Diary of a Season 2017

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:10 pm

I will soon be updating Diary of a Season with updates for my family, friends and fans.

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

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:08 pm

Thank you for your patience, waiting for me to update our racing program for 2017. Here goes!!!!

Pit Crew
The first bit of news is the improvement of the size of my pit crew. Back in 2014 we had a decent number of crew members but most went separate ways except for Lloyd Lariviere and Paul Douglas. In 2015 it was primarily Lloyd and I, but Jason Legge was a tremendous help as the Late Model would be running a full season at his track with Jason and I sharing duties. Paul Douglas also made a few races in 2015.

In 2016 Louie Halliday joined out team on opening day and made almost every race of the season. Lloyd made it out to all the races in the first half of the season until Nova Scotia, and could not return after the IWK 250 due to health reasons. At the end of 2016 Randall Crook joined our team and Stephen and Lucy Lippert said they would like to join our team for 2017. In early March of this year, we had the pleasure of adding 2 more crew members Rick and Laurie Cromwell, giving us 6 crew members for 2017.

Gary Elliott Motorsports is very proud to announce that Quaker State is back with us for 2017. It will be our 44th season with Quaker State, this being the longest Driver/Sponsor partnership in racing history. Quaker State started with us in 1974. They have been with me since the beginning of our streak on June 5th 1987, that is now at 777 consecutive nights.
We are also thrilled to have Lincoln Electric back for the 14th year. Lincoln provided us with an incredible beautiful welding machine. We used it this past winter to do all our own fabricating and welding for front and rear bumpers. Our other corporate sponsors are PPG who supply us with paint for our race cars and Permatex who have an full line of products you can use around the home or shop.
JDS Insurance has been with us for 15 years. A great insurance company that will find the best price for your business as well as personal insurance needs. We have worked together on a few special events for kids. Grind Stone and Timber Green, a father and son team, with separate businesses have been with us since 2008. They specialize in landscaping, decks, snow plow service and other property needs. Flamboro Machine Shop, is one of our longest associate sponsors for over 15 seasons. John's team can make anything out of metal, doing huge projects for major industrial companies,
Creative Edge has been exclusive with us since 2009, making our cars look awesome with expert graphics. Steve listens to what I want then does his art work on our cars to give the best exposure possible for our sponsors and fans.
Epic Race Wear is back in 2017 supporting us with race apparel. Dan and Bob have expanded their business to include all kinds of racing attire, tents, flags etc. We will be doing business with them through t-shirts very soon.
Finally, Nor Heat is back again in 2017. Tom Norris has a great business lining ovens and other heat transferring vessels to reduce heat loss. We will work on finding a way to reduce heat to our calipers, giving us a good brake pedal all the time.
New for 2017 are Watson Garage. Josh Watson did an amazing job painting our LM for 2017. Josh restores cars like new. Larkin Computer owner, Mikey Larkin looks after all our computer need including keeping our web site free of bugs. Cedar Hills Animal Sanctuary are new with us for 2017. We are very proud to have Elaine Watson and her team of animal support group compassionate angels part of our sponsor team.
Most of our sponsors have web sites, click on their logo on the right side of our web site to see the wonderful products and services they offer.


I decided at the end of 2016 to focus on our Late Model for 2017. It's true I seem to run better in the Mod, but with OSCCAR cutting back races from 15 to 12, I put my effort in the Late Model with intentions to run the full Flamboro schedule, five APC Pro Late shows, the IWK 250 in Nova Scotia and 8 Modified races. We will still support all the OSCAAR races with Rob DiVenanzo driving for me when there are conflicting nights with the Late Model.

