Diary Of A Season 2016

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Mon May 23, 2016 11:19 pm

Sunday May 22nd.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #3

Pro Late Model & OSCAAR Mods

High Lites
* 19 Pro Late Models
* 12 Modifieds
* David wins another feature
* Nick Roth wins feature #2
* We get two top 10's in Pro Late feature...car getting closer
* Modified almost gets a win

Feature #1 LM.........9th
Feature #2 LM.........10th


Pro Late.......$255

Get ready for Full Throttle for Late Model...gears, oil and filter, nut and bolt

Fix push button, fuel issue and routine check for Modified

Lloyd and Louie

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Peaceful and kind of laid back when we arrived at around 11:am when the gates opened. Lloyd Buttons and I got the pit prepared. Louie was in Cambridge taking his grand mother to Church.....I need to get back to Church as soon as I can. I wished they had a place to leave pets. Buttons gets too stressed out if she is alone I get stressed if I think she is.....wow, but it's true.

There wasn't a lot to do on the cars although some basics were needed to get ready for the two 30 lap Late Model races and the 30 lap OSCAAR Mod race. I had thought all night that I needed to change the right rear spring on the Mod to get it to turn better. We found a heavier spring and replaced it.

The Late Model was ready. Then David came over and asked if I wanted him to try the car, and I agreed. He took it out and I timed him. His best lap was a 15:750, not far from my best lap. He didn't hit the chip either.
When he came in he looked a little puzzled and made some quick suggestions right away. The first was the nose of the car. It was too low from the beginning and needed to come up. It wasn't only scrubbing the track, it was tucking under and slowing the car down.
Louie got to the pits in plenty of time to work on raising the valence and repositioning it so it wouldn't hit the track so hard. Other racers were telling us we were hitting the track but we knew and were running out of adjustment.
David also agreed there was something wrong with the gearing. I was running 578 and that should have been more than plenty to get the RPM we needed but it wasn't. We put in 596 and hoped that would give us a little more pull. That selection was higher than we ran at the shorter Sauble Speedway and would add about 200 RPM. David thought there was a problem with either the rear end of transmission. He said it was possible I had an overdrive in the 2 speed. I checked the gear chart in my trailer and the 596 gears with a 411 differential quick change was equivalent to 560 in the 486 differential. Something was off and we didn't know what it was. I changed both my transmission and rear end over the winter, and maybe that was a mistake because the quick change in my car was the same one we ran since 2005 and was a great quick change. I always took care of it and only once had to replace a bent tube.

Pro Late Feature #1
I started at the back of the first feature, but there were two other cars that wanted to go scratch so I was moved to 16th. However once on the track a much faster car went to the back and I pulled off on the back chute and went to the back then. My reason was simple, this car wasn't ready yet to race and I would sooner take my time and get the car right before I try to race with the faster cars. The reason for this is because I was so late starting and late getting my car back, mid April with 3 weeks till opening day and a ton of things to do and fix.....never again.

Anyway I am okay with that, but the reason I am so cautious is because I don't want to wreck it now while in the growing process, it will take a few weeks to get it better. I just hope by then it is a potential top 5 car. It should be.

The first feature went non stop with David taking the lead and going away with the win. We started at the back, 19 cars, and were able to pass a few and make it up to 9th. An accident on the final lap saw Corey Jones get black flagged for rough driving, a wreck that took out #9 Jeff Ruddy and #27 Jeff Albers.

After that race David was offering help to both cars that got wrecked, seeing if they needed parts or any help.
The race was good for our team but we still didn't hit the chip and that was even more puzzling, but the plan was to get through this weekend and call the transmission shop and about the quick change to see what info I can find to solve this problem.

Modified Feature
We qualified 5th in the 12 car OSCAAR Modified field. Yes it was a low car count and surprising not having more cars out.

The start of the feature was good, we ran consistent for the first few laps, no issues with the car. I had opened the stagger a bit because that seems to be one way that works to get our car around the ends. I had replaced the RR spring Sunday morning and that to was an aid for better cornering.

The first caution was with Dean Scott. Not sure what happened to him but he got beat up pretty good and had to be flat bedded off the track.

On the restart I got by #20 George Wilson, the Super Late Model ace who was filling in for Mike Hearty. A battle for the lead developed between Gary McLean and AJ Emms. They were side by side for at least three laps. Gary tried to edge ahead but AJ drove in hard. Soon Gary started squeezing AJ not giving him any room and took him to the apron going down the back chute. I knew something was going to go wrong here if he didn’t clear AJ.

The next lap heading into three, with these two banging, Gary once again tried to force AJ out of the low lane, resulting in AJ running out of a race lane, and worse pavement. AJ hit the grass and slid up into the #8. I’m guessing AJ was upset because he didn’t let up, and neither did Gary.

Coming off four they tangled and Gary ended up with the worst slamming into the wall. AJ somehow avoided getting wrecked, went to the pits and returned.

Meanwhile I would restart outside pole beside Luke Gignac, a rookie to OSCAAR driving for Allen Adams. The #99 had been running very well all race, I didn’t see much hope getting by Luke on the restart. But, I underestimated myself. On the restart we raced hard into one and I decided not to go in so deep and let the car set, instead of driving in hard. Once in the middle of the turn the car transitioned awesome from the middle off. Luke got a little loose and that gave me a few feet gain on him. He was still beside me going into three but I stayed up leaving him lots of room and took the lead coming off four. It was a great run for us, the restart that is, and we would hold the lead until lap 24, until the car died coming off four to see the hand from the starting indicating 5 laps to go.

I headed to the pits after the yellow came out for an incident on the back chute. A car spun but it was only a single car deal. David and my crew asked me what happened. I told them where to look, the shut off valve on the back of the Mod, located in the open area in the back. Somehow it got hit or moved prior to us going on the track. Maybe cleaning the car or some other way, but not only was it moved but the handle was missing for the shut off. On Friday Lloyd noted the handle was loose. I was so busy getting other things done on our list I didn’t spend enough time getting it fixed properly.

Lloyd took a pair of vice grips and turned the valve, but only 1/16th of an inch David said and I returned to the track. But as soon as I got on the track the car was starving for fuel. The valve was turned the wrong way, an easy mistake. I coasted to the pits and had to be pushed back to our spot.

We missed the rest of the race but did luck out getting 7th because a few cars got beat up and a few others had trouble.

Once the night was over we adjusted the valve and I asked John Casale if I could make 2 laps to see if it was fixed. He said yes, it was okay but I knew I needed to replace that part and then do a proper test in case it was more than one problem.

It was very disappointing, feature wins don’t come easy for our team, and when one is there to take it’s not good to give it away. But we learned and we will hopefully get a chance to get an OSCAAR Modified win this year.

Pro Late Model Feature #2
There were 19 cars in this field as. A good sign for sure, but some were testing for the APC Pro Late race on June 4th. They had new tires while the regulars were on the one tire per night rule. Flamboro Pro Late Models were allowed to enter 6 tires into their inventory on May 7th. We could buy one for this race, meaning some could have 3 new tires, but first time cars had 4.

The normal format is draw for race #1 with the second feature being a reverse of the first. Teams with new tires had an advantage for sure, but no one put up too much of a protest although it wasn’t exactly fair.

Speaking of fair, we were fair to everyone because I decided to run our same tires from opening day that already had 8 heat cycles and 180 laps on them by the start of the second 30 lap feature. I wasn’t putting new tires on until I got all the bugs out of the car. It was getting closer but still not there yet.

