Diary Of A Season 2015

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:59 pm

June 20th...............Sauble Speedway

Race #8
Late Model

High Lites
* 14 cars
* Tim wins
* We finsih 5th
* Big wreck takes out Jr Farrley and Jason Parker

1st Heat.......5th
2nd Heat......3rd



Glenn, Lloyd, Jared and Billi

We got to Sauble around 5, in plenty of time to set up our pits and get prepared to practice in the Late Model. Lloyd and Billi worked hard on getting the pits set up and Lloyd made sure the car was cleaned for every race and pracitce session.

This year Jason Legge and I teamed up with my Late Model at Sauble so we could collectively take a run at the points. Jason had raced 2 nights, finishing 7th and 10th in the features, with a 2nd and a few top 5’s in the heats.

I was very excited to get in the car and try it. I wanted so bad to be competitive. That’s all I ever want, a chance to win. I rarely get upset if I don’t win, unless I am leading 24 laps and lose on the last lap, but that rarely happens. If our car is good and can keep up I am usually content, but if it is good and can’t keep up, I am totally messed up, stressed, depressed and discouraged. Why? Because if your car runs good and you are off by 4 tenths, you’re in the wrong class. Good cars are all close, and vary from week to week depending on things, but they don’t come out with no chance to keep up. Not in a car I have driven for over a decade on a track I have driven on many times since the 70’s. I love Sauble, so there is no attitude issue with me, I always feel confident on the flat small oval, I enjoy everything about Sauble.

After the first set of practice I was not happy. Glenn made a few changes, slight, but changes I agreed with. The car was a little better but still no match for half the field.

By our first heat race we had made a few more changes. There were 14 cars, not a bad field. We started 6th in the first heat. The cars ran tight, we couldn’t really go anywhere, but we were getting passed as well as passing others. When the checker fell we crossed the line in 5th.

I had to shake off my disappointment. We made more changes for the next heat race and in that race we finished 3rd, and the car felt better and I was seeing and feeling the car get better. It was still off, tight, but better.

I put on one new tire, on the right rear for the feature. The current RR tire had 8 cycles and over 120 laps on it. I measured it and it was around a 3, compared to the right front that was a 5 still, and did have as many laps and cycles, but wasn’t wore out.

We knew the car was tight, and did make some changes, not big, to help the car. I wanted the RR tire because the other one was wore out. Glenn wanted it on the RF to help prevent the push. I felt we shouldn’t put a new RF on or it would get burnt up from the ill handling car. And understand, the car is only ill handling at certain speeds. If I slowed down a little I would be tight, but then again I wouldn’t keep up as good as we did in the 2nd heat race.

In the feature we were to start pole. I felt confident enough to race the car and we got the lead coming off two. That lead lasted 6 laps until a red flag came out. Jason Parker #8 and Junior Farley #72. had a severe crash on the front chute taking out both cars. They were badly damaged and done for the night, both potential feature winners.

Tim Ellis #2 stared outside pole for the restart and he was gone by turn one. I had nothing for his power or chassis. Tom Gibbons #10 followed Tim and we settled into 3rd for a few more laps until another built engine in the #17 of Josh Stade. Those 3 built engines were no match for our 602 stock engine. No chance at all. Soon Marvin Frieburger #37, also with a built was all over me but we stayed consistent until the car started to push and he got under on about lap 28 of 35.

We held onto 5th for the next 3 laps until a caution came out. That yellow happened when #9 Peter Koevoet cut a tire and hit the wall.

On the restart, another big built was beside us, #88 Tim Schreinert only this time we held him off. Our car was still pushing slightly, and got worse near the end of the race. We did run with Marvin the final 10 laps including the final 4 after the yellow but could stay with him and that’s it.

After the race I was very happy to grab a top 5. The car needs to be set up and we will get it. Glenn was a huge help and I really like working with him and Jason.

We are 7th in points and that is a good thing, but it’s exactly where we would be because the six ahead of us are no match for us…..not yet anyhow.

Glenn wants to set up the chassis and I have given him the green light to do whatever he feels is needed to get our car to turn properly. Glenn can “Have at it”

Special thanks to Lloyd, Jared and Billi for helping pack up after and keeping the pits sane. :)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:58 pm

July 1st..................Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Race #9
Late Model

Happy 148th Birthday Canada

High Lites
* 6 cars.... :cry:
* Jeff Cassidy wins first feature
* Cole Weber wins 2nd feature...with a "Street Stock" engine...Hmmmm
* We run decent, no damage
* 633 final

1st Feature.........3rd
2nd Feature........4th


none....prepare for Sauble

Lloyd, Billi

There are a few things frustating about racing in 2015. One is not enough HP to compete against the rebuilt 602 engines, and the other is not enough cars turning out. We only had 6 cars tonight, and yes it was frustrating, I'm sure for the owner as well, but we did make a few strides to get our car faster, although we are still no match for at least half the field....3 cars.

We made some hot laps and I liked the feel of the car. We had changed gears from 621 to 633 and that move helped. The 10" Hoosier tires also help let us get through the ends better and with the 4 barrel we get the most out of what we have. At Sauble with the same gear, 8" tires and a 2 barrel we barely hit the chip, but at Varney we were hitting it pretty good.

We were without most of our crew tonight. Lloyd and Billi did all the work and Lloyd spotted for me, something he had never done before. It was scary for both of us, for him trying to give the feed back and info he needed and for me to get the info I wanted to hear. Some of my current crew have done great this year, Marty and Matt. Matt did our last Modified race and was excellent. Lloyd was getting his baptism and it wouldn't be pretty in the first race.

Our car was good, and I felt we could stay with some of the faster cars, but not close, just not get lapped. In the first race we only went 2 laps and I pulled over to let the field go by because I wasn't getting any feedback and without mirrors, there was no way I was taking a chance to race and not know where the competition was. I fell to the back and explained to Lloyd that he needed to talk more and he said he would and he did.

