Diary Of A Season 2016

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

Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:31 pm

We have started on our 2016 race program. I always plan a budget first, then check it over a few times to make sure I haven't cut corners, or maybe over priced some updates or parts and repairs needed.
Once the budget is set, it's time to confirm sponsors. Each year we lose a few sponsors and need to add a few. That's not always an easy task for any team, but it is a natural occurance.
As of January 25th we are about 75% towards meeting our budget to run two cars, with a combined 28 race schedule.
I will be posting our schedule soon.

Work has already begun in the stripping of the Late Model by the students at Westdale High School. The kids have done an amazing job removing the body and driveline. I will be taking the car to Jason Legge who with the help of Glenn Schnurr will be making a few updates and changes to the car. I hope to have pictures of the progress as they happen.

Our Modified will be going to Oakville Trailer for cosmetic and chassis upgrades as well. I would love to have a new Mod, but not only is that not in the budget, it's not necessary just yet, the car works pretty good.

I will be updating more info soon, our list of sponsors who have returned and our 2016 race schedule.

My crew and I will be posting progress with our race program on a regular basis. Thanks for visiting our site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:44 pm

King David Reigns At Flamboro Speedway
The Road To Being A Champion

Flamboro Speedway held it's annual banquet on Saturday January 30th at the Legion in Waterdown. This was a night for my son, his family, his team and sponsors to celebrate them winning the 2015 Pro Late Model points Championship, another in his very successful racing career. I am very proud of David and what he has done in his many years racing.

Champion....What Does It Require
There are many ways to win a Championship but the focus here is on the premise that a good crew, good sponsors or ability to finance a winning team, hard work, hard racing, good luck and playing within the rules are the key components to winning a Championship

Being a Champion means:
*Bringing the best car you can to every event. Using the winter months to prepare your car so it will be competitive, so you and your team will have a shot a winning the title.
*Showing up to every race, be there 100% of the time. Fans love it, promoters love it and sponsors want to see race teams make all the races, but no one can win a title and not make all the events, not if the field is competitive.
*Being consistent, finishing the best you can every night. Taking advantage of opportunities and not over driving. These ingredients make it possible to be a Champion.
*A thorough weekly maintenance program from week to week to assure you come out with the same car every race.

David has been an amazing racer since he got good equipment in 1996. Many of us, including David, have raced for years with inferior race cars, competing every week because the love of the sport out weighed the need to win. When fans asked me back in the late 70's, and 80's, "you go out every night to win right"? I would answer honestly "no, I go out to try and win my heat race, but my odds of winning the feature are very low if not unlikely". Some took that as a negative, and were kind of shocked that I would admit I race and know I can't win. Racers are supposed to be full of ego, or think they can win when there is no chance. The idea of a racer saying he can't win didn't make sense to them, but they didn't understand that in my mind and heart I did win if I started 20th and finished in the top 10 or top 5. I was not negative, I just knew my equipment was nothing compared to many of the teams we raced against.

In the off seasons I didn't know what to do or how to make our car better because the money wasn't there.....it was a long process, years. I was married, 2 little kids, a below average wage earner, no sponsors to have an impact on my program, making it impossible to have a really good race car. There was ZERO chance of being a Champion back then, especially with 24 to 30 cars showing up every week . But I had 2 choices, 'don't race, or race with what I had'. My Dad once said "you need to get the money you need and build the best race car you can. If you do and still can't win, then quit". I didn't agree with that because I loved the sport.

Me saying I couldn't win in my early years was the truth, something many competitors and fans already knew, but wouldn't say. I knew it and said it because my goal was to do the best I could with what I had. If we could get a heat win (possible because top cars were not in my heat) we would be very excited, but winning a feature was an incredible long shot, requiring me starting up front and the top cars, who back in the day started at the back of 24 car fields. The hope was they would not have enough time to get through the pack and catch me.

Never Give Up
Many times when we were up front we weren't the fastest of the slower cars in the first few rows, and would be lucky to hold on to a top 5 finish. There was however 2 times in 1975 and 1976 that we won features because the top cars did not get to me in time. After those features it wasn't uncommon for the hot dogs to remind me that I was lucky because in one more lap they had me. I didn't care about that because we rarely won and when we did; there was nothing that could take away the joy of winning a race. The closest finish had to be in 1978 when Dave McKee caught me with one lap to go and coming off turn four we were lapping cars that were side by side. I had to go way outside but knew the wall was close. I wanted this win badly but caught the right rear wheel of the car I was passing and went up on two wheels sliding across the start finish line with a damaged car, flat tire but the checkered flag pointed at me. What a thrill, what a night to remember. It was David who said on the way home that night...."Dad, in one more lap Dave McKee had you"......kids :)

I tell all of this because David ran this way as well. He raced hard with inferior cars, but never gave up. He got better cars at a much younger age and when he had a good car he ran very well. David has over a dozen Championships including 4 Hobby titles, 4 Late Model track Championships, 2 WWE (Week End Warrior) titles, and a few Gold Cup and Flamboro titles. He is an amazing racer and knows how to set up his car, but he has spent many years getting to where he is, and it wasn't easy, but he had patience and showed what he could do when he had the right stuff.

The difference between David and I is what fuels the fire when we are racing. I have always been conservative on the track. Conserving my equipment, not being overly aggressive and not being rough on other racers, and I am okay with that . More times I have been spun out, wrecked or dumped by competitors than the opposite. It was just the way I was. In my earlier years, in my mid 20's I did get very angry at racers who wrecked me, but I never retaliated.....not that I can think of.

I finished in the top 5 or 3 in a feature many times once I had decent equipment. I rarely had other drivers mad at me, because I raced them clean and, because I didn't get revenge if they roughed me up. My crew and fans were furious many times by things that happened to me, being dumped on the last lap leading a feature and the car that spun me, the winner of the race, didn't get sent to the back. There were many other incidents as well....but overall my career has been mostly peaceful with barely a handful of drivers who would consider me a person to have a grudge with.

David is the same but opposite. He races hard and is conservative. He races as hard as any of the best in Ontario, but he races his competitors clean....if they do the same to him. He is determined to win and leaves nothing on the table, and though I don't show the same aggression, I also don't leave anything on the table. We both race our cars to their capability; we get a lot out of cars that are not the best on a given day.

