Diary of a Season 2017

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sun May 28, 2017 3:51 pm

May 27th .................Flamboro Speedway

OSCAAR Modified Opener

Race #2

779th Consecutive Night

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Chris Milwain wins feature
* We finish 6th from the back
* My crew is awesome
* 563 gears

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


prepare for Kawartha next Friday...replace bent I bot, gear, routine check

Lloyd, Louie, Paul, Randall, Stephen, Rick, Lucy, Laurie

It was a busy day for our team. Lloyd, Stephen, Lucy and Randall were with our car, on display at the Canadian Tire in Waterdown. We had the Late Model from 10:30 till 2:30 in support of their Jump Start program for kids to get started in sports. That was a good deal, many people dropped by to get a picture with their children in the car.

We left the Canadian Tire and headed back to the shop where Louie, Rick and Laurie were waiting to unload the Late Model and load the Modified for its first race of the year.

We got to the track early, set up and were ready to go. The plan was to do a set of hot laps on some old tires, and then put on our new inventory tires to break them in and size them. I had decided to put in 578 gears for practice, but they were too high by 150 RPM. I was hitting the chip on the older tires and knew we would be hammering it on new rubber. We installed the new tires and were going to change the gears but decided to wait and do it after hot laps.

Not sure what happened, but we missed the second set. They seem to come up faster than we expected. We would be running the first heat on our new stickers.

The boys and girls were awesome in the pits. All doing a little to make it much easier over all. Such a tremendous difference this year, and I truly am thankful for their help and friendship.

Over the winter our focus this year was on the Late Model to make it better than it has been the past 4 years. We could only do so much this year, but invested all our R & D effort to the Pro Late. The Modified got very few changes and no repairs. We did some work with the led tray, built a new tray and added more front weight. We scaled it on our own but no help from any of the builders in the province, because the funds weren't there. However, the Mod didn't really need anything serious, it ran decent all 2016 except for Delaware, and that was my choice not to run any new rubber just show up inventory to get us through the night. I made the choice based on our budget, but don't take that to mean I don't like the Mod because I love racing with the OSCAAR boys, we simply put our extra effort in the Late Model, and we are still a long way off the top cars at Flamboro and as for the APC races, we will do well to make the field. We have a Late Model actually, and I found out what the word Pro means when put in front of Late Model.....it means $$$$$$$$$.... and a lot of it :lol: But this year is a learning process for us to possibly get a good used, fairly new Pro Late in 2018, one 2 or 3 years old.

In the first heat we started 4th and raced hard. Our car was okay, could run with the first two but that's it. Luke Gignac won that heat.
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The second heat saw John Harper and I start pole and outside pole. We ran side by side for a few laps but Johns 604 was too much for my 602. He does have a weight penalty, making his car heavier, but also at least 70 more HP. John's drives hard and raced me clean when we were side by side. There is a video on my face book page of that race.

We made a few adjustments for the feature, mostly in stagger and wedge. We qualified 5th.
On the start of the race going into one Chris Milwain #21 touched wheels with my right front and cut my tire. I was able to stop on the back chute near the wall coming off turn two with no damage other than the impact with Chris.

I let my crew know I would need a right front tire. We did have a new one in our inventory and the boys prepared for me as I drove from turn 2 all the way around and then through the pits to the south end where my crew were waiting. We made the mistake of not having spare tires ready in case we had a flat. The spare only had 10 psi, and Louie scrambled to get at least 23 pounds in it so I could get out. They changed the tire and with the help of another racer, and Marty Monette, got the tons of stones that had filled the cock pit.

We made it back out just as the field was doubling up. I know they waited for me because there were no others cars in trouble or needing to be towed. That's why I drove around and hurried best I could because I would be on the watch by the track. They were gracious and I appreciate very much they gave us fair time to get ready.

We restarted 14th. It took 13 laps to get up to 8th and then a caution came out. On that restart I was able to get by 2 cars, #2 and #51, putting us in 6th at the half way mark. The remaining laps were a grind with a close pack from 3rd to 9th. Chris Milwain was leading with #14 AJ Emms right with him. Those two were way ahead of the rest of us. John Harper ran 3rd with the other #79 Horner right on his tail and trying lap after lap to get under him. Luke was 5th in the #99 and that would be the way we finished. A decent field, and a great race for the fans.

Congratulations to Chris Milwain on his feature win. It was great to see a few new comers. Some had bad luck engine wise. I was happy to race with Wally Wilson the Midget OSCAAR charger. It will take the youngsters a few weeks to get use to the quick Mods.

We turned times in the low 15:4's but the faster Mods were in the 2's and it showed. I think we can get better, even though we had a great overall night. The car ran well, but reducing lap times between entering and exiting the corners will be a big gain for us.

Special thanks to my crew for a wonderful job and to all my sponsors for making 2017 possible.
I only use Quaker State in my engines and recommend Quaker State full synthetic in all your vehicles.

Our next Modified race is Friday June 2nd at Kawartha Speedway. We have some work to do on the Modified and Late Model, nothing serious though. Should be fun heading back to that big fast smooth oval. 8-)
The next night we run Flamboro in the Late Model. There will be the feature from last week that got rained out, and then the regular night of racing. So if you want to get a little more for your money, come this Saturday to Flamboro. races will start at 6pm.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:00 pm

June 2nd...........Kawartha Speedway

Race #3

780 Consecutive

Hi Lites
* 18 cars
* Cory Horner wins :D
* We struggle
* 504 gears seemed good

Heat #1.........3rd
Heat #2.........5th


Chassis set up for next Flamboro race...change gears....routine check

Buttons and Daisy came as well.

Lloyd and I headed out from Dundas, with Buttons and Daisy. The Kawartha trip, like Peterborough, demands us to leave early to beat the traffic that starts at Mississauga Road, and is on and off till highway 400. It gets good from there to Pickering as long as it's not mid to late afternoon. We wanted to beat the big jams from Scarborough to Oshawa and we did getting to the track in plenty of time for both of us to set up our pits.

Once we were organized we went over the scales for pre-tech and found we were 40 pounds heavier than we had to be. The rules allow a 602 engine to be 2570 after the feature and we were 2630 That extra 60 pounds is unnecessary.
We removed a big piece of led and decided to add a little more fuel, because after a heat race, we have to weigh 2600.

The car felt good after one set of hot laps. The gearing was right on, and I felt comfortable being on this track again, the first time in 3 years.

We decided not to put on any new tires, but use the Flamboro tires for the night. I checked them and they seemed to have lots of life.

In the first heat we started 3rd inside, moved into 2nd and stayed there until a late race yellow. AJ Emms was able to get by me, but we held onto 3rd.
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The second heat was filled with fast cars, the top 5 from the feature at Flamboro May 27th were in this heat. There were 9 cars in our heat, but our car was starting to handle badly and we ended up 5th.
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I was disappointed with how the car handled. We made a few minor changes, but I felt after both heats that we would be in trouble to take our starting spot....5th. I decided to go scratch, Lloyd agreed.

The feature was disappointing, but just as I thought it would be. We were decent power wise, but lost a ton of time in the corners, our car was unstable, felt like it would come around. I was changing my line into the corers to prevent coming around. My grandson noted the line I was taking was hurting the car and I agreed. The only problem with moving up and coming into the apex on a different angle was the fact the car was loose. I worried about spinning out because at times going into the turns the car would come around quick.

