Diary Of A Season 2012

Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:06 pm

September 15th..........Sunset Speedway

Race #25

High Lites
* 20 cars
* Tom Walters wins feature and Championship
* We blow up
* Looking for a 602
* Gehrig has steady run again


Late Model
Heat #1....5th
Heat #2....DNF

Mini stock
Heat #1.....4th
Heat #2.....4th


Matt, Ryan, Urban...Boys of the CMC

All those rumors I heard about Tom Walters before going to Sunset Speedway fulltime were firmed up this season. The stories of his Championships, horror stories of him wrecking people, that he won because there was little or no talent against him, or that most drivers didn’t show up 100%, making it easy to win a title, or dozens in his case. All those rumors did not pan out, they were far from the truth. Sure there was some controversy, but nothing to do with him personally, nothing to do with the way he drove, although once he upset me and I kind of let him know after he made it three wide going into the corner….not nice, but not worthy of condemning one of the toughest people I ever raced against.
My conclusion about Tom Walters would sum up like this. Like him or not, and I think most do like him, he is a true Champion, a true die hard racer, who wants to win, who has the equipment to do it, and most of all the talent. He comes prepared most every week, like the bulk of his peers. He is in his arena when he gets to the track, and if you’re going to dethrone him, you need to have a lot more than a good car and be a good driver, a lot more, because those two characteristics, though not granted to many racers, are not enough alone to beat Tom Walters.

On Saturday night he clinched the 2012 Sunset Speedway Championship, and did it by winning the feature, making certain to everyone there was no doubt who reigns at this awesome race track. The talent at Sunset isn't necessarily the best in Ontario, but it's the deepest I’ve ever seen, or raced against. I remember in the Hobby Club, there were seasons when only a few cars dominated, then other years when 10 t0 16 fast cars were capable of winning. The class of 2012 at Sunset was very strong in both talent and weekly car count. Everyone had a good night at one point during the season. Many of the cars were close to being serious contenders for weekly feature wins, but clearly there were three who were strongest of all.

Mike Bentley had some tough luck, and had he reigned himself in a little, or maybe someone else kept him cool, he could have won the title. He certainly had the skill and car. Mike took himself out at times, not for any specific reason other than the fact he wanted perhaps more than any other racer at Sunset to beat Tom Walters. Mike had a great year and deserved second, making Tom’s Championship even greater given the fact there were two other cars who could have stopped him from winning.

Kevin Cornelious was the third racer in the trio to beat. He also could have been crowned the 2012 Champion, but the heart break DNF midway through the season not only took him out of the feature that night, but also out of contention to claim his second title in a row. Kevin drove as a pro all year, stable, clean and very fast. Had the #17 not suffered that DNF, that team would have been fighting with Tom for the crown.

Regardless of the reasons why Mike and Kevin didn’t win, the truth is that Tom had positioned himself to win it if the opportunity arose, and it did, and he took it. Congratulations to Tom, Anne and the entire #47 race team. Great season.

As for our team, we came and didn’t conquer, but we learned a lot. We’ve been working on 2013 the past few weeks, hoping to put together a Championship team to take a run at next year’s title. We have the support from sponsors, the experience and drive from our relatively green by totally dedicated pit crew. We’ve been on the same page all year, and if there is any ingredient in make or producing good chemistry, it’s all the team members working together.

Our team worked hard right from the early going, trying to be somewhat competitive. Our 2011 Pro Late Model race results indicated that we could keep up. A pole in the first and a 5th in the time trial race, combined with 2 top 5 finishes, gave us the confidence that we could run competitively at Sunset. Lady luck was not going to work with us, and worse, neither would our nine year old chassis be able to run with the big boys. In fact it would take us nearly half a season to become a top five runner, but that we did, only at times to share a top five with the remaining hard runners aside from Tom, Mike and Kevin.

I learned a lot at Sunset, and hopefully overcame, for good, an obstacle that had been plaguing me the past few seasons. It is true many strong runners are their worst critics. Though short of blowing my own horn, I fell into that category, wanting so bad to finish strong each week and being extremely hard on myself if I didn’t get a good finish. That serious defect prompted my crew, Matthew first, to talk to me about it. My daughter and son knew how down I got, when I felt I wasn’t performing like I felt I should, even with an older outdated chassis.

It came to a head the night I finished 5th in the feature. The Bentley’s told me I had a good run, but I felt otherwise, stating that I started on the pole and couldn’t win it. Had I started 20th and finished 5th it would have produced a totally different attitude. Unfortunately I felt inside that I couldn’t get it done. As the Bentley’s and others congratulated us, I felt disappointed. Later that night as my crew Matt and Urban discussed the race, I listened more to what they were saying.

As I lay in the camper, before falling asleep, I pondered on my attitude and realized, though it’s okay to be competitive, it’s definitely not good to get so down and hard on myself for poor, or perceived poor performance. I made a promise that night, that I was going to use a different approach, to look at ways of doing better, and discuss them with my team, rather than reasons why I didn’t do as good as I thought. I wanted in the future to be grateful for finishing where I did and regroup for the next race to try and improve still striving to win a feature, and our main goal a Championship, and eliminate the poison of trashing myself inside and out. The promise was to God, as well, the source of hope and inspiration. The next few weeks were okay after that, I felt a sense of deliverance, and my crew as well, bringing fun back into our night at the races, something that had not been there all the time, and mostly certainly should. It takes time to set up a car, but we work at until we get where we need to be, and we get help along the way. It’s no different with our mental attitude, and we don’t have to do that alone either. A huge weight was lifted off me the next morning and even with some bad luck the past few weeks, we’re handling it okay....we’re being me, the boys always handled it okay.

As for this past Saturday night, it was disappointing for sure. We had a chance to move up a spot or two in the points. A 5th in the first heat got us doing a few chassis changes, not too aggressive. We felt another good finish could put us in a good spot for the feature, and with new tires, we might have a shot….at a top 3, 4. 5? In our next heat we started 8th and by lap 5 we were up to 4th and just making a move to try and get under the 3rd place car. We were handling great, our changes worked and the car was fast. However on lap 6 going down the back chute something let go heading into three. I thought at first it was the transmission. I’ve only broke one tranny in the past four seasons, and that’s what it felt like. A pail with some nuts and bolts in it and then being violently shaken. It’s a grinding smashing sound that only lasts a few seconds, then it’s all quiet, that is until you get whacked from behind because your car slowed up, but that didn’t happen we did not get hit, and that was very good.

Well, not getting hit wasn’t the only good news, our transmission did not blow up, so we continue the current streak of over four years without a tranny issue. The bad news is another streak came to an end, the streak of no engine issues with Crate engines for the past eight years. That streak ended with not a pail of nuts and bolts, but a grenade in the engine kind of scenario.

When I left the Hobby club in 2004 to run Late Model’s we blew two engines that year, taking us out of a possible Championship. We were leading the points twice in 04 but the DNF’s from the expensive six cylinder did us in, or, you could say, took us out. We won two features, and there was never an issue when the Inline ran strong and stayed together, but it wasn’t the case so many times, and the blown engines took center stage and we exited that stage to go to the Crate engine and Late Models.

I had forgotten what a blown engine sounded like, but maybe that’s because when the Inline let go the rear wheels locked up, there was a ton of smoke and the boys who were behind me all went for a synchronized slide into waiting cement walls….not good.

Since I was expecting the engine to be the cause, but the transmission, once I came to a stop in turn four I had to verify my theory that the 3 speed was history. That was soon replaced with a commentary over our radio’s “I think we blew up guys, we’re done”. I tried to start the car but nothing. Then I thought maybe the started fell off, maybe the transmission did blow and cut the battery cable or wire. I just couldn’t come to the conclusion that our engine blew up.

I was pushed into pit row and once again tried to start the car by popping the clutch, hey, I wasn’t thinking engine failure. Once stopped on pit row, even though I kind of new what it was, I started to take off the hood. One of the track staff told me “Gary, you got a ton of oil trailing behind the car”. Transmission fluid, I was hoping but no chance, the engine was done, our first even casualty in the Crate world.

Too bad for us it wasn’t in the feature where money and points would have been better for us, but on second thought, better it happened with only five cars behind me instead of 18, because we were going to be starting on the pole in the feature even with the DNF, and that would not have been a good deal for me or any of the other racers in the feature.

After the feature we asked around the pits if anyone had a spare, but no one did, and I understood that, why would anyone need a spare Crate engine.

We finished 10th in the points standings, certainly a reflection of our worst year in many. This was first time in 23 years that we finished as far back as 10th. We intend to improve that a whole bunch in 2013.

