Diary Of A Season 2018

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:29 am

June 16th..............Jukasa Speedway

Race #4


High Lites
* 19 cars
* Gary McLean wins :lol:
* No wrecks
* We have severe oil leaks, chase it all day :oops:
* Disappointing day for me, my crew, and fans ;)
* Back to Jukasa next week :roll:

Heat.............black flagged


Fix chassis

Louie, Randall, Brian and Don


When the schedule was originally created I was excited to be racing at Jukasa Speedway. in fact, all week leading up to this race, I was very pumped, more than usual. Issues over the winter put me severely behind, adding extra stress and taking away much of the fun I usually have when it comes to racing.

We got to the track in plenty of time. The deal here was to move in all our equipment, tools, tires, cooler, racing radios etc, and leave our trailer outside the pit area. Don Mierzswinski was so good to load his truck so we could take everything into the pits. Louie, Randall, Brian and I made sure we had all the things we needed inside the pit area that is close to 200 to 300 yards from our trailer.

Things went smooth, got the tent up and had the car ready for tech. My hype was legit, I thought we were ready to go against the tough OSCAAR Modified field. However by the first set of hot laps we were thrashing on the car trying to find an oil leak.

Once through tech I made my first fundamental mistake regarding the handling. The scales showed we were way down on cross weight percent. I decided to check the ride heights and they were off as well. The RR weight was much heavier than the RF weight and that never happens. So prior to practice I made several adjustments to the chassis to get the ride heights up where they belonged.

Louie spotted for us and Brian had the back up radio set. Once out on the track Louie reported that we were smoking badly in the corners. By the end of practice I could see white puffs of smoke. On returning to the pit area we found the entire right side of the car covered in oil and dripping off the frame rails. It was a ton of oil. The tech staff and other committee members of OSCAAR came over to check the car and help me find out what was wrong. We thought for sure it was rocker cover or timing cover, so we put a ton of silicone around the gaskets to see if that would fix it. We cleaned the car, wiped down the oil and were set for more hot laps, only this time just a few laps to see if the leak was fixed.

On the second set of hot laps, Louie soon reported again there was smoke and I pulled off. The car was covered with oil again but nothing coming from the areas we silicone.
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Check out the plume of oil following the car in this Ashley McCubbin photo

Bruce Rossiter and John Harper both suggested the fuel pump could be the issue, but that fuel pump was brand new after Kawartha. Bruce suggested to cover the top of the filter and the mid section with silicone and I did. Our next time out would be the heat race.
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We started outside pole and Louie said "I'll let you know when you can get down". I replied "I plan on taking the lead". That excited my team mates, but it didn't last.
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On the green I did get the lead and drove hard into turn three but pushed up and Kelly Balsom #10 flew by me. I tried to run with him but I couldn't keep up in the corners, my car was pushing terrible bad. Soon AJ Emms got by me and I was falling further behind the front two. Louie said I was smoking. The starter black flagged me and though I didn't see it, I was DQ'd from the heat race.

Once back in the pits we found more oil on the side of the car and dripping, but not as much, but still very bad. John Harper said "it's your fuel pump". I have never replaced a fuel pump for leaking before, never, but with lots of time left I did the job myself while Randall and Brian handed me tools. It was awkward because the engine was hot and hard to work in that tight area.

We got it finished and found we would be starting 16th of 19 cars. That was okay with me, I wasn't sure we'd last very long anyway with the bad oil leak, but sure hoped it was fixed.

Gary McLean started pole and lead every lap of the feature. He lapped me, along with 5 other cars putting us back to 16th I believe. It was heart breaking for me to have such a poor outing, especially with so much hype, and looking forward to running on this big track.

The good news was the oil leak was fixed and no damage to the car.
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Once home we unloaded, (Brian and I) and I headed to Shirley and Derricks to be with my family for Fathers Day, and it was a good time.

I came home Monday afternoon and worked on the car a few hours Monday. We found the wedge was over 58 and it should have been maybe 54 to 55%, so that was the reason we didn't handle, or at least one of them.

We set all the ride heights and are pretty well ready to go to Jukasa Speedway again this weekend. Just a nut and bolt and oil change to do.

Here is the point standing after Jukasa June 16th
Top 10
1st...#8.......Gary McLean......207
2nd...#79.....John Harper.......197
3rd...# 79H...Corey Horner.....189
4th...#21.....Chris Milwain......187
5th...#20.....Mike Hearty........171
6th...#33.....Jason Bowden.....170
7th...##18....Jason Keen........168
8th...#36.....Gary Elliott........163
9th...#4......Jeff Showler.......161
10th..#51....Dale Reinhardt.....159

Hoping for a better outing next visit. Want to wish a very happy and blessed birthday to Nonie Elliott :P

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:11 am

July 1st................Sunset Speedway

Race #5


805 in a row

High Lites
* 20 cars
* Cory Horner wins
* We get heat win :)
* My stupidity causes me money and thrashing :roll:
* Very hot over 90 degrees :oops:
* Buttons stays with Suzette
* 588 final

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


Rad, routine, change gears

Jim. Louie and Brian

This was a hot weekend, but then again, it's July. What was a surprise was last September 24th when it was maybe hotter than this weekend. In 2017, September had more days in the 80's than July or August, so 2018 could be a summer like back in the 60's when the summers were always very hot.

We did a show on Saturday night at Sunset Speedway. We had our Modified in the front grandstand area to promote the race on Sunday. We got to meet many great people and some kids got pictures in our car. Everyone got an autograph card. It was so hot for Buttons I felt bad. She was to go with someone else but in the last minute they couldn't take her. I kept her wet and hydrated but she was hot. I made arrangements with Lloyd, my crew chief in 2015 and 2016, and his wife Suzette to let Buttons stay with them for the Sunday race. I was very relieved to know she was in a cool place and in very good hands.
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Brian Watson came with me this weekend. Jim and Louie came up Sunday for the race. Brian and I stayed at Jason and Jenny's place, a beautiful home near Moonstone. We got a good rest and had a nice visit.

On Sunday we hooked up the truck and moved our trailer to a good location, near the tech building, and set up. We had 2 fans going to keep us cool and put the tent up.

Once through tech we prepared for hot laps. We put 2 new tires on for the first set of hot laps to break them in, and right after did a check over of the car. The plan was to go 5 laps and come in, size the tires and put on the tires from Kawartha. Our class allows one tire per night, and 2 tires after the second night. This is a great system because it keeps the cost down for all teams.

In the first heat we started 6th. After a lap we got into 3rd behind John Harper #39. John was all over the place. He was his normal fast on the straights but out of control on the turns. I got under him coming off turn 2 and went down the back chute, not quite side by side, but I was under him. John has a spotter and I assumed he would give me the inside lane going into turn 3. That was a bad assumption because John came down hard and I hit him getting him more sideways. I hit the brakes as hard as I could to avoid hard impact but still hit John. I must admit I was upset with him for chopping me like that, Gary McLean would win this heat and John finished 2nd with me a few car lengths behind.
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When the race was over I wanted to let John know I didn't appreciate him chopping me, so I got up behind him, at low speed, and proceeded to give him a tap on the rear bumper.
That was a mistake......terrible stupid mistake. His rear bumper is higher than my front bumper and when I hit him it wasn't with my solid bumper, but rather by sheet metal covering my rad. The impact, though mild, was hard enough to crush the nose and pierce my rad. I was stunned to see my rad leaking after than light hit........I was also embarrassed and felt so dumb. This was going to seriously impact my night.

I got to the pits and the rad was shooting water out. We pulled the sheet metal off and got at the rad trying to fix the damage. Using needle nose pliers and a soldering guy, I tried to seal the puncture, but it was working, I needed a small torch. We pinched it the best we could. Brian helped as well. Louie went through the pits as did I, looking for stop leak and we got some. we also got some JB Weld and Brian mixed that up to put on the damaged area. We put the stop leak in filler cap and started the car and the leak stopped. That was good but we weren't sure how long it would last.
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My crew wondered if I should skip the second heat and let the JB Weld get solid but I wanted to race and so we got ready to go out. I was a little apprehensive to start pole knowing we may have an issue, but I decided to go for it.

This race was one of our best in a few years. Though only a heat race, we not only got the lead but beat the field, including Gary McLean, by 5 car lengths, a strong win. I was pumped, as were my crew. But once back to the pits we found the rad pushing out steam and we feared the worst.
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Once again we drained the water and got more JB Weld and stop leak. We had a little more time to let it sit before our feature.
Soon after the race we were called to the tech building to draw for position. We pulled 4 and would start second row outside.

