Diary Of A Season 2014

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:19 pm

Postby Gary » Mon May 19, 2014 10:58 pm

May 17th..........Sunset Speedway

Race #3

Streak 690

High Lites
* 25 cars
* Chris Morrow wins
* 2 blown Crates
* We have first wreck
* New brakes don't give us a break
* Lauren running hard and competitive with the best

Late Model


Mini Stock


Body work, cosmetic, brakes, routine

Matt and Marty

Well our crew has dwindle now and as my son said to me today "dad, you can't run up there with just 2 guys in your crew". He's right but I wanted to support Sunset each week, but with my extra races added this year I realize it's going to be tough for my guys to make it out every week.

Bob loves the Modified and has committed to the full season, and that's 19 races, including OSCAAR and Full Throttle. Add another 20 LM 18 or so LM races and we're in the twilight zone for most teams. I can't get pumped racing every other week. Maybe if I had a cottage, with a horse shoe pit, a nice man cave shop with a dart board and friends coming over I might consider racing a small schedule, but I want to race more than anything else, but it will suffer with low crew turn outs at most events.

We started the season on last years brakes and they were fine, except the two 100 lap races had just about finished them off. I have always had good luck with Hawk pads (blue) but they weren't working for me at all. The pedal was spongy and when I did have pedal the brakes didn't grab nice, like they have for the past decade. Someone in the pits said they are made in Iran now, or some far east country and they are not the same as they use to be. Brakes were a serious issue for us tonight and caused trouble in our first heat race.

On the back chute the #88 body checked the #13 and it ended in the #13 spinning in turn three. Then the #81 cut across my nose to avoid hitting the 13 and sent our car side ways. By the time I got it corrected I was heading right for an appointment with Passer. Wow, I had the brakes jammed on but they didn't stop and I hit him fairly hard, straight on. He was okay but we lost the rad and busted up the nose. It was so frustrating because with a small crew the last thing we needed was to wreck. We were out of the race of course.

In the pits Matt and Marty hustled to help me get the car stripped of the damage and try to get back out for the feature. I bought a rad and Matt worked on the nose and fender that were tore apart. Marty was refitting the hood and then as I was getting the rad hose on I noticed the left front wheel bearing was black. I took it apart only to find the inner and outer wheel bearing burnt and the spindle slightly scored. Possibly over tightened but I have repacked wheel bearing many times with this car and never had that happen before.

To make things worse we found the left front caliper bracket was stripped, but I had a spare and got it all done for the consi and that was awesome. I just wanted to get out and finish and we ended up 12th.

In the feature the brakes were bad and I just took it easy finishing 17th. Not good but we had enough to do at home this week.

We are at 690 consecutive nights now for our goal to reach 700 in a row and that will be soon. I have Frisbees to give away and want to get kids bikes as well. Can't wait for that night..........can't wait to hold the checker again....seems like it's going to be a real long shot at Sunset. We fixed our car from last year but we are down HP like crazy. I don't want to start on that rant, but I will later in the season.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:20 pm

Postby Gary » Mon May 19, 2014 11:03 pm

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

Race #4

Streak 691

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Andrew Strawn wins
* We love our awesome car
* Too many wrecks
* We get caught up in a tangle, DNF

Feature...9th (DNF)


Front end, spindle, strut, brakes

Bob, Jim, Marty, Matt Glen and Patrick

When I first considered running a NASCAR type Modified was back in the later 80’s. I loved watching them run in the US. However there was no such class in Ontario. Harry Nicholson tried to start one in 1984 with CORA. He left the Hobby club and then started recruiting members to join him. They lasted a while, had about 10 cars, but couldn’t really get going.

Later the All Pro Modified’s came along, but I wasn’t ready then, and not overly excited about the look of the cars. They were too high, the front end didn’t look racy, and many looked like converted Late Models or Limited Late’s.

Then one night at Flamboro in 2011 I was running the Late Model and happened to see the OSCAAR version of the Modified. It was #7 Brent McLean. I was in love right away. The car was a Troyer chassis and body style and was 100% what I hoped to see years earlier. The sleek style and body lines were enough for a seed to be planted in my mind that I would one day want to sell the Coupe and replace the CVM races I ran with OSCAAR Mod races. I told Brent how much I liked his car.

In 2012 and 2013 I was racing on line and in the Whelan Modified series. I had a paint scheme planned for a real Modified, and was telling friends and other competitors that I was planning to run a Modified by 2014.

In 2013, in our Quaker State souvenir program, on the last page, there was a picture of a Modified with the caption “Could this be the Iron Man’s ride in 2014”.

I was certain I wanted to race this class, my mind was made up, maybe as soon as I saw Brent’s car. The class improved again in 2012, more good looking Whelan style cars, plus a few designed like zamboni’s, but nothing like a Troyer style Mod, my all time favorite race car.
I needed to make a decision on the Coupe. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. I had no room to store it; we already have 4 cars including the Mini Stock and show car. I listed it for sale and sold it in mid November of 2013 and then examined some opportunities of getting a Modified.

My focus was on trying to win a Mod title, so I wanted a decent car to give us a chance. I wasn’t sure what to get or buy in November. I knew what I wanted, I knew what it would look like, and I just needed a car.

One of my considerations was driving for another car owner. I offered to invest about $5000 in it, plus weekly costs of $200 a week, but I needed a 100% commitment to run all the races, and that wasn’t able to happen. I asked around for decent cars for sale and thought about buying a car from the U.S, “2 Kwik Chassis”, but that seemed like a lot of aggravation to get a car and pay close to $12K without a driveline.

After much checking I heard Mike Westwood was selling his car and when I looked at it I made the decision to pay him his asking price if he would do some things for me. He agreed and the deal was made.

Mike removed all the panels, send out the bumpers to be chromed, and I got the panels painted, give them back to him and by mid January my Mod was taking shape, exactly how I wanted it. The shocks brakes, suspension and other things could wait until the car shows were done and then we would go over the car and replace or upgrade where we felt we had to.

Ron Easton did awesome work on my Late Model and he raced Modified’s for years, so he was a natural to have him go over the car with me. I had some things I wanted to change and he found some other parts that needed upgrading. By late April the car was ready to go.

I couldn’t wait to get on the track. On Friday May 16th we headed to Sunset to get some hot laps. I took it easy the first few laps testing the brakes, the throttle and getting the feel of the wheel, I was at home.

By my 3rd lap I increased the speed until I was up to full speed. Then on the 6th lap, including the 3 slow laps, I heard a clunk and felt the engine cutting out. The car started to miss but I was able to make it back to the pits. I didn’t know what happened. I was discouraged thinking what could happen in just 6 laps. We checked under the hood to see if something came off or was disconnected. Then I tried to start it and nothing, it was dead. We removed the LR tire and then saw what happened, a disconnected live cable. I thought, “well that was easy”. Silly me, I thought it just wasn’t tight. A week ago we put in a new battery, the one in it was weak, so maybe we didn’t tighten up the connectors.

Marty hooked it up. While he was doing that Vic Parsons drove into the pits and we talked. Then Marty came over and said “ok it’s fixed but the pipe is moving up and down”. Vic and I both wondered what he was talking about, and when I looked that’s when I saw the broken 3rd link pipe, attached to the roll cage. Vic took one look and said, “You are very lucky Gary; that could have cost you a ton of money”.
He was right, the driveshaft, floor, transmission, and other things could have been damaged, we’ve seen it before. However, it didn’t hurt anything, other than our practice time, and I considered that a huge blessing.

Vic offered to fix the pipe at his house. So at 4pm we headed to his home, just north of Barrie Speedway. There Vic re-welded the pipe, put some gussets and attached another support bar.

