Diary Of A Season 2018

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Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by MikeyLarkin » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:48 pm

Season Info and Stats for 2018

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:19 am

Hi race fans and supporters of our racing. I have been posting pictures the past few months of our progress but I do have some news that will be of interest to all of you....stay tuned :mrgreen:

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:45 pm

Here are some updates for our team sponsor wise as of March 19th.

* Quaker State is back with us for an incredible 45th season.
* Lincoln Electric will be back in 2018, our 15th season together
* JDS Insurance will be back with us, a great sponsor 15th season
* Grind Stone Landscaping will be with us in 2018, our 11th season together
* PPG and Permatex, will be returning for their 4th seasons
* Watson's Garage is back with us for a 3rd season
Other sponsors returning include
* Creative Edge
* Metal Coaters

The most amazing for me is our longevity with Quaker State. This 45th season is a world record.
Richard Petty acquired STP in 1972, we signed with Quaker State in 1974. Technically Petty Enterprises has had them longer, if they have been with Richard the full time.
However, Richard Petty retired from racing in their 22nd year together, making us the longest driver sponsor partnership in racing history. :D

More news to come as we prepare to celebrate my 50th consecutive season of stock car racing in Canada.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:12 pm

It's been a hectic off season. We're doing a lot this season. Some good news for our team is that Quaker State has returned for an amazing 45th season. They are also giving me a 3 year contract, 2018 to 2020 :P
Lincoln Electric is back with us for season #16, and JDS Insurance is returning for season #14.
Our associate sponsors include:
* Permatex
* Grind Stone Landscaping
* Flamboro Machine Shop FMS
* Creative Edge
* Watson's Garage
* Metal Coaters

David and I will be splitting the Late Model series at Flamboro. He will be racing 5 times and I will race 6 events. This may be David's last year racing, and it is very fitting that him and I are sharing in the Late Model in my 50th season.

I will be racing the full OSCAAR Modified schedule in 2018 as well as a few Modified races at Full Throttle Motor Speedway.

More news as we prepare for the coming season.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Mon May 07, 2018 11:19 am

As most everyone knows, this winter has been crazy with warm weather in January and parts of February and March, and then snow and cold in April, spoiling practice day on April 21st and forcing most every track to cancel their opening days scheduled for April 28th.

We needed the extra time to get the cars ready regardless. Our late start, brought on by a wild goose chase that ended un-fruitful put us way behind, but my crew and David's team crammed to get the cars done.

1) My Late Model from the past 13 years was converted into a two seat Ride A Long car, for fans and business opportunities.
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2) Our OSCAAR Modified got a complete going over and is very close to being ready, just some small things left to do, but I am very happy with what we got accomplished on this car and the new look...focusing on our 5th season.
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3) I bought David's Late Model, and that car has also had a few changes to it, not as many as we would have liked, but the funds and time were not there to do all we want but it to looks very good and I am happy about that.
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The plan for 2018 is for me to run the full OSCAAR Mod series, plus 7 Modified races at Full Throttle Motor Speedway. David and I will split the Late Model racing at Flamboro Speedway.

So far we have lost 2 nights, after April 28th and May 5th being cancelled. The track property is not ready. The ground is way too soft for fan parking but the pits were good and John Casale allowed us to practice this past Saturday.

David took the car out for the first set of hot laps and after only a few laps was running it 80%. I was intimidated to drive it because I didn't think I could match David's lap times but I did and turned the fastest lap speeds in a Late Model in several years. Right now we are off what the top Pro Late Models speeds will be....but we know we can go faster and we did very little to the car from it's last time out in 2016 when David won 3 features and finished second in points just two behind Shawn Chenoweth.

I am very much looking forward to this year, racing the Mod but sharing my 50th season with David in the Late Model. It's going to be a an exciting season and our hopes are to keep clean, and have fun racing together.
More news soon

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun May 13, 2018 6:06 pm

May 12th.....Flamboro Speedway

Season Opener

David Behind The Wheel

High Lites
* 13 cars
* David wins first feature
* Nagy wins second feature
* Very cold night...but no rain
* 563 gears

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


LR axle shaft broken
routine maintenance

Eddie, Jim, Hayden......me

After losing the first 2 nights of 2018 to snow and then high winds and torrential rain, we finally got to race at Flamboro Speedway, but it was David's turn. David and I are splitting the Flamboro Speedway Pro Late Model races this year, and not running anywhere else.
Over the off season, I bought David's car and trailer, and he will race for me this year, and hopefully in 2018....but that's not a given yet.

