Diary Of A Season 2012

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:06 pm

June 30th...........Sunset Speedway

CVM Show...Race #8

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Ron Easton wins
* We finish 11th
* Good crowd

Results
Heat........7th
Feature....11th

Winnings
$150

Repairs
Needs front axle, maintenance, some serious chassis going over

Crew
Roger, Gehrig, Ryan and Matt

Conclusion
This was my first of two races in the Coupe for the 12 race CVM season. Rick is driving the other 10 shows and was away at the cottage, but Roger Spies, Ryan Elliott and Matt Smith helped out, and we did a lot of work keeping our crew busy.
The grandstands were close to sold out. OSCAAR was the main event and they packed the place on the long week end in May. They sure do have their stuff together, good car count, exciting racing, and some top name drivers in their club. They could use a little more parity, but overall it’s very good.
We made a few sets of hot laps and the car was pushing. I was really loose off, much more than ever in the past, a natural reaction from being tight in the middle. We decided to take the car over the scales to check everything. I wanted to make sure the ride heights, chassis offset and weight was right. We made many changes to the chassis to get the frame to the 6 1/2” rule. The weight was good, maybe a little light, we had a piece of lead if we needed to be on the safe side but I felt we needed much more than that to be asked to head to Tech.
We worked on the chassis mostly, something we could never do before because we were always fixing oil leaks or worrying about the engine, taking away our time to get the car set up. The V8 has nearly eliminated the need even to take the hood off.
Besides getting the car legal, we also had a huge issue with the steering. The car would turn to the left okay but there was no turning to the right. When coming in or leaving the pits a three point turn was necessary to get in or out.
After hot laps were over we worked on the steering. Counting the turns lock to lock, we undid the tie rods and centered the steering, unfortunately both our tie rods were no longer any good. Ron Easton was the man of the night on and off the track, cleaning house on the fast oval, and lending us the two tie rods we needed. We put them on, set the toe. I absolutely didn’t mind making the car better for me, it would be better for Rick as well. We had the time, the people, and most of all the desire to make the car right and that was important to all of us, everyone of our crew worked at making the car better.
A drivers meeting was held after hot laps and once that was over we worked hard getting the basics done on the car.
I started at the back of the first heat, 10 cars were in this race. We were pushing incredibly bad, absolutely frustrating. Our car was so bad it was really not competitive at all. We did finish 7th but not a competitive 7th, a showing up and driving 7th, by no means racing, the word racing was hard to insert in that race. My dad would have said “you were aiming the car”, and he’d be right.
After the heat race I had more issues. Obviously the car wasn’t handling, extremely tight. However, inside the car I was suffering even more. The seat was right against the left side of the cage, great for left side weight, but no good for the elbow, trying to steer or driver comfort. I reasoned to give up a little left side was going to be a big advantage if moving the seat allowed me to drive the car.
The boys worked on the seat and got it over almost 2” to the right.
Moving the ride heights made us legal, but we needed to move the adjustable spring shackles to get the proper weight distribution. Jeremy Reopelle came over and gave us a hand, and that was much appreciated. We had to de-wedge the car a lot. There was only so many changes that could be made until testing was done to see how the car was reacting to these adjustments. Our next opportunity on the track was the feature. I asked about a consi but was told there would be no consi race. That would have been one more shot at getting the car competitive.
In the feature we started 15th. While sitting on the starting grid up behind the back chute I noticed by lowering the seat I could not see out of my mirrors. I tried reaching and moving them but was about a foot short. I wanted to stop and ask someone to move them down for me but decided it was no big deal, after all, I ran these cars from 1978 (when we took mirrors out) to 2004 and had never used a mirror.
Before the race started the one way voice came on. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but the voice sounded like a cartoon character. It was extremely high, like in pain, and barely audible. I must have been the only one that heard it that way because no matter what the voice said, everyone responded. It sounded like someone on helium and their hand in a vice, kind of cute but not very clear.
The race went well. Ron Easton was on the pole and soon left everyone. He had won his heat race and was going to make it 2 for 2. There was a caution early when Phil Shaw, driving for Adrian Donkers, spun in turn 3. Phil dropped off the bottom of the track upsetting the car bringing it around. Everyone was okay. The race resumed, and our car was pushing badly still. It would be okay if I didn’t go in as deep, but that didn’t make any sense because if I didn’t we would have lost spots from cars trying to pass us. One was Steve March who we ran side by side for quite a few laps. I would go in hard beside Steve (who has a beautiful looking machine) and try not to push up. I would have to brake a little hard to bring the car around. Finally I was able to clear Steve.
At about the half way mark a huge wreck happened when #27 driven by Kevin Busher, the Coach owned by Rob Clarke, pushed up in front of the lead cars. If Kevin had stayed up there maybe the cars coming fast behind would have been okay but when Corey Jones #82 and Shane Stickel #39, two very fast and awesome looking cars, tried to go under the #27, Kevin came back down right in their path. The wreck took out both Corey and Shane, cars running 1st and 3rd in the points standing.
That caution took along time to clean up, not so much for the #82 and #39 but a tow truck needed to remove the #27.
The race resumed and we were in a battle now with #7 Mike Williams, and my long time running warrior Jeff Shaw. Jeff was hanging onto 6th and I was trying my hardest to get under Mike who was hauling all he could on the outside of Jeff. We ran that way for a while and then another yellow came out. Our car was no good on the outside because unlike the Late Model where a tight situation lessens on the outside of Sunset, with our Coupe it was much worse.
While going around under this yellow, with about 7 to go, I saw the overflow hose shooting water out. I thought “you got to be kidding”. I didn’t want to pull off and go to the back, it would take me until Monday to catch back up. Then I thought about the mess it would cause if I dropped water on the track and wrecked our car, or worse wrecked those behind me. I tried to buy more time, hoping the car would cool down, but even after a few laps under yellow it was still spouting out water. I pulled into the infield. Roger came over and took the hood off, but there was nothing he could do. Don Shaw came over as well.
I went back out on the track and faintly heard the high pitch voice, like someone from the Wizard Of Oz yelling at me “36, put your hood back on”. So I went back in and we put the hood back on. Funny, as soon as I came back out the car stopped over heating.
The final few laps were uneventful and we finished 11th in one piece. I was disheartened because I love running the Coupe with the boys.
On the way home Roger and I decided we would send the car to Ron Easton for a new axle and set up. I wished I was driving it again soon, but I won’t be until August 11th back here at Varney. I think we’ll get here real early and get lots of practice to set the car up.
Thanks to Roger for towing us out and being a huge help getting the work done, and to Ryan and Matt for their help. Both Ryan and Matt are new at this but had fun working on the Coupe. Next time will be better for sure.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:06 pm

July 1st............Canadian Showdown......Varney Speedway

Race #9

High Lites
* 10 cars
* Dan Wright wins
* We get 4th (matches our best feature finish in 2011)
* Good crowd

Results
1st Heat..........3rd
2nd Heat.........2nd
Featrue...........4th

Winnings
$650 + $183 Bonus = $833 (wow...didn't know about the bonus until Monday)

Repairs
cosmetic and routine maintenance

Crew
Tim Tolton and Jason Green

Conclusion
It’s been a very rough season for my team, and going to Varney Speedway for the Canadian Shootout on July 1st would have been understandable had we decided to opt out. It did enter my mind, I thought for a few minutes about not going, but only a few minutes, then remembered my schedule, showing we would be there, and more than that, my commitment to the track, promising in February we’d come for this race. Two weeks ago after contemplating whether for sure I would go, my heart was settled and sealed by filling out the Intent To Race form.
My crew had the weekend off, well all them but Jason Green. I let them know back in February they did not have to come to any race other than our home track races, and even then, could miss any weeks for family or other reasons they needed or would stop them from making it out.
Jason has been helping our grandson Gehrig with his Mini Stock, and is part of their pit crew. Jason asked me last week if I needed help and I said I did and he offered to come up, and was a big help. I also called my good friend, Tim Tolton, a multi time Mini Stock champion at Varney, to see if he would be interested in pitting for me, and being the head spotter. Tim right away said yes, and we were pretty well set for our crew.
We heard the race was going to attract close to 20 cars, including some very tough competitors. Perhaps those rumors made some stay away, and others go elsewhere. It’s too bad because they missed a great show, and a very nice renovated race track.
Once I was committed I made a trip up to Sunset Speedway and bought new tires for the race. The good news, I think, is that the tires didn’t take a beating, and will make good spares, or maybe even starters for the next MRE race at Sunset Speedway. I know most Pro Late Model racers will be buying new tires, but our race program has had to make some serious changes to honor our 2012 schedule, buying new tires for every race might not be doable. However, there is no track that heats up tires like Sunset, so I’m fairly confident the tires we used for Varney will come alive at Sunset.
Jason was at our home by 9:am and Eric Uprichard was there shortly after and the three of us headed north in the beautiful sunny day. On the way up I let Jason know that my game plan was to use wisdom and not get too aggressive in the early going, kind of hang back. I was planning that strategy thinking there would be a minimum of 16 cars and wanted to take it easy because I did not know the new track very well, and maybe none of the drivers. Plus, the radar, for how we race, has been blinking a constant yellow, bordering at times on red. It may be a while before I get a bring green light for us to compete full bore, so being smart, cautious and using wisdom is how we’re going to make all the races on our schedule. My crew are incredible and understand fully the slogan “pick your battles” and also want to make every race and not get into any more expensive, or even cheap repairs. We went to the cupboard, so to speak, and the cupboard was and is bare, but we got our trailer wrapped and have made 9 race events so far and 7 special show events to have our car on display. We are wounded, but not out by no means, being wise will work for us. We also need some confidence as well, and in a sense today was a help for in a few ways.
Tim saved us his cement pad, right beside a hydro pole. When we arrived we were happy the pit fee was only $20. Once we got our tickets we were welcomed by Donna Tolton. She pointed to the pit area, in fact took us there and we soon got unloaded and set up.
Our car was set up for Sunset, and all we did during the week was install a 6:48 gear, but no other changes at all to the chassis or engine. I decided to use one of my older Sunset tires for the left front and bought three new tires. Tim and Jason sized the tires for the first set of hot laps.
The track came over and asked if we had a transponder and we did and gave them our number. After our first hot lap session we received a paper from the pit office showing our lap times. Our best was 13:76. Tim said the top cars turned in the 2’s and 3’s. I thought I had a good set so thinking we were half a second off was deflating, although it was my first time on the new track, and the first ever in a Late Model.
We went out again and in the second set we didn’t get lap times, but did discover our car was loose coming off the turns. The more laps I got in the harder I drove and the more issues showed up, but, the car overall was good. Tim said we looked real good in turn three and four and that was the corner we needed to be good at.
For our final set of hot laps, we added one half turn on the front sway bar to help us come off better. The car was much better after the final set of hot laps. We got the lap time sheet from the pit office and we’re glad to see we shaved 2 tenths off our earlier lap times.
The track decided to run double heats. The line up of the first round would be reversed for the second. There were ten cars for the show, giving us two heats of five cars in each race.
We started fifth in the first heat. Not to be paranoid or anything, but starting beside me was Jaxson Jacobs and I needed to be able to race him without incident. He was the youngster who got into us at Sunset back in May 27th. Coming off four to take the green he moved up a little and I thought for a second I was going to brush the wall but he held it down and we moved into 3rd place after a lap. Mark Dilley was driving Tommy Rob’s #89 and was fast, well in the second group of fast cars. We finished 3rd behind Mark Dixon #94.
Dan Wright #1 from Sauble won the heat he was turning in the 2’s. There were two cars turning three tenths faster than the rest. Once Dan got the lead in the heat he slowed up making some think the rest of us could keep up. The heats were eight laps. Dan won both of his heats, we finished 2nd in our next heat, and Jason Treble won the 2nd heat with Cole Weber taking the 4th heat.
In the feature there was an invert of eight cars, we started ninth. On the green flag going into one Mark Jacobs slid up the track but everyone made it through. Mark Dilley got the early lead and held it until Dan Wright got by. We moved up to 8th and coming off four we had our first caution when #1 Jaxson Jacobs got loose and tagged the turn four wall. I was behind Jaxson, and came off the turn but got slowed up and dropped under to the inside lane.
Jaxson was okay and continued, he didn’t hit the wall very hard. On the restart, it was lap three, we ran a few laps and Mark Jacobs caught the front chute wall just past the starters stand taking him out of the race. Mark was hard luck and needed to be towed off. The track is very narrow on the front chute and wouldn’t take much to get bumped into the wall.
We got into seventh chasing 2011 NASCAR champ Scott Steckly. It was an honor to race with Scott and Mark, tow NASCAR racers that I may have never got a chance to race again. We chased and caught Scott but it was no easy task getting by. I think he eased up a little coming off four and I was able to get by. Scott and Mark were driving cars they really didn’t know.
Moving in sixth I followed #94 Mark Dixon for many laps. Dan Wright was leading with Jason Treble in second, then Cole Weber, Mark Dilley, Mark Dixon and us. Suddenly Jason pulled but there was no caution. We continued running consistent and on lap 35 Mark Dilley slowed up with overheating problems. He had to go pit side but the yellow came out and he was able to get in and return to the track without going down a lap.
The next dozen laps were fast and we were all over Dixon trying him high and low. It looked like we had him going into three unless I ran into him I was getting by. I needed to wait for another chance. With 20 to go I again tried to pass Dixon and got him inside but he protected the inside so I went outside going into three. It looked like we were going to get by on the outside but the #94 pushed up forcing me to get out of the groove and allow Mark Dilley to get under us. We fell back about five car lengths. Mark was now all over Mark Dixon and their battle allowed us to catch back up. There were about 15 laps to go when Dilley got on the inside of Dixon on the back chute. I went high behind Dixon and as we entered three I dove in behind Dilley to follow him past the #94. Dilley got by and then we got body checked hard but not enough to keep us from getting by.
The final 10 laps were good. We were closing in on Mark and he was closing in on Cole who was running second. Cole had the lead for a while but lost it to Wright with less than ten to go. We ran tight for the rest of the race and though close, the best we were going to do was 4th on this day.
I was a little disappointed because a top three would have been better, but overall fourth was our best finish this year, matching our best finish in 2011.
Donna invited us to their trailer and we had a barbeque before we left and then headed home around 7pm.
I really enjoyed the day, the race was very good for the fans and I hope they run this again in 2013.
Next week we’re back home at Sunset Speedway.

