stayed up we may have completed the pass but Mike came down hard hitting our right front hard enough to cut the tire, knock the rad off it’s cradle and bust up the front fender. The starter leaned over his perch with the yellow flag rolled up and waved and pointed it in a warning fashion. Then another yellow came out. It was right after we made contact. I told my crew to check out the car because I thought for sure we had a right front flat, also on the lap after the impact the hood was lifting. The boys said the car looked okay but couldn’t give any verdict on the tire other than it was still up. On the restart, the final one of the race, we stayed right on the Bentley’s tail. Every lap we went into one and three we tried him low, and every lap he would pull us off the corner. I’d get behind him on the straights but have to drop down a lane so I didn’t hit him going into the turn. We did that ritual for 18 laps, and not once did he come close to making a fatal error. Finally the white came out followed by the checker. I pulled along side Mike giving him a well deserved thumbs up. I think my crew and I were as happy as if we won. We didn’t win of course, and with Scott finishing 4th, we missed 3rd in the points, but it was an awesome run for us. Mark Burbridge took 5th followed by Trevor who gave the #9 it’s best finish of the season a 6th in the feature.
Congratulations to Paul Howse , his family and team for a hard fought and well deserved points Championship.
Next week is Octoberfest and we’re looking forward to that race week end.

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Post by Gary » Sat Oct 10, 2009 2:06 pm

October 9th, 10th and 11th.....Peterborough Speedway

Race #24

High Lites
* 27 cars
* Brandon Watson Wins...almost everything
* Trevor has great run with a 6th
* We get burned by track on start position
* We finish 12th
* Very cold

