Diary of a Season 2017

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:39 am

September 23rd........................Sunset Speedway

Race #21

798th Consecutive Night

High Lites
* 23 cars
* Gary McLean wins :o
* We miss heat races, start scratch in feature
* Bad points night for us
* Modifieds put on another great show
* Heat was the big news....90 degrees F
* 578 gears....not enough....588 would have worked

Results
Heats............Did Not Start
Feature.........9th

Winnings
$260

Repairs
Routine

Crew
Lloyd and Stephen

Conclusion
We headed to my place right after the races Saturday night to drop off the late Model, then it was off to Sunset Speedway to put our trailer in the pits so it would be there for us Sunday morning. We got to Lloyds around 12:45. I was in bed by 1:15 because we were getting up around 7 am, not much rest. I appreciate staying with Lloyd and Suzette, it was nice to know we were close to the track because the heat from Saturday was blistering making us wore out.

We arrived at Sunset in plenty of time to get to our pits, set everything up and be ready for hot laps. It was just Lloyd and I for the first while but then Stephen came, and his help was very much needed and appreciated. It was already very hot by 10am, we knew today was going to be hotter than Saturday.

Rob DiVenanzo was going to quality our car on Saturday and I would race the feature, knowing we would be starting last.
Unfortunately Rob couldn't make it in time, he couldn't leave for Sunset from Flamboro Speedway where his son was racing go karts until 3, and the races started at 3 on Saturday. Perhaps he could have barely made it by 4 for the first Mod heat, but he got stuck in traffic and didn't make either race. Lucky for me there were only 23 cars and we would be guaranteed to start last in the race. The bad news for us is that we gained no heat points. That would surely hurt us being only a few points ahead of 5th and 6th in the standings. I was hoping that our car would be good and that we could maybe get to a top 5 feature finish, not an easy task but we did have 4 new tires to start the race with.

This race was scheduled in late July. I worked with Brian Stoddish answering questions he had about car count etc. I let him know we (OSCAAR) really wanted to get back in to Sunset and race and he was feeling the same. I let Brian know that I wasn't an official voice of OSCAAR and that he would have to talk to Dave Gainforth to get the race sealed and he did. This was originally supposed to be an OMRS show, but things didn't go very good for them when they came to the Spring Velocity with 7 cars. Some of their members were with us for this show.

After 2 sets of hot laps the car felt very good, I was happy with it. I was also hungry to be competitive. The Late Model is just too far off to be competitive with the newer style Pro Lates. We have good power but the time between breaking and accelerating for me is much longer than the newer cars. That's where we are getting beat. But the Mod seems to be a decent car in the OSCAAR field, plus to be honest, I really feel at home in the Modified.

Our 4 new tires were removed from the car and put in the trailer, out of the sun. I'm not sure how hot it was in the trailer, but with the side door unable to be opened because we were too close to the trailer beside us, the heat inside the trailer was worse than outside. No direct sun on us, but it was like a sauna inside our trailer.

After practice, we had 2 to 3 hours before our feature. The heat was getting to all of us for sure. I would say this was as hot as the race in Nova Scotia in 2016......brutal for sure.

Steve and I put the tires on the car and prepared for our feature. Lloyd was feeling very sick, mostly from the heat, but got enough energy and stamina to spot for me. Lloyd always did a great job spotting when it was just the 2 of us. He is a racer and understands a lot about racing and concentrates on us. I never worry with Lloyd. Louie does a great job as well, I think both learned a lot by listening to Jim who is as good as anyone in the pits in any series.

We got on the track, the first time for OSCAAR since 2015, and our first time since we ran the Pro Late Model with APC in August. We did race the Modified here in 2016 with OMRS, but the car was terrible. We started last in that race as well, but there were only 12 to 14 cars and we didn't fair too well, but today we wanted to drive as hard as possible and hopefully finish in the top 5, to me that would be as good as a win.