Congrats to David for finishing 3rd in the 100 lapper at Delaware Speedway Friday night. He has been having a great year and we wish him continued success.

PS......I was reading Canadian Racing On Line and read a post by Mark Dixon thanking the track for a $183 bonus to all the drivers who showed up. I immediately went to my envelope and read "4th $650 + $183 Appreciation show". wow, I just discovered this and I am shocked in a good way. Over the years I've had a promoter get upset with the drivers who came to his track, complaining there weren't enough cars, as if it was their fault. Here is an example of a promoter who is trying to show his appreciation for supporting his track. Thank you so much Kent Nuhn, I am extremely surprised and pleased with this incredible gift...thank you.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:06 pm

July 7........Sunset Speedway

Race #10

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Morrow wins
* We get 9th
* Win one heat race
* Not so big crowd like last Saturday
* Racing was good

Results
1st Heat.......8th
2nd Heat.......1st
Feature........9th

Winnings
$200

Repairs
routine....get ready for MRE race

Crew
Bob and Matt, and special thanks to Doug Hanchard

Conclusion
I was able to get to my granddaughter Lauren's go-kart race in the morning. She is doing well. They start all 21 carts in each heat. The second heat is a reverse of the first heat line up. She ran hard, and is running with some very good cart runners, and that will make her better.

I left for home thinking that two of my crew were loading the car and it would be okay for me to get to watch Lauren, but only one showed up and he did it all himself. We are limited on our crew and when someone is on holidays, working or not feeling well it puts a strain on the rest of us, I mean the two of us. We do need at least one more crew member to help during the week, so if you’re reading this and would like to help, please call us. We only work two nights a week and try to keep it three to four hours per night, then we meet Saturday around 11:am and load up, or finish off any small stuff. Anyway, when I got to the garage Bob and his daughter Meagan had the car loaded and all the tools. We headed out by 1:30 and got to the track at a little before 3 o’clock.

We were going to be a little on the low side crew wise tonight. Both my cousins Ryan and Justin had to work, Steve was sick and Jason was working. Matt did make it and with Bob and I, the three of us were were able to do a thorough job and were quite organized....we also had Doug Hanchard keeping us on our toes.
We decided to only make one set of hot laps prior to the break and were turning decent times, low 15:0’s about the same as the fastest, if they were running as fast as they could, it’s hard to tell, but it was a good time for us.

In the next set Doug helped us and gave us a few things to check like tire temps and other things that we did do, like stagger and tire pressures before and after. We didn’t read the tire temps because we weren’t really sure how to read them but Doug offered to help us and we truly appreciated it. We checked the tire temps after the next set and it showed we had too much camber on the right front so we made a change. We also took a half a turn out on the bar.

We were in the first heat, and Late Models were first out. In our first heat I started 8th of nine cars, there were 18 cars singed in.
Our car was good in the heat, but I really couldn’t go anywhere. We fell back to 9th and got up to 8th then back to ninth. Thane Woodside was in a battle with Dario Capirchio. At one point it looked like Thane was going to get passed but then he came back on the outside, so I was dropping to the inside, then the outside trying to figure which lane was moving and at times, they both were. Near the end of the heat, with two to go, Thane got a good run on the outside and moved into 6th. I decided to follow him and by the white flag passed 8th and then at the finish line got 7th, it was a good race for the four of us.

After our first heat we knew we’d be starting outside pole in the second. We didn’t want to make any changes on the car it seemed okay. We had set the toe prior to the first heat and that felt okay, not doing anything weird, we were just stuck in a pack and on this track it takes a while to get through from the back.
We started outside of #6 Keith Maiato. On the start we ran side by side into one. Coming off turn two Dario went under Keith going down the back chute. Bob lets me know it’s three wide. I thought I saw the grey #03 jump under #6 as we exited two but really didn’t like the news of three wide as we sped down the back chute heading into three. The good run off two let us pull ahead slightly of Keith as we entered three but I was going in hard anyhow. Once between three and four Bob called “clear” and I jumped in front. However, a lap later the yellow came out. On that restart we were inside Keith for the green. I knew it would be a different deal and had to get a real good heading into three, I also remembered Dario tried getting under Keith coming off two, and had to be sure not to give him any room to get under me coming off two.
On the start we got a good one and pulled ahead coming off four. Within a lap we were in front and started pulling away slightly. Dario and Keith got into a battle allowing us to pull ahead. Going down the back chute I hit the chip and the car seemed very good. At the cross flags Bob told me we were five car lengths ahead, good news but also a signal to not burn off the tires. I slowed down a little the final four laps. Bob kept reminding me we had a bit of a lead and on the white flag the plan was not to mess up. Coming four the checker flew and we picked up our third heat win of 2012.

I was very happy; the car was good, turning some lap times in the low 15:1’s. For most of the race, once in the lead, took it easy. My team and I will be ten times happier if we can get a feature win, but not to take this win for granted, or lightly, I did appreciate the reward for our efforts. It’s not easy to win at this track, so when we do it’s a confidence builder. After the second heat we went over our car. A nut and bolt was done, battery charged, fuel topped up and tires reset. The only change we made was slightly less air pressure to start the race.

Warning the rest of this is may offend...but it helps me work things out, and this is me writing....hope to be more upbeat next story....so please understand

I really hoped we’d be starting outside pole but we were on the point. A heat race win, though exciting, can give a false feeling of confidence. I knew right behind me were some very fast cars, teams that had already won features, and consistently finished in the top five many times already in 2012.
We were looking for a top five, that was the goal. It wouldn’t have been the goal if this was Flamboro, the goal would have been to win. The two tracks are different like night and day. Similarly, so are the cars. At Flamboro you can’t touch the engine, putting everyone on the same page power wise. Not so much with the chassis or tires. At Flamboro teams concentrate and focus on their suspension, like Sunset, and get huge help from Junior Hanley to set up their cars. In warm ups you know right away if you’re fast or not, and if you are and start up front winning is a good possibility. At Flamboro if we were starting on the inside of the front row, we would not get passed heading into one like we could and did at Sunset. The outside lane at Flamboro is the wrong place to be, unless of course the car beside you moves over and lets you pass, or is three tenths slower in which case it would appear he moved over and let you pass.

The one thing I dislike is starting up front knowing we’re going south. In years past if there was anything wrong with my Coupe or Late Model, I would go to the back so I didn’t get in the way. We felt our car was okay, but those thoughts changed within one lap, and I knew it was going to be a long race for me.
On the green going down the back chute Bob reminded me that I set the pace. I picked up speed going into three and once in the middle was hard on it but Dario Capirchio #03 was already hauling on the outside and by the time we got to turn one he was half a car ahead and coming off two he was gone. Bob let me know it was clear high but soon I got the news that Chris Morrow #11 was on my back bumper. No sweat if there’s two laps to go, just stay low and make him go outside, which he would, but with two to go he may not get by. Well the score board said “lap 2” and it was 28 laps to go, so the news wasn’t good. I drove as hard as I could and soon the weather report got worse. “He’s looking inside”. I know what that means, and so (in my mind) I jumped out of my seat and watched from the grandstands and I could see the reason he was looking inside was because he was much faster. Perhaps if I was on the radio’s I would have told me to go to pit row and watch the rest of the race, but I guess that’s not the good sport attitude. All of this was eating me up because I ran with some of the best racers in Ontario at Flamboro and never once did I hear after two laps that the car behind me was looking inside, and Bob was doing his job and doing it well. The reason I never heard "looking inside" at Flamboro after two laps or ten laps was because we all had the same engines, not one with a 325HP Crate and another with a 375 HP built, maybe 400HP, we all had 400 HP engines, and the only built engine had some heavy weight penalties, but he had a stealth engine. It was discouraging to know Chris was looking inside so soon. "Hey Chris, go to the food concessions, and get me fries, and let me race here a few more laps". It was too early in a race to be thinking I was in the way of the #11, but I was and the smart thing to do would be to let him go or risk getting wrecked, not that Chris would wreck me, but if I decided to block or started nursing 2nd place with “forever” to go, it would be foolish, and could cause a wreck. I stayed high going into one and he got under.

The “heading south part” was starting to unfold. I then tried to follow Chris thinking maybe I was just in the wrong lane and my stock 602 was as fast as his but soon found out that wasn’t true either. He pulled away and the only time I really gained on him was when he caught the leader Dario and also tried to go under him. I pulled slightly closer and then Chris got by Dario and they battled for a lap or so and the white #11 was in front. I ran third until lap ten. During that time my radio was not loud enough and I could hardly hear Bob. I decided to turn it up but pushed high in turn one trying to turn the little button allowing #19 Jason Witty to close up. The worst part wasn’t letting Jason catch up, and he was coming anyway, but I accidentally moved the other button beside the volume button turning the channel. Great, now I couldn’t hear Bob at all. For the next few laps I was messing with the button hoping to get it on the right channel. Racing without a spotter is only good in warm ups when no one is on the track, or during time trials. I never use the mirror, so getting the radio right was a priority. Finally I heard his voice and he let me know the three of us were a little ahead.

The first caution came out on lap 10. I restarted third, back on the inside, and Jason moved into fourth. I wanted to make sure I got a good start on this restart because after 10 laps there was no doubt the top runners were on the door step. On the green it didn’t take Jason long to get by though we raced him hard. Mike Bentley pulled up beside me and was pinching me tight, then coming off two he chopped down in front of us, and I had to brake or hit him. I like Mike, but I didn't like that. I thought for a millionth of a second to hit him but instead backed off a little. The backing off wasn't such a good idea because I got hit from behind by Kevin Corneilious who didin't think I would be checking up right then, and to be honest neither did I. I waved my hand out the window and pointed at Mike, I can't remember doing that before, but Mike was actually still close enough for Kevin to know what I was doing. This was kind of bizzare for me, taking my hand off the wheel to turn up the radio, and then again to find the right radio station chanel and now a third time to let the current points leader and 2011 Champion know that Mike Bentley chopped me. For the next six laps I fought with #84 Sean Cronan. Bob was letting me know constantly that cars were outside. From lap 10 to 13 we ran side by side and when the yellow came out on lap 13 we were still fifth. Once again we got a good start on that restart and again battled with Sean until the next yellow on lap 16 when cars crashed on the front chute.