1st Heat....#36...3rd....#9....2nd
2nd Heat...#36...2nd....#9...6th


both cars cosmetic

Jim, Marty, Allen, Mike, Ken, Linda

This is a little long...but you only need one coffee.
It was a typical Autumn Colors deal with a million cars, almost as many fans and cold damp weather. I like it because it gives me another chance to race, but what I didn’t like was the attitude of track officials to correct a blatant error on the way they scored me. “So at the end of this day, when you see you made a mistake, what will you say”? I asked. “Maybe you’re the one who is wrong, I have no time to discuss this anymore, I have to score this race”.
I was told I was wrong, they didn’t have time to change it and weren’t going to in spite of the fact they made a glaring mistake that had a serious impact on how we ended up.
Nonie and I got to the track around 4:30 Friday night. It was raining and the night’s races had already been cancelled. I went to the tower to sign in and draw for a starting spot. I drew #37 and drew #27 for Trevor.
The format was double heats. Each race was 20 points to win, 19 for second, 18 for third etc. Nonie and I watched a movie with the sound of rain tapping on the roof of our RV. We went to bed, I thought around 11:00. We got up at 9:am. Nonie said "do you know what time we went to bed last night"? "Midnight" I answered. "No it was 9:00". Wow, we had 12 hours sleep. I hadn't had that much sleep in one night in the past 35 years.
The weather was much better on Saturday, sunny and a little cold but not too bad. We had a short practice on Saturday after tech and our car seemed okay. I was scuffing in new tires. I assumed we had to run the same tires all week end, like any other special. The tires you qualify on are the same tires you must run the feature on. That’s what I thought, but I was wrong on that understanding. You could qualify on new tires and then start the feature on new tires. The only thing the same was pit stops or the competition yellow, you could only change tires if you had a flat.
In the first heat I was starting 5th. I heard that Larry Jackson was in our heat but I didn’t see his #84 anywhere. Then a yellow and black car came up beside me with a big logo decal with “Jackson” on it. The number on the car was #1. I thought for a second, “that’s weird, the car looks just like Vic Parson’s car, I didn’t realize that Larry painted his car black and yellow and had #1”. As I thought more about it, I remembered that Gary Jackson was a friend of Nonie and I back in the 70’s and I knew Gary had a trucking company. Maybe that was the Jackson name on the car, plus Larry had been running very well, and it isn’t uncommon for a top runner to pick #1. Earl Ross did it for a while, so did Stompin’ Tom Walters in the early 80’s. Anyway, I was totally unaware that the car beside me was my childhood hero Vic Parsons. I never thought he was racing against us because he was one of the top runners in Limited Late Models. I just wrongly assumed it was Larry. On the green we got a good start though caught in traffic. After a few laps, heats were only 8 laps, I got into 3rd. Mark Watson #02 from Delaware was in second, 15 or more car lengths ahead. Larry Jackson #55 won the heat, I didn’t know that until later. In Trevor’s heat a wild wreck eliminated Kelly Balsom #10 and Charlie Gallant #40. Both cars were beat up so bad they were done for the week end. Peterborough is a deceiving track, way faster than it looks. It’s because of the speed that’s carried off each corner. Cars are at full throttle from the middle of one and two all the way to turn three, but the back straight is much bigger than the front. Coming off turn four can be devastating if something happens because there’s no room for error and if a car gets loose or tags the wall, any cars close by will get collected. The packs comes off four and funnels into the wreck one car after the other. No one can get stopped, maybe because it’s hard to see the chaos until you’re on top of it. The wreck with Kelly and Charlie was only a two car deal, but it happened on the front chute just past the start finish line and so severe, the two cars would end up on the trailer for the rest of the week end. Trevor was able to not only avoid the wreck but get into 2nd place and hold on to it even though Shaun McQuirter caught him on the final lap. Shaun got a good run on the inside when the lower lane was left open going into turn one. Trevor got on the gas at the same time as Shaun and was hit exiting two. He got a little loose until he was hit again sending him almost 90 degrees around. McQuirter backed off at that point allowing Trevor to correct the car. Trevor held on for the runner up spot.
After our first set of heats I saw Vic Parsons and he asked me if I had any oil. His engine was causing him trouble and he wasn’t sure he’d make the second heat. It was then I discovered he was in my heat. I couldn’t believe it. Wow, I could race with my hero, but the only chance I was going to get seemed impossible because he was suffering engine trouble. I saw Dave Franks and asked him if he would get a picture of me racing with Vic if he got his car ready. Dave said he would. Unfortunately the damage to the #1 was too much and Vic wouldn’t be racing anymore. It was a shame, but unknowingly, Dave Franks did get a picture of us as we cruised around under yellow in our heat. That picture is on the front page of this site.
