Diary Of A Season 2011

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat May 07, 2011 1:15 pm

May 7th.....Flamboro Speedway

Race #1

"Season Opener"

High Lites
* 17 cars
* Chenoweth wins
* David 3rd
* We get 5th




Routine on both cars

Marcello, Jesse, Bob, Steve, Gerry, Sheldon, Gordon, Perry, Gehrig
Britt was not able to make it.

The season finally got underway. Two rainouts were making things especially nerve wracking for the track owner. Some teams used the rainouts as extra time to get ready. We were good to go last week and were happy the sun came out, not just for racing, but to also show us it still existed.

The track opened a little early to give teams some extra practice. We were okay, but did need some laps, mostly to get comfortable inside the car. Perhaps my biggest enjoyment of my car from the past six years was how at home I felt in the car. That’s not the case with my new car, and maybe one of the most important things for me to work on over the next week.

There were 17 Late Models, a decent turn out. Delaware only had 14, and that was a surprise. They had full fields for the past two seasons. Maybe if they change their engine rule package it might help, but my focus is on Flamboro and how to keep our own car count up by helping or encouraging the racers than come here every week.

Some new faces included our son David. Obviously not totally new, he was the 2006 track champion. David is driving our car from last year and I made a deal with him over the winter that he could drive the car as long as he brought it to Flamboro every week. He was okay with that, letting go some of the issues he had from the past. Jim Sweers was back, but he wasn’t new, though he did not race in 2010. The newest and most surprising entry was Al Bowman. Al is 75 years old and wants to try for Rookie Of The Year. It’s true he will be the oldest rookie to drive a Late Model, unfortunately, it may only be for a week or two. I love Al and appreciate his enthusiasm. Getting in a Late Model is a brave thing to do, but that may apply more to his competition than him. Al needs tons of practice to get up to speed and needs more help in the pits…..and a radio, and someone who can use it for him. More on Al’s night later.

We drew for position for the opener, no one had a handicap. Though fitted with a new car and new crew, my drawing for position skills were the same as before. I picked 23, putting me 2nd in the 3rd heat.

We ran two sets of hot laps and the car was tight. I decided not to take my starting position because there were three very fast cars around me. Paul Howse was pole, Shawn Chenoweth 3rd and Brad Corcoran fourth. I felt if I wasn’t able to keep up, I stood a chance of getting into trouble. It was better for me to go scratch, even though the move would put me scratch all night, and give us a chance to keep making progress on the car.

David drew #4 and started outside pole of the first heat beside Kenny Forth. They ran bumper to bumper for all 10 laps. David looked very at home in the car.

There were only 5 cars in our heat. They decided to run three heats, and I think that’s smart making the heat races safer with a little less traffic, saving the cars for the feature. I was able to get into fourth and follow Chenoweth. Paul led and won with Brad close by. Shawn was having carb trouble keeping him out of the hunt. We weren’t far back actually gaining on Shane as the race went on.

Al Bowman was scrambling in the pits trying to get organized. He was very anxious about running against the Late Models. He just bought the car from Richard Holmes the week before and it wasn’t painted or lettered. I think he got a good deal. However, he was gambling the new division change would be as easy as he thought, or the Late Models made it look. Going from a 17 second class to a 15 second class is a huge jump. I offered the track to mentor Al, but in the drivers meeting Donny Cox told me he would be doing the mentoring for Al. That was okay, Al was parked right beside me and if he needed anything I could try and help. Unfortunately what he needed most was ice time and lots of it.

The feature saw 16 cars start. Jeff Cassidy #97 did not take the green. I started 13th with Jim Sweers, Jim Gillis and Al Bowman behind me. The race started clean, and very slow, as the leaders got the green almost at the start finish line. The pace truck use to pull off in turn three, but now they exit turn four, forcing the lead cars to keep a slow pace coming off turn four. Then we’re within egg throwing distance of the started when we get the green…we don’t throw eggs. The first time Jeff Stewart starts outside pole, or any Late Model that’s shifts from third to fourth, will have an advantage over a Crate starting on the inside or outside. The Crate is a momentum engine and if there’s one thing we don’t have on the starts this year, it’s momentum.

The green flew with no issues. Everyone made it safely through the first lap. The top 9 cars pulled ahead of 10th to 16th. I was behind a small pack of cars that were fairly equal. Matt Balog #77 was 10th in his brand new car. He improved a lot as the year progressed in 2010, and bought himself a better race machine. Behind him was Bill Lassaline #22 who also had a better car than 2010. They ran nose to tail with #27 Steve Smith right on his bumper. Steve ran sporadically last year but was going to do his best to make most of the races in 2011. I was close behind and very reluctant to do anything but wait for the three ahead of me to get sorted out.

Suddenly I saw Jason Shaw pull high going into turn one. He left the track with a flat tire. Tough break for the speed veteran.

As the race went on, maybe four laps or so, I could no longer see the 9th place car on either of the chutes. It was time for me to get more aggressive because none in our pack were moving. I got by Steve then caught up to Bill. Bill was trying to get under Matt but could only get close. Matt was fast, as all these cars were on the straights, making it difficult to do anything. Pushing or rubbing them was not on my option list so I waited patiently, but pressure was building as I sensed getting lapped a possibility.
Finally I got under the #22 and set my sights on Matt. I caught him and seen why Bill was struggling to get by. Matt was quick and fast enough in the corners that it would take some time to get by without getting into him. We were approaching lap 10, when the craziest thing I ever seen in racing took place. I have seen some crazy stuff, and been involved in some wild things on the track, but this may be one of the top five moments of unbelief. Going down the back chute we could see #74 Al Bowman low on the apron. We had already lapped him twice. Coming down the front chute I was glued to #77 and made a pass attempt to the inside just before the start finish line. I’m figuring Al will be on the back chute apron by the time we get to turn two, so no big deal. Matt and I were flying into turn one and I was now beside him….freeze frame, .....we go inside the helmet of #74........“I’m wondering if I should get off the track now. I am low but maybe if I slow up and just pull off the apron and go easy up to the pit exit I can escape certain danger.…..back to the action..........as we enter turn one I see the news-reel high lite of the race happening right in front of me, Al coming off the apron and heading up the track at just under 11 miles per hour. I dive hard low and Matt, who has no where to go, heads up and around Al on the outside…..freeze frame…. we go back inside the helmet of #74.........”who was that white car, wow, he almost hit me, hey I’m trying to get off the track here boys, give me room”….back to the action.........….coming off four I expected to see the yellow come out for one of the worst wrecks at Flamboro, but somehow Matt got around the top side of Al and escaped unscathed, they both did. The race stayed under green. Now I was finally in open air, but still could not see the lead pack. The next 7 circuits were great as we laid down some good lap speeds gaining back some of the time we lost. On lap 18 the yellow came out. Paul Howse was sitting on the track as was Kenny Forth. Kenny was leading at the time, with a wild pack on his tail. Something happened causing both cars to spin. There was no serious damage, but both would have to go to the back. On the restart we barely went three more laps when Jeff Stewart and Steve Laking got together between the middle and coming off turn two. That was a nasty deal for Steve as his car hit the brunt of the pit entrance. He was okay but severely beat up, something none of us wanted to see for him or anyone else. That deal sent Jeff scratch and moved us to 5th.

During the yellow I noticed my engine temp climbing to heights I’d never seen before. We put tape on the nose cone screen, I think it definitely caused us to run hot, however we were not spewing out any water. Some of my crew thought it may have been a faulty gauge. Since I never ran tape over my screen in six years other than for qualifying, I was sticking to the tape as the cause. We agreed to not do it next week and see if the temperature went up the same.

Shawn was leading the field. He had all kinds of pressure with Brad on his tail, David waiting for Brad to get loose or tight and Chris #3 glued to David’s rear bumper. I had a birds eye view from 5th and could see there was no where to go in this rush hour deal. The checker came out with no change in the top five and Paul finishing sixth.

It was a good run for us. David was very happy with his run as well. We only had one crew member missing. Our new crew worked very well together and I am looking forward to a fun season.

Next week is the opening night for the CVM. In 42 years we have still never won an opening night feature. We have one more chance to break the 42 year string with our 33 Chev Coupe.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat May 21, 2011 1:15 pm

May 21st................Flamboro Speedway

Race #2

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Steve Laking wins
* Exciting finish no one got wrecked
* We finish 11th...trouble in too many areas
* David fast gets 7th





carb, ring gear, starter

Marcello, Jesse, Bob, Steve, Perry, Gordon, Gerry, Sheldon, Britt

It’s been a frustrating year so far in our chase to win a Championship. I understand very well it’s only race #2, but I’ve been around long enough to know you can’t fall too far behind early or chances get slimmer each week. Another problem with falling back is the number of cars between your car and the point’s leader. As that number grows, odds go against you even more because you need to catch and pass more cars. The good news for us is the top two cars of this feature had bad luck on opening day, and we should get a little better starting spot for our next regular race on June 11th. Even so, those ahead of us gained more this week than they did on opening day, and our car is not yet in the league of the top five cars….not yet.

Things were off for us right from the start. Somehow, we had the wrong offset on the outside tires. The problem is none of us know the car at all. So, we’re in a huge learning and growing curve, something we will eventually get a handle on. Our slow start is hurting us in the points, and all of us know we need to get up to speed on and off the track very quickly. We don’t want to settle for a top five in points again, we need to improve in 2011. That’s why we got this car. The problem is we’re having some issues with the car that are making this season tough out of the gate. I know we’ll get it, hopefully soon. Most of the top cars are running where they should be. 56, 8, 05, 37, 89, 82 (now) 44 and 86 are not far off where they were in 2010. We fall behind this group for now, but will certainly improve our status by this weekend for the Grisdale Triple Crown.