2012 Points Finish
1st #47 Tom Walters...........1214
2nd #51 Mike Bentley..........1153
3rd #17 Kevin Cornelious......1132
4th #41 Taylor Holdaway......1051
5th #84 Sean Cronan...........1015
6th #19 Jason Witty............943
7th #03 Dario Capirchio........927
8th #29 Sean Grosman.........869
9th #88 Scotty Beatty..........844
10th #36 Gary Elliott...........842

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:06 pm

September 22-23............Sunset Speedway

Velocity Weekend

Race #26

High Lites
* 27 cars
* Mike Bentley wins
* we get 100% attendance for 36th season
* We qualified 20th, DNF, 20th
* Gehrig has good clean run
* New crate runs great

Heat #1.......9th
heat #2.......4th
Feature.......20th (DNF)

Mini Stock
Heat #1.....4th
Heat #2.....4th


Replace LF spindle, cosmetic repairs, replace engine, complete going over...prepare for Octoberfest

Bob, Ryan, Matt, Jason and Urban


Sorry for the long delay, and being late!!!!....we pulled out our engine the 602, got David's car and pulled out his 604, installed it by Wednesday, and still had a beat up front end and body work to do, as well as lower the car and get it ready to run with the Pro Late's the next 2 weeks only with more horsepower.....here is the story from last week.

It was a busy week leading up the Velocity two day event. The engine was out of the car by Monday night, picked up the new one on Wednesday and the put it in the car by late Thursday. On Friday the car was ready to go but now we needed to do the steps recommended by GM to break the engine in properly.

Mark Dilley emphasized that it was imperative to make sure the engine wasn’t rushed into racing until all the steps were completed.

The first recommendation was letting the car run for 30 minutes between 2000 and 2500 RPM’s. That was done Friday night.

Step 2 said to run the car on the track for 30 laps, around 3000 RPM, with a few accelerations no higher than 4500 and letting the car drop to 2000. This was going to be tough, because there was no time at any race where I could do 30 laps in a row. Even if there were 3 sets of Late Model hot laps each session, and we stayed out for everyone, I still couldn’t get 30 laps because of the low speeds. Step 3 was another 25 laps, but up to 5000 RPM and no more. I called Steve Slaughter and asked him if there was a chance I could get out on the track by myself and he said he would see what he could do for me.

We got to the track a little late, mostly because it was calling for rain all weekend and it had rained quite hard during the night. It was overcast, then sunny and then overcast. We kept an eye on the Sunset web but there was no mention of cancellation. Matt Smith, one of our newest crew members, lives in Wasaga Beach, about 40 minutes north of Sunset, and he said it was raining hard there. Finally at one o’clock, with the sun shining here, we headed to the track.

I went alone this time. Bob was going up on Sunday with our sponsor Urban Warner. Matt would meet me there, and Ryan would be there on Sunday, but not Saturday because he had to work Saturday night.

When I got to the track, a few things hit me, in a row, that I didn’t expect. First, when I asked for my pay out from the week before, I was asked if I was in the feature. I said “no, we blew our engine”. I was then informed that unless you start the feature, you don’t get any money. I plan on adding that to my list of things I would like changed for 2013. The rules are open at the end of this year and there are a few things I would like to see changed. Some of the top runners won’t care, but I think most other will.
• A closer point structure for the feature. Currently it’s 84-80-77-72 etc. I would like it changed to 84, 83, 82, 81, 80 etc.
• A better pay out from 8th to 14th
• That everyone gets at least one point in the heats, now it’s just the top 7. 8th, 9th and 10th don’t even get a mention in the results from the track
• All Late Models must run a chip 6200’
• No rebuilding the 602’, no touching it period except for the oil pan, timing chain and balancer.
• No racing fuel….91 to 94 Octane pump gas
• Reduce the amount of money to win the points and spread it out more.
• Have a perfect attendance pay out…$10,000 and every car with 100% gets an equal share.

Those are my ideas for next year, and I have no issue with any of them, even if I was winning every week I wouldn’t be bothered by cars getting more and me getting less as long as the bottom line was stronger car count and more opportunity for others to win a feature.

Anyway, no pay out was discouraging enough, but I wasn’t going to make an issue with Carol. The next let down was our parking spot was not available. We paid for our pads for the year, but apparently it did not include the finale. We ended parking on the grass.

I talked to Ted about the engine and he said he would see about getting us out, he talked to Steve and knew I wanted to get out on the track. I must say, in spite of some of my issues, this track does everything it can to look after racers, fans and sponsors. This Limited Late Model class is very expensive to try and run near the front, more than the Pro Late Models, and I think a few changes could help it be less expensive for race teams. As for the staff and how they treated me and my team, it was A+, all of our team feeling the same way about how we were welcomed and treated by all the staff.

Once on the grass we had to move a couple of times to find a spot where we wouldn’t bottom out. Ted said he would get us a better spot for Sunday and I was okay with that, plus we were late, but I thought our spot was saved for us, that’s why I wasn’t too concerned.

Anyway the good news for us was the track starter told me to get ready to go out after the drivers meeting and we could complete the 30 laps we needed during the pre show intermission.

Matt was going to count laps for me to make sure we got in the complete 30 laps. Fans must have thought it was weird with our car going around so many times at low RPM and then once in a while got a little faster in spurts. We ended up with 33 laps completed and headed to the pits to change the oil and filter.

Lucky for me we were starting at the back in our heat. Now we needed another 22 laps (25, but we got an extra 3 the first time out). It took 4 laps to get going, and once we did, I couldn’t go anymore than 5000 RPM. Amazingly I didn’t get lapped, but did get the car ready for the next time out. We were 8 laps short, but I felt with a few laps before the green we’d be good to go.

In the second heat we started outside pole, but had no set up laps on the car. It was very cold and at least we should have compensated some for the cold. The fourth place finish was not enough to qualify us for the feature, but the good news is we’d have a warm up session on Sunday, and we’d be in the consi as well.

On Saturday night, after the Pro Challenge cars left, (congrats to Tim Norris for his Championship) a spot opened up beside the Zardo's. Once moved in we headed to Matt's trailer and got into a Bible study for a few hours, it was freezing outside, though many were keeping warm by the huge fire. We got to bed early and headed into the pits Sunday morning around 10:am.

Bob, Urban and Ryan joined Matt and I around noon. We were able to get out in one set on hot laps and made a change to help the car turn better. It wasn't as cold as we thought, and there was no rain in sight, yet all week it was calling for rain both Saturday and Sunday.

After the drivers meeting the Consi line up was on the board. I took an opportunity to talk to Tom Walters, mostly about the MRE race, and the fact that though the 602's added more weight, he still did very well winning the series, and it made for a better show for the fans. His comments were very clear and straight forward. Basically, he did not like the fact he had to add weight, he would lap every car twice if possible. He was adamant that it didn't matter if cars showed up or not, he didn't care and was pissed that the whiners (like me) got their way. He didn't agree at all that the races were better. At least that's what he told me, but I'm guessing he just wanted to let me know he couldn't care less if I ever came back to Sunset. He likes things the way the are (my interpretation) and doesn't need people like me complaining about the races to the point that the promoter has to do something about it, and in this case did do something about it. All I can say is good for Mark for making the change, the fans got a good show, and for me the whiner, I had to add weight to my nine year old car, that was already out of it's league, but I thought the racing was very good. As for what Walters thinks about me, I don't really care too much, all my years in the CVM and running at Flamboro in the Late Models was to put back into the sport and the class I was in, not find out ways I could win or dominate. Tom was wrong about Junior Hanley as well. He said Junior would want to dominate and lap the field every race as well. I told him he was wrong about that as well, but he disagreed. Recently Junior told me he hoped Flamboro kept parity between the cars to make racing closer and better....that's why he is constantly helping Paul Howse, Steve Laking, Chad Corcoran, Bill Lasoline, Shane Gowan and anyone who asks, because he wants to see good racing, not one car lap the field every week, or on specials. That was the low time of my week end, but not enough to make me want to not return to Sunset, or want to beat Tom Walters. We want to race and be competitive, we're happy to have a chance to win, and if we're there we are enjoying this sport. We also represent everyone of our sponsors at the races, and at the over 15 shows we do every year, those to are very important, and a big part of our racing program. I digress.....[u:1lsorhbd][i:1lsorhbd][b:1lsorhbd]now back to our regular scheduled program[/b:1lsorhbd][/i:1lsorhbd][/u:1lsorhbd]

We started outside pole in the consi, and finished there. Sean Grosman was too much for us. We ran hard the entire race but could not get on the gas because the car was loose, not tight. So our changes made a difference, I just went too far. By finishing 2nd that put us 20th on the grid.

