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 » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:49 pm

July 22nd.................Delaware Speedway

Race #12

765th consecutive night

High Lites
*15 cars
* Gary McLean wins....wow that's different :lol:
* We can't get around this track, plus only one crew
* Brian McLean gets walled bad

Heat #1............5th
Heat #2............7th




We got home from Nova Scotia at 3 am Wednesday. I was exhausted, drove straight through from the other side of Fredericton. No one felt like driving and Buttons does not have her license yet.

Once awake on Wednesday, everyone went home, and I had a ton of things to do just to catch up around the house, unpacking, laundry, banking and get two cars ready for the weekend, which was 2 days. The biggest concern was the Late Model, it would turn over but would not start. I text David from Nova Scotia and he agreed to come over and help me get it started.

I made a list of things to do on both cars. David came over Thursday night. He worked hard on the car for quite a while but no go. We decided to leave it until the track on Saturday. I'm not very sharp on electrical issues, just never learned much about that aspect of my race car....maybe I need to, but my son is good at it and so I agreed to leave it till Saturday.

Louie came over Thursday and we changed the gears and got the Modified ready for this race. Not only was I exhausted mentally and physically, I wasn't looking forward to racing here because in the past I couldn't get my car set up proper to be somewhat competitive. When I think that way, I go to my tire inventory and put on the worst 4 tires, no sense using up good rubber on a track where I don't feel comfortable. Get this, I was okay at Riverside International Speedway, a track I was never on before (in 1984 yes...but not the same track) and running at much higher speeds. For some reason I don't feel secure racing at Delaware, I feel as though the chassis is on the edge, so I was kind of beat before I went, but that happens when you need to race smart and not wreck your stuff. Racing smart sometimes means staying away from trouble even if it means you're not going to have a good day.

The last time we were here the Mod was on the edge of spinning out. I had too much stagger and not near enough wedge. I corrected both of those issues for this race and hoped the car would be better. If it was, then I would put on a new RR tire, but things had to be much improved for that to happen.

It was just Louie and I, the NS trip was too hard on my crew but Louie was okay because he was on holidays and ready to go.

Once set up, and it was another super hot day, we got ready for practice. Enter first problem. Louie never spotted before, ever. He wasn't too keen on it, but was willing to give it a try. Having a good spotter at any track is very important, I don't have mirrors, so I rely on them to give me good encouraging feed back. The first problem wasn't Louie, it was the radio's. They were charged okay, but all I got was static, I could not hear him when I was on the track. I could hear him when I was in the pits, but once I got on the track there was nothing but mumble static. I tried to hard to pick out what he was saying, and I know he was trying just as hard to communicate with me but it wasn't working. Because of that, I decided to go scratch, I cannot drive my car anywhere if there is no clear communication from my spotter, I have removed all my mirrors because I don't prefer to be looking in the mirror during a race. But not knowing where I am in relation to the many fast cars around me makes racing "no fun", so I pull over and go to the back, or I start at the back and end up there, and that's what happened in both heat races.

The races were somewhat ho hum up front but there was a terrible crash when Brian McLean tangled with DJ Christie on the front chute just past the start finish line, it was a hard hit that required a flat bed to get his car off the track.
I finished 6th in that race and in the next finished 7th, last in both.

With the radio issue not solved I made a small change on our car and went scratch in the feature. Other cars were doing the same, but they were much better than me through the ends so once on the track I let them go ahead.

It was tough racing like that, I would have got lapped had it not been for a caution near the end. We finished 11th, last running car, but no damage.

Congrats to Gary McLean and his team for another win. They have an amazing big crew of guys who know chassis and set up and it definitely makes a difference and they clearly show it.

Our goal is to make the Chases and hope to be in the final 3 for the final race for Autumn Colors weekend at Peterborough Speedway in October. The Chase works like this, the top 8 cars that have raced at least all but one of the 10 first races will be in. Then each race after that, the lowest finishing car gets eliminated from the Championship race. One on the first race, then 2 from the next 2 races, leaving 3 cars for the final show down. The heat races will not count for the final night, but the finishes of the heats will determine where the cars start. The top heat car will start 3rd, next 4th and then 5th. The top finisher of those 3 is the Champion.

There are 3 races left for the Chase, July 30th Peterborough, August 6th at Flamboro and then August 19th at Delaware Speedways. I am so glad Delaware isn't in the Chase, but if it was I would be doing some extra homework.

My plan is to save my tires and have lots of good inventory for the final 4 races. Sauble August 27th is the first round of elimination, September we go to Full Throttle Motor Speedway for elimination round #2, then to Flamboro for the final elimination round on October 2nd. Three cars will be left. I am hoping for good finishes in these 3 races at tracks I like very much, and of course the Championship finale at Peterborough Speedway. Looking forward to saving my car, tires and building strength as the Chase continues with all it's drama.

OSCAAR Modified Point Standings

(These are the only eligible cars for 2016)

1st.....#8 Gary McLean........394
2nd....#99 Luke Gagnic.......367
3rd....#09 Dan Price...........332
4th....#36 Gary Elliott.........331
5th....#14 AJ Emms............310
6th....#79H Corey Horner.....284
7th....#79 John Harper........270
8th....#97 Rob DiVenenzo....262
9th...#47 Brian McLean.......248

Posts: 204
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:57 pm

July 23rd.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #13

766 consecutive race night

High Lites
* 14 Late Models
* Kevin Albers wins first feature
* Corey Jones wins second feature
* No start fixed but car isn't right....back firing constantly under load now

1st Feature..........14th
2nd Feature.........4th


fix back firing, chassis springs and set up from Nova Scotia


We got to the track early and parked close to my son David and his team. It was just Louie and I again, none of my Nova Scotia team could make it out, Lloyd was enjoying a belated birthday with his family.

David started working on my car right away checking power connections, using an ohm meter, test light, reading continuity. He was having a hard time trying to trace the no start. Kelly Hallett came over with a spare coil and MSD box but still no start. Shawn Chenoweth loaned me a distributor, we installed that and there was still no start.

