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"Firedown Olympics" & Evergreen Race #2

Saturday was a beautiful blue sky day without a cloud in the sky! I was so excited for race #2, but I had a small injury to deal with.
The night before I had participated in what is known as the "Firedown Olympics" at the Malsam residence. All who attended were prepared for a night of intense competition, especially me! I am extremely competitive, and enjoy basking in my victories for weeks to com
e. I am not however, as gracious of a loser. Mr. and Mrs. Malsam had organized the entire night. We split up into teams of 3 and I ended up with two great teammates, Sean who designs for Firedown, and Tayler Malsam’s best friend Preston. The first event was basketball against Tayler, Pattie Anderson whose husband crew chiefs the Rudeen #26 sprint car, and Tayler’s Truck Crew Chief Doug. After getting the wind knocked out of me in the most intense game of 3 on 3 basketball I have ever played, I am disappointed to say we lost! Next, it was our turn on the badminton court. For those of you who don't know, my family holds a 4th of July Badminton tournament every year and I am the two time champion! (I have only been able to attend two times due to racing)! Needless to say bring it on...My team played, Brent Anderson from Firedown, Race who also works at Firedown and Amanda, an employee from Tayler’s sponsor OneEighty. We crushed them and finally just stopped keeping score because we were so far ahead:) The third event was whiffle ball, and this time we played Mr. Malsam, Carmel, and a younger kid. I won't get into details, but we lost! Next up was volleyball, which all the teams were divided into 2 large groups and I was on the winning team. The final contest and the main event was DODGEBALL! Ok, this was definitely the most intense game of the night. My first injury came when Shane Anderson who is about 6"5 and super strong whipped me with the ball smack in the side of the face with a force so strong it blew out not one but both my earrings! Then Preston and I were charging to get the other team’s ball and in the process Tayler got me out but Preston and Tayler were still fiercely competing. As I was trying to exit the floor, I was hit by both of them and went flying in the air rolling a few times hitting my knees and eventually landing on my back hitting my head. After a few seconds of trying to realize what had happened I got up and pulled my pant leg up to check out my right knee which was really hurting. It had torn about 10 layers of skin off, so much that my knee was no longer tan, LOL, and it was all bloody! I cleaned her up, and was back on the floor for the next game! Throughout the night it kept swelling, after all this is the same leg that I have broken and has been through seven surgeries. I iced it that night and it helped a little. Over all it was a super fun time and I am proud to say that out of the 7 teams my team came in 2nd place only to have been beaten my Tayler, Patti, and Doug!Ok back to race day, my knee was still swollen so before heading to the track I stopped at Fred Meyer for an ice pack and some medicine to help with the pain. When we got to the track we quickly unloaded and went out right away for the first practice session, we did two more sessions one where we also scuffed our sticker tires.This was the last weekend that I will have to start in the back of the heat and the feature. Again I struggled a little with qualifying, Roger said I was right on track for a great lap but coming out of turn four I didn't unwind quick enough and ended up spinning. In my heat I started in the back and ran with the guys in my heat for a while till I made a minor mistake and got sideways. The car was free coming into the corner, and after discussing the heat race with my crew they made the necessary changes to improve the car for the feature. My goal for the feature was 40 smooth consistent laps with no spin outs, and to improve my lap times from the week before. I did just that! We ran 40 straight laps with no spins and I improved my lap times my 3 tenths!Every time I climb into my race car I learn more and more. Off the track Roger and the whole crew are always explaining what chassis adjustments they are making and why. I am constantly learning about racing these cars from Roger who has driven late models for 15 years, my crew, Jeff, and other drivers in this series. I am new enough that even my competitors are giving me tips and pointers but I have a feeling that will stop as we continue to increase our speed. It’s a learning curve and I am trying very hard to improve each race.This week since we don't have any broken parts to repair Aaron, Toby, Roger, and I will be focusing on making some small changes to the car that will help me as a driver. After every race I debrief with Roger and Jeff on Sunday about the race weekend. I also meet with my team for lunch during the week to discuss the highs and lows, and any changes that I can make as a driver or they can make as a crew to improve our team. This open communication has helped me feel completely confident in the car so I can focus solely on driving it faster every Saturday. We are really starting to gel as a team and I couldn't think of a better group of people to spend the next 16 races with!
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