My biggest concern was gearing. We were running a 596 final, most others were in the 560 range. The only thing that could have changed from last year was the quick change I installed so I could go wide 5. We are fairly certain the quick change has a 411 assembly and if so, that would explain why we’re not hitting the chip…..and yes I get 180 lap tires wouldn’t help either.

I started last again just to keep the car out of competition until it’s ready for battle. We ran a clean race and had no incidents. A few cars dropped out while others struggled.

Nick Roth was the winner of this race and I am happy for him considering he wrecked bad on May 7th.
We finished 10th in the non-stop green to checker main event, and no damage.

David finished 5th running strong as usual. Our next race in the Late Model is June 11th but I will be racing the Modified at Full Throttle Speedway. Jay Linde will fill in for me. He is a rookie and we’ll get him out for practice a few times before June 11th.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun May 29, 2016 4:31 pm

May 28th....................Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Race #4

757 Consecutive

High Lites
* 9 cars
* Mark Dixon wins first feature
* Cole Weber wins second feature
* Good crowd
* 648 final not hitting the chip....need to figure out our quick change

First Feature.......6th
Second Feature....3rd :D


routine.....no issues

Lloyd, Paul, Billi and Paul

Our team headed to Full Throttle Motor Speedway on Saturday night for our 4th race night of 2016. It was our first and only Late Model trip to Varney, but we will be there two more times in the OSCAAR Modified.

I posted our 2016 schedule this week. The dates were already planned much earlier but I had been very busy trying to get things done on the cars, trailer, race reports etc. I am getting closer to being organized and not so chaotic. Things should be much better in 2017 because we will start that program in October.

It sure was a hot night. Lloyd, Billi, Paul, Louie and Buttons made up our pit crew. The car was basically ready. They run Hoosier tires only. I had some left over from our last Modified race at Autumn Colors. They were still in good condition.

Our goal was to stay out of trouble because there are still a few issues with the car that need to be fixed, namely the transmission or quick change ratio problem. I thought I had a 486 quick change but we are not hitting the chip accept in low gear.

We ran a 648 final and did not hit the chip, we ran 633 last year. Over the winter we changed the rear end, going to a wide 5 set up. I never dreamed we would have an issue with the diff but something is wrong, or we have a 411 ratio in the rear-end and nothing is wrong, we simply need more gear. I will be trying that at Flamboro next time out, going from 596 to 613 to see if I can get the extra RPM’s I need.

The only changes we made prior to practice was raising the chassis evenly on the front, so we wouldn’t bottom out. Once on the track I found the car to be loose off, to the point that on our 2nd session we spun out.

David offered some help from his home in Grimsby and I did that for the first 20 lap feature. Reducing the rear stagger from 4 to 3 ½ and moving the RR trailing arm down at the front was his suggestion and I did both of those.

There were only 9 cars, about the same as last year. Gord is running against every other Late Model track, so getting cars to come out will be tough, although some of the cars coming out would not fit any LM rule in Ontario and be obsolete, so giving them a place to play is okay with me. The good news was his For Fun class had good car count and the crowd was very good. The rules seem fair as well, but since we were not planning on running more than once with the LM the tech people gave us some grace with our weight.

The first feature had 2 cautions both with the same car, #3. He spun out twice, breaking something the second time. He was towed off. Mark Dixon took the first feature. We finished 6th, somewhat just staying out of the way.

Our car was better but still a little loose so we added a turn and a half on the front sway bar.

The second feature had 8 cars, the #3 was finished for the night. I started 6th but soon realized I couldn’t keep up with the cars. There were a few issues, nothing too serious, but gearing was the main one, but my seating is awful, cannot get comfortable in that seat. We tried padding it but I found myself almost off the seat, it wasn’t fun, so this week I get some padding.

We ran around 5th most of the race and would have finished there had the leaders not tangled on the white flag lap.

That moved us to 3rd. Cole Weber won, also because of the wreck, and Mark Dixon took runner up.
The car was okay, not loose off, much better. I was sore and felt as though I was falling out of my seat.

We came to race and did the best we could. The car is not competitive yet but we are getting there.

Thanks to my crew for working in the heat like they did. Also to the staff for being so friendly and Katie MacDonald for supplying us photo’s of the race.

I would also like to thank their on track announcer Dave, for making me feel very welcomed and pumping up our team.

Our next race is this coming Friday, June 3rd at Delaware. I hope we get a few more cars, and our Modified is a contender.

Thanks for visiting our site, hope to see you at the races.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:15 pm

June 3rd..................Delaware Speedway

Race #5

Race #2 for OSCAAR Mods

758 Consecutive

High Lites
* 17 cars
* #4 wins (name soon)
* We have tough night
* Special thanks Don Yorke
* 486 not enough...510 too much (better handling 486 is the one)



Center link, driveshaft, routine

Lloyd, Billi, Louie and Don

We arrived at Delaware at just before 4:30, trying to be their when the gates were going to be opened as posted on the web site. To our surprise there were no cars lined up, meaning the races were either cancelled, or all the cars were inside…..but us. We soon saw the pits were quite full and when I asked about the web message Bill told me it was a mistake. It didn’t really hurt us very much, but when you’re late you don’t get as good a parking spot, although we did get a good spot so things worked out for me, Billi, Lloyd and Louie.

Once unloaded I checked to see when tech would be open for the Mods and when I found out I got our team to push our car to tech, and guess what….we were first through tech.

Soon Don Yorke arrived. He races Delaware regularly and offered to help us during the week and I gladly accepted his offer. He arrived after tech and found it refreshing for our team to be ready and organized.

We made one set of hot laps and the car seemed okay, not far off but I wasn’t hitting the chip, a sign to show you are geared properly. There are a few reasons for not hitting the chip, wrong gearing being one, the others a lost driver and or a poor handling car. I wasn’t really lost, although I will admit the past few times here in the Mod were not very good. I think the reason for that is that I left the same set up as I did for Flamboro and that may have been part of the problem.

We usually run double heats, but because we were running with ISMA, time was an issue and so only one heat would be run this night.

We started 5th and once in a pack with a few cars I soon realized I was not comfortable at all going into turn 3 and 4. The car was unstable, not settling down. It would get loose when I got on the gas and with that problem I pulled high and let everyone go by because I was afraid of spinning and getting hit.

After the race Don and I discussed the car issues and we changed the gears going from 486 to 504. The reason we were changing gears was because the car was slow off the corners, though we knew the reason was because we were not set up right in the middle of 3 and 4. The car was too loose.

Don wanted to add more wedge and take out some stagger, both good ideas, and both the right idea. I wasn’t feeling good about the car and lost my drive to push the issue. I should have said yes to both, but we did decrease the rear stagger. Our wedge on their scales was 50.7, at home 52.5. It was low no doubt but we would start the feature with those few changes.
...........the rest of the story soon......

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:05 pm

June 11th ...................Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Rained Out

Went to Flamboro to spot for Jay Linde who was driving my LM while I was racing at FTMS. I asked Jay to fill in for me to keep us in the points race and he did a fine job finishing 13th of 16 cars.
The track lost hydro when a transformer next door blew out forcing John Casale to cancel the rest of the races.
The second feature from tonight will be completed on June 25th.