Oh how I wished there was one to go, but there was 14 laps left. Sean tried for six laps to get by, what probably seemed to him like a long time. On the next restart we got a good run going into three. Bob reminded me each time to stay glued to the car in front to get the good start and I did.

Points leader Kevin Cornelious was still behind me. Tom Walters was outside of Kevin. Prior to this year I wouldn’t have cared if Kyle and Kurt Bush were behind me because I knew our car was good, especially in the engine department. Here I had and have little confidence of that, although, after 16 laps, here we are in fifth.
Only rain could have saved us now. Sean took a lap or so to get by and Kevin who was on my tail for six laps and didn’t hit me, had to wait. He was in trouble of heading back as well because the outside lane now gathered steam. Tom Walters got us and then Kevin jumped out. All of this was over the next 8 laps. Sean Grossman #29 got by as well, and Bob was consistently and accurately letting me know cars were coming. It was nerve wracking to be honest. I think we drove harder than most everyone else. We were on the inside the whole race, at least for 75% of it and had to brake harder and work harder to make sure we didn’t hit anyone on the outside. At Flamboro this scenario would never happen because no one would ever be passing on the outside.

Finally with a few laps to go Bob called “clear high” and I went for it. The cars in front were in a fierce battle as Dario was hanging on to third. He was fast, kind of, but the rockets were all over him and he wasn’t giving up. When the white came out I had Taylor Holdaway #41 chasing us but we were in better shape now being on the outside lane, finally. Bob was incredible on the mic, giving me good reports about our car. It was me that was discouraged running so poorly, not being as competitive as I wanted, and if one wants to know or asks “you started pole, what did you expect”? I would say “yes I started pole, I expected to win, not get creamed”. Anyway I digress.
Meanwhile, with one to go, Mike Bentley, was all over the leader Chris Morrow. Those two had a wild race on May 12th that wrecked Chris and it was developing into the same scenario. Mike got under Chris coming off two and they raced down the back chute into three. Chris stayed high, Mike tried to go under and Chris got loose, real loose, like crazy side ways. White smoke came from Bentley’s car as he slammed on the brakes so he wouldn’t hit Morrow, and at the same time Chris jammed the throttle and with the right rear tire smoking made a bee-line for the checker to take an exciting win.

We ended up 9th and Bob knew I was disappointed, I’m sure he was as well. He was looking at it different than me. He felt we had our best run of the season, and we did. He felt we improved and looked somewhat competitive, and that was true. The difference was that I knew I was out of my league with what I had right now. I felt sick in a way that we may have run the best race we could have against these cars, and the best we could do was 9th. I didn’t see where or how a small adjustment on my chassis was going to make any difference in reducing the gap between us and the competitors at Sunset, and it was terribly discouraging, for someone who has been compeitive most of the 44 year run.

On his way to the pits Bob was stopped by more than one person telling him, "hey you guys did okay". Bob knew if we started 40th and finished 9th I could have lived with that. He also knew if I started 15th and finished 4th or 3rd I would have been ecstatic. When he got to the car he seen how dejected I was and immediately opened the window net, I couldn’t get it open because it was so tight, I think they do that to keep me in the car to calm down. Anyway once he got the window net undone he said “good run, don’t even think one bad thing, you ran a great race”. I was kind of glad he said that because it left no room for me to say anything. Bob was being a coach right then and knew the last thing I wanted was to start pole and lose eight spots, who in their right mind would. He also could see that we weren’t far off, something I didn't see or sense.

After the races a few drivers came over, Kevin, Mike and Taylor. Mike’s spotter came over and apologized that Mike chopped me coming off two. I said it was okay, it’s not like it made any difference, but I did appreciate the thought of being apologetic. Kevin apologized for hitting when I checked up. I appreciated that as well. Taylor also came over to say that we were running better, and again I appreciated it. I let Kevin know I appreciated him not hitting me when he was behind me for a few laps. That’s not the first time that he’s got stuck behind me and didn’t rough me up to get by and we sure like getting the courtesy back because we've been giving it for decades.

Though it was a rough outing for me, psychologically, it was a great night that our car barely had a mark on it. We finished 4th at Varney and our drivers door was a mauled, and tonight we ran many times harder and hardly had a scratch, and that I did appreciate.

Looking For Answers
I am worried a little for me. I don’t want to spend the rest of the season whining, or waiting for a satisfactory race. I, our team, need a good run and I'm not so sure I can get it with this car. We are doing everything we can to make it better including pointing out my mistakes going through the corners etc. If I wasn’t a competitor, finishing 9th would be a kiss, and loading the car every night in one piece would be awesome. I would likely just start at the back and get a few spots and not care about trying to compete with the top runners. Unfortunately I came here thinking we could run with them, but am finding out that we may not have the car to get it done. I’m not talking about winning a heat race, but a feature, and if someone says to me, don't expect to win a feature or finish in the top three, that would be unacceptable to me and my team.

When I decided to come to Sunset, and I don’t regret that I did, I didn’t think we had to take our $3200 Crate and spend another $3000 on it to make it competitive. Opening up the Crates is stupid, but also, it’s just as stupid not to do it if everyone else is. Some say they have the same engine as me, but they run like they have the 604 in it.
The one thing for sure is that we cannot wreck our car again, there are no more funds left for that. We can keep tires on it (one per night) and honor our schedule that we planned in the winter, wrecking is off the list until 2016. Why do I say that, why would I mention wrecking? Because racing a car that is much slower than the top 7 cars means you are forced to over-drive in order to keep up. When you do that, you more times than not, get wrecked pushing beyond your cars limits. It’s dangerous being the underdog, and being agressive. Being confident and assured is important, but the proof has to be in performance, not in good thoughts or well wishes, or even hearing people say “wow you guys did awesome, you only lost 8 spots in the feature”. That never works with me. I want to gain spots not lose them, and starting pole only has one good conclusion, keep it, and win it.

We can and will make more improvements on our car. Unfortunately no more big things, no budget left, but little things, though I’m suspect they will work.
I’m told the reason the boys are beating us isn’t because of their engines but because of the way they drive and the set up. I get that for sure, I just don’t see it. I’ve raced cars that were out to lunch, but I knew they were, and they were not competitive. I don’t think our car is that bad handling wise, I think we’re getting beat by money not by set up, by driveline horsepower,not because of our chassis weight distribution. BUT!!! maybe it is that simple, maybe we are close, maybe we need just a small tweak to win from the pole. I hope that's true, because we're not giving up, and I want to write a story about what it took to get us the win. I hope I'm wrong about our car not being in the same league as the top cars here, I really hope so, and I'm willing to keep trying to get it right. I also hope we can get the rememdy soon, and I know my supporters feel the same, and when we do get it all of us will be very happy, I know that and wish that for us.

Perhaps being trapped on the inside for almost the entire race has more weight to the reason we fell back than any other. I hope that’s true, I hope we would have done better. I would like to see us finish in the top three and then analyze the race and make a statement like “you went a little high and they got under you”. I can live with that because it’s an easy fix.

Final Thoughts
The good news is my crew. They have been incredibly supportive. Bob shows up every week, Monday and Wednesday and we get the work done. The rest of our crew can’t make it, they live too far away and we’re okay with that, we know we need more bodies to take the load off of us. My crew is an encouragement to me, and perhaps they do see moments on the track where we are strong, and look very competitive, moments of brilliance. I know they feel the way I do, just none of them will or could, or maybe even should say it. They have been uplifting in every way and I love them for that, and more importantly why I want to finish strong, to share it with them. I will absolutely tell my crew they were right 100% if we make one small change on our car and we all of a sudden become a potential feature winner, or have a great finish one night. A dedicated crew is crucial and they deserve a good day at the races. I’m not, nor are they giving up, we just need to bring one home and the sooner the better.

This Wednesday night is the 2nd MRE race. We want to support Sunset every chance we get, they have been great to our team. All the staff very friendly and caring.
In the morning, on Wednesday we will attend the Burlington Academy Church and show our car to kids who attend a daily vocational bible school. When that’s over we’ll head up to Sunset with our car sporting the 4 barrel, a little clutch and lighter by 150 pounds. Imagine if we forgot to put the car back to the way it was when we returned to Sunset next Saturday, oooh, then we’d have them covered….but it wouldn’t be right and when we move to the winners circle with this bunch we’re doing it by the book.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:06 pm

July 11th.........Sunset Speedway

MRE Race #2

Race #11

High Lites
* 24 cars
* Walters wins
* Walters laps everyone but Bentley
* We finish 12th
* David 11th

Results
Time Trials
36......19th.....14:865
37......9th.......14:614

Consi
36....2nd

Feature
#36.......12th
#37.......11th

Winnings
$325

Repairs
change everything back over

Crew
Bob, Ryan, Matt, Paul, Lindo and Doug

Conclusion
I want to thank my crew for spending this long night supporting me and our racing. It was not a good night for racing, I talk about that below. As for us, we would be better off to put the 604 engine in the car, but after seeing what happened to the 604's last night, I don't think that extra work is worth the effort either. Racing is to be entertaining and to make sure it's entertaining the show needs lots of cars and a competitive event. There were 24 cars, but as for being competitive, it was anything but.

We arrived late not giving us a lot of time to set up. We did buy 3 tires, changed the clutch, carb and took out a 120 pounds of lead. We had 56.9% left side and a total of 2741, and should have been close to the other 602's, but we were miles off the other 602's, further than we are on a regular night. In fact, I'm not sure what some teams do to their cars from Saturday night, but they improved by 8 to 9 tenths of a second where we improved 4 to 5. In fact, if we could have got our car a little better and we could have, we'd be in the low 14:7's or high 6's, but the top 5 cars were in the 4's and the top 3 out of sight, especially Walters who was turning OSCAAR times.

We improved our set up after the time trials by running the consi and finishing 2nd to a poor running #05 Brad Corcoran who's car was pushing terrible, but he still won. Our car was much better but not able to compete with Brad if he was not pushing, which he corrected after the consi and before the feature. Brad finished 4th in the 75 lap feature, so he did get his car much better, but he was lapped by the top 2 cars, Walters and Bentley. Brad may have been discouraged, and he had every right to, but even the 3rd place car got lapped. These visiting cars were from every track and configuation. Brad's ASA car was no match for Tom's 602 Crate, of course neither was anyone else, including Jason Shaw, David Elliott, Brandon Watson, Jamie Cox and many others. The car closest to Walters was Bentley and he complained that Waters was so fast.....really!!! Incredible, but their show of prowess, destroying the field of cars that came out may have back fired, because certainly most talked about not returning, and for sure any that do will be doctoring their cars up making this show a total fiasco if something isn't done to bring the cars closer.

We ran okay although I had a push and should have pitted but being out gunned so bad, we really just wanted to get it over with. We did finish 12th, right on David's tail. He was struggling terrrible in the feature, but did managed a 9th in qualifying. Ninth is okay if you're within striking distance of the top time, but he was half a second off. Being half a second off the fast time meant he would get lapped in 30 laps if that was correct....and it was correct, and he did get lapped, around lap 40, because of the caution on lap 15. That caution would extend the lapping of the Pennzoil car from lap 35 to 45 but regardless, it was kind of ridiculous. Him being lapped was ridiculous, but how much more insane was that fact when Jamie Cox, Jason Shaw, Jason Parker, Steve Laking and many other top shoes got the move over flag with 25 to go. We almost got lapped a second time.

I am thankful we didn't get wrecked although we came close to being involved in all 3 yellows because we were right there. The wreck on lap one coming off turn two was the biggest taking out Chris Morrow and Brandon Watson. We were at the back and had plenty of time to get around that mess. It was a long red. Our next close call was a few laps later, lap 14, when the leaders got punted, or something. Not sure how Jamie Cox and Jason Shaw tangled going into one on that restart. I didn't see what happened but did see cars flying everywhere. Walters and Bentley were right behind the leaders for the restart, both tons faster, and perhaps both trying to get the lead or the edge over the other. Someone said the 22 car got lifted on the front chute....wow, and he was fast, not OSCAAR fast, but one of the top cars for sure. Anyway we got through that mess.

We ran okay battling in the top 10 early, but the faster cars were coming and I moved over to let them all by moving us back to 15th, but then slowly repassed three more to get back into 12th. We caught David who was struggling and made it close, but I was so disheartened that our car was not even close to being a part of this race that gaining one more spot at this point made no difference.