Worked started on our Pro Late Model in late November of 2016. Louie, Randall, Lloyd and Stephen came out quite a bit in the early going as we began taking the car completely apart. Louie was the catalyst, coming out all the time, and making great use of our new Lincoln Electric welder.
Rebuilding the car gave the team members a chance to know the car better. Soon we got body panels to start replacing the old damaged parts, as well as new brake calipers and pads. Once the body was mounted, all the welding done, we sent the engine to Stefko Engines for rebuild. It didn't need to be rebuilt, but the APC Series and Flamboro allow teams to send their engines to approved engine rebuilders. It's good they have authorized rebuilders to keep the playing field fair. The problem for any team with a stock Crate engine, compared to a rebuilt Crate is the disadvantage in HP. Rebuilt engines gain upwards to 30 HP. A team with a stock Crate engine, though still producing 410 HP, or close to it, can't compare to a team with a 440 HP engine. Yes the rebuilt comes back within the guide lines, but once the 350 Chev 604 Crate is allowed to be opened it causes more money for teams, and worse, the chance one rebuilt might not be within the guidelines. What I mean by that is replacing parts that look OEM, like the cam shaft, with one a little better that has a GM stamp. That cam makes even more power, yet falls within the cam specs. Once rebuilding is allowed, everyone has to do it because the gain is significant.......so we did it to, but with the original cam.

Once our engine was sent out the body went out soon after. While they were gone we went over all the chassis, painting it, checking for places to be repaired or welded.
We got the engine back from John Stefko on the 14th of February and installed it before the body went on. The body was completed by Josh Watson Feb 20th and it was installed in one week, windows etc to be ready for Creative Edge on February 27th. Not only was the body repainted, but so was the interior, giving us a thorough paint job.

Steve finished the lettering by March 2nd and we got the home that day and prepared it for a kids event with JDS Insurance for March 4th. We would be ready then for the car show move in on Thursday March 9th.

Disaster Avoided......God's Grace
Randall came over the night before the kids event in Aurora. All week prior it had been plus 5 to plus 9. We pushed the car in the trailer around 8pm and loaded it with the things I would need for the kids event. I went to bed early so I could leave by 7:30am for the 90 minute drive.

Over night the temperature dropped to -11 Celsius. It was cold for sure but I would be inside with the kids. As I drove to Aurora, I guess it was around Mississauga that I looked at the dash of my truck and seen it was getting colder, now -14. Wow I thought, after such a great warm February, I thought we would have an early spring....not yet. As I thought that, I suddenly got an incredibly sick feeling. My heart sunk, I immediately went into panic mode. I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. Why? Because through the business the past few weeks I realized I forgot to drain the water out of the engine....any David had told me after he set the timing "Dad, make sure you either drain all the water, or put anti freeze in the engine". That was a few days before I got the body panels, and it NEVER entered my mind again until 8:30am on my way to the kids event. I began to pray that God would have done some miracle for me, that it would be +1 in the trailer, that the water wouldn't freeze". I was stressed beyond anything.

I got to the event in Aurora at Campus Church and was so down it was nuts. Mark Smith, one of the owners of JDS Insurance, a great Christian man, came to me and said "hey glad you're hear". He could see I was upset and asked me what was wrong and I told him. Mark immediately prayed with me and that helped, but inside I was crazy worried. I looked at my phone and it was now -16.

I unloaded the car and did the show, and believe it or not when I talked to the kids, for some reason I was able to just focus on them. I signed some autographs and then told Mark I got to get home and unload my car. Somehow I figured getting it home in the warm garage would be good, but I knew the car was in the freezing cold for over 12 hours.

I drove home and the further I went towards Hamilton the warmer it got....if you call -7 warm. Once back at the shop I unloaded the car. There was no one there to help but I was determined to get the car in the garage to thaw out. I took off the top rad hose and found the neck in the radiator filled with rock hard ice. I was so stressed. My next task was to get under the car and look to see what damage would be done.......you won't believe what I found.
......to be continued...........

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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:34 pm

Once I found the ice in the rad I was sick to my stomach thinking I just cracked the block of the rebuilt engine. I put the car on jack stands and got under, looking for a long thin line indicating the block was cracked, but there was no crack.
I looked closer and found the front frost plug on both sides was pushed out, with heavy ice slush in the frost plug holes.
We were spared. I won't call it luck, but rather grace from God. Yes I know science says ice will freeze. and frost plugs are installed for that very reason, to pop if the engine freezes. But it always doesn't happen, except this time it did and I was very thankful.

Steve Passmore came over on Monday, (the engine was thawed out) to help me. We installed 2 new frost plugs and started the engine. It sounded okay but the water pump was leaking. The water in the pump froze and pushed the back cover out, it leaked at the gasket. I got a new water pump and the car was fixed. Thank you Lord.