This car has a weird set up for wheels. There are three wheels with a 4” offset and the right rear has a 3” offset. Somehow last week the right rear ended up on the right front. I am trying to let the guys set up the car without interfering, just driving, but apparently I was the only one that knew the offsets were different. During the week I noticed the 3”on the right front and moved it to the back. Things changed suspension wise, so after our 5th place finish last week, we had to make some serious chassis changes. After our second set of hot laps the car was deemed not in race mode, not close. I spun out coming off turn two, something I haven’t done in the Late Model for six years, unless I was helped. We went over the scales and the numbers revealed why the car was so loose. Jesse made some wholesale adjustments to get the car balanced and we went over the scales again and were happy with the results. We also had a problem with the carb again and had to tap the float bowl to get it to stop flooding out. This happened last week as well and we never use to have problems with our carb. Not sure if it was the fuel we’re getting or the carb itself.

In our heat we started 6th. Jason Shaw was on the pole with Steve Laking beside. We only went one lap when #22 Bill Lasaline spun bringing out the yellow. We restarted 5th behind #77 Matt Balog. On the start I couldn’t get out and both Steve Smith and Kenny Forth got by on the outside lane. They fought with Matt and finally got by. Now it was my turn to go outside the #77. Going into one I went to the outside and Matt drove right up beside me, taking me to the marbles. We came off turn two, but now I was behind him and I had to wait another straight to get the car back in the groove. Going into three I caught him and went under but he came down hitting my right front wheel. That sent me sliding a little and I fell back again. I tried again to get by him in turn one and finally made the pass on the back chute. By the time I got free I was a long way back. It would take three or four laps to catch the #27 Steve Smith and make the pass giving us fourth. I was happy with the car it was much better than the last time out. We talked about it in the trailer and decided not to make too many changes for the feature. I said I wanted to clean the carb internally, both metering blocks and check the levels on the floats. While we were talking the driver of #77 Matt Balog came up and apologized for not running me clean. He explained why, I told him I appreciated him coming over and not to worry the issue was over.

We started working on the carb, and maybe the worst mistake I could have made, but then again, maybe the best thing. I’ve cleaned; rebuilt and set up Holley carburetors many times and this was easy. Once every thing was put back together the nightmare started. The car did start on the first try and was idling perfect. Suddenly we found a fuel leak on the front bottom right float bowl bolt. It was tight, so we had to remove it. Once we did we found a heli-coil stuck on the end of the bolt, pulled out from the body of the carb. A closer look showed all four bolts were heli-coiled. That’s caused from taking the carb apart and putting it back together too tight, or too many times. I never touched my carb for two years from 2007 to 2009, just never saw the need to mess with it. Anyhow, we were in trouble now, I didn’t have a spare and the Mini Stock feature was about to go out. One of David’s crew members, and a long time friend of mine, Mike Lewis, had a spare carb and put it on our car. Things looked good until we were ready to start it so Mike could set it up. Dave Lewis, Mikes son, also made a few trips to their trailer to get more parts off the carb. The nightmare began when we tried to start the car. It would not engage, the starter and or ring gear were damaged and would not catch. I just put in a new starter because the one that came with the car was no good, the bendix drive was damaged, teeth wore out. Thinking there was a bad spot we tried several times to rock the car to move the engine in hopes the starter would engage. No luck. This meant we had to push the car, pop the clutch, keep it running and try to adjust the carb. Wow, what a frustrating deal that was. We finally got it done but the Thunder Car feature was already well into it’s run.

We left the car running and I started to back out and I noticed the RPM would not come down below 3000. The boys came over and tried to adjust it. I told Bob my spotter, the linkage bolt might be in wrong. I thought it might be binding or jammed. Unfortunately the Late Models were going out and we did not have time to change it but they did removed the hood and it appeared to be okay.

I got on the track but was very reluctant to take my spot. I needed to make sure the throttle was okay and it wouldn’t stick or jam. The only safe place to do that is from the rear, not starting 5th, our line up spot. While sitting on the track, I tried to pull away and the car stalled. A tow truck got me started and it was okay. Bob told me to take my spot, but I really didn’t feel comfortable doing that. Wholesale chassis changes and any other performance area issues like brakes or engine, need to be handled like a warning to take precautions, and I do that every time. I will start a race with a beat up car, but not at the front. Why wreck it and make the problem more than the one you already have. On the other side, no matter how bad the car is, I'm better off to be in the race and get what I can points wise rather than sit in the pits and collect show up points. The Hobby car use to keep me in the pits and miss feature races, but it was never because my car was wrecked or beat up, because we fixed those things good enough to be in the race. The Coupe sat in the pits almost every time with a hole in the block or oil pan from the explosion inside my new expensive engine. That hurt everywhere, points and money.

On the green it was apparent we were in trouble. The RPM would not go down as I entered the corners. It dropped slightly from 6000 to maybe 5000, but that meant I had to slow up sooner, and apply the brakes very hard to make sure I didn’t hit anyone in front of me. It took a while to pass some cars but we were able to move from 18th to 11th . The rotors were glowing like never before, no kidding, I was very hard on the brakes. At the end of the straight the car wouldn’t slow down enough, it wanted to keep going, so the brakes took a beating. I caught Steve Smith but there was no way I could pass him. We battled for the final 10 laps bumper to bumper.

Perry came over after the race, not realizing what we were going through and showed us pictures of the brakes on fire. It was truly a frustrating night for us, and won’t be cheap to get this fixed. I need a carb and ring gear, maybe even new clutches. I should have traded the four speed when I had the chance. I don’t really like it either, never used one before and have had so much luck with the 3 speed, I should have stayed with it. The chassis may be okay, the feature was no test on how the car handled.

We figure getting 11th was good considering a DNF may have been the alternative. I’m not one to pull off the track ever, tow me off or take me out with a flat tire, otherwise I’m racing what I have. Our crew worked very hard tonight and deserved a better showing but we all agreed we’ll take this one and hope it’s our worst night of the year.

Steve Laking won the feature. What a great night for him! Wrecking his car the week before then coming back the next week and winning the feature is an awesome feeling for a driver and his crew. Steve may now have a better idea of how our crew felt after wrecking two weeks in a row last year. One of those crashes, was my worst ever. Then we come back week three, finally get the lead in the feature, the first time in 2 years, only to get involved in yet another wreck. That was just too much for my crew to bare. So we know how good it must have been for Steve and we're glad for him. It’s always good to have a strong finish after a bad night, it’s 10 times better when you win. Steve dedicated the win to his dad, Brock, a great and loving man.

We took the car home after the races. Unloaded it in the garage and loaded the CVM for Sunset. When David came home to unload his car we talked about our troubles. Amazingly, David also had carb issues. His car almost quit during the feature when he was running fourth. The carb was flooding so bad he had to keep the revs way up to keep it running. It was the same symptoms I went through. We wondered if there was a common denominator and it appears there is. The fuel in both Late Models and the Coupe are from the same gas station in Waterdown. It’s a UPI station that is owned by Sunoco, and has 94 Octane fuel. I am even more convinced some of our issues are fuel related because the Coupe had the same trouble at Sunset.

Next week we have our first Triple Crown race and we’re due to show up with a competitive car. I think we’ve gone through enough so far and will be ready for this prestigious event.

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Post by Gary » Sun May 22, 2011 1:15 pm

May 22nd................Sunset Speedway

Race #3

CVM Opening Night

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Jason Keen Wins
* Ben Charbonneau Wins Heat...1st V8 Victory
* 3 cars have engine trouble
* We get 5th



Clutch, carb, steering

Bob, Steve and Rick

Bob, Steve and I headed to Sunset early Sunday leaving Waterdown about 10:30am. It was overcast and calling for scattered showers. However, on the way up we got a taste of everything from sun, blue skies, a little rain and cloudy skies.

We got to the track at 11:45. There was only one other CVM at the track, Jason Keen. He was first to the track and made that work for him all night.

My biggest concern was the clutch. We had trouble with it at Flamboro when we practised, but removed the tranny and adjusted it at home. The problem was with engaging. With just a small adjustment the car went from slipping to not being able to get it in gear in the pits. We hoped we had it fixed but wouldn’t know until we tried it. We didn’t want to waste a set of hot laps to find out, plus if we did go out and the clutch was slipping, everything would be hot and make things tougher for us removing the transmission.

We unloaded and got the car running. Normally these engines start and idle right away. We started the car and it quit. We tried it again and it quit again. This was one of the problems we were having with our Late Model. I tried adjusting the carb, but no use, it would not idle. I took it apart and blew out the metering block passages, adjusted the float and put it back on and it idled fine. Next we needed to test the clutch. We had at least an hour before practice and thought we’d take it over the scales. Rather than push it (like we did my Late Model all night) I decided to drive it over. It started fine, that was good, carb still working, and when I put the clutch in, it went into gear very easy, that was nice to, but of course it wouldn’t move. It was slipping on our pit pad. How insane is this?

Bob and Steve started jacking up the car, then Rick Schurr joined us. Rick will drive the car 5 times this summer. He helped us where ever he could. We pulled the trans out, it was cold easy to handle, adjusted the studs back just an eighth of an inch and reinstalled it. Once all together we tried it again and now it wouldn’t go into gear. There is something wrong, I suspect in the release bearing. We rebuilt it over the winter, but it must be sticking or seizing. We decided to leave it and start the car in 2nd gear. It worked at Flamboro when I left the pits, it seemed like the easiest plan for us.

