Diary Of A Season 2015

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:10 pm

August 8th................Sunset Speedway

Race #18
late Model

Family Faith Night

High Lites
* 27 cars
* Holdaway wins both races....fairly easy
* We qualify 21st in time trials
* Lots of wrecks in the second feature
* Lots of unhappy Late Model racers
* 588 gears not quite enough

Results
Time Trials..........21st
First Feature........15th
Second Feature.....DNF....26th

Winnings
$200

Repairs
Rad, cosmetic

Crew
Lloyd

Conclusion
We made our first visit to Sunset Speedway in the Late Model this year. As most of you know I decided to head to Sauble Speedway this year, mainly because I have been extended some awesome grace from Jason Legge to keep my Late Model and at times Modified, plus much of my stuff at his shop. With no place to keep my race team I had to choose where to race and Sauble was close to Jason, as was Full Throttle. The down side of this is the travelling I have and the extra money I spend on hotel rooms to work on my cars in Owen Sound. Buttons and I leave Waterdown and take the best part of 3 hours to get to the shop just outside Owen Sound, and usually I have a day’s work or more so I stay over. Recently, with my schedule having 3 races and 2 shows in 6 days, I stayed at the hotel for the week, but he gave me a great deal, but still cost me, and funds aren’t great, but for now this is the way it has to be to get through 2015.

My schedule of 36 race nights, and 15 to 20 shows, is hectic but it helps me survive. My average nights racing per year since I started is over 25, and it’s hard to get any crew to help if my schedule is more than 12 nights. I do have an agreement, always have, that my crew are not expected to make all races, but can commit to as many nights as they can. This year they have pretty well abandoned me, other than Lloyd. No one can make it out to any races, regardless where they are. Some of my crew I have not seen since May, some June, and a few not at all, and I bought over 12 racing uniforms, both Modified and Late Model for each crew member, but they are unable to make any races. I am however very happy that my newest and least experienced crew member, Lloyd, has been with me the past 6 weeks and we are doing great, just the 2 of us, very very tough, but we are getting through this year. Lloyd is learning a lot, and has had to learn spotting and that isn’t an easy assignment. I’ve got excited a few times with long periods of silence on the radio’s (some guys with mirrors, want little talking, I like constant updating). He has come a long way and we keep improving in every facet on and off the track. So, I am deeply thankful for Lloyd supporting me during this difficult time of my life, emotionally and spiritually. God is good, and so far He hasn’t given me more than I can handle.

As for my missing crew, they are welcomed. It has been just Lloyd and I for the past 10 races and I said that he was now my new crew chief. He laughed and said “ya, but there’s no crew”. So, Car Chief it is.

Tonight was special because it was Family Faith Night. This was the 3rd FFN at Sunset and my sponsor Open Doors and Scripture Union combined to bring a spiritual night to the track.

We were a little late getting to Sunset and had to park in the far west pits near the Mini Stocks, and that was okay with me. When I arrived Mark Dilley asked me “Are you a show car today”? I said “What???...no Mark we are racing”!!! He said “I have no room for you, all the pads are taken, you can park by the Mini’s and I was totally good with that.

We got ready as fast as we could. Two of us work hard but it sure would be better with 2 more to help speed up getting ready. We made 2 sets of hot laps and it hit me how much I loved racing on this track. The car needed one adjustment after the second set, a little more front bar pre load for loose off.

The first order of the day for qualifying was time trials. There were 27 cars and I was concerned we might not make the field but all cars qualified, up to 28 max. We finished 21st and we considered that pretty good. However I decided to start last because many teams were in the NASCAR points chase and I thought I would just try and pass when I could and not interfere with teams trying to improve their standing.

The nights racing had no heats, but two 35 lap features. The first feature was quite good, not many yellows, and not many accidents. Prior to the race I heard a few teams complaining to management about other teams and the conversation was fairly tense. Gord Shepherds team had been an altercation the week before and the track was warned to do something or his team would. They are running near the front in the points. There seemed to be a lot of tension and some teams very upset with others.

The first feature was great for us. We finished 15th with no damage, and the car was actually very good. It handled the best it had ever at this track. I was stunned happy at how well the car turned and planted.

For the second feature we fueled, charged the battery and made one tire change, putting our best tire on the right rear.

The second feature was a script written by Stephen King. Basically everything evil seemed to spew on the track. I had a feeling this was going to be a rough race, but it was much rougher than I anticipated.

I was able to watch most of the race because on lap 6, after moving from 27th to 19th we were caught up in a wreck though I avoided the cars spinning on the track, I was hammered hard. The impact was bad enough to take out the rad, and take us out of the race. There was cosmetic damage as well, but we were done for this race, and that was too bad because I was looking forward to having a decent run, especially after our first feature.

I watched from the infield as my rad slowly emptied of all its water.

The next 29 laps took forever. There were many accidents and tempers were flaring each yellow. I was amazed how many drivers were making it 3 wide going into turn 3. Chris Morrow, Tom Walters and Jason Witty were three drivers who had no problem diving into the turns taking a chance that the 3 wide scenarios would come out okay. It didn’t every time and one was with Witty when he went in hard, got on the grass and slid up into Dwayne Baker. The result was Baker being out of the race and he was furious, so was his crew.

The 10 team of Gord Shepherd, who was running second most of the race was warned very aggressively by the spotter of the #39 of Travis Hallyburton, that Gord had crowded them into the wall and that the spotter warned they were going to get spun out. Crazy, but emotions were high.

There were many more cautions including Rick Walt who was running awesome but fell back then got spun out. There were about 4 laps left and he was so upset he chipped his car right off the track heading to the pits. He was in low gear and was banging the chip hard as he drove off turn 2. I thought that was dangerous since you can’t really see too well at night in that area, and the last thing you would want to do is hit someone walking or a vehicle. We are supposed to go to the infield, not leave the track. Rick was very upset so he wasn’t really thinking about anything accept getting off the track…..he was code red for sure. |

Another 2 yellows, the clock hitting midnight, the fans leaving with so many cautions forced the track to line up the cars single file for the final restart. That settled the cars down and they finished the final 4 laps under green.

Taylor Holdaway won both features, and his car was very dominant. He is leading the points. Before the races started Jason Witty used the claim rule to buy the #41 engine. So once through tech, Taylor was told they had to pull the engine and give it to Jason. It cost $4700, but I could guarantee that engine is more than a stock 602. A new 602 is $4200 plus the rebuild is a minimum $2500, most charge $4000 to rebuild a new one, but that’s where a few more horsepower is gained, like 20 to 30.

Anyway, I stayed at my cousins that night in Cookstown, played some darts then Buttons and I headed right to Owen Sound in the morning to start stripping the Late Model. We got there about 11:30 and by 4:30 had it stripped, changed oil and filter and changed the gears from 588 to 621. I didn’t hit the chip at Sunset and that was strange.