By the time I got going the lead pack were half a track ahead. A caution past the half way mark let us catch up. Cole Weber, driving for Chuck Lawlor, blew his engine. We were able to finish 3rd of the 5 cars left running. The top 3 stopped on the front chute and I was able to give a plug to the track, the fans, our crew and our sponsors. It was great to see Jeff Cassidy take the win. He has an incredible built engine in his car and it runs great.

There were only a few classes and I was wondering how they were going to do fireworks with so much daylight. The track saw that the #11 team of Cole Weber was trying to change an engine and in order to give them time they had a fan appreciation event. That worked out great, for the fans, the track to kill some time, and Weber to get the engine done.

The second feature was much the same only this time all 6 cars finsihed and we would finish 4th. We gave a hard run to finish 3rd and we're all over the 4th place car but settled for 4th and happy the car was in good shape for Saturdays race at Sauble. Cole Weber got the win. Gord Bennett told me later that the engine in Cole's car for the second feature was out of a Street Stock. Now imagine if you will how it made me feel. Two weeks ago we ran our Thunder Car against the Street Stocks and lapped all the field but about 2 cars. I didn't say too much, but all I can say is that the engine situation in Ontario at most every track is so corrupt it's crazy. The truth rarely ever comes out about the illegal deals with the 602 Crate, and it is very discouraging. Anyway, we are committed in 2015 to fullfill our schedule and we will look at running a different program next year, both in tracks we choose and what enign we will run.

Special thanks to Lloyd for giving it his best. I don't think he will give up, and tonight he learned a lot.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:05 pm

July 4th.........Sauble Speedway

Race #10
Late Model

Happy 239th Birthday USA

Streak 731

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Tim Ellis wins
* We finsih 9th
* Hobbys run as well

1st Heat.......5th
2nd Heat......DNS (did not start) :oops:


Set up chassis....more POWER!!!!!

Corey (Kid) and Lloyd

This should have been a great night for us. We finished 5th the week before and our car wasn't really handling all that well. I was hoping to get our car better and even myself as I tried to learn the best way around the track, the fastest and smoothest. Our crew consisted of Corey and Lloyd. Corey agreed to work the head set this race, although I was okay with Lloyd doing it, but even Lloyd wanted Corey on the radio for this night.

After the warm ups we were ready to go and started last in the first heat race. We couldn't run with the pack, mostly because we are so down on HP. The majority of cars at Sauble Speedway are running expensive built engines, and we are running our stock out of the Crate 602. There is a weight break but it is meaningless since the HP difference in our HP and the built engines is so far apart that a weight break of 125 pounds may not be enough. We finished the heat in 5th, fairly uneventful for us, and once back to the pits, we decided to work on the chassis to see what we could do to get it better.

Fell Asleep
Tonights format was Late Model, Hobbies and Mini Stock. All classes always run double heats, visiting classes as well...except the CVM, they only run one heat and then their feature. The event schedule had Mini's, then CVM and then us. So we thought we had time to make chassis adjustments and get a good tire on the car. However, after the first round of qualifying was over the second round would not include CVM. So when the Mini's went out we thought we were good time wise, but next thing we see the Late Model heat lining up, and one wasa alread on the track. The one on the track was the one we were to be in. We didn't hear the announcer, and unlike other tracks, no one comes around to line up the cars. We didn't know the Hobby's were not going out, and we missed our heat. That doesn't happen very often but it did this night and we were saddened by it.

We started scratch in the feature, 15 cars, the best turnout so far this year. Our car was off handling wise and though we tried to make an adjustment, we realized early that we would be no competition for most of the field. The race was uneventful, we did manage not to get lapped, but could only make our way to 9th.

We are still holding onto 7th in the points standing and Jason will drive the Late Model in the next points race on August 1st.
Congrats to Tim Ellis and his team for winning the feature again.

Thanks to Corey and Lloyd, we didn't do as well as we wanted but we did our best.

Glenn Schnurr, a Late Model Champ and awesome fabricator will set the car up this coming week for the Late Model Invitaional next weekend. He has lots of ideas and feels the car could be better with the chassis adjusted to help it turn in the corners. I agree, and respect Glenn immensely.......but another 30 HP would help to :mrgreen:

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:05 am

July 10th...................Delaware Speedway

Race #11

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Justin Demelo wins
* Awesome crowd
* We struggle with handling
* Tent & tool box disaster turns out ok, thanks Sean Grossman, Ryan Kimball, and Ken Bertz for helping.
* thank you Lord for prtecting my stuff and answering prayer
* Crew worked hard, Lloyd did great second time spotting
* 504 gear too much, 486 not quite enough
* used 486 in the feature on older tires

1at heat......3rd
2nd heat.....4th


Routine maintenance & set up

Lloyd, Billi


Trouble after Trouble

It was a busy week for me. I headed up to Owen Sound, Buttons and I, to get the Modified. The plan was to get it loaded Wednesday night, then head to Cookstown the next day to pick up Lloyd and Billi so we could all go to Delware Speedway Friday. But things changed before I left. Nonie was going to take Buttons for the weekend, but I had to have her at Shirleys for 4pm Thursday night. So that meant heading home first, before going to Cookstown. Seemed simple enough except when I got to the shop.
Trouble #1
I arrived at the shop early enough, and my goal was to get the Modified loaded and have the trailer packed so I could head back home by 7:30 or 8. I called Joe Adams to see if he could come over and give me a hand and he said he would. We loaded my tires into the truck and then went to get the Mod. That's when things went south. The car would not start, just as though it had a dead battery. Last week I installed a new push button and solenoid and thought that would fix the problem with this car always going dead after a few days.

Soon Glenn and then Jason showed up and we put the car on charge. It didn't seem to help because the charger was showing that the battery was okay, was good. Glenn thought the battery may not be any good but I told him it was new this year. After some fooling around and taking panels off and testing wires we came to the conclusion that it was the master kill switch causing my troubles. Jason gave me one off one of his Late Models in the shop, a steel switch. The one on the Mod was made of plastic. I never did like it, but it worked okay for most of last year although it did give me trouble at times. I wanted to get it done and get the car loaded but everyone had to leave, and I was going to be alone, so no loading the car this night.