Sixteen Hobby cars were signed in. Most seemed to think that was good for opening day. I was disappointed we didn’t have at least 20 cars. We had 27 last year on opening night. With such a small schedule, I thought car count would not be an issue. We weren’t the only ones. TQ Midgets had less cars and OSCAAR only had 16 cars. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but racers need to understand if they only want to run a few nights a year, that mindset may not help race promoters who need 24 nights at least to make their budget, and it could come back to hurt them in the future. If tracks decided to only run 12 times, travelling clubs may only get one race a season from each track and be down to a 5 or 6 night schedule, and with a mandate of showing up with 24 cars or they don’t run. That’s not happening now, but if racers think they’re the only ones with expenses they need to open their eyes to the racing business. It would be better for race tracks to open in June, run until Labour day and have big ticket shows. They would try to make their budget on 12 nights instead of 24. That would mean 100 Lap races for Late Models, Limited Late’s, and 50 lap events Thunder Cars and Mini Stocks. As well, two or three mini-series events to create some excitement. It’s a four way intersection with promoters, racers, fans and sponsors the key players. Promoters need drivers to put on a show, fans to cover the costs and sponsors for special events. Racers need a place to race, sponsors for their own cars and fans who like to see them race. Fans want to see good racing with nice looking cars and lots of them. Sponsors want a place to advertise their products, a place with lots of fans and a good show to attract fans. We need each other. Racers must understand it’s not just about us, its about the sport and saving it…..okay enough ranting.

We made our first set of warm ups and the car was terrible handling wise. It was very hard to steer, not binding like last year, but like trying to steer a tow motor. It was very tight and wouldn’t roll in the middle of the turns. The clutch worked fine. We were turning the high 15:5’s, at least 2 tenths off the faster cars. After this session I pulled off the back gate and the car quit. I tried restarting it but it just kept turning over. Finally it started and I made it to my pit. We took the hood off and found fuel everywhere. The top of the carb was full of gas from coming out the spout. What we did earlier should have fixed the carb. We didn’t have time to mess with this one anymore. We were fortunate to borrow one from Mike Williams. We put it on and started working on the rest of the car, the handling. It was terrible tight. We needed to free the car up.

The Coupe doesn’t have load bolts, but leaf springs. We started by adding a leaf to the right rear. Steve put that in. Then we adjusted all four spring shackles to take out some wedge. We tipped the axle to make the steering easier and moved the sway bar clamps further out. We figured that was enough changes. We went out again for the second set of hot laps and the car was much better. We got down to the low 15:4’s and still had room for improvement. We took the car over the scales and checked our total weight and ride heights. All was well and we were ready to start our heat.

At the drivers meeting Steve Slaughter welcomed us. He mentioned how important car count was to the track and that future shows depended on each club bringing a good field of cars. He knew it was our first show and gave some grace.

We drew for position and I pulled #17, putting me 4th in the second heat. Jason Keen got the pole. Right after the meeting Chris Milwain talked to me about the incident last year at Flamboro. I told him I had no issue with him before or during that race and was surprised that he put me in the infield. He said basically the same thing, but that he felt I chopped down on him under the caution almost taking his hood off. It really didn’t matter to me, I know I’ve never had an issue with Chris, always talked to him on nights when I was racing my Late Model and the CVM were at the same track, I never ever thought there was any reason for us to be at war for anything. We talked a bit and now it’s a non issue. We shook hands and I’m glad it’s settled. His new fire suit is the nicest I’ve ever seen. Would be perfect with Quaker State on it.

In our heat we started fourth and ran side by side for half the race. It was very close racing. Ben Charbonneau #2, driving the only other Crate engine was leading and pulling away slightly. I was in a heavy battle for 2nd with Pat Ruelens #47 and Daryl Henwood #29. The car was better, but was loose off. I got under Daryl and tried to run under Patrick but spun out coming off turn two. The yellow came out. There were only a few laps left. I did catch the front cars again but could do no better than 5th. It was a good run for us in spite of the finish. The car was quick off the corners, we just had to get it hooked up better in the middle. Ben Charbonneau won the heat. He will go down in history as the first Crate to win a race. He won’t be the first V8 because the Hobby club ran V8’s before the inline’s back in the 50’s and 60’s. Jason Keen won the first heat giving him three first's so far for the night. First at the track, first in qualifying line up and first in his race.

After our heat we had a game plan. Make the car turn better in the middle and tighten it up coming off the corners. Ron Easton came over and helped with some direction. I accidentally adjusted the sway bar the wrong way before the heat. It’s totally different than our Late Model, not in principle, but in design. I had it back wards. We moved the bar bracket back to give us more preload for coming off and we opened up the rear stagger to help us turn in the middle. A few drivers came by. Some commented on how fast the car was. They were surprised by the power. It wasn't that long ago that Brian Atkinson drove a CVM with a Rambler engine and none of us could ever catch him on the straights. I know the car will be faster if I can get it to handle better. It's still hard to steer. Maybe I'm too use to power steering, that is a possibility. The only way to know is let someone drive my car and tell me, or maybe I drive another car and see how they should feel, like #00.

We lined up on the back chute behind the track. We could see the TQ Midget race. There were only 12 cars in it. I sat for a while and after the 3rd caution undid my seat belts and took my helmet off. Twenty minutes later I dozed off and awoke to see 10 cars left. Then a car flipped over, #36 Justin Fraser, but he never got out of his car, stayed in it and kept going. That was awesome, my kind of racer. He restarted 9th. Soon he was 8th with another caution. Then Rob Neely blew up taking him and one other car out. That left six cars. At the finish, it was almost dark now, five cars crossed the finish line with #48 winning and the car that flipped, #36 Fraser, taking 5th. I wondered if that would be an omen. I sure didn’t want to flip.

We got on the track, 14 cars. Two were side lined with engine troubles. Shane Stickel #39 blew up in hot laps and Steve March #95 blew a head gasket and had water in his rocker cover.

The race was fast and very close. The cars ran side by side pretty well all race. I was very happy with the car. It handled very good in the corners. The push was still there but very little. There were three or four cautions. Chris Milwain #21 lost an engine I assume. There was lots of speedy dry down. He was very fast in his heat running all over the back of Jason Keen. On the restart I followed Ron Easton who was making a path to the front. Pat Ruelens got in front of me and going into three Ron got side ways and spun up the track. I checked up and barely got by, but did not hit him. Pat got by on the outside. Ron was okay, but would have to go scratch. On the restart we were 5th behind Pat and Brian Atkinson. I followed Pat who got by Brian on the inside. Brian is running a V6 and trying his best to make that engine a viable option for the CVM. Pat moved into third and I got on his tail. We ran close for three or four laps and then I stupidly got too low going through three and four and hit the rounded curb resulting in my car spinning out. It was too bad for us because I just got under pat and thought I could get by him by turn one.

I restarted 13th and over the next 12 laps managed to move into 5th. I caught Steve Trendell who was catching Ruelens. With one to go we were running in a train with the leaders a quarter of a track ahead. At the finish we crossed in 5th place and I was very happy with our effort, and the omen with the other 36 was the 5th place finish...but I don't believe in omens. Congrats to Jason Keen who got his 4th first of the night, the one that meant the most. He was chased by Ben Charbonneau in the V8 but had it covered. Ben will now hold the prestige of being the highest finishing Crate in a CVM feature. I went over to him after the race and said "man am I glad you didn't win". His wife looked at me laughing and said "nice". Then I told them "I want to be the first V8 to win a feature". Ben had a great night.

Our crew worked hard all day, way too hard, but their effort paid off. Thanks to Bob, Steve and Rick for all their help and making our first CVM race of 2011 a fun deal.

The next race is Flamboro on June 4th. I will drive that race as well. Rick will get his debut on June 25th at Mosport Speedway and he can't wait.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat May 28, 2011 1:15 pm

May 28th..............Flamboro Season

Race #4.....Grisdale Triple Crown

[u:tyrlagn6][i:tyrlagn6][b:tyrlagn6]High Lites[/b:tyrlagn6][/i:tyrlagn6][/u:tyrlagn6]
* 26 cars
* David wins pole
* Race postponed until June 11th...due to rain (ran 8 laps)
* We qualify 8th



posted later

* chassis

Marcello, Jesse, Bob, Steve, Gerry, Perry, Troy, Gordon, Sheldon

An awesome turn out of 26 Late Models gave potential for this to be one of the best nights in the Late Model racing in the past five or six seasons. However, weather, the consistent torment for all outdoor sports, farming and other businesses resulted in the race being postponed until June 11th.

It was great to see four or five visitors to Flamboro. Jamie Cox #22and Mark Watson #78 from Delaware. Larry Jackson #84 from Kawartha. Other first time new faces included Brandon DiDero #24, Craig Zubrig #4 and Ted Horsfall #49.

Qualifying was determined through double heats. There were three heats in total. I picked #13 starting spot, giving me pole in the 2nd heat. That meant I would start last in our 2nd heat.

Our car was tight all day, though we did have some fast laps. The problem is the same every time, tight in the middle when I try to get on the gas. The set up we’re using is completely different than any of the top runners, and completely different than anything I’ve used in the past. Lots of static wedge, no bar, little rear stagger. The theory is our car will be better in the long run than the cars I’m racing against. The problem is we’re not good in the short run.

In the hot laps we did get a few laps in the low 15:5’s, pretty close to most of the field. In our heat we started pole with #56 Jeff Stewart on my tail. Bruce followed me for 4 or 5 laps and took advantage of the push I had, getting by with no problem. I tried to follow him but really couldn’t keep up. By lap 8 we were catching him slightly, I assume he was saving his tires, and we’re running times in the mid 15:3’s. We would take second and need to do more to get the car competitive. Any good runner in this class will not lose a heat race starting on the pole. I was disappointed but am willing to give this set more of a chance. After the first round of heats winners were Shawn Chenoweth, Jeff Stewart and Jason Shaw.
Between heats we checked the car over and made some minor adjustments to help turn me in the middle. David said “you’re really pushing out there, that’s how you lost the race”. I knew that and hoped we’d get it better for our second heat.

A very bad crash in race one occurred when Craig Zurbig hit the wall and flipped over on the front chute. He was okay, but his car took a beating.

