Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Track, Big Troubles...

Well, where do I start? We went through 2 cars in one day this weekend...

For the past few weeks, we have been diligently working on the #10 VW Scirocco of Steve Green (which is also our former car!), preparing it for a run at the 1k to win first ever Mini Stock points race on the 5/8s track. We were unable to make the necessary changes to Tonya to really feel that she would be competitive on the big track, so Steve offered us his car and we of course accepted!

Thursday open practice was our target for getting the car back out on the track to make sure the new motor was happy and the repairs made to the car after it was sent into the wall a few races back were all fixed up. Then the rains came, so the only real time we got to put on the car was several speed runs up and down the airstrip at First Air Field.

Saturday morning we arrived at the track and it seemed as though something was amiss with the motor. We missed the first practice session working on it and were finally able to get out for the 2nd session. The motor was laying down pretty badly so Scott brought it in and further diagnosis determined that there may be serious internal issues with it. So Scott and I ran out the back gate, jumped in the truck and hustled back to the shop to grab Tonya and while Scott went to grab some parts, I got her back to the track just in time to get into the pits before the 2 1/2 hour K&N pro series practice began and we would have gotten caught outside the track.

While Scott waited to get into the pits, Ken and I got the car pushed through tech, (Define amusing... Tech officials and other teams watching us unload one car, load the other and go through the whole tech check in procedure for the 2nd time in about 4 hours), buttoned up all the things that needed to get finished, swapped tires, wheels, transponder, radio wiring and of course, a quick shot in the dark set up change. Since we had no more practice time that day, we were guessing on a qualifying set up as the two cars are completely different and nothing we learned on the VW would transfer over to the much heavier, less powerful Honda.

Qualifying wasn't awesome, but was much better than I had thought it would. We shaved a full second off of the times we had turned a few weeks earlier in practice, but even so, we qualified a season worst 10th. We had a couple of hours until the race, so we took advantage of that time to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at the car, making at least 5 different changes to the car in an effort to get some more speed out of the old girl.

The main even started off with a bang, when on lap two the "big one" happened right in front of Scott. He was able to just avoid getting involved and once we went back to green flag racing, he was able to stay up in the top 5. After another caution we found ourselves running in 3rd, with Dale Creager (New track record holder and pole sitter!!) hot on our heels in 4th and moving up fast. Going into turn one, Scott and Dale unfortunately made contact (a total racing thing) and it ended both of our nights early, Dale with bent tie rods and Scott with a bent rear lower control arm.

Fortunately, we had a large points lead, so the poor finish this week (thinking about 15th or so) will hurt us less than it could have. The good news is that even though there were several wrecks, everyone walked away safely and I think we showed that mini's on the big track can be an exciting race and hopefully the track will consider giving us a few more races out there.

We want to say a big huge thank you to Steve Green for giving us the chance to drive his hot rod. Also, Clint Lang, Ken Kreider, Mikey Fritz, John Zaretzke, Eric Zanassi, Travis Woodward, Bill Hampton and Jamie Thomas who all gave their time, parts, skills and passion to help get Steve's car ready. We're just sorry we never got the chance to put it out there in competition.

Next race is July 30th, Foster Press Mayor's Cup night... Come on out and have a great time at the track, then come down to the pits after and say hi!

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