Diary Of A Season 2020

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:07 pm

August 15th.............Petty International Raceway

Race #3

High Lites
* Johathan Hickens wins
* 27 cars
* Lots of fans...lots of cars
* We get our fastest lap times yet...still off but better
* We qualify 25th
* Open rule on shocks, how dumb is that....$$$$$....possibly $1500 per corner? It cost us $1500...tires, pits, fuel, gas
* We get a 50 pound weight break for running $175 shocks.... :lol:
* 50 lb. break against Penskies....that's like a 30 second head start, in a mile run... over a Corvette... me on foot :cry:
* Long green runs made it physically demanding :roll:
* No serious wrecks this weekend
* 562 gears at first...borrowed 555 for feature

Time Trials.....14:161....14:122


No damage, routine, look for more speed with other teams running $4000 in shocks or more :(

Bob, Shannon, Tyler, Jeff, Chris, Kerry, Dean and Aiden

Oh what a night this was, I was tired until Tuesday, but have fully recovered :lol:
We left my place in Nova Scotia for the two hour trip to Petty International Raceway. We weren't sure how long we would be tied up at the border. Bob, Shannon, Tyler and I all had our forms filled out with authorization numbers on them, to give to the border security. Buttons didn't need one.

We hardly slowed down this time, no traffic at all. As we approached the check point we had our forms ready and to our shock the guard just waved us through. What!!!! We all wondered the same thing, why did we have to have this emergency form filled out so we could travel to New Brunswick and yet didn't even show it.

We got to the track earlier than before because we left so early anticipating a wait at the border, but there's nothing like being early, get to talk to other teams, friends and fans. I gave out at least 4 autograph cards.
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The line up to get in the pits was nuts. Just seems to take a long time to get the line moving....maybe add a few more staff, or one more for the people heading into the pits. Bob went through the gate with Buttons and we went through a separate walk through pit gate. By the time we got in the pits Bob was already setting up, but there was still lots to do.

Jeff couldn't make it until later. Kerri and Aiden were early, as was Chris.

While the crew set up our pits, Tyler and I headed to get tires. By the time we got back the pits were set up. Dean was there and had offered his help to get us geared up. Dean has been a huge help, especially at the shop when we regrouped with the car and set ride heights and then scaled it.
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We then installed 2 aluminum brackets with plastic white round rods that looked about the size of chalk. They would be used to measure how close we came in bottoming out going into the turns. Dean suggested getting them. We use to use tie straps in Ontario but this car is so updated, the drill holes were already in the chassis.

Once set up we headed to tech. Yes Buttons came with me, she always does. In tech I was a very surprised when the Tech man asked me what shocks I was running....."like everyone else" I said. Then he asked me "Are you running blue shocks"? I said yes I was. Then I asked "I thought that's what we use in Pro Stock". Then he explained "this isn't a MPST sanctioned race and you can use whatever shocks you want". That stunned me. Why would they allow an open shock rule, that would mean teams with money could use "$1500-$2000 shocks per corner, $6,000 to $8,000. Our shocks are $175, so think of that for a second, there's a reason we have a big disadvantage. Our blue AFCO shocks are welded body, meaning they can't be taken apart. You order 4 shocks, and they come with Dyno sheets, but what you see is what you get. Penske's, Bilstein or Pro Shocks can be rebuilt. Remove the body and change the spring or piston inside, and set the compression and rebound. If it's not enough, then take it apart again and add or subtract shims or whatever is in there. The only thing we can do is polish the outside of our shocks with Turtle Wax to make them shiny....but that won't help the car go faster. Shocks are a significant component on a race car and most series try to keep the cost under control. It's a joke really, just more ways to separate teams from being competitive. The expensive shocks make cars go faster, but if everyone is on them, it's just a waste of money. Cheap shocks that we use keep costs down. But some teams buy many shocks to get the one they want because they can't be opened up and you never know what you get from the supplier. There are rated shocks from AFCO, and they are a decent shock for the money. The LF shock for example might be a 4-12. 4 is compression, how fast the shock goes down when entering the corner. The 12 is rebound, how fast the shock comes back up, the more rebound, (pounds of pressure to pull it back up) the longer the shock stays down. Car turns though the corner much better. The RF shock might have a little more compression and less rebound, the rear shocks not much at all. With shocks that can be rebuilt, you can increase the rebound to make the shocks stay down longer. My rebound is 600, a few years ago, the rebound on my shock was 1200. A shock with 600 rebound comes up a lot faster than a shock with 1200 pounds of rebound. To put this in perspective....a guy is at center ice with a hockey stick and he has to get to the puck that is sitting in the circle to the left of the net. He has to beat Austin Matthews who is behind his own net and has to skate the full distance to get the puck. Seems fair eh? After all you're half way there.....but wait!!!!....to make the comparison here with the shock rule for this night $1500 against $175......the guy at center ice is wearing leather shoes....good luck pal. :shock:
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We made both sets of warm ups and the car felt good. Lap times weren't off the charts fast, but they were better than the last time we were out. So we improved and that was good, our shop work paid off, plus I was racing instead of driving the car.
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When time trials were up I asked to tape up the grill. I saw others doing it and thought it would be good to see if anything was better. We drew 21, and that gave me time to watch some of the other young rockers do their lap times and see where they ran there car on the track, line and entry wise. They were all pretty well the same.
The top cars were in the 13:7's and we turned a 14:161 followed by a 14:122, our fastest time trials this year, by 2 tenths. We qualified 25th of 27th cars but there wasn't much time between us.
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We started last in our heat. The cars were all fast. We improved again, getting laps in the 14:0's. I want so bad to get a 13:9 or better. We finished 8th in our heat, not a mile from the cars in front but a few lengths back.
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The Feature
After our heat race, where we finished last, but not too far off, I was told we turned a few laps in the 14:0's. That's not far from where I want us to be, but learning this track and the car has been good with progress in the right direction each time out. I'm not sure if I have peaked here yet, but I do think I can be better and the car, though close, is still not right, but was much better tonight.