Vic Parsons was a great racer when I first watched him at the CNE in the mid 60’s. He drove a 55 Chev #9 sponsored by 400 Auto Wreckers with a big Cobra on the car. One night before the races started, my friend Stewart Pitchford and I went to the races around 5:pm. We always tried to come up with some way to sneak in. I didn’t like doing it, but we had no money, just enough for our streetcar tickets to get to the race and home. I’d been going to stock car races since I was five with my parents. Naturally they paid for my sister and I to get in. At 15 years old with no job, and no allowance from my folks meant I had no money. My heart pounded so much when I heard the Hobby cars back firing when they let off the gas during practicing that I just couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t wait to get into the grandstands. The temptation of sneaking in and not missing the race was too great. Stewart and I use to work for the CNE during the summer Exhibition selling food in the stands. We decided to go to the food manager and tell them we wanted to sell and that way we got in free…but we would go and hide somewhere until more fans came in then filter ourselves into the crowd and watch the races. This one time our scheme was working perfect. The manager was getting our pop trays ready and telling us what section we’d be in. Then he had to go somewhere. About 20 kids were there, most just for the money. Stewart and I took off running for the washrooms. However the manager came back and seen us running. He yelled out to us to stop but we ducked into the washroom. We quickly changed jackets (as if that would help). When we walked out slow he came running to us “hey where are you going”?…”To watch the races”. we said…”Where are your tickets”?....oh, oh, all we had were streetcar tickets. The guy knew we were pulling a fast one and then he let us have it, such a lecture that besides almost crying, I never ever went to race again without paying. He began his legitimate rant like this “DO YOU KNOW THOSE MEN ARE OUT THERE RISKING THEIR LIVES TO PUT ON A SHOW FOR THE FANS? THEY DON’T DO IT FOR FREE, BUT IF PEOPLE DON’T PAY TO GET IN THEY WON’T GET ANY MONEY AND THERE WILL BE NO MORE RACING”!!! Stewart was smirking at the guy but my eyes were welled up that I was ready to burst into tears thinking that I just let all my hero’s down. We were escorted out and told not to come back unless we paid to get in. Stewart had enough money to get our tickets. He said “let’s go back in this way”. “No” I said, “Let’s go in another entrance, I feel bad and don’t want that guy yelling at me anymore”. Stewart was stubborn and said “no were going back in the way we were thrown out”. In we went. I had my head bowed down in shame and Stewart had his ticket stuck way up so every one could see. He was sort of mocking the manager. The guy came over “wise guys eh”? “No sir” I said, we won’t do that again, “WELL YOU BETTER NOT”.
So in we went, my tail still between my legs. I felt like every racer was going to point from the pits and say “hey there’s the guys that tried to sneak in”. But then something happened that was incredible. One of the senior managers came out, a very big man, like my crew chief Jim and yelled out “hey you two come here”. We both jumped. I was ready to start crying again figuring they were going to give us our money back and throw us out for good. I was saying to myself “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”! But as we approached the man he said “how would you youngsters like to do me a favor”? I was still in shock from worry. “Yes sir”. We replied. Then he took this huge trophy from a stand and said “tonight is the Mid Season Championship, can you take this trophy to the pits for me. When you come back, sit in the box seats and here are some food tickets for you both”. “What, are you kidding"!! I thought to myself, this was unbelievable. So off we went to the pits. Practice was on hold while we walked around the outside of the front chute guard rail heading to turn three where the pits were. We took the trophy to the pit office and then stopped at two drivers pits. One was short with us and wanted us to hit the road, but the other was kind, answered all our questions and made us feel incredibly welcomed. As we walked away from Vic Parsons, I wanted to let him know that I would never sneak in again. After that encounter with the #9 racer, he was my hero for sure. In fact, it was his attitude that seared into my heart to treat fans as the most important part of racing. Thanks for that moment Vic, you’re not only a great racer but changed a kids heart teaching him the most important aspect of life is people. My second Late Model is #9 for both Andy Bathgate and Vic Parsons. My main car will always be #36 because he was my first hero.