By 6pm we were back at Sunset to get a set of hot laps. I only took one, but it was enough to let us know our car was good to go for Sunday, our best lap was in 14:7 on old tires.

Season Opener
We got to the track in lots of time. Made it through tech, no issues. It rained and then stopped, but we made it out for a few hot laps. The car had a bad push, which seemed strange because it was very good on Friday. I couldn’t figure why the car pushing so bad, and our lap times were in the low 15’s, not good at all.

We decided to put the new tires on and went back out. The car was awesome this time, and very fast, now 14:4’s, but a new problem developed, the brakes started locking up. When I got into the pit we could not move the car. Bob, Jim, Matt, Marty plus Glen and Pat Ruelens, were in our crew and worked on getting the brakes fixed. They thought they had it fixed as I went to the drivers meeting.

The heats were lined up and we were to start outside pole. There were 15 cars, not many but it was opening day. We were lined up outside pole for the first race. On the green the car was fine but coming off 2 it slowed up, allowing both Davey Terry and Brent McLean to get by. I knew something was wrong and going into 3. I moved down, and by the time Jim said “inside” I got tagged by John Harper. It wasn’t John’s fault, I should have stayed up, plus Jim had no idea what was wrong with our car, and neither did I.

The yellow came out as both our cars were in the dirt between 3 and 4. I backed out but as soon as I pulled ahead the car stalled. The front brakes were locked on solid. We were done, my first Mod race was going to be a DNF.

I managed to get it back to the pits where the crew looked at it again. This time they got help from Junior Hanley who suggested adjusting the rods from the master cylinder. They made that adjustment and then I headed out for heat #2. This time the brakes were okay and we finished 2nd behind Davey Terry who won both heats. Our car was loose off so we made a stagger adjustment to compensate.

While going over the car again before feature time, we found the brakes jammed on….AGAIN. It was maddening. The boys made another adjustment to help the pedal return, and it seemed okay, but the pedal was low, but better low than binding and staying on. I wasn’t sure what to think now, we were all kind of puzzled why it was acting up like this.

We had no brake issues in the feature, other than the fact I like a good pedal and this was anything but.
We started 10th and got spun out on lap 4 when a big check up in turn four got us hit from behind. Over the next few laps cars were getting knocked off one by one. Mike Westwood, Davey Terry, Brent McLean and then Gary McLean were all out by lap 20 of the 30 lapper. On lap 15 I got nailed hard by Tommy Robb in turn one, our car was good so I wondered why I got spun like that. My spotter wasn’t happy, said Tommy just drove in super hard and tagged us.

Starting at the back again, we got going and we’re up to 8th, the car was awesome. I have never driven a car that turned like this. Maybe it was the tires, but I noticed many of the cars in front of me were pushing and not in control, but our car was stable and easy to drive.

On lap 24 there was another caution and now we were in 5th. I really felt we could get a podium finish, maybe even a second.

The restarts in this race were awful. The leader slowed us down to a crawl when the pace truck pulled off the track. Three and four rows back were banging each other as cars coughed and choked with the restart speed much slower than the pace truck. I was surprised nothing was done to fix that.

On lap 24 we got the green and came off turn four passing #88 Ryan Dick. I was sure we had a top three car now, but as soon as that came into my head the 2nd and 3rd place cars of Max Beyore and Shane Stickle were banging and got out of shape at the start finish line. I was right on top of them. Shane got sideways and came down enough that my RF wheel caught his bumper. The tire blew, the steering arm bent, strut clevis broke and we were done. It was so discouraging for us. Our team desperately needed a good run, in front of our home track fans.

As we were being towed off the fans showed their appreciation for our team by waving and applauding. That was nice and though I was discouraged it didn’t last long.

My crew was ecstatic, knowing how good a car we had and that a top 3 or 2 was a good possibility. The boys were high fiving each other after the race and I joined in because I knew we had a great Mod in this race.
Our next OSCAAR race is Kawartha on June 1st. But I plan on running all the Mod shows at Full Throttle Speedway, formerly Varney Speedway.
Special thanks to my crew and fans for making this debut fantastic.

Congratulations to Chad Strawn and his team for winning the first OSCAAR feature of 2014.

Rookie of the Year
We are considered a rookie in this class for 2014. I have strong feelings about that. I agree this class is much faster than anything I’ve raced full time before, both the CVM and the Late Models. The OSCAAR Modified’s are 5 to 6 tenths faster than anything I’ve driven, so in that way I am a rookie. But if there was a driver in this class who was a true rookie, his first time racing, I would feel bad if he lost because of me or any other veteran. OSCAAR insists I am a rookie and has no doubt about it. But I think there should be two given out, one for a first time driver, who would be “Rookie of the Year, and one for the driver who has been racing for a few years who has moved up, and call him “Rookie Veteran”, or “Rookie of the Class”. Both of those sound corny, but my point would be to make sure a real “Rookie” does not lose out to a veteran who is new to the class. I realize if someone raced for 6 years in go-carts and won tons of races and championships, it could be argued he is not a rookie, but my feeling of rookie is someone who never raced a full body car before.

Any thoughts one way or the other, let me know and I will pass them on to OSCAAR.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:20 pm

Postby Gary » Sat May 24, 2014 9:33 am

May 23rd.............Full Throttle Speedway

Race #5

Streak 692

High Lites
* 7 cars
* Brent McLean wins both features
* We run good, should have had Hoosier tires
* John Karley brings Coupe

1st Feature..........4th
2nd Feature.........6th


none....prepare for Kawartha....gears

Bob, Marty, Paul

I decided to add some races to this years schedule, by increasing our Mod shows to 20 from 13, all at the new Full Throttle Speedway, formerly Varney Speedway.

Bob and I left around 1:30. We picked up Paul Douglas, former crew member with Bruce Bennett and Jeff Stewart. With Jeff retiring, Paul was without a race team, plus had no way to get to the races. I offered to take him with us to all the Varney races, he lives in Fergus and it was on our way. He really enjoyed being part of our team and we enjoyed having him.

I decided to run American Racer tires at Full Throttle thinking I would be okay. We had tremendous success with them in the Late Model. However my decision wasn't a good one. If all cars were on American Racer's, we would have been much more competitive, but all the Mods were running Hoosier, a much softer tire. The American Racer needs several laps to get heat in them. The Mods on Hoosiers had instant handling success while I struggled to try and keep up. We had a minor push for most of both 20 lap features. As the night got very cold and damp, it was evident we were in big trouble and had no way to content with the other cars.

we finished 4th in the first feature, only 7 cars, and 2 of them got together and did not finish. I started 6th in the next one and just followed at a distance. By lap 15 our car was coming in and I was gaining on the group of cars running 3rd to 5th. The leaders, Brent and Gary McLean were long gone, they started up front and stayed there. Brent had 2 new tires, and Gary at least one. Though I had 4 new American Racer's I might as well had 4 old used tires because they would not grip. Had this been a 50 lap race we might have done better in the end, but that's not for certain because the tight oval doesn't allow for much passing unless cars are way off and of the few that were there they were close enough to make it impossible to pass although 3rd to 6th by the end was closer.

We will get Hoosiers for the next race and save these 4 for a hot night. We will also make a few minor changes to the chassis to help it turn although I was fairly happy with the car other than the tires.

Special thanks to Bob, Marty and Paul for doing a great job, we had fun and that's my goal this year.

I need to unload now and get the Late Model in the trailer for Sunset Speedway.

