Boy howdy, what a night! After a heat race in which we saw the horrid sight of a gigantic puff of blue smoke come from the engine compartment, Team LaCross showed everyone in attendance that the old adage, "It ain't over, till it's over" is completely true as we won our first race of this young season in the 25 lap Mini Stock feature event on Fan Appreciation night at Evergreen Speedway.
The day started out under threatening skies and the rian kind of sputtered here and there. Qualifying was dry and we once again qualified 3rd fast. As we lined up for the heat race, Britt noted that I should probably grab an umbrella and of course, refused to believe the rain was going to come and boy, was I wrong! A steady light drizzle began just as we took the track. Scott was fighting for the lead when suddenly about halfway in, the motor appeared to let loose on the front stretch as a huge plume of smoke came from under the hood. The push truck brought Scott back to the pits and the guys jumped all over it, immediately looking for signs of "ventilation" as we call it in the racing world, which to those who don't know, would be a hole in the engine or transmission that shouldn't be there.
As JZ and I popped the hood and saw all the oil, we jacked up the car and Rob dove under to take a look. Turns out that the oil filter mounting stud had come loose and the filter or course had come loose as well. We cleaned things up and loaded the car back up with oil, thinking that we could still make it back out to finish the heat race, which was under red flag conditions to clean up large amount of oil that was now on the track. Unfortunately, the O-ring that seals the oil filter sandwich plate to the block had gotten cut and when we fired the car back up, oil still was coming out in large amounts.
As JZ ran to his shop and several parts stores to grab oil, filter and a new o-ring, the rain really started coming down. It was a complete mess. Fortunately, we had about two hours before the main event and as JZ showed back up at the track, the rain had stopped and the sun started to break out. The parts stores were no help on the o-ring, But our friend and fellow racer Nat came to the rescue and had one in his trailer! I was struggling to get my giant mitts into the area where the o-ring goes, but Will came to the rescue and jumper right under the car in the water and oil and was able to get it all fixed up. We loaded the car up with water and oil, fired her up and it was like nothing ever happened! With about 30 minutes till race time, I set the pressures talked a little strategy and headed off to spot for the race.
Immediately, Scott moved forward and found himself in 2nd. The car in first had scooted out to a pretty healthy lead and was running a little drier line than we were, so for 15 laps we were able to make minor gains, but it was starting to look like 2nd would be the spot of the night. Then a car spun and brought out the caution, which was the break we needed. When the restart cone came out, I knew that we had a excellent shot at taking the lead. Scott always is good on the low side, and if the leader went low, we could hold him down and force him to run a lower line than he had been using all night. Leader went high, we went low and that was that. The first restart was waved off as the leader missed a shift and they didn't like the jump we got, On the second, Scott held his line low and the drag race was on, middle of turn 2, we were clear and off like a shot. for the remaining 10 laps, we held no less than a 3 car length lead for most of it and took the win.
Special thanks go out to Johnny Z, Rob, Will, Nat, Dennis, Kris and the whole JZ Motorsports and Team Flowmaster crews. This one was as much yours as ours and we couldn't have done it without your help! Our next race is May 8th... mark it on your calendars and be there!