Where we differ is when others rough us up. I say nothing and do nothing, even if they don't apologize. Most every time there is no feud with me and other racers. When a racer roughs up David, or tries to control him, that's when trouble starts. High profile drivers have found that when they try to bully their way through David he isn't going to take it.....and he doesn't. If they apologize it's over, if they don't he will respond to them, more than likely with a warning.

Bullies like to push other racers out of the way and cruise to an easy win. Rarely are they patient. If they were, they would get by a slightly slower car. Some racers may have older tires, or some issue making the car a little off, making them an easy target, but in spite of that there is no need for Bullies to ram or wreck them....just pass clean or stay put. Bullies usually have the best of the best but lack respect for their peers. Some are great racers and many times win big races and Championships. David has many titles, and has won a 100 lap feature, so he is in the league of the best. When he has any issue, it's usually with a top runner who tries to bash his way past David, some have found that won't and doesn't work.

David struggled in his early career with inferior cars, but has shown many times that he is a true Champion. He has been a fan favorite, because fans know he races hard and can win. He is respected by most of his peers, top racers at different tracks who know he is a charger, and more importantly that David races his competition the way they race him.

David prefers to pass clean racers like a gentleman and not bash his way through them. He knows being a Champion doesn't mean he has to win every race. Nick Roth was leading the Flamboro feature back in the summer getting the lead on lap 1 with David on his bumper. He kept the lead through the entire feature with David glued to him, and there was no rough stuff. Nick appreciated that he wasn't moved out of the way, but rather allowed to race in the preferred line and not be beaten up. That's what we all want. When asked after the race why David didn't get by Nick, he reply was.... "he was fast on the straight-aways, ran good through the corners and didn't make a mistake. There was no way to pass him clean". That's the words of a true Champion.

He won the 2015 Pro Late Model Championship being smart. It wasn't easy, he had to bite his tongue at times, but in the end he was the Champ and has earned the respect of the racing community as a top quality stock car racer.

2016 is going to be a great year. David will be defending his title. I will be racing with a different car, the same but renewed, one that isn't down 30 to 40 HP over the rest of the field. It has been so hard racing with the Limited Lates with the engine program we have had. It hasn't been just HP but that has been the biggest issue with my Late Model.

I am looking forward to racing both cars in 2016. The Mod with my OSCAAR friends and my rebuilt Late Model that is currently under the knife with Jason Legge, Glenn Schnurr who is doing the prep work and Randy MacDonald overseeing and rebuilding the suspension and chassis.

My Modified goes this week to Ron Easton, another genius when it comes to building and preparing cars. So, my race program is set and my team and I are pumped, looking forward to season #48.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:53 pm

Our 2016 schedule is just about complete. I need this week to get it finalized. The 100% percent series will be with the OSCAAR Modified. We will also run the full Flamboro Pro Late schedule, but I will miss 2 of those races because of conflicting dates with the OSCAAR series. Jay Linde, one of my sponsors, will fill in for me when I am away. That will allow us to compete weekly in the points and hopefully have a shot at a top 3 in the standings.

Big News
I have a few other surprises this season. My team will compete in the IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish Nova Scotia in July. This will be my first time on this track, although I did race there in 1984 on the old configuration with the Hobby club. The new track is a replica of Bristol Speedway, the NASCAR track in Tennessee. It has slightly shorter straight-aways.
July 16th 2016 Riverside International Speedway
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Ray Hughes Wins Riverside Speedway Feature 1984
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Jim Collison Finished 2nd
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We Finished 3rd...11th Year With Quaker State
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This came about by fluke actually. I was talking to Joe Chisholm from Race Time Radio and he suggested I should run that race. Joe said I would love it there....I agreed because I was born in Truro Nova Scotia, just 45 minutes from Antigonish, and I have Uncles and Aunts in that area, and dozens of cousins, some who I haven't seen for years, and others I haven't seen at all. He also said I would do well.......that's when I didn't agree and said to Joe "I might not be able to qualify let alone do good". But Joe insisted I would run well there "you are the Iron Man, and everyone knows you down there". Well if that was true, and it could be to a degree, that would be because of Joe promoting me like he does so many Ontario and Canadian racers, and the fact that my family are big music stars in Nova Scotia. Uncle Carl is in the Maritime Music Hall of Fame and most all my uncles and cousins have incredible musical talent. Bill Elliott plays for Matt Minglewood when there are just the 2 of them, and both Bill and Mike have played for other high ranked Martime entertainers like JP Cormier. My family have been icons with their music over the past 60 years or more.

Joe went on to say "Gary, this is the biggest Pro Late Model stock car race in Canada. 250 laps, the best of the Maritime racers attend, and usually at least one NASCAR racer, last year was NASCAR Truck star, Matt Crafton" He continued "this race attracts 35,000 fans, the place is totally packed and you would love the atmosphere and hype, it is incredible....you should be there Gary, it's on July 16th". At first I thought, "I am probably racing". I told Joe I would think about it and let him know.

I was really taken by Joe's words. I checked my tentative schedule with the OSCAAR Mod and Flamboro Late Model dates. My schedule had us racing at Flamboro on July 9th in the Modified, then on July 22nd in the Mod at Delaware Speedway, and the 23rd in the Late Model at Flamboro. Wow, I was off that July 16th.......Sometimes things are meant to be? Now the wheels were turning.

I called Joe and told him I was off, and he said "that's great, when will you announce your going to attend"? I said "I need to make sure my car is legal for this race, find out what is required. I also have to budget for it. I don't really want to drive 1200 miles one way and not qualify.....but I will look into and get back to you in a week". Joe said "great, once you let me know I will interview you on Race Time Radio".

I looked closer at my schedule. The last Late Model race prior to July 16th was June 25th at Flamboro. I was going to be racing July 1st and 3rd at Sauble, possibly July 2nd at Flamboro, and then again on July 9th at Flamboro, all those being Modified shows. I immediately realized I had 2 weeks to get the Late Model ready for Nova Scotia. I thought about renting a car, but that was going to be far too much. So the only way it would work is taking my own car, but why not, I would show case all our sponsors and our team.