Glenn Schnurr will finish the car for me, straighten some bent bars, replace the rad and touch it up.

I really enjoyed my night at Sunset and I must say I do miss running there. Thanks to Lloyd for a great effort, and special thanks to many fans who welcomed me back, and said they missed me :)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:26 am

August 15th..............Sauble Speedway

Race #19
Late Model

Streak at...740

High Lites
* 12 cars
* Junior Farley wins
* We handle great
* non stop feature

Results
1st Heat.......4th
2nd Heat......4th
Feature........8th

Winnings
$200

Repairs
none

Crew
Lloys, Matt and Andrew

Conclusion
I made the journey to Owen Sound from Waterdown mid Friday afternoon. I wanted to finish off the Late Model and work on the Modified as well. Lloyd met me there by 7:30 Friday night and by then I had finished the front pads and rotors.
Friday night we stayed at Glenn Schnurr’s place. It was a laid back visit, just relaxing and watching the stars to see if there were any planes moving in the sky, 35,000 feet straight up. I think over the span of 90 minutes we saw 3. His country property is very beautiful with horses, cows, cats and one puppy. Buttons was having a blast chasing the cats, as well listened to the Blue Jays get beat and stare in the clear sky looking for planes or UFO’s.
Jackie had to get up early so we tried not to make any noise, although the radio was turned up pretty loud in hopes we would hear Jerry Howorth say…”and there’s a belt deep left centre, that ball is hammered, it’s at the track, it’s at the wall!!!, and there she goes, home run Hose Bautista”…..but no luck hearing that call…..we did hear it on Sunday though.
In the morning Jackie’s sister made Lloyd and I breakfast, it was awesome and very much appreciated.
Lloyd and I headed Jason Legge’s shop and I picked out tires for us to run, and he finished installing the grille, the one that was beat up at Sunset Speedway. It was still usable and saved us buying a new one.

Once the Late Model was finished we got busy on the Modified. By then Matt Smith and his son Andrew arrived and we changed the front springs and sway bar, going back to the set up we had before I took the car to the U.S. to Scott Wylie. His ideas were great but with our spindles being extended for the original 4” ride height, the car was not working at all for the past 3 shows. It was incredibly unstable in the turns, and nothing we did helped it. I soon figured that I had to go back to the 4” set up and make that work. We are barely hanging on to 3rd in OSCAAR points and need to get a few good nights of racing in.

We left for Sauble around 5:15 and got there in time to set up, sign in, and get one practice session to break in the new pads and rotors.

The track had a Fan Appreciation event, one of my favorite things to do, meet fans and give away autograph cards. Matt, Lloyd and Andrew all came out on the track with me and we had a nice relaxing break meeting the Sauble fans.

The car count was the lowest for Late Models this year, only 11 cars. The format was the same, double 10 lap heats and a 35 lap feature.

We started 5th in the first heat that consisted of Tim Ellis #2, Jason Parker #8, Josh Stade #17 and Marvin Frieburger #37. Ellis was gone but the rest of us battled side by side. Parker could not get by Frieburger for most of the race and finally did, and then Stade tried. He finally got by on the white flag lap and I followed him getting under Marvin to take 4th at the line.

The second heat was much the same but we were able to finish 4th of 6 cars in this heat. We lack power but our handling was quite good. We’re not on bump stops and if we were we’d need to know them good enough to play with them and I don’t.

We started pole in the feature. I guessed there were 7 cars faster than us, the 3 ahead of me in each of my heats, and 3 others from the other heat.

Junior Farrley #72 started outside pole. All the top cars were right behind me. By lap three, I had dropped to 4th and by lap seven, I got pulled on the back straight by #88 Schreinhart and got freight trained going into 3 and 4. By the time the eighth lap was completed I was in 8th with another car on my tail.

After about 7 or 8 laps we pulled away by 3 car lengths on the car in 9th. Farrley, Stade, Ellis, Gibbons, were gone and a battle was developing between Parker, Frieburger and Schreinhart. As they fought it out I was closing in on them but a long way off. If this race was 50 laps we could have caught them because our car, though a little tight, was faster through the ends and I was able to go in a little deeper.

On the last lap we were only a few car lengths behind 5th and that kind of felt pretty good knowing we didn’t get too beat up, at least not as bad as I thought I was going to. Still finished where I expected, but not a straightaway behind.

Before the feature I talked to Junior and he said his 602 Crate was stock and I didn’t believe him, and I told him. He walked away with the feature and I felt bad for saying that and went over to congratulate him on the win. During the day Sunday I sent him an apology for my comments about his engine and he appreciated that very much. I shouldn’t have said that. There are only a few Crates in the field and he runs very well, but his chassis is really hooked up.

Our next race is this coming Friday at Full Throttle Motor Speedway on Friday night, and then on Saturday I race the Modified at Sunset Speedway.

We just completed our 19th race for 2015, our 740th in a row, and our 1189th total. Ten more nights and I will be at 750 and almost 1200 nights.

Thanks to my crew for making this a fun night. I wasn’t doing too good personality wise, I was being down, and negative, but I apologized to everyone for that to and I know that I need as much work done to me as to the race cars. Just going through a valley and it’s been tough.

I am sure things will get better and it starts with me :)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:55 pm

August 21st.......................Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Race #20
Late Model

741 In A Row

High Lites
* 7 cars
* Cole Weber wins both features
* We finish 5th in both, but running better with the faster cars
* Close call going into 3
* 633 gears

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

Winnings
$200

Repairs
none

Crew
Lloyd, Glen and Troy

Conclusion
This was another double header weekend for us. Lloyd and I met in Cookstown and drove together. I stayed with my cousin Tom and Kim, because the next night we would be running Sunset Speedway in the Modified and Cookstown is close, much closer than coming from Waterdown.

Glen Schnurr was good enough to bring the Late Model for me. It didn't any work during the week, so the work load was very minor.
We changed to the 10" tires, but this night there would be no four barrel, I gave it back to David.

Lloyd drove down from Barrie and met me in Cookstown and left his truck there and came with me. Tom power washed my truck and trailer and it looked awesome when we headed for Full Throttle Motor Speedway.

We made on set of hot laps and the car felt very good. Glen spotted for me, and Lloyd was okay with that because Glen was going to coach me if needed on driving into the corners.

We started scratch in our first feature. There were only 7 cars, another low turn out. The regular runners were there. They have had about 14 in total, but they always don't show up.

The feature was fast. Our car was running awesome until the final 5 laps. We were in 3rd, holding off 2 decent cars when suddenly, going hard into turn three, the RF tire went down. At first I though the steering broke because I couldn't steer. I put the brakes on but not real hard so it wouldn't pull to the right. I needed to use up as much of the track as I could and hope that I didn't hit the wall. When the car finally stopped the flat tire just touched the cemet at about 1 mph.

