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Heading on the Right Track

My 2011 Midseason Report
by Natalie Sather with Rob Tiongson

Every morning you have two choices: continue your sleep with dreaming or wake up and chase your dreams - it’s your choice. I have made it my choice to chase my dreams. This season has been a whirlwind full of new challenges that my team and I are faced with every weekend. We take every race as it comes and are always looking to improve on everything we do.
We have been so blessed thus far to have 10 consecutive top-five finishes at South Boston Speedway, making me the only driver to do so, with three of those results being second efforts. They have not been easily earned top-five finishes, let me tell you. Behind each finish lies a story all its own. With my team at Sellers Racing working hard every single day to make sure the best car is rolled out the trailer on race day, I am obligated as a driver to drive my heart out for them every night, and that’s just what we have been doing thus far.
May 14th was a night of challenge after challenge. With the rear end giving us problems in the first two practice sessions, we thought we had it fixed for qualifying. As I took to the track and came for the green, my car had enough. I pulled into the pits but we were unable to fix the damage to go back out for qualifying.
The guys worked very hard to make the necessary repairs to the rear end so the Butler Built Seats Chevy was race ready for the main event. With no qualifying time, we had to start at the rear of the field. Twenty cars had showed up for that night’s 150-lap event. I was confident pulling out on the track that my car was ready for the hard battle to the front that was ahead of me.
As the green flag dropped, my spotter Justin Snow told me to be very patient as I had 150 laps to make it to the front of the field. With the laps winding down, I found myself picking off car after car. As the yellow flags flew, I took those opportunities to also pass cars on the outside (my fave place to pass)! I was driving my heart out with the bad fast car the Sellers Team and my crew chief Brian had worked so hard on. When the checkered flag waved, I couldn’t believe it - we had driven our way to, at that time, our fifth consecutive top-five finish, with fourth-place!
Since that night, we added five more consecutive top-5 finishes for a total of 10 this season. That streak unfortunately broke with last weekend’s race at South Boston Speedway. With limited funds, we are unable to test as much as we need to so therefore, we have to use race day to try some different changes to the K&N No. 94 Chevy.
We opted to make some pretty significant adjustments based on the tests my teammates had run, and unfortunately, it didn’t play to our advantage. We fought a very loose race car all night. With a 14th place qualifying effort, we knew we had our work cut out for us.
It was a long race, 200 laps, which was the second biggest race of the year at SoBo. I knew I had some time to make some smart passes, but could my car hold on? That was the question racing in my mind during, well, the race!
As the race progressed and the laps winded down, I found myself struggling to keep the car underneath me. It was very loose coming into the corners. At one point, I thought we were not even going to get a top-10.
But I told myself and the guys, “We are not giving up! There is no way.” I made the decision to pit under caution. The team had their work cut out for them, to get me back out before I went a lap down, and that they did.
We tagged the tail end of the 16 cars that were still racing with 50 laps to go. In those 50 laps, we fought hard and with a neck-in-neck finish for fourth, fifth, and sixth I made it three-wide with one last attempt effort to bring home a top-five but came up short, as I ended up sixth.
It was a bittersweet night for me. To salvage a finish like that was great, but to end my top-five streak was hard. The Sellers Team put in countless hours every week to make sure the best cars hit the track every weekend, and I cannot thank them enough for all their hard work, especially my crew chief Brian who has really worked hard to help me on the track!
I am looking forward to the remainder of the year and what it has in store for us! Thanks so everyone for your continued support. I am very blessed to have such a great support team of fans, friends and family! Till next time, catch y’all real soon!
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