The track management said there would be a caution every 40 laps to bring the field closer together and help teams make adjustments on their cars. That was the plan race as well but there were some brutal wrecks negating any competition yellows, and rightly so.

It was so good to see the grandstands fairly full and not masks every where, neither was there in the pits, it actually felt good, normal and not oppressing.
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On the green we stayed with the pack, I didn't stay back in case there was a wreck. However one lap later there was a spin that brought out the caution. I also didn't go to the back like I did the first two weeks trying to stay out of trouble.
I felt more comfortable in the car and the work of my crew was very positive giving me more confidence.
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Over the next 40 laps there would be nothing but green flag racing. I raced against a few cars but with the leader 4 tenths faster, they caught me by lap 40 putting us a lap down. The good news....we were the lucky dog. I was tired after that run, it was very hot in the car, but I knew with over 100 laps left I didn't have time this early to be thinking about being tired. We did get the lucky dog and fell to the rear of the field.

Once again we would go over 40 laps caution free and again, on about lap 82 I went down a lap but the leader also lapped the #0 owned by Steve Henderson. I don't know many of the drivers yet, though I am getting to know a few.
The lucky dog went to the #0 but he left the track so we thought he shouldn't have done that and possibly we would get the lucky dog, so I stayed out, because I really wanted to go in the pits and make an adjustment to help the car from being loose off. I raced the #0 for most of the laps between 40 and 80, but could really get under him because of the loose off.

We went a lap and the yellow came out for another spin with 2 cars. I maybe should have bolted to the pits to make a chassis adjustments, but there wasn't really much time, plus I was tired, if that makes sense why not to go to the pits.

On the next green I felt okay still but was slowly fading with the heat in the car. It's an incredible work out. This is a 13.8 lap track, Flamboro see laps at 15.2. Flamboro has long straights, giving a driver time to recoup a little. Petty doesn't do that. The straights are short, banked fast corners with some g-force to contend with. This little track is a bull ring and you need to be in good shape to race this consistently, maybe being under 50 would be good as well, but I love racing and I know I took on a huge commitment to race 150 lap races against well funded teams with very talented drivers. I'm not a normal 73 year old, but I am 73, and racing is in my blood and I have fun getting lapped because I know I'm privileged to be here. I'm surrounded by a great crew, blessed with sponsors and most of all God has given me good health and provided everything I have and I am so thankful.
Back to the marathon :roll:

The next 30 laps was very hard. I asked my spotter to let me know when we get to lap 120, the next comp yellow. Soon the leaders were coming. By lap 116 I went down a lap and was preparing for a break in a few laps....BUT....it didn't happen. :cry: I was hanging on by lap 130, and feeling exhausted by lap 140. I didn't get lapped again but I was never so happy to see the white and then the checker.

When I got to the pits I was wiped, partly from the heat inside the car, but mostly from this tough work out. We completed 148 out of 150 laps and there was no damage on the car. We can improve again for the next race and no doubt this work out made me a little stronger.

Congrats to Jonathan Wickens and Fury for winning this race. The same fast cars were all up front.

Our next race is Labor Day weekend at Speedway 660. This will be the first time for me at that track and I appreciate the owners saying they would appreciate me bringing my car to the track and we will do that.