In the second set of heats we started last, but moved to 6th when a few others wanted to go scratch. Chris Boschler got the lead with Jason Lancaster inside pole. Jason got hammered going into three by Paul Howse. Jason was running 2nd and was off the pace somewhat. When he got hit it sent him up and into the path of Jeff Stewart. Jeff had no where to go and ended up hitting Jason sending him into a spin. I narrowly got by that mess. The brakes were smoking but awesome. On the restart we were 3rd. Our car was the same if not worse this time, I would say worse. Chris and Paul pulled ahead of me. I had the same symptom, pushing in the middle, only worse compared to the first heat. Soon Jeff Stewart caught me and for the second time passed me on the inside. We ended up a distant 4th. I was disappointed and knew we’d be a top 8 car at best unless we fixed it.

I suggested we check the toe and found it toed in an eight. That was actually good news because toe-in will cause a push. The car was adjusted to a quarter toe out. Maybe more than I would go. I would use a quarter at Sunset or Sauble, even Peterborough, but an eighth should be good at Flamboro. My concern was being tight, so, if this freed me up I was good. Hopefully it wasn’t too much.

The second set of heats were won by Steve Laking, Chris Boschler and David Elliott.

David had the best overall score with a 2nd and 1st. With no invert, that put him on the pole. We had a 2nd and 4th putting us 8th best, because of a disappointing qualifying round in heat two.

This race was never intended to run tonight. There were too many obstacles and set backs to make it happen. First was a driver introduction, perhaps something that should have been cancelled with bad weather in the forecast. They usually take 25 minutes. Next was Chris Boschler breaking a suspension part on his car that forced the tow truck to flat bed him to his pits. What a tough break for Chris. He should have had time to fix it, and maybe the track was hoping he would because we went around for at least another 15 laps, probably 10 minutes waiting for the track to get us going. We got some hot laps but they were cut short because we were catching the back cars within two laps and with a full field it was chaos. Once the hot laps were done we should have doubled up for the white flag, but now there was another issue. Al Bowman was the bubble car, meaning if Chris didn’t get back out, Al would be in the show. They gave Chris tons of time to fix his car, I’m sure to prevent Al from getting in the race. If that wasn’t the reason, then all of us, including fans were becoming impatient as the start of the race dragged on for ever. Finally they let Bowman on the track. We got the white shortly after, but by then I was so far from focused.

On the green, 24 cars headed into turn one. David had the lead going into three with Jason on his tail and Jeff Stewart beside. A lap or so later Jeff cut down and hit both Jason and David sending the #37 Pennzoil car in a wild spin. Incredibly David was able to save it, but Jeff got by on the outside. I was watching far ahead waiting for mayhem but none took place although I did have a great view of David’s car sideways just as they were coming off turn four.
A few laps later we were racing down the back chute and Jason pulled up going into three. By the time we got to the start finish line the yellow was out.

Six laps were in the books and while we were under yellow it started to spit rain. It never rained that hard and what little fell was being evaporated by the track surface. After a while we did a few hot laps and were ready to go again.

This time I restarted 5th. We ran together for a lap or so then going down the back chute Brad Corcoran #05 went flying across the back chute into the wet grass in a death slide heading between turn three and four. Brad tried to move down but caught the nose of Paul. Brad’s spotter said he was calling car inside at the time. I’m guessing Paul didn’t have time to back out, plus it’s very dangerous at the beginning of a restart to be backing up on the chutes because getting hit from the rear is the next thing that is likely to happen. I slowed up as I watched Brad come sliding closer and closer to the track. I figured we might meet at about the same time and wanted to avoid getting t-boned or hitting him. He got stopped at the edge of the apron and all was good, but it brought out the final caution on lap eight.

It would be the final caution because the rain came again and the track officials cancelled the conclusion of this race, moving it to June 11th. On that night we’ll run the remainder of this race as well as a full schedule of regular racing. It means we got to be careful because getting beat up in the Grisdale race could have a major impact on the points chase.

Our car was a little tight at the beginning of this race but was better by lap 8, it would at least turn in the corners.

Next week end is race #2 for the CVM at Flamboro. I will be driving my Coupe.

Rick Schurr will make his debut in stock car racing, driving our 33 Chev on June 25th at Mosport. Rick is the son of Glen Schurr, my hero as a child. He had an incredible impact on me that would include running #36 on my car and putting forever on the hood of my car “36 for Schurr”.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:15 pm

June 4th...............Flamboro Speedway

Rained Out!!!!!!!!

All last week was sunny, just what the Flamboro promoter John Casale needed to dry up the parking area for the fans. There had been so much rain in the month of April and May, the grounds were incredibly soft making parking for fans and some of the race teams impossible.

Things looked great early in the week, though we noticed on the weather channel the bright yellow ball for 5 days then rain on Saturday, then a bright yellow ball again for the following three days of the next week (this week).

We headed over for the go-kart races and the rains started around 9:am. By 10:30 the sky was developing strange colors and patterns, the kind that make you say "let's get out of here".

The rain started falling, light at first, but then it came down very heavy with lightning and high winds. It stopped aftyer 10 minutes, but we could see in the west more goofy dangerous looking clouds and lightning. We hurried to get out of the track. I had a short discussion with John Fletcher, shortened because of what the two of us saw that was heading our way.

As we left the pits various teams were trying to get their stuff put away. A few tents were flying around. Our grand children were staying with their dad, so I decided to take them to Westover Road, the direction of the crazy weather. Shirley and Nonie headed home with the RV and go-kart trailer.

Normally I wouldn't be concerned, but with all the severe and extremely powerful tornados in the US, I wanted to get in the other direction as quick as I could.

While driving along the 5th heading west from the track I noticed two women getting shelter under a tree. They were dressed in biking clothes and were obviously on a marathon of their own, but now hiding from the wind, rain and lightning. Naturally we talked about how dumb it would be to hide under a tree in this weather, but then again, where else would they go, no where. We discussed them for a few seconds and then I turned around. I couldn't stop worrying about them and headed back. "Where are you going grampy", the grand kids asked. "We got to help those women, if they want us to". Heading east bound on the 5th we soon got back to them and I pulled over on the wrong side of the road, but that was okay, everything was wrong this day. "Hey, you want a ride, it's quite dangerous where you are, you can put your bikes in the back". Their response was an immediate yes, no hesitation.

I drove the kids to their dads place then asked the women where they were going. Laurie and Lisa were going to Gullivers, no problem, I thought. Then I looked at my gas gauge, I knew I should have filled up Friday night. "Hey, I am 8 km to empty, I need to get gas". They understood and we headed south to highway 5. When I got to the gas station two things were alarming. One, I was now 1 km to empty and two, the gas station was closed because of a power outage. I drove east on highway 5 until almost Brock Road. We saw lights flashing from a van parked sideways on the road, blocking it for on coming traffic. Now we found out why the power was gone in that area, a hydro pole blew over, right across the road. We got around it but now we were 0 km to empty. Am I ever glad there wasn't a tornado chasing us. This was slowly becoming a reality show in making.

I drove to Waterdown with my fingers crossed, I had no idea how far this F-250 diesel would go showing 0 km. Finally Canadian Tire was in sight and I knew they had diesel. I pulled in, there were lights everywhere, though they looked kind of funny. When I pulled up to the diesel pump another shocker hit. All three islands were working, but the diesel pump had to pylons in front of it. "Wow, are we in the twightlight zone or what"? I ran inside and the tenant told me they got hit by lightning, lost power and everything came back on but the diesel pump. I just looked at him and said "you got to be kidding!". He then told me the Canadian Tire and surrounding businesses were running on back up power, which explained the funny looking lights.

What wasn't funny was our situation, me and the girls I rescued. Just then Perry called. "Hey buddy, where are you"? "Looking for fuel for the truck" I said. We talked for a few minutes and we joked that I would run out of gas and the girls would jump on their bikes and then I'd be the one stranded.

I headed east to an Esso station. This guy was open and had diesel fuel. He must have been watching us on CNN or something, knew our plight and did what any gas station owner would do for someone who was in dire need of fuel. Hey, I not sure if that's true, and we weren't on CNN, but when I pulled up to the pump I was happy until I saw his price...$1.26 a liter...."are you kidding"?... I figure he must have put it up when he heard I was desparate. I only took $20, enough to get the girls to Gullivers, but more, enough to get me to where I thought fuel would be much cheaper.

The next station was less than 2 miles away, just north of Waterdown, still no the way to Gullivers, the girls were okay, they were enjoying the episode. This gas station was on Center Road at the 6th Concession. Not only was the gas 7 cents a liter less, they also pumped the gas.

I drove the girls to their own vehicles, they were very happy to be safe and heading home. I then made my way home.

I called Flamboro later and heard the races were cancelled, both the Saturday and rain date on Sunday. The track was a mess, they had no power, I knew why, we drove by it. Now I could somewhat calm down, no racing this week end, again, but also a light work week.

So we lose another race night, that's four for Flamboro, three for me (I had 33 scheduled) and two for the CVM, they only have 13 scheduled.

This coming Saturday we are on display at the Royal Coachman to help raise awareness and support for the local Food Banks. Then it's off to Flamboro for the remainder of the Grisdale Triple Crown as well as a night of regular racing.

Hope to see you all there, the gates will open earlier because of the extra race, but the gate price won't change. It will be a bonus for those who go out this week, but the fans who paid to see us run on May 28th will be a little disappointed. It would be a good gesture by the track to offer any fan with a ticket from the 28th, a $5 discount. He should have announced that on the 28th. I usually would talk to John about that, but having seen what he's gone through so far this year, I wouldn't have the heart to say anything to him after such a disasterous start. I wish Flamboro good fortunes for the remainder of the season.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:15 pm

June 11th.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #5

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Shawn Chenoweth wins Grisdale race
* David Elliott wins regular night feature
* We struggle for the 4th straight night

Grisdale Race

Heat Race



Grisdale Triple Crown
#36...$ 500

Regular Night

Chassis set up, routine

Marcello, Jesse, Bob, Steve, Sheldon, Gerry, Perry, Gordon, Brit

After getting a break with the Grisdale race being rain delayed two weeks, and having our car set up on the Tuesday night previous, we thought for sure this race night was going to be our turning point for 2011.