Good luck to Gord Bennett and his family with their purchase of this track, I hope they have a great year.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:22 pm

Postby Gary » Sun May 25, 2014 11:45 am

May 24th...........Sunset Speedway

Race #6

Streak 693

High Lites
* 27 Late Models
* Jason Witty wins
* We have decent heat run, car falls off in feature
* Lauren wins race #2, awesome feature run
* David wins 100 lap APC at Flamboro
* Lauren 7th in points
* We are 14th in points

Late Model

Mini Stock

Late Model.........$225
Mini Stock..........$70

Maintenance and find out why it's pushing

Matt, Marty

After the race Friday night I got up early to charge the radio's, the battery for the trailer and unload the Mod and all it's spare stuff. It was difficult for me with no help. I got it done, but even one person for an hour would have been so appreciative. Marty did make it from Milton to help, but I was pretty well done by the time he got here.

We headed for Sunset and listened to the red hot Blue Jay's on the radio. Got to the track in plenty of time to make the final set of hot laps. The car seemed okay. Marty, who spotted for Brad Cochrane last year spotted for me in the hot laps and then would spot again in the heat race.

There were 27 Late Models, another great turn out. We started 3rd in the first heat. The car was good at the beginning, we had 3 new tires and the LF was from opening night. I got outside of #55 going into one on the second lap and raced him for a few laps as Cronan built up a lead. Once in second I was able to maintain the distance behind the leader. With a few laps to go Tom Walters was bearing down on us but we would take second in this one, beating Tom for the first time in 3 years.

There was a Dash for Cash and we missed it. I didn't realize we had to run the Dash for Cash, plus my crew were resting, and watching other races. I was okay with it and explained to Mark Dilley how the mix up happened.

Mini Stock
Laruen meanwhile had an axle changed prior to her races. She was unhappy with her car in her heat race, where she started pole and dropped back to 5th. She was upset enough to walk away from the car and let off a little steam.

In the consi she had an awesome race, grabbing her second win of her young career. She didn't walk away this time, very happy, and that's all a racer needs once in a while is a win. Lauren is like me, she wants to be competitive, not get beat week after week and not having a chance at all.

Lauren's feature performance was incredible. She started 14th and got up to the top 10 by half way. She was driving so hard and holding a good line into the turns. On a restart with 10 to go cars spun in front of her and she got around them, heading to the inside to avoid contact and get through. She restarted 8th with some very fast Mini's behind her. Lauren drove awesome finishing 7th at the line beating Warren Paxton by a foot. We were very excited about her fantastic performance. It's hard to believe she is a Rookie in this class.

APC 100 Flamboro
While we were busy preparing for our races, we were being updated with the 100 lapper at Flamboro. We knew David qualified 4th fastest, and started 7th after the invert. We kept getting reports that he was running 3rd and then 2nd. On lap 70 we went nuts when we heard he was 1st with Chenoweth in second. David would go on to win the feature, his first ever 100 lap win, and did it by 15 car lengths over second. congratulations to David and his team. Junior Hanley helped with the set up making the car very good, for one of Ontario's best short track racers. Imagine, this was David's first time in a Late Model since his 2012 feature win at Delaware at the end of that season. He took 2013 off to help me, and that was a tough very discouraging time for him, for all of us. But now he is where he should be, in the winners circle, good for him. We heard he won, just as I was heading out for our feature.

Once on the track we were cruising around and I noticed my water bottle plastic tube tangled in my steering. I had not had a water bottle so far this year. It was my fault, I got 3 feet of 1/4" plastic tube as a straw and asked Matt to put it in the car, but I meant to tell him to cut it 18" shorter. So here I am warming up tires and I have this extra plastic tube wrapping around my steering wheel. I tried to move it but it was getting more tangled. we were to start 6th, but I had to stop to get this out of the car. Marty took it and I restarted 25th.

Matt felt bad, but I assured him that was my fault. I had driven without any water in both 100 lappers, but the weather was finally getting warmer so a Gatorade was good to have under yellows. I should have taken the time to route the tube, but that's on my list for this week.

Matt spotted, and Marty, Don and Gehrig helped in the pits. On the green, I knew with a huge field of cars, that being careful the first few laps might be wise. We didn't go a lap when a huge wreck between 3 and 4 involved 10 cars. It took for ever to sort out, but most were able to continue.

For the next 10 laps we ran decent, getting up to 18th. The pack was very tight all the way through. Then we had a series of wrecks that seemed to keep us on lap 10 for a long time. Finally another long green run resumed. Our car was good up until lap 30 and then started falling off with a bad push. I dialed in more rear brake but it wasn't helping. I was pushing in the middle and very loose off the turns.

With 10 to go I pitted knowing we were the last car on the lead lap, running 15th. On the green I got behind #13 and #66 and both were out of control, I almost got wrecked twice by #66 and decided to back off because the pack was half a track ahead.

We finished the night in 15th and had no damage. I was very concerned and disappointed that we developed such a serious push. I will scale the car as it is before we do anything else this week, and then put it on stands to go over it from front to back. Something has happened, or changed since opening day when it was very good. I don't think the LF tire would make that much difference, we had 3 new tires and the LF was the only used, but we will find out what's wrong and make it better for this coming weekend. It was nice to run so strong in the heat, but a good feature run is on the wish list and hopefully it happens soon.

Congratulations to Jason Witty and his team for winning the feature.

Next weekend is a double header, Sunset on Saturday and Kawartha with the OSCAAR Modified on Sunday.

Revised Schedule
I have added more races on our schedule for 2014. Six Mod shows and one Late Model at Full Throttle Speedway. I have also decided to work with Trevor Monaghan to run a few Late Models races for us when we are racing the Modified.
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:22 pm

Postby Gary » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:45 pm

May 31st.............Sunset Speedway

Race #7


High Lites
* 28 Late Models
* Jason Witty smokes the field
* We try running on old tires......right
* Lauren gets 3rd in heat

Late Model

Mini Stock


routine, need tires and 25 more HP

Matt, Marty Don and Gehrig

We got to the track early but I had to save my tires for the races. I decided to run the same tires we ran last week for the night. Most others were on new rubber.
I was disappointed that we had such a terrible push last week but was glad I found what was causing it. A simple fix, not near enough stagger. The boys told me we were at 4" stagger and had to raise the LR tire to 25 PSI to reduce the stagger. I didn't think that was right because I buy the same tires all the time and never have an issue with getting what we want, and our LR is mostly in the 15 PSI range, not 25.
Anyway on Sunday I checked the rear stagger and it was 3 1/4 with the LR at 25, once lowered to 15, the stagger was good, so no panic on the chassis set up, but just be more careful reading the gauge....or I should do it and let the boys fill it and get the other things done. It was a simple mistake, and I was okay with it. We know we are down in HP, although we didn't do our new tires any good by being so tight.

I drew #3 but elected to go scratch because on new tires we would be lucky to run with this group, and being on tires that were abused would certainly get us in trouble. I don't like doing that, but the smart thing to do when you think you'll get run over is to go to safe ground, and that could be the back, although not always.

Some drivers with ill handling cars should do the same but they go up front and sometimes survive but have a good chance of getting wrecked or taking someone out when because their car is so tight in the middle and loose off. Not sure why that guy doesn't slow down and save getting wrecked, but it seems they either don't know or don't care because they are there to race. I am as well, I love racing, but being down 20 HP with an older chassis means I am not able to race, just follow close at best. Going to the back is for a few reasons, not enough help during the week, and not enough funds to fix a tore up race car, so best thing is to stay out of trouble and if you think that is a poor way to race.....I AGREE, but I need to survive and it's only June and we're in survival mode already. That could change when we hit our 700th Consecutive Night. We passed one car in our heat race and one in the consi. There were 28 cars, awesome turn out, and we did make the show, starting 20th because some cars elected to go scratch.