We finished 10th but was no where in contention like we were our first night out. I hope to make the needed changes to tighten up the car for our next race at Flamboro, although it may be okay there with the reduced speed. Removing the led could have affected the car, and I am guessing a good scaling will get that corrected for the next race.
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Congrats to Cory Horner and his team on winning the feature :mrgreen:

Special thanks to Lloyd, for his hard work on this night for us.

Next race for the Modified is June 24th at Flamboro.......the next Late Model race is June 3rd, and then its next Saturday at Flamboro when we put our Quaker State Late Model up against the toughest Late Models in Ontario in the APC Meineke 100.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:25 pm

June 3rd..............Flamboro Speedway

Race #4

781 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
* 17 cars
* 3 Features
* Billy Schwartzenburg wins 2
* Shawn Chenoweth takes 1
* Good crew turn out
* 563 gears

Feature #1.......10th (May 20th rain out)
Feature #2.......12th
Feature #3.......16th (DNF)

Feature..........$125 (June 3rd)
1st Feature......$115
2nd Feature.....$110

Steering...prepare for APC Meineke 100...routine

Jim, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Randall, Rick, April, Laurie and Kayla (looked after Buttons)

We had a great turn out for these 3 features. My crew have been the biggest improvement on our team in years. The car wasn't race worthy tonight.....not yet anyhow.

After our May 20th race, where we broke a rotor, and had the caliper bracket snap, we did a lot of work on the rear brakes. We cut and re-welded both rear brackets and installed 2 thicker rotors. The brake pedal was good. Before my pedal was spongy. We think the brackets were flexing, but they are solid now.

Jim Hulzinga came out. Jim's name is all over this web site Diary of a Season reporting, especially from 2007 till 2010. Jim has been spotting and crewing for David the past 4 years and they have done excellent. Jim has learned a lot in his 20 years being part of our teams.

We started 12th in the first feature, the one rained out from May 20th. There were 17 cars at the races, but only 14 were eligible to be in the first race. There would be issues tonight, but not with the brakes, this time it would be steering.
1st Feature.....From May 20th
On the start of the race I pushed almost into Bill Pearsall #38 who was beside me. I tried my best to stay off him, so I let off the gas a little till the car grabbed but lost a few spots in doing so.

It felt like I pushed real bad, but I wasn't going that fast. Once we got going it was fine. I battled for at least 5 or 6 laps with Bill #38 and #11 Dave Osborne. Bill couldn't get Dave and I couldn't get by Bill. Finally after a few laps I was able to get Bill coming off turn 2. Two laps later I got by Dave. We ran bumper to bumper, the 3 of us for a long time. The rest of the pack were out of sight by now.

Once we were clear of those two we pulled ahead by over 10 car lengths. The car was running decent in this feature, hitting the chip hard at times on the back chute, especially when we got a good run through the corners.
We would finish 10th in this non stop race. Congrats to Billy Schwartzenburg and his team on the win.

Jim made some changes for the next feature. Our crew were awesome getting on things right away.
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Feature #2
We started at the back, but not last because Keith Temple #14 wanted to go scratch. I lined up outside of row 8. Going into turn three we started picking up speed and then it happened....I couldn't turn the car.....it just went straight, like I had a flat. I slowed up and gently steered around the top of the corner but lost a ton of car lengths behind the last place car.

It felt as though a steering knuckle weld was gone, but once I got going there was no more issues. This race was hard for us but we did catch and pass 2 cars and gained a spot when one spun to the infield. The leaders caught me with 10 to go and once they were by I tried to see how far off we were. Power wise we were good, but in the corners they were eating me up.

Soon the rest of the field lapped me and the goal then was just to finish this race and we did 12th. Quite discouraging, but putting things in context, the car wasn't in a racing mode. I reported to Jim that we needed to check what might be the problem with the steering. Congrats to Shawn Chenoweth on that feature win.

In the pits the crew got the car up and we noticed a lot of play in the steering servo where the steering shaft goes in. That would be a time consumer so we decided to leave it as a repair for next week. We checked for play in the wheels and bearings and found a little, Louie got that fixed while Lloyd took over tire stagger. Meanwhile the rest of our crew got the remaining work done including cleaning, before the next feature.
Before the feature, 2 teams borrowed our welder. #39 Corey Adams and #14 Keith Temple.
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Feature #3
I decided again to start last. We kept the same tires on, the ones we put on the car May 20th for opening day. Those tires were used on April 22nd for practice day and at this point had 160 laps and 8 cycles on them. They weren't junk, but were way off new tires. My concern wasn't running wore out shoes, it was more important for us to find out what was wrong with the steering.

I wasn't running very fast because I was aware the steering wasn't right. This time on the start I went in much slower, and made it through the turn with no issues until I started to accelerate and when I did the car pushed right up to the wall forcing me to back out of the throttle. It was the same as before but worse, because I was going at a much slower speed. There was something else different as well. Once I got going on the front straight I noticed right away my steering wheel had moved.

There are 3 spokes on the steering wheel. My hands were positioned at 10 and 2 with the spokes there and one at 6.
When I got on the straightaway the spokes were at 12 and 4 and 8. I told my crew..."wow, something happened to the steering, it moved on me". Jim said, "go one lap and pull off, you don't want to wreck the car". I said " I can still drive it". Jim replied "if you can't race it bring it in".
I really wanted to stay out and kept going a few more laps. A caution came out when a car spun and I reluctantly decided to come in. At first I thought it was a bad thing, but soon I realized our car has a serious injury and we got to get it fixed plus if I stayed out I wasn't going to be doing anything but gritting my teeth and holding my breath....and I've been doing plenty of that watching the Blue Jays :mrgreen:

Congrats to the #86 for winning the final feature as well. There are many fast cars here and right now we are not one of them. I hope we can make this car competitive for next weekends APC Meineke 100. I'm sure with good steering and new rubber, tires that are not wore out, will help us get a decent showing. We have no chance of winning unless 70% of the field have issues, but that's not our goal or on our mind......ooooo that's hard to say.......sure we want to win, but being competitive is the most important and we are crawling closer to being competitive.....so our goal is to get in the race and that will be a big enough challenge with 25 of the finest coming to Flamboro.

They will qualify 18 through group time trials (like NASCAR), there will be 4 provisional, and 4 cars will come out of the last chance. It would be good to make it through time trials, that's our goal.

Our car isn't obsolete, although many facets of it are out dated. We can still get our left side percent, and other measurements close. That's what we will do to give us the best chance to get in the show. It's an expensive series. It will cost us $1100 to run the show. It pays $1100 to finish 3rd. The bottom 7 spots pay $325, and if you finish 10th, and that would be tough in this field, it pays $550.

The series is well run, well organized and about as fair as we can expect. Tracks and sponsors can only do so much. The issue to getting more purse money is more fans in the grand stands. Tracks pay a big purse to have this series, and the series itself can only pay out so much. It would be good to see a series like this pay $500 to start, and about $1000 for 10th. That could be done if the grand stands were filled and that can be done with aggressive advertising and getting out to the communities to bring in fans.

Anyway, we will be trying our best to make this show. 8-)

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:10 pm

June 10th................Flamboro Speedway

APC Meineke 100

Race #5

782 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
* 26 cars
* Brandon Watson wins
* Great race, lots of fans
* We finish 18th
* 566 final


$350...(spent $1050....how dumb is that :roll:

Routine, oil, filter, maintenance, fix push

Jim, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Rick, Laurie

First off, special thanks to my crew, they worked hard to get us ready for the show, during the week, again Saturday morning and then at the track. It was all to do with the power steering and making sure we fit the rules.
I was worried the past week or so whether we would pass tech, or make the field. I knew they were starting 26 cars, but I figured there were over 24 cars in Ontario that could run this race that had me covered easy. So my heart was stressed because I didn't want to miss the show. Missing the show wouldn't have affected our streak, because our streak is nights not starts. We make a schedule of 25 nights and got to make them all, we can't stay home or miss because of a mechanical failure. It's very tough and requires an amazing crew, sponsors and friends to make every show, especially for over 30 years. Our Road to 800 was at 781prior to this race.