Preparing For The IWK 250
I started making calls. First to my cousin Bill Elliott who lives in Economy Nova Scotia, about 90 minutes from Antongish. Bill and Natalie, Bill's wife, offered to let me Lloyd and I stay with them. I told him about the race on July 16th and he was excited and completely in, wanting me to come for sure. He also offered to help me pick up a few sponsors in the area to help us with this race, and some local friends to help in the pits. I called Riverside International Speedway track owner, Donald Chisholm, and he felt we would be close rules wise with our chassis, carb, clutch and 604 engine. He said we would need to have the engine sealed by the Maritime Pro Stock Tour tech officials. That was okay with me because I was buying a new 604 and planned to move a friend to New Brunswick and would bring the engine with me still wrapped in the Crate. He also said we would need to run their shock and spring rules, completely different than what we have here, but that was okay, I wanted to make sure there would be no surprises when I got there. Joe Chisholm said "if you get any sponsors for that race, I will promote them on our show". I knew I would need to find sponsors for the IWK 250. A first estimate was $4500 but that grew to $6500. I had to add that total to our 2016 budget....but I was excited, and determined to make this work. However there were a bunch more pieces to put in place to make this doable.

I called Lloyd, my main crew member and he was game to go. The plan was to race Saturday night, the 9th, at Flamboro, come home with a group of guys to help with getting the Mod ready for July 22nd. Maintenance would include changing gears, do a nut and bolt, oil and filter, fix whatever needed fixing. Then load the Late Model, we could use help pushing the Late Model in the trailer. We talked about leaving very early Sunday morning, like 4 am and drive right through to Bill and Natalies. After the race on the 16th, we would stay until the Wednesday, allowing us to work on the Late Model, to get it ready for Flamboro that coming Saturday, the 23rd. Lloyd agreed to that idea. As initial plans fell in place, things were looking good to make this work; but before I could comfortably say it was a go for certain, we needed more answers for some questions.

Quaker State Helps Us
During a confernece call with my good friend Mark Reed from Quaker State in Burlington, and Laura Jaime from Houston Texas, we confirmed our 2016 sponsorship with Quaker State. This would be our 43rd season with this amazing company, certainly a Canadain record, but more than likely a world record, unless there is a current racer that is still racing with the same corporate sponsor for longer than 43 years. Regardless, I am so thankful to be an ambassador for such a great company. When I explained the trip to Nova Scotia and possibilty of doing a show for one of their Vendors, Walmart, Canadian Tire or NAPA, the response was well taken and we received our first commitment for the IWK 250 when Laura a added $2000 for the trip. Now we had some funds to our budget, we were in search of $4500, but the horizon looked much brighter.

I made a few more calls to my cousin Bill. The good news was he had all kinds of contacts we could approach for potential sponsorship. We agreed to do a few shows in Truro or Antigonish for any Nova Scotia sponsor's business prior to the race to promote them, and a show for our current sponsor Quaker State.

We hoped to get to the track and turn some laps to get use to this exciting fast track. The plan was to get 3 sets of tires. One for practice, a new set to qualify and use for the first 125 laps, then a second set for the "competition yellow" that would allow all teams to install 4 more tires if they wanted. I called Brian MacDonald to see if he knew anything about the series and he said he did. Brian agreed to call some people he knew in that area in Nova Scotia to find out what shock and spring set up they ran. I asked Brian if he would take my car for a few days after the June 25th race and set it up for that track and he said he would fit us in his schedule of work.

Another Great Opportunity
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine asked me if I could take him, his family and his car to New Brunswick on March 1st. We came to an agreement. I decided I would take the Crate engine with me and get it sealed there. Our biggest issue right now is getting a confirmation to get our engine sealed while I am in Nova Scotia. I am waiting to hear from a track management official to see if I can bring the engine so they can seal it. Flamboro is okay with me doing that. I hope to hear soon from some authority from the Maritime Pro Stock Tour. I think they will do that for me, I am just waiting to hear back.

We leave March 1st right after my Tuesday night Men's Dart game. I play in Division 1 of the Burlington Dart League, but that works perfect for the people moving because they are out of their house on March 1st, and I don't have to let my team play short handed. Mike will share the driving with me on the way down. Once in Nova Scotia March 2nd, Bill and I will see a few potential sponsors, and then meet the people from the Maritime Pro Stock Tour to get our engine sealed.
Buttons will be with me, but she won't be able to drive on the way back, but she will be good company.

I have never raced on a track this fast or in a race this big.....could be the biggest highlight of my career, and I have had a lot of special nights and races,but if this goes like I hope it will, and many of my family come to the race, this will be the biggest for sure...........more soon!!! Thanks for visiting our site :)

PS.....if anyone knows of a potential sponsor, or the possibilty of me bringing something back in my empty trailer around March 5th, please email me at garyelliottmotorsports@gmail.com

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:57 pm

March 1st to 6th

I had a great opportunity this week to go to Nova Scotia and look deeper into making the IWK 250 a reality for our team.
My cousin Bill Elliott offered to take me around to some of his friends who owned businesses in Nova Scotia. I just had to figure out how to get there.

A friend of mine, Mike Larkin, asked me if I would move him and his family to New Brunswick on March 1st. There was my opportunity to get to Nova Scotia, so I agreed, and we took his belongings and race car as well. The plan was to leave late Tuesday March 1st and hope to get there around supper time the next day. Things changed when news came that we were going to get hit by a big storm, and we did get hit, and followed that storm all the way through Quebec and part of New Brunswick. Between snow plows, blowing snow and the Trans Canada being closed for 4 and ha half hours at Quebec City the trip took us till 4 am Thursday morning, ove 30 hours. We got to Mikes parents place. just down the road from Petty Speedway in a little town called RIver Glade, and unloaded my trailer, I decided to leave it there until I was coming back home on Sunday the 5th. I hadn't been in that area since 1984 when the Hobby club ran River Glade Speedway during our East Coast Tour.

I had proposals made out to give to potential sponsors. They were all exactly the same. I was willing to run the sponsor name on our car all year, as well as put their logo on our web site. Joe Chisholm from Race Time Radio offered to interview any sponsors we got on his weekly Canada wide radio program.