Jay will drive in the postponed race, and I will drive the other 2 features later that night.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:08 am

June 18th..............Flamboro Speedway

Race #6


High Lites
* 16 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* We get pushed around
* We get first win of the season with heat race

1st Heat..............1st
2nd Heat.............4th
Feature...............6th....#14 failed tech with unregistered tire


check front end, toe, maintenance

Lloyd, Louie, Jim and Sandra came out to watch and help

After a disappointing run at Delaware, ending in a DNF, we hoped to change that at Flamboro on June 18th.
We not only wanted to run well, but also break the streak of 2 DNF’s in as many nights. The last time at Flamboro, it looked like we would win our first feature with our Mod in the OSCAAR series. We took the lead on lap 15 of the 30 lap feature and built up a good lead. Coming off turn four with five laps to go the car quit, no fuel. Somehow when cleaning the car we knocked the shut off valve to the closed position. It wasn’t totally closed, but the lever slowly turned till there was not enough fuel to keep the engine running at full speed. It’s too bad for our team because winning a feature does not come easy, that may have been our only shot at winning in 2016, but we won’t stop trying.
We are not the fastest Modified, but if the cards fall in place we could take a win before the season ends. In order to do that all things have to be in place, the right set up, good prep, not forgetting anything like stagger, the right tires, the right amount of gas, not too much to leak or too little to be under weight. The driver can’t get too excited on the track, but stay calm while battling with the best. Also, a dose of good luck wouldn’t hurt. One lesson is, we can’t take ourselves out for any reason.
This was race #3 and our second of five scheduled for Flamboro Speedway. 2016 has been our worst start in three years with OSCAAR Modifieds, we hoped to turn that around tonight, and though it wasn’t quite what we hoped for, it was a good run for our team.
At sign in, I pulled #1 meaning we would be starting pole in the first heat race.
We made 2 sets of hot laps. The car was on a rail, very good in the corners. After that practice session I was reluctant to go out again but decided to do a break in cycle on a new RR tire. Our tires had 9 cycles on them after the first set of hot laps. We put on a new RR and added fuel. After only 4 laps, I was black flagged. None of our team knew why. I suspected fuel but no one seen any leaking and there was no smoking. I saw the starter looking keenly at my car the lap before he waved the black flag.
Six good laps are proper for a new American Racer. The new RR only got up to 28 PSI, not enough to grow it the way we preferred, but there was nothing we could do. We decided to start the heat with the new tire on the RR, but I almost went back to the old tire for one more race because the car was so good in the first set of hot laps.
There were 16 cars, a decent turn out of Mods, most of them fairly quick. The format would be double heats. Starting pole means nothing. I’ve started pole lots of times and an array of issues showed up to prevent us from winning heat or feature races.
We started beside AJ Emms, who won the season opener at Flamboro and followed that up with a 5th in the feature at Delaware. Coming off four to take the green I made a fundamental error. I didn’t shift into 3rd and when we accelerated all I could hear was the popping from hitting the chip. At first I thought something let go and pulled to the apron on the front chute, feeling the bangs from getting hit from behind. I felt so stupid and went to the back. My Late Model has a 2 speed, last year it was a 4 speed. The Modified is a 3 speed, always has been but I messed up. To my surprise I was given my spot back, and though I knew I didn’t deserve it I accepted the grace and followed that with making sure I was in 3rd gear.
On this start AJ and I ran side by side for a lap. I was able to get him coming off turn two on lap two and slowly gained a few car lengths.
By lap 5 of the 10 lap heat Gary McLean was a car length behind. My spotter was dealing with an aggressive but clean McLean as I heard at the end of each straight “looking inside…..clear”. That is nerve wracking to be honest. But coming off two and four I heard “you’re pulling him a car length….then….looking inside”. I sensed by the spotting that I was going to get spun out and I almost pulled high to let Gary go. But being at my home track and needing a win so bad I just drove harder into the turns. The problem with leading a race, in my case, is knowing how deep to go into the turns. It’s easy to drive hard when you’re following cars, but a little different deal when you’re leading……at least for me it is.
The constant message of “looking inside” was frustrating. I wondered, why is not getting me coming off the turns. When the white came out I had to make sure not to blow this opportunity so I did two things. First I made sure I hugged turn two coming off so Gary could not get inside. Then I stayed in the middle of the track hoping he would go outside and he did. Now I knew I had the win because no way he was going to go in hard on the outside and get me coming off four. It worked and with Gary at my rear bumper passenger side we picked up our first win.
In the pits I wasn’t as happy as perhaps I should have been. I knew or felt pretty sure if that was a 25 lap feature or 30 lap, he would have got by. Jim wanted to know why I wasn’t happy. I told him I don’t know if I deserved it. He said “you’re nuts, of course you did”. I said “well all I heard is that he was looking inside, so I must have been blocking him”. Jim then explained. “no you weren’t blocking him at all. He dove to the inside every lap because you slowed up a little early, but all he could do was go down to the apron, he could not get you so he backed out and fell in behind. He can do that all day as long as you hold your line and you did”. Once Jim explained it I felt better.

In the second heat we started 6th and finished 4th. The front cars went nuts on lap 2, bouncing off each other and the wall so I checked up thinking the yellow was coming out. By doing that I fell way back because there was no yellow. I followed Brian McLean and gained 2 spots finishing 4th.

After that race we went up to watch heat #4. During that race Jim pointed out to me that Gary was doing the same thing with the 79 car he was with me. Diving down to go into the turn but backing out. I said “he has no place to go, but he’s making it look good”. Jim said “that’s what he was doing with you”. So not only did I picture it in my head after explained to me at the end of the first heat, but seeing it in the 4th heat showed me even better. I said “well shouldn’t you tell me that I am strong, and not worry me with “looking inside”? Jim said “some drivers dive in and hit the side of your car, Gary doesn’t do that, so maybe we just tell you your clear, or drive in harder”.

We started 3rd in the feature. We were supposed to start 4th but Dave Balych had to pull out due to a broken rack and pinion from a wreck in the heat. Lloyd went to the tech garage and pulled one of 8 numbers and did awesome getting #4.

I was pumped to start the feature but made an error by letting the RF tire start the race. It was good depth wise but had 12 cycles and was not a good tire. But, it wouldn’t be the tire that would cause me grief.
Going into three on the first lap I got hammered when the front two cars hit each other. The whack sent me to the infield and we lost 5 spots or more. Heading down the front chute Cory Horner #79 went high and out of control into one. He slowed up and looked like he was going to head off the track. Between one and two I stayed low and suddenly Cory started to turn down just past the gate as he was spinning out. I checked up slightly thinking he was coming down and tried to turn as low as I could coming off turn two. As I did, the other #79 of John Harper nailed me hard sending me flying off the track to the infield. As I was sliding off, cars were piling into Cory as he sit in the middle of the track in turn 2.
It took a while for the mess to get cleaned up, and when we were ready to go, we were 10th. It was frustrating because I thought we might get a top 3 given our starting spot…..’the morrow of that thought’….”don’t plan too far ahead”.
As the race wound down we were running 8th. On a restart I went high into turn three gaining ground on #88 Ryan Dick, but Shane Stickle drove in very hard in the low lane and pushed up into my right rear bumper turning our car sideways and into Ryan’s side bar. We were banged straight and got slowed up enough not spinning out. Shane and 2 other cars got tangled because when he hit me he got loose and collected cars behind him.
When the yellow came out I knew we were in trouble because our steering wheel was off center, meaning the alignment was out.

I was non competitive after that but did hold on to 7th giving us a decent night in spite of being pin balled a few times.

Congrats to Gary McLean for his win, the first of 2016. The consistent moved us to 3rd in points. I hope we can have a real good run on July 1st for the next OSCAAR Modified race. We are 3rd in points now and want to stay there as the top 8 in points go in the chase. The final 4 nights will eliminate 1, then 2 and 2 more, leaving 3 to start the feature at Autumn Colors. The highest finish of those 3 will determine the points Champion for 2016.