The crew prepared for pit row and at the last second I decided to put the newer tires on for this race. Our car was good and I like racing this track, and wanted to give us the best shot.

Jim was spotting and Louie and Brian were in the pits in case we needed a tire change or something else. Hopefully we didn't need to pit was the agreement with all of us.

On the start of the race we quickly moved in to 3rd behind #20 Mike Hearty. Mike is a great guy, and drives all the way from Sault Ste Marie to race with OSCAAR. He's a charger and runs well. We ran bumper to bumper for most of the first 10 laps. A few times I thought I could get under him but got sideways when getting on the gas. As the race progressed I noticed my windshield getting wet from spray, and at the same time I checked the temp gauge and it was high. I didn't know how high exactly but I did know it wasn't good. My concentration on racing with Mike soon changed to worrying about the over heating, My lack of concentration didn't allow me to be aggressive and soon I was getting passed by a string of cars behind me. A few laps later the first of a few yellows came out and I saw the temp gauge and it was 240 degrees. I told Jim and he suggested to pull down pit row.
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It was lap 13 or 14 and my concern was whether or not the rad was leaking but the crew couldn't see any serious water coming out. Jim said to park it and call it a bad luck day. "We already have a win and a third, it's okay to park it rather than get too hot". I agreed but wanted to go a few more laps. I offered to fall back from the pack and allow the engine to cool. AS we were going around under yellow Jim coached me to run high to get cool air and when I did the temp came down to 220.

The next 15 laps saw a few cautions. Only one or 2 cars had to park, but we were still running between 220 and 230. I couldn't see because of the water and stop leak on my windshield. I asked Louie if they had any clean rags but they didn't. I requested to ask someone if they had clean rags and they did get one and made a pit stop again, this time to clean the windshield.

I kept back, nursing the car and stay out of trouble. Every caution I avoided with Jims guiding then I went to the back. I asked Jim to let me know how many laps were left. I wanted so bad to race.
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Once he said "8", I told him I was going to race the car as hard as I could and he agreed.

On the final run with 8 to go we made some good moves to get up to 7th. The car was awesome and too bad that we couldn't compete all race, but my foolishness in the first heat was the pattern for the night with the damaged rad.

I gained a lot going into each turn. The car handled awesome and time was winding down. I just wanted to pass as many as possible before the end of the race. While trying to pass the #22 of Marshall Schrenk, I caught Marshall and battled with him a few laps.
Coming off turn 4 he came down and I hit him with my RF bumper, and both of us spun around.
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He should have held his line but came down enough that I got into him because I was accelerating off the turn. We made contact and both of us spun out. Grrrrr.
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Jim was livid and I was disappointed but happy that our car was competitive, we finally had a car that was good this year. :mrgreen:

The race ended at that point. Congrats to Cory Horner for his impressive win...he took all three races giving him the hat trick this night.

Shortly after the race was over Marshall and his crew came over and apologized for coming down. That was a class move, we shook hands and that was very good to do and even in the heat of the moment.....but racing has different out comes and no point in holding a grudge, especially when the person makes good for it.

We watched the Super Late Model show after and were very surprised to see the top cars turning just a few tenths off us and most of the cars from 5th back much slower than the top 10 Mods. The fastest I got the leader was 14:38, our cars are in the 14:6's and most of the back cars were 15:1 to 15:3.

Our next Modified race is July 13th at Kawartha Speedway. This could be the final race ever for this track.

It's a double header weekend for us, I race the Late Model on the 14th at Flamboro Speedway. David races the Late Model this weekend at Flamboro.

We have already lost 3 Late Model races. I have lost 2 and David 1, plus I lost the second Jukasa Speedway race, and looks like none will be made up. The three races I lost plus cancelling 6 I had booked with the All Pro Mods at Full Throttle Motor Speedway reduces my schedule to about 18 races. The reason to cancel FTMS was due to no cars coming out. I was the only one there on May 26th.

Thanks for visiting our site. I hope to have t-shirts and hoodies made for this season....likely just t-shirts. Next year we will make t-shirts and hoodies to celebrate 50 years racing. :D

Here is the point standing after Sunset July 1st
Top 10
1st...#8.......Gary McLean......265
2nd...#79H.....Cory Horner......265
3rd...# 79...John Harper..... ...263
4th...#20.....Mike Hearty........235
5th...#4.....Jeff Showler.........227
6th...#18.....Jason Keen.........224
7th...##36....Gary Elliott........224
8th...#51.....Dale Reinhardt.....221
9th...#33......Jason Bowden.....219
10th..#41....Duane Cinnamon...218

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:41 am

July 7th................Flamboro Speedway

David's 2nd Race

High Lites
* 17 cars :D
* Kevin Albers wins first
* Billy Schwartzenburg wins 2nd
* David dumped running 2nd in first feature :oops:
* Lots of cautions

First Feature..........5th
Second Feature.......5th


Front end. body, cosmetic, routine

Jim, Eddie, Pete, Buttons and Me

It was David's turn to race the Late Model at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday night. This short schedule for the Late Models has been made even shorter with the loss of three races to weather, snow, wind and rain and rain. I lost two of those three.

We were ready to go and the car looked good in hot laps. David knows this car very well and is totally comfortable in it. I was very comfortable in my Late Model, but not so much racing my new car, I bought from David at the beginning of this year.
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The turn out was great actually. Seventeen Late Models started the first feature, The only issue tonight was cautions and cars not being able to compete without hitting someone. The first feature was the worst of the two for cautions, insane really.

David started 8th and made his way up to 5th when he got hit between turns one and two and spun out. What a disappointment for us, though it was early in the race. #86 Billy Schwartzenberg, a good, usually clean racer was on 4 new tires and had a little more grip than the rest but still needed to be careful in the turns. When he hit David, it was at a spot where there was no way to save it and our car spun around but not hit with on coming traffic.

Both cars restarted last and after 10 laps David was in 2nd, racing his heart out, making great moves to get into the runner up spot. He got a few cars on caution restarts but was running nearly perfect. A caution with 10 to go put David outside of race leaser #27 Kevin Albers on the restart.

A great run, deep into turn one put David slightly ahead of the leader.
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Contact was made as one car pinched down and the other came up but not serious. Once on the back chute both cars got slightly loose from all the sand on the surface, from the spins outs in the previous caution. David got real lose, hit and climbed the wall, pulled it back down, only to climb the wall a second time getting car on 2 wheels and close to flipping. However, he was not only able to keep it under control, but never lost a spot on the track and the yellow didn't come out letting the race continue.
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With 8 laps to go there was another caution and again David tried to get by the leader, but his car wasn't the same after the wall-bash climbing episode. Schwartzenberg was in 3rd but could not get under David on the restart, and fell to 3rd but all three cars were bumper to bumper.
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As the cars battled David was on the bumper of the leader but not touching him, but once again Billy hit David and spun him out.
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Now that was very frustrating for our team. Once is bad enough, but with just a few laps to go and running second, really hurts because our team is okay with finishing second or third, better than wrecking or getting wrecked.

Restarting 10th with 4 to go, David managed to bring the car to a top 5 finish in this long and stressful, yellow flagged event.

Once in the pits the crew talked to David and then got busy working on the car for the second 30 lap feature. We put the car on jack stands and found a bent lower control arm, damaged eye bolt and possibly a bent ball joint. We made an adjustment to the control arm hoping for a strong run in the second race.
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Note: these parts were not like this when we came off the track, we had to undo them to make the adjustment.....

While we were working on the car, it was good to see Billy Schwartenberg come down to our pit and apologize to David. That sure eased tension and let the issue go away......always a good thing in racing. I personally thanked Billy on the side for doing that. He truly felt bad and showed class coming to our pit.

The second race, though not as caution filled saw our car not performing as it did in the first race. By lap 4 David was second running behind Schwartzenburg who was in the lead. Suddenly a huge single car wreck brought out the red flag when #73 Nick Troback spun going into turn three and slammed the wall very hard. His car would climb the wall and rest there with 2 tires on the track and 2 on top of the wall. Nick was okay and the tow trucks were able to get his car down from the wall, letting the race restart.

While sitting on the track, under the red flag, David let his crew know the car was handling bad, and he would need to pit to make a correction. Once the yellow came out David headed for the pits. The crew was waiting and made the fine tuning adjustment to help the car handle better in the turns......it was bottoming out.

David would restart 10th and with one more caution, worked his way up to 5th, but just no time to advance his position. It was a rough night no doubt, but a decent run.

The two top fives should move our team up a little in the standings. We were 7th and hopefully can close the gap on the top.

