It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words... so here are a few thousand for you to ponder...
We work hard and we vacation well... yet another bonus of being a part of Team LaCross... The year ending vacation to Cabo!
Betcha thought things were pretty quiet around here lately and well... things have been!
We had the Banquet 2 weeks ago and wow, that was a hell of a party! but I digress... a couple of things happened that night which bear noting.
1 - Lex and Dani did a great job putting it together. The Tulalip resort is fantastic and the rooms are well worth the price, although I dont think they knew what they were getting into by putting us racers all over the hotel instead of on one or two floors where we would only disturb each other!
2 - Our goals for next year came into clear focus... WIN... it felt odd not being in a tuxedo for a banquet. It was our first one since we hung up the Mini Stock 4 years ago and going from the Champions table to a regular one was strange. I don't want to seem uppity or anything, but I look damn Suave in a Tux and want to have the chance to wear one again next season... lol
As you may know, the Hot rod is up for sale. We are going to upgrade the chassis this winter as part of our effort to go out and compete for the championship. Parts have come and gone, the engine sits lonely on its stand in the corner of the shop, waiting for its trip down to Cope to be freshened up.
But, all will have to wait for 2 weeks, as the team packs up and heads to Cabo for a much needed vacation. We will all be back just before thanksgiving and after the holiday, racecars will be back in full swing as we start preparing for next season, so stay in touch... We've only scratched the surface!
Well, its over.
Season #1 in Late Models for Team LaCross is now complete. And with a final points finish of 7th, I am pretty pleased with how things went.
We started the year with some specific goals in mind:
Finish every race in the top ten - Close, but no cigar on that one We had 11 top ten finishes in 19 races
Finish in the top ten season points - Done!
Make every race - It was a real challenge at times, but we did it
Get a top 5 finish - Oh so very close a couple of times, but 6th was the best we could muster
Start on the pole - Done... Twice! Sure it was with the invert, but its still the pole!
Lead a lap - Done... and not just by luck. While getting to be on the pole obviously helped, the laps we lead were good ones, ones where we got out there and ran well. I think it was a total of about 30 or so over 2 or 3 races...
Learn about the car and have fun - Done and Done!
As I sit back and reflect on the year that was, of course I beat myself up over decisions made, adjustments not made, set up changes that could have been done sooner, parts swaps that should have been done sooner... you know, the old "hind sight is 20/20" thing. But in all reality, I couldn't be happier with how things went. We faced serious adversity a number of times this year. From replacing most of the nose of the car to scrimping, saving and downright hawking ourselves to get that set of tires for the next race. By the end of the season, I think there were more Rivits holding together the nose and fenders than there were on the entire rest of the car, but damnit we made it...
All year long, we worked hard to get better and I think it really showed. We went from getting out of the way to making people get out of our way. From rank rookie to someone that every other driver knew they could race clean with and get a hard honest run, be it for 1st place or 10th.
Thank you's... Where do I begin??? Of course with our Sponsors:
TnT Mechanical, Papa Murphy's of Monroe, Speedway Performance, Melinda Knight.com, Fire Down Graphics, and of course, Scott's Mom! None of this would have been possible without your support. Pretty please, with sugar on top... go to our links page and click on these fine folks names, check out thier web sites and utilize thier services. They spend thier hard earned dollars to help us get to the track each and every week to promote thier businesses, let them know that you appreciate them as much as we do by making them your choice when it comes to HVAC, Pizza, Autobody repair, Spiritual guidance and Graphics work.
Also, we want to recognize the following folks who lent expertise, advice, parts, a swift kick in the butt and all sorts of other helpful things this year:
Our families - thanks for coming out to the races and cheering us on, for understanding when we miss parties, birthdays, anniversaries,etc. because we have a race that weekend, or the car needs work that night. It really does mean a lot to us!
Roger Habich, Jamie Thomas and Steve Craig - The Man, The Wizard and The Guru - These gentlemen were our go to guys on all things over our heads, which was sometimes a lot! Roger helped us get the car pointed in the right direction before the season started and was there whenever I picked up the phone to ask him even the silliest of questions. Jamie, well he is the Wizard... Our motor and Carb ran strong all year, a testament to what a good motor guy does, even when all he can do is adjust valves and keep it tuned properly. Steve took time out of his busy schedule helping our good buddy Jeff to answer our questions concerning set-ups and changes we should make. He also taught me how to refresh shocks, the proper way to check angles and provided me with a lot of confidence in my own decision making abilities.
Rob Touchette - Rob was right there with offers of parts whenever we seriously wrecked the car. He also helped us with a set of wheels at the start of the season so we would have 2 sets and not have to swap tires at the track all year. He's a cool guy with a lot of talent and knowledge and we are glad he is one of our buddies!
Fred and Trevor Hall - The old Father son Duo and Painters extraordinaire! Not only can they paint the pants off of a car, they also helped us out at the track a number of times when we were down on Crew members. Fred also loaned us his scales any time we needed them, which was a big deal to us. Even when he was racing his own car, he never once balked at letting us borrow them for a night to do set up. And what can we say about Trevor? The kid is going to be a really good painter one day, if his work on our racecar is any indication. Plus, he plays a mean Metallica Bass part on Expert during our RockBand game play nights!
Jeff Knight - What cant I say about Jeff? Without Jeff's grace, we would be sitting here talking about the season that could have been. When, after 4 years of being a part of TVM proper, we branched out to race our own car, it was Jeff who became one of our biggest cheerleaders. When we purchased our chassis, Jeff was there to tell how cool it was that we did it. When the season approached and we were short on money and long on dreams, it was Jeff who loaned us a Transmission and Shocks. When our brakes went the way of the dinosaur, again Jeff came through with a set of calipers for all 4 corners. Springs, A-Arms, sway bars, you name it, Jeff helped us with parts from his own inventory. When times were tough, Jeff would always stop by the shop and offer encouragement, words of praise and strengthen our faith. I know that it may appear that he is our parts supplier by what you see here, but he is much, much more than that... He is our Pastor, our teamate and most of all, our very good friend. Thanks for everything Jeff!
And last, but certainly not least, the team...
Scott Harrison - From being our major sponsor (TnT Mechanical), welding the occasional parts together, to providing the tow rig and trailer all year long, Scott's help could be seen in all areas of the team. When he was able to make it to the track, I never worried about having to hustle back from the spotters area to make sure the car was being serviced and all the info we need getting gathered. Being a business owner keeps Scott really busy but when he was able to break free and come out to the shop, he was always a great help and ready to take on any task.
Jeri Harrison - Team Manager - Jeri totally and completely kicks major butt. Her always sunny attitutde and willingness to do just about anything we asked of her makes her #1 in my book! She ordered the Pizzas every week, made us dinner during the times when she knew we were going to have to work into the wee hours every night the fix the car, made sure the car was waxed and cleaned every week, learned how to do tire temps, how to stretch and size tires, cleaned and organized the shop and toolbox whenver it needed attention and of course, was the lead singer during RockBand breaks. Jeri likes to think that she really didnt do much, but she couldnt be more wrong about that. You rock Jelly... dont ever forget it!