Thanks to my Lord and Savior for all I have and sending awesome people to be part of this great sport.
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Posts: 204
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:30 am

Please help support our team if you can. My new CD is $15 for one, or $10 each for two or more. Mail is $5 in Ontario, a little less in the Maritimes and not much more in the USA. Thank you very much.
Here is where we stand as of August 19th from family and friends listening to the CD.
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You can listen to the complete CD by clicking on the link and push PLAY.
https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A ... t2dFHRAvJM

Posts: 204
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:11 pm

Coming Up

* August 29th Car Show Truro Canadian Tire

* September 6th Speedway 660..........................250 Lapper :o

* September 12th Scotia Speedworld................... 250 Lapper :o

* September 19th Petty International Raceway.......250 Lapper :cry: Mike Steven Memorial

* October 4th Center of Speed Shediac.................150 Lapper :mrgreen:

After racing three 250 lap races in 3 weeks the 150 lap feature at Shediac will be a breeze :lol:

Please share our CD.
All originals
We went from 6th to 5th in the standings through your support and just by listening.
Click on the link then push PLAY to hear the songs
If you want to purchase any, they are $15 for one, $20 for two and $5 shipping 8-)
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https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A ... t2dFHRAvJM

Posts: 204
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Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:07 am

August 29th...........Canadian Tire Car Show

This was our 5th show of the year including 2 I-races where we got a ton of exposure from Race Time Radio and Joe Chisholm.
I usually don't publish shows but here are pictures from this past weekend. We had lots of people drop by.
Thanks to crew members Bob Landry, Tyler Hallahan and Chris White for coming out and being part of this special day.
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:07 pm

September............Speedway 660

Race #4

1288 Total Nights

High Lites
* 27 cars
* Ashton Tucker wins....again
* Track management incredible, extending amazing grace to our team
* Cole Butcher runner up
* We miss the green :o
* 557 gears a little high
* 549 could be the choice, but we didn't get to find out

* Heat.........9th
* Feature.....27th.....no start :(






Tyler, Shannon, Jeff, Kerry, Chris, .....Buttons

This was a much anticipated race for me. I'd never been here before and was looking forward to racing on a new track and trying to be competitive with this new car. This track was about 3 hours and 45 minutes away, a long drive but on good roads, so not too bad, plus there were 4 of us and Buttons in the truck to make it less boring.
Bob had an operation on Thursday and though he wanted to come, it was much better he stayed home and recovered, and as it turned out, all he missed was us thrashing on the car for hours :roll:

We got to the track in decent time on Saturday. I had booked rooms for this one because it was too far to go back home. The cost of this one was much higher than any this year so far, but with COVID its lucky we are racing and I am doing all I can to promote my sponsors with shows and races.
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Prior to the races we got to practice at least 4 times on this new track. It was a learning experience for sure. I was so loose everywhere, going into the turns and coming off. I spun out twice going into turn one.
Dean Wallage was helping us. He's a good friend of Tyler and has helped us a few times this year already.
We finally got the car better after adding lots of wedge. We decided to add another round on each corner of the car and try it again in the morning.

I was invited by Tim Terry to flag the Bandolero race and present trophies to the top 3 in the feature. This was my first time in 51 years flagging a race.
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We didn't race that night but got to watch the Sportsman put on a great show, a very exciting race. I also got to meet Caleb Urquhart, a very nice young racer who became friends on face book.
We got to the track early Sunday. I was able to make the first set of hot laps at 10am and the car was really good. Coming off the track the car stalled heading into my pit, a minor carb adjustment was required. Kerry helped me with this adjustment.
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I was excited now to get on the track with new tires. I kept telling myself not to drive into turn three too hard so I wouldn't push up.
Approaching the track I got half way up the ramp and 2 cars in front of me were stopped waiting to get no the track. That wasn't good, being on a steep incline with cars in front. I tried my hardest not to slip the clutch but I did.
I got a few laps in and was hitting the chip real hard and not going anywhere.
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I left the track and told the crew we would change the gears from 557 to 549, an 80 RPM drop. I was hitting the chip with 240 lap, 10 cycle tires, earlier in the day, changing the gears seemed right to me.
Tyler and Kerry got under the car and made the change fairly quick.
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The heat races were lining up and we were to start 3rd in our heat but I decided to take scratch to see how the car would be after the gear change. Once on the track I thought we were okay. However once the green dropped I knew we were in trouble, The clutch was slipping so bad I fell way back from the cars in front. The clutches were slipping. That mistake or bad luck sent us into a terrible night of work, frustration and failing to make the feature.
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I pulled off the track after one lap and told the boys we had to fix the clutches. At first I though it could be a small fix, but soon realized the clutch discs were damaged and had to be replaced.
We would
* remove the driveshaft
* remove the shifters
* removed the transmission
* removed the bell housing
* remove the clutch assembly
Sounds easy but it was anything but. Remember in the movie Polar Express when the boy was looking for the girl and he was on top of the train talking to the Hobo? They got on ski's and were making a desperate rush to the coal car. The Hobo said we need to get there fast because there is only a few inches of clearance between the top of the train and the bottom of the tunnel entrance. That's how I felt working on this deal. All of us were stressed out. No room to move, filthy dusty stone laced ground to lay on....but it was that or park the car and we didn't come to watch, we came to race.
The boys never quit. Tyler, Chris, Kerry and I were under the car taking everything apart. Shannon and Jeff were there if we needed anything, so was Dean. There was only room for 3 of us under the car, sometimes only 2.
We were fortunate to borrow clutch discs from the owner of the #2 car, Brad. He also got under and helped us for a bit.
We got the parts and started putting it back together. No room, couldn't get our arms or hands in some spaces because it was so tight. Laying on your back and lifting your head to try and reach bolts was exhausting and energy was being drained by the second....we were all exhausted.
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After about 3 1/2 hours and doing some things twice we got it together.
Track officials kept coming over to ask how we were making out and I said we were getting there. Cars were lined up for the feature and soon started heading on the track. I wasn't in my suit yet.
I got in the car and buckled up and noticed right away there was no clutch pedal pressure. That was an easy fix. Dean and Kerry bled the clutch and I had pressure. Meanwhile the cars were on the track now doing driver introduction. Our car was the only Pro Late Model in the pits.