There were 27 cars at the show and the awesome management let every car start. That was good for the packed stands to see all the cars in the show, no one went home and more cars for Tom to lap. :)

It was apparent in the early going that our car was too loose still. We made one change on lap 9 to help by removing one of the spring rubbers in the RR. A few laps later we were involved in a near pile up in turn one, but got onto the grass to avoid the cars spinning. Bob let me know there was a cone under the right front of the car. I pitted and Matt, Ryan and Jason jacked up the car and removed the dummy....the one under the car, not in it. The boys did a great job getting me back out in a hurry, even though we were under yellow.

I returned to the track, now we were back in 25th, so we thought. However, the track moved me to my spot we were in before leaving the track, because picking up the pylon was not our fault, we were avoiding a wreck. I appreciated that and gladly went back to 16th.

It wouldn't be long however that we'd be back into pit row when #10X slowed way down on the back chute. I got under him and spun out trying not to dump him. That send us right to the back. The boys had to tape up the hood.

Our car was good, turned in the corners, good and good off, not loose or tight. We never really ever got out of bumper to bumper and side by side racing, which I did enjoy. At one point, running behind #35 Andy Kamrath and #37 Marvin Freiburger they drove hard into one and Andy came down from the high lane, but left lots of room to go low. Marvin must have broke something because his car went hard into the back of Andy without lifting. Andy went around and Marvin went high and somehow I got between both of them. Marvin pulled off the track, making me think something was wrong with his car and Andy continued,

Later we were making good gains on the outside but in heavy battles with many racers. On lap 50 I told my spotter Bob that if we could get in open track we might be able to gain a few more spots. Unfortunately just as we were getting into the top 10 a mix up occurred coming off four. I got high and out of the way but Ernie Fumerton #10 went high cutting me off. I had to jam on the brakes and got hit from behind knocked to the inside and then kind of t-boned by another car. That wreck bent our spindle putting us out of the race. It was discouraging. The Vandalism at the Velocity got to me because I decided to hit Ernie on the door for running me up into the wall. I think he was oblivious of it al because instead of waving his hand letting me know he was sorry, he pointed one of his fingers straight up letting me know he wasn't, or that he was upset with me. The finger in the air bothered me a little more and when we all slowed up in turn four I got under him and again let him know I wasn't happy. This was a better vantage point for me because now I wouldn't be able to see either one of his fingers or hand. Bob had to yell at me "that's enough Gary, calm down, let's get her fixed". However on pit row Ryan gave me a different hand signal than Ernie, but much more devastating as he took his hand, put it flat and moved it slowly across indicating we were done, shut off the car.

Oh well, it was a good run until that wreck, a bit of an episode so to speak and definitely tough on us. Now we regroup for Octoberfest and Autumn Colors and one thing is certain, we won't be running a Limited Late where we have no chance, we'll run our older Late Model in the Pro Late races. Even with a 9 year old car we'll have a better chance, and perhaps a little more competitive than we have been running against those so called Limited Late's all summer Limited???? Say what?

Congrats to Mike Bentley for winning the race. Mike and Tom won every special event in 2012 at Sunset. They won most of the regular night features as well except for maybe three. We had a disappointing season at best. Definitely some bad luck, but we brought an outdated car. The only problem I see at Sunset, is even the so called new cars, excluding Mike, Tom and Kevin, seem to have a difficult time keeping up. I don't know if they move over for those runners, I doubt it, some might, but they must be more discouraged than me with newer cars that can't run with the top three. Seems odd to me, but time for some serious R & D over the winter and see what we can find out, without costing us a fortune, but maybe that just might be the secret ingredient....$$$$$$$ or fortune = being competitive!

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:06 pm

September 29/30.......Flamboro Speedway Octoberfest

Race #27

High Lites
* 17 cars
* Brad Corcoran and Brennan DiDero tie for Octoberfest Champ
* Brad won first feature, Jason Shaw won 2nd feature
* We have good qualifying run but fall off then wreck

1st Featrue......9th
2nd Feature......13th


front bumper, nose of body, routine

Bob, Matt, Ryan, Glen, Wayne, Paul, Eric, Urban

This was our third trip to Flamboro in 2012. After two disappointing runs in the final Grisdale Triple Crown and the Shoot Out, we decided to take the time to make the car better than those two previous outings.

How we would do that was simple enough. Remove the brand new 602, stick in David’s 604 (or mine that’s on the floor), lower the car to 4” ride height and take out some led. I was very surprised to see the rule for my car was quite different than the two other times at Flamboro. I could run my lower control arm, big spring car with the 604, and only have to weigh 2750, yet with the 602 we were told we had to weight 2800 because that’s what Sunset made the Limited Lates weigh for the 3 MRE races. So now we had 50 more horsepower and weighed less, not a bad deal, although we knew we’d need every break possible to hope to be competitive.

The week was nuts, and it was the third in a row where long hours and extra work were put in our car. I became a very quick engine remover. Last Monday I had the engine and drive line out in less than 3 hours and did it alone. That night Bob and Paul came over and we picked up David’s car and removed the engine out of it. The car had just won the feature at Delaware and David suggested for me to take it rather than install a clutch, starter, bell, distributor and power steering pump on the engine on the floor. By Monday at 10 am the engine was out. By 3pm Tuesday Jason Green came over and we had the car running. Now we had to repair the bent parts from the vandalism at the Velocity. I dropped off the spindle to Flamboro Machine Shop and installed the spare one we had. By Thursday night we had the car set engine wise, the chassis lowered, the led removed and the car balanced on the scales. It sure looked good and felt like the old days were back.

We picked up used tires from Grisdale’s for this race. They had little laps on them and helped us immensely because there was no way I could buy new tires for this show, and if there was any show that needed new tires it was this one.

We got to the track in plenty of time to get set up in the pits, get the car through tech and do what we had to on the car to make sure we were ready for practice. Matt and Bob were there along with Glen and Wayne, two crew members from the Zardo team.

We made just one set of hot laps. I could have went out more but when I seen how good the car was and was told our laps times were in the 2’s, I was excited and didn’t want to wear the tires anymore. A 15:2 was a good time, but Matt said he had us once in the high 15:1’s, making that the fastest lap ever for me around Flamboro.

We started 7th of 8 cars in the first heat. Steve Laking won the heat with Scott Lyons 2nd and us third. I stayed with Scott the entire race, the car felt great and was strong. It wasn’t just us who felt that way, many fans and teams commented on how fast our car was. There was something wrong with the car, we didn’t know it at the time, we wouldn’t find out until we got out for the first 50 lapper, but a signal was sent to us that we did not react on because I assumed wrongly. At home our car scaled at 55% cross, even a little more and I was good with that. At the track we crossed the scales in tech at 59%. When Bob showed me the numbers I said “don’t worry they’re probably out from ours, like they were last year”. That was true, the scales were always out from ours, but not by 4% and not showing a higher percent, but rather a lower percent. In other words, if we came from home at 55.5 the track scale almost always was 53.5 and we ignored it, and decided to go by the results of the cars performance.

Our hot laps did not indicate any push, or being tight, like a 59% cross would. However, the car had broke in tires and was on a cold track, and only ran 8 or 9 laps, giving no indication that we had too much wedge. The failure to question that hurt us in the first feature for sure.

After our first heat we had a long wait for the next round of qualifying for Late Models. There were only 14 cars, quite a disappointment. However there were only 7 in the Limited Lates. No class, except for the Mini Stock was exceptional in car count, although the OSS and Thunder Car’s weren’t bad.

The rains came and stopped and came again but not long enough to cancel anything by 6pm. We were lined up for our 2nd set of heats as the OSS were doing their time trials. Half way through it started raining again, and time trials were stopped so cars could get out and dry off the track. I don’t get it why teams won’t dry off the track. We always use to take out our Hobby cars to help dry off the track. We use to see 20 or more cars driving around trying to speed up the drying process and get the show in. Now it seems only very few go out, maybe 5 or 6 and a few emergency vehicles, and the drying time takes much longer. Some Late Model teams headed back to their pits, we stayed in line. As the track dried, Doug, the corner man asked me if I would go out and see how the track was and if the OSS could continue time trials. I did that and reported the track was still slick and not good enough to drive fast on. They sent out the 4 cylinder cars to do their qualifying as the conditions would not be near as severe for them, in fact, have no affect at all.

