Diary Of A Season 2013

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

Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:45 pm

Postby Gary » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:29 pm

2013, our 45th season racing, our 40th with Quaker State.

Over the years I've become more and more involved with our racing on a bigger scale. More races, shows, and promotional ideas have been considered and now a reality making our race program just short of a full time job. Since the end of 2004 our racing ventures have increased greatly, perhaps because I haven't been dedicating a lot of my time and passion to the CVM club, where being President 7 years was a huge commitment. It was a commitment to over 100 members, tracks and fans, and for the most part our own racing was put on the back burner, although we always got ready in time thanks to the help and dedication of so many friends over the years.

I absolutely loved the Hobby club and would sacrifice time, money and long hours to make sure we had a good race schedule, point fund through sponsors and of course keeping the spirit of the Coupes and Coaches alive by the many events we did throughout the season. I didn't do it alone, there were other members just as dedicated and enthused as I was, it was a team effort. The Hobby club was and still is a very prominent division racing in Ontario and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to make an impact on the time spent with this awesome organization, plus we still have our Coupe to sneak out to a race when we have a Late Model night off.

Racing the Late Model began in 2005, and brought new opportunities for our team. A web site designed by Jamie Watson is a great tool that is used often to promote our sport, sponsors, log our history in Demo Derby's, Mini's, Hobbies, late Models and keep our friends and fans updated on what we were doing. The Message Board portion was something I'd been doing since 72 only in a 3 ring note book by hand. Now race reports are posted on line in a forum.

It's hard to imagine that at 65 years old and 44 years of hard racing, that my plan for the future would not include a cutting back approach to racing. Well it's not. We have a well organized program, but it does not include doing less, slowing or winding down. In fact it' the opposite. This year being our 45th, and more importantly our 40th with Quaker State has been long awaited. I want so much to not only have a banner season on the track, but to have just as an enthusiastic season promoting our sponsors, our home track, every track we race and of course our sport. A 40th anniversary souvenir program dedicated to Quaker State, plus for the first time in our 45 years, apparel to sell to our friends and fans is in the works and should be ready for the CME show in February 8,9 and 10. 2013 will be even busier than 2012, a year that saw 28 race nights, the most since 1998. The 28 nights wasn't a high for us, in fact it ranks 13th, tied with 3 other years at 28 nights. What made 2012 different than any other season was the 19 shows we did off the track, events, displays and visits to kids camps, churches, malls etc. We were with our car 47 times either racing it or talking to people about racing.

During my years on the committee of the Hobby Club, I was obsessed with working hard to make sure my portion of duties was completed properly. There were many others who worked together to help grow the Hobby club and our sport as well. Our race team is no different in terms of help and support. We are blessed to have a great team of friends, our crew and sponsors, who are dedicated the same way we are, who want to race and have fun, so working hard for these people is the focus for me now. The beauty of having dedicated people means the work load gets distributed so a greater opportunity to have fun and been successful is guaranteed. People are the most important aspect of anything in this world, I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by many great people.

Thanks to the support of my wife, family and friends our racing has been very strong. Some of those close to me want me to slow down, but that is not on the horizon anytime soon....that I know about. Nonie has gone through incredible pain the past six or seven years and couldn't make it to the 2012 races like she use to. She is still 100% behind us, and is aware of what we're doing and trying to accomplish, but to sit at a track for four or five hours is not on her list of things she can tolerate right now, especially with us running at Sunset Speedway, a move she supports. It's the hour and a half trip to the track along with a long day from 2 till 10 that is just too much to handle. Nonie has 3 little dogs whom she nurses, they love her, she loves them, and though I miss her being at the races, I know she is okay at home taking it easy. It is sad when Nonie can't make it, but I would never ask her to go unless she made that decision. She also won't ask me to quit racing and watch movies at home.......not yet anyhow. We are making plans for 2013 to move our RV to Sunset so she could go to the camper on her Golf Kart and rest rather than sit in the pits waiting to watch us race. Nonie missed most of 2012, but rarely missed any nights prior to that.

This season will be a big one for us. The car show, souvenir program, apparel are only part of it. The plan is for us to use our current car as a show car and emergency back up, and purchase a new McColl car. David is selling his Late Model and will join our team in 2013 with Jim Hulzinga and Eddie Askin. We will purchase the new car and then in 2014 David will drive for us in the new car and my team will join OSCAAR in the Mod’s. However we will have my back up Late Model to use in 2014 for special events, and of course the CVM. Once Gehrig is ready to move to Late Models, we will decide what series of races that David, Gehrig and I will compete in for 2015. Laruen will move from Go-Karts to Mini Stocks when she feels ready, right now she says she will wants to race Mini's in 2014, so she could be in the equation by 2016.

We are looking forward to 2013, it's a milestone year. Of course we want to be competitive at Sunset, and know a new car is required. With a good piece of equipment, plus David and his team joining our awesome team, we could be in good shape to take a serious run at the 2013 Sunset Speedway track Championship. One thing is certain, we will be promoting all our sponsors this season, and celebrating our milestone of 40 years with Quaker State and having fun doing it.

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Postby Gary » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:50 pm

CME Show...

The annual CME show was this weekend. This was our 2nd time in it and though a little slower than 2012, I still felt it was a good event. The bad snow storm on Friday scared many away for that night, but Saturday and Sunday were kind of busy.

We had our Quaker State 40th anniversary book available, and I am very thankful for the company that made it, for the work they did, keeping within our budget and producing an amazing book. It is available now for $5, email me if you would like one and for an extra $1 we will send one to you.
gelliot@cogeco.ca
The book has a poster insert of every car we've had that was sponsored by Quaker State.
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Quaker State 40th Anniversary Souvenir Program


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Postby Gary » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:54 pm

Our race program is coming slowly. So far in 2013 we have signed all our sponsors, including a few new ones. The sponsors we lost never got back to us by phone, email or text, and we made the assumption they would not be returning and moved on. We are so thankful for our new team partners, Arctica Heating and Cooling, LANVAC Surveillance, Alokozay Premium Tea and Permatex.

Quaker State will be our primary sponsor on not only the Late Model and Mini Stock, but also the Go-Cart. Lincoln Electric will be the primary sponsor on our CVM, with Quaker State the next biggest secondary sponsor and Drew Mac Systems Group.

The Go-Cart just needs a seat. Our LM is ready for shows. It will be used for shows only in 2013, perhaps a few specials unless we get it retro-fitted with the updated chassis, or get a new car. The latter doesn't look like it will happen, although that was our wish. There has been very little movement in any of the fronts where we need to make it work. We'll spend over $40,000 just for a complete car. To make that happen we need to sell David's Pro Late, pick up a few more sponsors and raise another $10,000 on top of that. Plan B is to keep David's Late Model as a show car and use it for the 2 races at Flamboro this year, the Gold Rush on August 19th and Octoberfest. We are still waiting for some news of income to get the new car, but as of today, Plan B looks like a go, and we are not discouraged at the thought of that because we have the budget now to update our car with all it needs to "TURN" in the corners.

Gehrig's Mini Stock is not finished as of today, but should be soon, then it goes for paint and lettering. Our CVM is getting painted and will be in the Mega Speed car show from March 22nd to 24th in the Lincoln Electric display. Hopefully it goes for lettering by the 16th of March. Our LM will be in the Sunset Speedway display at the March car show. Shortly after the Mega Speed show we will make the decision to get our LM updated at McColl's and be ready for practice day at Sunset in mid April.

Our team will grow a lot in 2013 with the addition of David, Eddie and Jim from his crew. Those three will be a huge help to our existing crew. Bob and Matt will make most of the 2013 races. Matt made almost every race in 2012. Bob will miss the long weekend races and will be away for holidays sometime in July. Ryan will continue with us but has many nights where his DJ business takes priority and we understand that family and work come first. Paul Johnson will try to make more races in 2013, but his work sends him all over the globe, but if possible he will make more than he did in 2012. Jason Green will work mostly with Shirley and Gehrig on the Mini Stock and we will help them as well.

It was tough last year when we only had one or two crew members for some of the races, as well, our team were very green (not just from Qukaer State uniforms). Most had never pitted on a car before, but they did awesome in the very competitive and demanding game of racing. This year should be a great season with Bob, Matt, Ryan, Paul and Nathan , our newest crew member. They will be getting much needed help with the additon of David, Eddie and Jim. We feel these three are a tremendous bonus for us experience wise. David and Eddie have been together since 1996. Jim has pitted for our team since the late 90's. The #37 trio brign with them over 75 years knowledge in this sport, 5 Championships, and many many feature wins. We believe our team would be one of the best equipped in terms of personal in 2013.

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David & His Crew Take 2nd Feature At Delaware On Last Night of Racing


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Postby Gary » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:37 am

We are preparing our show car now for 2013. This is David's car, but we will use it for a few races and more shows.
The body needs to be replaced, interior painted and the rest gone over cosmetically then sent out for paint.
Once that's done it will go for lettering, and all in time for a show on May 11th in Orangeville.
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Postby Gary » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:48 am

New Body In

Our new body for David's 2012 car is ready for pick up. We'll start to install it next week. Meanwhile the Mini Stock is out getting painted, should be ready by Monday, and the interior for our show car will be painted by Monday as well.
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Postby Gary » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:47 am

All 5 Cars Getting Closer

Our Go-Cart has been upgraded, rebuilt engine, new seat, and chassis set up by Jake Collison. It just needs led now to complete it.

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The Mini Stock is out getting lettered at Creative Edge. It should be ready this weekend for sure. The Coupe, Sunset LM and Pro Late Model are all being assembled and repaired with timelines for these cars being completed also within the week. It's been crazy, but we're almost there.
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Postby Gary » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:14 am

The CVM got some work on the weekend. Tyler, Darrel and Mike came over and scaled the car. The car is quite a bit lighter now with the wide 5's giving us an opportuity to get more left side weight. We have had a big disadvantage the past few years with at least 2 to 3 precentage points lower than most of the top cars. This car will be much better in 2013. Tyler just needs to get some seat time to get use to the power to weight ration and the quick repsonse the Vintage Mods have. We will have the car ready for practice this weekend.
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Postby Gary » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:49 pm

As the time gets closer to battle for the title, we still have lots to do, although the list is getting smaller. Of course, as soon as the list gets smaller, things get added. The Go-Cart needs led added, the Mini Stock scaled and cleaned, the CVM is done, the Sunste LM has a long list to do and the show car is waiting now for paint.
On Friday we pick up our Quaker State trailer that was saftied. Then David, Jim and I head to McColl's early Saturday morning. I am going there on Friday the 19th to get some things done and hopefully not end up in intensive care. When we leave McColl's the car will need a thorough nut and bolt check and one set of hot laps to shake it down.
I'm very happy with every aspect of this years racing although it's been quite exhausting. I think things will get better once we start to race becasue I have the best pit crew in Ontario and they will take a ton off me at the track, so I may actually get rest on Saturday nights.
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Postby Gary » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:17 am

We have our Sunset Late Model back home. We still have a huge list of work to do on it, mostly going over every nut and bolt, pulling out the transmission, it decided to mess up and hasn't raced since the last feature at Delaware, where it won, with the rest of the car, so why it would suddenly be acting up is a mystery, but one we'll find. We also have to install shifters, fluids, the grille, air box, a skid plate, the Hans safety device, making it to work properly.

Speaking of the Hans, I bought it a few years ago, tried twice to make it work and for some reason we're having an issue with it. The problem is it moved forward when my belts are over the shoulder. I was told to run thinner belts, so I installed those last year but still, when I'm strapped in I can't move my head but my who body slides on the Hans. We'll fix it becasue I've had my worst wrecks the past few years, and i still have pain from my neck. A few hard whacks could have caused concussions as well, especially the final the severe two at Flamboro and two in 2012. So it's my choice to use the Hans, and would have got it right before if it was mandatory. I think the tracks should mandate any safety items, like restraints, good helmets, fire systems and gloves. Surprising that gloves are mandatory at most tracks but few make it mandatory to have a Hans or Hutchinson neck restraint. Anyway, my family has asked me several times to get one and use it, I finally got it, and it is slowly getting closer to being used. I guess the good news is that it's still like new.

Special thanks to all my crew for their help. Bob, Gehrig, Nathan, David, Jim, Ryan, Matt, Eddie and Lauren have all contributed somehow to make the work load a little easier. Paul Johnson and Urban Warner have also helped and I appreciate their support as well.

Soon we will post a picture of all our cars together, and our crew. Just 2 weeks till show time and we are excited although to be honest, I have so much left to do and organize I'm still working the program and haven't had an opportunity to focus on much else inclulding sitting back, having a coffee and reflecting on the challenge we'll face in order to take a serious run at the Championship. I know this much, with the crew we have, our new car and a ton of experience, I think we have as much of a chance as any car in the field. None of us can know how much luck will affect us, however, if you approach racing smart both on and off the track bad luck can reduced and good luck increased. As much as I haven't been able to get excited about this year with those in the garage, I am able to talk about it here because i'm much more relaxed.

More on our teams progress and all that's going on very soon. Thanks for visiting our site....please get one of our 40th Anniversary Quaker State books, they are great if I may say so, and I'm so thankful for all the advertisers, and how well the printer worked with us. Awesome.
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Postby Gary » Tue May 07, 2013 12:55 pm

May 4th.......Sunset Speedway

Race #1

High Lites
* 17 cars
* Bentley Wins
* We wreck in heat
* Crew amazing
* Gehrig has good start to season
* Lauren gets roughed up in Go-Cart

Results
Late Model
1st Heat........DNF
2nd Heat.......8th
Feature........13th

Mini Stock
1st Heat.......5th
2nd Heat......4th
Feature........8th

Winnings
Late Model.......$100
Mini Stock........TBA

Repairs
2 uppers, right lower, right spindle, 2 shocks, 2 doors, 2 tires, 2 wheels

Crew
David, Bob,Jim, Matt, Rayn Eddie, Urban, Macey.

Conclusion
“Sorry for the late response…been hectic since Sunday afternoon”……..
The first race has come and gone. Our 45th opening night is in the books and might be the worst ever, in some ways. Certainly from what we expected for the start of the season, we sure didn’t get anything close to that in terms of performance. However our race program is like a sports team, broke down in different categories. Trying to evaluate our strengths, like in sports where defense, offence, power plays, penalty killing etc is judged. To compare, our team is strong in sponsorship, crew, experience, chassis, suspension, power, determination and understanding of the sport in many dimensions.

We didn’t show any signs of dominance on the track, (no kidding...still working on car and driver), however, one area that proved itself beyond a doubt was the work of my pit crew. They were incredible. If it were not for them, we would have missed our next heat and possibly the feature. They scurried around like an emergency unit in a dire situation and came through with flying colors. Thank you David, Bob, Jim, Matt, Ryan, Eddie, Urban and Macey. Also, Ron, Paul and Lorraine from Arctica Heating and Cooling were in our pits for awhile. They came to cheer on their car and were very supportive in spite of what would have been a disappointing night out for them.

Opening Day
Bob and I arrived in plenty of time to set up our pits. We made one set of hot laps before the rest of our crew arrived.
There were a few changes to be done on most right away. The car was tight, in the middle, but it was a combination of set up and driver. Adjustments were made to the chassis, and for me. I needed to discipline myself not to overdrive each corner. I seemed to fine in three and four, but constantly made the same mistakes in one and two. No spotter should tell a racer how to drive, but when the spotter is a driver and can see clearly how to improve lap times through corner speed and entry, then I say “tell me what I need to know”.
Last year we struggles with an outdated car. Now we have an updated car and need to learn where good line is around this very fast track and not over drive the car. I’m okay with that, I just want to do better and if it takes a few weeks of being taught a better line, different driving techniques, I’m good with that. After all, a lot of people have invested in our team, sponsors, crew, friends and fans, and I want to deliver for all of them. Having someone tell me how to improve lap times is not always something many experienced drivers listen to. However, when the person telling you is a 6 time Champion, you listen, when it’s your son, you are proud to listen. Talk about reverse rolls. By this time in both of our lives, it would be a normal conclusion to think that Dad would coach the son, but Dad won’t get out of the car and the son wants so bad to see his father race strong and be successful. We both have the same goals, and both agree it’s a team effort. So included in those we want to be a blessing are those other crew members who dig in and get the car set for each race. Matt Smith, in his second year with our team said “it’s always tough when there are new crew members, it will take us awhile to grow together and work as one unit”.
Once hot laps were done we felt our performance had improved. We were at least 2 tenths (a mile) off the fastest cars, but were closing the gap each time out.
Our starting spot for the heat race was determined by drawing a number. We drew number one…#1, and it seemed that we got off on the right foot right away, although we’d soon find out, drawing a high number would have been much better.
After a brief team meeting before our first heat race we prepared for heat #1. I got in my car and buckled up. As I backed up, I was guided back by one of our crew. In the past, we always did a radio check to make sure the radios were working. I would give the thumbs up and we’d head to the staging lane. Our team members were all busy getting cleaned up after working on the car as I slowly backed up. First issue for us…no confirmation the radios were working.
Starting pole meant I should be there quickly but was a little late and all the rest of the heat cars were ahead of me. I pulled up behind and could see I would have to wait until we got on the track, then work my way to the front, our starting spot. By the time I pulled on the track the pace car was just coming into three and I bolted ahead and looked for a route to get to my spot without hitting one of the cars who were warming up their tires, getting stones and junk off the rubber. I went around once and then finally it dawned on me that I had not heard from my spotter yet. I had got by a few more cars, but still had four more to pass as we cruised around under yellow.
I called out on the radio “test one two, test one two”, but there was no response. My heart rate went up a little. The starter motioned me forward, but I had to be careful as some drivers were very aggressive in warming up their tires and I had to time it to get by them. Now in second I was finally almost to my spot and then called out again, but no reply. I checked my ear phones, they were in, my radio was on. We were coming off 4 and two things were happening. The white flag was waving and my heart rate was almost maxed. Now what???? Should I pull over and go to the back (YES)…. However if I do the track staff and flag man will think “what’s with this guy, he takes 4 minutes to get to his spot and now he’s going to bring out another caution so he can go to the back, and delay the start of this race”. So my thought was, if I pull out of line they will be upset. Also, after hot laps, my crew were very satisfied with our car and thought for sure we would have a good run in the heat. I thought if I go to the back they might wonder why I didn’t stay out and just follow the leader. These thoughts were going madly and quickly through my brain as we closed the distance between getting out or getting the green. I passed the point of no return by midway down the back chute and decided to race, but be smart.
Morrow was on the outside. On the green we flew into turn one and my heart flew into a flurry. No spotter to guide me I drove as though I was in my Coupe, where we raced with no spotters or mirrors from 1978 to 2004. Surely I could get away with this once was my thought.
We raced into turn three and Morrow got a little ahead and I stayed what I thought was low enough to give room for the outside lane, although I could not see anyone there, but they could have been to my door and I would not have seen them. I knew coming out of four I made the wrong decision not to go scratch. This field was fairly stout as well. Morrow (though he was gone) Micks, Witty, Baker, Grossman to name a few were all on my tail. It wasn’t that I couldn’t stay ahead of them, it was getting comfortable to run a groove or line that was the key. We were early in the race, no kidding, ready to take lap one, and in the midst of the sort out period of the race, where cars dice until they get into position, or get sorted out. As we came off four Kerry Micks was 4’ off the wall, maybe 5’.
I knew I couldn’t just jump into the high lane, I wasn’t going to do that. But I must have thought I could edge up a little. I was almost 8’ from the wall and never thought for a second I would get nudged there.
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However, what I feared, what my crew feared, came to reality when suddenly my car started to turn slow towards the wall. Perhaps I had squeezed Micks, but the only pictures I have show him with lots of room on his outside and no one right on his tail. In the next 2 seconds my car was sideways and crashing into the cement very hard.
The Cash Account:
Right front wheel makes contact with 50’ deep wall. Casualties include the upper control arm, spindle, lower control arm, wheel, tire, caliper bracket, ball joints, tie rod, and the door on that side creased by contact with #40…..$1485.

The car bounces off the wall, and heads to the low lane where we get slammed hard by an oncoming, unsuspecting, and innocent Jason Witty. Jason slams the car hard the door hard and the left front wheel. We lose the door, rocker panel, tire, rim and upper control arm $450….plus both body protectors $70, not to mention door painting, numbers and all the sponsor stickers.
The car comes to a stop, beat up, but worse, so is Jason Witty. I was so distressed by it all, felt guilty for my crew, Jason and any others who were involved. I felt bad for my family and fans and realized regardless of what could have happened, the decision to take my spot the wrong one, so in the end, I was totally responsible. I couldn’t believe, after hundreds of hours on this car, and the others, that we’d be dealt with a fate like this, but it was preventable, because I should have went to the back……..more on this story and our impressive crew….on my way now to get more parts and lettering for the car.
Continued....It’s a sick feeling being towed into the pits. If it’s just a flat tire it’s not a big deal, but with this carnage, it was a big deal. The tow truck pulled me in and as we got to our pit I went up to David and said “it was my fault, I should have went to the back”. He looked at me and said “it was a combination of things, but this is where we start from”.
He was right, we no longer had a good race car with potential to get better, we had a good race car that was trashed and now needed to get through the night.
My crew had been through this before. Last year we suffered a few bad blows, and the year before that, so Bob, Matt and Ryan were experienced. David has been wrecked many times over his 25 plus seasons and seeing our car hit the wall hard, then get hit again was evidence enough the car wasn’t going to be good. Frustration set in, for all the crew guys, but by the time the car got to them they had one mandate…..get it back out.
They thrashed for 35 minutes. I asked if we were done, would we make the feature, because I had not seen all the damage. David looked at me and said “no, we’re going to get this ready for the next heat race”.
I was pleasantly shocked. In my 33 years with the Coupes, my goal was not to miss a race if possible. So we would go nuts on the car every time it was in a wreck with full intention of getting back out for the consi, so we could get in the feature. I hated more than anything else, to watch a feature race of the class I was in. I wanted to be in it, we didn’t come to watch, we came to race, and racing is what we do, and Sunset is a racers track. If we win it’s a bonus but the key is to race, to get in the big show and do our best.
My crew had that attitude this night and I was very proud and happy.
We found out what happened to the radios and that was rectified. I also learned a valuable lesson. I’m sure some drivers will read this and think they could do it without a spotter, some do now. But for me it was an experience, a lesson, I don’t need repeated. I was afraid of this day before, and when it came I should have heeded my own ways to deal with it, but a number of circumstances resulted in me taking my spot and paying the price, and making my crew work extra hard to get us back out in the race.
In the second heat we were to start scratch. So I wasn’t concerned about how the car would be. The shocks we had were shorter body and did not allow the chassis to get to 5”. Shocks were fully extended and we were at least a half inch low.
The idea was to start the race and see how the car felt, and note if there were any other issues. Also to pick up valuable points.
We finished the race, but the car was slow, pushed real bad. The skid plate was hitting the track on braking and almost wore out one of the bolts holding it on. All of this due to being too low on the right side.
Anyway we made it through this heat unscathed, although I could not see any other cars on the straightaway, nor were about to lap us…..also, no radio issues. Perhaps in this race my spotter would have only had to speak once……”no cars around you”.
Getting in that race, and finishing it was a lift for all of us. Now the task was to make the car better for the feature. The boys worked hard, all doing something to get us ready.
While the crew made changes to the car I went through the pits apologizing to a few cars. The first was #19, Jason Witty. He wasn’t there but his crew were. They were very disappointed but appreciated me dropping by. Then I went to Kerry Micks, and he said not to apologize to him, but the car owners. I made it to Kyle but he really didn’t to hear from me, so I left. That kind of sucked for me, but I understood. Some people stay mad for a long time for something small, others are cool. You never know, just own up and move on.
We were lined up last in the field, that was our qualifying spot from the combined heat finishes.
The goal for me in the feature was to make sure the car was good enough to race. I didn’t want to get into the action right off the bat in case something wasn’t right. David suggested for me to hang back a little and to race it after I felt confident.
I was happy to see Jason Witty make it out and pulled up beside him and gave him the thumbs up. I wasn’t sure if he would be cool with that, but I found out later in the week that he did appreciate me coming to his pit and my message to him on facebook.
On the green we ran only a few laps and the caution came out when a car spun in turn three. David wanted me to get moving after this caution. He felt I had time to feel the car out. However I got a call to head into the pits to make a change. The only problem was ability to do so, there wasn’t much we could adjust. So I went back out at the rear.
The next green went longer. I was able to pass two cars and stay ahead of one. As the race closed we ran the final 8 laps caution free and though we weren’t bad, we could not close in on any other cars.
I thanked my crew for their efforts. They got an A+ from me.
On Sunday I stripped the car myself. I figured my crew worked hard on Saturday and now it was my turn. I needed to get all the suspension parts out to McColl to see how they lined up in the jig.
I left early Monday morning and by noon I was heading home with a new RF spindle, lower control arm, upper control arm, and a LF upper, plus 2 ball joints, 2 doors, rivets, washers and 2 front shocks.
We raced the feature with the car basically beat up, and amazingly hung on.
It’s now Wednesday and the doors are painted and lettered. We need to do the bump steer, some welding on the passenger side, install the doors, and go over the car complete for this weekend.
It was a terrible way to start the season, but I am so thrilled with the boys in our crew and how hard they worked.
This Saturday is race #2. Hope to see you there
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Postby Gary » Sun May 12, 2013 3:02 pm

May 11th ...........Sunset Speedway

Race #2

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Walters Wins
* We have no power (17th)
* We also come home in one piece
* Gehrig has great night


Results
1st Heat........10th
2nd Heat.......9th
Feature.........17th

Mini Stock
1st Heat.........3rd
2nd Heat........5th
Feature..........8th

Winnings
Late Model......$115
Mini Stock.......$60

Repairs
water leak, transmisson leak, determine lack of power, oil and filter, routine check

Crew
David, Matt, Jim, Ryan, Ken

Conclusion:
It was a crazy busy week for me. I had to get a lot of work done during the day and then count on my crew to help in the evening and they did.
The car was stripped on Sunday and all suspension parts were taken to McColl's for checking early Monday morning. We had several bent bars and I left there with all I needed to get the car put back together. Buttons came with me to McColls and greeted cusomters at the counter.
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We worked on the car Monday and Tuesday. The door panels got painted by Wednesday, so I headed to Creative Edge to get the numbers put on. I could do the small stuff with a few bubbles, but if I tried to do the numbers they would be ruined, so I let the pro's do it for me.

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By Wednesday night the car was together thanks to help from my crew. Thursday I had training so Bob, David, and Eddie worked on the chassis trying to get it set up. I showed up about 8:30 and the boys were almost done. Chris Boschler helped my crew and around 9:30 it was done, leaving some body panels to be secured, rub rails etc to be installed and we'd be ready to go.
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We were ready by Friday night, loaded up. It was a cold Saturday morning and I headed to the track just around noon. Bob was not able to come this weekend, he had a family urgency, David had to work until 4, Ryan was Go-Carting, Matt lives in Wasaga Beach and Jim had other commitments for the day, but would come out with David.
I got to the track around 2 and just took my time getting things set up. John Mitchell #8, a new Late Model driver, coming out soon, gave me a hand unloading and I was able to do most of the rest myself. Matt came shortly after and I had a list of three things to fix before hot laps. The quick change was leaking, the trans front seal had a small leak, and the biggest culprit, the fitting in the top of the water pump was also leading.
Matt and I got two of the three done and then the night mare started when we tried to fix the leak on the water pump. We tried several fittings that didn't do the job. Chris Morrow came over, he had a fitting, same as ours, but it to didn't work. I bought one from Bayside Auto. It fit, but leaked as well. Fred, from Taylor Holdaway's team came over. He had 2 new waterpumps, some have different thickness shafts. Ryan arrived about this time and now I had a spotter but we were heavy into a repair instead of worry about getting out for practice. We pulled the rad out, got working on the fix and finally just before the races started, we had it ready....well almost. There was still a leak from the aluminum fitting. It was a 90 degree and did not seal 100%. It was okay to race and we were set to go.
Fred was a great help to Matt, Ryan and I. David, Jim and Ken got there a short time later we got the car ready for the first heat race.

With no hot laps we decided to take scratch. In the first heat David wanted me to hang back, feel the car out and just finish. The car was tight so we made a small change. In the second heat I would race a little harder. It suddenly became clear that we were down on power, there was no pull off the corners, no straightaway speed. We finished that race 9th, and could not gain on the cars in front of us. We stayed about 5 car lengths back of a small pack, but the top cars were half a track ahead.
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We discussed that I should run in 3rd gear in the feature because the 3rd gear ratio is high, and if I hit the chip then I could go into 4th.
We started last inthe feature. Our car seemed to handle much better but we were clearly lacking power. Our lap times are about 3 tenths off what we should be. We stayed out of trouble, mostly because we could go fast enough to get in trouble. We made 2 pit stops to adjust for the car being tight, but the most noticeable characteristic of our car was no pull off the corners.
Tom Walters won the feature. It was clean for the most part. There are some fast cars here, and we knew that was going to be the case. The problem isn't the other cars, it's our car. We are slower than we were in 2012. At this point, it's not the driver or the crew, it's something we need to seek and find. Perhaps, gas, carb, plugs, timing are some things on our list this week to check.
I am disappointed for our team. I did all the right stuff over the winter to bring a good piece for our team, and so far it's been a huge disappointment for all of us. I could understand if some may point at me and wonder if Im not racing the car, just driving around. If that was the case I would know. I am over drivnig the car now to compensate for the things that are wrong with it.
I am convinced we'll get it. Hopefully very soon.
Thanks to my crew for a great effort and again to Fred for all his help.
Next weekend is a double header, Sunset Saturday and the CVM Season Opener on Sunday.

