Diary Of A Season 2011

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

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:15 pm

August 21st..... Sunset Speedway

Rained Out...Re-scheduled


High Lites from our team
* Bob Pereira represented our crew
* Nonie, Shirley, Gehrig & Lauren were there
* it was a stress free day in spite of the rain out
* Dave Baker offered to help us..he did a little (was visiting everyone..lol)
* our car was stupid loose, an easy fix, but it rained
* we turned 14:7's on old tires and a loose car
* a good time would be the 4's and 3's if things were perfect
* we added a little weight...had to be 2950 after heat races
* everyone gets a 50 pound break after feature
* lost it coming off two, got totally sideways, almost into Jason Shaw
* almost walled it correcting for the Jason Shaw deal......ended good

High Lites
* 21 cars
* race re-scheduled for Friday night September 23rd...8pm
* Most of the field Champion status
* Mark Dilley wanted to run the race but the last deluge ended it
* Mark Dilley spoke to every race team
* many track officials came by to greet us
* it's not that bad of drive
* Bill Grisdale showed up
* the cars that were there are locked in for September 23rd
* they will run up to 26 cars
* they may also run twin-50's or something...or just the 75 lapper

Some Of The Stars...Missed A Few...Sorry To Them

Sunset
* Tom Walters
* Tom's spare car
* Dwayne Baker
* Billy Zardo Jr. (3rd)
* Mike Bentley
* Bruce Rankin

Delaware
* Jesse Kennedy
* Mark Watson
* Jamie Cox

Barrie
* Gord Shepherd
* Al Inglis

Kawartha
* Dave Morgan
* Dan McHattie
* Larry Jackson

Flamboro
* David Elliott
* Jason Shaw
* Shawn Chenoweth
* Steve Laking
* Brad Corcoran
* Jeff Lancaster
* Me

Jeff Lancaster was debuting in the #33 Late Model, giving his son Jason the night off. He did okay as well.

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

Post by Gary » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:15 pm

August 27th.........Flamboro Speedway

Race #19

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Jason Shaw wins first feature (from August 20th)
* Brad Corcoran wins tonight's feature
* David gives up points lead for now
* 3 engines break Steve Laking, Jason Lancaster & Scott Gibson
* We get a 4th and 5th
* Best run for us in 2011

Results
Heats
#36.......5th
#37.......3rd

Rained Out Feature
#36.......4th
#37.......2nd

This Weeks Feature
#36.......5th
#37.......4th

Winnings
August 20th
#36.......$350
#37.......$600


This Week
#36.......$300
#37.......$350

Repairs
routine...change fluids...some cosmetics

Crew
Bob, Gerry, Gehrig, JJ and Gordon

Conclusion
We decided not to fool around anymore with used tires. It’s just too hard to compete and even though there is a worry of covering up a bad handling car with new rubber, odds are, if you’re close, old tires will only keep you from getting where you need to be. It’s a good idea to get close on older tires, but to expect the same times is senseless. We had new tires, and they went on the car for the full night including two sets of hot laps.

There were 18 cars out, a great turn out for Flamboro. Jim Sweers more than likely came because it was a double pay out. He ran well finishing 2nd in his heat race, but for the first feature, he decided to go scratch.

The first race of the night was the rained out feature from last week. We were to start 7th but when Jim went to the back it moved us to 6th. On the green we stayed outside for a few laps working on Steve Smith and finally getting by on lap three. That put us fourth with Kevin Benish #95, Brennan DiDero second and Jason Lancaster #33 third. We caught Jason quickly and after two laps running behind him we got by coming off turn four. There was a big gap behind us, I thought maybe Jason let me go so he wouldn’t get freight trained later.

Now in third we caught the leaders and followed them for another four or five laps. I wanted to be patient and not get into anyone. Brennan was right on the bumper of the leader. Kevin doesn’t run here that often so he may have struggled a little and Brennan has a few wins under his belt and can get around the track pretty good.

I was soon under pressure from Jason Shaw who easily ran us down in a few laps. We were over half way when Jason dove down on the apron to get by me going into three. He also body checked me out of the way as well. Not nice, but with time running out on the points chase I guess roughing up competitors a little will be the norm over the next few weeks. I know my fans are tired of me being hit or run into, and just for their information, so am I. There are only a few cars that seem to get into me this year and lately Jason has been one of them. It’s not that serious and maybe I got to be more aggressive with the cars in front of me. I can’t see hitting someone to pass them, perhaps I’m missing something. Plus, I pay the bills on my car, not someone else. There are lots of reasons to be careful and not be banging other racers. The biggest problem is the track, it’s too narrow. If it was wider I would have been on the outside of the leaders but there is no lane, unless they were turning times in the 16 second bracket. Jason would have went outside as well, but he to knows there is no lane.

Anyway once he got by we were in 4th with a line up of five cars in a train behind me. It would end on about lap 18 when Brennan hit Kevin in turn two spinning him out. We all checked up and no one else was involved. I thought for certain Brennan was going to the back but he didn’t. I have no idea how they arrived at that deal. Kevin was never given the warning flag or told to pick a lane, and he was leading the race, so how does the leader get spun out and the car hitting him doesn’t go scratch. Three weeks ago Jim Sweers was running 2nd about a car length and a half ahead of Bill Lasaline and Bill checked up and I hit and spun him and Jason Lancaster hit and spun me. The track sent Jim to the back because they said he got loose forcing the third place car, Bill, to be spun out. That was a crazy call, Jim was ahead by a car length. Brandon was on Kevin’s rear bumper and hit him coming off turn two, that should have been easy. I was told after, the track officials said Benish spun on his own, well, not all of them seen it that way, but some did.

Brennan held the lead and on the restart he had Jason outside. Jason got by and then David who was outside of me followed Jason. I had nothing for Brennan. He was fast enough on his own, and ran the perfect line, that I could not get by. That usually causes me trouble. I try not to hit the car in front but cars behind me get stacked up and sooner or later someone takes a run on me because I am not hitting or moving the car that’s just a little slower. Brennan wasn’t really slow, though there were 5 cars behind him. Jason and David pulled away and we settled for fourth. I was disappointed because I thought we could do better.

We still have yet to crack the top three in a feature finish this year. My style of driving will only hurt me from better finishes because there is no room and I won’t hit anyone.

Meanwhile, the win for Jason will move him closer to David in the Flamboro points title series. We gained a little of Steve but are about 10 points behind him. It would be nice to finish in the top 5, a top three is almost out of the question with only a few nights left in regular points. We’re looking for a top 5 and this helped move us closer.

Our car was a little tight in the middle, just as I was getting on the gas, so we took out some from bar. That was the only change we made for the heat race.

August 27th Race
We started third in the heat right behind Bill Lasaline who was on the inside pole beside Jeff Stewart. Chris Boschler was beside me in fourth.

On the green Jeff took off getting the lead fairly quick, once out front the big Chevrolet engine is usually untouchable, especially in a heat race. As Jeff pulled ahead Chris moved beside Bill and I was right close on the inside right behind, with cars doubled up behind us. Suddenly Jeff pulled high and left the track, not sure why he pulled off, but now a fierce battle was on for the lead. Going down the back chute the leaders hit each other. Chris drove hard into three and Bill went hit hard and low. Bill pushed up a little and Chris pinched down a little and contact was made on the left rear wheel of the #3. The impact sent Chris sideways and turned Bill as he entered between turns 3 and 4. We were all bunched up and there was no where to go and I tagged Bill sending him around. The leaders crossed the line and it was not until the back chute coming off four when the yellow came out. I didn’t realize until after, that they counted that lap. I went to take my spot back but my number was not shown in the top four. I was upset and stopped in turn four to tell the flag man I was not involved. It’s all a part of the frustration this year for me, but I finally went to the back for the restart. Paul Howse went on to win with Brad Corcoran taking second and David third. Jason was running 5th and got by Chris on the last lap to take 4th and I followed him to finish 5th.

We made no serious changes for the feature. Our team is doing it right. Taking tire temps, watching the car and asking me how the car felt. Between the info we gather from those three sources, we make a guess on what to do for the feature. We didn’t do much, just made sure the tires were set and the stagger was right. Gerry wanted to raise the track bar and I think I talked him into raising it half what he wanted. In our racing there are no pit stops, so it has to be right when you go on the track. The narrow surface also means you won’t regain your track position once it’s lost if you have to stop in the pits during a yellow or if you get hit and spun on the track.

The points race is very close up front, the closest in the past four seasons. I can’t ever remember even when I was running full time Hobby cars, the Late Models having four cars so close, maybe two, but never four. Only five points separate David, Jake, Brad and Paul from winning the title. Meanwhile Steve Laking and I are having our battle for 5th. We’re 25 points back and as much of a long shot that is, we can’t give up our quest to try for a top three. One or two of the cars battling for the Championship may fall back, and if they do we need to be running strong in order to catch or pass them. Since 2005 our team has finished 5th the first year and 4th every year since. We wanted badly to win the title, but it really is out of reach for us because there are four cars ahead. However we need to run as strong as we can and gain on them every race were in. If one or two have bad luck we may be able to capitalize. Oh, and I’m not wishing that on David because whatever he does is good for me because I own the car.

We started third in the feature. Brennan was on the pole with Steve Smith outside. We got a good start and hoped to maybe get by and get out front. Unfortunately coming off four on the first lap I got hit and spun out. I have no idea why that happened. Brennan did not check up, neither did I. Perhaps Paul was on it much faster than me, but it was only lap one and we need to give the cars up front a little time to sort things out. Perhaps it wasn’t anything to do with Paul or me because the biggest craziest wreck happened in that turn with four or five cars spinning. I got on the gas right away and got back out on the track, losing only four or five spots.

Jeff Stewart and Jim Bowman got the worst of it. Jeff was sitting in four when he was hit by Jim, maybe a little on the late side, but the video shows it wasn’t that late although I’m not sure why Jim didn’t get stopped. The wreck did a lot of damage to the #56 and both cars needed to be towed off the track. Naturally I was frustrated because now we were mid pack with most of the fast cars ahead.

On the restart I got a break and moved into 7th and followed the pack into one. It’s funny, well not so much, but the track seems darker than it has been in years. Kids ask if our headlights are real, I’m thinking we will soon need headlights if it gets any darker.

On lap three coming off four Steve Smith hit the wall and that brought out another caution. That put us 6th on the restart. We moved into 5th and were now part of a long train from 2nd to 7th. Brad was out front, Brennan second, David third, Jason fourth, me and then Paul. David made a move under Brennan with more of us following moving Brennan back to 6th.

We ran bumper to bumper for the next seven or eight laps. Our car was perfect, but so was the other four in this freight train. Brad was the engine and the rest of us were the box cars with Paul the caboose. David glued himself to Brad but he was running fast and the only thing the fastest cars could do was follow. That we did until lap 14 when Steve Laking blew up his Crate engine, the second one of the night. It was a four year old engine and was doing some over time. Steve said, after the race, that he knew it was getting on but wanted to try to squeeze another season out of it.

I knew on this restart I would be in trouble. We would be starting fourth on the outside of Jason. David was in front of me outside of Brad. Here were five fairly equal cars tonight running the same times and two of them stuck on the outside, the Elliott’s.
David put up a strong fight on the outside and Brad gave him the room. Jason tucked in behind Brad making sure the only way David was going to get between him and Brad was if he became a license plate holder. Paul did the same, he dove in behind Jason. I saw it coming, no surprise, there is no way your going to run on the outside with equally fast cars on the inside…not possible. Some staff from Flamboro will say “Jason can run on the outside”. Ya he can, if the car on the inside lets him, and if the car on the inside is slower, otherwise he can’t, just ask him. There’s no lane out side except for passing and you’re not going to be passing a fast car, you pass a slow car. To get it so two fast cars car run side by side for a long time where the racing is legit, not because the inside car is backing off and not racing as hard, is to have a new, wider, progressively banked track, then we have the kind of racing that Flamboro so desperately needs. Okay enough on the track.

We ran tight and close for the remainder of the feature with Brad taking the win followed by Jason, Paul, David and us. It was a real good night for our team because we finally ran a strong race. We finished fourth in the first feature of the night, but this was much better and we ended up 5th.

Our crew have been awesome the last month or so and we're having a lot of fun in spite of not getting a top three feature finish. The points are closer now and our team moved into 5th just ahead of Steve after his engine trouble. We need to be on our program at home, in the pits and on the track. Our goal is still a top three and it will be tough but we’re going for it.

Next week is fan appreciation, kids big and small get autographs of their favorite drivers. Hope to see you there.

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

Post by Gary » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:15 pm

September 2nd........Flamboro Speedway

Race #20

High Lites
* 12 cars
* Jason Shaw wins
* David gets 3rd
* We wreck bad
* No full moon...lots of crazy stuff going on

Results
Heat
#36........2nd
#37........6th

Feature
#36........12th
#37........3rd

Winnings
#36........$210
#37........$400

Repairs
frame, front bumper, rear bumper, spindle, etc etc
could have been worse....no it was worse, could have been better.

Crew
Bob, Gerry, Gordon, Gehrig and JJ

Conclusion
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the poor car count. It was more like the past few seasons when mid season brought 11 to 13 cars on many nights. This year had been the best in the past 12 or more years with an average of 16 cars per night for the season. Our lowest car count was 15 a few weeks ago, but tonight was the worst of 2011. What’s worse is the fact many of the cars in the race were wrecked, us the most by far.

We had new wheels donated to us from Bruce Bennett. Bruce loaned me a set of 5” and 4” offset wheels for the remainder of the season. We installed them on Saturday morning and scaled the car. The results were very good as we gained .4% left side, moving us from 56.4% to 56.8%. The problem for running them that night was two fold. One, I did not have a spare matching set, they are on order and should be in next week, we ordered 5’s, we already have 4’s. Also, it was a very hot and humid day, so I decided against running new tires when our used ones would do fine because of the hot night. Not all drivers agree with that philosophy, some were running new tires.

Our first set of hot laps found a loose condition. We changed it for the second set and we were turning in the high 4’s and low 5’s. Most all the fast cars were the same except for Jason who was in the 2’s. Not sure how he was getting times like that. There are ways, but he was not a little better, he was a bunch better. Whatever his secret, it’s working. I’m guessing on a cold night if he keeps it up he’ll be in the high 14’s.

There was no drivers meeting. There hasn’t been one since the last Grisdale race. We rarely go without a drivers meeting, and not having one in almost a month is very uncharacteristic of what we've been doing here for the past few years.

We started outside pole in the heat race. Our car was fairly good after the second hot laps. We added a little wedge to tighten the car up.

I knew this would be a challenge starting outside on the front row of the fast heat. The challenge was getting by Steve Laking. To my surprise we did get by and held the lead for two laps. The car started to push. We didn’t think we made that drastic of a change, yet the car was too tight in the turn. Bob let me know that Steve was right on me and then he said “inside rear”. I didn’t want to get spun or mess Steve up. I tried running harder but the car would not turn, not as good as Steve's. I gave him room and he did get under.

As we ran side by side my car got a little loose coming off turn two. It was tight low and loose high. Steve got by passing me clean. He then pulled away. Brad Corcoran caught me while I was in the duel with Steve, but once we were in second, I pulled away from the #05.

After the race I headed for tech, I was very discouraged. Mostly from losing the lead. I could not figure out why the car was that bad after just a minor change. The track had not changed that much weather wise. Gerry coached me through my disappointment reminding me that 2nd was a good run and we were turning decent times in the mid 15:4’s. Back in our pit we talked about that run, analyzing what each of us saw or thought. We decided to make a slight adjustment again, this time towards the loose side, to help it turn in the corner.

A loose car entering the turn is the worst scenario for me, and is sometimes the hardest to diagnose if it's not real bad to the point of bringing the car around. When it's that bad, it's easy to read. There are times when I can't quite understand what it's doing. My conclusion in those instances is that our car is unstable. Gerry will read the tire temps and tell me what he found. Usually we are in agreement and the change makes sense, other times I am lost when it comes to explaining exactly how the car was after a race, especially with this car. The previous three seasons were not an issue.

They qualified three from that heat, putting us 4th on the start. Steve Smith #27 was inside pole with Bill Lasaline #22 outside. Steve Laking was 3rd and I was beside him on the outside.

On the start we got a good run staying with Bill who made a strong bid to get by Steve Smith. Bill made the pass off turn two and I followed him getting up beside Steve in the middle of three and four. This is when our night changed dramatically, and for too many others as well. As I got on the gas to get a good run off of four the rear of the car broke slightly loose. Normally that might be okay if circumstances were different. If I was at the back, or if I was even a little ahead of the car behind me. Neither was the case, we were almost in second, and the car behind was right on my tail. As the car fish tailed coming off four, Jason Lancaster had no time to react and got into me enough to propel me down to the inside lane. I hit Steve Laking and the car immediately turned fast and hard into the outside wall. I could feel a sharp pain in both my ribs and neck, just for an instant as the car climbed the wall and almost got on it’s side. I thought for a second the car was going to roll, but most of the energy was used up slamming the cement. Once off the wall, with the brakes still jammed to the floor, the out of control car headed down towards the inside lane catching Paul Howse as he went by busting his suspension. That was too bad for Paul, he was an innocent victim, as were some of the others who headed for cover to the infield.