Scott LaCross - The Driver - Man, we have been doing this a long, long time haven't we? From the early days of not knowing that tire pressures actually made the car handle differently, through the championships in the Ministocks, spending many, many late nights at the Grid or the barn, making all those minute changes to help make Rogers cars that much faster to our finally moving into our own Late Model, invariably, its always been you and me, bro. Thanks for making me look good all these years, It's your desire to leave nothing on the table that we can control and ability to wheel a racecar around the track like a madman that makes it all tick. Thanks for giving me the opportunity and letting me come along for the ride!
Ok, well I think that pretty much covers it... if I forgot to mention anyone, please know that it wasnt intentional and that in every way, everyone who has been a part of this season should take credit and be proud of what we accompished. Thank you all very much!
Eddie C - Crew cheif, spotter and lifer - Team LaCross #99
Position - Number - Name
1 - 00 - Naima Lang
2 - 51 - John Zaretzke
3 - 34 - James Mugee - R
4 - 70 - Jeff Knight
5 - 11 - Mike Holden
6 - 06 - Steve Ptacek - R
7 - 99 - Scott LaCross - R
8 - 48 - Tom Hughs
9 - 16 - Daniel Moore - R
10 - 26 - Michael Prudnick
These are the season ending points standings for the Evergreen Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Stocks for 2008. 4 rookies in the top ten... not to shabby eh?
On the last day of the season, the track put us out behind the turn 2 wall to pit. I think it really was a great idea as everyone was laughing and joking, you know, enjoying ourselves. Something that is sometimes lacking when we pit on the 5/8ths during normal nights. We unloaded and all was well until we went to start the car for practice and *poof* starter went kaput. I wont bore you with details, but we never did get it fixed, so the push truck was our good and faithful friend the rest of the night... Thanks Cascade Push Truck association!!!
1st practice was ok, but changes were needed so we went to thrashing. Unfortunately for us, just as we got it all done and were ready to go out, they cut the session short, so we were unable to gauge the success or failure of said changes. We must have done good however, because we went out and qualified faster than we had ever done before. But the field was also pretty fast that night, so we started 15th on the field, not last, but not as far up as we had hoped to.
At the drop of the green we knew that we needed to move forward quickly in order to stay on the lead lap. This proved more difficult that one might imagine as there were a couple of cars that were holding ourselves and another car up. As the leaders closed in, we eventually made it around the cars that were... well lets just call them Choppers. But it was a case of too much, too little, too late as the leader got by a lap or so later.
And then, there was a yellow. Now, while we were not in line for it, I was lobbying for a "lucky dog" rule... Positioning ourselves to recieve it the next yellow, right? Well, it didnt fly, but we did end up the 1st car a lap down a few laps back under green. Now comes the frustrating part... we stayed with the leader for what seemed like 20 laps... then we were caught by the 2-4th place cars and of course did the right thing and let them by, but then we held that 5th place position on the track for the rest of the race. Nobody else on the lead lap had anything for us.
It seems like we have that track somewhat figured out, but we really need to put together a decent qualifying effort so that we can start mid pack or better instead of at the back. I know the car can do it, I know Scott can do it, I just have to be able to put both of those pieces together for 2 laps... I've got all winter to think about it now... and damnit, I WILL figure it out... I will get Crash a set up that will match up to his driving ability and get us those top 5 qualifying spots...
But I digress... we finished a dissapointing 11th, but at the same time, we were very happy with how we ran. For the majority of the race, we were a top 5 car, even if the lap counter didnt show it. We ran with the best Evergreen has to offer and we stayed with them. With all the money and talent those guys up front have, our little 2-4 person team, with a 14 year old chassis, 2 speed transmission, old school shocks and just enough money each week to buy tires, ran with the big boys on the big track. How cool is that?
Well, thats it for the 2008 season. In the coming days and weeks, I'll be posting a recap of the season overall, sending love and respect out to some special people who made this all happen and perhaps pick back up on our history of Team LaCross series. Also, I will provide updates on the off season progress, make sponsor announcements and generally keep you all aprised of the comings and goings at the shop. And Hey... if you want to get involved in a more hands on way with the race team, come on by! There will be plenty to do this winter to get ready for next year and what better way to get your feet wet and come on board for a run at the championship in 2009!
|Dino Rossi for Governor Big Track Night Canceled|
|Sep 20, 2008, 13:01 |
For Immediate Release
Evergreen Speedway – Fairgrounds Monroe
The Dino Rossi for Governor Big Track Championship race night has been canceled due to inclement weather conditions. The NASCAR Whelen All American Series Speedway Chevrolet Super Stock Championship race will be rescheduled for Saturday September 27th. It will join the rest of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series classes on their respective championship races that evening which is fan appreciation night. They will still compete on the .646 mile oval; however the event has now been scheduled for 75 laps. Please visit www.evergreenspeedway.com as more information about this event is posted this coming week. The September 27th Championship night is sure to be the most exciting event of the 2008 season and all classes with the exception of the Speedway Chevrolet Super Stocks will run rain or shine.
The ASA Aero Exhaust Northwest Tour race will not be rescheduled. A press release will be forthcoming with more detailed information from ASA officials.
Just wanted to put out a short blurb to remind you all that tomorrow is the last race of the season for us at Evergreen Speedway for 2008.
Come on out and watch 250 laps of late model racing with ourselves and the ASA NW Tour.
Schedule of Events (Tentative)
Saturday September 20th, 2008
Evergreen Speedway – Fairgrounds Monroe
“Dino Rossi for Governor NW Big Track Championship Night”
Super Stock Practice 3:05-3:35
ASA Practice 3:40-4:10
Super Stock Practice 4:15-4:45
* Mandatory Drivers Meeting 5:00
Qualifying (ASA, SS) 5:20
Autograph Session (Tables by Victory Stage) 6:20
Opening Ceremonies 6:55
Grid Super Stocks 7:05
Green Flag 7:15
K-9 Demonstration 8:30
Grid ASA Tour 8:40
Green Flag 8:50
Copyright © 2006 Evergreen Speedway, All Rights Reserved,
See you there!
This is the slogan of Snickers... it also explains this weekend for us...
As you know, the car got wrecked pretty good two weeks ago. Scott and I spent many late hours working to get the hot rod put back together. In fact, we were still finishing things up Saturday morning right up until we loaded the car into the trailer.
During practice, the car was Ok, but certainly not what we considered "fast." Adjustments were made, pizza was eaten and many cigarettes were smoked trying to figure out what to do. Finally, we came to a decision and went with the "Go big or go home" theory. Lap 1 of Qualifying Scott almost put it in the wall due to this, but the second lap he knew what the car was going to do and bettered our best Q lap of the year on the 5/8's by 6/10ths of a second.