The show dragged on because of the rain and we wondered what was going to happen. Some teams wanted to go home, but were not sure if the track was going to wait it out or what they would do. I decided to ask and was told they would run our 2nd heats the next day. I asked them not to do that because if any cars got wrecked they wouldn’t have time to fix their cars for the feature, where as a wreck tonight would give them time. I also suggested not to run a second heat just go with the one heat for starting spots. I was told they promised the fans two qualifying heats and that’s what they were going to do. “Yes, but you also said you were running two races tonight, so try to run them tonight, and if it rains, don’t run them”. They didn’t agree and I argued again there were about 700 people in the stands and they should get the extra races because they may not be back the next day, they could be OSS, F-4 or Pure Stock fans. Final they said they would run the OSS feature and they if the weather was still dry they would run out the qualifying in all classes.

Unfortunately the rains returned with about 20 laps left in the OSS feature and that ended any more qualifying for tonight.

I felt like the Octoberfest had lost a lot of its glory and excitement. No OSCAAR, CVM, or TQ, really made this show weak in comparison to the Velocity and Peterborough shows. It’s like 3 kinds of Late Models, as both the Limited Lates and the Late Models look identical. Similar in the four cylinder racing with 3 kinds classes but not much in variety. The OSS is a little different than our Late Models, but not by much.

On Sunday we were happy when we arrived to see Glen and Wayne already had our trailer opened with the tools out, the flags flying and ready to go. The track announced a few times in the morning that there would be no more qualifying in the Late Model class, however all other classes would resume qualifying. I think that was the right call because of car count. It was sunny and cool, and the crowd was much better than the day before.

With our third place finish we lined up fifth in the feature. There was no driver intro. Race Time Radio did the Saturday night show live and was going to be broadcasting the Sunday show live as well. We waited until 4 pm to start the race to coordinate RTR coming on the air.

We were set to race and felt we would be competitive. At the start we slowly fell back losing a few spots early because of a slight push, but more because we were being pinched down. I could not believe how badly we were chopped by the faster cars. It just shows how narrow the track is. I don't ever remember being chopped that much at Sunset and we ran side by side for lots of laps all season. Outside cars are more than likely going to be heading back and the only recourse they have is to pinch the car down on the inside. Brad Corcoran cut me off so bad I had to check up or hit him. He knew it and waved out the window to say thank you. Paul Howse chopped me as well but didn't wave, not even good bye. By lap 12 we were 7th and stayed there for a while but slowly, to my discouragement, fell back from the lead pack, who were running bumper to bumper.

I kept trying different lines, and even dialing in a little rear brake but it didn’t make any difference. Trevor Monaghan was on our tail for quite a few laps but couldn’t get by until around lap 35 when a caution came out from Scott Lyons spinning out. We didn’t get a good restart and fell back but gained one spot keeping us in the top 10 of 17 cars that started.

Coming off four with about 12 to go Steve Laking got messed up on the back chute and cars checked up and turned towards the inside. We were there and got hammered by Brennan DiDero. Brennan didn’t know we were there, it all happened too fast. We spun into three and had to go to the pits for repairs. The boys did their best to tie up the rad shroud, and secure the loose fenders. They had to remove one front nose cone that was badly beat up and dragging.

We got back out but were out of it now. We did make it back to 9th. The car was in trouble now for sure, but it wasn’t the wreck or damage that had us scratching our heads, it was the fact we lost the car from one day to the next.

The boys worked very hard on the car to bring it back out with all parts on the car. Paul and Matt worked with Glen and Wayne and the rest did other things that needed to be done to get the car ready for the next fifty. It was discouraging to say the least that we were handling so poorly, and off the pace.

While the crew worked on the front end Bob and I went over the set up and decided when the car was on the ground to check the track bar split and other chassis settings including the front bar. To our amazement the front bar had over 4 turns on it and only had 1 and 1/2 when we left home. I knew that would make us tight for sure and we hoped we had it fixed. We would be starting pole because Brad Corcoran, who won the first feature, threw a 9 for the invert.

[u:3ib8bpxu][i:3ib8bpxu][b:3ib8bpxu]Second Feature [/b:3ib8bpxu][/i:3ib8bpxu][/u:3ib8bpxu]
I decided to take my spot for a few reasons. We thought with the extra turns in the bar perhaps we did make a mistake somehow, and maybe we could find the car we had from Saturday. It’s like we went back in time to 2010 when we ran incredible, then fell off with the car we bought in 2011, yet David still ran well with this car in 2011. We felt comfortable about all of it and there was no doubt in my mind that I would take my starting spot and hope to get our first feature win in four seasons.

Everyone there started the second feature. We went around slow and I didn’t feel anything that would make me alarmed. After a few circuits the starter indicated he would be giving us some hot laps. When the pace truck pulled off I slowed up a bit to let the cars at the back who were still scrubbing in their tires, got the sign from the starter. It’s usually a waste of time to try to get any hot laps because the leaders are right on the back cars within a lap because everyone is spread out so much. The only way it would work is if the starter made sure all cars were close together in single file. Anyway when the green flew we headed into turn one, and right away our car slid up the track. At first I thought it was from the cold night, but even so, this was no normal push, but a real wash up. I wondered if it was just the tires so going down the back chute I hoped it would grip much better but it did not, in fact I could hear and feel the valance rubbing the track quite aggressive and again the car slid up the track.

“I don’t think I can race this car Bob, it’s not turning”. We went around once more, only twice, and both turns were the same, a terrible very pronounced push that would only subside if I backed off early, or jammed on the brakes hard. Both those scenario’s would work, but not from pole position, but from the rear. The starter waved the yellow and we were given the double up sign going into one. The next lap we would get the white, but I had made up my mind I wasn’t waiting any longer and as we were between one and two and the corner flag man had his flags crossed and pointing for us to double up, I headed for the exit. “He’s coming in”, Bob shouted to the crew. I let them know I was just going to go to the back because the car would not turn. “What do you want us to do”? was the response from Ryan who was in the pits. “Nothing” I said, “I am going right out”. Bob then warned me to get going because the white was out.

Sure I could have pulled over on the front or back chute and went scratch, but it would have taken a few more laps to start the race because track officials would wonder what was wrong, did I see something on the track, or what was I doing. By going into the pits everyone knows something is wrong and there is no question I would be heading to the back if I got back out. Also, if we didn’t get back out for the green, we’d be done for the race. As I went through the pits my grandson, Gehrig, came out to show me where they were, but I waved him aside because I was going straight out. If I had stopped at all in the pits we would have missed the green and been out of the race. We were out of it anyway, but I came to race the car I had and the only way to do that was to get back out as quick as possible.

The car was terrible for the first 15 laps when we were lapped by the leaders. I could not turn the car at all unless I slowed way down. Bob and the crew could see the car was bottoming out. Bob thought that maybe the nose would wear off and the car would get better, that was kind of the hope, and eventually it did, but by then it was lap 40 and we were two laps down.

We finished in 13th spot in this race, no more damage, but quite disappointed. We even passed a car also down two laps to move from 14th to 13th. The finish gave us 11th overall, just a discouraging day for all of us.

I would be leaving early Thursday for Peterborough, and had a ton of things to do, so this damage was not a welcomed event. We stayed around for a bit to get the pay off and then headed back to the garage. Paul stayed with me for an hour or so to help remove all the damaged front end parts, steel bumper and nose cone.
That gave us an early start for Monday morning that would be a crazy day for me with a lot of running around. Anyway, that’s racing, I mean if you won all the time what fun would that be? Speaking of which, this was the second of the final three super shows from Sunset, Flamboro and Peterborough. We are 2 for 2, two wrecks that is, although in both special events we showed some potential to have a good finish. We rarely have a good finish at Peterborough, and head there ducking on the way. It should be fun, I love the track, just always have the worst luck, but so do other teams, we’ll just have to change ours.

Congrats to Brad Corcoran and Brennan DiDero for their draw in the title race. They were tied after the two features and though the track said the tie would be broken by going to the heat races, they decided to split the winnings and give them $2500 each, instead of one getting $3K and the other $2. Imagine being tied for a title, and you lose it by a heat finish, maybe the car tied with you finished 2nd and you were 3rd, and he gets $1000 more than you….how crazy is that. Splitting it was good, or if they said they would give the winner $300 more that would be cool, but not $1000, so I was glad they split it, the track made a good call that time.

We’re off to Peterborough, for the 112 lap extravaganza on Thanksgiving weekend. Looking forward to spending time with Jim, ken, Linda and Steff, as well as having one more shot at a win with our crew Ryan, Matt and Paul. In the evening we’re going to work on my two scrap books, 2011 and 2012 to get them updated, that should be fun, got sleeves, scotch tape, scissors and all the pictures printed off from our Late Model History pages 2011 and this year.

Thanks to everyone who came out to this race, Bob, Ryan, Matt, Paul, Eric, Urban, Macy, Glen and Wayne, we did the best we could, great job guys and girls.

Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:06 pm

October 5,6,7.......Peterborough Speedway

Autumn Colors

Race #28

High Lites
* 22 cars
* Mike Bentley wins
* We weck
* Gehrig pulls off

Heat #1........7th
Heat #2........5th
Feature.......18th (DNF)

Mini Stock
Heat #1........4th
Heat #2.......6th
Feature.......26th (DNF


New car :)

Jim, Ryan, Matt, Jason, Ken, Linda and Steff

One of my favourite weekends is Autumn Colors. A fun show, lots of classes, full fields in every class and a fast moving well run show….but another terrible feature finish for us, I just can’t get good results in this show.

I am very grateful for those who were helping us. I left on Thursday getting to Peterborough around 5. Jim, Ken, Linda and Steff came out Friday. Matt, Jason and Ryan came on Saturday and we were more than equipped with excellent help all weekend.

Our car was good from the beginning, although a little loose. I haven’t experienced a loose car entering the turns for a few seasons. Jim orchestrated the changes on the car and we got it better every time out.

Lap times in the beginning were in the 14:4’s but we did get down to some 2’s and maybe a 1’. The field was close for the most part although the cold made cars fall off faster than normal.

Weather looked like it could play a factor. Rains threatened Friday and Saturday, but the track managed to get all qualifying done every night as scheduled. This track set up, management and organization is incredible for the Autumn Colors show. They are precise when it comes to appointment scheduling with every race, very impressive with so many cars and making sure the show goes on to keep the frozen fans (this year) entertained.

We were scheduled to start 7th in our first heat on Friday. The good news was our heat race wasn’t at 5 like in the past. I remember leaving home around 2:30 on Friday two years ago, and missing our heat race, it was going on the track just when we got to the back gate. Some teams had it figured out to just come on the Sunday. Start scratch, it’s over 100 laps, save a little money and only use one set of new tires. A few teams buy 2 sets or more, others run good used tires and I’m sure there are teams running older tires, just to be in the show.

In the warm ups we made some comfort changes. Ken had to put some foam on my head support. Other than that it was good in the car for me. We did have spongy brakes in the practice sessions. We found our rear pads needed replacing, not so much from wore out but more for being tapered, misalinged wore. I had spares and Ken got them on. We also decided to bleed the brakes and there was air in the right front. I think when I repacked the wheel bearings on Wednesday I may have let the piston come out too far. With the brakes bled and better pads put in we were good to go.

Another issue for me was my radio’s. I could not hear my spotter, he was muffled real bad. We worked on the wiring but couldn’t see any obvious problem. I borrowed a set of ear plugs from George Wilson, OSCAAR racer, and tried them but the same problem was occurring so I returned his ear plugs and we worked on the wiring system for quite a while before the heat race. Jim headed to the stands and Ryan worked on the ear plugs with me. We finally got them working better, but still not good enough.

Our heat was packed with some very good cars. It looked like an All Star line up with Gord Shepherd, Brandon Watson, Bryan Mercer, Dan McHattie, Marc Jacobs and Dwayne Baker. We started 7th and early in the race McHattie was getting freight-trained on the outside. I was behind Brandon and was following him through when we caught up to the #71. Brandon got under, but when I tried to follow Dan squeezed me down and I hit his car just at the rear wheel, or ahead towards the door. He wanted to get down and figured I would back out. I didn’t and he spun out coming off two. He went to the back and I had to go to the back as well for hitting him. We ended up 7th, as the 8 lap race gave us no time to catch back up. The car was loose in but not severe loose.

We stayed overnight at the Quality Inn. A kid’s hockey tournament was in town. There were Bantam, Pee Wee and other categories, and when they weren’t playing hockey at the arena they played all night in the hall ways. It didn’t bother me too much, although management was very lenient with the noise.

On Saturday we were early and Matt, Ryan and Jason made it out. We had a great team, very good, very accomplished in getting whatever had to be done finished before each race. There were 2 sets of hot laps. In the first the car was a little loose but fast loose. We hit times in the 14:2’s. I was still having trouble hearing my spotter. As for the car my crew and I were happy, but we had to do something about my radio reception. We decided to reverse the ear plugs and it worked better. We also had to kink the radio wiring harness to compensate for a bad wire somewhere.

We started 3rd in the second heat. Marc Jacobs was pole and Brandon Watson outside pole. Brandon won with Bryan second, McHattie third, Gord fourth and us fifth. Our car was quick but we just couldn’t get a good start and got boxed in. At the end of the race Bryan checked up after the finishing line and Dan was flying right behind him and hit the brakes hard to avoid Bryan and spun right into the turn one wall. I couldn’t believe it. Dan is a pro, a multi time champ, and he was definitely having a bad weekend. That wreck would end his weekend, he packed up and headed home, I think yelling at Bryan on the way. The good news for me was that I could hear my spotter better but still not real good. After the second heat I was a little discouraged. I had hoped to do better. We qualified 17th overall, but felt we had a better car.

This track is very fast. Unlike Sunset, another fast track, the action at Peterborough is different than any other track. Nothing at this track is relaxing when it comes to racing. I’m guessing if you’re out front or in a small field of cars spread out, there would be no pressure, or a need to be on top of the wheel. However, getting through a heat race of super stars requires driving your heart out, just to keep up. One little mistake and you lose a ton on the cars in front. Very fast, very close and when you have 18 cars within less than a tenth it becomes a wild ride in a bull ring the requires the best from the driver and car every second. Most times the car will fall off, there is not much tolerance on this speedy fast action packed oval, but I love it and so do our crew, the fans and most all competitors.

After we were done qualifying we stayed to watch OSCAAR heats. The fastest cars were a full second faster than our cars. The Limited Lates were almost as fast, their fastest within a tenth at times. Bentley won the feature closing the final few laps in the 14:6’s and Dwayne Baker won the Limited Late feature with the same lap times near the end of his 75 lap feature.

We headed back to our hotel rooms to get some rest and sleep to the sounds of thumping and banging, not from newly weds, but the kids playing hockey. They must have been jumping off their beds onto the floor or each other. There were complaints but parents were partying in other rooms as their kids did episodes of WWE until early in the morning. Lucky for me I couldn’t hear anything for most of the night, I was exhausted, and have been since August . In the morning we had breakfast and met some race fans. It’s so cool when a little boy or girl come up and say “you did really good yesterday”. I appreciated that and realized I need to not be so hard on myself when we don’t as good as I expected. Many times we do way better than I realize and it takes a 6 year old to remind me of that….thank you fans.

We came back early Sunday, but not as early as the two days previous for me. When we got to our pad, Ryan, Matt and Jason had the car out and jacked up. That was good to see.
We were not sure exactly what changes we’d make for the feature, so we just let Jim ponder on it because our feature wasn’t scheduled to go out until 5:30.

There were some wild feature races. Two Thunder Car racers got into a fight. Then later in the same race Shawn Chenoweth and Randy Russnell got into it. I asked Shawn after what happened and he said he “I was getting punted around and chopped so many times that I came unglued”. He smiled I could tell he felt bad about it but he’s a good racer with passion and an attitude. There are other good racers with good equipment and don’t care at all about anyone, and though they never fight or get into altercations, they are sometimes more disliked by peers because they just simply don’t care. Shawn wins a lot and if he’s on your bumper it might be better to let him go rather than block him for a too many laps. I’m not saying that’s what happened with him and Randy because Randy is also just as decorated when it comes to being a top runner, a Champ and hard racer. If every race was simply follow the leader and no action ever, we’d have a dead sport. So in spite of the antics, all characters though sometimes off side, make racing colorful. Just as long as no one gets hurt, and there is no fighting in the pits. A little damage is expected, but nothing personal should happen to hurt anyone ever. We didn’t get in any fights, no issues with drivers, no yelling, pushing, threatening and our car is so badly beaten I doubt it will make the show it is suppose to be in for October 20th…..but that stories coming.

Gehrig's Mini Stock Feature
The Mini Stocks ran before us so I decided to go to pit row and crew with JJ and Jason, although I was more wanting to be part of the team than anything else. Earlier in the day I told JJ I really appreciated the time he spends with Gehrig teaching him the basics and helping him learn pit things, tools etc. My hope is to get him into a Late Model in two years, he’ll be 16 and more ready to move up.

Gehrig ran well in his heats and was doing just as good against the very tough MS field. We need to find him more power over the winter and let him go after a title next year. Meanwhile Gehrig ran well in this race. He was and has been very smooth, almost all season since he got the new Honda. I felt bad for him as he was getting beaten badly by some of the Mini Stocks. They were lapping cars by lap 10 and the first caution came when the leaders were about 6 car lengths behind.