When the car settled, and steam began to rise from under the hood, Bob asked me if I was okay. I tried to answer him but my button was knocked off the steering wheel, so after his second call to me I waved out the window and Gerry saw it and let Bob know.

I finally climbed from the car to a nice applause from the fans. It took a few minutes to get the car on the flat bed because the front end was so beat up. I stood on the back of the truck and rode around waving to the fans. All the way from one end to the other the fans were showing their care and appreciation. Very nice.

We got to the pits and I asked the tow truck driver if he would take the car home if we could not get it in the trailer and he said he would. Jason Chapman gave Bob and Gerry a hand stripping the front end down so it could be loaded.

I went back up to watch the restart. They only went a few laps when the leaders got mixed up sending both Bill Lasaline and Steve Smith into the dirt.

That gave the lead to Brad Corcoran with David right behind. A potential disaster was developing in this scenario and most track officials should have known about it, especially after what happened in the heat between these two. No one in track management seems to have the insight to prevent things from getting out of control. If they took a few minutes to look into some on track hostilities, they could talk to the driver’s, or driver and warn them. That is not the case at Flamboro, mostly because they don't know what to do when things happen, so there's no way they can help prevent them, only react once they occur. The scenario developing was from the incident between David and Brad in the heat race. After our heat was over I went to David’s pit to see how he finished and noticed him standing in the middle of pit road waiting for Brad to come out of tech. I didn’t go over because he looked very upset. David was put on probation for the remainder of 2011 by track management for un-sportsman like driving. It was a letter that was very biased and certainly bound to put pressure on David, as it would any driver, especially if that driver was leading the points, as was the case for David. His issue with Brad was that the #05 ran him up the track in the corner. David was upset and gave Brad a verbal warning. I’m not exactly sure how it all worked out, but when I saw them restarting side by side, I hoped there would be no issues.

David got a great run off four and drove his car hard into turn one. He was a little ahead going in and further ahead in the middle. Brad pushed up into David, sending his car high, costing him the ground he just gained. I knew that wasn’t going to be good. David come off two and the two hit again twice on the back chute. I would guess that David was upset and showed his disapproval. Neither driver knew on the back chute that Brad’s right front tire was losing air. As they entered three David was ahead barely but Brad’s car did not turn, going straight ahead, sparks flying under the car, and taking David up into the wall between the turns. David got out of his car and had words with Brad. I really don’t think very many people knew Brad’s tire was down, surely his crew members didn’t because they were absolutely out of control yelling and screaming as David came in the pits to have his car checked over. Brad was still on the track and eventually came in. Even a few of David’s crew did not realize the tire went down because they were wondering why Brad would drive into David going into three. Obviously what happened in three was not from either driver, it was a result of what happened going into one, between one and two and heading off turn two. Drivers need to know they can hit me and I won’t say or do anything. David takes after his Mom :lol: and you won’t be able to rough him up accidentally or otherwise without some kind of same treatment back.

David headed back out on the track. I tried to calm him down, but he was furious, still. I gave him the relax sign as he drove by me by placing my hands out in front of me palms down, and slowly pumping them up and down to indicate “take it easy”. The next pit he passed was Brad’s and he didn’t get the same sign, although a lady did approach him with her hands waving, yelling and one of her fingers pointing up, I think. I would say she was as mad as David, on second thought, she was as mad as everyone on the 37 team combined. Brad had the inside lane and I think he should have done everything he could to make sure he did not run into David, maybe he did, but they made contact and the rest was history. I know when I’m on the inside whether I’m at the front or anywhere, I try not to hit the car outside, and one of the reasons is that I don’t wreck my own car.

When Brad was towed into the pits I went to the passenger side of his car and sure enough his tire was flat. I asked Brad if his tire was flat going into three.
He was standing on top of the flat bed and was mad, not like David or his crew, but clearly upset as well. He said “he ran into me coming off two”. I said “I saw it, but you hit him in the middle before that”. Brad did answer me and say he had the flat entering three.

Brad is a good guy, I like racing with him. Here are a few things that helped make this deal bad.
* David has held the points lead for most of 2011
* Brad won the feature the week before, wanted 2 in a row
* Four cars running for the title
* Lots of pressure this night to stay close
* David is on probation and has to be clean
* Double file restarts on a narrow track
* There was bad blood earlier in the night

The recipe from this concoction produced exactly what happened. After the heat race John Casale asked David what happened. John immediately got bomb-barred with a ton of issues from David and his team, but mostly the fact that David was tired of being hit when he tried to pass other cars. John just shrugged, and maybe that would have been a time to talk to the drivers to tell them again, to show respect and give racers a lane. It didn’t happen, and the scenario here was like a “have at it boys”.

David restarted 8th and soon got to 5th. Shaw was leading and pulling away, Laking was second and Jason Lancaster was third. Brennan DiDero drove an awesome race as those two and David got into a hard battle for third. Brennan got by Jason and David followed. After that long run the yellow came out when Jason Lancaster stopped on the front chute with an electrically dead car.

On the restart David was outside of Brennan. Brennan drove extremely hard all night and did not let up or give David the position. David got into third and stayed with Steve and Jason eventually taking home third. Brad made it back out though a number of laps down.

The win for Jason moves him further ahead of David in the standings for the point lead. The pressure is off David now, though he hasn’t given up. Shaw’s car is so fast he doesn’t have any worries, however if things tighten up over the next few weeks and he gets roughed up, I don’t expect any different reaction from Jason than we seen from David. It could be a two car race.

Meanwhile our team, though discouraged, realizes we got a tough break. The car was a little loose, but circumstances made the whole thing much worse. We are not blaming anyone, and will get our car fixed.

Junior Hanley came by Sunday morning and looked at the car. He gave me a list of things to get, and we’ll start on it Monday. It’s not as bad as our wreck last year, that was a $3800 hit. This one should be under $1,500, I hope, we will know more tomorrow.

Special thanks to my crew Bob, Gerry, Gordon, Gehrig and JJ for helping the car ready to load on the trailer and to Jason Chapman for lending us a hand. Much appreciated.

Next week is the Food Bank night at Flamboro. Please bring any food items for our community, they desperately need our support.

We will have our car on display at the Royal Coachman from 11:30 until 2:30 to help get donations for the food banks.

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

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:15 pm

Sept 10th.........................Flamboro Speedway

Race #21

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Jeff Stewart wins
* Non stop feature
* Points Championship Jason Shaws to lose
* David 2nd but battle is close with top 5
* We're out of it but should keep 6th...yes disappointing

Results
Heat
#36.......6th
#37.......4th

Feature
#36.......9th
#37.......7th

Winnings
#36.......$225
#37.......$250

Repairs
none....nice

Crew
Gordon, Debbie and Scott (Pete and Jim from #37)

Conclusion
What a week we had getting our car fixed after the hard whack September 3rd. I was physically okay the next day other than a sore hip. I though for sure my neck would be as well, because the seat I have is not as good as the one in my other Late Model, the one David is doing awesome in. My whole body wrenched hard to the left when the car slammed into the wall. It was immediately after making contact with Steve Laking. We were exiting turn four and I got loose and turned down to the inside lane, not much, but enough to get driven hard into the front straight wall.

The impact was very sudden, no time to react, I just held on. I felt a sharp pain in my neck and lower left side. The neck was a result of the seat not having the support coming from the back along my left side. The right side of my seat extends out to the front of my helmet. The left side turns away from my head at the back of my helmet pointing towards the window net. It makes it easy to get in the car but doesn’t stop my head from moving left. I should be secured solid in the car and not be able to move side ways at all. My Hobby car is the same and it looks like I’m in for at least two seats in 2012.

Hey Gary, what about the Hans Device”.?
What?
“You’re an idiot”!
Okay, I agree and I'm sure 2012 will be my year to commit to using the neck protector so my head won’t go too far forward.

Anyway, I was okay, other than being sore in the kidney area on my left side. I didn’t feel any pain after the crash, it was the next day, like always, that I felt a little discomfort, but really nothing to complain about. Adrenaline is amazing.

At the same time I was getting my neck stretched to the left, the chassis of our car was getting it worse. We lost a lot of expensive parts like a radiator, plastic engine fan, upper right control arm, right side spindle, ball joint and some thick bolts. It wasn’t as bad as the wreck in 2010. That August night was my worst crash ever. It happened down the track another 100’. There was more speed factoring in, making it a very hard crash. That one is on you-tube. Put in hugawug3 and then 2010 racing or crash, or Gary Elliott. It shows laps 52 to lap 60 of the final Grisdale Triple Crown race and the crash on the back chute that started in turn two when Jason Shaw slowed up as he came off the turn. Jason was having trouble, and was hitting the wall every lap, he decided to slow up. I was behind Todd Campbell and swung out high off two, I didn’t see Jason slowing down, and the chain of events leading to the historic crash started right after that. That crash is #1 all time on our list of many bad wrecks.

On my way home from the races on September 3rd I wasn’t too worried about my personal injuries, I knew they were very minor and also knew where to go to have them checked. I also knew who to call for my Late Model. Before we were half a mile from Flamboro I got a hold of Junior Hanley and asked him if he would take a look at the car. He said he would drop by on Sunday morning. He came by and assessed the damage, told me what I needed to get and we started on Monday. His amazing skill and workmanship was a wonder to see. He is like a mobile jig, just incredible to watch.

When he was done, Bob and I did the rest of the repairs getting the car completed all but the front bumper. I called Jim Sweers, he had one of my spare front bumpers. He said to drop the car off on Thursday night and he would get at it Friday. Bob went over on Friday and worked with Jim for 4 or 5 hours getting it all done. My grandson and I picked the car up Friday night. We left it in the trailer so we would be able to head to The Royal Coachman for a show we were doing Saturday morning to help support the local food bank.

Thanks to Junior, Jim and Bob for helping me get ready, and all those who helped us at the track the Saturday night of the wreck, even at home, getting the car unloaded. The car was ready to go racing by Friday night.

The food bank event went well. I think next year we need to advertise it more in the local newspapers. We posted flyers in Waterdown, like the one on the front page of this web site. However, the turnout was not as good as we hoped. There were lots of people at the restaurant, they didn’t realize we were doing an event for the food bank. Next time it will be different.

Bob left early and was going to meet me at the track. Since the beginning of the season, the dozen names we have as our crew has dwindled to three over the past month. Gerry, Bob and Gordon. Gordon only takes pictures and I don’t want him doing anything. Gerry has been great but had to take some time off, and when we left the restaurant I got a text from Bob that his grandmother was in the hospital. Family comes first, so I let him know to be with his family. When I got to Flamboro it was just Gord, Debbie and I.

During the week I got a call from Scott Gibson, #88 Late Model driver, who blew his engine a few weeks ago and offered to come out and help. I said for sure, not knowing we would be in big trouble crew wise this day. Scott had to go to Sarnia and wasn’t sure if he would make it out, but was going to try his best.

Once at the track we unloaded. Gordon doesn’t usually do much on the car, so he was working harder than normal with setting up the pits. Then Debbie came by, early just to be with Shirley. She offered to help and was great. Neither of them knew any of the tools or what to do for pre tech or where I wanted things, but they were willing to help. That’s when I knew tonight was going to be a different kind of deal for me. I was tired, limited crew, I couldn’t ask Gordon or Debbie to do more, and I wouldn’t ask David’s crew for help because of the insane battle they’re in with four other cars for the title. I was happy to be back at the track, although in 43 years racing, with hundreds of crashes, we rarely missed any nights, or failed to get back out the next week. I missed two nights from smashed race cars in the early 70’s, one or two because of no tow vehicle and another 10 or 11 from blown inline engines that couldn’t be rebuilt in time…couldn’t find a pull pin….okay, not nice, but in 33 years Nonie and I put out over $150,000 in six cylinder engines, $5000 a year average, some were less, but many were double or triple that. So, my point being, inline engines kept me away from racing, that to was not nice, wrecks didn’t. I digress.

There were a few considerations that made me decide that tonight I was going to play it different. I was tired, funds were tapped from this wreck and were slowly getting depleted for the most part. We are 6th in points, can’t lose 6th and can’t catch anyone in front. The difference between 5th and 6th in the points standings pay out is $100. Hardly worth driving on the edge for $100, although the top five is worth it. I really didn’t want to finish out of the top five, but this was a year of struggle and with the season winding down, I couldn’t see being foolish and taking a chance of wrecking the car again. If all of my crew were there, all 12 of the names that are on my car, and all 12 worked on the car during the week and said “let’s go after the win”, I would have been all over that. But when I unloaded the car and began preparing the pit area, I could see this was going to be a hard night if I tried to race my car like normal. I was also committed to a Community Fest show in Waterdown on Sunday, and then again next Saturday morning at Calvary Baptist Church, another community event. It was better for me, for one night, to be careful rather that face what awaited Bob and I during the week if I crashed again. I would also miss at least one of the two commitments trying to get the car fixed.

All of this going through my mind was battling the other side of racing that reminded me not to forget about the fans that came to see me race. They wouldn’t want to know I was giving up, even for one race. Also I was reminded that if one of the top five cars had trouble we could be back in the hunt. So I knew I really couldn’t just get in my car and stay at the back, that wouldn’t happen, I just had to be very careful with so much going on after the race that was important. I did tell the people who asked me to come on Sunday “I will be there if I survive racing Saturday night”.

We tried something different on the car this week. It was before we wrecked, and became a lesser importance after the wreck. However, thanks to Bruce Bennett for letting me try out some new wheels. They moved us from 56.4% left side to 57%. He looked at my car and wondered why my inside wheels were out so far. Once I replaced the inside 4” offset to 5” we gained a bunch of left side percent.

Scott did show up to help us. He was a huge blessing. We made two sets of hot laps. The car was off a little. I was in the 15:5’s but the top 5 were that and some in the 4’s. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but over a few laps a tenth becomes car lengths. We made some adjustments to take out the push and were ready for the heat race.

I checked the line up board and I was to start pole in the fast heat. A heat with five drivers battling for the top spot right on my tail. If I was in the 3’s, where I have been on some nights, no problem, but when I added the line up starting pole, to the existing reasons I had to take it easy for the night I made a decision that was a no brainer for me. I went to the tower and told Bob Monroe I was taking scratch. He said “if you go scratch in the heat, you will be scratch in the feature”. I knew that and was okay with it.

In the heat I started 8th. There were 16 cars out, another decent car count. Flamboro has had it’s best Late Model season in 15 to 20 years. Over the past 7 seasons we’ve seen nights of 16 to 20 cars but a lot of nights with 12 cars. Only once that happened in 2011 making this year the best in many years.

I was able to get by Brad Corcoran early in the race and follow David. I also got up beside Shawn Chenoweth who was getting freight trained on the outside (like everyone else who try’s to run out there). I thought I had Shawn going into three. I was up to his back wheel and thought he would stay up but he dove in hard and low. I had to get on the apron to avoid hitting him. That was an example of a time if I needed that spot that we would have touched, but I didn’t need it that bad, not this time. I felt for sure I was in there, but I also know my reputation is well known among my peers and they take advantage of the fact that “Gary will back out”. Gary only backs out because he doesn’t need the expensive repairs and he doesn’t need the angry competitors and their families coming after him. It’s better to back out most times, but I wonder how many of the “out patient crew members and families” (only the minority for sure) that go absolutely nuts when their car gets hit, ever say or think “hey he backed out, that was nice”. There are rare times when a driver thanks another driver for backing out or running them clean. I also know there are drivers who will go over, or are sent over by their crew to apologize to another driver for chopping, slamming or driving into them and not giving them a lane. Surprisingly that doesn’t happen enough. Some figure it’s okay, eventually it catches up and that’s when they find out it never was okay. As for Shawn, it was okay this time, I was cool with it. After all, Flamboro is a very narrow track and there is really not much room to manoeuver these cars. Shawn usually runs clean. We ended up 6th. David was in a crazy battle for third and a lapped car caused mayhem when Laking got sideways, as did Howse, David checked up to avoid Paul and Jason scooted by on the outside taking second. Jason is the car David has to beat and it seems lately that everything is going Jason’s way. That’s how you win titles, it’s about prep, set up, driving, power and luck. You can have four of five, but more than likely you need all five to get it done, and luck is sometimes the key.

Scott spotted for me, it was his first time. We talked about what I wanted, lots of feed back, and he did a great job.

In the feature I started 16th. We have been racing the past few weeks under the light, there maybe more than one, but the track is very dark, so I say light. During the day we only need one light, the sun. At night we need this arena to be lit up and it’s part of my discouragement with Flamboro. This is by far the most potentially successful track in Ontario, yet it runs weekly with no sign of the major face lift and capital investment that it desperately needs. Young kids ask if my headlights are real, I’m thinking it may be time to convert the decal to bright lights.

