Thursday, September 29, 2011

Making History

The Team, Lovely Ladies and Superfans...

Championship night...I'd like to tell you that it was an easy day at the racetrack, everything was perfect and we lounged around, having already sewn up the 2011 title the week before, but we all know about the best laid plans....

We arrived at the track fashionably late and missed first practice, but it was all for a good cause... Cause we had to set up the shop for the after party!

Right from the start, we were battling a number of things. The car wasn't particularly fast, the track was very dirty and we only had one practice session to work with. Not knowing exactly how much was car and how much was track, we made a few adjustments based on hunches and went out to qualify.

Qualifying saw us pick up about 2-3 tenths of a second over our practice times, but we were still looking for some speed. We qualified 5th fast, about 2 tenths off the pole sitters time. Scott brought the car back in and we threw a few more adjustments at the car, wiped it down and headed out for the autograph session.

We were in the fast heat race as usual and knew the competition was going to be stiff. Starting inside of the 2nd row, Scott was able to make a move going into turn one, pull away to a lead by the entrance of turn three and never looked back as he easily won the race by 5 car lengths. However, even though the hot rod was good, it wasn't great, so back to the drawing board we went. Another few adjustments later, we were ready to relax for a few and watch our very good friend and Pastor, Jeff Knight race his late model to victory in their 100 lap main event as well as fellow mini stock racer Molly Helmuth compete in her very first late model race.

The Main rolled around and from the drop of the green, Scott said he knew we were going to be tough to beat. He quickly made his way to the front and settled in around 4th place, taking his time and choosing spots to pass where he knew there would be no danger of cars coming together. When he eased into 2nd, he began  a several lap battle with the leader Andrew Schukar in the 07 car. They sliced and diced with Andrew holding the low groove and Scott running the high side. As they got to lapped traffic, one of the lapped cars decided he wanted to interject himself into the outcome of the race and ran Scott up the track in turn three. Scott got on the binders and pulled an over under move, slipping around the lapper. The next lap, the caution came out and the lapper, now behind Scott, decided it would be a good time to ram into us from behind, which he did.

Scott was then hit by the lapper again as he was slowing for the broken car that had brought out the caution. The lapper proceeded to hit him hard enough to destroy the front of his car and tweak our bumper pretty good, but that wasn't the end, as the lapper then demonstrated how to do a PIT maneuver by driving directly into Scott's left rear quarter panel, damaging it pretty good and spinning us out in the process. However, it was superficial body damage and did nothing to the performance of the car. The lapper was black flagged and parked for the night and we went back to green flag racing. On the restart, Scott was able to take advantage of a tiny slip by Andrew and took the lead, which he stretched out quickly to about 5-6 car lengths... A lead which we held as we took the checkered flag for the 4th and final time this season. 2nd place went to Bobby DeYoung and 3rd to "Triple Duty" Molly Helmuth who had a heck of a run coming from the back several times to grab the last podium spot.

At the end of the night, we made history... By winning our 4th championship, we now stand alone as the all time championship leader in the 26 year history of the class and are tied for the most titles in any 4 cylinder division in the 50+ year history of the track.

Will we be racing for 5? Well you are just gonna have to stick around to find out! :-) The blog is going to be a busy place in the next week or so, so please be sure to check back often. We are headed off to Yakima this weekend to help out with Jeff Knight at the Fall Classic so hopefully we will see some of you there!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Please enjoy a few photos from Saturday night's Season ending victory. Full race update will be posted later today and season updates are coming up over the next week or so.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hot day at the track

Hot temps greeted us as we arrived at the track on Saturday for our 14th and 2nd to last race of the season. We had some cooling issues last race and were eager to check out the fixes we had made along with making sure all the other damage repairs were set and ready.

Bill was a little thirsty, we we got him a large water...
Practice: The car was good, not great though. The track was hot and slick, so times were a bit lower than what we had been running previously. The water temperature was staying within the normal operating limits that we like to see, so we made a few minor adjustments to the set up and got some nice relaxation time in the sun before qualifying.

Our driver, chillin out
Qualifying: We were in the 2nd group and set the pole speed for about 5 minutes. Scott let us know that the car was still a little off as he came in from his run. We confirmed this when we checked the numbers and saw that 3 other cars ran faster, setting us in 4th qualifying spot. Several more adjustments were made in anticipation of the upcoming heat race.

Holding up the wall and calling out lap times 
Heat Race: We as usual were in the top qualifiers heat race, starting on the inside of the 2nd row of the 6 car field. Scott got mired up a little bit, but soon enough he made his way to 2nd behind Mikey Fritz. A caution came out and we chose to go high at the cone when Mike went low. When the green flew, Mike got a small jump and was able to hold off Scott for the next 4 laps and take the win. After the race, Scott and Mike enjoyed a spirited recall of the high speed battle they had.

Main event : We started towards the back of the 17 car field as usual and immediately went to working our way forward, as the feature was only 25 laps. The cars were making moves and Scott was no different, having seen a spot on the low side of the car in front of him coming out of turn 4 on the 1st lap. He surveyed the situation and saw that he could pick up several spots on the front stretch, which is a good place to pass as everyone SHOULD be going straight and not turning. Unfortunately, the driver he was passing decided he did not want to get passed at that moment and when Scott was at his door, he made an aggressive turn left to block. Scott got on the binders hard but the other car kept coming down and ended up hitting our right front tire and the recently fixed bumper, spinning himself across our nose to the infield of the track.