I was so thankful for that, so glad I didn't slam hard into the wall. The car was running great and there was no way I wanted to wreck it. I admit there was some luck for us, but when that happens it's best not to slam on the brakes, even though that's the natural response. Doing that could pull the car to the right and if nothing else shorten the distance you have to stop, and put you sooner into a parking spot with the cement.

I drove off the track and the crew changed the tire with our only spare, and I got back out and finished 5th.

After the race we were pumped knowing we didn't wreck, but also that our car was so darn good.

We made very few changes for the 2nd feature. I started scratch again. The race went non stop, most of these do. Glen spotted again and did a great job for us. All the boys worked good, and Lloyd made sure that our crew were representing our sponsors in a ambassador type roll. It was a great night overall.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:59 pm

August 22nd............Sunset Speedway

Race #21
Modified

742 In A Row

High Lites
* 19 cars
* Gary McLean wins :roll:
* We struggle again
* Huge wreck...going scratch prevented disaster
* 574 gears

Results
Heat #1..........3rd
Heat #2..........7th
Feature..........11th

Winnings
$190

Repairs
Get set up better

Crew
Matt and Lloyd

Conclusion
We gpt to Sunset Speedway in good time. Just Lloyd and I early, setting up the tent, the pits and getting ready for practice. I decided to park right next to Brad Pearsol. Not only is he a great guy, but he knows his stuff and if we needed to ask any questions, he would be right there for us.

Brad, also liked us parking there. He feels for me that our Mod has been struggling and knew I just needed some help to get our car where it should be. He has ran very stong this year and any tips from him would be so good for us.

During the week I talked to Gary McLean and asked him for some help on setting it up. I told him I was very discouraged and would apprecaite any help. He suggested that I go back to the stiffer sway bar and lighter front springs. I was bound to do anything to get our car back to where it was before. Scott Wiley is a great chassis man and what he did was all good, but we only went part way with him. N order to make his set up work I needed to change spindles as well and possibly upper control arms.

I made a list of the things Gary said and we did those at Jason Legges shop before our Late Model race on August 15th. Once we got to Full Throttle last night we unloaded the Mod and got the ride heights close so we would be part way there when we arrived at Sunset.

In the first set of hot laps our car ran so so. It was a little loose if anything. Brad asked me how it was and I told him. He suggested some changes right away. I explained what we did, things that Gary McLean suggested and he agreed with those as well as a bunch more he wanted to change.So we made some changes and the car was still looe but seemed better.

Gary came over and both he and Brad added a few more changes and we got those done as well, the final ones being the 3rd link and the pan hard bar.

Matt joined us just before the heat races and we worked on some things together. He was a big help, and Lloyd sure appreciated us getting another hand in the pits because it's been pretty well him and I the past few races. Billi was coming out, and she was a good help but she made other plans and won't be coming out to anymore races this year.

In our first heat we started pole. The race the car seemed good. I raced hard beside #47 Brian McLean. He would soon get me and then Chris Milwain would get by me as well, but we finished third. After the race Brad asked me what it was doing but I couldn't really put my finger on it. The car felt loose for suer, I just didn't feel comfortable drivning it in hard. I'm guessing it was still loose, but I was having trouble getting a read on it. Gary McLean said it looked good in the hot laps, but my heart was telling me differnt and since I was having trouble disecting it, I was getting frustrated. I just don't want to wreck my car because I over drive it when it's not handling.

The second heat was different, we started last, 10th but could only get up to 7th. The car really seemed out then. I was puzzled and not sure about putting on new tires for the feature. I had two that I could run if I wanted to.

We did our pre feature prep, got the tires ready. I went to check where we would be starting and found out that our 3rd and 7th gave us pole in the feature. I was upset, because I knew my car wasn't good enough tonight to take pole. As we pondered about the new tires I looked at my crew and said "guys I just don't feel good starting up front". They both, Matt and Lloyd agreed with me and that made things even easier. I know maybe we could hang on and get a 5th or something, but I was more afraid of getting wrecked and had no confidence at all that we could finish in the top 5.

I decided not to put on the new tires and start at the back. It wasn't easy because I said to myself, I have just given my competitors and chance to know me out of the top 4 in points. There were only a few points separating me from John Baker Jr and Corey Horner, but the car wasn't good and I wasn't going to wreck it. We can make what we have better, use it as a starting point, wrecking means starting all over and lots of $$$$$$.....and once I got that in my head I was okay to race with the best used tires we had in our inventory.

There were 19 cars that took the green. I knew right away that I made the right decision because after 5 or 6 laps I could barely pass any of the back markers. Our car was unstable in the turns and it seemed that I had to tip toe through the ends.

We moved up a few spots, but not many, perhaps to 16th. Gary McLean lapped me half way through the race. Matt was spotting and was telling me how I was doing. He could see the struggle as well. I was being chased by #18 Dave Lewis. I was doing all I could to hold on to the car. Matt would tell me I had him by 2 car lengths, then one, then 2 then one. So I knew Dave was right on me.

The starter was motioning us to move over, but Matt said I still had a half a straightaway. Next thing I hear Matt say "Big wreck on the front chute, red is out". I came to a complete stop right behind Gary McLean between 3 &4. I could see the wrecks. There were 4 or 5 cars at least that were in it including Corey Horner, who was running second, and Brad Pearsol who was in the top 5.

The wreck started when Dave Lewis drove in super hard to catch me and lost it coming off 4. He got loose, started heading for the inside wall, corrected too much turned up and spun out in front of the on coming lead lap cars. They had no chance because he was right in the middle of the track. Corey slammed him, destorying his rad and a few others hit hard including Brad who did front and rear suspension damage. The mess took a while to clean up, and when we got going again we got the lucky dog.

On the restart we were 10th and held on as long as we could but lost 10th to Mike Hearty with one to go. I didn't care to hold him off because he was all over the place and trying to race him could have got us wrecked.

Once in the pits we all agreed that it was a good call to go scratch. I talked to the crew and said that it was a good night overall considering we still have 2 tires for Flamboro. The other good thing is that the car was in great shape for kids camp on Monday, so with everything considered, it was a great night and we still held onto our points, tied now with #26 John Baker Jr.

This week is Race Camp and I am looking forward to a great week with the kids. But I got to get to Flamboro to practice before our next Mod race next Saturday at Flamboro.