Starting last was okay for me, I was discouraged, in fact I loved the challenge. We start last in the Late Model all the time, but the reason for that is because it would only be in the way if we started up front and I won't ever race that way. Many times with our Hobby car I took scratch when I knew the car wasn't right. There is no sense wrecking the car, but especially when you already know it can't keep up, that's just asking for trouble. An off pace race car will soon get into deep trouble when trying to hang on to a forward starting spot. Fast cars swarm in and before too long something happens and it usually isn't good. As for today though, this car was not a back marker but a good strong contender in a field that hosts many fast cars and good drivers.
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The race was only 40 laps and not really much time to get through a fast pack like this one. By half way we were up to 12th and got hung up with some fast cars and took a while to get by. The problem with long green racing is that the fastest cars get further ahead. We were stuck in a pack and getting through always takes time. a bad accident around lap 10 took out a few cars. We were very lucky to miss that one, coming off turn two and cars were sitting right in front with the track half blocked. We made it through and got a break to start on the outside again. When we finally got into open racing the leaders were a long ways ahead, my only friend would be the cautions.
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I chased Brent McLean for a long time and he was chasing John Harper. Unfortunately Brent hit the rear of Spider's car and pivoted off the #79 into the inside retaining wall, doing massive chassis damage to the #7.
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With just over 15 to go we were up to 12th, passing 11 cars in the first 25 laps. The group of cars we were with now however were much faster and better handling, but that's racing. Our car was awesome on the outside. I loved digging hard on the outside, and the responded very well.

It was a battle to gain just even one more spot. We raced hard with Stu Robinson and a few other OMRS regulars and finally got by, but it was an inch at a time. I raced harder than I had in a long time. I was close to the front chute wall, and found my best results driving in hard on the outside. I went the long way around with Lloyd right there letting me know when I could get a little lower in the turns. Most of the time we were outside but I loved it although I was on the edge and getting very tired. The yellows gave me a break to rest and regain some strength...not mental though, I was pumped. :mrgreen:

The final caution came with six laps to go and we were now 8th. I restarted outside Harper, a very tough competitor. He is also the next oldest racer to me, but 14 years younger. I was on the outside and happy about that. Also I could see the best cars just ahead of me. It sure is nice starting 23rd with tons of cars in front, and then moving up and seeing daylight. :D

I must say at this point I really needed a drink of water. It was so hot in the car, but not near as hot as it would be in a Late Model.

On this restart I got a good start again and just screamed into turn one. I knew we were with the best of the field and had to reach down for as much energy and focus as I could get. I got by the 8th and 7th place car and was outside of 6th with 4 to go. I could see a top 5 finish for us and though I wasn't celebrating I was excited.
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Look close and you can see our car on the top left of this Dan Little pic....outside 6th. Gary is taking the lead.

That soon turned to disappointment. Remember, racing hard and on the edge with elite drivers in your class mean you can't mess up. Staying focused and not making a mistake is vital to grab the win, or second or in this case a top 5. I was outside the 5th place car running 6th and dove hard into one again. Laps were against me, time was running out and I just needed to get this one more car and I would have achieved our goal. Lloyd was going nuts and doing a great job with our amazing run. But!!!!!! yes, but!!! I overdrove going into one with 3 to go and got very loose. These cars are very close competition wise. By getting so loose, I lost 3 spots because we were in pack like a school of fish. All the cars I past on the final restart plus 1 more, got by me. Yes I was frustrated and knew I wouldn't get those spots back, not with the race in it's final laps. With 2 to go I still pushed hard and got by the 9th place car. That was another battle, it took me a few laps to pass him the first time, but the white came out and we were clear and trying to catch 8th. We would finish beside 8th at the line.

I was happy yes, disappointed yes, but we did pass 14 cars, the most of any car in the race. The car had zero damage and would take just minor maintenance to get it ready for Octoberfest.

Congrats to Gary McLean who took the win from Chris Milwain with 2 to go. It was a great race, and I am sure the fans and promoters loved the action from the OSCAAR Mods. Good car count and a great show. The good news is that OSCAAR will be back at Sunset in 2018 for a few shows and that should make a lot of people happy....me for one.

This was 798 in our consecutive streak. It's funny how each night has it's own personality. Today was extremely hot, the race was extremely competitive, and we did great.

Thanks to Lloyd and Stephen for their hard work. The rest of our crew will be at Flamboro next weekend and I am looking forward to racing the Late Model in the Grisdale Triple Crown.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:22 am

September 20th...October 1st...........Flamboro Speedway

Race #22

Octoberfest

799 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
* 24 Pro Late Models
* Brandon Watson wins overall
* We can't keep up anymore with these cars :oops:
* Poor finishes, bad wreck in final 50 lapper

Results
1st feature...........13th
2nd feature..........14th
3rd feature...........DNF

Winnings
$400

Repairs
Rebuild for 2018......show car mostly

Crew
Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Ken, Rick and Laurie

Conclusion
This was our final Pro Late Model race for 2017. It was the annual Grisdale Triple Crown, three 50 lap features. There were 24 cars to make a perfect field, and most of them were much quicker than our Pro Late. It's just the way it is. We got our car down to a 15:4002 this summer, could not get into the three's and many said we were running very good. The truth is, we were running better, but we were still way off the top 6 on a regular night, and the top 16 on this night.
Our car is in desperate need of pasture, and that's where it will be in 2018. It will do maybe two or three races, but many shows for our sponsors. I will make an announcement later, when we finalize our plan for 2018 racing wise. We do know for sure, we will be running the Modified full time with OSCAAR.