In total we saw six businesses. There were two that were not available to see, we left proposals for them to consider.

We visited 2 race shops. Rollie MacDonald, who owns King Freight, had a nice shop in Pictou, and Donald Chisholm who owns Nova Construction and Riverside International Speedway had his shop in Antigonish.

I had a great time with Bill meeting all these great people. When we were done on Sunday we had accumulated 4 show presentations. We plan on being at the Walmart in Antigonish on the Friday night before the race. It is located very near the track. We will be at the Canadian Tire store in Truro, both of those for our sponsor Quaker State. We couldn't get any sponsorship through Nova Trucks in Truro, but Rod wants us for a display on the Wednesday or Thursday, the same day we will be at the Canadian Tire. The other show we are committed to is in Bass River Nova Scotia for a fund raiser to support the local Fire Department.

I can only make this race with help from local businesses in Nova Scotia. The 8 proposals we gave out will hopefully be fruitful for us. My cousin Larry will work with Bill on another potential sponsor who they both know very well who operated his business out of Halifax, but lives close to my cousins.

I will update this big race once commitments start coming in. The IWK 250 will cost us $9000 and we need to raise that to make it happen. I'm praying about it, have been for all our racing endeavours for 2016. I hope it comes together. If so, it will be one of the biggest if not the most prestigious high light racing events of my 48 year career........more info to come once things fall in place.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:43 pm

Our team has made some good progress this week securing sponsors for 2016. I agree it is late to be confirming sponsors but things have made it impossible for me to get to it sooner, but I am very thankful that most all of our sponsors will be returning in 2016, and we will once again be doing the Kids Race Camp at Sunset Speedway. More on that later.

This week we secured Permatex and Metal Coaters. Already confirmed for 2016 are Quaker State, Lincoln Welders, JDS Insurance, Grind Stone Landscaping and Propery Maintenance, Timber Green Lanscaping, Uptown Sports, PPG, and Oakville Trailers.

I am very thankful to have had Open Doors with us for 3 years, Arctica Heating and Cooling, Postma Custom Services and the Black Bull. We have been invited to reapply with the Black Bull for 2017.

We will be posting more sponsor logo's over the next few days. We are still seeking more sponsors for 2016, especially for our trip to Nova Scotia. We hope to get at least one good sponsor or a few associates for that awesome race event.

If you know of anyone who would be part of our team, no amount is to small, please contact me at garyelliottmotorsports@gmail.com

More on the progress of our 2 cars in the next week.

Thanks for visiting our site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:30 pm

Race Car Update

In recent years, up until 2015, my race program was way ahead of where it is this year. The cars are being worked on now, but time is my worst enemy as practice day looms ever so close.

To be honest, I'm not concerned about practicing as much as I am about missing opening day in the Late Model at Flamboro Speedway. Practice is important, I agree, but I can sacrifice a competitive night, or one of the features, to get the feel of the car. But my biggest concern will be keeping our steak of 753 consecutive nights going.

Our last full season at Flamboro was 2011. The next 3 were at Sunset Speedway, although the 3rd year at Sunset was split with our first year in OSCAAR. Last year we ran full time at Sauble Speedway and made up other races with a bunch at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, two at Flamboro and a couple at Sunset Speedway. Having 90% of my Late Model laps at Flamboro should make things easier this year, especially with no real changes to the track over the past 5 years.

Our Late Model is under the watchful eye of Jason Legge and Glenn Schnurr, and should be done by mid April, making it very tight for me to be ready. I will still have the driveline to install, excluding the quick change. The engine needs every bolt on part. No 602 in the Late Model, we will be running a brand new 604, sealed by the APC Late Model series. Once that's installed I still need to get the car painted, sent out for lettering and then scaled and set up. Randy MacDonald is doing the shocks for both the LM and the Mod. He is perhaps the best in North America on shock and chassis knowledge, and a very good man. He helps many teams. Another Junior Hanley.

The Mod is at Oakville Trailer being worked on by Ron Easton. We have made a few changes to improve it as well. Once he's done the body needs to be painted, the bars chromed (some) and then sent to Creative Edge for lettering.

So I have tons to do, and looks like only Lloyd and I will be working on the cars. The new shop will help, and I have had some friends offer to help, so I am thinking we will be in good shape by the end of April......at least I hope so.......I will be spending long hours to get the cars ready once I get them back.

I am looking forward to running back at Flamboro, and though I am sure most teams will have high end Late Models, not so much David and a few others, but the word is that teams with new cars are spending insane dollars in this class to have a new Pro Late Model. Hopefully for the sake of the sport, car count being a promoters concern, there are enough of these high spenders to make the class survive in Ontario. The bottom line is that most average great racers cannot afford an $80K new Pro Late, much of that expense because of the dollar being so bad.

Our team won't have a new car, but a newer car than the past few seasons, with some great additions, none better than the 604 Crate that will help us keep up on the straights.

My 100% series will be with the OSCAAR Modifieds. We will run every show on their schedule as well as two with the OMRS Modifieds. We will also get to run all the Ontario tracks in 2016 including Sunset, where we will compete against the OMRS Mods for their Sunday Velocity race.

Our Late Model will compete the full season at Flamboro, with Jay Linde filling in for me when I am away in the Mod. That will allow us to run 100%, the same as I did in 2015 with Jason Legge at Sauble. We will also add 2 Full Throttle Motor Speedway shows in 2016, I can't make anymore due to conflicts in scheduling. My personal 100% series is the Mod because I don't count me having 100% if I had a driver race for me when I am away. Our team may get 100% at Flamboro, but I will get it through OSCAAR....God willing.

This will hopefully be a turn around season for us, especially in the Quaker State Late Model. I have been so frustrated trying to run the 602 against other 602's on steroids, and then against the Outlaw Late Models at Full Throttle and the Pro Late Models at Flamboro. The good news is that we did win a feature in 2105, a most exciting win at Full Throttle for Lloyd and I. The leaders took each other out.......it pays to be in the right spot. Lloyd went nuts on the radios, I was already nuts once I crossed the line knowing we got the win.