Special thanks to my crew, Jim, Lloyd, Louie and Sandra for their effort tonight.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:09 am

June 25th.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #7

Streak.....760 consecutive

High Lites
*17 cars
*Kevin Albers wins 1st feature
*David Elliott wins 2nd feature
* Matt Lockwood wins June 11th 2nd feature
* Jay Linde finished 10th in June 11th feature, takes 9th this time
* We get through 3 features and no damage
* Car was decent in the 2nd feature with 2 new tires
* 648 final, hitting chip

1st Feature..........7th
2nd Feature.........6th


none...get ready for Nova Scotia

Lloyd, Louie, Billi and Sandra

We got to the track in plenty of time for Jay Linde to get hot laps for his feature race, the postponed feature from June 11th. Jay was so pumped. He couldn't wait to get in the car again, he is getting hooked on racing.
I decided not to go out because I really wasn't going to be pushing the car. My goal was to get through this night, send the car to Brian MacDonald to set up for our Nova Scotia race and a few other things he was going to be doing.
I told Jay, just take it easy, we don't want any damage, there is no time to get it fixed. Jay was good with that, plus he could still get seat time and he wasn't going to be driving slow, I just wanted him to listen to me on the head set and do what I say when cars were coming, and when to attempt to pass certain cars.

Jay drove his race very well, in fact he passed both Linda Dean and Al Bowman, although passing Al was a scary experience. Al is a great guy and means well and I love to see him racing. I'm not sure if he has a spotter but if he does he needs to listen better. He races hard down the inside of the track and barely lets up on the throttle. He can't make that the turns without skating out into the upper lanes and when that happens he gets messed up with other cars.
Usually when the leaders are coming he gets on the apron and stays there until they pass, but the rest he charges in too fast and quite often makes contact. I asked Jay to stay behind Al because of how he was driving, and while following Jay saw Al get into #11 Dave Osborne. That mix up put Al behind Jay. With Al right on Jay's bumper for the restart I said to let him go, and follow, because I was worried Al would drive into the back of him.

Jay did a good job, and even though he spun out on his own coming off four trying to hold the car down there was no damage and he had fun. He finished 9th and looked pretty good considering that was only his second time racing a car.

In my first feature I went out with the same set up and tires. The tires on the car were done. They had over 15 cycles and 300 laps. I didn't care because my plan was to finish away from trouble. I was surprised that finally during the race I was hitting the chip on both straightaways. We have a 411 center section and it took a while to figure out the gearing but we got it now.

I was running 7th in the final 5 laps and Lloyd was letting me know that #61 was right on my tail. He would look inside going in but I would pull him off each corner. When the white flag came out Lloyd said "good race man". But the race wasn't over and I had no idea where the 61 was, so I drove the same line only to get hit and spun out, I asked Lloyd why he didn't say 61 was inside, but I remembered, he thought the race was over, so I told him "30 laps Lloyd, not 29". It was good because we didn't get any damage.

Jay and his friends came over and were pumped. They loved that the car finished 7th and looked competitive. I was kind of happy myself because I hadn't been competitive in a Late Model since my first year at Sunset, 2012.

I decided to remove the 2 outside tires, that now had over 350 laps and put on 2 new. The reason was because the car was pushing coming off the corner and I knew it was tires. They were wore out and hard and dangerous.

In my second feature I was very competitive running with the pack for most of the race. David was leading and I was following Matt Lockwood. At the end David took his 3rd win and we crossed in 6th place, a very good run considering 2 of our tires were not getting close to 400 laps on them and 20 18 to 20 cycles.

Congrats to the winners. Nick Roth, Matt Lockwood and David.

Our next Late Model race will be in Nova Scotia for the IWK 250. I will give a story on that race soon.
Special thanks to my crew and to Jay and his friends for making this a fun and safe weekend. Now the car goes to Brian MacDonald for a maritime set up.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:07 am

July 1st.................Sauble Speedway

Race #8

Streak 761

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Rick Schurr suffers a heart attack....feature cancelled
* Rick gets excellent God driven support from paramedic Stephanie and others
* Jay Thom pays full purse....awesome promoter!!!

Heat #1.........4th
Heat #2.........2nd
Feature.........cancelled (all cars get equal pay and points for feature)



Lloyd and Louie

Our team was looking forward to an exciting racing weekend at Sauble. I love 2 day races at the same track, especially when there are 2 full purses. The Friday race was an OSCAAR point series event, and the Sunday race was the Rick Woolner Memorial.

Lloyd and I made it in plenty of time. After tech, we made one set of hot laps. The car was good, making one enough. It was also very hot, and though the American Racer is a much more durable tire, not soft, I still don’t like to over practice.

In our first heat we started last. There were 16 cars. Our car was fast but, so are many of the Modifieds. We got into 4th and I thought for sure we could catch second. I was chasing the tough hard charging Chris Milwain #21. I got under Chris going into one. He stayed high so I thought for a second he was letting me go, but suddenly he dove down right in front of me and I caught his left rear tire with my right front. I had jammed on the brakes but I could not avoid him. Chris spun around, but everyone avoided him including me.

I felt bad for hitting him but it clearly wasn’t my fault, I was well inside and his spotter should have told him.

I stayed in 3rd but was motioned to the back by the corner. I was really upset and drove over to try and explain but they ignored my plea and sent me to the back. There is no way I should have been sent to the back. If I drove into him because I drove in too deep, then yes, but he come down on me, I could not avoid hitting him, and I felt bad, but now I felt like I got the wrong end of justice.

On the restart I pushed hard and did get back up to 4th.

Between the heats we checked the car over and found the toe out a little and reset it.

Meanwhile Rick was working on his car and I asked him how he was doing and he said his car had a little push. I asked about his rear stagger and he told me and made an adjustment. I told him to take his spot and drive as hard as he could.

It was such a hot humid day and none of us were moving too quickly.

In the second heat I started outside pole beside Gary McLean. I knew we were fast, but it is nearly impossible for anyone to out handle his car. His hot rod is always perfect, although after winning a race Gary will say his car wasn’t very good, but some of that is BS, although there are many cars in our series that do not handle so good. That didn’t include us, and I wanted nothing more than to beat him or at least stay on his back bumper.

Well the usual happened. Gary got the lead and I did get into second. He pulled ahead by about a car length and a half, but no more and that distance maintained the full race. There wasn’t much wrong with our car, maybe I could have loosened it up a bit, but overall it was good, and 3rd was 10 car lengths behind us.

We prepared the car for the feature, we were to start 5th.

Never Seen This Before In 48 Years
We went on the track and went through the ritual of heating up our tires. I liked where I was starting, on the inside. We went around a few times and just about when we were ready to double up, I saw Rick Shurr backed into the wall half way from turn four to the starters stand. I couldn’t imagine why, so I asked Lloyd what was going on. I asked if he seen what happened.

Suddenly the red flag came out. I couldn’t understand that either because the car didn’t look damaged. Lloyd said he didn’t know, only that Rick went across the infield between 3 and 4 and then spun out, backing into the wall. I said that is possible because the infield was wet from rain earlier in the day and he would spin out if he wasn’t careful coming off the grass onto the pavement.
But it was much worse than that.

Lloyd, in a worried voice informed me that something was going on around Rick’s car. The track officials knew right away there was something wrong and summoned the ambulance. Rick had no pulse; he was immediately removed from his race car, then paramedic Stephanie took over, giving him chest compression CPR.
I couldn't see from the back chute where I stopped when the red came out, but asked Lloyd if we could pray. We did, and then I continued to pray, in tears nonstop. I can't remember praying with such urgency and requesting that God spare Rick's life. That plea went on until all cars were told to leave the track, the show had been cancelled.