Our night was kind of fun, we had no expectations and I get the question "how could it be fun, when you have no expectation"? Well, to be clear, we had zero chance to finish in the top 5 regardless, even with a bunch of cars dropping out, unless 12 dropped out, a dozen of the best would have to have something go amiss for us to get a top 5. So that wasn't it, that wasn't the no expectation deal. We had no expectations of doing anything that would stick out, because we couldn't run with the pack of 14 or so cars. We basically were just going to drive and stay out of trouble, that was our hope, and did expect to do that, after all, we did it all year at Flamboro, Riverside and Jukasa Speedway's.

We had a good crew this weekend. Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy and Ken. Rick and Laurie came Saturday but not Sunday. They missed the Late Models that were only on Sunday, they got to see Rob DiVenanzo race our Modified. That was the deal. Rob asked me in the late winter if there was any way he could drive either of my cars for this year. I had decided to run the Late Model 100%, so that meant Rob could run the Mod on the nights that were conflicting. He took 3, but had to cancel one due to work, so he got two and this was the second one. The Mods ran a 2 day deal. Rob Finished 3rd and 7th in his heats and then 11th in the feature on Sunday, but there was significant damage to the front end, nose, suspension (eye bolt) and radiator. I had a week to get that fixed for ACC at Peterborough Speedway.

After qualifying, we found ourselves 18th quickest, in the 15:5's. The top cars were in the 15:1's, not even close.

The first feature went okay for us. We stayed out of trouble and worked our way to 13th. There were a ton of yellows in this race, it was brutal. So bad the race director called a meeting.
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He said what anyone would say, "the race isn't won on the first lap......we're not taking any more crap......you guys know how to drive sensible.....I will park cars if they are being too aggressive, and if anyone jumps the start, he will be moved back 2 spots". The drivers almost in unison, "send him to the back, who cares, they've been warned enough". But it was decided to put him back 2 spots only if necessary. Then more questions started flying at the director. Guys were pissed. Then calm set in, when a driver spoke on behalf of the staff, on behalf of sensible driving.....and the director after, said "yes, listen to Shawn Chenoweth, he is right".......holy cow, really? That's like Kyle Bush speaking up about whining. "hey guys, just drive your race, and if something happens, speak nice words and be kind when you're interviewed". Right. It was funny really because Shawn, though a very good driver, has been part of more controversy on the track when it comes to sportsmanlike conduct, wrecking guys etc....it just seemed really odd to hear him. Maybe he turned a leaf. Still like him, but that was like hearing CNN praise Donald Trump......did I just hear right, was that Wolf Blitzer praising President Trump. Shawn's speech was that kind of......wow!!

We didn't need to do much after that race, so we topped up the fuel, and watched the Modified feature where Rob finished 11th, getting dumped twice and involved in a 3rd accident near the end. He survived and was a big help fixing the car before ACC.