Eddie and David did the final prep on the car at Jim Sweers the week before the race. It was ready for me to race on the 5th until it got cancelled. My crew, Louie, Stephen, Randall, Brian and Hayden, got the engine in, and did much of the maintenance on it.

On May 5th, even with the rain we did get out to practice. David and I turned about the same lap times, and they were faster than any lap I turned in my own car the year prior.

We had lots of help today. Jim, Eddie, Hayden and myself pitted while David drove. The car was excellent right out of the box on May 5th when we practiced. It was no different this time either.
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First Feature
David started 4th in the first feature. He soon got into second behind JR Fitzpatrick. They pulled away from 3rd both turning close times in the low 15:3's.

A few cautions came out and each time David had to restart on the outside. With a stout field of Pro Late Models, it was a concern starting outside but was no issue for David. In fact he drove side by side with JR for several laps before he finally had to slide in behind the #84.

Again they pulled away from 3rd. Our car was very strong, as was JR's.

Cautions weren't finished, and with 8 to go yet another yellow brought the field bumper to bumper. This time David got a great restart on the outside and drove hard into one even with JR. But coming off turn two something happened to the #84 forcing him to the infield. We couldn't tell what happened at the time but something broke in the suspension. We found out later it was the center link on top of the quick change.

David went on to win this race to our excitement. The car looked awesome, handling and power. We put the engine and transmission out of my car in this car to give it more power and it worked great. David, Jim and Eddie had it set up perfect.
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When David pulled into the winners circle and JR went over to greet him.

Second feature
David was to start 11th of 12 cars in the second feature. During pre double up warming up of the tires, David reported to Jim, who was spotting, that the clutch was slipping. But we soon found out the LR axle shaft had broke while warming up the tires. It came out on the track. David decided to stay out and finish the feature, but no one dropped out, so we ended up 12th in that race.
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Congrats to Hudson Nagy #63 for winning the second feature. Mike Bentley caught Hudson and was all over him at the end making it an exciting finish.

We don't have a lot to do but there is some expensive parts to be replace. The axle shaft, spool and rebuild of the quick change will be necessary.

My first race will be with the OSCAAR Modifieds at Sunset Speedways Spring Velocity.

Points after race #1

1st.....#63 Hudson Nagy..........99
2nd....#15 Matt Lockwood.......96
3rd....#27 Kevin Albers...........96
4th....#51 Mike Bentley...........94
5th....#02Mark Burbridge.........93
6th....#36 Elliott Racing..........90
7th....#73 Nick Troback...........88
8th....#55 Chris Howse............86
9th....#38 Bill and Chris..........85
10th...#97 Blair Wickett..........83

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Wed May 23, 2018 2:15 pm

May 20th and 21st..................Sunset Speedway

Spring Velocity

Race #1


High Lights
* 20 cars
* Gary McLean wins :o ....no surprise lol
* We lost the Saturday to rain...races moved to Sunday and Monday
* New engine smoking bad...did not go away
* lacking power in both heats
* Dan Price offers engine....we do it
* Decent weekend considering
* 50 years without a feature win on opening day :roll:
* 588 gears

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


*Battery starter issues, alternator, routine

Jim, Louie, Gehrig, Stephen, Randall, Brian

Got to Sunset Friday night. Found out shortly after that the races were going to be cancelled on Saturday because the weather was going to be terrible, lots of rain....good call because it rained hard and the next 2 days were good. It was cool Sunday, and very hot Monday.

I had lots of help this weekend. Jim, Louie, Stephen, Gehrig, Brian, Randall and Kenny Stenhouse Jr. all came out. Once we double checked everything we were set for the final sets of hot laps. We made 2. The car was good handling wise but lots of smoke on acceleration from the right side tail pipe.

All the work over the winter on our Modified came to a sad conclusion that we were not going to have the car we wanted, not this night anyhow. Still lots of racing left though to get 100%. The engine was the big issue because our handling was good.