Over the next few weeks we finished the Late Model off work wise, with Junior Hanley coming by to set the bump steer. He changed the left front ball joint to make it work and we made other changes as well.

We have worked on the Modified as well. New led tray and made an effort to get more front weight. Hopefully the Mod will be ready by April 22nd, practice day at Flamboro Speedway.

I will post my schedule soon and a list of shows we will be doing in the summer.

Just want to thank my crew, Lloyd, Louie, Paul, Randall, Stephen, Lucy, Rick and Laurie for making the off season very successful. I appreciate my crew and their families for allowing them to be part of our team. I am truly looking forward to this coming season.

Thanks for visiting.

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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:10 pm

With practice day looming I'm happy with the progress on our race team. Louie came over today to do the final set up on the Late Model. We have one piece of led to install and then add some shims for our bump stop system.

This weekend I'm hoping our team can make it out to finish our trailer. installing the tool boxes, spare parts and supplies. Once that's done, we will only have the Modified left to complete. The Mod needs some pre season maintenance, wheel bearing repacked, gears changed and full nut and bolt check.

We start racing on May 6th with the Late Model at Flamboro Speedway, and the Mod goes May 21st at Full Throttle Motor Speedway.
Here is our schedule for 2017
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2017 Schedule
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We have a show to do in London Ontario on April 29th for Quaker State. This will be our 4th show of 2017. We have at least 15 more for this season at this point.

More news soon....thanks for visiting our site

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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon May 01, 2017 1:05 pm

With less than a week to go, our Late Model is 99% ready to race. There were a few issues on practice day, nothing serious. I was actually very surprised that we would take the car completely apart, reassemble, and have no issues with anything we did.
The issues we had were
1) spongy brake pedal
2) oil leak
3) hesitation
4) not enough gear....648 with a 412 quick change....going up one set to 662.

We bled the brakes after the first set of hot laps, but there was no air in the system. The oil leak was coming from the rocker cover on the passenger side. We temporarily put some silicone to slow it down. That wasn't anything to do with us, because we didn't touch the engine. The hesitation was left for now because it wasn't that severe.

The brakes are the biggest issue. The pedal travels too far before slowing the car down and even then it's not good braking. Without good brakes it's impossible to race hard into the corners. If you do, more than likely you will hit the car in front, or go beyond the adhesion point and push up. Neither one of those scenario's is any good.
I had good brakes before.

The final set of hot laps, only 2 because of the oil leak and brake problems, was decent. I put on new tires. Times were okay but will be much better with good brakes.

During the week we ordered the parts to get these things fixed. Rocker cover, brake shims and new gear set.
The shims will stop the caliper piston from coming out too far. More gear will help and of course fixing the oil leak is a no-brainer :mrgreen:

My crew did awesome and they were happy after the session. I was happy as well, but don't want to race this car being inadequate again.

Opening day is May 6th.......if it stops raining. :D
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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Sun May 07, 2017 6:57 pm

Well, opening day got rained out, but Flamboro has announced the night will not be lost, they will run it sometime this year.
My crew came to the shop and we finished a few things left to do on the car.
We now have tires and rims for both cars, 2 sets.
The body side protectors were installed on the Late Model, and we got the transponder number that has to be given to Flamboro Speedway staff for lap times. We also replaced the left front rocker cover and put a him in the rear brakes to hopefully give me more pedal.
The Modified had a thorough nut and bolt check and both cars were started. The Late Model was good, but the Modified started pouring out fuel at the filter just before the pump. Looks like a rubber seal, but the screen inside needed replacing as well. We also did some work on the trailer. Louie, Lloyd and Rick were a big help getting the cars finished.

Looks like opening day for us will be a double header weekend for both the Late Model and Modified. We will race the Late Model on the 20th at Flamboro and the Modified on Sunday at Full Throttle Motor Speedway.