In the second feature, it was fairly caution free. That meant the fast cars only needed 30 laps to catch the slower cars, about 10 of us. They were lapping cars quickly because once you get lapped, you have to stay low because soon everyone catches up, and it isn't just the leader that laps you, it's all the fast cars.
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With 5 or 6 to go, Louie let me know that the 02 of Mark Burbridge was on my tail. So I moved to the inside lane, almost on the apron on the straights. I have enough room on the outside for cars to pass me side by side. I even pointed out the window, driving with one hand, indicating for him to pass on the outside, but he insisted on getting on my rear bumper. If he had tried on the outside, and got near me I would have slowed up, but I didn't think I had to reduce my speed to 75% for him to get by.....but yes I did, Mark only caught me because I was moving over constantly for faster cars. I didn't slow up though, (and maybe should have) so he dumped me coming out of turn two. He got sent to the back, and I am sure the starter seen he was not attempting to go outside, and it's not normal for lapped cars to move to the outside and let faster cars pass low. Anyway it caused quite a calamity after, not in the pits after , but right after when one of Marks family started blasting Louie. But Louie didn't think we did anything wrong, and neither did I. But I do understand that we were as quick on the straights as Mark, so he couldn't get by on the outside. I motioned him several times to go around the outside, but he couldn't and soon I was in the grass. We finished 14th in that deal, but no damage.
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We got ready for feature #3, and decided to start at the back. Our car was wore out. Tires were, I only brought 4 and most teams had 6. In this race, the leaders lapped everyone much faster. I am sure the difference in lap times from the top half cars, to the back markers was even greater because I doubt any of the slower cars put on any more new rubber, so we were pylons at best.
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The race was clean, okay until we got the final 15 laps. I was running near the back of a pack of 5 of us. 29, 89 (not Chenoweth) 14, 9 and us when the 89 spun out the 29 between turns one and two. I saw it happen and tried to go low coming into turn one. We were bunched pretty close. As I turned down the front of the 9, who was also coming down, caught the back end of my car very hard, knocking his car right around facing north, and turning my car back up into the 14, who was in front of the 9, and who had almost got stopped. I had lost control after being hit hard by the 9, (not his fault) and went over the 14's back wheel.
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The impact of hitting the 14 send a shock through my who body, back, rib cage and chest. My back wheels were almost to his roof. Then the car slammed the track very hard. I am thinking that impact may have hurt me physically as well. Once on the ground after going over the 14, I was almost out of it, in a ton of pain. My feet were knocked off the brake when I hit the 9, and never could slow down after any of that, and ended up hitting the 29 before coming to a stop in the infield facing the grandstands. I was hurt bad, in terrible pain. I wanted to get out of my car. The ambulance crew showed up and undid the window net, asked me if I was okay as I was getting out of the car. I laid my arms and head on the roof of the car, getting myself calmed down. I was then taken to the ambulance. This injury was very similar to my 1999 Hobby crash at Sauble Speedway.

In the ambulance I was asked how I felt and I said sore. He said "from one to ten, ten being the worst".....I said 4 or 5. So they took me back to the pit. My car was there and it was beat up pretty good. I was too sore to walk, but thankfully Louie and Ken were able to get the car so we could load it and head home.

That was my first accident of any magnitude since the spring of 2012. I know guys were upset with me but hopefully a video shows I had no place to go and I was turned into them. We don't wreck other cars anyway and I felt bad for all the cars that were beat up. At least it was the last race of the year and they have lots of time to fix their cars.

The season has ended for Flamboro now. We should have finished 6th in points, but they have drop nights, and so both the 02 and 27 moved ahead of us. We finished 8th in Late Model points at Flamboro for 2017, and got our 40th season of 100%.

This was also our 799th consecutive night. We will hit 800 in a row at Peterborough Speedway. I had planned on racing 2 cars, but with the damage to the both cars, I won't have time to focus on anything but the Modified, plus I am too sore to race two cars on that small fast, tight, g-force track....I love it, but I was leave the LM home and get it ready for a show we will do on October 14th for Quaker State at the Home Depot in New Market.

and it was a great show
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Gary
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:48 am

October 6-7-8.....................Peterborough Speedway

Autumn Colors Classic

Race #23

800th Consecutive Night !!!! :D :mrgreen: :lol:

High Lites
* 24 cars
* Gary McLean wins
* We have great celebration before the races
* Luke Gignac wins the title
* We finish 4th in feature...awesome run
* We finish 5th in points :mrgreen:
* 563 gears

Results
1st Heat..........3rd
2nd Heat.........7th
Feature..........4th

Winnings
$425

Repairs
Complete redo for 2018

Crew
Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Ken and Gehrig

Conclusion
I don't know where to begin on this post, it could be, no it will be long. So I might just write some today and the rest tomorrow. I finally got some free time to sit down and finish the 799th night, and that wasn't a fun night at all, but thanks be to God, our 800th consecutive night could not have been any better, maybe if we won, but you might have thought we did win if you seen my family, crew and I after the races.

The week started Sunday night, right after we got home from Flamboro. The boys unloaded the car. Ken was with Lloyd and I, and he called Dean Pronovost, the fellow who painted him Pro Challenge the same as our Late Model, and that was pretty darn cool.