Later in the race, a check up on the back chute was unavoidable and he nailed one of the three cars that were spinning around. He kept going, gaining a few spots because he didn’t stop. Over the next few laps he did great, passing cars and making some good lap speeds and staying with the pack. Momentum is so important for him. However I noticed when he went high to pass the car would push up and he would loose a ton of ground. Shirley text us from the grandstands “did someone tell Gehrig to run the outside”. Jason told me about the text, and I said to Jason “tell her it wasn’t me, we know there’s no outside lane here today”.

It was about lap 35 that he got lapped and was getting passed by a bunch of cars who were freight- training him on the inside. He was up to 16th and suddenly he slowed down so much on the front chute I thought his car quit. He came in to pit lane and stopped in front of us and said “I can’t drive, my toe is sore”. I couldn’t understand him with the noise on the track of cars racing, so he explained “when I hit the car on the back chute I hurt my toe”. I looked in the car and at him and he said “I can’t drive anymore”. I agreed right away and he drove off to park the car. JJ ran to meet Gehrig and Jason asked me what he said. I explained “he said his toe was hurt from hitting the car on the back chute, and I agree if he’s in pain he shouldn’t be driving”. Jason nodded in agreement and I went over to see Gehrig. I noticed right away that he was walking fine, that was good but something wasn’t right. I asked him how he felt. He said “I'm fine”. “What about your feet” I asked? He said “my feet are okay”. I was confused and asked “you said you came in cause your toe was sore”. He looked at me and said “no the toe on the car is out, I can’t drive it, it just pushes up”. That didn't go over very well with me, I was not happy because the car looked fine, and he drove it for 20 laps after that impact. I went over to look closer at the cars front end and JJ said “the toe is out”. I straightened out the wheels and double checked and said “not very much if any, you hit him square, no suspension damage, you shouldn’t have come in Gehrig”. Then he said “I was getting lapped anyway and didn’t want to wreck the car”. After hearing that grandpa almost went nuts, but stayed calm. In a very disappointed voice I asked, not yelled, asked “Are you kidding, you came in because you were getting lapped, and you didn’t want to wreck the car”? “We have all winter to fix the car…you should have stayed out, get back in the car and finish the race”. Gehrig said the rule says once you’re on the grass your done. Then I explained it to Jason and he was as confused as I was. It was not a good moment for me because racers finish every race no matter what unless you’re in pain or are overheating, or absolutely have to come in for a mechanical reason. This didn’t fit any of those situations.

[u:3r1qnepo][i:3r1qnepo][b:3r1qnepo] Late Model Extravaganza[/b:3r1qnepo][/i:3r1qnepo][/u:3r1qnepo]
There was a driver’s in car intro before the race started. I came out of the pits and when we did a radio check I could not hear my spotter, it was incredibly muffled. We were to start 17th but I had to make a pit stop and fix the radio’s. We reversed the plugs back to where they were before and they worked great, I just had to start scratch in the feature, but no big deal, we were on new tires provided by one of our sponsors Drew Mac security.

The car was very good early. We were fast moving up through the field. There were a few cautions by lap 8 but our car was great on the restarts and short runs. Things were going good until a pile up in turn three had four or five cars involved. We were deep into the turn and could not get out of the way. I drove low on the track by Ryan Kimball came down, unable to stop his car and I nailed his front end, doing extensive damage to our front bumper, rad shroud and hood. What a disappointment for us. I headed to pits and the boys had to remove one nose cone, secure the hood and make sure the air scoop was getting air flow. It took most of that yellow to get it done.

On the restart the car was clearly different, it would not turn in the upper or middle groove. There would be lots of time to fix it with another four or five cautions over the next 10 laps allowing me to go in and let our team make adjustments.

We added spring rubbers to help the car turn and by lap 25 the car seemed good. I was very discouraged trying to get under the 61 car and chopped so bad that I had to get on the speed bumps to avoid contact. Later in the race, on lap 30 I followed Mark Watson around the 61 and thought for sure we would be clean to pass but his spotter must have looked at the car and seen it was #36, and told his driver to come down. He came down alright only this time I could not avoid contract and lifted him right around. Hopefully he asked his spotter why he would say “clear”, or maybe the spotter said “I told you there was a car inside”. Maybe they both debated after “I thought the 36 always backs out. Whatever the reason for the disrespect it’s impossible to back out in certain situations. Anyway, in that deal there was no damage to our car, but we were stuck now behind some fast but out of control cars. That’s always an issue for any team when going to the back. Sure there are cars not able to keep up to speed but for the most part they keep out of the way when being passed. Jaxon Jacob ran everyone clean, so did the #08. They were slightly off the pace and decided to finish rather than drive over their heads.

On lap 35 we made one more change to the car. It was good and I think we finally got the car back to where it was at the beginning of the race. We were fast low and making ground. This track carries a ton of speed into both ends more into three. Coming off four on lap 39 a pile up occurred right in front of me and I couldn’t get slowed up. I hit the spinning cars very hard, I could feel the pain in both wrists. I think that impact stuck my throttle as the car careened off the #61 and slammed hard into the outside cement wall very hard. The throttle was still pulling the car down the front chute at low speed as the suspension was dragging on the ground. It was a hard hit, not my worst for sure but hard enough to bend the frame and tons of suspension parts.

It took two tow trucks to get the car in our trailer. Thanks to all the crew for making sure we were loaded and helping get the car in. Not sure how I will get it out, someone suggested using our engine hoist and that may work, but a tow truck would be better for sure.

Congrats to Mike Bentley on winning the feature. To Peterborough for hosting a well run show, to all my fans in the stands who stand behind us no matter how we do.

I also want to thank all our crew and friends to coming to Peterborough. It was a good weekend, but a rough and tough finish. I really appreciate the friendship and dedication shown to all our crew, even those who could not make it. Also to the Zardo team for being there to help us if we needed it. We had a blast, but it was a tough way to end the season.

This was for sure a disappointing run at Autumn Colors, and a disappointing close to 2012. This wreck made it 3 for 3 in the final three big shows, all ending in wrecks, two shows we could not finish. Our 44th year will go down as our most hard luck. Stats will show it included our worst wreck ever. Blowing an engine, possibly from making it do more than it should have been pushed to, trying to run with cars that are much newer and modern technology wise. We took a 4” car and raised it to over 5” to make it legal for Sunset. That wasn’t the way to go, but we really had no choice. It would be nice to have a better car, an updated car. Most all of the winning Late Models, Pro Lates and Limited Lates, teams that are at the top, winning titles and races, have brand new or one year old cars. I know what it’s like to try to keep up with an older chassis in the CVM. We had a new car built in 1999 by Ray Hughes at Jim Wards and it won the title first year out. Ray took one look at my old car and couldn’t understand how we could do as good as we did. We are at that stage now and time to get a new or newer car. If this car can be updated to make it equal, not close, to a top car, we’ll do that over the winter and come back in 2013 to try for a title.....better days ahead.

We’ll keep our site updated weekly with our progress, thank you for coming to our site and reading and commenting on our team.

Posts: 210
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:06 pm

Oct 20th.........Frost Fest Flamboro Speedway

Not a scheduled race night

High Lites
* 29 Mini's....
27 Thunder Cars * Chenoweth wins Thunder Car *
Bailey wins Mini Stock *

I make it 4 for 4....wrecks in final 4 races of 2012

* Thanks to Ken Stenhouse for opportunity to race with Gehrig * Thanks to London Recreational for sponsoring event * Gehrig does great, an 11th, in first wrecked in 2nd running 6th * Our hopes of racing with Grandson end in hot laps

High Lites
#5....crashed in hot laps, badly damaged car done for day
Gehrig 1st Heat...........4th 2nd Heat..........3rd 1st 30 Lap.........11th 2nd 30 lap........DNF Overall............14th
Winnings $50