During intermission I went to the VIP area, our Mod was on display for the Lincoln Electric people who were the nightly sponsors. I changed into my Lincoln Welders fire suit and signed some autographs for the staff of Lincoln.

In the feature we ran as hard as we could, stayed away from trouble, that is until lap 30 when we were in a battle with #13. Every time I tried to go under him he would chop down forcing me to brake hard or hit him. Hitting him isn't an option for me, not because he shouldn't get tagged for chopping, but because wrecking my car is not on my option of things to do when someone messes me up. Better to load up at the end of the night in one piece until we get better tires and more HP. Maybe someone comes up with a pill you put in the gas tank that gives 20 HP and doesn't cost $3500 to $5000. This was a frustrating night to say the least.

Anyway after trying several times to get by #13 and knowing the leaders were coming I surrendered and pulled onto pit row. I have never done that before when my car was still good, but it was such a pointless effort to stay out. I just got to my pit spot and saw Tom Walters trying to lap the #13 and the lapped car raced him all the way down the back straight.

My crew asked what was wrong, I felt bad for them, they thought something was wrong, but I said "parking it because we cannot gain anymore positions and are in the way. They don't want to hear that, although they could see it for themselves.

A Crate engine cost $3700, a rebuild on top of the brand new Crate is over that, so by the time you're done you have spent $7500 minimum on the Crate engine. Then you double your fuel costs every week by running racing gas instead of 91 Octane as recommended by the Crate manufacturer. As tracks get less and less interested in policing the Crate the costs sore even higher. So what happens is die hards like me keep coming out knowing we have no chance, but sooner or later we go somewhere where else where we could be competitive or like some go golfing......not me, not yet, not ever I hope.

We loaded the Modified in the trailer to get it ready for Kawartha and hoped for a better fate with OSCAAR.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:22 pm

Postby Gary » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:51 pm

June 1st........Kawartha Speedway

Race #8


High Lites
* 20 Modifieds
* Gary McLean wins
* We finish 9th
* Gears....504 final

Heat........Black flag (leaking fuel)



Bob, Matt, Don

We got to Kawartha early, like 10am, and the place was almost full. I was surprised, but the gates did open early. We got a decent spot and the nice thing about Kawartha, like Sunset, the pits are fully paved, and that is so nice.

Bob and Don helped in the pits, Matt was also there with Andrew but wanted to stay in the grandstands, and that was okay because we were in good shape for help. Bob would spot for me again and we would decide changes after hot laps and the heat, all to get ready for the feature and hopefully get a good finish.

Bob and I headed for tech. I signed in, had the car checked over. They checked the carb and weighed us. We were 2627, a little over what we needed to be. I also drew #1 for our starting spot. I knew at this track, or at least I guessed the built engines would have an advantage on the longer straights, but still hoped we could do better than our debut in the Mod, finishing 2nd in one of our heats, and 9th in the feature. The other heat we didn't finish because of our brakes seizing up on us.

There were four divisions, OSCAAR Super Late Models, Mini Stock, Hurricane Midgets and of course OSCAAR Modifieds.
We bought used tires from Jesse Kennedy, the ones he ran at Sunset on May 18th. I watched him close and his car handled great, at least it wasn't pushing or loose off, so that meant the tires were not cooked. Though Super Late Models are very aggressive on tires, I felt with the bigger faster Kawartha surface we should be able to get the heat back into the tires.

The two sets of hot laps showed we were strong, and right in the ball park. We were pumped knowing our car was close on used tires.
I decided that we should fill the car for the heat race and leave it for the feature, we get a 30 pound weight break at the end of the race and that equates about 4 or 5 gallons of gas.

We started inside pole beside #91 Max Beyore. Max took the lead, not sure if he was on new tires, I'm guessing he might have been. I fell into 2nd by lap one, but close behind. I felt I could stay with him for the 12 lap qualifier but on the fourth trip around the starter gave me the mechanical black flag. I wasn't sure it was for me until Bob radioed that we were leaking fuel.

I pulled off and parked in the infield. Bob was apologizing thinking he did not put the cap on tight. I was very disappointed. This series is a short deal and missing heat race points is no good. I wasn't upset with Bob at all and told him not to worry about it.

After the heat I headed to the pits and immediately Bob checked the fuel and was surprised to find the cap on tight. Now the case of leaking fuel was in high gear trying to figure where it was coming from. While Bob and Don checked it over, I went to Mike Westwood to see if he had any ideas. I told him we filled the car and fuel was leaking badly. He said he never filled the car over 11 gallons because the Mods get a 30 pound weight break. I had no idea that was the case (11 gallons only) because the tank is a 22 gallon. When I bought the car Mike said "don't worry about anything, don't touch the car, just put gas in it and drive". Well of course we made a lot of changes, but as for just putting in gas, that wasn't good information when we didn't know how much to put in. Anyway the info he gave me was helpful, so I told Bob, and he had already figured we were leaking from the fuel cell vent, located on the right side......should be on the left, but no big deal, we just had to remove some gas, so we did and put it in the generator and gave some to #71 Eathan Cournyea for his crew giving us the idea to pump air into the tank with a syphon hose in it. It worked as long as the spout was sealed.

We now had to start the feature in 19th spot, but one car did not start of the 20 so we started 18th. It's not a good night to be starting so far back. I am not going to bash my way through traffic like some, nor make it 3 wide in the dirt or body check guys when I pass. All that was going on in front of me. It is frustrating to see so much silly racing, even disrespectful by a few.

I never could get going for the first 15 laps of 30. There were a bunch of cautions, too many in the first 20 laps so OSCAAR decided to run us single file for the final few laps. We were 12th with 6 to go. I did get up to 7th but hesitated to avoid hitting a car in front that was struggling and it cost me two spots, as the #77 Strawn and #14 of Terry both got by. I did stop #82 Justin DeMelo from getting by, and crossed the line in 9th.

It was a disappointing run for me. My crew seemed okay with it and my family, but I know we could or should have done better. The #26 Kevin Jobb started right beside me and finished 3rd. We talked about it after and agree that we were only a few spots out of where we thought considering it was our first time here in 8 years, although I needed no time with the Mod just getting the track lines down.

We had no damage and that was good, but we must be quite a ways back in the points already, though I didn't see them posted on the OSCAAR site. Hopefully we get a better run at Barrie on the 14th, the next OSCAAR event.

Congratulations to Gary McLean and his team on winning the feature.

Our next Mod event is this Friday at Full Throttle Speedway. I'll take a good finish there as well :)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:23 pm

Postby Gary » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:10 am

June 5th..................Full Throttle Speedway

Race #9


High Lites
* 7 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* Brent McLean gets docked for jumping
* We finish 4th and 5th in twin 20's

1st Feature..........4th
2nd Feature.........5th


none....prepare for Barrie

Marty, Paul and Danny

It's always nice to arrive early at any race track. Take time to set up and get to talk to a few people. It was a beautiful night, clear and warm, but would cool down later.

I complained about paying $10 for the pad but Gord asked me if I paid for my pad at Sunset and of course we do, so he was just doing the same, plus trying to pay for the costs of getting the track pits in shape. I love going to this track, it's cozy, warm and the staff are friendly.
It was good to see an awesome turn out of fans. The Late Model car count was good, about 12, but we only had 7 Mods. The good news was, that other than Gary McLean, we were competitive to a degree.