I tried to help unload but the boys asked me not to. I was in a lot of pain and could not bend over, or lift anything up. It was my chest, ribs and back that were damaged from the crash at the end of feature #3. Once everything we needed was unloaded Dean and Ken immediately put the Late Model on stands.

The plan was to take both cars to Peterborough, because it was such a special night and running two cars would have been great. Dean was going to take the Late Model in his trailer, and head there Wednesday or Thursday and drop off the trailer. I appreciated very much that he would do that. However, the damage to the Late Model, the Modified and my physical condition prompted me right away to cancel fixing the LM. We needed to focus on the Modified and get it ready and loaded Wednesday night, and it was already Sunday night.

Dean and Ken started working on the Modified. Stripping the front nose and getting the car on stands. There was some front end damage, to the eye bolt, sheet metal and the radiator. I was most worried about the rad, because it was a special unique style of rad. After an hour or less, the rad was out and I could take it in the morning to a rad shop and have it fixed.

Rob came over Monday to work on the car. The gears did not have to be changed, just a nut and bolt, oil and filter, check all suspension and set the toe......and of course the radiator. I left a list. I had to pick up my truck in Oakville, and would drop the rad off in Oakville while I was there. My truck heater wasn't working. It was no issue in the summer but I was going to be needing that fixed as soon as possible. Ken dropped me off at the repair shop and I headed to rad shop after and left my rad.

Tuesday I called about the rad and they still had not checked it. I called a few other teams and no one had a rad. Ron Easton had a new rad if I was stuck. I got a call from the rad shop and he said the rad is no good, I can't fix it or get one, it's a special kind of rad. I knew that but I didn't know it couldn't be fixed. I asked him "can you please try to repair where it's leaking, I don't have time to get a new one"? He said he would try. I went back late in the afternoon and he said he got it slowed down some, better than it was but still not fixed.

From there I went to Oakville Trailer's to see Ron Easton, but the rad he had was totally different. I had no choice but to make the damaged rad work. It was so frustrating. We were 6th in points, only a few points from 7th, but a long ways back from 5th.

Rob stayed long enough to get a lot done on the car. Louie came over to help finish the car, put the rad in and load it up. We decided to use 5 minute epoxy to repair the rad. I wasn't told where it was leaking, but we could see the places the rad shop tried. Louie put water in the rad and seen where it was seeping slowly and jammed as much epoxy as possible. We installed the rad and let it sit for while and filled it with water and got it running. We also set the toe.

The car ran for a while and we didn't see any leaks. We shut it off and loaded everything so Buttons and I could leave Thursday. Lloyd had no way to get down, so he came to the races on Friday night with Jason and Jenny, Modified #56.

I got a good spot in the pits, and by the time I was settled at the track I was beat and headed to my hotel room.

Friday
Friday was a good day, a little cool but okay. They were calling for some rain, but it really never showed up during the day.
Jason, Jenny and Lloyd got there around noon. Jason had a flat tire on his trailer but still had lots of time to set up.
I set up our pit, it was just me and Buttons all morning.

Sometime around noon the announcer came to me and said that they would be interviewing me on Sunday for the pre race ceremonies. I was very happy about that. Then we talked about Ron "Rocket" Johnstone. They wanted to do a green white checker for Ron also before the races on Sunday. He said "I just want to find someone to drive his Urn around", I suggested I would do it, Ron and I were friends. He thought that would be great, so it was settled.

We made at least one set of hot laps. The car wasn't very good. It was loose, so Lloyd and I made some changes to the chassis to get in more wedge. I kept an eye on the heat gauge and it seemed to be okay, ran under 200 and no leaks. We also installed 4 new tires to do a heat cycle and then size properly. On that set of hot laps the car was still not good. I kept doing what I thought to help the car be less loose, and more stable.

We started pole in our heat race. I got a great jump on the start but the yellow came out right away when Jason Cornell #56 spun coming off 4. He was okay.

On the restart I had JR Fitzpatrick beside me, driving the 96 Mod. He was anxious and I could hear him reving up his engine on the back chute, preparing to get a good jump on me. I thought I was ready for him but to my surprise when the green dropped I got on the gas so hard, I almost spun out. That mistake cost me 2 spots, falling to third before the start finish line. I caught the 2 leaders, JR and Luke Gignac #99, but I couldn't really run with them. My car wasn't right, still loose. Anyway we got 3rd, on brand new tires.....that was the frustrating part, but we needed the points as well, so not a disaster, that would come Saturday. I drove over the scales after this heat race and found we were only 45% wedge......not near enough. Lloyd and I worked on that after the races, making weight distribution adjustments.