This was our 5th race of the season, 3rd with the Late Model. Opening night we broke a caliper bracket, and the next week the steering let go, so we were hoping for a night of racing, even though we were heavily out gunned.

Once we got to the track I noticed the steering was very stiff. We had installed a brand new rack, removed and repaired the servo, and bled the system. I told my crew after tech we needed to do something with the steering because it was very hard to steer. So we removed the rack, and the servo and put it back together. We weren't sure of the power steering lines, where exactly they attached to the servo. Tom Gibbons crew came over and showed us the proper hook up points. We reassembled and then we couldn't turn the wheel at all, very frustrating. Meanwhile we missed the first set of hot laps.
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Finally we got the lines in their right places and the steering was better, still a little stiff, certainly not able to be turned with one finger, more like a hand and a half. By the time the first hot lap session was over, we were set to go.

Jim showed up in time for hot laps. I had 2 new tires and 2 older tires for practice. Most teams had 4 new tires to practice on, and all teams had 4 new tires in the compound.

After 2 sets of hot laps, our fastest time was 15:7, not very good when the top teams were in the 15:2's. The series uses group qualifying, where 5 sets of 5 cars in each, do 5 laps and the fastest times are recorded. The feature is based on fastest times through group qualifying. Twelve cars broke the track record with lap times in the 15:1's and the fastest was Brandon Watson with a 14:96. I shook hands with Dave Burbridge and he thought their time was good, 15:2, and it was but with this field of cars it was 16th fastest.

We were fastest in our group, and according to Trac Lap Times, we were faster than 2 of the cars in the second set. That would have put us 19th on the grid, but the line up showed us 24th, with a 15:49, a good time when this car was 4 years old, not so much now with it being 12 years old. I knew we would be off, because there was no way we were going to make up 6 tenths, but we did go from 15:7 to 15:49, just over 2 tenths with new tires.
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My crew were pumped and I accepted that we would be an underdog for certain. Louie came on the track to get me buckled in. Jim spotted, and he was terrific. The others do a great job as well, Jim is very refined and the boys listened to him and for sure they learn.

To our credit we ran with quite a few cars. We ran in a pack of cars from 10th back for most of the day. Early in the race Chenoweth was struggling and we were passing him. I was outside of him between 3 and 4. Coming off turn four he slid right up into my lane and hit my left front wheel. I slowed up quite a bit to make sure I didn't hit him or the wall.

The yellow came out and we restarted still at the back. Over the next few laps we stayed with the same pack, running hard. I never felt any issues with the steering. It was a bit stiff, but I could handle it okay.

As the race went on we got very loose off. We had a push, maybe because I wasn't being hard on the brakes, making the car push up and get loose exiting the turns. By the middle of the race I spun out coming off turn four, it was bad, but I was pushing it as well.
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Note the Rookie strip we were told to run because this was our first APC race :lol:

During the yellow Jim said to get up behind the #72 Jr. Farley. I should have pulled to the inside and waited for everyone to go by, but Jim was excited and wanted me to get up there....go go go!!!
So I did go by the pace truck and got into my proper position. But that move cost us, we got a 2 lap penalty, making it impossible to get back on the lead lap. Funny to, the pace truck I had covered, I passed him with ease :mrgreen:
I headed for the pits and the boys made an adjustment to tighten up the car.

The race continued, fast and furious, with no serious incidents. We got one lap back but not the second. The car was getting worse handling wise, but brakes and steering were good. We actually ran not too bad considering.
When the checker fell we crossed the line in 18th, one lap down, from the penalty, we were never lapped by the faster cars.

Congrats to Brandon Watson for his win, and to my team for working hard and doing a great job. We finished the race with no damage.....not a bad deal really. To close the gap on that 3 tenths, it will require an updated chassis. Our car is fast, but does not corner like the better cars.

All and all it was a good night, we unloaded the car with zero damage.
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Schedule Change
We will not run the next 2 APC races we have on our schedule. Instead we will run Varney on August 5th and August 19th. We are going to purchase 4 Hoosier tires from Derrick and use them for both Full Throttle Motor Speedway races. The choice is simply $$$$$. I need to save our money. Not racing those 2 races will save us about $1800. maybe more. And though I will miss competing with the APC cars, I won't feel bad racing with a group of cars I can't nearly keep up. Maybe in 2018 we can run a few more, but the funds will have to be there for us to make that happen. The IWK 250 will be another expensive show, but we see family, do a few shows and that race will be the biggest by far for our team in 2017.

Our next race is this coming Saturday at Flamboro. Our goal is to get this car down to the low 15:3's. That's the plan for my crew and I. :D

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:49 am

June 17th.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #6

783 Consecutive

High Lites
* 10 cars
* Mix up with APC re schedule, 5 cars were away, 3 didn't come out
* Chad Corcoran wins first feature
* Blair Wickett wins second feature
* We move a little closer, still a ways to go
* Meet the Drivers night
* 662 final (412 rear end don't forget)

* 1st Feature.......9th
* 2nd Feature......5th :mrgreen:

1st Feature..........$130
2nd Feature.........$175


Louie, Stephen, Sandy and Billi

After a great morning at the Car & Bike show at Olympic Village, we headed to Flamboro Speedway. Buttons and I made the show, and parked by our good buddy, Douglas Fischer. The day was good, sunny, very hot and lots of beautiful cars.
Here are a few:
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The weather forecast for most all of southern Ontario had most people spooked with tornados, rain, hail and high winds. None of it happened, at least not around us. We got a little rain but that was it. Lloyd wasn't able to make it t the races because of the weather, Rick and Laurie had to work and Big Jim wasn't feeling well. Louie, Stephen, Bill and Sandy all made it.

The first task for us was to check the bump steer on the car. We found it to be almost 5/8's out, so we made an adjustment to bring the toe in. The first set of hot laps were pretty good actually but still not where we wanted it. We did make another set of hot laps, using the APC 100 lap tires and again the car seemed okay, but slow is always okay, and I needed to run with a faster car but none came out, so I went back to the pits.

There were only 10 Late Models for this race. That was due to APC booking this night at Peterborough Speedway. A few of our cars went to that race, 89, 32, and 86. Plus 15, 86, 11 and 41 were missing as well. leaving us with a low count. The track decided to give everyone who attended both races 100 points because it wasn't fair to the APC cars to lose the night at Flamboro because of a double booking.....I agreed. The only thing I don't agree with is the drop night. How does a 10 race series have a drop night? It shouldn't, we already don't run enough nights. Speaking of which, this was out 6th race of the year and our 783rd consecutive night.

We put on the newer tires we had from last weeks APC race, they only had 20 laps on them, and I felt that was sour best chance to have a good run. We were to start pole for the first feature. But with our car being off as much as 3 tenths, there was no way I was going to start up front and get run over, and possibly wreck or wreck someone else. It's true we are working on the car to get it closer, but it's not there yet so I decided to go scratch and as it worked out it was the right decision. The feature was non stop and we could only pace the back four or five cars. We couldn't keep up with the top 4. and those who we were running in our pack, were just as fast as we were. The leaders were half a track ahead of us at the end of the race, meaning they gained 8 seconds, or just under 2;5 tenths per lap.....still a ton. We finished 9th.
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I didn't like the way the car felt. When we checked the stagger, we found the RR tire grew huge, so did the LR. I decided to go remove the good tires and go back to the APC tires. The had more laps on them by far, but they were also much more consistent.