I was told just to leave the car, and fix it in the morning, then head home. Jason was kind enough to offer me money for a room so I called and booked a room for the night so Buttons and I could have a good sleep, plus driving home in the day light would be okay. I was worried about the morning, what if it wasn't the switch and we needed to spend more hours on the car and then get parts. The boys all had to go, Jason back to his holiday cottage, Glenn and Joe home. I decided to stay and install the part and see if it would work.

Changing the part didn't take very long and I used some tools to act as spare hands. After about 20 minutes the switch was in and wired. The next step was to turn it on, then try the push button to see if it would work and sure enough it turned over no problem. I was very happy. The panels needed to be put back on and the switch itself needed some flat washers to allow it to fit in the hole properly and those things I was good to do in the morning. I called Jason and let him hear the car turning over. He was glad and so was I. Now Buttons and I could go to the hotel and get a good nights sleep.

Glenn showed up before me and I asked him to look at the switch to see if he had washers to put under and on top of the panel to secure the switch, he didn't but he did go and get them and by 11:00 the car was done. We loaded it and headed home around 11:45.
Trouble #2
I always go the same way only this time I was in a bit of a hurry so I could get Buttons to Shirley's in time. There was one turn that I made quick, it was sharp, but the car coming blinked his lights so I could go and I wanted to hustle the left turn to show appreciation.

I got home a little before 4 and backed the trailer in. Unhooked it and went to the trailer to put something in it. That's when I saw the disaster. On that fast left turn my tool box fell over. Our brand new tent was strapped to the tool box and what I saw made me cringe. The top tool box was bolted to the bottom box, and it's 5' long, the top one over 6'. The entire unit was tipped right over, and laying on jack stand, gas cans and our cooler, with the tent between. My mind was going crazy. The brackets and legs on the tent had to be crushed, and the drawers on the tool must have opened and they would surely all be twisted. I did the math quick and at first estimate I got around $1500 maybe more depending how bad the tent got it.

I shut the trailer and said a prayer. I was just wrecked inside and I knew that wasn't going to leave my mind very fast. I did finally come to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do. It was all too heavy for me to lift, even for 3 of us, we would need a bunch of people to help, so I decided not to worry about it and ask for help when I got to Delaware Speedway.

Disaster A Dud.....But I Will Thank The Lord For His Blessings
Once at the track I came upon some friends with Sean Grossman's Super Late Model team. I explained what happened, asked for help and right away Sean and his crew including Ryan Kimball along with Ken Berfelz from Gary McLeans team.
The boys came to the trailer, we emptied the small stuff around the over turned tool box but some things were jammed too bad to move.
Ryan and Ken checked it over and within a few seconds they lifted (4 of them) the tool box to an upright position. The draws had not opened when it fell, so that one miracle #1. The tent came away and the boys checked it as well and thought it should be okay because the legs should have some give. WIthin a few minutes they had the tool box in it's proper spot prior to it falling over. I was amazed and as we looked around the damage toll was very little. One crushed gas can that was slowly getting it's shape back and one split filler hose from one of the gas cans. I was speechless, except to thank all the helpers ver much.

For the next hour, because we got their early, I started putting back all the sockets in their right spots. By the time we headed into the pits we had the box re secured (but it needs more anchor spots) and got a good parking spot and started to set up our pit area.
Within 15 minutes it was time to set up the tent. I was nervous but we pulled it apart and sure enough..."no damage". I was just blown away that I got such an incredible blessing.....thank you Lord.

We got the car ready for tech, and passed okay. Our first set of hot laps were actually pretty good other than the car had a slight push in the corners. Our fastest lap was a 19:8.

Scott Wylie had offered to help and said for me to text him if I had any questions, and since he set the car up I thought that was a good offer. He suggested raising the track bar a 1/4" on both sides and opening up the stagger. We did that and the car was much better for the second set of hot laps. We turned a 19:2 that time. However, in the final set of pracitce, the car was loose, very loose and we needed to reverse some of what we did to reduce how free the car was.

I replace the RR tire with a decent one we had in our inventory, a tire from Sunset Speedway's last race. I felt the faster track and hot day would get heat back into the tires. I started in the middle of the heat. The biggest surprise for this race was how far off Gary McLean was. His car was struggling with engine fuel issues and he fell way off in the first heat. Justin DeMelo won this heat no problem, actually crusing to the win.

I felt our car was still too free, kind of out of control in the turns, not stable at all, and very hard to read. I was reluctant to get on the gas because I felt the car would come around and the last place I want to spin at is Delaware. Whether being hit by another car or sliding into the cement wall, neither scenario is any good with the higher speeds at this track. It isn't easy to race this way, but until the car is good enough to run full out, best to take it easy and save a lot of money and work.

For the second heat we lowered the bar a little and double checked the stagger. I started in the middle again. The car was good for the first part of the race but just went south again with 3 laps to go. I had a 5 car length lead over 4th for most of the race but coming off turn two the car got very loose forcing me to let off on the gas to collect it and ended up losing 3rd. Not only did we lose 3rd spot but in the next 2 laps the #26 of Terry Baker pulled way ahead in the final few laps. Gary McLean got his bugs fixed and won that heat race no problem.

I was really struggling now to decide what to do for the feature. I felt the car was out of control. I didn't want to put on new tires and ruin them. If the car was decent, like it was in the first 2 hot lap sessions I would have put on one new tire, but I decided to go with my best spare, a tire with only 51 laps on it from Varney. I thought for sure we would be good with that.

The feature was quite frustrating for me. We started 3rd and held onto 4th for a few laps but then going into one I got high and got freight trained at the same time, falling back to 8th. The car was incredibly unstable, like I was driving on marbles, I had to wait so long to get on the gas that cars behind got a good run and soon I found myself staying low like I had something wrong with the car. Well actually there was something wrong, it wouldn't set in the middle. It felt okay going in, but soon as I got between the entry and middle it felt like it was on the edge.

We continued to drop back to 14th and though we escaped the night with no damage, we had a terrible points night. The heat races were somewhat good, and now we have 3 new tires to run at Sauble Speedway on July 25th.

