Buckeroo Joliet (Chicagoland) report

Over this past labor day weekend, ARCA held two races. The races were two days apart and couldn't be any different. The first event was held at the new Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. This is a very fast 1.5 mile superspeedway. The second...

Over this past labor day weekend, ARCA held two races. The races were two days apart and couldn't be any different. The first event was held at the new Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. This is a very fast 1.5 mile superspeedway. The second event was held five hours south at the DuQuion fairgrounds, a one mile dirt track.

We took two different cars for these races. However, right now we have only one engine. The plan was to race the Chicago race, then after the race, put the motor into the dirt car.

We left Wednesday night. We took two haulers and trailers and headed for Joliet. When we arrived at the hotel, the motorhome pulling the second trailer broke down in the parking lot with an electrical problem. We would leave that hauler behind for repairs on Thursday...the motorhome had to be towed.

Thursday our practice and qualifying went well. The track was very fast, but had only the very bottom groove. The car was stable and the motor was working well. We qualified 13th. We beat the weather...it had been threatening and it rained hard during the night. We had a local dinner and crashed for the night.

Friday morning we got the motorhome back and got the second car to the track. There was a one hour practice during the afternoon (happy hour). We put on the old practice tires and got the car working well knowing we would have heavy tire wear during the event. We wore the practice tires down to cords and had our fastest times at the end of the run. We estimated our tires would last 45 laps. Some teams were not getting that far, some only 30 laps. That night we went to Chicago and had dinner at the ESPN Zone and went to the top of one of the big buildings. A good time had by all (18 people in total). Thanks Mark.

Raceday at Chicagoland, Saturday. Got caught up with Phil Rider who was there since Thursday taking pictures, and with Dennis Shaw and Lisa Erickson from Fiona Goddess website.

We were all kinda nervous because of the nature of the track. One groove, super fast. Our race started and we should have had a camera in the car. The first caution came due to the car in front of me loosing it in the 4th turn and down the front straightaway. It looked like I was driving into the accident. I had to steer toward his car until it decided which way it was going to go. It finally slide to the outside and I took the inside route. The next caution came out when the car behind me went spinning in the same spot. We came in then for our first pit stop, we were running 10th.

During the pit stop, the front air gun failed after the lugs were off the right front tire. The crew tried to get the rear gun to work and couldn't get the lugs back on. Finally had to get a different socket out of the pit box in order to get the tire back on. We lost a lap on pit road. I guess you can say I was not very happy. Need to apologize to both the crew and anyone who was listening on the scanner because I lost it. The rest of the pit stops went well during the race. We needed to change three sets of tires during the race and the crew did well.

I lost 3 more laps during the rest of the race. A couple during one period where I was babying the tires in order to make it to the end of the race. We just couldn't afford to keep throwing tires at the car to keep it fast. I missed one more spinning type accident that happened in front of me. I was happy to get out of the race without a scratch on the car and in 14th place.

Well, now the race is over. Time to change the motor from the speedway car to the dirt car. We stayed at the Chicagoland garage and line up both cars nose to nose. We did the change and got everything cleaned up and packed up in three hours. This was super. We actually started and ran the dirt car before loading both cars back up into the trailers. We then drove down the road, got some fast food, and arrived in a hotel just north of Champaign, IL for the night. What a Saturday.

Sunday we slept in a little. Then we headed down the road to Mt. Vernon, IL. This would be 1/2 hour from the DuQuoin racetrack. The girls did some laundry for the group (we have been on the road since Wed. night). The boys unloaded the dirt car and did a setup with the scales in the hotel parking lot. Got the ride heights done and sway bar set, etc. This of course was after watching the end of the Darlington race on the tube. Got a good dinner and slept heavy again. We needed to get up by 5:00 am and to the track by 6:00.

We will do the DuQuion race in the next race report.

Mike Buckley
ARCA #28

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Mike Buckley , Dennis Shaw