Looking Back
Our first year at Sunset was good. We fought hard, we're prepared every week and though we had a season altering crash on Sunday May 27th, thanks to Mike McColl we were able to get back out for the next race with the car good as new......$12,000 later. We also blew an engine on the final points night but still ended 10th in points, completing a decent season with 4 top 5 feature finishes including a 3rd and a few heat wins.

The next season, 2013, we spent over $12,000 at McColl's getting a clip update, adding exhaust, lower control arms, spindles etc. That season turned out to be the worst in my LM history, such an incredible disappointment. The car wouldn't turn no matter what we did and we could not keep up with our bone stock stupid 602, in spite of the fact our engine was brand new, with only one night on it. We were just no match for the built Crates most teams were running. David took the season off to help us and I felt so bad for all my crew who did all they could to make us competitive. We ended up 12th in points with no wins that year in the LM. My only checkers in 2013 were from a double win in the Outlaw Pro 4 of Dave Hodgkinson, winning the heat and feature at Delaware Speedway. My first feature win in 5 years.....wow talk about a drought. But that night Matt, Cheryl and Don were over the top excited.

2014 was our first year in OSCAAR Mods, a very fun and exciting series. We won 7 races in 2014, 6 Mod and one Late Model. We also won a feature at Full Throttle that year, with Gary McLean right on our tail.....but we got to hold the flag that night. We finished 3rd in points in the Mod, and with too many nights missed in the Late Model, we ended up 22nd in Sunset points. We did win a heat race at Velocity that year, a great feeling winning a heat at Sunset in the Modified.

Last year was the disaster season for me, everywhere but on the race track. Once our house sold I had no place to work on my cars. That's where Jason Legge came in. He not only offered to keep my car at his place, basically move my shop to his big shop, but he also shared the driving with me at Sauble, and we ended up 7th in points, having a frustrating season not being able to keep up to any of the built motor cars. It was a tough season knowing we could not win no matter what, but we kept the car clean all year. I also at Full Throttle when I could with the Late Model. We couldn't make 100% there because of the OSCAAR Mods being our main series. Our LM efforts were rewarded by winning the last feature of 2015 at FTMS and giving us our first LM feature in 7 years........yikes!!!!!.....another drought. We also finished 5th in Full Throttle points.

We only had one victory in the Mod in 2015 a heat win, but lots of top 5's. I messed up on our tire inventory for the final race of the year, and had I monitored them closer we may have had back to back seasons of top 3 in the points, with a narrow chance to grab second, but it wasn't to be, though we were happy to finish 4th.

As my racing career nears 50 seasons, most likely the final season, I want to finish strong for the final three years, starting in 2016. I really wished Lloyd and I could get a few more crew to help us. We will lose the boys we had last year, Matt, Jon, Marty, Scoob, Corey, Glenn and Jason, but somehow I think we will be okay, although any of my previous crew would be more than welcome to join us. We did get some awesome help from Daryl and Corey Horner. They may help when they can on the LM this year.

Our goal for 2016 is to have fun and enjoy this awesome sport with so many great friends on and off the track. I hope we can win a title in the Modified. That series is very competitive, but so much fun to race.

I will update with pictures soon and post more on our site as we get closer. Thanks for visiting our site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:51 pm

The Modified came home from Oakville Trailers a week ago. Then I stripped the complete body and 90% of the interior. The reason for stripping the interior was to have a close look at the transmission, the undercarriage, the wiring and to have the interior painted green.

Ron Easton installed new front end parts, upper and lower control arms, proper ball joints, new struts and set up the chassis. Brian MacDonald dyno'd our shocks and with Ron setting up the suspension, camber, caster and bump steer, I'm hoping with this better set up, than we've had the past 2 years, will help the car turn better.

The OSCAAR Mods will be running on American Racer 10" slicks in 2016, and it's a great idea. We will get less dramatic drop off with these tires and the better set up should allow these tires to last much longer than our Hoosier softer tires.

The body panels will go out this weekend, by the 17th, to be painted by Josh Watson. I hope to drop all the Mod panels and the front end of the Late Model, the fenders and nose, as well as the rear bumper to have them painted by Josh as well.

So far my biggest issue will be help. Lloyd Lariviere will be with me in 2016 and we will do our best to get the cars ready for opening day. I know my son David will help as well and anyone else who can give us a hand would be appreciated.
The list of work to do for both cars is quite long. Though I'm not so good at fabrication, I am a hard worker when it comes to reassembling the cars.......and we have a lot to do.

The Late Model should be ready for pick up this weekend from Jason Legge. Once here it will need the same list pretty well as the Modified. Both cars need the following, once the body panels are dropped off and painted by Josh....

1) full nut and bolt.
2) repack wheel bearings on both cars
3) install the full body and interior on the Modified, front fenders, nose and bumper on the Late Model.
4) assemble the brand new 604, all the bolt on parts, headers, mounts, clutch, fuel pump etc
5) install the engine and complete drive line on the Late Model
6) all fluids installed
7) brakes bled on both cars
8) new wires and spark plugs on both
9) new tires and rims on both
10) the Late Model to be scaled
11) both cars lettered

The work to be done isn't complicated but it sure is a lot in a short time. Lloyd is able to come down for 2 days so I hope we can get the Modified ready other than the body. The Late Model comes either on Sunday or Monday. It's going to be a scramble, and as long as all things go together easy, I think, though close, we should be okay.

More updates on our main page with pictures will happen daily. Our 2016 race schedule will be compete in 2 weeks as well. I wanted to run a few races with the OMRS Modifieds, but they have changed their rules to pretty well outlaw any OSCAAR Mods. I will verify that soon because I had fun running with them, but not being allowed a quick change, which is heavier than a regular 9" might be the killer. I will find out and update that with my schedule.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun May 01, 2016 4:53 pm

On my Diary of a Season I tend to be more open, less politically correct, while on Face Book or on the front page of our site I like to keep things up beat and positive regardless of how things really are.

My biggest frustration is help. I have been fortunate to get some help from a few sources and I do appreciate the times my son David and Lloyd have helped. As well Ken Bayliss, James, Jason, Brian Watson, were able to spend a few hours, and Billi and her daughter Abby came over knocking a few more things off the list.