Looking forward to our 49th season :mrgreen:

GEM Apparel
We are selling T-shirts and Hoodies this year, focusing on our streak that started on June 5th 1987. We have a combination of 777 consecutive nights after last year. Our total nights is 1226.
We hope to hit 800 in a row by the end of this season.
If you would like to purchase please call me on my cell at 905-928-8086
or email me at garyelliottmotorsports@gmail.com
Thank you
T-shirts are $30 and Hoodies are $45
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Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Tue May 09, 2017 12:24 pm

Gary Elliott Motorsports will race 25 nights this season, giving us a career total of 1251 if there are no races lost to rain or some other reason for a cancelled event.

Our schedule includes running the full Pro Late Model schedule at Flamboro Speedway, 8 OSCAAR Modified races, 5 APC Late Model races and one race with the Maritime Pro Stock Tour at Riverside Nova Scotia.

Our team has a few goals for 2017. We have established after 48 seasons of racing the following stats:
39 seasons of 100%
39 different tracks
39 feature wins
777 consecutive nights since June 5th 1987.

This year our team is focused on the above goals, as well as doing the best we can to run for a Championship. That will be a very tough goal, competing with some extremely stout race teams. However, we know the track, and have a great crew, and have done much more on our car this season over any season in the past three years.

We understand that 40 years of 100% is a huge feat to accomplish. Over the years I only ran one class and we raced 24 nights a season, even up to 39 nights in 1990. But most series and tracks today do not run more than 15 race nights for there top classes. So we make our own schedule and must follow it, not missing any nights, to continue our streak and goals. This year Flamboro only has 10 nights for Late Models, OSCAAR has 11, so we are choosing Flamboro Speedway's home track points championship series as our 100%

There are many teams, including young kids with many more feature wins than I have attained. Not making excuses, but only twice in 48 years have we brought a new car to the races and in 1999 we won the Championship with that car. 40 is still a good achievement for feature wins, if we can get one this summer and I will be very happy with that feat.

Our most prestigious goal this year is 800 consecutive nights. If we get no rain outs we will hit 800 by the end of September, on the 23rd.

We also have 5 APC races this year. Here is our schedule to follow us in 2017.
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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Wed May 17, 2017 12:00 pm

With 3 days to go to our first race of 2017, our team is anxious to get started. The Late Model goes first Saturday May 20th in the very competitive Pro Late Model series at Flamboro Speedway. We will be underdogs in this class, but we can only race the car we have and we will do that. If we're a top 10 car of 18, our goal will to consistently run in the top 10. If we are better than that, and there are some very stout cars on the roster, we will go for the best finish we can attain on any race night without wrecking our car or anyone else.

The Modified will begin it's schedule with OSCAAR this Sunday, the 21st at Full Throttle Motor Speedway. I am looking forward to racing both cars. Our 100% series will be the Pro Late, but with Rob DiVenanzo driving the Modified on the nights I am not able to, we will support both the Flamboro Pro Late and OSCAAR Modified schedules.

Just want to thank my crew, Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Lucy, Rick, Laurie, Randall and Paul for all their help this season. Our goal is to race as hard as we can and have fun.

I wouldn't be able to do what I am this year if it wasn't for our great sponsors. Special thanks to all our sponsors for 2017.
* Quaker State
* Lincoln
* Permatex
* JDS Insurance
* Timber Green Landscaping
* Grind Stone Property Management
* Flamboro Machine Shop
* Cedar Hills Animal Sanctuary
* Watson's Garage
* Strictly Hydraulics
* Metal Coaters
* Nor Heat
* Epic Race Wear
* Creative Edge
* Larkin Computers
* Scripture Union
* Mountain City Motorsports
* Uncle Bud
* TTC Top Shops (Barrie)

We have a few other goals as well. Our focus this year will be running every race on our schedule. We are currently at 39 seasons of perfect attendance....39 different tracks raced......and 39 feature wins. We also have our streak of 777 consecutive race nights dating back to June 5th 1987. Our goal is to reach 800 this season, and we can do that if there are no lost rain dates to rain.