After the race I text Scott and he said I should have put on at least one new tire, or 2. He said, and I agree totally, that you cannot compete against cars with new tires.

The top 3 cars after the race were teched and a discrepancy was found in one of the cars. The cam specs were out. The car was told the cam was out, but he wasn't DQ'd until Saturday. However it was decided to have tech go to his house on Monday to recheck the cam. Now anyone knows you don't do that. You don't tell a team that you are coming Monday to recheck your engine. That sure has a lot of members upset. Oh and no surprise, on Monday the engine was okay.

OSCAAR Standings after the Delaware Speedway event.
1st..........Gary McLead #8.......281
2nd.........Chad Strawn #77......245
3rd.........Gary Elliott #36........244
4th.........Cory Horner #79.......243
5th.........John Baker #63........235
6th.........Brian McLean #47.....225
7th.........David Baylich #12.....225
8th.........AJ Emms #99..........224
9th.........Mike Hearty #20.......217
10th........Dan Price #09.........212

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:14 pm

July 11th....................Sauble Speedway

Race #12
Late Model

733 in a row

High Lites
* 10 cars
* Marvn Freiburger wins
* We get 6th (car handled great....no juice)
* Josh Stade blows up.....never seem that much thick smoke that lingered
* 633 final

1st Heat........5th
2nd Heat.......10th DNF



Lloyd, Zack and Billi

Tonight was Sauble Speedways Invitational for Limited Late Models. Unfortunately there were only 10 cars. Some of the regulars never came out, possibly because it wasn't a points race and they wanted the night off. There have only been 6 races so far, and I think the track needs to protect itself by making all races points races. Otherwise they lose car count.

After the frustration of our Late Model not handling very well Glenn Schnurr spent some time setting up the chassis, getting the shocks re tested and changing the trailing arm angles and a rear spring. I appreciate all Glenn has done and he is very encouraging to me.

I knew right away our car was better. The handling through the corners was awesome compared to the weeks before. I know we could get more out of it, but it was a ton better this night. The issue for me wasn't handling but horsepower. There is a weight break for the 602 but even with that the HP cars are very hard to run with. We might be the only LM left in Ontario running a stock 602 and that is going to change for 2016.

Since this was an Invitational and our car was running good I decided to put on 3 new tires. In our first heat race we started at the back and finished 5th. The car was good, just no where to go.
In the second heat we were to start on the pole. I was a little reluctant because the cars that are quick are much quicker than we are and that could lead to getting bumped or spun in front of the pack. But I decided to take my spot. During the crusing around under yellow we were warming up and scrubbing the tires and then suddenly the engine started to miss. At first I though I loaded up the engine when I shifted into 3rd, but it got worse each time acceleration after that.

I decided right away to go scratch. I felt I was in jeporady with the other cars because of power, even if my car was at it's best, and this sudden engine miss situation erased that thought even if I had the fastest car. On the green the car was missing so bad it would hardly run so I pulled off continually pumping the throttle to keep it running. I did take the green, but would be scored 10th.

I thought I knew what it might be so in the pits the crew. Lloyd and Zack removed the hood and breather. I basically took the carb apart and cleaned it. Once that was done we started it and it was fine. I blew the metering block air holes, and all other passage ways hoping it was just a piece of dirt. We also checked the fuel filter and it was clean.

The boys filled the tank and we set the tire stagger and were ready to go.

The feature was 35 laps, not a big race for an Invitatioanl, but with a small field, 35 was plenty. We qualified last and it took about 6 laps to get by the car in front, only because he had good pull off the corners and on the straight. I would get all over him in the corner, but he would pull me to the starter stand. I decided to go in high and try to get under the #85 coming off the turn and sure enough it worked.

We ran 9th for awhile and then a caution came out when #17 Josh Stade blew up. Over the years I have seen many engine explode, especially in the CVM Hobby era, but I never seen smoke so thick and lingering like this. It was so dark and thick that we could not see the blinking yellow lights on the front chute wall. Finally the smoke subsided. There was no oil on the track, so it must have came out the exhaust.

On the restart we gained another spot and then caught the #71 who was in 5th. The final laps saw us all over him but again, he would pull us down the chutes and all we could do was hope he messed up, but he didn't and we settled for 6th.

Congratulations to Marvin Frieburger on his feature win. Special thanks to my crew for working hard and keeping the pits, and car looking great. Also, thank you Glenn Schnurr for giving me a good set up.

It was a good night, no damage and we had a good handling car. This was also our 1182nd night racing, and our 733rd night in a row without a miss.

We are 7th in Sauble Late Model points and hope we can stay consistent to finish in the top 5 if possible.

Sauble Speedway top 10

1st..........Josh Stade #17............260
2nd.........Tim Ellis #2................254
3rd.........Jason Parker #38..........253
4th.........Marvin Freiburger #37....249
5th.........Junior Farley #8...........249
6th.........Tom Gibbons #10 .........244
7th.........Gary Elliott #36............217
8th.........Peter Koevoet #9..........215
9th.........Tim Gordon #77............200
10th........Tim Schreinert #88........195

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:36 am

July 18th....................Flamboro Speedway

Race #13
Pro 4

High Lites
* 14 cars
* Dan Nanticoke wins
* We get DNF
* Good to see the 2 classes merging


To Cliff

Fix shifter, tires

Steve, Shannon and Cliff

A few weeks ago I saw Dave and Cliff Hodgkinson, the owners of the Outlaw Pro 4 series. We were talking about their series and the fact that they had come to some kind of treaty with the Pro 4 Mods at Flamboro. In 2013, when I drove Dave's car, I asked why they were not racing with the boys from Flamboro and the deal was over engines. I talked to both Dave and Brian Nanticoke, who runs the Pro 4 Mods and suggested they get together and help their cause, because between the 2 clubs they had over 20 cars. At that time they were miles apart, but it seems that Cliff has brought a peace offering of sorts and now the 2 classes are slowly merging and no one is happier than John Casale, and the fans, who like these cars, just use to seeing 8 to 10 cars.