At the end of the night we were thankful our car was okay. It was a long late drive home and quite disappointing. We have a ton of work to do to get ready for Saturday and really short handed in the garage, making it that much tougher. We've been inching closer in the Sunset races, but inching closer only to the top 6 or 7. Our stock 602 is really no match for the engine program at Sunset, but there is nothing we can do this year about it. Again I want to thank all my crew for their hard work and understanding why we looked so out of our league in this race.

My Rant On This Show
I take a chance of being called a whiner, and I'm okay with that because I love this sport and I think I have to say this. I love watching good races in all classes. It's important for me as a racer to bring a nice looking competitive car, and race it with respect so fans are entertained. Fans are far more educated and observant than some racers give them credit for. They are the life blood, for the track, sponsors and for us to be able to race every week. Here's my take on last nights show.

It's quite an insult to imply that 10 very fast Pro Lates lost the set up. They were running the same times they did the past 2 years for the first 4 Pro Late Shows. Last night was proof of how far racing has gone backwards.

The last time Jason Shaw got beat that bad, (and he had a good car), was running against ASA cars in Pittsburg.

These shows have lost their credibility when one car can lap every car in the field but the second place car who also lapped the field.

Good for Tom, he is a Champion no doubt, but not good for the sport to see 15 of Ontario's best cars so far off the mark, and then told they missed the set up.

What happened last night wasn't good for our sport, and the proof of that will be if 24 cars show up next time. If they all come back, then yes, everyone admits they were out to lunch, if they don't come back, then we'll know it's because a 2 or 3 hour drive, over $1000 and a day off work to be embarrassed is likely not going to happen again to these teams.

14:1, or 14:3, is not times of a Pro Late Model, especially with a 602, and I don't know anyone who goes to a race 3 or 4 tenths off the pace and is willing to spend all the money and wear on their equipment and have "no chance to win".

Delaware a few years ago had a Crate program that became a mess because the Ford engine was clearly dominant. Rather than make the Ford add more weight, or run a 2 barrel or whatever it took to bring parity, the track decided to allow all the Chev Crates to modify their engines. So, instead of $5500 for a 604 it was $10,000. Now the Chevs' were closer to the Ford, but the following year the car count dropped by 40% until in 2011 they had the worst car count in Ontario. They have since changed some rules to get more cars and now the stock 604 is much more competitve.

If our sport is going to survive, we need to have parity in racing.

My daughter may be my biggest fan and she was so disgusted with the race she left when the 3rd place car got lapped, with about 20 to go. When asked by one of the employess about the race she said it was the worst that she had seen ever, she was referring to how not competitive the race was.

Our sport took a hit last night, and not for the good. I hope someone can change it soon.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:06 pm

July 14th...............[u:140kobmh]Sunset Speedway[/u:140kobmh]

[u:140kobmh][i:140kobmh][b:140kobmh]Race #12[/b:140kobmh][/i:140kobmh][/u:140kobmh]

[u:140kobmh]High Lites[/u:140kobmh]
* 17 cars
* Bentley walks away
* Best night so far
* Cornelious 2nd, Walters 3rd
* We get 4th, best this year
* Gehrig debuted new ride and it had power
* Congrats on all classes for a good night of racing

[u:140kobmh]Results [/u:140kobmh]
1st Heat......3rd
2nd Heat.....2nd
Feature......4th

[u:140kobmh]Winnings[/u:140kobmh]
$350 ?

[u:140kobmh]Repairs[/u:140kobmh]
Routine

[u:140kobmh]Crew[/u:140kobmh]
Steve, Ryan, Matt and Cheryl

[u:140kobmh]Conclusion[/u:140kobmh]
This is definitely one of our worst years so far, and highlighted by our worst wreck. That isn’t news, but what might be news is the constant trouble we keep having not just at the track. We’ve destroyed the Late Model once, caused mayhem for the driveline on opening day, resulting in worse damage to Mike Bentley. We have had terrible luck with the Mini Stock that forced Gehrig out of the seat for a few weeks. Things at the track seemed to be getting better, that is until I drove the Coupe and then had to spend more on it.
Last week Shirley had a flat tire on her new Camaro, a long bolt was taken out of the tire. The flat tire situation got magnified when the tow truck damaged her car. Then on Tuesday of this past week, Nonie, able to drive now, was taking Lauren to the dentist and accidentally hit a car driving by, taking the front bumper off Shirley’s Grand Prix. It wasn’t a good week really.

On Saturday morning I was very tired, mostly from working on the Late Model getting the clutch back in, Bob helped with the lead and carb. Steve come over Friday as did Jason and we finished it off including scaling. On Saturday I went over to watch Lauren race her Cart, and she is doing awesome, but had to leave to get back and finish cleaning and loading the Late Model.

While washing my truck I accidentally locked the keys inside. Nonie had a spare set, but she was gone to watch Lauren’s feature race and wasn’t answering her phone. There’s not good reception at Flamboro anyhow. Finally around 1pm she called and told me David would drop them off. I wanted to leave by 12:30, but ended up leaving by 1:30.
On the way we happened to meet up with Shirley, Jason Gehrig and Lauren. They were towing the new Mini Stock out to Sunset. I decided to get in behind them and follow. We bought Branden Bullen’s 93 Honda hatch back, and were excited to know he was going to race again, only this time in a car that would work. We still have the Honda Civic, and may enter it in a few events. Given the fact it has limited power we’re thinking of running it in the Santa Clause parade.

While driving I asked Steve to text Shirley and tell her that I had a brand new mounted tire in my pick up for the RV. Steve sent the text. Next thing I see the RV heading for the wrong cut off, we were suppose to be heading up 400. The phone rings and it’s Shirley. “Dad we have a flat tire on the RV”. I could not believe it, we had just sent a text 2 seconds before. Anyway they were able to nurse it up the 400 to the service center just above Major MacKenzie and we changed it in 15 minutes.
Incredible how this week was going and we were not at the track yet.

Once at Sunset we organized ourselves and all I had to do was get tires for our car. I did and sized them up but decided to run the tires from Wednesday nights MRE race in the first set of hot laps. The car was a little loose, but a good loose. After the hot laps we decided not to run the new ones yet and went out again for another practice. I was happy with the car and did not want to change anything.

Our crew chief Bob was enjoying his birthday and that meant we would have to have a volunteer for spotting. Steve, the next in seniority agreed to spot.
After hot laps were done we mounted the new tires for the heat race. I would have preferred to run them for a short session, not a hard heat race, but really didn’t get enough practice to do it that way, and rather than stress about it, there already was enough stress, we put them on. Ryan and Matt got the tires ready for the first heat.
Meanwhile Gehrig was out in his car for practice and he really liked it. Now he needed seat time and to run some laps and get to know his car.

In his first heat race he ran with the pack, his first time ever doing that. Things were going great until he got high passing cars going into three, hit the stay dry, rubber, sand and debris, and slammed the wall with the right front wheel. The lower control arm broke and with no spare, and no one else having one, Gehrig was done for the night.

In our first heat we started 6th. It was the first time I had to race in a heat with Tom Walters where I had a decent car. On the first lap coming off two I went outside of #10 Ernie Fumerton and Tom went inside. It was three wide going into three and Ernie backed out. I made it through, we all did. I followed Tom the rest of the race and with one lap to go he got into 2nd and we got into third. Steve was spotting and I noticed he didn’t say very much, or at least not near enough. I asked him to let me know when I was clear high or low and if someone was behind me, let me know if it was clear to run high or low. I really like feed back and though it was his first time spotting, he did good in this race, but needed to be a little more informative.

We checked the tires after the heat race and went over the car, there was nothing really to check. The tire temps were stable and I liked the car. It was good with the MRE tires, and even better now.

In the next heat I started outside pole beside Tom Walters as this race was reverse start of the first one. This would also be the first time I would get to see how we would do against him. He is for sure one of the top 3 cars at the track this year. Kevin, Mike and Tom have the field covered and take turns winning every week. They are always up front and there was nothing new in my car that would change that fact, or make us a lot differnt, though we are getting better every week. I wasn’t giving up, but knew we had a challenge. The goal was to make a race out of it, and I think for the most part we did do that. His car is faster than ours, I have to keep working on it, but as far as racing with him I wasn’t intimidated, rather excited in a way because I had never started on the front row of a race with Tom Walters. So for me it was an historic event, and I was looking forward to see how close we could stay to him. I’m sure some fans and our crew wanted me to win, and I was going to try. We did stay close in the first heat, but that was because of traffic, now it was open track.

My spotter Steve was ready, this would be a little easier on him because hopefully we’d get away from the pack. Coming off four for the green I had to check up a little because I felt crowed. I didn’t back out much or I would have got rear ended, but enough so I didn’t bounce off the wall, it seemed close to me, too close and I don’t want to hit that wall again ever, and letting off the gas just a little helped avoid that scenario. Going into one I drove the car hard. I could see Tom and then Steve said "outside". "What"!!! Who could be outside but then he corrected right away and said with a little laugh “inside”. Running side by side lasted until we got to turn three and then the #47 pulled ahead. I was able to follow close behind for the first few laps. Staying within a few car lengths was good for us but inside the car I was going nuts. I asked Steve to let me know when I was clear. Once Tom was passed me and I was second Steve said “clear” and I knew I was safe in 2nd. However for the next seven laps, and at least five times on each straight away I heard this, and just like this if you said it normal… “clear, clear, clear, clear, clear, clear”. I was wondering who is trying to get by me, then down the next straight “clear, clear, clear, clear, clear”. This went on for most of the race. I was thinking "I got to turn off the radio". I am a driver that likes lots of feedback, but what I like is to hear there is no pressure, “clear by 3, clear by 5” etc. When we raced at Varney I asked Tim to talk all the time, he said “I don’t talk too much” and Donna his wife said “he wants you to talk to him, so talk”. Steve was doing exactly what I asked him, and that was clear :)

As the race progressed and I was hearing the Clear National Anthem, Tom was gradually gaining a little each lap. Our car was good and perhaps Tom wasn’t slowing down. Meanwhile Steve was repeating the “clear” message. Finally with 3 to go Ryan comes on the radio “clear by 10 car lengths”. Then Steve added “no pressure”. With 2 laps to go the person slowing down was me. I put my hand out the window to direct some air into the car and did not race as hard as I was. I wanted to save our tires a little, there was no point in racing any harder. We were a few car lengths behind and had a good hold on second. When the checker fell we got 2nd and combined with our 3rd in the first heat, this was our best qualifying run so far in 2012 at Sunset.

After qualifying we thought about what to do to the car. It was cooling down a little and I went over my notes. This is the most crucial time for a race team, because the track is going to change by the time you get back out. I set up to combat a tight car, although the car was great in the two heats and hot laps. Doug Hanchard liked the car as well and we agreed not to do anything in the warm ups, but now was different, it was cooling down a little and I needed to do something, but I didn’t think I should do much.

We started 3rd in the feature. Bruce Rankin #55 was pole and Keith Maiato #6 was outside pole. Dario Capirchio #03 was beside us. There was only one caution in this race and it was a great run for us. Keith got the lead and a few laps later I was able to get by Bruce and then chase Keith for the next ten laps. If this was a heat race he would have won. On about lap 12 we were under him coming off two but something happened and his car ran into difficulty. That put us pole on the restart and Mike Bentley, who started 8th, right there with me. Mike wasted no time getting the lead and I tried staying with him but he was too quick in and off the turns. The rest of the race was non stop. By lap 18 Kevin caught us and shortly after that Tom was there. There was far too many laps left for me to try and hold them back. Keving was very strong on the straights and so was Tom. We weren't bad, but off just enough that we could not hold them back and that was on new tires.

Near the end of the race, though 2nd and 3rd did not pull way too far, we started to push. I'm guessing as the fuel got used up the wedg increased causing the car to be tight.
The final few laps Steve was telling me I had lots of room. He was letting me know I was good and no one was close enough to catch us. We crossed the line in 4th giving us not only our best feature finish at Sunset this season, but also our best night with all top 5 finishes. This night moved us into the top 10 in points and a top 5 would be awesome, but we will strive to be consistent every race, getting our car better each time out. Special thanks to Steve for spotting, and for Ryab and Matt for making sure the car was ready and to Cheryl, Matt's wife, for all her help, she was a huge blessing.