I saw an episode of the Twilight Zone back in the 60’s where a UFO or something took a town and moved it. It would be good if that could happen with Sunset, bring that beautiful racing center and drop it in Freelton. That may seem like a long shot, but I’m thinking odds might be more likely that will happen than the owners investing in their business at Flamboro. Last week I was told the owners figure their track is worth $10 Million. If that’s true why not invest 20% and make it the best race track on earth. Then we’d have the short track racing entertainment center of the world. I got to move on, or the next thing I’ll be saying is that I won the feature….another long shot it seems.

On the green, to my surprise and dilemma, it would be the only green, I stayed with the group in the back. The very fast cars were in the middle to the front and some of the close fast cars, those who are only a little off were in front of me and some at the front of the field. After six or seven laps I got into 11th and then 10th. I caught Brennan DiDero and Jason Lancaster, but knew that would be it. They were quick and it would take a lot of patience and some luck to get by.

We soon caught a lapped car. I thought for sure the lapped car would stay down but he didn’t. Brennan was coming off two and the lapped car of Matt Balog was in the middle of the track. Why his spotter didn’t tell him to get out of the way is beyond me. Going into three the lapped car was now right in the middle of the turn. Brennan made a move to get under him, while both Jason and I were right on his tail. Coming off four the Matt then decided to get out of the way and chopped down in front of Brennan trying to get to the inside, where he should have been half a track earlier. The #24 of DiDero hit Balog, got himself sideways, then got hit by Lancaster who had no where to go, and ended up spinning to the infield. That’s part of the luck I was talking about. Brennan was trying to be cautious and gave way more respect to the lapped car than he got back and it cost him. Meanwhile I was behind Jason and as I tried to take off and follow Jason the #77 slid up towards the outside wall. All of this happened very quickly and when I saw what looked like another wall encounter for me, I backed off. In doing so Matt got straight and it was safe for me to pass but now I was 5 car lengths behind Jason.

The race would go green for it’s entirety and we crossed the line in 9th place. Jeff Stewart won the feature. He started near the front and held off Laking and Howse. David finished a disappointing 7th but let his crew know that both Jason and Brad ran him clean. “Jason gave me lots of room on the outside I just couldn't get by”. Brad took advantage of David’s long hard run on the outside and was able to get by for sixth. “Brad ran me clean as well”.

We ended the night without a mark on the car. I have to thank Debbie my niece for helping as well, she had no idea when she came to the races that she would be an emergency crew member. She brought some items for the food bank drive and was very helpful during the set up of our pits before practice.

Next week is the last night of Flamboro points. David can still win. He can drive his heart out like he does every week and even win the race, but Jason needs to have some bad luck for David to win the points. Paul Howse is only a few points behind and second place is not a given, in fact, if bad luck were to hit David again this year, he could lose a few spots although second seems the only spot. Steve Laking has been running very well lately. His car is working well and he’s capitalizing on it. It should be a good night for the point’s race, the closest battle in many years.

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

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:15 pm

September 17th....................Flamboro Speedway

Race #22

High Lites
* 17 cars
* Paul Howse wins
* Jason wins points title
* David and Paul tied for 2nd
* We finish 6th in points
* Shawn goes postal....well, he wasn't happy that's for sure
* Flamboro staff want to know what David did to upset him
* Actually David wasn't involved, the track won't be either

Results
Heat
#36.......2nd
#37.......4th

Feature
#36.......7th
#37.......5th

Winnings
#36.......$250
#37.......$300

Repairs
none

Crew
Bob

Conclusion
The final point’s night came and went. The end of the 2011 season now down to one Late Model race event. This was seemingly to me, one of the shortest seasons ever. This season could be summed up much like Champion Jason Shaw’s last few nights, “it went by very quick”.

Entering the final Championship race event, our team was looking for a chance to win a race. David was going to be battling for second, as Jason had an eleven point cushion. David only had three points on Paul Howse, so his focus was to do all he could not to lose second in the point standings.

During the day our team was on display at the Calvary Baptist Church community event. It was a great time for Bob and I as we were able to show our car, promote our sponsors, Flamboro Speedway and give the kids a souvenir autograph card.

We got to the track early. Warm ups were okay. I could not believe how hard and fast we were hitting the chip. We ran used tires, it was point less for me to buy tires. I didn’t think my lap times of 15:49 were fast enough. David was in the three’s but the eye opener for me was Jason Shaw’s times, many in the 15:0’s, a half a second faster than us, fast enough to lap me in a thirty lap race if we started side by side. How would that be, how is it possible for one car to be so much faster than the rest. The last two laps I timed him I got a 15:04 and a 15:08. Everyone was getting the same times. Everyone was wondering how it was getting done, but the track tech manager didn’t seem to care too much when I mentioned it to him. He said “I’ll watch him”. I said “maybe you should be checking him out”. I can’t see Jason getting his season turned around like this to be that much faster. I do remember that Jason was the only racer sticking up for Shane Maginnis when he was turning times much quicker than the rest of us. Shane’s car was controversial to say the least, but Jason didn’t see it that way, he said “Shane just makes me try to go faster”. I’m okay with that as long as the cars are the same, all within the rules. I’m not saying Jason isn’t, I’m just blown away by his Super Late Model times.

Everyone else I timed was in the low 3’s, but then I didn’t get every car every lap. It’s true when it’s colder out the cars should go faster, and his car certainly sticks to the track. He isn’t hitting the chip as hard as most. We use to burp the cars a little, now most of the top cars are on the chip for two car lengths or close. Junior says that’s okay. I’m guessing the Shaw team has found something within the rules that is making his car much faster and the rest of us are either going to have to change or park our outdated cars. I also think he is looking at the 14’s before he’s done, he’s on the edge of that now. It just seems a huge leap from most everyone including him being in the 15:5’s and 4’s most of 2011. I mentioned here before that he was very fast the past few weeks and seemed to be under the radar of most everyone but a few of us.

We only took one set of hot laps. The car was close. In the heat we started inside pole beside Shawn Chenoweth. I knew I would have to get a good start to beat him to the start finish line. On the green I did just that, got a great start, my spotter said going into one “clear high”. Wow, I was that far ahead already. Then reality set in and the yellow came out. It wasn’t for an accident. I said to Bob my spotter and only crew member for the night “I think I might be in trouble for jumping”. We got the one to go again and as we approached the start finish line, Ding pointed a rolled up flag in my direction, in other words, "watch yourself". Bob thought Shawn missed a shift, I think Shawn knew exactly what he was doing and didn't miss a trick.

On the next start I waited a little longer. Shawn slowed us down even more going into three. He was beside me on the back chute, but as soon as the pace truck pulled off he backed off a little, I couldn't see him anymore. I said to Bob “he’s playing games”. Sure enough going through three and four I waited to make sure I didn't jump again, it was just long enough to get in trouble. Shawn took off in third gear and blasted it into fourth. I raced him hard into one but he was ahead enough to pull away off two.

Coming off two on lap one Brad was outside of me. I didn’t hear any clear high from Bob so I held my lane and Brad and I still touched. It was very close. Finally coming off four I heard “clear high”. By now Shawn was 4 car lengths ahead, maybe 5. Over the next 5 laps I caught him and tried a few times to get under but was unable to make the move. Brad stayed on my tail with David right on his bumper. At the checker we crossed the line in 2nd place. A decent run, but all I could think of was I got tricked, but I guess Ding didn’t see it that way.

After the race I went to Shawn's trailer. He and his crew were talking about the race. He smiled when I told him good race, but when I questioned him and asked him what he was doing, he said “you should be shifting from third to fourth”. If I had done that, I reasoned, I would have been all over the chip coming off four or blew up my transmission going into fourth. Regardless, he knew he was playing games, laying back waiting to get a run.

Bob and I were happy with second and decided to wait to see how cold it got before we did anything to the car because of the temperature. To be honest, I was somewhat discouraged from what I saw with Jason in the warm ups, I don't know what change we could make to get 3 more tenths.

Donny Cox called me over after the heat races and said to me “I checked Jason’s time in the heat”. I said “what, in the heat”? He said “ya, and you were faster than Jason, so was your kid”. I asked Donny if he was drunk. “Why would you be putting a stop watch on a car that was at the back of a heat race to see how fast he was going”. He said, “I checked it out like you asked, and by the way, last Octoberfest, Paul Howse was turning 15 flat”. I patted him on the shoulder and as I was walking away I told him “hey that’s great, keep up the good work”. Fifteen flat last year, okay, what was the sense in me even mentioning that to him, it was pointless. He probably thought I was upset because I was so slow, but the truth was I had a concern and most tracks that followed their top cars with any consistency would wonder why one car all of a sudden jumped miles ahead of the rest, and himself. But not here, I just had to surrender any hope of anyone checking into it because it would never happen.

Jason won the points, not because of any reason other than he had 12 more points than David and Paul at the end of the season. I wasn’t challenging the points race, it was the speed of his car and how much faster it was than the known top cars, who are now, compared to him, the slower cars, even if we were turning in the 2’s.

The night got very cool. Our car was a little lose in the heat but did not touch it for the feature hoping it would work out perfect. For the most part it was perfect, in fact everything was perfect in the Late Model feature except we got freight trained for the 5th time this season.

The feature started with 16 cars. Matt Balog #77 was inside pole with #27 Steve Smith on the outside. Matt won the heat race and I felt we may have a chance. Two months ago I would have known our fate because our lane would be putting on the four way flashers. I knew Steve was fast as well, he won a few weeks ago and has been getting better every week with his crew of Allen MacLean and Greg Rauscher. I told Bob I couldn’t read this deal but knew I had to keep glued to Bill Lasaline #22 who was right in front of me. Bill wasn’t going anywhere unless Matt took off.

Going down the back chute Bill waved his hand out the window. I guessed he was indicating to me to be cool on the first lap. I knew what he was thinking, that if Matt didn’t go in hard we’d all be jamming on the binders. On the green I stayed right with Bill and sure enough as we came to one we were stacking up. The outside lane was already on the move. Getting freight trained is when the lane your in gets passed by the lane your not in. It gives you time to move stuff around in your car, adjust the roll cage padding, the mirror etc, because you won't be racing until everyone behind you is gone.

For the next three or four laps all I heard was “outside, outside, outside”. Finally Bob said “there’s one more car coming and then you can get out”. We had just dropped from 5th to 15th in four laps. I was upset, but knew it was a possibility it could happen. That’s about five times this year and quite disappointing.

Once I was given the “clear high”, a comment that came shortly after Bob said “one more car and that’s it”, I moved to the outside lane. I’m really beginning to think it is better just to go scratch and take advantage of one of the two lanes being a bus lane.

I just shook my head knowing any chance to win a feature this night was removed by the freight train. In the past few weeks a few of the top drivers have dove in on the apron to get by the cars in front, but in doing so, changed the status of the drivers who were racing on the outside. That move makes it very dangerous for the racer who is running in lane two, and now in lane three, because Buddy is not going to get freight trained. Lane two barely exists on the straightaway and by name only in the turns. There is no lane three, it’s known as the wall. The apron isn’t for racing, maybe for getting out of the way, but not for passing or dive bombing cars in front. When a driver uses that lane and makes it three wide he should be black flagged because it puts the other cars in danger of wrecking. When you stick your peers three wide and into the cement, it can cause them a lot of grief, you to, because they will be looking to return the anything but sportsmanlike move back in your face. Best not to partake in that racing strategy. It works in Mini Stox because the cars are narrow, tiny and can go close to four wide, but that’s it.
Anyway, the thought of going to the apron to pass never entered my mind. By the time we fell back to 15th my spotter was heart broken as well. It sure ends your night in a hurry if you had any plans to try and win.

The goal now was to hope for a top five, but odds on that were high. We got by Bill Lasaline who also went scratch. Bill gave me the lane and I’m sure his spotter was saying the same thing. I was soon catching the #77 who was still riding the inside lane. Coming off four I went high and to my surprise he moved from the inside lane to the outside right in front of me. I had to check up at the start finish line so I wouldn’t run into him. “Are you kidding”? Where was his spotter, did he not know they just got passed by every car in the field but three and one of the two cars stuck in his lane was coming by on the high side. When I checked up it cost me a lot of momentum. I caught him on the back chute and thought maybe he’ll move over and let me by like he did everyone else, but he didn’t, he was now in race mode. I was upset, and though I like Matt, and maybe it wasn’t his fault, but I had to let him know that first he should have went scratch if he wasn’t going to race the cars on the start of the race, and secondly, why are you blocking me on lap 5. We raced into down the front chute and I tried going inside but he dove down hard and I checked up again. However coming off four I got into the rear of his car and pushed him sideways enough to get him headed for the infield, but not enough to spin him out. I went by and waved my hand out the window, maybe I shook it, I was unhappy for sure.

The next 9 laps went caution free. I was able to catch up to the pack to the cars running up to 10th. The caution came out on lap 16 when #50 and #00 got together. Jason Lancaster locked up the brakes and spun and got a little damage, but because the track was blocked he was given his spot back.

On the restart Chenoweth and Howse were up front. Sparks flew when they touched between turns one and two. Word is that Shawn crowded him taking Paul high. Paul was upset and slammed into Shawn coming off turn two. This scenario was very similar to the one between David and Brad.

Paul did get the lead but Shawn tried twice to take him out, the second attempt getting Howse sideways. That prompted the starter to black flag Shawn sending him to the rear. I noticed us passing the #89 but didn’t know why until after the race.

The remaining dozen laps saw two battles between Paul and Jason up front and then a pack of six cars from third to eighth.

David needed to get by Steve Laking who was all over third place runner Brennan DiDero. Steve would attempt to pass Brennan and David would try Steve, but neither were going anywhere. Brad was right on David and I was right behind Brad. It was another kind of freight train, only in this one I was the caboose….still at the back.

At the finish it line was Paul, Jason, Brennan, Steve, David, Brad, me and Jason Lancaster. After Paul got the checker flag in turn four Shawn came up behind him and spun the #8. That action got Chenoweth tossed for the night.

Congratulations to #82 Jason Shaw and his team for winning the points Championship. They ran very strong the last five or six weeks, like another kind of freight train…man there are all kinds of freight train scenario’s in my world. Jason is a classy racer and works hard on his program, but I got to find out how he got into the 15:0’s, something is going on there and our team needs to know before we race him again. There is definitely something he has either bought or made for his car that is making a huge difference in how he is getting through the ends….and I need it. But meanwhile, congrats to him and his team for a hard fought and clean Championship run.

David had his own battle on his hands. There was no catching Jason for the title, David had to concentrate on keeping second. He beat Paul by one spot in the heat and that would prove large with Paul’s win and David’s fourth.

David worked hard to get into 5th, if he hadn’t Paul would have clinched 2nd in the points. The second place tie was the topping of an incredible money making season for David and my car. He won the Grisdale Triple Crown series and took second in the regular points, quite a feat for the Waterdown Warrior.

Our team ended up 6th in the points, quite discouraging for certain. We hoped for a better year but could not get the handling of this car at all. We had some bright spots, finishing 3rd in the Grisdale Triple Crown series, grabbing two poles and four wins, but overall we were anything but satisfied.

After the races a ruckus started in the tech garage when Paul was being teched after his win. Shawn went down to have a few words with Paul and a mob from the other side of the pits came in to watch or stand by in case mayhem broke out. Shawn said some words to Paul and Junior Hanley, but there was no fighting or damage to property.

We have one more show at Flamboro for Octoberfest. This Friday is the Sunset Speedway Late Model Open, and the final show of the year is Autumn Colours at Peterborough. Three more races and then we’ll get some rest.

Special thanks to Bob for doing double duty. It’s very hard running a team with just the two of us but we did okay and had a decent run considering the bad luck on the start.

[u:1m3hnu8v][i:1m3hnu8v][b:1m3hnu8v]Shawn Chenoweth[/b:1m3hnu8v][/i:1m3hnu8v][/u:1m3hnu8v]

[b:1m3hnu8v]Over-blown......I said on another post that Shawn should get a time out, but I really think this is over blown.

During the feature, on the restart of a very narrow track, two cars were trying for the lead. A very similar occurrence happened two weeks ago with #37 and #05. The inside car pushed up into the outside car and the outside car retaliated coming off turn two by banging down into him. It's almost identical in terms of what happened. Tempers flared, Shawn reacted after the race was over on the track and in the pits

Compare the incident with Shawn and David to this one. there is no comparison, none.
The damage to David's car was much greater and the actions in the pits were much more serious.

The fact Shawn went to the tech building to confront Paul is not a surprise when things happen on the track, adrenaline takes over and people react. The fact a mob followed Shawn is not his fault, most of them he didn't even know. There was another mob from the other side of the pits as well, mostly to make sure nothing happened. Nothing did happen, nothing but yelling.

If you were going to throw Shawn out, you should have done it on July 30th.