I have roots in this series, because these cars got their original start at Cayuga in 1969. It's taken on many faces since then, but has settled to being a pretty quick 4 cylinder Modified series.

During our discussion, the night I brought the Levit Late Model from Jason Legges shop, I was asked if I would like to drive one of their cars at Flamboro on July 18th. I said yes, because my July 17th race was cancelled when Full Throttle Motor Speedway owner Gord Bennett removed Thunder Cars from his schedule. That would be another lost night in this years schedule, because I've lost a couple to rain already. One at Varney, May 9th, and the last Sunset race was lost to rain and no replacement.

I went to Cambridge to pick up the Mod and take it to the track. We were late getting to Flamboro and once there we had to mount a bracket, and a few other small things. We missed all practice, but I wasn't too concerned, although never being in this car before would have been one good reason to get a few laps.

The Pro 4's of Flamboro were mostly on Hoosier tires, and the Outlaw Pro 4's on American Racer. No comparison with the tires. The Hoosier is a much softer and faster tire. The American Racer is a great tire, as long as everyone else is on it. The Hoosier is quick right away but the American Racer takes 3 to 5 laps to come in, and by that time the Hoosier car is out of sight.

I was in the 2nd heat and should have taken scratch. I decided to go outside pole where they put me, but I never do that, especially on a car I don't know. Anyway by lap one I lost 4 spots and fell back to 5th. I found the car hard to handle, I wasn't too comfortable in it, needed much more seat time to get use to feeling the car out. By the second half of the race I was gaining on the cars in front, but running out of time. The car running 4th tried to pass the car running 3rd and got side ways and into the dirt between turns 3 and 4. I was able to get by putting us 4th at the finish.

After the heat the boys decided to fill in the hole where the shifter was and install the shifter boot. A special square bracket was riveted in place and the boot attatched.

In the feature we started 11th, I was coached both by David (my son came to watch me race) and Cliff on warming up the American Racer tires by being very agressive in scrubbing them in and so I was prepared to do that.

Once on the track I started warming up the tires. The engine rev'd pretty high in first so I shifted to second but couldn't get it in second, so I went to 3rd and scrubbed the tires for about 2 or 3 laps. Once the white came out I settled in and was hoping to have a much better run in the feature.

As we headed down the back chute I shifted to 4th but the shifter would not go in. I tried again and again and it still would not go into 4th. Going into turn 3 I was panicking but could not get into 4th. The race started, I went one lap stil trying everything to get to high gear but no dice. I was lapped coming off 4 and headed to the infield very disappointed.

We found out after the race that the bracket put on to attatch the shifter boot was misaligned preventing the shifter from going into 2nd of 4th. An easy fix, but took us out of this race.

I drove the rig back to Cliffs and hope to race it again next Saturday at Sauble Speedway.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:00 pm

July 24th...........Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Race #14
Late Model

High Lites
* 7 cars :roll:
* Tyler Williams and Cole Weber win
* We run okay, a case of picking when to run hard
* 633 final

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


Nose and routine, make it look good for up coming shows


I headed up to Owen Sound on Wednesday to work on the Mod and the Late Model. The Late Model didn’t need a lot of work but the Mod needed some set up adjustments.

Lloyd came up Thursday and I rented a room for the week because this was going to be a crazy time running 3 races and doing 2 shows in 6 days.

Once we were through working on the cars we headed for Full Throttle Motor Speedway Friday around 4:30. I was going to meet up with Bob from Epic to finally get my fire suit that had to be altered.

Once inside I decided not to do any hot laps. Our tires were okay and more practice just meant wearing them out more.

We changed the carb to the 4 barrel and were ready for the first heat race. There were only 7 cars and the top 3 we can’t compete with because of the power difference, although we have run better the past few weeks. Newer tires would help, but winning both features wouldn’t pay for new tires so our goal was and still is just to get through this season and hope to have a better shot at being competitive in 2016.

The first race was the same as the others, but we did finish 4th and not very far behind the leaders.

In the second feature for some reason we weren’t paying attention and no one came to tell us to line up. When I pulled up to the lineup spot in the pits, there was no one else there. I wondered where they were and then seen 6 cars come off turn 2 heading down the back chute on the white flag.

I drove very fast to the edge of the track and the back starter waved me on. By the time I got on the track they were coming off turn 4 to take the green. We were so lucky we didn’t miss this race.

Now it was time to race as hard as I could and try not to get lapped. The 20 lap races go quick, and the faster cars are much faster than we are.

By lap 6 I was gaining on the car running 6th. I kept driving as hard as I could and finally caught the #85 on lap 9. I tried passing but he chopped me and the leaders were coming very fast.

I had no idea the leaders were only a few car lengths behind and when I tried going under the #85 again he chopped me again and hit his brakes and I got into the back of him. A lap later the yellow came out.

On the restart I could stay with the 3rd and 4th place car but could not pass them. I finished 5th with some cosmetic damage done to the front right bumper. Hitting the car on the track was enough to burn a hole right through the bumper nose. It was discouraging to do that much damage because we needed the car to be in good condition for the show we were doing on Tuesday. It was still a fun race, and we are getting better. We could use more power, or some new rubber would help us. I think the tires are the simplest option for this year.

Special thanks to Lloyd for working in the pits, and helping by spotting. He has been thrown into this position on my team, but is doing great. I appreciate his work very much.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:07 pm

July 25th...........Sauble Speedway

Race #15

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Brad Pearsoll wins
* red flag
* We have a great car but bad push takes possible win away
* 588 gears

1st heat...........3rd
2nd heat..........3rd


no damage, routine for Peterborough...fix the push

Lloyd & Billi

Throughout my years of racing, I have witnessed many bad nights at the track. In the class I was in, or in the other classes. But I have never seen a night like this in 46 years, a night where every division but the small go cart series had red flags, and seriously wrecked cars. Each of the those red flags also involved paramedics, but the good news was all drivers were okay, no one was hurt bad. A night of wild wrecks, and not even a full moon. Here is how the day went for us.

