As you can see from the above photo, The Rock Church has joined the ranks of JZ Motorsports, Monroe MotorWerkes, TNT Mechanical, Millennium Motors, DeYoung, Inc. and Joes Racing products as proud sponsors of Team LaCross. We would like to invite all of you to come to Sunday services at 9:30 or 11:30 in Monroe or at 6pm at our new Wenatchee location! Click the link at the top of the page for directions and more info on TRC and all of our other awesome sponsors.
As some of you may know, we spent the last three weeks sitting in front of the TV playing Rock Band and drinking red Kool-aid (Ohh YEAH!!!)... All kidding aside, we spent the lengthy break fixing all kinds of things on the racing 99 and mashing heads with the smartest guys around on changes we needed to make to the car in the everlasting effort to go faster. Last Thursday night, we hit the track after having thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at the car. The track surface had just been treated to a grinding which had things very, very dirty, so we weren't sure that we would get any good info. Turns out we were able to learn quite a few things and that brings us to Saturday.
The day started off not so great, as yours truly was late getting to the shop, (yeah, the guy who lives 2 minutes from the place is usually the one who is late...) which got us to the track much later than we wanted to be. There were 6 classes running on all 4 tracks and everyone was squeezed into the lower pit area, so our late arrival, combined with a lack of sleep from working late on the car Friday really put us all in a slightly antsy mood as we tried to unload and get the car ready for practice.
First practice rolled around and Scott, having just partook in a nice 30 minute nap in the sun, jumped in the car as Bill and I ran through the new procedures we put in place this week that need to get done before the car hits the track each and every time. As Scott hit the track, we stood by with our stop watches and noticed right away that we were running much faster lap times than normal, with 19.0 and 19.1 second laps clicking off regularly. Then we stepped over the magical 18 second line for a few laps and we all knew that today had the makings of something special.
Second practice was even better as we decided to take the practice tires off and slap on the race set. We were consistently in the 18.8 second range at this point. By now reports were coming in of a couple other cars also getting into the 18 second bracket, so it was almost assured that the NASCAR Mini Stock track record of 18.92 seconds would be broken, the only question was, "By who?"
The answer came in the first qualifying group and many were surprised that it was 16 year old Molly Helmuth who ran an 18.814 on her very first lap! We were all in awe of that number as it was a full tenth of a second faster than the old record time. Now we all had a new bar to reach for in the second session and with the 2, 10, 12, 21, 64, 65 and 99 all in the 2nd group, you could feel excitement in the air growing as they hit the track to qualify.
Scott was running pretty fast laps (in the 18s) for the first few hot laps of the 2nd session, then on lap 4, he turned up the wick. When he passed the scoring loop, the time flashed up on the scoreboard and I had to blink to make sure I wasn't seeing things... his official lap was 18.727... a full 2 tenths of a second faster than the old record. In the calmest way possible(which is to say I excitedly shouted it into the radio), I informed Scott of his now holding the record, which got an equally excited response of something like "YEEHAW!!!"
Unfortunately, our record was to last only 1 lap, as our pal Dale Creager ran a 18.718 on the very next lap, besting us by 9 thousandths of a second. Scott tried to get one really hard last lap in, but by this point he had caught up to traffic and was not able to top Dale's time.
Determined to make the car even better, we made a couple of major tweaks to the set up and used the dash to test it out. The trophy dash is a 4 lap "dash for hardware" which features the 4 fastest qualifiers. If just so happened that this dash had 4 cars that had all qualified in the 18 second bracket for the first time since NASCAR began sanctioning the track in 1985. It was a spirited contest and on the final lap, Scott and Molly got together in turn 4, spinning molly and relegating us to last place. Scott and Molly talked after the race and all was well between them :-)
Still more changes to the car before the main as we were starting in the back of quite possibly one of the fastest mini main events seen at Evergreen since the old AA FSCRA days. From the drop of the green, things were crazy, with cars running 4 and 5 wide. Scott was at the back of the pack as several minor issues in front of him forced evasive braking. A quick caution on lap 3 gathered the pack back up and when it went back to green, Fozzy and Molly were able to squirt out to the front and build a substantial lead. Meanwhile, Scott spent the next 15 or so laps patiently picking his way through traffic, not making any banzai moves that might have ended our night. Finally, he was able to break away from the pack and start running down the leaders, but with precious few laps left, and with the leaders about a half lap ahead, it was starting to look like a solid 3rd would be the best we could muster. But then, with 3 laps to go, lady luck decided to step in and the caution flag flew for a stalled car on the front stretch.
Scott calls over the radio to me, "Hey, is it my birthday??" as they bunched us all back up for a green/white/checkered finish. We went low at the cone which kept us in the 3rd spot in the preferred low groove. When they dropped the green flag, Fozzy and Scott were able to take advantage of the low line and came out of turn 2 nose to tail, battling it out for the lead. Scott tried several times to make a move to grab the lead, but had to back out to avoid contact. At the checkered flag, he gave it one last shot but ended up in 2nd place, which after the terrible 15th place finish the previous race, really bolstered our spirits.
|Fast company, Team LaCross, Jeff and Melinda Knight|
Next race is August 13th... With only 5 races left in the season, time is growing short to come on out and catch a race before 2011 is in the books. Come on out, watch the races and come down to the pits afterwards and say Hi! We are the third pit stall you come to after walking by the pit gate :-)
See you at the races!