After the deal on July 30th most here didn't care that David was put on probation, it was a joke. The track management used the excuse that David must have instigated Shawn. As well, John Casale said David was put on probation for exiting turn four after the feature and endangered his staff. David did it to avoid going by Shawn's pit. Paul did the same thing, exactly the same thing. Now the Flamboro management thinks David did the right thing on July 30th (like everyone in the pits did that night) by exiting turn four and avoiding that potential confrontation.

I know Shawn reacts over the top too many times, but this time wasn't the one to give him the maximum penalty. He should aplogize to Junior Hanley, but that's up to him.

It's easy to point at the bully, and Shawn knows he fits that role. But we need to make sure if you're going to penalize him or anyone else, or write someone up, or put them on probation, to make sure the penalty fits the crime.

If Shawn had waited until Paul came around and then dumped or wrecked him in front of the pack or took him out to mess up his points chase, that would have been much more serious, and Shawn could have done that easy, but he didn't and it did cross his mind. If he did wreck him when he came around, it could have cost Paul over $1000 just in points money. He dumped Paul after the race to show his displeasure for what he thought was a pay back due for being roughed up.

The track should apologize to David for writing him such a ridiculous letter and putting him on probation for the final 2 months of racing. They also went over the top but I'm sure they'll never see it. Sometimes I think it's totally political and that's much worse than anyone losing their temper

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

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:15 pm

September 24th.....................Sunset Speedway

Race #23

High Lites
* 22 cars
* No David
* Ryan Kimball wins
* Brandon Watson wins pole
* We finish 5th
* Four racing cautions

Results

Time Trials
5th

Feature
5th

Winnings
$850

Repairs
complete check over for Octoberfest

Crew
Bob, Shirley, Jason and Gehrig

Conclusion
Its tough for some teams to prepare for special races away from their home track. It usually requires extra costs such as travelling, different tires and some times accommodations. Add to that the likely hood of rain and the possibility the race may be rescheduled. With those options in front of you, the thought of not going, though tough, may seem to be the only sensible solution. Add to that dilemma crewmembers who may not be available for the rescheduled race, the fact you haven't bought tires yet (because you don’t want to be stuck with them), and you don’t want to waste gas driving for an hour and half only to get rained out, and you soon have enough reasons to cancel. These concerns are part of the process some teams have to go through when deciding what to do when rain looks like it's going to ruin your plans.

The other thought or in my case, I look for every chance to make sure I will be at the race. I buy my tires, make sure my crew will go, and if for any reason they can’t make it, that’s okay, but I am going anyway. If it turns out the show got rained out, then we make best of the drive and the car is ready for the next race. We lose the money for gas and a few hours, but the gamble is worth it because I don’t want to miss a race if at all possible.

This scenario played out the past week when David had to make a decision for the Friday night race. The weather forecast was calling for tons of rain Friday right through until late Saturday. David told his crew on Thursday afternoon they would not be going. Most of us didn’t know the race would be rescheduled for the next day, because it was the Velocity 250 and there would not have been anytime to fit the Open Late Model show in. However a creative promoter decided to move some of the qualifying to Sunday and free up time to fit in the Late Model Invitational. Weather was still an issue.

I talked to David on Friday night and told him the track was rescheduling the race for Saturday. David was hoping it would get moved to a later date because it was still calling for rain. The promoters had access to the same weather information and decided they would run the 100 lapper on Saturday.

We weren’t certain of the weather, but when I checked the weather channel on Friday night after talking to David, it sure looked like it would be clearing up.

Our car was loaded on Thursday night. I was ready to unload it Friday night until I heard the race was rescheduled for Saturday. My crew chief Bob was willing to go, and though there was only two of us we looked forward to the trip and the chance to race. To our surprise the weather Saturday morning was beautiful. There were blue skies and no threat of rain....we were going racing.

We headed out at 8:30am. David meanwhile was helping his nephew and niece with their go-karts and also seen the disturbing sights of nice clear skies and no rain. Now he wanted to go but could not call his crew back, they made other plans, he also had no one to go with him and at my request loaned Rick Schurr his trailer when I asked Friday afternoon. I felt bad for David when I heard he was scrambling to make it to the show and had he known a day or so before the weather was going to clear he could have done it. I did say on Thursday that we don’t know for sure what the weather will be like in two days, it could change and change it did.

Bob and I arrived at Sunset Speedway a little after 10:am. We found a nice spot somewhat full of water from the heavy storms they got the night before, but a flat pad long enough for our truck and trailer.

There were 22 Late Models. On August 21st there were 21 Late Models but a few didn't make it back. David, Shawn Chenoweth, Tom Walters, Dwayne Baker and Sean McQuirter. Brandon Watson was driving for Dwayne Baker who was banned from this meet because of the deal with Tom Walters the week before. It wasn’t clear if Tom was away because of the injuries he received the week before or because he didn’t want to change his car over for this race and then back again for the next day. Shawn was running in the OCCAAR race on Sunday and David was wanting bad to be here but couldn't put things together in time.

We made two sets of hot laps on old tires, trying to get the car set up. It wasn’t bad, but we couldn’t get much below 14:6’s. Some cars were in the 4’s. We made more adjustments, put on new tires and again the times improved only by fractions, not in the 5’s or 4’s. The car did feel okay, but not fast.

We drew #25 for time trials, second last car out. Brandon Watson set fast time hitting just below the 4’s with a 14:398. Jesse Kennedy and Jamie Cox were 2nd and 3rd with times in the 4’s, Jason Shaw was 4th fastest with a 14:5 and to our surprise we got our number on the score board with a 14:6. My laps were anything but fast to me and I thought for sure I would be much slower but going through the corners smooth paid off giving us 5th quickest.

After tech we found some issues with the car scale wise with our chassis weights. I felt my corner weights were too low on the right front and left rear. I decided to put more static wedge in the car. The last thing I wanted to be was loose. The front straight can hurt you if you spin coming off turn four.

Our race was not going to be for another three hours. Once everything was done I decided to try and get 30 minutes sleep. With all the noise it seemed impossible to get any sleep but when you’re beat you can sleep under any conditions, unless you’re suppose to be on the track.

At about 7:30 we took the cars out on the track and we’re told to stay in our cars for driver introduction. Many drivers got out but I stayed in. My daughter Shirley came over to the car while it was sitting in turn one. Bob was spotting from the bleachers in turn one and Shirley and Jason, Jim Nagy’s nephew, were going to crew from pit row.

Announcement

Prior to the race I told Spencer, the track announcer, I had something I wanted to say before the race started. He came to the car and said to the fans “I understand Gary has an announcement to make, maybe the Iron Man is finally retiring after 43 years”. Then he asked me “Gary you have an announcement, are you retiring”? I said “no way, this is our 43rd season. Nonie and I have enjoyed this journey very much. We spent our first three years at Cayuga in Mini Stocks, then most of the past forty at Flamboro. During our travelling days with the CVM, one of our favourite stops was Sunset Speedway. We loved the way we were treated by the fans and staff. Because of that, in 2012, we will be making Sunset Speedway our home to race Late Models”. Spencer was excited and got the fans going....PS...we also love our fans at Flamboro Speedway and appreciate their support for the near 40 years we raced at Flamboro.

This has been a topic of conversation much of the past few years and even more this season. I always wanted to see Flamboro Speedway reach the level of professionalism in terms of facility that it desperately needed. I worked hard trying to keep peace in the Late Model class and bringing as much as I could week after week. I worked with the track on many fronts but the most important aspect to me, and many others, was the facility. The track surface is in dire need of upgrading. It should be wider and banked, the lighting is far too dark, and the pits are incredibly dusty. Unfortunately it’s clear there is no plans with the current owners to do anything to improve the track, at least not as of the past two years or more. Sunset Speedway has been one of my favorite tracks over the years, and with the changes they made, it became, in my eyes, the best track for me to race on. The announcement wasn’t with tears, but more with joy. That isn't to say I'm not sad about leaving, I am, but because I know where I'm going, that's what gives me the joy.

We do plan to race Flamboro Speedway for a few specials in 2012, as long as the racing doesn’t conflict with Sunset’s schedule. The same commitment we had at Flamboro Speedway will be given to Sunset Speedway. I know things won’t be perfect, but I really like how they structure their pits and staffing. There are more staff and they are all very friendly. It’s one thing for the owner to welcome you, but when his staff does, you know the foundation the track builds its policies on, come from the top.

We will be looking for a good Limited Late very soon. Shirley doesn’t want me to sell the Late Model I have, but I really don’t have any more room to keep two race cars, wait three. We’ll see what the next few weeks and months bring and then we’ll know for sure.

Once the driver intro was done we started up and got ready to race. Brandon won the pole and threw the dice, he got snake-eyes, meaning he would start outside and Jesse Kennedy would be on the pole.

The format for this race was different than any I had experienced ever. There was a Competition Yellow planned for lap 60. At that time the cars would come into the pits and have 5 minutes to top up fuel, make any changes and add one tire only. We had to pre mark the tire we wanted to use for the Competition Yellow. I wasn’t worried because I wasn’t planning to use any new tires. The thing that made this Competition Yellow different than all others I was in was that the leader would throw the dice again and the field would be inverted. He would also get bonus bucks for doing that. If he threw snake-eyes he got nothing. A three to six paid $100. A seven to 10 paid $200, an eleven $300 and twelve’s or box cars paid $400.

On the start of the race I knew we were in trouble almost immediately. The adjustments I made prior to the feature were too much. The car was very tight and pushed hard every turn not allowing me to get on the gas at all. I soon fell back to 8th then 10th and finally 16th. It seemed all cars were very fast and even though I didn’t think the push was that bad, it was apparent, the car had to be much better than it was.

We raced 30 fast laps and then came the first yellow. I called to Shirley and told her I was coming in and wanted to raise the track bar, (pan hard bar), a quarter inch. “Back off the bolt four quarter turns”. Shirley was nervous and decided quickly to get one of the crewmembers from the #21 team to help get it done. I’m not sure who that was, my apologies, but he jumped in right away and made the change for us.

We restarted 20th on lap 31. The next 30 laps also went non stop. The car was much better. Bob was awesome on the radio letting me know what was going on, telling me my strengths and encouraging me every lap. We fought hard to pass cars but struggled to get by because though there’s lots of room to race side by side, you have to get outside to do that. We moved up to 11th place and the yellow came out again, only this time for the “Competition Yellow”.

I told Shirley as I entered the pits “no changes to the car”. It was very good and competitive. I could have made another slight change but really didn’t want to take a chance of making it worse.

During the 5 minute break Brandon Watson rolled the dice again. He rolled two the first time. This time he threw 12 and picked up an extra $400. I knew I was 11th and the track staff walked by our car and pointed to Shirley saying we would restart second. I wasn’t worried because the car was much better than at the start. Raising the track bar a quarter inch seemed like it may have not been enough, but Bob and I discussed earlier in the day that raising it half an inch was too much, and that theory was right because the minor adjustment was perfect. Thank you #21 crew member.

The #55 of Bruce Rankin started inside pole and top runner Gord Shepherd #10 from Barrie was right on his tail, restarting third. I knew I would have to get a good clean start but I didn’t want to get on the gas too soon and get loose coming off four.

We entered turn three side by side and Bruce was a little slow getting on the gas allowing me to run with him down the front chute. We entered turn one and I went to the outside. Again I wanted to wait a split second longer because of the huge pack of cars behind me. However Gord got things exciting right away when he got under Bruce coming off two heading down the back chute. Bob was yelling “go, go, go”!! I was doing my best to get ahead of Bruce, but there was another serious element evolving on the back chute, it’s called three wide. Bob finally yelled clear, but I decided to stay where I was and enter the turn higher knowing there were three of us heading into the turn. I wanted to give them room in case they went in deep and slid into me, dropping down to the low lane was not a consideration for me at this point.

Coming off two Gord was inside and we raced into one. On the back chute Bob said we were clear and for the first time in a few years I was leading a feature. That was really weird, but what was even more over the top was Bob telling me that I was pulling away. By lap 70 I had a 12 car length lead over 2nd. I made sure every lap I went in low and came off easy so I wouldn't lose any time. My hopes of winning my first feature in three seasons, and my first feature over 40 laps came to a crashing halt when the yellow came out on lap 72.

On that restart #16 Kimball got by me. I knew we were in trouble because we couldn't run well on the inside, our car wasn't as quick when it was pinched down. It wasn't that they were pinching as much as it was just racing and giving each other room, but there was much more momentum on the outside.

Once Ryan got by Steve Laking pulled up beside me. Again I could not prevent him from getting by on the outside. It wasn't that we could not run on the inside, we were okay handling wise, just not quite fast enough.

The three of us ran together, although Ryan pulled ahead slightly. We ran this way for 18 laps. At one point we were a straight away ahead of fourth. On lap 86 I went hard into three trying to keep with Steve and the car got sideways. I was so sideways I thought I was going to spin. I got corrected and knew it was because I went in too hard, too high and made a big cut to the inside. I caught back up a little but for the most part I knew I was not the car to win this race unless something happened to the leader, he was hooked up.

On lap 90 we got another yellow. This time I was third with Chris Morrow. Jesse Kennedy was now 5th. With 10 to go I had to be cool and not get spun or drive in too hard or not hard enough. On the restart Kimball got the lead but Laking was right beside him. They ran side by side for a few laps. The starter pointed the flag at Ryan for crowding Steve in the corners. I stayed with them with Chris outside of me. Once again on lap 92 the yellow came out for a spin in turn one.

On this restart Kimball got a good start and I made sure glued myself to his rear. We ran hard into one. Our car was good in the corners stability wise, but we just couldn't get on the gas as quick as I needed. Coming off turn two Ryan went high again pushing Steve up and I stuck my nose inside. He pulled away but I stayed with him going into three. As we came off turn four with six to go the starter again waved the rolled up flag at Ryan warning him to pick a lane. Coming off two I got loose because Chris was still outside and I had to run as hard as I could and not get into his lane. Doing that got my car loose off and Steve was able to get into second. I needed to get ahead of Chris but we stayed side by side lap after lap.

With two laps to go Chris got in front and now I thought I was free but Jesse was now outside of me. I couldn't get up and on the white flag he to got by but that was it. We finished 5th and were very excited with a great run.

Congrats to Ryan Kimball and his team and special thanks to the #21 for helping us on pit row. Here's a good one, they help me on pit row and guess who finished right on my bumper at the finish....#21.

After the races many people came over to wish us well and encourage us. A family came to me and looked concerned. I said hi and they said "we thought your announcement was going to be that you were retiring, but it was worse, you're leaving Flamboro". Then the dad said "we've been cheering for you for years and it won't be the same if you leave". I appreciated their thoughts and explained that I needed to come to Sunset and run on a track that was brighter and offered much more racing room. They understood and the wife asked me "will you come back to Flamboro anytime". I said yes I would be coming for specials. I also suggested they ask management to build a new race track and that would help make better racing at the track.

This was a great night for us. David would have loved it. We had a great run and our team worked together very well.

Next week is Octoberfest and we are preparing for that now. My biggest concern will be buying or not buying tires. Then our final 2011 race will Autumn Colors.

Hope to see you at the races.

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

Post by Gary » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:15 pm

October 1st & 2nd...........Flamboro Speedway

Octoberfest

Race 24

High Lites
* 18 cars Saturday, one more on Sunday
* Race postponed to October 15th not sure times yet
* Jason Shaw wins pole
* Top 5
Jason Shaw
Brad Corcoran
David Elliott
Jeff Stewart
Gary Elliott
* Jason hits a 14:97 (record time for a Late Model)

Results
1st Heat
36.......3rd (won by Brad Corcoran)
37.......2nd (won by Jason Shaw)

2nd Heat
36......3rd (won by Jeff Stewart)
37......2nd (won by Jason Shaw)

Feature
....rained out...to be run on October 15th

Winnings
TBA

Repairs

none....get ready for Autumn Colors

Crew
Bob, Gordon, Jason

Conclusion
Flamboro rarely gets a good Octoberfest. The past few years have been tough on the owners, this year no different, although Saturday was sunny, it was very cold.

There were 18 Late Models for the race, I thought there would be over twenty. Dave Baker #50, showed up Sunday, and maybe with the show completion moved to October 15th we may get a few more after Autumn Colors is over.

The pay off for this show is no good except for the following teams.
a) those who finish first or second
b) those who start and park
c) or those who don’t buy tires

I’ve complained before about it but the same purse has been in effect for the past seven seasons. The only raise was for those who want to start and park or those who don’t support the Late Model sponsor by not buying tires. The average cost for any team buying four new tires is at minimum $1000. That’s what it pays to finish 3rd. Four tires, fuel for the Crate and pit cost of $55 for both days for two or three crew members will be over $1000. If you finish 2nd you will make $800. If you finish third or fourth you lose. On the other hand, if you don’t buy tires, the cost of fuel and pits will leave teams with a few dollars even if they finish 24th, it pays $350 to finish last.