The consequence of this was that when Scott got hit, his car pushed up in front of Mikey Fritz, who was behind Scott and making evasive moves of his own to avoid hitting Scott. Unfortunately, Dale Creager was attempting a pass of Mikey on the outside and they came together, crashing into the front stretch wall and ending both their nights early. Both Mike and Dale had really fast cars and it was disappointing for everyone that they got caught up in something that shouldn't have happened.

On the restart, we quickly made our way into the lead, with Jon "Fozzy" Roberts and Molly Helmuth in hot pursuit. Fozzy was the fast qualifier and was showing why as he was very fast and battling hard with Scott for the lead. Scott mentioned that the car was pushing pretty bad, but he could drive it so we felt like we might be able to hang on, but we caught lapped traffic at the wrong time, with 2 cars battling on the back stretch. Scott went low, Fozzy went really high and the inside of the 2 slower cars moved down just enough to slow Scott's momentum and Fozzy was able to get by and pull out to about a 6 car length lead, which he would hold for the rest of the race. Scott tried valiantly to make up ground, but with an ill handling car and Molly running fast in 3rd, we knew that if 2nd place was what we would end up with, it would be a good night. The race ended with Fozzy in first, Scott 2nd and Molly in 3rd, scoring her first ever Mini Stock podium finish. When we got the car back to the pits, we noticed that the right front tire was pointed much too far out in the wrong direction, which explained the handling issue.

if you turn your head, you can see this is our trophy!
With one race to go, we want to end the season with a bang and win on Championship night to complete a season that has defied all logic. Championship night is September 24th and we would absolutely be honored if all of our fans could be there with us to celebrate an awesome season of achievement. Bring some rain gear though, you may get sprayed down with some celebratory fizzy bubbly stuff! :-)

See you at the track!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fair night, Fast night!

Fair nights are always great for car count. 21 cars showed up to run and we had the largest field for the evening by a long shot. Winning on Fair night is always a goal of ours, but Saturday was even better as we not only set the fast time for the day, we had recently joined the Outlaw Compact Auto Racing series and were able to set their new Evergreen 3/8s track record!

Car eats man, news at 11
We arrived at the track about 11:30 unloaded the car and got it ready for practice. We headed out on to the track and new right away that we had a pretty fast car. Track conditions were a little slick, but we still felt we needed to make a few adjustments and as you can see from the photo above, it involved a little fussing about underneath. 2nd session was better than the first and again, just a few minor changes were required before we qualified.

Qualifying consisted of 4 sessions. We were in the last group so we had plenty of opportunity to see what we would have to run to grab the pole. The pole speed started in the 19.0 second range then dropped in each progressive session to 18.5 as we headed out. Scott immediately looked good, running under 19 seconds on his very first lap and on the 3rd lap, he turned an 18.723, which got us the pole and set the Outlaw track record. We used the remainder of the laps to give the car a good hard run and see if we wanted to make any more adjustments.

Heat Race time came and we were feeling pretty racy. We started shotgun in the fast qualifier heat and of course, it took a little time to work our way to the front. We got into 2nd and ran hard to make it up to the leader's bumper coming out of turn 4 on the last lap, but didn't quite have enough momentum to get past the 92 of Molly Helmuth who took the win.

The main event was scheduled for 40 laps. We started in the back and Scott made some early moves to get forward quickly because lately we have been cut laps due to time constraints. We were moving forward and at one point had made a pass on another car, only to have him lift the car up in the next corner and drive right through us to take the spot back. Fortunately our driver is a great wheel man and saved it from going around. Unfortunately, the contact knocked the rear end out of kilter so the car wasn't as good as it had been earlier.

After the red flag, we found ourselves in 3rd on the restart when all hell broke loose going into turn one after taking the green. The car on the outside of the front row turned down into the car on the inside. The inside car tried to avoid contact and started to spin in front of Scott, who was hard on the brakes to avoid hitting him. However, the car behind Scott probably hadn't seen everything happening and hit him from behind, pushing Scott up into the mess. Again, Scott was able to keep the car straight and keep moving forward, avoiding the dreaded "involved" penalty of going to the back. The car had this time suffered quite a bit of damage and now the front toe was also out of sorts.

Looks bad, but we use lightweight bumpers because as JZ always says, "We build cars to win races, not crash!"
When they lined us back up, they told us they would be cutting 10 laps and we now had only 7 laps to go, not 17. We were now in first and Scott told me that he could feel that the car was now junk after all the wrecks. I let him know that, "We have the best driver and you will win this race no matter what the car feels like because you can make up for it's problems with skill and desire" and he didn't let us down. For 7 laps we fought off the 2nd place car, which was not suffering the handling woes we now had. Every lap in turn 1, he pounded our back bumper, but Scott knew it was coming and handled it perfectly, taking advantage of the boost to stretch out a little cushion each time coming off turn 2. Finally, we took the checkers for our 3rd win of the year and it may have been the most satisfying one yet!

We have 2 races left and are looking to finish the season strong. Next race is this Saturday, the 10th and Championship night is September 24th. We would love to see you all there for the next two races and send out your mojo to us to help power us to the championship!

See you at the races!