Saturday
Lloyd and I got prepared Saturday morning for hot laps. I wanted to see how the car would be after the changes we made the night before. I was disappointed to find the car still not right.

I love racing the Modified, when it's hooked up, it's a top 2 to 5 finisher. I also wanted to have a strong finish for our 800th night, but also to secure 6th in points. Fifth was a long shot, but 7th was right on my tail and I couldn't afford any trouble.

There were 24 cars for this show, and I am so pumped when we have full fields. It's great for racing, it's good for the fans, for the track, for OSCAAR and me.

Before the race I was looking at the sway bar and noticed a gap of about 1/4" where it rests under a pad on the drivers side. I could move it with my hand. That's weird I thought. I said to Louie "that might be why I'm loose". He wasn't sure how it got like that, because it's always tight. I left it for now, no time.

We started 6th in this race. We put on the old set of tires, saving the new ones for Sunday, they only had 15 laps on the new ones, and we felt they would be perfect. What wasn't perfect was this race, it wouldn't be long before we were in deep trouble. On the first or second lap going into turn one Stu Robinson was holding low on the outside and I was trying to make sure I didn't get into him on the inside lane. I messed up and hit one of the curb bumps and it sent me up into the side of the 68, turning him down into me. We hit a few more times before he finally spun out. We didn't have a lot of damage, but we did have way too much. We were slowly getting the car better and this happened. I apologized after the race and he was okay.

We finished 7th, second last but had the front end beat up, the toe way out and now the rad leaking.
All we could do was fix it and so we started. That was our only race for this day, we run one race a day, a heat on Friday, heat on Saturday and then the feature on Sunday.

We got on the car quickly, removing all the front sheet metal. The eye bolt was bent, not the same one Rob bent, it was the passengers side that was bent. The sway bar on the passenger side was sitting on top of the pad instead of under, and the worst thing, the rad was leaking.

We didn't have a spare eye bolt, so we removed the one on the car and John Harper straightened it. Lloyd worked on the body and Gehrig and Louie got the sway bar back on and tight. We drained the rad and I made up "one minute" epoxy and patched the radiator. We agreed not to put any water in it until Sunday, but let it sit and harden all night. yes one minute epoxy, but for best results let it sit longer....so we did.

We headed home just as it was getting dark and would finish everything the next day. We would also have the ceremony to be ready for at 12:30. Saturday wasn't the way we wanted it, but things happen, we would just have to hustle and get the car to best it could be for Sunday.

Sunday
We arrived early Sunday morning, there was lots to do to get our car ready for first the start finish line ceremony, and then the big race later in the day.

We put the new tires on, they had 2 cycles and 15 laps, nothing really. We also added water and to our joy, there was no leaks, but we knew the rad was fragile, and would it last 50 laps of tight racing. We also tried to fix the electrical fan but it would not come on. It was not working and that concerned me for cooling for this already sick radiator.

I was also concerned about the handling as well. We made some wedge changes and planned right after the ceremonies to scale the car.

I must admit that I was truly honored to be asked to partake in the celebration for Ron Rocket Johnstone. Ron was well known at Peterborough Speedway, as well at Mosport and Kawartha Speedways. Ron came to many of our races, always cheering us on, always something nice to say. He loved the autograph cards and was a great fan. Part of the celebration for Ron was due to his commitment to Peterborough Speedway, being a starter there 50 years ago.

Ron's family was also at the track. His daughter, grand daughter and other close family.

We pulled on the track about 12:30. The Thunder Cars were already lined up facing the grand stands on the inside lane.

My family came on the track, Shirley, Derrick, Gehrig and Megan. Also our crew, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Ken and 2 OSCAAR racers, John Harper and Cory Horner.

I was interviewed by the track announcer Charlie Toner about our 800th consecutive night. It was a memorable time for all of us. Then came the most honorable moment when I got to take "Rockets" Urn around the track while they sang Amazing Grace. So honored to do that in front of a huge crowd. Thank you Peterborough Speedway and Ron's family.

Once the ceremonies were over, I headed right to the scales and my crew checked the numbers. The changes we made put us to about 54% wedge, I was very happy with that and wanted to leave it and try it. All year we'd be in around 51 to 52%. The 47% we were at in the first heat race was no good, and having this much more could create a different problem, but I was okay to try it.