When we went back to our new “box seats”, where Royalty, or people of high esteem sit, I was almost too embarrassed to sit there, but we had the tickets. We were the only two it that section. Soon the manager who threw us out showed up “hey what are you guys doing there”. Then the senior manager that put us there said “it’s okay, they’re my guests”…that story because I got to start in a race with Vic Parsons 47 years later even though I didn't know it at the time....now back to the race week end.
Our second heat was reverse start of the first. We started 4th. Anthony Simone was outside pole. He finished 5th in the first heat. He got the lead by turn three and I was right behind him. The full 8 laps we ran bumper to bumper. Both of us were a little loose off but we ran very well. The 2nd place finish put us 3rd fastest for qualifying. Trevor ended up 6th in his second heat, giving him 34 points. We had 37 points, Brandon Watson had 38 as did Kirk Hooker. Both had wins and a third. The win was 20 points and the 3rd’s were 18. Brandon was given the honor to throw the dice. This kid is not only blessed beyond belief with a great family, skill and awesome cars, his luck is just as good as he threw “snake eyes”, or two on the dice. That was the only throw that meant no invert. He earned pole on the track and in the mini casino.
That was okay for us because now we would be starting 3rd and Simone 4th. We had the 3rd best score…so we thought.
To our shock the line up sheet had us starting 9th. I was somewhat confused but then I reasoned maybe Brandon threw 10. I went to the pit tower to ask and was told that I earned 35 points and that 6 of us were tied with 35 and because my draw pill was 37, I was behind those other cars. I said okay, because at that time I trusted the handicappers addition. However when I went back to the pits my crew insisted the math was wrong. I didn’t really want to fight with them about it, but I did earn the spot and starting 3rd would be much better than starting 9th. I went back up to the pit tower and knocked on the door. I told the man inside that a mistake was made on the scoring for the Late Model line up. “We can’t change that here” he said, “go over to the guy wearing the radio’s and tell him”. “He is head of tech” I said. “Ya, but he has a radio and can get the people you need”. So over I go to tell him my dilemma. He said he couldn’t help and asked “who sent you here”? Then he told me to go to the main grandstand office and ask for JP and he would get it straight. Off I go and when I finally found the place where JP was suppose to be a cleaning lady asked me if she could help me. I told her my story and she was sympathetic but said “you’ll never find JP now, he could be anywhere”. About ready to give up, she said go into the employee booth and they should be able to help you. She was a nice person and was helpful.
I knocked on the door and one of the announcers came to the door and he too was friendly. I explained to him and he said talk to the scorer. Then I was with the same man who told me I had earned 35 points. “Yes Gary” he said somewhat agitated. “I should have 37 points not 35, and should be starting 3rd not 9th”. “I’m busy, I can’t change it I’m trying to score this race”. “Can you change it when you’re done, because it’s not right”. "No, the line up is posted and it’s final". I couldn't believe “So at the end of the day are you going to admit you’re wrong”? I asked. Then he looked at me and said “maybe you’re wrong”. The race he was scoring was under caution, but he refused to even consider looking into it. I was discouraged but figured I better get away in case I upset them and they forget to score me all together.
Anthony Simone asked me what happened and I told him. He was upset and asked who I talked to. Anthony was worse off than me. He was suppose to start 4th and was lined up 15th. He went through the same deal as me and got the same answer only he was way more upset than I was. There was a long driver introduction before the race, still giving them plenty of time to arrange us properly. Linda Dean came over to me and said “they’re talking about the line up and mentioned your name”. I thought, great, maybe justice will be served, but it wasn’t.
My crew chief Jim was upset, as were all our crew, fans and friends, but we agreed to just focus on the race and forget about it.
It was the biggest Late Model field in the past five years with 25 cars starting. This was our 5th attempt at this race and we felt we had a good top 5 or better car. There were some good cars here and we knew we were one of them.
The race was slowed down terribly with yellows. In the first 20 minutes we ran 3 laps. Finally we got a run of about 8 laps. Coming off four cars backed up and were spinning. I hit the brake and nailed Rob MacDonnell, not too hard, but hard enough to turn us around. The leaders came around and Brandon, who was leading, showed a lot of respect to me letting me get turned around waving me on.