Thank you for visiting our site and supporting Gary Elliott Motorsports

Posts: 206
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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Mon May 22, 2017 5:24 pm

May 20th...................Flamboro Speedway

Opening Night

Race #1
* 17 cars
* Kevin Albers wins first feature
* 2nd feature to be run on June 3rd
* Terrible crash in the final 3 laps
* Rick Sheridan and Blair Wicket get locked :o
* We break caliper bracket on RR
* Great crew turn out for us
* Small crowd but it was very cool and windy

1st Feature...............10th
2nd Feature..............see June 3rd results


Rear caliper brackets, rotors and pads

Lloyd, Louie, Stephen, Randall, Lucy, Laurie, Michelle and April

We got to the track in plenty of time to grab the first parking spot just inside the pit gate to the right, and set up. Once we got everything done pre tech, we got ready for our first set of hot laps.

Our crew were amazing this day. Many not experienced, but all of them willing to help out. There are so many things to do to have a pit area ready and organized, and the boys and girls did a great job.

Before I get into on track performance etc., it's important for my friends and fans to know that we have set realistic goals for 2017. I have an outdated car. It's good in many ways but the chassis is not what most all the top cars are using. We have a perimeter big bar big spring car, while most of the top cars have a straight rail, coil over strut car. I would say our driveline is close except for the carb and exhaust system. We are running a stock 650 4 barrel, and a regular header system. The top cars are using the same carburetor, though modified by VDL. They also use a tri-y header system that though much more expensive, will produce a lot more HP with the carb. We have an older car, while most cars we compete against are less than 5 years old. Our car is straight, and is prepared to run as good or better than it did in its heyday back in 2006 when it was a year old. We hope to get our lap times within 2 tenths of the fastest cars but that will be a stretch. The top machines will turn lap times in the 15:1's and our goal is to get to the 3's or high 2's. If we can do that consistently we might finish the season in the top 5 in points.....that's the goal.

So how do I race a car knowing that it won't be as quick as 7 or 8 of the fastest cars? We have a budget to go by and with that budget we have made this car the best it can be. I understand I can't drive a car I don't have, so my goal is to race this car as hard as I can without wrecking it. We will be an underdog, but I am totally okay with that. My health is good, I have an awesome crew, and my sponsor partners have been very good to us. We want to race hard, clean and who knows, we might pull off our 40th career feature win sometime in 2017.

Sitting with 39 feature wins at the end of our 48th season, we also have 39 seasons of 100% and have raced at 39 different tracks. We hope to make each one of those 40 by the end of 2017. Our 40th track will be Jukasa Speedway, a totally redesigned Cayuga Speedway. The name change doesn't make it a different track, the actual racing surface is completely different. More banking making it a much faster race track.

My crew understand that we are going to have fun in 2017 with the car we have. My crew will allow me to concentrate on racing. Also, I won't have the outside distractions I've had in the past 4 years. Both those elements will impact my racing. We also can improve the car making it the best it can possibly be, and we intend to do just that.
At the end of this season, or before it comes to an end, we hope to purchase a good used modernized race car. I have no idea if there is one available right now, but we will be looking towards the end of 2017. This will be the first season in 5 that I will be much more mentally prepared and that will spring board us to a more competitive 2018......and that happens to be our 50th year. :mrgreen:

Louie was on the radio, with Lloyd on the back up set. The only practice we did was good with the exception of the brakes. They still travel too far and do not get hard. I have felt a spongy brake pedal every time in the car and that won't help us get to the lap times and speed we want. I understand lap times are only a guideline, but the truth is, if you can get your car into the 15:2's or maybe the 15:1's, you will be very close to the rest of the field. We have agreed as a team not to stress out over lap times, but rather concentrate on how the car settles entering the turns and through the middle....that's where the speed is.

After our first and only set of hot laps we were ready for the first feature. We would start 10th in this race, the first time since 2014 that I have actually taken my starting spot with the Late Model. I refuse to start where fast cars are when my car is not competitive. I felt comfortable, so I took my assigned spot.

The race was good, we were racing as hard as I could though my brakes were hindering me from being more competitive. I got into 9th early but after a few laps Chenoweth flew by me and soon after a chain of cars running right behind me all got under. I wasn't comfortable at this time because I wasn't fast and knew it. The cars that got by pulled ahead, so I was holding them up, and you can only do that so long and sooner or later you'll get spun or worse. Just before I got passed, our lap times were 15:44. The top 5 or 6 cars were in the 15:1's.

