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Action on the 3/8th's Track!

Action on the 3/8th’s Track – Heat Races

Saturday we were back in ACTION on the 3/8th’s track. That morning, we met at the shop and finished prepping the car for the race. Stevie and I took off a little early, so we could stop and get the team some lunch at Quizno’s. 

When we got to the track and unloaded, it was time to go. We started off the first practice with our sticker tires so we could make sure they got scuffed in. The second practice focused on how the car was handling. Roger, my crew chief, had made a few minor adjustments that he and I went over. He is very good at explaining the changes he makes and how it will affect the car. He answers all the questions I have about the changes he makes. Each week our communication continues to improve, and that helps out on the track.

In the heat race, we started tail-end. I passed two cars and gained quickly on the guys in front of me. The heat race doesn’t determine where we start in the feature. I knew I’d be starting on the pole, so I didn’t push my car too hard which helps save the tires. I made some really good laps and the car was feeling awesome. Roger and I decided for the feature that we were going to leave the car alone and not make any adjustments. I was very confident going into the A main.

Action on the 3/8th’s Track – A Main

We lined up for the A Main, I started on the pole. The crowd shouted those famous words in motorsports, “Driver’s start your engines!” It was time.

A few laps to put some heat in the tires…,

The green flag drops!

Coming out of Turn 2, I’m neck-and-neck with a competitor. Down the backstretch, we bump tires. I maintain control and he went for a ride in the grass. I was surprised that no yellow caution flag arrived until a lap later. My competitor was given the black flag and sent to the tail.

On the restart, I chose the low line which is a significant change for me. Dan Moore (Car #16) was at my side. He is a serious competitor and is placed fifth overall in the standings according to the Evergreen Speedway website. 

At the start, it was side by side. Dan led coming off of Turn 2, but I was right on his tail. As we crossed the line and entered Turn 1, I was flying! My car was definitely hooked up! I had a great drive in the center of the corner. Dan (the leader) was slightly in front and running higher than me. I had run deep into center and ended up bumping him which resulted in him spinning.

I radioed to Roger to please apologize to Dan. He relayed back that I would probably be given the black flag. My first black flag! I was sent to the tail-end along with Car #16.

On the restart, I got the jump on Dan. This race was getting into some serious nose-to-tail competition! We turned a few good laps. The car was changing and I was adjusting to the changes. As my car started pushing, coming off of Turn 2, Dan took the advantage and closed the gap between us.

Racing off of Turn 2, I suddenly got hit hard on the left rear side. Both cars went spinning down the back straight away. What a race!

I have to admit; I was disappointed with the situation, but racing incidents like these happen.  The officials came down and were waving the black flag. Well, little did I know that it was for me?! I was confused and had to make a lap to the pits to discuss the situation with an official.

With the rules firmly re-established, I was ready to get back on the track and race! With just a few laps remaining, I knew I had to get moving. A caution flew with only six laps to go. In those six laps, I passed a few cars to cross the finish line with a 4th place finish. Not bad!

Each weekend, I continue to learn and adjust to driving the late model. Roger, my crew chief, and the entire crew Aaron, Toby, Cris, and Stevie have been very supportive of my learning curve. I am not used to having someone tell me if a car is under, or outside of me or if I am clear, etc. With sprint cars, you just did it on your own. The asphalt oval and driving the super late model has required a different mindset. But, Roger says, “I’m getting fast enough for the fast guys to struggle with.” I’m pretty sure, that’s a good thing! Many, many thanks to my team for helping me reach this point in my career.

Next up, Mid-Season Championship! Come on out and join us for a ride! Hope you to see you at the track!

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