We were pretty happy until the 00 went out and ran a lap that left all of our jaws hanging. Man, Naima and his crew sure do have the big track figured out... I should go get one of those spy cameras and get some speed secrets from them!
We ended up starting 15th out of 18 cars. Not horrible considering that we started the previous big track races last. The car was allright, but we got lapped around lap 30 or so, which isnt too odd considering that the entire field was lapped on the last race we had on this track. Around lap 65, there was a wreck and caution which bunched the field back up. A few laps after the restart, we started moving forward... quickly. Scott simply said that it felt like he was driving a different car after that caution. He was putting it wherever he felt like it, passing with relative ease and driving away, catching the next car in line and making another pass.
The car was still tight in, loose off, but it sure didnt look it as Scott battled for positions, moving forward most of the time! The track cut the race short by 10 laps, which we didnt like as we felt we could have moved up another position in those laps. In the end, we finished 7th, 1 lap down. 5 cars finished on the lead lap and we were on the back bumper of the 6th place car at the checkered flag.
I got back down the the pits and it was a very happy place. We really felt that had we been able to stay on the lead lap early, we could have been right there battling for the top 5. It really made all that work we put in worth it to perform as well as we did. Another thing we were happy about is that every change we made to the car, we made ourselves, without asking for help from anyone. This is a big step for our young Late Model team. We know that we have a long ways to go as far as knowledge, but it sure felt good to make decisions about the car and have them actually work!
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Fred Hall at Speedway Performance for his help over the break in straightening out the frame, Kelly and Karen Mann for helping us out with a lightly used spindle and Rob Touchette for the offer of any parts we might have needed. You all are the best!
Also, we want to give a shout out to Chris Preston #28. Scott and Chris battled away for what seemed like half the race, trading spots and racing hard, never once so much as trading a gram of paint. As tough as it is to be the spotter and never really getting to watch the races, I really enjoyed the show that Chris and Scott put on. Thanks for the great race Chris!
Well, this is it... the last race of the season is this Saturday. The Northwest Big Track championship night with ourselves and the ASA NW Tour on the 5/8's mile oval. Come on out and catch some great racing action as there will certainly be some fireworks as the track championship is coming right down the wire with the 00 of Naima Lang holding a slim 6 point lead over current Champ John Zaretzke in the 51 car.
Also, Team LaCross would like to say congratulations to the 00 Lang Autosports team for winning the NASCAR Washington State Championship last weekend. Way to go guys... you worked hard all year and it paid off big time!
Well, what can I say... it was a very unusual day Saturday...
The Highs - We were FAST! We didn't get a qualifying time due to one of the lows listed below and had to start at the back of the 18 car field in both 50 lap races, but it didn't matter... we really hit the set up at long last and LaCrash drove it like he stole it!
Race 1 - After spending several laps trying to get around a car that is normally very fast, but had a new driver in it, we finally got by and took off towards the front. By the end of the race, we had caught up to the battle being waged for positions 4-8 and ended up finishing 8th. Not too bad all things considered.
Race 2 - Yup, you guessed it, we started at the back again. The results were far different this time however, as by lap 20 we had climbed up to 6th and were looking for more. Unfortunately, we had a bad restart after a caution on lap 21 and slipped back to 8th. Scott settled in and we knew we would move back forward until lap 23... (continued below)
The Lows - Bad luck, bad parts...
Pre-race - Well, to say the day was a mechanical struggle would be playing it down a little. As soon as we unloaded from the trailer we started having clutch problems. the throwout bearing had come apart and as soon as Scott stepped on the clutch, it spewed fluid everywhere. To make a long story short, I had the tranny in and out of the car 3 times, trying different repairs to no avail. That's when JZ came over and told us, "just disconnect it and run without it!" Which we did and boy am I glad about it! We did miss our qualifying window though, which kind of stunk. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the good folks at Jerico for building one heck of a transmission. Gotta love those guys!
Race 2 continued - So on Lap 23, the 11 and 2 car had been beating and banging on each other for a couple of laps when finally the straw broke. From what I could tell, the 11 was trying to pass the 2 coming out of turn 4 and got way loose, sliding up into the 2 and sending him spinning towards the infield. This was a great opportunity to pickup a few spots and since the top side of the track was wide open, we gunned it out of 4 and went wide.
Have you ever seen Days of Thunder? Remember the scene where Cole goes high to avoid the wreck at Daytona and suddenly there is a car directly in front of him? Bingo... Just as Scott was passing the start/finish line at full throttle, the 11 decided to hit the 2 again (I'm not sure what the heck he was thinking at that point) and spun him back up the track, directly in front of us. There was nowhere for Scott to go but into the 2 car then into the wall... hard. The 11 continued for a while longer before wrecking himself out, but ourselves and the 2 car were done for the night, basically due to someone else's wreckless driving style.
As you can see by the pictures, not a pretty site. This is what happens when guys try to race beyond either their own capabilities or the capabilities of their equipment.... They not only wreck themselves, but wreck other cars that had nothing to do with it. One simple thing could have kept this from happening... Patience. Patience is something that some drivers are sorely lacking these days. They see guys like Kyle Busch on TV pushing and shoving their way to the front and figure that they should drive like that too. Wait 1 more lap to make the pass, put yourself in position to do it cleanly and we all finish the night with smiles on our faces and everyones car in one piece.
Well I have news for you... Busch has dozens of cars and millions of dollars behind him to fix what he wrecks... perhaps you have the budget to go out and wreck your own car (actually, it wasn't even your own car... it was a rental deal... I'm sure the owner enjoyed seeing the mess you brought back to him on Sunday), but I don't have the budget to fix what you destroy on mine.
I digress... We have great friends and teammates that are already stepping up to the plate to help us get the Old Hot Rod cobbled back together... Hopefully the parts bill wont be too much, the frame damage minimal and the hours to fix it efficient.
Next race: Saturday, September 13th "Washington State Championship Night" on the big 5/8's oval with the ASA.NSRA Sprint cars...
How do all!
I just wanted to give another quick thank you to all our sponsors this year for helping us in our inaugural season!
TNT Mechanical - Heating and Air Conditioning
Speedway Performance - Autobody and Repair
Papa Murphy's Pizza of Monroe - Mmm, Mmm Good!
Melinda Knight.com - One of the coolest Women we know!
Visual Ventures - Design and Branding Services
Fire Down Graphics - Race Car Graphics and Design
And all of our friends and family who have pitched in here and there to keep us coming out to the races.
Our sponsors are very important to us and we here at Team LaCross really do hope that you take the time to click on the links on the lower right side of our web page and visit our sponsors and when you do, tell them that we sent you!
Don't forget to come see us during the Autograph Session this Saturday!
Paul Simon's classic song pretty much sums up the last race...
Slip Slidin Away
Slip Slidin Away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're Slip Slidin Away...
This is a racing clutch
Now, as many of you are probably aware, when your clutch starts going out, it makes it extremely difficult to get your car going. This is what happened to us on Saturday night... A burned up clutch ended our night before it really got a chance to get started.