It was frustrating, then David went out for one set of hot laps to shake his car down, it had been a month since Late Models raced at Flamboro, so he needed to get one set of practice laps in.

After that he came back again to continue trying to find the problem. Soon being so frustrated, but not giving up, David used his phone to look up MSD ignition and found that he needed a much higher reading from the MSD than he had originally thought. He was getting a reading but since he didn't know what it should be he thought it was okay. He was getting a 50 reading, thinking that was ok, but the web site he had on his phone said 1400 #$# whatever that is. Further tests found the wires from the MSD were fused together. He the 6 pin plug and re wired to connections and when he tried to start it we heard hope when the ignition kicked, attempting to fire. Panic set in because our first feature was on the board and time was running out. The distributor was put in but the engine kept back firing, David could not get a good reading off the harmonic, the numbers were jumping all over, but the car was running.

He ran to get in his car to go out for feature #1 and I got ready to take mine out. All the way through the pits the engine was back firing, as though wires were crossed but they weren't. Once on the track I knew this race would be short, so I decided to take the green then pull off. I was sitting in the infield on lap 2 watching the rest of the cars battle.

Kevin Albers won and David took 3rd.

Once in the pits David gave his crew instructions for the second feature and came back over to my car. Inside I was checking things and pulled on the coil wire to find it was broken. There was little or not connection, the brass clip on the end of the wire was pulled right off the wire. We fixed that and I replace all the plug wires.

The engine sounded much better but was still not right, still back firing at times.

In the second feature I started 14th, not knowing what would happen. Louie was on the radio's but they were still not right, and that was strange because this was a different car than we had Friday night at Delaware where the radio's failed to work. I could barely hear Louie at all, but the car was not right so my concentration was staying at the back, pass who I could when I could and just get this night in the books.

We were up to 7th because of attrition, although we did pass 3 cars in spite of the engine miss and bogging. A spin out in front of us on about lap 16 closed up all holes forcing me to brake hard and come to a stop right beside the spun out #38 of Rodney Rutherford I was good, I didn't anyone, but about 11 seconds later I got hit by Al Bowman who was way behind this wreck but couldn't stop and hit me on the rear bumper. Lucky there was no damage.

I had to go to the back again because of the bog on restarts. I was able to re pass those who got by me. My car was getting a little worse on short runs.

It was late in the race. David was running 3rd with Nick Roth up front and Shawn Chenoweth in second. With 5 to go I asked my spotter where the leaders were and I could make out they were a straightaway behind. I was lapping cars when I got hit by #74 Al Bowman who went high coming off turn four then came right to the bottom hitting my right rear wheel, The car jumped to wall but I was able to get it corrected and by Al.

I could see the starter giving the 2 cars I just passed the move over. I knew I was about a 1/4 track ahead of the leaders at that point.

Coming off turn four to get the 2 to go the yellow came out. A big wreck in between turn 3 and 4 had happened when Nick Roth, still leading, got taken out by one of the lapped cars. When I came around I saw the leader in the wall, and both lapped cars on the grass. Apparently as the leaders came into three, one of the lapped cars went outside of the other to pass and that caused mayhem and a big wreck.

On the restart David was outside his nemesis Shawn Chenoweth. On that restart they race side by side for 2 laps and David got the lead, but the yellow came out, so they went back a lap and David was still first but starting on the inside this time. On that restart the two fought hard and got into each other coming off two for the final lap. As they exited turn four Shawn deliberately spun David in front of the field (he admitted he did) but David stopped his car on the track not allowing it to spin all the way around like many do. Most drivers when hit will stay on the gas to get off the track, but David didn't, and the reason was so Shawn couldn't get by.

David didn't do anything crazy, although that's the second time he has been spun by Shawn. The official finish showed David 5th and Shawn 7th. My back firing stumbling Chevy made it to 4th as I went around the spun cars. The checker and caution were thrown together.

We don't race the Late Model again for 3 weeks, and it might be good because David isn't very happy and Shawn knows it. Yes there was rubbing and David did take him high, but Shawn never got wrecked. We've all been there, crowed or chopped. We usually don't spin the guy, well not those who would prefer 2nd over 7th.

That's one feud that could last a while unless someone brings out a peace-pipe and they make up. David currently leads Flamboro points by 5 over Shawn, so a Championship is up for grabs with 2 aggressive drivers, both good, both able, but neither about to back down. David won the title in 2015 and has an amazing 13 Championships to his resume. he never wrecks anyone on purpose but he definitely won't back down from any racer who wants to bash through him. Shawn has an impressive resume as well, but most guys usually are intimidated by him. He's a good person, and good racer, he may be underestimating the danger of going toe to toe with David. I hope they get it resolved before the next Late Model race.

Our 4th place finish was awesome on the books, but our car was so bad again, bogging every corner and back firing on restarts. The good news is that we have a few weeks to fix it. I wonder if it misses Nova Scotia :)

Thanks to my crew Louie, and David and his team and Kelly Hallet for all their hard work getting me out tonight, I honestly thought we were done, but my son was amazing.

Congrats to Corey Jones for winning the feature driving for Shane Gowan. Shane was at the race and went out for the checker flag ceremony. Please pray for Shane, he is battling cancer again. He's a great guy and we want him around for a long time. God bless you buddy.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:09 am

July 30th...........................Peterborough Speedway

Race #14

High Lites
* 12 cars :cry:
* Gary McLean wins :o surprise!!!
* Rob Di Venanzo rolls over on the back chute...he's ok
* We get there late, but Jays win 9-1 :lol:
* No hot laps....but that's probably good
* I'm wore out

Heat #1........4th
Heat #2........4th


Routine, make the driver stronger

Lloyd, Louie

I was looking forward to this race, pumped mentally to run on this short but fast oval. I thought we would be good to leave my house by 12:30, but that was clearly a severe miscalculation because the traffic was crazy on the 401. I don't like taking the 407, but in this case we had no choice, otherwise we would be another hour, and as it was we never arrived until 4 and the gates were opened at 2.

The good news or maybe the consolation prize for being late was that Louie and I got to listen to the Blue Jay game on the way out, and the they beat the first place Baltimore Orioles 9-1. Lloyd got to the track around 1:00 and text asking where I was.....we were just on our way then.