Repairs rear suspension, complete Honda rebuild for 2013
Crew Rob for me...Shirley, JJ, Jason and Lauren for Gehrig
Conclusion A few people to thank first. Tim Tolton was the first to offer me his car at the Autumn Colors, for the Frost Fest event so I could race against my grandson Gehrig. However bad luck came about when both the right rear tie rod was broke and the car wouldn't start because of broken timing belt. I really appreciated Tim's offer. Then at the last minute on Saturday night Ken offered me to drive his Mini Stock, knowing I wasn't going to have a ride. Ken was under enough stress and worry with his Mom dying in the hospital. He insisted I take the car and race against Gehrig, a great gesture from him and Linda and to both of these families I am very grateful. London Recreational Concrete Pools and Spas also deserves a huge thank you from the racing community for sponsoring this event. They did an awesome job and we as drivers and race teams appreciate all they did for this event, making it a classic for the Mini's and Thunder Cars. I do have a dream, and it's to race against my son and grand son in a series, that will be down the road a little, not too far I hope. Part of that dream almost came true when I had the opportunity to drive Ken's Nissan in the Frost Fest race. Ken has always had first class, well built race cars, just like Tim Tolton, and both run great in their receptive classes, Ken at Flamboro and Tim at Varney. In my first time on the track I liked the car, just needed to get use to it, comfort wise and learn it's characteristics. In the first set of hot laps I got behind Gehrig and was going to try and follow him for the 10 lap practice session but #85 from Delaware spun going into one and I had to check up to avoid hitting him, and by the time I got around, Gehrig was heading into three and there was no chance of catching him, because the yellow never came out. After that practice Rob told me the car looked okay, but that I wasn't going in as hard as Ken does, and I knew that, I didn't know the car good enough to want to drive it wide open, at least not yet. We made one change for the next set, a little less air in the left rear, the car was tight and I was hoping to make it turn. In the second and final set of hot laps the car would turn okay, but not the way we wanted, and not by the tire adjustment. For some reason I got in behind the #85 again and should have remembered him being loose the last time out, although I rarely worry about those things in different sessions, but in the same practice, or heat race, we always take not of cars struggling. When the green came out we raced down the back chute and almost immediately in the middle of three and four #85 started sliding sideways out of control. I figured he would do exactly what he did the first time, and slide up the track so I dove under him. Exiting off four I thought I was home free. Apparently he didn't hit the brakes at all but kept his foot in it and came down into me hitting the right rear just ahead of the wheel. I was hard on the gas to make sure I got away and was shocked that I got hit where I did because I thought for sure he would have slowed down. The next thing I feel is being hit hard and the car turning right towards the turn four wall. I have about a second to slam on the brakes and hope I could slow, but the destiny was set, impact was already waiting, there would be no racing with my grandson, there would be nothing left of the front end and rad in Ken's Nissan and there would be no watching my grandson race because at the insistence of the paramedics I would spend the next 5 hours waiting in the emergency at Joseph Brant hospital. The Ambulance drivers knew I had been in a few hard impacts with the walls the past two years and three this year. When they checked my eyes with a basic light test the left eye was slow to respond and I was told that could be a sign of a concussion. I figured I was okay, but he insisted I go and when he told Shirley about his feelings and her knowing my expertise on the grinding cement at high speed, she had no hesitation to take me home and have Nonie take me to the hospital. "Make sure you talk to the doctor, don't let Dad tell them anything, he will say it's okay". Nonie agreed and I basically was to be a good patient. Being a patient? I just wrecked a good buddies car, lost the chance to race with my grandson, lost $25 to get in, got sent to the hospital after wrecking not in a high speed crash in a Late Model, but a hard crash in a Mini Stock and now had to go and sit for hours at a hospital that would no doubt be full of people waiting to see one Doctor. The only good news for me was if the Doc said I should take some time off, well at least the timing was right for that suggestion, because this was my last race of 2012. I was messed up after our hard wreck at Flamboro in 2010, that wreck is on you-tube, and the one last year at Flamboro, that crash is on Cogeco cable, the one this year at Sunset was terrible and the one at Peterborough was a hard hit....but the Nissan sends me to the hospital...and for precautions mostly. At the hospital Shirley kept us posted on how Gehrig was doing. He finished 4th in his first heat, and 3rd in the second, qualifying him 10th. He finished 11th in the first race and in the second was up to 6th with 10 laps to go. He got involved in a wreck that ended his day but he still finished 14th overall, and showed some good signs again. The wreck for us was our 4th straight in the final four special event races of 2013. What a disappointment, not a good way to end the season, and for most of those races, the Velocity, Octoberfest and Autumn Colors, we were very fast, just couldn't catch a break. As for racing with my grandson, that has been postponed but will happened. I must say that I am thankful to God for safety, for my friends and for all the provisions He has given us throughout this very tough season. We will regroup and prepare for 2013, our 45th season racing and our 40th year with Quaker State. It is with sadness that we let everyone know that Ken's mother, Marlene, passed away late Sunday night from her sickness. Our prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Stenhouse, Ken, Linda and their family. May the Lord comfort you all in this time of the loss of your precious mother. We pray you all will find refuge in His arms, God bless you. "Lord welcome this precious one into your Kingdom and comfort our friends, show them how much you love them." Amen.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Diary Of A Season 2012

Post by Gary » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:20 pm

Postby Gary » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:32 pm

The 2012 season is already upon us. I thougth I would take some time off, but that can't happen, at least not while we still have some decent weather.

The first good news for my team is that Bob Pereria will return as Crew Chief. Bob is a tremendous help at the garage and at the track. We also have commitments from two of my cousins in Cookstown, Ryan and Justin Elliott to help us every Saturday night.

Our program for 2012 will consist of running full time at Sunset Speedway with both our Late Model, okay, Limited Late Model, and Mini Stock. Before the year is out I hope to convince Sunset and every other track to call these cars Late Models. The Flamboro and Delaware cars should be called Pro Late Model.

We started the new project by trading my 2011 Late Model for my old car, the one David drove. My 2011 LM was a Howe car, Shawn Chenoweth's car from 2010. David's car, our old one, is a McColl car and perfect for Sunset except for one thing, the engine, and that concern has been resolved.

It sounds a little confusing, basically I have our old Late Model back and David will be driving the Howe car.

I created a budget for 2012 that included about $7,000 for a Crate engine, 602, with the upgrades from Stefko. I offered my CVM to Rick Schurr for 2012 but he isn't quite sure what he's doing next season. I also made a similar offer to Trevor Monaghan. Neither driver was able to commit to anything for 2012 at this point. I understand there situation, not everyone is working on next year in November. However for our program to be successful we had to know what we were doing, get a budget done, get our sponsors back on board or try to find new ones, and get busy working on the cars, the LLM and the Mini Stock.

Some friends and fans have asked me why I don't put my grandson in the CVM for 2012. There are two reasons. The first and most important is that I have full intentions of guiding his racing career during his early years especially. I won't be able to do that unless we are at the same track together. The CVM only run a 10 race mini schedule, so I won't commit to racing back with them until their schedule offers more racing.
Gehrig can race a Mini Stock his first season and we will be together every week. The other reason, and it really is a minor issue, is that he is not quite ready to go into the CVM, not yet, and maybe not ever if they only run limited schedules.

That means our Coupe is the odd car out. It will be parked for 2012 unless someone wants to get it ready and race it. I'm okay with that, but have no time to invest this year. My plate was well over filled in 2011, so we're backing up a little so it's full and not too distracted by trying to maintain or get involved with three cars.

The fact the Coupe was going to be parked was mostly because no one could commit to working on it, or even racing it in 2012. That suddenly became good news for me, and bad news for our Coupe. I needed a 602 Crate engine, and the one in the Coupe made sense to scoop. The oil pan is damaged anyhow and that is one of the things that gets replaced when Stefko does the upgrade, along with the harmonic balancer and timing chains.

As for the Coupe's days being numbered, that's not true. We are working on getting some sponsors for the car and then we'll get another Crate engine and all the bolt on stuff. Rick is still very interested and I think he may run it most of 2012 if he can put things together. I will help him where I can, and if that happens, I want to race the Coupe at Sunset, so I will need to earn those two races by helping out anyway I can, sponsors etc. I really enjoy driving that car, it is totally different than our Late Model and fun to compete in. Our hopes are to get it race ready, but for now the engine has been removed and will be used for our Limited Late.

Our Sunset car is at Jim Sweers getting bumpers made and a body fit. Once that's done we'll bring it home, strip it and paint the chassis, cage and body panels. Then the body will get painted sometime in January.

Quaker State is working on a new paint scheme. I have offered our own randition of the colors they want to use. It will be different than our last five paint jobs that were all different. Once I get the green light on that, we'll move quickly into getting it painted so we can have it ready for the CME show in February.

The Mini Stock situation is a little more complex. We need a car, trailer and all the equipment. All of those needs are already being considered. No Flamboro Mini Stock can keep up with the top Mini's at Sunset, and to be fair, our grandson will need some seat time before he could battle for a race win as well. However, I learned a long time ago, if you want to teach someone to be a good racer quickly, put them in a good car. David and I both drove hand me downs that were much more outdated than many of the Rookie racers who came to race with us throughout the Late 80's to late 90's. I never had a new car until 1999, 30 years after I started racing. We won the points with that car and will always compete in a proven car. It dosen't have to be new, but it has to be a good piece of equipment.

Sponsor News
We have a few sponsors already commited to 2012.