Congratulations to Gary McLean for winning the feature and John Harper pulling off a runner up. I also am very grateful to my crew for all their work and patience, I am truly blessed.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:37 am

August 28th............Full Throttle Speedway

Race #22
Late Model
1192nd Career Night

743rd Consecutive Night since June 5th 1987

High Lites
* 8 cars
* Mark Dixon, Cole Weber win features
* We get 4th and 5th
* We're 5th in points
* 633 gears

Results
Feature #1.......4th
Feature #2.......5th

Winnings
$225

Repairs
none

Crew
Matt, Scoob, Jonathan, Paul and Troy

Conclusion

I finished Race Camp at 2 pm on Friday, and headed to my cousins place in Cookstown. Buttons was with me all week at Camp and the two of us ended up driving to Full Throttle Motor Speedway for our second last Late Model race at this track. Lloyd was unable to come this time, he had tickets for a concert and was going out with his special person, Suzette. I picked Paul Douglas up at the A & W in Mount Forest, Jason, his Dad met me there. I also took Paul home after the nights races.

I had the Modified with me so I asked Gord Bennett if he would like it in front of the grandstands and so we did that to promote our OSCAAR race on September 12th.

Matt and Jonathan did make the trip, and Jason Legge had Scoob bring the car to me from his place. I really appreciated that and paid for the fuel and Scoob's way in. Scoob is a quiet soul, but knows his stuff and wants me to charge hard. I do to, but Jason will be driving the Late Model Saturday night at Sauble while I am in the Mod at Flamboro and so I wanted to make sure we didn't get beat up and force Jason and the boys to work on the car so they could race it at Sauble. We are currently 6th in Sauble Speedway points, but are being hounded by Tim Ellis, who is only behind us because he got a disqualification a few weeks ago for being barely too light. He could have won the title if it wasn't for that, and he is only 18 behind us, but with him and 6 other cars much faster, we know he will gain those points back in the final 2 weeks unless he has mechanical trouble or maybe an accident, and we don't wish either on him.

As for Full Throttle, we are 5th in these standings, with no chance to gain or lose a position in the final 2 nights unless we don't show up.

There were 8 cars for this night . In the first feature we started at the back. I was slated to start there. It was kind of good because the leaders on the start of the race were banging each other pretty good. Dixon and Weber were at it for a few laps and Mark got the lead. But then Cole ended up getting hammered into the front chute wall, pretty hard. He had to be towed off and wouldn't make it back out for that race.

The track sent Dixon scratch and that left a great opportuiity for Nick Roth to steal the win in the first one on his first trip to Outlaw Late Models at Full Throttle. We ended up 4th with a decent car, although the tires felt like they were just about done.

We did nothing really for the second feature, not even gas. Scoob wanted me to start up front and I almost did but I figured even with the car not bad, there was no sense in starting up front because we had no chance to win and Jason Legge was racing this Late Model Saturday night at Sauble Speedway, because I will be in the Mod tomorrow at Flamboro Speedway. I understand the frustration of being with someone who wants to go scratch, but it's not like I was taking the fastest best handling car scratch, I was taking the 3rd or 4th best, when it had newer tires and tonight the tires were not good. Scoob was really wanting me to take my spot and so I did line up pole, but before we went on the track I slipped to the rear. It was a good call because the front runners are battling for the title and they are battling each other...litterally. I don't need to get in that mix.

The feature went pretty good, a few mix ups but nothing serious. Cole Weber worked on his car and got it fixed then won his 14th feature of the season. He really hasn't had much competition and he has the field covered pretty good.
We ended up 5th and considering our inside tires are junk and the outside wore out I was okay with that. We have one more night of points racing with the Late Model at Full Throttle on September 13th, the day after we race the Modified.

It looks like we will finish 5th this year, and considering what we had, and the fact we helped a track put on a show I am very happy.

Special thanks to my crew for all their work. Matt and Jon had to go back to Wasaga Beach so it was good to have them with me. Llpyd was sick but we also had Scoob and Troy so it was a fun night for sure.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:11 pm

August 29th.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #23
Modified

Night # 1193

Streak....744 In A Row....

High Lites
* 14 Cars
* John Harper wins
* We get 3rd all night
* Everyone survives
* 563 gears...a little too high but okay,,,next time 555

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

Winnings
TBA

Repairs
none...prepare for Rick Woolner in 2 weeks....and Late Model next week

Crew
Matt and Jon

Conclusion

Tuesday night...August 25th

I mentioned on my Sunset Modified post that I was going to try to head to Flamboro and do some testing prior to this race. We were set up at the Race Camp at Sunset Speedway and after the Tuesday seminar's Lloyd helped me load up and I headed to Flamboro. David said he would head to the track after work and give me a hand. I basically told him that I could not read my car, there was something wrong with the car but I couldn't figure out what it was. I said I would leave the car just like it was after the Sunset feature and we would test from there. David was very encouraging and I figured no one better than him right now to help me. He's a great racer, leading the Flamboro points, a bunch of feature wins this year and more than anything, he wants to see his Dad do good.

I arrived at the track by 5:45 and David was there shortly after. I had the tire stagger set and the car was ready to go. I asked David if we could use the radio's incase he wanted to suggest something and he said yes. The first set of hot laps were short lived. I had told Matt and Lloyd at Sunset to put in minimum fuel for the feature because we were constantly weighing too much after. I figured running less fuel would make it faster because the car would be lighter. Anyway I got 2 laps into this session and the car quit on me going through 3 & 4. I thought the battery was dead but it got going again and I immediately headed to our pits. I guessed we were out of gas. Once in the pits David was going to take the hood off and I asked him to wait while I checked the fuel in the tank with our measuring stick....sure enough, there was no gas showing. I said "we're out of gas". David looked at me and said "what"? "Dad, you would have not finished the feature if it was a few laps longer, like 2". I knew he was right and I mentioned saving weight. He kind of let me have it saying "30 pounds is nothing, it won't make a difference, don't run your car low on fuel to save weight". I agreed and put 5 gallons in the tank. The car started right up and was fine.

I went out again and got about 8 laps in and David had me in the 15:7's. That was a good time considering we were on old tires. He said the Late Models on 10" tires turn the track in th 15:3's with new rubber and he figured I wasn't far off. We both agreed the car had a slight push so we made a stagger change and I went back out. This time David wanted me to do 4 laps or 5, then slow down, dial in more rear brake, and try that for another lap or so. The car was slightly better getting us into the high 6's. However, what happened next was crazy. After turning the 5 laps, I slowed on the back chute and made a brake bias adjustment. Then headed into turn three full speed. As I entered the turn I felt a little clunk, but all was good. Coming off 4 to head down the front chute full speed David came on the radio and yelled "Get off the gas, stop, stop....you broke a rotor". I got off the gas right away and when I touched the brake pedal it went to the floor. I had no brakes as I headed back to our pit pad, the far south end of the track.