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Postby Gary » Sun May 19, 2013 5:48 am

May 18th..............Sunset Speedway

Race #3

High Lites
* 17 cars
* Zardo wins (way to go Billy)
* We improve a lot
* Gehrig has another productive night
* Morrow gets bad break

Results
Late Model
Heat #1.............5th
did not start next heat
Feature............10th

Mini Stock
Heat #1............2nd
heat #2............3rd
Feature............8th

Winnings
late Model......$180
Mini Stock.......$50

Repairs
Routine....scale car

Crew
Bob, David, Jim, Matt, Eddie, Ron, Ken

Conclusion
During the week we went over our car thoroughly and discovered a few things that were hindering us, the worst being our throttle not opening all the way. We were surprised at that because it was checked. When we thought about when it could have come out of adjustment we realized that after the Mega Speed car show I took the car to McColl’s and took everything off the car from the windshield forward, including the engine. Maybe when the engine was put back in we didn’t check the linkage, we missed it, assuming it would be in the same place, but clearly it wasn’t and we were happy about that find.
I have also been experiencing a vibration through the car and decided to pull the driveshaft out and have it checked. As soon as the tech looked at it he said it was bent. If the driveshaft was okay, I was going to send our quick change to Junior Hanley to check and redo the basics on it. However, hearing the driveshaft was bent was enough for me to stop there.
Later in the week we wanted to start the car to test the water gauge we bought. While it was running we could hear a loud rattle noise coming from under the floor. It sounded like a broken baffle in a catalytic converter. It was loud enough and while the car was running I got under it and thought for sure it was one of the pipes coming from the header. Bob suggested putting in the new driveshaft and retry it. After we did that the noise was gone.
Our plan Saturday was to try and get our car competitive. We felt we did all the right things over the winter and should be somewhat competitive, and certainly by now. Surely all our minor issues were behind us, and we could start our season tonight, that would be a good idea for our stressed out team. They have not had the pleasure of watching one good race in the first five we entered so far in 2013.
Bob and I set up the pit, getting our tools, tires and equipment ready. We had a small list of things to do before we went out for practice. Shortly after we arrived Jim (my 1999 to 2010 crew chief) showed up and the three of us headed to tech to get our car checked over, and make sure the ride heights, and the chassis numbers were good.
On the ride to tech I heard the rattle noise again. It was crazy loud. I looked beside me, pushed down on the floor, grabbed the fire extinguisher and thought it might be a little loose. I didn’t know what it was, but this noise was not right.
Once in tech I asked Bob and Jim if they could hear the noise, and they said they could hear a noise but it didn’t seem like anything serious. They were very anxious to get out on the track and get some hot laps. I understood, because I wanted to see if the vibration was gone, and more importantly, if I had power now that my gas pedal opened all the way.
The noise wouldn’t leave my mind so I asked Bob to drive the car back to our pit pad and he agreed. Jim and I walked behind and I could hear it clear. “Hear that Jim, that’s not right”. Once back in the pits we discussed getting on the track for hot laps. I was too worried about the noise and the boys agreed to get the car on jack stands and see if we could pin point where the noise was coming from. Under the car, Bob and Jim went from front to back, tapping the exhaust with a rubber mallet but could not hear any rattle. I started the car and within seconds Bob yells out “it’s the transmission, the noise is coming from inside the tranny”. So, no hot laps, the next 20 minutes would be used to put our spare transmission in the car.
Once the car was completed, we were now ready for a practice session. A few things on the positive side were the power and the vibration, both had been fixed. The biggest issue was the chassis, the car wouldn’t turn in the corner.
David arrived after practice was over and we made some changes to the car to free it up. We pulled #1 again, twice in 3 weeks, although it doesn’t matter really because we have double heats, it still seemed like we had the luck of the draw, but nowhere else. Last week our water pump went. The week before that, most of our suspension was destroyed because of the accident.
Our crew have worked hard and have had nothing to cheer about, not one incident, a moment of hope or anticipation that we might turn this corner of chaos and trouble to good. If we were on TSN, the announcers would suddenly cry out…”oh, trouble in Elliott’s pit, 3rd time this year”…..and the trouble is stuff we don’t expect to find or see. But for some reason, anything that can go wrong is going wrong, and if there is a penalty to pay for not heeding a warning, we will get the consequence. The struggles have brought us to be very concerned about every aspect of our car, and for the most part not happy. If we were going on a hike, our canoe would get a hole in it, our tents would get ripped on sharp branches, our kerosene lamps would somehow have lost all there fuel and our mosquito repellent would cause our fire wood not to burn…..so we’d not be happy campers….ditto with the race team.
We worked on the car, made the decision to take our spot up front in the heat. We struggled badly in this race finishing 5th. The car was very tight and we couldn’t race in the low groove. Our best racing was on the outside and even there we pushed up too much.
After that race we made some changes, a lot, gears, rear spring, weight distribution, all the right moves, but too many in the time span we had to get back out. It was crazy but we missed our 2nd heat by 2 minutes. The team was numbed by that. I didn’t say anything, the changes were needed to test the car, only problem was that the testing would be in the race where we wanted to be fast, and now we didn’t know how good the car would be.
Missing the heat was bad, it meant we would be going scratch in the feature and we were all okay with that. This would be another night of testing and trying to get our car closer to the incredible fast field of hard chargers at Sunset.
There were 17 cars in the feature. The pace was fast from the start. I watched one heat race and noticed the faster cars were not eating everyone up like last year. Walters finished 5th, Bentley was 4th, so with everyone improving, the top two from last year would need to work a lot harder in 2013. They’ve done okay so far with Mike winning the first feature of the year and Tom winning last week. No matter how much all of us catch up, we need to maintain it, not beat ourselves, and not over drive. It sure is apparent that many teams have come to win.
The race was fast and for the first part we were tight. We couldn’t turn low or even in the high lane without pushing up a little. It meant slowing down to make the corner, and that meant not being able to pass anyone. We gained some spots when a wreck on the back chute.

On the restart my shifter rod for 1st and 2nd came off. I was lucky that it wasn’t stuck in one of those gears, it came off when I pulled it to neutral. I would have to stay in 3rd for the yellows, but so far it was okay.
A few laps later a big wreck happened on the back chute with Baker, Grossman and Morrow. The red flag came out. Chris was done, he was towed off and Baker went scratch but got back out. There were 5 laps to go.
Prior to this we were running as hard as we could but were not getting anywhere. David made the call to bring us in under this yellow with 5 laps left. He said we’d only lose 2 spots, so I came in. The crew put a few rounds in the track bar, and took some off the sway bar.
When I returned I was ahead of some of those who were in the accident because they had to go scratch. On the restart we knew immediately the changes were good. I was able to keep pace, drive in hard and get on the gas quicker than before. We were up to 11th with two to go. David had been telling me in the past two nights that I was driving in too hard. Going down the back chute into three I went in super deep to pass the 10th place car and it stuck. Our crew were all surprised, but I wasn’t because if my car will turn I want to drive in hard and coast, then get on it. It was a good final few laps for us as we got our first top 10 feature finish of 2013, but most important was that we had an awesome car to start with next week.
Meanwhile, up front, there was a battle between Mike Bentley and Billy Zardo Jr. Billy not only won, but he gave Mike a nudge going into the final turn to make the pass. His crew were ecstatic and poor Bill Zardo came into our trailer shaking and asking if we had Junior Hanley’s phone number. David gave it to Bill, he was one happy grandfather.
Mini Stock
Gehrig had a steady run Saturday night. He ran well in all races and the Mini's had a caution free feature. Gehrig finsihed 2nd and 3rd in his heat races and 8th in the feature. The thing with Mini Stocks is the difference in cars. Some seem so much quicker, or have a bigger advantage in the corners by there chassis make up.
Gehrig ran very smooth, in fact that is his most noticeable characteristic. He is rarely loose or tight, and seems to be running a very comfortable line. It almost seems he is out there for a cruise. Part of that reasoning is because the cars are so much different from the top 4 or 5 to the slow cars. We are planning on getting his car quicker and that might be through a transmission and tire change. We will know more this week when we check out the cost to switch.
One move on the back chute got a driver upset with Gehrig. He was outside #87 Shawn Gerrior going into turn three and another car went under #87 as they entered the turn, forcing him up. Shawn tagged Gehrig in the middle of the turn. The Honda got sideways but Gehrig did an awesome job correcting the car as it was spinning. Unfortunately Gerrior lost a right front tire and was done for the feature.
Our next race is with the CVM on Sunday May 19th.

Late Model Point Standings

1 51 Mike Bentley 285
2 47 Tom Walters 280
3 46 Billy Zardo 262
4 88 Scott Beatty 260
5 11 Chris Morrow 256
6 48 Dwayne Baker 256
7 29 Sean Grosman 255
8 35 Andy Kamrath 245
9 19 Jason Witty 241
10 41 Taylor Holdaway 239
11 49 Frank Davey 238
12 95 Anthony Simone 235
13 77 Herb Walters 231
14 10 Ernie Fumerton 223
15 55 Bruce Rankin 221
16 36 Gary Elliott 217

Mini Stock Point Standings
1 33 Warren Paxton 292
2 26 Ben Melenhorst 279
3 51 Eric Yorke 278
4 21 Ken Townsend 271
5 37 Gehrig Halliday 260
6 04 Brian Love 255
7 9 Steven Belanger 239
8 6 Terry Woodley 231
9 06 Chris Free 228
10 2 Kendra Adams 222
11 87 Shawn Gerrior 217
12 23 Candiss Everingham 215
13 34 Terry Clodd 213
14 5 Peter Inglis 212
15 86 Billy Schwartzenburg 178
16 07 Tyler Johnston 150

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Postby Gary » Mon May 20, 2013 9:34 pm

May 19th............Flamboro Speedway

Race #4

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Steve Lyons wins
* We DNF in heat and miss feature

Results
Heat...........DNF
Featrue.......DNS

Winnings
$85

Repairs
free up steering

Conclusion
This was our first of four races planned with the CVM for 2013. It’s been very difficult trying to do so many things on the cars and get them all completed and in good race shape. I love running this car but I really need more time to focus on it properly for me to get into a rythm again.

I wanted this race to be a success, mostly for Tyler Brown, who will drive it soon.
Our struggle was with the gears. We got to the track and borrowed a set from Rick Schurr. We put them in, but missed the meeting so I had to go scratch in the heat.

I noticed early in the heat I could not get through the ends at all. The car was so hard to steer, nothing like it was before. I tried to change lanes but when I drove in higher and deeper it got real loose.


On about lap 7 I heard a noise going into one and it got louder through one and two so I pulled off the track, didn’t finish the race.
Glen Ruelens came over and asked what happened and I explained there was a noise from the rear end. We drained the oil, pulled out the gears and found the pinion damaged. Glen immediately determined the crown and pinion were not set up properly, it was too tight, or something happened with the bearing.
He offered to go home and get another set for us, but would need the spool out of our gears. I didn’t think he would make it back in time but he hustled and when the CVM were lined up for the feature Glen came in with the gears.
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It was so close time was. Someone came to us and said there was only one lap left in the Thunder Car feature, so it looked like we wouldn’t make it. But the race was 30 laps not 25. Then a red flag came out and gave us lots of time. We had the gears in, axles, wheels on but when the driveshaft was being installed Gehrig dropped a cap and the pin bearings came out. We lost so much time finding the pins, and getting them back in the cup, that by the time we were done the CVM were into lap 3 of their feature. It was disappointing for sure, Glen worked so hard. Kevin Cantwell and Don Mierzswinski were there to help and I appreciate their input and effort as well.

Steve Lyons won the feature, though Jason Keen was right on his tail. The cars were spread out a lot and other than Mike Klotz trying to get by in mid pack, there wasn’t much side by side or passing.
A few cars got wrecked early in the race, too bad for Trendell who had a good car to start the feature, but ended up on the hook. Coming off four cars got sideways and a chain reaction occurred. It was hard for some to get stopped it happened very fast.
The next CVM race is June 8th at Mosport, but our car will not be there for that race. Tyler will drive it on June 15th, but he will get some testing done before that.

I want to get the front end fixed. The steering arms are much too short making the car very quick to steer, but also quite twitchy, not a fun ride. So we will get that done before Tyler goes out.

Thanks to all who helped. If and when my grandson races a car with a driveshaft, he has learned a few things on installing the driveshaft, like the importance of making sure it’s in right but also that the caps are not dropped. I know he felt bad, but lesson learned and we move on.
My next CVM race is June 30th at Sunset.
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Gary
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:44 am

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Postby Gary » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:03 pm

June 16th.............Sunset Speedway

Happy Birthday Nonie

Late Model Invitational 75 Lap

Race #8

* 26 Cars
* Jason Witty wins
* Walters dominated, like the Pro Late race
* Bad crash with 3 to go left us all scratching our heads
* We run well, spin out after getting signal from Jason Park to pass in front on the low side, then he changes his mind and hits me :(
* Gehrig runs awesome against the Thunder Car Mini Stocks, takes 12th

Results
Late Model

Time Trial 15:306
Feature....16th


Mini Stock
1st Heat.......5th
2nd Heat......6th
Feature.......12th

Winnings
Late Model........$190
Mini Stock........TBA

Repairs
routine

Crew
Matt and Tony....Matt debuts as spotter.

Conclusion
After the races Saturday night I headed to Wasaga Beach with crew member Matt and Cheryl Smith. It was their church, Clearview Community church, that we would have our car on display for the Fathers Day event.

We made it to the church in good time in the morning, and in both services I was interviewed by Pastor Merv. He asked me how I got started in racing, when I became a Christian and how being a Christian had an impact on my racing. Both services were full and at the end of each we gave every father one of our Quaker State 40th Anniversary books and some Sunset Speedway books.

The good news was the rain in the morning delayed the starting of practice. We left Wasaga around 12:30 and got to Sunset about 1:45. One of Matt’s church friends, Tony, came with us and what a blessing he turned out to be.

It would be a busy afternoon for us once we got to the track. We had to replace the rad and lower rad hose. I had a bigger dilemma than that. David wanted me just to try the car and not really race it. He said, when he left Saturday night, “don’t wreck the car, it will be very good next Saturday, I think we can get a top five”.

Well, that kind of threw me off. First of all, I agreed with him about wrecking the car, but I never want to wreck the car ever. My schedule on our web site, and in our 40th Anniversary book showed that we would be at Sunset for this race. I didn’t want to miss it, but something came over me, like a depression. I was feeling down because I really wanted to race, and to be here and not race was a real downer for me. There were several good reasons not to race hard and get the car beat up, but once you’re on the track there is no guarantee you won’t get in trouble. Besides not wrecking the car because it was finally running very good, there was another show we’d be in on Friday in North Bay, and I didn’t want to be thrashing on the car all week to get ready for that long trip. I needed to have an easy week.

The other issue was tires. I did not have the budget for tires, and it would be a good guess that most every team had new tires. I was a mess. I wanted to go out and race my car, but I also wanted to be smart and not get in trouble, maybe just be a start and park. In reality I hated that idea. My heart wanted to race. I also wanted to see how the car would do, with new tires and changing the gears. It was planned to change the gears this coming week for next weekend, because I was down a little in rev’s. Things changed for the bad and then good when Shirley (perhaps my biggest fan) came over and said “what’s wrong”. She hates to see us running so poorly all season as well, but seen a good run on Saturday night. I said to her “nothing I’m just down a little”. “About what”? she asked. I looked at her and knew my response to her wouldn’t be good. I mean David had a good point, and Bob agreed with David, as did Matt and I kind of did to. But here’s Shirley’s response to what I said. “I can’t race today, David wants me to take it easy, plus I don’t have tires”. She looked at me with a confused look that quickly turned to anger. “Well if you’re not going to race, why did you come here? We could have went home, it’s Mom’s birthday, and if you’re not going to race, that’s a joke, I’m pissed at that”. She walked out of the trailer and I followed her and explained that the boys, lead by David didn’t want me to race, to save the car. She looked at me and said “ (^%$ that, go and race, have fun, that’s why you’re here”. So immediately my insides felt better, and now I had to weigh what my daughter said to the wisdom my son said and somehow come out on top where both were happy. With Shirley here, it was easy to see which way I was going, plus, I really wanted to race, take a chance that we’d be okay, but still get out and drive the car competitively.
I remember David told me to use the older tires and not our good inventory tires. I agreed with that as well, but my older tires were on 14 heat cycles and 150 laps, plus not much depth left. I decided to remove the old tires from their rims and put on 4 new Hoosiers.

Tony and Matt finished the rad and hoses, getting that done for me and doing an awesome job. We were able to make one set of hot laps and then size the tires after and they sized up perfect for the stagger we’d been running all season.

There were 26 cars and the track decided to do time trials, a very good move, saving cars from running double heats, and saving time for the fans.
We didn’t qualify good, about half a second off the top two. The third place car was a 15:057 and we were 15:305. Had we put in a higher gear it would have made a big difference, at least a tenth I’m certain, maybe more.

I text David, he didn’t know I bought new tires, or my intention to race this day. When I told him I qualified with a 15:305, he said “that’s great, old tires and not enough gear, no problem, now just take it easy”. Wow, at some point I knew I would have to tell him I bought new tires. So I text him that I bought four new tires. His response was “what???? Well don’t run them, save them for us next week”. I knew I shouldn’t have told him.

Well saving the old tires wouldn’t be that easy. First of all, the track official painted all the tires and would be checking to make sure cars went on the track with the tires they qualified on. Secondly, I could take it easy and if we were not competitive, just pull off after 20 laps or so.

There was a long time between our qualifying and our feature. I watched Gehrig run his feature and though he was outclassed in power by many of the visiting cars, he did very well staying on the lead lap and finishing 12th. No damage and it was quite noticeable that he was driving in harder trying to stay with the faster cars. He has done awesome this year and has had great support from his family and crew.

The next race out was the Thunder Stock 50 lap feature. I was thinking about our car and the idea of pulling off was slowly fading out of my mind. I wanted to race. So I decided to head back to the pit myself and change the gears to give us more pull off the corner. I knew I was going to be racing not following, after all, you can get into as much trouble trying to stay out of the action, so racing was back in my mind with no thoughts of anything but trying to race as best as I could.

We were to start 16th of 26 cars. I reasoned if I took scratch I would avoid a lap one pile up and told the line up people I’d be going to the back.
The other problem we had, and it wasn’t really a problem, and it turned out to be an awesome experience for both of us, was, the spotting. No one was with our team who had experience spotting. Matt was reluctant at first, but decided to give it a shot. His only experience was the last set of hot laps and he did great then, but this would be quite a bit different. Matt is a great person, an awesome “On Line” racer and had listened to David, Jim and Bob the past 2 years, I wasn’t worried, although we did go over some key responses that I needed to hear and quickly. Matt agreed and he did a fantastic job.

We started 26th and the first yellow came on lap four. We were slowly passing cars at the beginning, our car was very good. It was handling well on both the outside and inside, and had awesome pull off the corners. After 2 more cautions we settled in and started racing with a long run of about 35 laps non-stop. We raced hard against a number of cars passing most on the outside. On lap 45 we were 14th and after a long battle racing on the inside we cleared Josh Stade #17 from Sauble.
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On about lap 50, Matt let me know that Walters was coming around to lap me. I moved low to give him the room he needed to pass. I tried following him, thought we were fast, but he gained every turn. Our car was still good and I closed in on a few cars running together, just outside the top ten. We were still running strong, compared to most of the field, and on lap 52 got by #37 Marvin Freiburger. That put us 12th and now we were catching Jason Parker #8. I knew that passing those to meant we were still strong.

Matt reported that Mike Bentley was about 5 car lengths behind but wasn’t gaining very fast. Coming off turn 2 on lap 58 Parker points out his side window, indicating for me to pass him low. I raced hard into three and just in the middle Jason chopped down on me, forcing me to jam on the brakes. I hit him lightly, getting him sideways, but it was the end for us. Our car spun out and in turn four. I was disappointed but very happy.
The car wouldn’t restart, from being hot, it was very humid. I got pushed and headed right for pit row. Matt said the car looked good. I called back, “I’m parking the car Matt, there’s only 15 or so laps left and we’d have to go back to 22nd or whatever. Plus we had a good run”.
Shortly after, the crew realized that was the best idea, plus we had the best of both David’s and Shirley’s concerns. We ran hard, could have finished in the top 10 and though we spun, there was no damage. The gear change worked and the engine was awesome. Not sure what Tom Walters had under his hood or on his chassis, but a Pro Late wouldn’t catch him. He was by far the most dominant car on the track, by far.

I watched the final laps and was so glad I got out when I did. There were more yellows in the final 12 laps than there were in the first 60.
On a restart with 15 to go, Mike Bentley dumped Tom coming off turn two. It was too bad, it didn’t make sense. I’m not a Walters fan, and he disrespects me, so if we never speak it won’t matter, but I know when a car is fast and when a car is trying to protect the lead. Mike was getting pulled off each corner but dove in hard. He hit Tom brining out the yellow. I guess over the years, Walters always gets his spot back, whether he gets dumped or dumps someone else.

He spent lots of time and the start finish line debating his demise, but the brave track official sent him all the way to the back (7th) because that’s how many cars he lapped, and the track and most chassis and engine builders think that’s okay that one car can laps the field and it’s normal to see that in racing. Most fans and racers who have good budgets, like most in the top 10 would not agree. They may have a point as well. The night before Tom was 3 tenths slower. Maybe it’s the long run that gave Tom his advantage because Bentley was a full straight behind him and he was 2nd.

Mike restarted 7th and Tom 6th. Over the next few laps Walters moved from 6th to 2nd with no trouble. Dwayne Baker was leading with two time 2013 feature winner Jason Witty on the outside. Dwayne pulled ahead and soon Walters caught Witty, but Jason could not hold on to second, not even a little. Not only did Walters pass easy on the inside, within 2 laps he was gone. That left Baker out front and Walters quickly closing the gap of about 8 car lengths.
I was pitted with the Walters crew and they were excited that things turned around for them. It looked like Baker would win, though Walters was closing in fast.
On lap 72 coming off four the yellow came out when three cars spun between three and four.

This gave the fans and all those watching a classic finish. It was these two who turned the racing world crazy with their feud two years ago. Baker went to Barrie Speedway and won the points, Walters would win the 2012 Sunset points. These two hated each other at the end of 2011, but over the winter and the past few months at the track, they seemed to be getting along just fine, socializing, laughing together and confiding after drivers meetings. That’s kind of why what happened next was absolutely shocking and just blew everyone away. The white flag came flew as the cars came off turn four. I saw the anticipation in the eyes of the Walters crew. They knew it was their race. I thought it was to, and I wished I was Baker because in this stout field of racers, 2nd would be very good. But I’m not Baker, and he may have felt he could win, especially with only three to go.

They took the green and ran side by side into one. Going down the back chute they were still fairly equal. Walters had a slight edge in the middle of three and four but pulled great coming off four and was leading with Bakers front fender at his left rear wheel.


They were well before the start finish line when excitement, that would have turned to boredom, after turn one, because the race would have been over, Walters would have been in the lead and it was over. But, the unthinkable happened, no one could have seen this coming. About 15 feet before the start finish line, with Walters ahead, the 48 car turned up into the 47 catching his rear quarter and sending Walters spinning hard into the inside cement wall. The 47 bounced off the wall back out into the on- coming cars and Chris Morrow, unable to stop, slammed hard into Walters, t-boning the race leader and wrecking both cars, the 47 even more than he suffered from the hitting the inside retaining wall. Baker spun out and ended up in the middle of turn one and two.

It was a shocker no doubt, although some racers do this kind of crap, it was just a shock to see it happen here because it seemed there was no issue between the two drivers. Tom would have won, said all the guys he beat were great, praised his chassis builder for making his car turn so good and collected the money. Baker would have taken 2nd and the money and scratched his head why he got beat by Walters, because I’m sure the 48 thought he could win, or at least until he seen the 47 gaining on the front chute.

So what happened? First of all, I like Dwayne, he's a good runner and a good person. Did Baker come up? He sure did. Walters had no reason to turn down, there were three laps left and he was the fastest by far. He would stay up going into turn one and let Baker dive in hard to close the gap, but then with momentum, the 47 would take the lead off two and not look back.
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Baker In The High Lane


So if Baker came up, why would he knowing the 47 car was there? Did his spotter say “clear high”? I don’t think so, there would be no one in the pits or in the stands that could see the two cars would ever think anyone would say clear, because had no business going high.

Tom knew it wasn’t an accident, he went after Baker as soon as he got out of his car. Dwayne looked bewildered, he was heard saying “it was a racing deal”. Hmmmm, a racing deal? I don’t think so, that was insane and the worst part of this thing is that Walters will likely get even at some point, or think about it. The problem with that is the innocent racers who can get caught up when things happen by drivers getting into other drivers deliberately. Chris Morrow is a good example. We can't say for sure if it was deliberate, but I'm sure an apology by the Baker team would help.

My conclusion if not clear is this “Walters was ahead, Baker at his rear quarter, about 15' from the start finish line. Baker came up (no intent to be determined, just wrong) turning Walters to the inside cement, wrecking the 47 badly, but also resulting in Chris Morrow getting wrecked because he t-boned Walters car hard as it bounced off the wall.
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Huge Wreck Lap 72

That was Walters race, no doubt, his Pro Late Model out classed the field by a mile, but he shouldn't have got wrecked, accident, mistake, whatever, it was wrong, totally wrong and the conclusion to this fiasco definitely would not include the words "it was a racing accident", because that should never have happened at that place on the track. Side by side in turn one or two maybe, but not on the front or back chute.

Anyway, while emotions were running rampant, so was the weather. We could see yellow reddish sky in the back ground but quickly heading our way was this huge black thunder head, lightning going through it. Within 20 minutes of calling the race it started to pour, hail and absolutely deluge the pits with slamming hard rain and wind.

We left in one piece, and look forward to returning next week to see if our car is better like we expect it to be.
Thanks Matt for doing a great job spotting, and Tony for making your debut on our team a fantastic experience for all of us, you were a huge help.
Later this week we are in North Bay at the True North GM dealer, all day on Friday June 21st. Should be a fun day.
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Friday June 21st

UPDATE

I called Dwayne Baker, to talk to him, and find answers for myself. He told me honestly and candidly that he got into Tom but did not do it on purpose. He feels they made contact coming off four and locked front and rear bumpers. He feels bad about the wreck and to show his sincerity offered Walters his back up car for next weekend. Very classy move by Mr. Baker.

It sure looks like there will be no retaliation, at least against Baker. Any racer would do what Baker did, apology wise, and hopefully if it was a racer with nothing to offer, except to say he was sorry, Walters would accept their apology as well.