1) Quaker State
2) Auto Spa
3) Timber Green Landscape
4) Grind Stone Landscape
5) Millenium Printing

Some of our other sponsors have not being contacted yet, others are in the process of checking their own budgets for next year and will let us know soon. We are also approaching new potential sponsors.

I will keep updating as the season progresses.

Last edited by Gary on Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby WHEELSSPIN » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:06 am

Gary - for some reason I can't get through to your email. We have both engine and mini stock. Pls call me at 519-671-3184 anytime. Thank you, Mike March
WHEELSSPIN Posts: 9Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:34 pmLocation: LONDON

Postby Gary » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:58 am

Just one t' in my name for my email. Try that, I will call you soon.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby Gary » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:51 am

We are well underway with our race program for 2012. Tonight we began fitting the new 5 Star body at Jim Sweers and hope to have it done by the end of the week.

The car will need a rear steel bumper but otherwise not much welding. The front bumper is very close but needs modification. Once the body is done we'll strip the entire car, make two new interior panels then paint the panels and the chassis.

The plan is to have the car ready for lettering by mid December although I think we'll have a few set backs before then, like time being the most important asset, and help, right now. Bob and Gehrig came over with me and we did get a lot done tonight, but have miles to go.....at least we're moving in the right direction.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby 98nascartruck » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:17 pm

Gary, great to see you making progress for the 2012 race season!!! I and you know that I am not the best tp help BUT also I have done some gopd help for you when needed thius pst race season!!! Just to let you know that if you need extra pair of hands and I might be able to help!!!!

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



Postby Gary » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:12 pm

Thank you Gordon, we may need some help after Christmas in the new year. Let's keep in touch.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby Gary » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:23 am

We're getting closer every day to having our ready fabrication and paint wise. Then we'll take some time off and reassemble the many pieces (all of them) starting in the second week of January.

So far we have all the welding done, new interior panels made, a new body installed and by late next week, and most of it painted. Once at home we'll examine all the parts removed to see what should be replaced, what can be improved or updated and what needs to be benched for a new part.

We hope to have our car in the car show in late February, and by the progress we're making, that should be a done deal.

Special thanks to my crew Bob and Steve for their dedication to get this done, and to Jim, Chris and Randy for their help...Jim of course the biggest help to us this off season.

I would like to thank Dave Trendell at Grisdales for getting me all the parts we needed to get us this far. All the parts were the right ones, and needed to help us get to where we are. We will need some other parts as we disect all the parts going in the car but there will be no rush as we go over every piece thoroughly and make sure we put together the best prepared race car possible.

Our work load this coming week will be a lot less and that's good because we are getting close to Christmas and will not take away from Christmas celebrations or commitments from those helping us. I think we all want to get it done early and then take some time off, about three weeks.

We'll update our site and put more pictures of the progress as they get done. Thanks again to my crew and Jim for making it happen.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby Gary » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:06 pm

We are closing in on getting our pre assembly work done. I can't thank Jim Sweers enough. He is trying to get ready for a holiday with his family and as long as things go as they have been we should be done by the 22nd of December. That gives me lots of time to do shopping.....BREAKING NEWS....I just got a call from Jim and the final coat of paint has gone fishy...fish -eyed to be exact. I had to stop writing this to try and get more paint for tonight.

Wow, maybe I jinxed us by saying "as long as things go as they have been......"

My supplier will be calling me back soon and I hope he can get the second color for tonight. Drama!!!!...we'll be fine....more as this develops.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby WHEELSSPIN » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:27 am

Great to see the llm is coming along so well. On a different note I finally received the parts for the honda. I just have to pick up the body parts. Should have it already to ship before New Year's - if need be
Merry Christmas. I'll talk to you soon,
Mike March
WHEELSSPIN Posts: 9Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:34 pmLocation: LONDON



Postby Gary » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:15 am

That's great Mike I was going to call you but I have been going nuts and just looked at the calendar and Christmas is the 25th, yikes!!!! Anyway no problem. I had to move the Coupe outside for now. Hopefully you can take it with you when you come. It is covered over and the weather lately has been the same as the first two weeks of racing so I think we're okay.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. We'll keep it touch. Thank you.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby Gary » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:18 am

It's getting closer now, as we slowly pull away from Christmas, to moving towards working on our car again. I think my crew need a few more days off, but after New Years we will get back at it and try to finish our car getting it ready for the CME show in February.

We will post more once we get working on it. The garage is ready and a vacant bay awaits us. We will have tons of room when we pull the body off the car and go over the chassis and start reassembling everything. Can't wait.....can't wait for anything.....working on the car, shows, practice day and then opening day. It's going to be a fun year and lots to announce soon. I can't wait, but everyone else has to, for now. Hang in there, no sense both of us getting anxious...lol
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby Gary » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:10 am

We've made some good progress on our car. The front suspension is in. We're working on the rear and the quick change. Junior Hanley rebuilt it for us. It only needed seals and gaskets, everything was good.

Our team will get together this Saturday and start to put more parts on the car, getting it ready for Steve Lyons to letter. We are booked for the CME show in February and want to be ready in plenty of time. Looking good so far. Thanks to Bob, Steve and Gehrig for making it happen, thank you Lord for the good weather we've been having.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby Gary » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:27 am

Things have been going well with the reassemble. It's very important for us that we make sure we check every part (and we are) that goes back on the car. This is going to be a long gruelling season, that will feature a points chase and 2 mini Championships in the mix, so having a well prepared race car is extremely important.

John Stefko has our engine and I've asked him to complete it. He was just going to do the upgrade of timing chains, oil pan and harmonic balance. I have aske him to install the waterpump. pulleys belts, power steering pump, clutch and get me a carb. So when we get the engine back from Stefko Engines, we will be able to install it and the rest of the drive line.

This is shaping up to be a very exciting for season for us, looks like we'll run 27 races just as Sunset Speedway alone, including the 2 CVM races. I also plan to run at least two at Flamboro, one at Peterborough and not sure if any others. Also the fact our grand son Gehrig starts his debut in racing is also a life long dream that is slowly coming true. I will write on another post what my dreams are with our grand son and my son David. Racing in the same series, or same track with both of them and maybe even our grand daughter would be something very hard to explain in terms of excitement. But more on that soon.

Our goal is to win the points this year, I don't need anymore experience, just need to know the competitors and their characteristics. That will take some time, but every lap racing with the stars at Sunset will be recorded in my mind and it won't be long before my crew and I feel comfortable battling on the wide banked tight oval.

I will be posting our schedule soon. I may wait for Flamboro to post their schedule but I don't think what they do will matter too much, I intend on running Octoberfest and perhaps opening day, otherwise my season is dedicated to Sunset....but I love my friends and fans at Flamboro and always will.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm



Postby Gary » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:20 pm

Usually we run into all kinds of trouble, things not fitting properly, wrong parts, no parts etc, but we have been very successful putting our car back together. Bob, Steve and Gehrig have been very helpful. Bob and Steve have extended themselves to get the car done right and on time for the shows coming up.

Dave Trendell has been awesome getting us the parts we need and quick. We should be ready for the engine on Monday night, although I'm not sure it will be here until later in the week. Once we get the engine back, we have a list of things to install so the complete driveline is in the car before we install the body.

The body is ready as well, we have had our paint scheme approved by Quaker State. They asked if they could have some input in my paint scheme for 2012 and I said of course. Back in May, shortly after our 2011 car was finished I decieded I would be going to green and gold for 2012. Quaker State said they wanted to do a paint scheme with green gold and black. My thoughts were using the gold for oil, and they felt the same way.

Getting the proper gold wasn't easy. I checked out many colors and did not find the one I wanted. Finally I spotted car sitting in a parking lot that was exatly what I wanted. It was a 2010 Chrysler 300, and the color was gold. I went to a dealer and they told me it was a new color called "white gold", a metalic color that would be perfect with the Camaro green.

We always want to come out with a great paint scheme that will be good for our fans, our sponsors and what we like. It's not that hard changing every year, although keeping within the colors our sponsor would want is the challenge. I always want to make the car at least a little different than the year before but the past 5 years have been totally different, and the 2012 paint theme is different again. I change it every year for a few reasons. We always want to come up with something new and exciting. I believe all colors can be used to make cars all look great, unfortunately many teams don't have the time to focus, or don't make it a focus to consider how their car is going to look. Many teams don't even paint their cars, they leave them white or black, the colors of the body they buy from the race shop. I understand why they do that, it's easier and less costly to fix up, but there's no way those car look as nice as the ones that are planned out. Anyway we are good to go and will reveal our new look at the CME car show in February. Hope to see you there.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 7:20 pm

Postby Gary » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:12 am

We have been working hard the past two months. I will up date everything, sponsors etc, once our car heads out for lettering.

Don't go away!!

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