We went out for Meet the Drivers and everyone came out with us.
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I know it won't ever be easy racing against drivers 20 to 50 years younger than me, but it also won't be easy with a car that is very stiff to steer, and though we have a new rack, there is something wrong with the steering because it is energy draining. So imagine the age difference and the handling difference, and the extreme heat, a recipe for knocking a racer out.....but I don't mind the heat, so maybe just make the car easier to steer, how many advantages should I give the kids :roll:

We removed another bump shim from the right front to stop the car from pushing in the corners. I was determined to race hard. But if you know me, I only race a car hard that is able to be raced hard. If the car won't corner, or has low HP, you can't push it. We do have the HP but not so much the handling.....not yet anyhow, I called David and he suggested removing the bump shim and try it and we did.

The first race was non stop but this one had a few cautions. None serious but still cars were spinning out, including me. We battled for the most part with the #61, #38, #14 and a few others. I really like the feel of my car, it was the best it felt in almost 5 years. This car was no good at Sunset because of a weak engine and chassis issues, it was no good at Sauble because we were out powered by a ton, it was no good at Flamboro when I tried to run the 602 against the 604's and it was no good last year with the HP and handling.......basically, since 2010, I had not had a good handling competitive race car in the Late Model field. In 2012 when I first went to Sunset, the car was decent, bringing us a 3rd and 5th in the features, but after that it was down hill for 4 years, and really our last good season in the Pro Late was 2010.

The car felt really good and we were on 130 lap tires, but it handled very well. We battled constantly and it felt really good. About half way through the feature my window net came. It started to drop slowly, then it came right down on my left hand. It was getting in the way and I needed to get off the track before I got black flagged. I have never done this before, but I saw Dale Jr. do it once in a NASCAR race, I spun the car coming off turn 2. That was close to the exit. I spun to the infield so I was out of the way. Immediately when the yellow came out I headed to the pits and got it reattached.......bad I know, but I needed to fix the net and didn't want to get the black flag.

Louie quickly fixed the net and I returned just as the cars lined up for the restart. Over the next 10 laps we battled with the same group as the faster cars pulled away. We got into 5th after a restart and chased #38 for the final 5 or 6 laps. Our car was faster but we couldn't get by him. We crossed the line in 5th place and it felt good, because we had made the car better on old tires. I felt I actually raced my car instead of driving it :lol:
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Congrats to the 2 feature winners Carson Nagy and Blair Wicket.

Also to my team for working very hard. It was a very hot humid night and the temperature inside the car was extreme. We got our infra-red light and this is what we saw
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:20 am

June 24th...................Flamboro Speedway

Race #7

OSCAAR Race #3

Streak at........784 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
* 16 cars
* Luke Gignac wins feature
* We get 4th....car tight but better
* We get first win of season :mrgreen:

1st Heat..........5th
2nd Heat.........1st


Routine, prepare for Sauble

Jim, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Rick, Sandy

I have been a little slow getting this report done, mostly because we have been working on the Modified and trailer, preparing for this weekends July 1st, Canada Day 150, OSCAAR Modified race and trailer wise, getting set up for our east coast trip to Riverside International Speedway for the IWK250.

As most of you may know now, we had what appeared to be an awesome night of racing. A 5th in the first heat, a win in the second, (my first as a 70 year old..... :lol: ) and then a 4th in the feature. On paper it was a good night. In reality though, I wasn't happy, at least not like I should have been. I've had many top 5 feature finishes in my career. The only ones that don't bring stress are those where we are in a pack fighting for the win. Getting slaughtered by 3 or 4 cars isn't what I call a good night. We must find a way to be more competitive. It's not only frustrating not being competitive, it's exhausting trying to wheel a car that does not steer through the corners.

Since last year, I haven't been happy with the performance of either of my cars. Since 2014 our Late Model has been out of its league. We couldn't keep up at Sunset, mostly beat on HP. Our stock 602 had no chance. I never sent my engine out to be redone, but everyone else did. We took that same engine to Flamboro a few times and got clobbered, a stock 602 against a stock 604 is 60 HP difference, against a rebuilt 604 could be 90 HP. The same at Sauble and Full Throttle in 2015. We fought hard but we were out gunned huge on HP. To make up for less power I would drive in harder to make up for being slow, that only made the problem worse.

Last year we ran the 604, and were still outgunned, and found out that most all teams had their engines rebuilt giving them more punch HP wise, so we decided to go that route for this year. Stefko Engines did the work. Our straight away speeds are better, now it's chassis, trying to get 2005 technology closer to the new style Pro Late Models. That's another story. I believe we can get closer to them, although they are a long ways off, but if we can get our car to the high 15:2's or low 3's, I will be happier. We're in the high 15:4's on our best laps now, and that won't cut it at all.
I will say that our last race in the Pro Late was the best in 4 years............but now the Modified. Why is it so bad?

First off, we got to the track early enough to get set up and practice. My crew are the biggest blessing for me this year, very good workers and always willing to do whatever it takes. Lloyd sets the pace for the crew and Louie gets the intricate things done. Stephen is learning a lot this year, as is Lucy and Laurie. Billi was unable to come, she was celebrating with her daughter Phoebe for her 18th birthday. Not everyone can make it out, but when Randall and April come out, it's even better, but the ones who can make it really do a great job. Buttons, Lloyd and I headed to pre race tech.
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The car was pushing real bad, and very loose off the turns in the first set of hot laps. So bad we spun out coming off turn 2. We made a few adjustments. More rear stagger, raised the track bar and a half turn off the bar. In the second set the car seemed much better at first, but near the end of that set I spun again exiting turn four.

Once in the pits I asked for the rear stagger to be double checked. I was told it was 5". "How did it get so high" I asked, we only wanted a little over 4. Anyhow, after working on the stagger again we set it at just over 4 1/4.

In our first heat we started fourth, second row outside. I was behind a car that I knew wasn't going to keep up. I asked Louie who was spotting "let me know the second I can get down, or we are going to get freight trained". He said he would and I knew if I couldn't get down we would be last in a lap. On the start the outside lane did not go, and I couldn't get down. There were 8 cars, and before we completed a lap we fell from 4th to 7th. We moved to 6th after getting by the car that started in front of us. A few laps later we were able to get by another car that was stuck on the outside., putting us 5th. We would end up in 5th, as the top five were bumper to bumper. Our car was better, but I knew this field was slow because the leader was off the pace enough to keep us all on his bumper, but enough to win the race.

We checked the stagger again for the second heat. By then Jim showed up and we made some changes again. The car was still tight, or pushing, so we made adjustments to help that......mainly the rear stagger again.

Our next heat race had us outside pole beside #21 Chris Milwain, who has been running very well this year, winning the feature last time at Flamboro. I had it figured that he would get the lead and I needed to get in behind him as soon as possible. When you know your competition, you soon understand where you stand in certain situations. Chris is very fast, and I figured he would get the lead no issue going into turn one. That's not being negative, it's being Las Vegas.....you know the likely odds. That also didn't mean that I was rolling over. We made a change on our car and I wanted to see how it was, but my thoughts were zeroing in on a runner up spot and maybe the test of good or bad would be determined by how close I stayed with Chris. If he pulled away, we still needed to work on our car, if we stayed with him, well we were getting close.....sometimes a race doesn't go the way you envisioned :D

On the green we both got on the gas about the same and raced hard into turn one. It was at this point I figured he would get a jump on us. However as I hugged him in the corner I saw his car push up towards me. I have him room by turning slightly away from him but did get a great run off four. He was right with me and as we raced into turn three he pulled up beside me, but again his car pushed up. Mine didn't, it planted and I was gone, pulling him off turn four and grabbing the lead......nothing like what I thought pre race.