Once there we saw the rotor completely gone, the hub severely damaged but the caliper and mount were good. David came to me with some broken pieces and said "Dad you are really lucky, you would have destroyed your car heading into turn one with no brakes. He was right, but I will say we were granted some awesome grace from God. Had David not been on the radio's, if we decided that we didn't need them, I would never have known the car had no brakes. Thank you Lord.

We called it a night, and were very happy. David said "the car looked good Dad, just make sure you set the stagger, because it not only looked good, but you were turning good lap times on old tires".

During the week I replaced the rotor and hub at the Race Camp and we were good to go to Flamboro after our Late Model race Friday night at Full Throttle. Lloyd got sick on Friday and decided he would not be coming to Full Throttle and he ended up not making it to this race either.

I didn't get home until late Friday night after Full Throttle and had to get up early to get tires from Grisdale for the Modified. While there I got them mounted and headed to Flamboro as soon as I could. It was just after 9am, the gates opened at 10am and I wanted to get to the track fast and get a good spot in the pits. To my surprise when I got there, only Shawn Chenoweth was ahead of me waiting at the gate. I laughed, because I was in a big panic thinking there would be a huge line up. There were 7 divisions scheduled for the day including the 3 OSCAAR classes, and races were set to start at 3. There was also a Classic Car show, cruise event, so the track was busy.
I worried on my way from Grisdale's that I might be too late, but I was the 2nd person there, and had lots of time to let Buttons loose and run around the parking lot.

Once inside I was alone, Matt and Jon were on their way, and Lloyd was not coming. I unloaded the car, changed the RF tire and headed to tech. I also got the tools and radio;s ready. By the time Matt and Jon arrived we were ready to do some hot laps.

What a difference in a race week with this Modified. The first set of hot laps were amazing, so were the second. We made sure our fuel was good and our stagger was good. I coud not ignore my son's advice and the car sure was hooked up in both hot lap sessions.

We started 5th in the first heat race. We were running 4th for a while as the top 6 were very close. Then a steering issue on David Balych #12 caused him to slide up the track. We checked up but there was no caution. I lost some ground with the other 2 in front of me but managed to hang on to 3rd in the first heat.

In the second heat we decided to put on the two new tires, on the rear. My LR tire was wore, not as bad as the LF, but not good enough to do the job at LR. I decided to move the LR to the LF, and install the 2 new tires on the rear. We had some difficulty getting the stagger we wanted but we got close. In this race we started 4th and got a good jump early and moved into 3rd where we stayed running bumper to bumper with both #79's, Corey Horner in front of me and John Harper leading.

The car was very good, and I was pumped. Our two thirds put us 5th on the start of the race. There were 14 cars, not a great turn out but all good cars. The first few laps were very tight and by lap 5 the yellow came out when #09 Dan Price blew up his Crate.

We restarted 4th beside #79 Corey Horner. Matt Barton #2 was pole, with John Harper #79 outside pole, Terry Baker #26 was 5th and Gary McLean 6th. On the restart I got by Corey to move into 3rd. For the next few laps we ran bumper to bumper with the front 2 cars. By lap 10 I was trying Matt on the inside a few times, and once gonig into turn one I was inside but he came down and we tapped, not hard, but enough for me to know that unless I was way up his spotter wasn't going to let him know....if he had a spotter.

The final 20 laps went caution free and it was a hard but good race from 2nd to 5th. John Harper wasn't unbeatable, he was still within stiking distance but Matt was having a few issues, but not serious enough for me to get by. Neither could the cars behind me get by. Terry would try me a few times but couldn't get a good run off.

The final few laps were nail biters because we were so tight but everyone was patience, running hard and clean. When the checker flew we crossed the line in 3rd and were extremely happy. I was so happy getting our best finish since Full Throttle where we finished 2nd as well.

Matt and Jon were awesome all night, doing a great job keeping things charged and the car cleaned. Matt spotted for me and was awesome doing a great job for his first spotting job with me at Flamboro Speedway.

Congratulations to John Harper for grabbing his first feature win in a few years, and to Matt Barton for his runner up. The Mods put on a good show, in fact all night was good and there crows was pretty good as well...congrats to John Casale.

Tonight we ran 23rd night of 2015. We now have raced 1193 nights, with 744 of them consecutive. Before the end of the season we should see 750 in a row and 1200 nights. I am even shaking my head over that :) there are so many people to thank for this.
My goal is 800 in a row, it would take 2 more seasons to do it.

I just hope we can keep our sponsors and crew for this ride. It's been incredible. Thank you God for all the people you have sent me to make this possible.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:07 am

September 5th........Sauble Speedway

Race #24
Late Model

Championship Night.....Final Race Night

1194 Nights.....745 Consecutive

High Lites
* 10 cars
* Jason Parker wins
* Josh Stade wins Championship
* We finish 7th in Points.....Special thanks to Jason Legge for making it possible

Results
Heat #1..........5th
Heat #2..........3rd
Feature..........9th

Winnings
$150

Repairs
none

Crew
Lloyd

Conclusion
This was the final night for Sauble Speedway in 2015. The Champions would be crowned and with the summer gone, kids back to school, the hope of getting good crowds was pretty well a loss given that most people head back to the cities they come from. The local residents of the Sauble area don’t sustain the tracks need for fan attendance and once Labor Day weekend comes the track closes.

I want to thank Jason Legge for teaming up with me to run Sauble this year. He made it possible for us to run 100% with our Quaker State Late Model. Jason drove 4 nights and I drove 10, including the July Invitational and the Wednesday night Dash for Cash. There were 8 points races and we made 4 each. Though underpowered for this track, that primarily runs built motors, and maybe off chassis wise, we finished 7th in points, and would need to do some home work to get ourselves competitive for 2016. A new engine and a face lift suspension wise would help us.

I’m not certain what I am doing for 2016 Late Model wise. I have a few choices, Sauble, Sunset or Flamboro, and nothing is final for me yet. I do plan on running the Modified again in 2016, only with a new look.

I just want to say how thankful I am for Jason Legge’s support for me this past summer. He gave me a place to keep my things, and the race car.

Lloyd made the trip with me to Sauble for this last race. We met in Cookstown and drove from there to Jason’s shop to get some parts, tires and of course the race car.

We got to the track early enough for hot laps, only one set. There wasn’t much point in doing a lot extra, it was very hot, and our chances of getting a decent finish were remote, because of the lack of horsepower we have against the built engines.

There were only 10 cars for the final race. We finished 5th and 3rd in our heat races. The feature line up was based on points, and prior to the races we were 6th, with Tim Ellis right behind us. Tim was way ahead in the standings, but got a disqualification for being too light. That’s how we got into 6th but his good finishes since that night moved him to within a few points of us. The web site has not been updated since August 15th as of now, so I will post the points finishes when they are official.