We had a show today at New Roads Chevrolet in New Market. It was organized by Quaker State and they asked me if I could have my car for display. Of course I said yes and was really happy that we had no issues with the car, no damage and a great night.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:06 pm

July 21st...........Sunset Speedway

Race #13

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Tom Walters wins (Happy Birthday #47)
* We finish 7th
* Cornelious hard luck
* Bentley & Morrow feud widening
* Fan appreciation Night (good crowd and good races)

Results
1st Heat.......8th
2nd Heat......8th
Consi..........2nd
Feature.......7th

Winnings
$250

Repairs
Routine

Crew
Bob, Steve, Ryan, Matt special guest crew Halie'

Conclusion
Last night we moved a step closer to being competitive for real in the very stout field at Sunset Speedway. The track is demanding enough, and requires a good maintenance program with an excellent prepared race car, set up wise. Having your car set up to be consistent, especially in the final half of the race is not just a good thing, it’s mandatory.

We arrived in plenty of time to get two sets of hot laps. We used our MRE tires to test the car, saving our inventory to give us better tires for the feature. We also ran older tires for both heat races, but I think that backfired for me and should have put on the good tires for the heat races.

We were in a heat with 6 fast cars. Walters, Cornelious, Morrow, Witty, Capirchio and Grosman. We ran fairly consistent the first half of the heat. We were loose off from a push we had in the middle. Not severe, but enough to slow us up a little. The car also had a hesitation in the heat, something that had been evident for the past month. I thought it was just hitting the chip, but that wasn’t the case, it was shutting off, or acting like it was. It felt like a dead spot just at the end of the straightaway, and if I kept my foot on it, the car would lose power, like floating valves, or something. I couldn’t put my finger on it and it was getting frustrating. Near the end we got tagged by Morrow almost spinning us out. I guess we were slower than I thought. I held on but lost three spots putting us 8th in the first qualifier.

We worked on the car between heats trying to get it closer set up wise. Meanwhile I went to Dave Bentley and asked him if he would check the timing on our car. We had advanced it and started running racing gas. I didn’t like the idea because it cost far too much to run VP, or track racing fuel. We did get a drum of MS109 sponsored to us in February for putting our car in the VP booth at the CME show, and had not used it until three weeks ago. David advanced the timing, and we up the jets. The car seemed okay but I felt wasn’t as alive as it should be. Dave checked the timing and it was 38. I thought it should have been maybe 36, but it was high and Dave looked at me, shook his head and said “that’s too much”. He set it back to 34.

Preparing for heat #2 continued. Still on old tires wasn’t a good idea, but I felt the car wasn’t that far off and really wanted to save our tires for the feature. The only problem with that plan is the points lost in the heats. To move up in the point standings we need to gain points everywhere we can and the heat races are extremely important to have at least one of the two producing a good finish.

When they called for Late Models to line up we were installing a piece of led. I have lost a few pounds since the season started and somehow we are about 30 to 40 pounds light. The added led assured us we’d be legal with 4 gallons of gas, but we want to make sure we’re legal with any gas in the car, so more led is needed for next week.
We somehow got so preoccupied with the led that we heard final call for #36, “we’re waiting for you”. I jumped in the car and headed to the track and found our heat was already on the track. We were lucky to get in this race. We would have to start last in the 10 car field instead of 4th our proper line up spot. That hurt us for sure, but we made some changes and wanted to see how the car would work.

We were able to run strong, and I noticed the engine was still dying a bit at the end but not as much. We had a 6400 chip in it and that should have stopped us from over-revving. We finished 8th or 7th in this race, somewhat competitive, the chassis felt okay, not as bad a push.
We got the car on 4 jack stands, removed the tires and began our final check over for the feature.

Mini Stock Update
Last week Gehrig hit the wall in his heat race, but luckily did not do any transmission or chassis damage. A lower control arm broke in half likely saving the transmission. In his warm ups he looked good. He ran very strong in both heats, taking a 4th in the second. I have offered to mentor Gehrig for the first few weeks and once he’s ready I would suggest he take his starting spot in the feature. I wanted him to start at the back and learn his own car first, get to pass cars and experience racing his car at a less pressured level. If he starts up front in the feature and really doesn’t know his car he will get pushed all over the place and possibly get wrecked. If he starts scratch and picks off a car at a time he will learn how to pass cars. He may still get wrecked, or spun but it shouldn’t be in front of the field. That was my theory. He did start in his proper spot for the 2nd heat and held his own, a real good sign. That 4th place finish was a confidence builder and his best finish yet in a Mini Stock.

Meanwhile I am out of my fire suit after the 2nd heat and going over our set up with the crew when I hear "Late Model consi get lined up". Our number was 4th mentioned and we went nuts getting the tires on (the good ones) and me dressed and ready. I think it caught everyone by surprise because I changed into my suit, the boys got the tires on the car and off jack stands and when I hustled down to the pre race line up area I was the only car there. The rest were at least 5 minutes behind me. Bob let me know I was the only car in line.

This race was a great one for us. We knew the car was close in the last heat race, and felt it would be better on newer tires. I was kinda glad we had this consi. We’d know for certain if our car was close for the feature, especially with the newer tires. They were newer 3 heat cycles and only 50 laps. We keep track of our tires for depth, cycles and laps. Hardness as well, but with the extreme heat the past few weeks, getting heat back in tires hasn’t been much of an issue, though low depth and too many cycles will make them less effective. We knew these tires were good for another competitive night, and perhaps I should have put them on for the 2nd heat race, but in hind sight it’s good we didn’t because we started last and almost missed that race.

We started 4th in the consi, behind Keith Maiato #6 and beside #49 Frank Davey. Jason Witty was on the pole and wasted little time pulling ahead. We were on the outside which is good but coming off four for the start we got close to the wall and closer coming off four to end the first lap. I don’t know if Frank was crowding me but I sure was hoping I didn’t feel that sudden death tug when the right front wheel catches the outside cement. We made it that time and Bob our spotter called out “inside, inside”, and then coming off four “wow, that was close, you were very close to the wall”. Going into one I drove as hard as I could and gained coming off. The car was a little tight at the beginning of this race but they had not been heated up for a week. Going down the back chute I heard clear but stayed up going through three and four. Jason was pulling away from Keith and soon we were on the #6 and got by on lap three.

By this time the leader was 5 or 6 car lengths ahead. I wasn’t sure we could catch him because he is one of the top runners at Sunset. Over the next four laps we ran him down and with two laps to go got inside going into turn one. We raced down the back chute and he dove down in front of me going into three. I checked up a little but got a good run off four and with one to go pulled beside him in the middle of one and two. Our car was awesome, very good in the corners and no engine miss or stumble at all. We raced down the back chute giving each other lots of room including going into three. I waited long enough to get our car set so it wouldn’t push up and raced Jason off four. I think we were ahead coming off four but the momentum on the outside let him beat us by a few inches at the line. I was as excited as if we won and Bob was half nuts on the radio. He was so pumped on the last two laps it was like watching it on TV for me. The fans loved that race, who wouldn’t it was almost a photo finish…..unfortunately no one got a photo of it.
My crew were over the top excited because we had a very good run and they were part of it. I talked to Jason after and we both agreed it was fun and appreciated both giving room on the track. We never touched at all and it was indeed an exciting race.

Mini Stock Feature
Gehrig started last in the feature, at my request. I want him to learn from the back where there is no pressure right now. There will be plenty of time for him to start up front and mix it up with the seasoned racers. There were 25 cars in the feature. He stayed with the back group in the early going but got spun out trying to pass going into three but chopped the car he was passing. He went to the back again and on the green was not on the gas going down the back chute and fell back a fair margin. It is important he learns where to get on the gas on restarts, but with him being at the back it didn't hurt him or anyone else.

He was able to catch up in a few laps and followed the two cars in front of him who were side by side. Then coming off two he decided to split the two cars on teh back chute going right in the middle of both of them. He pulled away and caught other cars, but then coming off two he got too close to one of the severely pushing Mini's and got spun out again.

The next run went to the checker and though he got lapped, he ended up 17th completing the feature and learning a lot in the process. Starting scratch until he gets to know his car and the track better will prevent him spinning in front of the field where he could get wrecked and put out of the race. That doesn't mean he won't get spun up there but at least he will have more experience in the near future. Overall he did great. Now he will work on getting better finishes every week and learning his car and the competition.

Late Model Feature
The temperatures cooled down a little for the feature but not drastic . We made one adjustment knowing the car would be tight near the end of the feature. Usually when we do that the car is loose at the beginning but we were far from it.

We started 14th of 18 cars. Our handicap should have put us closer to the front, but with poor finishes in both heat races, we failed to qualify. That’s why we ran the consi.

The race barely went one lap and was under caution when #6 Keith Maiato spun. During the yellow, point’s leader Kevin Cornelious #17, headed for pit lane. He was having some kind of trouble, next thing the hood was up. We went around a few times and finally got restarted but Kevin did not return to the track, a tough break in his quest to win the points championship, although we still have 7 races left.

On the green we were able to get a good start and over the next 10 laps battle through the middle. The cars were very tight. On one lap coming off two I tried to get a good run so the outside lane wouldn’t come down, but didn’t letting Mike Bentley in front of us. The outside lane is the place to be, but not always depending on who is in front of you. Most times the momentum goes to the outside at this track. We also go very hard into three and turn one, more so in three because of the longer back straight.

We were in the top 10 and battling with cars from 3rd to 10th. The next caution was around lap 15, about half way when Bentley got into Morrow. He lifted him up going into turn three and not sure exactly how that happened because Chris has a fast car, not quite as quick as the #51 of Bentley. A lap or so later, Chris went around, getting a flat tire and maybe other damage. Once again it looked like he made contact with Mike.

We were in the top 10 and still gaining, having a great run. As the race closed we were in 6th on the outside. I thought we had a top 5 maybe even top four car for sure. With 6 laps to go we moved to the outside and raced hard into three but the car in front, who had been running second most of the race #10 Ernie Fumerton, developed a push and could not get on the gas as quick as those inside. Soon we were getting passed by #41 Taylor Holdaway, #84 Sean Cronan and then #19 Jason Witty.

Bob was doing an excellent job on the radio, giving me tremendous feedback. Bob continually encouraged me to dig and race harder, seeing our car was very competitive.
The last few laps were very fast and though we fell back to 8th we did get back up to 7th on the final lap, chasing 6th place but needing a few more laps to move into 6th.
Our crew was very excited after the race, not from our finish, but from the potential they could see. It was our strongest feature run this season, including our best finish last week, where we picked up a 4th.

Our car is slowly looking like a contender and the set up and engine program seem to be working for us.
There is no doubt we are getting beat by horsepower in many incidents. I think most cars beating us either have altered, doctored crate engines (legal at Sunset) or the more expensive and powerful built engines.

I hope the track management sees the need to implement a no-touch Crate program for 2013 but if not, will give the stock 602 (virgins) a four barrel. We are prepared to fight for a no-touch in 2013, but if it doesn’t go through we’ll get our engine redone and gain the 15 to 25 horsepower were lacking. A $15 to $20K built engine is not an option for our team, that’s the price of a good used turnkey race car.

After last week we moved to 9th in the points, but with our poor heat finishes I’m afraid we may have given up a good point’s night. We still have 7 races left but need to capitalize in the heat races.

Next week is Family Faith Night. Our team sponsor Open Doors, and associate Scripture Union Canada will partner with the Canadian Bible Society to make this event a great success. Hope to see everyone there

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:06 pm

July 21st...........Sunset Speedway

Race #13

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Tom Walters wins (Happy Birthday #47)
* We finish 7th
* Cornelious hard luck
* Bentley & Morrow feud widening
* Fan appreciation Night (good crowd and good races)

Results
1st Heat.......8th
2nd Heat......8th
Consi..........2nd
Feature.......7th

Winnings
$250

Repairs
Routine

Crew
Bob, Steve, Ryan, Matt special guest crew Halie'

Conclusion
Last night we moved a step closer to being competitive for real in the very stout field at Sunset Speedway. The track is demanding enough, and requires a good maintenance program with an excellent prepared race car, set up wise. Having your car set up to be consistent, especially in the final half of the race is not just a good thing, it’s mandatory.

We arrived in plenty of time to get two sets of hot laps. We used our MRE tires to test the car, saving our inventory to give us better tires for the feature. We also ran older tires for both heat races, but I think that backfired for me and should have put on the good tires for the heat races.