We put the car on the ground and started it up. We thought we were good to go and I was really tired but happy. Soon things changed, the shifters wouldn't budge. They jacked the car up again and Kerry got under to see what was wrong. He couldn't see anything wrong. I yelled out "just put it in second". I was going to pass on using the shifter and go out in second....although now that I think about it, that could have burned these clutches....Kerry thought he had the car in gear and we lowered the jack. The boys pushed the car but it wasn't in gear.
The track manager came by again and told us they were doing driver intro and taking longer than normal to give us time. I thanked them and said we can't get the car in gear.
They jacked the back of the car up so the wheels could be rotated to see if it would lock in gear. I yelled out to make sure a jack stand was under the car. Kerry had to slide up to the transmission and try to get it in gear but it wouldn't go. We heard the national anthem and then start your engines. Soon the race started and we were done.

The track manager came over again and asked me how we were making out, I said it won't go in gear and we missed the green flag start....a must in racing. If you miss the green you are out of the race. BUT!!!! not this day. I was told not to worry that if we got it fixed we could come out anytime during the race. WHAT I thought....really? "Yes Gary, you guys worked so hard to get your car fixed that we wanted to let you race no matter what". I was blown away and very grateful.
We pushed the car back to our pit and I got under the car, fire suit and all to see if I could find out what was going on. A few minutes later I found the release bearing jammed hard against the pressure plate. There was no play and there should have been at least 1/8th of an inch. I knew the only fix was to dismantle most of the driveline to fix this but that thought almost made me throw up :oops:
"we're done guys" was the words out of my mouth when I came out from under the car :(

We cleaned up and I thanked the boys for all their incredible effort. We were discouraged but not defeated.

Ashton Tucker #2 won his 3rd feature of the year and in this race he won $20,000. That's incredible. I've never seen a race in Ontario pay anywhere near that. I congratulated his team and thanked Brad for all his help.

Our next race is this weekend at Scotia Speedworld. Hoping for a good night of racing, and to finish with no damage.

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Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:23 am

September 12th...........Scotia Speedworld

Race #5

846th Consecutive Night

High Lites

* 15 cars
* Cole Butcher wins
* Jim Hallahan 250...a great honor, but hopefully again in a non Covid situation
* 1250 fans allowed
* We struggle with clutch issues.... :(
* 567 gears



guess.... :lol:

Bob, Shannon, Jeff, Chris, Dean and Buttons
(we also had help from Tyler Hallahan's crew member Shawn)


During the week we worked on the car replacing the clutch discs getting ready for our Scotia Speedworld debut.
I was looking forward to this race, all of them actually, but this track was close to us compared to the rest, although driving over 2 hours to a track is much better than not racing.
Buttons was a big help getting the work done in the shop, she's always under the car with me and the others, just lays down on the blanket and relaxes, even gave me kisses....maybe knowing how stressful not starting Speedway 660 was for me and my team.
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We got to the track in good time. Scotia got good news this week they could have up to 1250 fans, but that's not near enough for them to have races and make a profit. They had this race for the drivers and teams, so they could have a race in Nova Scotia. New Brunswick tracks have been racing with good size crowds. Scotia holds many more fans than any of the New Brunswick race facilities.

To my surprise and to the disappointment of the track, there were only 15 Pro Stock's show up. Some from PEI got stuck on the ferry coming over from the Island and didn't make it, I'm sure they were really disappointed.