In the feature we got eaten up on the start by the top cars. I got settled into 7th but had a terrible push early. On lap 2 I had to slow up so much in the corner that I got hit and spun by #71 Doug Wilson. No damage and I couldn’t get on the gas, so it really wasn’t his fault although he had to go to the back as well. It wasn’t far to go to the rear with just 10 cars.

We stayed 10th for half the race and caught Doug. He moved up to let me go. The race went nonstop the final 33 laps. I was surprised we didn’t get lapped, but we didn’t and the car was in great shape.

Congratulations to Josh Stade on winning the points Championship and to Jason Parker for winning the feature. They had a close battle going for the title.

Our next race is not on my schedule, but it is a make up for me for a few races I lost this year. I will race Sunday September 6th at Sunset for the Canadian Late Model Nationals.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:14 am

September 6th........Sunset Speedway

Race #25
Late Model

Canadian Late Model Nationals....125 Lap Feature

1195 Nights.....746 Consecutive

High Lites
* 17 Cars
* Dwayne Baker wins
* We finish 11th
* Thanks to Corey and Daryl Horner for their awesome help
* Thanks to Lloyd and Brian, we had a fun night

Results
Time Trials.......17th....15:651
Feature...........11th

Winnings
$450 (cost $900)

Repairs
...get ready for Full Throttle Finale September 13th

Crew
Lloyd, Corey, Daryl and Brian

Conclusion
I wasn’t sure I would race the September 6th race at Sunset Speedway. I did want to race for sure, but much depended on how we did the night before at Sauble, and since we left there unscathed, my mind was clear, I was going to that show.

My schedule lost some races this year due to Full Throttle Motor Speedway cancelling the Thunder Cars. This race helped make up at least one of the few races I missed.

I stayed at my cousin Kim and Tom’s place both Friday night and then again Saturday night. Lloyd left his truck there on Saturday morning and we went to Sauble together and he drove back to Cookstown after the races.

Sunday morning I headed to Sunset with Buttons. Once inside I found a parking spot near the #10 of Gord Shepherd. The last time here, they offered to help me on pit row and I appreciated that very much. Aldo said they would help me again today if I needed to make a stop.

I set up the pits, got the car through tech and then Lloyd came. It was another very hot day, but there was a nice breeze coming through the trailer making it comfortable for Buttons and Daisy, Lloyd’s puppy.

It was just the two of us for most of the morning and practice. The car was okay, but not strong enough for the stout cars at Sunset Speedway. Most all of the teams have new or newer cars, good engine programs and decent size pit crews. We came to have fun and support the show as well as see the many friends we have at Sunset.

The deal for this race was that everyone had to buy 4 new tires from the track. The cost was $720. The guarantee was $300 for 24th. You would have to finish 6th to pay for the tires, so I knew going there we would be giving away money, but I wanted to show case our car, support the track, see our fans and get another night of racing in and learn as much as we could.

There were 17 cars and my plan was to take scratch in the feature, knowing that most all of these cars were home track cars and it would be better for me to pick my way through and stay out of trouble. It was a 125 lap race and lots could happen.

As it turned out I didn’t need to worry about taking scratch because I was 17th fastest in time trials.

After qualifying was complete we had lots of time to go over the car and make any changes we wanted. What I didn’t know was that Corey and Daryl Horner would drop by and offer to help us, and they were a tremendous help. Brian also came by and was an additonal help to us for the rest of the night.

They started asking questions about the car, track bar angles, shocks, springs, wedge, stagger etc, and I answered all I could. Before long we were making all kinds of adjustments to the car. I was good with whatever they wanted to do, it seemed both knew a fair amount about chassis set up, were schooled by Junior Hanley and just wanted to see us do as good as we could.

We made the adjustments they suggested, and both Corey and Daryl got under the car doing what they felt was needed. Then we headed to tech and scaled the car and made more adjustments.

We started last in the feature. Lloyd, who has been doing a great job spotting, getting better every week, would spot from the grandstands and Corey and Daryl agreed to go to the infield and help make changes if needed. They pitted with the #10 team, Gord Shepherd, and had Aldo to ask for help if needed.

The race was long, but the track decided to count cautions until 30 to go. There were a few yellows, but none too serious. The drivers seemed to keep calm in spite of the hot night.

Throughout the race Daryl made some suggestions to help me get through the ends better. Two that stood out were backing off sooner and staying a little high in turns one and two. I did make several stops for a push but the car wasn’t too bad, not good for sure, but not way off.

With 32 to go we were up to 8th. Under the yellow on lap 93 I asked Daryl to spot for the next few laps and coach me through the turns. Lloyd agreed. However Daryl didn’t realize I meant to spot and when the green dropped no one was talking. I knew there were some fast built motors behind me. Going down the back chute I yelled “talk to me”, but no response. Coming off four I got passed on the inside and didn’t know there was anyone there. My concern with spotting is letting me know where I am relative to other teams. The last thing I want to do is wreck my car by going high or low and getting turned. After a lap and a half of no communication I went high in the turn and let the cars behind me go by, there were about 5.

Then the yellow came out and I headed down pit row. I didn’t want to get upset, but I had to let my team know that I needed a spotter to be talking. Daryl didn’t realize I meant for him to spot.

On the restart with 25 to go Daryl took over and we would end up 11th making one final pass with 5 to go.

The car came away with no damage and I feel now I have a good starting spot for our next Late Model race.
Congrats to Dwayne Baker and his team for winning the feature. Special thanks to Lloyd, Brian, Corey and Daryl for helping me on this hot but nice day.

Our next race is this coming Saturday and Sunday at Full Throttle Motor Speedway. The Modified will race Saturday night. It’s the 2nd leg of the Rick Woolner Memorial race. We finished 2nd in the first 50 lapper.

On Sunday we will run the final Late Model race at FTMS for 2015. The Modified still has 3 races left with OSCAAR after September 12th.

Tonight we closed in on 2 milestones. We ran our 1195th career night and this was our 746th consecutive night of racing dating back to June 5th 1987. Wow, there are so many to thank for these stats to be possible. More on that as the season winds down.

Thank you for visiting our site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:30 am

September 12th................Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Race #26
Modified

1196th Night......747 Consecutive

Rick Woolner Memorial

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* Gary McLean wins Rick Woolner Memorial with a 3rd and 1st
* We finish 5th
* Get 2nd Overall in Rick Woolner Memorial with a 2nd and 5th
* 596 gears

Results
3rd in time trials....12:846 old tires
Heat #1.......3rd
Heat #2.......3rd
Feature.......5th

Winnings
TBA

Repairs
rear bumper...prepare for Delaware

Crew
Lloyd.....special help from Tommy Robb, Jaosn and Jacob

Conclusion
Tonight was the 2nd half of the Rick Woolner Memorial. A lot of planning and behind the scenes work goes into making this race a great success. Julia Woolner-Stewart, Ken Berfelz, Gary McLean and all the many sponsors and lap sponsors helped make this 2 race Twin 50 event very successful. Our team was hoping to win it with a strong 2 race feature combination, and our runner up finish on June 13th for the first race was a great help to do just that.