The car was a handful from the moment we unloaded it from the trailer. We spent the majority of the day trying to get the car to handle properly, with limited success. By the time the main rolled around, I had pretty much just thrown caution to the wind and made 4 or 5 adjustments and told Scott to drive it like he stole it and see what happens. Everything seemed normal on the pace laps, but when the green dropped, I knew right away that something was wrong. We got absolutely left in the dust of the field... the yellow flag flew indicating a full restart and a few seconds later I heard the words over the radio I knew were coming... "There is something wrong with the car... I think we lost the clutch or the rear end..."
Our assesment was confirmed on the 2nd restart as we struggled to get up to speed. I watched for smoke coming from the rear end, which I did not see as Scott played with the throttle a little to try to get the car to go. We pedaled around for about 23 laps, hoping to at least finish the race, staying out of the way as much as possible, but the officials finally asked us to pull off, which we did without question. It was a fitting end to a terrible day of racing for us. Fortunately, the guys in the positions in front and behind us in the season points race also had off nights and we were able to keep 7th place in sight and 9th place behind us.
Last night, we pulled the clutch and confirmed our suspicions... the friction plates were toast. I suppose its a blessing in disguise as while clutch plates are not exactly cheap, Transmissions and Rear ends are much more so! I had been thinking about that clutch for the past few weeks and been impressed with its durability, as it had at least a full season on it between Roger and Scott. Couple that with the fact that with our 2 speed, Scott regularly has to slip the clutch a little to get the car going, I guess it was high time for it to surrender...
It should also be noted that we suffered (3), yes boys and girls, 3 flat tires Saturday. I will take this opportunity to thank the track for doing such a stellar job of cleaning up after the monster truck show the night before... we hadnt suffered from 3 flats for the entire season to this point. Oh well... it's only 140 bucks a tire, right? But I digress... There was a bright spot to the day... it came in the form of Golden ears of corn, cooked to perfection and drenched in melted butter... yes, we got to have fair food! I tried my first deep fried Twinkie... It was ok I guess, but at least I can say I tried it.
Next up, the WiredX Energy Drink double feature night featuring twin 50 lap super stock races, bombers, minis and stinger 8's. The points battle between the 00 of Naima Lang and the 51 of John Zaretzke is really heating up and this weekend has the makings of an epic stretch run to the Championship... dont miss it!
Well, the dust has settled on yet another week of racing at Old Evergreen Speedway.
Last Saturday we showed up with a new setup, high hopes and 4 new skins, ready to do battle... and battle we did... Battled to get the right stagger, battled to get the car to loosen up in, battled to get the car tighter off...
We unloaded and hit the track to scrub, knowing the tires were a little, shall we say, Off... We used an inventory tire we were sitting on since the beginning of the season and it was really small for some reason, so I was chasing stagger all day. Unfortunately, we don't have the budget to buy new practice tires, so we ran the best of what I thought we had to try and get a handle on the new set up... They were junk, but we did figure out we were too tight in.
All day we struggled to get the car to loosen up in, through Qualifying and the Heat race we tinkered. The result was not what we had hoped for. From the 10th starting position in the main, we were able to struggle our way up to 7th and maintain it to the end. The car was scitzophrenic at best and Scott fought it valiantly the entire race. When he got out of the car at the end, he looked like he had just went 15 rounds with Tyson, whooped up on and drained of all energy.
The good news is that the car came back in one piece, despite the best efforts of one driver, who tried to take off the nose of the car on one lap. Just left a nice black tire mark on the nose in time for the biggest races of the year... Grrrrrr. So the main focus of work this week is setting things back to where they were 2 weeks ago and trying to improve from there...
This week, its the FAIR!!!! come on out and enjoy the sights and sounds of the fair and then top it off with an evening of cheering on your favorite race team as we dig to finish the season on a high note. Supers, Bombers and the Figure 8 Nationals are on tap Saturday night... it will be a great show!
See you at the races!
Ok, so I AM the spotter amongst my other duties on the race team. A quick tutorial...
The spotter is responsible for a great many things. He/she watches the car during the race, letting the driver know things like lap times, laps remaining, track status (green, caution, red, etc.), proximity of other cars... The spotter is also the liaison between the track and his/her driver, relaying information between the two such as restart positions, black flag info, notification of debris or fluids on the track, etc. The spotter is the Driver's extended eyes and ears, watching his own driver as well as watching the track ahead of him for danger. He/she is both a Cheerleader and a calming voice of reason.
You may be asking yourself, "why is Ed saying you cant trust spotters and what does that have to do with this week's race report?" Well, I will get to that in a minute...
This week, we ran a Double Feature night. This was decided upon a few weeks ago by the Track management to get in a race that was rained out earlier in the season. Two 50 lap races in one big night... our main concern was tires... we had to run both races on the same set of 4. Now, as documented in these pages, we tried the 2 races on one set experiment before to disastrous results, so you can understand our apprehension. As it turns out, this fear was unwarranted.
This week we chucked the old baby buggy set up completely for a more up to date one. It certainly isn't the bump stop or coil bind set ups that are currently popular, but its a far cry from the conventional we were running. The thinking was that Scott would perform better on this set up as it is a lot closer to the old set up we used to run in our Mini-stock for years.
The day started out with us learning that our team would be down 2 members. That left myself and Scott to do it all... A daunting task to be sure, but one that we both knew we could handle. We garnered the assistance of our friend and yours Fred Hall to help us drag our tool box and spare tires to the track and went to his shop to help him get his car ready for racing as well. Unfortunately, they were not able to get it ready by 2:30 and sent us on our way to the track and they would come over when they were done. So off we went, minus Tires and with just a few essential tools as we knew we could borrow what we needed from Jeff.
When we arrived, we unloaded and ran the car out to scuff the race tires. Being it was just the 2 of us, we were ok with just getting that done and not trying to do some gonzo framus to get practice tires back on for that 1st practice, which was no big deal since our tires weren't there yet. As the 2nd practice was starting, we got a depressed call from Fred letting us know that they were not going to be able to make it out. He offered to bring our things over, but we told him to get his car done and get over there for the race and not to worry about us... While I was a little worried about not having much practice time, I knew that we had two races tonight, so we could get it figured out.
Qualifying rolled around and Scott, with a total of 5 laps on the set up running at 3/4 speed, went out and ran his first sub 18 second qualifying lap of the season! Who needs practice, eh?? :-) We were both elated to finally get that monkey off of our backs, but knew that the car had a lot more in it, so we went to work making a few adjustments for the main.
A word about the Evergreen Speedway invert process... We have a 7/10ths rule at the track... the invert for the mains excludes all cars not within that time of the pole sitter. This week, we were 2/100ths shy of a possible 10 car invert and our 2nd pole start of the season. As it was, we started 10th on the field. The first main was largely caution free and we came home in 7th, equaling our best finish of the year. The car was pretty predictable and Scott felt that for the first time all year, he was driving the car, vs. riding around in it. A few more adjustments and we were ready for the 2nd main.