Part of the smoking could have been us, making an error by putting 6 1/2 liters in the engine, thinking there was none in it, but there was already 6 in it plus break in oil. I only ran it for 20 minutes just over 2000 RPM, not sure that would cause the damage, but we were smoking bad on acceleration off each corner, not on the straight away.

Our battery was going dead all the time, and we found out our starter was drawing too much. I borrowed a starter from Matt Box, #27 APC Pro Late Model. We also found the alternator was not charging. I was about to get a new one when Kenny suggested to test it. We started the car, pulled off the battery cable and the engine stalled. Kenny found we had the wire to the alternator plugged in the wrong connection....for the gauge (which we don't have) instead of the main power to keep the alternator charging. We hooked it proper, restarted the car and when we removed the battery cable it kept running......so good to have an electrical man on our team at times.

We started sixth in the first heat and finished 2nd. Again the issue was a smoking engine. Lap times were good but I knew we were losing power with the engine.
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In the second heat we started outside pole beside Duane Cinnamon #41. On the start coming off turn four Duane drove me right up hitting me, sending my car into the wall sideways both front and back wheels hitting the wall, and then he went over my left front wheel and into the cement a little, but I had turned left when I hit the wall and that may have kept him from slamming the wall even harder, but it sure kept our car off the wall. When we stopped his right rear was on my left front tire and bumper.

Once cleared and towed away I was able to restart and finish the race in 3rd. After the race, all cars went through tech to make sure weights were good. While in the tech building, Dan Price came over to me and asked if I wanted to borrow his spare 602 engine. He said "it's there if you want it". Once back to the pits I talked to my crew and let them know I wanted to pull it out so not to do any damage to it. They all agreed and we got the engine out before dark.
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Buttons keeps watch on the engine.... :D

Right after, Dan and Gehrig drove to Whitby in my truck and picked up the engine.

On Monday with lots of help we installed the bolt on parts and got the engine in the car before 2 pm.
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I was coming unglued thinking we had to be on the track by 2, but found out after we were done that our race wasn't until at least 5 pm.
If I knew that before hand I would not have been stressed at all. It turned out great, the guys did an awesome job helping on the assembly and getting it in the car. Dan was a huge help as well....what a great person. Reminded me of my Hobby days when we would blow and engine and drivers would loan us an engine, or help us put our spare in to get us back out again. Thanks so much Dan Price.
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We had lots of time to finish off the small things on the car, including setting the toe, it was out by an inch.

40 Lap Feature
I took my starting spot in the feature. Louie would spot today because Jim and Kenny could not come back. Gehrig and Brian went to pit row and Randall filmed the race. Stephen had to go home, so he was unable to make the race on Monday. He had made other plans and that was understandable. Rain delays are always a pain.

On the green I drove the car as hard as I could and noticed right away that it was loose off. A yellow came out soon, and the looseness got worse. I told Louie and Brian who also had a head set...his own. Louie told me then "I noticed the bar was loose. I should have told you". Well yep, he should have but at least now I knew where our issue was. I told the boys we needed to put some turns on the bar and if there was another quick caution I might come in.
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On the restart I was still loose and getting worse, plus wearing my RR tire. Louie report that others were loose as well. Again another yellow came out and I didn't hesitate, I bolted to the pits telling them to work on the sway bar. It was so hard to communicate but I did get Gehrig and Brian to see first if the bar was loose, and they confirmed, then asked them to tighten it till there was no play, and they did....finally I asked for 2 full turns on the bar and they did it.

We restarted 17th or 18th. For the next 30 laps we slowly gained spots. The car was awesome, much better, not perfect but much better. I wanted to run the outside lane where the car was awesome but on some restarts I was on the inside and I asked Louie "let me know as soon as I can get out". He agreed and did a great job spotting.
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With 5 laps to go I got into a battle with Duane Cinnamon and we battled side by side the final 5, and we got him at the wire. We ended up 7th, not what I hoped for but considering all that happened this weekend, it was a great night.
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Thank you Lord for my crew Jim, Louie, Stephen, Gehrig, Brian, Randall and Kenny for hard work Sunday, and especially on Monday getting the engine in....and Dan Price for his generosity of loaning us an engine.

John Stefco was at the race and I gave him the engine to take back to his shop to fix it.

Congrats to Gary McLean on his win and to all the gracious fans and competitors for making this opening weekend a blessing.