The week leading up to this race was very hectic. I picked up a Late Model for Jason Legge and took it to his shop. Got the RV and took it back to Full Throttle Motor Speedway so Lloyd would have a place to stay for the weekend. I wasn’t sure if I would have any crew because Lloyd wasn’t feeling well and I really haven’t heard from the rest. I know most have been very busy all summer. Lloyd did confirm he was coming and I let him know the RV was his to use.

I also had to make a trip to FTMS during the week to drop off my Late Model. It was also at Jason Legge’s, so I picked it up and took it to the track to be there for the Sunday Late Model finale. That made it possible for me to load the Modified and all the things I needed to head up to Varney early Saturday morning, me and Buttons.

I was in a panic Saturday morning. It was raining in the Hamilton area, looked like Flamboro would get cancelled. I also knew there were 5 divisions going to the races. OSCAAR Modifieds and Midgets, CVM and TQ Midgets and a 100 lap OSS show. There would be a lot of cars in the pits (so I thought) and a lot of racing. So I wanted to get there an hour early so I could get a decent spot to park and work on my Modified.

I set out just after 8am. Buttons and I got breakfast from MacDonald’s and headed north. At around 9:45 am I was in Mount Forest. The gates opened at 11, so I figured I was already late, and pictured cars backed up to the highway. When I arrived I wondered where everyone was. There was no cars in the lineup, not one. I then thought, I hope I didn’t mess up on the track. But I was 100% sure we were at Varney, it was just not seeing any cars that threw me off. Then I reasoned why there wasn’t any cars, because they were already in the pits!! But when I got to the gate, I was first in line and the pit booth wasn’t opened. I checked the time on my phone and on my truck radio and it was just 10am. Wow, I was first here…..all that worry for nothing lol.

The gates opened a little late but still lots of time to so what I had to get done. Lloyd was here now and we got a cement pad, and that was key for us, there are not very many, but enough for all the Mods. It was going to be a crazy day with the OSS, TQ Midgets, Hobbies and Hurricane Midgets along with us, so lots of racing this night.

We moved the Late Model first. I brought it up earlier in the week and put it on a pad, saving it for us. We moved it and unloaded the Modified. We got the regular stuff done, registering 2 tires with Randy, the inventory watchman. Then I went through tech and pulled my starting spot for time trials.

Once ready we went out for a set of hot laps. I did not touch the car from Flamboro for a lot of reasons. No garage to work on the car and no crew. Lloyd lives too far away to help and I don't expect him or anyone else to driver for a few hours to help me. I got most of it done once we arrived at the track.

It didn't take long to see the car was not good at all. The tires were okay, but the push was nuts. After that set, Tommy Robb, his brother Jacob and Jason came to help me. Tommy had asked me earlier in the week if I needed help. They got to work making a few changes to the car knowing it was tight. I called David and he made a suggetion and we tried it and went out again. It was still tight, and not much better. I had to wait too long to get on the gas, or it would push up.

I called David again and this time he talked to Tommy. He gave him some tips how to handle the car and me, Tommy and his team had some of their own ideas as well, they were a big help. When Tommy was done talking to Dave he came to me and said "we got this, just relax, have fun and let us deal with the car". That was amazing because instantly I did just that.

In the final hot lap session the car was very good, much better than either of the other times out, and I was very happy and let the boys know, and called David to let him know.

We were 2nd out for time trials and I made a fundamental judgement error. I thought about putting new tires on the outside but decided against it. My reason was because we were putting them on for the heat race and didn't want to put any more cycles on them than necessary.

Our lap times were okay, 14:8 and we held top spot until Gary McLean came out and really hammered us with a 14:4. That put us 2nd and then Corey Horner turned a 14:6 and put us 3rd where we stayed. There were 16 cars so 3rd was okay. What I didn't realzie was that both Gary and Corey put on new tires and I should have.

We started pole in the first heat race and decided not to run the new tires. I preferred to run them in the 2nd heat because I would be at the back.

The was terrible on the start. I had to let off the gas because of the push coming off turn 4, it was insane. I lost the lead to #39 Shane Stickle. A few laps later Shane got side ways and I went high to go around him but he got back on the gas and I was stuck outside and could not make the turn clean and lost to Shane and Dan. They pulled away a little, I closed up but settled for 3rd.

In the pits I was a little down, thougth I could have won. Tommy said "you needed to really scrub in your tires and you didn't do it enough, make sure for the next race to get the tires hot, it's cool out". Tommy called my son again and David said the same thing about warming up the tires.

In the second heat we started 7th and ran very well, I made sure I scrubbed the tires in and we were able to pull off another 3rd. The 2 combined top 3's gave us 5th on the grid for the 50 lap feature. Gary McLean was top qualifier with two wins. We added fuel, made another adjustment on the tires and were ready to go before any of the other features.

The night was a long one. Only 10 OSS cars and their 100 lap feature took forever to get done. They had over 15 yellow flags in this long hard fought race. The Hobbies only had 9 cars, and most of their race was good but a big delay for a blown engine and then a couple more yellows. The TQ Midgets had a weird occurance. During pre green hot laps one of their went off turn one and flipped down into the pit area. The driver was okay but another long delay. Then the Huuricane Midgets went out and they to had a long red when a car rolled. They had to wait for an ambulance to come. By the time our feature rolled out many fans were either frozen or gone home.

Our race was pretty good, not too many yellows. It was also an incredibly tight hard fought race. I got stuck on the inside as the outside lane went. The car was a little tight in the beginning but not too bad. I fell back to 8th just couldn't get clear of the outside lane.

As laps ran down the car got better and did so quick, by lap 5 we were flying. Our car was awesome after the start. Whatever pre race set up Tommy and the boys did, it was great. I got back up to 6th and then 5th finally moving into 4th at about lap 35.

The yellows started coming after that, we couldn't get 2 laps in and the yellow would come out. Each restart I was on the outside and on one rerstart got tagged and shoved up and then hit again by the #99 AJ Emms, who got by. I also was about to lose 5th when Brian McLean was trying me several times.

Lloyd was very good on the radio and kept me calm. As the race laps ran off we got settled strong in 5th and though I had nothing for AJ I was able to stay with him. Gary McLean took the win with Corey Horner not far behind.
At the end I was happy to grab a top 5 but I must admit that was a very tough and hard fought race. I need more rest before races now, but this year has been hard on me with so much travelling...but God is good and has kept me healthy and strong enough to not lose too much ground in the races.