Being late, and not going over the scales or getting ready meant no practice for us. Like most every team we were going to run old tires, but unlike every team we were non competitive. The car was tight in the first heat. I called my son and he suggested to raise the track bar and make sure the stagger was right. We did that but the big thing in the second was bottom out going into three.

After that race David suggested to raise the front 2 turns and then reset the bar. We did that as well and were ready for the feature.

The one thing that was most noticeable for me was fatigue. I could use at least 2 more helpers for home and the track. The boys are doing the best they can but we are scrambling to get our car and more than that, me, ready for the races.
I run around trying to remember most things and sometimes forget something. Add to that the fact that I may have burnt myself out with so much cramming this year starting with not getting my car back until mid April, forcing this season to be nuts from the beginning. I have yet to rest because 2 cars take a lot of work and there is no time left to make either one better.

The real issue now isn't the cars, it's me. I noticed at Delaware I couldn't drive my car. Maybe, or most likely it was because my body hadn't recovered from the trip to Nova Scotia. The month or so leading up to the Going Home Tour was organized mayhem. I got help from a few friends who were not on my crew, and on the day of our event friends not directly involved with our team helped out, otherwise I was going to be jamming steady. I think the drive back from Nova Scotia was the killer for me. No one could drive but me, and from the other side of Fredericton I drove 18 straight hours. The next day all those who went to Nova Scotia were gone and there was no time for me to rest, just get busy getting 2 cars ready for the double header Friday and Saturday. My Nova Scotia crew would not be coming to the races that weekend, they were tired and made other plans.

We did make both races, Louie came, but I was wiped. I think this race was a continuation of that. Louie was gracious to drive out for this race, giving me a chance to get some relaxation.

We put one of our older tires on for the feature. It was used but not wore out like the one I used in both heats. I started last because I knew I wasn't physically able to be competitive. Lloyd was spotting with Louie on the race receiver. I noticed right away the car was much better than prior, but I was fading fast.

The first 18 laps went non stop and then a caution came out when #97 Rob Di Venanzo. I got some rest on that yellow, and felt maybe I could dig deeper for more energy. On the restart I got by Dan Price, getting a great restart. Going into turn three John Baker Jr. spun sideways and I had to brake hard to avoid him, which I did, but I got hammered so hard from behind I had to lock up the brakes to avoid being slammed head on into the turn 3 wall.

That was discouraging because I had passed a few cars and by now our tires were not and the car was working great.

On that restart, I was at the back again, we only went a lap and a half when Rob Di Venanzo climbed the back chute wall and flipped up side down. His car slid on it's roof to the bottom lane with a few cars diving in and out to avoid him. I got to a stop as the red came out right away. I saw Rob undoing his belts and was glad to see him moving around.

After that caution we were 7th and my thoughts were a top 5, but I forgot I didn't have the strength to rip a peanut butter sandwich in half. On the restart I stayed with the pack but energy drained immediately and within 2 laps I was 10th and falling back.

When the checker fell I was sad for the poor finish, glad the car wasn't damaged and maybe more glad it was over....I was done in.

Congrats to Gary McLean on the win. I hope we get more cars out. It sure isn't fun racing with 12 cars, but racing was fun for me no matter what, I need to turn into the Hulk for the features :mrgreen:

I have a show to do this week for the CWA, the Canadian Welders Association and then we run Flamboro next Saturday.

Our plan is to save tires for the elimination rounds of the Championship because we will be in the Chase. I think my car will be okay, it's me that needs work. I'm hoping we can lighten up the steering because it was clearly hard to steer. Maybe a camber or caster adjustment could make the car lighter to steer, but more strength from me would help to.

Thanks to Lloyd and Louie for giving their best as usual.

Posts: 204
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:03 am

August 6th...............Flamboro Speedway

Race #15

768 consecutive night

Don Biederman Memorial

High Lites
* 7 cars :( :oops:
* No heats....Twin 20 lap features
* We win first feature :mrgreen:
* Our first feature win with OSCAAR
* We also win Don Biederman Memorial (first over all) :D
* Low car count but very close races

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


none, change gears, oil and filter, routine nut and bolt


What an incredible night for our team. Louie and I got to the track around 3pm. This was a very special night, the Don Biederman Memorial. I had always thought this special memorial was only for one class. A few years ago Flamboro Speedway made it so every class would be part of this special night, and all classes could win a Don Biederman award, but the annual Don Biederman Memorial trophy would stay just with the Super Late Models.

We made one set of hot laps, I didn't need more but I also didn't want to put more cycles on the tires I would be running for the night. They were the best ones I had, but not new. I am saving my new tires for the last few weeks of racing and for the elimination rounds.

I was very disappointed to see the car count was so bad. This was the worst field of cars I competed in since I ran Full Throttle a few years ago, that also had 7 Late Models.

At the drivers meeting we discussed what our format would be. It was agreed to run 2 features at 20 laps each. No matter how this deal was planned, 7 cars was going to have to put on a good show to make the fans somewhat happy. I was getting texts from friends in the grand stands asking how many cars, and if 7 was all we had and I had to affirm that.

During the meeting it was agreed that we would run 2 twenty lap features. I suggested to split the money evenly because there surely wouldn't be a big purse. Someone suggested to run the 2 features and make the overall winner the feature winner, based on the point tally of both races. A few drivers wanted a high low pay out, not split evenly. I asked Dave to hold the Mods back after the meeting and I presented this:......we run two features, and I pointed to two different drivers saying, he could win the first and he could win the second, but they get feature wins on their resume. I suggested then to add up the points from both races and the overall winner gets the highest pay out etc and everyone agreed to that format.

Only Louie was able to make the race, and he worked hard getting our pit area set up. I made sure the car was ready stagger wise and picked out tires we'd use if we had a flat. We entered one new tire in our inventory but decided not to use it and save it for the races that mattered.

Some friends of mine said they were coming tonight to watch me race. I wanted to say not to come this week because my past 3 races were not good and I knew we'd be on old tires making the car worse than our last outing, but I didn't say that, I posted that we would be racing hard tonight.

