Buckley Racing ARCA ReMax Series ...
ARCA ReMax Series #28
We finally got the Daytona monkey off our back.
Our week at the track went pretty smooth. Inspection was a breeze. Our car, a 1999 Monte carlo was built in the days of shock and spring bumpers. The fenders and quarters have plenty of clearance for lots of spring travel. The templates fit the car the way they are supposed to and we did not have the problems that many in the garage were having getting our car to pass. Because of this however, the car is a little bit "draggy" on the track. It is not terribly fast when the car is alone. However, it is a good drafting car.
Practice went well. Our fastest laps all week were the first two we ran. We tried some tricky stuff with front end settings and some other experimental stuff and did nothing but slow the car down. It is what it is....we had to accept that. We were around the 25th spot in all the practices.
When qualifying was rained out, I was not unhappy. We were sitting 18th in owner points if the field had to be set on points. The car was not going to go much faster than that anyway. When we did qualify on Friday morning, I could not get all of the fluids to the temperature they needed to be. We qualified 27th. We were in. We knew the car would be better in the race.
During the happy hour practice, the car would run as fast as anyone I could draft with. However, it had a problem where it would not "suck up". This means that when the car would run behind someone, it would only get as close as about 3/4 of a car length from the back bumper of the car in front...then it would stay there. It did not matter if it was a slow car or a fast one, my car would run behind it and stay there.
After happy hour, we realized that if we were going to do well in the race, we would have to find a way to get to the front by either working with a faster car that was going there....or by cycling out of sequence with pit strategy. The big joke at the dinner table the night before the race was......"we have a second place car, all we need to do is pick the winner and get behind him". It was almost a prophecy.
When the race started on Sunday, the car would not come up to full speed. It had an electrical miss. I was afraid to start switching ignition boxes and coils until the track was clear behind me for fear that if I killed the motor accidentally, the car behind me would run me over. When I got clear track behind me, I switched the boxes, then the coil and found that the primary coil was bad and going to ground. The car picked back up and we started passing cars again.
At lap 10 the first caution came out. We had talked in the morning about how were going to get to the front by cycling out of sequence. We came down pit road and topped off with fuel. No tires.
At lap 18 the second caution came out after just a few laps of green. I had not made much headway in the field and there were not many cars behind me. We came in again and topped off at lap 20. None of the leaders came in except Gerhart. Our stop was quicker because they changed tires. I waited for Bobby to finish his stop....they were about. four stalls in front of us This way I could follow him up through the pack.
I followed Gerhart as long as I could before I lost his draft in a pack of cars. I got caught behind a slower car, then the "suck up" problem kicked in and I lost Bobby. However, the caution came back out at lap 30 and almost the whole field came into the pit. We were now in the front in 6th place.
Well, once we got with some faster cars, the car just wanted to hang on. I was drafting with Gerhart and Andy Hillenburg and it was a long time before the pack behind us could muster up an inside pass. Kimmel passed on the inside and got me hung out on the outside. Mitchell was then on my inside and I had a second line behind me. Then it started to rain. I was hung on the outside in turn one when the rain started....the car did not like that one bit. I held on and raced down the back straight. When we came around to the tri-oval it started raining there. I could not hold down the throttle (I am not afraid to admit that it was a little too scary racing down into that turn with it raining like that) and lifted a little going into turn one. I lost 5 spots before the caution came out.
After the rain delay, the first 11 cars took off on the green and pulled away. I was the 11th car. I swapped tenth position with Robert Burroughs on the last lap before the next caution came out. Then the rain came for good and the race was called. We finished 11th.
I was glad to see the race end early. We were very close on making it the rest of the way on fuel. We would have had to go 60 laps, but many of those were under caution for the rain. I could not pass anyone that was in front of me, just hang on to what we had....so it was good for us that it ended early. We got to the front by doing something different than everyone else, then just held on as long as we could.
So we finally qualified at Daytona. And then almost came away with a top ten finish. We were pretty happy.
Next race for us will be at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. We have to finish up an intermediate car and prep that for the race, as well as pick up our repaired intermediate that we wrecked at Atlanta last fall. We will be busy people again this month.
PAR: not found