Prior to practice we found the 3rd arm on the sway bar was cracked. Cole Butcher came over and suggested we weld it, though he thought it might be okay. He brought us a Lincoln welder.
Dean Wallage is a welder by trade and put a few good beads on the part.
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Our first set of hot laps would soon dictate how this race was going to be. I had hoped our efforts this week would be fruitful for our team, but as soon as I got on the track and gave any throttle the clutches were slipping. I immediately pulled off. We put the car on jack stands, and for the 3rd time in less than a week we pulled out the transmission, shifters, bell housing and clutch assembly. We didn't see anything obvious, and there was an eighth of an inch gap from the release bearing to the fingers on the pressure plate.
We sanded the plates where the discs ride. I didn't think that would help and started second guessing myself on what was wrong, and if I installed it wrong, but I've done clutch assemblies many times and knew it was put together properly.
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We missed all practice and started last in our heat race.
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I only went one lap and pulled off from slipping again, or maybe still, because taking it apart and sanding the plates did nothing.

I called David and he said if everything else was good, it had to be the pressure plate not holding. I went to the R&D parts trailer and they had a pressure plate. I took it, thought about putting it in, but there would not be enough time.
I decided to start the feature, take two laps and pull off. Starting the feature paid $1000, sitting in the pits paid $400. The pressure plate was $575....decision made.

I felt empty for my crew, fans and me, knowing for the second week in a row we wouldn't be racing. I went on the track for pre race intro and Ken MacIsaac took this picture.
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Two laps of 250 was all I took and pulled off.
We watched Cole Butcher put on a masterful run starting from the back to win this prestigious race.
Congrats to Cole and his team.

During the week we installed a new pressure plate. I rented the track just to make sure we had a working clutch and we did, but 2 other issues came up....smoking from the RF wheel and a stalling stumbling carburetor. I wasn't worried about he carb, I've rebuilt many of them, but the smoking had me baffled. The boys came over Tuesday, changed the gears, and removed the RF caliper. I rebuilt the carb, installed it and in ran fine.
I took the caliper to R&D for new seals, the car should be ready by Thursday for the Mike Stevens Memorial at Petty International Raceway Sept 19th.
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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:20 am

If you would like to help me this year in a small way consider buying one of my CD's or more than one :D

I am asking $15 for one, and $10 each for 2 or more plus $5 mail. Our team lost sponsor support for 2020 because of Covid.
I order 1000 hoping to sell them to help for this year and next season.

My family are on this CD, as well as some of my church friends from Ontario. These originals include song #3 written in 1970 the day after I was married , #8 written in 1978 on Mothers Day for my wife, as well as a few in the early 80's including song #6 written the day after my favorite Beatle, John Lennon, was murdered. :(

Click on the link then push PLAY to listen to the songs, all original. Thank you

If you would like a CD send me an email garyelliottmotorsports@gmail.com
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Sun Sep 20, 2020 3:39 pm

September 19th......Petty International Raceway

Race #6

Race Night 1290 career

847 Consecutive

High Lites
* 25 cars
* Johnathan Hickens wins
* Huge crash on lap 122 takes out both Butcher cars...big damage
* freak mishap puts us 6 laps down
* we bounce back to 11th
* 557 gears



lots under the hood

Bob, Shannon, Tyler, Jeff, Chris, Kerry Aidan and Buttons

Okay so we all know racing can be dangerous, and at any level. Naturally the high speed cars like Indy or other open wheel series are at a higher risk for danger than local stock car racing, but anytime you're hitting high speeds, or racing side by side, safety is always an issue, for every class.

Race teams take every precaution to make sure their driver is safe, if the driver owns the car, he needs to make sure he is safe. Sometimes drivers (me) won't buy a certain safety item because of the cost, but once a track or series mandates a certain safety item, we know then it has to be installed or we don't race and the last thing we want to hear "sorry you can't race without a roll cage".. :lol: ..or whatever it is.

Since I started racing a few things we added over the years include the following but not necessarily the only things, I might have forgot some.
* fire suit, instead of treated coveralls
* fire extinguisher
* fuel cell
* racing gloves
* extra bars in roll cage
* window nets
* helmets being updated every few years
* seat belts being updated every 2 years
* Hans device....(best thing I got in 2012)...won't race without it now.
* secured, painted and number lead
* on board fire system
* 2 and 3 ply fire suits
There are many others I just can't think of right now.

No matter what we do there is always something that can happen to a driver or his crew. Many teams including me have added safety measures in the pits for our crew. No working under the car without a jack stand or two holding stands holding the car up, in case the jack fails. Gloves for working on brake issues or removing tires, they get very hot after practice or a race, are just a few.

So I bring this up because something happened on Saturday night that most all race fans are aware of, they saw it recently twice this year in NASCAR......a piece of lead falling out of a car chassis. How does that happen? Not secured properly. Many times when working on our car we forget to tighten something up, and most every time it comes back to hurt us. Suspension parts, any drain plug for the engine, trans or quick change can not only make a mess on the track and cause another car to spin out, but it can also cost thousands of dollars for a new engine, transmission or differential.