Our car has been difficult to say the least since first taking it on the track. We’ve replaced too many wore out and damaged parts (things that rarely ware). But even then, we could not get the push out of the car. We replaced the four shocks and had Junior Hanley set up the car on the Tuesday night prior to June 11th. The car was perfect with old tires, 15:3’s and no push.

I was so against touching the car for the 67 laps remaining for the Grisdale race, especially now that it was working, that I made a fatal error in judgment. Part of the problem is I know what I want, and we’re using two fundamentally different set up styles to get there. After Tuesday night, I knew that set up was the right one, the same basic set up I’d been using for the past 4 years.

There were at least three mistakes made for June 11th first feature. The first was hot laps. I decided to only go out in one set and not do too many laps. My reason was because I knew the car was good and didn’t want to mess it up. The problem with that idea was part of our demise. The second was more related to the crew and wondering why the changes, and reluctant to do anything for the night, in other words, though they disagreed with touching the car, they wanted to leave it as it was. By us not talking about it we created error number two…adjusting the car for the cooler temperatures. On Tuesday night it was extremely hot, on June 11th it was 20 degrees cooler. The track surface was cooler, we didn’t adjust for that, and I would soon find my car was worse than it had been all season. The third mistake was not coming in early in the feature and making a change to the car. Those mistakes would lead to June 11th being my worst night of 2011 by far.

In the first feature we started 6th. It was lap 8 of the 75 scheduled. Immediately my car was tight. Over the next few laps though still hanging on to a top six, I knew we were not going to be competitive in this race. Jeff Stewart spun out on his own bringing out a caution. Later David got into Paul Howse spinning Paul sending both cars to the back. Finally we got a long run of green racing and I found myself constantly motioning the car behind to go by on the inside. I let Steve Laking, Mark Watson, Brad Corcoran, David Elliott and Jason Shaw go by because I could not race with them and was in their way. A late race caution had me in 7th. However Steve Laking left the track and Jason Shaw went behind me. That put us 5th with five laps to go. I hoped the cooling of the tires would let me run the final few laps and not lose too many spots. On the restart David and Brad got into it on the back chute with David getting into 2nd. He was flying, probably the fastest car on the track. Chenoweth would end up winning the race, David took 2nd and we held on to 5th. A good finish but totally not deserved….but we’ll take it.

After the race I was dejected. Now we had to find out what we needed to do to get it right. I could tell by my own thoughts that I was slowly losing confidence in myself, something I’ve gone through a few times over the years when I’m not competitive. The overall view was, “this set up didn’t work”. How could I argue that, the car was pushing worse than it had all year, and for the entire race. I had no more tires, so the next two races, the heat and feature would be run on these burnt off tires. Junior came by and wondered why we were so bad. The reason? Simple, we didn’t adjust the car for the track. We immediately made some adjustments to the track bar, but that was it.

In the heat I started last. There were two heats, I was in the first. I would catch but not pass rookie Jason Lancaster who drove a very good and smart race. Jason won the heat, his first win in a Late Model. After the race I went into their pits and shook hands with him, gave him a hug and told him he would be winning many more. He was very happy and I was truly glad for him.

What ever change we made we needed to do that again because the car was much better, but needed more. The night got cooler and if there was anymore changes they weren’t enough, and we’d start another feature, doomed before the race began.
Because of the handicapping we were to start 5th in the feature. Jason Shaw was beside me and the fast cars were right behind. There are more fast cars this year, and once we get hooked up we’ll add to that group, we’re not competitive with about 7 of the cars right now.

There were a few cautions in the first five laps, four or five. Jason Lancaster was leading, he got by Scott Gibson to take the lead. Scott would spin out and bring out the yellow. I moved to outside pole with a pack of hot shoes right behind. Normally I wouldn’t care because they would only be able to run with me, but tonight like most all of 2011, we were struggling and it was only a matter of time before we’d be in trouble. On the restart I got by Jason and took the lead. It lasted half a lap. Another restart had the same results. Only this time we went one and a half laps. Jason came off turn four and kept going up as he was heading down the front chute. Jason Shaw was on the outside and Lancaster came up right in front and got turned into the wall causing a huge wreck involving 44, 56 and 33. All three cars were beat up. Two needed tow trucks and for some reason the tow trucks this year are only flat beds, so it takes for ever to load up the cars.

On the restart I would move to the inside and David was now outside of me. My crew were excited because I was leading. I told them not to be because I would not be leading very long, this car was handling very poorly. On the green David flew into one and got by, I couldn’t race in hard. Pee Wee was on my tail and got into me because I was slow and loose off. That small punt was enough to send me sideways and I slid up into the outside lane and caught who I thought was Brad Corcoran, but it was Ted Horsfall #49, knocking him into the wall then off the wall and down into Paul Howse. Wow, another yellow and that was my fault. I wanted to go scratch before I wrecked everyone. A fast car that won’t handle or doesn’t handle is a menace, or weapon, and for one of the few times in my career in the past 35 years, I was the menace. I knew I was done on the restart. That sounds negative, giving up and all the rest of that stuff, but even if every shrink in North America was on my crew they would have agreed with me. “Hey guys, Gary’s right, the car is terrible, no sense getting excited about him doing anything but trying not to wreck it or anyone else”. After perhaps what would have been considered whining, Gerry came on and said “we see it, don’t worry, do the best with what you have”. That was somewhat reassuring. My spotter Bob was doing the same thing, just helping me get through the race and then fix it for next week.
On the restart David was gone, and the inside lane was set up ready to send me to the back. All was well (if going south is a good thing) until I got hit hard between turns three and four. I couldn’t figure that one out, I was out of the way and letting everyone by. It turned out #49 Ted got into me and turned me sideways right in front of the pack, but lucky for me, not into traffic. I thought for sure I was going to get t-boned. The track must have felt it was pay back from Ted and they black flagged him. I didn’t know about it until after the race.

Anyway things went from bad to worse. I dropped back to 7th on that deal then caught up to a pack of cars chasing Bill Lasaline. Jason Shaw, Paul Howse and Brad Corcoran. As they were chasing Bill for 4th spot I was catching them. Now that I had the entire track to use I could drive where I wanted and help reduce the effects of the tight set up. Jason made a move finally to get under Bill and then Paul and Brad were lined up to follow. I flew in as hard as I could to follow Brad. Coming off four my right front wheel was at the left rear wheel of the #22 but he started coming down. I moved down a little and gained another foot on him but then he turned down hard to the middle lane body checking me right off the track. I got back out but was not in 11th or 12th spot. The next ten laps I drove as hard as I could trying to get back up. I finally did get to Bill again and was very seriously considering spinning him. I never do that, but I was incredibly upset with my own car and him. Coming off four I got under his rear and pushed his car very hard and he got sideways then started to turn up towards the outside wall. Now I was worried for a second, I didn’t mean it to be that bad, I just wanted to get him loose. Maybe his spotter would let him know. Anyway, Bill collected his car and I backed off. A few laps later I got by putting us in 10th and that was it for us. After the race Bill came over and apologized. I was still messed up mentally from the terrible run and perhaps didn’t give him the response I should have, but I did on Monday.

I apologized to Brad #05 for getting into him on that restart, at least I thought it was him, but he said it was no problem and thought maybe he got into me. I was confused, but that’s because I didn’t know until Sunday that it was Ted #49 that I hit.

I called Robin, Ted’s dad on Monday and apologized to his team for getting into them on the restart and he appreciated the call.

David went on to win the race by a strong margin. He had an awesome night and it’s too bad I had to be so discouraged because I could not enjoy his moment, though eventually I settled down.

That run hurt us in the points badly. We’re now 17 points out of first and cannot afford another night like this. David is second only two behind Chenoweth who apparently had to add weight to his car but it didn’t seem to have much impact on him although he could not get by #3 Chris Boschler.

On Sunday we had a meeting, my crew chief and I and we agreed we would use his set up until the end of June and if we could not get the car to turn we would use another method. I totally agree two different styles of chassis set won’t work when trying to blend other ideas. However, if one works and one doesn’t, it’s time to change to the one that does work.
People always ask me if I am having fun. I love racing, and having fun is relative. If you’re competitive and have a chance to win or finish in the top three it’s fun. If you’re dicing with fast cars in a pack and finish 7th it’s fun. If you’re car is out to lunch and you’re in the way, that’s not fun, and on Saturday?….it wasn’t funny.

I love the guys on my crew, and we all know we need to get the car where it will make us all happy, we hope to change that for this weekend.