I got over the low car count. But I must say that one drivers reason for not coming because he didn't like the Chase format, was sad to hear. The word was that he is going to sit out 2 weeks so he won't be in the Chase, you can only miss one night no matter where you are in the standings, the top 8 who have with 100% or missed one night make it. I am so disappointed to hear this. Everyone knew in the winter about the Chase format, and some slammed the idea, but most agreed, if you don't like it, then try to have it change for 2017.

Most of us find the Chase exciting. Having 3 cars start in the final race at Autumn Colors makes the race for the Championship thrilling. The highest finishing car of the three cars that survived the Elimination rounds will be the Champion. I love it, and so do most teams. If they protest this way it's the worst sportsmanship. I hope they don't do that, it will not look good on them and they are the bench mark of accomplishments for this series. Hopefully they race in the title, and try to win another Championship, that's the right thing to do, plus we need cars for all our races to put on a show, our fans deserve that. They would be a sure bet to win, I just don't understand.

We started 3rd in our first feature. Luke Giganic #99, driving for Alan Adams, is one of the very strong potential Chase teams to take it all, They have raced well all year and been strong in most every race. Outside pole was #21 Chris Milwain, another fast runner. Beside me was #14 AJ Emms, a definite contender for the title and right behind me #79 Cory Horner, a very strong competitor and another contender. John Harper and Dan Price were in the back, both fast and both in the Chase. All the cars here were in the Chase. Rob Di Venanzo came as well but his car was still too far gone damage wise after rolling over at Peterborough.

On the green Luke got the lead with Chris beside him. Things were tight the first few laps. I had to be careful driving in hard because Chris does not have a radio and unless a car is beside him, contact is very possible.
He got in front but had a bad push as he was waiting for his tires to get hot.

Coming off turn 4 he got high and I was able to get under and beat him to turn one and take over second. Luke was pulling away slowly, my car was good but starting to push a little, I couldn't go in as hard as I wanted to.

I bought new ear plugs today and they were working awesome, I could finally here my spotter and he was doing a great job. Chris stayed right with me once I got by. Louie was great informing me what was going on behind and where we were strong on the track.

With about 5 laps to go I noticed Luke, who was 6 or 7 car lengths ahead, slow down on the back chute. I thought at first the caution was out, but he was right on the apron so I knew he was having trouble. I just hoped there wouldn't be a yellow, and once we got by the starter I knew the race was between me and Chris.

The final few laps were tense. Louie told me Chris was back by one, then a half, then one. Louie said "you pull him off the corner he gets you going in". I had to make sure I didn't make a mistake and be prepared in case I got hit and moved up. When my spotter reports, I picture what's going on. If the pattern doesn't change, in other words if I am clear by 4 or 5 car lengths, then I don't get too concerned. But winning doesn't come easy for me and the checker flag has eluded me a lot the past 7 years.

When the two flag signal came out meaning 2 laps to go I kept saying to myself "don't mess up, don't over drive". I didn't want to go in too deep and give him a hole. When the white came out Louie said "he's right on your bumper", like I needed to hear that :? , I was hoping to hear "clear by 2 or 3" but Chris had plans of winning as well and he was looking for an opening....but he didn't hit me once. Turn one and two was smooth, I shot right to the wall to maintain my speed. Going into three I expected to get bunted but no contact and when I knew I was clear off four I knew we were home free.

What a great feeling. Louie was perfect and the car was awesome. We did it on old tires.
I was so pumped I couldn't think straight. It was our first OSCAAR sanctioned Modified feature win. The only other Modified feature win was at Full Throttle Speedway in 2014. Our last feature win was in 2015 at Full Throttle in the Late Model and that was our first LM feature win since 2008.....a drought of feature wins was broken!!!

During the interview I thanked my sponsors and fans, and let them know I appreciated their support and wished we had more cars to entertain with. They were very gracious to me and my team. Chris finished 2nd and Cory Horner was 3rd.

During intermission I went on the track with Buttons and gave 3 trophies from my collection to young fans, 5 to 8 years old. That went over very well and Buttons got in the action. I will be giving away 2 or 3 trophies every week for the rest of the season. They mean a lot to me, but so do fans and I have a lot in my collection so giving these away to young fans who would appreciate them is a win for all of us.

We didn't make any changes to the car for the second feature. This time we started 5th. John Harper was on the pole with Dan Price outside pole. John got the lead early. Cory Horner was 3rd, inside lane and he followed close to John not letting Dan get down. As we headed down the back chute John had just got by Dan and Cory was inside. I went high on the outside lane and drove hard in behind Cory to get by Dan and move into 3rd.

The race pretty well ended that way with Chris 4th and Luke 5th.

I was very happy to finish 3rd. Louie was awesome again, saying he learned a lot listening to Lloyd, who also learned a lot listening to Jim.

While in tech I was told we were the overall winner. Louie was very excited and was posting pictures on face book before I got back to the trailer. :mrgreen:

I was watching the Super Late Model feature when John came to and said "hey we both won a feature, do you want to cut the plaque in half"? I had no idea what we won at that time so I said "sure, I guess, but why don't we get another one and have one each"? John just smiled and I asked "where did you finish in the first feature", he replied "4th". So I knew I had the most points for the night, but I only thought that would mean I would make a few dollars more than the rest.

Louie and I headed to Wendy's I was going to buy him dinner. When we pulled into the parking lot Jim called me, he was right behind us. Jim bought us dinner and was very happy for us. While we were talking in the parking lot Cindy showed up, she was on her way to see her boyfriend Terry, and shortly after her was the OSCAAR President Dave Gainforth.
He pulled up and rolled his window down and handed me a plaque, he said "this is yours, you won overall and you get the Don Biederman Memorial plaque for the Modifieds. I was blown away, I took a close look at the beautiful plaque that I held when I won the first feature, but had no idea what it was and that I would get it. I had text Jim after our feature win and said "we won the first feature, we will take it easy in the second", Jim replied "go after the second one to, try to win both".....okay I thought but we were stuck at 3rd and that was okay.