So why the complaint? Don’t race teams always lose money? It’s true most times we lose money. But a few things are worth mentioning.
a) this race use to pay way more to win
b) it use to pay more to finish in the top five
c) it never paid $350 to start
d) the payoff from 16th back is too high.

The solution? Take some of the money from the bottom, add it to the top 10 and give some incentive for the teams that race hard. It can be $2500 to win, not $3000, and take that $500 and make third $1500, then fourth $1200, fifth $1100 and go down from there. The final four spots could pay $150, you don’t need to pay $350 to start. If I’m elected track promoter I will get this done right after I sign the contract to make a new race surface.

Okay, so what did we do? David didn’t buy any new tires, I bought two. We will have decent tires, but they won’t compete again four new tires, and most all of the field will have four new tires, that would be eight to ten cars.

We arrived early and put on our old tires to test the car. That’s a common practice for our team, and I’m sure a few others as well. We ran a second set with the new right side and decent inside tires. Our times were still off, and I’m not comparing me to Jason Shaw, but more to cars running in the 15:3’s. We couldn’t get into the fours and that has us stumped beyond belief. I can’t figure how we run fairly good at away tracks and terrible at home. I haven’t figured it out yet, nor my crew, and the last we heard, the competition is okay with me struggling.

Speaking of struggling. At sign in I drew a starting spot for the heat race. I know it doesn’t really matter too much because there are double heats. There were numbers from one to forty to draw, I picked 39, meaning last in the first race and pole or outside pole in the second depending if someone picked 40, and they did.

There were 18 cars. The format was two heats of nine, and then a second set of heats to determine qualifying positions. The top12 were locked and the remaining cars would have to run a Consi on Sunday with any new cars that came out.

Before the heat races started I took a stroll to Jason Shaw’s pit to have a look at his shocks. I figured they wouldn’t mind me looking because I wouldn’t have a clue what I was looking for or at. When I got there I was confronted by one of the crew members about accusing his team of cheating. I thought at first he was joking, but he was serious. I’m guessing most of the team felt the same way. Jason wasn’t upset, he is a competitor and knows we'd be asking or wondering what's up.

I denied I ever said they were cheating, but did say that I asked Donny Cox to check out Jason’s twilight zone times. Donny really didn’t know what the issue was. All I ever want is a fair and even playing field, and when a team beats me because they have done their homework, I’m okay with that. The reason I asked, the reason most of the teams in the pits eye-brow’s were raised was because Jason’s times went from the 15: 3’s to the 15:0’s. A 15:3 to a 15:0 is huge, especially over a course of a few weeks. If our team did that I’m sure other teams would be wondering how we got there. We would be impressed at our work and would know that we had the field covered by a ton, and as long as we knew we were within the rules, why would we be upset if someone asked what was going on. They would have a right, unless they weren’t paying attention or couldn’t read a stop watch. Anyway I read all my posts on the recent surge of the #82 team and no where did I accuse them of cheating. I respect Jason too much for that, and I also know that if anyone can come up with a way to break the sound barrier it will be him and his team. But I should be able to ask. If someone said “he’s running the new legal tires, they are 3 tenths faster”. We would say “where do we go to get them”? It’s more complicated then that and we don’t have time this year to get into it, but if Sunset allows bump-stops, we’ll be going to “seminar’s, night school, trade shows” or Jason’s house to figure out how to make it work.

I posted on the front of this site that I did not ever accuse him of cheating. Jason is a champ not a cheater, and wouldn’t do that, I have always got a long with him on and off the track. We don’t socialize because of our busy lives, but he’s a great guy and I care for him a lot. Also, I’m not a sore loser, just curious how he got so fast…“this just in” Jason Shaw turns a 14:97 in hot laps on Saturday. “Now what”? Nothing, Jeff Hanley turned that last year….oh wait….that was a Super Late Model.

Here’s a suggestion to anyone on that team that may be offended, it doesn't apply to Jason, he’s not, he’s like us…amazed!! Put a sign up on your trailer…”bump stop lessons over the winter…sign up early”. I would be the first there, I need shock treatment now…14:97…are you kidding!!!!!! Okay, enough.
Wait…PS….he’s not cheating, just making that clear....but man are they fast!!!! which makes me wonder why they wouldn't think we'd notice, or be curious. Maybe now it's clear, we're surprised. One OSCAAR driver was telling me on Saturday that he was practicing during the week and was very happy with his car. He said he turned a 14:98, I looked at him and thought "should I", but I didn't and said "man that's amazing".

The heats were controversial to say the least. We talked earlier in the year with both the race director and the starter and said that as long as both cars took the green together, in other words, as long as the outside car didn't jump the pole sitter before the green, we didn't care who was ahead at the line. We were okay with the outside lane being ahead because there could be a number of reasons why the inside lane didn't keep the lead at that point. We did not want to see the outside lane check up to avoid a black flag because he was ahead a few inches or a few feet. As long as the cars were side by side when the green fell we were good with that.

Apparently the track didn't remember the agreement or discussion, because the black flag was thrown in three of the four heats, all on cars running the outside lane who were ahead of the car on the inside when they crossed the starting line. Jason Lancaster, Paul Howse and Steve Laking each had to pull over, then fall to the back for being ahead of the inside car at the line. The black wasn't for jumping, at least not in either Paul or Steve's case, and I'm fairly certain not with Jason either. I explained to the race director that we talked about this back at the 2nd Grisdale Triple Crown race and we all agreed as long as the two cars were side by side when the green flew, who was ahead at the line didn't matter....he said he didn't remember. That was after the first set of heats, Steve Laking got the black in the second set.

Two of the heats were won by Jason Shaw, with Brad Corcoran and Jeff Stewart picking up the other two. Twelve cars are qualified at this point. On October 15th a consi will determine the starting line up with the other 7 cars and any extra that may show up who couldn't make it this past weekend.

Autumn Colors is next for us. We are ready, just some minor changes to the car seat to save me from getting exhausted. The seat has to be padded more for this place because Peterborough will eat you up if you're not snug in your seat, real snug. The Hans helps your head from going forward, and good seat restraints and head braces stop your head from going to the right side. If the right side of the seat isn't padded so your head is firm, you will be wore out, from holding your head up, within 15 laps, maybe 20 if your under 50. So we have our seat redone and will load up Wednesday night to head out Thursday afternoon and hope to get practice on Friday before the heat race. The weather is looking very good. I hope for the sake of Flamboro, that weather returns to Flamboro on the 16th.

Hope to see you at Peterborough Speedway.

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

Post by Gary » Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:15 pm

October 7,8,9.........Peterborough Speedway

Autumn Colors

Race #25

High Lites
* Weather Perfect
* 26 Cars
* Dan MacHattie wins
* We finish 9th
* Long crazy race

Results
1st Heat.......5th
2nd Heat......6th
Feature........9th

Winnings
$425

Repairs
Left rear caliper, maybe both, cosmetic

Crew
Jim, Shirley, Gehrig, Ken, Linda, Steff, Glenn Schnurr and Jackie

Conclusion
WARNING!!!!!.......Long Report
The most amazing thing about the 2011 Autumn Colors Classic was the weather. Thursday night I froze in the RV, but the rest of the time was great.

We decided to head out early, getting to the track around 5:30 Thursday night. Last year we arrived on Thursday night, unloaded and headed to Dave Morgan’s resort, staying in one of his cottages. This year Shirley, Jeanette and our grandson Gehrig stayed in our RV at the campsite on the track grounds. I stayed with them Thursday night and on Friday moved into a hotel on the outskirts of Peterborough with Jim, Ken, Linda and Steff.

We made a weekend of it. The program was a three night deal, heats on Friday and Saturday and features on Sunday. In years past, when there were only 16 or so Late Models, some teams would show up on Sunday and start at the back. If you tried that this year, or even in 2010, you might not make the show. They did schedule a last-chance race, but with no warm ups, it would be a huge gamble to come Sunday and hope to make it in the race. One thing for certain relative to coming on Sunday, you could forget about getting a parking spot, the pits were full.

We pulled in the pits on Thursday trying to find a spot. Usually we just take the next available spot on the grass. The cement pads were taken, all but one. The track official asked if my unit would fit in the spot right up by the tower. I paced it off first and thought we’d be 4 feet short. We could close th trailer door, but that was kind of inconvenient. I was ready to concede we were too big for the spot when the official asked me to try it anyway. I did and we worked it out so we would be sticking out a little on the asphalt. It was a great spot, close to everything, the track, stands, tire changer, food and wash rooms.

Tech was done until 7:30 Thursday night. I decided to go out, I wasn’t going to at first, but thought it would save time for my crew who were coming up on Friday, give us a head start on hot laps. I went out on the track, a few people were standing around waiting and talking. Our car was the last in line, everyone had already gone through and officials closed the track. While we were sitting on the back chute waiting for cars to be teched, Brandon McFerran, Mini Stock rookie from Flamboro, and friend of our family, asked if he could move the car up. Brandon is a good kid but I said “it has a tricky clutch, I don’t think you can do it”. My daughter Shirley said “dad let him try, I bet $50 he won’t stall it”. I said to Shirley, “it has a tiny 5” clutch sure he will stall it, probably a few times”. To my shock he started the car, put it in gear, gave it lots of gas and did not stall or ride the clutch. As he heads down the back chute I hear laughter and "I told you dad, where's my $50".

Once I got to tech the scales were down. The tech man asked me what we had to weigh. I told him the rule package for our car. He said “you can come back tomorrow, if not, I will check you in your heat and if there’s an issue we can work it out because the scales are not right now, but there will be no break in the feature”. I agreed. I knew our car would be well within the rules they allowed.

I signed in and got our starting spot for the heat. There is a computer that spins around and when the driver says stop whatever number comes up, that would be our heat starting spot. I said “okay”, and right away he replied “40, your number 40”. In a surprised look I asked him “how did you know that”. He said “you said okay, so I stopped”. I didn’t know what he was talking about, then he explained it. So now I was ready to try again, he said “here we go, one more chance”. He was sitting behind the desk and looking at me. I said when do you start the numbers spinning? He said “I’m doing it now, just waiting for you”. “Oh”! I said, “wow, okay stop”. My new number was 39. We laughed and I headed to my pit not too worried because we had double heats and that would be the equalizer.

On Friday when Jim, Ken, Linda and Steff arrived we decided to go over the scales again and the car was fine.

In our first set of hot laps we were okay. The car was stable, we were in the 14:4’s, not that fast, but neither was anyone else. That set was on old tires. We put new tires on for the second set and got a little better, high 14:3’s. The car was okay in the first, but in the second it was very loose, in spite of the new tires. We made some adjustments trying to get the car better for the heat.

In our heat on Friday, I started 5th. Dwayne Baker, Ryan Kimball, Gord Shepherd, Jesse Kennedy were all in my heat.
On the start I got behind #08, not sure who he was. This racer was incredibly loose, so much so that every time I tried to pass him he was blocking with his car sideways. It took until lap 6 to get past, but by then we were almost at the back. We finished our first heat in 5th place. It was almost impossible to tell how the car was because we were driving defensively and half throttle trying to figure out where the #08 was going to slide to next.

In the pits after the heat I tried to evaluate how the car was, but it was tough. I thought it was tight in the middle and loose off, but didn’t have enough time to run it properly and get a good feel. We had the night to think about it and come up with a game plan for Saturday. So far, the biggest and most consistent issue with our car was loose off. We’d talk and come up with the right changes for Saturday, that was the game plan.

Saturday

We returned Saturday morning with some ideas and hopes of getting our car to handle better, take away the loose concern. A spring rubber was added and more wedge, a track bar adjustment, all on the moderate side. Kelly and Shane helped us with our tow, and we reset the bar. This use to be Shane’s car and he knew it well.

We also lowered the gear. We lowered it once already after the first practice. We were getting advice that our car was going to be loose with too much gear, so we made one more gear change giving less RPM. I was hitting the chip on my first set of hot laps Friday, on both the front and back chutes.

In the first set of hot laps Saturday, the car was worse than the night before. It was now pushing in the middle and very loose off. I spun coming off turn two so wild some thought the motor blew up. One thing was certain, our ideas weren’t working and now we took the life out of our new tires for certain.

We were almost out of ideas what to do. There would be one more set of hot laps before our second heat, so we decided to start over again. We removed the spring rubber and measured the track bar split. We were surprised to find our adjustments had the left side higher than the right on the pan hard bar. We reset it and reset the bar. We knew the tires on our car were going to be wore a bunch because the car was so ill handling, and the spin in the previous set of hot laps surely cooked the right rear.

We reset the stagger, pan hard and front bar and went out with the car set up close to Flamboro. By the way, the pan hard bar and track bar are the same thing. The final set of hot laps were much better. Still not right, but not too loose, and not too tight.

We discussed what to do for the heat. There was one brand new right rear tire. It was suggested to put it on for the heat race knowing the right rear we had was wore out. We talked about it. I preferred not to run the new tire, but buy two more new tires and save them for the feature, that way we’d have three new tires. Most every team that came had at least two sets of new tires. The tire we put on for the heat race was from our spare set, our back ups, tires that ran the last Sunset 100 lap race. This tire had 170 plus laps on it and at least a dozen heat cycles. It seemed okay on Friday, so we tried it again.

It was a beautiful day, very nice. The track was slippery naturally, we were hoping to get through this race with a consistent handling car.

Gord Shepherd started pole and won it. We were running third holding off Jesse Kennedy, Ryan Kimball and Dwayne Baker. The first few laps were okay but the car went crazy loose every where. Entering the turn, in the middle and coming off the turn. This was nuts, but once again we had a reason, the old tire on the right rear was beyond wore out, still, why could we not get our car set up to run two sessions the same and be stable.

We packed up for the night, discouraged. We had to do some serious thinking and try to find out why we were not able to get our car competitive. It was a very stout field of Late Model drivers. Besides Jason Shaw and Brad Corcoran, two good drivers from Flamboro, the field consisted of Vic Parsons, Dan McHattie, Bryan Mercer, JR. Fitzpatrick, Dwayne Baker, Dave Morgan, Jesse Kennedy, Ryan Kimball, Steven Matthews, Jamie Cox, Andrew Gresel, Matt Box, Mark Jascobs, Cale Bailey and a few others I didn’t know very well, but met for the first time. I knew in my heart we should be competitive, so did all of our team, we just had to find out what was causing us so much grief, and preventing us from having a car that would compete.

I decided to buy two more tires, a right front and left rear. That would give us a fighting chance in the feature. I talked about going scratch, something that didn’t go over well with my crew when I first mentioned it. Knowing this line up and the tight fast close track, I felt I would be better off feeling the car out for a few laps before getting in the middle of a rat race with a car that didn’t belong.

We left the track around 8:30 and went to dinner with Kelly Hallett and Shane Gowan and their crew, it was a celebration of Kelly’s birthday, and Steve Trendell’s, his was on Monday, same as our son David. It was a chance to rest and enjoy a meal together, and watch the Leafs almost blow a 4-0 lead.

Sunday
We got to the track early Sunday. A game plan in place. We had three new tires to put on the car and decided to go to the basic set up where we felt the car should be. Jim, Ken, Linda, Steff and Gehrig worked hard to be prepared for this endurance test.

We asked Glenn Schnurr if he would help us pit side, and both he and Jackie joined our team for the feature event.

I made two decisions. One was the gearing. In spite of everyone telling me to go less gear, I went more. Our car was probably the best it’s first time on the track Friday afternoon, and though I was hitting the chip on both straightaways, I liked that set up better than either of the other two. The other decision I made was starting at the back of the 25 car field. There was one reason only for starting at the back. I wanted to make sure our car was capable of running in this incredible line up of talent. In the past five times on the track, after our first set of hot laps, we were not strong. The odd lap we were close, but very inconsistent. Our starting spot was 15th, right in the middle of heart-land, and I wasn’t confident to start there with what we had gone through so far this weekend. Plus, starting at the back in a 111 lap race meant nothing. If we were strong, we’d move up, if not we’d be out of the way not get wrecked or wreck anyone else.

Our feature was suppose to start at 5:15, but two red flags, one for a fan who collapsed in the main grand stand, and one for Al Thompson who crashed very hard in the OSCAAR feature, put our feature back to almost 7:00. The good news on Al is that he is okay, I’m not sure about the fan. On Saturday one of the tire changers got hurt when a tire exploded. He was rushed to the hospital. That was a scary moment as he lay knocked out in front of his equipment. The track staff were very efficient getting people moved away so the ambulance and emergency trucks could get to him. The good news is that he returned later Saturday night, but did not do anymore tires for the weekend.

We went on the track for an in car driver introduction. Meanwhile our crew set up in the center pit row. Ken, Glenn Schnurr, Linda and Jackie went to the center pit row area. Jim went to the main grand stands with Shirley, Steff and Gehrig.