We got to the track in lots of time, bringing both cars. After a disappointing run at Delaware I was hoping to having a good night at Sauble Speedway. Lloyd and I had prepared the Modified and we're confident we would be better than we were the last time out. Some tracks I run better, I know them better, others I need to get a good finish, maybe not a top 5 or top 3, but a strong run on the tracks our car seems to struggle at, or is out gunned on horse power, and that would be Delaware Speedway. Our 14th finish was one of my worst since joining the Modifieds, so tonight needed to be a turnaround night, and we were ready for the challenge.

We also had the Outlaw Pro 4 with us. I wanted to get at least one set of hot laps in that little car before any competition. Cliff had provided it with 4 new American Racer tires, and fixed the shifter bracket so it would shift okay. Since all the cars in this series were on American Racer tires, there would be no disadvantage.

We made one set of hot laps in our Modified and the car felt good. The gearing was right and the car had a slight push, but otherwise felt stable.

It was now time to test the Outlaw Pro 4. Things didn’t go so well. On lap 4 of hot laps I heard an engine noise and pulled off right away. We checked the spark plug wire and exhaust, the two things I thought it could be that were not serious. When we verified they were okay I said to Lloyd, it could be a rocker arm.

We decided to leave the Pro 4 and work on our Modified. Later when Cliff came he pulled off the rocker cover and found the rocker was broken.

Our heat races were good, not over the top great but we did finish 3rd in each race. The invert put us pole for the feature and I was somewhat excited because I had 3 new tires to put on the car.

Before our feature the Outlaw Pro 4 series was out. I had asked track owner Jason Thom if he would organize the format so I wouldn’t have to go from one Mod to the other in back to back races. He did that for me, but then as it turned out, I wouldn’t be running the Outlaw Pro 4 as it was sidelined with an engine failure, hopefully not too serious.

There were 12 cars in the race. Cliff Hodgkinson wanted more than anything to put on a good show for Jason Thom, the Sauble owner, in hopes of getting a six race series in 2016. This was the first feature of the night after the go-cart (J-Car) feature.

The race only went 3 laps when #24 made it 3 wide and climbed the front straightaway wall just before the starters stand. He hit the opening at the starters stand and the impact tore off the right front wheel. The right rear wheel hit as well. The car went flying out onto the track but with no steering or brakes slammed hard into the turn one wall, sliding around almost to the middle of one and two. That brought out the red flag and paramedics, and eventually a first response team from the Owen Sound area. It took over an hour to get the driver out and to the hospital; he was okay, sore but otherwise fine. Unfortunately for the Pro 4’s their feature was done at lap 3.

The next feature out were the OSCAAR Hurricane Midgets. They had a red flag when one of the cars flipped. That naturally brought out the ambulance, but again the driver was okay. It took a while to get the car off the track, but not near as long as the first red.

Our feature was next. We were set to go and I was kind of excited starting on the pole with 3 new tires. I expected my car to be very fast and turn with no issues.

On the start of the race I realized right away I wasn’t going to be having a good night. The car pushed so bad I had to back off from hitting #19 Dean Scott. By lap 2 I was passed by 3 cars and rammed by another because I couldn’t get on the gas, just incredible. My car was worse than it was in the heats. Sauble always will bring out a push in any race car, but this was nuts.

We went about 2 laps and a yellow came out. I restarted 4th with Dean on the pole, Chad Strawn #77 outside pole and #8 Gary McLean beside me. I was wondering as we went down the back chute if the car was going to work better on the outside because it wouldn’t have to turn quite as sharp. I stayed with Chad and as we came through turn 3 he got on the gas, and I noticed right away that Dean Scott was spinning sideways coming off on the inside. I got a great run off four and moved into 2nd place, but soon the yellow, then the red flag came out.

It was a terrible crash. When Dean started to spin he tried correcting and ended up turning back into the field. Gary McLean had moved out around Dean and got t-boned then another 3 or 4 cars got wrecked at the same time. It was a long red but again all drivers were okay except for Gary who may have sprained his wrist. His car was done, and so was Dean Scotts. His car ended almost right at the start finish line but the time it stopped.

After the track was cleared we lined up and I was on the outside. I knew my car was working on the outside so I was kind of pumped. Many of my fans may not realize that I won’t push my car if it’s not handling, if my radio’s are not working properly or any other reason that could result in me wrecking my car or someone else’s. It has always been that way with me. I know when a car pushes up and the wheel is cut hard to the right, that as soon as it gets grip it’s coming down. The other known factor for a car that is pushing is that it will slam the wall if you keep the throttle on when it’s pushing. That’s why it’s so frustrating to race a car with a bad push. It forces you to slow down to avoid driving into another car, or the cement. It can however get you in trouble from the cars behind who are handling and hammer your back bumper. If they hit you hard enough, you could end up sliding through the infield if you’re on the inside, or if they nail you when you’re outside it could send you down into the inside lane where cars are racing and that scenario isn’t good. Nailing the wall isn’t good either because not only do you bend up the front end, but you will also get hit from behind.

Yes, all of that goes through my mind every time I have an issue with my car, whether it’s handling or power. Getting in the way of faster cars because you’re too slow from power, or too slow getting on the gas from poor handling can cause lots of problems. Add to that no pit crew, and you soon realize you’re better off backing off, going to the back or whatever you have to do to finish the race without incident, spending lots of money and lots of hours to fix the car.

Anyway for this restart I had some confidence and when we came off turn four I got on the throttle hard and was a little ahead at the start finish line. Chad was right beside me going into one but I was able to go in deep and get on the gas fast and pull ahead going down the back chute. Now I had the whole track to myself, and was leading for 3 or 4 laps until another yellow came out.

The car felt good, but now I was stuck on the inside again. I didn’t realize we could choose lanes, or I would have taken the outside again, but I didn’t and this time the car pushed on the restart and because I couldn’t get on the gas Chad was able to pull m off turn 2 and take the lead back.