Winning this prestigious award for our team is amazing and I am very proud for all my crew and sponsors. Our next race is Delaware Speedway August 19th, but I will be at Scripture Union Kids Camp at Sunset Speedway the week leading up to the race. With no damage this weekend we just have to go over the car and change the gears.

What a great night for our team, knowing I can take it easy and prepare for Kids Camp is a true blessing. Thank you Lord for all you give.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:17 am

August 19th...............Delaware Speedway

Race #16

High Lites
* 17 cars :mrgreen:
* Gary McLean wins :lol:
* We run tires with tons of laps and cycles :P
* Good crowd and good racing
* 486 final



Toe, routine, gears, get ready for Sauble....set up at Oakville Trailers with Ron Easton

Don Yorke, Louie Halliday

In late winter I knew I would be doing some fancy work to get to Delaware for the final race before the Chase. I was a Kids Camp all week, concluding on Friday at 1:15. Lloyd was with me most of the week helping with the daily seminars with the campers showing many facets of our race car, safety, maintenance, prep and playing by the rules. Unfortunately Lloyd was unable to come, so I headed west on my own, and would meet Louie and Don Yorke at the track.

I decided to take highway 89, thinking I would avoid the traffic by going south on 400 to 401 and west. I knew it would be slow that way with traffic congestion. What I didn't know or expect was the time it would take me to go cross country. I did stop for gas and to feed Buttons, but going through all the small towns ate up at least 4 1/2 hours and that was just to get to 401 past Ayr.

I got to the track at 6:30, but it rained earlier and no one had gone out for practice yet. The track was wet and they were letting it dry, which didn't take too long with the sun out and the heat in the track speeding up the drying process.

We made one set of hot laps although I wasn't too keen about even being at Delaware. I was already in the Chase and didn't want to use new tires for this race nor did I want to beat up the car, saving it and tires for the elimination rounds.

Don Yorke spotted for us and worked with me on the chassis, though we didn't make many changes, just a few, like less stagger and more wedge.

I planned to take scratch all night. The reason for such a defensive attitude was multiple. Besides saving tires and not wanting to beat up the car (no one to help fix it if I get into big trouble) and the fact that the Delaware cars most all had new tires, at least 3 new tires.

Louie worked hard as usual getting the pit area set up. I was frustrated because 2 of us is not enough to do what we have to do to get ready for racing. I have been tired a lot lately, and I am conscientious about my crew, not working them too hard. It's frustrating for sure, but with lots to do and not enough help, being tired and concerned about the rest of my crew, I just take the non race approach. If I had a much bigger crew, I would be much more excited to race harder, so unfortunately I just run the best I can with little stress at the races. Once the elimination rounds start, I will be in a different frame of mind, and making sure every aspect of our car is ready, even if I have to hustle much harder to make sure we send the best car on the track we can. There's lots to remember, and lots to make sure is right. Once the elimination rounds start it's game on and no excuses will make up for being out of the Championship hunt. I really want our team to be in the final three and being prepared is the key......so being too aggressive tonight made no sense....and I wasn't.

We finished last in our heat but in a pack of 4 cars. The cars with newer rubber were half a straight away ahead. Don was awesome on the radio, very encouraging, like my boys who spot.

We made a few small changes for the feature, mostly in tire stagger, making sure we didn't have too much stagger.

I started at the back of the feature. Some teams wanted to go to the back, but I knew they were quicker than I would be but insisted on going to the back. I went out, taking 11th, and just before we took the white flag I headed down pit row. Louie came over asking me what was wrong. I said "nothing, I just need directions". :)

The race was decent for the fans, good car count and good racing all over. Once again we were in a battle with 6 or more cars running at the back. Dan Price spun in turn 2 and when he did David Balych checked up to avoid hitting Dan and I couldn't get stopped and hit David with my right front wheel. The yellow came out and I saw my steering wheel was off, meaning I bent something.

On the green the car was off but didn't seem to hurt it much, I wasn't running that strong to begin with.

Another yellow came out and on that restart I was outside #09 Dan Price and raced him hard into turn one and spun out on my own. My right rear tire was all but wore out. There were already 14 hear cycles on it and 160 laps so it did it's job long ago. The rest of the tires were the ones on the car when we won Flamboro.

The rest of the race was uneventful. We finished 15th, capping a poor showing for all 3 shows at Delaware this year, although the last 2 times here we ran hockey pucks and the first time our upper link broke.

Special thanks to my crew Louie and Don Yorke. Congratulations to Gary McLean and his team on winning the feature.

Our next OSCAAR Mod race is Sauble Speedway August 27th. But there is no elimination for this race because only 7 cars are in the Chase.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:07 pm

August 20th.............Flamboro Speedway

Race #17

770 Consecutive Night

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Matt Lockwood and Chad Cochrane win features
* David still leading points after a 2nd and 7th
* Our car better but still not ready to run with the top 5

1st Feature...............8th
2nd Feature..............9th


Hood, hood mount, body work slight, maintenance

Louie, Mikey

David came over in the morning to get the MSD done and help with the chassis set up. Our car was fixed for the July 23rd Late Model race but we took the MSD back out to help Mat Box get his car running for the APC race last Saturday, August 13th.

Louie and I headed to the track around 3:30, Mikey Larkin came by to help us load up. Once at Flamboro David set the timing and we were ready to go for our first set of hot laps. I wanted to be competitive, so we gave it all we had. The tires were fairly good, only one cycle and 30 laps on them, but our first set wasn't exciting for me.

When I came back into the pits David asked me how the car was and I didn't know how to answer. I thought it was bad really, sluggish and pushing. I left Flamboro at the end of the 2011 season and had been running fairly good in the Late Model class. My car seemed inept, struggling and not very competitive.

We made one small adjustment to help the push with bump stop shims. My old crew chief, Jim Hulzinga, who pits and spots for David, came over and offered to help spot for me in that session. Jim is such a great spotter, so calm, and gives awesome feed back. During that session I tried to pace the #17 of Nick Roth. Jim let me know some laps times. I heard 15:75, then 15:72. He suggested I stay up a little going into 3 and let the car roll through the turns. Once I started driving the track better my times came down to 15:68, the 62 and one lap at 15:57.