Meanwhile, Stephanie never quit working on Rick. She continued her quest of not letting him go, even though he was without pulse a few times, dying on the track, while they worked on him. I was glad we weren't racing, I was too upset, my eyes were blood shot. Once in the pits my crew were gracious, seeing I was upset they comforted me and I ran to the track. That's when Stephanie came to me and said "he's going to be okay, he's breathing on his own". She was incredibly strong, but looked like she had been through a battle, and certainly she was, to save his life.
Rick was rushed to the hospital in Wiarton and was accompanied by his crew friend Doug.

This night we were blessed to have God's intervention, the Holy Spirit, Angels, and some of God's children rescue a dying man who would know the presence of God, and along with the rest of us, witness a miracle.

As of today, Rick is resting and recovering at the University Hospital in London with his wife Susan by his side. He had quadruple bypass. Rick has made it through, thank you Lord. Now it’s time for healing and full restoration. God will do that to.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:16 am

July 3rd...............Sauble Speedway

Race #9

Rick Woolner Memorial 50 Laps

Rick Schurr on the Mend...Thank you Lord

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* No practice for us
* We run on used American Racers
* we get 5th with beat up front end
* Great pay day
* We win Best Appearing Car though fan vote

Time Trials....7th

$150 for Best Appearing Car

front end, tie rod, rim, toe, etc.


On Saturday night we had our car on display in the front grand stands. We did that to promote the Rick Woolner Memorial on Sunday, this day.

When we unloaded we noticed the left front bracket holding the strut rod, where the clevise connects was bent back. I knew that would have to be welded before we could get out for practice. We also had to go through tech as well.

Tech was first out and it took forever to get through tech, only one fellow at first doing all the cars in all the classes. This wasn’t an OSCAAR event so the track did the tech inspection.

Once through tech we immediately got ready to weld a bracket on the strut mount. I hadn’t welded for years, but everyone who could have done it was too busy, although I never asked anyone, I could see they were.

Lloyd and I got it done but by the time we were through tech and through welding, practice was over, with time trials up next.

Most teams had new tires. I couldn’t see spending that much money, even though it was a good purse race. The organizers do a lot to make this a very special and memorial event remembering Rick Woolner and treating the drivers to a once in a season decent pay day.|

Time trials weren’t good for us. With no hot laps in these used tires I was starting cold, where most teams had at least one or 2 sets of hot laps. We qualified 7th right in the middle of the pack.

The feature was the last race out. After time trials we waited 3 or more hours.

While we waited the event held the Best Appearing Car fan vote. Rick Woolner’s daughter selected 3 cars to go on the track. We were one, as was Brian McLean and AJ Emms. After voting was done, by cheers, Brian and I remained. It was close with lots of yelling for Brian, but we had a notice larger response and ended up winning the award and $150.

The grid was set for the feature and Lloyd was on his spotters stand. Louie couldn’t make this race because of the commitments, although he thought the feature would go out sooner than it did, but we had no idea when it was going out.

I was pumped for this race, although I knew we would struggle a little with older tires. All I was told by Grisdale Enterprises, was the tires had 50 laps on them, but that could be 3 or 4 cycles. Anyway they were good, and the price was right….$300.

On the green flag we stayed close. The pack was tight up front and we were right with them. Going into 3 there was a huge check up and I got into Brian McLean then careened off him into the low lane where I got run over by the #09 driven by Andy Jakowski. Andy had nowhere to go, I felt bad, but I to had nowhere to go and got pin balled.

The result was a big pile up. I rushed to pits but the prognosis was not good. The front end was bent up, tie rod, and upper control arm, plus the toe was way out. I decided to go back out, these tires were not inventory so if they were damaged by racing them it didn’t matter.

The car was actually competitive in traffic and we moved from the back to 5th at the checker.

Gary McLean won the race, congrats to him and his team.

Our next race is July 9th at Flamboro in the Modified and then we’re off to Nova Scotia early Monday morning after our Going Home Tour event on Sunday July 10th.

Thanks for supporting us and visiting our web site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:22 am

July 9th..................Flamboro Speedway

Happy Birthday Shirley

Race #10

High Lites
* 14 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* We get top 5
* Huge wreck on start of feature

last Chance...4th


none, maintenance prepare for Delaware

Lloyd, Billi, Abby....Buttons

We got to the track early, mostly because I live less than 5 minutes away. I wanted so bad to have a good night.
Our car was very good in hot laps. I was looking forward to this night, plus it was exciting knowing that tomorrow we have our Going Home Tour event.

All the preparations are in place for the Nova Scotia trip. The food, door prizes, t-shirts to sell etc are all ready to go.

Ron Easton took my car this week and set it up for me. I had to go to Meaford to get the Late Model. It was ready, fixed by Brian MacDonald. Being so busy with our event and preparations for Nova Scotia, having Ron fix the car was awesome. There was some damage from the wreck in the Rick Woolner Memorial. Ron fixed that as well as some body damage. I would have been exhausted, though I am very tired, if I had to get the Mod ready as well.

In our first heat we started mid pack. I ran close to the 3rd and 4th and tried to get under #21 Chris Milwain. As I got under between one and two he chopped my coming off turn two forcing me to the grass. Chris doesn't run mirrors and does not have a spotter. I ended up 5th but was upset for getting chopped and Chris know at the end of the race with a tap on the front chute.

We made little change for the second heat race. I started 2nd but could not get by #79 Cory Horner. While chasing him down the back chute I felt a hit by Gary McLean who was outside. He was at my back wheel. I didn't have enough to get Cory but I stayed with him. Coming off four felt some serious rubbing by Gary again only this time I was getting turned towards the front chute wall. I've ran this track a thousand times more than him and know I wasn't crowding him. Coming off two he hit me again and then spun me out coming off four the next lap.

We both went to the back but he stayed there and didn't try to pass me again.

In the feature we were ready. We started 8th. On the first lap coming off turn four John Harper and Chris Milwain tangled. The resulting crash sent John hard into the cement wall then into #47 Brian McLean. The red was out but good news came with all drivers okay.

The rest of the feature was without incident. I caught Cory Horner but could only run with him. We ended up 5th with no damage and that was good because the car was going to be on display for our event, and I preferred to go to Nova Scotia knowing the Modified didn't need any work.

That put us 4th in points for the Chase.

Special thanks to my crew, Lloyd, Billi, Abby and Buttons :?

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:47 pm

July 16th.....................Riverside International Speedway

Race #11

764th consecutive start

High Lites
* 12,000 fans........unreal
* 35 cars
* Donald Chisholm wins
* 250 lap feature
* We have fun day....great week away

Last Chance..7th
Feature.......27th :D


fix no start, routine maintenance...

Lloyd, Billi, Doug, Kathy, Abby and Buttons

Got to say first off that it was a very busy week, and the most exciting race I have ever been in. Here is the story leading to my team and I heading to Nova Scotia for the IWK 250.

The seed was planted by Joe Chisholm from Race Time Radio back in late December. Joe suggested I should go to the Riverside International Speedway event in July because it would be the race of a life time. I had reservations that my car wouldn't be good enough, and I didn't want to drive there and not qualify, but Joe assured me I would be able to qualify. I said to Joe I needed to know for sure if I would be off that weekend with both the Late Model and Modified.

I had a list of things that had to be put in place before I would consider going. Schedule, budget, engine, having the car to go and help down there, and driving there and back.

I decided to call Donald Chisholm, full time competitor with the Maritime Pro Stock Tour, and owner of Riverside, to get some info on the cars. He was very helpful. I then called my cousin Bill Elliott, a well known professional musician in that part of Canada, and Bill was excited to help anyway him and Natalie could, saying first off that we could stay at his place.

