28 Aug The handle on this car is back!!
We did a lot of work in the garage and went for testing during our week off. Thanks go out to Rino Montanari (and Nic and Daniel of course) for their help during testing. We were able to get the car better that night, and then made further adjustments and the car was really good this weekend.
In practice, we tested it out to see if we needed any changes and ended up adding a spring rubber. Second practice, I had some new tires for the race so we scuffed those in and then waited for racing to start.
I had a good qualifying effort that I was happy with. I qualified 9th, which anyone that knows me knows that this was a very good qualifying effort for me.
In the first feature, I started the race in 9th position. We had a quick debris caution on lap 3 and I had fallen back two positions to 11th at this point. On the restart, I was on the inside and the inside lane stacked up and I fell back to 13th because of the inside lane stacking up, however the caution would come out again quickly as the 39 car would hit the wall in corner 3 and pull off the track and the 90 would go to pit road.
Starting again on lap 3, in the 9th position and I would settle in comfortably until lap 19 when the 69 would go around, I assume with some help from the 14 car as he would go to the back. We would run green until the racing up front got aggressive as the 10, 41 and 31 would make contact, with the 31 getting the worst of the damage when he would hit the front stretch wall. The 10 and 41 both went to take their spots back, however, both were deemed to be involved cars and would be sent to the back, while the 31 would be towed back off the track.
This all happened on lap 33 with only 2 laps to go. I would restart in 6th position and I fought hard to break into the top 5, for my first top 5 of the season, but I couldn’t make the pass on the 3 car and would have to settle for 6th.
For the second feature, I would start in 4th position. I fell back to 5th off the start but settled in there for the first 6 laps before the 57 spun bringing out the caution. We would restart on lap 6 and I was in the 5th position. Just ahead of me on the restart, the 11 and 14 would get together which would result in the 14 getting a flat tire and bringing out the caution. I would end up restarting in 4th.
I ran in 4th for the longest time, attempting to make the pass on the 11 car and each lap I would close on him in the corner, but wasn’t quite in there and he would close the door. My Dad kept telling me on the radio to send it in the corner as the lane was there for me to take, but being a rookie and being that Morrow races me clean all the time, I wanted to race him the same way that he races me. I spent a lot of laps tying to make this pass on him, and I ended up paying for it, it allowed two cars to get by us both on the outside, dropping me back to 6th and then someone ended up getting underneath me and I got trained back to 11th.
Morrow is a great guy and he didn’t do anything wrong, but as I was told afterward, and what I clearly learned, was that I am going to have to be a little more aggressive to make that pass, as quickly as possible, as I just ended up losing a top five finish. Lesson learned and back at it again next week.
Congrats to Rick Spencer-Walt for coming out in the second feature in the 69 car, after his was beyond repair after the first feature, and he wheeled that car from the back, up to, I believe, a 4th place finish. Awesome job!