We were in a heat with 6 fast cars. Walters, Cornelious, Morrow, Witty, Capirchio and Grosman. We ran fairly consistent the first half of the heat. We were loose off from a push we had in the middle. Not severe, but enough to slow us up a little. The car also had a hesitation in the heat, something that had been evident for the past month. I thought it was just hitting the chip, but that wasn’t the case, it was shutting off, or acting like it was. It felt like a dead spot just at the end of the straightaway, and if I kept my foot on it, the car would lose power, like floating valves, or something. I couldn’t put my finger on it and it was getting frustrating. Near the end we got tagged by Morrow almost spinning us out. I guess we were slower than I thought. I held on but lost three spots putting us 8th in the first qualifier.

We worked on the car between heats trying to get it closer set up wise. Meanwhile I went to Dave Bentley and asked him if he would check the timing on our car. We had advanced it and started running racing gas. I didn’t like the idea because it cost far too much to run VP, or track racing fuel. We did get a drum of MS109 sponsored to us in February for putting our car in the VP booth at the CME show, and had not used it until three weeks ago. David advanced the timing, and we up the jets. The car seemed okay but I felt wasn’t as alive as it should be. Dave checked the timing and it was 38. I thought it should have been maybe 36, but it was high and Dave looked at me, shook his head and said “that’s too much”. He set it back to 34.

Preparing for heat #2 continued. Still on old tires wasn’t a good idea, but I felt the car wasn’t that far off and really wanted to save our tires for the feature. The only problem with that plan is the points lost in the heats. To move up in the point standings we need to gain points everywhere we can and the heat races are extremely important to have at least one of the two producing a good finish.

When they called for Late Models to line up we were installing a piece of led. I have lost a few pounds since the season started and somehow we are about 30 to 40 pounds light. The added led assured us we’d be legal with 4 gallons of gas, but we want to make sure we’re legal with any gas in the car, so more led is needed for next week.
We somehow got so preoccupied with the led that we heard final call for #36, “we’re waiting for you”. I jumped in the car and headed to the track and found our heat was already on the track. We were lucky to get in this race. We would have to start last in the 10 car field instead of 4th our proper line up spot. That hurt us for sure, but we made some changes and wanted to see how the car would work.

We were able to run strong, and I noticed the engine was still dying a bit at the end but not as much. We had a 6400 chip in it and that should have stopped us from over-revving. We finished 8th or 7th in this race, somewhat competitive, the chassis felt okay, not as bad a push.
We got the car on 4 jack stands, removed the tires and began our final check over for the feature.

Mini Stock Update
Last week Gehrig hit the wall in his heat race, but luckily did not do any transmission or chassis damage. A lower control arm broke in half likely saving the transmission. In his warm ups he looked good. He ran very strong in both heats, taking a 4th in the second. I have offered to mentor Gehrig for the first few weeks and once he’s ready I would suggest he take his starting spot in the feature. I wanted him to start at the back and learn his own car first, get to pass cars and experience racing his car at a less pressured level. If he starts up front in the feature and really doesn’t know his car he will get pushed all over the place and possibly get wrecked. If he starts scratch and picks off a car at a time he will learn how to pass cars. He may still get wrecked, or spun but it shouldn’t be in front of the field. That was my theory. He did start in his proper spot for the 2nd heat and held his own, a real good sign. That 4th place finish was a confidence builder and his best finish yet in a Mini Stock.

Meanwhile I am out of my fire suit after the 2nd heat and going over our set up with the crew when I hear "Late Model consi get lined up". Our number was 4th mentioned and we went nuts getting the tires on (the good ones) and me dressed and ready. I think it caught everyone by surprise because I changed into my suit, the boys got the tires on the car and off jack stands and when I hustled down to the pre race line up area I was the only car there. The rest were at least 5 minutes behind me. Bob let me know I was the only car in line.

This race was a great one for us. We knew the car was close in the last heat race, and felt it would be better on newer tires. I was kinda glad we had this consi. We’d know for certain if our car was close for the feature, especially with the newer tires. They were newer 3 heat cycles and only 50 laps. We keep track of our tires for depth, cycles and laps. Hardness as well, but with the extreme heat the past few weeks, getting heat back in tires hasn’t been much of an issue, though low depth and too many cycles will make them less effective. We knew these tires were good for another competitive night, and perhaps I should have put them on for the 2nd heat race, but in hind sight it’s good we didn’t because we started last and almost missed that race.

We started 4th in the consi, behind Keith Maiato #6 and beside #49 Frank Davey. Jason Witty was on the pole and wasted little time pulling ahead. We were on the outside which is good but coming off four for the start we got close to the wall and closer coming off four to end the first lap. I don’t know if Frank was crowding me but I sure was hoping I didn’t feel that sudden death tug when the right front wheel catches the outside cement. We made it that time and Bob our spotter called out “inside, inside”, and then coming off four “wow, that was close, you were very close to the wall”. Going into one I drove as hard as I could and gained coming off. The car was a little tight at the beginning of this race but they had not been heated up for a week. Going down the back chute I heard clear but stayed up going through three and four. Jason was pulling away from Keith and soon we were on the #6 and got by on lap three.

By this time the leader was 5 or 6 car lengths ahead. I wasn’t sure we could catch him because he is one of the top runners at Sunset. Over the next four laps we ran him down and with two laps to go got inside going into turn one. We raced down the back chute and he dove down in front of me going into three. I checked up a little but got a good run off four and with one to go pulled beside him in the middle of one and two. Our car was awesome, very good in the corners and no engine miss or stumble at all. We raced down the back chute giving each other lots of room including going into three. I waited long enough to get our car set so it wouldn’t push up and raced Jason off four. I think we were ahead coming off four but the momentum on the outside let him beat us by a few inches at the line. I was as excited as if we won and Bob was half nuts on the radio. He was so pumped on the last two laps it was like watching it on TV for me. The fans loved that race, who wouldn’t it was almost a photo finish…..unfortunately no one got a photo of it.
My crew were over the top excited because we had a very good run and they were part of it. I talked to Jason after and we both agreed it was fun and appreciated both giving room on the track. We never touched at all and it was indeed an exciting race.

Mini Stock Feature
Gehrig started last in the feature, at my request. I want him to learn from the back where there is no pressure right now. There will be plenty of time for him to start up front and mix it up with the seasoned racers. There were 25 cars in the feature. He stayed with the back group in the early going but got spun out trying to pass going into three but chopped the car he was passing. He went to the back again and on the green was not on the gas going down the back chute and fell back a fair margin. It is important he learns where to get on the gas on restarts, but with him being at the back it didn't hurt him or anyone else.

He was able to catch up in a few laps and followed the two cars in front of him who were side by side. Then coming off two he decided to split the two cars on teh back chute going right in the middle of both of them. He pulled away and caught other cars, but then coming off two he got too close to one of the severely pushing Mini's and got spun out again.

The next run went to the checker and though he got lapped, he ended up 17th completing the feature and learning a lot in the process. Starting scratch until he gets to know his car and the track better will prevent him spinning in front of the field where he could get wrecked and put out of the race. That doesn't mean he won't get spun up there but at least he will have more experience in the near future. Overall he did great. Now he will work on getting better finishes every week and learning his car and the competition.

Late Model Feature
The temperatures cooled down a little for the feature but not drastic . We made one adjustment knowing the car would be tight near the end of the feature. Usually when we do that the car is loose at the beginning but we were far from it.

We started 14th of 18 cars. Our handicap should have put us closer to the front, but with poor finishes in both heat races, we failed to qualify. That’s why we ran the consi.

The race barely went one lap and was under caution when #6 Keith Maiato spun. During the yellow, point’s leader Kevin Cornelious #17, headed for pit lane. He was having some kind of trouble, next thing the hood was up. We went around a few times and finally got restarted but Kevin did not return to the track, a tough break in his quest to win the points championship, although we still have 7 races left.

On the green we were able to get a good start and over the next 10 laps battle through the middle. The cars were very tight. On one lap coming off two I tried to get a good run so the outside lane wouldn’t come down, but didn’t letting Mike Bentley in front of us. The outside lane is the place to be, but not always depending on who is in front of you. Most times the momentum goes to the outside at this track. We also go very hard into three and turn one, more so in three because of the longer back straight.

We were in the top 10 and battling with cars from 3rd to 10th. The next caution was around lap 15, about half way when Bentley got into Morrow. He lifted him up going into turn three and not sure exactly how that happened because Chris has a fast car, not quite as quick as the #51 of Bentley. A lap or so later, Chris went around, getting a flat tire and maybe other damage. Once again it looked like he made contact with Mike.

We were in the top 10 and still gaining, having a great run. As the race closed we were in 6th on the outside. I thought we had a top 5 maybe even top four car for sure. With 6 laps to go we moved to the outside and raced hard into three but the car in front, who had been running second most of the race #10 Ernie Fumerton, developed a push and could not get on the gas as quick as those inside. Soon we were getting passed by #41 Taylor Holdaway, #84 Sean Cronan and then #19 Jason Witty.

Bob was doing an excellent job on the radio, giving me tremendous feedback. Bob continually encouraged me to dig and race harder, seeing our car was very competitive.
The last few laps were very fast and though we fell back to 8th we did get back up to 7th on the final lap, chasing 6th place but needing a few more laps to move into 6th.
Our crew was very excited after the race, not from our finish, but from the potential they could see. It was our strongest feature run this season, including our best finish last week, where we picked up a 4th.

Our car is slowly looking like a contender and the set up and engine program seem to be working for us.
There is no doubt we are getting beat by horsepower in many incidents. I think most cars beating us either have altered, doctored crate engines (legal at Sunset) or the more expensive and powerful built engines.

I hope the track management sees the need to implement a no-touch Crate program for 2013 but if not, will give the stock 602 (virgins) a four barrel. We are prepared to fight for a no-touch in 2013, but if it doesn’t go through we’ll get our engine redone and gain the 15 to 25 horsepower were lacking. A $15 to $20K built engine is not an option for our team, that’s the price of a good used turnkey race car.

After last week we moved to 9th in the points, but with our poor heat finishes I’m afraid we may have given up a good point’s night. We still have 7 races left but need to capitalize in the heat races.

Next week is Family Faith Night. Our team sponsor Open Doors, and associate Scripture Union Canada will partner with the Canadian Bible Society to make this event a great success. Hope to see everyone there

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:06 pm

July 28th............Sunset Speedway

Race #14

Family Faith Night

High Lites
* 20 cars
* Bentley wins, by a mile
* Family Faith Night great success
* Great weather, good size crowd
* We get 5th, getting consistent
* Top 3 in points get tore down (positive nothing will be found...those cars are all legal)
* Gehrig has great run finishes 10th in feature

Results

Late Model
Heat #1.........6th
Heat #2.........5th
Feature.........5th

Mini Stock
Heat #1.........6th
Heat #2.........7th
Feature........10th

Winnings
$350

Repairs
Routine...find 40 HP

Crew
Bob and Matt

Conclusion

Family Faith Night
Congrats to Scripture Union, Open Doors and the Canadian Bible Society for making the first ever Family Faith Night a huge success at Sunset Speedway. They bought the night, took over the VIP area and gave out gift bags to the first 700 fans. They also gave away 50 t-shirts as door prizes. It was a very successful night with lots of people enjoying the hospitality view of the race track and some great food provided by Sunset staff. They also got to see us have a great charge from near the back of the feature to a top five, and our grandson Gehrig have his best night of his Stock Car career.

We got to the track early enough to run warm ups. In the first set I noticed the car was cutting out at the end of the back chute. It has happened a lot since July 14th. I thought it was too much timing so I had it backed up to 34. However, our car still had a miss or slight hesitation at the end of the back chute, not on the front maybe because it much shorter.
After this set of hot laps I suggested we check the carb over. I checked the float, put in smaller jets and adjusted the throttle pump lever, but really all were okay, there was nothing that seemed out of the ordinary.

We had new tires for tonight so we put them on to get them scrubbed in. On our next set of hot laps the car would not run at all. It was cutting out even more than the first set. I’ve messed with the 500 Holley for 30 years and knew for sure I didn’t do anything to upset it, but felt the problem was fuel.

Once in the pits we hustled to try and find the culprit. This was the last thing we needed this night, being our sponsor night, and they were expecting me to bring the car over near the VIP area after the track was closed for hot laps. As it was, we just finished our last set of hot laps, but were now in trouble.