After the feature was over I was giving a hat from Sunset Speedway for my 50th career racing.

Our next race will again be in the Modified at Full Throttle Motor Speedway.
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Mon May 28, 2018 9:31 am

May 26th..............Full Throttle Motor Speedway

NO RACE!!!!!!

Show Event

Listed on our schedule was an All Pro Modified race, comprised of all Modified classes and cars in Ontario. I added 7 of these events on my schedule to help me get to the number of races I wanted for my 50th season. When Louie, Paul, Brian, Hayden and I got to the track I was stunned to find out no other cars were there, and none showed up.

I talked to Bruce Bennett the promoter and he thanked us for coming and asked if I would do an interview at the front straight and then do 10 hot laps and I agreed.

I felt bad for Bruce, but it worked out okay. He gave me $300 to cover my gas and fuel.

Our next race will be Friday at Kawartha Speedway.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:49 pm

June 1st...............Kawartha Speedway

Race #2

High Lites
* 21 cars
* John Harper wins
* All week spent on removing Dan"s engine, , picking up and installing our engine
* Pretty well done it alone, no time for full maintenance
* We struggle with proper prep :roll:
* Raced with ....1 1/2 inches toe-out :oops:
* Good night of racing for OSCAAR
* We reach 802 consecutive
* We complete 5 races so far in 2018....2804 total
* 510 final



Fix suspension, proper thorough maintenance, change gears

Brian, Hayden

I don't know how to say this because it doesn't make sense that after the hard work over the winter I would be plagued with so many issues on my cars, both of them. The shortest list, but expensive, is the Late Model with one win already but a broken differential in the second that cost just under $1,000. David won that race, and that isn't a surprise, but the amount of damage from the broken axle shaft was much more than thought. Parts are all here, and I drive the Late Model next week, but it will be tough to get the fire needed to go out and drive as hard as I can because I can't afford anymore expenses......and where did they come from? The Mod, and again, unexpected. Here's the story on the poor start of my 50th season with the Modified.

The car had lots done to it to make it a competitive car. Started by going over the chassis, then getting it powder coated. A new engine rebuild, a new fuel cell, new gauges, all to give me a better car with no issues. But all the good was about to break down.

When we got the engine back I made the wrong assumption there was no oil in it. Since these engines don't come with a dip stick, although they can be made, we took the safe way and added six and a half quarts. On starting the car we noticed after a while that it was smoking. I called John Stefco the engine builder and he told me there was already 6 1/2 quarts of break in oil in the engine. So not only did I damage the rings by over filling, I also ruined the break in oil (10W30) by adding full synthetic. Nothing could seat proper.
We drained the 13 quarts, added break in oil and hoped for the best.

When we got to Sunset Speedway the engine was smoking on every acceleration off the corner. We ran 2 practice and 2 heats and it got worse. So we pulled it out, and ran Dan Price engine for that Monday feature. Finished 7th. But had to pit because the sway bar on the front was loose.....never happened to me before since 2005. I also arranged for John to get the engine after the races were over.
We also had issues with the starter and alternator, so both were replaced. The battery was likely next. The starter and alternator cost over $500.

After Sunset we did a show and tell at Full Throttle Motor Speedway and on the Monday, the 28th of May I pulled the engine out. Not an easy deal by myself, mostly from the strength and safety angle. I did it but was sore and extremely tired by Monday night.
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On Tuesday I changed the gears. My crew were already wore out after Sunset, so I couldn't ask for help. I hate asking anyway.
On Wednesday the 30th, I drove to Stefco's to get the engine. John had to replace some internal parts, lifters, but no rings, they could be cleaned and were cleaned.....$1,000.

I worked late Wednesday night putting the bolt on parts back in the engine. I was exhausted by now and sore from banging myself every chance I got. :roll:
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On Thursday I got the engine in, again by myself. I had to keep working because we were racing on Friday night at Kawartha and I wasn't sure at that time if I would have any crew. Louie said he would come over Thursday night, and he usually can stay 3 hours, so I had to hustle and get as much bolted in and secured to I could start the engine and set the timing.....then load it. Four guys would have been perfect. Louie came around 5:30 and Brian Watson came around 7:30. By 10 pm the engine was broke in and the car loaded. There was still things to do but Louie was gone and Brian wanted to head home as well. I didn't want to forget anything for Kawartha so I had to make a list and get all my things ready like normal, but being wiped out. I couldn't forget any of Buttons stuff either.