Late Addition
David Elliott

I can't express how excited I am to have my son racing full time again with me and the rest of the Late Model drivers at Flamboro Speedway. David is an incredible driver and like me wants to be competitive, also like me, he doesn't have to win to enjoy this sport. When David took over our car, I knew he would do well. He drives hard and is very aggressive. Unlike me, David won't let anyone push him around. Obviously I don't like getting roughed up or disrespected on the track, and usually don't drive my competitors anything but clean, giving them tons of room. Many of the current Late Model drivers are good that way, but most are not as patient as me and will give a nudge or bump. David tries to run everyone clean but he's a fighter when it comes to moving up in a race. His aggressive style made him the first CVM driver in the clubs 45 year history to win 3 consecutive points titles. He did it with full fields and usually starting 18th or further back. He reminds me more this year, than any other year in Late Models, of that hard charging warrior from that era.
The good news is that David is smart and knows when to back away from anything that will get him in trouble. I can't wait to get our car where it should be and race hard with my son. We are the same in some ways, but when watching his car, he looks like he's racing hard when he's fast. My car looks different, smooth and steady, yet you may find us both turning the same lap times.
Our goal is to win the title in 2011, and we need to gain back some ground or David maybe the Elliott who wins the 2011 Flamboro Championship. He's got the car, crew and skill and he wants to be crowned Champ again. What does that mean for us? Nothing, our crew are very good, we have a great car and once we get hooked up we'll try to beat the kid to the top. It should be a lot of fun, and regardless of what the out come is, I am very happy to still be racing with my son. Thank you Lord.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:15 pm

June 18th…............Flamboro Speedway

Race #6

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Steve Laking wins
* David tied for first in points
* We finish 7th




Body, seat, clutch slave, routine

Marcello, Bob, Steve, Gerry, Gordon

Time was running out on the potential chemistry our team had. We were clearly struggling in the set up part of our race program. The good news is, we dug in our heals, considered all options resulting in us not only winning our first race of the season, but doing it in convincing style.

After last weekend’s ordeal we did some soul searching as a team. More so from the point of making sure we were all on the same page. There was no doubt we all had the same goal, the issue was opening up a little and considering other possibilities. Once we did that, we found the right spot.

In fairness to my team, we’ve had problems in 2011 that had nothing to do with setting up the car. A bad carb, wore out clutches, broken starter and ring gear, all became contributors to a slow start. Once we got the basic’s in place, we were able to start working on the chassis. It was decided to let our crew chief, Marcello only, to make the needed changes. He agreed to be open to other adjustments, and that mindset would lead us to have our best night of the season.

We bought new tires after last weekend, but I wanted to work on the handling before putting them on. Everyone agreed. I felt, even with older tires, we should still get the car close. In the first set we were totally off, so much so, I spun out coming off turn two. I asked for a drastic change to be made to the car for the second set. However, because we were out of trailing arm adjustments, and no time to do some major changes, I was told only a minor change was made. I insisted on making another change, raise the track bar and add a little more bar. Both Marcello and Gerry knew a minor change wouldn’t help and did those changes. The car worked much better after set number two. It was after the second set of hot laps that we put on the new tires. The reason not to put on the new tires before was strategy and maybe common sense. If we could get the car to work good on old wore out tires (180 laps and 13 heat cycles) we would be real fast on new tires. For the third set of hot laps we installed the new tires. That’s when my frustration and lack of confidence from the past five weeks showed up. It was obvious by the dumb move I made in that final practice session. Instead of spacing my self away from other cars on the track I decided to do the opposite, pace a known fast car, #3 Chris Boschler. This set was doomed from the start, especially with my mindset. I was on new tires, and felt my car had to be much better because it was decent on the old tires. Being too excited, I made a mistake, because I wanted so desperately to get a good run in this set of hot laps. I had to be able to pass Chris to really know for sure we were as good as I thought we should be, that was the goal. A smart controlled racer would have driven differently, used the stop watch to tell us how good we were, but I was not that stable after 5 race nights of frustration, I was over excited, like a groom on his wedding night. Add to that a competitor who went out with no spotter, and not knowing I was on the prowl.

Chris never goes on the track unless he has a spotter, me neither, it’s a waste of time. You can’t see anything and it’s actually dangerous if you’re use to having someone make sure you don’t cut down on someone or stuff them and you into the wall. With this recipe, the only fruit from these hot laps would be destruction. I went hard into turn three, Chris was in front and went high to get by a lapped car. We passed the slower car and as Chris pushed up I went under him coming off four, it should have been a safe pass. With no spotter, Chris came down not knowing I was there and I drove over his left rear wheel, in fact I was hung up on it for a few seconds. Wow, how dumb was that on my part, I was worried I may have wrecked one of my new tires. I blamed myself because I should not have been in that position. Marcello was upset with me, like a coach, and I told him I never do that, it was more of a desperation deal. I went down to Chris and apologized. He was cool that’s when he told me he didn’t have a spotter. Anyway it was over.

I had a chance to watch the Mini Stock and Thunder Car heats. It was great to see Mike Van Slingerland wins his first ever race in a stock car. Good for him, he has done a lot for our team, and many other drivers, as well as the Thunder Car division.

The new handicapping system lines up heats by points average not luck of the draw. With 16 cars at the track we were 8th best in points putting us on the pole of the fast car heat. I was a little nervous, usually I’m okay. Jason Shaw was right behind me and I knew I had to be good to win this heat. If we had any push at all we’d be in trouble. We got the lead and consistently stayed one car length ahead of Jason. He would gain a little going into one and two, but we’d pull away. He did not get the same gain in three and four. The only thing I noticed was in turn one and two, I could not get on the gas quite as fast as I could at the other end, so I attributed it to a tight situation at the north end creating the car to be loose off turn two. Bob was awesome on the radio, very steady and consistent. I like lots of talking, and reports of where everyone is behind me. At the checker I was very excited and almost snapped the flag in half when we got the win.

In tech everyone came over. Our crew was very excited like me and so they should have been, it had been a long drought for them as well. Mike Van Slingerland came over to congratulate me after the win. It was a good night for the Freedom Village cars.

The feature is always the most interesting race of the night. More cars, different track conditions and the line up is sometimes very predictable and other times impossible to guess. We were lined up 5th on the grid but not so much in a good lane. I’ve been here before, where I suspected our lane was going south and the other lane, whether inside or out, was going to freight train us. The advantage of being on the inside at the start of a race, more than any other time, is that you have tons of room to get out of the way if things go nuts up front. It’s called the infield, and many times I scan the infield looking for that safe place to go to get out of the way. That’s not the main focus of course, but once you see things could get crazy up front, an escape route is a good idea.

I told my spotter Bob that we were in trouble. I could see the outside lane was going to be gone. I figured we would lose a lot of track position and then have the impossible task of trying to get those spots back on the tight narrow track with only 30 laps.

On the green Jason Lancaster #33 got by on the outside followed by Steve Laking, Jason Shaw, David, Paul, Brad, Shawn and Chris. I felt as though I should put on the four way flashing lights. Once the call for clear high was given, I knew by then, we were pretty well at the back.

A group of cars was having the hardest time trying to get by #77 Matt Balog. Matt was struggling in the corner and straights, but was fast. He got mixed up a few times and finally got warned by the starter then eventually black flagged for not giving room. I was right behind Chris and Brad as they tried getting by Matt. The black flag was to go to the back, not off the track. My car was running very well, we were just hard luck on the start. Matt must not have seen the flag and once again got mixed up with Brad on the back chute, only this time he ended up spinning off the track. That mix up cost the three of us, as we fell back further from the lead group. A few laps later we caught Matt again when he returned to the track. Brad was running 7th with Chris and I right behind. Brad trying to pass Matt and again the white #77 pushed up and I thought they were going to get into it again. Brad got to the outside coming off two and Chris followed. I thought for sure Matt would run hard into three and so I chose to follow him down the back chute. I was beside Chris at about the old pit gate when Matt decided he wasn’t going to run hard into the turn and slowed up very fast….I couldn’t stop and nailed him sending him spinning into turn three, but not into any cars or the cement.

Matt was okay, my hood was buckled up and I knew what that meant. Like the CSI series, my mind camera goes through the chassis rails up the roll cage to the front of the hood where it's mounted and gets a close up of the bent steel supports, hood pins and possibly torn fibre glass hood. I knew what was there, seen a bunch of times and was upset at myself, even though Matt jammed on the brakes pretty hard.

On the restart I was in 11th and managed to get back up to 7th. A late race restart had me restarting in 8th but on the restart I got passed by Jason Shaw moving me back to 9th. On the final two laps we gained back two spots crossing the line in 7th almost getting 6th.

It was a good run for a few reasons. Our car is very competitive, we got a bad break on the start but with a few more minor tweaks, we should be running with the fast cars.

David did awesome again in our other Late Model, the one I wished I still had. He picked up a second giving him a win and two runner ups in the past three features. He is tied with Shawn for the points lead.

We didn't lose any points to the leaders but didn't gain either and gaining was important. We need a good run next week.

June 25th is regular racing at Flamboro, it's also Fan Appreciation night when all the kids big and small get to meet the drivers on the race track.

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Post by Gary » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:15 pm

June 25th..........................Flamboro Speedway

Race #7

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Jeff Stewart
* David finishes 2nd
* David leading Flamboro points
* We finish 5th





Bob, Sheldon and Gerry

We anticipated we’d be good tonight, mostly because of our run on June 18th. Once a poor handling car gets close, it’s important to build on that for the next week, and for the most part that’s what we did.

The warm ups were off a little, the car was tight. We made adjustments to loosen it up and did get it better, but not enough to make us a factor in our heat or feature.

Gerry, Bob and Sheldon made up our light crew. Some of the boys and girls were away. We discussed the chassis after hot laps and agreed to make a change to the pan hard bar. We were starting pole in the first heat and wanted to duplicate what we did the week before, win. On the start of the heat Brad Corcoran got a good run on the outside and I gave him plenty of room to run and within a lap or so he was ahead. Bob was spotting and soon let me know that Paul Howse was outside as well. I really couldn’t do anything with either of them. We were pinched down, plus I was holding it down. There was no sense in running in hard, sliding into one of the cars on the outside lane and bending something up. If the car wasn’t quick enough to get the lead, we had no choice but to run as hard as we could and improve it for the feature.

Soon Bob gave the call “clear outside”, so I jumped out immediately where I could run in deeper. We got some rhythm going as the heat continued. Paul was hounding Brad, but the #05 was very quick off the corners, like most of us usually are. I gained a little on them, but no hope of doing anything. Our car was good, but not great, and the trouble with running in this class, you need to be great as often as possible to have a chance at a win or runner up. The good news was our 3rd place finish, and no problems during the hard run.