We gained as much as 2 car lengths on him but as the race got near the end, he was gaining on us. Louie said "you got him by one car length....now he's half a car behind". Yes I was getting nervous because I pictured him gaining on me because my car wouldn't turn proper. The good news for us, there were only 2 laps left and we would go on to win our first race of 2017. Yes we were happy, very happy.
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It was my first win as a 70 year old. That felt good, but I was worried about the handling. Once through tech, we headed back to hand clapping and hugs.
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Now to get back on the car and see if we could make it any better. Jim found a few things wrong and I agreed, but they were things we couldn't touch today, so we made a small change to the wedge and opened the stagger to 4 1/2".

We started pole in the feature. Luke Gignac was outside pole. He got a run and before we entered turn one he was past us. No surprise really, that car is very fast. A bigger engine that ours, but he has to weigh more. I have been seriously thinking of putting a 604 in the Mod and add the weight to take advantage of the extra HP, like 50 or more.

For the next 8 laps we kept 2 car lengths or more ahead of 3rd. It was a 30 lap race and Louie was reminding each lap they were gaining on my. When I heard "looking inside", and it was lap 8, I knew we were done. If it was lap 25, different story, hold him off, run low, but it was lap 8 and the fast cars were all over us. I let up going into 3 and got passed by 4 cars, dropping us back to 6th. John Harper #79. AJ Emms #14, Chris Milwain #21 and Dale Reinhart #51 all got by. I stayed with them for a while but we were not going through the corners very well. Our front rotors were glowing red, and the car was very tight.

By lap 15 Chris pulled off, putting us 5th. The race was non stop until lap 27 when Harper tangled with Kelly Balsom. Kelly was being lapped. Unfortunately for John, who was doing a great job holding off AJ, would have to go to the back for being an accident car. That put us 4th.

With 3 laps to go I wanted to do all I could to stay there. Cory Horner was right behind and he has been fast this year. We would hold on to 4th, could not run with the fist 3, but a 4th it would be, giving us a good points night.

Congrats to Luke for taking the win, and OSCAAR Mods for showing up with 16 cars.

During this past week we found 2 serious issues that would have a huge impact on our car turning. We had 95% front brakes, way too much, but explained why our rotors were red hot. We also had a wrong spring on the left rear. I called Brian MacDonald for some advice with our handling, he asked me what the spring rates were on the four corners, once he heard how heavy the left rear was, he said "that's why you're pushing". Within 10 minutes I was on my way back from Grisdales with a new lighter spring. He also suggested, as did Jim and my son David, to reduce the split on my rear pan hard bar.

After the things we found and the fact that I love racing the Modified, and I love racing Sauble Speedway, I am very pumped for this weekend. We have 39 career feature wins, hoping we can make it 40 after the July 1st, and if we do, there will be fireworks.......okay it's Canada's 150th birthday but we will be celebrating to.....even if we're competitive and run with the pack will be a good night.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:44 am

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

Happy 150th Birthday Canada

Race #8

785 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
*12 cars
* Cory Horner wins
* We get second
* Crew worked hard
^ Best run for us in years
* 578 gears...not enough

Heat #1...........3rd
Heat #2...........3rd


Fuel tank, gears for next race, routine maintenance, grinding noise front on left turns slow speed

Lloyd, Louie, Paul, Rick, Billi, Laurie and Sandy

What a relief....what a confidence builder.....that's all I can say after our feature race. It's been over 100 nights since I felt competitive in any of my own race cars. The last season our team left the shop knowing we could possibly win the main event was in 2010. In 2013 Dave Hodgkinson's gave me an opportunity to race his Outlaw Pro 4 Modified and we won the feature at Delaware Speedway, my first feature win there, and my first since 2008, to the day.

Since that time we've had some good nights on paper, in other words a 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the feature looked good, but the verdict for those race nights were easy....no chance to win, but brought it home in a top 5. Most people might be happy with that, but not a racer, not a competitor. I will be happy any day of the week with a top 5 feature finish as long as we had a chance to win. That truly hasn't been the case since I left Flamboro in 2011. We went to Sunset Speedway to race with the Limited Late Models. We chased poor handling cars, and low HP engine plants. I went along with the thought that Crate engines should remain bone stock, and that hurt us very bad, especially when most all the competition had rebuilt their engines with a HP gain.

2012 and 2013 were fun, In 2013 I got a new 602, but stock, a VDL carb, ran expensive racing fuel instead of 91 octane, and we had a dynamite crew. David took 2013 off to help me at Sunset. I spent close to $12,000 getting the car updated, but we could not get the car to turn. It was incredibly frustrating. When a team struggles with a low HP ill handling car, they have a great chance of getting wrecked badly. Why? Because the driver pushes extra hard to make up and usually gets in trouble.

In 2014 we bought the Modified and made that our 100% series. We still ran the Limited Late at Sunset, but lost interest in trying to keep up with the constant changes in chassis. We had some success in the Mods, winning a feature at Full Throttle in 2014 in a 7 car field . Full Throttle added Mods to their season schedule, and we supported the shows. That feature win was good because Gary McLean was right behind us. However, it was the OSCAAR series that we wanted to take a checker in a feature, we had a few heat wins. Finally in 2016 we did win the feature, and yes we were excited, but we only won because the #99 of Luke Gignac, who was way ahead, had ignition trouble half way through the race. I have been there, leading a race and something happen to me, and the next guy in line wins the race. No doubt we had to be in second place to take advantage of Luke's bad luck and grab the win, but the fact we could not run with him, the top car, was still bothering me.....but the win was very nice. Also in that race, we did have a fast car right on us, Chris Milwain, so we earned it, but I could not run with Luke, not even close. Nor could I run with him, or 4 of the other top runners last weekend when we finished 4th in the feature, totally outgunned by the top 6 runners. We got a break when one pulled off and the other got in an accident and went to the back. That allowed us to finish 4th. but we could not run with the two of the three in front of us.

I understand things happen, but though the finish shows us 4th, we were way off, and I have been upset about it for a long time. Maybe I shouldn't critique a good finish, but I do when my car is not a contender. It really bothers me not to be in the hunt. My crew look at it as a good night, and me as well, but they understand that I want to be a car length away from the front, not half a track.

Life circumstances and having a good crew have hindered us in the past 2 seasons, but Lloyd and I survived with mostly poor results. although we took the feature win at Varney on the last day of racing in 2015. That was our first Late Model feature win since 2008. a long drought.

I told someone once, maybe more than a few people, that I was mostly driving my car, not racing it, because it was not competitive. Mostly the Late Model. We always tried, but many obstacles prevented improving our cars. We maintained them, but we couldn't do any changes to make them better. I must love racing to continue to go out week after week having zero chance of a good finish when all the top cars are there......but I do. because I want to learn how to get ours better, without just spending the money we don't have. We are outdated yes, but not obsolete.

Now I say all this because on Diary of a Season, I report the real deal. My emotions will be on here, unless the night was completely excitement free. :mrgreen: It's no ones fault but my own that we have not been competitive the past 2 years in the Mod or Late Model. I just needed time to sort through many things.