I have done most of the work on my own since getting it back from Jason Legge. My list was 20 things, then jumped to almost 40. It's frustrating trying to do so much with little time left. I know I'm not the only one going through this, but other than Lloyd, I don't have a committed crew. What's even more frustrating is that most of the time is used up getting stuff. Wrong parts, missing parts all add to lost time trying to round up what's needed to get things done and off the long list.

It's not new for me. Back in the early 70's this was normal because we didn't have a winter garage. Our wooden shop had no heat and barely enough light to see anything. So our goal was to get a bunch done in October until it got too cold to work in the garage, and then start up again in early April. I was much younger then, and had a good crew to help.

In the beginning, if we decided to go to the car shows, Motion, we started much earlier with the body work part of prep and saved the mechanical for the warmer spring weather. The difference now is that I have a great shop, and have had one most of the past 30 years. I just got behind this year and now I'm scrambling to get both cars ready, the Late Model first and then the Modified.

The Late Model season starts on May 7th. I had to cancel the lettering schedule for May 1st because the car isn't close. I don't want to miss opening night of course and I am sure if I am alone all week I won't miss the season opener.....but I will be very tired and sore.

As I get older I am feeling pain a lot more in my joints. My hands, wrists and knees are telling me to ease up. I try to explain to them that we just had 3 months of no slugging but it's not working. What is working is Advil and rest. I have the Advil and take it, I need the rest but keep going.

This like starting over in some ways going to wide 5 and 4 piston brakes. I have had taken the hubs apart a few times to get things checked fixed and packed. One hub was stripped completely but I got that fixed by Oakville Trailers. I must have had the water pump on and off 4 times. One of the timing cover bolts was hitting the water pump. I ground it down and reassembled everything, the biggest pain being the 3 belts. Not so bad with 2 people, but nuts with one. Took me 3 hours to get it right.......grrrrrrr!!!! I know that area of my car inside out now :)

One shifter was too long, but that has been repaired at a machine shop. The body is half painted, the front fenders, hood and nose. The doors are black aluminum and are shiny, but the quarters are not as shiny, and the rear bumper is flat black. Josh Watson did a great job on the paint and I know Steve Lyons from Creative Edge will make all the work done by Jason Legges shop and Josh Watson a home run.

This will be season #48, a spin off from the tough sledding of 2015, my worst year in terms of being organized. I will always be so thankful to Jason Legge for allowing me to use his shop in Owen Sound. Even though the season was exhausting, 32 nights, and 32,000 kilometers of driving, I was able to make all the races and have fun doing it.

My goal this year is to get 2016 in the books and start preparing for 2017 by September. I want to get my cars ready for car shows by November and then take it easy for a few months leading up to the start and not be wiped out.

Right now we have a steak of 753 nights without a miss, and that is in jeopardy, so I have to push myself and get these cars ready. God is good and will give me all I need. :)

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Sun May 08, 2016 7:01 pm

May 7th.....................Flamboro Speedway

Race #1

754 Consecutive

High Lites
* 15 cars
* David Elliott wins first feature
* Shawn Chenoweth wins feature #2
* Nick Roth wrecks bad

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

1st Feature......1st
2nd Feature......2nd

1st Feature......$125
2nd Feature.....$120

Front fenders nose, check front end over
brakes, tach, water gauge etc

Lloyd and David's team


Season #48 started last night at Flamboro Speedway, our Late Model home track for 2016.

On Friday I took my car to Oakville Trailers where Ron Easton made it possible for me to get ready for the season opener on Saturday. He allowed me to use his shop, tools and equipment, plus his professional fabrication skills to get a ton of things done, key things that I could not have done alone, or had time to do. Ron is amazing, builds everything, including trailers, race cars, pit carts and every kind of fabrication on a race car or trailer. Ron also sets up cars, races them and helps many race teams get their cars to work better. He has been sponsoring me for 3 years and I very much appreciate what he does for me.

I am glad that one of my other sponsors bought a trailer from Ron. The trailer was built at Oakville Trailers, not bought outside.

When I left Oakville Trailers I thanked Ron many times, because I knew he made it possible for our team to get to the track. He could have said “wait till you get the bill”, instead he said “I wanted to see you keep your streak going”. Just an awesome heartwarming thing to say to me.

On Saturday Lloyd came down from Barrie to help finish off a small list that was still left to do. He secured the front scrub rail that bolts onto the nose, finished the body braces while I fixed the brake leak and secured things under the hood. I made a mini shroud to protect the plug wires that get too close to the headers on the driver side rear of the engine.

I was hoping for rain and it was calling for it. There were too many things left to do and like practicing, testing the brakes, breaking in the engine and seeing if the transmission would shift, a lot of things you sort out on a mid week practice session. Normally I am pumped for opening day, but not so much this year. By the time I got the car and knowing there would be a 10 page list to finish the car, I was more worried about making opening day, and keeping our streak going. It was going to be a sacrifice night regardless. I wanted to keep the car in good shape so it could get lettered as scheduled on Monday at Creative Edge.

When Lloyd and I finally finished working on the car, I got a text from David say the rain was minimal and races would be going forward.

Lloyd moved the trailer so I could test the clutch to see if it would shift okay and that list test was a success for the shifting part of it, but the brakes were low.

We got to the track about 5:45, the latest I hope I arrive there this year. We parked beside David and his team.
He asked me how the car was and I mentioned the brakes.

I signed in and told them I wanted to go scratch all night. I had no idea how the car would be, but I did know my brand new STOCK 604 (sealed by Bennett GM) had to be broke in.
David suggested I get one set of hot laps and don’t go over 5000 RPM. The problem is that we found the tach is not working, and the water pump gauge not working. Both were fine at the end of 2015, but neither were working now. The water gauge is an easy fix, spend the money and buy a new one. The tach could be wiring, but we had no time to do anything about it. There were other things more important. Our timing was only set by ear, by David, but needed to done as well. The night was a cluster of craziness but we were all calm.

David’s car was awesome in warm ups and so he told me to get out and do one set then head to tech for pre season inspection. Keeping the car at low RPM wouldn’t hurt the engine, the timing could be done right after tech.