A piece of lead isn't expensive compared to an engine, but it can be up to $4 a pound and most lead on race cars range from 20 to 40 even 50 pounds and it might not be much bigger than a block of ice cream, but very heavy. Imagine that coming out of a car at 80 mph and bouncing down the track towards cars behind. Lead doesn't always bounce, it might slide across the track, but since it's not given orders how to act when it leaves a chassis it pretty well does whatever science dictates when it hits the race track and starts tumbling. You can imagine the rest, praying it doesn't hit anyone. An oil cap wouldn't bring much attention, but a piece of lead is in a different most urgent dangerous category.
Pre On Track
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Practice and Heat Pictures
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The feature was uneventful the first bunch of laps. Cole Butcher was fast, so was the #5 of Jonathan Hickens.
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On about lap 78 I was heading down the back chute at Petty International Raceway when I heard and felt this loud clunk. I didn't see anything, I was chasing some cars and suddenly CLUNK then something went through my hood. A section of my hood about 4" by 8" was sticking up. I thought I broke something, a pump, pulley, I had no idea. I pulled over in turn 3 and stopped. The reason I stopped wasn't to bring out the caution, but not to put oil or any liquid around the track.
As I sit there my crew asked what happened, I said "I don't know, something went through the hood".
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The yellow came out. I looked at my gauges and all was normal. Nothing was running down the track, and I was on enough of an angle in the high bank turn that water or oil would be running down.

I bolted to the pits and the crew removed the hood to see what was going on. None of us knew at that time I was hit by flying lead, they were looking for something broken in the engine compartment. But as they checked it over they noticed lots of damage to the hood pin bracket, body braces and of course the hood. They quickly taped up the hood and sent me back out.

We were down a bunch of laps by then but not too many, maybe 6 or 7. As soon as the yellow came out I headed back in the pits again for them to remove a broken body brace that could possibly puncture a tire. No lost laps that time.
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I went back out and the car was fine. We finished the race managing to avoid the carnage that would follow, the worst being on lap 122 when 5 of 6 cars in the top 10 got wrecked, one demolished. I was half a track behind when my spotter Tyler said "big wreck on the front chute". I slowed up and saw the wrecked cars as I drove by, Jared Butcher by far the worse.
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Soon going into turn 3 under yellow I saw Cole Butcher leaving with excessive body rear damage. His car was fast again, he lead quite a few laps before being hit when things went nuts coming off turn 4.

We continued for the rest of the race passing up to the 9th place car on the track, but being down several laps our official finish was 11th. This was our best outing this year, I was a little more aggressive, we made a few chassis changes, namely a spring and we were able to avoid any wrecks or spin outs.

Our next race is Saturday September 26th at Riverside International Speedway, for the Toromont 150. I have raced this track twice, once in 2016 and again in 2017.

Congrats to Jonathan Hickens and his team for winning the Mike Stevens Memorial.
Special thanks to my crew Bob Landry, Shannon Riley, Tyler Hallahan, Jeff DeCoste, Chris White, Kerry and Aidan Fry, Dean Wallage and of course Buttons.

Damage to our car
The black mark above the headlight is where the piece of lead entered the engine compartment
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The high speed projectile tore out the hood pin bracket and body braces, as well as bending a very strong bumper support bar.
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It then hit the rad on its way to exit the hood
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Check out the almost perfect oblong exit in the hood....if the lead was light it wouldn't have the energy to penetrate the hood, but the force in the next 2 pictures show that it was powerful enough to leave this hole.
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We got busy on the car Monday after I was able to get the needed parts from R&D Performance. Bob Landry and Chris White were able to come over to change gears, oil, and install the next 5 pin hood bracket and a few braces that were bent and broken.
We took the bent rod that goes from the roll cage to the front bumper to our repair room....the back of my truck :lol:
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Bob did a great job installing the hood pin bracket
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I dropped the hood off to PYE Chevrolet body shop to have it repaired. They did a fantastic job patching it up.
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Kirk Alexander will make up the missing letters for the hood.

We should have the car ready by September 24th, I will post a picture then.
Thanks for visiting our site.

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

Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:52 am

September 26th................Riverside International Speedway

Race #7

848 Consecutive

High Lites
* 18 cars
* Nicholas Naugle #08 wins
* Greg Proude #29 leads most laps gets second first race out in his fury
* We have our best night handling wise
* Our fastest lap 14:937.....Fastest in the race...14:698...pretty close for this senior :D
* Loaded with no damage or issues....accept water gauge quit :roll:
* Cooling system gauge working now (Monday)....replaced Sender
* 520 final...could be a little more



Check water temp gauge, routine maintenance, change gears for Center For Speed

Bob Landry, Shannon Riley, Tyler Hallahan, Jeff DeCoste, Chris White, Kerry Fry and Aidan Fry.