We focused on the Late Model this year, and though certain aspects of the car are better, it needs some serious changes to lessen the gap between us and the top runners. I have honestly thought there was more to get out of both cars, and with our cars being more competitive, I will drive more aggressively. The Late Model is not even running as fast as it did 5 years ago. A time when we were on the harder American Racer tires and running less HP. So me and the boys will focus on trying to get the car better, not so I can win with it, but so I can RACE it.

The Modified Renewal
After last weeks good Modified night...... on paper....I was disappointed that I could not run with the better cars. I felt we should be able to. I can handle a better car, I am not wore out yet. So getting the Mod better was a focus for me and our crew this week. It needed some TLC, plus we had a few weeks off from running the Late Model.

Most of my crew find it hard to read the car on the track, but we agree and I knew it was pushing bad...7 out of 10. Stephen provided a go-pro for us to use and Louie has been editing the video's. We noticed the front brakes were glowing red. In the pits after the second heat Jim asked Lloyd to measure the split on the rear pan hard, it was way too much. over 4". Jim said that had to be changed for the next race.

I was determined to get the car right. Once on the floor I measured the ride heights and found the LR much higher than the RF. We checked the brakes and to my surprise the brake bias was set at 95% front....totally wrong, but explained why the rotors were glowing red. We adjusted it to 65% front. That issue would enhance the push making it worse.

I noticed my LF spring was heavier than the RF, different than what our Late Model was. I called Brian MacDonald. Brian said it was okay to have a heavier LF spring on the Mod. I mentioned about the pan hard split at 4" and he said that was way too much, so did David, and Jim. He said bring it down to a 2" split. He asked me about my other spring rates. I told him the RR and LR. When I told him my LR spring rate he immediately said "that's the reason for you having a push, that's way too heavy a spring for the LR". He told me what to use and I went to Grisdales right after talking to him and bought a new LR spring.....We also lowered the pan hard to a 2" split

We did all the things we knew were wrong and I could not wait to get to Sauble. A short fast track that has always been one of my favorite.

Once at the track, our crew prepared for hot laps. We missed the first set because I had put the shifters on backwards and I couldn't get the car in gear. We got it ready for the 3rd set and after running 6 laps I was happy with the car. I thought the car was a little tight so we added a spring rubber on the RR. We also put on 3 new tires before the heats. The idea was to get them sized for the feature.

In the first heat we started 4th and the car was good. It was actually loose now. I couldn't get on the gas coming off the corners without coming around. and we had 3 new tires. We finished 3rd but not too far from the leader or second.

We found the front sway bar was loose, almost no preload so we made a slight adjustment. The scales were not working properly so we did it without scaling the car. The loose sway bar would cause the issue we had. We then put on the other tires from Flamboro and used them in the second heat race. In this race I had no ear plugs, they were defective, maybe a wire broke or something, but I know this track fairly well and ran it many times in the Coupe with no radios.

In this race the car was better than it was with the new tires and the reason was because we were getting it to roll better through the corners. I was happy with it, but we were still loose off. We finished 3rd again and were not to far back from the front 2 cars.

For the feature we made three changes to the car to help it come off the corner better without being loose. Removed on spring rubber from the RR, lowered the pan hard 1/2" and reduced the stagger slightly. All small changes to take away loose off. I felt we were going to be okay with the new tires with 10 laps on them.

We started 5th after the invert. Cory Horner was on the pole with Tim Tolton outside pole. John Harper was in front of me with Marty Monette outside of him. Aaron McLean was outside of me. The first few laps were dicey as the car was not handling the best on the inside. I knew we needed 4 laps or so to get heat in the tires. We wouldn't go but 2 laps and a caution came out when someone spun. But I lost one spot to #47 Aaron McLean, who moved from 6th to 4th.

On the restart I was able to get by #66 Marty Monette and watch as John and Aaron battled for 3rd. They tangled going into turn 3, causing both cars to spin. I managed to get outside, and around both cars, missing the mix up, almost spinning myself. Other cars behind me had some bad luck, though no one was out of the race.

On the restart I thought we were going to double up. The corner man in turn 2 indicated for us to double up but the turn four corner man indicated one to go. When we came around on the white I thought Tim should have went outside of Cory but he didn't, but AJ went outside of me. We had the first 2 single file and me inside of AJ. I knew that wasn't right, but we were going green and unless they threw the yellow again it was time to be ready. On the start AJ raced Tim into one and got by on the back chute. I followed him on the outside and battled with Tim for a lap and got by, moving into 3rd. The three of us Cory, AJ and us, ran tight for the next 9 laps when the only other caution came out.

The track officials motioned to AJ to pull down to the apron on the front chute. They docked him one spot for not getting in line for the restart on lap 3. That moved us into second with 18 laps to go. and AJ third.

This was the real test for us. The car was good all race, but now we were running against one of the best cars of 2017, with another one right behind. I felt very confident with our car. It was handling so good and now the ultimate test. I had been complaining about not running with the top cars and here we were, running second with Cory Horner #79, who won the feature at Kawartha and won both of his heats on this night.

For the next 18 laps Louie let me know AJ was right with us. Several times over that 18 laps I thought we were going to get under Cory and beat him off one of the corners. The car was perfect, if that's possible, and surely compared to last week at Flamboro it was night and day. Sauble is a little shorter straights but tight turns, and a natural for making cars push. But all our work paid off. We were running bumper to bumper with 2 of the best in our series.

As the race wound down I was fairly certain I couldn't get by Cory because he was making no mistakes. Our car was just as fast and on some laps better but not enough to get him, but good enough not only to stay with him, but to hold off the rocket #14 AJ Emms.

When we crossed the finish line Cory and I both did the same thing. Shook our fists to show our how happy we were. I pulled up beside him after the race and gave him a vigorous thumbs up. I was so happy for our team and the boys and girls were super excited.

Congrats to Cory Horner and his team on their win and AJ for 3rd. And special thanks to all my crew, and Louie and Randall for coming over during the week to get some things done on the car and trailer.

All the things we did to our car gave us the best feature run in many years. So good, thank you Lord for the wisdom to do the things we did, and for those who helped us.

After the race I messaged my David, Shirley, Jim and Stephen, letting them know how we did. They were all happy for us. Now to continue this new found blessing :P

We are at 785 consecutive nights now.......15 to go. :D

Here is the video of the race

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:19 pm

July 8th................Flamboro Speedway

Race #9

786 consecutive

High Lites
* 12 cars
* Kamwrath and Chenoweth win features
* We get 11th in both races....tried to stay cool to head east
* no damage but trouble with brakes and steering...AGAIN!!!

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


Breaks too soft.... steering too heavy

Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Randall, April, Rick, Laurie, Don

Okay, so it's July 23rd now.....I have finally got some time to catch up on the races. We were supposed to run Full Throttle today, but it was cancelled due to threat of rain. We lost both races last year to rain, and 2 this year. That's amazing. This race won't be rescheduled, maybe we race there in 2018.

So, we were all prepared for the east coast and to race the night we were leaving wasn't an exciting thought, but I knew this was the case and had to act accordingly and be smart on the track. The last thing we wanted was to have any trouble at all. The car was set up with springs and shocks for the IWK 250 in Nova Scotia.

Last year the final Late Model race was June 25th, giving us lots of time to prepare for the trip east. We did run the Modified a few times, including Saturday July 9th. We had our Going Home Tour on Sunday July 10th and then left for Nova Scotia. This year I decided to sell Hoodies and T-shirts to raise money for our 2017 budget and we did okay, still have lots left.