David went to the tech garage to tell them I was breaking in the engine. However when I got in the car we soon found out I would miss hot laps because the seat belts were not adjusted. I could put a full size TV between me and the belts after they were tightened. That was another thing I just assumed would be okay, and forgot new ones were installed for 2016. These opening day blues are normal, plus the list of issues was growing. That’s why nothing beats a pre season practice, not for me but to shake the car down and find all these issues before the season starts.

While in the car trying on the seat belts, we discovered the wrong radio harness was installed. That was totally my fault. There were 2 sets in a container and I picked one, thinking I could get lucky with a 50/50 chance….but I didn’t pick the proper one. Even though I live 5 minutes away, we didn’t have time to get the other radio harness, meaning the first feature would be with no spotter. Add to that no mirrors and that for me is a frustrating thought.

When David came back, wondering why I didn’t go out, Eddie Askin, his crew chief, having the belts adjusted, explained what happened. Practice was cancelled and David had the car put on jack stands and started to bleed the brakes. He found air in the system and got it fixed.

While the car was up I saw a fluid leak coming from the bell housing. I thought right away it was the slave cylinder. I tasted it to confirm, but couldn’t quite get the flavor down. I got a light and looked inside the bell and saw fluid coming from the transmission shaft. I told David and he said “how do you know if it’s transmission or the release bearing”? I said “I did a taste test”. He said “try a smell test, it’s healthier”. I smelled it and thought transmission, but I got him to double check and he confirmed immediately “it’s your transmission”. I checked the level, and borrowed fluid from my good friend Dave Osborne. The fluid wasn’t down too much.

David supplied the brake fluid for the brakes, and other things. David was good to me knowing I had to scramble the past few weeks just to make it to the race, never mind to be problem free. The transmission wasn’t very low, but I was kind of worried because it’s not a cheap tranny, and I didn’t want to blow it up. Since my first race would be slow and not running over 5000 RPM we decided not to pull the transmission out but to race the first feature and then check it after.

The first feature consisted of 15 cars. Not a bad field really. This was my first time on the track in 2016 and would represent a shake down, an engine break in and try to find out what else wasn’t right.

I drove about 25 laps, including pre race warm up and cautions, then pulled off. The first caution came when #50 Chad Cochrane went in to turn one hard and hit the wall. His brakes were not good, and now his front end wasn’t very good, putting him out for the night.

With no gauges and no tach, and getting lapped every 6 laps, I got spooked and pulled to the infield. I felt better there, and could watch the final 15 laps.

The top 4 or 5 cars were fairly close. David got the lead on lap 7 passing Matt Lockwood on the outside on a restart. Matt would hold onto 2nd with Shawn Chenoweth on his tail.

I headed for the pits and got the car on jack stands. I borrowed Lloyds truck and immediately went to my place to get an oil filter, oil and the radio harness. It took me less than 20 minutes round trip.

When I returned Eddie helped Lloyd with the harness and I made a mess changing the oil. I didn’t have our big drain pan and some of the oil got on the pad…..well lots did. Once the oil and filter were changed I recheck the trans level and surprisingly the leak was minimal because when I pulled the check plug I didn’t have to add any oil.

In the second feature David suggested for the first 10 laps to slowly get the car up to 5000 RPM on harder acceleration off the corner. By the mid way mark I was able to race it more, but I did not like the feel of the brakes. The pedal was good but they didn’t respond much entering the corners. I had no time to set up the front/rear bias, so maybe I had too much front because it felt like it.

The engine felt weak when I tried to race the car. I had 549 gears in it but there was little power, but something I can check later. With the tach not working I have no idea what my RPM is.

In the final laps of the feature I was evaluating all the issues, the brakes, no acceleration and the gauges. Since we weren’t racing next week I would take the car on Monday morning to Steve Lyons at Creative Edge.

There was a terrible wreck about mid way when Nick Roth #17 slammed the turn 4 wall very hard. Nick was okay, I’m not sure how bad his car is but it was a hard impact for sure.

Shawn Chenoweth worked his way to the front of this race with David in 3rd by the mid way point. There wasn’t a lot to tell in this one.

With 5 laps to go Al Bowman spun out right in front of me but I got around him. I couldn’t run with any cars. My gearing is way off but I have 2 weeks to get it right.

The starter put up the 2 flags showing 2 to go and I was slowly catching Linda Dean, but I wasn’t too concerned, mostly wanting to finish this in one piece. I noticed Al Bowman, now 5 laps down, I was 2 laps down, decided to come back out and race Linda hard into the turns. She was holding her own on the outside but he pushed in deep going into turn three and they touched coming off turn four. I was right there, and my goal was to make it through the night unscathed and un noticed, so I could leave my car in the trailer and take it for lettering Monday morning. Well those plans ended coming for the checker when “multiple laps down Al” squeezed Linda getting her loose and she came down into my right front wheel and fender. I couldn’t believe it. Las Vegas would have won any bets that had me going through the night without getting beat up.

I have an ARP body this year, always run 5 Star. I was worried about the brittle ARP body. We cracked the nose the day I unloaded it off the trailer. That puzzled me because we always hit the 5 Star nose but it’s flexible, the ARP snapped and broke.

Once in the pits I was worried there would be damage to the right front. It would be bad enough if I lost a ball joint, rim or tie rod. Lloyd undid the window net then went to look at the right front. I knew it was bad when he came back and said “I need to go find fender”. WHAT????? Sure enough, not only was the fender shattered and gone, the nose was broke like a cracker. I was stunned. David came over to look and said he never saw that ever from wrecks like I had. Sure fenders get crushed and cut and twisted, but that is usually from a very serious wreck. My toe was still okay. The fender and nose literally exploded and what a bad timing deal with me planning to head to Kitchener to get the car lettered.

Lloyd helped me unload the car before he headed home. I got a call from David and he thought he could get me a used nose and maybe used fenders and would help me install them Monday night, then load the car and I could get it to Steve for Tuesday morning. |

Overall, in spite of the mini wreck, it was a very disappointing night for me. I know why, just not ready in time. My long time friend and 10 year Crew Chief Jim Hulzinga said “I don’t remember you ever showing up on opening day with a car not painted or lettered. He was right but Lloyd said “754 in the books”.