I always liked Dwayne, and suggested on the front of our web site that if it was an accident he should apologized....and he did. Good show Dwayne.Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:01 am

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:18 pm

Rained Out.......Did Not Get In The Gate......Next Week...Sauble Speedway
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:05 pm

June 29th..........Sauble Speedway

Race #9

High Lites
* 26 cars
* Scott McTeer wins
* We finish 12th
* Gehrig finishes 12th in Mini Stock feature
* Built engines hard to beat at Sauble

Results
LM Heat.......5th
LM Feature...12th

MS Heat.......4th
MS Feature...12th

Winnings
LM.....$140 (ouch)
Mini...$98

Repairs
Routine, rescale

Crew
David, Jason, Don

Conclusion
It was the first in many years that I could remember two race tracks sending their home track classes to another track. A brilliant idea and one I give both promoters an A+ for making it happen.
We felt it would be good to get to the track early. Sauble would have a deluge of cars, with 40 coming from Sunset, plus TQ’s and Hurricane Midgets.
We left our home around 8:45 to meet Don Mierszwinski just north of highway 6 and 401. We parked on 6 right beside the Tim Horton’s emergency supply center. Wow, were they busy, no room to go in that parking lot for sure.
While sitting there waiting for Don the truck suddenly quit. I tried restarting it but there was nothing, the engine wasn’t turning over, not even a click. The interior lights were on, but otherwise it was dead, and I felt the same.
I opened the hood and immediately threw-up. There is no room under the hood of these trucks to check things out, and worse than that, I had no idea what to look for or even where to start. That is a helpless feeling.
With the hood open a fellow from the local garage came by, and asked what was wrong. I explained and he went back to his shop to get a booster pack. I was fully aware of what he was going to do, in fact boosting the truck I could do, except we didn’t have a booster pack.
He quickly returned and tried to boost the truck but nothing happened, no response. Much like when we ask our children to clean their room.
Deepa Bisla is his name; he said he would call a tow truck for us. His business, right on highway 6, had a big Quaker State sign on it. I felt I was in good hands, but in reality, I was lucky he was even open. It was a long weekend and not many businesses would have been open.
We unhooked the trailer, and the flat bed took us to his business, Quality Lube & Tires.
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Ford Get's VIP Treatment

Deepa instructed one of his employees to check all the connections, test the battery, the alternator output and the fuel pressure.
I called David, who was heading up to help us, as well as Shirley who was working. I sent Jason Green ahead with the Mini Stock so they could get in line and get a good parking spot at the track.
After about 25 minutes the tech came over with his report on the truck. Everything was good, he reported. Then just as mysteriously as the truck quitting, it started. Deepa asked the tech what he did and he said “nothing”, it just started.
While running the check engine light was on and Deepa asked me how long the light was on, I said, off and on the past few months.
He checked for codes and found they were all exhaust related. His conclusion was that one of the sensors detected the catalytic converter was overheating and shut the truck down to put it in safe mode. I said yes “and keep us from getting to Sable”, but in spite of the let down of being late, it was much better than the devastation of not making it at all.
I gave everyone in the business our new Quaker State book. I asked Deepa what I owed, I had my credit card out and he said “nothing, don’t worry, it needs to be fully diagnosed and we have no time today”. I was surprised and happy. The tow truck cost $79 to tow it 150 yards, but that had to be done as well.
I thanked Deepa very much and offered to bring my car for a display in September. He is celebrating his 4th year in business and said I could bring the car, he appreciated the offer.
Deepa suggested that I take the truck home and leave it there for the weekend until I could get it checked on Tuesday. He said “don’t drive it to Sauble”. Then he smiled and we shook hands.
David just looked at me and knew I was heading to Sauble, I wasn’t heading home if the truck might quit. Deepa wasn’t sure it would quit again, but I was sure I was heading north.
By 10:45, an hour and a half later, we were on our way to Sauble Speedway.
At 1:30 we pulled into the parking lot. Jason and the Mini Stock team were already inside. Shirley posted the picture of our truck on FB and many friends and fans commented on us breaking down. The truck was flawless on the way up, not even a hint of cutting out.
We got a good spot in the pits right between Marvin Freiburger and Jason Parker. It was perfect, now I could ask Jason why he gave me the “pass inside signal” at Sunset on June 16th, and then chopped me causing me to spin out.

There were 26 cars in the pits, most from Sunset. All the top 14 cars made it, proving that show up points work. There were 12 Sauble cars, and most all of them running built engines. The Crate engines have some serious trouble trying to keep up, mostly because it’s hard to carry momentum into the turns. The 602 Crate doesn’t have the engine brake like the 604. We had no issue with our 604 against the built engines. The small clutch and 4 barrel helped slow the car down entering the turns. We had to brake extra hard because we couldn’t carry speed into the corners. The track, though awesome, is not a momentum track, but more a high horsepower, compression, brake track. At Sunset we use little brakes compared to Sauble, and can drive in much further. The extra momentum helps get off the corners much better.
Anyway, other than Walters, who would be fast against OSCAAR, the rest of the Crates were much like me, trying to figure how to get into and out of the turns faster.
We finished 5th in our heat race. The four ahead of me were built engines, all Sauble except for Scott Beatty who finished 4th. Our car was tight, otherwise we may not have got beat by half a track.
We qualified 16th in the feature and ran tires with 8 cycles and over 100 laps on them. Tom Walters won the first heat and started pole beside Scott McTeer. The race was good, it was fairly competitive. Walters and McTeer shared the lead with Scott winning at the end. We raced hard all race, in traffic from 6th to 18th. Our car was loose in and out. Hard to drive, we didn’t want to change it. The right rear tire was likely wore out and we weren’t that far off, but far enough. We finished 13th in a pack of chargers. One car got DQ’d moving us to 12th.
It was a great event, the idea was fantastic, and very successful. However I would make the following changes:
1) No other classes, just the three from each track. They had TQ’s and Hurricanes, no need for 5 classes.
2) Give us an autograph session with the extra time
3) Double heats
4) Line up by track handicap…take the lowest car from each track and stagger them from the front to the back, with the cars at the rear either non qualified or Sunset car pole, Sauble outside, etc.
They made it like an Invitational, fast cars to the front. Should not have been that way, it wasn’t an Invitational.
5) Better pay off, from 10th back should be much better. These cars are very expensive and the purse isn’t that good….it’s terrible, even for LLM 75 lappers.
Other than that I hope they do it again next year.
Marvin Frieburger was great. He is another ambassador type racer. He greeted everyone as they came in, thanked us for coming and made us feel welcome. That was awesome.
We had a great drive home. Don drove home for me, I stayed awake but needed to relax.
Our next Late Model race is Sunset this coming Saturday, and the Home and Home series continues on July 13th at Sunset with the Sauble cars coming to see us.
Special thanks to David, Jason, Don, and Nathan for helping all night, we had fun. I whined a bit, but had fun.
PS.....Jason apologized for spinning me out from chopping us on June 16th , said he messed up. We helped him find the miss in his car, and by the feature he was flying.

Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:09 pm

June 30th......Sunset Speedway

Race #10 (2nd CVM)

High Lites
* 21 cars
* Brian Atkinson wins
* We finish 5th (started 21st)
* Lots of carnage
* Our car was very fast
* Steering still heavy

Results
Heat.......DNF
Feature...5th

Winnings
$200

Repairs
front bumper

Crew
Don, Nathan, Gehrig, Lauren

Conclusion
This was the 2nd time I had to race the Coupe in 2013. It was much better thankfully. I had taken it to Oakville Trailers and had Ron Easton fix the geometry on it. It was hard to steer, heavy, but worse, it was twitchy, making it very hard to drive.
Tyler Brown drove it at Flamboro on June 15th and said it was good, so I was anticipating a decent night if we could get any breaks.
The car was very loose in the first set of hot laps.

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We made a big change to tighten it up and the second proved we went too far. Another adjustment was made for the heat race, minor, but to help it off the corner better. I reduced the rear stagger and put some wedge in the chassis by altering the right rear spring position.
We charged the battery, set the tires and I knew we were good for the heat because the kids said I had lots of gas before the warm ups and we only did two sets.
It has been such a good feeling with this Crate engine. This engine keeps up to other Crates and the built engines. The chassis needs to be fixed still, it is stiff to steer, like trying to steer a tow motor. So hard and on the chutes it’s hard to counter steer to the right, it’s like it’s binding. I guess that’s the caster in the car. Something still seems wrong to me, not the same car as 8 years. However, there is one thing that I might not be realizing. This car does not have power steering and I’ve raced with power steering for the past 9 seasons. That could be it, but I’m not convinced, it’s too stiff period and either I have to work out or find out what’s wrong.
Because I missed two nights since my last time with the CVM my handicapping penalty was starting scratch in my heat, and then back of the qualified cars in the feature.
There were 21 cars out, 7 in each heat. We started 7th, and the irony was we were in a heat with 6 Crate engines.
Our car was very fast, and ran awesome on the outside. I loved racing my Coupe at Sunset even before they rebuilt it, but now it was so much fun because of the room to drive in hard on the outside.
We got up to 3rd, passing John Karley going into 3.
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We had a little push, but not too much. I knew what I had to do to fix it, but could do nothing now. Cory Jones and Adrian Donkers were battling up front and I was gaining on them, solidly in third. Coming down the front chute I felt a bump, like an engine miss, it was just for a split second. The next lap the car quit and I coasted to the infield. We were on lap 4, and I was bewildered why it quit.
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I tried starting it while on pit row, but it just quit again.
We needed a push to our pit pad in the general pit area. As soon as I got out of the car I asked for the hood to be removed and I immediately went to the gas tank. I didn’t think it would be empty, the report from my crew was that it was right up to the sponge, and that would mean 40 laps.
However, I had a smile in my heart when I felt the sponge in the tank was dry and the further down I pushed the drier it got…..the tank was empty. I called Gehrig and Nathan over, they gave me the information that the gas didn’t need to be filled when I asked them to fill it earlier. I had them reach in the tank and feel the reason we had a DNF. They understood and immediately put gas in the car and the problem was solved.
We got the car ready for the feature. Because we were a DNF we started last in the feature.
I didn’t mind that because the car was fast, and I was riding my favourite track. On the green I kind of held back a little, just to make sure things were going to go smooth. The cars were side by side and dicing very hard.
Going into three Doug Hood was in front of me and he checked up so he wouldn’t get into the car in front of him but I nailed him hard, and that impact kind of shot me back a little. Seconds later a huge wreck took place just ahead of us, just before the start finish line. It was a bad deal, red flag and lots of cars involved.
Four cars were done. Steve Lyons, Jason Keen and Phil Shaw were part of those who didn’t get through. Steve raced to the pits to change a flat, but he left the track to do it, and anyone who leaves the track cannot come back on. He tried coming back out but got black flagged.
We were still at the back because most of the cars in the wreck that weren’t wrecked, were given their spot back.
We restarted 15th with one or two cars behind.
The next run was a long one and we made some ground moving up to the top 10.
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Another yellow came out and this time we got messed up on the restart allowing Pat Ruelens to get by. I followed Pat and thought we could beat him but needed some time. With three laps to go we were in 10th and a big wreck involving the leaders and a few others brought out the yellow. On that restart we were sixth, but the restart would be single file. The CVM have a rule that after 2 yellows they go to single file. That meant more work to pass.
On the restart I was behind Jeff Shaw #81. On the green Jeff didn’t get going and it cost us, as we fell back a few cars lengths from the leaders. Brian Atkinson #92 was leading, hounded by Steve Trendell #57, Pat Ruelens #47 and Chris Milwain #22. They were in a tight pack. Coming off turn four to complete the first lap of that restart I was stunned to see the white flag. One lap to go, wow, no time to try and win this one.
Going into one I drove hard outside of Jeff and pulled up along side. He was pushing bad. I got a good run off four and raced hard into three, but careful. Sure enough Jeff, who has been racing Coupes for over 25 years raced in just hard and pushed up. I kept moving up trying not to make contact. Finally his car slowed up and I was able to get on the gas and beat him to the line to take a hard fought but happy 5th. It was our best feature finish this year.
My crew were ecstatic and it made for a great ride home.
I race our CVM again at Delaware on July 26th, looking forward to that night for sure.
Thanks to Don, Nathan, Gehrig and Lauren for helping me through the night, it was a blast.

Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:46 pm

July 6th..............Sunset Speedway

Race #11

High Lites
* 22 Late Models
* Billy Zardo wins #2
* We improve to finally get in the top 10
* Dwayne Baker blows up at the end
* Non Stop feature....all 3 classes
* Gehrig takes 10th in his feature

Results

Late Model
Heat #1.......5th
Heat #1.......8th
Feature......9th

Mini Stock
Heat #1......5th
Heat #2.....9th
Feature.....10th

Winnings
Late Model.....$200
Mini Stock.....$45

Repairs
transmission leak, diff leak, routine check

Crew
David, Bob, Jim, Matt

Conclusion
We arrived in plenty of time to relax while we set up our pit area. David, Bob and I scaled the car at home during the week, well they did, I was inside. We’re feeling kind of confident that we would be close and have a good run this night.

In the first set of hot laps our car was very good, as fast as most of the cars, although some of the built engines are hard to keep up with. We sensed improvement and to me that was important. David couldn’t be to the track until after hot laps and so Bob, Jim, Matt and I were more than enough to get the laps we needed in practice to feel the car and to break in and size a new set of Hoosier’s. We had no issues at all with the car, it seemed very good.
David got to the track just before our first heat race and we had our new tires on.

Unfortunately in our first heat race the car was pushing slightly, but we managed a 5th. Changes were made for the second heat and the car was better, but starting near the back with all fairly equal cars is very tough at Sunset but we managed an 8th of the 11 cars. We lost one spot near the end when we got into a 3 wide situation, but the good news was that we finally qualified through our heat races and would be getting our handicap starting spot…pole.

There was little to do on the car, we did have some concerns as the very hot and humid weather was cooling a little. David pondered what to do and made the necessary changes he felt to help our car turn in the corners.

I was crazy before the race thinking of finally starting up front, but sensing we would get eaten up. I know it’s wrong to be thinking negative before a race, but there are a few reasons, and one is confidence, not in my crew, they have been great. It’s our performance so far in 2013 that has me baffled. I don’t think we’re as fast as we were in 2012 and it is so frustrating. At times, although not very often, I would sooner start scratch and move up, than start pole and feel the sickening feeling of going back.

So why would I feel this way before a race? Partly because of what I just said, but also because of my hard working crew and fans. I want to run strong for them. Fans don’t always know what’s going on and may feel we have lost it, or on our way out, especially after running poorly most of the season, this was our 9th night here. If you ask any of our crew they would not agree with that, neither would I. But poor race results in 2013 have made our team frustrated and maybe our fans thinking the worse. If our team starts 20th and finish 11th or 12th, there are no high-fives. If you finish in the top 7 after starting scratch, there will be some high fives and smiles. It’s hard to believe we have not finished in the top 3 in a heat race this year, or better than the top 10 in a feature. So, being a little apprehensive about our chances was playing on me for sure, and I wished I could just get in the car and know we are going to the front. Unfortunately we are not there yet but we have progressed and we know and hope it could be soon. We have a ton of experience, a fighting spirit, and we never give up.

I really want to report positive stuff here, so let’s go to the feature race now and I will report on the positives.

David and Bob went to the infield. David had the car set taking into consideration it was cooling a little, he knows how to set up a race car, and I let him make the adjustments.
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On the green we raced as hard into turn one. There wasn’t a slow car in the first 7 rows. The 22 car field was stacked, that’s the way it is at Sunset Speedway, lots of fast cars. Some have an advantage with the built engines, others with the chassis. Teams with the Crate engine are fast when their handling is on, and the top cars their are Walters, Bentley and Zardo. The next few laps we were fighting a tight battle with #49 Frank Davey.
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On lap three I pushed up a little going into one and #95 Anthony Simone got under me. His fast built engine combined with our poor exit off two put us in the middle of a 3 wide deal going down the back chute. Anthony took the lead and we moved into second. Frank got the bad end of that deal, being stuck outside. Soon I heard “inside” from Jim who was spotting today. Scott Beatty, with a built engine, got under me and soon got by. We were still trying to get sorted out, get into a groove. The car was tight, we would need a caution to fix it. If we did get a yellow, it would mean going to the back after a pan hard adjustment, but we were heading that way anyhow and an adjustment would have a least given us a better car. It wasn’t terrible tight, but bad enough so that I could not get on the gas without pushing from the middle off.

Over the next 12 laps the call from my spotter was the same. Cars were lining up to pick us off. The strange thing is that when they did get under me I could stay with them for a lap or so, and that’s because running on the outside took away the push, or at least made it not so bad. Most of the cars passing were going in and coming off like they had tires made by LePage Glue. It was frustrating but I gave room, staying high every time someone was inside. Being passed so many times on the inside also meant the cars behind could gain on us, and they did. Was I frustrated, was my crew frustrated???? No they were okay......Liar!!!

There would be no caution as we slowly fell back. It took most of the feature for us to fall to 10th before settling in (how sick is that).
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The last car to pass me was Taylor Holdaway. He ran behind us for at least 9 laps, we were fairly equal. When I heard he was inside I stayed in my lane but he drove into our right front wheel coming off two. No one else did, and he never said anything after the race. He was probably upset that it took so long to get by us and that he was running 9th or 10th. Not sure, he usually doesn't hit us.

After Taylor passed us, Ernie Fumerton was all over me. It was very discouraging to fall from 1st to 10th, but it wasn’t a shock for me, sad to say, this year, this car, has not shown any signs of being a top 5 contender, although tonight was as close as we’ve come. Had I not made the decision to change gears, and if the car was a little better, perhaps a top five was possible.

Sitting 10th with two laps remaining there was chaos going into three. Dwayne Baker blew his engine, the white smoke was incredible. I came into three and saw him spin. I thought at first it was tire smoke but it was the biggest smoke fog cloud I think I ever saw from an engine. Bigger than Cheech and Chong sitting in their Van. My spotter guided me up and around the wounded 48, who was sitting backwards in turn four. I kept going up and could see nothing at all. I was thinking to myself "the wall must be getting closer". Finally the smoke cleared enough for me to see and to race across the finish line, in 9th. We gained one spot because of the blown engine. Ernie went under us and got by, but the race went back to the previous lap and he was scored behind us. It was a non-stop feature. The white came out when the leaders passed making it an official race. The Thunder Cars, who ran before the Late Models, had a non-stop feature as well.

The 9th was our best this year. The entire night was for the most part our best in 2013, however, a long way from where we want to be.
We will come back next week and hopefully improve from here. Tonight’s overall performance will be a good starting spot for us, the chassis that is. As far as winning or even finishing in the top three, it seems those two possibilities are eluding us for this year, but we will fight and try to get better and maybe pull off a better higher finish.

All of us are discouraged for sure, and though we are discouraged, we are not defeated….that’s not my character, or my team. I am disappointed in myself as well because I have been complaining and whining far too much this year. The reason is our performance. I have not yet surrendered to the fact we can’t get it done, neither have our crew, and I wished for their sake we could have one good night….and not just in the Coupe, although I would never complain with a strong run in our 33 Chev, we just need this Late Model program to get better.

People talk about having fun, and I’m all for that, but no one in their right mind can say they’re having fun when they are constantly struggling just to keep up. Perhaps the reason starting scratch every week is a win win, is because you have no place to go but forward, but that’s not our team, we want to run with the big dogs, and on a positive note, tonight we got closer.

Mini Stock
The Mini Stock feature was the final race of the night and that race also ran caution free from green to checker.
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Gehrig ran smooth all night in his Mini Stock. His field was very competitive as well. He had a 4th in his first heat and an 8th in the second.
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In his feature he raced hard against his competitors. He may have got 8th had he not got boxed behind some lapped cars. He is learning and in the future should be looking ahead to make sure that doesn’t happen again, or at least get himself set up so he can maneuver around those cars without losing any positions. He ended up 10th, and could have easily finished in the top 7 had he got out of the heavy traffic a little earlier.
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The points are up yet, but we may have moved from 15th to 14th or 13th and Gehrig is still running strong in 5th place. He is doing great and we are proud of him.

This week is the 2nd race of the Home and Home series with Sauble Speedway. They will send all 3 classes to Sunset. The crazy thing is the car counts could sore, an awesome deal for the promoters at Sunset who deserve every good thing that could happen for them. If we get 22 Late Modes again and they send down 14 of their own cars, it could mean some cars won’t be in the feature. I’m sure if there are 26 Late Models they will start them all, but if the LM count is 33 or so, some boys will be watching the feature. The good news is that we all get 100 points, no one will lose in the points department.

Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:14 am

July 13th...........Sunset Speedway

Race #12

High Lites
* 26 Late Models
* Walters wins
* We finish 11th, stared 24th
* over 30 Mini's
* Gehrig finishes 10th
* great crowd
* 2 friends give me a confidence build up

Results
Late Model
1st Heat.......7th
2nd Heat......6th
Feature.......10th

Mini Stock
1st Heat.......6th
2nd Heat......3rd
Feature.......11th

Winnings
Late Model....$160
Mini Stock....$100

Repairs
cosmetic

Crew
Bob, Jim, Eddie

Conclusion

This was the second race in the Home and Home series with Sauble Speedway. A great concept and so good to see tracks working together to make it happen.

There were 26 Late Models, Mark Dilley announced that all would be in the 30 lap main.

David was away tonight, as was Matt. Jim, Bob and I worked on the chassis set up. We have been trying so hard to get better each week and even though we seem to be getting our car closer, our best results appear to be in the warm ups as compared to the competition races.

We got a little excited after our 2nd set of hot laps, the car was smooth and seemed to be where we need it to be. However in the final set the car wasn’t as good and got me in a negative funk about my chances of keeping up. So far this season, as soon as the heat races start some mysterious bug hits our car in the way of being tight or loose, and neither can be evident if the car is going to attempt to keep up at this track. It seems impossible to think that a race car would not have a tight or loose condition at some point in the race, but that thought has not entered the minds of at least 8 of the weekly race teams who are so well balanced it is amazing. We have not yet reached that level of set up and tonight was no different. Good one set, not so good the next etc.

The qualifying format was double heats. Our team was to start pole in the first heat. I cannot handle being in the way, or unable to keep up. In the past, if my car wasn’t good, if there was some issue with it in the chassis or engine, I would go to the back. At Sunset, if the car isn’t perfect I need to go to the back, or get eaten up. It’s not just the morale issue, that you feel so bad when you’re not competitive, but also the money issue of possibly getting wrecked when the car can’t compete at the same level as the cars around you. Being in the way is embarrassing to me and my crew, and though they are much more graceful than I am, it truly hurts to be off the pace, or out of your league when you know you should be able to compete. That thought process hit me before the qualifying started and as my crew got excited about starting up front, I was clearly not enthusiastic at all. I explained my concerns and they agreed that if I didn’t have the confidence to take my spot to take scratch and we would see how that car handled. I was happy with that, which goes to show the condition of my heart, that starting at the back would be a good thing. It’s not that it isn’t a good thing, sometimes starting scratch has benefits and the reason for going there is the real psychology. My reason was to get out of the way, and that isn’t a good reason. Confidence builds confidence, but this year, poor results have created an incredibly negative aura around me that rubs off on our team, who don’t see it the way I do, that is until I get passed by every car on the track, then they feel bad as well. My deal is to start scratch to avoid getting wrecked by the hungry pack of racers who must clearly see my car as “prey” and easy pickings. My peers fight over who will devour me, and if they would take it easy, eventually they all would get their piece of me in the short 10 laps dashes. For me, starting scratch saves a little face and gives an opportunity to see how the car will compete, and try to get it better for the feature, so I’m okay with being at the back, really.

In the first heat the decision to go scratch was a good one because the car was so incredibly tight. I would have got wrecked for sure. Being at the back was the best place with a non perfect race car. We finished 6th in the first race and 7th in the second. Those finishing positions have become the norm for us in 2013. We would start last in the feature, although 2 other cars wanted to go to the back so we started 24th of 26 cars.

Gehrig’s Mini Stock class was out in full force with over 30 Mini’s. Gehrig ran very well against the tough field and did qualify through his heats to get a 12th starting spot in the feature.

Our car was much better in the feature. It actually turned for a change through the corners, being quite close to perfect in the set up. Jim said the car would come to me as the feature race went on, but the car was there right from the start and would develop a tight condition near the end. We had a solid run, finishing 11th.

It was fun racing with Marvin Frieburger #37 for the final 5 laps. Coming down the back chute heading into three we were side by side. Suddenly cars in front of us were spinning. I was able to duck around the spinning cars and finish 11th at the line.

Gehrig ran a great race, it was non-stop and he finished where he started in 12th. The leaders were coming but he managed to stay on the lead lap, he was the last car on the lead lap.

The points were even tonight, everyone got 100 points each. Gehrig still sits 5th in points, he is doing very well.

We are up to 14th. Our hopes of a top 10 don’t look very good at this point. We are quite a distant back from finishing in the top 10, but we are not giving up on our quest to try and move up.

This week is kids camp at Sunset Speedway, organized by our sponsor Scripture Union.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:11 am

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:53 am

July 20th...............Sunset Speedway

Race #13....."Family Faith Night"

High Lites
* 22 cars
* Jason Witty wins
* We wreck in both heats, severe in #2
* Gehrig has another great run, hard to beat the Mustangs

Results
Late Model
1st Heat........8th
2nd Heat.......DNF
Feature........13th

Mini Stock
1st Heat........4th
2nd Heat.......3rd
Feature........7th

Winnings
Late Model.......$140
Mini Stock........$70

Repairs
* front end body, routines maintenance, body cosmetic lots

Crew
David, Bob, Matt, Paul

Conclusion
This was an awesome week at the track for me. I wasn’t on it, at least not with the race car. It was the Motor Racing Camp at Sunset Speedway.
My sponsor Scripture Union holds kids camps all summer and this was the first of its kind. I held a daily seminar with the kids for about 45 minutes. Day 1 was Safety, Day 2 was Maintenance, Day 3 Set Up and Day 4 the Rules.
At the end of every class, the children received a gift. The gifts included a Bible, my CD, our Quaker State 40th Anniversary souvenir book and on the final day a regulation football from another one of our sponsors, Permatex.

I stayed over at a local Motel, it was cheaper to get a place to stay than to drive back and forth from Sunset to Waterdown, plus I was at the Camp every morning early.

The Motors Racing Camp was followed by Family Faith Night on Saturday. I left my race car and trailer at the track on Friday after camp, and Bob and I headed up early Saturday.

During the week I did the maintenance on the car and found a few things that needed to be taken care of. When David arrived on Saturday the car was pretty well ready to go.

We went through tech and checked ride heights and scaled the car. David made a few changes but left the car about the same as it was the week before, and it was good last week.

In the first hot lap session the car was fine and in the next with new tires on the outside.
We took one more set after the afternoon break and we’re happy with the way the car performed.
I picked #1 out of the hat for the 4th time this year. I really didn’t want to start up front in the first race, I would sooner start near the back in the first heat and then start up front once we’ve raced the car.

Our first heat was stacked as well. I had #88 Scott Beatty on the outside pole, Dwayne Baker and Sean Grossman right behind, with Mike Bentley behind them.
My issue has been over driving. Not so much when I’m behind someone but when I’m on my own. Confidence has been absent this year because there has been no races where I have felt a sense of accomplishment. Starting 24th and finishing 11th is great, but starting pole and finishing 11th or 9th is not good, and so I don’t get fooled when I pass 13 cars from the back, back some of those passes are from attrition or other factors that have nothing to do with performance. I do understand that attrition is part of racing and do agree it’s a legitimate way to move ahead in a race. But when it’s the only way or seems the only way, confidence isn’t achieved, but a sense of success is because we passed so many cars.

Anyway this race, filled with fast cars would not end well for us. I overdrove turn one, pushed up into Scott Beatty’s lane. He fell back a little but a lap or so later he got under me going into three and as he was going into three he let me have a small body check. I knew what it was for, and wasn’t upset with him. Scott might be happy to know, that over the next 6 laps in this race and the following heat, I would get hammered many more times than the one time I crowded him.

I tried staying with Scott once he passed and did okay for one and a half laps then the car got loose off two and Dwayne Baker went inside me and Mike Bentley outside. David was spotting and his response was “oh crap, you are 3 wide in the middle”. I hated to hear that and then it hit me that I am just a slug on the track and get eaten up by the field week after week. “I should have taken scratch”!!

As we flew down the back chute Dwayne hit my left door as Mike was hitting me as he tried going to the outside. It wasn’t nice and we came very close to getting seriously wrecked in that deal. Once in turn three I checked up letting the field go by. I didn’t care who was behind me, I lost total confidence that I could run with the pace truck at this point.

Soon the #00 Brian Wilson Jr. got by and I was reluctant to even chase him. I was dumb founded by the feeling of being in the way of the fast cars…and I was in the way or they would not have been able to go three wide coming off the turn. That was my feelings, others saw it different, and they may have been right about it, but I was so discouraged at that point slowing down and not getting wrecked was the best option. David told me to get going. He understood why I let the faster cars go, just not why I slowed down so every car could pass. He told me to get going there was no one behind. I would Brian and pass him at the start finish line, but my spirit was broken and like the entire season “here we go again, Gary is down on himself again”. Yes, it’s true I was, and yes it’s true it’s been like that almost every single race I’ve been in. No heat finish better than a 4th all year leaves the feeling of ineptness in my heart and only a strong performance could change that.

We made a slight change for the next race. I would start last. David coached me to brake hard when I drove in and not let the car slide up.

A caution in the early going sent #24 Nick Goetz to the back. A lap or so later he dumped me in turn one and two.
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David was upset. I said to David “that what I think will happen when I brake hard”. He replied “the 24 just drove in way too far, he should never hit you”. The track saw it that way and sent him to the back again....Nick never said anything after the race, or anytime during the night. It would have been good for him to do that, but not all racers feel the need to apologize for hitting other cars, I think he should have.

We ran about 2 more laps and both the #73 of Dave Bartlett and the #00 of Wilson were running side by side. I couldn’t get by either of them. Going into three the #73 got loose and the back of his car hit #00 and they both started to spin to the infield. I drove high and hard around the top to get out of the way. That should have been the right move but it ended up being a disaster. Wilson got on the gas and spun his car to the outside and came right up in front of me. I had nowhere to go and nailed his front bumper.
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Unfortunately the impact drove our rad shroud into our rad and putting me out of the race and $300 poorer. It was not a good deal, and just another poor result for our team.

The car was towed to the pits and the boys removed the nose and the beat up rad. Our spare rad was no good, it leaked so a new rad was purchased.

Meanwhile Gehrig was having another good night in the Mini Stock. The Flamboro Speedway Mustangs were present and that meant finishing further back because the Mustangs are pretty well untouchable. Gehrig ran excellent in his heat races getting a 3rd and 4th respectively.

We started last in our feature, although 2 cars, #73 Dave Bartlett and #8 John Mitchell, wanted to go scratch we would soon be there with a quick pit stop to correct the car being crazy tight. That was because we had no time to adjust the car for the feature because of the work on the rad. We had a spare rad but it was no good, we tried borrowing one but it was the wrong style, so I ended up buying one from Bayside Automotive. My sponsor, Open Doors, was generous and paid for the radiator, a huge help to me.