My return to Riverside International Speedway was fun, really good for our team for ways that might seem odd.
New car, new crew for this time back to RIS and they did great.
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I was looking forward to coming back to Antigonish because I very much enjoyed racing on this track. It's much bigger than any of the other Maritime tracks, faster and demanding. The speeds and g-force here are very noticeable, hard on a young racer, harder on older ones 8-)

After one set of hot laps we made a few changes to the car, minor but needed. The car was a little loose off, caused by being tight in the middle of the turns. I raised the track bar, decreased the stagger from 3 1/4" to 3" and added a 1/2 turn on the sway bar.
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There were 18 cars at this event, most of them young racers with young race cars....new Fury's and Van Duren's :mrgreen: But for me, I had a 3 year old Distance car, built by Jeff Taylor, a good car on it's own.

The feature was 150 laps and 1250 fans were allowed in the grandstands. It's too bad restrictions are so severe for a province with very few if any cases. These shut downs and restrictions really hurt businesses like racing facilities. Our hope and prayer is that 20201 sees Covid 19 gone for good.

There was an out of the car driver introduction.

On the green I knew right away the changes we made were good. The car was the best it's been all year, and much better than it was when I was here in 2017. It was perfect really, no push in the middle, not loose off, allowing me to stay with the pack for the most part.

I had some very good battles with a few Pro Stock drivers. #80 Ryan Vanorischot and I battled for well over 80 laps. He got by me a few times, and I was able to get by him as well. We raced side by side for quite a few laps, clean, no banging just hard racing.
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I also had some good racing with the #0 owned by R&D Performance and driven another youngster Matt Vaughan. This was a race that I really needed to count on my spotter because the leaders were a few tenths faster and caught us every 45 laps. Tyler did a fantastic job, his best this year, and he's been doing good all year, but this race showed how much he's learned and applied to the race. It was a clean race with no issues, no accidents, only one caution :o

I have many stats, you can see them in a post just below Diary of a Season 2019......51 Years of Stats, soon to be updated after 2020. Another stat has been added after this one. Over the years I have raced many features that were non stop, mostly 40 and 50 lap races. Usually there are cautions in those races, and definitely in 100 lappers.
So this past weekend another stat was created. I raced 136 laps before the first and only cautions came out....yes I was very happy and so were the youngsters.

When Tyler said "75 laps, half way buddy, you're doing great" I thought "are you kidding, this is crazy". Very fast speeds, battling with two cars all race, I was exhausted. When he said "just 25 to go" I was thinking "you can do it, just focus and don't slow down". If my arms heard my mouth saying that they would have wondered what was wrong with me
what are you nuts, we can't grip this wheel any longer" :lol:

Finally on lap 136 the yellow came out and all I could think was "hurray"!!!!

It was a single car incident when the #5 of Johnathan Wickens got tangled with Cole Butcher and spun out in turn 2.
The caution was long enough to get a drink and relax, but the work out that long took away my energy to battle anymore. I settled for the spot I was in, happy we had an aggressive decent run, no damage and the car handled great.

Congrats to Nicholas Naugle #08 for his win. Greg Proude #29 in his new Fury car lead every lap until the caution. He elected to take the inside for the restart. I think that hurt him because Naugle was able to get the lead and pull away.

Check at this picture of Best Lap times. We were only .265 thousands behind the fastest car, the winner
We crossed the line in 16th but a good showing for us, being competitive and having a good car handling wise. That's really good for me, my best Late Model lap times in years.
I need to work out over the winter to be stronger for all these races in 2021.
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Our next and final race is Sunday October 4th at the Center For Speed. :)
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Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:52 pm

Re: Diary Of A Season 2020

Post by Gary » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:19 am

October 4th..........Center For Speed

Race #8

849 Consecutive

1292 Total Nights

Pictures from Ernest Pothier

High Lites
* 15 cars
* Robbie MacEwen wins
* We have a great run, competitive
* My best night in a Late Model in 7 years
* We get wrecked twice
* Crew works hard to make changes on pit stops
* Our 4th new track in 2020
* Center For Speed nice track
* 300 pound RR spring
* 525 final worked best



Right door, right rocker panel, left front fender, front nose, a few body braces

Bob, Shannon, Tyler, Jeff, Chris....help from Dean and of course Buttons

Sometimes the final race of the year makes a team want to unload and give it all they have knowing there won't be another race in the Maritimes for 7 months. In the past 7 years I haven't comfortable at all in a Late Model and more than likely just wanted the season to end and prepare for the next year. That wasn't the case this year.