At tech I was somewhat disappointed, not because of the 3rd, but because of being on the pole and not winning it. The boys were the same, glad but not so much with the high five, they wanted a win as well.

We did our basics, put the battery on charge, made sure the car was ready. We discussed the plan for the feature. It was cooling a bit but not overly. I really wanted a car that would turn in the middle. Last year I hardly remember not having a car that was competitive. This year we’ve struggled. We made a minor change, and hoped that our feature start would be better than last week where we were freight-trained from 5th to 12th within a few laps.

The surprise of the night was #22 Bill Lasaline. He’s been getting help (like many of us) from Junior Hanley. Bill won his heat beating #56 Jeff Stewart.

During the drivers meeting a ton of stuff was said about slow cars starting up front. Jeff didn’t like the idea that cars running in the 17 second bracket would take their spot and potentially wreck everyone. Shawn agreed, and it explained it this way. “We don’t want a terd starting on the pole and then wrecking everyone because there are way off pace, I’m not saying they’re any sh#*^ty drivers here, but they shouldn’t be up front if they can’t keep up”.

Some agreed that cars that couldn’t keep up should go scratch. David suggested that we take only 4 out of the first heat and 6 out of the second to eliminate the slower cars. I didn’t get it. If cars were slower, we’d have to work around them with out wrecking. I felt they won’t learn if they just have to go to the back, plus what kind of show does that put on. Jeff said if he got in a bad lane, he would end up going right to the back. I told him that’s what happened to me last week, but it can happen anytime. Jeff wanted top qualifiers up front every week. Anyway the track officials agreed to consider some of the ideas.

The feature line up was on the board and we were to start 7th, but 2 cars went scratch and that put us 5th. I reasoned that Bill, after his run in the heat should be able to get by the very much improved Jason Lancaster, because Bill had the inside lane. Brennan DiDero was in front of me on the inside and I told Bob maybe our lane could go. Jeff was starting 4th and he must have been pulling his hair out worrying if the #22, who won Jeff’s heat, would beat #33 on the start. It would have been good to see that, but the unexpected happened, but it was still a repeat of last week for us.

On the green, Jason was ready like a Lion on a prey and raced hard into one. Maybe he pinched Bill down, maybe he didn’t, it was hard to tell 5 cars back, but he got the lead followed by Jeff. Then like domino’s the entire outside lane passed the inside lane, just like last week. By the time I got out I was 13th and Bill finally got going and I found myself now trying to race him. It took a few laps to get by and then it was a long and winding road to the end.

Meanwhile we were moving up slowly, mostly because cars were getting banged into. Midway in the race the top 5 were having a wild run. Somehow Steve and Shawn got into it coming off two. The mix up sent Steve spinning to the infield and “The Man In Black” to the rear. Shawn hit Steve and after the race apologized. That caution got things exciting up front.

On the restart Paul battled with Stewart and David moved under Brad, who was outside of Jeff on the restart, to the inside lane. Paul was quick and made a move to get under the leader but the two came together coming off turn four. The resulting contact sent Paul for a wild ride on the front chute before the start finish line and because those cars checked up David got on the outside of Jeff. That also allowed me to get by Paul and into 5th place.

I thought for sure David and Jeff would get together, Jeff raced hard into one and pushed up. David eventually secured 2nd with Jason and Brad right behind. I was kind of there with them but had a push severe enough to force me to race on the apron to get around the ends.

The battle up front was exciting with David making several attempts to pass the leader on the inside. I just followed and knew we would not be moving up, the car was not right to gain anymore spots. Paul was knocking on our door, but with only a few laps to go ran me fair settling for sixth. We crossed the line in 5th, the third time in 2011 we’ve finished 5th, but the first one that was any good. Jeff got the win and David took 2nd moving him into first place in the Flamboro points standings.

We still need to improve the car and hopefully will get it better for the Grisdale Triple Crown race on Saturday. The boys were great tonight, we worked hard and look forward to hopefully soon getting a strong feature run. We’re getting closer no doubt.

This Friday we are excited to be part of the Race Of Champions thanks to my friend Jason Legge from Sauble Speedway. Jason has graciously given his car for me to run. As well, Glenn Schnurr, a multi time Late Model champion will crew for us along with Cory and our own Bob Pereira. The rest of my crew can help, but they have the night off to watch this event and maybe get to meet the three NASCAR drivers.

Hope this race brings a great crowd.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:15 pm

July 1st.................Flamboro Speedway

Race Of Champions

Race #8

High Lites
*40 cars
* Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Schrader and Ernie Irvan very classy guys
* JR Fitzpatrick wins
* Kevin Albers win first feature
* We qualify but it wasn't easy
* Racing was very clean in features

First Feature..13th
ROC Feature..14th

First Feature......$100 (are you kidding???)
ROC Feature......$100 (everyone got the same...should have been $300)

Glenn, Bob and Jackie

What an awesome day this was in so many ways. Sunny, exciting, lots of fans, lots of drivers and the 3 NASCAR drivers all showed up and appeared to be just as excited as we were. There were some things that need to be changed or added in the future to correct some of the issues different drivers had, but overall I give it a thumbs up.

Getting in this show was a journey and a half. The first thing was the worry of not having a car for the show. Mike Van Slingerland would have loaned me his new “Rocket Camaro”, but he really wanted to be in the race, and I couldn’t fault him at all for that.

Then I got a call from Paul Huskins. He offered his #22 Thunder Car but it needed some repairs and would not be ready in time for the show. I really appreciated his offer but it wasn’t going to work.

With two weeks to go Jason Legge dropped by my garage with Glenn Schnurr, just paying a visit. During the conversation he mentioned he had a Thunder Car and within 24 hours I was confirmed to go in the show.

Glenn and his fiance' Jackie brought the car down from Sauble to our home on Thursday night. They stayed with us and later that night we went to the Rib Fest in Waterdown. Early Friday morning we headed to Flamboro and barely managed to get four parking spots together. We needed one for the #11 Thunder Car, one for “Smokin’ Joe” from Sauble Speedway and two more for David and I because we were doing a promo session with the Late Models.

Steve Lyons had made me some plain black decals for the car. I was able to get Quaker State, Freedom Village and Grisdale on the car. Mike and Bill both appreciated the gesture and I know Quaker State will as well. We put them on headed for Tech. I signed in and drew for the heat race starting spot. I pulled #47. That put me 7th in the 4th heat.

Before practice the Thunder Car drivers had an opportunity to meet the NASCAR drivers in the hospitality building in turn one. It was a great time, we asked questions and got autographs. They were awesome to talk to, fun and very down to earth. Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Schrader and Ernie Irvan all participated in the Q & A and signed whatever anyone brought with them.

Glenn got the car ready for hot laps and we made two sets. The first was more of an initiation for me and the car. It was different than either my Coupe or Late Model, but it was well prepared and very easy to drive. Our first set produced times in the 17:4’s and the second set, after some adjustments, and me being more aggressive brought us down to a 17:28. The fastest cars were in the 17:1’s, so we were in the ball park.

The format was as follows. Four heats, two for Flamboro home track cars, and two consisting of Ontario drivers who were invited. Six cars would qualify out of each heat for the first 25 lap feature, the rest were done for the day. To make the main event a driver had to finish in the top 6 in his heat and then in the top 15 in the first feature to advance to the A feature and get a shot at racing with the NASCAR stars.

After hot laps we were good to go. Our heat race was somewhat loaded with both JR Fitzpatrick and Randy Russnel in front of me. On the first lap going into three #44 dove in very low and wiped out Smokin’ Joe from Sauble. Joe was very fast and had a shot at being in the big show, for that matter so did the driver of the #44. Joe was done and the #44 kept going and did qualify. Joe was upset, no kidding. He was looking forward to this like the rest of us for the past six months and it all ended one lap into the race. The rest of the race went green to checker and we managed to hold on to 4th, getting us into the first feature. That was step two in this journey, step one was getting the car from Jason. Finishing 4th put us 16th in the first feature. The fastest cars were up front, so now we had our work cut out for us....again.

The Late Models had a practice session that was very hectic. I was the only Late Model driver racing with the Thunder Cars. Thanks to Bob, our regular crew member, he helped me get ready for this quick hot lap run. We got to show the car off to the over 2000 fans in the front and rear grandstands. David, Jeff Cassidy, Jim Gillis and I all went out for 10 quick hot laps allowing the fans to see our cars and promote the Grisdale Triple Crown race the next day.

In the first feature we started 8th row outside. I thought this race would see some crashing, when considering only 15 cars would move into the next feature with the NASCAR drivers. I saw lots of tough competitors from other Ontario tracks, not to mention those from Flamboro. The race was surprisingly clean but heavy traffic everywhere. We battled hard all race. It was very tough running on the outside, but that’s where the car worked the best. We were one of the few cars that could work on the outside. The track was hot with no grip. Jason’s car was powered by a Crate engine and geared just right for the outside. Glenn made that call and he was right as long as I stayed out there, and I did. We got eaten up on the inside so being in the outside groove worked for us. With 8 laps to go we were still 16th and needed to get by one car to get in the dream race, the reason for being here. Those final laps were crazy. I lost my brakes, the car was pushing like a toboggan and we were desperate. The cars were very even in that mid to rear pack. I went from 16th to 11th to 18th. I'm not sure who I raced harder with, Terry King, Mike Poulton and the #94, the Chrylser 300 from Sunset, we diced a lot in the closing laps. Finally the white came out and with both pedals to the floor, the gas and brake, I was lucky and smiling when we crossed the finish line in 13th, and heading to the main event.

All of us were very happy to have qualified for the final show and race with Spencer, Schrader and Irvan. Before I got out of the car I showed Glenn the brake pedal and asked if that was normal. I thought maybe these cars lose brakes after a hard run. He was kind of stunned that the pedal was banging the fire wall and said “no way”! David came over and noticed all the fluid had boiled out, there was none left. David helped Glenn bleed the brakes. We recharged the battery and put fuel in the car.