The IWK 250 was scheduled for July 16th. I checked my schedule and found that OSCAAR was off that weekend, but racing the week before and after. The Late Model would race June 25th and be off until July 23rd. I could go, and now I could check further what I would need to make it happen.

I called Brian MacDonald to ask him if he would set up the car and he said yes, giving me a price of $400 plus parts and any extra labor. Brian asked me if I had an engine and I said yes, a new 604, but I was waiting for sponsor money to get it. I made a budget, the first draft about $8000.

The trip would include shows, I reasoned that we could take our car to some Quaker State customers while there.
Quaker State offered me $2000 more to help with the trip.

I called Ken Cunning, one of the directors of the MPST series to find out about my engine. I told him my son David won the Championship at Flamboro Speedway and won a new 604 that I was buying. Ken said the 604 had to be sealed before it could be raced. I told him about our series in Ontario, the APC Tour asking him if he heard of it. He said he did, but wasn't sure that it would be okay for me to have them seal it. I asked where they sealed their series Crate engines and he gave me the name of the place and the man in charge of sealing Crates. Later I called Luke Ramsay, head of the APC Tour, and he thought there should be no reason they couldn't seal the engines,
Things looked feasible so I added it to my schedule and went on Race Time Radio in late January of officially say I would be going down.

In mid February a good friend of mine, Mikey Larkin wanted to move his family to New Brunswick . He asked if I would be able to move him. After some planning and negotiating I agreed to move him and his family.

I thought it might be good for me to take my engine down with me and get it sealed by the MPST series while I was there. I told Ken about the APC Late Model series and the fact they have a Crate seal program as well. After talking to Ken he said I shouldn't have to bring my engine, it would be a lot of work, but I said I was coming anyhow. He asked me who sealed the engines in Ontario and I said Bennett GMC. I gave Ken the phone number of Shawn Turner who looks after sealing engines for the APC tour. He said he would get back to me.

The weather in February was amazing, very warm for one of the notorious coldest months of the year. The moving date was set for Tuesday night Feb 28th, right after my Dart league game and I had to be back by Monday to play in the Monday night Dart league. I didn't want to let my Dart teams down......it was agreed. We would leave right after Darts, about 10:30 at night, and drive straight through, likely 19 hours. I would drop Mikey, his family and the trailer off at his new place, about one mile from Petty Speedway. The trailer got a safety at Oakville Trailer and the truck was good except for a slight coolant leak. The truck also had over $3500 spent to get it in good condition.

The week before we were to leave for NB, I talked to my cousin Bill who offered to let me stay at his place in Nova Scotia. He would take me around to many maritime truck businesses for potential sponsors for the race. I made up 10 proposals to hand out while I was there.

A few days before we left I got a call from Ken Cunning who let me know that Bennett's could seal the engine and they would send the MPST pictures of the engine seals with the numbers of the seals. That was perfect, now I didn't have to take the engine down. Things were in place and looking pretty good, although I had to raise about $6000 and move Mikey and his family east. I knew it would be tiring, not going down, but coming back because it would be just me and Buttons.
The Night Of The Move.....are you kidding????

....more soon.....you had to know the biggest race of my life was going to be a long story :mrgreen:
Going Home Tour continued

March was very tough on me, my Late Model wasn't ready yet and Glenn had it for a month. I was worried about getting it ready for opening day, and the Modified. I had a lot on my plate, like all the planning to get to Nova Scotia, both cars not ready, and now going to take my friend and his family to New Brunswick.

He agreed to pay my fuel there and back and one night in a hotel. I knew it was going to be tough on me, because I wanted to get back home the following Monday.

I wanted to take advantage of this trip, so I was pumped in a way because my cousin Bill had a list of companies we could see for potential sponsorships. I made up 7 or 8 proposals, some for specific companies, others generic.

Things looked great, the weekend was in the 50's, +12, but the forecast showed a big storm, the worst one of this very mild winter, scheduled to hit the day we planned to leave. I talked to Mike telling him we might need to leave the next day. The only other option was leaving sooner, but I didn't want to let my Dart team down, the Wolf Pack needed me and I was committed to them.

The Tuesday we were planning to leave was beautiful, all day. I wondered if the storm would pass us, or be like so many others in the past where the talk of 30 cm, or 10" of snow wouldn't materialize. We were ready to go by 4pm and all we were waiting for was my Dart game to be over.

By 5pm the snow started to come, light blowing snow. It was melting because it was warm, now around 40F, but the temperature was dropping as well. At 6pm there was 4" on the ground, and my Dart team captain sent out a text saying the game was cancelled. With that news, I knew we could leave anytime, but that wasn't going to happen because the traffic would be crawling, so we decided to wait longer.

At 9pm we had over 7" of snow and it was still coming down hard, but the wind was blowing very bad. I asked Mike, "are you sure you want to leave tonight, this is gong to be very dangerous to drive in, never mind having your family in the truck, plus tow a trailer with a race car and all your personal belongings loaded". Mike was so determined to get home that he said "we be okay, I can drive to". I shook my head "Mike this is nuts".

By 10:30pm the snow slowed down in this area, Waterdown, but the wind was still blowing hard. We headed for the truck in the blizzard like conditions, and all I could think of is "are you nuts"!!!

Once on the highway it wasn't so bad snow wise. I had my truck in 4 wheel drive and the strong F250 Diesel was more than enough for the weather and the load, but I was still very cautious as I started driving from my house.
Our trip would be 17 to 20 hours if we could maintain some kind of steady speed.

After a quick stop at Tim Horton's at highway 5 and 6, we were on our way. I was still saying to myself, "you're an idiot, leave in the morning". But Mikey needed to get home to NB and I was on a time sensitive schedule as well.

We didn't get very far when the first on many problems began. We were making great head way on the 403 heading to Burlington, when suddenly the traffic went to a crawl, there were 5 snow plows in front of us doing 40k. We followed them to past the Ford plant, at least an hour. Once free of them we got a good run from 401 and 427 until Markham Road. I saw the plows ahead on the inside lanes 4 wide. I was in the collectors and started to speed up, I needed to get ahead of them. But for some reason the smallest of the big plows jumped ahead like a scout and got into his lane, the passing lane, slowing us down and giving his buddies a chance to catch up. I tried to get in the slower lane to out run the straggling snow plows but couldn't clear them. Now I was suck right behind 5 more plows doing 40k again, this episode lasting until Oshawa......talk about frustration.

Once clear of them we made it to the first EnRoute just past 35/115 exit to Peterborough. It was almost 2am so Mike took over from there. He drove all night right up until Montreal. We stopped a few times for fuel. Then, when we were again making decent time we saw giant pylons on the Trans Canada forcing us off the highway just past Quebec City. The road was closed.....we pulled off, went about 2k turned around and came back sitting near the on ramp to get back on the highway once it opened.....4 hours later....then we followed more plows to Rivere Du Loup. Just nuts. we finally got to our destination at 4am, just before Moncton NB, on the same road that 2 famous Maritime race tracks are located, River Glade, that is now closed, and Petty Speedway. There was no place for me to sleep at Mikes, and my cousin Bill was still 2 hours away in Nova Scotia. We unloaded the trailer, leaving it for them to unload when they were rested, and I would be back on the Sunday to get it and head home. I grabbed a hotel room with Buttons, crashing for the night. I was so wiped that only the wake up call arose me...but it was noon, the lady asked "are you staying another night, I said no", then she let me know what time it was and I scrambled to get out of there".