I tried a new American Racer tire from Grisdale's. Adam suggested EC-21 on the outside and EC-11 on the inside. The idea was to help us keep up with the Hoosier tires that are much softer. The 11's are the softest tires provided by American Racer but were still no match for the much softer Hoosier at the beginning of the race.

I ran 2 sets of hot laps, one on the older American Racers and one on the new ones. The times were not really much different. We got in the 12:5's once on the older tires but many times on the new ones. , but felt we would be in trouble with the Hoosier and of course the #8 period. After the first set of hot laps my neck was sore and I asked my crew if we could pad my head rest. It wasn't working and then I thought of something.

First Time Ever Racing With A Hans
I asked Marty to check to see if my Han's was still in the closet and it was. I decided to try it. I wanted to in 2012 and 2013 but never got it hooked up to where I was comfortable. So now was the time to try it. The advantage besides the safety aspect was that my neck wouldn't be moving and I wouldn't have to hold up my head. My seat does not have the two head braces of equal length on the left and right, just the right side is able to rest my helmet, but the left side is short, so if my head moves at all then I have no place to rest it and my neck gets sore. I hoped the Hans would help and sure enough it did. The only disadvantage was that I could not move my head left or right very far so sight seeing was no longer something for me to enjoy. However there was no pain from my neck. Any racer who suffers any kind of discomfort while racing, regardless of that it is will soon slow down. So I officially used my Hans and glad that I did.

We ran Twin 20's, a fun format. I started pole in the first 20 lapper, with Gary McLean beside me. On the start, I pushed coming off four and had to check up a little so I didn't get into Gary. He was by me just past the start finish line with his nephew Brent right behind him. I held Brent off for one lap before he also got by. The American Racer's usually take 6 laps to come in, but these softer ones only needed 3 laps, but with the Hoosier tires ready instantly I was falling behind because I could not get on the gas.

After a few laps I paced Brent. He was about 3 car lengths ahead and I was able to match him lap for lap from lap 3 until lap 14 when the caution came out. On the restart the #23 of Paul Milligan, Tom Milligan's son, was outside of me. My tires cooled down and once again pushed. His Hoosier's hooked up right away and he was gone past me. Two laps later I was on his bumper and even inside a few times but the car would break loose because I was trying to get on the gas fast to try and pass. It was a close finish between us but I settled for 4th.

In the 2nd feature we were to start last but a few cars wanted to go scratch, Tommy Robb and John Karley. John was driving his CVM Coupe. The track cooled down a lot by this feature, and we were the last race out. Once again the Hoosiers left me sitting. I did pace the 3rd and 4th place cars but the two McLean's were gone. Brent was leading and Gary caught and passed him. I was right on Paul's bumper again but couldn't get any bite off. We ran close until lap 18 of 20 when the yellow came out. I was heading down the back chute and saw a wheel coming towards me. The wheel still had the hub and what looked like an upper control arm attached to it. The red came out next and we all stopped. It was Tommy Robb who slammed the wall between 3 and 4. John Karley said that he and Tommy were side by side when suddenly the #88 headed for the wall. Good news is that Tommy was okay and hopefully his car is not too badly wrecked.

This left us a green white checker. I kind of figured we were going anywhere because my tires were really cooled down now and there was no sense in driving in hard sliding up and hitting someone to gain $10 and worse get my car beat up, or make him upset. The track is so tight, if the car won't hook up down low you can be in trouble trying to get by and I was but I think mostly because of the hard tires. If we were all on American Racer tires it would be okay, but only John Karley and I tried them.

Earlier in the day I asked Gary McLean, who parked beside us, why all the McLean's didn't park together. He said there was some bad feelings and he was usually the outcast. I remembered that and told my spotter to watch the 7 & 8 on the restart, not for my sake, because I had a great seat to see everything in front of me, but just for his own interest.

As we headed into 3 I just knew something was going to happen. Brent was outside and got on the gas quick in the middle of 3 and 4. Gary did the same but Brent had the advantage and got the jump. They didn't get to the start finish line when contact was made and next thing Gary is riding on Brent's side bar. The two separated with Gary almost spinning out in the infield. We all checked up but it got sorted by turn one. We headed down the back chute, by now I was just a spectator watching to see if Gary would catch and dump Brent. The white came out and by the time Gary got into 2nd Brent was 4 car lengths ahead and easily took the checker. When the race was over, Gary drove up beside Brent and I'm sure motioned something, maybe said "no birthday cards for you". Anyway it didn't end there. The track officials decided they could have hit Brent with rough driving, but nailed him with the lesser of two offenses he committed and docked him for jumping the start. Brent lost 2 spots and the win went to Gary.

We finished 5th behind #47 uncle McLean. It was kind of disappointing to not be able to run with the speedy McLean's but the only hope, and this is no guarantee, is to run Hoosier tires. I will not use my very valuable OSCAAR inventory, so I need to get tires from someone.

After the first 20 lap feature Marty and I got our jack and impact gun and pretended we were going to remove tires from Gary's car. It was a fun gesture, in fact the whole night was fun. I like Gary and his crew, and Brent for that matter as well, but the rough stuff between the two should stop because when another car gets involved it will no longer be the McLean and McLean's but the Hadfield and McLean's or whoever becomes a victim of that aggression.

Can't wait for next weekend, we race at Barrie Speedway and I just hope our car is competitive. Thanks to my crew for a great night.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:23 pm

Postby Gary » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:41 am

June 14th.................Barrie Speedway

Race #10

Streak 697

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* We finish 2nd
* Take our first checker with heat win
* Tommy Robb hurt, broken arm
* 608 gears
* 3 1/2 stagger

1st Heat........3rd
2nd Heat.......1st


Fix power steering, routine


We had our car on display in the morning at the West Highland Baptist church in Hamilton. Bob and I were there from 8:45 until 1pm to support the church for a Father’s Day event. We handed our autograph cards, gave out our Quaker State 40th Anniversary souvenir programs.

In the morning I spoke to about 60 people who came in for breakfast and right after that I was invited to speak about our racing and my faith and how it applied to racing.
Bob and I got to Barrie Speedway close to 3:30, went through tech and made it out for the second set of hot laps. Our car was very good in that practice session so I decided not to go out again. That might have been a mistake. Though I felt the car was very good, as did Bob, a second set of hot laps can sometimes produces a different scenario, or show us things we missed in the first set. Example, the track cools a little and now we have a handling issue. Maybe I wasn’t driving quite as hard the first set and when going out for the second set and running with quicker cars, we find the car isn’t so good.
That’s the advantage of going out more than once.

The advantage of going out just once is the reduction of wear on the tires, shocks, engine and the rest of the car. I’m not so sure that is a big factor, but if we ran 2 sets of hot laps extra every race night, and do that over a 14 race schedule, it soon adds up to an additional 280 laps or the equivalent of nine 30 lap features, and that is a lot of wear and tear on the car.

The thing for our team is that I only had been on this track 3 times since 2004, so it wasn’t like I knew it inside out, but having said that, if a driver has a good attitude about a track that counts huge on getting set up quickly. When I came here in 2012 I was told not to drive too hard into one, but drive as hard as I could into three. I did that and had a great night for the Garry Reynolds memorial.

Once we completed our first and only set of hot laps, Bob, who knows me very well and knows what he wants to see, said “I think we’re there, you don’t need to go out anymore”. I was so happy with the car that I agreed with him and so we settled for a 10 lap session and no more.

We drew #19 for the starting spot, and that put us 5th in the first heat. It would also put us pole in the second heat.

There were 15 Modified’s for this race. A small track is okay for 15 but 20 cars would have been nice. It seems a lot of guys only want to race a few times a year. I thought a 14 race schedule was a few times, but the new racer considers that a ton of races. That’s good if there are 30 cars and 15 show up every week, but I still feel we need 20 for the fans and promoters.

