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If At First You Don't Succeed...

Motor Mile Speedway
Sunday, August 1st

Sunday was an early morning wake-up call for the Seller Brothers Racing Team and me. After waking up late, washing my racing suit and preparing for Motor Mile following our race at South Boston the night before, I was very tired.

Sleeping in the car on the way to Radford, VA, I was able to get some rest in to prepare for my first time racing at Motor Mile Speedway. I was truly excited, having turned a few laps there testing a truck last fall. I knew this place was going to be a challenge but I was definitely up for it!

We unloaded the car and had to make many adjustments to make as we still had our South Boston setup in it from the night before. The guys worked very hard and quickly to get "The Miss II" prepared to tackle the track. After two practice sessions, we were very confident going into qualifying.

It was a cold day at the track (and it’s never cold in Virginia, trust me) so H.C. told me to really get some heat in my tires in order to get the maximum grip needed for the car to stick to the track before I took the green. My first lap didn't fare so well, but I did manage to improve on my second – still, it was not the time I wanted.

This was a learning experience for the team and me, as they were trying to figure out what setup I needed. I was giving them the feedback they needed so we could make the changes to the car we felt necessary. The first of two 100-lap races was, for us, a "test" race to do just that – experiment with racing grooves, setup input, and track time.

After the race, Peyton Sellers (my spotter for the day and an accomplished driver himself) and HC, my crew chief, sat down and put our heads together. Peyton drew the line that I should be running. Then, I drew the line that I had to run due to the car’s handling and characteristics. I told him what happened to the car when I tried to run that line. After lots of discussions, we finally had a game plan and went to work!

[Soft Break]We would have to start in the back again for the next race. However, I was feeling a lot more confident going into the second race, now having 100 laps experience as well with the changes the team made to the car. During the race, I found that the car was so much better to drive, as we were making passes and improving on track time and position.

The car felt great! I was on the move until an unfortunate mistake would cause me to fall back! With a bad fast racecar under me and the laps winding down, I knew I needed to continue my charge to the front. Exiting off turn four, I was hauling and my right rear tagged the wall pretty hard.

The contact was so hard in fact that my helmet got out of whack, so I had to try and adjust it! (Laughs) I still drove my hardest after that, but after my incident with the wall, the car was pretty loose after that. We had been up to about 11th place, but we fell back to 15th after that. That's where we stayed for the remainder of the race.

Overall, the day was a great learning experience not only for me but also for the team. Motor Mile is a momentum racetrack and you have to keep your speed up. That's something I learned in the first 100 laps and I was able to do that in the second race. It’s a fast, fun, tricky track. For sure, I can't wait to go back and try out my luck again at the Motor Mile!
Words of Natalie, edited by Rob Tiongson
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