Night Racing
While intros were being completed I reflected on the track, the field of great competitors in front of me and how different the track looked at night. Earlier in the day Jason Shaw and I were talking about different things and I asked him if he preferred racing in the daylight or at night. He said it didn’t matter to him. I understood that, he just wants to race no matter what time it is. But of all the conditions and track settings, I wanted to know if he had a favorite. He didn’t, but I did. I love them all, but night racing is my favorite. I don’t stay home because a race is in the afternoon, I just like it better when it’s at night. Here’s why. During the day, the track seems so much bigger, it’s crazy long and wide and perception is totally different in the day time than at night….totally. When fans are watching they might not realize it, but when the lights come on and the black curtain of night surrounds the track, all you have is the arena, no outside influence. The trees, farm houses, birds flying, animals grazing, people walking, have all disappeared because all you see is the track, the beautiful facility with white walls, the awesome looking race cars all glimmering from the track lighting. The track is now what it was designed to be. You see it with no distractions at all. From inside the drivers seat it is amazing. The white walls are my guide, even the grandstands are blocked out for the most part. There is no distractions at all because, I only see moving cars against the still arena were in.

The Track
As I looked around before we were given the “gentlemen start your engines”, I said to Jim “this is going to be nuts”. I saw many fast cars on a track that provides little room for error. Drivers have no where to go when chaos begins. This race surface demands every car to have a good set up and every driver to be smart. That’s the perfect scenario, the one most fans and race teams want, but reality is much different. Cars wreck at Delaware, Flamboro, Sunset, Sauble and Kawartha. Each one is different, they all have their own characteristics. Delaware is the fastest, but for the most part single file. Flamboro is fast, another single file track, darker than the rest, but has long straightaways and a little more breathing room. Sauble is wide, allows for some two lane racing, more than Delaware or Flamboro and also just long enough for cars to get slowed up. Sunset is wide, well lit and lots of two lane racing. Peterborough is different, for it’s size, it’s the fastest of them all, Sunset is close, but has longer straights. Things happen far sooner at Peterborough. Cars carry a ton of speed into the corners. The back chute is curved and allows cars to fly into turn three almost wide open then braking hard, same with turn one. These 400 plus horse power cars are very fast. At least 22 of the 25 were in that category. A full field of chariots ready to go, none wanting to get wrecked, all wanting to win, but because of their power and speed and the short front chute, wrecking would be on the list of things likely to happen, and regardless of what people think, it's almost unavoidable. Drivers need to be very careful when building up speed in three and accelerating off turn four at Peterborough, before you know it you’re on top of the cars in front and if you’re in the thick of things, there is no alternative but to stay with the school of fish or get hit from behind. That’s the good news, stay with the pack. The bad news is that once things go array, you won’t be able to stop, there's no way out, crashing will happen. All of us drivers have to be careful and race smart, but even with that mind set and attitude, our best friend will be luck.

Yellow Fever
Once the cars were given the command to start the engines, Jim went over the check list of everything I should do. “Make sure your seat belts are tight. Just take it easy the first few laps, this looks crazy”. Jim was seeing what I saw the day before when I said I wanted to start at the back because my car was possessed. I told Shirley “I wished this car was Christine, the car from the movie”. “That way it would fix itself if it didn’t handle”. I also said “this car don’t like me, hasn’t since I bought it”. She laughed and said “don’t worry you guys will get it right by race time”. Well here we were, race time, and all Jim and Ken’s and our crews work was about to be tested. The race at hand and what would happen once the green flag dropped would be no surprise to anyone who reasoned all the different possibilities, sure wouldn’t be to me, I played them all in my head.

We got the white flag and headed into one. I had the perfect seat. The only thing behind me was the next race, I was sitting pretty. Heading down the back chute Jim said “pick it up, here we go”. I got hard on the gas going through three and just as I came out of four and barely on the straightaway cars were jacked up and flying everywhere. I barely got stopped but caught the back of Jason Shaw who was in front of me on the start. I went to the pits to have the car checked over. Ken and Glenn went over the front end and gave me the thumbs up.

With that wreck happening so fast, it changed the mood right away for everyone. Fans anticipate a good race, they want to see close competition, and even the odd yellow, but just when they were most excited at the green, the build up took a huge let down with this crash. As well, it eliminated a few cars including one of the favourites to win, JR Fitzpatrick.

The next restart we were up a little, not at the back. It didn’t go much longer, I think we got one full lap in when cars got into each other going into turn one. I went high to give room for cars behind me and got into some of the speedy dry. I slowed up as hard as I could but got into Jason and turned him. There were five cars sitting in the middle and upper part of the turn.

While going around Jim said to stay out and I did. He asked me how the car was. “I have no idea, we haven’t run enough”. I said to Jim as we got the white flag “this is like racing in a mall, Wal-Mart", the aisle ways are narrow. We got the green and the next run was a little better we ran about 20 laps. Our car was amazing. We were very stable going into the turns and fast off. By lap 20 we were in 8th place in a pack of hard runners, all the cars were fast but this group was tougher yet. Our car was handling great, my crew were excited.

On lap 24 our excitement turned to disappointment when a few of the front runners, third and fourth got into each other and the resulting chain reaction got us. Jesse Kennedy was in front of me and jammed on the brakes. I got under him and spun him and at the same time someone got into me. We were sitting on the front chute facing the stands. It was disappointing, we’d be heading to the back for the third time tonight. There was no damage and though we went scratch I was still happy, 80 laps to go and our car was very good, a good race car always makes up for a spin when there's still lots of time to come back.

The next restart was the same for us. We were fast early. I just missed the wreck with Cale Bailey when he got turned and t-boned. That was another long yellow.

Another restart and then Vic Parsons got hit and t-boned by Steven Matthews. Steven had no where to go and slowed up the best he could. That was a long red flag, but Vic and Steven were okay. Steven was interviewed and said he got taken out by junk, referring to some of the slower cars that raced the fast cars way too hard. The same thing happened to Ryan Kimball, he got spun by a slower car driving into him as he went on the outside. Some of these drivers were in way over their head. Vic Parsons commented that drivers needed to show more respect.

Our car was very good going in and coming off. That lasted for about 10 laps and then I noticed we were loose in. This was the first time all night we had any handling problems. A few laps later Jim said “the left rear rotor is glowing”. I dialed in more front brakes. It didn’t make any difference, the car was getting worse every lap. On lap forty I fell back from the group of cars I was chasing. We had built a huge lead over Ryan Kimball #16 after passing him laps earlier, but he was now running us down. A competition yellow was to be thrown on lap 55, but time was running out for us to stay on the lead lap as both McHattie and Mercer were about to put us a lap down. Once they got by I knew the night was over for us. There was nothing we could do about the rear calipers sticking. It happened to us twice before, most recently at Sunset. Our rear rotors were glowing. I removed the left rear caliper and buffed the pistons that were pitted and jammed from metal build up. I thought that would fix it, it didn't. I knew that was the problem again and there was nothing we could do about it. I hate driving defensively, or staying out of the way, but there are times when that must happen. It’s better to race the car at its capabilities not how you think it should be. Usually at the end of a race it’s no big deal. We still had 50 laps left and that was discouraging. This track is so fast that brakes take a beating. Chassis set up is one thing, but braking is a huge part of cornering properly, having rear calipers seizing is only going to mess the car up. Maybe that has been our problem all weekend, maybe all year. The problem only shows up in long races, like Delaware, Grisdale Triple Crown and 100 lappers at other tracks. Here’s an encouraging word for my crew “I will get new calipers on Tuesday for Flamboro”. They never said this but I think I heard muttering like..."we need them now you clutz"!!!! Maybe that was one of my inside people beating me up. "Calipers sticking, who would think"? I said to myself. Then my other self, the one that I argue with said "Who would think??? Any moron who had the problem before". So by lap 50 I knew I would be getting calipers for Flamboro.

The competition yellow came out on lap 55. Everyone headed to the pits for a 5 minute fuel and whatever else you wanted to do. You could put used tires on or make chassis changes. I took off my helmet. Linda gave me water and a cold wet towel. Ken and Glenn made chassis changes to the car. Jim had them add more wedge and lower the track bar to help compensate for the calipers. Jackie cleaned the windshield.

We headed back out on the track and were told we were the lucky dog. No one really knew what was going on. I thought I would just go behind the lead lap cars but they lined us up the way we came off the track on lap 55, but they told us over the radios that the lucky dog does not apply for the Competition Yellow, so we had to restart in 3rd place but a lap down. On the green I was in third with Matt Box beside me, he was also a lap down. Our car was good, the calipers were asleep and hadn’t woke up yet to mess us up. Another yellow came out right away, we had not completed that yellow. It took forever to line the cars up again. Once again we took the green and this time we completed lap 56 and the yellow was out. We got the lucky dog but were told to go to the rear behind everyone. At least 8 cars in front of me were a lap down. I wanted to ask an official if I should go behind the last car on the lead lap. They didn’t know when I asked, so I stayed where I was, they were having enough trouble without me adding more.

Finally we got going again. It was a longer run. Cars were dropping out for various reasons. After about 7 laps our car started to fall off again. Jim could see constant sparking from the left rear wheel. I had full front brakes, but it did not help overcome the affects of the rear brakes grabbing. On lap 80 we got lapped again. We were the first car a lap down for the restart. They told me to go outside of the leader for the restart. I could not imagine a lapped car going outside front row on a restart late in a race, or anytime in a race. Why not put me first car behind those on the lead lap? I stopped on the back chute and told the official “there’s no way I’m going outside pole”. He said “then you’ll have to go to the back”. That would be like your Mom telling you to eat an octopus sandwich and you say “I can’t eat this eight legged fish sandwich”, then she says “okay then, you’ll have to eat this piece of apple pie”. Okay Mom no problem.

The final 10 laps were nuts. It was a combination of beat up cars trying to race hard and spinning or getting into other cars. Kent Nuhn #09 blew up going into three and smashed his car bad. I was lucky not to be in it. I was racing close to him after we had our problems, so I am thankful not to get caught up in that mess.

Andrew Gresel came out after being down a bunch of laps. He was unhappy with Jesse Kennedy for wrecking him earlier, at least that was the accusation. On lap 100 Jim’s radio quit and Ken took over. What a job for him, his first time thrown in that situation.

The last 5 laps had to go green so the track made sure we got them in. A hard fought battle was going on up front between McHattie, Mercer, Kennedy and Watson. No offence to McHattie or his team, or Mercer and his team, all nice people, but those cars are not handicapped enough, the weight break they get is too much. A few years ago Dan wouldn’t come out because he had to weigh too much. All the ACT cars have a huge advantage over the rest of us, and with home track rules, I think some of the Delaware cars did as well. Regardless, the cars up front deserved to be there and we could have been in the top five if we didn’t have mechanical problems.

I was hoping now we’d just finish but wanted to make sure I didn’t get in anyone’s way. Another caution put us on the lead lap again.

On the final run to the finish I stayed as low as I could on the track. I couldn’t beat the #08 who I got by easy all night, but our car was loose in, loose in the middle and loose off. It was best just to stay put and finish the race. Near the end of the race I say Ryan Kimball pass me going into three and then get sideways from all the speedy dry from the blown engine. I couldn’t believe he held on to it.

There were two more cautions in this yellow flag infested show, and when the dust settled it was Dan McHattie taking the win followed by Mark Watson and Jesse Kennedy. We got the lucky dog on the final yellow, putting us on the lead lap and giving us 9th at the finish.

We had a little damage but only cosmetic. Our crew was fantastic, thanks Jim, Shirley, Gehrig, Ken, Linda, Steff and Glenn and Jackie for helping on pit row.

I went to Ryan Kimball’s pit and congratulated him for hanging onto his car after he went sideways in the speedy dry in turn three and four after Kent Nuhn blew his motor.

It was a good night for us in spite of the mechanical woes. Too bad we didn’t do better but maybe we found the problem with our car, the calipers. They will be fired immediately and replaced with new ones.

I want to thank Kelly and Shane for their help on Saturday. We also had some great hospitality from Cale Bailey and his family. We met some great people, and that's racing is about, having fun and enjoying the many great people that are in our sport.

Next Saturday is the finale for Octoberfest. Features will be run on Saturday and if it rains that day, Sunday will be the rain date. I have four good used 10” American Racer tires for anyone needing spares.
Hope to see you there.

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

Post by Gary » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:15 pm

October 22nd...............Flamboro Speedway

Octoberfest

Race #24 Completion

High Lites
* 22 cars
* David win Octoberfest Classic
* David wins his first 50 lap feature (highest ever for him)
* Paul Howse wrecks bad, has to go to the hospital, but he's ok
* JR won the first feature
* David won the 2nd and the title
* We got wrecked in the first (JR was impatient)
* We finish 5th in the 2nd
* Way over the top on wrecks and cautions
* It was nuts
* Autumn Colors was tame compared to this
* Two cars climb the wall
* New lights were awesome...now widen the track...please!!!
* Many cars wrecked because of side by side racing...no room...& stupid stuff

Results
1st 50 Lap
#36......26th
#37......2nd

2nd 50 Lap
#36.....5th
#37.....1st


Winnings
#36......$400
#37......$3000

Repairs
tons of cosmetic stuff....two rebuilds for 2012

Crew
Jason, Jason, Gehrig, Gordon, Perry

Conclusion
I need to start this story by first congratulating David and his team for winning the Octoberfest Classic. David drove hard and smart taking a 2nd in the first feature and winning the second. The win was historic, giving David his first ever fifty lap feature win. He’d won many twenty five and thirty lap feature races, never a fifty.

The race was historic in other ways as well. It had to be the most carnage, most red flags, most cars climbing the walls and most damaged cars in a single nights racing. It is clearly a good thing the season is over.

There’s lots to say about this race, but I want to get one thing cleared up right away. Many fans and race team members would be thinking I am or was upset with JR Fitzpatrick. The answer of course is that I was disappointed that he didn’t wait another lap or so before making the move he did. By getting into me between turns one and two, and turning our car (that part he wouldn’t have known would happen) resulted in a seven car pile up that eliminated three or four of us for that race and at least one for the night, all good cars. Having said that, I didn’t say anything to JR, nor did my crew. They won’t say anything to any race team after an incident on the track because that’s not the way we do things. We hope the other driver will come over to us and apologize, make it right, and then we can move on. If he doesn’t, we still move on and let it go, we don’t need the baggage of holding onto grudges. Some of my crew and family asked me if JR apologized and I said no. I wasn’t real upset about the deal, but I wished he would have come over and said something.

The next day things got settled. I was watching the Talledega race when I got the following text from JR. “I was gonna talk to you yesterday but figured I’d let everything cool off. I’m sorry for getting into you. I tried to be hard on the gas to get a run down the straight away but I shoulda left more room! Great, case dismissed. That was a good thing for JR to do and restored things between us. Even my family agreed that was a nice gesture. I think all racers become a little more professional and mature when they recognize and own up to things they do. It took me a while, I wasn’t always the way I am now, I use to be a hot head and get into yelling matches and even worse back in the day. I learned to control myself, and over the past few decades learned to forgive others for the mistakes they made, whether they apologize or not. When a person does apologize, it creates a new start, or even better, removes the transgression. The cool thing about JR’s apology is that he didn’t make any excuses, or make his apology conditional. Some people will say they’re sorry but it’s conditional, it would be like this “hey sorry for getting into you but you came down”. If an apology comes with a condition or an excuse it’s really not sincere, JR’s was sincere and for that I am thankful.

Now to the craziest day of racing Flamboro has seen in years. Many thought Autumn Colors 2011 was the worst Late Model race of the decade. I wrote about that night and felt I explained how the perfect storm for stock car chaos developed. We had a field of 25 Late Models, 80% of them coming off a very good season. Some of Ontario’s best were in that race. It was a cool night, the race surface quick, the track tight the drivers anxious. The track could not sustain the adrenaline some drivers produced early in the race and it was a potentially great race consumed by wrecks.

Flamboro was a different deal. Still a very good field, but a much colder track, and cars running on older tires. Even though we only had a few heat cycles and maybe 40 laps on the tires, they were still not going to get much heat in them. It was a cold day when they were scuffed in on October 1st, so that wasn’t the main issue for the cars getting into each other, part of it was the impatience of many and of course the narrow racing surface.


There was a 15 lap consi. Steve Laking won the race but had his hands full with the #96 ACT car of Brandon White from Montreal. Brandon started last and was turning some very fast times in the consi and he’d never been on the track before. Just a comment on the ACT cars. I have raced against them for the past two years and they are not handicapped near enough. I like other cars to visit us, but make it fair for us to compete. He wasn’t far off JR Fitzpatrick who was the fastest car on the track.

The first feature went on the track at 4:pm. Jason Shaw was on the pole with Brad Corcoran outside. David was third with Jeff Stewart fourth and we started 5th. Jason got the lead and began pulling away almost immediately as David fought a determined Corcoran, who wanted to get down but was never going to do it. The inside lane was too fast and with no grip on the outside Brad was doomed, so was Jeff because I followed David and got into third. For the next five laps Paul Howse ran fourth a car half a car length behind me and JR was with him. Once we got sorted out, we ran about 5 laps that way and then the first yellow came out.