That was the turning point for us. The car was okay but we couldn’t afford to be trapped in the back of the pack with much of the field half a second off the pace. On the restart that went 20 laps I passed many cars, moving from 24th to 14th but the leaders were gaining fast. On about lap 30 the starter was waving the mover over flag for us but we were in a pack of 5 to 6 cars. Finally I moved down on the back chute and Brandon went by. Jim yelled out “follow him”. For the next six or more laps Brandon lapped another five cars only I was right with him. Finally the yellow came out and I got the lucky dog. Unfortunately they sent me to the back again. So now I was on the lead lap but restarting behind 20 plus cars. On this restart we were in trouble because cars that were more than a half a second off the pace were side by side and battling. I was trying to pass high, low, whatever to get by. The starter was giving them the move over for me to get by but it wasn’t working. On the back chute I caught #81 Bryan Mercer, a very quick Kawartha racer who won this race last year. Bryan raced side by side down the back chute with one of the slower cars and I went outside to follow him but something was wrong, he was way off the pace. On the next lap I went high to pass Bryan but another car went low making it three wide going into three. Bryan was still ahead and I hit him at the end of the front chute. I thought he would pull up in turn one if something was wrong but he raced off turn two with me right on him and then he waved his hand out the window but I was on his bumper and slammed him hard. Finally I got under and came off turn four to the waving of the rolled up black flag. What was I going to do it was hard racing and Brandon was coming again, only this time with a train of his friends. By the time I cleared Bryan I caught another group of cars that were dicing. The pace was so slow and the leaders were gaining fast and they were bunched up. I let them all go by and followed passing a few cars with them but now they were lapping everyone and I could see I was in trouble. Finally another yellow came out, and we were not only down a lap but with at least two other cars ahead of me who were lapped after me, including Trevor who got the lucky dog.
On lap 59 the competition yellow came out and we talked about what we would do. Jim wanted to make a change to help the car off the corner better, so did I, only we had different ideas of how to get it done. I was wrong. The car was good in the middle and loose off. I wanted to raise the track bar more to get it through the middle better and add more front bar to tighten it off. Jim wanted to lower the pan hard bar and leave the front, because lowering the pan hard or track bar would tighten the car on exit. His way was what we should have done, but he went with my idea because it seemed right as well. We have been real good all year with our set up and I think had we started up front where we were suppose to it would have been different. Anyway I appreciate Jim going with my call but all I did was make the car tighter everywhere and that's not what we wanted at all.
We got back out on the track but way back. We were down a lap and hoped to get the lucky dog, but unless we got an early caution we were done. Plus the track was brutally slow letting us know where we were. Before the restart I wasn't sure if we were the 2nd or 5th bubble car.
Any hope of finishing in the top 5 was over, even the top 10 unless we got back on the lead lap in a hurry. With 45 to go we battled hard and lots of cautions came out but each time someone else got the lucky dog. Finally with 30 to go we were told we were the next car to get the lucky dog. Soon another caution came out and someone else got the LD, not us. By now we were almost running with the top 5 cars. A late race caution saw us restart 6th beside Trevor. We ran with the top 5 passing Trevor. Trevor and I had a good race for 10 laps or more. I thought for a minute maybe I’m on the lead lap, but I wasn’t. I also was thinking how bad it might be if we tangled and spun each other out because we were close. With 10 to go they sent me to the back, no lapped cars up front. Trevor was 5th doing an excellent job. In the closing laps we ran hard but had no clue where we were. I raced the #91, home track driver Don Hart but couldn’t pass him. Rob MacDonnell was right there with us. We ended up 12th. Trevor drove an amazing race finishing 6th.
After the race was over Don Hart came over and thanked me for running him clean. He showed me an award he received from Peterborough for 30 years dedication to the track. It was nice of them to do that for him. I asked him to come to Flamboro next week and he said he might. I also asked Mark Watson and a few other racers to come as well, so maybe we’ll have 20 cars for Octoberfest. Hey, that would have been the place for the Flamboro promoters to go and hand out some incentive to get cars to come out.
We were quite discouraged with the day, but didn't want to mess up Trevor's exciting finish. He was pumped and had every right to be, he gave the #9 it's best finish of the year. A top 5 to 10 was where we should have finished, maybe higher if we got our qualified spot, but when the sun set and the adrenalin slowed up, we had an okay day.
The cars have cosmetic damage but we still need to spend some time on them….special thanks to my Crew, Jim, Marty, Allen, Ken and Linda as well as Dennis and Mike for helping Trevor.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:06 pm