The plan for our trip east this year was to leave right after the races July 8th. We were packed and ready to go. We raced the Modified at Sauble on July 1st and it was ready for Kawartha July 21st when we got back. I had booked 3 shows again for our trip. The first was at the Canadian Tire in Woodstock NB. My nephew Gary Linklater is the Service Manager there and arranged for us to be on display at the store Monday morning until 3 pm. We would leave right after the races this night and hope to be in Woodstock Sunday afternoon, stay at Gary's and be rested for the show on Monday.

The last thing we wanted was any trouble at Flamboro. I knew our car wouldn't handle very well but it was a good shake down for the big race on July 15th.

The night went okay for us. We found issues with both the brakes and the steering. We made a list so we could fix these issues during the week while in Nova Scotia.

All I wanted to do was complete the races with no issues, and head east clean. We finished 11th of 12 cars in both 30 lap features.

The night ended okay. Lloyd, Louie and Don Yorke headed east at 10:30 pm.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:10 pm

July 15th...................Riverside International Speedway

Race #10

787 consecutive nights

High Lites
* 39 Cars
* 31 started
* Dylan Blenkhorn wins
* We get provisional
* We finish 19th
* 510 final with 412 rear end....not enough for this car
* On practice day we used softer tires and ran with most cars




No damage.......Routine

David, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Don, Jeannie

It's July 23rd......finally getting to complete race reports.

We left right after the races on Saturday night. There were 2 issues that had to be fixed before our race in Nova Scotia, but the good news was the help we had and our game plan.

Louie started out driving and did an awesome job driving there and back. Last year I drove most of the way there and back, but not this year. I only had to drive 2 shifts, but with four of us, each one could drive for 4 hours and let the others rest....as if you can rest in the back of a truck, but we survived very well.

Shows and Work
Monday July 10th
Our first stop was Woodstock New Brunswick. We got to my nephew's place at about 4 in the afternoon. We had a barbecue, stayed there the night, Stephen and Lucy Lippert joined us. They left early Sunday morning from home and got to Gary and Judy's by 6.
The next morning we got to Canadian Tire for 9am, where Gary is Service Manager. While there Gary got our Hoosier tires mounted on the tires we took down. The American Racers had a few hundred laps on them and were scrapped. The show was awesome with lots of interaction with customers and staff. We left around 3 and headed to my cousin Bill and Natalie Elliott's, getting there before dark. We got settled in our rooms and had a great night of music and getting rested.
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The boys, Lloyd, Louie and Don got busy preparing the car for the IWK250. We had to do a nut and bolt, change gears, fix the brakes and steering. Bill left at 5:30 in the morning to deliver a log home. The boys worked hard and found some serious issues with our brakes. We needed front and rear pads. I went to R & D Automotive, a place much like Grisdale's and spent $450, but it was much needed.
We also found the chassis LR spring mount twisted. The load bolt came out of the cup forcing the spring to be sideways.
Bill has a big shop and we were welcomed to use it. We brought out scales and took a few hours to get the car fixed.
Later that night Stephen and Lucy came by for a visit.
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Our second show was at the Canadian Tire in Truro Nova Scotia. We dropped the car off around 11:am. Our crew stayed with the car and Bill and I headed to Scotia World Speedway to drop off our wheels to have them mounted. This series, like APC, requires rims to be dropped off at the tire supplier and are then delivered to the track where teams pick them up.
The show on Wednesday was good. We met more people who would be going to the race and some remembered us from 2016.
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After the show the boys headed back to Bill and Natalie's, while Bill and I decided to visit the Blenkhorn family and see there shop. It was amazing, Both Paul and his son Dylan greeted us and offered help if we needed it.

I mentioned that we would be looking for a newer car for 2018. Dylan said he was thinking of retiring at the end of this year (he's 23) and selling everything. It depended on whether or not he won the points, if he did he was considering not racing anymore. He also said he would love to win the IWK 250, that would be a high lite for his career. He was leading the points currently. Bill and I left and I was excited meeting these great people.

Practice Day
We headed to Riverside International Speedway Thursday to practice for the big event. We really needed to get this night in to see how our car would be, and how the brakes and steering would respond. All of us were there including Stephen and Lucy.

The first set of hot laps revealed the steering was crazy stiff. We made an adjustment to the servo and tried it again but again it was too stiff. A little easier to the left but very still counter steering to the right. I was so frustrated. I told the boys I wouldn't last 15 laps with the steering so hard.

I called David and he said "did you replace the servo with the one you have". I said no, and the reason was because I thought we had the right one in the car. David said "change the servo Dad and try it". We did and the difference was night and day. I was so pumped to have the steering easy. The final set of hot laps we were turning lap times in the mid 14's. Many teams and fans commented how well we looked. I was very excited and my team could see it. They did a great job replacing the servo. I got right in there as well, but there was only room for 2, so Louie and Don got it done.

We left the track very happy.

Our final show was in Antigonish at the Walmart. The response was awesome. Many customers came to see us and some had been at the track on Thursday and commented how well we ran. Overall it was a great day. I got to meet the Butcher team. A team with two young brothers running in the Tour, Cole and Jarrett.
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We stayed at the Maritime Inn Hotel. The next morning we headed for the race.

IWK 250

The big day was on us. It was calling for rain, but prayers were answered as the weather turned out to be beautiful. While lined up for tech we met and talked to Mark Martin, what a great guy. He was very willing to talk to us and take some pictures.
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We went through tech pretty well unscathed, meeting all the rules except for tire width. I was stunned that we were too wide because I was running 5" wheels all the way around. Last year we had 4" on the outside and 5" on the inside. We passed APC rules so I figured for sure we would be okay for these rules, but they said we were too wide and had to remove our 1" spacers on the outside.
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Once back at our pit, on the back straight this year, we removed the spacers and put on the practice tires. It was then maybe that I realized my practice tires were softer Hoosiers. We were using 1057 on the outside and 1030 inside. That's why we were competitive on Thursday night. We left them on for the first set of hot laps and it's good that we did because 8 laps into practice our right front tire cut down from rubbing on the tie rod. I showed the tech staff and they allowed us to put the spacers back on. I was thankful for that.

David and Jeannie got to the pits around 12:30, in time for hot laps. David would spot for us this day.
Practice showed though I could steer the car and stop, our lap times were dreadful, dropping at least 4 tenths from Thursday. It showed that our car is 4 tenths off, and that was understandable because most cars we raced against were new or 2 years old.
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There were 39 cars for this event. The format was 5 heats and a last chance. Four cars would qualify from each heat, and two from the last chance. The remaining 9 cars for the show would be determined by provisional grants and promoters choice. We started last in the heat race. One car pulled off, we finished 8th, nothing for the competitors.

The boys put a little gas in for the "last chance". We didn't finish last but only 2 advanced and we were a long ways from that, I think 10th we finished. After the race the boys said the gas cap was missing. Someone said they come off a lot, but the only way they go missing is if they were not put on in the first place, or not put on properly. This would be a big issue because I didn't have a spare and we were running out of time to find one. The boys put a plastic lid over the tank and duct tapped it. I never thought much of it. I just hoped it would last.

We did get a provisional for long haul, there were two cars to get that provisional. We would be starting 29th.
We got lined up and headed on the track for fan appreciation, meet the drivers. That lasted about an hour and we got to meet many race fans. Some were friends on face book that we never met in person before. It was a great time....and the stands were packed....over 10,000 fans....wow.
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The Race
Our push button let go on us in the pits prior to the fan appreciation. David started the car with a screw driver on the solenoid, but for the race I would need a push and then went to the back.