In this heat we started 5th but the #77 wanted to go scratch. Chad Strawn was not able to make it due to an eye operation so his Dad Brian was at the wheel. Drew Stieler #99, Matt Barton #2 and Terry Baker #26 were also in the race. We had 3 heats with 5 cars in each heat.

When the green dropped we followed the outside lane and quickly got into 3rd behind Matt and Terry. Coming off turn four my car was very loose and I needed to check up a little to save the tire. It was perfect in the hot laps, so now the disappointment of maybe not testing one more time set in. For the next 5 laps I could not get on the gas because of being so loose off. It made passing Matt impossible because he was very quick off and though he was loose as well, he wasn’t near as bad as me. The 3 of us ran close until lap 8 and I almost spun out trying to get under Matt. The next lap I tried him on the back chute but he shut the door forcing me to back out and settle for 3rd.

I was disappointed to say the least that a fast car was so bad in the heat. We talked about it. Bob was frustrated for sure. “How could the car be so good in the hot laps and so bad in the heat”? I thought about it and could only reason that we should have run with faster cars in the hot laps to see how our car would compare to the quicker speeds. Even though I ran hard, I didn’t drive aggressive in practice so had we done that, or gone out again for practice and tried to pace one of the top cars we might have seen we had too much stagger. That was my thought, reduce the stagger and try again.

We had 3 new tires and the decision to run them in the next heat or save them for the feature was discussed. We concluded to run them in the next race and size them for the feature.

Once mounted we seen a big issue. We had 3 ¾ stagger in the first heat, and 3 ½ would have been good, but we could only get a little over 3 and I was worried that would cause us to be tight, or push.

We started pole in the next race and sure enough the car was tight. I didn’t push it for the first two laps and was still pulling away. By lap 3 the RR must have grown a little because the car was nearly perfect. Bob radioed we were 8 car lengths ahead and gaining each lap.

I was using the whole track to enter 3 and not overdriving. By lap 8 we were 10 car lengths ahead so it was time to slow up a little and save the tires. It was so nice for us to take the checker and win our first race in the OSCAAR Modified series. It was our first race win since July 26th of 2013. It was also our first win in one of own our cars since 2012.

After the heat we went to tech then headed to our pit. We were really pumped with the win, so glad to finally have back to back decent heats, but capping it off with a win.

We made 3 changes for the feature. First we double checked the rear stagger; it was only 3” maybe slightly over. The tires are very soft and pick up so much debris, stones, rubber etc making it tough to measure accurately.

We were hitting the chip hard so we talked about lowering the gear. I felt if we went to 608 from 621 that would be a drop of about 140 RPM and give us a few advantages. We would be able to go in deeper on the back chute, be smoother off the corners, go in deep and coast and get on the gas maybe a little sooner through turn one and two. We also opened up the stagger on the rear by using the LR tire we ran in the first heat race to get us to 3 ½ inches.

There was an autograph session prior to our feature and once it was over we stayed on the track and ran our feature. The Super Late Models left for the pits.

We were starting outside pole because of our qualifying run in the heats, something we discussed during the week. On pole was the speedway Matt Barton, and would be a challenge.

We got a great start and ran side by side into and off turns one and two. Entering three we were side by side. We could go in a little deeper and then got on the gas quick and got the lead by lap one. Going into turn one we were still side by side, I left Matt some room. He pushed up a little, hit our side bar, the car jumped loose and we were tagged slightly from behind but got a good run off two and by turn three were ahead.

Over the next 12 laps the car ran awesome pulling ahead by 7 or 8 car lengths. Then the first caution. On the restart #47 Brian McLean was on the outside. We got a good jump again and though side by side through one I heard Bob say “clear” and jumped into the high lane as quick as possible.

We ran up front again for the next 5 laps until the yellow came out on lap 17. I noticed the power steering was getting stiff on the tight turns, especially turn 3 and 4. I mentioned to Bob that I was having issues with the power steering. He encouraged me to keep racing hard because we were again 7 car lengths ahead in those 5 laps.

On the restart Bob let me know that Brian had a push. Turn one is a tough turn and your car needs to make that turn or you will push up. We got the lead again off two and pulled ahead again by a car length and a half every lap.

On lap 20 the starter put up 5 to go, and I was hoping “no more yellows”, but on lap 22 we had another yellow. Brian was still beside me but steering was getting tougher, like it was jamming or binding. I told Bob, but there was nothing we could do so he said “don’t worry, just keep doing what you’re doing”. It was getting very stiff and making it harder to get on the gas quicker because of not being able to turn properly going into the turns.

We got a good start again, a little slower because we were pushing off now, but once again Bob said clear off turn 2 and we jumped into the lead pulling ahead by 3 or 4 car lengths. It was good to be leading for a lot of reasons, but the main thing was being able to use up the track to get a smoother entrance and move the apex of the turn so the power steering wasn’t as much a factor.

I saw 24 laps and was hoping to see the white but no dice. We ran until lap 27 when again the yellow came out. Each time it did Bob would yell in frustration.

Now things would be different. Gary McLean the 2012 and 2013 Champion of the OSCAAR Mods was beside us. Gary seen that we were pushing, but it wasn’t a chassis push, it was because I could not turn the steering properly. So going in on the inside was bad news because the turn was sharper and I needed to figure how to enter the turn fast, and not push up, but also not to be too slow and get hammered by the cars behind.

I told Bob on the white flag “we’re in trouble, I can’t go hard into 3 on the restart or I will push up into Gary”. Bob said “just do what you can, the car is awesome”.
Going down the back chute I tried to move up a little to get a better angle at turn 3. There would only be one chance to do this right. I got on the gas hard, the steering was jamming, I tried hard to hold it down but the car started pushing up. I let off the gas a little but immediately got rear ended and turned sideways. That was lucky because though Gary got a good run off four, we didn’t get spun out.

He was a little ahead going into turn one. However the 3rd place car was outside of us and was knowing we were struggling now. It would be important to get a good angle going into three and we did, with 2 cars on our tail. The 2 flags were shown indicating 2 laps to go. Gary was now a full car length ahead and the race was his. Our hope was to nurse it to second. Coming past the start finish line Bob yelled “clear” and I jumped high enough to get a smooth run into one and off two. I had one car length going down the back chute. I don’t think we could have caught Gary, it didn’t matter the car was no longer as good as it was earlier so getting 2nd was the key thing now.

The white came out followed quickly by the yellow. A huge wreck coming off turn 2 had the track blocked. It soon turned into a red flag because Tommy Robb was hurt.

He was taken out of the car with a sore wrist, forearm and shoulder but otherwise okay.

A Little Disappoointed....But It Was A Great Night For US
The race was over now and I felt very bad that we couldn’t get the win. I’m sure no one really knew how bad the car was to drive. Bob said you couldn’t tell because it looked smooth. That was because we had the whole track to get the best line.

Anyway, second was our best feature finish in our car since 2010, almost 4 years ago. It felt very good and sure helped us in the points chase.

We were pumped after the race and other than fixing the power steering just need to go over the car with a full routine check over. It was a great job by Bob for his excellent effort tonight.

This race gives us 697 consecutive and we should hit our 700th at Sunset Speedway on June 29th.

Matt Smith was also in the stands watching and he was very excited at how well we ran. Marty went to Flamboro to watch the Grisdale Triple Crown where David showed his awesome driving talents by taking his car, also without any power steering to a 3rd place feature finish.