We started outside row 1 for the 2nd race, which was determined by our 2nd fast Qualifying lap. At the drop of the green, Scott took the lead through turn 1 and 2 and lost it again due to a little dirt excursion off of 2, but the Yellow flew after JZ's car was shoved off the track in turn 4. JZ was able to gather it up without too much damage and we got a full restart. This time Scott would not be denied... He took the lead again going into turn one and this time, held steady and opened up a 6 car length lead, We lead for 8 laps until the 11 car, who had much fresher tires than everyone else due to only running a couple of laps in the first race, went blowing by like we had an anchor out... Let me tell you, anyone who says tires aren't important can shove that noise up their nose!
A few laps later, we were running around in 2nd when the first caution came out... Jeff got turned going into 1 and 7 cars were involved in some way... It wasn't pretty as He and the 00 sustained heavy front end damage, enough to force them into the pits, only to return with no front body work. Now this is where the spotter screwed up... The track told us that Yellow flags would count after the Red to clean up the mess was lifted... this meant that I assumed the 00 car was a lap or more down once racing restarted... which brings me to the mother of all screw ups on my part.
We were tooling around having a good old time running in the top 5. Kelly Mann and James Muggee had gotten by and JZ got by in dramatic fashion on the low side of 2 (Scott came over the radio screaming with the excitement of a kid in a candy store as JZ made the pass.. He later said that he was on the white line and he saw a yellow flash below him, dirt and sparks flying everywhere... coolest pass he had ever seen) with 15 to go, the 00 was closing on us... not because he was markedly faster, but because as we assumed he was a lap down, there was no reason to grease up the tires and risk wrecking to keep him behind us. With 12 to go, Scott let him by and the 06 car freight trained with him. Then Kelly finally lost his left front tire which had been smoking most of the race and Imagine my surprise when I looked at the scoreboard and the 00 was now in 4th with the 06 in 5th!
In the end, we finished 6th, our best finish of the year, but I really feel that we could have held Naima and Steve off for those last laps and got that elusive top 5 finally. Lesson learned; Race every car like its for position on every lap... never assume anything... and trust me, we wont!
We have the weekend off, but we are going to Idaho with Jeff and his team to race at Meridian Speedway. It should be a great time! Next race is August 16th on the 3/8th mile oval and then its two weeks of racing at the fair! If you haven't made it out yet, I highly suggest that you do during the fair... Make a day of it, enjoy the sights and sounds of the 100th anniversary edition of the Evergreen State fair and top it off with exciting Nascar short track racing!
See you at the track!
There is a lot of scuttlebutt going around this week about people running out of gas or almost running out of gas last weekend and how they must be running big carbs, etc.
We were obviously not the fastest machine on the track last week, as evidenced by our 11th place finish. However, upon filling the fuel cell, we discovered that we used up a full 18 gallons of gas from our 22 gallon fuel cell. Not a very large margin for error considering that 150 laps on the 5/8s equals roughly 101 miles, which works out to 5.6 mpg. I figure we could have safely gone another 20 or so laps before we too ran out.
Now, if we were that close to running out, it is perfectly reasonable that the guys who were running super fast laps were cutting it even closer, in fact, if they didn't top up their tanks before going out, they might have even been out there with less than full capacity. So to all who are screaming foul, quiet down... your conspiracy theories are getting out of hand.
Now, on to our weekend. We showed up to the track not knowing what to expect. I loosened up the car substantially from the previous big track race but in practice Scott reported back to me that the car was STILL tight. So, with more wedge out and trailing arm adjustments, we went to qualify, which I'd rather not talk about other than to say we started shotgun on the field again. But, we were faster than our previous attempt, so even though it wasn't awesome, it was an improvement!
After qualifying, I must say I was pretty deflated and beginning to question my ability to make that car go fast. I'm sure that we have all felt a twinge of that so you know what I am getting to. I sat for a while by myself, watching the other classes qualify, smoking cigarettes and decided that come hell or high water, I was going to make that thing go! A little more wedge out, a small shock adjustment and it was time for the main event.
As I mentioned, we started 17th on the field. Roger had a little chat with Scott before the main and it really seemed to put a fire under him as he was driving the car deeper, getting it down in the corners and stabbing the throttle coming off harder and earlier than I have ever seen him do it before. He was downright Racy, running guys down, passing them and driving away from them. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on who your favorite guy is (I hope its Scott, since you are following along here!) Naima was absolutely on rails and lapped the entire field! man, those boys over there sure do have it figured out this year and look to be in a great position to take it all.
In the end, our best lap time was 1/2 a second faster than our qualifying lap and we spent a good portion of the race under that Q time as well. We ended up in 11th place, an improvement over our finish last time on the big track and we felt good overall about the day's events. We all look forward to the last two races of the year when we are back out there, but I'm also looking forward to running on the 3/8s again for a few weeks.
Congratulations to last week's winners, Jeff Barkshire (Nascar Camping World West Series), Gary Lewis (ASANWT), Naima Lang (Speedway Chevrolet Super Stocks) and Frank Cowgill (Les Schwab Bombers)
Tomorrow, twin 50 lap races on the 3/8s. Dont miss it!!!
As many of you already know, we lost our good friend Mike Wallace tragically last weekend. In honor of Mike, Jeff Knight, Jeff Barkshire and ourselves will be running this decal on our cars during the Washington 500 weekend.
We will miss you Mike... We know that you are with the Lord now, riding point as always and keeping us all safe from above.
Thats really all I can say... Sure, we finished 10th, but we also started 10th. We struggled mightily Saturday night trying to get the car to handle like anything that actually resembled a race car... we never did hit the mark . Big changes are afoot with the direction of the race program. The novelty of our original intent for this season of just getting laps and finishing in the top ten has lost its luster.
It has become readily apparent that we need to have a few things checked out that we have been assuming are right all season long... things like Bump Steer, Roll Center, etc. We will make them right... We will strive to perform better, not only for ourselves, but for all of you too! Time to get back to basics... time to visit the right people who will help us figure out what we have been missing and get this program rolling forward!
Stick it out with us kids.... it's going to be a hell of a fun ride!
Next up, July 26th, the Washington 500 at Evergreen Speedway... 150 laps for the Nascar Camping World Series, 150 Laps for the ASA Northwest Tour, 150 laps for the Whelen All-American series Speedway Chevrolet Super Stocks and 50 laps for the Whelen, Les Schwab Tires Bombers on the big 5/8's mile oval. Front gates open at 1:30pm with Qualifying starting at 2:30 and racing at 5:00.
Bring your friends, bring yoru family, bring your seat cushions because its going to be a long, fun night of racing!
So many of you have been asking... "what is this FB thing all about?" Today, your question will be answered!