October 17th and 18th.....Flamboro Speedway


Race #25 (14th Flamboro show)

High Lites
* 14 cars Saturday
* 17 cars Sunday
* Howse wins overall
* We struggle finish 8th
* Trevor gets 9th overall
* Anthony Simone gets raw deal

1st Heat...#36...3rd....#9...2nd
2nd Heat..#36...NS.....#9...4th
1st Feature....#36...9th....#9....8th
2nd Feature...#36...10th...#9...15th


complete overhaul both cars

Jim, Jason, Marty, Allen, Troy, Mike Miller, Mike Monaghan and Steve Tew


First of all, our team wants to thank Doctor Bill Lyons for his tremendous help in getting our car running for the features on Sunday. Almost everything he did was text book basics, but he showed us to slow down and always think about what we’re doing next, so we don’t mess up a bunch of other things. He spent at least two hours with us on Saturday and the best part of an hour on Sunday. Bill knows racers can get themselves into trouble easy and quick. Thanks Bill, we appreciate all you did, and to the #52 team for lending him to us.

Famous quotes
1) ”we’re going to do whatever it takes to turn this around”. CEO from a floundering car manufacturer realizing they’re in trouble
2) “I’m not suck-holing to these guys” response from a local race track CEO when asked what he’s going to do in the future about low car count". :roll:

If there was anything alarming this Octoberfest, it wasn’t the lack of fans, but the lack of cars in every class. The Mini Stock had a good turn out but almost every other class was suffering huge. The fact this race was rained out two weeks ago didn’t help matters, but 14 Late Models on Saturday was close to shocking. It was by far the worst turn out in the past five years. OSCAAR had under 15 cars, the Hobby’s had less than 10 and the Limited Late Models started their feature with 10.

There may have been legitimate excuses why drivers didn’t attend. Too late in the season, upset for various reasons, no money left. Seventeen Late Models was a low very poor car count for this big pay day. However, what a fiasco it would have been if the 5 Late Model drivers who don’t come to Flamboro on a regular basis, #02, #38 #81, #98 and #95 didn’t show up. John Casale announced at the pre race drivers meeting on Sunday that Late Models will be back in 2010. I wonder what he is planning to do to get 20 cars a night, or at least 16 every night. Something needs to be done in a very proactive way to increase car count. One thing that won’t help is the continuing of crazy bad calls. The most blatant and foolish was disqualifying Anthony Simone from the 2nd feature for “deliberately bringing out the yellow”. Anthony finished 3rd in the first feature and was running 3rd in the second when he made contact with Kirk Hooker resulting in a right front tire being cut. He went into turn three high getting the car stopped. As soon as the yellow came out he hobbled off the track to get his tire changed. When he came back out, he was black flagged for deliberately bringing out the yellow. This was an insane call. How or why would they expect a racer to continue down the front chute at a crawl, or try to get off the track with his chassis an inch off the ground and do it safely? This rule was drafted to stop drivers who would spin out and sit on the track waiting for a caution. It should never have been used in the case of Simone. We’re having enough trouble trying to attract and keep racers. It seems there are too many dumb calls making race teams more likely to stay away than come back. I couldn’t believe the call and went to the tower to question it. It’s true, someone could have said it’s none of my business, but when our division only has 12 cars on a regular night and 17 for a special we all need to be concerned. What impact would that call have on other racers who heard about it and considered racing with us. They may feel the track is anti racer, and they may not be far from wrong. It’s like a business owner who constantly berates his staff, makes them feel unwelcome with never ending stress, then wonders why his business is failing with unhappy customers, or worse no customers. When you have staff that are happy, content and feel appreciated, it reflects on the work they do for the customers. In the case of racing, it reflects on the show they put on…poor car counts mean poor show, no cars means no show. Anyway, I don’t want to spend this report on being negative with the track, but I do feel to turn things around it has to start with them.
Our car was decent in warm ups compared to everyone but Jason Shaw. He was the fastest by far up until race day. Jason was turning times in the low 15:3’ about a tenth faster than the fastest cars. Trevor was good, a top 7 car all week end. Warm ups ended with us happy and ready to qualify. The only downer for me, at this time, was the lack of cars to put on a show. Only 14 were there for qualifying. We heard more would be out the next day. If you think about it, any race teams coming the next day had it much easier. Less to get in, less heat cycles on their tires and less tired.