We started 13th in the 24 car field. It didn't take long to know right away our car was great, not good, great. I could race it high low, anywhere and it stayed put. I thought, and still do, our strongest run was Sunset Speedway, but I think this run, was just as good.

We kept improving our positions throughout the race, moving up very slowly but moving up. It seems I am fearless on the outside. I drive the car in so deep, like I did back in the Hobby days. As a kid, I always liked seeming drivers pass a car or go in a car length further on the outside. The issue today is that we are going much faster, and your eyes, heart and body feel that extra push on the outside. At times it takes your breath away because you are on the edge no doubt. That's part of being an aggressive racer. The thing is, you can't do what you want, or what you're capable of, unless the car is good, and of course, for most of us, we have to achieve that goal.

Early in the feature coming off turn 4, #79 John Harper, spun from the high lane to the inside. I just missed him. He kept going and hammered the inside wall, putting him out of the race from the damage. John was 17 points ahead of me and him being out this early, meant a good finish could give us a shot to move into the top 5 in points.

The car was awesome all race. We avoided cars spinning in front of us, and were able to clear of avoid other wrecks. The car was very good coming off the turns, where we made most of our passes and gain.

During many of the early cautions I noticed the temp gauge was climbing slowly. It got up to 220 and still climbing. We were running in the top 8 and I told Louie and our rad might not make it and that was a shame because the car was so good. Once we got going it would cool down.

We got into 4th when the red flag came out after the 68 of Stu Robinson and 21 of Chris Milwain had a terrible hard crash coming off turn 2. When we stopped, at the start finish line, my first thought was the temp gauge. It climbed to 230. I watched the overflow but it wasn't spewing water. 230 was still okay, but once over that, we would be approaching the danger zone. I decided to shut the car off. Our fan wasn't working and the mechanical fan, though good, is a long ways from the rad, so shutting it off would, bring it up a little but then it would cool once we started again.

While we were still under red, David came on the radio, borrowing Louie's head set. It was awesome to hear from him, I didn't even know he was there. "Hey Dad, I just wanted you to know you're doing awesome. I don't remember seeing you drive so aggressive". He continued " I think you are as good, maybe better than the 99 and 14 in front of you, no one will get by the 8, he's too quick through the turns, but you're car is handling great. Just be cool, but have fun and good luck". I was very happy to hear from David.

During the red, while it was still out, I tried to get the car started but it wouldn't turn over, let alone start. Soon the yellow came out and I motioned behind me for John Baker Jr. to push me and he did and it started. I was really happy.

We started single file after this, due to time restraint and too many yellows. The long red didn't help. On the restart, with about 15 to go, I stayed with both front cars. I had the 63 of Baker and 79 of Cory Horner on my tail. We went only 2 laps when I saw both cars push up in between turns one and two. I got excited for a second and drove hard in and turned down, only to spin out very hard on my own. I was shocked, how could that happen, the car was perfect.

I needed a push again to get back in the race, and went to the back. I was down, because I knew that we just lost any chance of catching 5th in points, not to mention having a great night on our 800th.

As we were cruising around Louie came on the radio and said "they are telling you to take your spot back, get up behind 99". I was shocked again, but happy. I thought to myself, something must have been on the track, explaining why 14 and 99 slid up.

I moved up to 6th as I was trying to get to 4th. John Baker let me go but Cory wasn't so willing. Finally the flag people motioned him to let me in. Now we were back in fourth.

As we got the white flag with about 12 to go, Cory hammered me a few times going into 3. But it didn't make any difference. We had a good car still, but I was a little reluctant to push the car after spinning.

The good news was that no one was running good after that final caution. Louie said the nicest words I heard all day "your pulling the cars behind you, at least 7 car lengths ahead, they have no chance to catch you". I was very happy with that and decided just to finish where I was and not take any chances.

With 5 to go I was getting very sore. The rad was good, down to 220, but I was feeling pain on my right side from the wreck the week before. It made little difference because we were well ahead of 5th and crossed the line in 4th place.

At tech my crew met me, so pumped and excited. Shirley came over as well. You would have thought we won the race. W e passed tech and during that time I was interviewed by Greg McPherson from Inside Track.

It was a great day, a great memorable race and our 4th place finish gave us 5th in points, one more than John Harper.

Congrats to Gary McLean for his win and to Luke Gagnic on winning the Championship.

Thank you Lord for a great weekend and getting our 800th on the last night of racing for my amazing family, crew and sponsors.

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