On that restart David was outside Jason. I wanted badly to get under David thinking he was going to get stuck on the outside but his car was working great. It wouldn’t be until the end of the first lap between one and two that David would get by me and move back into second. Paul was stuck on the outside and JR followed me. The incredible thing was my spotter, Jason, was telling me that JR was right on my bumper, I don’t I had ever heard someone say that before. This was Jason’s first time spotting this year, and I had to assume he meant exactly that, JR was glued to me bumper. We went three laps like that and once I felt him tap me and I was thinking maybe if I let him go I can fall back in, because Jason was adamant that JR was right on me. Going into turn one JR made a dive to the apron. His plan was to get in beside me and then use the 450 plus horses he had to pull me down the back chute. It would have worked to except that he hit just hard enough, at the most vulnerable of spots and my car turned instantly. I knew I was in trouble because the score board showed me in 3rd place. I thinking okay, I’m 3rd, 23 cars started, that means there are 20 cars coming at me. I tried to get off the track but was only able to get to the apron with the back half of my car. Unfortunately many of the cars behind, were going on the apron and grass to get away. The wreck was incredible. At least five cars were done for that race and a one or two for the night. Brad was done for the night, and Jeff’s rear end was so badly bent that he could hardly make it off the track. He was also done but would run a few laps in the second race but was out of contention.

After about six minutes I was able to get away. My radio wasn’t working but I could hear my spotter. I backed up and headed off the track with the right rear tire flat. Because it took so long to get the other cars separated I was running out of time and had to hurry. My bad dream turned into a night mare when my car shot hard to the right leaving he track and I hit the cement exit wall and broke our right side radius rod.
We were done for this race.

My crew worked hard on the car. Jason Chapman was back at it again, putting away the head set and jumping on the car right away. We had the radius rod, a bent tie rod bolt, tons of body damage and a destroyed right rear tire. Before the first feature ended, we had the car ready for the second race with just the tow to set. There were only 7 laps left in the first race when we all took a break. Special thanks to David’s team, Jim, and our Peterborough team of Linda and Ken helping put our body back together. There were others helping as well, and we sure appreciated it. During all this time, Dave DiDero kept coming up and borrowing parts, it started when I went down and borrowed an eye bolt from him, oh ya, our eye bolt was bent as well.

We should never have been able to watch any of the first feature with the amount of work we had to do, but the wrecking never stopped, so we caught much of the carnage in Halloween One.

The first feature actually went from lap 10 to lap 22 before the next yellow came out. David had lost second to Paul Howse who restarted third. Jason again pulled away for the first 8 of those laps but as he was lapping cars Paul was gaining fast. David meanwhile had his own battle with Steve Laking who was also running bump stop fast.

On the next restart Paul was outside Jason but even though he appeared faster, he wasn’t fast enough to race on the outside where there really is no lane unless the car on the inside slows down and lets the car outside join him in his lane. Jason was not going to do that and Paul ended up falling in behind.

David was close with the front two but a battle on the restart was brewing between JR who was back from the back. JR had started outside of Steve and passed him clean on the outside without much of a fight from #44. I’m guessing when the blue #84 pulled down the back chute Steve may have thought his car quit, and let off the gas, maybe not, but the rocket man was flying and was now bearing down on third. The same way Paul was ready to pounce on Jason’s slightest error JR was likewise with David, only he wasn’t going to get over aggressive and hit him. One Elliott a race is enough. Steve didn’t fall far behind, but he was getting some visitors from Delaware as both Mark Watson and Jamie Cox were closing in. This run also went about 10 laps to about lap 33 when another caution, similar to the previous, brought out the yellow. There was nothing serious on the two cautions after the first mega wreck.

This restart saw Jason again beat Paul, who was outside. David followed close with JR beside him. Paul got right on Jason and was faster, no doubt. David meanwhile was staying about a car length ahead of JR and doing well. Steve, Mark and Jamie were all in a bunch.

On about lap 35 things went bad for Paul Howse. He was setting Jason up and must have sensed he was going to get by, he was clearly faster. Jason seemed as though he was experiencing something going on with his car, something making it not as quick, or not as consistent. If there wasn’t anything wrong, Paul was surely running as perfect as any car could be. Coming off two, glued to the #82 Paul hit the back chute wall with his car climbing part of it at least a foot if not more. It was only a spit second but it was enough to seal his fate over the next five laps. In spite of the hit, Paul kept pushing and though he lost a car length or two, he got it all back when Jason tagged the wall in almost the same spot with the back of his car, only his wheels didn’t climb the wall. Meanwhile David saw the pattern of these fast cars unable to get good grip coming off the turns and was making sure he didn’t do likewise. He also seen smoke coming from the back left of Paul’s car. It was getting worse every lap. Going into three the relentless pressure of JR was enough for him to slip under the #37, but David was cool with that because his mind was on the situation with Paul as the white smoke got worse every lap.

On lap 40 coming off four, Paul had lost about 5 car lengths on the leader and was falling back fast. If Paul’s spotter told him he was smoking, I’m guessing he did, there would have a choice to make about coming into the pits and see what was wrong. The problem is that the car was running very strong. As the smoke got worse I’m sure Paul’s spotters were becoming more and more concerned. Perhaps, as tough as it was, Paul knew it was time to give up on this race, a feature that looked like a sure win. The decision to come in was the right one, but it was too late because just as Paul passed the start finish line something let go, perhaps the pan hard bar, and the car headed straight for the wall. Fighting hard to keep it from going straight in, the car did turn towards the grandstands hard into the wall and slamming the drivers side against the cement. That single car wreck not only took 25 minutes to clean up, but it also ended up in Paul heading to the hospital with severe shoulder pains. He would miss the second feature, though he still wanted to get in the car with his pain. Tara would have straightened him out on that, she put him in their SUV and headed right to the hospital. That was a terrible crash, glad he was okay. It was also a sad deal for Paul’s team because earlier in the race he had the fastest car on the track. The narrow surface made it impossible for Paul to pass and would also contribute to both he and Jason tagging the wall coming off two.

On the restart on lap 40 JR was now outside of Jason. It was showdown time. JR knew that Jason was turning some wild lap times in the month of September, but he felt his Late Model, sporting a much more powerful engine, though carrying more weight as a penalty, was enough to put an end to Jason’s reign.

All the speculation in the world, the Nevada bookies and the most knowledgeable race fans in Ontario could not have predicted what would happen next. Going into three JR was outside Jason and was not going to let Jake get a run without him being right there with him. Then the impossible happened. JR got hit from behind even before the green flag fell, as the second row car hit him and turned him down into Jason. The two cars locked together with Jason going over JR’s front end. That was the most bizarre thing I think I ever saw. Maybe wrecking going into one, or even coming off two under green, but wrecking going into three before the green???? Wow, that was nuts, and it wasn’t either Jason or JR’s fault, but they would both go to the rear.

The next restart was just as crazy, but more normal than the previous. Same deal but the leaders were clear of this one. Coming through the middle of three and four David on the inside of Mark Watson, they got a run off four with no problem. Trouble started in the immediate row behind them when Brandon White (when is the next bus going to Montreal, get me out of here) got loose and turned down to the inside lane hitting Bill Lasaline and turning Bill hard into the front chute wall. The cars coming behind had no where to go and the track looked like the 5th minute of a demolition derby, cars turned in every direction. Bill was okay but his car was very badly damaged. Jason suffered some serious body damage as well, but was able to keep going. The good news for both him and JR, there were so many cars either wrecked or heading to the pits for repairs, that JR found himself restarting 3rd and Jason in 5th, how nuts is that. They both went to the back of a 15 car field and not even a half a lap later this big mess put them back in the top five.

On the second attempt of the lap 41 restart David had a new partner, Jason Lancaster #33. David got a good run and the lead coming off four with 9 laps to go in this maniac marathon. The cars strung out a little, it looked like we’d seen it all. The fans had already seen one of everything in this race. JR quickly grabbed the lead from David and within a lap he was five car lengths ahead and climbing. His spotter had to tell him to slow down, there was no point in making it look like his weight penalty wasn’t enough, just be cool and grab this win.

The fans watched in anticipation. The drivers must have been delirious by now. Mark Watson went into the pits maybe to get some of the sheet metal off his car. When he came back out he was still running fast and got to racing with Steve Laking. There were seven laps left when Steve and Mark came off of turn four and Mark not knowing Steve was outside crowded him into the wall just past the start finish line. It didn’t end there, Steve not only hit the wall but climbed it, the third car to do it this race, and ride the wall all the way around to the middle of turns one and two. Steve was okay, but what a mess and another long delay. Wow, this race already out did Autumn Colors and we weren’t even half way. This would however be the final caution of this ill fated race. JR claimed the win with David holding onto 2nd, Jason Shaw third and Jason Lancaster 4th. It was quite a sight with three of the top four cars sporting lots of body damage.

We were happy for David and his team. They did what we wanted to do, get a good finish in the first fifty because the gold, the $3000 went to the car with the best combined finish in the two races. Finishing strong in the first was a must to give your team any hope of being the overall champ. Jamie Cox was 5th in the first segment and those five cars would be doing all they could to win the Octoberfest Classic.

Recap Of Race One
* 23 cars start
* Paul Howse wrecks and gets hurt, he will be okay
* JR wins
* David 2nd, no bump stops, but a very tough racer
* Jason Shaw claws his way to 3rd, two wrecks slow him but he keeps going
* Only half the field finish the first race
* Many cars that are left are not on the lead lap
* At least four top cars hit the wall coming off turn two
* One car climbs and rides the wall from the start finish line almost to turn two
* More evidence the track, though nice, is too narrow
* Second race just the same....one difference...it''s under the new lights


Race #2....Halloween Six

The 2nd feature started in the dark, about 8:pm. Management installed new rental lights at both ends of the track. I must admit it was much better, certainly going in the right direction with improvements. They need to add even more lights in turns one and two, as well as down the back chute. Once they get that done it will help a lot. It’s too bad they couldn’t rent a new race surface, like a wide banked tri-oval. The most crucial of all improvements is the track design, it’s currently too narrow, though some insist it’s okay. We’ll see what happens in this race and make our decision.

The invert was five. JR started 5th, with David, Jason Shaw, Jason Lancaster and Jamie Cox making up the top five. Jamie was beat up in the first race but did get out in time to not go down a lap, same as Shaw and Fitzpatrick, though they were suffering mostly cosmetic damage. JR’s car seemed the least damaged of the top with the exception of David who had not seen any damage on his car since his debut with Shawn back on July 30th, and we remember that encounter resulted in the replacing of everything but the roof and hood. David had a great run in the first, not the fastest, JR, Paul, Jason and Brandon from Montreal were the fastest, but David was consistent and steady.

Jamie led the field into turn three with Lancaster beside. They ran just over a lap when Jason got by on the outside. David quickly followed moving into second for the completion of lap two.

The first caution came out on lap two when some of the cars from 15th back got mixed up, though none were seriously damaged.

On the restart David took over the lead from the outside with Lancaster holding onto 2nd. They ran that way 37, 33, 82 and 84 until the next caution of lap 6 Hollis got turned to the infield.

Meanwhile our car was very tight. I could hardly get on the gas in the middle. It wasn’t that bad considering how much we did to get it ready for this race. We were now in 7th from 15th and my spotter, Jason, asked me if I wanted to come in for any adjustments to make it better. I was considering it, but thought I would wait for the next yellow and see how the car felt, it was too soon to tell.

On that restart David took lead again from Lancaster and Shaw followed on the inside. The two pulled away with David leading. Jason Lancaster had JR on his tail but not every lap. JR was close then fell back and was closing in again, almost getting under Lancaster when the yellow came out on lap 12. Cars running outside the top 10 got into each other again. We had just got by Trevor and were now running in 6th place. I could see the cars in front of me and to be honest, after our terrible finish in race one, we were out of the money. I knew, no matter where I finished, I wouldn’t get anymore than $400. The racing up front was wild. The cautions were making me frustrated and everyone to this point was from cars at the back getting into each other.

On this restart, our fourth, lap 12, David again got the jump on Jason who would fall in behind and put the pressure on David for the next few laps. Meanwhile, JR started outside of Jason Lancaster and could not get by. Jason had JR beside him and Mark Watson on his tail, a spotter’s nightmare. The restart was good for #33 as he got a little ahead and not so much for JR as he fell back a little, but as the pattern was for the night, we had our 5th caution and on lap 13.

On this restart David again pulled ahead of Shaw and the row behind looked like JR got a better start. He stayed outside of Jason not falling back. I was wondering why it was taking him so long to get by the rookie. Going down the back chute I dove from the high line to the inside and it was a good thing for us because mayhem was seconds away.

JR got a good run off turn two down the back chute and was about three quarters of a car length ahead of Jason, not far enough to cut down. I couldn’t tell what happened, but if JR’s spotter told him he was clear, he clearly wasn’t. If JR crowded Jason, that was a misguided move, a big mistake. Not saying that he did, but he either came down because he was told he was clear, and he wasn’t, or he tried to crowd Jason and that was a mistake as well. Regardless the resulting crash was very bad for JR as his car slammed the wall in between turns three and four finishing him for this race and taking away any hopes of being crowned the Octoberfest champ and picking up the big pay day.

That wreck involved a few other fast cars, Mark Watson, Steve Laking and Jamie Cox, Jamie kept going so he wasn’t considered an accident car. The mess took a while to clean up. JR was very upset and ran out in turn four and slammed both of his hands on the #33’s hood. The track must have thought Jason was partly at fault, or he decided to head pit side, because he did not restart third where he was running. I was again considering coming in because our car was pushing terrible. It was lap 13, but we had good track position. My crew wanted me to stay out so I did.
On the restart David and Jason again pulled away, Jason right on the tail of the Pennzoil car for the next few laps. Jason fell back a little then closed in again. Meanwhile, Jamie Cox was pulling away from me and though I was in fourth, I was in trouble. Trevor Monaghan was 5th and I was able to hang onto fourth until the next caution on lap 20. As soon as that yellow came out I headed right for the pits. My crew raised the track bar to help me turn better in the middle of the turn. Not sure what caused that yellow, it must have been minor because when I got to the turn four entrance to the track the cars were just taking the green.

We ran another six laps. Jason and David fighting up front. Mark Watson and Jamie Cox not far behind. Jason was trying all he could to get a good run on the outside.

It’s funny, many people will say “there’s two lanes at Flamboro, there should be no problem”. I just don’t understand why so many racers, fans and experts can’t see how much the track does not allow for outside racing. Jason is more than likely a tenth to 2 tenths faster than David. You need to be three to four tenths, Jason wasn’t this night, to pass a fast car on the outside. It is impossible to send your car in deep on the outside when there is no room and no lane to race hard. If, and this is a big if, the car on the inside does not race, the car on the outside can stay there for a while and maybe get it done. If the car on the inside backs off two car lengths sooner than he would normally, the outside lane can work because the car on the inside is sharing his racing line. Who in racing does that? Would JR back off and let the outside car have part of his lane, would Tony Stewart? Of course not, the track is too narrow to have a good race for the win side by side, even for position, at least not with two fast cars…..impossible, unless one of the cars has a ton more horsepower, newer tires or a bump stop program that is working on that particular night…..back to the race.

Jason was trying so hard that he again bounced off the wall on the back chute. Brent Wheller bounced off it in the middle of the race. Jason Lancaster bounced off the front chute at the half way mark, when I was close behind him. Coming off two Mark Watson got into Jason getting him sideways. It seemed that Jason was having some trouble after hitting the wall. This was no time for Jason to ease up. He was probably wondering what he had to do to get David. He knows David is a hard racer, and now Mark Watson was on his tail to race him just as hard. That wouldn’t be a real concern for Jason, but he would have soon been out front not mixing it up with the Waterdown Warrior and the Die-Hard from Delaware. Mark not only comes to race hard he comes to win. If you have a common cold and are not up to racing, get out of his way, the sooner the better. If you’re not ready to dice it out with one of Ontario’s toughest, who leaves no prisoner’s, another good reason to put the four ways on and let him by. But otherwise give it all you have.

Which brings me to one point. You can be a great racer, lots of guys are good runners. You can have your car dialed in, new tires, bump stops working on this night and have the field covered. If on your resume you don’t have the box checked off that says “do I know my competition, what they will or won’t do in every situation”, then you’re not a complete racer, you miss a very vital part of racing. Knowing your competition is high on the list of being successful. When the field is competitive, it’s even more crucial….just a tip.