We held onto 2nd until lap 15. I was pushing bad and #15 Brad Pearsall was right on my bumper. He never hit me but was just waiting for me to mess up, and I was waiting as well because I was holding him up and others by not being able to get on the gas because of the push.

On lap 15 I tried to hurry though the middle of 3 and 4, I was using the break and gas to turn the car, and next thing I know I am spinning coming off turn 4.

I was so upset. I couldn’t believe it. If there were 3 laps left I would have had no problem trying to hold it down, slow down and force those behind me to go outside, but with the race just half way I was struggling mentally knowing we were in trouble and that sooner of later something was going to happen, like getting hit because I was so slow through the turns. But the spin was all me, no one else.

We restarted 12th and I was upset and drove very aggressive. Got back to 5th, meaning that others were struggling as well.

It wasn’t a good night car wise, but it was a good night points wise and we find ourselves in 3rd place. I was hoping to get up to 2nd in points but just not good enough tonight.

Overall it was a decent night, with 2 thirds and a top 5 in the feature. I am hoping we have a better run at Peterborough.

Special thanks to my crew, Lloyd, Billi and Corey.
Thanks to Corey for spotting for me. He did great and could see the car was tight but did a great job encouraging me.

Congrats to Brad Pearsall for an awesome run. His car is handling very well and he knew we were in trouble, but said he doubted he would get by me if I hadn’t spun out. So to that I say…”dam, I should have just relaxed and not pushed the ill handling car”.

Gary McLean was sore after the race. He was holding his wrist, and sore in general. None of his crew we’re very happy, and I understand. They have a lot of damage, but they also have a huge crew and getting the car fixed won’t be an issue for his team.

After out feature was the OSCAAR Super Late Models and though we were in tech I wanted to watch that race.
My plan was to head up to the fence and catch most of the race……but….they had maybe the worst wreck, red flag deal of the night. Shawn Chenoweth was 3 wide coming down the front chute when he tangled with Sean Grossman and Shawn went up the wall, into the starters entrance, his car went straight up like a rocket taking off, then tore out about 25 feet of fence before coming to a rest on the track. Wow, what a wreck.

That red flag lasted a long time, and ended the feature on lap 2. The track could not continue with the fence destroyed. Shawn was okay but his Super Late is next to destroyed. The cars are built safe and that’s the main thing. Sean Grossmans car was beat up pretty bad as well, but the main parts of his car were okay.

What a night, 4 red flags, I had never seen that before. There were lots of tore up race cars and damage to the track. People were looking to the sky wondering why such a night when it wasn’t a full moon. Glad everyone was okay.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:10 pm

July 29th...........Sauble Speedway

Race #16
Late Model

Streak now 737 nights without a miss

Dash for Cash

High Lites
* 12 cars
* Tim Elis wins
* We run okay, no power for the built engines at this track...410 HP to 330
* 621 gears

1st heat.............6th
2nd heat............6th



Lloyd & Billi

This was our 3rd race event in 6 days, and we were in 2 shows as well. We also ran our 16th race of the season and our consecutive streak now sits at 737 nights in a row with no miss.

On Tuesday Lloyd and I went to the Quik Lube in Owen Sound, the place where Joe Adams works, and we spent from 11 to 4 there, and then again Tuesday night at Sauble Beach to be part of the Classic Car show event right on the beach. There were some beautiful hot rods and classic cars, we were there to promote Sauble Speedway’s Dash for Cash on Wednesday night. We met many great people from Quebec, Mexico and the Arctic.

Lloyd and I went to the beach in the afternoon to relax and go for a swim. It was a great time, the first time for me in water in years. Billi and Abby were there, threw the football around with Abby for a while. Buttons even went in the water, first time for her, and first time for her to paddle a few feet.

We got to the track a little late, just the two of us this time. That wasn’t so bad but we found that both car radios were missing from the cases. The headsets were there, just nothing for the cars. We looked everywhere but no luck. Shortly after Lloyd discovered there was no gas cap on the Late Model. It was there on Friday night at Full Throttle but was gone now. Not long after that we were putting the hood on and the hood pin broke off. I decided to go to the tech area and weld the hood pin on. They had a stick welder there and that was perfect, because the last time I did any welding it was with a stick welder. That was an easy fix, but the other two issues were not so good.

I was disappointed, and made the decision not to run any hot laps. I went back to the shop to see if there were any radios or a gas cap there. I found one in the Mod, but we have 2 and that was only one at the shop. We always use to take the radios out after each race and put them in their proper case, but that hasn’t been done lately, mostly because we are short handed in the pits.

As for the gas cap, I checked all the spare tanks at Jason Legge’s shop and none had the right size cap that we needed.

Once back at the track I put the radio on charge, it was left turned on since Saturday so it was dead. We had some time for it to charge and in the meantime I took a lid off one of our spray cans, put a few rags in it and used it for tonight.

The car count was lower than what I expected, only a dozen cars. So the decision to put on new tires was also decided against, because the ones we had weren’t too bad and I figured since we had no chance to win against the built motors our best bet was to finish as high as we could and keep the cost down. The Mod is usually much more competitive so giving it new tires is not an issue. Plus, most all our competitors use new rubber for the feature, one or two, or maybe just a right rear.

We started last in both heat races and finished last in both. There were 6 cars in each heat.

Before the feature I decided to take out some gear, dropping from 633 to 621.

We also started last in the feature. Not such a bad deal because there were very few cars we could run with.

The car actually handled great. Glenn Schnurr had set it up for me a few weeks ago and it has been fun to drive. There is no doubt that new tires would help but even if we had new tires against built engines on old tires still wouldn’t make any difference and they were on new tires as well. I was happy to be in the race, and had no expectations to do anything but hope for a clean race.

One staff member before the race said something about us doing well in the race, maybe pick up a win. I said there was no chance for us to do well because the difference in horse power was insane. He said “well you just beat yourself by being negative”. I said “no I haven’t. I have just taken away the disappointment of thinking I could win but knowing that a top 8 might be more the target and if we get that I will be okay”. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t pumped up to go out and win that race. I said again “because we have no chance to win, that is unless you see the fastest cars all falling out by some kind of bad luck”. I tried to tell him I am not upset knowing I can’t win, discouraged yes, but that’s because I don’t have the budget for a built engine, or for rebuilding my Crate, which is supposed to be illegal at that track, not sure how they would know for sure if a Crate engine is illegal.

