It was a long hot day at the Shady Bowl speedway out in the Ohio county side near DeGraff. The sun was out in force and the temperature was up around 95 deg. The speedway laid new asphalt during the week and we were the first cars to run it in. Practice started and before long with the 3400 lb cars and the heat, the asphalt began to come apart. The entrances to both corners began to shift with cracks and seams. The loose asphalt was everywhere under the car, in the fenders, on top of the motor. ARCA practice stopped and the speedway brought in an aspalt contractor to patch the seams, and a local fire truck began spraying water down in the corners to try cooling down the track. There was quite a controversy on whether to cancel the ARCA show and as the afternoon wore on, the crowd began to build. About four hours after the first practice, we took to the track again. Our car was pretty quick on old tires, the handling seemed good. After the second practice the track began coming up again, but only where the patches were laid. After another hour delay, it was annouced that the local program would be run first, our feature last when the track was under the lights. We qualified 15th on old tires. We couldn't afford to buy tires this week. It seemed that the new tires were only going to be 3 to 4 tenths quicker for only 10 laps or so. We used the tires we ran at Flat Rock with 150 laps on them. This race was also a 150 lap event.
The feature started around 10:30. I was on the inside row on the start which moved up pretty fast. The car handling extremely well. Others had more motor, but we were making up time in both corners and basically holding our position. Always had a car knocking on the back bumper but could not get under or around Bob Schact in front. The first caution came out and we were still on the lead lap, wow. On the restart, one of the leaders blew up and pileup began. I followed Schact thru the mess after wrapping on his bumper. Several of the leaders were involved and got down a lap. After the green, Bobby Bowsher started moving up fast lapping cars. Just before he got to me, another yellow. Pretty soon we were running eighth with 10 on the lead lap. With 15 laps to go, Bowsher finally began coming around to lap. I held him off for two laps then he got up on the outside rear quarter with a slow lap car in the bottom groove and I had to lift on the back straight. Just then two cars crashed on the front and Bobby beat me back to the line. At that point there were 6 on the lead lap, I was in 7th, the first car one lap down. This is where the fun begins.
In the pit, my crew cheif was being bombarded by other crew chiefs telling him where I should start. We knew where we were going to start, on the inside row next to the leader. We were the first car one lap down. Hillinbergs chief came over and said to let him by because they could pass Bowsher and get a lap back. He was two laps down after losing a tire. He had lost four laps and made two of them up. His crew cheif was told that we were racing for position and were not going to "give" it away. Then Lee (my crew chief) got a visit from Bowshers saying "don't let Hillenburg by". When it was time to form the double file start, Hillenburg tried to get around and had to be cut off which was responded with a tap on my bumper. Bowsher jumped me on the start, I recovered and followed him into the corner. On the next lap, Hillenburg got up underneath me forcing me to the outside down the back stretch. I couldn't get back to the inside, Rick Sheppard running 2nd was underneath. Rick was bumped and got out of shape and hit my left rear quarter in front of the tire and sent me sideways in front of the field. Big pileup at the start/finish line. I had spun down into the infield and got the car fired again but lost a lap. Two others, Dill Wittymore and Jody Gara had terminal damage. By the time the mess was cleaned up the race was over, but ARCA does not finish under the yellow. A green/white/checker situation with me starting on the inside row again next to Bowsher finishing behind him at the checker.
We finished in sixth spot! They originally annouced fifth both scoring showed that Hillenburg had passed Bowsher during the big front stretch pile up to make up another lap.
Wittymore's crew was not happy back in the pit area and we were confronted right away about why we were racing for position as earlier in the race we tryed using a lap car for a sheild to get his spot. They assumed (and still do) that I was a lapped car and should not have been running with them. Tried to tell them that I was rightfully after their spot but to no avail. They were upset after running in the top five, then wrecking with 8 to go and pretty much accused me of causing the wreck.
So anyway, a few upset people, but we were pretty delighted with our finish. On our budget, running on old scab tires, and pulling in on our open trailer(vs their semi haulers), we think we did OK.
We got a little body work to do as well as check out the alignment. Louisville is our next race on August 12. This will be a tough one as it is 250 laps.