The last non-holiday weekend of August finally found the Team spending significant amounts of time during left at the local speedplants. Here is a quick summary of those events.
With little to do preparation wise (the car was essentially ready to go after the last missed event), we showed up staggeringly early to Brewerton Speedway on Friday night. Typically we get there with little to no parking in the pits. This time we had our pick of the place.
We picked a great spot that allowed us to take many glamour shots of the new wheels and tyres.
A nearly full field of cars showed up, but not enough to warrant a B-main. This was an important fact as we were able to ride around in the heat to try and find a solution to a minor issue. The new, I mean spare, rear end gear caused us to run out of gear halfway down the straight where the rev limiter was hit with fervor. Anyway, we started in the rear for the feature and kept our nose clean despite a handful of spins, incidents, and one track cloggage. We also learned the difficulty of trying to shift multiple times per lap. But, it worked out, the car rolled back on the trailer, and we walked out with 16th place money after starting 28th.
After a bath to make Stan presentable for Autograph Night, it was off to Fulton Speedway.
He stretched his legs during practise, showing that the spare gear was perfect for the larger expanse of dirt there. We were also able to pass 4 cars in 5 laps during the heat, allowing us to start much further up in the pack for the main. But before that everyone rolled onto the straightaway where kids and parents came by. Some little ones climbed in and out of the car, which was fun despite me learning that saying “no really, please stop doing that” really does not work. I also got my first interview over the live microphone, which only whetted my appetite for wanting to do it after a victory.
The feature was much different than the heat. The track continued to slick over, which found us heading backwards. We were finally able to find some bite and were making headway back to the front when a car lost it in front of us. A lack of racing room and locked brakes resulted in a impact with the stopped vehicle. The impact was square to a rear wheel, which surely meant the rear end was dead. But, after being separated and taking a cautious lap, nothing seemed amiss. The hammer was dropped and a few cars were passed in the last laps, leading to another 16th place finish (of 26).
Sunday morning was supposed to be for routing maintenance, but the dawn light showed a mangled rim. It, interestingly enough, looked exactly like a front bumper now! But, everything seemed square, nothing had shifted (that we knew of), so the car was gussied up for another Autograph Night and dragged to the closest track to home base, Utica-Rome Speedway.
For the third night in a row we arrived early. Practise showed that we had found another location where we would be inbetween gears. But U-R is too circular in nature and did not lend itself to shifting, so we spent some time getting acquainted with the rev limiter again. The feature was chaotic, with cars bounding all over the place, and driving way too deep into places. Despite this fact, things were relatively civil until the last lap, when one car broke, another spun right in front again (at least it was the other rear wheel this time), and the officials felt we could just race to the flag.
The finish ended up being a stout 12th of 20, as it could have been much higher given the incidents, dodging a muffler that was right in the racing groove, and getting passed by multiple cars under yellow.
The team returned home exhausted where it refueled at Applebees. Monday was just for another car wash. Hopefully we can get through the last two events on the schedule for 2008 – in front of the biggest audiences, during Super Dirt Week in October.