Team Sticker Dude Racing - CORR Chula Vista III Race Report
As Team Sticker Dude Racing made the trek across the country, team leader Steven Federico set some goals for the group. The first priority was to put teammate Lee O'Donnell into the top 3 in Championship points and Steven into the top 10 by the end of the weekend. The season long points championship pays back only to the tenth position.
Another priority was to represent the team's sponsors in the best way possible. The team must maximize their partners' exposure, in every possible way, especially since this the largest market that hosts a CORR event. The driver's performance on the track, and the team presentation in the pit area as well as around town, is vital for ensuring maximum market exposure for their sponsors.
The Team Sticker Dude Racing Hauler arrived at Chula Vista International Raceway on Thursday giving the team, plenty of time to set up and go over the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier PRO-Lite trucks one final time before Friday afternoon practice. The crew, A.J S'atenstein, Tim McNulty, and Chris Hansen, all seasoned veterans, and all very familiar with the Southern California track, knew that keeping the race trucks "hooked up" in the high speed corners can be a real struggle if the wrong suspension and tire combination is chosen.
The first practice session saw both trucks run very competitive lap times, thanks in part to, the Goodyear Wrangler tires with the input of Lil' Joe Aguirre and the chassis setup from AJ and Chris. Needless to say, Steven and Lee were looking forward to Saturday's competition.
Saturday - Round 13
Just as the 28 PRO-Lite truck field was lining up for the start of the sixteen lap event, Lee O'Donnell and his #23 PF Changs Invisible Glass Sticker Dude Designs Goodyear Tire Nissan Frontier pulled out of line and into the hot pits. The culprit was an electrical problem, that prevented the operation of the truck's cooling system.
The land rush start of the race began with some confusion. Initially, the two trucks on both sides of Steven jumped the start. When this happened, Steven let off the throttle, figuring the trucks in violation would be reset or moved to the back of the starting grid. Instead, the starter continued on with his routine and quickly drops the green flag. Quickly, Steven dropped the clutch and the #24 PF Changs Invisible Glass Sticker Dude Designs Goodyear Tire Toyota Tacoma heads into Tune One, well behind the lead pack of trucks. After lap one, Steven held the twelfth position and Lee was still in the Hot Pits.
On lap 9, the mandatory yellow flag was waved and the field was given one lap to make any quick fixes and bring the field closer together for the fans. Steven had worked his way up to the ninth spot. At this point ,Chris Hansen sent Lee O'Donnell and his #23 Nissan Frontier back out on the track, with the cooling system working perfect.
When green flag racing resumed, Steven got "up on the wheel" and quickly passed #82 Kandel, #4 Marking, and points leader, #8 Hord on lap 10. During a hard landing on the same lap, Steve's helmet shield came off, severely limiting his vision as well as his driving ability. This caused him to lose a position on the track. Never giving up Steven came home in eighth place.
Meanwhile, Lee continued on to finish, twentieth, after missing the first half of the race.
Afterwards Lee commented, " The cooling fan problem is such a freak thing. Hats off to Chris for getting me back out there. We finished well back, but we still got a point. That one point could make a difference at the end of the year."
Steven added, "The situation at the start really put me in a hole. We battled back only to have my shield come loose. This happened once before, but we thought that problem was fixed. All we can do, is look forward. Get ready for the next round and get on the podium."
Sunday - Round 14
The land rush start saw Lee and Steven coming out of Turn One in eleventh and twelfth place, respectively. The opening lap saw Steven make a move to pass his teammate and #82 Brandt. Then, just as he setting up the next two turns, contact was made from behind, turning the #24 around. All Steven could do was watch as the rest of the field went by. Quickly the truck got pointed in the right direction as Steven put his Goodyear tires to work. After all of this, Lee gradually worked his way up to ninth place. Then at just before the mandatory yellow, a bolt his shifter broke with the truck stuck in second gear.
Meanwhile, Steven moved his #24 Toyota Tacoma into the fourteenth position. This was quite a comeback after being dead last after the first lap.
Again the green flag racing resumed and quickly the #24 PF Changs Invisible Glass Sticker Dude Designs Goodyear Tire Toyota Tacoma moved up two more spots. Then on lap twelve the ring and pinion self-destructed, ending Steven's day. The remaining laps saw Lee slowly making his way around the track with the transmission stuck in second gear. At the finish, Lee O'Donnell was credited with a thirteenth place finish and Steven Federico was scored in fifteenth place.
"This just wasn't our weekend," stated Steven Federico. "It seems like I've been snake bit all year. I can't thank my brother Rick and his family enough for driving out here to support the team and me. I just wish we had a better outcome. We just have to suck it up and come back next month, strong and finish on the podium."
Lee O'Donnell commented, "At breakfast I ate my Wheaties and my "big guns" just broke the shifter. Seriously, this should have been a weekend that solidified our spot in the top 5. The little things got us this weekend. We will thoroughly go through the truck double-checking every nut and bolt. When we get back here in October, I need to race with the intention of beating the living xxxx out of the truck. I'll have all winter to get the truck ready for the next season."