David said those were decent times, close to him, but I didn't sense that, the car seemed lazy. Maybe that's a side affect from running the Modified that seems faster and more agile.

In the first feature we started 9th. I could only run with the cars ahead of me, I had nothing when it came to trying to pass cars, but I could stay with them. Our race went over half way non stop and I was in a pack of cars running tight, mostly due to the #61 Brett Wheller, who was running 4th and struggling with a loose car on exit. He had company, with a group of cars, 5th to 9th all in a line. I was 9th.

While this group fought the leaders were a straightaway ahead. Matt Lockwood, David, Shawn Chenoweth and Kevin Albers were out of sight.

Chad Cochrane got under his uncle Brett, and the 61 started to get freight trained, I tried to set him up to pass but he got in front of me. The only way I would have got him is if I was willing to lose most of my front end body parts that would have been ripped off when we made contact, I backed out, what I usually do if I can't get a good pass.

My car was pushing in the corners. Once Chad, and others got by Brett they pulled away.

A late race caution came out with about 4 laps to go. David was outside Matt. They had a great battle for the lead. I was not able to do anything with my car so I watched the boys up front put on a great race for the top 4 spots. Matt would hold on to win and David took second with Shawn 3rd. I ended up 8th, because the car that spun bringing out the caution, could not get by me again.

All we did for the second feature was set the brake bias. I had full front brakes on the adjustment, way too much, and reset it with 60% front. We also raised the track bar 1/2" to help the car turn better.

I was to start outside pole for the second feature, but there was no way I was taking the spot. All I would do is mess up the faster cars behind me, and that would be 70% of the field.

Our car was okay, not great, but not real bad either. It seemed like we could only run mid pack at best. I tried to figure out what was wrong, where the issues were. The first was the push, still there, not as bad. There are a few reasons the car isn't where it should be, I didn't have time over the winter to update it properly and there are at least 5 or 6 changes I would make and will make to hopefully get it better for 2017.

The first caution was early when #9 Jeff Ruddy spun in turn 4. Apparently David spun him and had to go to the back but he headed for the pits. Before the race restarted I asked Louie where David was and he said he wasn't out yet. I knew that wasn't good because he could not afford to have a poor finish.

Meanwhile after that restart I noticed the car was all over the place. The surface was getting worse each lap. Another yellow on lap 11 came out when a few cars spun in turns one and two. I got checked up but hammered when we tried to get high, but no damage. During that yellow I told Louie "there is something on the track, its really slippery and my windshield is covered with oil". Under this yellow, I pulled down on the apron to talk to corner flag man Kenny Stenhouse. I was going to tell him there is something on the track, but the track was aware and they were doing their best now to find out why and who.

While sitting I noticed my Hans had came undone, the clips from the Hans to my helmet. just the left side. I told Louie I was coming in to clean the windshield and get the Hans hooked up again, but then the red came out, and was out for at least 15 to 20 minutes while the track crew put speedy dry down, using the street sweeper they started soaking up the oil. Soon as the yellow came out I headed for the pits. They cleaned my windshield, hooked up the Hans and I headed back out, but got stopped at the pit entrance to the track. David was sitting ahead of me waiting to get out but all the cars were stopped on the back chute as the track staff were putting speedy dry down everywhere.

We finally got out and were told to head to the back straight. I noticed when I got there that the other side of my Hans had disconnected as well I told Louie, I got to come in again. But I couldn't because like security at a border crossing, the staff were checking every car for leaking fluid, and they found the #61 of Brett Wheller was laying down oil and sent him to the pits. I was sitting at the back and once I was cleared of oil leaks I headed to the pits and Louie did his best to reach in and hook up the right side, not an easy task trying to get in the window and reach around the seat in the dark, but he did get it as best as possible.

I asked Louie if David was on the lead lap and he said he didn't think he got back out on one of the other cautions and thought he was down a lap, I said "check with his crew", but Louie was reluctant because they were upset with being at the back after the spin and not having much time to get through.

The next 13 laps were caution free, till another yellow came out with just a few laps to go. I was in 9th and could not get by anyone in front of me. David went in the pits and came out behind me. On that restart I was trying to stay low knowing that he would be coming hard and was much quicker than me, the same I would for any of the top 7 or 8 cars.

As I tried to get down coming off turn two I didn't know David was inside me and we made contact. I felt so bad. I'm not competitive and when I try to get down I was still in the way. David did get by me and would pass 2 more cars before the race ended. He had a real crazy battle with Jeff Ruddy who was pushing off the corner so bad it was nuts. David finally got by him and was gone but he ran out of time and his car was as he said "the best it's been in 2 seasons".

We left the track in 9th and with damage to the hood. Our hood pin bracket is mounted so poorly, when I hit a car slightly coming off a turn, it caved the top of my hood way down, but not real serious.

David still maintains his points lead over Shawn, altho with Chenoweth finishing 2nd the points race is very close now.

An amazing thing happened after the race. We were loading our car in the trailer and the winch battery was dying, well it was pretty well gone. We needed a push and this man and woman were walking through the pits and he helped push our car in the trailer. I was inside the trailer hooking up the front chains when a young woman came up to our side door and asked me if I was the Gary Elliott that use to run the Hobby car back in the 80's and I said yes. She introduced herself to me as Christine, and that she was my biggest fan. She said one night 30 years ago, the track had Kids Rides, and I have her a ride in my race car. Christine introduced me to her husband Tony and I signed autograph cards for her Dad and Mom, plus her children and of course her and Tony. She said now she had someone to cheer for knowing that I was still racing. We got a picture beside our trailer and she said " this just made my night" :D

Our next race is this coming weekend at Sauble Speedway in the Modified, it will be the first race for the Chase elimination round, where one car will be eliminated. We have new tires for that night. My prayer is for a safe race for our team, and all the drivers, and that we can have 3 good finishes in the elimination races, Sauble, Full Throttle and Flamboro, to be in the final 3 for the Championship race at Peterborough during Autumn Colors.