At about lap 20 of the 30 lapper, race leader #86 Billy Schwartenberg was hit and spun out by #15 Matt Lockwood. That brought out the yellow flag. While we were lining up and cruising around I played with my brake bias hoping to get a hard pedal, but no deal. Maybe I should have tried Viagara in the master cylinder :D

As we were doubling up I hit the brakes a couple of times and when I did I heard a loud clunk. Hmmmm I thought, maybe something slipped into place. We had bled the brakes several times the past weeks, installed new master cylinders and added shims in the rear, all to improve the pedal, but none helped even a little. Just after the clunk, when I thought maybe something good happened, I knew that thought was not going to be true because the pedal went nearly to the floor. I pulled over and let the field go by because I barely had brakes.

Over the next 6 laps I held my position, not racing hard into the turns because I couldn't stop fast enough, or even slow down much. The car was okay because there was no one around me.

Coming off turn four on lap 28 I saw a huge wreck in turn one. The 2nd and 3rd place cars tangled, the result being the #5 of Jake Sheridan rolling over and landing on top of #97 of Blair Wickett. Both cars were badly wrecked with Jake's car taking the worst hit.

During warm ups, I noticed Jake motion me to pass him. Ron Sheridan, Jake's Dad, suggested he follow me for a while. The problem for Jake was that he was much faster than me, so he would catch up quick then back off, and catch me again. After the hot laps I talked to the family and wished them well. I feel so bad for both kids, they didn't deserve such a severe wreck with such a harmless incident.

It was harmless in that Jake, who was 2nd, was crowding Blair, who was inside. Many racers pinch down, and others push up, both practices to accomplish getting the best of the lane you want. As Jake crowded, Blair must have thought he would bump Jake to get by, and that move is done a lot, but it was the wrong move this time. The cars locked, and Blair mounted the side of Jakes #5 sending them both hard into the cement with Jakes car flipping upside down landing on top of Blair's car. It was a ridiculously bad crash considering it could have been just a bump. Most times a car will spin out for just get out of shape for a split second and continue with hard feelings being the worst result. It didn't happen that way. Instead of finishing 2nd and 3rd they will be 16th and 15th with both having a ton of expenses.

The red flag was a long delay. You can see it on Youtube under Flamboro Speedway Pro Late feature race. We will soon get an account for me to post races once they are edited.

The race resumed and we ended up 10th. Not sure how, but we held off a few cars that were struggling. Congratulations to Kevin Albers for winning the feature. His car sure is a great running chariot.

Once in the pits we put the car on four jack stands to see what caused the clunk. We needed to hustle to get ready for the 2nd feature. The boys found a broken rotor on the right rear, and the likely cause being a broken caliper mount that let go, because it wasn't welded enough. The brake line didn't break, and that's what allowed us to finish the race.

I borrowed a rotor from Bill Grisdale, getting it from Matt Lockwood's trailer. It was thicker than ours but it would work because we had a shim in the RR. With the rotor we were able to get ready for the second feature. Lloyd and Louie worked very hard to get us back out. The only thing we couldn't do was re-weld the caliper bracket, but I wasn't planning on pushing it regardless, I just wanted to start and try to finish.
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Once on the track I reported to Louie that the brake pedal felt better than it had all night. He wondered maybe if it was because of the thicker rotor. Yes it could have been, but I was going to replace both rear with thicker rotors just like the front.

It was a good night considering. The big field of cars was a nice surprise, I expect it to get even better. There are a ton of fast cars, we plan to be running with them in a few weeks. :D

Congrats again to Kevin and his team...Derek Smith Photo
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Re: Diary of a Season 2017

Post by Gary » Thu May 25, 2017 11:39 pm

May 27th................Waterdown Canadian Tire

Our Pro Late Model will be at the Canadian Tire in Waterdown from 10:30 am till 2:30 am to support Jump Start, the Canadian Tire program to help kids get started in the sports they love.
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Please come out, meet our team and make a donation to Jump Start. We will be selling Hoodies and T-shirts and $5 from each Hoodies and $3 from each T-shirt will go towards Jump Start.
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