So at the start of the feature I was content to be in the race and just hope not to get wrecked. Anything over 8th would be good for us.

The feature was good. Clean racing. There were a few cars faster than us that were struggling handling wise and we were able to get by them. I caught Glenn Schnurr and ran with him for the final 35 laps. I got close but he was pulling me off each corner, then he started to push but I just couldn’t take advantage. We were now in 7th place with no one near us so I was happy to finish sixth and keep the car in good shape for this Saturday’s race for Jason to drive.

When the checker fell, Tim Ellis took the win. Congrats to him and his team. Glenn finished 5th and we ended up 6th. The difference between 6th and 7th was $25 and if I had new tires I would have got him, but that would have meant spending $525 to get to 6th, and that paid $400. The 5th place car was Junior Farrley and he wasn’t that far away from us, he was struggling a little as well.

Our next race is at Peterborough in the Modified and I so hope we have it handling for that race because we are holding on to 3rd in the points but being pursued by some fast good running cars.

Special thanks to Lloyd, Billi and Abby for helping make this race a fun night for us, we had no damage and finished better than expected.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:13 am

August 1st................Peterborough Speedway

Race #17

1187th Nigth of Racing.......738 in a row

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Gary McLean gets hat trick
* We struggle again..loose this time
* Spun out running 8th
* 588 gears to start...went to 574

1st Heat.......3rd
2nd Heat......5th


none, just got to get this car to handle

Lloyd, Billi

After a few disappointing nights in the Mod, Delaware and then Sauble, I had hoped we got our handling issues dealt with. The car has been feeling like it is floating, like it’s a hover craft or something. No road feel and it is so weird that I don’t even know what to correct for. I think it’s tight in the middle and loose off, but then I think, no, it’s loose in, then tight in the middle and loose off. Very frustrating but I hoped tonight would be different.

We go to the track late again, 2:45, but the pits were already 90% full. I guess there must have been a huge line up when the gates opened at 2. But we did get a decent spot and made it through tech to get out in the 2nd set of hot laps.

The car was okay, nothing really off, but I wanted to try again in the final set and then it showed we were loose off the corners again.

I checked the numbers and they were inconsistent with other track numbers so I decided to add a little wedge to make it turn better. Lloyd and Billi were helping to make things easier to get ready, and without them I have had no crew for the past month, or more, since mid June.

Not sure why no one is coming out, but it’s funny because the crew list I have on my car does not include these Lloyd or Billi, and the 8 that are on there have missed about 10 race nights and some have only came out once. I never expect my crew to make all the races, but at least a few. Anyway, having Lloyd and Billi help me at the track and Lloyd up at Owen Sound has been an incredible blessing to me. He is still learning a ton, but he tries hard and is slowly getting the routine down. We miss a lot of things still, making me hustle more, but I am okay with that because I love to race and working on my car at the track or in the garage is necessary and I am okay with that, with or without help, but I do appreciate the help and try the best I can to pay their way in and anything else I can do. Billi for some reason has learned faster than anyone else how to do up my Hans and she is awesome with Buttons.

Our heat races were without incident, and without good results. We did get 3rd in the first race, but fell to 5th in the second. The qualifying run put us 8th in the starting grid.

This track is short and fast and the Modifieds sure do put on an awesome show by running very fast and close. The cars seem to be very powerful on the straights, no one really lacking, and most of them get through the end pretty good. None as good as Gary McLean, but he is in a league of his own. He has a huge crew, all of them their all the time, and tremendous knowledgeable support from some very talented set up men. It shows on the track and he can drive a car as well, not taking nothing away from him. This series has lots of good drivers, just not many having great success with set up, me included, but we will get there, I just don’t want to fall too far back in our points standing before we get it right.

We started 8th and for the first 6 or 7 laps could only follow the leader. We were unable to take advantage of cars not handling perfect because when I got on the gas the car was loose.

A yellow came out putting us on the outside of Mike Hearty #20. I thought we might do well on the outside, like we did at Sauble Speedway. On the green I was able to stick pretty good for the first lap after the restart. Then between 1 and 2 I got a bit of a run on Mike but he hit me and my car spun around, up the hill towards the wall. I was able to stop it in time without hitting the wall or getting hit. But now I would be starting at the back and that was not what I was looking for. Getting by Mike may have been the move of the race for us, but getting hit and spun, whether I squeezed him or he just pushed up into my rear bumper, didn’t matter now because odds were not in our favor for having a good night….again.

Over the next 10 laps I followed the pack unable to do anything but follow the leader. Another yellow came out and I was able to get by a few cars finally finishing 8th, and very disappointed.

The good news was that we survived without any damage, the bad news was that cars that were chasing us were gaining huge in the standings.

I will evaluate the handling issue this next week, because we do not race again until August 22nd and I hope to get the car back to where it was in 2014 and very soon.

Congrats to Gary McLean and his team for another strong run, especially after wrecking the car bad at Sauble. He will have to stay home a night for anyone to catch him. His car was out of everyone’s league again this week. But that’s a good set up and strong team will do, and they are all that and more.

This was our 1187th career race night and 738th in a row. We will hit 1200 nights and 750 in a row by September I hope and of course God willing. The streak is a Canadian record without a doubt and the goal is to hit 800 in a row by 2018, my 50th consecutive season. :)

This Saturday we run the Late Model at Sunset Speedway. It will be our first race there in the Late Model since last year. It’s also Family Faith Night and I already feel bad that our car will be non competitive against those Unlimited Late Models. I hope to change that part of my race program for 2016 by investing in a strong engine program. I think if we can gain 30 to 60 more horsepower we can be more competitive….in fact I know we can and we will.

Special thanks to Scripture Union and Open Doors for teaming up to make Family Faith Night a blessing at Sunset Speedway.

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