Thanks to Ed, Peter and Jim for their hard work in the pits. We also had a few of David's neighbors at the races and these pictures were taken by Kevin Soloranta. Thank you Kevin.

Next weekend, July 13th and 14th, I will race the Modified at Kawartha Speedway and then race the Late Model at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday. With all the races lost to weather, and no All Pro Mods going to Full Throttle Motor Speedway, I have only raced 5 times so far this year. Normally my total would be closer to 10 by now...but if we didn't lose any with weather and cancellation, I'd be up to 8.
Looking forward to next weekend, just need to finish the Modified, I took a week off to rest up. I think I should have worked on it last week and rested this week :roll:

Point Standings Including July 7th
1st.....#27 Kevin Albers..........296
2nd....#15 Matt Lockwood.......284
3rd....#63 Hudson Nagy...........281
4th....#02 Mark Burbridge........272
5th....#36 Elliott Racing..........269
6th....#38 Bill and Chris..........267
7th....#73 Nick Troback...........258
8th....#97 Blair Wickett...........250
9th....#74 Justin/A Ditner........234
10th...#55 Chris Howse ..........217

Coming soon, I will have our 50th Anniversary tee shirts. We can make them in white or black. I can take orders now, so please let me know size and the amount you want. They will be $30. No Hoodies this year, but I could special order them if you want and they will be the same as last year....$45
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Please call or email me for orders.
I need:
1) size
2) color (black or white)
3) quantity



Thank you for visiting our site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:19 am

July 13th............Kawartha Speedway

Race #6

High Lites
* 27 cars
* Gary McLean wins :lol:
* I struggle but get top 10
* Many cautions...too many :roll:
* 504 final



Exhaust...routine...change the front springs (maybe)

Derrick, Stephen, Hayden, Dean Pronovost, special guest crew....Don Roth (my 1969 crew chief) :D

This night had many things going on, mostly good, some disappointing for me, and one for sure disappointing for race fans.

Dean and I picked up crew member Hayden and headed to the track around 12:00, trying to beat the bumper to bumper traffic east of and through Toronto. We took the 407 all the way to Whitby and that helped immensely.

We got there in plenty of time to go through tech and get ready for at least one set of hot laps. In tech I found out I was almost 20 pounds light, and I didn't understand because we didn't change anything on the car. So once back in our pit, we had to add some lead. I had some spare lead in the cupboard, got bolts and Dean and I installed it. I also drew #2 starting spot. Seems I get good draws this year.

During the week I called my future son in law Derrick to ask if he would spot for me and he said he would, so both Derrick and Shirley came out, later my grandson Gehrig came as well.

The first set of hot laps was so-so. I wasn't fast, the car was pushing. But by lap 6 or 7 of our practice we noticed white smoke coming from the front of the car.
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The exact same symptom as Jukasa Speedway. I knew when I got into the pits what it was....the fuel pump.
The boys took the hood off and sure enough there was oil all over the side of the engine panels and leaking down the side of the car. I had just replaced that pump, after the one we put on for Jukasa leaked. I ran Dan Price fuel pump he loaned for the July 1st race at Sunset Speedway, then put a new one on the car this past week. I was told that Carter was having a problem with some of their pumps. Well, that was my 3rd this year, we replaced three in 5 race nights.

I knew what to do and quickly got tools organized. I still had Dan's old pump and used it again. The engine was very got, and some of the braded fuel lines are fraying in parts making working with fuel lines not fun. The engine was so hot I ended up with 3 blisters on my middle finger on my right hand....brutal. Got it replaced and the car was set.
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Just as I finishing the fuel pump I heard this voice behind me asking me if I knew what I was doing. I didn't look but laughed and said "I think so". Then I turned and saw Don Roth, my first crew chief, my good friend who was my best man at my wedding. I was also best man at his wedding. As soon as I connected I gave him a big hug and he laughed and introduced me to his family.

I had made some adjustments on the car to help with the push in the corners. Don helped as did my crew.
Once done, we were ready to run our heat race.

We were told at the drivers meeting this would more than likely be the final night of racing for this track and that was a sad deal for everyone. This is a huge fast, smooth oval. I won a feature here in 2002, had a great night in 2017 finishing 6th in the 28 car Modified field, but my first trip here this year was a disaster, with an ill handling car, finishing 13th.

I started pole for our heat race. Things seemed okay for two laps but I started to fall back. The car was loose now. It got worse and after 5 laps I was 4th, and that's where we finished. The car was loose entering the turns, no good. :cry:
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Once in the pits the crew could see how bad it was, so we made some changes. The track bar was lowered and a small tire adjustment was made. Don asked me if I checked my tire temperatures after the race and I said no one wants to do it steady. I had the proper tool, and he was surprised we never use it. I explained I bought it to use, but couldn't get anyone to consistently use it. The advantage of the tool is that it gives you a good reading of what the chassis is doing. I got the tool and Don proceeded to check all the tire temps. We made a change to the LF camber moving the tire upright slightly.

Once the fuel was filled and chassis adjustments done, we were ready to start the feature, a 40 lap race that I was not really looking forward to. A bad car here results in a bad finish, so I hoped the changes we made would make a positive difference.

I started 10th in the feature. The top 3 in each heat drew for position in the feature, we were in the first heat so we followed all the top threes, the other top 4's were behind me, then the 5th's 6th's etc.

Derrick Tiemersma was my spotter for the night was very good in the heat race. I told him the kind of feed back I like to hear and he agreed to do that and did an awesome job.

We started 5th row outside. All I hoped was the car handled better than it did in the heat, where it was so loose I almost spun out.
On the green we stayed with the pack. However some checking up and cars sliding forced me to slow up, costing me 2 spots eventually.

The race was riddled with cautions. We couldn't go a lap without the yellow coming out. I missed several cars spinning, not only saving my car but also moving me up. I was in 10th again, then 8th. A long red came out on lap 8 or so when two cars tangled and both needed tow trucks. There were so many yellows in the first 8 laps. that 6 or 7 cars were taken out. The race director decided to make the field line up single file.
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On that restart we lined up 6th. We held on to 6th for a while but the car, though not bad was very stiff to steer. I think honestly it was me running out of gas. I fell to 7th, then 8th and held onto 8th for a while before losing 2 mores spots. The final 32 laps when green and by the time the white came out I was exhausted and disappointed.

My crew and fans thought I did good finishing 10th of 27 cars, but I felt, being in 6th, I should have held on to that spot.

Anyway, it was the final Kawartha Speedway race, we were in it, and we got a top 10, so not too bad really.
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My next race is Saturday July 14th at Flamboro Speedway in the Late Model. David and I have been sharing that ride, and are currently 5th in points.
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:10 am

July 14th....................Flamboro Speedway

Race #7

1250th Career Night

807 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
* 12 cars
* Josh Stade Wins first Feature
* Matt Lockwood wins second Feature
* We finish 3rd and 6th....very little damage
* David spots
* Good points night

1st Feature..........3rd
2nd Feature..........6th


Cosmetic, oil and filter, routine

David, Louie, Hayden and Mike (Hayden's cousin)

I've been waiting for pictures to post this night here with some shots, but none available. Flamboro has the odd photographer that comes to the track, but we can never or rarely get pictures. I even offered to pay one photographer but he said no because he wasn't going to be there all the time. Meanwhile Sunset Speedway has 5 or 6 people taking pictures, all great photographers. It's disappointing because my reports to my sponsors are important to me, I get them out regardless, and pictures (maybe 3 or 4) are all I need. Anyway none to add to this write up. :(

We got to the track in lots of time. David also came after work. Meanwhile Louie, Hayden and I got the are car unloaded and took the car through tech. Once David got there we did one set of hot laps. I must be honest, I am hard on myself, yes, but I really find this car uncomfortable for me. I am at home in the Mod, and I was the same in my own Late Model, but I just feel awkward with this car. Obviously it's me, the car can't change to like me, and it is a good car, so I have to change to like it and feel on top of the wheel....like the Mod and my old LM. The discomfort comes from orientation, knowing exactly where I am, and wanting to be aggressive. I can't be aggressive at all, so I drive as best I can, which is 75% of what David does because he totally feels good in the car and it shows.