The next deal was to pick up one of the bottles donated by Freedom Village and see what starting spot we’d have. If any of the NASCAR drivers picked 1,2 or 3, they all went to the back. Jimmy Spencer picked 15, Kenny Schrader picked 6th, Ernie Irvan drew 5 and I got 8. Terry King picked pole position and Kevin Albers, winner of the first feature picked outside pole.

This race was also very clean and fun to be in. As we cruised around I noticed Ernie Irvan pull low, he was heading to the back. He may have watched the cars in the first feature and knew he’d be better off away from the chaos. He moved scratch putting me in 7th. I gave him a wave went I went by. Prior to the race I got to talk to him. He was very humble. I gave him our 40th Anniversary book. He said if we give bikes away to kids again to let him know and he would make sure they all get a helmet. It was a very awesome gesture. Now I just got to get John Casale to donate the bikes.

We were competitive with the back half of the line up. Our best hope if we got lucky was a top 10 but that wasn’t going to happen. We got moved back early with the fast cars coming through. There was no sense trying to race with many of the faster cars, they were just too much for us. We settled in a pack of 6 or 7 cars in a long run. That pack included Jimmy Spencer who was running around 10th and Kenny Schrader who was right in front of me. There was a train of cars from 8th to 16th. As the race went on it was clear none of us were going anywhere. I raced hard with Schrader and had a blast. When the checker came out we crossed the line in 14th spot, but more important was the dream that was fulfilled with this great opportunity.

None of this would have happened if Flamboro Speedway owners did not set it up. Thanks to them for hosting a well run and organized day. Thanks to Jason for loaning me his car, it was a fun car to drive. Thanks to Glenn and Jackie for all their help and making the two days a lot of fun. Also to Bob my spotter for the Late Model, he was a big help, and I could have used a spotter...I wonder if anyone else did?

If they have this again, and I hope they do, there are a few things I’d like to see changed.

1) more time between races
2) more money in the 2nd feature ($300 for everyone not $100)
3) a Little Feature for the guys that didn’t make it
4) more time between the two races (Little Feature)
5) more parity between the cars
6) tow money if there is no Little Feature ($100 each)

Overall it was a great day and I almost forgot to congratulate JR Fitzpatrick for winning the main event in his beautiful Camaro.

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Post by Gary » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:15 pm

July 2nd.........................Flamboro Speedway

Grisdale Triple Crown #2

Race #9

High Lites
* 24 cars
* Shawn Chenoweth wins
* We qualify pole
* David wrecked leading the feature, comes back to 5th
* David leading Grisdale Triple Crown series
* We are 3rd





routine check over, change oil

Marcello, Bob, Gerry, Steve, Perry, Gordon

Tonight was the second round of the Grisdale Triple Crown series. A full field was on hand again, producing three heats. I drew 14, but it gave me pole in the second heat. Qualifying was done by the most points accumulated in the double heat format. Each heat line up was reversed for the second set of heats.

We got to the track early enough to make two sets of hot laps. Like a July night it was very hot and humid. Rain was in the forecast but not until later in the evening. I wanted to run our older tires to get the car set up before putting on the new tires. Before we went out, we made a calculated adjustment based on the weather, very hot. We loosened up the car. In the first set we were tight, not real bad but too tight. We turned 15:4’s and that was as fast as everyone we timed. You can’t get all the cars, and you can only hope you get them when they’re on their best performance. But, really, it didn’t make much difference, if I was happy with the car and we were turning 15:4’s, then we knew we’d be okay. We were 15:4’s and I wasn’t happy, so we made that minor adjustment prior to the first set.

For the second set we put on the new tires and raised the track bar again the same amount we did for the first set. I ran about 3 laps not full out and then got on it. That set we got into 15:3’s. The car was very good, if anything a little loose off.

We were in the second heat and made one adjustment, moving the track bar done half the distance it was moved up. During the drivers meeting they told us they would be allowing us to pass before the start finish line as long as the inside car got on the gas first. The outside car could not take off first, both had to wait for the green but unlike before, the outside didn’t have to wait for the inside to cross the finish line first.

Starting outside pole was okay. I was very confident in our car and it showed right from the green. Bill ran me clean, didn’t get up into me and by lap five we had 10 car lengths on Steve Laking. When the white came out I was pumped because we were on our way to our second heat win of 2011, tying all of last year. I know that’s not a milestone, but on our team, checkers have not been a part of our resume.

David won the first heat and Brad Corcoran #05 won the third. That produced a three way tie for the pole. David had, by far, the toughest heat. He had Shawn Chenoweth #89, Jason Shaw #82, Paul Howse #8 and Jeff Stewart #56. Brad had the two runners from Delaware, Jamie Cox and Mark Watson.

We started second last in this race. Jason Lancaster #33 got the lead and within a lap or so was being hounded by Steve Laking #44. The two pulled away fast. I got into second by lap three and was already 10 car lengths or more behind. Our car was very fast and by lap eight I was running with the two leaders. On the white flag Jason was still in front but going down the back chute Steve got inside. I moved outside getting behind Jason. I think Jason knew he was in trouble. He squeezed Steve and the two came together slightly. I drove in hard behind Steve and made the pass on Jason coming off four for the checker. That gave Steve a second and a win, David took third in his second heat giving him a first and third. Now it was up to Brad in the final. He needed a win to be on the pole. Our win in the first set of heats gave us the pole at this time. Brad ran hard and it sure looked like he was going to pull off the win but ended up second giving us the pole position.

First Ever Pole In Late Model.....Won Pole In 1999 in Hobby Car at Sauble
In all the years I’ve raced I had never won the pole position. My best was 2005, outside pole beside Jeff Hanley. Last year we won the time trials, but a dice throw put me 8th. This would be the first time we’d ever sit on the pole, front row inside and I was very happy for all of us.

The only instruction I gave my crew was “don’t out tech ourselves”. I let them make whatever changes they wanted but reminded them what they already knew, we had a good car, so we didn’t need to go to wild.

After driver intro we got going and had we got some hot laps, we may have been okay, but after going around twice we got the double up sign and then the white. I knew we lowered the tires, and did a chassis adjustment. I never lower tires, but if anything, maybe the outside slightly. Anyway on the green going into one the car was noticeably loose. I tried getting on the gas and got sideways. Brad was already ahead and David was beside me going into three. By the end of lap two I was third and wondering if I could hold this car. I finally got outside and ran until lap 7 the first caution. Bob asked me how the car was and I was upset. “This thing is too loose”. I was told it would come in but the problem is, I couldn’t convince the rest of my competition to wait for my car to be competitive and so I struggled for the first part of the race.

David was flying and got by Brad to lead from lap 7 until about lap 35. Meanwhile I was still having trouble getting through the ends. I had to use the apron to get me around and it seemed to work for awhile. On the restart on lap 7 I held on. Mark Watson was beside me and slamming me almost every turn. I couldn’t figure that out because I was so low in the turns, the last thing he needed to do was whack me. Finally I got by and ran in third for another 10 laps or so but could not catch or run with the leaders. Then on about lap 20 I got hammered by Steve Laking, sending me sideways towards the in field. I let off the gas and counter steered to the right, but was worried the car was going to come right around the other way, so I had to left off completely, brake hard and get it straight. By the time my wrists settled down I was 12th. Steve emailed me on Sunday telling me he was sorry but he got hit hard by Watson, sending him into me. ‘Mad Mark’ was on a mission.

Over the next thirty laps or so I developed a push. The car was easier to drive but now pushing. There were a few more cautions. The most controversial went Mark Watson hammered David going into turn three, hard enough to spin both cars out. Watson got wrecked badly, David a lot of cosmetic damage, but more emotional from getting spun while leading. I never hit anyone ever (okay sometimes by accident, but very rare even by accident) but who spins out the leader, that is insane, and of course we do see it, but why not wait a little, there was still forty laps left.

A few laps later and another wreck going into three got us all checking up. I was slowed up no problem but then Jason Lancaster came flying in so fast that he flew by me hammering Paul Howse sideways. That impact was severe enough to leave Jason’s right front fender wedged in the rear bumper of Paul’s car. I could see something jutting out from the left rear and when I asked Bob what it was he said it was Jason’s fender. Then I could see it myself. I thought for sure they would Paul to the pits, but they let him race with it hanging out. So next time, they need to do the same thing if it happens to someone else. I know it wasn’t Paul’s fault, but it was still dangerous and did eventually fall off. Al Bowman, who’s having enough issues trying to show he deserves to be out there ended up picking up the fender under his car.

That wreck put me 7th and by lap 50 we were running 5th. Another caution on lap 55 was fairly long. For some reason my car changed, or maybe this was where the car was set up to work. The track was cooling down, rain was coming, cold air was moving in, and lightning could be seen in the distance. On that restart I got by the #22 of Jamie Cox and was running hard with Paul Howse who was second and Jason Shaw who was third. Shawn was checking out. His car was fast from lap one and was now pulling away. I was right with the second and third place cars. David came back out and got right on me but after 10 laps or so backed off because we started getting a few rain drops. The race continued until the white came out and then the checker. The fourth place finish was good, I thought we had a shot to win and was very disappointed in the car the first 50 laps, but I will take the 4th and move on to next week. Congrats to Shawn for the win and David for taking a beat up car and bringing it to 5th.

The strong night moves us to third in the Grisdale Triple Crown. Shawn is first and David right behind him. We’re 6 points out of first, so we need another great night to try to win this series, strong heats and a real good feature run.

Our team worked very well tonight making sure the car was perfect in the heats. We will examine our set up changes and see what we could do different for the next race.

Next weekend we’re running the CVM at Flamboro and then the Late Model at Sunset Speedway on Sunday. Looking forward to both shows.

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