On the lap 26 restart Mark was sitting in third and Jason was a sitting duck. Stuck on the outside for the most of the race, and the past hour, Mark made quick work of getting past Shaw and onto the back bumper of the Pennzoil car that had been leading the race from lap two. Mark was glued to David and did all he could to get a good run off each corner but the #37 was steady every time. Jason was struggling and Jamie Cox was hounding him. I was in 6th closing in and running on the rear of Jason Lancaster. He was pushing real bad and on about lap 38 I tried going under him in turn three. I thought I had the lane but the door slammed and I got into him but backed out fast. A lap later trying to get up to him I slammed the back chute wall very hard. The bang shook the whole car, it wasn’t nice, but I was able to continue. The race went that way until lap 41, exactly where chaos developed in the first feature, well, that’s not true, that race was chaotic from the beginning and this one was just as hard on equipment. Matt Balog #77 brought out the caution. Only a dozen cars remained, most of them damaged or beaten up. I was hoping David could keep the lead, if he did he would win this event and be the Octoberfest champ. He finished ahead of Jason in the first race, so Jason’s only hope was to beat Dave. Maybe with Mark on the rear of the leader gave Jason some hope, but no matter who David battled he ran the same consistent line and pattern he drove all race. The only way to get by him would be to hit him and get him sideways, but no one did that, and for that he and our team were thankful.

On this restart with nine to go, we were sitting sixth outside of Jason. Brandon White was inside of me and Trevor Monaghan right behind. We had our own race going. On the green David had his hands full as Mark got a great run on the outside, but must have been disappointed that David got an even better run coming off two, putting him ahead going into three. I was ahead of White and my spotter yelled “clear low”. I dove low and a second later got tagged and spun out. That brought out the yellow for the ninth time. We had to go to the pits because our rear bumper was dragging. The starter gave me the mechanical black. The boys got the rear bumper off and we came back out. In all my years racing this was the biggest Demo Derby night I had ever been in.

On this restart Mark got a better run on David, his best yet, and stayed side by side until turn three. He soon found out there was no grip on the outside and again fell in behind David just getting in front of Shaw by an inch. The four of them raced hard for the next few laps. Trevor was all over Jason Lancaster now and the laps were winding down. Coming off turn four Jason Shaw was making a move on Mark and they hit hard cutting the right front tire of the #82. Jason must have known because he did not race hard into turn one, a bad mistake some racers make after front end contact. His car slid up allowing Jamie, Jason and Trevor to get by. Just as I got to him he was making the exit off the track. I saw him try and then change his mind and stop right at the gate exit. Was it a tactical move? Did he know if he went in he was not even going to finish in the top five overall. The yellow came out and quickly he went into the pits and got the right front tire changed. Our tenth caution was on lap 46.

Little did Shaw know, had he needed to change all four tires, the oil, gears, tie rod and rad, he would have had time. With four to go on this restart, Hollis and White got together before the start finish line. The contact sent White up on the wall. His car was tipped towards the track wedged locked with Hollis. That red flag was almost forty minutes as the safety crew and tow truck drivers tried to figure the safest way to get the cars separated. When White got out he bowed to the fans, who surprisingly were sticking it out. The wife of one fan was heard saying “should we go home now Herman”? He answered “are you kidding honey, get me some popcorn, there’s still four laps left, and more excitement on the horizon. I haven’t seen this much scrap steel since I worked at Stelco”!!

We finally got under way again, but only for one more lap and #77 spun in turn two. This was great for Jason Shaw. He was back in the hunt. There were three laps left. Eleven cautions. We were exhausted, the crew and fans had to be frozen. Herman was right, we did get another yellow. He ordered yet another box of popcorn.

On the restart with three laps to go, and not many more minutes to midnight, the green flag flew. David was getting better each lap. Mark had tried his best and David was finally pulling ahead by over two car lengths. The pack was tight from fifth to seventh. The two lap signal was given and David was now in command. Jason worked his way back up to fourth. Mark was still second with Jamie sitting third. Coming off four to take the white Trevor hit Jason Lancaster getting him a little loose, but never lifted sending Jason flying through the grass. About that time, a mouth full of popcorn, Herman was heard screaming “throw the yellow”. His wife looked at him calmly and said “what are you nuts”? The white came out and a lap later David would cross the finish line with his second feature win of the year, his second Octoberfest championship and his first ever fifty lap feature win.

I knew we would finish fifth though we crossed the line in sixth. Trevor spun out Jason right in front of the referee and he would be going to the back for sure. It was actually going to be worse than that for both drivers. They started banging each other on the track after the checker, and with a zero tolerance for retaliation, they both got disqualified from the second feature.

I stayed on the track, very excited for my son. I undid my belts and took off all my stuff and parked about 50 feet from the finish line and ran over to congratulate, hug and get a picture with David. I was so happy for him and us, that our poor day became a non issue.

The season is now over and I want to take a few weeks off to prepare our home for winter. Then we’ll get into our 2012 race program, which has already started a few months ago. It’s time for a rest.

Special thanks to Canadian Heroes for allowing us to run the salute to our valued soldiers and military. To all my crew and those who helped us.


Recap Race 2
* David wins race & Octberfest crown
* David wins his biggest race, 50 lap feature
* Four cars hit back straight wall coming off two
* Another car rides the wall
* 30 minute red flag
* Only 9 cars left
* We finish 5th
* Thanks to my crew for getting us back out
…..more to come…......just kidding....I will keep everyone posted on our 2012 season...thanks for coming on our site.

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

Diary Of A Season 2011

Post by Gary » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:15 pm

Postby Gary » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:14 am

The season is well on it's way now. We are so thankful to have Quaker State back with us for the 38th season, a world record. We plan on doing even more for this great company in terms of shows and promotional events. Most of our sponsors are back from 2010, although we still need to confirm a few. Hopefully that will be done before the cars get lettered.

After rebuilding the Limited Late Model for Jason Legge, I decided to get right on our Late Model from 2010, the car we've been running since starting in Late Models. Having more that one project on the go at once isn't too bad, that is until the parts get removed and start filling up the shop.

We plan on having our Coupe in the CVM display for Performance World in March. There is no word yet whether or not our Late Model will be going in. It's on stand by status right now, but we're treating the rebuild as if it will be on display as well, so the idea is to have both cars in the show.

I will be driving the CVM 8 times in 2011. All of the Flamboro shows, Delaware and two Sunset. Brian Watson will pilot the car in the other five shows, two at the Beach, two at Mosport and one Sunset.

Our Late Model schedule is not finalize yet but should be by mid February. We expect 20 shows with our Impala giving me a total of 28 nights including the races with the 33 Chev.

Our crew is awesome but different this season. I have people helping me from other teams. Bob will stay with our team until his car is ready. Gregg will help us throughout the winter and then be in our pit on nights when he's not working with his other committments. The thing I like about these two men is they want to help me and that means a lot. I realize I may lose one, and not have the other all the time, but when either are at the shop or at the track, they will be a true blessing to us.

Shirley will be our full time spotter, although she is a little worried about that now. Spotting is a huge responsibility and she'll have some big shoes to fill with Jim gone, but she'll be okay after a few races.
Marcello will be with me full time as will Jim Lilies, our grandson Gehrig and our grand daughter Lauren. Gordon and Perry are going to help when they can both with pictures and encouragement.

Our 43rd season is moving quickly in spite of the frigid cold and 10 times the snow we had last year. We'll keep our progress updated here.
Thanks for visiting our site, we appreciate you coming and hope to have a fun season as we battle for two Championships.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby taisa899 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:49 am

it's really good to see things are working out in a positive manner. I'm looking forward to Performance World in march seeing as how I've never been to it

Jim

Life is racing. Everything before and after is just waiting
taisa899 Posts: 3Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:33 amLocation: Cookstown, Ontario

Postby Gary » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:37 pm

We are moving forward but time is moving quickly as well. We've been blessed with the help we're getting.

The interior panels in the new Late Model were somewhat of a night mare because lots of parts and wires had to be disconneted in order to remove the floor, sides etc. I tried to mark everything to make it easy when reinstalling, likewise with the Coupe but it won't be as tough.

Ron Easton has the body panels for the 33 Chev and will replace or fix them. Only the one side and hood cover have to be replaced, the rest can be salvaged. This week end is a great opportunity to get some of the parts on the floor cleaned before putting back on the car, and replacing the fuel cell foam on both cars because they're so easy to get at with the bodies removed. I will call Shawn and ask him if he replaced the foam on the Late Model. I doubt it, the car is only three years old and didn't run much before he got it. I guess the foam is at least three years old now so I'll have to make a decision on that...I think it's going to get replaced.

We're looking forward to the car show. I'm very happy being asked to be in the CVM display, that's the main reason to get the car completely re done. It's also my 40th year as a member of the club and that's a milestone as well.

As long as we keep getting things done on schedule I'm sure we'll be okay.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby 98nascartruck » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:17 pm

Great to hear you are making good progress on the race cars with all the great help you have. with any luck I will stop by today and see if I can lend a hand for Gregg and then again on Sat as well!!!!
98nascartruck Posts: 79Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:50 pmLocation: Dundas, Ontario

Postby Gary » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:56 am

Good news for our team. Jim Hulzinga, our crew chief for the past 6 seasons will more than likely be returning to our team as full time spotter. Marcello has already been asked to be crew chief for 2011, and he is quite knowledgeable on our new car chassis and suspension. Jim can concentrate on keeping me out of trouble on the track.

Today we got a lot done on our new Late Model. It's crazy how well we're moving forward and so many different people helping out.
Bob and Gregg have contributed a lot so far and today it was Dave and Brian Watson. Big Jim came out as well and even though we have less than a month to go, we are making good progress.

Gordon was out as well taking some photos.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm
Postby 98nascartruck » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:06 pm

It was good to see Jim Hulzinga at the shop yesterday and good to hear he will be back with you Gary as spotter!!!

Gordon
98nascartruck Posts: 79Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:50 pmLocation: Dundas, Ontario

Postby Gary » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:11 pm

Yes, it was good to see Jim at the shop. If Jim's schedule changes fom what was planned back in the late fall and early winter, we could see him in our pit quite frequently in 2011 and that would be a good thing. His role would be head spotter and looking after me, so no old guys come after me.......nice.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby Gary » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:45 am

This was a crucial day for us, trying to get two cars prepared for the Performance World car show on March 10th. The Coupe is guaranteed to be in CVM display, but as of today, John Casale has still not confirmed we'll be in the Flamboro Speedway display. Shawn Chenoweth can't be ready, Jason Shaw suggested we go in though his car could be ready, and John had not talked to Paul Howse. The real story here isn't which Late Model will be in the display, but whether or not Flamboro will have a booth in the 2011 car show. If not it will be the first time in many many years that Flamboro has not participated, kind of strange being it's their 50th Anniversary.

I have to thank all the guys that came over today. We got a lot done, I think we got over the hump, though we still have a lot to do. Bob arrived first and started right on the Hobby car. He got things rolling with the brake lines, interior and shocks. David was early as well, his goal was to get the wiring done on the Late Model. We had to take one of the MSD boxes out of the car. David also helped huge on the seat and belts, we had to install our own seat, so brackets and new mounting points had to be made. Big Jim dropped by, with his help I got the 130 pound piece of led installed under the seat.

Steve our newest crew member and Gordon spent most of day, right up until 9:30pm. Steve was amazing jumping on the Coupe with Bob early, then taking control of the interior panels and wiring, getting those installed. Brian Watson came at 4:30 (night shift). He worked hard on the Coupe with Steve, getting the seat, clutch, rest of the interior, seat belts and steering column installed. Steve then helped me with securing the Late Model panels, and many other little things to be finished on that car. Gordon helped everyone when ever he could, and of course got some pictures.

On Monday there will be four of us to get the engine and drive line in the Coupe, then the body and panels installed. The Late Model will get the body finished then removed to have the inside of all the panels painted before it goes to Carlisle Industries for paint. There are many little things to do, too many to list, but the plan is to get both cars done by 4pm so I can take Nonie to dinner and a show. It's our 41st Wedding Anniversary and don't worry I won't forget......wow, I can't believe I'm 41 years old, never mind married that long. I love her, she is awesome and I would marry her again. I think she feels the same but would make a change on how long I raced, and if that didn't work, she would make an amendment on how many cars I had.

It's true time goes by fast when you're having fun. We did today, thanks again, everyone.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby Gary » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:20 am

Today was another good day for us. We got the Late Model very close, should be ready to go to Carlisle Industries by Wednesday.

We also got the drive line, wiring, interior and the roof put on the Coupe. We hope to have the CVM done by Tuesday night, Wednesday for sure.

Bob, Gregg, Brian and Marcello came out and we made good use of the day, and I was still able to leave the garage by 4:30 and go out with Nonie for our 41st wedding anniversary.

This past two days has been amazing, I am very thankful to everyone who has helped. I realize most are in my crew, but they still deserve a big thanks for getting us this far.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby Gary » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:55 am

I started my madness right after Autumn Colors. Getting our Limited Late (David's 2006 Championship car) ready for Jason Legge started the mayhem. I had a little rest at Christmas and then started our 2011 race program by redoing our 2010 Late Model, getting it completed by February 5th. It still needs work, but most of it is done, as well as the maintenance.

Getting our new Late Model was one thing, offering it for a car show was another. Now the race was on to get both our LM and CVM ready for Performance World. There was a lot of planning and work to be done, but with the help of many good workers we were able to have both cars ready for paint by today, February 23rd.

Once the cars come back from the paint shop we'll get busy doing the final prep and send them both to Steve Lyons.

I want to thank those who helped make this possible. David, Marcello, Gregg, Bob, Brian and Dave Watson, Steve, Jim and Gehrig.

By tomorrow, the Coupe will join the Late Model at Carlisle Industries and both will be painted by Shane Howard by the middle of next week. Can't wait.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby 98nascartruck » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:35 pm

Great to hear that both cars will be painted soon and then back home before going the getting decals done!!!!

Gordon
98nascartruck Posts: 79Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:50 pmLocation: Dundas, Ontario

Postby Gary » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:06 pm

Thanks Gordon, and my apologies for not mentioning that you were over twice taking pictures and helping where you could.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby 98nascartruck » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:48 pm

NO problem Gary and just phone call away and a short drive I can be there!!!





Gordon
98nascartruck Posts: 79Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:50 pmLocation: Dundas, Ont
Postby Gary » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:14 am

Hopefully we get the cars back from the body shop by March 1st, Tuesday. That will give us one day to finish off the accessories that have to go on before lettering, including the windows, spoiler etc. Then they have to go to Creative Edge for lettering by next Wednesday, and if Steve dosen't run into any problems, we could get them back by Monday March 6th. That gives us two days to do the final touches for the car show and load up on Thursday the 9th.

I hope everyone understands how important it was for us to cram on the cars the way we did. We had to make up the extra time in our shop because there's no way I can rush the body shop or sign letterer. I think we've done it perfect because both Carlisle and Creative Edge are anxious to get the cars ready in time.

Today Carlisle was preparing the Late Model and Coupe. I believe the paint will go on one of them by this week end.

I called Flamboro last night and they still have not confirmed a spot in the car show. I asked him if he was waiting until the last minute to get a better deal, he laughed at that, but maybe it's a tactic that might work if the show promoter is light on exhibits. John did say if he goes in the show, our car will be in his display.

Flamboro was built in 1962. This year is their 50th Anniversary. I can't even imagine, a track celebrating their 50th year, not being in the biggest pre season car show in Ontario.

On our 40th season we gave away 40 bikes, made a 40th anniversary souvenir program and gave it away no charge and still give them away, until there gone. We had a 40th anniversary night at the track and gave away 6 bikes, $40 to every Late Model driver that started the feature, gave the track $2500 for tickets we sold in the turn one VIP lounge, a special award to the owners John and Frank, plus 1000 programs, to the fans and people in the pits, everyone who came that night. It was a lot of work preparing for our 40th season, but it was a tremendous success.

Our next celebration maybe our 50th, God willing...but we may be celebrating the return of Christ before that. We just need to keep an eye on the middle east and see prophecy unfold almost daily. I have one eye on my race program, and the other on the news, and we line ups what's in the news papers with scripture. Of course people have been doing that for years, however, things are different now, but that's another topic that I may start.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20
Postby Gary » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:00 am

The Late Model will be loaded into our trailer tomorrow night and taken to Creative Edge on Wednesday to get lettered.

We hustled to get the car ready for the Peformance World car show on March 10-12, but as of this week end Flamboro has not committed, in fact on Saturday night at Ray Hughes party, someone asked John if he was going to be in the show and he said he didn't think so. Too expensive and he feels he dosen't get enough exposure for it. Maybe he could do a local mall in April? If he needs a car, I know one that will be ready. It's Flamboro's 50th season, hopefully they do lots of local promoting.

One of my sponsors, Freedom Village, is supporting the track by sponsoring the Thunder Car division. Check out their site http://www.freedomvillage.ca or click here and it will take you directly to their site. It's place for troubled teens, turning lives around, some very incredible testimonies of kids getting their lives on track to a future of hope.

The Coupe is being painted tomorrow morning. I will pick it up on Wednesday mid afternoon. There is a place for it in the CVM display at the car show. So our extra efforts won't be in vain, want to promote my sponsors every chance I get and that's a good start for the season.

I will be posting a picture soon of both cars, the Late Model first.

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