Now having explained my discomfort, I did have a decent night of racing. The car count was down, but the cars that were there were fast. We started 6th in the first feature, and unlike last year with my own car, I took my starting spot. Last year I went to the back all the time. Why? Not enough confidence, worried about getting into trouble and no help to fix it, or at least not enough help. Also, most wrecks attack the wallet, and that's a big issue for all racers. It's frustrating for me to race like that, but it's the only way I can survive right now. Example. When I go scratch, there's no pressure at all. Just follow the cars in front and pick off whom you can. Once you start mid pack or further up, there is no choice but to race and race hard because the cars around you are "hammer down". So I am forced to get out of my comfort zone and race with them.....if I can and stay clean. Meanwhile, if I'm in the Mod, I am ready to go no matter where I start and I don't worry because these cars are easy to drive, and protected with bars all around.
First Feature
This race, unlike July 7th, wasn't filled with wrecks. Maybe because there were less cars to fight for the tight straight-a-way real-estate.
Kevin Albers was leading and not going to be touched. His car has been awesome all season and no one was going to get by him. Unfortunately Kevin's car had a mechanical failure when the rear end broke and bringing him to a stop in turn 3 and bringing out the yellow. The field tightened up and there was some serious racing going on. I fell from 3rd to 5th losing spots to aggressive drivers who were good. By lap 24 a yellow came out from a single car spin out.

On that restart #38 Chris Boschler was leading with #15 Matt Lockwood outside. On the restart Chris ran a little high going into turn one and hit the 15, knocking him up, Chris would lead on the back chute but going into turn three with Matt on his tail Chris got a little high and Matt could not avoid him, Chris spun out and the yellow was once again out. That caution moved us to 3rd. It also put #17 Josh Stade from Owen Sound area, an APC regular, on the pole, and Mark Burbridge #02 second.

On the restart I was able to hold on to 3rd and stay there for the next six laps, crossing the line in 3rd. It was a decent points finish for us and overall a good run. I headed for tech.....haven't done that in a while, especially in a Late Model. David and the crew were there to measure tire staggers and check pressures. The boys were pumped and so was I. We passed tech ok. Congrats to Josh Stade on his win,

Our feature was the last race out before intermission........"Meet The Drivers". David wanted to check over the car over but let me get out for the Autograph Session that was well over 45 minutes. I love meeting the fans and gave away lots of our new autograph cards.
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Second Feature
We started 6th in the second feature. Unfortunately for us, we were in the slow lane, the lane that was going south. When cars line up, being on the outside can be a disadvantage most times, but especially at Flamboro. If the inside car is slow, then you may be okay, but if the car is a top runner, going back should be your understanding, because you will be. Add to that real fast cars behind the inside pole car and the odds of getting down might not work for a few laps and the loss of several positions.

That's what happened to us. David was spotting and he could see we were in trouble. "You're in a bad lane Dad, just be patient". He was right and I knew it as well. There isn't a racer anywhere that doesn't know quickly if he is in a good or bad lane. Yes, sometimes things happen and what was a bad lane turns out to be good, but most often it falls like you think it will. The best thing to do is relax and wait for the opportunity to get in the faster lane. Too many teams get rambunctious and start hammering the guy in front of them, but that only makes things worse. Other drivers, if it's the inside lane that's slow up front, will make it 3 wide somewhere, usually coming off turn two. They got to get away from the mob of cars and the potential wreck that could happen. Funny thing is, when they go 3 wide, they are the one who causes the mayhem, and usually get away with it.

We encourage real slow cars to go scratch, there's no sense in starting up front when you're way off. I go to the back when my car isn't up to speed, always do. Better than getting punted sideways or dumped in front of the field.

Anyway, all went well on the initial start. We fell back from 6th to 9th simply because we couldn't do anything about it.

The race was tight. I got into 8th and the entire pack was bumper to bumper. I was watching close up front because some of the fast cars were behind cars that were a little slower but putting up a good fight. Someone got into #73 Nick Troback and sent him sideways and up into the outer lane. He saved it okay, but was about to lose some spots from the 4th place he was occupying.
David told me to stay close so that I could follow the #91 past him and I did.

There were no more yellows and I was all over the #91 Mike Westwood. I was thinking to myself, this is the fastest I have seen Mike in a Late Model. As the race went on I got closer to him holding onto 7th.

David kept telling me to stay close to the 91 because he felt his car was falling off. I was tired from Friday night still, and as much as I like the heat, it was taking it's toll on me. I was doing all I could just to keep up to him.

With about 5 laps to go and still sticking with the 91 I got under and moved into 6th. David yelled "good job". The last few laps were okay but I couldn't gain on the cars ahead, they were running decent speeds and I lost some time gaining that spot.

When the checker fell we crossed in 6th and I was happy with that. My tires were older, not new, having 120 laps on them and a few heat cycles, but that's what everyone has to do when we only can buy one tire per night, and that I am thankful for....keeps racing costs down. Congrats to Matt Lockwood for winning the feature. Matt is the grandson of Bill Grisdale. All his family were there to see the win, and it was a nice present, because Sunday was Matt's birthday.

Once back to the pit area my crew were happy. David and I talked and couldn't believe how well the 91 ran, so we both decided to go and see him. Mike builds cars and does great sheet metal work on many different kinds of race cars and this Late Model was his own build, and it's first night out.

Before I got to Mike as I was walking to his pit I stopped and let Kevin Albers know I felt bad for his luck. Then he said he was in the race. I said "You were"? and he replied..."I was driving the 91". I laughed and then understood that Mike had loaned him his car to use to keep up Kevin's points. A very nice move by Mike.

So with the crazy Late Model schedule. our next points race isn't until August 25th. David will race that night, and we have a few new tires in our inventory, so he can give us a shot at closing in on the top 3.

The next race will be the Gold Rush on August 19th, and I will drive in that race. We're not sure what we will do, I want to qualify for it, but keep the car clean for David.

My next race is in the Modified here at Flamboro on July 28th. Hoping we can turn our Modified season around. So many issues mechanically and handling wise. I am back to the drawing board with my Mod hoping to have a good run on the 28th.

Here are the Late Model point standings after this night.

1st.......#27 Albers.........384
3rd......#02 Burbridge......369
4th......#38 Boschler.......363
5th......#36 Elliott..........362
6th......#73 Troback........344
7th......#63 Nagy............335

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:05 am

July 28th............Flamboro Speedway

Race #8

High Lites
* 14 cars
* John Harper wins
* We get another heat win :mrgreen:
* Car was decent, restarts were terrible :roll:
* 563 final

1st Heat............4th
2nd Heat...........1st


routine, change gears

Jim, Louie, Troy, Hayden and Mikey Larkin

This was truly a busy week for me. I had a show in Niagara Falls with the Classic Club, "Cruising on the Q". Buttons and I went to this event Tuesday, then headed for Kingston to do another show for Quaker State at the Home Depot on Gardiner Ave, celebrating their 20th Anniversary. Both shows were a success, and even though the Kingston show meant a 4 hour drive home, it was okay, we made it safe and sound with no issues.

Saturday it was race day, and our team had a great night at Flamboro Speedway racing our Modified. I was really pumped for this race because Flamboro Speedway is my home track and I love racing the Modified. I worked on a positive attitude all week and wasn't tired. So, bottom line I was hoping to have a great night, a win in the feature, hitting another milestone, our 40th feature win.

Hot laps showed we were strong and I loved how well the car ran. After the first set, running older tires, I put on our best inventory tires for the second set of hot laps. The car was just as good in the second set.

I drew #35 putting us 5th in our heat. The format for the night was, double heats and a 40 lap feature. In our first heat we did move to 4th behind #79 John Harper, #18 Jason Keen and #33 Jason Bowen, John pulled ahead a few car lengths, but the rest of us ran bumper to bumper. I couldn't get under #33 and he couldn't get under #18. Dale Reinhardt #51 was behind me, all of us jammed tight but no one could pass. We would end this race like this, putting us 4th at the line.

Jim, Louie, Troy, Paul, Mikey and Hayden were busy making sure all systems were good to go. Jim and I talked and we felt there was no changes needed on the car, so we left the stagger and chassis set up as it was.

For the second feature we started outside pole beside hard charging Rookie #4 Jeff Showler. Jeff ran very well the past few races with the OSCAAR Mods, especially on the big tracks. He was inside pole and I wasn't sure how we would match out, but I did know with 2 of the top points cars in this heat, both the 79's, John Harper and Cory Horner, I had to be sharp.

On the green I got a good start and was ahead going into turn one. However I couldn't get on the gas fast enough and Jeff was right there. He pulled up beside me and while trying to get under me, hit me twice in turn two. No damage, or real issues other than I lost the lead but stayed in second.

For the next five laps I was all over Jeff, but he was quick on the straights and decent through the turns. On lap 6, going into turn three I got a great run under him to pull up to his rear wheel exiting off turn four. By the start finish line I was up to his door and charged hard into one side by side. Jeff tried to hold me down, but I got a great run off turn two and heard Jim, my spotter say, "clear outside". Those words were so nice to hear and over the final few laps I was able to pull ahead and take our second win of the year. What an awesome feeling to win a race, but especially when making a clean pass to get under the leader.