1999 - A year of Mechanical nightmares. The year that made us say goodbye to the Mouse and hello to the Mule by the end of the season.
We lost 6 or 7 motors that year. Well, to say we lost the motors is a little strong, more like we spun bearings that many times. Apparently the manufacturer who made the bearings changed something in thier composition without telling anyone and as they had always performed well in the past, The Wizzard kept using them until he figured out it was a manufacturing error. By that time though, everyone had had enough with pulling the motor out every other race. the 1600cc Mouse motor was a high revving screamer to be sure, but it was getting just too expensive to run.
When we could keep the motor together though, we were starting to become kind of racy. Top 5 runs were becoming more frequent and our confidence grew weekly. We were never ones to want to do much of the "smart guy" work on the car, so we did what turned out to be the smartest thing we ever have done... We started taking the car to Roger Habich. Roger knows racing like the back of his hand and is quite possibly one of the smartest guys I know. With Roger working with us on chassis and set-up and the Wizzard building motors, it was only a matter of time before we get that first win.
Which leads me to the cliffhanger... Scott is out there driving his butt off and finds himself in the lead for the first time in our racing career. The 98 track champion and current points leader was behind him, giving him all the pressure he could handle, but he was cool as a cucumber out there, driving it like he had led a million laps before. They go into turn 1 nose to tail when suddenly in the middle of the turn, the car takes a violent turn to the left and comes to rest sideways in the grass. They display the black flag to the other driver and put him to the rear of the field as the tow truck comes out and pulls us back to the pits. I ask Scott what is wrong as there is no damage to the car and he says that it just wont start.
So they bring him back and we lift the hood and see nothing really amiss until we remove the air cleaner... On a standard racecar, there are many parts which make it run, but few are as important to the mix as the Carburetor. The standard carb required by the class back them was the Holley 350 2bbl. Classic in its design, it has been used for decades on vehicles of all kinds.
Now, on the carb are a few important items, one of them is the metering block, the other is the... ::::Drum roll please::: Float Bowl. The Float Bowl and metering block attach to the main body of the Carb via 4 bolts. Now, as a racecar vibrates, things tend to become loose and when screws get loose, parts fall off. Upon removal of the air cleaner, we see the carb body, the metering block (miraculously still fastened to the body) but no Float Bowl. Going into turn one, the screws finally had enough and removed themselves from thier threads. this allowed the Float Bowl to fall off and of course, stopped delivering fuel to the motor. Well, as you can imagine, once the car used up the fuel that was left in the metering block, it died. There was nothing the guy behind us could do but run into our bumper and spin us around. As it clanked around the fuel line broke and it made its way out of the engine compartment. To be honest, I was more than a little shocked we didnt have a fire with all that fuel shooting out into open air.
From that day forward, EVERY nut and bolt on the car got a wrench put on it Every week. It's a practice we continue to this day, just as any other good race team does. We finished 9th in points that year, but it was to be the lowest finish we would ever have again...
Next up, 2000... Close, but no cigar... yet...
P.S. We never did find that Float Bowl... we even walked the corner to see if it was there... maybe the track ate it!
Did I mention it was Hot Saturday???
Holy smokes, the Mercury must have been tipping 90 degrees on the asphalt as we ventured out on the the 5/8 oval for the first time this year. We arrived at the track about 12:15 anticipating a log jam getting in and finding a pit stall and boy were we glad we did! Picking a spot at the entrance to pit road made me appreciate the short walk I normally have to the stands to spot. Once we got in and set up the pits, out went the trailer and truck and then began the sitting around in the sun until 1st practice at 3:15. Scott wheeled the car out to scuff in the race tires for a few laps and then we went out on the practice set for the rest of the session, which was a good thing, because the left rear race tire had a hole in it! I am certainly glad we found that before the race...
We missed the 2nd session dealing with the tire issue and the fact that our practice set had so many laps on them that they weren't really helping us learn much. We didn't qualify very well and had to start at the rear of the main, but in retrospect, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing! The temp had cooled to a balmy 85 or so by race time and by then we were all anxious to get out there and get laps in under race conditions. I mean, you can practice for hundreds of laps, but until you actually get out there and start rubbing doors, it's hard to know just how much you need to push the car.
On lap 2, one of the cars lost a tire and slammed into the turn 4 wall, bringing out a red to fix it. The wall made it... unfortunately the car didn't and they had to put it on the rollback to get it back to the pits. When we got back under green, we were able to hold our own, passing a car or two, but something just wasn't right and Scott was having a difficult time getting back to the throttle without the car wanting to slip out from under him. This lead to us going a lap down around lap 36, but we weren't the only ones... the lead pack of 4 cars were on absolute fire and it was amazing to see how well they were running.
About lap 52, 3 cars got together on the front stretch, bringing out another long caution. By now, Scott had settled into a groove and was driving the car as fast as it would go and stay out of the wall. As the laps wound down, we discovered a little something that should make us much faster and more competitive the next time around. I'd tell you what it was, but I'd have to silence you after!
In the end, we started 17th and finished 12th. Not our best finish of the year, but for his first start on the big track, not too bad either. The car is straight and nothing mechanical broke, so it should be a somewhat light week at the race shop. Scott is already looking forward to getting back out there on the 26th as well as our next race on the 3/8, which is on the 12th.
Later this week, I will unlock the mystery of FB... I know you are all waiting with baited breath!
Well... it was another strange night out at Evergreen.
It was hot and muggy for the nights races. After the lesson learned the week before, the Hot Rod was skinned up with new rubber and we were looking to recapture the magic of three weeks earlier when we lead the first 13 laps of the race. Unfortunately, the car was a little tight all day. We tried a few tweaks here and there before heading out for the heat race and nothing seemed to be working. Well, when all else fails, break out the wrenches! A couple of degrees here, a turn of bite out there and we were ready for the main.
A short aside... During the autograph session, Scott Whitmore of the Everett Herald (read his blog here: http://www.heraldnet.com/section/BLOG25 ) came by and chatted with us and during the course of the conversation he asked Scott how he thought he would do. Scott answered "I anticipate getting our best finish of the season tonight, which would mean 7th." I never knew LaCrash to be a clairvoyant, but I'm begining to think he is.
We started the main 11th, which is a little strange to us as that is an Inside row starting spot. It seems like we end up on the outside of dang near every start and restart this year for some reason. There was a full restart as the guys up front ended up 4 wide and and 1 car ended up having to driving off the track onto the 5/8ths to avoid getting in a wreck. This was the 1st wreck of the evening that we had to avoid... and not the last by far. It seemed like we were directly behind just about every caution this week, swerving or sliding to avoid getting into it. And while we didnt come away completely unscathed (left front fender will need some love this week) we are not looking at doing a major amount of body work this week.