We headed for Nova Scotia about 12:30, I called Bill to tell him I would see him soon. Things went bad when I was caught speeding in NS. 135 in a 110. I was so upset with me. Big fine and points. I asked for a break and the answer was "why should I"? "For Buttons"?

Once at Bills we rested that night and then headed out Thursday and Friday seeing potential sponsors and visiting both Rolley MacDonald, and Donald Chisholm's shop. Unfortunately we couldn't see Donald until Sunday, the day I was heading back. The one thing I noticed in these 2 shops was the high end race cars I would be racing against. Andrew, the crew chief for Rolley's team said the 2 cars in his shop would be pushing $100,000 when finished. I asked why so much and the thing that made them higher cost wise than APC Late Models was the transmission, a Hightower at $8,000 US, and the quick change and all rotating suspension parts were "drag free" hubs and bearings. I knew I was in trouble because many of the cars I would be racing against would be like this or slightly older. My car, trailers, tools, parts and tow vehicle wouldn't be $100,000. But I really wanted to be in the IWK 250, I just sucked up the fact that I would be out gunned.

Over the next few months I got my Late Model ready, landed 2 sponsors in Nova Scotia, Strictly Hydraulics from Dartmouth and Nova Construction, owned by Donald Chisholm, plus planned 3 show events in Nova Scotia to promote my sponsors and the IWK250.

My budget for this race was going to be close to $7500, and with the help of extra from Quaker State, and the 2 maritime sponsors I was still short by quite a bit, so I planned an event the "Going Home Tour" kick off, for Sunday July 10th and it was a great success. Many people bought tickets including friends and family in Nova Scotia. One driver team owner, Scott Alexander sold 20 tickets to my event and he said he would love to get me more sponsors to help me, but what he did do was awesome.

IWK 250 Bound July 11th
.....more soon.....I just need to rest my fingers and eys :shock:

I was happy that one of my sponsors Grind Stone's Jay Linde loaned me a truck to tow our car down. My truck was leaking coolant, very slow, but I preferred not to have to fill up every tank full especially with it being very hot. I couldn't trust my truck to get us there without incident. I think we need head gaskets, so at some point this 6.4 will need to get fixed.

We left my place in Dundas about 4am to get a good start ahead of the Toronto traffic. It amazed me there was so many cars on the road at that time, but as traffic started to merge into Toronto we were just leaving the Ajax Pickering Beach area. We soon past the exit for Peterborough and made our first stop for fuel and coffee at the next En Route.

I got messed up around Montreal putting us behind about 4 hours, but we landed at my cousin Bill and Natalie's on Tuesday at 3pm.

On Wednesday we drove to Halifax to drop off our wheels (8) at Scotia Speedworld for the Maritime Pro Stock Tour to mount tires. I gave them the stagger I wanted and asked them to blow the outside tires up to 50 for about 5 minutes and then let them down to 25. I was limited on crew and didn't want to burn my crew out for that event. Whatever I could do to help us on the 16th I wanted to do.

After that Bill offered to take Abby and her Mom to Halifax to see some sites. We saw Citadel Hill and some of Dartmouth, two very pretty cities. Abby got some great shots and then Bill treated us to lunch. By the time we got home we had to get ready for the July 13th event.

Our first show was the next day in the small town of Bass River, right near Bill's place. The Victoria Community Hall in Bass River invited us to be part of a fund raiser for the hall. Quite a few people came out to see the car and our team and then to listen to my cousins Bill, Mike, Bruce and Glenda play some country and old time fiddle music. It was so good seeing many of my Uncles and Aunts and cousins who were at the fund raiser.

On Thursday we headed to Truro Nova Scotia for show #2 at the Canadian Tire. It was very hot but we had a great day with showing our car and meeting the staff at the Canadian Tire and many customers.

Later that night we headed to Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish to practice for the IWK 250. We practiced on used American Racer tires but got a good idea of how the track was....and it was great.

The next day we left Bill and Natalie's to go to Antigonish for our 3rd show at the Walmart store. It was also a great day, not as hot, but still warm. Doug and Kathy MacFarlane joined us there to help with our display. While I was talking to two men about our car and our history this fellow came up on a bike and said to me "did you tell them how you got your number"? I looked at him wondering about his comment, smiled and said "do you know how"? Well it turned out he did, it was Jim, a police officer from Toronto that use to come by my place in the mid 70's and came a few times to Flamboro Speedway to help us in the pits and watch us race......that was amazing. He moved to Antigonish not that long ago and read that I was coming to the race and was happy. He bought us dinner that night.

I met a Nick and Lisa Cudmore, husband and wife racers from the Maritimes who loved our car and soon became face book friends.

We stayed in Antigonish that night at the Maritime Inn, and had dinner with my great friend Jim, then got to bed early to be ready to head to the track around 9 am.

The Big Day....IWK 250
....the final episode to come soon....

We got early Saturday morning to get gas for the truck. Once it was filled we headed to pick up the trailer and then to the track. When we arrived, around 9:30 the pit line up area was full, but the gates hadn’t been opened yet.

We were motioned to line up and moved to where we were instructed. While we set in line it dawned on me that we didn’t get race fuel, we only had 3 cans and would need 6. No one remembered, and I was already on overload with so many things on the go, it never crossed my mind. I knew we would have to leave to get gas, and as I was getting ready to leave the parking lot pit lane a friend I hadn’t seen for a few years come up to me. Jim Gillis came by asking how I was and we talked for a few minutes. There were 35 cars lined up to go in the pits and I asked Jim if he would get gas for me. We gave him 3 cans and he headed for the nearest gas station in Antigonish.

I stayed with the truck and soon the pit gate opened and teams started going in. Soon we were getting close, but Jim wasn’t back yet with the gas. I pulled over to let haulers behind me move by. Soon I was the only one left outside the gate and Jim was nowhere to be seen.

Enter issue #2. Abby couldn’t get in the pits because she was too young. I didn’t see anywhere in the procedures, that the minimum age was 15. We had the parent consent letter, but they insisted she had to be 15. However, Paul McLean made a provision for us and we got in smooth. We also had to get Buttons in, she was of age, but no dogs were allowed in the pits.

Finally Jim arrived, we got gas, I gave both him and his son autograph cards and we headed into the pits.

It was incredibly hot already. The temperature was calling for 37 C or about 95 F, and with the humidity it was terrible.

Once we unloaded the car I headed to the Hoosier trailer to get our tires, put them on the car and then go to tech. I had to make 4 trips because our crew were busy setting up the pits. I was almost exhausted just getting my tires. Most teams had carts or dollies to move the tires. I had 2 hands, if I was an octopus I could have moved the 8 tires. I made a mental note for 2017 because this was my first time ever being in a series where you dropped off your rims and they brought the tires to the track. In this case it was 8 mounted tires.

Once back to the trailer we mounted 4 tires and I headed to tech. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew our car was too wide but they knew it as well because I told them before I came down. We don’t have a track rule at Flamboro but they do in the Maritime Pro Stock Tour series, and I understand they do in the APC Tour in Ontario.
The first check was the body. They used a template to make sure we were in line. I saw the car ahead of me go through and there were a few inches between the center of his roof top and the template. They let him go and then I rolled in. To the tech man’s surprise and mine, the car was almost perfect. He commented “this is one of the best cars yet”. That was to the credit of Brian MacDonald who prepared the car for me.

Once by him we went on the scales and found we were only 56.2 percent left side and 2691 total pounds. The next check was roof height, spoiler and wheel track. The car was good on everything but track. He said “you’re an inch and a half wide”. I said “I know, but we were 3” when I called you from Ontario, and because I had to move my outside wheels in I have lost left side percent, I’m only 56.2% left side”. He said “okay, leave it as it, the left side will make up for being too wide”.