The 5th place finish put us tied for 2nd with Corey Horner. Three races to go.

Congratualions to the 8 team for winning the Rick Woolner Memorial. We were proud to be crowned runner up for the 2nd year in a row.

Our next race is tomorrow with the Late Model and I will be tired because I am taking the Modified home tonight and then coming back with an empty trailer for Sunday. Lloyd decided he would stay in the camper for this night. Buttons and I left the pits at 12:50am.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2015

Post by Gary » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:38 am

September 13th...........Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Race #27
late Model

1197th Night..........748 Consecutive Nights

Last Night of Points

High Lites
* 9 cars
* We win the feature...our first in the Late Model since 2008
* Our 38th career feature win

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

Winnings
$600

Repairs
none

Crew
Lloyd....John from Durham helped as well

Conclusion
I got home very late Saturday night, or should I say Sunday morning. After my shower it was 3:15 am and I crashed right away. I knew I would have to get up early to get back on the road and back to Full Throttle Motor Speedway. I told Lloyd I would bring him coffee.

After walking Buttons and get her and me breakfast I unloaded the Modfieid and all the tires in the back. I also had to get diesel for the truck. I left home just after 9 for the 2 hour drive to Varney.

I stopped in Mount Forest to get coffees. Lloyd was awake when I got to the track, I gave him his coffee and he appreciated that. It was cold but not too cold. It was a little overcast but not too much, we could see blue skies. I asked David to check the weather for me and he said it wasn't calling for rain.

This was the last points night for Full Throttle Motor Speedway. I just wanted to finish the season here. we couldn't make every race because of our commitment with the Modified, but we were 5th in points and could not lose 5th or catch 4th.

The first thing I had to do was get the chassis right on the car. We pulled it to our pad and I measured the ride height and it was crazy. Over 61/2 " on the left side and 5 1/2 on the inside, if anything reversed but still too high. I decided to do what I use to do on this car back when we raced every night at Flamboro. The ride heights were very important. Lloyd cannot do any strenuous work so I got turning the load bolts, bringing the left side down and raising the right side. It took a while to do. Once I was close Lloyd checked the ride heights letting me know so I could adjust it more to get it close to what it should be.

The bar preload was taken off and we made sure as ride heights were getting closer that the bar was still neutral. Finally I was happy with our work and put on the 10" Hoosier tires. I had 2 from my Modified inventory that were pretty good, and they went on the outside.

I had practiced with the 8" tires and the car was okay but felt slow. Once I put the 10" on, and after turning the load bolts on all 4 corners, the car actually felt pretty good.

In our heat race I decided to go scratch and we finished 4th but not far from the cars in front. I said to Lloyd that the car felt pretty good. A few more changes were made to give us the best car we could get and once it was all done I was happy.

We had a show to do at the Real Burger restaurant in Waterdown for this coming Wednesday and I didn't want to mess up the car for that commitment. There were many cars faster than us, like all year, and I wasn't going to wreck the car for $200 or $300.

We ran twin 20's all year but this was a single 40 lap race. There were 9 cars and I started 9th although another car wanted it as well so I passed him. |

The race was fast and I was tired from the race the night before, but mostly from driving back and forth from Waterdown a few times this week including last night. I was almost exhausted for this race, but I was looking forward to cloing out 2015 on a positive note and maybe be lucky and grab a podium.

With the changes we made after our heat race the car was awesome. It was like years ago when I raced it at Flamboro, steady and sticking. I followed the cars in front for a while not able to go anywhere. I finally got by 8th and was chasing Jeff Cassidy, a feature winner here this year. We were close and on lap 6 I hit him coming off two and spun him out. I backed off knowing I would be going scratch, I didn't have to be told that.

On the restart we barely got into turn one when Tyler Williams got turned and tagged by Jeff. That put Tyler out, and put us 6th for the next restart.

By lap 12 we got into 4 the and ran there for the next 15 laps trying several times to pass #40 Mark Dixon, who finished 2nd in the points. I could get a good run off 2 but he would pull me down the back chute. On about lap 23 there was a yellow that bunched us up again. Cole Weber was leading and Mike March, a Flamboro regular was 2nd.

I couldn't get the jump I needed on the restart and Mark got back into 3rd no problem. I chased him again for the next 10 laps doing the same thing as previous, good off 2 but just not a good enough run to get him going into 3, although a few times it was close.

Finally with about 15 to go I got a good run off turn two and was beside him going into turn three, I got the spot from him and had Pau Milligan right on my tail. We ran like that for the next few laps. The leaders were into a real battle as Cole was doing all he could to keep Mike back.

Going into one on lap 36 Mike got into Cole and got him loose, and went under. But as Cole's car came around he clipped the back of the yellow #52 spinning him off turn two. That mix up had both cars going to the back and put us in first with four laps to go.

I was thinking prior to this that I had a podium finish because the car was good, but I knew I didn't have anything for the leaders and I surely wasn't going to be catching them....but things changed and for the better for us, we were leading and on lap 36.

Paul restarted beside me with Mark and the lead cars that tangled right behind him. I got the lead on the restart and held it for the next 2 laps. Paul made a move to get beside me going into 3 because I was slowing a little trying to make sure I didn't mess up.

Coming off four to take the white we tangled and my car was turning towards the wall, very slight but still getting hit. I got hit on the inside as well but fought to hold on, I wasn't backing off now.

I pulled ahead going down the back chute and was able to beat Paul by a car length at the finish line. Lloyd and I went nuts on the radio's. It was amazing, and unbelievable, did not see that coming at all. I drove around the track waving the checker flag not knowing the left rear tire was flat from the mix up with one to go.

I was very happy regardless. We worked hard on the car when we got to the track and we did have a decent car, but still, winning the first feature in this Late Model in a while was not even considered on this day....but we did it, and what a great incredible feeling.

This was our 38th career feature finish, and our first since 2008 with the Late Model. We won here last year in the Modified, but this was very special. The last feature we won with this car was also 40 laps, celebrating our 40th year in racing....7 years ago....wow.

This was truly a great way to end the season at Varney. I was no longer tired and driving home for 2 hours would be a breeze for me and Lloyd.

The damage to the car was little, so we were good to go for our show commitment on Wednesday.

Congrats to Cole Weber for winning the points. He had a great season winning many features. Had an awesome team of 3 or 4 crew lead by Chuck Lawlor, one of Ontario's toughest competitors back in the 70's and 80's.

Our next Late Model race is at Flamboro and I get to race with David, who is leading the points there and has a few features under his belt this year. I texted those who were following us the past few weeks and let them know how we did. They were all happy and surprised...just like us.

Thank you Lord for a great night!!!

Post Reply