On the green we went about 4 laps and there was a caution. I made a pit stop and so did Tom Walters. Bob, Matt and Don were down in the infield and they removed the hood and Bob took a full turn off the bar. I went back out and it was noticeably better.

Our chassis was okay from the accident, at least there was nothing we could see that was bent. We were racing with no nose cone, and now no hood.
The thing about Sunset is momentum and getting the car to turn without being loose on exit or tight in the middle, which will make the car loose off. So many cars are fast on the straight and if you can’t turn it takes forever to pass. Things compound when you’re battling another car because those ahead get further ahead.

We were okay for most of the race. I just have to learn how to brake properly. It seems one of mine problems is not braking hard enough. I never use to ever, in any car, but here it’s a must to get set up. I feel if I brake hard I will get run into, like I did by Nick, but David said the car comes off the corner much better when I brake hard.

As the feature progressed I got tighter but wasn’t coming in. We were following Anthony Simone #95 and Dereck Frolich #99 who were banging on each other pretty good. It resulted in Frolich cutting a right front tire. As he entered turn one he drove right into Simone spinning Anthony out.
I was right behind in a battle with Bruce Rankin #55 and both of us had to take cover, but we got through okay.

Near the end of the race I caught up to #49 Frank Davey who was in a battle with #77 Herb Walters. Though we were faster, I could not get by them and finished 13th at the line.

It’s been a very frustrating season for me, and it continues. We are taking our car to McColl’s on Monday to see if there is something wrong. At this point, our hopes of getting into the top 10 are almost impossible, but I have to keep trying. I feel so bad for my crew, fans and sponsors. Hopefully we get this car competitive and soon.Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:59 pm

July 26th.................Delaware Speedway

Race #14

Note: Note: The Outlaw Pro 4 Races Don't Count Towards The 2500...They Were Not On Our Schedule... :(....They Will Be Added In Later

High Lites
*12 Outlaw Mods
* We win Heat and Feature #36
* First ever Feature win at Delaware
* First Feature win in 5 years

Results
Heat.......1st
Feature...1st

Winnings
* Went to car owner

Repairs
None...get ready for Sunset 27th

Crew
Matt, Don and Cheryl

Conclusion
Dave Hodgkinson asked me at the Mega Speed car show if I would be interested in racing his Outlaw Pro 4 Modified at Delaware and Sunset on the July 26th weekend. We were off that weekend with the Late Model, but I was scheduled to drive our Coupe at Delaware on the 26th. Of course I said yes and though it wasn’t in our schedule, it would help offset any rain outs we might lose.
Over the spring and early summer Dave offered to have the car painted and asked me to come out and see it. The only change I would make was to the steering wheel, moving it ahead because my elbows were hitting the roll cage. Dave made that change and we kept in contact over the early racing schedule.
As time drew closer we talked about getting the car painted like the Whelan Mod in our Quaker State book but that didn’t work because of the extreme humidity the week of July 16th. We did however get decals made up for the car and I was happy with being able to run our number and Quaker State on the car.
I was fortunate to have Matt and Cheryl Smith and Don Mierzswinski with me. I knew it would be a tough night running 2 cars, but I also didn’t mind it, kind of exciting, although it sure brings a chaotic atmosphere when jumping from one car to the next, plus trying to make sure the cars are set up properly. It’s a challenge, and can be exhausting but I’ve done it before and survived, although I was a little younger. Having Matt, Cheryl and Don helped a ton and I very much appreciated them coming.
We unloaded the Coupe and then got the Pro 4 beside us in the pits, making it easier for us to make the rush transfer from one car to the next.
I made one set of hot laps in the Coupe and we were as quick as the field.
The Outlaw’s were going out but by the time I got ready I missed the first session. We did make the next practice set only it wasn’t very good. Heading down the back chute I noticed how twitchy this little hot rod was and found it intimidating slightly, mostly from not being use to the quick easy steering.
I made one lap, then going into turn one the oil breather cap came off spewing oil on the engine. I immediately exited the track on the back chute. No one had a spare and the track would not let us check for the lost cap until hot laps were over, so much for getting use to this car on the big fast Delaware oval.
After the CVM meeting I came back to the pits to hear the good news that the oil cap was found. The Outlaw’s were first cars out. I jumped in and headed to pit row. I was to start 7th. While sitting on front chute pit road a track staff came over and said there were enough cars to have 2 heats and that I would be pole.
I was very reluctant to take the spot and almost said I would go scratch, but decided not to.
Starting beside me was Varney feature winner of 2 weeks ago #16 Shannon Morris. I felt if he got the lead I could follow him and learn my limitations on the car. We cruised around and got the white. I was nervous. It’s been a season of frustration for me. Running so poorly at Sunset in the Late Model has made me feel like I can’t drive anymore. I race as hard as I can, yet can’t seem to do better than 9th in the feature no matter whether I start first or last. It has been a demoralizing season for me and our crew, but it’s taken a lot out of me.
I waited coming off four for the green and when it dropped I raced into one waiting for Shannon to pass me on the outside. He came up beside me so we raced down the back chute, and again I waited for him to get beside me and pull me off four. However it didn’t happen. I drove hard into one this time and the same into three. After repeating this for about three or four laps I decided to shoot to the wall and not hold the car down. I squeezed in my shoulder and held on tight because with no spotter or mirror, I wasn’t sure how close Shannon was. Once in the fast lane I could drive harder into the turns and started racing harder each lap. I thought for sure he was right on my tail. I could hardly breathe I was so excited. When the 2 lap flag came out I went in harder again, but still no sign of Shannon.
I was driving with my mind picturing a car on my bumper and my eyes fixed ahead. Coming off four the white came out and all I could think was “don’t blow it”. This could be our first checker of 2013. A lap later it was over and what a feeling to win in this car for the first time racing it. I must admit, it handled awesome and I was so happy.
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I came into turn three to get the checker flag from Dave Franks and he said to go down pit road. I didn’t know what he meant so I drove down the front straight to the start finish line but no one was waiting. So I gladly drove all the way around waving the flag like I just won a 100 lap feature. When I got back to Dave again he said “go down pit row”!!! I did and sure enough there were three photographers waiting and the announcer to say a few words. The problem now was the CVM first heat was heading out and I was in the 2nd heat and had to go.

Once in the pits I got to my happy smiling crew and immediately got out of the Outlaw and into the Coupe.

After the CVM race, that was good for us avoiding some crazy wrecks, I was able to high 5 and talk to my crew about the Outlaw win.

Matt said my laps times went from 20:8 down in the first few laps down to 20:3 by the end. I explained that I was trying to protect the lead worrying that Shannon or one of the other cars was right there. Matt looked at me funny and said “What!!. Gary the closest car was just coming out of four when you took the checker, it was no contest”. Wow, hearing that sure gave me confidence to know our car was good.

Cliff Hodgkinson won the first heat, a real battle between him and his dad Dave and Thomas Houghton. Thomas is the son of Russ Houghton, a good friend of ours. Thomas said to me “I remember you bringing you’re VW to our place and Dad helping you work on the car”. I also remember that night. Russ was sponsoring Billy Schlitt #27 at the time. We wrecked and he offered to help us. Nonie and I and kids stayed over-night and we raced the next day at Hideaway Speedway.

The feature line up had us starting 9th. On the green I got outside as quick as I could but wanted to be careful.
By lap four I was in 4th and caught up to Shannon who was running the #16 much faster than in the heat. I took me a few laps to get by because he was racing hard into every corner. Our car was fast and once I got by the leaders had built a 10 car length lead over 3rd.

Dave and Clifford battled hard side by side. That battle allowed me to gain on them and by lap 13 I caught up.
We raced in a tight group for three laps and then coming off 2 Cliff got high and I made a move to go under Dave down the back chute. However, just as I went low, Cliff went high on the outside and here we were racing down the back chute heading into turn the turn 3 wide.

I backed out knowing if something would happen I would let it be a family thing, plus I was driving their car for them, and really didn’t want to hit the boss.

Coming off four Cliff got a good run on the outside and was beside Dave at the start finish line. I decided to follow Cliff. We raced hard into one jammed together.

Coming off two Cliff got the lead and I was right on his tail. We raced into three and I moved into 2nd. For the next two laps I followed Cliff very close with Dave on my tail. Holding these cars down hurts them so once a car gets passed he can jump in the high lane and gain some speed back.

On lap 18 I drove hard into one and Cliff pushed real high. He pushed a few laps earlier but this was a bad push. Cliff is an awesome racer and like his dad has won many features and Championships. These two are the most decorated Pro 4 racers in the past 15 years, so I knew who I was racing against, seeing them at Flamboro win consistently when I raced the Coupe there.

Our car was very quick and handled so good. Going into three I got on the outside of Cliff and coming off four got a good run and passed him at the finish line. Going down the back chute the yellow came out.

On the restart I was a nut case. First of all I hadn’t raced a car that was this good in many years, plus I was in the lead. Cliff restarted beside me, there were 6 laps to go.

On the green we raced hard into one. Side by side. Cliff was right on my tail with Thomas and Shannon part of the pack.

I couldn’t see Cliff going into three, and I knew I had to get out in the fast lane and drive the car very hard into each turn in order to hope to win this race. It was easy when I was behind because I could gauge how hard to race in. Leading was something I don’t do very often, or have done very often.It’s a different deal unless you’re a consistent winner, and that I’m not. Though we win a few a year, we would never be considered a consistent winner. A consistent top 5 back in the CVM days, but this year, my only consistency had been whining, and mostly from having a car that could not keep up. Tonight was different, winning was possibly on the table for us.

We raced hard into one and I did something I think was smart. I needed to know where my competition was because my mirror was not good and no spotter to talk to me. I slowed down extra hard and hugged the inside line. I was looking to see how long it took Cliff to get back outside of me. Then I got a great signal, a whack in the back bumper betweens turns one and two. That was awesome for me, now I knew they were behind me, so coming off two I shot to the wall and had the track to myself, well at least the lead.

The next few laps were crazy tense. Dave and Cliff were both on my tail. Cliff said after “man you drove in so hard when you were chasing us, but not as much when you were leading, letting us stay right with you”.

I didn’t want to mess up, over drive, push up or let either of them get under me, so I hugged the inside, driving a little slower but jammed the throttle coming off.

The next great thing was the white flag. I was developing some kind of crazy anxiety. I was so concerned about over driving or losing the lead. “Just one more lap”, I said to myself. The most crucial turn for me was three. It was a lot different than one, but it was also the last chance to Dave or Cliff to get me. I actually drove in harder this time leaving more room on the inside and knowing I could get a better run off by not making the car loose off. I don’t know if that was true, but I do know coming off four I was leading and raced like a wild man down the front chute to the relief of finally winning a feature, a drought that had haunted our team for 5 years.
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This win was so amazing. It was our first win since 2008, the night of our 40th Anniversary at Flamboro Speedway. How ironic was it that it was exactly 5 years to the day…July 26th 2008, our last feature win.

It was also our 36th career feature win, and most important of all, it was our first ever feature win at Delaware Speedway. We’ve had many top 5 feature finishes, including some runner up’s, but never a win.
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I was so thankful to Dave and his family, to my crew Matt, Cheryl and Don, the track, the awesome fans (there were many of them) and God for blessing us with this timely victory. It sure helped me understand that as much as the driver can make a difference, a good car is what it takes to win races and we sure had that tonight.

Our next race in the Outlaw was set for Saturday July 27th but was cancelled by rain. See the Outlaw report on July 28th below….as well the CVM race report is below.

Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:02 pm

July 26th..............Delaware Speedway

Race #15

High Lites
* 17 cars
* Steve Lyons wins
* We get 7th
* Lots of beat up cars
* Good feature race

Results
Heat.......4th
Feature....7th

Winnings
$150

Repairs
None

Crew
Cheryl, Matt, Don and

Conclusion
I’ve always wanted to race the Vintage Modified as much as possible. Tonight was my third time in it, with one more to go, the Velocity weekend at Delaware.

There were 17 Hobby cars, a decent turn out to play in front of a great size crowd.

We were in the second heat, lucky for me, because I would not have made it in time because the Outlaw Mod heat was just before the CVM first heat. I asked to go scratch because I knew I would be late. My good friend and line up man, George McLeod, asked me if I wanted to take scratch all night. If the CVM feature went our right after the Outlaw feature, I would be in big trouble, but there was a reason the CVM feature was pushed back a little, and it was because of the mess in the heat I was in.

TJ Marshall won the first heat. In the second heat things got ugly coming off turn four when someone got into Doug Hood, turning him in front of the pack. The result wasn’t good as five cars were eliminated. Doug Hood #38, Steve Trendell #57, Jeremy Riopelle #2, Rick Schurr #44 and Steve Lyons #9 would DNF in this one.

The remaining four cars were Jeff Shaw, Brian Atkinson, Mike Podd and us. That would be the finish with Jeff holding off Brian, and Mike for the win. Mikes car was good, heading outside to try and make the pass. So even though only 4 cars were left, it was a close and exciting finish.

Our car was hard to steer. Most are saying I’m just not use to driving without power steering, and it is possible that’s all we need. I wonder if that will get passed, soon I hope. The car is fine once it’s moving but kind of heavy when trying to turn to the right….I know, we make left turns, and I did have to make a wild right turn as Doug Hood was sliding up on lap one.

I made one change to the car to loosen it up in the middle, then got in the Outlaw Pro 4 for that feature, and it was a memorable and historic race (race #14).

After the Outlaw feature I had to hustle, but lucky for me, the CVM cars that were wrecked were given more time to prepare, so the Truck race was sent out, meaning the CVM feature would not run right after the Outlaw race, and that was good for me.

My starting spot was outside pole and I was pumped because it would even more historic to win 2 features in one night for me.

The Outlaw was very fast and handled amazing. It gripped the turns like glue. The 25 lap feature was still running through my body when I got in the Coupe. I was okay with starting up front, I thought our car would be good, plus we freed it up a bit.

On the green going into one , I soon found out that 500 more pounds and treaded tires, would not stick like the Pro 4. I went in so hard, getting ahead of the pole car but science took over and the weight, speed and grip didn’t work out like I tried, in fact by the time I got the car slowed down from leaving the exit ramp in turn two, I fell back 12 positions, I knew what happened, just over drove into one…..just a little!!!!

A lap later going into one a huge wreck occurred when Doug Hood and Steve Trendell got together wrecking both cars badly. Doug lost a wheel and Steve had most of his suspension messed up.

Over the next 15 laps we gained some spots eventually getting into 6th.
with 2 laps to go Corey Jones #82 was right on me. I tried holding him back but the car was tight and he was able to get a good run off turn four on the final lap to take 6th.
It wasn’t a bad run. There was zero damage and no issues with the car other than some handling woes that are easily fixed if you’re not running 2 classes a night. Congrats to Steve Lyons and his team for winning the feature, his 3rd of the season.

Once out of the Coupe our team gave high 5’s and headed to Denny’s to celebrate Dave and Terry Hodgkinson’s 44th wedding anniversary. It was a good night, especially winning the feature in the Outlaw.

The next time I drive the Coupe will be at Sunset on September 28th.
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Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gregg33 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:16 pm

Congrats on your win Gary. I know this has been a very trying season for you, hopefully the win will be a turning point for you and you can get you late model program on track. Best of luck for the remainder of the season.
Gregg33 Posts: 27Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:12 pmLocation: Port Colborne, On, Canada

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:34 am

Thanks Gregg it sure was fun racing the Outlaw Pro 4, and we made history in it winning our first feature ever at Delaware Speedway. We hope our LM season does turn around, we're taking the car to the doctors tonight...McColl Enterprises for Mike to check it over. Thanks again
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:38 am

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

Race #16

Note: The Outlaw Pro 4 Races Don't Count Towards The 2500...They Were Not On Our Schedule... :(....They Will Be Added In Later


High Lites
* 9 cars
* Sean McGlynn wins feature
* We get 2nd

Results
1st Heat........4th
2nd Heat.......2nd
Feature........2nd

Winnings
go to car owner

Repairs
none

Crew
Matt, Don, Gehrig, Nathan

Conclusion
The Outlaw Pro 4 show at Sunset was rained out on Saturday, so Matt, Don and I headed up early on Sunday. We went to Cookstown to my cousin’s place and played darts and some horseshoes. It was a fun time with Tom, Kim and her friend Joanne, Matt and Don.

We got back to the track around 4 and made 2 sets of hot laps in the Modified. I really wanted to do good this day. My home track and in a class I only raced once. It would have been just as big to win at Sunset for me, but I wasn’t sure how things would go.

The car count was low, only 9 cars, there were 12 at Delaware. This group ran with the boys at Flamboro up until last year. A dispute over rules made things bad and now there are 2 Pro 4 classes and this one added the name Outlaw to it. It’s really too bad because these cars are fun to drive and I suspect not very expensive once you’re initial purchase is done. They run a 10” tire with a high horsepower 4 cylinder and only weight 1900 pounds.

The car I was driving had older tires on the inside, Hoosier’s, and fairly new American Racer’s on the outside.

We ran 2 heats and a feature. In the first heat I started near the back and worked my way up to the front. I caught the leader on the final lap. I noticed he was pushing real bad but thought I could get him on the outside. I drove hard into three on the outside and he pushed up almost hitting me. I corrected but got into the marbles and lost 2 spots finishing 4th. Dave Hodgkinson won that race.

In the next I started about the same only the lead car got out in front in a hurry. I was battling with the boss, car owner Dave Hodgkinson. He pushed up in between 1 and 2 and I got under but then he came down and tried to get in front but I was there. I backed out and still hit him on the rub rail.

We had another altercation between three and four when Dave got hit and by me and another car. His car was pushing bad and it was hard to judge where to pass. No one got hurt or damaged. It took one more lap to get by but once I did the leader was out of reach with only three laps to go. I gained huge on Thomas Houghton who was that heat and being runner up was okay in what Dave Hodgkinson called after in the pits “World War 3”.

In the feature Sean McGlynn started on the pole in one of the newer cars. Sean got the lead early. His car was very quick. I got into 3rd but could not by the second place fast enough. The starter warned the second place car not to block and to stay in one lane. By the time I got into 2nd Sean was a straightaway ahead and as hard as I drove I could only gain a very little. I finished 2nd and had a blast in the Outlaw Pro 4 Mod.

Special thanks to Dave, Terry, Cliff and Lisa, as well as Brian, for all their help, I thoroughly enjoyed driving this car.

There is a possibility we may head to Thompson Speedway in October for the World Series of Asphalt. Not sure yet, but Matt and I may go and any other race fans that want to go with us. It will be a money thing for me, but could be a lot of fun and another track to add to our list.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm



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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Shadowracer » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:07 am

Just a little vid. Happeend to have my phone out when ya came around w the checkered on Friday night. Great to see ya Gary!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiX4VjoAq8g
Shadowracer Posts: 9Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 4:05 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:30 am

Thanks Trevor, that's cool.



Postby Gary » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:02 pm

July 31st.........Sauble Speedway

Rained Out :(



On Monday night, Matt, Gehrig, Steve Cashmore and I went to McColls for a chassis set up and to find out why our car is M.I.A, Missing In Action.

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We have tried everything to get our car consistent but have had very little luck, though a few moments of what we thought was finally where we wanted to be.
We made a lot of changes, front shocks, ride height, rear spring, front spring and a few other small things.
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The ride height was a shocker because we thought it was 5" with the driver in the car, and it's with driver out. I felt embarrassed for my crew because I should have noticed that, but to be honest, I have rarely been through tech except to get our Golf Cart or say hello to the boys.
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Anyway Mike was very happy when we left because he really does care how we compete and knows we have enough talent on our team to be competitive.


We did get to test the car a few laps before it was called around 9. In the warm ups the car was loose in and off, so we made a change that was too much, made the car tight, so we will back up a little, but we have Sunset coming and that means a little different set up.


Next race is Sunset Speedway August 3rd and 4th.Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:24 am

August 3rd..............Sunset Speedway

Race #17

High Lites
* 22 cars
* Walters wins
* We finish 11th
* Gehrig has DNF in feature


Results
Late Model
1st Heat.......DNF
2nd Heat......8th
Feature.......11th

Mini Stock
1st Heat.......2nd
2nd Heat......2nd
Feature.......DNF

Winnings
Late Model.....$160
Mini Stock......$30

Repairs
none, prepare for 75 lap race

Crew
David, and Mini Stock crew

Conclusion
It was a relaxing start to the week end for me. My granddaughter Lauren and I went to my cousin’s place in Cookstown to play some darts and horseshoes Friday night and Saturday until 2. It was okay because my only crew member would be David and he wouldn’t be at the track until after work, so there was no hurry.
We had a blast playing darts until late Friday night. It was fun and settled me down for the frustration that likely awaited me when I got to Sunset Speedway.

The frustration has been our performance. Almost anyone who works hard at something gets rewarded with the fruit of their efforts. That hasn’t been the case for our team this year. We have been calling 11th in the feature good, and it is better than 12th and 14th, but everyone of our crew know we should be doing better, much better. It’s been eating me up so much, not able to have fun with being non competitive, that having a night out with our cousins really hit the spot and slowed me down, and I did indeed have fun.

The good news for us was that we had yet raced the car after the set up at McColl’s, so there was hope that we might be better than the first half of the year. I would soon find out, although, with no spotter or crew there was no rush to get on the track.

When I got to Sunset, the crew from the Mini Stock helped me unload. Don, Nathan, Gehrig and Lauren pitched in getting the car off the trailer and my pit set up.

I ran the tires from the June 16th Invitational for practice with 2 other tires from our inventory, #8 and #4, both used by still good enough for a shake down. The inside tires have a ton of laps on them and cycles, but were still working, so using them made sense, plus I was able to get the stagger I needed.

Glen Duncan, a good friend and crew member of Billy Zardo offered to spot for me until David arrived. Don was going to do it, but was happy to have Glen take over.

I was trying my best to relax at the track. I have yet to smile at Sunset this year because of our performance, or lack of. My crew understand, and I appreciate their being tolerant with me being frustrated. However, the fact I feel I’m in left field every week has really made me physically sick and stressed out, so I have been working on just accepting what happens and trying not to let it kill me, but I’m a racer and need to be competitive to be happy, and not feel I’m in the way, like I have for most of this year.

Bob was on holidays this week, as was Matt. David was working but would make it for the heat race.

Don and the Mini crew came with me to tech pad to check the car over. There was very little wedge in the car, about 51%. The ground clearances were good, so I decided not to touch the bolts, but to test the car first.
I did one set of hot laps and the car was very loose going into the turns. I changed the RR spring, installed a lighter one and added a little wedge on the front bar.

When David arrived hot laps were over. I told him what I did and he agreed. :) one for Dad.

I decided to take scratch for the night again. That’s been my decision because we can’t run with any of the top 10 fast cars. Starting ahead of them just means trouble for me in a few ways. One we can get wrecked because they are pushing their way through the traffic, and the other reason is that it is too degrading to get eaten up going from pole to 6th in a few laps. Once I feel we can keep up I will take my spot in heats and the feature. If our normal finish is going to be 11th (for now), then I would sooner start 20th and finish 11th than start pole and finish 11th. There is just as great a chance passing cars as you move forward as there is getting passed by cars sending you backward. Some think this is a negative approach, but actually it’s a smart approach because if for now, we are an 11th or 12th place car, we might as well feel we worked our way to that spot compared to being in the way when starting up front. It’s not my crew’s fault, and it’s not mine. At first some thought the driver was at fault, maybe wore out, too old, lost the edge, but that was soon changed when they saw what I could do if the car was good….and it has been at times in some features early, in some late, but never for a while, and rarely in any heat race. All of us now know that without a good piece (our car is a 10 year old updated), and without it balanced almost perfect, there is no running with the top 10 at Sunset. All of this writing was explained to Mike McColl and he understood and wanted to help get us where we should be. There is a brand new car, with all the new suspension, like ours, but also the newer quick change, newer chassis configuration that is what the cars have. A mere $55,000 will help load it in our trailer, But since that’s out of the question, our only course is to make the one we have work, and we have been trying desperately week after week to do just that.

Changes made to the car at McColl’s from last week to this week were major. First we were measuring our ride height with the driver in the car…WHAT!!!!.....the guy from Murphy’s said “Hey I’m here to see what can go wrong when you don’t expect it, remember the slogan guys, 'anything that can go wrong will go wrong' and that doesn’t include stupid mistakes”….and he was right. How on earth did we think for the past 2 seasons that the driver was in the car when ride heights were taken? Maybe because I didn’t get out of the car last year when we won the heat race, I don’t know for sure, but it was a big disadvantage to have the car that high. The front shocks were changed to have less rebound on the LF and less compression on the RF. Another big change was the RR spring. It was very heavy. Mike knew why we had a 700 pound spring in the RR but suggested to drop it down a little and try other things to make the car turn. There were other changes as well but they were minor compare to the main three.

Starting at the back of the heat was okay, David was good with that. The car was good but trouble started early when fuel was leaking from our gas cap. I was black flagged, David told me it was coming out, so he knew they would see it and black flag me. On lap 4 the black and orange flag was shown to me and I parked it.

We only made one change for heat #2. Fix the fuel leak.
There were 22 cars, 11 in each heat.

In the second heat we got into 9th and a battle with Billy Zardo. Our car was good on the outside. We ran side by side the final 4 laps. We were a little tight, but not bad and crossed the line just ahead of the #46.

David made 2 small changes for the feature on rear stagger and sway bar preload. The car gains wedge or cross weight during the feature, so David took a little off to start the race.

The car was awesome during the 20 car race. It stuck on the outside and was strong coming off the corners. I had the car close to this one night a few weeks ago, but this was the best yet.

I caught Frank Davey #49 and tried going under him but he came down so I backed out. Our car was very strong and coming off four I was getting under him. We raced down the front chute and I was up to his rear quarter and thought for sure he would stay high but he didn’t. To my shock he came down, I tried turning down even more by couldn’t and hit his LR wheel sending him spinning around. I was perhaps more upset then he was. I pointed my finger at him as I drove by. David said right away “awe he chopped you bad, his spotter probably thought you would back out again, plus they know you’ve run weak all the season so they were expecting it, but his spotter should have said something”. As I drove around the back staff official pointed me to the rear. I was mad and pulled over trying to plead my case but he wouldn’t see it or even consider it. I went away disappointed that I was blamed, and tried to spin the tires to let off some steam but instead I slipped my clutch.....loser!!!!

On the restart I wasn’t sure if the toe was affected. I soon found out it wasn’t and the car was awesome some again. The final 10 to 12 laps were hard but steady and we made good ground getting up to 13th. Mike Bentley spun out, started at the rear and was coming fast. He’s leading the points and was in a mad dash to get as many spots back as possible. We raced hard into three. I was behind #99 of Derek Frolich, and beside #55 Bruce Rankin. Bentley dove in behind Bruce and ten David said “you have 7 car lengths on the car behind”. I decided right then to move over and let Mike go. He soon got by Bruce then Derek. I would follow him past #55 of Rankin but could not get by #99 Frolich before the checker.

We crossed in 11th place and we were happy. David was raving about how good the car looked and I was the same because it was good all race, not just for a portion of it.

It wasn’t our best feature finish, and no-where near where we want to be, but it was an improvement. David felt if we had not went to the back, a top 7 was possible.

After the race we talked briefly and though our on track showing was good, our overall night was fantastic. David text me on the way home “Dad this is the most fun I’ve had this year”. Hearing that brought some perspective to me because I have been beating myself up terribly so far this year and tonight I was good to myself and it helped David and I work together much better. He was relaxed as well and he doesn’t play darts……just saying.

Gehrig was having a great night in the Mini Stock class. After finishing second in both his heat races he was set for the feature. He ran a great race, getting beat by some ridiculously faster cars. It is crazy how much faster some of the Mustangs and visitors are when they come to Sunset.

Things were going great, Gehrig was up to 7th and holding his own. Then with about 8 to go his right front hub broke. He lost steering but managed to hang on even though he could hardly steer. He dropped down right in front of coming fast cars. A few had to take evasive action. One car, #6 Terry Woodley, got wrecked on the deal and that was too bad. Gehrig couldn’t help it, he tried his best to hold the car and did amazing keeping it off the wall. That was his first DNF of the season.

Our next race would be on Sunday. David said to run the same set up for the next day and save the new tires we got from Sauble for next week.

Once packed up I headed back to my cousins for more darts and relaxation....it's so much fun, and I win a lot :)
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:29 am

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

75 Lap Invitational

Race #18

Hi Lites
* 20 cars
* Walters wins
* We DNF
* Gehrig DNF

Results
Late Model
1st Heat.......9th
2nd Heat......8th
Feature.......DNF (16)

Mini Stock
1st Heat......8th
Feature......DNF (22)

Winnings
Late Model.......$130
Mini Stock........$35

Repairs
engine noise, routine, new tires

Crew
Matt, Ryan

Conclusion
Twenty Late Models showed up on Sunday for the 75 lap Invitational. I decided not to go out in any early practice laps to save our tires, they were good Saturday but getting used up pretty good, especially the inside two made their debut on June 16th for the first 75 lapper.