Anyhow, Scott drove the car to its limit and while it was good, it just wasnt right there where it needed to be. Add to this the incident where a car got into us, got us sideways and then drove over the left rear (Totally one of those racing deals btw... That particular driver is one of the cleanest around so we knew it wasnt intentional.) Shockingly enough, the quarter panel didnt get destroyed and it all adds up to a pretty ill handling car by the end of the night. With about 3 laps to go, the leader spun and brought out the final of what seemed like a half dozen cautions. With a green/white/checkered finish in store, we restarted in 8th place and were able to work into 7th when the checkers flew. Everyone was pleased with our performance for the most part and of course we were all excited that our good buddy Jeff Knight got his first win!
I want to take a moment here to thank Trevor Hall for coming out and giving us a hand this weekend. When Fred called us Saturday morning to let us know he wasnt going to make it, we jumped on the chance to have Trevor come crew for us and he did not dissapoint. Next time you are going to come hang with us Trev, let us know and you can pick out one of the pizzas!
Next up, the "Superspeedway of the Northwest" the 5/8ths oval for Mid Season Championship night, this Saturday. There is lots to do to prepare for this race, so the next installment of the history of Team LaCross may have to wait a little bit.
Also, there is still 1/2 of a season to go and we are currently looking for companies and/or individuals who would like to take advantage of a great marketing oportunity with Team LaCross. If you know of anyone who might be up for some prime signage on one of the best looking cars at Evergreen, let us know! NASCAR is one of the most popular sports in America and for a very affordable amount, You or your company will benefit from being seen weekly by potential customers of every demographic and age group. Put that together with PA announcements, distribution of your literature and/or swag (keychains, pens, t-shirts, antenna balls or whatever you might like to provide) during trackside weekly autograph sessions and of course mention of you or your business during radio/newspaper interviews and you can see that there is a definate "Bang for your buck" that few advertising opportunities can provide at this investment level.
Thanks for stopping by and we will see you at the track!
1998... The birth of Team LaCross
The year that we Purchased the 1996 championship car from Steve Green. In 1997, LaCrash and Harrision purchased an old Rabbit mini stock and split time in it, learning the game. H driving conservatively and LaCrash earning his nickname by providing us with ample opportunities to hone our body work skills. We also learned a lesson that was expensive to be sure... Always tighten the carb stud nut! That first year we kind of waded through, finishing 19th in the points but laying the ground work for what was to come.
Come the start of the 1998 season, we came out for the first practice, car painted up all pretty, ready to set the world on fire and ::smack::: right into the turn 4 wall. I still have the chunk of bondo that was filling up the old gas filler door hanging in our race shop to this day as a little reminder of how it all came to be.
We took the car home, fixed it up and hit the track running. Back then, the Team consisted of Scott, Peter, Doug, Bob and Myself. We were all pretty new to this racing thing and very green when it came to the comittment it took to prepare a car. Friday nights at the Paragon often resulted in Saturdays spent popping tylenol instead of doing the things necessary to win races. Through it all, we kept at it and by the end of the season, we had improved to a finishing position of 8th in final standings. Not too bad for a bunch of guys who started the season not knowing what tire pressures, cross weights and ride height could really mean to the performance of a race car!
By now, we now were understanding what it takes to compete, although we were still young guys out having a good time. The team pretty much had a regular routine of Friday nights having a few Pops, Saturday at the track and Sunday recharging. Everyone was looking forward to 1999 and a run at the championship. This all came to a crashing halt after 2 words entered our vocabulary that were to shape the way we do things to this very day... which will be a part of our next post... but I'll give you a hint to what those words are...
So it was another fine January night at Evergreen Speedway. A fine mist/drizzle filled the air, cool temps were the word of the day and the sky was a dreary Grey color.... Oh wait, Its JUNE!!!!
Yeah, the coldest June in recorded history in our little slice of America has greeted us so far. We arrived at the track about 4:30 and waited outside the back gate, anticipating rain but getting just enough drizzle to make the track a little slick, but not quite enough for them to call the race.
A word: Used tires stink! The grand experiment of saving a little cash by using last week's tires was both a miserable failure and a valuable learning experience... The Hot Rod was terrible most of the night, skating around and threatening to go around smacking into things like Tonya Harding. These are things that you learn when you are new to a series.
During Qualifying, the car snapped loose on our 2nd lap, resulting in our worst effort of the year. However, we did impress all involved when Scott was able to execute a spin & drive away move that Jim Rockford would have been proud of! During the heat race, more of the same, but this time off the track into the wet grass we went, car a little dirty, but unharmed.
Rain + old used up asphalt = Cars spinning on the pace laps. No less than 3 cars did slow spins as the drizzle returned. It was determined that the Mini stocks would run their main first, drying the track for us, much to the displeasure of the guys and gals who were not expecting to run their main until later in the night and were still repairing/tuning their cars.
By the time the main rolled around, it was determined that we should just go out and bring back the car in one piece. I made a couple of adjustments to make the car a little more stable on terrible tires, but it was obvious from the start that Scott just couldn't put the car where he wanted to with any confidence that it would stay there. We pedaled around, trying to bring it home and made one more off track mud bog trip, which made a mess of the airbox, but nothing we cant fix easily. Unfortunately, some guys didn't make it out so easily. The final 2 laps took about 25 minutes to run as several cars wrecked on the restarts.
We finished 12th... a step backwards to be sure, but as the title of this post indicates, every cloud has a silver lining. By just being there and racing, we have moved up a position in the championship standings. We are now firmly in the top ten in 8th place! 27 points separate us from the guys running tied for 6th and only 44 from the guys tied for 4th! It may seem like a lot to make up with our point structure, but if we keep improving and someone has a bad night here or there, who knows how this thing could shake out. I look back at the first couple of races this season, races that we could have performed better at if I had been a little more proactive in replacing a few items that turned out to be a huge deal in the performance of the car and we could definitely be nipping a lot closer to the heels of the top 5.
We have this weekend off then one more 3/8ths race until we have a run at the big 5/8ths oval. We know the 3/8ths... we have won multiple championships on it... but the big track will be a new experience for Scott and we are all excited to see how we do!
Stay tuned for a new series coming up... Team LaCross, the history!
Well, I gotta tell ya, it was one heck of a breakthrough weekend for good Ole’ Team LaCross.
Sometimes in racing it’s all about numbers… Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad, sometimes you just toss your hands in the air and wonder why
18.096 – 12 – 1 – 13 – 17.822 – 8 – 9 – 1/8 – 3
18.096 – Our Qualifying time this week. 2/10ths faster than we have gone before. At this rate, we should be hitting the 4’s sometime soon… Heh
12 – Our qualifying position. I’ve got to figure out a way to get a qualifying set up in the car that Crash can drive into the 17’s. This, by the way just happened to be the invert for this week’s race, which leads us to…
1 – Our starting position for the main. The first pole position start for us in a Late Model. It is also the first pole start for us in I don’t know how many years, because in the Mini’s we ALWAYS started in the back due to either our points position or from a top three the week before (in the Mini stock class, there is a full field invert every week, which is dictated by championship points position)
13 – Laps led. For the first 8 laps, Crash drove away from the field. It was awesome to see him driving that car out front, leading 2nd by upwards of 12 car lengths. It reminded me of the old days when we would slice through the field in the Scirocco then run away from the field and tool around the track like it was a Sunday test session.