Covid only allowed us a few races, and thanks to the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia we got 8 nights to promote our sport and sponsors. Our previous race at Riverside International Speedway opened my eyes to see I had more stamina than I gave my self credit for. The race went 136 laps non stop....a crazy long run on a very fast, g-force strong track. Hard on a young guy, but I was able to battle with a few cars throughout that race. Though 4 laps down, the Riverside 150 lap race was a positive for me.

We arrived at Center For Speed around 8am.
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It was about a 2 hour trip. CFS is a different track than any I have ever been on. I was told it was a circle, and maybe one day it was, but it wasn't this year. Two clear straightaways with nice smooth turns. A track that you drive hard in and let the car roll though the center.

Tyler drew the starting spot for me but we agreed to go to the back.
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The boys mounted tires, there was no tire machine, so we learned old school and got it done. :)
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Each set of hot laps allowed us to get the set up better. The car was loose off in the first few sets and I was hitting the chip very hard. I went from a 400 RR spring to a 300 to help loose off, 567 gears, to 548 but was still hammering the chip. We took out some stagger and raised the track bar (pan hard).
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We finished 8th in the heat, last, but learned more about the car. I didn't care too much about the heat, I wanted to have a clean race and we did. I was still hitting the chip very hard and that wouldn't work, hitting it too soon.
I get hitting the chip hard, but too hard isn't good. The chip allows the car to slow down, acts like a brake. But too much means the corner entry is too far back. I also found it loading up the carb because of the long banging off the rev limiter.

We made a few changes for the feature. The first thing was to fix hitting chip so hard. Cole Butcher told me he went to a 532 final. I didn't have that set for a 412 quick change. I borrowed a set from Andrew Hickens. He was very supportive. I asked for a 536 but he was using those, he gave me a set of 525....that's 230 RPM less than what I ran in the heat and 340 RPM less than I started.
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We started at the back of the feature like I've been doing all year. Finishing last in the heat will usually put you at the back of the feature unless you elect to go to the back at the beginning of the night which I did.

I was very happy with the car right from the start moving up and passing cars. I could roll through the center and get on the gas coming off the corners and the car wasn't loose. I could tell our car was very strong, and was thinking we could get a top 5 in this race.
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On about lap 50 I was following Shawn Pierce through traffic. He got under the #24, a rookie, and I followed Shawn. In the middle of turn 1 and 2, I was beside the 24 when he came down hard on me, slamming the car, knocking our car off the track and cutting the RF tire. That really upset me because I always give a lane to anyone racing me.

I crawled through the infield, you can't go very fast on a flat tire. The yellow came out when I was finally able to make it to the back chute. I headed right for the pits. They boys quickly changed the tire although it was hard with not a lot room to get the jack under.

We made it back out and started at the back. Another yellow came out and I headed back to the pit to have the RF wheel torqued. The field doubled up right away. As I headed down the dirt road to get back on the track the green was thrown. As I was entering the paved part to go on the track the pace car came in front of me. I was able to get around him but lost a little more time.

I pulled on the track in turn 3 with the leaders coming fast off turn 2. When I got into high gear and headed down the front chute I couldn't see one car in front of me, not from turn 4 all the way to coming off turn two.

For the next 15 laps all I could think of was the leaders catching me. To my surprise and my teams joy I was gaining on the pack in front of me and the leaders weren't overtaking me.

I caught the pack and started passing cars. Another yellow came out putting us 12th. On that restart, we were just hard luck. About two laps into this restart we were running great. I made a move to go outside just as a car 4 ahead was turned and spun out. Cars jacked up, trying not to hit him. If I was still on the inside lane it would have been okay, but as I came off 4 he was sliding up and up until he blocked the track and I couldn't stop but hammered in T-bone style. :oops:

I knew there was too much damage for us to have the same car we had all race. I headed for he pits and the boys checked the car over. The right front fender was broken (fiber glass), front nose was damaged, hood and body braces.

They worked on it fast and got me back out. A few laps later 2 cars got messed up, one mounted the other pushing him right off the track. That yellow was going to be a long time, so I headed back to the pits for the crew to check things over closer and secure the low hanging body panels.

The final 40 laps were very discouraging. We restarted 13th. The car wasn't handling any longer. A severe push off the corners. We were still able to pass a few cars and would finish the race in 8th place. I drove as hard as I could but the push was killing our lap times.
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Overall we had a great race, our best finish of the year and I really enjoyed racing on this track.

Congrats to Robbie MacEwen for taking the win, a very contested race with Johnathan Hickens right on his tail.

That's it for 2020, a great year considering Covid messed things up pretty bad. We need to get a few more sponsors for 2021 and secure the ones we do have now.

We do have one more show this year at Canadian Tire in Truro. The boys came over Monday night to get the car respectable for the show. I will post soon when the date will be for that event.
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PS......just got a text message from a friend that our car was very fast on lap 80, within a tenth of the leaders. That's a huge bit of encouragement to me and my team 8-)

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