Brian let me know he could make it Friday, I had to pick him up at Steeles and Midland in Scarborough, but it was on the way, so it good and I could use the help. Hayden Brown, a youngster who plays on our Dart team also came. I picked him up in Burlington then headed for Brian,

Once at the speedway it was time to unload and get ready to practice, but 3 things had to be done first.
1) change the break in oil with racing oil
2) secure the windshield
3) top up the water

Once that was done we started the car and soon found a leak under the engine, a steady leak. It was gas. The fuel pump was pouring out gas from the side of it. I think I may have crushed it slightly when I was bolting parts on the let the engine lift down on Wednesday night. When it was down, the pump was on the leg of the hoist (cherry picker). But not sure if that was the cause because it worked fine for the 40 minutes of break in time in the shop. But now it was leaking. The fuel pump is easy to replace when the engine is out of the car, but not so much when trying to get at things with the rad hose, headers, engine mounts and other parts in the way. It was an awful time getting it done.

The fuel pump rod, that slides up inside to the cam shaft, had to be pushed up out of the way to get the replacement pump back in. If it's in the way the pump won't go in very easy. The trick is to get it up, because it always falls down into the fuel pump mounting plate. Once its pride up a little axle grease will keep it up there until the replacement pump is in......but when the engine is hot the grease melts and it won't stay up...and it didn't. I removed the mounting plate, removed the 6" rod and cooled it down with water. By then the engine was fairly cool. I inserted the rod and it stayed up out of the way, then put silicone on the mounting plate and installed it. Seemed okay.

The final set of Mod practice was going out shortly and I needed to hustle to get some hot laps. But, more issues, mostly because it's been a while since I did this. The rod with down too far, and I couldn't get the pump into position. I tried several times and was getting frustrated. Then I remembered the rod rides on the cam lobe, so maybe the rod could go up further. Brian turned the engine over and as he did I pushed up on the rod and it went up high enough for me to get the pump in and lines back on. The car started and ran great.....but we missed hot laps.

I drew outside pole in the first heat. There were 21 cars, not as many as I thought we'd have, but Luke Gignac and AJ Emms were both away for health reasons, although Luke made the race.

In our heat, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I soon found out I was off by a mile. We finished 3rd but a quarter track back in 8 laps.
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Somehow I didn't see what was wrong with the car. My crew weren't experienced enough. We got help from my grandson Gehrig and checked the sway bar and stagger. There was no second heat due to time constraint. I pulled 8 for the feature and was happy with that, I was going to go last if I pulled a high spot because the car was terrible.

In the feature the performance chassis wise was terrible. We ran awesome here in July of 2017, so what was wrong? I didn't know.
We had put on 3 new tires thinking my tires may have had too many cycles on them, 5 at Sunset and 2 at Full Throttle Motor Speedway.

We finished 12th in the feature, a total heart break for me. No damage to the car, but also a terrible run. I drove home after the races and both Hayden and Brian slept. Usually there is talk going on, but everyone was too tired.

On Saturday I got a visit from Ryan Dick #88 Modified competitor who was buying tires at Grisdale and dropped over. What a great family he has, him and his Dad work together on his cars. He's a charger and works hard on his stuff.
He offered to help me unload and asked me how I did. I told him....not very well. The car was "way off".

Shortly after unloading Ryan noticed the RF tire was wore badly and I explained it was new before the feature. He said "you were pushing bad". "Yes we were", I concurred. He said "you got a lot of camber to make that tire look like that". I said "no, the camber is good". Then he found the culprit. "wow your tie rod is loose...how much toe do you run"? I said "about an eighth toe out". Then I looked and it was no where near an eighth toe out.
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We measured and found it almost and inch and three quarters toed out. Wow, incredible.
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All the time spent on getting the engine, out, back in and the time at the track getting the pump done, we never spent 5 seconds looking at the suspension. That's why 4 or 5 guys might have helped, or maybe 2 or 3 of us for 3 days. Anyway I was relieved to see that. Disappointed that I ruined a new tire, but now I know why and knowing why is the best news always.