Bob was taking the hood off and I suggested right away to put the car on jack stands and we’d check the fuel filter. Matt and Bob got the car on stands and removed the tires. I got out of my suit and ready to check the filter. On July 7th we started running racing fuel, much to my dislike, but all the top Crate cars are racing the track fuel, or buying other race fuel. We had a drum of VP fuel that we got from being in the CME show and decided to starting using it up, advance the timing a little, and up the jets a few sizes.
When we ran racing fuel in our Coupe we had to replace the foam in our tank every year or every 2nd year for sure. The symptoms I was experiencing were like starvation and that’s why I wanted to check the filter.

It only took a few seconds to know we hit the jackpot when the end of the fuel log was removed and a big chuck of foam fell out right away. I removed the long filter and it was full of foam. We had a spare, Bob put it in and we double checked the lines for any small pieces but felt the filter collected it all. I sure was happy to see all that foam, but then wondered what kind of fuel I was putting in my car. We wouldn’t know for certain if this was the culprit, but we were 99.9% sure and the first heat race would verify it for us.

Once we replaced the fuel filter we prepared the car for the heat races. There is usually a 45 minute break before the first set of heats, and we were second out tonight.

While we were getting tires ready and charging the battery it was getting time to head to turn three to show the car to our sponsors and guest in the VIP area. I drove the car over to turn three and headed for the VIP area. My crew, Bob, Matt and the Mini Stock crew, Gehrig, Shirley, Lauren, JJ and Jason also came over. We were there about 45 minutes. Jim Bunting, long time friend, since back in my first year racing, introduced me. He did an awesome job, like he had known me for a long time. There were about 70 people there, and for many it was their first time at a race track and with the view from the hospitality area, it was easy to show and tell what to expect.

I also talked about my faith and how I apply it in racing. When we were done we took a few pictures and then Bob drove the car back to the pits and Paul Johnson from Open Doors said a prayer before the national anthem. Staff from Scripture Union and Open Doors gave out awesome gift backs that included the first ever Canadian Racing New Testament, as well as info on all three companies that organized the event and my CD, songs written a few years ago and recorded in early 2011.

In our first heat we started 4th behind Frank Davey #49. We ran in a pack for the first four for five laps. Frank could not get by Jason Witty and slowly the outside lane faded back and back. With three laps to go we were in 9th and started our way back up. We finished 6th in the first race but it was a huge success because the engine was perfect, no miss.

For the second heat race we put on the new tires because they only got 2 laps on them in the second set of hot laps. We started 6th this time and once again got in the wrong lane. Kevin Cornelious won the first race taking it near the end, but in this heat he got up front right away and was long gone. We battled for the entire heat not being able to get out of traffic and when we did there were two laps to go. We finished 5th and once again the car ran well we just had to go with the flow and not panic because we weren’t going anywhere.

Heat races are very important for points and we sure haven’t been doing well in heat races, but we thought for sure we qualified and would have a good starting spot for the feature based on our handicap.
We got our car ready for the feature and watched Gehrig’s final heat race. He finished 6th in his first race and in this one he started at the back and ran very well gaining the much needed experience he needed.

When we left the fence and headed back to our pits we checked the Late Model lineup and we’re surprised to see we were starting 14th, not 4th or 5th like we thought. They qualified 12 out of the heats, but we failed to get our proper starting spot.

As soon as the Thunder Car feature was over we went on the track. We weren’t there 5 minutes when the lights went out in turn one. Apparently someone turned off the switches in anger over a black flag. They threw the red and we all got out of our cars until the lights came back on. It took about 15 minutes to light back up.

By the time we were ready to go it was dark, perfect for me, I prefer racing under the lights over daylight or dusk. It makes everything seem closer and more exciting for me.

On the green we got a good run but the pack ran tight with lots of bumper to bumper stuff. The yellow came out on lap 9 when #6 Keith Maiato went around. I was on top of that one right away, seeing it before my spotter. Many times drivers do see accidents before the spotter because Bob, my spotter, needs to watch what’s going on around me. It’s my responsibility to see what happens ahead of me. If he watches too far ahead he could miss a car outside or inside and put us or the other team in trouble. Bob is excellent and does a great job in the tough role as head spotter. As for the accident everyone was okay, we gained 2 spots, one from passing and one from Keith who started ahead of us.

On the restart we stayed with the pack. It was a tight race. Chris Morrow was beside me and he is very fast most nights. Chris has had a lot of bad luck this year, like our team, but he won one feature, and almost had two. We were outside and our car was very fast tonight, able to go in hard on the outside. The car was turning well in the middle, though there were times when I wanted to get on the gas sooner but elected to be smooth off the corners. We gained a few more spots in traffic putting us in 8th. We had a battle with Lane Zardo who was driving the #46 for his brother Billy who had teeth removed and could not move his jaw very much without pain. Billy would not have been able to put his helmet on.

Another caution came involving Tom Walters and Sean Cronan, they locked together and both were heading up the track in front of us, but we got through that as well, in fact everyone did. We were moving ahead but gaining a few spots with cars getting involved in wrecks. We hadn't raced long when Kevin Cornelious tried to pass #29 Sean Grosman. They were racing into three, Kevin was on the inside and Sean was not backing out, dove in hard and they made contact. Sean went around and Kevin had to go to the back as well. That wreck also collected #88 Scott Beatty who did all he could to get out of the way but ended up in the turn three and four grass.

We were now up to 5th and staying free of the wrecks, though none were serious, was giving us a great run. Kevin and Sean went scratch, but Scott got his spot back. The top 5 were #19 Jason Witty, #51 Mike Bentley, #88 Scott Beatty, #41 Taylor Holdaway and then us.

The race ran green from here until the end. There were 18 laps remaining. Some fans and crew said on this restart that Tom Walters gained four or five spots just by being aggressive on the start. I didn’t see that but did see Mike take off from Jason and start to build a lead more and more every lap. Scott eventually got under Jason, as did Taylor and then I followed them. Lane was close behind but as the race progressed we pulled away from 6th all but Tom Walters who was gaining quickly.

As Mike disappeared from us, we battled together for the final laps, Scott, Taylor and I. Coming off turn two I looked up to the score board and seen lap 22 on the board, and at the same time Bob was telling me Tom was inside. I didn’t battle him too hard because there was many laps left, and the real reason, because I had nothing for him. Tom went on to pass both Taylor and Scott before getting into second but by then Bentley was half way to Barrie and there was no way the #47 was catching him.

Meanwhile there was a great battle for third with Scott, Taylor and I. We raced bumper to bumper the final seven laps and with four to go I got under Taylor in three but backed out when he came down. It was one of those deals where you needed to hit him to pass him but in doing so you could cut a tire or bend something and so I waited for a better chance but it never came and we finished in 5th right there with the 3rd and 4th place cars. I just love this track, it's hard, tough and fast but most important, so much fun to race.
Congratulations to Mike Bentley and his crew for taking their 3rd feature win of 2012.

Back at the pits the crew were excited, it was a very good run for us, for our sponsors and all those who supported Family Faith Night. That’s three weeks in a row of strong running for our team. We still have a big gap between us and the top three but we’re closing in a little each week.

Right after the race, the top three in points were tore down and impounded in the tech building. The engines were checked over, but we have no idea what was checked or the results. I’m guessing they will all be fine.

Gehrig’s Race
Gehrig started 4th in the Mini Stock feature, in his newly painted and lettered Honda. He gained one spot by lap two and then a yellow came out. The faster cars wasted no time getting to the front and he was soon under siege by the best Sunset Mini drivers. Gehrig held his own all race and by the end of the feature was driving in as hard as everyone else, but not getting on the gas as soon, and maybe not being set in the corners as good. Regardless of those things he will learn with seat time, he did amazing finishing 10th in his first attempt at running with the bulls. I was happy with Gehrig, he showed very good improvement from the week before. The more he races the more comfortable he’ll feel in his car.

Next week is a double header for us at Sunset Speedway. We have regular racing on Saturday and the first of two Limited Late Model specials on Sunday.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:56 pm

Hey Jim, thank you so much. I edited my race report and added your involvement, I should have done it orginally but it was late at night and I was exhausted. No excuse, and I did get it in.

I appreciate your support of what I'm doing. I think the world is not full of atheists as widely thought, though it sure is filled with people centered on themselves. We may be in the most serious times of our existance in terms of ignoring God. I think people would turn to Him if they fell they had to, but most don't see any need for God. That's why it's important that I put people first and not me or my car.

Hope to see you again soon.
God bless and thank you for all you do.

Gary
Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Post by Gary » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:06 pm

August 4th.............Sunset Speedway

Race #15

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Corneliuous wins incredible photo finish by .0001
* We get 3rd, best feature finish at Sunset in a Late Model, best for us in 2 years.
* Gehrig has strong run in heats, wrecked in feature
* Great crowd again
* David big help, my crew on holidays or working

Results
1st Heat.......3rd
2nd Heat......6th
Feature.......3rd
Gehrig
1st heat.......5th
2nd Heat......6th
Feature.......DNF

Winnings
$500

Repairs
None...routine...prepare for Teen camp

Crew
David, JJ and Glen and the Zardo Team.

