The finish to this season can only be considered impressive and successful for Team Federico after that unfortunate season premier in Dresser Wisconsin back in May. So far the start of any racing season has always been rough on the team, but this year they were full of expectations... the team thought it would be different. "We made lots of changes to the truck during the 2002/2003 off-season and had every reason to be confident", remembers Steven... cold hard facts... like that there is a prodigious amount of luck that goes along with the art and skill... like Murphy's Law... were all but forgotten... That narrow focus became our handicap of sorts, allowing us to not even entertain the possibility of getting T-boned in the first corner of the first round of competition... leaving us unable to foresee that disastrous ignition failure in the second... "After leaving Dresser sixteenth in the point standings (out twenty-three drivers) our team was despondent to say the least. But on the long ride home the crew's attitude was 'nuthin but positive' and we all made a goal to finish the season in the [pixel.gif] inversion which would put us in the top eight in points", said Federico. At that point even that seemed extremely difficult to achieve, but why not? Set the bar higher than you dare and work, work, work...
Our goals have not changed. First, finish every race... Second increase our visibility and promote our sponsors... and third, have fun doing one and two... Well, for the first time since Federico's been racing his team finished every race. Even with the rollover at Bark River and the ensuing fire they still finished the race on the lead lap (The Speed Channel had a field day with that one... talk about exposure)! I can't imagine a better testament to the dedication and hard work of the Federico crew. Crew chief A. J. Satenstein, Tim Mcnulty, Danny Villacano, Henry Suel... and all the prep in between races done by Todd Attig. They all did a fantastic job while keeping that "we take something from every race and the experience helps us get better and better" attitude.
Flash forward to the present and the end of the season... Going into Rounds 13 and 14 in New York we found ourselves fifth in the points standings having fought all the way from sixteenth with seven top-five finishes and a win at Bark River in Round 9. We surpassed [2.jpg] J&L photo those goals we set during that sullen-turned-upbeat ride home in May... We probably would be third in points if not for the rollover/fire while leading round 10, but we'll 'take the fifth' (sounds like a mobster's trial... a little web humor folks [s_bigsmile.gif] ) place finish with regard to the championship!
SATURDAY'S RACE, ROUND #13
Being the end of the season we had few options... There was a mathematical chance we could win the championship... with a shipload of luck, like if all of the front-runners fell under some obscure Voodoo curse and DNF'd EARLY! Romantic perhaps, but not very realistic to the team's way of thinking... The team opted for practicality and the decision was made to use New York for testing. Steven picks it up... "I wanted to try some stuff, but during the season we just couldn't take the chance. Tire groves, timing in the motor, toe in and out of the front end, rear camber, shock valving... We wanted to try all this stuff but needed to go in small increments so we could evaluate what worked and what didn't. I felt that some things would work well only in combination with others. I wanted to try an unusual tire groove that Goodyear's Little Joe said wouldn't work. I was hard-headed and went ahead... and guess what? The expert was right! I had no side bite at all and it made the Ingles Supermarkets, Phil's Inc. Toyota really loose in the rear and difficult to drive. We finished seventh in round thirteen but learned something in any case."
SUNDAY'S RACE, ROUND #14
Again with nothing to lose we tried some timing changes to our motor and with such a tight race track we put a lot more toe in the front tires. By adding toe-in we thought it would make the corners easier. [pixel.gif] Steven describes it... "Well, the front turned-in better but in really loosened up the back. Fighting for forth place with a really lose, over-steering truck made racing at Unadilla very hard. A one mile track in the middle of upstate New York, Unadilla Raceway is quite unique. The 110 degree vertical jump off the top of a hill leading into a 180 degree turn was the toughest part of the track. Mid-race, as I was hitting this jump, out of nowhere comes Kyle [pixel.gif] LeDuc flying high over my truck. He must have been a good 25 feet in the air! It was really cool to see but a bit humiliating to be the one being jumped... nice to be 20 again and no fear"... His youthful exuberance turned out to be not quite 'all that' however, as Kyle's aeronautic acrobatics forced him to overshoot his braking point, sending him a little too deep into the 180, leaving room for Steven to duck inside and take back the position. We ended up sixth on Sunday, finishing the year fifth in the final championship points standing.
It was a tough climb up that ladder and we fought hard all year... all things considered, to finish fifth was exhilarating and gratifying... The biggest lesson learned this year was probably the difference between expectations and tempered optimism... We started the season with expectations and, when things went awry, optimism tempered with wariness became the order of the day (to the credit of the crew)... this seems to suggest a bit more humility... and a humble man will work that much harder to achieve his goals... We can't help but believe that if we embrace this attitude right from the start of next season, we're gonna be next year's championship team... ...Us
Looking forward to next season... We have always been receptive to ideas concerning sponsorships, main and associate. This is a highly visible and conscientious team that would be an asset for any business searching for positive exposure, especially with Steven as our spokesperson and personality. We are currently negotiating for the 2004-06 CORR race seasons. Don't get left behind... get in on all of the business advantages, excitement and fun that motorsports sponsorship has to offer!
We would like to thank all our sponsors for their support... P.F. Chang's, Ingles Super-Markets, Mountain Dew and Pepsi-Cola, Italian Village, Racing Optics, Mechanix Wear, Wilmette Auto Body, Goodyear Tire Company, NAPA Auto Parts Evanston, Phil's Inc.com, American Racing Custom Wheels, Toyota, Venom, Precision Gear, Stoner's Invisible Glass, Jack Link's Beef Jerky, Bobby (he does the website and this page) and... Steven's family.
-Team Federico... the other folks are incognito FBI agents...
Thanks everybody... See ya next year!