Ryan stayed with me to set the toe and to replace one bent inner hime end.

Now for a thorough going over of this Modified before Jukasa Speedway, where we will hit 120 mph.

June 9th
I'm very tired now, and need to rest. I have the Late Model to run this weekend, and I feel like just going to the back and stay out of trouble. Why?
Money (not wanting to buy any more parts for a while)
Stress (because I want to race, but can't)
Help (can't get enough help to do proper maintenance)
Physically wore out, and that will take a week or so to get back to where I should be.

Sounds like I am complaining, not at all, it's the way it is. I love this sport but I am running out of time to be able to keep this pace and slowly wearing myself out. :(
If I could get one or two more helpers during the week, it would really make a difference. That's what I will shoot for this week.

Good news.
I will have our show car on display this Saturday and Sunday for Quaker State at the Canadian Tire in Waterdown and in Burlington. On Saturday from 10:30 till 2 and on Sunday about the same.

Our autograph cars will be done as well, sponsored this year by Inscapes Printing. I also hope to start designing new 50th Anniversary t-shirts and hoodies. Please support us if you can, and if you know anyone willing to work on our cars, let me know.

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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:42 pm

June 9th.................Flamboro Speedway

Race #3

Late Model

Hi Lites
* 16 cars :mrgreen:
* Blair Wicket wins first feature
* Hudson Nagy wins second feature
* We have a clean night, no damage
* Ran a little more competitive than the past 5 years :roll:
* 565 gears

First Feature.........7th
second Feature......8th


Cosmetic, better tires :P

Jim, Louie, Eddie, Randall, Hayden and Troy....plus April and Holden

During the week leading up to racing the Late Model I was going through a ton of anxiety. Not that it gets out of control or consumes me, I just get stressed, sometimes depressed knowing or feeling I may fail, or worse, won't be able to race the car because of worry.

Failing is relative. When I fail it's from not being competitive, and those thoughts are brought on by many valid reasons.
* car is outdated won't keep up
* no money left over to fix the car if it gets wrecked
* not enough help between races to fix the car

If I race and finish way off the pace, there's a reason. In the past five years, I have been very inept in the my Late Model, not the Modified, as seen by my fans. My Late Model has been converted into a Ride A Long car to be used for shows and special corporate or track events. I had to take it off the track because it could not keep up. even with a few thousand invested, because the car was built in 2004 and was too far outdated. Keeping and converting it for promotional use was a good idea.

So why the stress? David drove our current Late Model (David's car from the past 6 years, that I purchased) and won the first race. I was very happy the car could not only keep up but was very competitive. David is one of the best drivers in Ontario in any race car, I knew I would do better than I did in the past with my old Late Model.

My energy was drained from all the work the past few weeks on the Modified changing engines, I was exhausted. Losing sponsors from 2017 and other financial losses put more pressure on me..... money, plus getting help working on the car from my crew.

I start the season with 7 or 8 crew members on my pit crew list on the car. Most of them can't come out once the season starts, they have other life things to do, they're busy. Louie is the most consistent and I appreciate so much his commitment to helping me one day a week. That one day a week is for maintenance, for going over the car, not fixing a damaged race car. As you all know, I don't want to miss any nights, that puts pressure on me not to wreck, making it touch to race my car hard, or even competitive knowing that I will have little help during the week. I can't burden Louie with a big repair week, that's not fair to him and since maybe only one other person may show up, it's not enough to make an easy week. Very discouraging, so I have to do what I can to make sure I don't wreck the car, not a fun way to race......all because of not enough help during the week. Most weeks are easy because I race conservatively, but the side affects of that is a car that doesn't run as fast as it could. The money is the other issue. If I had 3 or 4 crew available, and a few thousand in the bank it would make a big difference......it's that simple, but lacking those ingredients makes it very stressful, and I hate to go on the track knowing "better not wreck, because you don't have the money to fix it, and not enough help"........grrrrr!!!!!!! :roll:

MY crew chief, Jim Hulzinga always encourages me to race hard, and tells me that I am a good driver. I think I am as well, but I just can't race hard. Most drivers don't worry like I do because:
a) they have lots of help
b) money is no issue
c) don't really care what the car looks like for sponsors
d) not committed to race every night

You may wonder why I race with so much stress I have put on myself. I love racing, but puttering around at the back isn't racing or fun, especially knowing this car is a good car and will keep up......the pilot is the problem, not from talent, but the reasons I already mentioned.