Jeff came over after the race and we laughed and shook hands. I encouraged him to know he ran a great race on a short track.

For the feature we went over the car, charged the batter and topped up the fuel. Soon we heard the announcement to head to the pits to draw for our starting spot. Naturally I was pumped because we were having a great night from hot laps to getting win #2 for 2018.

I was fortunate to draw inside pole #1. Some of my crew thought this meant a slam dunk, but I knew better and let them know we would do our best and hope for a podium finish. There are easily 5 cars faster than us on this night. Both 79's, the 51 as well as AJ Emms #14, and Luke Gignac #99. Yes we had a great night so far, but these teams are the most consistent runners in our series and usually win or get runner up. They all can't get runner up, but I knew all of them would be trying no doubt. What about us? Well, they know it's my home track and they also know we were having a good night.

Jim reminded me not to let the #14 AJ, pinch me down on the start. I knew that could happen, and the last thing I wanted to do is hit wheels with my car running so good. But as we came around to take the green we made contact in turn four. Heading down the front chute I was able to stay with him and take the lead off turn two. Heading down the back straight I messed up going into turn 3, over driving and pushing up. That allowed AJ to get under me and take the lead. I thought at first something happened to my car but it was simply going in too hard.

For the next 8 laps we ran close with the 3rd place car about 3 car lengths behind. On lap 8, the only caution of the race would come out. Two cars crashed in turn one, but both were able to continue.

As we were driving around in single file under caution, I saw the starter hang a flag down. It looked like it was the white, but I was wearing yellow tinted goggles and couldn't tell. I asked Jim "was that the white"? He answered "I don't know, he didn't double you guys up". So I stayed on the bumper of AJ. Coming off 4 we got the green and as we crossed the finish line I put my hand out the window to indicate to the starter "what's going on"? The crazy thing was we took off racing. Things got real nuts when we came off turn four and the pace car was on the track, just around the start finish line. :o We were racing and he started digging to get off the track. It was funny but crazy. Then to let us know he was there he put his turn signal on indicating he was getting off the track.....no kidding :lol:
To make things worse the pace car is a beautiful 2018 Corvette.

As we came off four again with the pace car in front of AJ, we got the double up flags. Going down the back chute we maintained pace car speed but when the pace car pulled off just before turn 3, AJ slowed up. This was a bad deal for us. Jim said "slow down, you're too far ahead". I was going the proper speed. Then Jim said "slow down, get on the brake". So I did, but the second I did the #14 bolted by me, and with him a few other cars. By the time we got to turn one I lost 2 spots and lost 2 more coming off turn 2. I was shocked. Jim was upset "that's a $@#%^@$ joke"!!!. Yes it was, but we were now in 6th and almost a straightaway behind the leader.

The rest of the race was non stop and though I heard "clear by 2" the first few laps after than restart, by lap 20 we were 8 car lengths ahead of 7th. The clubs elite were up front and all I could do was run as hard as I could to stay up. My fastest lap was on the 18th circuit, turning a 15:429. My best lap of the night, but the cars in front were also turning their best laps.

I closed the gap between AJ and me, after he fell from first to 5th but didn't have enough laps to get by and crossed the line in 6th.
Yes I was disappointed but by the end of the night I realized and appreciated that we had a good run.

Once back in my pit, there was lots of talk about the brutal restarts. I though about it and felt the urge (I usually don't do this) to go talk to AJ. I was upset that he slowed up because that really hurt and cost us. I accused him of playing games and soon got tossed from the pit garage, but no more. Randy asked me to leave the tech area and I did.

Once back in the pits I decided to watch the Super Late Model race. JR Fitzpatrick won that race and dominated the field. Near the end of the race I put the stop watch on the cars and was amazed that the 4th and 5th place car were turning lap times in the 15:7's. The slower cars were in the high 15's much slower than our Modified lap times. Part of that could have been the condition of the track with a long red flag from oil all over the track. But JR was blistering the track and some of the top cars were way off. Perhaps the track condition and having too much HP to get it to the back wheels.

Congrats to my friend John Harper for his OSCAAR Modified win. He was pass Gary McLean who was not at the track due to a special occasion, his parents 50th Wedding Anniversary. Yes Gary, best not to come out :lol:

Our next race is August 4th at Peterborough Speedway. There will be another 5 fast cars for that race.....a top 6 next Saturday will be a great night because a few cars will be running new tires......I will hope for a good run in 2 weeks when we head to Sauble Speedway, but I do like running Peterborough Speedway....we won a feature there in 1999. It would be good to win and I am already excited about next weeks races.

Thanks for visiting and supporting Gary Elliott Motorsports......PS.....we have 50th Anniversary t-shirts for sale,,,,,$25....let me know. 2XL, 3XL 4XL and women t-shirts are $2 more :P
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Point Standings Including July 28th
1st.......#79 Harper.......398
2nd......#79 Horner.......392
3rd......#51 Reinhardt....348
4th......#36 Elliott........342
5th......#8 McLean........334
6th......#4 Showler.......334
7th......#18 Keen.........330
8th......#33 Bowden.....319
9th......#56 Cornell......303
10th....#20 Hearty........287

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:15 am

August 4th...........Peterborough Speedway

Race #9

High Lites
* 20 cars
* Cory Horner wins feature (hat trick)
* We have good night in spite of me being weak (sick)
* Michael Hearty Hard Luck
* 565 final

1st Heat.......2nd
2nd Heat......2nd


Prepare for Sauble, maintenance, fix over heating, gears,

Louie, Hayden...me and Buttons

I had a real bad week. It started at 3am Tuesday morning, July 31st. I don't usually describe my health issues, because I am blessed with good health, but this was an insane attack. I started throwing up and it lasted for 3 hours, getting up every 20 minutes. It continued until 7 am, and by then I was heaving so bad I thought I was going to bring up my rib cage. There was nothing left to come up and that went on for another 2 hours. Then the runs started and that went until 10:30 am, I was totally wiped when finally stuff stopped leaving my body.....I was messed up, I mean totally wiped.
I finally walked Buttons and fed her around 11:30, and once she was fed I crashed until 5:30pm...exhausted.

By Thursday I was able to some small repairs on the car, but I couldn’t last very long, I got weak quickly. I called Brian Watson to ask him if he would do small repairs on the car, change the oil and clean the oil leak in the bell housing. He agreed and I was very happy and thankful.

Louie was going to come over on Friday and help finish the things left to do but his youngest daughter was having a baby and he wanted to be with her, and of course, babies come when they are ready. Louie offered to come Saturday and I agreed, no doubt. His family always comes first; in fact, all my crews families and personal life come first.

On Saturday I woke up and was beat. I had put our radio’s on charge, but had no more energy to do much more. I had charged the car battery on Thursday, but we still had some things to do including tire management and final nut and bolt.

Young Hayden came early Saturday, around 10:30; I wanted to get things done and leave before or at latest by noon. Once Louie arrived things got done quick, but not as fast as we should have and we ended up leaving around 12:45.

Louie offered to drive out because I needed to rest and I did, falling asleep in the back seat of my truck. Rarely do I fall asleep on race day, in fact I am usually too pumped to do anything but think about the race that day and all the things we need to make sure are done when loading at home and once we get to the track.
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We got to the track around 3:15 and the pits were packed. I am usually not the last Modified to the races, but this time we were and ended up parking just inside the pit entrance on the grass. But no worries, I was glad we were there and I had some recovery on my energy. I always look forward to racing no matter what and today was no different. In fact I was pumped in spite of my health because Peterborough is one of the most demanding and yet fun tracks to race, definitely has its own personality.
I went to the OSCAAR area to sign in and draw a number, I picked 13. There were 20 cars signed in, and that made me happy. There’s nothing like a good field of cars to compete against.

We went through tech with our car and passed inspection, and found that we would be in the 3rd heat starting outside pole beside the very fast and successful #79 Cory Horner.

Louie would spot tonight; he always does when Jim is not at the races. Louie does very well and has learned a lot listening to Jim, who is the best.

We made one set of hot laps and only lasted 6 laps. My neck was incredibly sore from trying to hold it up on this tight fast oval. I pulled to the infield pit lane and waited for this session to be over. Once back in the pits the boys asked me how the car was, and why I pulled off. Actually Louie asked me at the time why I pulled off. I explained the car was good, but I would last any time at all if we didn’t pad my head rest area because my head was leaning way too far to the right in the turns. Trying to hold it up was knocking me out. Louie and Hayden fixed that right away.
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First Heat
While lined up in the pits I noticed that Cory had 3 sticker tires, brand new, on the right front, right rear and left rear. I thought….yikes!!! I asked Louie “ can you see Cory’s left front tire”? He answered “yes”. I said to him “well I see 3 new sticker tires on the car, but can’t see the left front”. Louie said “call it 4”. I must admit, I have never seen 4 brand new tires on a car other than opening day. I wondered if he would have trouble since they were not scuffed…..I soon found out.