Matt Smith was pitting for me on this day and to our pleasant surprise Ryan Elliott was able to make it out and be part of the team. Ryan’s work keeps him away a lot, but we are sure glad when he can make it.

I was given one new tire for the right front by a donator and I appreciated that very much.

Mike McColl came by and asked how the car was the night before. I told him we were good and got sent to the back when I spun the car in front. He checked the toe with me and it was good. We didn’t make any other changes at that time, or as it worked out, after that either.
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I decided to take scratch for this event, heats and feature. I’m not confident to keep up with the bulk of the cars, mostly from our performance this season so far, so going scratch is no big deal to me, plus it’s safer and our budget was gone a few months ago, so we are in a different mode now, it's called “survival”. It shows up every year and because I want to keep my commitment to my sponsors, fans and promoters, I back off so finishing the season is doable. This hits every season but usually much later than it did this year. Last year was bad with the $12,000 wreck in late May. That had us back peddling for a while, but we ran decent last year and after that huge wreck had a 3rd, 4th, 5th and two 7th's in the features, including 7th at Gary Reynold's memorial. We have raced 18 of 31 scheduled races and it's been tough in many ways, but the most discouraging has been how poorly I've run. This was our 18th night, and we have another 11 shows we've done, so I'm happy that we are getting things done off the track. I also know that when there is 20 cars someone will finish 11th to 20th, I just wished it wasn't me every week. Hopefully we get it turned around before the season ends and get a good finish at least once this year in a Late Model.

The heats were packed with very strong cars. We were able to run with the pack, racing hard with Al Inglis #69, a strong Barrie Speedway runner.
We ended up 9th not far from the group in front. The second heat was the same only this time we finished one spot better. Sometimes starting at the back is a very tough deal because it takes so long to pass cars unless you're one of the top runners. Even in the features we take most of the feature to gain 5 or 6 spots.
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In the Mini Stock class Gehrig still had trouble with the borrowed hub they got the night before from the Adams family. He ran one set of hot laps and found the hub was loose then re-torqued it. After one heat Gehrig said the front end didn't seem right. After his heat Don found brake pads coming apart on that same wheel. They were going to park the car and I suggested to borrow a set of pads and take the green. Every dollar is important and I wished it was no issue, but at worst case it helps get us back home.

They borrowed a set of front pads from the #04 Mini Brian Love. Gehrig didn't run the next heat and did take the green and pull off after one or two laps.
It was his second DNF this season, but really this was a carry over from Saturday night.

Late Model Feature
We started 18th in the feature of 20 cars.
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I knew right from the start the car was good. The first 20 laps were awesome. I passed a number of cars on the outside and inside working our way to 11th......our normal spot :)..... Around lap 30 the car started to get loose, so I pitted under yellow to add 2 pounds to the left rear tire and decrease the stagger. The car was awesome just a few laps earlier so I though a slight adjustment was all I needed. Ryan made the adjustment.

I returned to the track and ran another 10 laps but the car was getting worse. I radioed in that I would need a track bar (pan hard bar) adjustment. Matt was spotting and Ryan was in the pits with the Mini Stock crew. As I came in Ryan ran around the passenger side with the 1/2" drive ratchet and extension. I tried calling him back, because I knew he was going to make the wrong adjustment. I called the boys standing there but they didn't know what was up. Finally I got through to Ryan to adjust the pan hard not the load bolt. Anyway it got done and I got back out. Two turns in on the track bar should have tightened up the car in the middle. I soon found out that it didn't make any difference at all.

Coming off two the car was sideways half way down the back chute. There was no grip at all and it was getting worse. On about lap 55 I got lapped and decided to park the car before I wrecked it.

I talked to David after and he feels the LR tire is done and not giving any help to the rear. It makes sense because that tire has 150 to 200 laps on it and 10 cycles. Maybe it made it farewell run the night before and I should have replaced it but there is no way that's going to happen with the pay off for this race. It's only $1200 to win, and that's good, but we are no where near winning that race. It's $500 for 5th and drops back to $130 for 15th. Even poor running cars buy new tires and had I bought 4 new tires, with my fuel and way in the race would have cost $800 at least. As it was I spent $120 and made $130 so I may have been one of the few who made money this night.......but I was disappointed overall and only saying something dumb like that takes away the pain :)...even if it is true. We wouldn't go there knowing our best finish is going to be 15th or worse. However, with the way the year has gone at Sunset Speedway for our team, getting in the top 10 might be as hard as winning or as impossible.

There are many nights left to have a good night, and we are not giving up but we sure are taking a beating in confidence and moral category. I was glad there wasn't any damage either. The car should be good for next week with new tires. We'll see, we hope so.

Congrats to Tom Walters for winning the race. He wins most of the specials and had Baker all over him. At least the field didn't get lapped but most did, I think 7 or 8 were on the lead lap.

Next week is Fan Appreciation Night and that will be fun.

Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:30 am

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:48 am

August 10th...........Sunset Speedway

Race #19

2500 Race Contest....2488 including these races....

High Lites
* 21 cars
* Mike Bentley wins holds onto points lead
* We finish 13th, but car was better
* Gehrig has best feature finish ever.....3rd
* Great crowd, Fan Appreciation Night
* I must say how great it feels to be at a track with so many first class staff......thank you for making our racing fun.

Results
Late Model
1st Heat.......8th
2nd Heat......5th
Feature.......13th

Mini Stock
1st Heat.......4th
2nd Heat......4th
Feature.......3rd

Winnings
Late Model.....$140
Mini Stock......$140

Repairs
Prepare for Sauble

Crew
Bob, Jim and Jason

Conclusion
I lied, got tied up picking up stuff for the Gold Rush including the car to get it lettered....this report is late but done :D
There is nothing better than Fan Appreciation Night. It was great to see a huge crowd on a beautiful but cool night. Many fans came over to get pictures and wish us well. Spencer Lewis did a great interview with us, very much appreciate that, to promote our sponsors and what we are doing this year with all that’s going on.

We had a great night tonight overall. I mean really we did. I understand that my heat finishes and feature finish would be enough to make a person give up because it’s been like this all season, but the truth is, as poorly as we are, we ran okay.

I need to lighten up!!! But more importantly, I need a new car, or newer car. I would go with the new car before a newer car, because whatever a newer car is missing, you can be sure, that stuff would be on a brand new car. I don’t want to have a newer car that is outdated. Here’s a bad thought, maybe by the time I got the new car home, it would be outdated. The reason why is because of the money to invest. Put all the good stuff on that makes it go fast, or because of not enough money only buy what you can afford. Then leave with a car that won’t keep up. You can build or buy a new car that does not have all the right options, just like buying a brand new F-150. It can be loaded or base model. Both new, but not the same….scary isn’t it.

So why did our car seem good to some, with basically poor finishes? I would say because of what they saw. The car looked better, it turned better and though we didn’t finish where I wanted, a top 3 in the heats and top 7 in the feature, some family, fans, and friends thought the car looked real good. There is no doubt the car was better, and has been better a little each week for the past month. But I have trouble getting excited about finishing 13th and gaining one spot in the feature. It’s a heart break for me. It’s like coming home with a report card of C- and everyone says, wow, great job, that’s awesome, you are so smart. I don’t know how to explain it, but we sure struggle with finishing poorly every week. Anyway here is what happened.

Gehrig sure wasn’t a disappointment. He ran awesome in every race he was in. His Honda, though out powered was handling so good in the corners. He was on the wheel and made it pay off with a pair of 4th in the heats. There were some fast cars in his heat and he did very well.

In the feature Gehrig drove his heart out. He started 7th and after 2 or 3 laps was in 2nd behind #9. He was overtaken by more powerful #33 of Warren Paxton and #51 of Eric Yorke. They ate him up on the chutes but he drove hard into each turn. Once they were ahead they pulled away. Gehrig was now in 4th chasing #9 Steven Bellanger. Gehrig raced him hard staying right on his bumper through the turns and eventually inching by Steven to move into 3rd at the half way mark. They had about a 10 car length lead on 5th who was in a fierce battle with 3 cars behind him.

Gehrig continued to race hard being smooth and consistent and the hard work gave him a 3rd place finish his best feature finish in the Mini Stock.

Our heats were tough, very tight and very competitive. We finished 8th in the first and 5th in the second heat. We started 4th with Baker and Kamrath on the pole and Walters and Witty right behind me. We did hold off Grossman and Holdaway to take a strong 5th. I was disappointed after the race because the leaders were in turn 2 when I was at the start finish line. That was hard to take because we thought our car was good. If it was good, and apparently some people did think we were strong, why were so far behind the leaders. Jim summoned it up best “we can’t beat the top cars here, not with this car, so we have to stop thinking about why we can’t catch Walters, our car is not in his or Bentley’s league period”. True words, yes, but hard to digest and certainly not something I wanted to face as a reality. My daughter Shirley called me on my cell and said I did great. I was still spinning from what Jim said, though I agreed with him. I was thinking to myself, “that was a good run, surely they’re just trying to make me feel good”. Well that is what I thought, so when I laughed Shirley wasn’t pleased with me, and she is right, I should have said thanks and moved on because to some people it was a good run and I think once I come to the truth that we are not going to even get a top 5 this year, I can race better.

In the feature I started 14th. We didn’t qualify so we fell behind all the qualified cars. Our car was awesome the first 15 laps. We ran side by side with #24 Nick Goetz. We tried to stay with him but got a little loose and lost ground. The car wasn’t even a 3 of 10 on loose, but that’s more than enough to take you out of the competition. The car has to be balanced almost perfect and not change from the first to the last lap. Ours has been good the first half of the race and then got a little tight or loose, but it’s been better overall, allowing me to RACE instead of drive.

Our car was getting a little tight in the middle and loose off as the race went on. It wasn’t near as bad as it was for the 75 lap Invitational, that was ridiculous, but the reason was solely tires, both rear being wore out.

During that run Herb Walters got by me. I couldn’t get on the gas and that allowed him to get away. However a caution on lap 15 with Tom Walters allowed us to catch up and over the next few laps we got into the battle with Anthony Simone and Herb. We finally cleared Herb and took a few more laps to get by Simone. Once we cleared we were gone, but now were too far behind the next group who were 8 car lengths ahead.

We finished 13th, it was a bad finish, but we raced the car and it was good for most of the race.

This week we head to Sauble for a show on the Beach again and then race on Wednesday night for the Dash for Cash. Matt Smith, one of our crew members is coming with me.

Special thanks to my crew, Bob, Jim and Jason, and at times the boys from the Mini Stock crew for working so hard to help get us a good run. David was off this weekend but will be back next Saturday.

We’re closing in on our 2500th race. After Saturday night’s double heats and feature we’re at 2488. It looks like we could hit 2500 in the feature on August 31st if there are no more rain outs and we make every race.

Monday August 19th is the Gold Rush with Kenny Wallace driving our car. It should be a good night. David, Junior Hanley and Big Jim and Bob will work on the car to get it right for Kenny.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:05 pm

August 14th...........Sauble Speedway

"Dash for Cash...50 lapper"

Race #20

2500 Race Contest....2491 including these races....

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Jason Parker wins
* We finish 6th
* 2500th race closing in....2491

Results
1st Heat..........3rd
2nd Heat.........3rd
Feature..........6th

Winnings
$400

Repairs
prepare for Sunset...no damage or issues

Crew
Matt, and 2 OSCAAR members driver Doug Wilson and his crew member Brad Henry

Conclusion
I headed to Sauble on Tuesday afternoon to be part of the Cruise Night on the beach. Weather was nice here, but by the time I got to Mount Forest it was overcast and that turned to rain and wind when I got to Spring Mount, just north of Owen Sound.
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I went to Jason Thom’s shop and we heard the event was cancelled so we ended up going for supper.

The next day I had my car on display at the Quik Lube in Owen Sound on 10th Street. I was there for 3 hours and gave out our Quaker State 40th Anniversary books to the customers. Owner Jerry Downey wants us to come back in 2014 and he will make the event a customer appreciation day with a barbeque.

After the show I headed to the track to meet Matt Smith. He was our only crew member to make the trip. The others had work and could not get away. We also got some help from Doug Wilson and Brad Henry, and that was great.

Matt worked on the car with me, as did Doug and Brad, and Matt was going to be our head spotter. He did very well at the June 16th Invitational at Sunset and I was comfortable with him spotting again.
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We made 3 sets of hot laps and the car was okay. We were within a tenth of the fast cars and made changes to make it better. My main goal was to make sure I didn’t mess up the car for Sunset. It’s been getting better each week at Sunset and David wanted me to be extra careful and make sure not to damage the car so we can continue to improve it from where it was.

There were 16 cars, some very fast Limited Late Models. We started 7th in our first heat and finished 3rd behind Sean Mcquirter who won and Jason Parker who was 2nd.

In our next heat we were outside pole beside Tyler Williams. We ran side by side for 9 laps before I got a bad push letting Parker sneak into 2nd. It was a great run for us and put us 6th on the starting grid after the invert.
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I kept in touch with David for changes, and Mike Bentley, who was helping Sean, also gave some ideas on how to the car to turn better.

The feature was good. Starting on the outside kind of hurt us as we slowly got freight-trained back to 11th by lap 10. I couldn’t get down and was not able to get a good run off the corners to keep up. Finally Matt gave me the clear low signal and then we fell in line. There was only one yellow when Sean spun out Dan Wright #1, a Varney top runner. It was on lap 12 and Dan was upset and waited for Sean to come around and lunged at him to let Sean know he wasn’t happy. He didn’t hit him, just a gesture to indicate his dislike for what happened. Both cars went to the rear.

The rest of the race went non stop and we made excellent head way as the car got better every lap from lap 20. Nick Goetz #24 was running 5th and we tried to close the gap on him but ran out of time, still finishing 6th, our best feature finish in the Late Model this year. It was also our best heat finishes as well, picking up two thirds.

The payoff was decent and covered my expenses there and back, especially with the show during the day.

I was so glad we did not put a mark on the car, meaning our crew (Bob) who comes during the week, would have little work to do.

Thanks to Jason for having this race, to all the competitors for running hard and clean and to Matt, Doug and Brad for helping out. I had a long drive home, leaving at 11:00, but with a good night to reflect on, I was okay to make the journey alone….plus my granddaughter made sure I was okay by calling me a few times.
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Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:04 am

August 17th....................Sunset Speedway

Race #21

2500 Race Update...................2494 now!!!!

High Lites
* 21 cars
* Dwayne Baker wins
* We finish 8th, best yet
* Gehrig wins 3rd race
* Gehrig blows engine

Results
Late Model
1st Heat............4th
2ne Heat...........3rd
Feature............8th

Mini Stock
1st Heat............1st
2ne Heat...........4th
Feature............DNF

Winnings
Late Model......$225
Mini Stock.......$30

Repairs
cosmetic, routine

Crew
David, Bob, Jim, Matt

Conclusion
This was a good night for us without a doubt. We moved to a different level, had been working on it for weeks, maybe all season.
Things starting getting better for us about 3 weeks ago, we were being creative with our car. Then after a visit to McColl’s, and the correction of our ride height, we seemed to have at least turned a corner of being a competitor now.

The Dash for Cash on Wednesday night did a lot for my confidence, which has taken a beating for the past 3 months. Winning the Outlaw race was awesome and kind of stilled the emotional waters of disappointment, but my real desire was to win in this Late Model.

The competition at Sunset is incredible. Last year there were 3 cars to beat. This year the list of fast cars has almost tripled. We knew we were getting closer, but needed to see it on the track with more consistency.

Two sets of hot laps were awesome. The first not so much although our lap times were decent. In the second set we stayed close to #48 Dwayne Baker who was on new tires. We stayed with Dwayne for about 7 laps.

In the pits things overheated when I heard our lap times were basically the same as the session before, making me feel there was something wrong with Baker’s car. I talked to Dwayne after practice was done and he admitted his car does not run good on new tires. He said his car wasn’t as quick as it was when he was on older tires. That kind of proved my point, but I still need to calm down in the pits. I am just so frustrated that I cannot compete stronger with this field of cars, it hurts, but maybe tonight wasn’t so bad, and maybe a ton better than I gave it credit.

I was pumped tonight, very positive at the beginning until I felt conflict in lap times, then I got bent out of shape. I really wanted to do well and thought maybe we had the car for sure tonight. We were also coming off a great run at Sauble Speedway.

We started 7th in the first heat. It was stacked with more fast cars than the other heat. Our car was good but near the end of the heat we got spun going into three by Anthony Simone #95. I was furious. David was head spotter and gave me the clear low signal but I got rammed and spun anyway. David tried to calm me down but once I got going I caught up to the back of Anthony and lifted the back end of his car. David was yelling at me to not hit him, I don’t think I heard David, in fact I definitely did not. Anyway, the crown roared, a little WWE I guess and I calmed down.

David is trying to get me to go in hard (which I’m doing) brake hard (which I’m not) and get on the gas. I’m not braking or slowing down enough and the result is my car pushing because I carry too much speed into the corners. My fear about braking hard is getting hit from behind. We finished the race in 4th place. After the race was over Anthony came by and apologized. I accepted naturally and we are good. I like him and just got upset because I’m frustrated. However, even though I rarely act like that, I did get some cheers and thumbs up from a few fans.

We started third in the next heat. It was until the 2nd place car got into the leader and spun him out. We were in second then and ran good but lost second coming off four. Sean Grossman got a good run off turn two and had me in three. I tried going outside but just didn’t have enough to take it.

The third was our best heat finish of the season at Sunset. Imagine how nuts that is, mid August and we have not had a 2nd place finish in a heat race.

We qualified with those two finishes putting us inside pole beside #10 Ernie Fulmerton. Ernie is one of the cars were chasing to try and get in to the top 10 in points, but it is a long shot for sure.

The feature was a good run for us. We were competitive. I now have to learn to drive the car. I am definitely not getting through the turns proper. I do not drive the way I need to, or do at every other track, in every other kind of car I race. My focus from now on has to be my braking in the corners and not getting on the gas too soon, and not carrying so much speed when I do get on the gas. I need to work on it pronto.

We held the lead for a few laps. Raced against Zardo for a bit, but he was hooked up. I also fought with Dwayne but that didn’t last, he was on a rail and did go on to win.

Our car was tight, at least that was my complaint. David reminded me again about carrying too much speed and I really tried hard to do that. I started whining so much about the car that he was going to turn off his radio…..yikes, so much for driver input, although I don’t know where whining fits in the term “input”.

The fast cars, Bentley, Kamrath, Holdaway and then Walters also got by and putting us back to 7th. I was pinched down and could not get out. Finally another yellow and I suggested a pit stop to help but David said “no way Dad, you will go back to 19th and won’t do any better than 14th if you’re lucky. Stay out there and race the car.

On that restart, with about 15 to go I was beside Sean Grossman and ran hard against him for several laps. We were also only a car length behind Andy and Taylor. I finally lost the fight with Sean after about 4 laps but was running with this front pack. We ended up 8th our best feature finish at Sunset this year. Kind of sad, but then again, we finally ran decent and showed a lot of potential.

Special thanks to my crew David, Bob, Jim and Matt for helping me, but also putting up with my constant stress. I hope I can get over this and just have fun, tonight helped for sure.

Gehrig had a tough night in the feature. After winning his 3rd heat race of the season, and taking 4th in the second his engine blew up about half way in the feature. It will hurt him in the points battle. We are trying to put something together so he can finish the season.

Monday night we have Kenny Wallace driving David’s Pro Late Model. The car is set, has been tested and we are preparing for our teams presentation at the track in the pits. We will have all our cars on display for the 80 to 100 guests we have coming. We have a VIP area set up in the pits and are thrilled to have Junior Hanley helping us along with David, all our crew and family. Hope to see you there.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:42 pm

August 19th.......................Flamboro Speedway

"Does Not Count As A Race For Me....I Didn't Drive"

Recap

Our entire night was an A+ in terms of the car we prepared for Kenny, the display we had, how we represented our sponsors, the results, feedback and fun. It was a homerun for sure.

One thing my granddaughter commented on when we got home from Flamboro, was how dusty and dirty everything was. It was too bad that our cars and display items were a mess in no time, but in spite of that the over 100 people that attended our event were happy and satisfied with their investment. Many had not been to Flamboro before, and some would not have gone to the race. In terms of track exposure, our efforts for our own cause no doubt helped the Speedway as well.

There were some negatives, like getting spun out on lap one. I had a feeling something would happen early, just didn’t expect it right then. The first two rows had some drivers who have a history of banging and not being patient. I was surprised it happened 4 seconds after the green was dropped. I

I want to thank a bunch of people for helping make this event a success. We had two deals going. The main one being Kenny Wallace driving our car (David’s Late Model). I was going to buy David’s car originally and made the commitment in February to supply John with a car. We stripped it down, installed a new body and had it detailed then painted and lettered. David then decided he would keep the car but I could use it for this event and any other shows I needed it for.

I asked Junior Hanley to help us, he likes Kenny Wallace and working with David. It was coming together nice. The next part of the plan was to host a promotion for our sponsors and have all our race cars on display. Soon it fell in place and with all the help from Nonie, Shirley, Gehrig and Lauren, and Paul Johnson, Steff Dean, Matt Smith, Jason Green, Nathan and Rick Start, around the display, it soon became a very successful event, and I was happy because I could not have done it all myself. We gave away our Quaker State 40th Anniversary books, the new Sunset program with a story on us, had a 50/50 draw, and a dozen door prizes, as well as lots of drinks and snacks for all our guests. Each one paid $10 more than the gate price and most got that back in prizes, food and drinks.

The race car was well looked after. David tested it a few times and was fast. Besides Junior, we had Bob Pereira, Jim Hulzinga, and Eddie Askin helping get things done. The seat, radio’s and a few other small things had to be changed or adjusted. In the end it was no big deal for that group of men. Kenny put the car on the pole and gave tons of credit to our team for having a nice looking well prepare race car. We were thrilled when he took pole.

Prior to the race Kenny came to our display area and talked to all our guests. He told a story that eliminated about 20 questions, very smart and thorough. He was a gentleman, and very gracious to be in so many pictures, give many interviews and sign autographs for a long time.

The race itself was good, exciting but not without issues. However, the night overall was good and Kenny finished 4th, so we really don’t need to say anymore about the race.

Before the race, Kenny was interviewed by Spencer Lewis, Sunset Speedways announcer and Kenny mentioned a few things about the track……I did prompt him. He said he had raced on hundreds of tracks, but Flamboro was one of the tightest, narrowest he’d been on. He said it was very hard, almost impossible to run on the outside without beating and banging, and he said you can be sure there will be wrecked cars tonight.

That was exactly what I told John 3 years ago but he felt I was wrong and recently told me that real racers can run on the outside at Flamboro. I hope John watched the race on Monday because every fast car that started on the outside lost that battle, except when Chenoweth got the jump on Lyons and took the lead.

Overall it was a great night and hopefully we can do something like this again for our sponsors and fans. Thanks again everyone who helped and to you Kenny, you are a great ambassador for our sport.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:50 am

August 24th............Sunset Speedway

Race #22

2500 Race Contest......."2497"

High Lites
* 21 cars
* Sean Grossman wins
* We finish 11th
* Gehrig has great night, new engine awesome
* Next week could be 2500th race

Results
Late Model
1st Heat.......2nd
2nd Heat......5th
Feature........10th

Mini Stock
1st Heat.......4th
2nd Heat......2nd
Feature........4th

Winnings
Late Model.......$180
Mini Stock........$120

Repairs
routine

Crew
David and Bob

Conclusion
Well it was a good day and night of racing our Go-Cart, Late Model and Mini Stock teams.

It started with Lauren finally getting a break in her division. She didn’t get rammed, turned, drove over or punted out of the way, and with none of those things factoring in, she was able to take a 7th, 4th and then 6th in the feature. That was her best night this year in the highly competitive class of boys and girls she runs with.

Gehrig had a fantastic night, taking a very strong foot hold on 4th in the points. After working hard to install the engine we got, courtesy of Mike Van Slingerland, and help from many including his Mom who drove to Kingston on Thursday night to pick it up, the Mini Stock team pulled off an awesome night with a 4th, 2nd and 4th in the feature. It took the usual fast cars a long time to get around Gehrig who made them work to get by. His 4th place finish was a great run and the car showed lots of power. He is learning more each week on how to get in to and through the corners. His driving has been a pleasant surprise with exciting moves in the heat and feature races. He is still lacking a little power, but the jury is still out on that because it showed a big improvement over what he was running, so he may gain a little more lap speeds by getting this more aggressive engine through the ends. He needs to learn how to get the increase in power to his advantage; I would say he’s very close.

Our Late Model team worked hard and diligent again this Saturday. Our goal was to close in on 10th place in the points. It would be a great come back if we can do it. We were 60 points out a month ago, sitting in 14th place and now we’re 12 points out in 11th.

The turn around for us started a few weeks ago after our trip to McColl’s who made some significant changes to the car. We have been battling the issue of consistently being able to balance our car every week, it is so sensitive it’s nuts. Since July 31st our car has been better, but not perfect. If the balance is not perfect it is impossible to stay with about 12 of these cars. One issue was me. I was driving the track wrong at night, when it was cold out. During the heat of the day I was doing okay and we noticed our biggest struggles were always at night. David, watching close from the sidelines as he spotted, concluded that I was getting on the gas way too soon, and not braking hard enough. He explained that I had to drive in hard, brake hard and not get on the gas too soon. If I did I would cause the car to push and fall back from the drivers who had it figured out.

I was determined to learn how to drive the track properly. My crew had been working so hard and if I was one of the reasons the car wasn’t right, (and I was) it was time for me to get it right and learn this track.

I tried calling Tom Walters to ask his opinion from a drivers view but he was working. On Saturday I talked to him and he agreed the driver can kill the car if he over drives.

I was so focused and determined to go in hard, brake hard and wait for the right time to get on the gas. It worked. We took a 2nd and a 5th in our heat races. The 2nd was our best heat finish this year in a Late Model. David made some changes for the feature, but he felt much better knowing that his driver was relearning how to drive the track.
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We started outside pole in the feature beside #55 Bruce Rankin. On the start Bruce got a good run and for about 3 laps he held me off and I thought I was going back. I think he was crowding me a little, but the car was not quite right and I was stuck trying to get by on the outside and it looked by lap 3 that I was going to get freight-trained badly.

On lap four going into one I pinched closer to Bruce, I was giving him too much room before that. David told me to get closer, “you’re leaving too much room, get down more”. Of course, if you leave too much room that means you have to make a bigger arc, and it takes longer to pass, not to mention getting in the marbles or close to it.
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Going into one Chris Morrow tried going under Bruce and Bruce tried to pinch Chris down. They tangled just a bit and it was enough for me to jump out in the lead and pull away from them. We would lead the next two laps until the yellow came out.

On that restart we were inside with Morrow beside us. He has a very strong engine and is an amazing driver as well as knowing this track inside out. We raced hard to a lap and a half and he took the lead. I got in behind but soon the top runners were on me.

Sean Grossman got and Holdway then Zardo .
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I tried going low but the car was bad loose off. Over the next 10 laps I was outside and fought hard with every car that passed me. Walters, Kamrath, Baker and Bentley. I raced outside for about 20 laps and then Ernie Fumerton got under and I had to let him go, just could not get on the gas.

David was awesome spotting and let me know it was not my fault the car was loose off and he would figure it out for next week. When the checker came out he was excited and told me I drove amazing on the outside.

I had to tell myself it was a good run, had to get my attitude right before I got back to the pits. My heart was telling me I just can’t keep up and that 10th is the best we’ll do on most nights, maybe a 9th or 8th if someone wrecks, and that thought eats me up, but it’s been true all year. I knew I had to stop coming into the pits after the race so dejected, but I found it hard in the past to accept 10th as great, or as worthy of a pat on the back.

For years I started at the back of the CVM and worked my way to a top five, and we were excited. Maybe at times we finished in a top three and even won from near the back. So finishing no better than 8th has had me just messed up so bad. However, when David said two things it made me feel better. He said “Dad, you drove your heart out and the car was loose off, plus you were driving the way you should in the corners. I wished you could have seen the car, it wasn’t that bad, but I understand that all you see is cars passing you and you feel you didn’t do that good…..we’re close and we’ll be better next week”.

That made me feel good for a lot of reasons. One, my son is one of the best stock car drivers in Ontario. He has won many titles and dozens of features. He was able to put himself in my shoes to see how frustrating it is for me, and conclude by realizing that if I could see how good that car was, I wouldn’t be as discouraged. Hearing him say those things made sense. After the race Shirley came up and said “you drove that car awesome Dad”. Then David explained to her that I have been all year, but the car hasn’t been good and when it is Dad will drive it.

It was like a kind of healing for me. Next week will be a cure if we can run in the top five.

The biggest news for our team is that next weekend, if it does not rain and if I enter all 3 races, we will hit 2500. Quite amazing and I have so many hundreds of people to thank. I need to make a list and make sure I read it if Spencer interviews me. 2497 as of August 24th.

Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:29 am

August 31st..........Sunset Speedway

Race #23

Milestone reached tonight.....2500th race

High Lites
* 21 cars
* Jason Witty wins
* We finish 11th
* Gehrig 8th
* Track does nice celebration for us

Results
Late Model
1st Heat........8th
2nd Heat.......6th
Feature........11th

Mini Stock
1st Heat........3rd
2nd Heat.......3rd
Feature........8th

Winnings
Late Model......$160
Mini Stock......$50

Repairs
routine

Crew
David, Jim, Matt

Conclusion
It was an awesome night, the track treated us so kind and graciously by celebrating our 2500th race on the front chute prior to the start of the feature.....more on the whole night including our chase for a top ten in points.
This was an amazing night for our team. David, Jim, Matt were crew members who made it out, Bob had to work and was disappointed he missed the milestone moment.

Many of our friends and family were there including my wife Nonie who made her first show at Sunset since 2011.

I am thankful to all our crew members over the years who could not make it for whatever reason. It was because of many of them, their dedication and help that I was able to make this milestone happen. You need to reach 1000 races and 1500 races on your way to 2500 and many men and women helped us get there, so thank you to them as well.


The breakdown for the 2500th race was as follows:
Mini Stock..............95 races
Vintage Modifieds..1879 races
Late Model…………… 526 races

I ran a few Outlaw Pro 4 Modified races but they were for someone else, non points, no money just a chance to drive. Because those races were not in my schedule I didn’t count them, but will count them, and add a category at the end of the year. I intend to race the Pro Four at least once more at Flamboro for Octoberfest because the two classes, those who run regular at Flamboro and those who broke away, are getting together for Octoberfest and that should make for a 15 plus field, so it will be good. The final show we hope to do is in Connecticut, at Thompson Speedway for the World Series of Asphalt. That event follows Autumn Colors and I hope we have the funds to go, we’ll see, it’s a long drive, but would be a great experience for us.

We arrived early today, but decided not to do any hot laps before the break. The track is usually hotter then and since we were getting 3 new tires, and the fact the car was close, we decided to run both practice sessions later in the day, after the break.

Our car was fast the week before and though our finishes have not been great, the reason for that is not totally to do with our car. The level of competition and skill at Sunset is extremely high, and given the track has two racing lanes, hard fast racing will be on the menu, and with so many cars equal this year, moving up in the feature is no easy feat.

I drew #13, and laughed thinking I just jinxed myself, but since I’m not superstitious, I forgot about it. I had two things on my mind. One thought was making sure our car was good and with some luck we could gain sound ground on 10th in the points. We were 12 points out coming into this race, and to finish in the top 10 after the dreadful start we had would be some consolation to make this season somewhat successful. The good news is that we have been running fairly decent the past few weeks and we know we can get the car and driver better.

One thing I have had to learn to improve our on track performance is how to drive this track. I have been overdriving the past almost 2 full seasons. David never really noticed how much the car changed from early warm up sessions to the heats. On very hot days, I could drive the car anyway I want, but when it cooled I needed to adjust, go in deep (like I am) but break hard (I wasn’t) and coast a little then get on it. I wasn’t doing that. I was going in hard, breaking easy and getting on the gas too soon, before the middle of the turn, and causing the car to push. That was hurting us.

I have learned to drive it better, and though it seems like ever to get on the gas now, I must discipline myself to drive like that……and it does work.

We started 7th in our first heat race. It was filled with fast cars, but when I saw the line up for the second heat, it was almost as stout, although our heat had more fast cars, 48, 35, 19, 11, 46, 95, 41, 49 and 10. The second heat had 51, 47, 29, 24, 88 and 55. That’s 15 fast cars out of 20, wow, but that’s Sunset. The others not on the list are fast at times but struggle like we did most all of this year.

We were the first race out after the Thunder Cars and someone blew up making the track a little slick in one and two. We thought for sure they would give us some hot laps, but other than the two or three cruise circuits to get in line and allow the announcer to rhyme off all the sponsors, we did not get any fast laps.

The first lap was crazy in the middle of one and two, but wisdom prevailed through smart driving and spotting. Unfortunately for us we checked up hard and lost momentum. That wasn’t too bad but Ernie was struggling with a very loose car and it took almost 2 laps to get by him. Once I did he was a few car lengths behind. David said I had the whole track and just drive as hard as I could, but not over drive.

After three laps the pack was going into one and I was just at the start finish line. I had 15 car lengths on the car behind. The key to getting a good starting spot in the feature is to finish good in both heats. Only 12 cars qualify and a top 6 in both races is almost needed to get your handicapped position. Because of our poor season, we are one of the lowest cars. We would start likely in the top 3 if we did qualify.

As the final few laps wound down we were gaining on the pack of 7 in front of us. On the white flag lap we caught the final car in that heat but the race was over and there would be no more spots gained. We finished 8th, but the car was good. Wow, isn’t that weird. I finished 3rd last in my heat, but the car was good. Well it’s not weird because Sunset is very competitive and if you can run with the pack then you know you’re car is good to go and so we took the 8th as a good finish.

We made very few changes for the next heat. We started 3rd behind Andy #35 and Dwayne #48. Frank, #49 was beside me. My learning the track program was still in its infancy. David was helping not over drive by not getting on the gas too soon. After three laps Frank and I were still side by side. I was doing great in turn one and two (the place I usually messed up) and made one mistake going into three. I got on the gas too soon and washed up a little. It was just enough for #11 Chris to get under me. We ran hard but he was too strong coming off and he got by and soon after #46 Billy passed as well. There were only a few laps to go, we were on the outside, I couldn’t get down. The car may have had a little push, not allowing me to get on the gas soon, but I couldn’t tell anymore anyway because I was losing my concentration thinking I was holding the pack up. It is so frustrating to get passed and fall back when you think you have a good car. It’s frustrating when you know you have a bad car but when that happens I just let them all go and get out of the way so we don’t get wrecked and have to start over again to get our car set up. Next in line to pass was Taylor #41. I raced him clean, stayed high and gave him the room he needed. David my spotter was letting me know he was there. Coming off four he took me to the wall and I had to back out of it hard so I wouldn’t wreck him or me. David right away reacted “that’s bull%^$%”, I can’t believe he did that”. We finished 6th and right after the race coming off two I drove up beside him letting him know I wasn’t happy with that. David was furious and went to Taylor’s Dad and said “Look we’re getting better, we give room to everyone but that shouldn’t have happened, we don’t want to wreck you or get wrecked, next time we don’t back out”.

I like the Holdaway family and I know they’re in a race for the top three, but we are in a race as well, and shouldn’t be disrespected. I move over for leaders coming when I’m being lapped, but I shouldn’t have to move over if I’m racing, and certainly not be taken to the wall because the team I’m racing against either does not respect me or feels, “he will back out it’s okay”. Those are thoughts that go through my mind when I try to reason why drivers do that. I really don’t think the Holdaway team meant to, but no one came after to say anything to us at any time during the night. Perhaps David speaking up was enough and I’m not sure if Mr. Holdaway said something. When David and our grandson Gehrig first started racing, we told them to apologize for doing something unsportsmanlike on the track. I forgot about it after that heat. I was asked by a few people if Taylor came over, but he didn’t, and time to move on.

Maybe he thinks we don’t belong at Sunset, and maybe I need to prove to him and the rest that we do. I don’t want to wreck anyone, but I also don’t want to be disrespected either but being rammed from behind, pinched badly or taken to the wall. That’s the second time we were shown little respect by Taylor, the last time was in the feature a few weeks ago when we were pinched down in one and two. That time he wasn’t aware he did it, so I will just forget about it for now and hope it was a mistake and that he races us clean. I know he’s a young racer, but until they ban Jurasic Park people like me from the track, I will continue racing because it’s what I love to do.

We made very small changes for the feature race. David was happy with our car in the two races we were in. We are low on horsepower for sure and need to get about 25 more energy pills in the engine. We are taking the car to limit now and have no resource to tap into, like a strong powered engine. Our stock crate is not powerful enough to run against rebuilt crates or the much more powerful built engines. That’s an addition for 2014, this season is almost done.

Prior to the start of the feature the track management gave us a very special moment by recognizing our 2500th career race start. I was so proud to be there at the start finish line and still have the same love for the sport that I had in race one. I was interviewed by Spencer Lewis and was given the chance to thank many people. I wanted it to be clear that without the help of many crew members over the years, my wife Nonie, my Dad, sponsors and promoters, I would not have been able to be in so many races. Spencer me what race was my most exciting, and I told him “this one”. The fans were great. They had in front of them so many great racers and champions. Tom Walters, Dwayne Baker, Chris Morrow, Herb Walters, Billy Zardo and Frank Davey were all past Champions in Late Model and Thunder Car. We were among some very good young racers including Mike Bentley, Andy Kamrath, Anthony Simone, Taylor Holdaway, Nick Goetz and others who were either strong current runners, who racers who had some successful history. It was a great moment. I was honored to have my son David, grandson Gehrig, granddaughter Lauren, and all our crew members from both teams including Jim Hulzinga, Matt Smith, Don Mierzswinski, Nathan Start and friends.

The fan appreciation was amazing as well, it really made me feel at home. I have loved Sunset Speedway for years. Sunset and Sauble were always my two favourite. It was mostly the atmosphere that made me like these tracks. Sunset made the move to make their race track the best in Ontario and with the team of staff there, it was an easy decision to make Sunset our home track.

The Sunset staff is amazing. We are greeted every week by friendly staff welcoming us to the track. Wayne and Greg in tech along with Ted always help. Corner three greeter Brian always gives a thumbs up when we enter the track. Turn two corner man George watches all of us and sees how we do. He comes to me sometimes, knowing we’ve had a bad season and makes sure I am smiling….”I want to see you smiling today Gary”. The starter and assistant Jeff and Dallas are also accommodating anytime we need an extra lap or like last fall during the Velocity 250 when I needed to break in our new 602. The starter stayed on the stand while I did 30 laps at low and then gradual speed.

Once the ceremonies were over we got lined up for the feature. Since we didn’t qualify we had to go to 15th, missing our qualifying spot by a lot.

The race was fast from the start. Our car was good on every place on the track. We stayed clear of trouble and were able to pace the cars in front of us. David was excited on the radio’s letting me know when I entered and exited the turns right. I know it seems weird that a 45 year vet needs coaching, but it’s only because my son was able to figure out what was wrong. The car wasn’t perfect in this race, but it was very good. The key to having a good race isn’t just the car set up, or the driver. It’s getting the balance of the car to the point that it’s the same at the end of the race, like it was at the beginning.

We were running strong most all of the feature, staying with a pack of car, not that far from 6th. There was a caution on lap 22 and we were on the outside. The car was good on the outside and that’s where we were making most of our passes. I started beside Anthony Simone and it turned out the inside lane checked up enough for me to get past the #95, who won his heat race, and then move into 11th place.

A caution with 4 to go put Herb Walters outside of us on the restart. We were miles ahead of Herb prior to the caution, but now it was a different story. He got a good start and we ran side by side for 2 laps until another caution came out on lap 28. I was hoping we could hang on, although I would have preferred the outside lane. On the green I got a good start and with one to go David was letting me know Herb was at our door but the final turn coming off four was awesome for us and we beat the #77 to the finish line taking 11th. It seemed disappointing but that’s from inside the car. The crew watching, our fans and of course head spotter seen it different, because they could see how well the car was running overall.

The 11th place finish put us within 7 points of 10th although we lost one spot to #95 Anthony Simone. With two points nights left, we need to gain 8 points on both Simone and Fumerton to finish 10th in 2013. If we could do that it would have to be considered a good comeback considering the season we’ve had so far.

Jason Witty took the feature, his fourth or fifth this year. He has been having an up and down season to, although his ups are way up. With a little luck he could have been a contender to win the title.

I pulled down pit row to get some good shots with my crew. They were excited about the run. We really need to feel a top five to give high fives. I was encouraged by them all and that was good for me.

After the photo session by track photographer Pamela Guppy, I left pit row and was amazed that crew members put their hands out to congratulate me. At least 6 or 7 did that then I stopped at the end and George did the same….very nice.

A car was being towed off so I headed down the back chute where Gehrig was sitting in his Mini Stock. I rev’d up the engine and gave him a thumbs up. The slowly drove around the track to exit. I saw Jason was still there getting pictures so I slowed up and stayed very low almost against the front chute inside wall. I noticed some hands waving so I waved back and to my amazement lots of fans were waving to me as I slowly headed for the turn one. It was an awesome feeling.

Thanks to everyone at Sunset Speedway, staff, promoters and fans for making our 2500th race, and 1142 night just awesome.

This Saturday at Sunset Speedway is Family Race Day presented by Open Doors, one of our sponsors. It is an event for kids and family to enjoy, watch for a posting of that on the front page of our site.

Point Standings

Late Model
1 51 Mike Bentley..............1392
2 47 Tom Walters..............1379
3 35 Andy Kamrath.............1332
4 48 Dwayne Baker.............1331
5 41 Taylor Holdaway..........1299
6 11 Chris Morrow..............1299
7 29 Sean Grosman.............1289
8 88 Scott Beatty...............1287
9 46 Billy Zardo ................1276
10 10 Ernie Fumerton..........1189
11 95 Anthony Simone.........1183
12 36 Gary Elliott...............1182
13 49 Frank Davey..............1172
14 55 Bruce Rankin.............1148
15 77 Herb Walters.............1147

Mini Stock
1 33 Warren Paxton...........1451
2 26 Ben Melenhorst..........1390
3 51 Eric Yorke ................1388
4 37 Gehrig Halliday..........1304
5 6 Terry Woodley............1214
6 04 Brian Love ...............1207
7 87 Shawn Gerrior...........1156
8 9 Steven Belanger..........1155
9 2 Kendra Adams............1149
10 21 Ken Townsend.........1133
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:15 pm

September 8th...........Flamboro Speedway

Race #24

Iron Man Triple Crown Race #2

High Lites
*13 cars
* Brian Atkinson wins
* We finish 10th
* All car counts poor but Mini Stock & OSCAAR Mods

Results
Heat.......7th......Race #2501 :)
Feature...10th


Winnings
$150

Repairs
none...change oil filter...routine

Crew
Nathan

Conclusion
Triple Crown.png
Triple Crown.png (113.32 KiB) Viewed 6376 times

We rained out at Sunset on Saturday night and I had 2 choices. I could go to Barrie and watch the NASCAR race, or see if the Coupe was available and race it. Of the two choices, I still prefer to race than watch.

I tried to contact Tyler Brown on Saturday afternoon to see if he was racing, it was his turn, but there was no answer. I left a text, voice mail and facebook message, but as of noon on Sunday there was no reply.

After church I drove to Flamboro, around 12:30 and talked to Corey Jones who let me know the car wasn’t there. Then I went to his garage, near the track and seen the car in the garage, but nothing in front of it. I went home and tried calling Tyler again, but only answering machine. I finally decided just to hook up the trailer and head to his garage around 1 and if he was there and racing it, no problem, if not, I was going to take it. I did suggest that in my voice mail, but really would have liked for Tyler to give me the thumbs up on that.

I called Bob to help me load the car and I waited at Brock and the 5th Concession for him to arrive and have him follow me to the shop.

While waiting I got a text from Tyler to call him. I did, he was up north and would not likely be back until around 5:30 or 6. I told him the races started at 2:00 and the CVM show may be over by then, so he agreed for me to take the car. I was glad, I just happen to have the trailer with me.

I got the car and headed to the pits. I was alone, no crew, the boys had the night off, well, no kidding, I wasn’t sure I was running until I got the car.

When I got to the track it looked like Octoberfest. There were 7 divisions. The 3 regular home tracks, Pro 4, CVM and the 2 OSCAAR classes. I knew it would be tough to find a spot and lucky for me John was there to help me.
I went up to him and said “hey John, where can I park, do you know off hand”? He looked at me and laughed then said “Park”? Now I was for sure taken by that answer. My mind immediately shot to Sunset and the Head of Tech, Ted, is always going around in a golf cart looking for lost souls to help them find a parking spot. Ted pulls up beside your truck and welcomes you and then scans your trailer visually and says “follow me, I have a spot for you”. Anyway, back to John, who just finished laughing, and I asked “why are you laughing I don’t know where to go because it looks like the place is quite full”. Then he thought for a minute and said to park across from the concessions. I went up and found an open spot, it was flooded but it was close to the CVM so I was okay with it. Then John came by and had Brenda move her car so I could put my trailer in the water and the car on dry land. That worked out good.

When Brenda came over I greeted her, always liked her and her family. Chip was a CVM starter for years back in the 80’s and 90’s, we were close friends, but everyone was back then, a big family. But, having Brenda right here I decided to ask her why Dale Shaw didn’t go to the back after spinning Kenny Wallace in corner one of lap one. She said “Gary, I never made that call”. I looked at her and said “But you must have seen it, don’t you give input”. She said “not any more, I just score and only report what I am told by the starter”. Wow I thought. “So who said to send just Kenny to the back”? She said “the head starter and the corner man, that thought it was a single car accident and no one else was involved”. I shook my head, but was gentle, not yelling or mad at her “really, so his car being lifted a foot off the ground was from himself”? Anyway, I just let it go, after all it is in the past, and I really didn’t need to chase down justice on this, after all someone clearly made a goof and either didn’t own up to it then or decided to favour one car over another. Now that would make sense, so I was happy……happier. Mostly that I was going to have a dry parking spot.

Nathan Start offered to help me and was a big help as was Jamie Lockwood. We missed hot laps because we were late. The CVM rule is that if you do not do hot laps you must go to the back, and I was okay with that. They only had 14 cars, so it was a poor turnout, but only the Mini Stock and the OSCAAR Mods had good car counts, and that’s if you consider 15 cars good for the Mods. I don’t think that is a good car count, but in today’s racing, most divisions have poor car count, and 15 might be the bare number of cars you would want to see.

The poor car count isn’t because there are too many shows, as some suggest. I don’t buy that at all. The CVM only run 12 to 14 shows a season, and this was their 8th or 9th. Same with OSCAAR, they also only run 12 shows and to have 12 SLM and 15 Mods wasn’t good. The Pro 4 notoriously only have 8 to 10 cars on a good day, and more concerning is the home track Thunder Cars with only 12 and Late Models with 10. Promoters and Club executives need to find out why car count was poor. Was it the track, having it on a Sunday. This was a rain out as it was and perhaps that had something to do with it. Should clubs add more show up points to get cars to the tracks? Should they incorporate a perfect attendance fund? Surely the track promoters deduct for low car count from the established clubs, but is that the issue? Is this industry too expensive? Are too many kids or drivers getting rides paid for by parents, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends or sponsors and won’t race if they have to pay for it? Are people just too lazy to get sponsors and honor a commitment to them because it’s too burdensome to keep a car looking good and doing shows? If any of that is true, then we’ll lose a big portion of our race force when racing isn’t paid for by parents, at least not grass roots racing.

A race track can’t survive a yearly budget on 12 nights, like some racers want to dedicate. Without tracks we are done, so we need to support them. It is imperative for all race tracks to have healthy home track series. These series should be stepping stones from lower to the next highest etc. It would be okay to reduce home track shows from 20 to 15 and bring in travelling series if that move helped stabilize home track series. Promoters need to take some responsibility in letting things get out of hand as well. Don’t listen to elite drivers to push in certain rule changes. Have some good knowledge of what things cost and avoid forcing teams to spend too much money every weekend. Try to keep things under control. Allowing certain rules may chase away a portion of the roster because their cars become obsolete. No good, because cost soon becomes a major factor and only a few can afford it, and a few means 12 cars.

Less shows, more purse in the middle, a perfect attendance fund and a points fund that is spread out. However if the purse is low at the top and even from 5th to 12th for bigger fields, then a higher points payout is fair. A perfect attendance fund gives every car that makes every regular show an even split of $5000 or $10,000. Get that sponsor and let the drivers know there is a perfect attendance pay out, shows appreciation and stops the rich getting richer and poor getting nothing. If a driver wins most of the races, or finishes in the top most times, he already is earning more money than the rest, then a points pay out does not to be top heavy, it can be spread out more. Winning the title or being in the top 3 or 5 is a good resume addition and helps get sponsors. Drivers need to get a better fairer pay out both each night and at the banquet. They both pay the same to race, so make it fairer when it comes time to rewarding, especially for those who show up every week.

Okay….that’s my suggestion rant.

There were about 600 fans, and likely double that in the pits. I think John overall was happy with the turnout. Less cars means he pays out less purse, but really he could have done much better had there been more cars, but I digress on that issue.

We started 6th in our heat of 7 cars. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we hit turn one. I had to let the car beside me go, Mike Klotz. Mike got a little rambunctious and nailed Steve Lyons spinning him out. They both restarted behind me but soon got by. I have a real issue battling with something I don’t feel comfortable with. Anyway we stayed with the pack for the rest of the race but ended up 7th…aka…last.

In the feature we started 12th. It was one of those deals where you had to stay with the field from the start. On the green there was a check up and that put me back, a lap later another and though I got into 11th I was behind the tenth place car and because of the push could not get by him. What made things worse was that he was pushing worse than me and when I tried outside he pushed me way up. A lap later and the field pulling away the starter waved the flag for him to pick a lane. He courteously let me go but it was too late. For a second I thought I was leading because I couldn’t see anyone in front. As laps wound down I was gaining but needed too much time, or a caution to make any more ground in this race. It was a tough night for me, I hate not being competitive and this year has been like that for most of it, especially in the Late Model. I know we’re down on power for sure and we will do something about that in 2014.

I stayed and watched the rest of the races. The OSCAAR Mods struggled badly. They had a ton of yellows and 2 reds that included a fire and a bad multi car wreck on the back chute. I still love those cars, they look awesome and in a few years could be the class to watch for excitement.

I took the Coupe home and with Nathan and Bob’s help did a nut and bolt, oil change, battery terminal cleaning and charging as well as all the levels checked and returned the car to Tyler ready to go for this Saturday’s final Iron Man Triple Crown race.

This race should be awesome with the top 3 very close.
1st…..Corey Jones #82…….135
2nd….Brian Atkinson #92…135
3rd….Jason Keen #18………129
4th...Adrian Donkers #6...121
5th...Mike Klotz #46.......120

This Saturday night is Fan Appreciation at Sunset Speedway. We are also trying to get into the top 10 in the point standings, only 8 out, but it won't be easy.
Fan Appreciation starts at 4:30...races start at 6,Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:41 am

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:12 am

September 14th...............Sunset Speedway

Race #25

Kristina Hussey wins Contest, gets 4 tickets for Velocity 250 and a t-shirt and hoodie courtesy of Gary Elliott Motorsports

High Lites
* 23 cars
* Jason Witty wins #5
* Mike Bentley wins points title (congrats Mike and your team)
* We close out with worse season in 20 years
* Gehrig ends up 4th in points
* Fan Appreciation

Results
Late Model
1st Heat................8th
2nd Heat...............7th
Feature................15th

Mini Stock
1st Heat................6th
2nd Heat...............5th
Feature................DNF

Winnings
Late Model......$125
Mini Stock.......$30

Repairs
rear bumper to be welded, routine check over
Prepare for the Garry Reynolds Memorial 100 lapper next Saturday at Barrie Speedway

Crew
David, Bob and Matt

Conclusion
This was the last night of points for the Sunset Speedway divisions. We were hoping to get 10th spot but needed to have a good night and we didn’t.

The car didn’t seem to have the power at all. I bought one new tire, but many were on 3 or 4 new ones. I don’t know if it would have made any difference. We struggled trying to keep up. We had improved our car a lot over the past six weeks but we still lacked power. Not because there is anything wrong with our engine, but definitely because there is something wrong with the engine program at Sunset for stock Crates.

Prior to the race yesterday I was talking to one racer who has a built engine and he asked me if I was going to Octoberfest. I said “it’s a waste of time, we wouldn’t have a chance against the 604-400 HP Crates”. He replied right away “my built has 425 HP”. wow, no wonder we have no chance. Apparently his engine isn’t as good as many of the other built engines or the doctored up Crates. We have no chance in this class unless we spend the $3000 or more to get our engine done. How stupid is that. Buy a brand new engine for $3700 and then spend $3000 more to make it more powerful. Why not do what Flamboro does. Let the 604-400HP engines run a 4 barrel against the $12,000 to $20,000 built engines and we could be more competitive for only $6500….but….NO TOUCHING THE ENGINE!!!!!!.

Anyway, back to the final point’s night. First, congratulations to Mike Bentley his family and crew for winning the Sunset Speedway Late Model points Championship. They almost pulled it off last year, but got it done in 2013, way to go Mike and team. Mike went into the feature leading by 15 points and only needed to finish 14th to clinch. He finished 3rd behind Walters who was 2nd. Jason Witty pulled off his 5th feature of the year, a very strong year for his team. Built engines had the advantage in 2013 but some of rebuilt Crates did good as well.

We were hoping to get a top 10 this year, and closed from 60 points back to within 8 of sole position of 10th. Anthony Simone was 11th and Ernie Fumerton 10th. Anthony had a 1st and 6th in his heats and Ernie finished 6th and 5th. We were 8th and 7th. I think Anthony beat Ernie in the feature by enough to take 10th away. They both started on the pole and we started 14th, did not qualify because of our poor heat finishes. We ended up 12th in the points.

This was our worst points year since 1979…..YES!!!.....34 years since we’ve had a season this bad. We finished 12th in 1979 and had a long run of top 10 and top 5 points finishes including 2 Championships. I am so discouraged it’s almost beyond description. We did everything right except screw with the motor and that’s where we got beat in the end. A stock Crate has no chance against any of the engines at Sunset, none.

I will admit, this was the strongest field I’ve raced against since 1989, and we won the points that year. It was a year that saw 16 different feature winners and we were one of them. We won the points by just 4 over Ray Hughes. Our best feature finish at Sunset in 2013 was an 8th. We did win a feature in the Pro 4 Mod and had a 5th in the CVM. Our best LM finish was 6th at Sauble Speedway during the Dash for Cash. I am not discouraged like I think I’ve lost it, I am “pissed off” kind of discouraged because of the unfair field. It’s true we could have sent the engine out, but we were out of funds and plus, why in the world would that be allowed in the first place. I digress.

Gehrig ended the season on a bad note, not finishing the feature. They lost an alternator belt a few weeks ago and didn’t put enough emphasis on getting it replaced. They did charge the battery while they worked on the car prior to the heats at Sunset, but not long enough, and the charger we carry is just a trickle charger. It cost him in the feature when the car lost power and started cutting out, eventually dying.

He ran an awesome feature race, running very hard into the turns and not giving up. He stayed with the pack for most of the feature really fighting and driving aggressive.
They were three and four wide at times. A caution around lap 20 is when things went bad. Perhaps had the race kept going he may have been ok but on the lap prior to the white he started losing power and pulled off.

In spite of that DNF Gehrig had an amazing season on the track finishing 4th in the point standing in only his 2nd season racing. The Mustangs had everyone covered but he learned to race harder and got faster near the end of the season.

We have a few shows left. This week I will head to Barrie Speedway for the Garry Reynolds Memorial. The following week is the Velocity 250 and our final race will be Autumn Colors at Peterborough Speedway. I will go to Octoberfest and watch David race, our car won’t be competitive in that field with our 602 and rules Donny Cox has for LLM from Sunset.

This weekend we have a double header, being at 2 GM dealerships on display. More on those later in the week.

I want to thank my crew for trying their best this year. They all feel as I do and know we cannot return with this car the way it is. We love the track, but as my crew chief Bob said “we can’t compete here”. David feels the same. I owe a lot to David who took the year off racing to help us try and win the points Championship. It goes to show that we definitely mis-read the rule book because there is a ton of stuff we didn’t add to our car that we should of, not including 30 HP. Bob, David and Matt pretty well made every show, or most of them. Jim and Ryan did what they could in terms of helping us. During the week Bob was a huge help coming over twice a week just for maintenance and fixing any repairs that needed to be done.

Once this season is over and we have a budget firm for 2014 we will announce our plans. Nothing is for sure yet until sponsors, rules and schedules are finished.

Special thanks as well to all the staff at Sunset Speedway. As much as I failed to bring a competitive race car, the staff at Sunset ranked very high in how they dealt with us this year and last year. I have yet to go to a race track ever and be welcomed like we were week after week at Sunset Speedway. I really appreciate that because when I decided to run Sunset many peers and friends said I would find they were just the same as everywhere else. It turns out that wasn’t and isn’t true. However, I do care about track staff and promoters from every track I’ve been at in 2013, and for the past 45 seasons. No track is perfect. As soon as I enter the gate the perfection is gone, because I’m not perfect and never claimed to be. The difference is how we get treated and listened to and to Sunset Speedway staff I give an A+.

It was a long drive week after week, but my crew and I enjoyed it because we weren’t stressed when we got to the track. We would talk about things, how our week was, our families and general chat. We even listened to the Blue Jays who thought they did all the right stuff over the off season but ended up worse than us.

Having such a crappy season on the track didn’t eat us up because every time we went on the track we were trying to be better. Banging our heads on the cement for 5 months could not have been so bad because before we knew it the punishment was over. An 8th being the best feature finish at a home track is so insane there is no need to say anymore, but we stayed at it, hoping desperately to get a top 5, but it never came our way. We also never held the checker flag in a heat this year. There were 12 cars who had us covered. One night there were 11 of them in one heat and we had our best heat a 2nd, because only one fast car was in our heat.