Lauren had a decent night, I don’t know any of her finishes, no one on her team knows where she finished. The Mini Stock had a full field again and unless you’re counting or get the scored finish, it’s hard to tell because of the lapped cars making it confusing.

Congratulations to Gary McLean and his team for the win tonight. Gary was awesome, gracious to us. He said that we would get a chance to win at Sunset for our 700th night of racing and that would be a great feeling……and he is so right. I would think that could be a huge high light for our team. On our 40th Anniversary night at Flamboro on July 26th 2008, we won the feature and that was an amazing night.

Our next race is this Friday at Full Throttle Speedway, formerly Varney Speedway.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:25 pm

Postby Gary » Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:12 am

June 20th..............Full Throttle Speedway

Race #11


High Lites
* 9 cars
* Gary McLean wins both features
* we finish top 5 in both, still using wrong tires
* 621 gear
* no damage, some good racing (Car count was low)
* completed race night # 698

1st Feature............5th
2nd Feature............5th


need to find source of steering bind....routine for next weekend

Paul and his dad Jason....Marvin Frieburger and Tim Tolton spotted

After the feature at Barrie Speedway with OSCAAR, we worked on the Modified this week to try and find the problem with the steering binding as I was turning into the corners. It is bad when I am low, or on the inside, but no good anywhere on the track. We replaced the servo this week ($375) hoping that was the fix.

I arrived in plenty of time, first Mod at the track. With no crew until after 5, Paul and his Dad Jason came then, I changed the tires, put fuel in the car, and got the radio's ready. I decided to race the tires I had got over the winter. They were Hoosier, and not sure how they would work.

Paul and his Dad Jason showed up very soon after and Jason said he would help where he could and he turned out to be a huge blessing for me. Very calm, relaxed and hustle at the same time. He was such a bonus for me because he had some good understanding of what to do.

Paul spotted for me in the first set of hot laps. There was no one on the track at first but me, but during the entire race the radio never worked, although it did when we got back into the pits. Not sure what happened there, poor connection somewhere.

Marvin Freiburger Donates Bike
While waiting for our first feature Marvin came to our pits, he always drops by and says hello. We started talking about our 700th start in a row next weekend and mentioned I had 2 kids bikes to give away and also had a 3rd girls bike. I mentioned I wanted to get another boys bike and Marvin asked me why I don't. I said because funds were low right now and have been for a while. We are just getting by. I had lost 2 sponsors commitments that hurt and just needed to be careful. As soon as I said that Marvin asked how much the bike was and I said $88 plus tax and he immediately gave me the money to buy the bike.....that is awesome and I thanked him very much and wanted to mention that here because it was a big moment for me. In 2008, our 40th year racing, things were financially better and that year I bought 40 bikes to give away and managed to get about 10 of them sponsored, so Marvin doing this is awesome....thank you Mr. Freiburger.

Historic Moment To Race With Pinecrest Legend #65 Bill Burrows
We had 9 cars show up this week, one more than the first 2 nights. There were 5 OSCAAR Mods a Dirt Mod, CVM and Bill's All Pro Modified.

I talked to Bill quite a bit and then suddenly realized that I had never raced with him before. I watched him when I was a young teen at Pinecrest Speedway, but just never had the opportunity to compete with him, so it was a historic honor for me to race with Bill Burrows.
Bill%20620.jpg (109.62 KiB) Viewed 6693 times
Pinecrest Speedway Icon...Bill Burrows Viewed 889 times

After the first set of hot laps I decided to put 2 Hoosiers on the outside and the American Racers on the inside. I had good Hoosier tires with me but they were from our OSCAAR inventory and there was no way I was touching them. I think for the next race there I must spring for new Hoosier tires, at least 2.

We started at the back of the first 20 lap feature and just couldn't get going. I left the gears in from Barrie Speedway, thinking they would be okay but never did I hit the chip. We were also pushing bad and Marvin thought it looked like a brake push and he was absolutely right. I tried several times to get by John Harper but could not make the pass, the front end would not plant properly. We ended up 5th.

After that race I knew we had to make some changes. There was enough time because of the King of the Hill episode, the Trains and the other classes.

Marvin came over and let me know what he thought, too much front brake and I knew that, especially when I tried to get under John Harper and the car pushed up so bad. I decided on 3 changes to the car and they were all fairly easy.
1) adjust the brake bias, more rear brake
2) change the gears to give more pull off the corner.
3) raise the track bar 1/2"

The brake bias took less than a minute to add more rear brakes. The gears in the car were the ones we changed at Barrie going from 621 to 607 so I went back to 6:21. I really needed the extra 150 RPM, and by the time I got the tools, drain pan, light, oil etc. I used up 20 minutes. The 3rd change was to help the car turn as well. We removed the RR wheel to access the pan hard and Jason made the adjustment while I changed the gears. We put fuel in the car and were ready to go.

After the Mini Stock feature Tim Tolton came over and we tested the radio's and they seemed to be working okay. Tim spotted for me before. I told him what I liked, lots of info and he was okay with that.

I was suppose to start outside pole but was late getting out because of a few problems getting in the car and fully ready. On the start we followed close and needed a lap to clear the last place car, only because of the tight arena. I battled with John Harper next as a pack from 5th back to 8th were tight....that's not much of a pack, but the others were just in front.

The straights are short and passing isn't easy, meaning getting a good start is so important. I still had old tires and the newer American Racers were harder than what the rest were running. However, I wasn't worried about that because my main focus was to get more laps in the car, hope to have the steering fixed, and prepare for our next OSCAAR race.

I got by John Harper then caught Bill Burrows. He was fast in this race and wasn't giving up very easy. We were hitting the chip good but I just couldn't get under him. While I battled with John and Bill the top 4 were long gone, in fact I couldn't see any of them as they were half a track ahead. Gary. Brian and Brent McLean were up front with the #19 Murphin running 4th.

Once I cleared Bill I was able to use up a lot more track and drive in hard. Tim was doing a great job spotting and let me know with 10 to go that the leader was behind me on the same straight but about 10 car lengths back. I finally could see Murphin and was gaining on him slowly lap and lap. Tim told me after a few more laps that Gary wasn't gaining. I drove harder and made huge ground on the 4th place car as the laps wound down. The starter showed 5 to go and I knew I was not going to be hounded by Gary, in fact, it would soon be me hounding the #19.

Our car was very good in this race, much better than the first feature. The changes we made were very effective. The only problem was the steering, still stiff going into the turn, just for a second, but enough to make the car push if I didn't slow up a little.

With 3 to go I caught 4th. Coming across the finish line with 2 laps left Tim said "let him go". But I got a good run going into 1 and dove under Murphin. Tim then said "oh okay"! He was surprised that we could get inside like that and I thought for sure I had him coming off two. However he lost control and came right down in my lane forcing me to check up or get hit. Tim warned again "just let him go, no pressure from behind". So I decided to do just that and not try to gain the extra spot. We finished 5th but the car was really good.

In the pits all of our crew Jason, Tim and Paul agreed the car was much better. It was a fun night, no damage to our car and got to have a good run and know the car better.

Gary McLean won both races and is incredibly dominant at this track, his home track. I think unless I get some good rubber it will be impossible to even run with Gary. The only way that will happen is to get some money for tires for Full Throttle.

700 Coming Soon
This was our 698th night. We have no races this Saturday the 21st, but we are on display at The Black Bull for the day. Sunset Speedway set aside the 21st as a rain date for any Super Series race and so far in 2014 there have been no rain outs. The night off was okay, we have ran 11 nights so far and done 8 shows, so a little rest is needed.