Tonight was our 770th consecutive night. Our goal is 800, sometime next year. God has been so good to me and I thank Him for all He has given. My crew, my sponsors, all the great friends, all my fans, and the one I didn't even know about until tonight after the races, (Christine) the tracks I race, the promoters, the competitors I compete against, their crews and families and this great sport.....I am very thankful for this fantastic journey.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:51 am

August 27th......................Sauble Speedway

Rained Out!!!!

The next Modified race is September 10th at Full Throttle Motor Speedway. Two drivers will be eliminated from the 7 who are in the chase. Luke Giganic, AJ Emms, Gary McLean, John Harper, Cory Horner, Dan Price and me are the 7.

Two more will be eliminated at Flamboro Speedway during Octoberfest on October 2nd. The 3 remaining drivers will race for the title at Peterborough Speedway's Autumn Colors Thanksgiving weekend.

We are ready 8-)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:00 am

September 3rd........................Flamboro Speedway

Race #18

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Shawn Chenoweth wins both
* David gets dumped again leading the feature (not by Chenoweth)
* We have decent night
* We give away 3 trophies
* David and Shawn tied for first
* We are 8th in points

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




Louie and I arrived in plenty of time to get our car through tech and ready for practice. David had planned to take my car out for the second set of hot laps after he tested his own car.

His practice session was good and mine was good as well so he didn't need to take my car out. I was complaining of a push but it was very good during practice. He watched from the pits saying our car looked really fast.

There were 16 cars. Another three or four are on the verge of coming out so this class could be up to 20 cars by next year.

In our first feature we started 7th. We ran fairly competitive with the pack getting into 4th near the half way. We ran there for the next 8 laps and the car started to push allowing the cars behind me, Matt Lockwood #15 and Nick Roth #17 to get by. I settled in behind them and stayed there until the yellow came out with 2 to go when David got spun by #50 Chad Corcoran.

Smoke was coming from my car so I went in the pits, but I forgot I had no crew except Louie and he was spotting in turn 3 and 4, so I went back out. I lost 2 spots but got one back and ended up 7th in the first feature. David finished 5th.

Once back in the pits we put the car on jack stands and I got under looking for an oil leak, but it was dry. However, the back frame area under the exhaust, and the muffler outlet were black like soot, meaning the car was running rich. We put it back on the ground because I was going to change the jetting and reset the carb. I had to wait until after intermission, because I was going out on the track to give away 3 trophies again to the young fans.

In the past year, once I got everything organized in my shop I realized I had way too many trophies, and no place to put them. David as well, and we offered to sponsor OSCAAR for a triple crown series, but there was not going to be a triple Crown, so David kept the ones he wanted and threw some out. I was going to do the same but thought maybe the young fans would like them. I kept the trophies that were in good condition and handed out 3 tonight. Louie came out and took some pictures and I brought Buttons out in the car with me.

Once back in the pits we took the hood off and I changed the jets and set the carb, hoping to reduce the black smoke. Running rich like that hurts the car on restarts, it loads up too much.

In the second feature I started 7th behind David. He didn't take long getting to the front and taking the lead, I was able to get into 5th and was running good although the car bogged bad on the green. The race ran smooth until a wreck coming off turn four took out #17 Nick Roth and #15 Matt Lockwood. On that restart I had to go outside because I was 4th. I lost 3 spots on the restart, but got one back with two laps to go. We finished 6th in the second race giving us a good night. David finished 2nd in the second feature and is now tied for first in points with Shawn Chenoweth who won both races. David made extra points for leading the most laps in both of the features, and if he didn't get dumped he would have won the first.

Congrats to Chenoweth for his 2 wins.

Next week we race the Modified at Full Throttle Motor Speedway for the first elimination round in the OSCAAR Chase. We have everything set, new tires, the car set up and I am ready to go. Louie and Don Yorke will pit for me at Varney.

Jay Linde will race the Late Model at Flamboro to keep us in the points. I will drive it again on the 24th for the final night of points. That will be the final night to gain points on anyone because the final point race is Octoberfest and everyone gets 100 points for that race.

So far this has been a hard but good year. Hard without the help that we need during the week and at the races, but with Lloyd on the side line, not feeling well, we do our best and keep him in our prayers.

Our goal is to win the OSCAAR points, but in order to do that we need to be in the final 3 after the 2 elimination rounds at FTMS and Flamboro in October. We are ready and God willing we will be there. :)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:45 pm

September 10th.......................Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Rained Out!!!!!

That's my 3rd rain out this season. Grrrrrrr. I only scheduled 26 races this year, I usually book more, and now have lost 3, with a possibility of 5 left. It even looks like rain for this weekend again.

If it does I would maybe go to Delaware in place of this Saturday night race. We have been told that we will know on Thursday the 15th, if the 17th is going to cancelled for us. The Kawartha race with the Pinty's NASCAR series will still go, but not with us if the race is moved to Sunday the 18th.

Oh well, next year I will book more races, while I am still young lol :lol:

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:59 am

September 16th................Delaware Speedway

Kawartha cancelled for Sept 17th, I decide to go to Delaware to replace the lost race

Open Mod Invitational Twin 30's

Race #19

High Lites
* 13 cars :|
* Jamie Cox wins overall
* We finish 12th overall
* No crew tonight, no spotter
* Stayed out of trouble
* 486 not enough

1st feature...........12th
2nd feature..........11th



Dean Scott helped out....Buttons to :lol:

I was hoping to race Kawartha this weekend, but that got cancelled on Thursday with rain threatening to wash away the weekend, and it pretty well did for Saturday. Friday and Sunday the weather was good.

Originally I had not decided to go to Delaware because of the Kawartha show the following day. It wasn't just that I didn't run well at the big half, but there was no way we were going to race Delaware on the Friday, get home around 2 am, then head to Kawartha at 7am, it didn't make any sense, plus the Delaware pay wasn't attractive enough to draw me. These were both non points races, which I also don't like, but the Kawartha race intrigued me because I do run well there. Same track size, so it's not the speed, I just do better at Kawartha.

