Bad Luck Plagues Team Wandahsega at Bark River
Team Wandahsega had very high hopes for the second round at the Bark River International Off Road Raceway. Crew Chief Mark Wirhanowicz had made some changes to the truck to correct the team's heating issue with their ATD Transmission, added another cooler along with the normal prep in between race weekends.
Friday practice went good, Ben had his first chance to run the new General Grabber SC tires. Everything worked really well, the trans temp was much better while the new tires hooked up. The track was a lot different than the previous weekend as the Lions Club made some changes; a table top jump in the front of the crowd and some more banked corners before the big hill jump.
Then came the rain, Saturday practice/qualifying was washed out. That meant all the races would start according to points. Because the team missed the first 2 races and obviously aren't making a run for a points championship this year; this meant Wandahsega would have to start 2nd from last, 14th out of 15 trucks.
At the start of the race, Ben made it clean through the first corner and got settled in, ready to start making some moves toward the front. He made a couple passes, unfortunately he lost what he had gained when he checked up for someone that spun out in front of him. Ben was hit from behind and pushed around facing the wrong way. Once again he had to play catch up as he made a few passes for position trying to work his way back to the front. Everything was working great as the ATD Transmission was running cool, the Wegner Motor was pulling hard and the General Grabber SC Tires were tearing up the loose track. At the competition yellow, Ben in his Forest County Potowatomi/General Tires Chevy was in 11th. When the flag dropped he was able to pass to gain a couple more spots and was running in 8th position when disaster struck once again. Yet another driver spun out in from of him, this time he hit his passenger door as the truck blocked half of the track , then he got slammed hard from behind. Unlike the mishap at the beginning of the race, when he was able to keep going, this time he would not. The wreck gave him a flat tire, also bending a trailing arm, and tearing the trailing arm mount off of the frame. Thus ending his day, and probably ending at least a 6th place finish, as he definitely was still moving forward at the time of the wreck. Instead, Team Wandahsega got a DNF because of someone else's mistake and was credited with a 15th place finish.
After assessing the damage, Crew Chief Mark Wirhanowicz and the crew thought it would be best to bring out the back up truck for Sundays race. With the spare truck being set up for the Limited 2 wheel drive class, the team decided to run that race too. They had to start in the back once again, when the flag dropped Ben made it out of the first couple of corners in 4th place. Then he made it to second place by the competition yellow, everything was working good as Ben was about five truck lengths behind the leader when the motor shut off. Not sure what happened yet as it was running perfect with all the temps at normal operation range. Thus ending another good run; Ben however was credited with a 6th place finish, as a couple of other competitors had dropped out before him.
In the end Team Wandahsega has a lot of repairs to make before the big Crandon 40th anniversary race in 4 weeks. The team is looking forward to having a much better weekend at Crandon.