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!

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