On the green Cory and I ran side by side into turn one. After that he pulled away, more and more every lap. Meanwhile #99 Luke Gignac caught up to me and was doing everything he could to get under me. I got a few love taps, not much but managed to hold on to second in this one. But to be honest I was disappointed to get beat so bad by the kid with 4 new tires…..but really, what did I think would happen when I was running my tires from the week before. I settled down. Oh and my neck was fine, no pain at all.

Before our next race we talked about the first heat. I asked the boys what they saw. Louie said the car looked like it was high in the corner, and Hayden agreed. That confirmed what I was already thinking and asked Louie to raise the pan hard bar, and he did half an inch. Then I got the book out, notes that suggest what to do with certain handling issues. The first of 10 was more right rear spring, the second was more stagger and the third was to raise the pan hard bar. I didn’t want to increase the stagger we had lots and I felt the issue was only a 3 out of 10 so that adjustment was minor.
Shortly before we went out for our second heat a family dropped by and I got a chance to sign autograph cards and get a picture with the kids. Fans are so much the back bone of our sport....Promoters, Racers, Fans and Sponsors :)
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Second Heat
We started 4th in the second heat and had a strong battle with #72 Bob Franks. Duane Cinnamon #41 started inside pole with Bob beside him and after some dueling, Duane started to pull away. Now it was our turn to battle the #72. After about 4 laps the yellow came out and that closed us all up. Duane would be pole with Bob outside and me 3rd, a perfect spot. Louie was doing a great job spotting and reminded me to stay glued to the #41 on restart, and I did.
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For the last 6 laps we ran bumper to bumper. Our car was awesome. It was a fun race and one that Duane never made a mistake giving him the win and our second place finish for the night.

We made no changes for the feature. The top 8 qualifiers drew for starting spots and I picked #1, but I didn’t want to start up front. I wasn’t physically fit to battle these rockets tonight. I needed a lesser stress route and decided to take scratch. That surprised a lot of people but I wasn’t feeling very strong and to me it was the right decision, even though, starting at the back can be dangerous trying to go through the pack. But many hundreds of times in the 2800 plus races I’ve been in, I have worked my way from the back and I was good with that, and so was the boys.

I went to the back of the feature, but a few cars, 4, wanted to go scratch, so we actually started 16th. I was pumped like I usually am for any race, but especially a feature, and in front of a big crowd.

When the green flew I was on the outside and made a move to get low on the inside. However I soon realized the inside lane wasn't going anywhere and before you know it was almost last. Finally on lap 3 Louie called "clear high". So I jumped on the outside going into turn one, Things were tight all the way to the front but I felt good on the outside. But no longer had I got to the outside lane when things went nuts. Cars were spinning in front of me, sparks everywhere. I saw a car sliding all the way to turn three. There was no where to go and I slowly checked up but kept letting my car roll ahead right behind Duane Cinnamon #41, He got hit and bounced off the car and wall, just trying to get clear. I managed to come to a stop, not hitting anyone or getting hit.

The red flag came out. cars were everywhere on the back chute. Finally they asked me to move ahead to turn four and as I drove around turn 3 I saw Mike Hearty #20 beat up pretty bad and needing two tow trucks to get him off the track.

The red last a few minutes and then the yellow came out. I believe I was maybe 17th at the time. Once the cars were sorted out and a few towed off and some making pit stops, we found ourselves in 12th.

Over the next few laps I got into a great battle with my good friend #56 Jason Cornell. Jason was driving a good line and has improved very much this season. He kept battling me until he pushed up a little and I was able to get under him.
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A long green flag allowed the leaders to get to a quarter track behind us but the yellow came out again and I took a big sigh of relief,
On that restart I was able to move into 10th and get by one car on the restart and fall in behind #09 Dan Price. Dan also drove very well and all I could do was stick with him although I tried many times to get him, and hit him at least 3 times. :o I said to myself "stop hitting him'!!!!......I was very stern :D

Meanwhile at least twice in this race someone spun in turn four sending a huge dust cloud across the track making it impossible to see. I could have got by at least 2 cars had I not slowed up so much. This time it was John Harper #79 who caused the dust storm and as Dan and I came off turn four Dan made contact with John and I in turn hit Dan. We all kept going but I did put toe out of alignment close to half an inch.

Soon another restart brought the filed together and on this restart I got by #09 to take over 8th and over the final 7 laps would cross the line in 7th and I was sure happy not only with how well our car handled but also with how good I felt.....I was feeling very good physically and that 40 lap charge didn't affect me. I was very positive after the race and felt great. The boys were happy as well. No damage, a decent run and maintained our 4th place hold in the point standings.
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After I got out of the car and changed, and went to see Dan. He was all smiles and said "oh, no worries, that's just racing". We shook hands even though he wasn't upset with me even a little. I understood that it was me who was upset with me :roll:

Overall it was a great night for us. I was so pumped I drove home and let Louie sleep and made it no issues. Hayden and I talked all the way home making it a fairly quick trip.

Our next event is Thursday August 9th, putting our car on display at the Dairy Queen in Waterdown for their special day for McMaster Children's Hospital. "Miracle Treat Day". We will be there....Buttons and I, from 2 until 7. All Blizzard sales are 100% dedicated to the hospital.

On Saturday we will be heading to Sauble Speedway and I am very pumped for this race. This week we made some key changes to the Mod, better fuel, more timing and better tires. We are looking for career feature #40 and who knows, it could be this weekend.

We are 4th in points only 6 out of 3rd, kind of exciting to be running this close to 3rd in points in our 50th year. :mrgreen:

Modified standings after August 4th
1st.......#79 Horner.......468
2nd......#79 Harper.......462
3rd......#51 Reinhardt....412
4th......#36 Elliott........406
5th......#4 Showler ......400
6th......#18 Keen.........384
7th......#33 Bowden......366
8th......#56 Cornell.......360
9th....#20 Hearty..........338
10th....#8 McLean.........334

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:59 pm

August 11th.............Sauble Speedway

Race #10

Hi Lites
* 12 cars :roll:
* We win :mrgreen:
* 3rd in points now
* Good cars there....though car count down
* 578 final

1st Heat.......3rd
2nd Heat......2nd
Feature.......1st......40th career feature win :D


routine, fix oil leak, gears

Louie. Paul and Greg (Louie's future son-in-law)

We left the shop early Saturday morning. I wanted to make sure we got to the track in decent time and get a good spot to park. We picked Paul up on the way, just south of Fergus. Louie's future son-in-law, Greg, also made the trip with us. Some of our other crew were busy and could not make this race weekend.

I must say after being sick last week for the Peterborough race. I was very excited at how well the car ran in the feature. I decided to go scratch and work my way through the traffic. The car was very good and I was excited knowing we were heading to Sauble Speedway, one of my favorite tracks to race on. I really like Flamboro, Sauble, Sunset, Peterborough and Full Throttle Motor Speedway. It's not that I don't like the others, but these are the tracks I run most of the time and have experienced success.

We arrived at 2:30 in lots of time to get set up. The drive up was a good opportunity for me just to rest. I had given my crew the week off for working on the car. I got some help during the week to do the maintenance, change the gears, change the plugs, check the timing and decided to run AV gas in the car to give it a better burn. Racing fuel is suppose to add HP but it's crazy price wise, so I chose to use AV gas, the same as what David uses in our Late Model.

It was a little hot out, not too bad though. The boys set up our pit area while I signed in and drew #23 starting spot. It ended up being 3rd in the first heat and 4th in the second. We double checked the car over, the alignment (toe) and it was good. Louie also took a grinder to the LR wheel well. We have been cutting a groove in the left rear tire for the past month and finally had such an easy day that we took the time to fix that
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The first set of hot laps set the stage for the night. The car very good on older tires.

We put 3 new tires on for the second practice session and the car was even better.
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It was so smooth through the corners and fast off. I remember from past years racing at Sauble not to over drive the turns and to fix the car to eliminate a push, especially in turns one and two. I also made sure not to bounce off the inside curb. When you hit the curb, and it's easy to do, but it really upsets the car, pushes way up or jumps sideways, both no good to maintain consistent lap times....and guess what....no cut groove in the LR new tire we put on.
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Once practice was over we put the battery charger on and threw the football around. I don't even remember the last time we did that, I think over 10 years, maybe more. That's how good of a day it was and I was totally relaxed and very confident, something I hadn't been in a few years.

