Edition 6: Hard Knocks
The anticipation of the inaugural trip to the Canandaigua Speedway, his home track, had his stomach ready to roll over. Unfortunately, by the end of the night, it was the No. 11 that had done the rolling over.
Canandaigua Speedway was quite the unforgiving track for the ASCS Patriot Rookie. In his time on a ½-mile track, the Geneva, NY youngster realized the added element of speed that he would have to factor in throughout the night.
"My first thought of the track was 'Oh my God!' just because of the speed," said the 15-year-old of the speedway known as the 'Land of Legends'. "Right from the start of the night I knew that the track would have a fine line between being fast and wrecking the car."
After a quality draw, the Shuttleworth Asphalt Sealing J&J started in 3rd. Things started out strong but just a pair of laps in, "The Rocket" found him spun around in tricky turn one. The remainder of the race was primarily about logging laps with the track still very pass and the line only a car and a half wide.
The heat finish would send Robbie to the B-main. The cushion was firm in turn one, but the youngster realized that you had to flirt with it to be successful. While towards the back of the pack, he started progressing his way forward until disaster struck five laps in.
Robbie hit the cushion in a very tough spot, throwing the balance of the car well off. "My first thought was to keep in the throttle, so I did that and I had caught a rut on the outside of the track and next thing I knew I was spinning through the air," said Robbie of what would be come his first flip in a full-sized sprint car.
The first revolution, the wing hardly touched the ground, but one more roll would end his night. "It wasn't a bad wreck, we broke a front axle and some wings but nothing major, commented Robbie at the end of the night.
Robbie was alright, but still had to avoid danger before he could get back to the pits. After landing upside down, oil began to leak from his car and would then ignite into a fire. "The Rocket" quickly moved away to safety at that point.
"I would like to give credit to the safety crews who put the fire out from the oil that came out of the breathers in the valve-covers and dripped down onto the headers," added Robbie.
The focus now shifts to the next ASCS Patriot event, one of the premier races of the entire year.
Robbie and crew will be going to Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio on Tuesday, June 17 for the first race of the Ollie's 360 Challenge. The team has set reasonable goals of just going to go out, running good consistent laps, and hoping for the best.