Back in the pit it was good to see Doug and Kathy MacFarlane. They had come down just for the race making this even more special because they came down with us in 1984 when we raced on the old track with the Hobby cars.

There were 35 cars. They divided us into 2 groups. Each group had 30 minutes of practice. We went out with our group and the car was awesome, handled very well on the Hoosier tires. But coming off turn two the car broke loose on exit, almost sending me around. I let off the gas and got under control and told my spotter I thought something broke. I only went about 8 laps. I said to Lloyd that it might be a flat tire, but it wasn’t bouncing like it had a flat. However Doug confirmed the tire went down. The black rubber valve was missing so I thought it came out and put on another tire to go back out when we were up again.

On the second set of hot laps the car was good again. However on lap 8 at the same spot, we cut another tire down. This time with a car on my bumper and he hit me slightly when our car broke loose.

In the pits we found the right rear tire was hitting the spring and shock mount. All we could do was space out the right rear. I asked my crew to work on that because I now had to buy 2 new tires, and tell tech what happened.

I got the tires and while waiting for the tire man I noticed on the score board that we were 10th fastest and I wanted so bad to get a picture of that, but I couldn’t get back to the trailer in time. I borrowed a dolly to take my flat tires and rims to the tire hauler, but they had no way to change tires. That meant I had to do it the old fashioned way…..where’s my son, or Eddie, or Ray Hughes when you need them.

We spaced out the right rear wheel; I was told that was okay but not the front. We got it done and were ready for the heat races.

After all practices were over, we were 19th quickest.

In the first heat race I finished last, but we already knew we would be in the big race; and didn’t want to mess up.
In the second heat, the last chance, there were 15 cars and in that race I just missed a huge wreck on the back chute that took out 2 cars, badly damaging the car of Sarah McKay.

We finish 7th again, and were told after the race that we would be starting 25th in the feature but I wanted to go scratch and would start 30th.

Fan Appreciation
Once the heats were completed the officials announced all the cars qualified for the race. We made it because there were 20 qualified through the heats, and 2 in the Last Chance, making 22. They were going to start 31. We finished 7th in the Last Chance putting us in the big race, although we were likely to get a provisional if we didn't qualify.

We were scheduled to go on the track for Fan Appreciation meet the drivers, but that was put on hold when it started to rain. Clouds moved in, it rained a little and then it poured for about 20 minutes. The pits were flooded but not so much our area. That down pour sure reduced the humidity although it was still humid but not near as bad as it was all day. Because of the extreme heat the track didn't take long to dry.

By the time the feature line up was told to move to the track I was wiped, exhausted. The week finally caught up to me, the drive down, the planning, the commitments of the week, and the crazy pre season, was all compiled on this day, this moment, heading to the track to sign autographs then buckle up for 250 laps on a very fast oval.
I didn't know at the time I was burnt, I kind of expected with all we did, short staffed, all the hype and getting ready for this highlight of my life would be a task, but I didn't think it would be as draining, but it was. Since I love this sport so much, I hardly noticed, but others did.

This was the biggest crowd I had ever raced in front of.....maybe 12,000 fans, the place was packed, it was awesome. I was very happy for the promoter. The purse was the biggest I had ever be in, $1500 to start the race, wow, that was amazing.

Fans started to come to our car, I felt at home. We had a line up at our car for well over an hour. The announcer said that our team and Matt Crafton's had the biggest line ups for autographs. I never stopped signing. My crew handed out pictures to those in the line up in case I didn't get to them so they would have a picture of our team.

One fellow came to me and asked in a serious but caring way "do you think you can win with this car". I knew the answer was going to be a quick no, but I made a joke and said "well, it's the only car I brought". He laughed and shook my hand and said "good luck, we're glad you came".

Once the autograph session was over we had a little time to rest, I was able to talk to my family, my cousins who were in the grand stands and thank them for coming. One of my sponsors were there, Ian Lively, owner of Strictly Hydraulics brought his friends, and 2 of my family. Bill and Natalie came, Don Forbes and his son Man also were there, Glenda and a few others, it was great to see many of my family and fans cheering for us.

We left the track for driver introduction, then went to our cars to get buckled in. Lloyd was in the tower. Doug set the tires before the race and Billi got me ready, Hans, radio hook up and window net.

The Race IWK 250
Our car wasn't as good as it was in the hot laps. We had moved the right rear tire away from the suspension to prevent any further cutting of that tire. That issue was fixed, but now the car was too loose. I knew with long green flag runs we would be in trouble.
On about lap 27 I spun going into three. The car came around. The leaders were only a quarter track behind. That allowed me to stay on the lead lap for another 35 laps until we got lapped on about lap 55. The problem with getting lapped with 30 other cars is that you can't get back up. In a few laps the whole field got by because I was driving on the inside and could not get back out. Cars were all around the track. The difference between fast and slow cars was way more than half a second. Add to that fact our car was very loose and we were a sitting duck.

The leaders lapped me again and so did the field, so I headed to pit row on lap 60. I waited for a caution but there was none unit lap 110. I returned to run another 16 laps until the competition yellow.

Knowing the tires were no good to me, we installed 4 new tires and filled the gas tank. We had about 10 minutes.
I got in the car, buckled up and tried to start the car. It just turned over, no ignition. I tried several times, double checked to make sure I had all the switched right but it would not fire. Some crew members of the 21 car, Shaun Pierce, pushed me and I popped the clutch thinking the engine was flooded but nothing. They pushed me back and one crew member came over with a used MSD box. He tried to unplug mine and plug his in but the ends were different. I said to him "don't worry I am down 40 laps", he said "lets get you out to finish the race". That was refreshing because that's me all over, I never quit, but to be honest I was drained and the no start almost killed my battery, the one in my heart that says "go-go". I was beat and finally they said "there's something else wrong, sorry we couldn't get you back in the race". I shook their hands and thanked them very much. The race restarted and I changed, and watched most of it as we packed up our things.

Donald Chisholm #89, owner of the track and #99 Craig Slaunwhite put on a good battle for the final 20 laps but Donald had him covered running a very smooth and consistent race. He won his first race at his own track and what a night to win, good for him and his team.

We were scored 27th and now we have a no start to fix when we get home. That is the first time I have ever had an issue like that on any of my cars for a long time.

I was lucky enough to sell my AFCO shocks to Terry Dougay. We don't run them. Terry and his team helped remove them and install my Pro shocks. I also talked to Paul McLean and he sold my second set of tires because they were still brand new stickers.

During the changing of tires and shocks my crew were in the truck wore out as well. I was completely exhausted and drained, but I was running on adrenalin fuel. We had an hour and a half drive home, and no one wanted to drive......I was totaled but did get us home by 2:45 am. I had to stop once to rest but only for 20 minutes or less.

Overall this trip was the best. I met so many great people. I have a year now to plan for the next trip east and I am already getting stuff in place for it to happen.

We had an awesome time, thank you Bill and Natalie for looking after us. We got 2 sponsors in Nova Scotia, thanks you Ian Lively and Donald Chisholm. Plus special thanks to Brian MacDonald for an awesome chassis prep, too bad the car was too wide, to Joe Chisholm for planting the seeds and all his encouragement. To Scott Alexander for all his help and selling tickets, to those who helped with our July 10th event, to all my sponsors, and namely Quaker State for giving us more financial support for this race, and Grind Stones Jay Linde for supplying us his truck. Finally to my crew Lloyd, Doug, Billi, Kathy and Abby, for all you did to make it easier on me and to Buttons, couldn't go without you little girl :lol:

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