Louie would be spotting tonight. Sauble is too far most all of my crew to make it, and Jim usually spots when he is there, but Louie does a great job and has picked up some tips from listening to Jim.

We started 3rd in the first heat, behind Dale Reinhardt #51, who was inside pole. I put the old tires back on, wanting to save the new tires for the feature, plus they worked very well in hot laps. Luke Gignac #99 was outside pole and #4 Jeff Showler was beside me with Jason Cornell #56 right behind. With my car being so good, I though Dale would get by Luke and I could follow him....BUT....Luke fought hard on the outside, and getting a good run off the corner was leading by lap 2. Dale was too fast for me to make any move on him so I settled for 3rd with #4 Jeff and #56 Jason close behind.
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We made no changes for the second heat race, there was nothing wrong with the car. Dale was quick and I couldn't do anything with him or the leader, so I didn't panic, plus the car was good, so was there cars.
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In the second heat I started 4th. Jason Cornell started outside pole and I had another fairly strong heat with #79 Cory Horner and #51 Dale Reinhardt also in this heat. Multiple time CVM Champion Jason Keen #18 inside pole. The front row was fairly equal in terms of power but Jason had been running very strong the past few weeks. It took him a few laps but he finally got by the #18 and it was my turn to go outside. Meanwhile both #79 and #51 were right there. I raced Jason Keen hard on the outside. I didn't think I could get him, but I remember not to get on the gas too soon. While we battled side by side for a few laps, Jason pulled ahead by 3 or 4 car lengths.
Finally on lap 5 I was able to get by the #18 and move into 2nd place. I would catch up to #56 but Jason was too good to make any move on him and he got his first OSCAAR Modified win. I was very happy for him taking that checker.

After the heats were over the top 6 went to the OSCAAR compound to do the invert draw. Cory Horner couldn't draw because he won the feature the week before and would start 7th. Luke picked first and got #3, then it was my turn to pick. The past 2 draws I pulled #1, and I was hoping to do it for the 3rd straight time.....and we did....#1, starting pole in the feature. The guys laughed but they all knew I was fast all night and so starting pole was great for our team, and now I had to make sure the car was perfect, and that I put into practice all the tips I knew from the past...don't over drive...don't hit the curb....don't let anyone pinch you down. The rest was up to how good our maintenance program and the changes we made on the engine would affect us. The car was really good and as the night cooled down, I felt that was going to add to making our car even better.

For the feature we changed the tires, putting on the new tires, RR RF and LR, we also put on the LF inventory we had that was the least used, in other words, we ran the best tires we had. We filled the gas and put the battery on charge.

There was a decent crowd on this night, but not like I've seen in the past, but still a good turn out. I was more discouraged that we only had a dozen cars, but not sure what to do, just encourage teams to show up and support the series. I'm sure they will be out for the finale's at the end of the season, but we need them now.
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Louie Paul and Greg on the starting grid

I started pole in the feature with #51 Dale beside me. He has been running very well lately picking up some top 5 feature finishes and sitting 3rd in points. The #99 of Luke, was right behind me, so I had no easy task, but just needed to remember what I already knew and that was not to mess up.

I got a really good jump on the green and took the lead coming off turn two.
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The race would go 31 laps under green with no caution. I was so calm and felt really good physically and mentally. Louie was assuring me that we were faster than the cars behind. For the first 5 laps I was one car length, then moved to two and three car length lead. I was having on issues at all until I caught the #33. He was given the move over but for some reason pushed right up in front of me between turns one and two. I had to check up and when I got on the gas I hit him getting him slightly side ways but he was okay. But, the next words I heard from Louie was "the 99 is right on you now, he gained big time while you were trying to get around the lapped car". I couldn't let it get to me, the car was fast and so I just focused on running smooth lines again and soon Louie said "you're 2 ahead now".

Things were going great for us until lap 31 when the yellow came out when Harper #79 spun in turn four. Now was the time for me to really focus. I don't remember a time when I have beaten Luke Gignac in his built motor, and he would be starting right beside me for the restart. I never talked to Louie just focused on getting a good clean restart. I knew I had the lead so I set the pace.

The pace car pulled off in two and heading down the back chute I was a little nervous to be honest, not crazy nervous but still wanting to get a great, not good, but great restart. As we entered turn 3 I picked up the pace and so did Luke and I bolted off four. Going into turn one Louie let me know he was outside. I didn't jump on the throttle too fast because I didn't want to make the car push and have to let off or worse hit Luke. I waited patiently about a tenth of a second and hit the throttle coming off turn two. He was still outside going into turn 3, but I had such a great roll through the middle that once I got on the gas I pulled the #99 and Louie said those awesome words "Clear outside".
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Over the next 5 or 6 laps I was a car length ahead and wasn't losing anywhere on the track, our car was good. It was me now and sure enough when the two flags in the air were shown, indicating 2 laps to go, I got nervous wanting to make sure I didn't mess up. I don't know if other drivers feel that, I think they do with someone on their bumper, but maybe not if they are 5 car lengths ahead. Louie kept me calm and I entered turn one like I did previously, got a good run off and now I was saying to myself, "don't overdrive....don't go in too deep". Jim Hulzinga would often say those words and make sure either me or David kept hitting our marks, entering, rolling and exiting the turns.

When the white came out Louie said "clear by half a car". Yikes I thought, don't hit me going into turn one Luke, but he didn't. I got a good run off turn two and thought, just 2 more turns. I may have been overly cautious in turn three but I had lots of room and bolted down the front chute to the waiting checker....and man did I go nuts on the mic to Louie. He was so excited and so was I. I told him to come to the front chute with the crew. As I went around the track after the checker I was so excited, it was really unbelievable for our team and for me. As much as I felt positive all night, and our car was perfect, I knew there was always a chance something could go wrong....but it didn't, Louie was great spotting and through it all we got our 40th career feature finish.

When I got the flag I grabbed it and did a victory lap waving the flag gallantly. Once back to the start finish I had trouble getting out of the car because Louie thought I meant for them to meet me a tech but I meant the front chute. Finally I got out of the car to applause and many congrats from the staff and the OSCAAR president and there staff...just awesome.
I stood on the side bar holding the Surf Board trophy and I was shaking after this race. Could hardly contain myself.
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During the interview I thanked God, the fans my crew, the track, my competitors and the other 2 drivers Luke and Dale for a great race.
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This was also my 19th feature win since I turned 50....I didn't know that until this week. :)

After passing tech we gathered in our pit and many staff, fans and other teams came over to congratulate us. It was awesome really.
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I got the boys to get me some autograph cards and signed pictures for the fans and some kids got in the car. It was truly and incredible night.
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The strong night put us 3rd in OSCAAR Modified Points
1st.......#79 Horner.......531
2nd......#79 Harper.......524
3rd......#36 Elliott........479
4th......#51 Reinhardt...478
5th......#4 Showler ......466
6th......#18 Keen.........440
7th......#56 Cornell......423
8th......#33 Bowden......422
9th.....#99 Gignac........375
10th....#69 Wilson........368
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:51 pm

August 19th......Flamboro Speedway


Race #11

811 Consecutive Nights

High Lites
* 21 cars
* JR Fitzpatrick wins
* Shawn Chenoweth wins pole....goes to the back trying to win $10,000
* We have great night for me in a Late Model :D
* Crew were awesome again

Times Trials.......11th


Routine maintenance, oil and filter, fix cosmetic damage

Jim, Louie, Stephen and Hayden

I must say, this was my best night in a Late Model in many years. Didn't quite get the finish I wanted but I had 3 wishes
1) qualify
2) load the car with no damage
3) finish in the top 10

There were 21 cars, I expected many more because of the great purse. So qualifying wasn't an issue. However, we didn't back into the race regardless, we were faster in hot laps than 14 of the cars and once group qualifying started we found ourselves 11th, pretty good.

The car had some cosmetic damage, but other than the hood hold down strip mangled, there was no damage, although they will check it over this week for David to race next Saturday at Flamboro Speedway. It's a regular points night for us and we are currently 5th, only one point from 4th and 9 points from 3rd. We are also only 22 points from 1st, and with three points nights left, it is possible to catch the leaders, Kevin Albers and Matt Lockwood who are 22 and 20 points ahead, but they will have to struggle at least on one night and David will just be himself, drive the wheels off the car and gain whatever we can.