17.822 – Scott’s fastest race lap. Also Scott’s fastest time lap to date! This is where we need to be to stay competitive. It really made me happy to pop onto MyLaps.com yesterday and see that number. We now have confirmation that the car is definitely capable of running those numbers and faster and we know the driver can click those numbers off too!
8 – Practice laps total for the day. Unfortunately, we wanted to scuff in our qualifying tires and did not have a swift enough tire change back to the practice hoops to get in any quality laps to really tune the car. However, what we were able to learn in the heat race was what gave us reason to make a couple of small changes that really paid off for the main event. This was also our finishing position in the race. The track was unusually dirty Sat night and that led to a slight off track excursion while running in 2nd around the 15th lap or so. We dropped from 2nd to 16th as Scott did a great job driving down the dirt off of the back stretch and avoided crashing or spinning the car, staying on the lead lap! I was pretty happy that he was able to race his way back into the top 10, all the while constantly having to restart after the many yellows on the outside, in the aforementioned mess of a groove.
9 – The track has not updated the points as of this writing, but if my estimates are correct, this should be our current position in the championship point standings.
1/8 – The amount in inches of dirt that was in the 2nd and 3rd groove of the track. Memorial Day weekend was the monster truck extravaganza and I don’t think they did a very good job of getting the track cleaned up. That and the addition of a “drifting” exhibition which of course left copious amounts of rubber all over the place. The real stinker is that Scott said he felt the car would have been pretty good up in the 2nd groove had the track condition not been more suited to 420 sprinters at Skagit instead of Asphalt late models.
3 – As in Turn 3… the turn that Scott was returning to the track in after another short grass mowing session (3 wide just doesn’t work out there… lol) When a car spun directly in front of him, causing us to have to Frankenstein the left front fender back together for this week’s race. I gotta tell ya, the hot rod came out of that pretty good all things considered. The hood is fine, bumper is good and the fender will pass for now with some tin, rivets and stickers. Just don’t look too close at the autograph session this week!
Over all, even though we didn’t get that first top 5 this week, we were all pretty thrilled about the day’s progress. We had a top 5 car easily, now we need to build on it and see this through to a successful season with the goals of a top 5 race finish and top 10 points finish as the carrot on the end of the stick. I’ve determined that the Hot Rod is not just a good old car… it’s a GREAT old car with a lot of fast times ahead of it… As for the driver, well watching him race this weekend tells me that the rust is now completely shaken off and he is ready to go out there and show them all that we aren’t there to pedal around… we are there to try to win!
P.S. I want to put a special shout out to our large and voiciferous cheering section. With most of Scott's family in the crowd, we all expected a good amount of cheering, but the noise wasnt just coming from the LaCross seating area! Harrison said he could hear you all cheering all the way down in our pits in the middle of turns 3 & 4 on the 5/8ths. Thanks again for being our fans and being LOUD! You dont know how great it makes us all feel to know that you are rooting us on!
Congratulations to our Good buddy Jeff Knight on his STELLAR run last Saturday night at the ASA NW Tour race in Yakima, Wa. After 125 laps of action, Jeff ended up 3rd with his Evergreen legal Crate motor car against some pretty stiff competition toting around 600+ hp fire breathers. Finishing 2nd was James Mugge, also a fellow Evergreen driver with his crate motor as well, and the winner of course was the ever hard charging Pete Harding, who was going to celebrate his win the next day by using the Chainsaw he won as fast qualifier to cut up a downed tree in his backyard! Darin Stordahl, whom Yours Truly and Scott went over to give a hand to finished 4th, but ran 2nd most of the night and led the first 20 or so laps. Darin is looking like a VERY strong cantidate for this year's Rookie of the Year honors on the Tour and should finish well in the season long points battle too.
Next Race this weekend on the 3/8ths mile Oval... make an evening of it and come cheer on your favorite Late Model team as we continue to improve and work towards that podium! Racing starts at 7 sharp, qualifying at 5... Be there or be Octagonal!
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What a weekend!
Saturday greeted us with Sunny skies and 90 degree weather, which anyone who lives in the Great Pacific Northwest knows, is a rarity in mid May. After a rousing set on Rock Band at the shop which included some Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Boston, we loaded up and headed to the track.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the later back gate opening time is causing people to miss practices. That, combined with 2 different times listed on the Evergreen website makes it kind of difficult to know when to be there. Eventually we made it in, but we missed our 1st practice session. Normally this would be of great concern to me and at the time it was, but when the 2nd rolled around we headed out and boy howdy if the car wasn’t pretty good! I got nothing but silence each time I asked about the car. Finally I asked how the water temp was and got an answer, which relieved me as I thought maybe the radios were not working.
When Scott finally came in, he was pretty happy with the car. We decided to make a small trailing arm adjustment, throw the sticker tires on and go qualify. We qualified at an 18.4, which put us 14th on the grid. Not our best effort of the season, but not the worst either.
Lesson learned: Scrub in the new tires… We would probably qualify a bit better if the new was rubbed off of them.
We lined up for the heat race and we were finally moving forward. Scott was throwing the car around like he felt confident with it and while we finished pretty much where we started, there was definite improvement! I asked Scott if there was anything he wanted done to the car and his simple answer was “Great in, rotates well in the center, really loose off.” So after a conference with our chassis guru and all around expert Steve, it was decided a little tweak was all that was needed.
Note: It is always extremely gratifying to see your driver’s face light up when you make a minute change to the car and he states that he is “amazed” that we are to the point in our rookie campaign that those sorts of things are what’s called for. (I can’t give away all of our tuning secrets ya know!)
We lined up for the main and from the drop of the green I knew we were going to have a good night. Scott was hitting his marks and the car looked better than it has all year. He wasn’t just passing cars; he was passing them and driving away. The loose off condition pretty much went away and as the race wore on, you could tell he was making adjustments as the car started to change near the end, that he is finally able to trust the car and start pushing it to the edge.
We finished 9th after running as high as 8th. Our best finish of the season! While this may not be a high for some, the fact that we were running well and raced our way into that spot is a sign of progress, which is very important to our young Late Model program. I truly believe that if not for a couple of minor bobbles and the lack of a 4 speed transmission we could have run as high as 6th or 7th this night. Running the 2 speed was fine at first, but I think now that we have the car and driver in sync with each other, we need to be able to get good starts and restarts and that just isn’t possible with our current tranny.
In the end, we all walked away from the night on a high… we know that we are close to that 1st top 5 finish. The team operated flawlessly, the driver finally had a car under him that gave him the chance to drive to his capabilities and the crew chief… well let’s just say he slept pretty well that night knowing that we are going into this off week with a good performance on and off the track to build on… I think the big Mo is finally swinging our way!