We did the show on Saturday afternoon at the Canadian Tire in Waterdown, helping them with their "Jump Start" program. I went alone because no one could be with me for the show, but then to my surprise and joy, Troy Stere showed up. Troy was in my crew in 2008, it was so good to see him. The show turned out nice, cool and a relaxing time with Troy and Buttons.
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I headed to the track around 3 and met my crew there. We had good help this day at the track. Jim, Louie, Eddie, Hayden and Randall. The track is usually not the problem for getting help, and so I was able to relax. Jim tired to pump me up, knowing all the issues I was battling.
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The first set of hot laps was good, and so was the second. The car was okay. I just needed to feel comfortable in it. My old car, the Ride Along Car, was so much fun to drive comfort wise, but this one wasn't near as comfortable, and maybe that's because I am 100% set in the Modified, a totally fun car to race.
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I drew the 12th starting spot for the first feature. There were 16 cars and that made me feel good to see a good field of Late Models, something that would make John happy and of course the fans.

I wasn't sure how I would feel in traffic, but once the green dropped I got into the best groove I could, mentally and on the track. We were running around 9th when I got sideways coming off turn two. I thought it was the car. A few laps later I got sideway again but was hit and spun around. Tim Norris hit me in between turns one and two sending me around. He also slid up on the oil.
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We soon found out that JR Fitzpatrick had blown his transmission and was dumping oil on the track. There was a long delay while track crew cleaned up the oil spill. We sat on the go-cart track and most of us were interviewed by Gary Colling. He asked me if I had anything for the cars ahead of me, I was sitting in 12th. I asked him "how many Mini Stocks are ahead of me". He laughed and said "none". I then thanked my crew, naming all of them for coming out to support the Quaker State team.

We restarted with about 8 to go and we were able to move from 12th to 7th, not a bad finish. I wasn't happy though, I wanted so bad to get a top 5, that was my goal.

Jim had the boys go over the car to make sure it was good for the second feature.
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My only issue would be tires. The tires I was running this day were the same ones David raced the week before. They had 8 cycles on them with over 120 laps. Some cars had new tires, and others put on new outside. We didn't because I wanted to save the other tires in our inventory for David, he would race the next show on June 23rd, and those tires only have 7 laps on them.....new really.

In the second feature we started 6th. We ran okay getting up to 4th. However a restart put us in the second row outside behind #74 a rookie. I knew I was in trouble, because even though this rookie did drive his car hard, he wasn't use to this competition level, and being on the outside meant no traction and a slow drift to the back. There was nothing I could do but hope there would be an opening on the inside lane. Finally Jim called "clear low", and I jumped down, but was now way back in 12th. I got by the 74, but another caution came out when JR and Chris Boschner got into it. JR left the track and Chris went scratch.

Over the next few laps there were more yellows moving us up to 5th with 3 to go. Here was my chance to get a top five but on the restart the car got loose coming off turn two and I lost 3 spots. The tires were done, wore out and hard as a rock.
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We finished 8th, and yes I was discouraged, but on the good side there was no damage and the car would be good to go for the show we had on Sunday in Burlington, another Canadian Tire Quaker State event.

Jim knew I was down, but tried his best to cheer me up. David was at a concert and text me asking how I did.....I said I suck :( but after a while I calmed down and started to see the good and positives of this night. Racing on 150 lap tires wasn't good, but now we had awesome tires for David to race on the 23rd of June.

We dropped from 6th to 7th, and 17 points behind the leader. Hopefully David will make some of that up.

Special thanks to all my crew for coming out and making the night a blessing. Time for me to recruit another crew member who can help out, and get some rest for the big race coming up on June 16th at Jukasa Speedway with OSCAAR Modifieds. I am looking forward to that race, but our small V8 might be out gunned by the bigger built motors, and there will be a few. Our car is 375 HP but those are over 425 and big tracks are exactly where they want to be. I am still looking forward to racing the Modified on this huge 125mph track.

Thanks for visiting our site, and if you or you know someone who might want to help for the rest of 2018, please let me know
905-928-8086 8-)

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