I was disappointed but will be okay once the front end is checked over, but that can be done next week, after the show. The main thing now is to get it to Creative Edge.

On May 14th I am taking my car to Cobourg Ontario for a show at a Midas Muffler for Quaker State and that is a must to attend.

Hopefully I can be more competitive next time out. The lap times are not that far off what I use to run here.

Congrats to David for getting a win and a second in the features and to him and his crew for helping Lloyd and I for the night.

PS......I reacquainted with one of Tyler Brown's crew members who has offered to help us when he can in 2016. Don will be a great asset to our team, we need a few crew members to make things easier for us.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2016

Post by Gary » Mon May 23, 2016 3:21 pm

May 21st..........Flamboro Speedway

Race #2

Super Late Model Heats & Feature...Modified Qualifying

Hi Lites
* 14 Super Late Models
* 11 Modifieds
* Jr. Fitzpatrick wins SLM feature
* Luke Gignac qualified pole for Mods

SLM Heat #1......5th
SLM Heat #2......6th
SLM Feature......8th

Mod Heat #1.....2nd
Mod Heat #2.....4th


None on either car

Lloyd and Louie


This was a good weekend for our team in many ways. We were 90% ready when we arrived, but had fun doing the best we could ….and we almost won a feature. Here’s what happened.

It was a 2 day weekend with OSCAAR Modifieds qualifying on Saturday and SLM qualifying and running a 50 lap feature. The Modifieds would run their feature on Sunday along with the Pro Late twin 30’s. This was a regular point’s race for the Pro Late’s, although a few APC cars were practicing for their big race.

I was told mid week that it was possible for Pro Late Models to run with the SLM to help with car count. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get more laps on the car and help get it dialed in.

I called both Dave Gainforth and John Casale to see if I could run with the SLM and both were okay with it, just don’t be a start and park…..no worries, that’s not in my makeup.

I tried to get used tires to run with the SLM but there were none available. I also asked if I could use my tires from last year, the Hoosier’s, but that was a no as well.
I wasn’t going to buy 4 new tires to do one race with OSCAAR Super Late’s; there was no budget for that. My only option was using up my inventory for our Flamboro Pro Late. I was kind of okay with that because I would need a few more weeks to get my Late Model in the ball park. The plan would be to run every lap I could and get as much feed back as possible to improve the Late Model for regular racing in the Flamboro point’s chase.

We arrived late, having to make 2 trips to get the LM and Mod at the track. The 3 of us left my place at 1:30, gates had opened at 11:00am, but we had too much to do on the trailer as well as a small list on the Modified. I really didn’t care too much about practice; both cars had to go through tech. We had already raced the LM earlier this year so I knew it was okay. David was getting ready to go out in his car and asked me if I was going out, and I said "the car isn't that good so I will just go to the back of the races and learn more. His answer was "get out and practice and get it better, you're not that far off". So I said okay, next set.

We went over the Mod for final set up and soon they called last LM practice and I got ready. When they called last hot laps for the Mod I got in the car and went on the track but the practice just ended. I tried to ask for just one two hot laps but the starter waved me off and when I shut my car off to try and explain I didn’t get any laps on the car, he didn’t want to talk so I left the track with one lap at 30 mph……good enough??? Not usually.

I naturally took scratch for both SLM heat races. It was obvious that our car was not going to be close to them power or equipment wise. Shawn Chenoweth had the car and SLM set up he would need to make him competitive, we were the only 2 Pro Late cars to enter the race.

We finished 6th and 6th in both heats with some drivers pulling off with various issues. We would be starting 14th in the feature.

Our Modified was ready but with no practice laps, I hoped to go to the back and get settled in without having to race. As luck would have it, I drew #3, and that would equate to pole in our first heat. I would have preferred to start last in that heat and then take my spot for the next race, but it didn’t work out that way.

There are so many systems on a race car that should be checked and tested before racing hard. I knew that but I also knew the car should be good.

Once on the track I still didn’t want to take pole; but this car wasn’t completely stripped down like the Late Model was over the winter, meaning it should be safe to race. I was still against the idea without having one fast lap on the car. I was told if I go scratch I would have to stay their all night and I didn’t like that either.

I went out last for our first heat race and was motioned to the front by the starter. I would be starting beside AJ Emms who bought Davey Terry’s car.

AJ got the lead and I was able to jump in behind him and get a good practice session and points at the same time. Not the way it should be done, I know, but it worked for us and we crossed the line in second place.

In the second Mod heat I was last. The race was close but we would end up 4th getting by Cory Horner at the half way mark.

There was a meeting after with the top 7 best heat finishers, we were 6th. Each driver pulled a number and I got five, meaning we would start 5th in the feature Sunday.

David and Big Jim showed up after our heat races and helped with the Late Model pre race. David wasn’t bringing his car for the SLM race, and I knew he wouldn’t, he’s a smart racer, happy to race a dozen times a year. His reasoning is sensible……but so is mine, wanting to race 26 times this year because I love it and I don’t have many more heat and feature races to compete in……I hate even to think of retiring, but it will happen and I just need to race as much as I can now and hope for blessings of fun and good luck to keep our cars clean and free of wrecks. That’s mostly to alleviate $$$$ and extra load on my small pit crew. Sometimes we have to race within our means. It’s like putting a leash on things and stay within a certain boundary. I don’t really like it, but without an unlimited budget and 5 day a week crew, I am better to reign things in a little and race conservative unless the car is good, I feel good and opportunities open during a race…..then I go for it.

We started last in the OSCAAR Super Late Model feature. It was almost like opening night for us, getting lapped a few times. We knew that would happen but in spite of that we did learn a few things with the Late Model and stayed out of trouble. We finished 9th, attrition giving us a few spots, and that wasn’t a bad deal at all.

Congrats to Jr. Fitzpatrick for his win….dominated….and to my crew, Lloyd and Louie for working hard all day.
We left both cars at the track, one in the trailer and one under a cover. It was time to rest for 3 features on Sunday, two Pro Late 30 lappers and one Modified race also a 30 lap feature.

See Race #3 for Sundays results....

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