The other excitement for next week, is that the Flamboro race will be a qualifier for Jukasa Speedway. We are already one of the 65 cars pre entered for the Short Track Nationals on September 2nd, the biggest and richest stock car race in the history of our sport.

So we qualified and little damage, barely none. My third wish was a top 10 finish. I was very concerned about this race for a few reasons. I didn't want to beat the car up, and I have never really felt comfortable in this car all year. But, after the first set of hot laps I was very pumped, and so were my crew. Jim was spotting and is amazing at that job. I never worry at all and I don't question my spotter, that's why there are no mirrors in my race cars, I trust his spotting, Louie's as well, and I concentrate on racing hard and watching ahead.
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After the first set of hot laps I realized one of the reasons I didn't feel comfortable in the car. I couldn't see as good as I could in the Modified. One of the reasons for that was the huge mirror. David, like me listens to Jim's spotting, but he likes to see how far the car is behind him so he can gauge how to get by the car in front of him. I decided to remove it and when I did it opened much more room for me to see and feel relaxed. That change brought the best out of me for the next set of hot laps. At one point we were 7th fastest and that was good.
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We had the car ready for group qualifying and were in the second last group to go out. I haven't been that far up in many years for qualifying, in fact, most times I just take scratch because I didn't feel confident to run with the fast cars like I use to back in 2010.
We qualified 11th in this decent field of cars with 10 to 15 of them pretty quick. Shawn Chenoweth was the fastest qualifier.
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There was an out of car driver introduction and each driver had the opportunity to go scratch if they wanted. Most below me said yes, but the car going to the back is usually a top runner and usually one of them will say yes. When Gary Colling, the track announcer, asked if I would go scratch I said "no, because everyone in front of me with want to go scratch so I will be on the pole" :lol: Fans laughed because I was being silly.
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I also said it was the first time I was going to be racing with some of the young kids like Jordan Howse and said "I hope he don't spin me". but laughed after. Boy, did that turn out to be an omen that came true :o.
Shawn Chenoweth did choose to go to the back.

The start of the race stumbled a bit with 2 cautions in two laps. Nothing too serious, but prevented us from getting a rhythm going.
I stayed in 11th until lap 3. On a restart I got a bit of a slow run off turn four. Jordan Howse was driving the #56, Bruce Bennett's car, and cut down in front of me at the start finish line. He wasn't clear, and he shouldn't have chopped me like that. I checked up and turned left to avoid hitting him and ended up sliding on the grass all the way to the middle of turn one and two. I thought for sure I was going to get hammered but luckily I was able to keep the car on the apron and no one hit me. I lost a few spots though and kept going...no yellow flag. Jordan's spotter must have said "clear low", and he wasn't. But they know I back out. In this case I had to turn left or I would have turned him. Jim said "next time don't back out'!!!! He was stern about it.
The other explanation is that Jordan may have decided on his own to come down knowing I would back out and he was right, and though I didn't spin him, I almost caused a huge wreck in turns one and two, but thank you Lord that the other drivers took evasive action and I was able to get the car under control. Just to let everyone know...if you chop David, expect to get turned 8-)

On lap 8 another caution came out. I had moved up to 13th after the yellow. On this restart I was able to get Howse and move back into 11th. About 12 laps later another yellow flew. On that restart I was inside and Chenoweth was outside. I had Howse behind me. We went 2 laps and the #56 spun me coming off turn 4. I couldn't believe it, but no damage and I was okay, not too angry, there were still 78 laps left. It was lucky I didn't hit Shawn in the 89 who was right beside me when I got hit. Jim was spotting with all the other spotters and he said that Shawn's Dad Bob, let the 56 team know they better run them clean.
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I told Jim, lets get back some of these spots we lost, we have lots of time. He was pumped that I had a great attitude after getting turned. I know things happen in traffic but turning someone is most always avoidable...patience is required in circumstances when you feel quicker than the car in front and you just want to go....I was actually quicker, but I wasn't going to hammer the car in front of me.

Starting scratch it took me about 20 laps to get back up to 13th. I avoided at least 2 spin outs. One with 88 and 13 and another with 91. I got some good restarts and soon found myself in 9th getting by cars on the inside.
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As the race progressed we were gaining some ground I passed Matt Box #27 to move into 9th. The furthest up we got was 9th by lap 81. I was in trouble though, because the car was pushing and I restarted on the outside. On that restart I lost at least 3 or 4 spots. I was disappointed because our car was good. We were turning laps within a tenth of the leaders. I just couldn't go strong on the outside.

By lap 90 we were up to 11th again and I caught Matt Box but he wasn't struggling like he was earlier, in fact we were catching the 9th place car. I gained a little on the 27 but once the white flag came out I knew I couldn't get him even though we were only a car length behind. I made a good run into turn one but so did he. We went down the back chute passing lapped cars and I thought to myself, this has been a good run, and resolved with myself that Matt was going to hold onto 10th. As we entered turn 3 a lapped car was low. And just as I was about to pass him I got hammered so hard in the back end that my car spun, I couldn't hold it. I was shocked really. Why would I get spun on the last lap between turns 3 and 4? No one was going to pass anyone!!!

The checker fell and I was upset. I tried to reason with myself "what did I do wrong"? I drove my best Late Model race in the last 5 years.
I was fired up a little, at the 15, and when I went by his pit I rev'd the engine, hitting the chip. Jim let me know that wasn't my fault at all and not to blame myself. Matt never said anything after, no apology, neither did Jordan, but that's okay. Some drivers don't, they may have been too disappointed for their own performance....but!!!!.... ten minutes later I was signing autographs for fans that came over. :mrgreen:

It was a great for us and I am sure the confidence was carried over from our feature win on August 11th in the Modified at Sauble Speedway.

Next week David races the Late Model and I race the Modified both at Flamboro Speedway. It's going to be an awesome night for us.
Thank you Lord for a great night of racing, and to John Casale for hosting this amazing run with a really good pay out.
Also to my crew for their effort, and to my family David and Shirley and my fans for their encouragement. Danny Huff is a very knowledgeable fan and always texts me positive encouraging messages. :D

PS.....I don't like the black wheels on the car, the chrome brings the paint scheme alive....black is too dark. We were short of rims, these were rims I got this year and 2 were David's from 2016....chrome it is
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2018

Post by Gary » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:54 pm

August 25th............Flamboro Speedway

RAINED OUT!!!!! :oops:

Thank you John Casale

This picture is from 1986. The other 2 are 82 and 83.
It rained all day as you can see by the pits and in-field. John didn't cancel and we got to race. We went on the track to dry it as well, no complaints, not everyone did, some guys didn't want to spend the $7 in gas to help speed things up.

Check out these pictures
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Waiting to go on the track with huge puddles in the pits...who cares we're racing :D
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Ron Butts #88...Rick Farraway #53 and me trying to stay out of Lake Flamboro :lol:
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Ron Butts #88 and me racing after a non rain-out....1982, my first year with Chrome wheels

I think John does what he enjoys, and that's provide a place for us to race. I appreciate him very much. I get it, teams want to know if the race is on or not. Because it's raining in another part of Ontario doesn't mean it's raining at Flamboro. And if it is raining, doesn't mean it will not stop and clear up, :roll:

Back in 86 we had a race at Sauble and I called and they said it was overcast but no rain yet. No cell phones, no emails on the dash of my 48 Chev ramp truck so we drove 3 hours there and 3 hours back hoping we wouldn't get rained out. If it was rained out it was discouraging to me.....NOT because I drove for 6 hours, but because I didn't get to race.

Today we have cell phones, email on our phones and all the stuff you need to connect with anyone you want instantly.....so work with the promoters. He waits to call the race because he wants to do everything he can to get the race in, and you need to understand he does that knowing fans won't be coming out, he does it for you and me. Why? Because he promised we would be racing on a certain date. If it rains he waits because even though he will lose money he tries to look after us.

He has 6 months to make a living with this business, we have 6 months to rebuild or do whatever we want. So when race season comes, lets support the tracks.

If I go to a track and it's cancelled and it's raining I am okay with that. There is nothing worse for me than a promoter cancelling a race and then the sun comes out and we could have raced.

Yesterday's raced was cancelled by John, a few hours later it was sunny, we could have raced. He cancelled because there were classes travelling, he didn't want to and he would have been right. We lost a night to race that won't come back...he lost it as well.

We use to race 25 to 30 nights a year. It was cheaper? I made $5 an hour, my rent was $240 a month for a home and a garage. I had 2 small kids and my wife worked as well.

I never get mad at a promoter who cancels a few days before, that's his business, I will be disappointed. But racing is my life and I support it everyway I can. Thank you John Casale for always trying to get the race in. :D :mrgreen:

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