Lake Erie: Ed Wettlaufer race notes

Wettlaufer Soldiers Home To 23rd At Lake Erie Lake Erie, Pennsylvania - - As the ARCA RE/MAX Series headed to Lake Erie Speedway this past weekend, the No. 40 Chassisdyne Dodge piloted by Ed Wettlaufer headed to the. 4-mile oval looking to make...

Wettlaufer Soldiers Home To 23rd At Lake Erie

Lake Erie, Pennsylvania - - As the ARCA RE/MAX Series headed to Lake Erie Speedway this past weekend, the No. 40 Chassisdyne Dodge piloted by Ed Wettlaufer headed to the. 4-mile oval looking to make their first start of the 2004 season. While running a limited schedule in competition, the team has suffered through an enormous amount of tough times. However, the team hoped by the end of Saturday night, their future would be looking up.

Last season, the team started 34th, and finished 33rd completing 43 markers after falling out to mechanical failure. Before heading to Lake Erie Speedway this weekend, the rookie team felt they had worked out all the kinks, and were ready to take action.

33 teams endured a one day show Saturday, with practice, qualifying and the main event all on tap. After unloading at the track shortly after 11:00am, the Chassisdyne Motorsport crew quickly went to work unloading their No. 40 Dodge, preparing for inspection and their first practice session of the season.

In the only practice run of the day, Wettlaufer posted the 25th quickest time after turning a lap in 17.164 seconds, or 78.653 MPH. The team endured little obstacles including an innocent spin during the session, but the team felt they made a big gain in their program. "We're okay," said the St. Clair Shores, Michigan native. "We were on some really old tires, but we gained some much needed speed. We also encountered a battery problem during the session and had to put our old one back in, I'm not real sure how's that's going to turn out, we'll just have to play it by ear and hope for the best."

Heading into time trials, the Michigan based team had high hopes. After some confidence, and fresh tires the team looked to post a good lap time which would put their sponsorless machine as close to the front as possible. Unfortunately, when it was all said and done, Wettlaufer posted a very disappointing 25th qualifying effort.

"I'm not sure what happened, but it wasn't good," said the 34-year old dejected driver. "We made the show on time and that's important, but we had a solid car in practice, and to qualify like we did, it put a little bitter taste in our confidence, but if we keep our nose clean, I think we'll be okay."

Taking the green shortly after 8:30pm EST, Wettlaufer quickly dove into a concentration mode. While he knew he didn't have a car capable of winning, he knew he had a good enough Intrepid to gain valuable seat time and complete as many laps as possible.

Indeed that's what the engineer by trade did. While staying out of trouble, Ed was able to keep his nose clean, avoid several close calls, while digging hard to claim the 23rd position, a career best for the duo.

That finish didn't come without a few hiccups which included an ill-handling machine, no power steering, and lack of power caused by battery default. Still, in the 200-lap/80 mile event, the driver was never forced to enter pit road as he completed 185 laps on sticker tires, and a full tank of Sunoco Racing fuel.

The respectable finish was a small victory for the all-volunteer crew as the team enjoyed their first full race without having to pack up early.

"I'm happy to finish a race," he said following the event. "Our gear selection for the event wasn't right and that played a huge role in the way we performed. Thus, we are able to take our fumbles, pick ourselves back up knowing what we have to do to get ready for our next challenge," he replied.

Wettlaufer also stated "This is a huge step in the right direction for our team. We didn't have the best car, but we did the best we could. To rally to 23rd, we'll take that and head to Toledo with a better car and more determined driver."

After completing Lake Erie, Team Chassisdyne plans to race in the Toledo 200 on September 3rd, followed by the ARCA RE/MAX Series event from Salem Speedway a few weeks later.

The team is still eyeing sponsorship for their remaining two events. Sponsorship inquires can contact the team at 586-344-0262 or edwettlaufer@aol.com

Next up, the ARCA RE/MAX Series prepares for a double-header with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this Saturday from Nashville Superspeedway. The Waste Management 200 will take the green flag shortly after 1:00pm EST, live on the Speed channel.

-www.chassidyne.com

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Series ARCA