We ran double heats. In the first heat we started 4th and got into 3rd. Our radio was incredibly bad static wise and I could hardly hear Jim. On the front chute about half way I was hit by Paul Howse who was all over me. We ended up 3rd and the first thing I wanted to do was go to tell Paul what happened and apologize because I felt I must have crowded him on the front chute when he hit me. Once I got to my pit I was going to head over to the #8 pit but didn’t when one of my crew delivered a warning message from Howse “tell Gary he better pick a lane next time”. That’s from the guy who won the track championship, the Grisdale Triple Crown, the most features and most money in 2009…delivered to a racer who runs everyone clean, and never screws him up…except this time when I got in his way. Wow, if I reacted, warned or threatened every car or racer that drove into me, chopped me or spun me out, I’d be in prison by now.
Trevor finished 2nd in his heat and looked strong. He’s feeling the car better and though he’s still a ways from where he wants to be, he is closing in quickly. The problem is he has to wait until next spring to get back on the track.
Mark Watson came to us asking if we had a fuel pump, because he wasn’t getting fuel and his car wouldn’t start. I went to their pit and found them scrambling trying to get the #02 started. After a while I went back to my car and decided I wanted to set the idle speed, the car had been idling high the past few weeks. Then, out of the blue the car quit. It restarted then quit again. We had no gas to the carburetor. This was weird, especially with Mark having a similar problem. It wasn’t so weird since we heard UFO’s were spotted over Niagara Falls, but who believes in UFO's. I went to their web site...apparently lots of people. After checking the float and fuel lines, we found no fuel coming past the pump. I should have done the basics, but decided it must be the pump. I ran back to Marks car to see if they still needed our pump and as it worked out they discovered a wire broke on the alternator and wouldn’t need it. We installed the pump but still no fuel coming through. We checked the filter and it was okay. Finally we removed the fuel cell cover and found a split hose. We gave it to Thatcher and he went to Grisdale’s and got us a new one. That was great and we appreciated it very much. He got it quick and we installed it but it didn’t make any difference, the car would not start. Bill Lyons seen us struggling and came over asking why we missed our second heat. We explained it to him and showed him the old split hose. The first thing Bill asked us was “how many things have you taken apart that could be potentially messed up”? Our crew all looked at each other and said “none”! Bill smiled and said “right”. Then he methodically began to trace the fault of no fuel starting with the fuel outlet in the cell all the way back up to the pump. The first thing we found was the fuel filter was reinstalled incorrectly. Next was the fuel pump. The one we put on, my spare, the one I gave Mark Watson to use was no good. It had been in our spare compartment for three years. I’m sure it was good then but it wasn’t now. Two hours later we finally got fuel to the carb but it still wouldn’t start. Bill removed the carb and set the floats and then it started. It ran good except for a hesitation and high idle. Jim asked Bill why the idle was so high and Bill told us the four barrel plate had to be adjusted. Looking at me Bill asked “when’s the last time you set the idle plates for the secondary’s”? Trying not seem totally lost I said “they’ve never needed it”. “Well they do now” he said. By now it was 10 pm and I was frozen. Jim asked how long it would take and what would be the advantage. Bill said “it won’t take that long and it will help your idle”. So off with the carb again. It looked like we’d be heading home soon. That thought warmed us a little. However, no sooner had we started to remove the carb when Scott Lyons came over telling Bill they were having trouble with their tow vehicle. Next thing you know Bill is under the hood of his Chev truck trying to get it to start. At this time, if we had internet access in the pits, we'd be checking the UFO sites for sure. This was crazy weird. All of our crew, except for Allen, slowly went home, mostly just tired, it was a long day and Sunday was fast approaching. Bill finally got his truck going and by 11:pm had our carb adjusted. I was happy to be on my way before frost bite or hypothermia consumed me. I got home in time to watch the final few laps of the NASCAR race. What a surprise to see Jimmy J win the race.
On Sunday we came early enough to reinstall the carb and listen to the car purr. The idle was lower and in the only warm ups we needed our car was quick. We took the advice of our competitor and picked a lane, the fast lane, and we were happy after warm ups. As neat as that sounds, we made a tactical error in the set up. We started 13th based on our heat performance. Trevor started 3rd. Kirk Hooker showed up Sunday and took scratch. He followed us for quite a few laps but was quicker. Our car was so tight it was painful. Jim radio’d to me to do the best I could and we’d get it fixed for the second feature. The first thirty laps went non stop. Then a caution came out with 20 to go. On this restart we thought we could gain a few spots but coming off four I almost spun out. Losing three spots was terrible moving us back to 11th. We got back two spots to cross the line in 9th, Trevor drove an amazing race finishing 8th. We were in a tight pack from 5th back.