Next week we run a double header in the OSCAAR Modified at Sunset Speedway. If we get both nights in, the Sunday race will be our 700th in a row. I have many Frisbees to give away as well as 4 kids bikes, so it should be a great night. Looking forward to the whole night, but we have Saturday races first and we are in 3rd place in the points standing, and really want to gain on the leaders this weekend.

Hope to see many of our friends and fans at Sunset next Saturday and Sunday.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2014

Post by Gary » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:25 pm

Postby Gary » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:34 am

June 28th...............Sunset Speedway

Race #12


High Lites
* 19 cars
* Terry Baker wins
* 574 final
* We struggle with over heating and steering

1st Heat........5th
2nd Heat.......Did not start


Over heating.......steering

Marty, Brian

We worked diligent and hard on our Modified all week trying to find the reason our steering started to stiffen up half way through the feature at Barrie Speedway. Ron Easton came by to help a week ago Monday and at first thought it was the servo, so we order a new one and installed it later in the week, but found at Full Throttle that it was no different, still stiff at the same spot.

On Monday night, June 22nd Marty, Glen Ruelens and I started to systematically take apart one component at a time to eliminate things as we went. Ball joints seemed okay, we disconnect the slave and there was still a bind so we removed the entire system and saw a bent steering shaft from the steering wheel to the bearing on the fire wall. I decided to take the rack and complete steering shaft to Ron Easton to go over it in hopes of getting it all back by Tuesday.

Ron found a few things that were not right. The rack was bent, about an eighth of an inch and straightened that on his press. He also found the pinion had a slightly damaged gear and fixed that as well. As for the steering shaft, he replace close to 3 feet of steel shaft and aligned all the joints that were out. Naturally it would be assumed that was all we needed to do.

Bob came over and we installed all the parts by Tuesday night, but once the car was started we knew it wasn't fixed because there was still a bind at about 11:00 when the wheel was turned to the left. There was definitely a hard spot on the ground or in the air.

David came over on Wednesday to install valve springs in both the Late Model and the Modified. He planned to install a known good power steering pump as well. His thought was that the power steering pump should overcome any bind, unless of course it was something really out of whack.

New Problem Arises
After the car was reassembled steering wise I began preparing it for new valves springs, a maintenance prevention suggested by GM for the Crate engine, once a year. The springs are only $50 a set and between David and Eddie Askin, they get it done in pretty good time.
David asked me to remove all the spark plugs, and take the valve covers off both cars. I started on the Mod and got to cylinder #3, the left side, and saw the spark plug was rusty, an orange coating of rust was clearly on the plug. That concerned me because it brought to mind the few times during the first few nights I drove our Mod that it would shoot water out the over flow tube. We never really thought much of it because the car didn't over heat. It happened at Kawartha, and 2 times at Full Throttle, one time leaving a puddle on the ground. But the car wasn't overheating, the gauge was okay, so again, I really didn't think much of it although I wondered why it was spouting out water.

I mentioned it to David and he suggested to put in new plugs and try it. I wanted to add some stop leak or internal engine seal for cracks or cylinder damage (just in case) because it was minor, but I didn't like the rusty plug and knowing it was spouting out water.

We got to the track on Saturday in lots of time to get set up and go through tech. We had a game plan for the tires for the Saturday. We would practice on used tires we got from Jesse Kennedy, and then put on the tires we ran in the feature at Barrie for Saturday's feature.

The first set of hot laps revealed the steering was still stiff. We put on a bigger steering wheel and though it made it easier, it would not turn easy and was binding in the turns when we were right in the middle, or almost in the middle of the turns.

Once returning to the pits I text David and he suggested putting on the old servo, the original one, because nothing changed when we installed the new one. I was going to do that but when I checked for the old servo, I couldn't find it and would ask Bob to bring it with him when he came up on Sunday.

I noticed before our first heat, a puddle under the right front area and never thought much of it because I was stressed about the power steering not working and whether or not I would be able to race the car. I knew I could drive it, but I came to race, not drive around.

I decided to take scratch in our first heat race because of the steering. It was a good choice because I could not race the car. The steering was so bound up in the turns that I spun out on lap 3 of our heat all by myself. We finished the race and my thought was "why would I spin out so easy like that". There were a number of reasons a) too much rear brake b) not enough wedge c) too much stagger.

All these things were going through my mind as I returned to our pit when the over flow starting shooting water onto the roof and down the side of the car. Wow, now my concentration was on the engine, and not on the handling.

I checked the heat gauge and it was high, but not out of sight. I was in a mess. Just 3 of us and many things to do. We had no stop leak, because I figured my head or block was cracked and pumping air into the water system. We checked many cars and could not find anyone with stop leak. By the time Brian found it, our next heat race was going out and we would not be ready in time. What a disappointment. Major issues with the steering, no idea why it was so dam stiff and now possibly major engine trouble.

I was do upset about missing the heat, because our hopes of winning a Championship in this class we're falling apart quickly, and none of it was anything to do with me. I never hit anything to wreck the steering and never over heated the engine.

Once our heat was over and the distraught feeling of the season coming unglued, Brian came with stop leak, a Bardohl product for internal engine leaks. We put that in, and then I decided to see what we could do with the chassis. I remembered that I made a few changes to loosen the car up at Full Throttle, raised the track bar, and took out some wedge. Marty lower the pan hard back to where it was the first time we were here, decreased the rear stagger by adding more air to the LR and worked on the sway bar, adjusting it to add more wedge. During that adjustment I noticed the eye-bolt on the right side was bent and was unable to accurately make the proper adjustment so we headed to tech and put the cars on the scales. Marty adjusted the sway bar and Brian watched the scale monitor until we got the desired wedge percent.

In the feature I started last because we did not qualify. I hope the changes we made would help. I also was hoping the engine would seal. One major problem is enough, but 2 are enough to drive a team nuts.

It was clear from the beginning that we did not have any where near the car we had at Barrie, not even close. I was able to somewhat race it, but not hard. I could only follow and not be aggressive by driving hard on the outside because of fear the steering would jam and cause us to spin out. The last thing we wanted was to wreck and add more to the list of woes we had already. It was discouraging to know we were falling out of the points chase and had another show on Sunday, our 700th night, and likely no way to make the car better because I suspected we needed a rack assembly and no one would have one.....and what about the engine?????

Anyway, we got up to 10th getting in a battle with Dustin Jackson but with the steering so bad, when I tried to run into the turns hard the car was unstable and Dustin got me back with 2 laps to go, and we finished 11th. We could say that was good considering, but we spent a lot of money and time on this car over the winter to have issues like this come up and to win a title, you can't have nights like this. Heat races are so important and of course having our 3rd of 4 features 9th or worse was writing on the wall that even thinking about winning a Championship was foolish, and not because of us, or our team, but because of racing parts that were failing rapidly. Note: More water, but now grey colored fluid from the engine seal, was on the side of the car from spewing out as I came in the pits after the race.

Once the dust settled Marty, Brian and I talked about Sunday. I wasn't very optimistic that things would be any better than today and that made for a not so happy sleep because the thought of winning the feature on our special night (700th In A Row) was on the table earlier, like after Barrie's awesome run, but was now off the table and gloom on the horizon, although for me, gloom was already taking over.

I had to be as positive as I could be, knowing that Bob, Glen and maybe David were coming to help us on Sunday and maybe we could get lucky and fix the steering and fix the over heating. It was one of the those times when my mind was whirling with all the options, possibilities and out right disappointment.......my mind was also just as full of the preparation and presentation of many Frisbees and 4 kids bikes for out milestone of 700 Consecutive nights. That awesome night was going to be overshadowed by a race car that would not be able to compete...and that just out right sucked.

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