The lower pit area was a madhouse as there were darn near 100 cars competing in the various classes. We ended up pitted almost exactly where we had spent the previous 2 years, right by the pit entrance on the backstretch, which is a heck of a walk, especially when you are pushing a 2500lb car... but more on that later.
We ran a decent practice and felt like the car was pretty good for qualifying. Unfortunately, we had our worst qualifying run of the season and found ourselves managing the 4th spot. Once we found this out, Scott decided he needed to have a little talk with the car...
|The Racecar whisperer|
|The Racecar whispers back!|
As we hit the track for our race, the officials notified me that our transponder was not working. The transponder is a little yellow box that, when passing over a buried wire in the track, counts your laps and the lap times. They sent us back to the pits and replaced it with a fresh one and sent us back out to our grid position, which was about 14th position. When the green dropped, Scott took off towards the front but a problem was brewing deep within the car's electrical system. You see, they always stop us on the front stretch for driver introductions. When Scott went to fire the car up, he noticed that it was very lazy, which as many of you can figure, means the battery is low. Now, in your street car, this is a minor inconvenience, as once the car is running, the alternator charges the battery and runs the computer, fans, lights, etc. In our racecar, we do not run an alternator because it robs horsepower from the motor.
As the race went on, there were several lengthy cautions, during which the car started to get hot. Scott had to turn on the cooling fan, which used more battery power. making the car weaker and weaker. We had worked our way up to 2nd place and it looked like we might have something for the leader dangit! With 10 laps to go, we got our final restart of the night and by this time, we were thinking there was no way we were going to be able to hang on till the end. Scott was able to get a good restart though and we were able to challenge for the lead for a few laps before he had to start running about half throttle to nurse the remaining electricity. 4 laps to go and Scott came on the radio to tell me that he wasn't sure there was anything left in them to give. I told him to rub the car, kiss it, talk dirty to it, whatever it took to will that old girl to finish this race.
Well, whatever he said, it worked, because we held onto a 5 car length lead over the 3rd place car until 1 lap to go, when traffic slowed us enough and make it REALLY close as Steve Green was able to close right up to our bumper, but we were able to cross the finish line just ahead of him to take 2nd place. 1 more lap and I think we might have looked just like Dale Jr. at Charlotte the next day, running out of gas (or electricity in our case) in the last corner and getting passed by a half dozen cars! The top 3 in the end had Jon "Fozzy" Roberts taking the victory, we were second and Steve Green in third.
As I arrived in Tech, Scott was sitting in the car smiling as he knew that we had dodged a HUGE bullet. However, I think he was smiling for another reason, which I will now show you a picture to explain...
|Where in the world is a push truck when you need one???|
What can I say... I've always been a sucker for redheads! :-)
See ya at the track!