On the green I was just hoping we do better than 2016. I knew we would be non competitive, and to make it clear to my fans, I don't like to drive, I like to race. Sure we could say I raced, but knowing we would not be competitive with 90% of the field was disappointing.....but not a surprise. I knew I could race with these drivers, but I had to use illegal tires, and that wasn't going to happen regardless.

About 3 laps into the race David said "Dad, get to the pits, get off the track, you're on fire". I pulled down right away in turn one and two trying to get out of the way and stop for the safety crew. They got the fire out right away. I knew what happened, the Red Green patch job failed and I take responsibility for going out like that. I don't take responsibility for losing the cap, it wasn't put on, but I should have made a valiant effort to get a cap. I did ask a few teams but I should have hustled to ask them all. We were up against the gun for time because they were lining up the cars for pre race on track ceremonies. I should have went around to the teams I knew and asked if they had a spare cap, I did ask teams close to me but not some of the bigger teams.

Once the first was out I went to our pit. I could see there was long faces and the team not knowing what to say or do. I yelled out to ask for a cap. There were 8 teams not in the race. David said "Dad they're restarting the race, what's going on"? I said I didn't know. He called to the crew to try to get a cap, and finally a driver came from another team with a cap and we got it on and headed back out. We were now at least 10 laps down.

The rest of the race was great for us. We stayed out of the way. At half time, lap 125 of 250, David said there were only 26 cars left and we had already beat last year. He was positive the entire time just getting me relaxed and settled to enjoy the race.

As the race wound down, more cars dropped out. The battle for the front was intense. With 10 to go David said "Dad you can't gain anymore spots, why not come in and watch the battle for the win. I said thank you but I wanted to take the checker and we did. We crossed the line in 19th, and not a mark on the car.

I was very happy with that finish, mostly because we completed the race finishing 229 of 250 laps. I wasn't mad at my crew, they will learn from this mistake and we move on to the next race.

Congrats to the winner....Dylan Blenkhorn. He led a ton of laps, and I was very happy for him and his crew.

We left Monday for home, with a three race weekend waiting for us. At least the Modified was ready to go.

Special thanks to David, Jeannie, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy and Don for all their help during this journey, Also thanks to my cousin Bill and Natalie for their amazing hospitality.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:30 am

July 21st.................Kawartha Speedway

Race #11

788 Consecutive Nights

* 26 cars
* Cole Powell wins
* We finish 6th...awesome run
* Good crowd and good racing
* 504 gears not hitting the chip.....went to 523 way too high

Heat #1............8th
Heat #2............4th


Get ready for Full Throttle Motor Speedway

Lloyd, Louie


With only a few days rest, getting home at 4 am Tuesday, we did have some busy days to get the Late Model ready for Flamboro on July 22nd. The shocks and springs had to be changes over, gears changed, oil and filter, nut and bolt and then scaled. But everything went smooth.

Louie got to my house early Friday morning, and Rick also came to help load the Modified. We were just getting ready to leave the shop when Lloyd arrived, driving down from Barrie. The three of us headed to Kawartha with Buttons and Daisy.

We got to the track around 3, unloaded and set up our pit. It was so good to see many Mods in the pits. I love big fields of cars, and we sure had that with 28 cars signed in.

We hadn't changed the chassis set up from Sauble, where we ran awesome. I was kind of concerned about Kawartha because the last time here the car was out of control, too free.

The first set of hot laps showed that. I drove into the turns and had to wait a while before I could get on the throttle, not because it would push, but because it would come around. Once in the pits we removed the spring rubber from the RR and lowered the pan hard bar a half an inch.

Our first heat race we started at the back because I wasn't ready in time. It's just as good though because the car was still very loose. We finished 8th of 9 cars. After the race we made several changes to tighten up the car. Lowered the pan hard another half inch, reduced the stagger and added almost a turn on sway bar.

In the second heat we started 6th. In knew right away the car was better. I could go in deep and not get out of control, squirrely or loose. I wasn't hitting the chip and figured I needed more gear, but a good finish it was taking 4th and not being too far behind the leaders,

For the feature I knew it would cool down so minor changes were made. A little less stagger and just a small add to the sway bar. I pondered the gear issue and decided (wrongly) to change the gears from 504 to 523. There were 2 reasons, the first because I wasn't hitting the chip, and the second because I was on older tires. Cooler conditions usually add grip to the track, but can lead to a push. I really felt good after the second heat and should have left the gearing. The better changes and cooler air would have given us a few more revs, but I wanted to make sure I had enough RPM......in other words, hit the chip. So Louie and my grand son Gehrig changed the gears.

We were to start 10th in the feature, but some how that got messed up and we ended up 11th. On the green, before the checker, I was in 12th and soon in 13th. We got in a groove and the car got better each lap, in fact it was awesome.

I found out about lap 4 that I messed up on the gearing. I was hitting the chip way too soon, like at the start finish line. We needed another 2 car lengths before hitting it. We had great pull off the turns but the gear change made our straightaway too short. The chip slows the car down, but cutting out the ignition. I like about hits on the chip, but it was more like 15. If our tachometer was working (it's digital) I would have seen what our RPM was, and if we were close, which obviously we were, I would not have changed the gears. The chip rev limiter comes on at 6350 RPM. I am guessing we were already at 6250, very close to where we needed to be. The added changes to the car and cool air made our car better, the gear change hurt us because it was acting like a brake, coming on far too soon, not allowing me to drive in deep like I am use to doing. Anyway, lessen learned.

The car was great otherwise, and when we were in traffic we kept up with the field. It was when we got strung out that hitting the chip started.

We had some awesome battles in this race. Stu Robinson, former OSCAAR Super Late Model driver was one car we ran side by side with for many laps. It was great, he raced me very clean, but he's been around a long time and knows how to race fair and clean.

At one point going into turn one I drove in deep and hit Stu's left rear sheet metal bending it out. A few laps later, in turn 3 I hit the same piece of metal and straightened it out. :lol:

I soon lost the battle with Stu and he pulled ahead but I stayed right with him. About 6 laps later we were catching the #77, Brian and Chad Strawn's car. He was falling back quickly. As we came off turn two, Stu started to go outside of the 77 but hesitated, maybe not thinking he was clear and I was able to move outside of both him and the Strawn car into 6th place.

There was another caution with 5 to go. The top 5 cars were Cole Powell, Chris Milwain, Cory Horner, AJ Emms and John Harper. The cream of the crop. Now I really wished I wasn't hitting the chip.

On the restart, I was able to run side by side with Harper, but hitting the chip so soon gave him the advantage as he drove hard on the inside. He would take over 5th and we would cross the finish line in 6th and very very happy.

Louie did a tremendous job spotting, both he and Lloyd were keeping me posted on things. Lloyd did a great job helping with set up during the day. It was a great race for our team and I was proud of the boys for their hard work.
We were once again smiling and as happy as we could be.....if we win it might be a little more exciting, but I don't think so because it was a fun race and we ran great. Winning doesn't always tell the story. Good job to my crew and the drivers for putting on a great show.

Congrats to Cole Powell and his team on the win. He has some exciting career opportunities for the future. including NASCAR Trucks. :mrgreen: Quite an honor to race with him.

Our next race is Flamboro July 22nd, then Full Throttle Motor Speedway July 23rd.

Up date...........FTMS was cancelled due to threat of rain.

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