Over the past few weeks we had been rained out twice. Sauble on the 27th of August, and Varney on September 10th. Once Kawartha was cancelled, that was 3 race nights in 4 weeks. I thought about going to Delaware. I don't run very well there, but I do like the track and the people. I also had the 4 tires I was going to run at Kawartha, the ones I used on Thursday night to practice at Riverside International Speedway on July 14th. They were wore, not the best but would save me buying 3 or 4 tires. The purse pay out meant 2nd back would be losing money if they bought 3 tires, and more if they bought 4.

I asked my crew but none could make it and no one else wanted to go. I decided Thursday to go, once I heard Kawartha was a no go. I don't like going alone, but I was only going to help the field and have a fun night......although it's not a lot of fun being NON competitive, but I knew that and was okay with it.

I got my tires mounted Friday morning, picked up the trailer, switched the tires off the Mod and mounted the old tires. Loaded the trailer and Buttons and I headed to Delaware around 3 pm.

For some reason I wasn't too bummed out. I knew what would happen for the night, I would suck, but I was okay with it, plus I would be with my racing family. Going to that race on old tires meant we conceded the night, but even with new tires, I didn't feel comfortable racing there period. I don't know what it is. I have had a few bad crashes in the Late Model, but did fairly well in the Hobby car. I also won a feature at Delaware in an Outlaw Pro 4 Modified. It's just a track that has my number. Some drivers don't like Flamboro or Sauble, it's got nothing to do with the speed, it's set up and having the crew to get through hot laps, heat races to make the car and driver good for the feature. I feel like I am on the edge at Delaware, about to spin out, so I back off. If race cars had tail lights, I would have the 4 way flashers on.

We got to the track early enough and got a spot beside Gary McLean, Once I got the pit set up I sat down with Buttons. Gary's team, 7 of them, worked together to get their car right. They bolted on 4 brand new tires for the first set of hot laps and turned a 18:5. Fast times for sure, but $800 for 4 new tires. The purse was $1500 to win, $700 for 2nd. So they would have to win to make any money. I spent $70 on diesel, $30 to get in, $25 for my transponder and had fuel left over from one of my Late Model races. My cost for the night was $125. The 8 car, like almost every team there, was at least $1100 if they paid their teams ways in. Some run racing fuel, add $100, most all of the rest had 5 or more crew members. No one with new tires was going to come close to breaking even, 3rd paid $500.

With no spotter, Buttons hasn't learned that yet, I didn't have any hot laps. Starting at the back of a race with no spotter is okay because you know there is no one behind you. Plus the tires I had didn't want another heat cycle on them. They had about 5 on them now and were all but done, but would be fine for the twin 30 format.

There were 13 cars, a big let down for the promoter. He was hoping for close to 20, although the pay off went to 32 cars....no chance of that happening. None of the OMRS Mods came, they would have to buy tires and rims, they don't use 10" wheels so why would they go......well, they didn't. There were 6 OSCAAR Mods and the rest Delaware Mods.

I finished 12th of 13 in time trials. The only car behind me was track owner Justin DeMelo and he never took a lap when a rear end gear failed.

The first feature was uneventful. I did stay with the back 4 cars for half the race, but my tires were falling off near the end. Jamie Cox took the win. The winner of the night would be the team with the best combined finish in both races. I finished 12th in the first race.

I did nothing to my car for the second race, charged the battery and checked fuel, but there was enough fuel.

I was listed to start pole but told the track... NO WAY!!!....No kidding, 8 tenths off the pace, ya lets start that car on the pole. That's all I needed was to start up front and get wrecked taking the green or within a lap....no thank you. I needed to end the night with Zero damage to make this trip worth while. I do feel bad for any fans who were cheering for me, because we didn't have a chance to even run with the pack let alone compete. I hope to change that in 2017....better car....better parts under the hood.

The second race was harder for me. This race was wild. The teams must have added up their expenses and said to their crews "hey we need to win this race to get our money back". I added up my expenses, and all I had to do was stay damage free and I would be making at least $100, and that was an unusual night at the races.

It didn't take long for the first casualty. Shane Stickle was punted by one of the more aggressive drives and ended up slamming the inside cement wall coming off turn two. He had to be towed off. On that restart we only went one lap when #51 Dale Reinheart went flying hard into the wall between turn 3 and 4. He hit very hard bringing out the next yellow. The yellow's kept me close to the field but the final restart soon separated me from my friends.

I paced the field for a few laps then could only see 7 cars, then 5. Soon I had just one car on the same straight away as me. I watched in my mirror for the leaders coming, and the starter to signal me, but he wasn't giving me the move over....maybe he thought I was leading...hahah, I don't think so, but I wasn't taking a chance of getting in the middle of a race battle so I pulled down the front chute pit lane thinking they would be coming right away but to my surprise I was at the end of pit lane before they came by, so they weren't as close as I thought they would be. I waited for a caution, but there would be no more. Jamie Cox won that race as well giving him the win and Gary McLean would end up 2nd. We finished 11th giving us 12th overall and $230, a profit of $105.

No damage and a night in the books. Not good but I was there and did have fun.

Congrats to Jamie Cox and is team for winning the night.

Justin told me after the race that he was not going to be running OSCAAR Mods next year at his track, but instead starting his own series back up again. He said I should come out. I told him I don't do well at his track, he said I just need to get laps in to know the track better. That's true, but I would prefer running at the other 6 tracks that I do know better already. Flamboro, Sunset, Sauble, Varney, Peterborough and Kawartha. He will need 15 cars minimum to put on a decent show for his fans and he knows it. He's a good promoter and has had lots of success and I wish the best for them.

Buttons and I headed home, listened to the Blue Jays to keep me away and they won 5-0, glad it wasn't the Saturday or Sunday games where they lost both.

Our next race is Saturday the 24th at Flamboro for the final points race. We are 8th in Pro Late Points, ten behind 7th and 10 ahead of 9th. Then on Sunday I get my first race at Sunset in the Modified with OMRS. I like running with that group and I also like getting back to Sunset.

With car counts bad in most travelling series, it is going to be interesting to see what promoters do in 2017. Changes will be coming I suspect.

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