We made some changes to the chassis. Raising the track bar, a little less bar and more stagger was the direction we took. The car was ready to go. Over the winter we talked to the track about the procedure for the second fifty lapper, asking them to consider inverting those on the lead lap, but they decided they would throw the dice using that format. The roll was 5, meaning anyone with half a brain and a UFO hand book could see there would be no hope for anyone 6th back making plans to go to the front. The top 5 were the fastest and having them restart in the top 5 spots was nice for them, not so good for the rest of us.
We restarted 9th, where we finished in the first race. After the hot laps I knew our car was much better than it was in the first feature. The first few laps went non stop. Then a caution came out. We were 7th gaining two spots. Scott Lyons had started 4th and lost a few spots then got into the back of #81 Andrew Gresel sending him around, but got a break and didn’t have to go scratch. On the restart coming off four #49 Ted Horsfal got side ways and headed to the inside lane hitting Simon Wild in the #106. I jumped to the outside but remembered seeing this deal a few times in the past. The cars spins to the low lane, the car behind has an open lane and goes for it but the car that spun turns back up and collects the car going for the hole and they both go hard into the wall. I had two choices, go for it, or wait and see if the #49 did come up. As it worked out he not only came back up but he almost hit the wall himself. I was already braking in case that happened and didn’t get into Ted allowing him to collect his car but it cost me as Mark Watson #02 got by me and Ted. The worst part was I still didn’t get by Horsfal. Letting him get his car right was all he needed to get going again. On the restart we ran tight. Trevor was having trouble but hanging on to 8th. A few laps later a caution came out when Anthony had his tire go down heading into turn three. I already talked about that deal. I told Jim that letting Ted go during the front chute deal was better than wrecking my car. “I lost a spot, but saved a car”. Anyway now I was 7th and would have to restart on the outside. Scott was on the inside and got me on the start. The yellow came out again and we lined up single file. Jim said you have the #27 and #9 behind you. I thought for a second to myself…”who is the #9”? What a moron, it was my own car and I just went blank. Too many laps, like those people on space probe web sites...too many UFO sightings.... On the next run again it didn’t go too long when Trevor hit the wall hard but flat. He did a lot of damage to the front and rear. The rotor exploded, but didn't separate and the quick change got moved over from the pan hard bar mount getting bent. Trevor was done, but he stayed out another lap or so because his rotor had not fallen off the car yet. Meanwhile I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t get a good lane. The high lane was only good on the chutes not on the turns. Suddenly Mark Watson pulled off the track. That put me in 6th place. On that restart I thought, finally I am going to get Ted. On the restart I good a good run but to my shock the car went nuts sideways and smoke billowed out the back. I kept racing and could feel the car getting worse. I had a flat and was in big trouble. I spun coming off turn four, some say I pulled an Earnhardt, did it on purpose, but I did it away from everyone. I headed for the pits when the yellow came out and Trevor was just exciting. I got close to him and then the #9 quit. He got it going and we both headed to our pit pads. He had a broken rotor and I had a right rear flat. We changed it and got back out just in time. Trevor was done, he was sad, no doubt he was doing good until that happened. Like any racer he wants to be on the track, not watching. Unfortunately Richard Holmes was in the pits with a rotor issue as well. It wasn't his rotor, it was a piece of the one that flew off the #9 car right into the center of Richard's rad. His dad took out the foot long piece of the rotor and gave it to Trevor. That was good it didn't go through the windshield and that no one got hurt.
I restarted at the back and needed four laps to get our old wore out spare heated up. Finally I caught up to a group of cars. We ran bumper to bumper for ever. Our car was just fast enough to make moves but not pass anyone. I did gain a few spots getting to 10th but soon the leaders were coming and I had to get down. Once everyone who was going to lap us did there were only two laps left. We ended up behind #91 Scott McGillvary in 10th and 8th overall. Scott did alright. He usually has bad luck at Flamboro but got away all weekend unscathed. Paul Howse won both features. Trevor ended up 10th overall.
We have a show this week end in Hamilton at the Airport. It ‘s a fund raiser for the United Way. We were at this event a few years ago with our Hobby car. Once this is done we’ll make plans to rebuild our car and dethrone Howse.
Our crew were awesome this season. We all learned a lot and though we need a few weeks off, I can’t wait to get the rebuild started. In the past 5 years the Late Models have gone from 15:8’s to 15:3’s and even into the 2’s. That’s where we're headed. We'll keep everyone up to date on what we do. Thanks for visiting our site and reading the stories. We leave this season with no regrets, no grudges and no casualties. We thank our God for everyone who has crossed our path and look forward to doing this again in 2010.

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