It was a tough season, my worst in over 3 decades, but that didn’t change the fact that we enjoyed heading north every week. Not everything was bad or negative. Off the track we brought a few sponsors to the track. The kids Motor Camp in July was a success, and our Quaker State 40th Anniversary contest to guess our 2500th race had the fans interested. One of the regulars at Sunset won 4 tickets for the Velocity 250 and 4 others will win t-shirts and Hoodies.
Overall it was a disappointing year but we will bounce back plus it’s not over yet and looking forward to the remaining specials at Barrie, Sunset and Peterborough Speedways.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:04 am

September 22nd..............Barrie Speedway

Race #26

High Lites
* 33 cars
* Baker wins
* We qualify but DNF with overheating
* Awesome car count in all classes

Results
1st Heat..............5th
2nd Heat.............4th
Feature..............DNF

Winnings
$350

Repairs
Front bumper, cosmetic repairs, routine maintenance, get ready for Velocity 250

Crew
Bob, Matt

Conclusion

It sure was a long painful drive from Milton to Barrie for me. I was worried like a kid wondering how we would make the feature with so many cars going to be trying out and us not getting any hot laps. Things would get worse for us once we got to the track. There wasn’t 27 cars, there were 33, and not only would we not get warm ups, but would have to start scratch in both our heat races. It looked bad but we were optimistic. I asked our crew to record the finish of the first heat race so we could see have an idea what we would need to do in the second to make sure we got in the race. The track owner said only 24 cars would qualify and it had to be done through the heat races. I felt we were definitely under the gun. It could go either way, we could get in trouble right away or we could have some luck with others getting in trouble. Trying to figure a strategy of go for it, or be careful, is really tough when it means you might not get in the show.

The reason we were late was from a chain of events that included Saturday’s rain out. We were on display at MacMaster Buick GMC in Orangeville and made arrangements to leave a little early so we would make it for the qualifying. Heat races were scheduled to start at 4 on Saturday so leaving by 2 would put us there in time maybe to get in the 2nd heat race. That changed when rains and threat of more rain for Saturday forced Barrie promoters to cancel Saturday’s show and reschedule it for Sunday. The itinerary for the day changed a lot with everything moved up. Gates would open at 9 and practice at 10 and qualifying to start at 2. That put more pressure for us because we promised to be at Wallace Buick GMC on Sunday for a Corvette show. The show was planned from 9am until 2. Things would be good for us if there was only 23 cars because we could start scratch in the feature and do what could to pre set up the car and if needed stop under a yellow.

I had Rick, the Barrie promoter’s cell phone number. He said to call him around noon and see how many cars were at the track. I called him and he told me then there were 27 cars at the track and more coming.

I immediately panicked and told Bob we had to get away early. I had mentioned to the managers of the dealership about the race and the dilemma. They agreed to let us go for 12:30, and I agreed to come back again for another show in the spring.

We go to the track by 1:45 pm. There were no more cars on the track, it was closed. While paying our way in, someone walked by my hauler and we heard him say “wow, that makes 34 Late Models”. I just shook my head knowing that this was going to be a tough deal because 10 cars would not make the race. Rick told me there would only be 24 cars starting the Garry Reynolds Memorial 100 lapper.

We went through tech and were told we would be starting 11th in the 3rd heat. I was told we would be last in both of our heats, and there would be no invert for us because we were late not only missing hot laps, but also the drivers meeting.

We made some minor changes to the car, most to free it up. Based on the fact it has an incredibly tight turn one and four. A heavier right rear spring and a track bar adjustment was all we made prior to the start of the heats.

There were 10 cars in the first heat, 10 in the second and 11 in the 3rd. The first heat went fine, no issues. Then my crew told me Chenoweth was heading to his pit with an issue. Shawn missed the second heat. That put 9 cars in that heat.

Finally we got out. After we were doubled up the game plan was simple, drive as hard as I can and pass as many cars as possible.

Lane Zardo was driving the #6 and decided to take scratch and that put us 10th on the start.

On the green I got on the outside and drove hard into one. Unfortunately I got hit by the #48, Dwayne Baker’s white car. It was a hard side hit knocking me into the upper groove but heading down the back chute the yellow came out from a car at the back spinning around. On the restart I raced hard into one and the first 3 rows all jammed on their brakes getting into each other. I tried stopping but could not avoid getting in to the back of the 48 lifting him a little. However cars ahead of him were sideways and spinning, including hot shoe Al Inglis #69. I was discouraged that I got into him because of the potential damage to the hood and front end. Bob let me know not to worry “no damage Gary, you’re good”. On the next restart going into one I got nailed and lifted high in the back end. That caused cars to spin behind us and here we were three attempts and on each one I had contact. I called to my spotter Bob, “hey 3 starts and we’ve been hit 3 times, including me hitting the #48. How many laps have we completed”? Bob responded “zero, this will be complete restart number 4”.

That restart was great and we did get going. Our car seemed good and I drove it hard. Al Inglis caught us, but I knew he was upset because he tried several times to get his spot back but was sent to the back by the starters, yet he tried again. I knew he was upset so when he caught me I stayed high to let him go. We were running 8th now. A few laps later, Al caught the #40 and passed him on the inside. I set up the #40 and had him going into 3 but he chopped me so hard our car slammed the inside wall just at the end of the inside pit row, and our car bounced out into the next lane. I kept going and made it through with no issues. I thought for sure our front end would be beat up so I was careful going into the next few turns.

With three laps to go I caught up to the 7th 6th and 5th place cars. The #70 was all over the #48 and going into hit him and spun him around, but it was the last lap and as we went around the track in the cool down the starter motioned to #70 that he would be scratch. I pulled off the track and once to the pad we had work to do. The hit into the wall was severe enough to have shoved the front end over about 7”. The frame was okay but the hood was twisted and the right wheel well was into the tire, and the tire had wore a sizeable groove in the fender.

We worked on it for a while and checked the toe. It was okay nothing seemed or looked bent other than the cosmetic stuff.

I went to the pit area to see what the official finish of the race was, but no one knew and I could only assume we finished 5th because we were 7th and the 48 was spun and 70 was sent to the back for doing the spinning. That first heat was huge to get a 5th and now we needed to make sure nothing was damaged or could hurt us in the second heat. Bob trimmed the fender, Matt put the battery on charge and we prepared for the 2nd heat.

This race went much better, but had a big wreck early. The 48 and Lane got together sending them both to the back. We started 11th again but after a good start and that wreck we moved to 8th. Over the next few laps we gained a few more spots and ended up 4th, a great run and put us in the feature for sure.

To my surprise they called out over the PA system there would be a Late Model consi. That made sense for sure. I thought they should have done that in the first place. When I asked about qualifying I was told cars would qualify through the heats. Perhaps they didn't know at that time there would be so many cars. Sending 3 home is one thing, but with 33 cars, and 31 actually trying to get it, there would be 7 non starters. So having the consi changed things, or could have changed things for sure. Now they were only taking 20 cars instead of 24. I felt positive we were good, but I decided to go check the line up board to make sure.

The car numbers were on the board and our number was on the list about 9 from the top. I asked the girl doing the line up if the line up I was looking at was the consi and she said yes, that's while she was writing the top 20 cars who did qualify on a separate board. The track now decided to take 26 cars, which was good, but he didn't tell me that either when I called. But my concern now wasn't anything to do with the consi format, but more why I was in it. I approached the lady writing the list down and asked her if she could check where the 36 finished in the heat races. I said to her, "There is no way I should be in the consi, I finished 5th and 4th". She was good and listened to me. Then I said "If I was in the consi, I shouldn't be 9th, that seems like a long ways back and we did okay with our finishes". She kept writing the feature list on the board and then she wrote #36. Then she called the tower and asked where I finished. I was confused because our number was on both lists, and while I was trying to figure it out she said "you're in"! I wasn't any further ahead, so I said "Which race"? "The feature, you're in", she replied. Then I looked at the board again and showed her I was in both the consi and the feature. She looked at me and smiled and rubbed my number out of the consi. I was so glad to see that. There were a group of guys standing around and I think they got a kick out of my stress trying to find out whether we made it or not. We actually qualified 10th, not bad considering we didn't have any hot laps and only being on the track once in the past year, but kind of glad I made the trip to the line up board just to make sure.

100 Lap Feature
There was a pre race ceremony before the feature race and the top 8 qualifiers picked a Frisbee that had their starting spot on it. Mike Bentley just couldn’t lose this day. He won both heats and then picked pole, so 3 for 3 so far, but a big one to go, the most important of all, the 100 lap race.

We started 10th and were optimistic on how the car would handle. We were tight off in the heats and made adjustments for that. The race was very good with a long green run. Mike was in front and was having little trouble getting away from the pack. He was chased by Gord Shepherd, the Barrie Speedway 2013 track champ, and by the end of the first 50 Dwayne Baker was making his presence known.

Our car was awesome for the first 35 laps and then started getting loose off, real bad loose off. The only way to help was to slow down a little and not get on the gas so hard. The problem with that theory was the cars behind us, they were not having the same issues as us, and though they were still struggling, there handling problems were not as severe as ours.

We fell further back from the pack of cars running from 4th back to 10th. We slowly dropped to 14th and I couldn’t wait to get into the pits and make an adjustment on the chassis. A front sway bar 1/2 turn was all we needed, and maybe a little less stagger, but the bar was my only thought.

My spotter was telling me all clear once we fell to 15th but I was wondering what was taking Bentley so long to lap me. Our car was way off and surely he had to be coming. Finally the white came out on lap 49 followed by the yellow when Mike crossed the line only a few car lengths behind us.

We cruised around for 3 laps before entering pit row. We were told not to make any adjustments but fuel. I don’t know why anyone would need fuel for this race. We run 100 laps at Flamboro and Delaware without a pit stop. The advantage of adding fuel should loosen the car a little because as the fuel goes down the car loses wedge. We decided to add fuel and then had to come back in again to make the chassis adjustment. Any cars making the chassis adjustment had to go scratch, but being the last car on the lead lap was perfect for us because we wouldn’t lose any positions. So we had a game plan, and though pits still weren’t open, we communicated on the radio’s what we would be doing.

All the plans in the world would not have helped with what happened during the three laps cruising around. The cars stopped from the front chute back to get them in order just before heading down pit road. While stopped in turn 3 the beginning of the end started for us. Suddenly the overflow started to spout water up above the windshield. That wouldn’t normally be an issue given the long run we had until about lap 35 where we were in bumper to bumper traffic. However this shot up pretty high. Bob said “you’re overheating, what’s the temp”? I looked at the gauge and it was about 230. Once on pit row the water came out even worse when I shut the car off. I restarted it and it wouldn’t stop, I can’t remember that happening to us like in a long time. I was trying to figure what would be causing it to continue to overheat.

With the help of the Zardo team we got gas in the car and then went back out in 15th. A lap later I was asking Matt to get water for us, because we lost a ton while getting gas. Matt was busy asking several teams for water but no one had water.

I returned to the pits and the boys made the chassis adjustment. Matt found 3 bottles, and I knew we lost more than that, but no more was to be found. We were essentially done at this point, but kept trying to get back out.

The boys tried several times to get the rad cap off but kept getting steam burned. The cap is a tight fit and with hot steam coming out made it more difficult. I reached beside my seat and pulled out my big drink bottle container that had 2 bottles of Gator-ade in it and gave it to the crew for more water. Things got worse, the cap would not come off easy. I really wanted to get back out, but it seemed there was no way it was going to happen.

Finally Billy Zardo the 2nd came running over. In years past we all had experienced this issue and would pull of the cap and let the geyser blow and then cool it down with a big water container and get back out. Billy was use to that scenario, but once he got to the car he not remove the cap either, though he kept trying. It was a life and race moment, but we didn’t have enough water even if we did get the cap off, and though Billy was giving it his best try things turned gloomy. Bob said “the white is out guys, gotta go”, Billy looked at me and gave the death signal, we were done. Once I knew it was over I calmed down. I thanked everyone for trying to get us back out.

I never give up trying to get back into a race. I wasn’t upset once I knew we gave it our best shot. I was quite vocal and excited in the car, trying to coach the boys on how to get the problem solved. I come to race not watch and I don’t care what’s wrong with the car, we always need to try and get back out. We were just not prepared for what happened.

I talked to Matt for awhile, he was upset a little, too stressful. He was thrown into this mess because we didn’t have enough crew who knew the car well enough to speed things up with the chassis adjustment and of course the heating problem. The chassis change didn’t stop us from getting back out, it was the water, and with the car being so hot to remove the cap and no water to fill it we were better to park it and not blow up the engine. I really want to race but there is a line to consider for getting back out. They include no brakes, and taking a chance to blow the engine, both good reasons to stay put.

We watched the restart and it wouldn’t be long before there was another yellow. I wanted to check and see what caused the overheating. While in the car I asked Matt to see if there was any blockage from the air duct but he couldn’t see anything obvious. When the yellow came out we looked together and came to the conclusion the air box was bent over so much to the right that it was blocking about 45% of the air flow, maybe more. That happened when we were hard into the wall near the end of pit road in turn 3 in our first heat. It made sense after we checked it out and reasoned it.

The rest of the race was much crazier than the first 50. There were some dandy wrecks from mid pack back as cars got into each other on restarts in turn four. One caution brought out the red to get one of the heavily damaged cars off the track.

Dwayne Baker was all over Mike during the restarts. Then on the final restart he got the jump coming off four, ran awesome close and tight in one and had a half a car length going into three. Coming off four Baker had the lead and slowly pulled away by as much as 10 car lengths.

Mike hung on to second, although the #79 almost wrecked him on the back chute going into three.
Taylor Holdaway had a great run, finishing 3rd and was closing in on an obviously troubled #51.

In the pits after the race Shirley said we had a good run going in the early stages. When she saw the overheating she said she told our crew it was spewing when we came in after the 2nd heat. Had we known that we could have maybe determined we needed a port-o-power jack to push the bumper back over to the drivers side to let the air in better, but we didn’t have the tools and needed to fix the broken welds on the bumper. Some things are just not on the list of fixing at the track, and doing major jacking and welding is one of them.

On the way home Bob asked me how I felt about the car over all at Barrie Speedway. I said “good, I think we could have kept up had we not had some bad luck and had some practice laps to adjust the car better”. He agreed and added “I think we ran better here than we have all year at Sunset, the car looked competitive”. When he said that I thought of Sauble where we ran fairly strong on the Friday night Dash for Cash.

The bottom line is that horsepower is not as big a factor at Barrie. All the top runners at Sunset Speedway either have strong built motors, or altered crates giving them 10 to 15 % more HP than a stock engine like we have.
I don’t want to turn this into an engine rant….but a stock 602 cost $3500 before tax, and the teams spend another $3000 to rebuild them, even the new ones. Why, because they are allowed to mess with the engine. So my advice to the track is to put the 602 out to pasture and phase in the 604 and make it mandatory that no rebuilt 604’s are allowed. That way for the same price as screwing the original intentions of a crate program, they can have more HP for less money, or the same money. Have all the Limited Late Models on 604 crates and no touching them. If it breaks buy a new one, or get a built for $15 to $20,000. Oh my, just talking about this makes me nuts, and I am on a roll. So one final conclusion”
• built motor $15-20k.......400 hp
• Crate engine $3500........320 HP
• Altered Crate $6500.......345 HP
• 604 Crate $6000............400 HP.........(with a 4 barrel but let everyone run 4 barrels)

Maybe someone needs to look at the rules and see what makes sense, because what’s happening now does not.

Overall it was a great day for us at Barrie Speedway. It’s 20 minutes further up the road, but was a fun day and I really like the track. Thanks to the promoters for doing a great job remembering Garry Reynolds this way.

Next up Velocity 250. The challenge should be is to see how many Late Models can stay on the lead lap, I think if there is a long green of 20 to 30- laps, maybe 10, but I’m only going by the past few Invitational races where parity has been non-existent. Odds are Jason Witty could make it six for 2013 if he wins this 75 lapper. Hope we see a better race than previous shows.

Thanks to Bob and Matt for making the trip, hope to see everyone at Sunset Speedway this weekend. We’ll be running both the CVM and Late Model.

Supporting the Food Bank
We took 2100 40th Anniversary Quaker State souvenir programs to Sunset in the spring. We sold maybe 30, and gave away a few more. The remaining 2000 will be put up for fans to take if they give a food gift or toonie to the Food Bank of Innisfil. There should be a table at the front gate to get that done.
My charity is the Food Bank and I hope we can help them out with some food and cash. Please support that effort thank you.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:18 pm

September 28th.....................Sunset Speedway

Race #27

High Lites
* 20 Cars
* Adrian Donkers wins
* We struggle again with handling and steering
* DNF (15th)

Results
Heat.........10th
Feature.....15th

Winnings
$100

Repairs
front end

Crew
Bob, Gehrig, Matt, Nathan

Conclusion
I took the Coupe up to Sunset on Thursday around 3. Buttons came with me, was good company. I decided since I was there to take the car out and do a little practicing, hoping the car would be good, easy to drive.

Once on the track I found I could not go into the corners at all without spinning out. The car was incredibly loose going into the corner.
I went into pit row where both Marvin Freiburger and Josh Stade were lined up, also practicing. I stayed in the car and asked Marvin if he could move the sway bar back to put some wedge in the car. He did and I went back out and it was still the same. We tried another adjustment but it to was no good, the car almost spun out on the back chute trying to enter three. I decided to park it to leave it until I returned on Saturday.

On the way home I thought of what I should do to get it to be tighter, and the answer was, more wedge. All our spring adjusting bolts were maxed out so moving a leaf spring was not the answer. I thought of adding a leaf to the RF spring and called Ron Easton to confirm and he agreed. I can’t remember how we set up the car, but worse, I can’t remember the car being so hard to steer and just out to lunch going in, in the middle coming off. It was decent on the straight-aways, so if we started in Kitchener and raced to Delaware, I could win, because the power is there, just so stupid hard to turn and not fun, even a little.

This was my last chance to race the Coupe this year and I wanted to do good at Sunset. We installed another leaf, maybe a front bar adjustment, took out some stagger and tried that in the only hot laps in the early afternoon. I just hoped we could get it set up.
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The news wasn’t good. The car was out of control in the corners, now very tight. Maybe I was driving too hard in, but I had to in order to keep up with Brian Atkinson who was out there with me and I kept losing in the turns. The car was now tight and I was discouraged.

I returned to the pits and got ready to go out in the LM. I asked the boys to check the stagger and we tried to add a little stagger now and move the bar a little forward, trying to find the right spot to make it work for me.

In the heat we started inside pole beside Steve Trendell. Steve took off and so did the next 2 faster cars. I could stay with them on the straights but once in the turns it was game over. It was driving a toaster oven, I’ve never anything that bad, maybe in my earlier years, but that’s because I wouldn’t know a good race car if I had one back in the 70’s. I tried keeping up, changing lanes and almost spun out going into 3 so I just pulled up and let everyone go. It was discouraging without a doubt, just heart breaking to me to have such a heavy steering car and be so far out to lunch.
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Front View
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Anyway I got in the LM and it ran awesome so I was a little happier. I knew the LM could not win because of the power, but it sure handled awesome and we qualified for the 75 lapper by our heat finishes.

Before the feature I had Dan Fraser try to help me but his solution was to rebuild it next year. He offered to help, but not until the winter, I needed help now and I think I got frustrated and took it out on Danny……hey, I’m sorry Dan, I was just over the top frustrated and needed someone to pass a wand over the Coupe to make it work.

I decided to take scratch in the feature and stay out of the way of the fast cars. There were plenty of them. There were too many cautions, way more than needed. No patience and trying stuff that don’t fit was the culprit.

There was a huge wreck coming off turn two. Ron Easton was hammering me, trying to push me out of the way, and I understand why. My tow-motor was so slow in the corners, pushing ridiculous, so I slowed but still was unable to get on the gas, if I did I would push up into the car outside who happened to be Rich Schurr. Coming off 2 I saw the cars flying, at least three or four were spinning. I checked up, not leaving much room for Ron, who was already into my bumper a few inches. Ron could not have slowed up because it happened so fast. I got spun sideways towards the wall and then got hit by Rick.

We were oaky but a few had to get towed off. Chris Milwain was over the top up set in his very fast V8 Coach. He was hitting the chip real hard as he drove off the track, not a very happy racer. He would get a disqualification for the night, but I don't think he cared really. He was more upset with the wreck.

On the restart I let Ron Easton go thinking it was a wise decision, but in fairness to Ron, his car was good and ours was not so much. On about lap 20 I was behind Rick who was battling with Mike Williams #7. Mike got loose coming off four and Rick tried going under. They made contact and I was right behind them and got caught up in it cutting a tire and bending a tie rod. It was good for me to get out, but I was still disappointed to end my race this year in the Coupe on a low note. The low note wasn’t even the crash, it was minor. It was the overall handling that was just terrible.

But the Coupe will live another day. On October 26th we will have it in Rexdale at a Jiffy Lube, and then tuck her away until we know for sure what we will be doing with our Coupe in 2014.

Congrats to Jason Keen on winning the points and Brian Atkinson for winning the Iron Man Triple Crown and to Adrian Donkers for pulling off the feature win at Sunset.

42nd Season With The CVM
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Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:46 am

Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:27 pm

September 28th & 29th...............Sunset Speedway Velocity 250

Food Bank Fund Raiser
We Get $260 cash and 20 pounds of food....not what we wanted.

Race #28

High Lites
* Walters wins
* We qualify 10th
* Car was good
* Trailing are bracket broke
* Got lucky, hard fight not to crash

Results
1st Heat..........4th
2nd Heat.........5th
Feature..........DNF (24th)

Winnings
$100

Repairs
* Fix broken bracket
* Routine maintenance
* Get ready for Autumn Colors

Crew
David, Matt, Nathan, Jason, Don, Jake

Conclusion
These big events are always exciting for me. The idea of running both the Late Model and the Coupe was awesome. The reality of it was another story, at least when it came to running the Coupe. Wow what a disappointment. It was like trying to turn a tow motor on extremely coarse aggressive sand paper type cement, you know the kind. Brutal hard to steer, and has been for the past 2 or 3 years. The car not only was hard to steer, it had a bad push, real loose at times and I needed two hands just to get it on to the track because it was so darn stiff. By the time I got to the start finish line from the staging area behind the back chute wall…..I was exhausted. I always get my energy back when the white comes out, but this was ridiculous. I tried to imagine the rest of the drivers putting up with this, and for some reason they are either all super human, or their cars turn easy. I love these cars, and my car use to steer easy, even in 2007, my last CVM feature win, but since then it’s been insane. Maybe it’s the fact I don’t have power steering that makes it so tough, but, power steering is illegal, and that’s too bad, I think it would help everyone, it sure would help me.

Anyway, as disappointing as it was to race the Coupe for the final time, this year, driving the Late Model was totally on the other end of the scale. It was awesome. Like going from a Zamboni to a Lincoln. I’m guessing it’s just my car, but until it’s fixed properly I can’t or won’t race it anymore, it’s too frustrating. Enough on that.

Bob came with me and so did my grandson Gehrig and Nathan. The boys were a big help.
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David came over on Wednesday night to scale the car and we were so confident in the set up at home that we didn’t even go over the Sunset scales.
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In the past 5 weeks we have shown our car can get through the corners. The driver had to relearn the proper line and to discipline himself not to over drive. Coaching by David made the cornering better each week. We advanced as far as we could with our car being under powered and now needed to have a perfect set up and hit the marks perfect as well in order to have any chance to qualify. There was a field of over 30 cars that came to race in the 75 lap Velocity 250, most were very good cars.

The tire rule was different here. Instead of the track tech painting the tires after the heats, track management decided not to paint the tires. This way, teams who screwed with the system wouldn’t have to waste money to go to Home Hardware or Canadian Tire to buy the paint….or bother getting it from their trailer. Instead we were allowed to run as many new tires as we wanted up until the feature. Once qualifying was over, teams could install new tires. Those tires, put on the car for the feature, had to stay on unless one was cut down. Some teams had 3 sets of new tires; others had 8 tires at least. We used a different strategy, mostly because of the funds.

My strategy was simple. Most guys don’t bring used to tires to a new big event, they might for hot laps, but for heats and qualifying they usually will get new tires. We had 4 new tires for the Garry Reynolds Memorial at Barrie. They had 70 laps on them and 3 heat cycles. Many would have disagreed with my reasoning, but I have learned one thing about going from track to track.

Here is the science I learned, I think. Tires that are run say at Flamboro get to a certain temperature. The compound in the tire changes with high temperatures. Then when it cools down, the tire will need to get hotter again to find the right compound and start to work. So, if you ran on a cold night at any track and returned with those same tires on a very hot night, they will come back to life. Another way they get their adhesion back is by taking the car to a bigger faster track. If you leave Flamboro and go to Delaware, the high speeds at the end of the straights at the big half mile will heat up the tires back to where they are sticky again. Getting heat back in them, past where they were before makes them work again. However, if you went from Flamboro to Sauble on a same temperature night, the tires would not work as good, likely not at all because the straights are shorter at Sauble.

After the Barrie race, our tires only had 70 laps on them because we overheated and could not return after the Competition Yellow. The Barrie oval is flat in design compared to Sunset, and the turn entrance speed much slower. I figured the tires from Barrie would come back to life once they got on the very fast Sunset surface. We carry a ton of speed into the Sunset turns and older tires can get gummy quick. Well guess what….I was right. Our car was fast in the only hot laps we ran, just one, we were too happy with the car to even touch it, just wax it.

We ran very strong in both heat races finishing 4th in the first and 5th in the second, on those same tires. We knew those combined finishes would put us in the show.
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David couldn’t make it for the Saturday show, but would be there for Sunday. I bought 3 new tires and saved the LF from Barrie to run with our new set. David was very happy to hear that we qualified on old tires, and that we would have one set of hot laps Sunday morning to scuff and size the new tires....new tires for the 75b lapper same as the boys who bought 8 or more tires. All was good in the Late Model front.

Sunday
David couldn’t make it Saturday for qualifying but came on Sunday. We qualified on the Barrie Speedway tires for the Garry Reynolds Memorial 100 lapper. I was happy we could start the feature on tires with 10 laps on them.

We got there in plenty of time Sunday, but the first thing I had to do was get the Coupe out of the pits. Having only one tow vehicle was awkward so I had to unhook truck from the LM trailer and hook up to the black trailer and move it out in the very full parking lot. Nathan was a big help and with some maneuvering and patience we were able to get that job done, and it freed up a spot for a SLM to park beside us.

There was very little to do on the Late Model except scuff and size the new tires. David called me around 10:45 telling me he was leaving for the track and would be to Sunset around 12:00. Our only practice session was set for 12:30. We got the car ready, pre-sizing the tires and putting them on the car so we’d be ready when David arrived. We had the stagger we wanted, the gas was full and the battery charged.

When they called for Late Model practice to get lined up David was still not at the track. I had Nathan and Jake clean the car and get it off the jack stands.

I took the Golf Cart and headed to the back pit entrance and found David way in the south end running down. Late Models were already lined up to go out.

He said he wanted to do one thing to the car before I took it out, a bump stop change. When we got to the pit he got the tools he needed and began working on the LR bump stop. Once done he sent me out to the line up area and because there were so many cars, I was okay time wise.

I got on the track and the instruction was to take it easy the first few laps and with about 5 to go, open it up to let the tires grow to the max, then size then once in the pits.

I was cruising under yellow for about a lap and then the strangest thing happened. Coming by the starters stand I saw staff run on the track and noticed there was papers flying everywhere, like large confetti. I had no idea what it was, turn one was covered with paper.
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Then David came on and said….”my wallet, keys and phone were on the trunk of the car, I put them there when I got to the pits. Dam, stuff is everywhere”. Wow, what a drag that was. Every time we came by I saw staff picking up papers.
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Those papers were $250 in cash, credit cards, driver’s license, and anything else you carry in a wallet.
They were giving it all to one person standing on the inside in turn one. It was crazy but Dan and the boys were doing awesome just to take the time to do that, especially knowing time was crucial.

I stopped in one and asked Dan to keep an eye open for the cell phone as well. I stopped again in 3 and told Brian the same thing. I must admit, it was a real downer for David, but for me, it just kind of ruined a great morning we were having. Anyway David was handed over as much stuff as they could collect and find and then the green came out. Our car ran good, and the test proved we were very consistent now for the 5th consecutive time on the track, still low on HP but no handling issues.

Once back in the pits the tires were sized, David did that first before anything else. Then staff were bringing money and papers to our car. The wallet, keys, all the cash and most everything in the wallet were returned.
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The phone was missing….but not for long,
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it was sitting on the trunk, wedged between the lid and the spoiler…wow. So the bad luck turned out good and we want to thank all the staff for taking the time to collect all of the stuff that flew out. They could have picked up the bulk and let it go but they made sure they got everything they could…..just awesome Sunset staff, you guys were the best before and you sealed the deal with me after showing so much care. The opposite would have been to let it go, give David crap for being stupid and not really care what happened to the money or items in the wallet, especially with rain coming later in the day and precious time being wasted. However they not only made sure the mistake was taken care of, but gave the cars on the track their full practice session. Thank you so much.
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Once practice was over we were called to the tech building where we were informed that the invert for the race was 10 and we would be starting on the pole.