Conclusion
After the fifth place finish last week, we didn’t really have a lot to do on the car for this week’s racing. We always go over the car regardless, making sure nothing is working its way loose, or starting to wear out. Brakes are easy to see, both from performance and visual, but other things need a closer look.
Bob was heading away to Huntsville with his family on Tuesday, but was able to help me with the car on Monday night. It’s really hard for the two of us to maintain the car. On some occasions we have three, but mostly it’s Bob and I.
We make Monday and Wednesday the nights to work on the car, and if needed, maybe a little on Thursday or Friday depending on the work load, or if we need to order parts and they’re not in until later in the week. A list is made and we work at it, watching the TV sports a little, but mostly getting the maintenance done. I really care about my crew not being overly stretched in terms of being here too many nights, or being here for a long time. I will do extra things on my own to save the stress for my crew, because the last thing I want is them leaving. I lost four crew members at the end of one season recently and that was a huge hit for us. I’m very thankful I have the help I do, it sure makes it fun.
Bob wasn’t the only one unable to make it to Sunset this past Saturday, in fact none of our crew could make it. Matt was on holidays, Steve wasn’t able to make it and Ryan had to work. Paul Johnson from Open Doors has coveralls at our house, and he loves to get involved, but he was in Malaysia on business.
I knew this ahead of time, it wasn’t a shock, but still was cause for concern. I knew I could ask someone up there to spot for me if needed, and if I was stuck I could always lean on one of the other race teams if needed, both the Holdaway and Zardo teams have offered help earlier in the year. The funny thing is getting someone local to commit. We usually have help at the track, but for some reason, there isn’t many people, guys or girls who want to work on a car. I asked Shirley if she would spot but she really finds that job over the top stressful, and I can imagine it would be, especially on a very fast oval like Sunset, although any track that has side by side racing would be tough on people who have not spotted before. Bob has been incredible this year, learning more every week. Big Jim was amazing but Bob is truly coming into his own.
I decided to call my son David to help. I called on Monday and he said he would let me know by Tuesday, and on Tuesday he confirmed he would be my spotter and crew chief for the night. Matt and Ryan both wanted to be there, and both let me know they would make it for the Sunday race, however that show got cancelled from rain, but it was still nice to know they would be there.
On Friday I was thinking I would like to have gone to Delaware to watch David race, but I was tired, and really couldn’t afford it, still trying to watch our funds, which are extremely tight.
I decided to do some tinkering on the car and have it 99% ready for the track. While I was cleaning the car Nonie came out and said “Jeannie is texting me David’s results”. Now I was paying attention. She said “a huge wreck happened on lap two”. My heart dropped a little, and Nonie said “but David got through, he started 9th and was up to 4th, now there is 8 laps to go and he 2nd”. I was praying for David. Cleaning the car, thinking about the race. Remembering that he got spun out running 2nd on the Wednesday night show. “Get er’ done” I was thinking. Nonie come back again and said “he’s in first, with four laps to go, but there’s a caution”. I was going nuts. Nonie was overseeing the RV, to make sure Shirley and the kids, and me, had enough food for the weekend, and utensils etc. She come back, I was nervous now, kind of sick feeling nervous. Don’t tell me he got spun out again. She came in the garage “do you have an extra extension cord”? I was insane right at that moment. “A what”? I wasn’t ready to answer any questions, I wanted to know results, namely Delaware. She left and then came back again “oh guess what??...he won”!!!! I was jumping up and down, just me and Nonie in the garage, a little celebration of our own. “That’s my boy” I said, “mine too, she laughed”. What a moment for us, 90 miles from the event, yet rejoicing, but nothing compared to what was going on at the track, the burn out and of course the incredible joy for his wife Jeannie, the crew and their families. What a night of victory and triumph.
It was his first Late Model feature win away from Flamboro. Then just for a second, I lost my mind and thought “imagine if we could do it again tomorrow night”. I went to bed excited, anticipating, but knowing that unless Walters, Bentley and Cornelious all forgot to show up or got kidnapped by Aliens, a win at Sunset for us, especially if it was allowed in the gaming world, would be a bookies nightmare. We’d be 500 to 1 odds. After all, those three have won every feature this year but two, and could have had them all if some rough stuff wasn’t figured in.
Oh well, me and about 15 other Late Models at Sunset already know we eat from the 4th place and back trough, but it was still nice to dream, and with David winning, and coming with me, who knows, crazier things have happened, but our goal would be to make it a double win weekend for the Elliott’s.
I headed up early with Gehrig. Coming in the pits I asked Ted if he could or would whistle my engine and he said “bring her down”. I wondered if I had to pull the rocker cover off but he said no, just the spark plugs, but asked not to start the car and don’t do anything at all until we got it to tech.
It took me about 20 minutes to set up the pit area and get everything organized for David. He would be arriving around 4 and I was in no hurry of doing any extra practice. It was extremely hot, over 95 degrees.
As soon as I was finished setting up the pits, with the Quaker State flags blowing in the breeze (a breeze that made it bearable) Ted, the tech director, came up and suggested we get the car down to the tech building as soon as possible. I asked the 41 crew for a push and they helped me along with some of the 46 crew.
During the week I called John Stefko to inquire about doing my engine, getting more power. He said a valve job would bring it alive. I asked if he would mill the head a little, and he said he would, to clean it up, depending on the compression now. I knew milling the heads would increase compression so I suggested before he touched my engine to get the track to whistle it, to verify what the compression was and John agreed.
They checked two cylinders and the compression was actually very good, 9.0. I knew then we couldn’t really do much with the heads, but then again John is the expert and if 9:1 is the limit, then getting the max is important and we’d consider it for a later date, but maybe not this year.
When David got to the track he started taking over the chores. Glen, one of the regular crew members from the Zardo team came over and let me know that if we needed anything at all just to ask. That was awesome, Glen knew we had troops missing and let us know they would be there to help if we needed it.
After 2 sets of hot laps David and I talked at length. The car would not turn. Not like it would have to be competitive. We went over the options and he made a trailing arm adjustment.
In our first heat we started 3rd behind Bentley. I thought we took the green coming off four, but I must have been the only one who thought that. Mike got hard on the gas at the restart line going into three, totally throwing me and Billy Zardo off, Billy was outside. By the start finish line he was already a few car lengths ahead and moved into the high lane. I thought for sure they would throw the yellow, but it didn’t happen. Mike would go on to win by half a straight. Chris Morrow got into second and he to pulled away. We finally got into third and stayed there.
After that heat we decided to add a spring rubber to the right rear, but that was it. We had filled the car before the heats, with the plan of not adding fuel again before the feature.
In the next heat we started 7th and finished 6th, but the difference was the handling, the car was much better.
David liked how the car was running, and I let him know we’d been running decent the past month. For the feature we put on the newer tires and he made one minor change and we were set to go.
Tom Walters won both of his heats with Kevin 2nd. Mike and Chris took our heat races.
Before the feature J.J. offered to pit in the infield for us. Glen said we could give them our tires and they would help change them if needed. That was truly awesome for them to offer to help us like that.
Gehrig's Night
There is nothing like a good competitive car to help Gehrig learn the ropes of racing. This Honda has been all of that, and he has yet to our grow it. I’m sure it won’t be long before he gets frustrated at not being able to keep up with the top few cars, but that scenario is down the road a ways yet.
He had two good sets of hot laps and was ready to race. We got to see both of his heat races, sometimes it’s tough because of the division line up. Late Models were first out, then Mini’s. I had to hustle back to the pit after and get out of the car, and head back to the fence to watch. It was doable because Gehrig was in the third heat and I could make it no problem.
David and I watched and could see he was really trying hard to keep up, in fact maybe too hard. Over driving a race car can most times slow you down and he was experiencing that, though many watching might not notice it. The car travels in too far and either pushes up, or simply takes too long to settle and he can’t get back on the gas.
Gehrig finished 5th and 6th in both of his heat races. In the feature he started near the front. He was doing well, holding his own for the first 7 laps in spite of the wild three and four wide racing. Coming off turn four in a pack, three wide, he was tagged and spun to the inside, and could not keep it off the inside cement wall. He was okay physically but out with suspension damage. The car will need to be gone over to make sure there isn’t more damage. His next race will be the Wednesday night race, August 15th at Sunset.
[Late Model Feature
We started 3rd, meaning we qualified with our 3rd and 6th place finishes. Last week we had a 5th and 6th but did not qualify and had to run the consi, putting us 14th on the grid of 18 cars. There was no consi this week, and there were 19 cars, another good turnout.
Bruce Rankin #55 was pole and Ernie Fumerton #10 was outside pole. On the green I stayed right with Bruce. I learned from the first heat deal with Mike that the cars are likely to be hard on the gas any second after the pace truck pulled off.
Bruce led the first lap and I got into second. Our car pushed up in three and four but within a straight away it was starting to hook up. I got by Bruce coming off two on lap two and once in the lead started to build up a lead. By lap four David said we were four car lengths ahead, and gaining.
The first yellow came out on lap 5 when Chris Morrow’s distributor let go. On that restart I made sure I was hard on the gas at the white line going into three, in fact I made sure I didn’t get jumped. Once again I got the lead but we would only go a lap and another yellow on lap 6.
Again we restarted with Bruce outside and the same scenario. This time we ran until lap 12 and during that run David was so excited because we were 7 car lengths up on second and still pulling away. However that lead would disappear when Ernie Fumerton got turned and ended up backwards in the inside wall. He drove away but did not finish the race.
This time we restarted with #88 Scott Beatty beside us. I knew Scott was a fast car, but I had not really ran with him much this year. He wasn’t out every night so I had no idea how fast he was. I was focused and with David reminding me constantly that we had a good car I was on it right away. Going into three I got the lead again and within four laps was pulling away. David let me know there was a huge battle for 2nd as the cars were side by side for six rows, but meanwhile we were pulling away.
It would be lap 15 when the next yellow came out. A wreck involving Tom Walters, Sean Grosman and Scott Beatty. All three went to the back. I checked out the score board and could see Mike in second and Kevin third. I knew we were done, of course so did both Kevin and Mike know my little episode of leading all those laps was coming to an end. David let me know just to drive as hard as I could, and of course I did. Mike and I raced into three, I got a good start again, but it only took him a quarter of a lap to get in front. I don’t remember a year where our car has been so out gunned as it is this year. Anyway, I had no time to worry about that because the other rocket was on my tail. David said on lap 17 “he’s right on your tail, just drive your race”. Next thing I know I am side ways heading for the wall, just slightly, but it was a nudge on the front chute that I really didn’t like. Kevin was trying to go under me and misjudged my slow car and caught my rear. Once he was gone David said just follow him, your car is fast and we can get a third out of this.
Then another yellow when #22 stalled on the front chute. They moved me ahead of Kevin, and I thought what a waste of time this is, just let him have the spot. But I thought, here’s a chance to let Kevin know that he could have passed me without hitting me. I made some puppet signs with my hands, and for sure he seen them, because after the race he apologized. Meanwhile on this restart I had to be careful because some of the cars like me were right there now. Sean Cronan, Sean Grosman, Dario Capirchio, all cars running for that elusive fourth place. Also, Tom Walters would be coming soon. David let me know that the cars behind were all struggling a little and not to do anything but give all I had.
On the restart Mike was gone, and Kevin was right on his tail. I did get into third and David let me know after two laps that we were pulling ahead of fourth. We finally had a long green run, like Bentley needed it. But what was strange was that as we pulled six or seven car lengths ahead of fourth we were staying with Kevin. He never really pulled ahead and David noted that he was struggling and we were gaining on him, slightly, but still closing the gap. I figured by Sunday morning I would catch him. I checked the scoreboard coming off two and saw lap 27 and Cronan fourth, but according to my spotter and very distant fourth.
I was very comfortable now. The car was awesome. I know that sounds so incredibly contradictory, given that Bentley smoked as did Kevin, but in our little world (and I don’t plan on being here very long) we were doing okay with a well handling car. I was settling in nice knowing we had a big lead on fourth and making a run of it with Kevin. Then another yellow, the kind that makes you say “are you kidding me”? I was so ready to end this, but David had other ideas. He noted rightly that we were staying with Kevin and maybe we could pull off a second. I noted that some heavy equipment was right on our tail and were frothing at the mouth all excited that they were now within striking distance of getting a podium finish. David reminded me not to worry about them just stay right with Bentley.
On the restart I did just that, but Kevin’s car was suddenly not the same, and to make things worse, Sean Cronan was diving in deep and making sure we weren’t getting a run off the corners. We raced down the back chute and David could see a hard battle was developing for us. “Drive in hard dad”, and so I did as #1 son ordered. But inside my car, I was only going to drive in as hard as I could so I would not slide up into Sean. The white came out and coming off four we were side by side. The leaders were side by side, and so was third and fourth. We raced down the back chute again and David let me know that we were pulling him off the corner, because our car was handling so good. We raced into three and I waited a little just to make sure the car wouldn’t slide up and then bolted off four crossing the line with the nose of Sean’s #84 at our passenger door. It was exciting for sure, David was really excited, but the two cars ahead of us were even closer as Kevin beat Mike by .001 of a second. It was a photo finish just incredible for the fans.
As I was leaving the track I watched to see if the girl would show me the tech card but she didn’t so I said to David “no tech”. I drove back to our pit and David came running, very excited, kind of disappointed that we couldn’t get the win, but understanding that parity is not there yet. A few seconds later Sean came over and congratulated me, shook my hand, he was also excited that we had such a great run, and we did.
I got undressed and was heading down to watch Gehrig race when one of the tech men came over and said “you need to get your car to tech right now”. I mumbled that the girl didn’t give me the sign, and he said get to tech right now. So I went up and drove down and they weighed the car and checked a few things. I apologized for not coming but they were cool. I also asked if the top 3 automatically go to tech and they said yes.
Kevin Cornelious also apologized after the feature for getting into me. Kevin is a great runner and dosen't race to push people out of the way.
This week we are taking our car to Wesley Acres, a Christian camp just past Brighton. I will be doing a 3 day race seminar with the teens. It should be fun. Sunset gave me a few shirts and hats for the kids, and I have some things to give them as well.
We worked on the car over the weekend to get it ready for Flamboro. There is a 4 barrel on it and the small clutch, and we will run the 10" rims of course. David and Brad Corcoran gave me some used tires and we'll make them do. It's going to be tough to compete at Flamboro with a 5" ride height and the 602, with the heavier weights. We decided to leave the led in the car, especially since we need to have it in for the next MRE race at Sunset.
I wanted to run the Grisdale Triple Crown race, but had planned to run the Coupe instead. It's on our schedule to race with the CVM at Sunset on the 11th. Adam Lockwood asked me if I would come out, the answer would have been no if it was a points night at Sunset in the Late Model, but there were no LM's schedule so I agreed to come out and help car count.
The MRE race on Wednesday the 15th is bascially the same set up except we'll go back to 8" tires on the 10" rims. I really don't want to put an extra burden on my crew to get the car ready for Sunset's regular Late Model show on the 1`8th, plus we are not going to be competitive no matter what we do for Flamboro. There are too many disadvantages, namely ride height, engine and old tires. It will be fun to run again at Flamboro, but more from a spectator point of view.
August will be our busiest month in a many years, because of our commitments, I guess I am almost racing full time. We raced on the 4th, and will race on the 11th, 15th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 25th and 26th. We also have teen camp for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th and then another church event in Wasaga Beach on the 19th. Busy but I love it.

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