Normally that would be a good thing, but with this car, this year, with the trouble we’ve been having keeping up on the straights, I wasn’t so excited. It just meant the top 15 cars in the field would have a field day knowing they would be getting by the sitting duck in the #36.

I was supposed to be happy about starting pole but really wasn’t, but I wasn’t going scratch, my only other option. Our car was good, and though down anywhere from35 to 75 HP we felt we wouldn’t be in the way as much as we had been most of the season because we finally got the car figured out. David felt like I did and acknowledged that we would be going back in a hurry, but said “don’t worry about it, just drive as hard as you car, you will be better than most by lap 50 after they burn off their right rear and your car is the same”. I agreed and put a positive attitude on, knowing what was going to happen but also knowing we were better than earlier in the year.

There was no driver introduction, had there been, our feature would not have got the checker and the OSCAAR Super Late Model feature would have been a no start. The reason was two fold. The OSCAAR Mod feature took forever, just way too many yellows, and too long to reline them up, and the celebrations after the Super Stock and Mod features were very long. That was okay had there been no threat of rain, but this was a day to speed stuff up a little.

We got out on the track once it was clear getting our tires warned up and fully waking up. I must have been tired because I fell asleep sitting in line, perhaps because I was at the front and couldn’t see very much on the track. I wanted to watch the cars of the class I intend to run in 2014, along with Late Models, but was blocked by the cement wall and I was actually beyond turn three making it even tougher to see.

Scott Beatty was starting beside me on the outside, with Marvin Frieburger behind me and Dwayne Baker. You would have to go back over 17 cars to find any slow cars, think this was the stoutest field this year with Barrie and Sauble hot shoes joining in the mix.
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On the green Scott got the jump. He has been quick all year. His built engine is very fast and he’s worked hard on his chassis making him one of the tougher competitors this season.

He was followed by Dwayne Baker and then the yellow came out when the craziest thing happened that could have been a disaster. On about lap 5 coming off two I noticed #73 Dave Bartlett booting down the back chute after coming out of the pits. He was trying to get going, but had the leaders right on him as he headed into three. I stayed high thinking we would pass him on the outside by suddenly his car shot up into the middle lane and next thing both Scott and Dwayne were going under Dave coming off four. I had to stay high because I committed that lane but Marvin had already moved low to get under me and obviously box me in behind the #73 who would not race as hard with lead lap cars passing him. I thought for sure we were going back in a hurry but just as we entered turn one I saw sparks come out from under the chassis of Dave’s car and next thing his left front chassis dropped and the car went into the turn one wall, bounced off and kind of stayed there. The yellow came out.

We restarted 3rd and for the next few laps held off cars as they lined up on the outside to try and pass. It took them all longer than normal to get by because our car was handling very well. I didn’t like the inside because running hard on the inside for a prolonged period of time is tough on tires and brakes. We just put on new pads and rotors for this race so I wasn’t too concerned, but I also wanted to race in hard and as long as no one pinched us down we were good, and they didn’t.

By lap 12 we were in 9th as Morrow, Bentley, Simone, Holdaway and Walters all got by. The strange thing and very surprising was the fact that no one else could get by. Scott McTeer #49, the Sauble Champ was all over us but could not get by, neither could Billy Zardo and from lap 12 to 24 we built a 10 car length advantage on those two and the rest behind as we stayed with Marvin, Anthony and Taylor. That was a good feeling to be able to run with those 3 because our power was holding us back but the chassis was keeping us in contention.
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A caution on lap 28 brought the field close. I figured Billy would be looking to pass soon, but our car was running great and my thoughts weren’t about holding on, but getting by some of the cars in front of me as the laps wound down and our car stayed the same. I could already see some were having issues and being patient, not over driving was my key to being stronger in the final 20 laps.
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On the restart we held off Zardo and stayed with the cars in front. We ran this way for the next few laps. Going into one I felt a nudge and David said “Billy just touched you, but keep racing hard, your pulling him off the turns”. Next thing I heard I was a car length ahead and gaining on the cars in front, slowly, but getting better.

Coming off four on lap 35 I felt the car get sideways. My first thought was oil on the track. I looked ahead to see if any of the cars in front of me were leaking. Then in turn one I saw the pack bunching with lapped cars getting passed. I could sense we were coming to that place in the race where we would be getting spots back.

Suddenly as I accelerated off two I was shocked to feel our car heading straight for the wall. My instant thought was oil or water, it was like I couldn’t steer. Then as I let off the gas a little, I was being turned more towards the wall. I felt that someone was outside of me, perhaps Billy and as I came off the track he got into my quarter panel. Usually though that turning sensation goes away when the car behind or beside backs off. Whoever it was, did not back off. My mind was going crazy trying to figure why I was being turned into the wall all the way down the back chute. I had the wheel cranked hard to the left and once in a while the car would head left and I would counter steer, smoke was coming inside the car from tires and I was worried, scared of wrecking and most of all angry that someone would not back out. Finally I got to turn three and coasted to a stop close to the middle, I thought I had a flat tire. Right away I came on the radio and asked David “who was turning me into the wall”? David replied “no one, something broke, good job, you’re lucky the car didn’t get destroyed on that deal, it would have been bad”. I asked David what broke but he had no idea. Brian came over and I asked him to see if something was broke. As he was looking fans in the beer VIP area were pointing to my car and indicating I was done. I got out and looked and sure enough the trailing arm bracket broke and the right rear wheel was right up into the wheel well towards the front as far as it could go. “Wow”, I thought to myself, we were lucky, very lucky…or were we.
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Before the race, while in my car I prayed for safety for our car and for all the drivers. I never pray to win, especially in this field, but prayers can be asked for many things, not just to win. It’s okay to pray to win, but if there were 10 Christians racing and they all prayed to win, nine would be getting the “Not this time” message, or maybe all of them. My prayer was for protection and we sure got it, and therefore our prayer was answered and for that I was truly thankful. The irony of this was that it happened on lap 36 and like David said the car was going to get better. He was right and in the end, though we ended up a DNF we had a much greater victory. It would have paid $2000 to win, but maybe 4 times that to fix the car.
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Congrats to Tom Walters for the win. He was amazing. Winning the consi on the last lap coming off four, and starting 20th in this race and having it in his hands by laps 40. Just incredible handling and set up car, and great driver.

I got my pay off after the race and was quite disappointed. The best race of the year at Sunset, that attracts the best cars surely should have a better pay out. 24th was $100 and so it is, but had I finished 9th it would have been a good finish for us but would have only paid $250…..that would have hurt. The payoff should be posted and none of them are for Sunset. Barrie paid $350 from 15th back, Sauble paid $400 to start their races, Flamboro paid $500 to start their 100 lap Gold Rush and will pay $350 for Octoberfest. Sunset’s track is the best, the staff is the best…..the pay off sucks, unless you finish in the top 3 in every special race. Even Autumn Colors is $350 to start in the Pro Lates, and that’s what these cars are. They don’t have wide 5, so they give up a little un-sprung weight, they don’t have 4 piston brakes, but big single piston are just as good, they don’t have 10” wheels, but they run 8” tires, and most of the so called Limited Lates have as much horsepower as the Late Models at Flamboro. Maybe the idea of Limited Late is to refer to the payout…..because everyone knows the cars are far from Limited. These are the most expensive Late Models running in Ontario, by far. The pay off should reflect the first class track, the talent laden field and the fact these cars are very expensive….$150 should be for non qualifiers, tow money and $350 to start, and if needed, add 25 more laps on the race, perhaps get a sponsor for this event.
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Thanks to all my crew who made it out to Sunset this year. David, Bob and Matt made most all of the races, Ryan and Jim made a few, Eddie made two races. I also appreciate the help from the Mini Stock crew, Jason, Nathan and Don, as well as Gehrig and Lauren when they could help out. Perhaps my biggest appreciation goes to David, for taking the year off to help us. I felt bad for all my crew for the dismal season we had. We have a lot to do to make our car competitive, a top 3. I think it’s mostly HP, David agrees to that as well, but there may be much more than just that. We will have a few months to decide our Late Model program, but we are definitely racing Mods and Late Models in 2014.

On Monday we took the car to Bob's shop and he welded the bracket better than new and in good time, we would not have missed a race.
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Our next race will be Octoberfest but only as crew support for David, his only race of 2013. Then we will race our car at Autumn Colors in the Pro Late Model class. We have enough handicap advantages for our 602 to make us more competitive than running with the Limited Late field. Can’t wait for AC 2013 version.

This Saturday I am taking my car to Protico Community Church in Mississauga. I am looking forward to meeting the families and staff at this church
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:40 pm

October 11, 12 & 13 Peterborough Speedway Autumn Colors

Race #29

High Lites
* Feature rain delay
* All races Monday starting at 11AM

High Lites
* 21 cars
* Mike Bentley wins
* We get wrecked trying to pass


Results
1st Heat.....3rd
2nd Heat....3rd
Feature......15th (many laps down)

Winnings
$350

Repairs
rebuild for 2014

Crew
Jim, Ken, Gehrig, Linda, Steff, Don, plus Corey and Daryl from the #79 LLM team

Conclusion
The 21st Autumn Colors Classic has been postponed due to rain. The 30 car Thunder Car feature did get the green but was put under red on lap 27 when the rains came soaking the track. The rain continued until 4 PM when officials made the call to cancel the rest of Sunday's features. Racing resumes at 11:am on Monday morning. This is my 9th straight AC event and never has the race been run on Monday, although one year we lost both Friday and Saturday qualifying and ran the features on Sunday.
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So far the weekend has been great for us. We unloaded the car and its been fast from the trailer. During the week, Bob, Nathan and I did all the maintenance and David set up the car and scaled it Tuesday. There was little to do after Velocity because there was no damage from the broken trailing arm bracket, other than the bracket.

Jim and I discussed a game plan. We would run the first set of hot laps on old tires just to get a feel. Those tires were the ones we ran at Barrie and for practice and heats at Sunset. Then our next set would be on the Velocity tires, the ones we ran in the feature because they only had 44 laps on them, we would practice hard, make the set up and run them in the heats. We had 4 new tires for the feature and those would be get one set of practice to scuff them in and then be used only for the feature.

Our heat races were awesome finishing 3rd in each. We had some very fast cars in our heats. Shawn Chenoweth, Gord Shepherd, Andy Kamrath, Jason Shaw and Ryan Kimball. In the first feature 2013 Barrie Speedway Champion Gord Shepherd spun on lap one going into 3 doing some damage to his car, he was unable to continue. Andy won that heat with the 2013 Flamboro Speedway Champion, Shawn Chenoweth, right on his bumper.
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In the second heat we started 5th and shorty into that race Jason got into Shawn and both had to go to the back. We were able to get into 3rd and close the gap between Andy who was 2nd and Ryan who was leading and take the checker. Our car was fast giving us two 3rds. We built some great parity in our car by preparing it to run against the Pro Late Models. We were equal to these two and most of the field except for Mike Bentley.
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There were 21 cars and the heat finishes put us 5th best. Mike Bentley won both of his heats putting him on the pole. Andy Kamrath won a heat and had a 2nd so he will be outside pole with Dan Macattie 3rd, Mark Watson 4th and us starting 5th.

We have new tires for the feature, same as everyone else and feel we have perhaps the best car ever at this event, and for sure the best car so far in 2013.

We are pumped because our car is fast for this prestigious race weekend. We're hoping for a podium finish, but a win would be so nice. It's time to get some rest, we need to be to the track early in the morning. I will finish this report on Tuesday............
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Monday

It was a cool day at first. The first few features raced on a greasy tough track. There was no outside lane with cars that were even. Guys could pass on the outside if the car inside gave him lots of room and was slower by a little, otherwise it was a green track after the rain, and then the cool day didn't help much either.

By the time the OSCAAR Super Late Model show got going, the sun was out and the track was changing for the better. The boys were laying lots of rubber on the track making our feature one with a better racing surface than the earlier classes.

Our team really didn't have much to do. We were prepared doing a nut and bolt the day before after our second heat. We filled the gas tank, charged the battery, got our pit tires and tools ready and were set to go.

We were pumped for sure. The car was very good and many racers, team members and fans let us know. They were encouraging with their kind words. I was ready because this was the best race car I had all year. Not the best handling, we were awesome at Velocity and Garry Reynolds, but even power wise we were right in the ball park. My stress for most of the year was not being able to keep up even when we were handling great, Our entire team could see we were under horse-powered. However, for this event, we were competitive and driving a fast well handling car is something that drives me to succeed, it's such a positive feeling to know you have a chance to be in the top three and maybe win.

There was a drivers intro, but not out of the car, in the car, and mostly while we were coming onto the track. Everything was set and I felt confident that we had a shot at a top three. My crew were confident as well, they had seen the results every time we went on the track, and their speculation and hope was supported by the many drivers, crew and fans that gave us a thumbs up to our good performance thus far.

Jim was on the radio and reminded me to make sure I was snug, that I was in the right gear and to go have some fun. That was the plan, and maybe for the first time in 2013 we wouldn’t be a top 10 car, but a podium finisher. We knew Peterborough could bite us, but staying up front would help us stay away from trouble, we hoped.

Dan McHattie told me before the feature started that he wasn’t going to be driving hard into one, but rather checking up a little early, and for me to be aware of that. It was good to know, although I usually take it easy on the first lap, usually trying to go with the flow, not get too far back or too crazy at the start.

The green flew and we took off for turn one. We got through one and heading down the back chute the yellow was out. Bryan Mercer had spun and so did Ryan Kimball. Shortly after, Ken called out from pit row “you’re leaking gas”. My first thought was “are you kidding”???? Wow, how could that be. I knew I’d have to come in, there was no choice. Jim said stay out because he couldn’t see anything, but Ken said again, “we got a fuel leak”. Rather than drive around anymore I headed for the pits and the boys fixed the problem.

Talk about getting a bad break right off the bat. The deal here was that it was our doing, not anyone else, so we sucked it up and prepared for the long haul back to where we were.

On the next green we raced hard. This green went for a long time. I was struggling trying to get by the cars from 16th to 10th mostly because it was hard to go outside, and they were all fairly quick.

The green lasted until lap 28 and we got the break we needed. We moved up to 15th, but our concern was Bentley having a free track to max his lap times and catch up to us. He was getting close, so the yellow was a big relief for us.

Over the next several restart attempts there were yellow flags with one becoming a red when Jamie Cox got on the wall doing severe damage to their car and finishing them for the day. The Luke Ramsay team are a great bunch of guys, that was too bad to have such terrible luck.

We really never got another good run over the next 8 laps or so. On lap 35 and 38 there were cautions. Finally we got going again and now we were 13th. We got by 12th and 11th and put the chase on Shawn Chenoweth who was running 10th. We caught him and coming off four on lap 44 I moved inside. Going into one I was up to his rear quarter. I thought without a doubt I would make the pass, maybe now or by the next turn, our car was handling so good. I knew Shawn wasn’t as strong as he has been over the year, but more so, we were having our best race.

Going through the middle of one and two I got on the gas only to find Shawn coming down into my lane. I caught him, hit the brakes but his car spun right around and was facing the turn two back chute wall. My spotter said “Man, he chopped you Gary, he should have let you have the spot”. I knew that as well, I was right there and knew for sure I was in far enough to be given the spot.

I was still crawling and Jim said go around him. I decided to go under him, on the grass, thinking it would be the right decision. Wow, it sure wasn’t. Shawn’s car came back into me so hard that he caved in the side support bar that we mount the body on, the jacking post was shoved over and the front fender, door and rear quarter were trash. His car???? No damage, maybe to the back where he hit me. I couldn’t believe he did that and asked if anyone seen him hit me and they all did. I drove around and got to turn 3 and the right rear wheel was smoking badly…..smoking because the steel support bar was bashed into our right rear wheel. As I drove down the front chute into one, he was still sitting there and made a lounge at me again, I guess still over the top furious that I spun him out. It was lap 45, I was in the hole he left and I’m guessing he was mad because he couldn’t believe we were faster than him.

I think what happened is that his spotter told him I was there but let him know that I would back out….”car inside, don’t worry it’s Elliott, he will back out of it”. Wrong, I didn’t back out, because I couldn’t, not because I was mad that he chopped me, I was in too far and couldn’t back out.

So, for doing what any racer would do, especially Shawn, I got trashed bad and done for the race, at least that was his intent.

My crew and I came to race not watch, so they began fixing the car good enough to get us out. The green came out on lap 46 and the yellow didn’t fall until lap 63, we were 17 laps down. Why did the yellow come out, Chenoweth was spinning across the grass on after being spun coming off turn two. He parked the car after that and we headed out on the track.

We made several pit stops over the next 25 laps and by lap 80 our car was good again. On one pit stop as I was leaving I felt water hit my drivers window, someone through water at me. I figured who it was and that it could have been worse…..although I didn’t know it would get worse, like it did after.

We finished the race running with a pack of cars from 8th, Gord Shepherd to 15th us. I wanted to see how the car would handle, plus we came to race and had we parked it we would have finished 20th, so though discouraging I take the 15th and the fact that we didn’t quit.

After the race I thanked my crew and they were okay, but disappointed. We talked to a few people who said we were in and Shawn chopped us. I didn’t care about that because if I had driven right into him I would have sat on the track and let him go as a gesture that I made a mistake, but I didn’t feel I did. I was upset that he chopped me.

I always take ownership of my mistakes, always, and I will apologize for making the error, but I didn’t believe this was mine. I was disappointed and really shocked that he would back into us like that.

An altercation happened after the race, and I feel bad about that, so I am not going to elaborate on any of the words said because they were in the heat of the moment. Shawn has great sponsors, he’s a champion and I feel what was said is best to be buried and not brought up again. I don’t want anything to do with talking about it, there will be no good served by doing so. I am ashamed of how I acted and don’t want to go there again with anyone. We learned a lot this weekend and leaving on that positive note is better than continuing this mess.

Special thanks to my team, they worked hard, those at the shop in preparing it, David, Bob and Nathan, and those at the track who kept it fast Jim, Ken, Gehrig, Linda and Steff. We had a great car.

Congrats to Mike Bentley for the win. He was a rocket all weekend, all year really.

This was our last race of the season. We have a few shows left to do, then we’ll take some time off before we start work to see if we can get our Sunset car as good as the one we had at Peterborough, Barrie and Sauble. More HP is needed and we will get that next year for sure.

I will keep our web site updated on shows and stuff. This weekend I will be with David who is going to concentrate on winning this race, nothing else. He is a good driver and has a good piece to work with.

Thanks for visiting, and watch for more updates over the next few weeks, announcements and information.



Postby Gary » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:59 pm

Season Recap

What started out as an exciting season for us, turned out to be our worst in 34 years. I decided, after some inquiries to take our car to McColl and have it updated with the new from end. It was thought this would help us a lot. The investment just in the chassis and upgrades, exhaust and other things was over $12,000. I decided not to open our Crate because it was the new style and according to some people, there would be no gain in opening the engine, none. I believed that, even though teams were rebuilding their Crates.

we struggled the first month with set up and me not driving the track properly. The thing I couldn't understand was how far off we were from the year before. Our car finished 3rd, 4th, 5th and two 7th's in features in 2012. Our frustrations grew worse and at times I was beyond stressed after seven race nights with no feature finish better than 10th, or heat finish better than 4th.

We finally took the car to McColls again in late July. It was during that visit that we found some things wrong with the car that were definitely hindering us.
Mike got us geared up and we headed to Sauble for the Dash for Cash. Unfortunately it got rained out, but not before we did some testing on old tires and found the car turning much better.

That would be the turning point for us. We finally finished in the top 10 at Sunset, getting an 8th in the feature, how ridiculous that would be our best finish of the year at Sunset. My team watched and concluded we were down on horsepower, but everyone else, including some staff did not think so. They were saying handling, not enough track practice, other cars had stock engines, no one was rebuilding their engines, and if they were they had the same HP as us, they were really gaining at all. Really? That info session of blowing smoke was presented to us a few times? We actually had more HP than everyone else. Of course, being BS’d before, we knew that was not the case. Our car was finally handling and doing well and my son, a 5 time track Champion was pissed because he seen how hard I was racing to try and keep up, and telling us it wasn’t HP was not true.

We talked to other tech people from other tracks who noted from their own top cars, they had no chance running Sunset, zero. The common theme was “cars are too expensive, you need a new car now to compete”. That was discouraging in one sense, but our car was 9 years old and even with the upgrades could not keep up. Also, we were beat coming off every corner even at our best times and as I was all over the chip at the end (6400) the faster cars were still beside me and then pulling away, yet some said they did not hit the chip, but had the same engine as us, so should have had the same cam timing and we had more gear and didn’t spin the wheels, so how could that be.

I talked to others not in our class and they agreed the parity and playing field were misguided.

Soon rumblings went through the pits that some teams could and were sending their engines to the US to have them rebuilt and then having them sealed by another builder. That didn’t seem right at all, but it was okay by the track officials so all was good from the front office, even though sending a Crate to anywhere but an authorized track rebuilder seems wrong. Rebuilding is wrong, but it’s allowed and I hurt myself, wasted a year by stubbornly deciding to stick with a stock engine on principal, then got my butt kicked all year. It was our first season where I truly felt in the way ….and only at Sunset, not any other race track.

We ended up going back to Sauble Speedway to race on August 14th Dash for Cash. It would be our best night of the season (in a Late Model). We finished 3rd in both heat races and 6th in the feature. On a track we raced once this year and not at all in 2012.

We went to Barrie Speedway for the Garry Reynolds Memorial. We missed all hot laps because we were committed to doing a show for a GM Dealership in Milton, Wallace Buick Chevrolet. However, Bob hustled behind the wheel of our truck to get us there in time for pre tech and the heats.

Because we were late we had to start last in our heat and there were 11 cars, 32 in total and only 26 made it. We finished 4th in the first heat and 5th in the next qualifying us 10th. We ran very well until overheating took us out of the feature at the “Competition Yellow”. On our way home we noted that we were much more competitive at Barrie than at Sunset. The Sunset cars dominated taking the top 3 spots. It became more clear that our issue was not chassis but power.

A week later at Velocity I was asked by one racer if I was going to Flamboro, I said “we have no chance against the Pro Lates”. He quickly responded “I do, I have over 400 HP in my built”. Was that more BS or was that true. We made some calls and talked to some people and the general consensus was that a good built would produce over 400 HP, but a rebuilt Crate would be somewhere between 25 to 50 more HP than a stock, depending on where it was rebuilt.

I called John Stefco and he agreed that my Crate rebuilt would be 25 more HP, but he could get me a lot more than that with a built engine.
We ran awesome (for us) at Velocity, qualifying 10th out of 30 cars. I wanted to run a 4 barrel but decided against putting it, because it would cheating and that’s not what we do, I can’t do it. It would be so empty, so useless to win by cheating…..cheaters are losers, those who cheat deliberately. As for the 4 barrel, I asked if I could run it and was told no, so I tried. I explained that if an $800 4 barrel gave me the same HP as a $2500 rebuild, why couldn’t stock 602’s run a 4 barrel, would be cheaper, but the answer was a quick “no”. I think if I ask if I can get my engine rebuilt by Hendricks Motorsports in the US, the answer might by yes. That would be a ton more than $800.

We started pole from the invert, and laughed because we knew without a doubt we would be heading to the back quickly. My only option was to go scratch like we done all year. But David said “no, take your spot race hard, don’t over drive and do the best you can, we try for a top 10, save our right rear and maybe you get a better finish”. Imagine starting pole and trying for a top 10. Well, that was the deal this year for us. We had a 10th place car, but knowing we were under powered meant less pressure, and after having such a dismal season, qualifying 10th (though terrible for me) was still good for this handicapped car and we beat a lot of good cars. The full race report is on this topic, a few pages up.

We ran 9th all race in the Velocity, staying within 8 car lengths of 7th, but like David said, by saving the tires, (I was making sure I concentrated hard not to get on the gas too soon or over drive) we might have a chance to gain on the cars that were struggling in front of us and a few were burning up their right rear. Disaster struck when the trailing arm bracket broke but we didn’t wreck and we did have a good car considering.

The next race was Autumn Colors. I decided to run against the Pro Lates. We did not touch our chassis, we left it exactly as it was except for the changes we could make. They included taking out 150 pounds of led, getting to 57% left, running the 4 barrel and 10” wheels. We were still down in HP from the Pro Lates but the handicap system worked for us. There were 22 cars and we were very quick qualifying 5th overall . Some bad luck took us out of that race but we learned a lot.

During AC I talked to Jason Witty and asked him why he jumped so much from one year to the next, why did he do that was so much of a gain. He explained he got a new chassis and a built engine, not the Crate “Gary the difference was night and day”. Now we knew for sure, by our performance with some parity that we could run with the best, and no doubt we needed another 40 HP to compete at Sunset in 2014, if that is what we are going to do.

We were invited to come to Barrie, and were told we run well there. We’ve been invited to come back to Sauble and promote their Dash for Cash races, and Flamboro wants us to return, and I know, many fans would love that. Our plans for the LM are up in the air right now, we love Sunset but it is by far the most costly series going. The track plans to reduce the schedule and run more laps. All that will do is help the fast cars that are already winning. Some work on parity would be good, but I don’t think they see how that is possible and will run status quo for 2014. I hope they continue to get the car count they have been blessed to have had in 2013.

More to come on a positive light...not all was bad for us, just our on track performance at Sunset Speedway, but there were some high lights worth mentioning on and off the track in 2013.
Gary Posts: 940Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2013

Postby Gary » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:22 pm

Chev Coupe Sold......Ends 42 Seasons With CVM & A Million Memories

The Coupe is gone, ending our 42 year run with the Ontario Amateur Racing Club, also known as the Hobby Club and now the Canadian Vintage Modifieds. It leaves on a good note, giving us many great memories in its 23 seasons with us. This car brought us the 1999 points Championship, 10 feature wins, including the last Hobby feature at Barrie Speedway on the old track in 2004. We lead the points twice in 2004 only to lose out by two blown engines. Our last feature win with this car was in 2007 at Flamboro. ………...We bought the 33 Chev Coupe in 1989 from Fred Poets. Fred got it from Jim Bunting who had raced it with Terry Coates. Tim Young drove it in the early 80’s buying it from John Hasselfeldt……. In the winter of 1989 Ray Hughes built a new chassis for us and we won the Club Championship and the Twin 25 Championship in 1990….…..in 2005 we bought the Late Model and it was suggested for me to get rid of the Coupe. I went out in the garage, took one look at it and decided there was no way I could or would sell it. I just couldn’t. There were too many memories, too much nostalgia, family, history, fun and stories. I could not sell the car. At the time my grand kids were very young and finding room in the garage was not an issue. Soon however David came into the garage with his Late Model and then space did become an issue. The odd car out was the Coupe, and to be outside under a tarp, on stands because there was no room in our small shop with 2 Late Models……….Over the years we had other fine gentlemen race this car. The Pontello’s, Korenyi’s, Chris Brading, Dereck Mellenbacher and Rick Schurr, all had a time in the Coupe and Rick won Rookie of the Year, driving under his Dad, and my hero, Glen Schurr’s number 36……….. fast forward to present and there is just too much stuff going on now with racing, equipment and most of all room. There is no place for us to keep this little rocket. I wished we had a bigger shop but that’s next to impossible for us financially. We currently have 2 Late Models, a Mini Stock and a Go Cart. The Go Cart is for sale as Lauren moves to Mini Stock in 2014……..Grandpa has no intentions of sitting out just yet, in fact the goal of a Championship is still on the wish list and the drive to make that happen is strong with my very supportive crew and family. Sponsors are important and will be a determining factor for us to make that happen and so far we are looking great for 2014…….My plans are to race for 50 seasons, and God willing that will be for five more years………………I also want to race in a Mini Series with my Son and Grand Son and Grand Daughter if possible. Selling the Coupe and retiring from the CVM wasn’t an easy decision, there are a Million memories and as many miles both on and off the track if we traced this car’s history…..It’s going to a good family, may be parked for a while, not sure, but as for us we have the pictures and memories to help us never forget this car, and more importantly the fun we had racing with the Hobby…CVM club.

Tyler Brown is the new owner and will race a full schedule with his own car and may do something with his new purchase.
Short Update
I will spend more time in 2014 grooming and teaching my grand kids in things like sponsors, shows, the importance of what they do off the track with their car and media. I will also help them with their cars, and teaching some racing tips, although they have many friends racing now who will also help. Our team is growing more each year and the problem is finances. Helping one person race is hard enough, trying to help two is not twice as much it becomes 5 times more, especially when I still race. However, I want to give them every opportunity I can without taking away from our own race program. It is important for the main team to be focused and successful and the smaller teams to grow and learn from the success of the bigger team. If we lose focus on our Late Model program we all suffer and will fail to meet our own goals. Though each team has goals and are important to all of us, we do need to make sure the main program is looked after because that is where the smaller teams will be heading, whether it's OSCAAR Mod open wheel, or Late Model.

Partying with our CVM was tough but had to be done and allows more focus on the other race teams.

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